Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/226

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Southern Historical Society Papers.


How a Rebel Gave the Yankees the Slip.

The following story was related by the chief actor long after the war was over, in almost these words:

It was on a cold, gray morning that we started on that trip. I was exempt from service on account of age, but the Yankees were pouring into Tennessee and making raids into Virginia, sweeping the whole country as they went, carrying off horses, destroying grain and cattle, and killing the planters on the slightest provocation. I had eleven fine horses, and knowing my life as well as property was in jeopardy, I determined to attempt to get them to a place of safety if possible. We went through byways and woodlands as much as we could, thereby meeting few persons, and these, like ourselves, fleeing from the Yankees and carrying with them their most valuable effects.

The same eager question was the first asked by all: "Where are the Yankees?" It was the one absorbing thought of all.

I rode my saddle mare, Fannie, and Black Jim rode Gray Charlie and led the children's pet pony, Dixie. The other negroes took care of the remaining eight horses, carrying with them our supplies for camping.

My equipments were in all respects first class. I was especially proud of a fine pair of holsters and army pistols. A snowstorm blew up about noon, and it was cold and tiresome riding, but about sundown we were at the foot of White Top mountain, and near the home of two widow-ladies, from whom I got provisions for the negroes and bedroom for myself. Leaving my saddle-bags, blanket, etc., in the house, I went out to superintend the boys as they fed and got supper. It did not take long-to get a big fire started, and the bacon and corn bread were soon cooking, for our long, cold ride had given us good appetites. I had carried with me some roasted rye, that was used to make coffee. I was lying back on a high pile of wood, that broke the wind off of us, when the boy Jim ran up before me,