LETTERS TO THE VINCENNES SUN
PROCK'S LETTERS FROM THE VALLEY OF VIRGINIA
Army of Occupation Camp, 14th Ind. Reg., Vol., at
Philippi, Va., Monday Dec. 9, 1861.
[Friend Greene:] Wednesday morning at nine o'clock 'we were ordered to pack knapsacks, shoulder arms, and march for this place without delay-Companies A, B, and C, left two days before. By eleven o'clock the detachmen-seven companies-under the command of Captain Owens, was on The road-the boys in fine spirits, the day a fine one, and the pike frozen hard. "Ye reached Beverly at sundown, marched through and encamped one mile west of the town, in an open field. Huge fires of well seasoned rails, were soon blazing brightly, and those who did not immediately betake themselves to broiling slices of pork, making coffee, &C., 'deployed' for supper elsewhere. Surrounding farmhouses were filled with hungry soldiers, willing and anxious to 'come down' with a quarter for a warn meal. Your correspondent having disposed of a 'rasher' of bacon and destroyed nearly a pound of crackers, became exceedingly dry, and returned to town with one of Co. G.'s Sergeants (whose first name I forget) for a glass of lager, or something else. None to be obtained but learned that there was an excellent article of corn-juice at the Union Hotel, one mile on the road to Rich Mountain. Repaired thither-the old pickled sardine calling himself a landlord had only a barrel left, and because it was not tapped refused to comfort us. Come to town and to camp; half a mile the other side at a hotel known as the 'Beverly House', kept by one Russel, we obtained an excellent supper at 10' P.M. Your correspondent spread himself on the dining table and with a catridge-box for a pillow slept soundly till daylight.
The second day we marched at sunrise-a few of us making 20 miles over The roughest of rough roads on Laurel hill, more like a mountain than any hill I ever saw. The sesesh entrenchinents on the west side are extensive and must have presented, before destroyed by our troops, a very formidable appearance. An old man where I took dinner told me several of our Union balls passed close to his house, around which the sesesh were encamped and the song they sung was anything but pleasant to him. We reached The town of Bealington at 1, P.M., which reminded me of Westport. The 'pictur' maker for Frank Leslie must have been under the influence of some spirit that caused him to see double and more too!' We were quartered the second night with a country cobbler- I am partial to cobblers. A 'baker's dozen' of us occupied a room up-stairs and had to make our beds on the floor, as there was only one bed in The room, which we used for a pillow. Said knight of the awl and lapstone was very religious and requested us to 'resist from plain keerds, and oblige hym;' this request was made in 'ritin' and sent up by his sun jeems.' The boys complied, with the request and 'resisted' but next morning treated him to a manual of arms that made the old hoop-pole shanty quiver. His white-haired, pink-eyed daughter remarked, as we rallied on the grub piles at breakfast, 'you fellers all looks alike to me;' I am uncertain whether it was intended as a compliment or not.
The third day the regiment had become pretty well scattered, from Beverly to Philippi, on account of the condition of the pike &C., a squad of fast ones (those that could walk fast being at least a day's march ahead of The main body). Toward night enquired where good quarters could be obtained-were directed to the house of one Williams, about a mile off the pike-proceeded thither and spent a holiday, regular 4th July, from 9, p.m. Friday till sunrise Satnrday morning, when we marched into town in good order; and here we are all together once more and none the worse for our long march. The regiment is housed-Cos. D and C. in the Court House, and other companies in hotels and private houses, that were deserted by their owners.
I presume The 14th will remain this winter in Philippi.
Coal is abundant at five cents per bushel delivered-the supply of pies equal to The demand, at ten cents a piece. while in Huttonville those that indulged in the luxury had to fork over a quarter. The way the 14th slay pies is a caution to bakers. It is no uncommon sight to see a soldier just off guard, a pie under each arm, one on his bayonet, and another in his fist, with a half moon cut in it.
Orderly Van Lyke, Serg't Jackson, and mysdf, succeeded in securing boarding before the rush came, and row have a sure thing for prpcuring grub done up in style.
