The Army Negro. 367
that the invitation was accepted, and I accompanied them. Proven- der in abundance was found for our horses; we supped at full board, and retired that night on downy couches and dreamed of Elysian fields. In the morning we arose refreshed, dressed, and whetted our appetites for buckwheat cakes and butter, of which we had been partially advised. But how great was our chagrin and disappoint- ment when seated at the table our lady hostess informed us she was sorry she had no butter for our breakfast, as someone had robbed her spring-house during the past night and stolen all she had, adding very significantly that she did not mean to accuse us, but it was very strange it had never happened before.
Great was our indignation, and vengeance was determined on ior the offender, should we be able to ferret him out.
The meal was eaten without relish, and we speedily repaired to the barn, when each man was put on oath and the guilty party not found. We returned to camp wounded and deeply mortified, and the matter was frequently the subject of conversation on the march and around the camp fire, when Overton revealed the secret, that he had followed us to our snug quarters that night, and while we were sleeping, had robbed the spring-house. Even at that late day our anger was not appeased, and Overton was severely upbraided, not fDr violation of the Biblical law so much as for not using more circumspection and discrimination than to violate the laws of hospitality.
All of our colored contingent survived the war and returned after the surrender to their old homes. In the late fall of 1864, while the company was scouting and raiding in the lower valley, Phil was sent with the company wagon and extra horses to a quiet retreat east of Harrisonburg, near the Massanutton mountain, where he remained oblivious of our defeat, the cessation of hostilities and how it af- fected his fortunes, until some time in May, 1865, when I appeared at his quiet resting place and informed him he was now free and at liberty to go where he pleased.
In great solicitude he inquired if he could not live at his old home, and when assured he could, if he wished, a great burden seemed lifted from his heart, and he moved on cheerfully.
Shortly after we were under way, homeward-bound, he imparted the information that an old colored woman had told his fortune sev- eral days before, and she had seen him struggling in the waters.
I ridiculed the old woman's dream, but when Milford, in the Luray Valley, was reached, and my horsv. swam over a swollen branch of the Shenandoah river, Phil, in attempting to follow with wagon and