« 上一頁繼續 »
THE ROANOKE ESTATE,
in a beautiful grove near Catlett's Station. The men were in fine spirits, and moved rapidly over the good roads, inspired with the hope that they were now going to Richmond without fail.
The first day's march presented nothing worthy of interest, unless it was the worn-out and ruined plantations which were seen on every side. Upon halting at one we found the mansion, situated back from the road, entirely deserted. Windows, doors, and everything of a combustible nature, had disappeared from the once splendid dwelling. Near by were a number of rude log huts, occupied by negroes. A bevy of children sallied out to inspect us as we rode up, betraying all that eager curiosity peculiar to the African race. They, together with a few helpless old men and women, were the sole occu-. pants of the place. From them we learned that it belonged to a second cousin of John Randolph of Roanoke, who had died a few weeks before, and was buried beneath a tall oak in front of the mansion. The widow had gone to Fredericksburg, taking with her what effects she could.
Monday morning the reveille was sounded very early, and by six o'clock the Regiment was on its way. The march lay through a country more barren and desolate, if possible, than that north of Warrenton, presenting the worst features of a slave region. “Snatching” and “jayhawking" continued to be the order of the day, as when in the Loudon Valley. “How are you, Stuart?” “I believe this horse came from Pennsylvania;” “This is a Maryland pig;" were
REBEL FARMERS IN TROUBLE.
among the oft repeated responses made to the rebel farmers, who expostulated with the boys for making way with their animals. Very little satisfaction could be obtained from the “invaders.” War the
A Virginia Sowing Machine. Virginians wanted, and war they should now have to their hearts' content. After a march of fourteen miles, we bivouacked near the mouth of Acquia Creek.
Tuesday we proceeded about fourteen miles further, and encamped near Stafford Court House, between the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers, about ten miles from the latter.
The right and centre Divisions had now arrived in the vicinity of Falmouth, but no pontoons greeted the eye of Gen. Burnside. The Washington authorities had neglected to forward these essentials for crossing the river, and the rapid and successful marching had been to no purpose. In a day or two more the enemy would be on hand, fortifying the Fredericksburg Heights, and resisting our passage. LOCATION OF THE VARIOUS CORPS.
How great must have been the Commanding General's disappointment and anger at this phase of affairs ! All his plans foiled; the whole campaign a failure; simply because some one had “forgotten to give the order” for forwarding a few pontoons.
The Second, Third, Fifth and Ninth Corps encamped near the river. The Sixth remained near Stafford Court House, and the First, pushing on to Brooks' Station, was stretched along the Fredericksburg and Acquia railroad, upon which repairs were immediately commenced. Generals Franklin and Smith, who were boon companions, and nearly always together, located their headquarters in a grove close by the village of Stafford, which presented a scene of utter ruin. Dwellings, formerly occupied by the better class, were deserted, and the surrounding negro huts consumed, timber by timber, in the camp fires of the Union soldiers. Our troops had occupied the place during the previous spring. The once neat Court House stood by the road side, a striking monument to treason and rebellion. Deprived of its white picket fence, stripped of window blinds, benches and doors, walls defaced by various hieroglyphics, the judge's bench a target for the expectorating Yankee, the circular enclosure for the jury besmeared with mud, and valuable documents lying about the floor; it was indeed a sad picture of what an infatuated people will bring upon themselves. In one corner of the yard stood a House of Records, in which had been filed all the important documents belonging to the county for a
century. But they now lay scattered upon the floor around the steps, and in the door yard, to the depth of fifteen inches or more. It is impossible to esti
Warwick Court-House, near Youngs' Mills, Virginia. mate the inconvenience and loss which will follow this wholesale destruction of deeds, claims, mortgages, &c.
The jail, across the way from the Court House, where many a poor fugitive had doubtless languished in chains for striking out for freedom, was converted into a guard-house. Peeping through the iron grates of the windows, were to be seen the bilious countenances of several culprits, who, may be, were atoning for having invaded a hen roost or bagged an unsuspecting pig.
Colonel Taylor's men took up position on a
PREPARING COMFORTABLE QUARTERS.
woody crest, and immediately commenced felling trees, pitching tents, building camp fires, and making themselves comfortable generally. The constant ringing of numerous axes and crashing of falling trees all around us, recalled memories of other days, and it was difficult to realize that we were not in a western log clearing. Indeed, the army of “invaders” have accomplished for Virginia what her indolent population have failed to do, cleared up the woodlands, and let the sunlight into many a hitherto cheerless and unhealthy spot.
The boys, as if prescient of coming delay and ease, soon began to construct elaborate log huts, which afforded a much more comfortable shelter than the thin, airy tents. Foraging parties scoured the surrounding country daily, and returned at night loaded down with eatables of every description. What confederate money (of which we had an abundance) would not buy, was “confiscated.” These expeditions were greatly enjoyed by those participating in them. Roving through woods and fields, from one farm house to another, they made numerous acquaintances, and learned everything of interest pertaining to the locality.
On one occasion a party halted at an obscure hovel for a drink of water. On entering we found the only occupant to be a superannuated negress, who, as she expressed it, having become“ too old a critter to do nothing, had been turned out here to die."
Further conversation disclosed the fact that she had belonged to James Ashby, a brother of the