174                                HISTORY OF THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT O.V.V.I.

           The march by day – winding columns, glittering muskets, glowing flags, Generals' cavalcades, wagon trains, stragglers, and thousands of negroes in the rear, stretching over miles, a country of level fields, crossed by streams, broken occasionally by swamps and patches of forest, the distant smoke of fires, ragged villagers and ragged hovels by the way, at intervals a woman's head peeping out from a door or a window, quickly closed; at times a colored family, voluble with questions, thanking God for the advent, and joining in the march with their kind in the rear.

           The camp by night – a faint glow of camp fires through miles of darkness, the cooking of suppers everywhere, laughter and talk, card playing, smoking, music, and the sounds of horses hoofs near and far, mess tents, a murmur with a good cheer, growing silence, a fainter glow of fires, a tumbling into blankets, slumber in all the field.

           Clank, clank, through the dark, through the forest, go the cavalrymen's sabres. Their marches cease not night or day; they go forth to discover, repair or surprise. Before the day they have sent a guerrilla party headlong, or have anticipated the dawn with an illumination. The streams are cool and clear, by many a cliff and wood. Here, "naked and not ashamed," a hundred soldiers bathe within the waters. Their clothes and arms are flung upon the banks; their bodies gleam and splash among the ripples; their laughter rings harsh and loud, low and musical, while moving ranks upon the bridge above, go by. Down by towns and cities, and plantations, to the sea, the pageant and the wrath move to the new conquest, which at last is ours, and the curtain falls upon another act of a drama, which finds us in the rich and beautiful city of Savannah.


           The most pathetic scenes occur upon our line of march daily and hourly. Thousands of negro women join the column, some carrying household truck; others, and many of them there are, who bear the heavy burden of children in their arms, while older boys and girls plod by their side. All these women and children are ordered back, heartrending though it may be, to refuse them liberty. They won't go. One begs that she may go to see her husband and children at Savannah; long years ago she was forced from them and sold. Another has heard that her boy was in Macon, and she is "done gone wid grief goin on four years."

           But the majority accept the advent of the Yankees as the fulfillment of the millennial prophecies. The "day of Jubilee," the hope and prayer of a lifetime, has come. They cannot be made to understand that they must remain behind, and they are satisfied only when General Sherman tells them, as he does every day, that we shall come back for them some time, and that they must be patient until the proper hour of deliverance comes.

           The other day a woman with a child in her arms was working her way along among the teams and crowds of cattle and horsemen; an officer called to her kindly: "Where are you going, Aunty?" She looked up into his face with a hopeful, beseeching look, and replied "I'se gwine whar you'se gwine, Massa."

           At a house a few miles from Milledgeville we halted for an hour. In an old hut I found a negro and his wife, both of them over sixty years old. In the talk which ensued, nothing was said which led me to suppose that either of them were anxious to leave their

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