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Confederate Swearing

I much regret that the truth of history compels me to admit that the gallant Captain did use an imprecation on the occasion referred to, but it served to show, I am afraid that under stress of circumstances the average Confederate could swear quite as hard as the army in Flanders. As I am informed the young lady who was a friend of the Captain's condoned the offence in consideration of his gallant conduct On that day.

And may we not hope that when the oath flew up to the Chancery of Heaven, that as in my Uncle Toby's case, the recording angel dropped a tear upon the record and blotted it out forever.

But to resume my personal narrative, Mr. Timothy Rives was among the captured. He drove up in his buggy after the fight was over, and was immediately taken prisoner. His buggy was used to carry off the body of a Federal, who I think was an [15] officer. Mr. Rives was known as a man of strong Union sentiments, but was a non-combatant. He was known in ante-bellum times as the ‘War Horse’ of the democracy, and was in great repute among those who liked his peculiar style of oratory. He had an opportunity of displaying his power of invective, when, meeting with a fellow who had piloted the enemy, he let him feel the full power of his tongue in the presence of the Federals, who were silent witnesses.

As we marched out we passed the body of poor Staubly lying where he had been shot, pierced through the forehead by a bullet. What our feelings were as we marched along with sad hearts, it is needless to describe. The main body of the enemy had pushed on. Petersburg was at their mercy and we knew not what to expect. We were not without hope, indeed, that reinforcements were on the way to save the city, but the uncertainty filled our minds with gloomy forebodings. When, however, we had marched for several miles the whole body of Federal Cavalry overtook us and passed at a rapid rate. Later in the day we understood that the attack on the city had failed and our minds were relieved from the tension and suspense.

We made a long detour, crossing the Norfolk & Petersburg Railroad sometime during the afternoon. During one of the rests Lieutenant Bird brought up a surgeon who dressed our wounds. He informed us he was a nephew of the late Henry D. Bird, of Petersburg, hailing from Philadelphia. His full cousin, the late Henry Van Luvenay Bird, was one of the bravest soldiers the Confederacy produced.

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