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In the evening the little boys came in with 경주오피 confidential news. The day had gone against us; 349 the city was to be surrendered after the retreat of the army at midnight. Their father would come in with the last.
I remembered with anguish that I had lost my chance to save the important papers of the family. In a trunk in my room I had locked all my one lover's beautiful letters, all the correspondence—so rich I had meant to print it—of his residence in Greece, of his travels in the East and in Egypt; all the letters from statesmen and authors of the years preceding the struggle. There they were. They would be sport for the enemy in a few hours. My eldest son, Theodorick, and Campbell Pryor, my husband's twelve-year-old brother, agreed to return to the farm, draw the trunk out to the rear of the kitchen, break it open, set fire to the contents, and not leave until they were consumed.
In due time the boys returned, 광양오피 having accomplished the burning of the letters, but bearing between them a huge bundle—a sheet full of papers. "Father's sermons," explained Campbell.
When the time came for my tired little brood to go to bed, I found three upper rooms prepared for us. In one of these I put the boys, first placing the large silver tray between two mattresses. A hamper filled with soiled towels and pinafores stood in a corner. Therein I bestowed the six pieces of the service, covering the whole with the soiled linen. A smaller room I reserved for my husband, into which I locked him, putting the key in my pocket—for he had returned in such an excited frame of mind, and in such physical exhaustion, that I was 350 uneasy about him, lest he might, when the army passed, yield to his feelings and go along with it.
Then I took my seat at the window and listened. The firing had all ceased.
A ring at the door-bell startled me. There stood Mayor Townes, come to ask if General Pryor would go out with the flag of truce and surrender the city.
"Oh, he cannot—he cannot," I declared. "How can you ask him to surrender his old home? Besides, he is worn out, and is now sleeping heavily."
About two o'clock, General Lee passed the house with his staff. It is said he looked back and said to his aide: "This is just what I told them at Richmond. The line has been stretched until it snapped." Presently there was a loud explosion—another—another. The bridges were being blown up. Then fires announced the burning of warehouses of tobacco.
And then! As the dawn broke, I saw the Federal pickets entering silently, watchfully. Finding no resistance, they threw their muskets over into the yard and hurried down town to plunder!
I awoke my boys. "Get up, boys! Dress quickly. Now remember, you must be very self-controlled and quiet, and no harm will come to you."
Immediately the door of my room was thrown wide open, and Robert ushered in three armed, German-looking soldiers.
"What do you want?" I asked.
"To search the house," they answered.
"You will find nothing worth your while. There is my shawl! I have just run in from the lines. Here are my children." 351
"We don't want your clothes," said one; "we want your prisoner."
My husband had heard and knocked at his door. He had not undressed.
"Here I am," he said, coming out and fastening his collar; and, before I could think, they had marched him off.
I was left alone with the boy Robert, who had betrayed him. He stood trembling, not with fear—with excitement.
"Leave this house!" I ordered him.
"What for?" he asked sullenly.
"Because you are no friend of mine. This is now my house. You are not to set foot in it again."
Strange to say, he left.
He had admitted into the 광주오피 house more soldiers than these three. I had brought with me from the farm a little negress, Lizzie, who had been hired by Eliza "to amuse the baby." Lizzie had obeyed the instinct which always leads a child's Southern nurse to the kitchen, and had gone below with my baby. I heard the most tremendous stamping and singing in the basement kitchen, and from the top of the staircase I called to Lizzie, who ran up, frightened, with the child in her arms. A soldier looked up from the bottom.
"What are you doing here?" I asked.
"Getting breakfast," he replied.
"You'll get none here," I told him.
He set his bayonet forward and started up the steps. I slipped back and luckily found a bolt on the door. Quick as thought I bolted him out. 352
But I was burningly indignant. I saw the street full of troops standing, and a young officer on horseback. I ran out and said to him:—
"Is it your pleasure we should be murdered in our houses? My kitchen is full of soldiers."
"Where, where?" exclaimed the young fellow, dismounting and running in.
I conducted him to the bolted door, unfastened it, and had the satisfaction of seeing him lay about with the flat of his sword to good purpose. He placed a guard around the house. Moreover, his action sustained me in my position, and the old woman in the kitchen greeted me respectfully, apologized for her son, and promised faithful service in the future.
But another and most bitter trial was in store for me. An approaching army corps was hailed with shouts and cheers as it passed down the street. At its head was borne the trophy that had aroused this enthusiasm: our own sacred banner, given by the women of Petersburg to the young colonel at Smithfield, and inscribed with the names of the battles into which he had proudly borne it. It was coming back—a captive! How grateful I felt that my husband had not seen it! "Ole Uncle Frank's at the bottom of that business," said Alick,—and alas! we had reason to suppose the polite old colored gentleman had purchased favor by revealing the hiding-place of our banner. My husband soon returned. He had presented Mr. Lincoln's card, on which the President had written his "parole until exchanged." Thereafter he was arrested and released 353 every time the occupying troops moved and were replaced by new brigades and divisions.
We sat all day in the front room, watching the splendidly equipped host as it marched by on its way to capture Lee. It soon became known that we were there. Within the next few days we had calls from old Washington friends. Among others my husband was visited by Elihu B. Washburne, and Senator Henry Wilson, afterward Vice-President of the United States with General Grant. These paid long visits and talked kindly and earnestly of the South.
Major-General Warren had been relieved of his command and superseded by Sheridan. His old friend, Randolph Harrison, lay ill and wounded near us, and General Warren introduced himself to General Pryor and asked to be conducted to his friend's bedside. From that time he was with us every day, and, indorsed warmly by "Ranny," our old friend, he too was admitted into our friendship.
Mr. Lincoln soon arrived and sent for my husband. But General Pryor excused himself, saying that he was a paroled prisoner, that General Lee was still in the field, and that he could hold no conference with the head of the opposing army.
The splendid troops passed continually. Our hearts sank within us. We had but one hope—that General Lee would join Joseph E. Johnston and find his way to the mountains of Virginia, those ramparts of nature which might afford protection until we could rest and recruit. 354