Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 21.djvu/353
Tin- Lst Confederate /U,,,,,/ Shed.
the news arrived that Stoneman and his cavalry would pass through Floyd county on his way to Washington, wiser and older heads tried to prevail on the young enthusiasts to abandon their plan of revenue, but with apparently little or no effect.
On May i8th, Stoneman, with 6,000 cavalry, 10,000 infantry, and twenty-three guns, started on a hundred-mile march over the moun- tains to the Virginia and Tennessee railroad, at Christiansburg. to embark for Washington.
Mounted couriers of Floyd county's little army were immediately dispatched from different sections to inform the recruits in outlaying districts of the movements of Stoneman's army, and to notify them to gather at Floyd Courthouse under arms. It was the intention of the foremost in the scheme to secrete the men in different parts of the town and neighborhood, and at the appearance of the army to fire on them from their places of concealment, and thus harass the Northerners for a distance of ten miles on each side of the town. Early in the morning of May 22d, 200 ex-Confederate soldiers and recruits had arrived at the town. As the day advanced and no new arrivals were reported, they became disheartened and desertions were numerous. Another hour passed, and the advance guard of Stone- man's army was reported within ten miles of Floyd Courthouse. By the time the information was received, about one hundred men all that remained of the bold little band were concealed along the highway. But as soon as the Federal column hove in sight the self- appointed protectors of Floyd county deserted except the three men whose graves I have described. Nerved by drink and a sense of injury, they boldly entered the town, and with oaths boasted that they would exterminate the whole of Stoneman's army.
In another hour the head of the army appeared at the outskirts of the village. By this time the three men were crazed by liquor, and in marching order, with Bordunix in the lead, acting as commander, boldly advanced to meet the great army ot Stoneman with as little fear as did David to battle with the mighty hosts of the Philistines. When within a stone throw of the front of the column they entered a field thickly grown with bushes. The march of the three men was watched with interest by the inhabitants of the town, who had turned out in full force to see the army pass. They had no idea that the boasts of the men were more than idle threats. After entering the field Bordunix halted his followers, and greatly to the amusement