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[365] bridge. As the piers of the bridge were only about eight feet apart, they could not all get through quick enough and many of them galloped along the railroad fill until they found a place to cross over. The rest of the company remained until the batteries ceased firing and were ordered back to camp. Just as we turned to form into column by twos, a boy about 18 years old fell from his horse near me. There had been no small-arm firing heard, and it was a mystery where the minie bullet came from that struck him down. In assisting his comrades to place him on his horse—for he did not belong to our command—I took good notice of his face, an extremely handsome, boyish one, though covered with the pallor of death, and I can recall its lineaments now.


Missing recruits.

When we reached camp we found about twenty or thirty of our recruits missing. They had gone home and we learned had scattered the report all over the upper part of Wilson county to the effect that the Southern Confederacy was whipped and the army gone to demnition bowwows, and that there were a million of Yankees in Nashville, and every one of them carried a double barreled, self-cocking cannon. That is what the other boys told on them after they were brought back. Except the unmerciful ‘guying’ by their comrades nothing was said or done to them. It is a curious fact that the recruits gathered up or rather those who voluntarily attached themselves to the various companies in which they had friends and relatives, were never sworn into the service. I lived to see these same boys who ran away from one shell make the best soldiers and the most stubborn fighters that any army ever contained. I formed an opinion then that I hold still, that Forrest never attached as much importance to exact drill and strict discipline as most successful commanders. I doubt if he knew enough of Hardee's tactics to drill a squad properly. If a soldier would stay at his post and fight whenever and as often and as long as necessary, he was satisfied.

That same night a soldier—a stranger—came to me and asked how badly hurt did I think the young man was that I had assisted to place on his horse. I told him I thought he would die.

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