My sense of relief was inexpressible when Mrs. George B. Lincoln returned from her visit to the White House, sent my tea-maker away and took charge of me once more.
TWO FREDERICKSBURG PATIENTS.
Some months after leaving Fredericksburg, I was walking on Pennsylvania avenue, when the setting sun shone in my face, and a man in uniform stopped me, saying:
“Excuse me! you do not know me, but I know you!”
I turned, looked at him carefully, and said:
“I do not know you!”
“Oh, no! but the last time you saw me, you cut off my beard with your scissors and fed me with a teaspoon. When you left me you did not think you would ever see me again.”
“Oh!” I exclaimed joyfully, “you are Dutton.”
He laughed, and replied, “That’s me. I have just got a furlough and am going home.”
He was very pale and thin, but I was so glad to see him and shake hands, and wish him safely home with his friends.
During the great review after the war, I had a seat near the President’s stand. There was a jam, and a man behind me called my attention to a captain, at a short distance, who had something to say to me, and passed along the words:
“You took care of me on the boat coming from Fredericksburg.”
Looking across, I could see him quite well, but even when his hat was off could not recognize him; and this is all I have ever heard from or of the men with whose lives mine was so knit during that terrible time.
I fear that not many survived, and doubt if a dozen of them ever knew me by any other name than that of “Mother.”
When Early appeared before Washington, we all knew there was nothing to prevent his coming in and taking possession. The forts were stripped. There were no soldiers either in or around the city. The original inhabitants were ready to welcome him with open arms. The departments were closed, that the clerks might go out in military array, to oppose; but of course few soldiers were sitting at desks at that stage of the war. The news at the Quartermaster’s office one morning was that the foreign ministers had been notified, and that the city would be shelled that afternoon. We lived on the north side of the city; and when I went home, thousands of people were on the streets, listening to the sound of guns at Fort Reno.