At last there came a moment when a number, pursued by the Russians, found only snow on which to bivouac, and these lay down to rise no more.
This rear-guard had devoted itself to the task of saving a frightful multitude of stragglers overcome by the cold, who obstinately refused to leave the bivouacs of the army.
Hardly had this generous officer gone a hundred yards towards Studzianka than General Eble wakened a number of his weary pontoniers, and began the work,–the charitable work of burning the bivouacs set up about the bridge, and forcing the sleepers, thus dislodged, to cross the river.
I reached the place of our bivouac by sunset, and drinking much mate, and smoking several cigaritos, soon made up my bed for the night.
At night we had some difficulty in finding amidst the swamps, a dry place for our bivouac.
The storm was said to have been of limited extent: we certainly saw from our last night’s bivouac a dense cloud and lightning in this direction.
Accustomed to live in tents, or to bivouac in the open air, he despises the comforts and is impatient of the confinement of the log-house.
Joe arranged their bivouac for that evening, as he had done for the previous night; and during the watches kept by the doctor and Kennedy there was no fresh incident.
It so happened that after travelling for several miles they inadvertently took another path than that followed by the party under Barunda’s uncle, so that they passed the latter without being aware of it, going nearly half a mile to the right of where the trailers camped a short distance from the bivouac of Ninaka.
An officer of the Federal force, who, in a spirit of adventure or in quest of knowledge, had left the hidden bivouac in the valley, and, with aimless feet, had made his way to the lower edge of a small open space near the foot of the cliff, was considering what he had to gain by pushing his exploration further.
“Friend,” replied the low voice of Chingachgook; who, pointing upward at the luminary which was shedding its mild light through the opening in the trees, directly in their bivouac, immediately added, in his rude English: “Moon comes and white man’s fort far–far off; time to move, when sleep shuts both eyes of the Frenchman!”
By evening, the adjutants had spread it to all ends and parts of the army, and in the night from the nineteenth to the twentieth, the whole eighty thousand allied troops rose from their bivouacs to the hum of voices, and the army swayed and started in one enormous mass six miles long.