Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/300

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


296 Southern Historical Society Papers.

to order up Company A at once. The blue-coats quickly

grounded their arms, and surrendered to these six men. The or- derly sergeant also gave up his book, and on examining it, it was found out that some of these men were deserters from the Confeder- ate army, the roll-book showing the name of the company and regiment to which they belonged, the date of their desertion, and of their enlistment in the Federal service.

Now the Confederates had pillaged the block fort and secured blue coats and tall hats worn by the Federals, and they had the ap- pearace of being Yankees, for there was no difference in the uniform they had on and that worn by their prisoners. They were tramping down the road toward the camp, while General Corse and staff were riding toward the fort. The two parties soon came into full view of each other, and the General remarked: "We are in for it now." He believed that he had ridden right into the hands of the enemy, and there was nothing to do but surrender.

The Confederate guard seemed to note the disturbed condition of the General, for they assured him they were friends.

" Who are you ? " he asked.

"We are Southerners, General, with prisoners."

" What are you doing with that blue uniform on ? " he asked.

" We captured it at the fort," they answered.

" Get to the camp," said the General, "and as soon as you reach there take it off."

The General and staff turned and went back with the guard and their prisoners, which reassured the Confederates, for they trembled lest the prisoners should suddenly turn on them, wrest their guns from their hands, make the guards prisoners, and then make their way to New Berne through the woods.

The next day found the infantry and artillery on their return march, arriving safely at Kinston, where a stop was made for some time, as a serious business demanded the attention of the general officer, General Pickett having assumed command.

HEAVY EXECUTION.

A week or two after the army's arrival at Kinston, a court-martial was convened to try the deserters, and the verdict was they should be hung. The jail was near the Neuse river, and back of it lay a flat country. On this plateau was erected a large scaffold of rude material, and around it was built a platform with triggers, with ropes attached. The fatal day arrived, the military was marched to the