Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 35.djvu/357
n Harpers Ferry. 343
pike, where the railroad crosses." "Who are they, and how many?" He said it was a cavalry picket at the railroad crossing, and their reserved forces were some distance in the rear of the picket in a stone house on the right-hand side of the pike. All this I found to be true afterwards. The position of things looked a little ugly, so I thought the best thing I could do was to send the man back to General Jackson, so I told the soldier who had charge of him to arouse the first troop he found and tell the officers commanding that there was nothing between him and the enemy except a small company of cavalrymen, only about thirty men. Then to go to Jackson's headquarters, wherever they were, and turn the man over to him and ask for instructions for me.
It was now 'getting towards daylight, and the man before I sent him off a prisoner to Jackson, asked me to wait a few min- utes, and he would show me the Yankee picket. I then sent the main body of my men back through the village. I and one man remained with the prisoner to watch the Yankee pickets as it became day.
ENEMY'S PICKET AND A CAPTIVE.
We had not long to wait, for very soon we saw a cavalryman in blue mounted, watching intently in our direction. I then immediately dispatched him with his guard to the rear or to wherever General Jackson was, I and one man remaining at the far end of the village next to the Federal picket. I watched him closely to see if he communicated with his reserves, as I was uneasy about the status of our forces. I made no demon- stration as long as the Yankee made none. While we watched each other a man came out of the woods to our left approaching us; we divided our attention with him. He continued to come on. I rode towards him, and took him in. He claimed he was a deserter from the Yankees. He did not seem to know much, but I sent him back to General Jackson also. All this occupied some time, and it was now sunrise, and the man I sent with the first prisoner (Mr. John T. Smith, of Lvnchburg), returned with orders from General Jackson for the officer in charge of the picket to report to him at once.