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   Chapter 28 THE LONGEST WAY ROUND

The Long Roll By Mary Johnston Characters: 37143

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


Having, in a month and ten days, marched four hundred miles, fought four pitched battles and a whole rosary of skirmishes, made of naught the operations of four armies, threatened its enemy's capital and relieved its own, the Army of the Valley wound upward toward the Blue Ridge from the field of Port Republic. It had attended Shields some distance down the Luray road. "Drive them!-drive them!" had said Jackson. It had driven them then, turning on its steps it had passed again the battlefield. Frémont's army, darkening the heights upon the further side of that river of burned bridges, looked impotently on. Frémont shelled the meadow and the wheat fields over which ambulances and surgeons were yet moving, on which yet lay his own wounded, but his shells could not reach the marching foe. Brigade after brigade, van, main and rear, cavalry, infantry, artillery, quartermaster, commissary and ordnance trains, all disappeared in the climbing forest. A cold and chilling rain came on; night fell, and a drifting mist hid the Army of the Valley. The next morning Frémont withdrew down the Valley toward Strasburg. Shields tarried at Luray, and the order from Washington directing McDowell to make at once his long delayed junction with McClellan upon the Chickahominy was rescinded.

The rear guard of the Army of the Valley buried the dead of Port Republic in trenches, and then it, too, vanished. To the last wagon wheel, to the last poor straggler, all was gone. It was an idiosyncrasy of Jackson's to gather and take with him every filing. He travelled like a magnet; all that belonged to him went with him. Long after dark, high on the mountain-side, an aide appeared in the rain, facing the head of the rear brigade.

"The general says have you brought off every inch of the captured guns?"

"Tell him all but one unserviceable caisson. We did not have horses for that."

The aide galloped forward, reported, turned, and galloped back. "General Jackson says, sir, that if it takes every horse in your command, that caisson is to be brought up before daylight."

The other swore. "All those miles-dark and raining!-Lieutenant Parke!-Something told me I'd better do it in the first place!"

Brigade after brigade the Army of the Valley climbed the Blue Ridge. At first the rain had been welcome, so weary and heated were the men. But it never took long for the novelty of rain to wear off. Wet and silent the troops climbed through the darkness. They had won a victory; they were going to win others. Old Jack was as great a general as Napoleon, and two or three hours ago it had seemed possible to his soldiers that history might rank them with the Old Guard. But the rain was chill and the night mournfully dark. When had they eaten? They hardly remembered, and it was an effort to lift one leg after the other. Numbers of men were dropping with sleep. All shivered; all felt the reaction. Back on the plain by the river lay in trenches some hundreds of their comrades. In the rear toiled upwards ambulances filled with wounded. There were not ambulances enough; the wounded rode wherever there was room in any wagon. The less badly hurt sat or lay, dully suffering, on caissons. All as they toiled upward had visions of the field behind them. It had not been a great battlefield, as to extent and numbers engaged, but a horrible one. The height where the six guns had been, the gun which the Louisianians took-the old charcoal kiln where the guns had been planted, the ground around, the side of the ravine-these made an ugly sight between eyelid and ball! So many dead horses!-eighty of them in one place-one standing upright where he had reared and, dying, had been caught and propped by a blasted pine. So many dead men, grey and blue, lying as in pattern! And then the plain beneath, and the Stonewall's desperate fight, and the battle in the wheat! The Federal cannon had sheared the heads from the men. The soldiers, mounting through the darkness in the whistling wind and rain, saw again these headless bodies. One only, the body of a young soldier of the 2d Virginia, a brother of the colonel of the 65th, the army was carrying with it. The brother, wounded himself, had begged the body. At the first village where the army halted, he would get a coffin and lay the boy in a grave he could mark. His mother and sister could visit it then. Permission was given. It lay now in an ambulance, covered with a flag. Cleave lay upon the straw beside it, his arm flung across the breast. At its feet sat a dark and mournful figure, old Tullius with his chin propped on his knees.

