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206

PICTURESQUE SCENERY.

never experienced here, nor, on the other hand, the oppressive heats of more southern localities. The climate presents that happy medium so conducive to health and enjoyment. The most romantic and picturesque scenery meets the eye in every direction. On the right are seen the wild, mountainous regions of the Virginia Highlands, covered with oak and evergreen, and intersected with deep ravines; on the left, the precipitous Maryland Heights, now white with national tents: in front and beneath, the Potomac and Shenandoah, flowing majestically together, consolidating their energies, as it were, for cutting a channel through the lofty mountain range. Close by the bank of the latter is “Jefferson's Rock," where that eminent statesman was wont to retire for meditation and reflection. In the rear the pastoral lowlands of the Shenandoah stretch out as far as the eye can reach, rich in cereals of every growth and variety. Of the thirty-two hundred inhabitants before the war, less than seven hundred now remain. With but few exceptions, these are Unionists, and, if we are to believe their declarations, have been so from the first. Fully one half the houses are vacant, their secession owners having decamped, and, being considered common property by the soldiers, many of them have been stripped of doors, windows, and other wood-work, suitable for camp-tables, stools, firewood, &c. Harper's Ferry is indeed a sad and striking commentary upon the rebellion.

HAGERSTOWN.

207

CHAPTER XXIII.

Hagerstown.- Martinsburg.— A New Campaign.— Return of

Colonel Taylor.- Crossing the river at Berlin. — Appearance of the Country.-Loyal Quakers.— Removal of General McClel. lan.- His Farewell Address.— Causes of his Popularity.

SATURDAY, October 11th, the Thirty-third left the vicinity of Bakersville and encamped near Hagerstown, which is a thriving village of some four thousand inhabitants. It is the county-seat of Washington County, Maryland, which has sent 1,600 men to the war. The Herald and Torch, a staunch Union paper, is published here, and the people, with but few exceptions, are thoroughly loyal. During the first year of the rebellion a secession sheet was issued, but the people becoming exasperated, compelled the editor to remove to Dixie. When General Lee occupied the place a few weeks since, he returned and coolly taking possession of the Torch Office, resurrected his paper. He was, of course, obliged to retire with the rebel army.

One of the most noticeable features of the place was the numerous bevies of fair maidens, who, in accordance with the southern habit, sallied out, after tea, without shawls or bonnets, on moonlight

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walks. These rambles gave rise to many pleasant acquaintances, at least on the part of the soldiers.

There is a daily stage running from Hagerstown to Williamsport and Martinsburg, two other thoroughly loyal places. Martinsburg is situated on the Virginia side, thirteen miles back from the Potomac. When the vote on the ordinance of secession was taken, it gave an overwhelming Union majority, though rebel bayonets were bristling at the polls. Through all the vicissitudes of this unhappy struggle, the people have remained true to their first faith.

On the same day that the Regiment reached its new encampment, General Stuart started on his famous detour round our lines, and Lieutenant-Colonel Corning was despatched with the Thirty-third and Seventy-seventh New York, and two pieces of artillery, to the Cavetown Turnpike bridge. His instructions were to watch vigilantly for the rebel cavalry, and intercept any of them who might return that way from Chambersburg, where they had gone. But, instead of taking the backward track, Stuart kept on round our army, and passing by Frederick, crossed back into Virginia near Edward's Ferry. This was considered a wonderful feat at the time, but has since been cast into the shade by the operations of General Stoneman.

Saturday, October 18th, the Third Brigade passed through Hagerstown, and arrived at Clear Spring on the following morning. The Thirty-third was immediately stationed along the Potomac to guard

ADVANCE INTO VIRGINIA.

209

Nolan's Ferry, Dam No. 5, the “Fiddle-String,” and various other points on the river and canal. The weather now began to grow cold, and a northeast wind blew much of the time, which occasioned some discomfort to those who were not provided with tents.

On the 27th, the Regiment again proceeded on picket for three days, during which time a company of Maryland cavalry forded the river, and, surprising the rebel pickets, captured several of them.

Six weeks had how elapsed since the battle of Antietam, during which time our army had been posted along the Potomac for the distance of twenty miles or more, guarding the various fords and recuperating their energies for another campaign. The rebels, in the meantime, having harvested all the rich cereals of the Shenandoah Valley, and destroyed the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, began to fall back to the interior of the State. This retrograde movement commenced during the third week of October. General McClellan immediately detected it, and prepared for an advance. Instead of following directly after the enemy, he decided upon marching down the Loudon Valley, lying parallel with the Shenandoah, and separated from it by the Blue Ridge; the army to proceed in two columns, one, consisting of the troops around Harper's Ferry, to march along the southern base of the Blue Ridge; the other, comprising those about Williamsport, Sharpsburg, and in Pleasant Valley, to cross the river at Berlin, and pursuing the various turnpikes, 210.

RETURN OF COLONEL TAYLOR.

unite with the first in the vicinity of Warrenton, about forty miles from the Potomac.

Friday, October 24th, a detachment of the Fiftieth New York, Engineers, under Major Spaulding, was sent to Berlin, six miles below Harper's Ferry, and constructed a bridge 1,500 feet long, consisting of sixty pontoons. On the following Tuesday, October 28th, General Franklin's Corps received marching orders. The next day the Third Brigade took up the line of march, and was joined at Shafer's farm, on Thursday, by the Thirty-third, which had returned from picket duty. Proceeding through Boonsboro and Turner's Gap, the Regiment reached Berlin on Saturday, where it was joined by Colonel Taylor and Lieutenant Corning, returned from recruiting service. Colonel Taylor had been very successful in his labors, having secured more than two hundred new men, who were sent on at Hagerstown.

Troops were converging at this point from all directions, waiting for their turn to cross over into Dixie, and long trains of ammunition and supplies extended back into the country for miles. At sunset, on the evening of the 2d of November, the army commenced crossing. The crescent moon shone brightly over the heights of Loudon, and, seemingly far up in the heavens, a red signal light glimmered on the summit of the neighboring mountain. Scattered along the Maryland hillsides for miles, were camp fires, lighting up the picturesque scenery and shimmering on the clear and sparkling waters

along th of the neighbonal light glim

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