I suppose in this way we are not only making, but writing history. Camp-life then is not entirely monotonous. Sights and sounds of interest may be seen and heard at almost every hour of the day. The morning is ushered in with the shrill reveille, which means awake and arise. This is well executed by our bugle-corps, which Captain Duffié has organized, and is drilling thoroughly.
It was useless for the presiding officer to command order, if, indeed, his feelings were sufficiently under control to do so. When exhaustion had produced comparative silence, Duffie, with the full brogue of the County Carlow upon his tongue, ejaculated: "O Lord, we thank Thee! The State is redeemed from the rule of the Devil and John Clarke."
On my arrival at Danville, I met Colonel W. C. Raulston, of the 24th New York Cavalry, with whom I was acquainted, and who introduced me to the members of his mess, Brigadier-General A. N. Duffie, Brigadier-General Hays, and Lieutenants Leydon and VanDerweed, who were all anxious to talk with me about the chances of escape.
During the forenoon, I had a long talk with Colonel Raulston, and General Duffie, who both seemed to think that we had better be prepared, and hold ourselves in readiness to take advantage of any favorable circumstance that might occur, but that it was best for the present, to remain quiet, and bide our time.
Instead of risking anything more in the attempt to force the crossing in the face of Early's whole force in position, Wright was mediating a turning movement by way of Keyes's Gap, but Duffié, after riding hard through Ashby's Gap and crossing the Shenandoah at Berry's Ferry, likewise came to grief on the north bank, and so the day of the 19th of July was lost.
Churches were distracted and at discord, and the pulpit, for the first time in Georgia, desecrated by political philippics. Pierce then, as now, was the leading minister of the Methodist Church in the State, and abstained in the pulpit, but made no secret of his preferences upon the street. Duffie travelled everywhere.
After a week spent in drill and the stone-wall enterprise, we were all surprised one morning with an order to fall into line to receive a Napoleonic harangue from Captain Duffié.
Kilpatrick had been directed to move through Aldie, and thence to and through Ashby's Gap, in the Blue Ridge, learn all he could of the enemy's movements, and, then returning, to rejoin the corps at Nolan's Ferry on the Potomac. Colonel Duffié, with his regiment, the First Rhode Island, was ordered to move through Thoroughfare Gap, and to join Kilpatrick in Pleasant Valley beyond.
It was greatly feared that he would be shot for the prominent part he had taken in the affair, and I now believe that he would have been more severely punished, had not his dying Colonel interceded for him. There was one rather amusing episode in this tragic affair, that caused some merriment notwithstanding the fatal ending. General Duffie was a Frenchman and did not speak very good English.
The celebrated Jesse Mercer was a moving spirit amidst the excited multitude, and Daniel Duffie, who, as a most intolerant Methodist, and an especial hater of the Baptist Church and all Baptists, was there also, willing to lay down all ecclesiastical prejudice, and go to heaven even with Jesse Mercer, because he was a Troup man.