The rain came down, fine as needles' points and cold. Somewhere far below a mountain stream was rushing, and in the darkness the wind was sighing. The road wound higher. The lead horses, drawing a gun, stepped too near the edge of the road. The wet earth gave way. The unfortunate brutes plunged, struggled, went down and over the embankment, dragging the wheel horses after them. Gun, carriage, and caisson followed. The echoes awoke dismally. The infantry, climbing above, looked down the far wooded slopes, but incuriously. The infantry was tired, cold, and famished; it was not interested in artillery accidents. Perhaps at times the Old Guard had felt thus, with a sick and cold depression, kibed spirits as well as heels, empty of enthusiasm as of food, resolution lost somewhere in the darkness, sonority gone even from "l'empereur" and "la France." Slowly, amid drizzling rain, brigade after brigade made Brown's Gap and bivouacked within the dripping forest.

Morning brought a change. The rain yet fell, but the army was recovering from the battlefield. It took not long, nowadays, to recover. The army was learning to let the past drop into the abyss and not to listen for the echoes. It seemed a long time that the country had been at war, and each day's events drove across and hid the event of the day before. Speculation as to the morrow remained, but even this hung loosely upon the Army of the Valley. Wonderment as to the next move partook less of deep anxiety than of the tantalization of guessing at a riddle with the answer always just eluding you. The army guessed and guessed-bothering with the riddle made its chief occupation while it rested for two days and nights, beside smoky camp-fires, in a cold June rain, in the cramped area of Brown's Gap; but so assured was it that Old Jack knew the proper answer, and would give it in his own good time, that the guessing had little fretfulness or edge of temper. By now, officers and men, the confidence was implicit. "Tell General Jackson that we will go wherever he wishes us to go, and do whatever he wishes us to do."

On the morning of the twelfth "at early dawn" the army found itself again in column. The rain had ceased, the clouds were gone, presently up rose the sun. The army turned its back upon the sun; the army went down the western side of the mountains, down again into the great Valley. The men who had guessed "Richmond" were crestfallen. They who had stoutly held that Old Jack had mounted to this eyrie merely the better again to swoop down upon Frémont, Shields, or Banks crowed triumphantly. "Knew it Tuesday, when the ambulances obliqued at the top and went on down toward Staunton! He sends his wounded in front, he never leaves them behind! Knew it wasn't Richmond!"

Brigade by brigade the army wound down the mountain, passed below Port Republic, and came into a lovely verdurous country, soft green grass and stately trees set well apart. Here it rested five days, and here the commanding general received letters from Lee.

"Your recent successes have been the cause of the liveliest joy in this army as well as in the country. The admiration excited by your skill and boldness has been constantly mingled with solicitude for your situation. The practicability of reinforcing you has been the subject of the gravest consideration. It has been determined to do so at the expense of weakening this army. Brigadier-General Lawton with six regiments from Georgia is on his way to you, and Brigadier-General Whiting with eight veteran regiments leaves here to-day. The object is to enable you to crush the forces opposed to you. Leave your enfeebled troops to watch the country and guard the passes covered by your artillery and cavalry, and with your main body, including Ewell's Division and Lawton's and Whiting's commands, move rapidly to Ashland, by rail or otherwise as you find most advantageous, and sweep down between the Chickahominy and the Pamunkey, cutting up the enemy's communications, etc., while this army attacks McClellan in front. He will then, I think, be forced to come out of his entrenchments where he is strongly posted on the Chickahominy, and apparently preparing to move by gradual approaches on Richmond."

And of a slightly earlier date.

"Should there be nothing requiring your attention in the Valley, so as to prevent your leaving it in a few days, and you can make arrangements to deceive the enemy and impress him with the idea of your presence, please let me know, that you may unite at the decisive moment with the army near Richmond."