Lieut. Patterson came in today-footed it all the way from Huttonville, as did the Captain both have been ill with camp fever.
Sergeant-Major Bailey was left behind at the Hospital; he is recovering slowly.
I expect the ancient and honorable order of 'Eclampsis' will be revived here this winter and several valuable accessions made to The brother-hood. 'It is well.'
Thanks to Postmaster Willis, of Bruceville [Indiana], for favors.
Sergeant Coleman is on guard to-day-chestnuts and pies will suffer. Corporal D'Ewald has engagements to teach The several young ladies of Philippi, music on the piano-lucky man! The Corporal has entirely recovered from his wound, received in The skirmish of the 12th September, on Cheat Mountain,
"Down in The wood-shed," PROCK.
Army of Occupation Camp, 14th md., Beg. Vol.,
at Philippi, Va., Monday, Dec.17, 1861.
Friend Greene: We leave for Romney to-rnorrow morning at 8 o'clock; or for Webster at least, and our destination is reported to be Romney.
Since our advent here, The weather has been delightful-the 14th had just succeeded in making themselves comfortable, when the order came to march immediately with three day's rations. Cheerfully and with alacrity will that command be obeyed by both officers and men-one and all are anxious to see active service again and obtain a glimpse or more of 'Sesesh.'
The rebels captured in the late fight at Green Bank, on Greenbrier river, reached here last night and left for Columbus, Ohio, this morning.
Lieutenant Matthew N. Green, of Co. B. (0. P. Guards,) captured nine sesesh the other day, some 12 miles from here.
The health of the regiment is good-better than it has been at any time since we left Cheat Mountain Summit.
The 'Invincibles' are under the immediate command of Lieutenant W. N. Denny, Captain Coons not having as yet entirely recovered from his attack of camp fever.
Lieutenant Patterson will probably be able to march to Webster to-morrow, though he is still quite weak. All members of Co, 0. are 0. K., and ready to 'fall in' at a moments notice. PROCK.
P.S. what is John Tucker driving at now? P.
Army of Occupation Camp, 14th Ind. Reg. Vol., at Romney,
Va., Christmas Eve., Dec.24, 1861.
Friend G: The 14th left Philippi at 11 A. M. Thursday and reached Webster at sundown-the road almost impassable. Fortunately wagons "were furnished to transport knapsacks, and the march consequenfly was not so fatiguing as it otherwise would have been. When the regiment hove in sight of the rail-road track, along came a train-the first we bad seen of the iron horse for six months and a half, to a day. A loud cheer burst from our boys, answered by the waving of hats and handkerchiefs from passengers and others on the train. Boarded the cars at 10, P, M., and were off. 'Twas a clear, cool moonlight night, and the sublime scenery along the route induced your correspondent to keep his peepers open till midnight, when, scenery or no scenery, he determined to 'fall in' on the floor amongst the straw-did so and slept soundly till the train stopped at Piedmont at 7 A. M. P. is quite a large town, with many substantial buildings. Like most towns in Western Virginia, it is surrounded by a cordon of high, hold bluffabere the hungry ones speedily 'deployed' for grub, and soon returned loaded with apples, oysters, cakes, sausage, and any amount of pies. Off again-passed some magnificient country residences; the lady occupants at most of them appeared, "waved their handkerchiefs, and were answered by hurrahs from the 14th. At one o'clock 'steamed' into Cumberland, Md. This is a large, well-built and truly beautiful city and the location a most delightful one. Saw a great many pretty women here-'birds eye views' only. Fresh supplies of sausage, pies, &c., were obtained- also several canteens of the ardent smuggled aboard. The Orderly and I dived into a saloon and obtained a 'few' lager, resembling in taste an article we used to obtain in the Old Post called beer-succeeded in disposing of half a dozen' very readily.
At 4 P. M., reached Green Spring Station-disembarked and prepared supper. Good fresh bread and excellent shoulder meat was served out. Fresh oysters were abundant and cheap, and the meal was perhaps the most palatable one the 14th had enjoyed since leaving Muncietown, Ind.
