Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/227

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A Refugee's Story.

his teeth chattering, and pale with fright, as he cried: "Marsa, de Yankees done got us."

I sprang to my feet, and at the same instant a heavy hand was laid on my shoulder and a pistol thrust into my face, while the terrible words, "You are my prisoner," fell on my ear like a death sentence.

We were literally surrounded by the Yankees. Guards were immediately put over us and the premises.

I was allowed to go into the house at night, but I tell you I did not sleep much. If one of those guards had left the back door of that house I would have taken French leave in a hurry. Before they went into camp for the night one burly officer came up and took my gold watch from my pocket, turned it over and over, opened the lids, and examined the works, and then, very unexpectedly, put it back. He turned up the cape of my heavy army overcoat, commented on the quality very emphatically, looked at my new cavalry boots, asked the number of them, and chuckling to himself, finished his inspection. I knew very well that in the morning I would be stripped of my outfit and given some filthy old rags, so I determined to get away from them, for besides my watch and clothes I had several hundred dollars in a belt around my waist.

At daybreak we were called up. My boys cooked the breakfast, but were watched too closely to exchange a word with me. Having finished the meal the order was given to bring around the horses, and the guard was called from the house. Now was my chance. Requesting permission to get my blanket and saddle-bags from the house, I entered just as the guard was disappearing from the rear. Snatching my baggage, I made a bee line through the back door, across the yard, and escaping notice in the confusion of the moment, I managed to get the stable between me and the troop, and succeeded in getting to a thicket of scrub pine, where, dropping behind a dead log, I lay in the snow until nearly 3 o'clock in the evening. Feeling sure the coast was clear, I crawled out and worked my way up the mountain and found a sheltered place where the snow was so thin I could kick it off with my boots. Here I tramped all night to keep from freezing. I was almost famished, and when day dawned tried to make my way to a cabin near the