It may be safely assumed that these directions could have been given to no man more scrupulously truthful in the least of his personal relations, and to no commander in war more gifted in all that pertains to "deceiving the enemy and impressing him with an idea of your presence." Infantry and artillery, the Army of the Valley rested at Mt. Meridian under noble trees. The cavalry moved to Harrisonburg. Munford had succeeded Ashby in command, and Munford came to take his orders from his general. He found him with the dictionary, the Bible, the Maxims, and a lemon.

"You will draw a cordon quite across, north of Harrisonburg. See, from here to here." He drew a map toward him and touched two points with a strong, brown finger.

"Very well, sir."

"You will arrest all travellers up and down the Valley. None is to pass, going north or going south."

"Very well, sir."

"I wish the cavalry outposts to have no communication with the infantry. If they know nothing of the latter's movements they cannot accidentally transmit information. You will give this order, and you will be held accountable for its non-obedience."

"Very well, sir."

"You will proceed to act with boldness masking caution. Press the outposts of the enemy and, if possible, drive him still further northward." He broke off and sucked the lemon.

"Very well, sir."

"Create in him the impression that you are strongly supported. Drive it into his mind that I am about to advance against him. General Lee is sending reinforcements from Richmond. I do not object to his knowing this, nor to his having an exaggerated idea of their number. You will regard these instructions as important."

"I will do my best, sir."

"Good, good! That is all, colonel."

Munford returned to Harrisonburg, drew his cordon across the Valley, and pushed his outposts twelve miles to the northward. Here they encountered a Federal flag of truce, an officer with several surgeons, and a demand from Frémont for the release of his wounded men. The outposts passed the embassy on to Munford's headquarters at Harrisonburg. That cavalryman stated that he would take pleasure in forwarding General Frémont's demand to General Jackson. "Far? Oh, no! it is not far." In the mean time it was hoped that the Federal officers would find such and such a room comfortable lodging. They found it so, discovered, too, that it was next to Munford's own quarters, and that the wall between was thin-nothing more, indeed, than a slight partition. An hour or two later the Federal officers, sitting quietly, heard the Confederate cavalryman enter, ask for writing materials, demand of an aide if the courier had yet returned from General Jackson, place himself at a table and fall to writing. One of the blue soldiers tiptoed to the wall, found a chair conveniently placed and sat down with his ear to the boards. For five minutes, scratch, scratch! went Munford's pen. At the expiration of this time there was heard in the hall without a jingling of spurs and a clanking of a sabre. The scratching ceased; the pen was evidently suspended. "Come in!" The listeners in the next room heard more jingling, a heavy entrance, Munford's voice again.

"Very good, Gilmer. What did the general say?"

"He says, sir, that General Frémont is to be told that our surgeons will continue to attend their wounded. As we are not monsters they will be as carefully attended to as are our own. The only lack in the matter will be medicines and an?sthetics."

"Very good, Gilmer, I will so report to the officer in charge of the flag of truce.-Well, what is it, man? You look as though you were bursting with news!"

"I am, sir! Whiting, and Hood, and Lawton, and the Lord knows who besides, are coming over the Rockfish Gap! I saw them with my own eyes on the Staunton road. About fifteen thousand, I reckon, of Lee's best. Gorgeous batteries-gorgeous troops-Hood's Texans-thousands of Georgians-all of them playing 'Dixie,' and hurrahing, and asking everybody they see to point out Jackson!-No, sir, I'm not dreaming! I know we thought that they couldn't get here for several days yet-but here they are! Good Lord! I wouldn't, for a pretty, miss the hunting down the Valley!"

The blue soldiers heard Munford and the courier go out. An hour later they were conducted to the colonel's presence. "I am sorry, major, but General Jackson declines acceding to General Frémont's request. He says-"