At 9 o'clock next evening we were on the march for Romney, over an excellent road. We found the entire route 16 miles, picketed. Marched over a wire bridge at 3 P. M. stretched across the south branch of the Potomac. The scenery in this immediate vicinity was beautiful beyond description. After crossing, our route lay along the banks of the stream-at one place we passed the 'banging rock, as it is called-a perpendicular rock fully 150 feet high and a quarter of a mile in extent; pickets were posted on the top-a tall look out, that.
Entered Romney at 7 P. M. The 5th Ohio welcomed us in a manner never to be forgotten by the 14th. After cheering us heartily, the cry arose-'who stole your goose?' 'Twas promptly answered~'those infernal thieves, the 32nd Ohio' The 5th then notified us that they had prepared coffee, &C., for our regiment and invited the 14th, as soon as quartered, to come down and share their hospitality, which invitation was accepted with the same generous spirit in which 'twas givert and soon the 14th were marching by companions towards the quarters of the gallant 5th, where we were received with most cordial and friendly greetings and done justice to the 'soldier's fare' so generously prepared by our Ohio comrades. The 5th was the best armed and equiped regiment I have yet seen; they are provided with the 'Saxony rifle', nearly an inch in The bore-range 1000 yards.
In the course of a week or so we shall obtain tents and not have to sleep huddled up like sheep in a pen as we do now. Fifty-two men for picket guard from the 14th daily,-looks like war again. The boys are in excellent spirits and all anxious for a sight at the sesesh once more.
Romney reminds me of Petersburg, Ind., though the surrounding country is far more picturesque. The l4th is at home here-meet old acquaintances-all glad to see us every day.
Capt. Daum is here with his battery-the same that was 'with us on Cheat Mountain Summit so long. All the regiments except ours are en-camped in tents; we are quartered in houses.
The 13th Indiana, I understand, is to be here soon.
No Christmas for us this year-however we wish a merry one and Happy New Year to those at home. PROCK.
Army of Occupation, "Camp Keys," Romney, Va.,
January 8, 1862,
Friend Greene: Portions of each regiment encamped here marched yesterday, with one day's rations, to attack the enemy at Blue Gap, six-teen miles east on the Winchester road. Left Romney at 1 o'clock A. M.-morning bitter cold, wind blowing fiercely from the west 'with occasional flights of snow. The 4Th and 5th Ohio, with Daum's battery, in advance of us-the 7th Ohio and 1st Virginia bringing up the rear, while The Ringgold cavalry and a part of Howard's battery of rifled cannon were in advance of all. Two hours' steady marching and we had passed the extreme out-posts and seven mfles on our way towards ye Gap [Blue Gap]. Were halted frequently to rest-the boys would throw themselves down on the snow-covered hill sides, and many fall asleep crc the word came "fall in," At 7 o'dock we reached the top of a high hill, from which the country was visible for miles around. In front was a broad valley, a small river running through it. Our "advance" drawn up on the west bank near a small bridg-three rifled cannon were in posiflon near us commanding the bridge, while Capt Daum with five brass six-pounders had chosen a position in the valley.
The right wing of The 14th was left here to protect The artillery, while the remainder descended the east side of the hill on "double quick." Before we reached the stream, the 4th and 5th Ohio, deployed as skirmishers to the right and left of the pike, had commenced popping away merrily at the sesesh, now plainly visible, posted behind a breast work on the right of the road half a mile from the stream and directly oppositct the Gap. The Buckeye [Ohio] skirmishers advanced steadily, keeping up a constant fire; The 14th cheered and our "double quick" quickened to a run over the narrow bridge.
We 'went up to within a hundred yards of the Gap, when we were ordered to "flank to the right" up The mountain, and the 7th Ohio moved to the front. Just as The 14th had succeeded in obtaining a foot hold on The steep ascent and the 7th were about entering the Gorge, out came a horseman (Col. of the 4th, I think) at full speed shouting, "The rebels are retreating! Cavalry forward!" The 7th immediately "opened ranks;' and in less time that it takes to write it, The Ringgold boys, headed by a Lieutenant, flourishing their sabres with a wild hurrah charged up the pike into the sesesh camp-through it, and never pulled rein till they had chased the rebels for five miles on the road to Winchester, and compelled them to seek safety by clambering up the mountain sides- where 'twas impossible for horsemen to follow.
