I may have posted this before, but it's a good story of what happened in camp!
(by T.J. Macon) THE following occurred during one of the Company's marches. J . B. Lambert and myself made a detour from the main road, and coining to a nice- looking farmhouse, we determined to go in and try our hands at getting a good meal. Sir Ronald Gatewood, the owner of the place, was cold-mannered, the hardest man to thaw out I ever met. We tried every plan on him; still he remained brusque, unapproachable, and even peevish. We could get no satisfaction from him, and almost despaired of accomplishing anything. Finally, we said : "Sir Ronald, where is your spring He pointed to the locality, and we asked if he would at least lend us a bucket, which he brought. We re- marked: a You need water in cooking, of course." So we brought him three or four buckets full of that indis- pensable fluid. This moved him. Indeed, it was the magic "open sesame" to his heart, it was the touchstone. He then said : "I will see if the old lady will get you a good dinner," and it was just for that most desirable point we were maneuvering. In a short time dinner was announced and we en- joyed a good square meal. In the course of conversation, we found out why Sir Ronald was so hard to influence at first. It appears that a few days previous a party of infantrymen had called upon him, and while the meal was being prepared for them, they got a pair of scissors and trimmed his dog up resembling a lion in appearance, that is, they cut all the hair off the body except on his shoulders. It was a handsome shepherd dog and valued very highly by its owner. Of course, we told Sir Ronald we sympathized with him, and pro- nounced the act a piece of vandalism and were not sur- prised at his being enraged at soldiers. Before parting we made a firm friend of the gentleman. While the Company was encamped at the "Poison Fields" of Spottsylvania County, an incident occurred that occasioned some comment. W. G. Lampkin was a good-looking and indeed a captivating cannoneer. He was called emphatically a lady charmer. Whenever the battery went into camp, if there were any ladies near, he would find them out, then call upon them, and in the very shortest time would be on as intimate terms with them as if he had known and visited them for months. His progress with his charmed one was so rapid that soon he would become the custodian of her finger ring. Near the camp at Poison Fields there resided one, Count Deaskie, and family, which consisted of the Count, his wife, and three daughters. They were pretty girls and quite attractive to the boys. William became well acquainted with the family. On the first day he called upon them, Ben Lambert, Edward Barnes and myself determined to play somewhat of a practical joke on William. The Count's house was an old-fashioned one, with porches front and rear, with a passage running through the house from front to rear. It was about twenty-five yards from the front gate to the house. We determined to call upon Count Deaskie and his family in the evening. William, as we expected, was sitting on the front porch, and as soon as he saw us enter the gate, ran to the back porch. We introduced ourselves and endeavored to be as entertaining as possible. One of our party, Barnes, possessed a fine tenor voice and sang for the company a song that was very popular at the time, called Virginia. After singing it, the Count asked him to sing it again, and Barnes, always obliging, did as requested. We passed a very pleasant evening and bade the Count and his family good evening, leaving William at the house. As soon as he returned to camp, I sent a message to him, stating that I considered I had been treated rather shabbily by him, inasmuch as when he saw us enter the gate and advance towards the house, that instead of coming out to meet and introduce us to Count Deaskie and his daughters, he fled to the back porch. I expected from him the satisfaction that one gentleman would accord another. He wrote in reply that he would give any satisfaction I desired, whereupon I sent him a challenge to fight a duel, which he promptly accepted. J. B. Lambert was my second and Edward Barnes was Lampkin's second. The preliminaries of the duel were all arranged, and it was to come off the following day, but we moved away that evening. The next place at which we halted was Waller's Tavern. The battery was near my brother-in-law, A. L. Holloway's residence, and I had been there to dinner. Upon returning to the camp several cannoneers came to me and said this was the evening for the duel to come off. I told them that it was agreeable to me and I would be ready. The program of the duel was as follows : The
combatants were to stand fifteen yards apart and to ex- change three shots. If neither party was wounded when the third shot was fired, then they were to advance with drawn sabers and fight until one or both fell, and thus end the combat, the like manner to the encounter be- tween Fitz James and Roderick Dhu. They took a horse and cut his gum, saturating a piece of sponge with his blood. I wore for the fight a brown cotton shirt. After firing at each other two shots neither was struck, but at the third fire I fell mortally wounded, having thrown my hand with the bloody sponge upon my breast, making a large splotch over the heart, indicating a death stroke. I was then placed upon a litter mortally wounded and carried to our camp. After getting there and going into my tent, Captain McCarthy said to my antagonist: "Macon is mortally wounded, and the chances are that he will not survive. Now, if I were you I would go and make up with him." He agreed with the Captain, and came to my quarters. I was leaning on my arm when he entered the tent, and he said: "Tom, old fellow, how are you feeling ?" I replied : "Very well, under the circumstances, I thank you ; how are you ?" Tie then realized the joke we had played on him. He then proposed to get a keg of gunpowder and each clasp hands and ignite it. He was one of the most furious men, when he perceived the trend of affairs, I ever saw. He finally got over his anger at the trick and we were afterwards good friends. he was a brave cannoneer, and his fondness for the society of ladies was no fault, but rather creditable to him; still it was the cause of his engaging in a duel that he thought was to be a genuine fight to the death, but which was only a sham battle and a joke. Some years after I was in company with William and his father, when he said : "Father, this is Mr. Macon, with whom I fought a duel."