The party with the flag of truce went back to Frémont. They went like Lieutenant Gilmer, "bursting with news." The next day Munford pushed his advance to New Market. Frémont promptly broke up his camp, retired to Strasburg, and began to throw up fortifications. His spies brought bewilderingly conflicting reports. A deserter, who a little later deserted back again, confided to him that Stonewall Jackson was simply another Cromwell; that he was making his soldiers into Ironsides: that they were Presbyterian to a man, and believed that God Almighty had planned this campaign and sent Jackson to execute it; that he-the deserter-being of cavalier descent, couldn't stand it and "got out." There was an affair of outposts, in which several prisoners were taken. These acknowledged that a very large force of cavalry occupied Harrisonburg, and that Jackson was close behind, having rebuilt the bridge at Fort Republic across the Shenandoah, and advanced by the Keezletown road. An old negro shambled one morning into the lines. "Yaas, sah, dat's de truf! I ain' moughty unlike ol' Brer Eel. I cert'ny slipped t'roo dat 'cordion Gineral Jackson am er stretchin'! How many on de oder side, sah? 'Bout er half er million." Frémont telegraphed and wrote to Washington. "The condition of affairs here imperatively requires that some position be immediately made strong enough to be maintained. Reinforcements should be sent here without an hour's delay. Whether from Richmond or elsewhere, forces of the enemy are certainly coming into this region. Casualties have reduced my force. The small corps scattered about the country are exposed to sudden attack by greatly superior force of an enemy to whom intimate knowledge of country and universal friendship of inhabitants give the advantage of rapidity and secrecy of movements. I respectfully submit this representation to the President, taking it for granted that it is the duty of his generals to offer for his consideration such impressions as are made by knowledge gained in operations on the ground."

South of the impenetrable grey curtain stretched across the Valley began a curious series of moves. A number of Federal prisoners on their way from Port Republic to Richmond, saw pass them three veteran brigades. The guards were good-naturedly communicative. "Who are those? Those are Whiting and Hood and Lawton on their way to reinforce Stonewall. If we didn't have to leave this railroad you might see Longstreet's Division-it's just behind. How can Lee spare it?-Oh, Beauregard's up from the South to take its place!" The prisoners arrived in Richmond. To their surprise and gratification the officers found themselves paroled, and that at once. They had a glimpse of an imposing review; they passed, under escort, lines of entrenchments, batteries, and troops; their passage northward to McDowell's lines at Fredericksburg was facilitated. In a remarkably short space of time they were in Washington, insisting that Longstreet had gone to the Valley, and that Beauregard was up from the South-they had an impression that in that glimpse of a big review they had seen him! Certainly they had seen somebody who looked as though his name ought to be Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard!

In the mean time Hood, Lawton, and Whiting actually arrived in the Valley. They came into Staunton, in good order, veteran troops, ready to march against Shields or Frémont or Banks or Sigel, to keep the Valley or to proceed against Washington, quite as Stonewall Jackson should desire! Seven thousand troops, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, and Virginia, lean, bronzed, growing ragged, tall men, with eyes set well apart, good marchers, good fighters, good lovers, and good haters.-There suddenly appeared before them on the pike at Staunton Stonewall Jackson, ridden through the night from Mt. Meridian.

The three brigades paraded. Jackson rode up and down the line. His fame had mounted high. To do with a few men and at a little cost what, by all the rules of war, should have involved strong armies and much bloodshed-that took a generalship for which the world was beginning to give him credit. With Cross Keys and Port Republic began that sustained enthusiasm which accompanied him to the end. Now, on the march and on the battlefield, when he passed his men cheered him wildly, and throughout the South the eyes of men and women kindled at his name. At Staunton the reinforcing troops, the greater number of whom saw him for the first time, shouted for him and woke the echoes. Grave and unsmiling, he lifted the forage cap, touched Little Sorrel with the spur and went on by. It is not to be doubted that he was ambitious, and it lies not in ambitious man, no, nor in man of any type, to feel no joy in such a cry of recognition! If he felt it, however, he did not evince it. He only jerked his hand into the air and went by.

Two hours later he rode back to Mt. Meridian. T

he three brigades under orders to follow, stayed only to cook a day's rations and to repack their wagons. Their certainty was absolute. "We will join the Army of the Valley wherever it may be. Then we will march against Shields or Frémont, or maybe against Banks or Sigel."

