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226 THE ASHBY FAMILY.
deceased famous General of that name. She related much that was of interest concerning the Ashby family. There were three brothers of them—James, Turner and Richard (commonly known as Dick)— raised in the vicinity of Front Royal, and all now in their graves. James, who was her master, moved to this vicinity when a young man, acquired a large estate, and died February, 1861. Turner, the General, who, when a young man, was admired by every one for his manly bearing, and in later years for his chivalric deeds, was killed at the battle of CrossKeys. Dick, the remaining and youngest brother, was shot in a skirmish, just prior to the last battle of Bull Run.
After the death of her master, the younger slaves were sent South and sold. "Though I hab raised," she said, "nineteen children to manhood (eleven sons among the number), all of whom hab been torn away from me, and hab worked hard all my life for massa, his heirs wouldn't let me stay in the house, but sent me here, with a little hog and hominy, to die alone." Three times she had herself hoed the little patch of corn in front of the hut, and gathered and husked it. On our inquiring if she was "Union," she replied, "I'se partial to Yankees, but some of dem is mighty rogues. Dem ar low class people among dem steal all my things. Two came along last week and showed me twenty-five cents for some hoe-cake, which I gib dem, and bless you child, when dey come to pay, felt in all de pockets and couldn't find de money; but, God bless you chil'ren, dey Aunt Sophie's Trials. 227
knew all de time where it was. But de Southrons are just as bad."
She recounted, with tears in her eyes, the manner in which her youngest son was dragged away. He had been sick for some time, but when word came that the Union forces were advancing, they tied his legs, and placing him in a cart, drove ofF towards Richmond; but he never reached there, having died in the streets of Olean. We left "Aunt Sophie," more convinced than ever that the cruelties and wrongs which grow out of slavery have not been overdrawn.
228 COMPLETION OF THE BAILROAD.
Completion of the Potomac Creek Bridge.—An interesting relic of Virginia Aristocracy.—-General Burnside determines to cross the river.—March of the Sixth Corps.—White-Oak Church.
During the first few days the rations were drawn from Acquia Landing with teams, but heavy rains coming on, the wheeling became terrible. Pioneers were accordingly set to work building corduroy roads, and in a week's time constructed seven miles of them.
On the 28th the bridge over the Potomac Creek, ninety feet in length, was completed, and the cars immediately commenced running, bringing up plenty of supplies of every description. This structure, in addition to numerous other works, had been destroyed during the preceding August, when General Burnside abandoned the region. They had now all to be rebuilt.
The time passed here much in the same manner as in Maryland, the Regiment being employed on picket duty, slashing timber, &c., &c. Occasionally the officers rode over to the front, and viewed General Headquarters, Fredericksburg, and the river scenery, which is very attractive. Our own and the rebel pickets were scattered along the banks of the Rappahannock, almost within speak
CONVERSATION BETWEEN THE PICKET8. 229
ing distance of each other, and frequently indulged in conversation. "You have lost your best man," shouted out a grey-back, one afternoon; "Burnside is played out. We don't care a — for
him." A Ninth New Hampshire boy replied by asking him where they had stolen their blue overcoats. "We took them off the dead Yankees at Antietam. Why didn't you take ours?" "Because they walked off so fast," was the ready reply. Another wanted to know if we had any Bull Run boys with us. "Have you any South Mountain or Antietam boys with you?" retorted one of our pickets. These interviews, which generally partook of a profane character, were afterwards forbidden. The enemy continued to augment their forces daily, throwing up new earth-works every night to the right or left of the city. Their operations were plainly visible from the balloon and signal stations. Nearly opposite the road to the camp of the Thirty-third was an interesting relic of the old-time Aristocracy, concerning which the present race ofl Virginians boast so much, and possess so little." Standing remote and alone in the centre of a dense wood, was an antiquated house of worship, reminding one of the old heathen temples hidden in the recesses of some deep forest, whither the followers after unknown gods were wont to repair for worship, or to consult the oracles. On every side are venerable trees, overtowering its not unpretentious steeple. The structure is built of brick (probably brought from England), in the form of a cross, semi-gothic,
230 AN INTERESTING RELIO.
with entrances on three sides, and was erected in the year 1794. On entering, the first object which attracts the attention, is the variously carved pulpit, about twenty-five feet from the floor, with a winding stair-case leading to it. Beneath are seats for the attendants, who, in accordance with the custom of the old English Episcopacy, waited upon the rector. The floor is of stone, a large cross of granite lying in the centre, where the broad aisles intersect. To the left of this is a square enclosure for the vestrymen, whose names are written on the north wall of the building. The reader, if acquainted with Virginia pedigrees, will recognize in them some of the oldest, and most honored names of the State—Thomas Fitzhugh, John Lee, Peter Hodgman, Moor Doniphan, John Mercer, Henry Tyler, William Mountjoy, John Fitzhugh, and John Peyton. On the south wall are four large tablets, containing Scriptural quotations. Directly beneath is a broad flag-stone, on which is engraved, with letters of gold: "In memory of the House of Moncure." This smacks of royalty. Parallel to it lies a tomb-stone, "Sacred to the memory of William Eobison, the fourth son of H. and E. Moncure, of Windsor Forest; born the 27th of January, 1806, and died 13th of April, 1828, of a pulmonary disease brought on by exposure to the cold climate of Philadelphia, where he had gone to prepare himself for the practice of medicine. Possessed of a mind strong and vigorous, and of a firmness of spirit a stranger to fear, he died mani