Harry, toward morning came upon St. Clair and Langdon riding together. Both had been wounded slightly, but their hurts had not kept them from the saddle, and they were in cheerful mood.
“You’ve been further back than we, Harry,” said St. Clair. “Is Meade hot upon our track? We hear the throb of a cannon now and then.”
“It doesn’t mean anything. Meade hasn’t moved. While we didn’t win we struck the Yankees such a mighty blow that they’ll have to rest, and breathe a while before they follow.”
“And I guess we need a little resting and breathing ourselves,” said Langdon frankly. “There were times when I thought the whole world had just turned itself into a volcano of fire.”
“But we’ll come back again,” said St. Clair. “We’ll make these Pennsylvania Dutchmen take notice of us a second time.”
“That’s the right spirit,” said Langdon. “Arthur had nearly all of his fine uniform shot off him, but he’s managed to fasten the pieces together, and ride on, just as if it were brand new.”
But Harry was silent. The prescient spirit of his famous great grandfather, Henry Ware, had descended upon his valiant great grandson. Hope had not gone from him, but it did not enter his mind that they should invade Pennsylvania again.
“I’m glad to leave Gettysburg,” he said. “More good men of ours have fallen there than anywhere else.”
“That’s true,” said St. Clair, “but Marse Bob will win for us, anyhow. You don’t think any of these Union generals here in the East can whip our Lee, do you?”
“Of course not!” said Happy Tom. “Besides, Lee has me to help him.”
“How are Colonel Talbot and Lieutenant-Colonel St. Hilaire?” asked Harry.
“Sound asleep, both of ’em,” replied St. Clair. “And it’s a strange thing, too. They were sitting in a wagon, having resumed that game of chess which they began in the Valley of Virginia, but they were so exhausted that both fell sound asleep while playing. They are sitting upright, as they sleep, and Lieutenant-Colonel St. Hilaire’s thumb and forefinger rest upon a white pawn that he intended to move.”
“I hope they won’t be jarred out of their rest and that they’ll sleep on,” said Harry. “Nobody deserves it more.”
He waved a hand to his friends and continued his ride toward the rear. The column passed slowly on in silence. Now and then gusts of rain lashed across his face, but he liked the feeling. It was a fillip to his blood, and his nerves began to recover from the tremendous strain and excitement of the last four days.
Obeying his orders he rode almost directly back toward the field of Gettysburg from which the Southern forces were still marching. A friendly voice from a little wood hailed him, and he recognized it at once as that of Sherburne, who sat his horse alone among the trees.
“Come here, Harry,” he said.
“Glad to find you alive, Sherburne. Where’s your troop?”