Breaking camp in the afternoon, they moved down the pike, through a country marvellous to the Georgians and Texans. Sunset came, and still they marched; dark, and still they marched; midnight, and, extremely weary, they halted in a region of hills running up to the stars. Reveille sounded startlingly soon. The troops had breakfast while the stars were fading, and found themselves in column on the pike under the first pink streakings of the dawn. They looked around for the Army of the Valley. A little to the northeast showed a few light curls of smoke, such as might be made by picket fires. They fancied, too, that they heard, from behind the screen of hills, faint bugle-calls, bugle answering bugle, like the cocks at morn. If it were so, they were thin and far away, "horns of elfland." Evidently the three brigades must restrain their impatience for an hour or two.

In the upshot it proved that they were not yet to fraternize with the Army of the Valley. When presently, they marched, it was up the Valley, back along the pike toward Staunton. The three brigadiers conferred together. Whiting, the senior, a veteran soldier, staunch and determined, was angry. "Reasonable men should not be treated so! 'You will start at four, General Whiting, and march until midnight, when you will bivouac. At early dawn a courier will bring you further instructions.' Very good! We march and bivouac, and here's the courier. 'The brigades of Whiting, Hood, and Lawton will return to Staunton. There they will receive further instructions.'" Whiting swore. "We are getting a taste of his quality with a vengeance! Very well! very well! It's all right-if he wins through I'll applaud, too-but, by God! he oughtn't to treat reasonable men so!-Column Forward!"

Under the stately trees at Mt. Meridian, in the golden June weather, the Army of the Valley settled to its satisfaction that it was about to invade Maryland. Quite an unusual number of straws showed which way the wind was blowing. Northern news arrived by grapevine, and Northern papers told the army that was what it was going to do,-"invade Maryland and move on Washington-sixty thousand bloody-minded rebels!"-"Look here, boys, look here. Multiplication by division! The Yanks have split each of us into four!" Richmond papers, received by way of Staunton, divulged the fact that troops had been sent to the Valley, and opined that the other side of Mason and Dixon needed all the men at home. The engineers received an order to prepare a new and elaborate series of maps of the Valley. They were not told to say nothing about it, so presently the army knew that Old Jack was having every rabbit track and rail fence put down on paper. "Poor old Valley! won't she have a scouring!"

The sole question was, when would the operations begin. The "foot cavalry" grew tired of verdant meads, June flowers, and warbling birds. True, there were clear streams and Mr. Commissary Banks's soap, and the clothes got gloriously washed! Uniforms, too, got cleaned and patched. "Going calling. Must make a show!" and shoes were cobbled. (Cartridge boxes surreptitiously cut to pieces for this.) Morning drills occurred of course, and camp duties and divine services; but for all these diversions the army wearied of Mt. Meridian, and wanted to march. Twenty miles a day-twenty-five-even thirty if Old Jack put a point on it! The foot cavalry drew the line at thirty-five. It had tried this once, and once was enough! In small clasped diaries, the front leaves given over to a calendar, a table of weights and measures, a few 1850 census returns, and the list of presidents of the United States, stopping at James Buchanan, the army recorded that nothing of interest happened at Mt. Meridian and that the boys were tired of loafing.

"How long were they going to stay?" The men pestered the company officers, the company asked the regimental, field asked staff, staff shook its head and had no idea, a brigadier put the question to Major-General Ewell and Old Dick made a statement which reached the drummer boys that evening. "We are resting here for just a few days until all the reinforcements are in, and then we will proceed to beat up Banks's quarters again about Strasburg and Winchester."

On the morning of the seventeenth there was read a general order. "Camp to be more strictly policed. Regimental and brigade drill ordered. Bridge to be constructed across the Shenandoah. Chapel to be erected. Day of fasting and prayer for the success of our arms on the Mississippi."-"Why, we are going to stay here forever!" The regimental commanders, walking away from drill, each found himself summoned to the presence of his brigadier. "Good-morning, colonel! Just received this order. 'Cook two days' rations and pack your wagons. Do it quietly.'"

