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"I shouldn't wonder if his story is true, General," said a member of the staff. "You see, your cow has been gone really two days. Day before yesterday we sent Blue Jim out into the country with her. She needed it awfully. We laid the law down to Blue Jim about being very careful with her and keep her near the road. It seems that he found a good piece of meadow, and turned her loose in it, but then, nigger like, he forgot all that we had told him about staying light alongside of her, and wandered off to gather persimmons, and afterward fell asleep in a fence-corner. When he woke up the cow was gone, and he was scared nearly to death. He hunted around for her all day, and came in last night nearly starved to death, and whimpering and blubbering. We told him that you would order him shot as soon as you found out. He has been to see the Chaplain twice, to prepare for death."They came in such numbers that Si was startled. He drew his men together, and looked anxiously back to see how near the regiment had come.
"There's full pay for your dumbed old dunghills, you cantankerous rebel," said he, as he disappeared into the darkness. "Go into the house and pray that the Lord may soften your heart, which is harder than Pharaoh's, until you have some Christian grace."
"The berries is certainly fine, Si," he said with returning good humor. "If I could've only laid a foundation of crackers and meat I could've built a very good breakfast out of 'em. I misdoubt, though, whether they've got enough substance and stick-to-the-ribs to make a meal out of all by themselves. However, I'll fill up on 'em, and hope they'll last till a grub-cart gets through. There ought to be one here before noon."
On the other hand, their enemy had evaded battle when they offered it to him on the place he had himself chosen, had eluded their vigorous pursuit, and now had his army in full possession of the great objective upon which the eyes of the Army of the Cumberland had been fixed for two years Chattanooga.
Shorty came back in a little while with his hands full of greenbacks "Every boy ponied right up the moment I spoke to him," he said. "And the Captain and Adjutant each gave . She's got money enough to buy out the best milliner shop in this part o' Tennessee."