I wish the folks at home could have witnessed that charge and heard the loud and prolonged cheers that arose from the infantry as the gallant horsemen rushed irresitably through the narrow defile.
Having climbed the mountain, the 14th descended into the rebel camp without exchanging a shot with the enemy.
The Buckeye boys had rifled and fired the tents and "winter guarters;" also a large mill in which were the rebel commissary stores, fifty bushels of wheat, a lot of muskets, and a small quantity of ammunition.Two pieces of cannon were captured-a ten-pounder (rifled) and one six-pounden Some fine horses were also taken, attached to the guns.
Sitting on a pine stump to rest and eat my breakfast1 I caught sight of two dead rebels lying a few yards off-one a large man, shot through the head-hole big enough to put your fist through; while the other's head was divided by a sabre stroke.
Having destroyed the camp and a large house and barn near the bridge, our forces formed and took up their line of march for Romney,I, and an amusing sight it was. Here a squad of infantry, with a knapsack or two each-strings of sausage, lengths of stove pipe, bed quilts, brooms, buckets full of honey, extra guns, chickens, turkies, loaves of bread, and other articles too numerous to mention. I saw the skeletons of two female sesesh (i. e., their hoops) dangling from the bayonet of a wild looking volunteer.
I noticed one of the cavalry had an extra large share of the "spoils of war"-a large turkey and half a dozen chickens hung from his saddle- bow, while a feather bed, three different colored blankets, a broom, a skillet and a goose were fastened on behind.
The march back home was a tedious and toilsome one for the footmen. Order and discipline were forgotten, and the boys got along as best they could, each on his own hook.
Sergeant-Major Bailey has rejoined the regiment, and though still quite weak has resumed his duties.
Our friend the "Governor" told me this morning he had procured a discharge on account of disability. Am exceedingly sorry to have him go, but he is constitutionally totally unfit to endure the hardships of a soldier's life in the camp and field.4 P. M.-"All quiet on the Potomac."
Truly yours, PROCK
Army of Occupation, Camp North Branch Bridge, Baltimore and
Ohio R. R., Maryland, Jan.15, 1862.
Friend Greene: The regiment left Romney on Friday night, as did all the Union forces encamped there. Your correspondent was on the advance post picket guard with ten men, seven miles and a half from Romney, on the Morefield pike. At dark a cavalryman came galloping up and notified us that the forces were in motion moving Westward, and delivered the order for the pickets to be all drawn in and follow their respective regiments immediately. We reached town at 9 o'clock and found it evacuated by all our troops except the six companies of cavalry who were to act as rear guard-pbshed on through mud and slush-night dark and stormy. The 14th boys are walkers, and although the regiment had the advantage of three or four hours start, by 3 A. If. we had caught up with them.
I partook of a very light breakfast at Springfield about sunrise, towit: the last cracker in my haver-sack. Here we took the road to Patterson's Creek Station, and at 8 o'clock halted for the night and encamped in a meadow. Not a dry spot visible on which to spread our blankets-had none myself, as all the guards' knapsacks and "traps" had been sent to Cumberland. We had nothing to eat, and those that were without their blankets stood in the water around our bivouac fires, smoking (thank fortune we do not have to depend on sutler or quarter-master for tobacco), and swearing not a little till morning, when the regiment marched down the railroad track to this place.
Camped first right in the open air; next day received our new tents (Sibley pattern), and the day following our stoves. Tents and stoves were hailed with delight by our boys-we feel that we are once more at home. Five tents to a company, supposed to furnish ample room for twenty men each. The stoves render them comfortable, and in fact better quarters no soldiers would ask for.
We are six miles east of Cumberland, Md., and belong to the first division, which is composed of the 13th and 14th Indiana, 7th Virginia and 84th Pennsylvania, regiments, under The immediate command of Col. Nathan Kimball.
The weather for the past few days has been exceedingly cold, with almost a constant fall of sleet and snow.