By evening the troops were in motion, Ewell's leading brigade standing under arms upon a country road, the red sunset thrown back from every musket barrel. The brigadier approached Old Dick where he sat Rifle beneath a locust tree. "Might I be told in which direction, sir-"

Ewell looked at him with his bright round eyes, bobbed his head and swore. "By God! General Taylor! I do not know whether we are to march north, south, east, or west, or to march at all!" There was shouting down the line. "Either Old Jack or a rabbit!" Five minutes, and Jackson came by. "You will march south, General Ewell."

The three brigades of Whiting, Hood, and Lawton, having, like the King of France, though not with thirty thousand men, marched up the hill and down again, found at Staunton lines of beautifully shabby Virginia Central cars, the faithful, rickety engines, the faithful, overworked, thin-faced railroad men, and a sealed order from General Jackson. "Take the cars and go to Gordonsville. Go at once." The reinforcements from Lee left the Valley of Virginia without having laid eyes upon the army they were supposed to strengthen. They had heard its bugles over the hilltops-that was all.

The Army of the Valley marched south, and at Waynesboro struck the road through Rockfish Gap. Moving east through magnificent scenery, it passed the wall of the Blue Ridge and left for a time the Valley of Virginia. Cavalry went before the main body, cavalry guarded the rear, far out on the northern flank rode Munford's troopers. At night picket duty proved heavy. In the morning, before the bivouacs were left, the troops were ordered to have no conversation with chance-met people upon the road. "If anybody asks you questions, you are to answer, I don't know." The troops went on through lovely country, through the June weather, and they did not know whither they were going. "Wandering in the wilderness!" said the men. "Good Lord! they wandered in the wilderness for forty years!" "Oh, that was Moses! Old Jack'll double-quick us through on half-rations in three days!"

The morning of the nineteenth found the army bivouacked near Charlottesville. An impression prevailed-Heaven knows how or why-that Banks had also crossed the Blue Ridge, and that the army was about to move to meet him in Madison County. In reality, it moved to Gordonsville. Here it found Whiting, Hood, and Lawton come in by train from Staunton. Now they fraternized, and now the army numbered twenty-two thousand men. At Gordonsville some hours were spent in wondering. One of the chaplains was, however, content. The Presbyterian pastor of the place told him in deep confidence that he had gathered at headquarters that at early dawn the army would move toward Orange Court House and Culpeper, thence on to Washington. The army moved at early dawn, but it was toward Louisa Court House.

Cavalry, artillery, and wagon trains proceeded by the red and heavy roads, but from Gordonsville on the Virginia Central helped the infantry as best it might. The cars were few and the engine almost as overworked as the train men, but the road did its best. The trains moved back and forth, took up in succession the rear brigade and forwarded them on the march. The men enjoyed these lifts. They scrambled aboard, hung out of the window, from the platform and from roof, encouraged the engine, offered to push the train, and made slighting remarks on the tameness of the scenery. "Not like God's country, back over the mountains!" They yelled encouragement to the toiling column on the red roads. "Step spryer! Your turn next!"

Being largely Valley of Virginia Virginians, Louisianians, Georgians, Texans, and North Carolinians, the army had acquaintance slight or none with the country through which it was passing. Gordonsville left behind, unfamiliarity began. "What's this county? What's that place over there? What's that river? Can't be the Potomac, can it? Naw, 't aint wide enough!"-"Gentlemen, I think it is the Rappahannock."-"Go away! it is the headwaters of the York."-"Rapidan maybe, or Rivanna."-"Probably Pamunkey, or the Piankatank,

Where the bullfrogs jump from bank to bank."

"Why not say the James?"-"Because it isn't. We know the James."-"Maybe it's the Chickahominy! I'm sure we've marched far enough! Think I hear McClellan's cannon, anyhow!"-"Say, captain, is that the river Dan?"-"Forbidden to give names!"-"Good Lord! I'd like to see-no, I wouldn't like to see Old Jack in the Inquisition!"-"I was down here once and I think it is the South Anna."-"It couldn't be-it couldn't be Acquia Creek, boys?"-"Acquia Creek! Absurd! You aren't even warm!"-"It might be the North Anna."-"Gentlemen, cease this idle discussion. It is the Tiber!"

