“There were deafening, crazy shouts; hats, canteens, even muskets, were flung in the air, and the wounded, lying on the ground, were struck by some of these things as they fell, in a cloud, about them. The shouts grew louder and louder, they rose and fell, far, far away right and left. Everybody embraced everybody else. Men who had been limping and despondent before broke into wild dances of joy. Everybody wanted to go toward the field of battle now, but a provost guard filed down the road presently, and in a few minutes I saw a sight that made tears of rage and shame blind me. Whole regiments of blue-coats came at a quick-step through the dusty roadway, the rebel guards prodding them brutally with their bayonets. The fellows near me, who had been running from the fight, set up insulting cheers and cat-calls.
“‘Did you’ns leave a lock of your hair with old Mas’r Lincoln?’
“‘Come down to Dixie to marry niggers, have ye?’ and scores of taunts more insulting and obscene. Our men never answered. They were worn and dusty. They had no weapons, of course, for the first thing the rebels did was to search every man, take his money, watch, studs, even his coat and shoes, when they were better than their own. Hundreds of our men were in their stocking-feet, or, rather, in their bare feet, as they tramped wearily through the burning sand and twisted roots. I heard one of the rebels near me, an officer, say that the prisoners were all going to the junction to take the cars. President Davis had ordered that they should be marched through the streets of Richmond to show the people of the capital the extent of the victory. Then the thought flashed into my head that if our army had been captured, my best chance of finding Jack would be to follow to Richmond and watch the blue-coats. I easily slipped among the prisoners, came to the city and saw every man that went to Castle Winder. But no one that I knew was among them, and I made up my mind that Jack had escaped. I saw Wesley Boone’s father and sister at the Spottswood House yesterday, but I was too late to catch them, and, when I asked the clerk at the desk, be said they had taken quarters in the town—he didn’t know where.”
“That’s a fact,” Olympia exclaimed; “they left Washington before us. I wonder if they found Wesley?”
“I don’t know,” Dick continued, “The officers were brought in a gang by themselves, and I didn’t see them. Well, I hung about the town, visiting all the places I thought it likely Jack might be, and then I joined a cavalry company that belonged to Early’s brigade, at Manassas. I was going there with them this morning to get back to our lines and find Jack, when I saw the paragraph in The Examiner, telling of your coming and whereabouts.”
“What an intrepid young brave you are, Dick!” Olympia cried, as the artless narrative came to an end.