Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/208

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

enemy and burning, and the chances were that not one house would be left standing. Here it became clearly understood that the whole army was in full retreat. From this point the men began to say, as they marched, that it was easier to march away than it would be to get back, but that they expected and hoped to fight their way back if they had to contest every inch. Some even regretted the celerity of the march, for, they said, "the further we march the more difficult it will be to win our way back." Little did they know of the immense pressure at the rear and the earnest push of the enemy on the flank as he strove to reach and overlap the advance of his hitherto defiant but now retreating foe.

A detail had been left at Fort Clifton with orders to spike the guns, blow up the magazine, destroy everything which could be of value to the enemy, and rejoin the command. The order was obeyed, and every man of the detail resumed his place in the ranks.

From this point to Appomattox, the march was almost continuous, day and night, and it is with the greatest difficulty that a private in the ranks can recall with accuracy the dates and places on the march. Night was day,—day was night. There was no stated time to sleep, eat or rest, and the events of morning became strangely intermingled with the events of evening. Breakfast, dinner and supper were merged into "something to eat" whenever and wherever it could be had. The incidents of the march, however, lose none of their significance on this account, and, so far as possible, they will be given in the order in which they occurred and the day and hour fixed as accurately as they can be by those who witnessed and participated in its dangers and hardships.

Monday the 3d the column was pushed along without ceremony at a rapid pace until night, when a halt was ordered and the battalion laid down in a piece of pine woods to rest. There was some "desultory" eating in this camp, but so little of it that there was no lasting effect. At early dawn of Tuesday the 4th, the men struggled to their feet, and with empty stomachs and brave hearts resumed their places in the ranks, and struggled on with the column as it marched steadily in the direction of Moore's church, in Amelia county, where it arrived in the night. The men laid down under the shelter of a fine grove, and friend divided with friend the little supplies of raw bacon and bread picked up on the day's march. The men were scarcely stretched on the ground and ready for a good nap, when the orderly of the Howitzers commenced