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How The Picket Quailed

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One cold an! cloudy night. in theearty part of the winter of 1862 Bill was on pieket at an out post near tho üttle "Brick Churoh" kiiown to comrades of the Army of the Potomac as "Hwtwoods." He had baeked his mare Into the edtfte of a piere of woods, from wliich he had a view of a large open field to his front; to hU riglit at a short was a road leiiding to "Kolley'a ford" aud onc to Warrenton. In the vicinity of these erosg-roads thera liad been at divers tinifs shots tired al our picket.s n the night, time by unsecn piisons (guerrillas), which causcd our pickots to ht: uiore vfgilttnt than in the daylight. Not more Sian half an liour had elapsed sinoe the oomrade whoin Bill had relieved had left and returned to the "reserve," sonie half a milt) distant, when Bill's eir caught the sound of stealthy trending upon the dry twigs and doad leavea direetly in the rear where he was posted. It was a conimon thingin days, in that part of the country, tor hogs to be seen running at large in and aro'und the woods, eonsequently at the first sound of t his treading that reached his ears Bill paid üttle heed, thinking it was a hog root ing the leaves. Prcsently the same uoise was heard. At this second interruption hls mare pricked up hor ears and ma te an uneasy shake of her head, as was her custotn when on -iicli duty and any strange noise reached her keen ear. At this uneasincs8 of his dum companion Bill strocked her ïilky neck to nssure her he was on the alert. Again the noise had ceased, luit Bill had made a knot in his bridle rein and placed it over the pommel of his saddle, e.amned his carbine near the hammer, put his hand to his holster to make sure the revolver was in a handy postion, and assuring himself that all was right as regards Ure arms, cautiousljr peered into the darkness on all sides in hopes that he might discern the inmuler of his quietness. Again was heard tho mysterous treading sound! Bill pressed the sides of his mare with his legs, and she instantly wheeled "right about" and faced the woods. "Halt: Who comes thereP" Bill called aloud. All was as qulet as the tonib. ïhere 3at Bill faeing the woods, with a deadly aim of his carbiu in the direotion from which the sounds had come, feeling as though he weighed 200 pounds (actual wciglit 135) and could blow any three "guerrillas" out of existence. Once more he heard those steps so lightly erushing tho t wigs and leaves. Click went the hammer of the carbine. Whir-r-r! whir-r-r! sounded tho rush of the unsecn bodies. The mare raised herself, andstruck at vacant space with hor foro feet. IJill ielt his hair standing on end as he grasped the butt ol his revolver, aud waited the expected attack. The discharge of the carbine had aroused the "reserve," and the sound of galloping horses' feet and the clanging of sabers against the riders' spurs Bill distinctly heard as the "reserve patrol" drew nearer and nearer to his rescue. He could hear the pickets on his left challenging the horsemen as they approached their posts. Presently he heard nis nearest comrade inform the sergeant that "Bill had been shot or he had fired at sonie d - d guerrilla." He had faced the mare once again toward the open field, and was quietly laughing to himsclf as he stroked the neck of his faithful companion. "Halt! Who comes there?" Bill was heard to cali forth. "Sergeant with 'picket patrol!' " was the reply. "Dismount, sergeant! Advance and give the countersign!" This order was obeypH nd an explanation made. The patrol was notified to advancu, and when Bill's corarades ramt to where the sergeant and Bill were they found them enjoying a heartv lausrh over the nlarm causea bv


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat