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Before the Dawn A Story of the Fall of Richmond   By: (1862-1919)

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Before the Dawn

A Story of the Fall of Richmond




Copyright, 1903, by Doubleday, Page & Company Published April, 1903


The Sun of Saratoga A Soldier of Manhattan A Herald of the West The Last Rebel In Circling Camps In Hostile Red The Wilderness Road My Captive

For the rhyming pun, given by a member of The Mosaic Club, and quoted in the third chapter of this book, the author is indebted to T. C. DeLeon's " Four Years in Rebel Capitals ."



I. A Woman in Brown 3

II. A Man's Mother 16

III. The Mosaic Club 25

IV. The Secretary Moves 40

V. An Elusive Face 52

VI. The Pursuit of a Woman 71

VII. The Cottage in the Side Street 83

VIII. The Pall of Winter 97

IX. Robert and Lucia 117

X. Feeding the Hungry 131

XI. Mr. Sefton Makes a Confidence 137

XII. A Flight by Two 150

XIII. Lucia's Farewell 162

XIV. Prescott's Ordeal 170

XV. The Great Rivals 181

XVI. The Great Revival 193

XVII. The Wilderness 204

XVIII. Day in the Wilderness 206

XIX. Night in the Wilderness 223

XX. The Secretary Looks On 236

XXI. A Delicate Situation 248

XXII. The Lone Sentinel 264

XXIII. Out of the Forest 269

XXIV. The Despatch Bearer 280

XXV. The Mountain General 292

XXVI. Calypso 300

XXVII. The Secretary and the Lady 323

XXVIII. The Way Out 334

XXIX. The Fall of Richmond 346

XXX. The Telegraph Station 360

XXXI. The Coin of Gold 370




A tall, well favoured youth, coming from the farther South, boarded the train for Richmond one raw, gusty morning. He carried his left arm stiffly, his face was thin and brown, and his dingy uniform had holes in it, some made by bullets; but his air and manner were happy, as if, escaped from danger and hardships, he rode on his way to pleasure and ease.

He sat for a time gazing out of the window at the gray, wintry landscape that fled past, and then, having a youthful zest for new things, looked at those who traveled with him in the car. The company seemed to him, on the whole, to lack novelty and interest, being composed of farmers going to the capital of the Confederacy to sell food; wounded soldiers like himself, bound for the same place in search of cure; and one woman who sat in a corner alone, neither speaking nor spoken to, her whole aspect repelling any rash advance.

Prescott always had a keen eye for woman and beauty, and owing to his long absence in armies, where both these desirable objects were scarce, his vision had become acute; but he judged that this lone type of her sex had no special charm. Tall she certainly was, and her figure might be good, but no one with a fair face and taste would dress as plainly as she, nor wrap herself so completely in a long, brown cloak that he could not even tell the colour of her eyes. Beautiful women, as he knew them, always had a touch of coquetry, and never hid their charms wholly.

Prescott's attention wandered again to the landscape rushing past, but finding little of splendour or beauty, it came back, by and by, to the lone woman. He wondered why she was going to Richmond and what was her name. She, too, was now staring out of the window, and the long cloak hiding her seemed so shapeless that he concluded her figure must be bad... Continue reading book >>

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