Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/219

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Detailed Minutiæ of Soldier Life.

At several places whole trains were standing in the road abandoned, artillery, chopped down and burning, blocked the way, and wagon-loads of ammunition were dumped out in the road and trampled under foot. There were abundant signs of disaster. So many muskets were dropped on the road that Cutshaw's unarmed squad armed itself with abandoned muskets, ammunition and equipments. There was a halt during the night in a piece of stunted woods. The land was low and sobby. In the road passing through the woods stood several batteries, chopped down and deserted. There was a little flour on hand, which had been picked up on the road. An oil-cloth was spread, the flour placed on it, water was found, and the dough mixed. Then some clean partition boards were knocked out of a limber chest, the dough was spread on them and held near the fire till partially cooked. Then, with what delight, it was devoured!

At daybreak Saturday the march was resumed and continued almost without interruption during the whole day—the men, those whose gums and teeth were not already too sore, crunching parched corn and raw bacon as they trudged along. Saturday night the battalion rested near Appomattox Courthouse in a pine woods. Sunday morning, April 9th, after a short march, the column entered the village of Appomattox Courthouse, marching by what seemed to be the main road. Several dead men, dressed in the uniform of United States regular artillery, were lying on the roadside, their faces turned up to the blaze of the sun. One had a ghastly wound in the breast, which must have been made by grape or canister.

On through the village without halting marched the column. "Whitworth" shots went hurtling through the air every few minutes, indicating very clearly that the enemy was ahead of the column and awaiting its arrival. On the outskirts of the village the line of battle was formed. Indeed, there seemed to be two lines—one slightly in advance of the other. Wagons passed along the line dropping boxes of cartridges, which the men were ordered to knock open and supply themselves with forty rounds each. They filled their breeches' pockets to the brim. The general officers galloped up and down the line, apparently hurrying everything as much as possible. The shots from a battery in advance were continually passing over the line, going in the direction of the village, but without harm to any one. The more experienced men predicted a severe struggle. It was supposed that this was to be an