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My Captain, a man reared in luxury and unused to such hardship, was complaining bitterly. He had not had his ration of commissary for three days, and his feet were so badly swollen he had to carry his boots in his hands, consequently he could not march and was released on parole of honor. I was beginning to realize what hunger was, with no rations for three days when we were issued three Yankee hardtack, ordered into line and the march resumed.
All day firing was heard in the rear, and rumors were rife that the Confederates were being hard pressed and had taken position for a defensive battle. These conjectures were partially true for the Union cavalry were cutting and slashing on all sides, both flank and rear. The roads were unobstructed and we made good progress, only halting for a short time about noon. I bartered with one of the guards a finger ring for a piece of bread. The cost of the ring was two dollars, but I considered at the time that I had made a good bargain even if the piece of bread was small. The ring was of no value to a hungry man, but the bread was like manna from Heaven, and made two souls happy while it lasted.
We continued all night, or until the eastern sky was dimly tinted with crimson, when we halted three miles beyond Hagerstown. The night was beautiful, the rain had ceased to fall and the air had become clear.
While marching through Hagerstown, the rebels who were guarding us, (perhaps 500 strong), sang the "Bonnie Blue Flag," and but for the sentiment, I say it was splendid. When the last note had died away, someone among the prisoners struck up that good old soul-stirring air, "The Star Spangled Banner," and before the first verse was finished it was taken up along the whole line of over four thousand men. I will leave it to your imagination whether there was music in the air.
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By Charles Miller himself.