On a sunny morning, somewhere in this terra incognita, one of Hood's Texans chanced, during a halt, to stray into a by-road where an ox-heart cherry tree rose lusciously, above a stake and rider fence. The Texan looked, set his musket against the rails, and proceeded to mount to a green and leafy world where the cherries bobbed against his nose. A voice came to him from below. "What are you doing up there, sir?"

The Texan settled himself astride a bough. "I don't really know."

"Don't know! To what command do you belong?"

"I don't know."

"You don't know! What is your State?"

"Really and truly, I don't-O Lord!" The Texan scrambled down, saluted most shamefacedly. The horseman looked hard and grim enough. "Well, sir, what is the meaning of this? And can you give me any reason why you should not mount guard for a month?"

Tears were in the Texan's eyes. "General, general! I didn't know 't was you! Give you my word, sir, I thought it was just anybody! We've had orders every morning to say, 'I don't know'-and it's gotten to be a joke-and I was just fooling. Of course, sir, I don't mean that it has gotten to be a joke-only that we all say 'I don't know' when we ask each other questions, and I hope, sir, that you'll understand that I didn't know that 't was you-"

"I understand," said Jackson. "You might get me a handful of cherries."

On the twenty-first the leading brigades reached Fredericksburg. "To-morrow is Sunday," said the men. "That ought to mean a battle!" While wood and water were being gotten that evening, a rumour went like a zephyr from company to company: "We'll wait here until every regiment is up. Then we'll move north to Fredericksburg and meet McDowell."

The morrow came, a warm, bright Sunday. The last brigade got up, the artillery arrived, the head of the ammunition train appeared down the road. There were divine services, but no battle. The men rested, guessing Fredericksburg and McDowell, guessing Richmond and McClellan, guessing return to the Valley and Shields, Frémont, Banks, and Sigel. They knew now that they were within fifty miles of Richmond; but if they were going there anyhow, why-why-why in the name of common sense had General Lee sent Whiting, Hood, and Lawton to the Valley? Was it reasonable to suppose that he had marched them a hundred and twenty miles just to march them back a hundred and twenty miles? The men agreed that it wasn't common sense. Still, a number had Richmond firmly fixed in their minds. Others conceived it not impossible that the Army of the Valley might be on its way to Tennessee to take Memphis, or even to Vicksburg, to sweep the foe from Mississippi. The men lounged beneath the trees, or watched the weary Virginia Central bringing in the fag end of things. Fredericksburg was now the road's terminus; beyond, the line had been destroyed by a cavalry raid of McClellan's.

Stonewall Jackson made his headquarters in a quiet home, shaded with trees and with flowers in the yard. Sunday evening the lady of the house sent a servant to the room where he sat with his chief of staff. "Ole Miss, she say, gineral, dat she hope fer de honour ob yo' brekfastin' wif her-"

The general rolled a map and tied it with a bit of pink tape. "Tell Mrs. Harris, with my compliments, that if I am here at breakfast time I shall be most happy to take it with her."

"Thank you, sah. An' what hour she say, gineral, will suit you bes'?"

"Tell her, with my compliments, that I trust she will breakfast at the usual hour."

Morning came and breakfast time. "Ole Miss" sent to notify the general. The servant found the room empty and the bed unslept in-only the dictionary and Napoleon's Maxims (the Bible was gone) on the table to testify to its late occupancy. Jim, the general's body servant, emerged from an inner room. "Gineral Jackson? Fo' de Lawd, niggah! yo' ain't looking ter fin' de gineral heah at dis heah hour? He done clar out 'roun' er bout midnight. Reckon by now he's whipping de Yankees in de Valley!"

In the dark night, several miles from Frederickshall, two riders, one leading, one following, came upon a picket. "Halt!" There sounded the click of a musket. The two halted.

"Jest two of you? Advance, number one, and give the countersign!"

"I am an officer bearing dispatches-"

"That air not the point! Give the countersign!"

"I have a pass from General Whiting-"

"This air a Stonewall picket. Ef you've got the word, give it, and ef you haven't got it my hand air getting mighty wobbly on this gun!"

"I am upon an important mission from General Jackson-"

"It air not any more important than my orders air! You get down from that thar horse and mark time!"

"That is not necessary. Call your officer of guard."

"Thank you for the sug-ges-tion," said Billy politely. "And don't you move while I carry it out!" He put his fingers to his lips and whistled shrilly. A sergeant and two men came tumbling out of the darkness. "What is it, Maydew?"

"It air a man trying to get by without the countersign."

The first horseman moved a little to one side. "Come here, sergeant! Have you got a light? Wait, I will strike a match."

He struck it, and it flared up, making for an instant a space of light. Both the sergeant and Billy saw his face. The sergeant's hand went up to his cap with an involuntary jerk; he fell back from the rein he had been holding. Billy almost dropped his musket. He gasped weakly, then grew burning red. Jackson threw down the match. "Good! good! I see that I can trust my pickets. What is the young man named?"

"Billy Maydew, sir. Company A, 65th Virginia."

"Good! good! Obedience to orders is a soldier's first, last, and best lesson! He will do well." He gathered up the reins. "There are four men here. You will all forget that you have seen me, sergeant."

"Yes, sir."

"Good! Good-night."

He was gone, followed by the courier. Billy drew an almost sobbing breath. "I gave him such a damned lot of impudence! He was hiding his voice, and not riding Little Sorrel, or I would have known him."

The sergeant comforted him. "Just so you were obeying orders and watching and handling your gun all right, he didn't care! I gather you didn't use any cuss words. He seemed kind of satisfied with you."

The night was dark, Louisa County roads none of the best. As the cocks were crowing, a worthy farmer, living near the road, was awakened by the sound of horses. "Wonder who's that?-Tired horses-one of them's gone lame. They're stopping here."

He slipped out of bed and went to the window. Just light enough to see by. "Who's there?"

"Two Confederate officers on important business. Our horses are tired. Have you two good fresh ones?"

"If I've got them, I don't lend them to every straggler claiming to be a Confederate officer on important business! You'd better go further. Good-night!"

"I have an order from General Whiting authorizing me to impress horses."

The farmer came out of the house, into the chill dawn. One of the two strangers took the stable key and went off to the building looming in the background. The other sat stark and stiff in the grey light. The first returned. "Two in very good condition, sir. If you'll dismount I'll change saddles and leave our two in the stalls."

The officer addressed took his large feet out of the stirrups, tucked his sabre under his arm, and stiffly dismounted. Waiting for the fresh horses, he looked at the angry farmer. "It is for the good of the State, sir. Moreover, we leave you ours in their places."

"I am as good a Virginian as any, sir, with plenty of my folks in the army! And one horse ain't as good as another-not when one of yours is your daughter's and you've ridden the other to the Court House and to church for twelve years-"

"That is so true, sir," answered the officer, "that I shall take pleasure in seeing that, when this need is past, your horses are returned to you. I promise you that you shall have them back in a very few days. What church do you attend?"

The second soldier returned with the horses. The first mounted stiffly, pulled a forage cap over his eyes, and gathered up the reins. The light had now really strengthened. All things were less like shadows. The Louisa County man saw his visitor somewhat plainly, and it came into his mind that he had seen him before, though where or when-He was all wrapped up in a cloak, with a cap over his eyes. The two hurried away, down the Richmond road, and the despoiled farmer began to think: "Where'd I see him-Richmond? No, 't wasn't Richmond. After Manassas, when I went to look for Hugh? Rappahannock? No, 't wasn't there. Lexington? Good God! That was Stonewall Jackson!"

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