Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/187

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Lieutenant-General A. P. Hill. 181


At Sharpsburg he arrived late in the engagement because of a forced march from Harper's Ferry, crossing at Boteler's ford, near Shepherdstown. While hurrying to take position on the line he encountered a second lieutenant of some command crouching behind a tree. His indignation was so wrought up that he took the lieu- tenant's sword and broke it over him.


On the withdrawal of the Confederates to the Virginia side it de- volved upon General Hill to cover the retreat. How well he did so, and with what terrible loss to the troops who attempted to cross in pursuit, is no part of the object of this writing, but is a thrilling page in the history of that notable campaign. From there we moved out to Bunker's Hill, on the Valley turnpike between Winchester and Martinsburg, and from there to a point near Castleman's Ferry, which is on the road to Snicker's Gap in the Blue Ridge mountains, not far from Loudoun Heights. Here a good long rest was enjoyed, and we all did well on an issue of rations that I have never seen equaled in variety. For over thirty days my abstracts were com- plete in three columns to wit : " Flour, fresh beef, salt." Once on one of the marches to this place another teamster fell into trouble by the absence of three stars.


The wagon train was crossing a stream, and a teamster was bela- boring his mules with all his might to keep them from drinking. The General's horse was drinking near by, and General Hill told the teamster to stop beating the mules so unmercifully. The mule- driver invited him to attend to his own business, as he himself pro- posed to do as he pleased with his team. His surprise was as great as McClellan's or Pope's at Jackson's rear movements, when he felt the sharp raps of General Hill's rapier on his back, applied with the vigor of an experienced hand. He, too, begged the General's pardon.

I would not be understood as intimating that these things occurred by design of the General, or that he purposely moyed around incognito. By no means. It was his consideration of comfort that led him to leave off his coat. Nothing else.