The intense heat of June 26th has been 밤알바 noted in many of the diaries and records of the day. I remember it because I had feared its unfavorable effect upon my husband, not yet discharged by his physicians, and now lying weak and listless upon his bed at the Spotswood Hotel in Richmond.

I was reading aloud to him the news in the morning papers, fanning him the while, when a peremptory knock at the door sent me to my feet. An ominous-looking note was handed in to "Brigadier-General Pryor." Upon reading it, my husband slipped to the side of the bed, and reached out for his cavalry boots. The note ran: "Dear General, put yourself at once at the head of your brigade. In thirty-six hours it will all be over. Longstreet." Before I realized the tremendous import of the order, he was gone.

  • was almost at the gates of the city. The famous "seven days' fight" was about to begin.

Several of the officers of our brigade were in the hotel, and I ran out to find their wives and learn 175 more news from them. On the stair I met Colonel Scott, and as he passed me, he exclaimed, "No time until I come back, Madam!" Turning, he paused, raised his hand, and said solemnly, "If I ever come back." The wife of Captain Poindexter came up at the moment. She was weeping, and wringing her hands. "Do you think," she said, "that we could drive out to camp and see them once more before they march?"

We hurried into the street, found a carriage, and, urging our driver to his utmost speed, were soon in sight of the camp.

All was hurry and confusion there. Ambulances were hitching up, troops forming in line, servants running hither and thither, horses standing to be saddled, light army wagons loading with various camp utensils.

Captain Whitner of the General's staff met me, and said, as he conducted me to my husband's tent: "The General will be so glad to see you, Madam! He is lying down to rest a few minutes before we move."

He opened his arms to me as I went in, but there were no sad words. We spoke cheerily to each other, but, unable to control myself, I soon ran out to find John and see that he had provided brandy and cold tea, the latter a necessity lest good water should be unprocurable. Never have I seen such a number of flies! They blackened the land, corrupted the food, and tormented the nervous horses. When I returned, Mrs. Poindexter was standing outside the tent waiting for me. "I can see my 176 husband only at the head of his company," she said. "Look! they are forming the line."

We stood aside as the brigade formed in marching order. The stern command, "Fall in! Fall in!" reached us from company after company stretching far down the road. My husband mounted his horse, and, drawing his sword, gave the order to advance.

"Head of column to the right!" and with steady tramp they filed past us—past the only two women, of the many who loved them, who had known of their going and had come out to cheer and bless them.

We could not bear to remain a moment after they left. Finding our carriage, we were about to enter, when the driver pointed back with his whip. There, sure enough, rose the puffs of blue smoke from guns—so near, so near!

We set our faces homeward, two stunned, tearless women, neither yet able to comfort the other. Presently the carriage stopped, and the driver, dismounting, came to the door.

"Lady," said he, "there's a man lying on the roadside. We just passed him. Maybe he's drunk, but he 'pears to me to look mighty sick."

Fanny Poindexter and I were out of the carriage in less than a minute, eagerly embracing an opportunity for action—the relief for tense feelings.

The man wore the uniform of a Confederate soldier. His eyes were closed. Was he asleep? We feared the worst when we perceived a thin thread of blood trickling slowly from a wound in his throat, and staining his shirt.

We knelt beside him, and Fanny gently pressed 177 her handkerchief upon the wound, whereupon he opened his eyes, but was unable to speak. "What in the world are we to do?" said my friend. "We can't possibly leave him here!"

"I can tote him to the carriage," said the kind-hearted driver. "He ain' no heavy-weight, an' we can car' 'im to dat hospital jus' at de aidge of town. Come now, sir! Don't you be feared. I'll tote you like a baby."

We were terrified lest he should die before we reached the hospital. To avoid jolting, we crawled at a snail's pace, and great was our relief when we drew up at the open door of the hospital and summoned a surgeon. He ordered out a stretcher and took our patient in, and we waited in a little reception room until we could learn the verdict after an examination of his injuries.

"It is well for him, poor fellow," said the surgeon upon returning to report to us, "that you found him when you did. His wound is not serious, but he was slowly bleeding to death! Which of you pressed that handkerchief to it?" I had to acknowledge that my friend had rendered this service. She was one of those nervous, teary little women who could rise to an occasion.

"He had probably been sent to the rear after he was wounded, and had tried to find General Pryor's camp," said the doctor. "He missed his way, and went farther than necessary. It has all turned out right. He is able now to write his name—'Ernstorff'—so you see he is doing well. When you pass this way, you must call and see him." 178
We never went that way again. Two years afterward I was accosted at a railway station by a handsome young officer who said he "had never forgotten, never would forget" me. He was Lieutenant Ernstorff!

All the afternoon the dreadful guns shook the earth and thrilled our souls with horror. I shut myself in my darkened room. At twilight I had a note from Governor Letcher, telling me a fierce battle was raging, and inviting me to come to the Governor's mansion. From the roof one might see the flash of musket and artillery.

No! I did not wish to see the infernal fires. I preferred to watch and wait alone in my room.

The city was strangely quiet. Everybody had gone out to the hills to witness the aurora of death to which we were later to become so accustomed. As it grew dark a servant entered to light my candles, but I forbade her. Did I not mean to go to supper? I would have coffee brought to me. God only knew what news I might hear before morning. I must keep up my strength.

The night was hot and close. I sat at an open window, watching for couriers on the street. The firing ceased about nine o'clock. Surely now somebody would remember us and come to us.

As I leaned on the window-sill with my head on my arms, I saw two young men walking slowly down the deserted street. They paused at a closed door opposite me and sat down upon the low step. Presently they chanted a mournful strain in a minor key—like one of the occasional interludes of 179 Chopin which reveal so much of dignity in sorrow. I was powerfully affected—as I always am by such music—and found myself weeping, not for my own changed life, not for my own sorrows, but for the dear city; the dear, doomed city, so loved, so loved!

A full moon was rising behind the trees in the Capitol Square. Soon the city would be flooded with light, and then!—would the invading host come in to desecrate and destroy? How dear the city had been to me always! I could remember when I was a very little child one just such night as this. The splendor, the immensity of the city had so oppressed me, coming, as I had come, from the quiet country, that I could not sleep. Hot and fevered and afraid, I had risen from my little bed beside my sleeping mother, and had stolen to the window to look out. Like to-night there was a solemn moon in the sky, like to-night an awful stillness in the city. Just below me a watchman had called out, "All's well!" Presently the cry was repeated at a distance—"All's well!" Fainter and fainter grew the echo until it became a whisper, far away in the distant streets. The watchmen were telling me, I thought, telling all the helpless little babies and children, all the sick people and old people, that God was taking care of them; that "All's well, All's well."

Ah! forever gone was the watchman, forever silent the cry. Never, never again could all be well with us in old Virginia. Never could we stifle the memories of this bitter hour. The watchman on 180 the nation's tower might, some day, mark the triumphant return of this invading host, and declare, "All's well,"—our hearts would never hear. Too much blood, too much death, too much anguish! Our tears would never be able to wash away the memory of it all.

And so the night wore on and I waited and watched. Before dawn a hurried footstep brought a message from the battle-field to my door.