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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/374

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366 Southern Historical Society Papers.

In 1862, when General Ashby and his men were camped just south of Newton, on the valley turnpike, we were surprised one morning by a part of Bank's cavalry driving our pickets rapidly into camp.

There was much consternation and confusion. "Boots and sad- dles" was speedily sounded, and each hurriedly prepared for the expected onset. Before our men had bridled and saddled, Uncle John was discovered driving out his team on the turnpike and head- ing towards Winchester. A portion of our men on barebacks, with no headgear on their horses but the halter, were ignominiously re- treating to the rear. The captain, discovering Uncle John heading towards the foe, hastily overtook him, and in language not overpo- lite and refined, inquired why he was going in that direction. Uncle John quickly replied: "I seed them soldiers, sah, charging up dat way, and spose de Yankees must be comin' down thar." Being apprised of the true situation he quickly wheeled about his mules and was soon at a safe distance from the enemy.

At the battle of Brandy Station, Tom and Overton, who had on the Banks retreat well supplied themselves with arms, joined in the company charges and succeeded in capturing a Yankee darky who had ventured too far in front of the Yankee column, and brought him safely into camp. They were highly delighted with their trophy, and retained him a prisoner for several months, compelling him to rub down their horses, bring water and wood and do other chores about camp. At night he was required to sleep with them, and threatened with instant death if he attempted to escape.

Sorrow was felt for the unfortunate prisoner, but his captors so much enjoyed his discomforture that we would not interfere with their pleasure. After several months' captivity, however, one night the poor wretch made a rush for liberty and safely escaped. Tom and Overton, not only good soldiers, but excellent foragers, also scoured the country adjacent to our camps and supplied their respec- tive messes with the best the neighborhood could afford.

The mode and manner of their acquisitions was not always strictly ethical, but as few inquiries were made of them, their consciences were as well satisfied as our stomachs. I remember on one occasion being invited by several of the Timberlakes to accompany them a short distance from camp to the home of one of tneir lady acquaint- ances, and I'll here remark, by way of parenthesis, that Company B never camped anywhere in Virginia where the Timberlakes failed to have a cousin or dear friend close by. It is needless to mention