Our Sutler has "played out," I fancy, as we have seen nothing of that individual for some two months. 'Twould perhaps be a fine thing for the regiment if 'twas so, as these gentlemen sutlers skin [overcharge] The soldiers unmercifully.
Captain Coons has gone to Cumberland, and will send a "telegram" to the Old Post for those boxes of goods. Many of our boys are greatly in need of the articles contained therein, having lost considerable clothing on recent forced marches.
The health of Company G. is good-all the sick in our regiment are immediately sent to Cumberland where there is a large and comfortable hospital.
What occasioned the retrograde movement of the army I can't say-am thankful to be delivered from the cramped and dirty quarters and most miserable water that sesesh town of Romney afforded.
Is there much doing in the commission and forwarding business'. Wonder if the new firm of C. & K., since they got their hand (and foot) in, have undertaken the job of forwarding the "What is It?" or "any other man."
We are looking anxiously for Captain Cash, as the entire regiment is about "strapped." Hope we may not march from here till he comes.
Yours truly, FROCK.
Army of Occupation, Camp of the 14th Indiana Volunteers,
Baltimore and Ohio R. R., Va., Feb.13, 1862.>/p>
Friend Greene: The 14th has been on the move so much of late that your correspondent could find no time to write.
Wednesday night at eleven o'clock we boarded the cars and steaured down the road twenty-two miles. About daylight the train halted and the regiment disembarked, built fires along the side of the raflroad track, and thawed out our benumbed and stiffened limbs, the ride in open boxcars having cramped us up considerably, and more, too.
Grub being scarce, the boys obtained leave to knock over anything in the eating live that was to be found on its legs within range. A general deploy for fresh rations took place imtnediately-and sheep, "slow deer" (parkers), rabbits) ducks, geese, &C., were made to suffer that day.
The pickets of 110th Pennsylvania ("Tom Thumb regiment") became frightened at the noise made by the hunters' guns, and ran in, thinking the sesesh were about. During Thursday and the night following the regiments poured in on every train. The old l3th Indiana came along, and was received with a tremendous yell by our boys. No two regiments in the service think more of each other than the 13th and 14th Indiana.
Friday about noon these two were formed in line, "piled" into the cars, and moved down to this place, where we arrived about 2 P. M. Having formed line of battle and loaded our guns, took a scout of a few miles out on the pike leading to Winchester, some 40 miles distant-saw no sesesh, and no "sign." About faced, marched back and into the cam again, when we received the order to disembark-did so and bivoucked or the spot. A large pile of pine lumber, two stacks of hay, and a huge rick of straw vanished in a jiffy.
After routhing it for three nights, and cold ones, too, we are once more at home, that is under our canvass coverings, and comfortable.
The R. H. Tunnel at this place is a short one-only some 300 feet. Our pickets extend for 10 miles eastward on the R. R.
Lient. Denny with a section of Co. "G." went out on picket guard last night. As the fellow said by his chickens, I can only say there is "a right smart chance" of us here.
We are sadly behind in the news line-know nothing of what is gomg on in America.
I see by the papers that several soldiers, formerly of the 14th, who are said to have been "through the campaign in Western Virginia," are recruiting for other regiments. The through meant I suppose to the tune of-
"Hey Jim a 'long,
Jim a 'long Josey,"-
our regimental "sick call."
Whilst at Camp North Branch Bridge Companies B. and G. received a full supply of under-clothing, mittens, tippets, &c.; Likewise, a "heaps of goodies" and something stronger than water-for all of which the members of the two companies are extremely thankful, no doubt; one that I know of is, at all events. Where will those that have no friends in this world go to in the next?
12 o'clock-orders to prepare two days' rations and march at 1
Army of Occupation, Camp of the 14th Indiana Volunteers
Baltimore and Ohio R. R., Va., Feb.17, 1862,
Friend Greene: It is forty-one miles from here to Winchester. The pike runs southeast for fifteen miles, then "obliques" to the left and pursues a due east course through a gap in the mountains known as Bloomery. There was supposed to be a force of some four or five thousand rebels, strongly fortified and entrenched at this place, and on the evening of the 13th inst. a portion of the forces encamped here marched (at precisely,4 o'clock) to dislodge them.
