Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/221

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Detailed Minutiæ of Soldier Life.

of infantry, who had been on the skirmish line, joined the squad. He was armed with a revolver and had his sword by his side. Stopping behind the corner of a corn-crib he swore he would not go any further to the rear. The squad moved on and left him standing there, pistol in hand, waiting for the enemy, who were now jumping the fences and coming across the field, running at the top of their speed. What became of this singular man no one knows. He was, as he said, "determined to make a stand." A little further on the squad found a single piece of artillery, manned by a lieutenant and two or three men. They were selecting individuals in the enemy's skirmish line and firing at them with solid shot! Lieutenant McRae laughed at the ridiculous sight, remonstrated with the officer and offered his squad to serve the gun, if there was any canister in the limber chest. The offer was refused, and again the squad moved on. Passing a cowshed about this time, the squad halted to look with horror upon several dead and wounded Confederates who lay there upon the manure pile. They had suffered wounds and death upon this the last day of their country's struggle. Their wounds had received no attention and those living were famished and burning with fever.

Lieutenant McRae, noticing a number of wagons and guns parked in a field near by, surprised at what he considered great carelessness in the immediate presence of the enemy, approached an officer on horseback and said, in his usual impressive manner, "I say there! what does this mean?;" The man took his hand and quietly said: "We have surrendered." "I don't believe it, sir!" replied McRae, strutting around as mad as a hornet; "you mustn't talk so, sir! you will demoralize my men!" He was soon convinced, however, by seeing Yankee cavalrymen walking their horses around as composedly as though the Army of Northern Virginia had never existed. To say that McRae was surprised, disgusted, indignant and incredulous is a mild way of expressing his state of mind as he turned to his squad and said: "Well, boys, it must be so, but it's very strange behavior. Let's move on and see about it." As though dreaming, the squad and the disgusted officer moved on.

Learning that the army had gone into camp, the skirmishers went on in the direction of the village and found the battalion in the woods near the main road. Fires were burning and those who had been fortunate enough to find anything eatable were cooking. Federal troops were riding up and down the road and loafing about the camps trying to be familiar. They seemed to think that "How