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re little better than skeletons. Finding that the enemy had fallen back the day previous before our advance-guard, we hurried forward in pursuit; but after a march of some twenty miles, the men were completely broken down from fatigue and the want of proper supplies. On the tenth of August we camped at Wilson's Creek, about ten miles south of Springfield, and the whole country was scoured for provisions. Whatever the fields produced was instantly appropriated, and many of us thanked Providence for the abundance of green corn. Ben McCulloch had halted his advance on the right of the road, assisted by Pearce, while Price was on the left of it; and thoughtless of danger — in fact, never dreaming of Lyon being in the vicinity at all-threw out no pickets; or if any were in advance, they were few indeed. In the evening little was thought of but amusement: most of the boys were dancing and kicking up their heels until a late hour, as lively as if the enemy were a thousand miles away
whatever, yet had captured ten thousand stand of arms, fifty cannon, hundreds of tents, together with many other things needful to an active army. No other generals in the department could show half as many proofs of their prowess, though all had done well. Our sufferings during the campaign had been extreme, but setting the inconveniences aside, had tended to harden us and make our limbs as tough as steel. Continually marching through non-inhabited districts, we had to depend upon Providence for supplies. Over mountains, through gaps, across rivers and creeks, our progress was toilsome and weary; but few doctors meddled with any one, and not more than a hundred names could be found upon the sick-list at any time during our frequent and rapid journeyings. Our cavalry led a hard life, and must have been made of brass to support the trials incident to their daily duty. Among the mountains a party of these irregular horse would watch all the roads, conceal their fires, and han
accustomed, was a race of long-jawed, loud-mouthed ranters, termed for courtesy's sake ministers of the Gospel. With profound respect for a class called of heaven for the administration of holy offices, I may be allowed to observe that, taken as a whole, these long-bodied individuals who were saddled on our regiments simply considered themselves called to receive one hundred and twenty dollars per month, with the rank of captain, and the privilege of eating good dinners wherever chance or Providence provided — to be terribly valiant in words, and offensively loquacious upon every topic of life, save men's salvation. Where they all came from, none knew or cared to know, especially as but little was seen or heard of them, save when some fortunate mess had turkey or chickens, and then, of course, the minister was sure to put in his appearance, and fuss about until invited to dine. Most of these gentlemen were particularly condescending in their small talk, could wink at trifles after
s to Centreville, his right being stretched in the direction of Thoroughfare Gap to keep open communication with the main army, which we surmised was not more than two marches behind. Meantime, facts became known which made those in the secret look gloomy enough on the evening of the twenty-seventh. An inevitable fight on the morrow began to be mysteriously spoken of around the camp-fires. The enemy were massing in our front. If we are not soundly whipped, said one, it is a mercy of Providence. True, said another, we are overmatched, yet our position is a strong one, and if there was any positive prospect of being thrashed, Jackson is the last man in the world to be caught in such a trap. Yet trap it seems to be, observed one, very emphatically; we are outnumbered three to one in front: reports have come in of troops on the move from Alexandria and Washington. Yes, but then our army is advancing from Thoroughfare Gap. Are they? not at all! the Federals are strongly posted
uriers and orderlies dashed furiously by; a general and his staff slowly trotted off in one direction, regiments and batteries passed on in another. All the horrible sights of a battle-field were frequent and hear-trending, while groans reached the ear from every barn and every house, and through the whole length and breadth of the woods. Preparations were still going on for a renewal of the conflict on the morrow, should the enemy force it; but in my inmost heart I hoped and prayed that Providence might postpone it, for our own men were thoroughly exhausted with long marches and hard fighting, and lay upon the ground in battle-line as helpless and quiet as children. The morning broke, and all was bustle and preparation, but the enemy moved not. Smoke from camp-fires slowly ascended in all directions, and their ambulances, like ours, were creeping over the scene in sad procession. Still we knew not at what moment the dark masses of the foe might again appear; it was cause for re