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[562] upon his course. Mounting a fresh horse on the road, without going into camp, he set out at once with four or five of his staff, and an escort of fourteen men, for Sheridan's Headquarters. First, however, he instructed Ord to push on to Burksville before halting for the night, and thus place a strong force in rear of Sheridan, and a second line in front of Lee. It was dark when he started for Jetersville, and the distance was twenty miles, for a long detour must be made to avoid the enemy. No one of the party but the scout had ever been over the ground before, which lay on the flank of the two armies. It was very possible that a considerable rebel force might be moving directly across their road.

Soon night came on, and the long ride through the forest over a rough and muddy country was more dangerous still. Once or twice the officers with Grant became anxious about their guide. The scouts were always suspected men; they might perform the same office for the enemy they pretended to discharge for their friends. To bring the general-in-chief inside the rebel lines would secure an enormous reward; and if this man was a rebel at heart, he had in his hands a prize beyond all count. He rode at the head of the little column, with one of the aides-de-camp by his side, who silently cocked a pistol, and all through that march was ready to fire, at the slightest symptom of treachery. They peered into the woods on either hand lest the forest should conceal a foe, and sometimes caught sight of rebel camp fires twinkling in the distance. But the scout was loyal, and at ten o'clock, after a four hours ride, the party came upon Sheridan's outposts.

They were challenged of course by the pickets,

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