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tion. My object, however, is not to write a biography of Colonel Mosby. It is fortunate that such is not my design; for a career of wonderful activity extending over about three years could not be condensed into a brief paper. I shall speak of but one or two other incidents in his career; and one shall be his surprise of Brigadier-General Stoughton at Fairfax Court-House in the winter of 1862. This affair excited unbounded indignation on the part of many excellent people, though President Lincoln made a jest of it. Let us not see if it was not a legitimate partisan operation. It was in November, I believe, that Mosby received the information leading to his movement. The Federal forces at that time occupied the region between Fredericksburg and Alexandria; and as General Stuart's activity and energy were just causes of solicitude, a strong body of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, was posted in the neighbourhood of Fairfax Court-House and Centreville. Colonel Wyndham was in
John Esten Cooke, Wearing of the Gray: Being Personal Portraits, Scenes, and Adventures of War., Facetiae of the camp: souvenirs of a C. S. Officer. (search)
d, for the whole black race; this gentleman visited the house where the young Crichton lived, and taking a seat in the parlour, began conversing with the ladies. While so doing he was startled by a voice at his elbow, and a vigorous clap upon the back of his splendid uniform. Turning quickly in extreme wrath at this disrespect, he saw the grinning face of young ebony behind him; and from the lips of the youth issued the loud and friendly address: Hallo, Yank! Do you belong to Mr. Lincoln? You are fighting for me-ain't you? The officer recoiled in disgust, looked daggers, and brushing his uniform, as though it had been contaminated, growled to the lady of the house: You taught him this, madam! Ix. In June, 1863, General Lee was going to set out for Gettysburg. To mask the movement of his infantry from the Lower Rappahannock, a cavalry review was ordered, on the plains of Culpeper. That gay and gallant commander, General Fitz Lee, thereupon, sent word t
rection of Fairfax. If this situation be comprehended by the reader, he will not fail to understand why the Captain scrutinized me closely. I was a stranger to him, had passed through the Confederate lines, and was now far to the front. If I was in the Federal service I had learned many things which would interest General McClellan. Spies took precautions in accommodating their dress and entire appearance to the role they were to play; and why might I not be a friend of his Excellency President Lincoln, wearing a Confederate uniform for the convenience of travelling? So Captain Edelin scanned me with great attention, his eyes trying to plunge to the bottom of my breast, and drag forth some imaginary plot against the cause. Being an old soldier of some months' standing, and experiencing the pangs of hunger, I rapidly came to the point. Something like the following dialogue passed between us: Captain Edelin, officer of the picket? I inquired. Yes, sir, returned
ker, help this Nigger, Wake up in the morning, The old gray Hoss, Come back, Stephen, Hard times and worse a-comin, Sweet Evelina, and a number of other songs. It is a good banjo. I hear it at present playing Dixie with a fervour worthy of Fhat great national anthem. It is a Yankee instrument, captured and presented to the minstrel who now wields it, by admiring friends! But-proh pudor!-it plays Southern ditties only, and refuses obstinately to celebrate the glories of the Happy land of Lincoln. I have heard the songs of our minstrel which he plays on his banjo, something like a thousand times-but they always make me laugh. They ring so gaily in the airs of evening that all sombre thoughts are banished-and, if sometimes I am tempted to exclaim, There is that old banjo rattling again! I always relent, and repent me of my disrespect toward the good old friend; and go and listen and laugh at the woes of Booker, or the colloquy with Stephen-above all, at the Old gray Hoss, noblest