Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 28.djvu/55
The Last Days of I^ee. >/</ //<* /'t<i<lins. 49
Dr. Feild had purchased of a Yankee soldier the night before, for a gold ring, and which, tied up in his old pocket handkerchief, had so.iked to an extent by the rain which made them edible, if not im- proved in flavor. We went out now to try to find our way to Gen- eral F . We soon came upon Dr. Smith, who told us that
after parting from us he had spent the night sitting up with his back to a tree. He was an old campaigner and had done that thing be- fore. He had found out, somehow, the route to our destination, and we put out through mud and rain. Coming to the Appomattox, which was an insignificant branch when we crossed it on the fatal Saturday afternoon before, we found it quite a swollen and angry stream. But there was neither bridge nor ferry, and so with others,
who I suppose also were looking for General F , we went in and
waded through without the formality of undressing. The water did not reach greatly above our knees, and we suffered no inconvenience from our morning bath.
On going about half a mile, I suppose, I came upon a group of Confederates breaking camp and about to commence the journey, no longer march now, home. As good fortune would have it, I knew them every one, and in company with every one, but one, I had commenced my military career four years before, lacking five days. There were General William Mahone, Captain S.imuel Stevens, Cap- tain Benjamin Harrison, Captain John Patterson, Major. J. A. John- ston, Major O. H. P. Corprew, Captain Stone and one or two orderlies, one especially, a young Kentuckian, who was a nephew of Captain Stone, had won the soubriquet of the ' ' bravest of the brave. ' ' His name was Blakemore.
Another one I did not mention in my last address (he was before me), and one man whose merit can be measured by his modesty. He had been a soldier in the Mexican war, before he was old enough, but had seen that service, and come home, and now left with us all of the 4th Virginia battalion, on the iQth of April, 1861, to do battle again for his country, though under a different flag. He was a quiet, diffident, fighting private of the 4th battalion, afterward of the I2th Virginia, Mahone's brigade, until he got an ugly wound at Sharps- burg, in the breast, of course, when he was made a quartermaster- sergeant. His name well, so much the worse for you if you do not know him.
As we approached the group, all of whom were mounted and ready to be off, General Mahone accosted me: " Well, where in the h have you been ? " " The last place I was in was a mud hole, ' '