The 14th followed The pike four miles, then "filed left," taking a country road hardly wide enough for two men to walk abreast. After a tedious and toilsome march of six hours, we halted to rest in a deep valley-built fires and lay on our arms for a couple of hours, till a bridge of wagons, covered with loose plank, was completed over a branch of the Capon. By one o'clock A. M. we were safely over and pushing ahead at "quick time" over the steep and slippery, snow-covered mountain. Daylight found us in sight and in the rear of ye Gap, every gun loaded and capped and the boys all eager for a fight.
Some three hundred cavalry accompanied the expedition, and were the advance guard. They returned here with information that no rebels nor sign of rebels or fortifications were to be found in the Gap, and the disappointed infantry were about to "stack arms" and prepare breakfast, when some lynx-eyed cavalryman discovered a sesesh taking observations in another direction than the one in which 'twas expected the enemy would appear. The horsemen were put in motion and charged up the pike, followed by the 14th at "double quick." The road was muddy-the mud as stiff as well worked moLar. We were weary with a night's hard tramp and encumbered with overcoats, blankets, grub, &c., so the riders were soon out of sight and into the squad of some three hundred sesesh militia, who scattered to the four winds after firing one ineffectual volley.
The cavalry took some forty prisoners, amongst them a Colonel, two Captains, and two Lieutenants. Several rebels were sent "over Jordan."
Our horsemen then pushed on up the pike to capture some twelve or fifteen wagons, loaded with commissary stores, small arms, ammunition, &C. They had surrounded The wagons and turned them, when about fifty shots were fired into them from off a high iand inaccessable bluff, killing two and mortally wounding a third.
Before the 14th could reach the spot the rebels were again on a fun run for Winchester, twenty miles distant. Our boys started (with 89 rounds) at "double quick" through the mud, with three hundred horsemen ahead, to keep the game most effectually scared and entirely out of range. Your correspondent thought it did not pay; so, after trying it on for a mile, came down to "slow time," and took items:-old man, about seventy, standing in a meadow a short distance from the pike, surrounded by a squad of the l4th who were questioning him. Exasperated cavalry-man comes dashing back, leading the horse of his comrade who had just been killed-saddle and horse covered with blood. "Stand away, boys, and let me shoot the d-d old rebel." But the squad stood fast and the old man's life was spared.
A little boy was crying as though his very heart was broken. "Oh! They have killed my brother, and they are going to kill father, too!" His brother, like all these 'bush-whackers," had fired on our men and then undertook to save his cowardly life by throwing away his gun and running into a house, but an Enfield bullet had overtaken him in his flight.
Two women, the wife and mother of a sesesh Captain of bushwhackers, were filling the air with their cries of despair and grief over his body-refusing to surrender his weapons when twice called upon to do so. A cavalryman had nearly severed him in twain by a blow from his sabre.
Corporal Thomas B. Thompson, of the "Invincibles," and one of The "Tiger Tail Mess," discovered a sesesh hid under a brush pile lying in a stream of water, and nearly frozen-made him "come to Limerick" and show where his gun was concealed.
Some dozen barrels of flour, a large lot of corn, besides rice, coffee, sugar, molasses and whisky were discovered.
The prisoners taken were "flush"-pockets full of rebel scrip, mostly twenty-five cent shinplasters, payable at Winchester. It seems there had been quite a force at this place until lately-the men having been paid -off (?) All those whose term of enlistment expired had gone home, and the small force remaining fearing an attack, were preparing to ]eave for Winchester when our boys appeared and routed them.
A corps of sharpshooters, Massachusetts men, with heavy rifles weighing form [from] 25 to 60 pounds and telescope sights, were out with us, but never got a shot.
Altogether this was the "toughest and roughest" scout our regiment ever took.
Johnny Kelley, the smallest man and hardest "knut" in the 14th, captored a Harper's Ferry breach-loading rifle.
Joe Roseman has a Mississippi rifle.
