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General Lee's letter is not to be found ; but it is evi
dent on reading the foregoing that his mind was very much disturbed at unfriendly criticisms on the result of his Gettysburg campaign; so much so as to prompt his resignation.
A general alarm was sounded at 3 A.M., whereupon Wednesday, we crossed the Rappahannock River, and marched by Sept. 16. way of Brandy Station and Stevensburg to Mountain
Creek, at the foot of Pony Mountain, near Culpeper, a distance of twelve miles.
An order was received to-day that “until further orders, five days' bread and small rations, including salt, will be carried by troops in their knapsacks, in addition to the subsistence stores they are required under existing instructions to take in their haversacks.” How the mules must have grinned at that order!
At i P.M. we started with eight days' rations, and Thursday, marched round Pony Mountain to Racoon Ford, a disSept. 24. tance of five miles, and camped on ground vacated by
the Twelfth Corps. The Eleventh and Twelfth Corps were sent to Tennessee.
An order was received to-day that “until further Friday, orders conscripts, substitutes, or other new troops will Sept. 25. not be detailed for picket duty, and will not be con
sidered on the roster for such. “While in camp they must be drilled at least four hours daily, and otherwise instructed in their duties.”
To our mind this was a wise order. As one of the boys pithily remarked when these recruits arrived from Boston, “ If those fellows are trusted on picket the army will soon be in h–1.”
On the 27th we moved our camp about three miles Tuesday, up the river, and to-day we moved another mile in the Sept. 29. direction of Mitchell's Station.
The river at this point was only fifteen yards wide, and the rebel pickets on the other side were so near that we could easily discern each other's features. The position of their camp is superior to ours, inasmuch as it is on high ground, while ours is situated on a level plain. Their camp is near enough to ours to hear the 1863. sound of a band which frequently played, as though
serenading some officer. They still had money enough for bands. A hand-organ would have satisfied us that is, if it was a good one.
The division was turned out to-day to see a soldier Friday, shot for desertion, or sleeping on his post - we cannot October 2. recall which. It made no difference to him which it
The men were busy at work building huts, hoping that our present location might be continued through the winter.
A contraband by the name of George Washington joined the regiment to-day, and entered upon the duties of an officer's servant. We were glad to see George Washington, though he was much darker than his pictures represent him to be, and had black, curly hair.
We were on good terms with the enemy's pickets, who swapped lies with us daily.
In an order received this day from brigade headFriday, quarters it was stated that “it has been observed that October 9. in most of the regiments of this brigade there is a defi
ciency of axes, axe-slings, hatchets, spades, etc., and, as a consequence, the men suffer. Every company should have a proper proportion of these articles, besides those required by the pioneers.” As we recollect, there was more suffering from a surplus of these articles than by reason of a deficiency. At least it was so when we were marching.
Were in line shortly after i A.M., and marched at 3 Saturday, o'clock to a point on the Rapidan, about a mile from October 10. Racoon Ford, a distance of five miles, though we did not
reach that spot until 2 P.M., owing to frequent delays. A cavalry reconnoisance disclosed the fact that the enemy were making a flank movement, so we moved to the rear and camped near Stevensburg about 11 P.M.
We were turned out at 3 A.M. to march, but were deSunday, layed until 9 o'clock by the passing of other divisions, October 11. after which we pointed our noses in a northerly direc
tion, crossing the Rappahannock at Kelly's Ford, which 1863. we waded about 3 P.M., the water being up to our waists.
We then camped on the heights, within sound of the cavalry fighting at Stevensburg. The march was ten miles.
The Thirteenth and another regiment moved down
Having started at midnight, last night, we marched all
day, passing through Warrenton Junction, Catlett's, and
other familiar places, until we reached Bristow Station, at 9 P.M., after a tramp of thirty miles. Walking is good exercise for people of sedentary habits, which, of course, did not include us. The government hadn't got on to this idea in October, 1863.
Fighting was heard all day on our left flank.
We were halted at Warrenton Junction, forming in line of battle on our camp-ground of April, 1862, long enough to allow the wagon train to get ahead.
