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Word Count: 3,811
The cold passed reluctantly from the earth and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills resting As the landscape changed from brown to green the army awakened and began to tremble with eagerness at the noise of rumors It cast its eyes upon the roads which were growing from long troughs of liquid mud to proper thoroughfares A river amber-tinted in the shadow of its banks purled at the armys feet and at night when the stream had become of a sorrowful blackness one could see across it the red eyelike gleam of hostile camp-fires set in the low brows of distant hills Once a certain tall soldier developed virtues and went resolutely to wash a shirt He came flying back from a brook waving his garment bannerlike He was swelled with a tale he had heard from a reliable friend who had heard it from a truthful cavalryman who had heard it from his trustworthy brother one of the orderlies at division headquarters He adopted the important air of a herald in red and gold Were goin t move tmorrah--sure he said pompously to a group in the company street Were goin way up the river cut across an come around in behint em To his attentive audience he drew a loud and elaborate plan of a very brilliant campaign When he had finished the blue-clothed men scattered into small arguing groups between the rows of squat brown huts A negro teamster who had been dancing upon a cracker box with the hilarious encouragement of twoscore soldiers was deserted He sat mournfully down Smoke drifted lazily from a multitude of quaint chimneys Its a lie thats all it is--a thunderin lie said another private loudly His smooth face was flushed and his hands were thrust sulkily into his trousers pockets He took the matter as an affront to him I dont believe the
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