Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/185

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made by the explosion, fifty-four negroes and seventy-eight Yankees, exclusive of those buried in the trenches.

That night after the work was done we slept in the fort over those who slept "the sleep that knows no waking" and with those who slept that sleep caused by exhaustion. The morning came as clear and the day as hot and dry as the preceding one. The sharpshooters were exceeding alert, firing every moment, each side momentarily expecting active hostilities to be renewed. While the wounded in the fort and our trenches had been removed during the night and were being cared for, the ground between the main lines of the two armies was literally covered by wounded and dead Federals, who fell in advancing and retreating. We could hear them crying for relief, but the firing was so severe that none dared to go to them either by day or night.


About noon or a little later there went up a flag of truce immediately in our front. The flag was a white piece of cloth about a yard square on a new staff. General Saunders ordered the sharpshooters to cease firing. Then a Yankee soldier, with a clean white shirt and blue pants jumped on top of their works, holding the flag, and was promptly followed by two elegantly uniformed officers. General Saunders asked those of us near him if we had a white handkerchief. All replied: "No." A private soldier near by said to the men around him: "Boys, some of you take off your shirt and hand it to the general," to which another replied: "Never do that; they will think we have hoisted the black flag."

The general finally got a handkerchief, which answered the purpose, though not altogether suitable for a drawing room. He and Capt. George Clark, assistant adjutant general, tied it to the ramrod of a musket, and Captain Clark, with one man carrying the improvised flag, went forward to meet the Yankee flag.( I have frequently thought that the "get up" of these flags of truce graphically illustrated the condition of the two armies). They met half way, about forty yards from each line. After a few minutes' interview, the Yankee officer handed to Captain Clark a paper. They then withdrew to their respective