The boys all had the "dead loads" of honey, molasses, other sweet things, and eatables, and though tired out and foot-sore, arrived in camp in the best of spirits.
The 4th Ohio boys scouting on another road captured a large rebel flag manufactured of The finest silk.
Hope the Governor will enjoy his furlough.
Mail just to hand. Letter for me from "Kizer." Bully!
John G. Burrill is with us again.
Am sleepy-was on guard all last right. It is raining, hailing, snowing, blowing, and there is no telling when you will hear again from
Camp of the 14th Indiana Volunteers, Martinsburg, Va.,
March 10, 1862.
Friend Greene: Since I last wrote you many changes have taken place.
We were called out one cold, stormy day (Monday, 3d,) to pay our last respeets to the remains of the brave General Lander. The ceremonies were very imposing, and the display a splendid one to lookers on-but three hours under arms was rather tough on us.
Wednesday, 5th inst., struck tents at 10 A. M., during a driving snow storm-marched aboard the cars, and at 4 P. M. were en-route for this city. Holes were knocked in the top of ony railroad quarters-stoves put up, and the l4th passed a comfortable night on the train. Breakfasted at 7 A. M., fifty miles from our late camp at Paw Paw Tunnel. As the trains ran no further than Back Creek Station, on account of the bridge being destroyed and the track completely ripped up, we were compelled to foot it up the railroad track to North Mountain Station, five miles. Here the stars and stripes were flying, and a squad of pretty girls stood on the platform to receive the gallant Hoosiers; An American eagle in a large cage seemed to think his deliverers had come, by the way he flew around. On the flag flying over the cage was inscribed: "Presented by the ladies to the Hedgesville Blues"-and thereby hangs a tale, but 'tis too long for me to relate here.
Having halted long enough to make a cup of coffee, we again pushed on leaving the railroad track, and taking the road to Hedgesville, a small town of perhaps four hundred inhabitants-all sesesh, I fancy, for I saw no Union bunting flying.
As we marched through, the face of the country entirely changed here-large farms, hundreds of acres of cleared land, resembling a vast prairie-stone fences for miles and miles-splendid country residences- hills taking the place of the huge mountains we have never been out of sight of for seven months-heavy oak timber instead of the everlasting pine and cedar-and everything in fact presenting an appearance of a fertile, rich and populous country, instead of the barren wastes, with here and there a cabin, that have heretofore met our eyes.
The road was ankle deep in mud and no chance for dodging it-so, by the time the regiment struck the pike, leading from Hagerstown to Winchester, some 8 miles west of this city [Martinsburg], we were weary and fatigued; but the smooth, hard pike and close proximity to our journey's end for the night, revived us and a quick step brought us into this sesesh town by 10 P.M. Vacant buildings were soon filled with tired soldiers, and your correspondent, after half an hour's "deploy" to see all that was visible by the fast waning moon-light, turned in and slept as only a tired soldier can sleep.
The rebels have left their mark here-forty-four locomotives stand on the tracks here-all a perfect wreck; a fine bridge, some 300 feet long, built on sixteen stone pillars, formerly a splendid structure, is now a heap of rubbish; two or three miles out of the city on the railroad track there is a deep run completely filled with demolished locomotives, passenger and other cars; the workshops have been stripped of all Their tools and machinery, and the wonder is that They, too, were not destroyed- even the turn-tables are all gone. It would be gratifying to see the fiends that accoriplished this wholesale destruction of property hanging from tall gibbets along the line of their operations.
The Union vote in this county (Berkley) was 800. Many fine residences are vacant, and all the churches, halls, and public buildings are occupied by our troops.
King and Queen streets are the two great Thoroughfares, and in fact are the only finished streets in the city. There is a splendid cemetery near town, and occupying the only spot of ground from which a view of the entire place can be obtained. Stone is The principal building material.
Faulkner's residence on Queen street is altogether The most handsome one in the city, and the surroundings exhibit a display of good taste, neatness, and "style" that I have not seen equalled in Virginia.
Gen. Kimball arrived to-day-four days' rations have just been drawn-the l4th will be off again soon, I presume; if not, will send you another batch of Martinsburg items.PROCK
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