Started early and marched as “flankers” for the corps, Wednesday,
reaching Centreville about noon. Distance ten miles. October 14.
Looking back from the heights at Centreville we could see the smoke and hear the sound of heavy firing, as though some hard fighting was going on in the vicinity of Bristow Station.
Soon after our arrival we were moved out on the Warrenton pike, and deployed as skirmishers in advance of the brigade, and then moved on to the Stone bridge over Bull Run, where we were thrown out as pickets. No fires or lights of any kind allowed.
Moved back across Cub Run to a hill near Centreville,
The fighting that we heard yesterday was by the
Second Corps, which was engaged with the enemy at Gainesville, and which it repulsed.
Marched at 8 A.M. to Hay Market, which place we Monday, reached, after several slight skirmishes, in the afternoon; October 19. distance twelve miles. On our way we crossed the
battlefield where we fought August 30, 1862.
Since our last visit to Hay Market the entire town,
with the exception of a church, had been burnt by order of General Stahl, it is said, as a punishment to the inhabitants for firing on Union troops.
As we were going into camp General Stuart made a dash on to our picket line, capturing some pickets, besides killing two or three. In consequence thereof we were kept under arms all night.
About 4 P.M. we marched through Thoroughfare Gap, Tuesday, going into camp about midnight on the hills on the west October 20. side of the mountain. It was about eighteen months since
we first landed at Thoroughfare Gap. Those of us who still preserved a fondness for beautiful scenery had an opportunity of gratifying it to-day. In addition to the natural beauties of the spot, it was as fine an agricultural section as one could wish to see.
At 7 A.M. we retraced our steps through the Gap to Saturday, Hay Market, then south to Gainesville, fording Broad October 24. Run, and on to Bristow Station, camping on the recent
battlefield; making a distance of fifteen miles. The march, by reason of the rain and muddy condition of the roads, was a wearying one.
All this marching and countermarching, forming lines of battle and skirmishing, was to prevent Lee's attempt to turn the right flank of our army and interpose himself between us and our base of supplies, with the possibility of an attack on Washington, or transferring the next battle-ground from Virginia to the States north of the Potomac.
We were now camped on the farm of General Ewell, of the rebel army. The whole estate was in ruins; houses destroyed, orchards cut down, and every fence-rail burnt. Twelve days ago his own army camped on this spot, and probably his men burnt the rails, as our army was not allowed to touch rails.
Moved camp a mile or so to the westward into a pine Saturday, grove, near Kettle Run, which we found a much more October 31. agreeable spot. Nights were getting cold enough for a
furnace fire, but we believe furnaces were not allowed in the army.
MARCHED at 4 P.M. to Catlett's Station, ten miles, Thursday, and bivouacked. We had seen so much of these places,
we wished General Meade would hasten on to Richmond,
where we could spend the winter among the “sassiety" of that city. When we were in this vicinity in the spring of 1862, it was “ On to Gordonsville,” but now it was different.
“ Learn to labor and to wait,"
says Longfellow; but that was written “ befo' de war.”
Changed camp to high ground on the east side of the Friday,
station. Nov. 6. Last week, while at Bristow Station, an old friend of
the regiment, a commissary of subsistence, made his appearance in our camp, and before his departure agreed to sell to the officers a barrel of whiskey, which was purchased by subscription. Of course it was to be used for medicinal purposes only, that is, when the men were liable to become unfitted for duty by unusual fatigue or exposure during bad weather. Now, it so happened that the camp was excessively dusty, making the cobwebs in the throat impenetrable, and this whiskey was the only thing that would remove the obstructions. When it came to pass that the possession of this whiskey was known among the men, we pestered the lives nearly out of the officers with requests for this very effective medicine, with
or less success according to the disposition of the officer. When exposure seemed a frail and unsubstantial reason, we invented one. If this narrative of ours should by chance be read by one of our temperance friends, he will hold up his hands in horror, possibly, at this statement. We can only say, in excuse, that we were too young to appreciate what a terrible enemy we were