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my hotel, and I jumped into the saddle, well equipped from head to foot, full of strength and buoyant in spirits, to ride forward to the field. We trotted out of the city, and across the wooded plain through which runs the Brooke turnpike, passing the extensive fortifications and the long lines of the Confederate army. With the liveliest interest I looked upon these masses of warrior-like men, in their ill-assorted costumes, who had come with alacrity from the Carolinas, from distant Mississippi and yet more distant Texas, from sunny Florida, from fertile Georgia, from Alabama, land of mountain and canebrake, from the regions of Louisiana, to imperil their lives in the defence of their much-loved South, and for the expulsion of the invader from its borders. Brigade after brigade we saw awaiting the summons to the battle which was so soon to come. It was no easy matter to find General Stuart, who, as commanding officer of the outposts, was anywhere along the extended lines, and
ur dead which were lying side by side. I can never forget the sight; I can see them now-one a man of more than fifty, who had been shot through the head, and whose silvery white hair was dabbled in his blood; the other, next to him, a lad of sixteen, whose frank face was lighted up by clustering fair hair, and whose small hands were crossed over his heart, where the enemy's bullet had struck him. Among Jackson's men on the previous day I had looked with astonishment at a soldier from Mississippi--a perfect giant, whose appearance had attracted the more attention from a vest of bear-skin that he wore. Here among the dead I found him again, with a small hole in the breast, which had been sufficient to make an end at once of all his strength and vigour. Many stories had been recited in camp about a tremendous bayonet-fight, hand to hand, during the battle, between our Texans and the New York Zouaves, and it was said that two of these determined antagonists had pierced each othe
g of truce the next day. We pitched our camp in a dense pine-grove near Chantilly, and for the remainder of the night were occupied in drying our drenched garments by the heat of roaring wood-fires. On the morning of the 2d September we were agreeably surprised by the arrival of Hampton's splendid brigade, which had been retained on picket duty on the James, Chickahominy, and Pamunkey rivers, and our loud cheering was heartily responded to by the dashing horsemen of the Carolinas and Mississippi, who had long been anxious to meet the enemy under the lead of the gallant Stuart. As yet they had seen no fighting under his direct orders. Their desire was very speedily to be gratified. The main body of the Federal army had retreated towards Alexandria, but a strong cavalry force with horse-artillery still held Fairfax Court-house and its neighourhood, and Stuart had been directed to drive them off. The sun of the following day had just begun to exert its reinvigorating power u
Heros von Borcke, Memoirs of the Confederate War for Independence, Chapter 15: (search)
usly shrouded the valley, and the sun, breaking through the clouds, seemed to mock with its garish splendour the smoking ruins it revealed. Sad indeed was the scene that presented itself to our gaze, and to the eyes, filled with tears, of the mournful fugitives whose once happy homes lay before them, shattered or smouldering; and every heart of the thousands of brave Confederate soldiers who witnessed it burned for revenge. It may be supposed that we thought with great anxiety of our Mississippi brigade, which had all the time been exposed to this feu d'enfer; but the sharp crack of their rifles soon gave us the gratifying assurance that these gallant fellows, unmindful of the death and anguish which shot and shell had been spreading amid their ranks, had firmly maintained their ground, and were ready to meet the enemy's attack; and a little later we received the satisfactory report that a renewed attempt of the Federals to force the building of their bridges had been defeated.
Heros von Borcke, Memoirs of the Confederate War for Independence, Chapter 20: (search)
ed by the road leading to Orange Courthouse, and commanding a view of the village and the surrounding country, picturesquely bordered in the distance by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Only W. Lee's and Fitz Lee's brigades were with us. The former picketed the fords in the immediate vicinity of Culpepper, and the latter was stationed higher up the river. Hampton's command had been left behind for recruiting, most of its dismounted men having been furloughed to their distant homes in Mississippi and the Carolinas to supply themselves with fresh horses. Our animals were now beginning to get into better condition, forage having become more abundant, and being valuably supplemented by the new grass and clover. Provisions for the men had also grown more plentiful, and our kind friends in the neighbourhood did their best to keep the mess-table of the General and his Staff copiously supplied. In the mean time, after the battle of Fredericksburg, the supreme command had been tran
Heros von Borcke, Memoirs of the Confederate War for Independence, Chapter 23: (search)
e. Our cavalry were in the highest spirits, and were kept in constant and salutary activity by incessant drilling and other preparations for the impending campaign. Hundreds of men flocked in daily from their distant homes, bringing with them fresh horses. General Robertson had joined us with his splendid brigade from North Carolina, as also had General Jones, with his command from the valley of Virginia; and nearly all the men of Hampton's division had returned from South Carolina and Mississippi. Our horse-artillery, under command of Pelham's successor, Major Berkham, had been augmented by several batteries, and the old ones had been supplied with fresh horses, so that altogether we now possessed a more numerous and better equipped force then ever before. We all looked with pride upon this magnificent body of troops; and as a review had been ordered for the 5th of June, all the commencement of the month we were busy preparing for that important event. Invitations having be