every man had to be there or be otherwise strictly accounted for by his sergeant.
What it all meant no one apparently knew.
Meanwhile, two lieutenants and the orderly were carrying on a thorough search of the men's quarters.
When it was completed, the orderly returned to the line, and the company was dismissed, in a curious frame of mind as to the cause of all the stir.
This soon leaked out, as did also the fact that no trace of the missing property had been discovered.
All was again quiet along the Potomac
, except when the culprit and his coterie waxed a little noisy over imbibitions of ardent
mysteriously obtained, and not until after the close of the war was the mystery made clear.
It seems that as soon as he had seized his prize he passed swiftly down through the camp to the picket rope, where the horses were tied, and there, in a pile of manure thrown up behind them
, quickly concealed the case, and, at the bugle signal, was prompt to fall into line.
Under cover of darkness, the same night, the plunder was taken from the manureheap and carried to a hill in front of the camp, where it was buried in a manner which would not disclose it to the casual traveller, and yet leave it easily accessible to its unlawful possessor, and here he resorted periodically for a fresh supply, until it was exhausted.
I have quoted a few of the prices charged by sutlers.
Here are a few of the prices paid by people in Richmond
, during the latter part of the war, in Confederate money:--
Potatoes $80 a bushel; a chicken $50; shad $50 per pair; beef $15 a pound; bacon $20 a pound; butter $20 a pound; flour $1500 a barrel; meal $140 a bushel; beans $65 a bushel; cow-peas $80 a bushel; hard wood $50 a cord; green pine $80 a cord; and a dollar in gold was worth $100 in Confederate money.