from a Union standpoint had never before been so promising.
We moved up Loudon Valley, bivouacked one night upon the banks of Goose Creek
, made yet another day's march southward, and halted.
There was a demand for fodder for the horses; the following day, therefore, found us scouring the by-ways for sequestered barns where sizable haymows might be found, or for unmolested stacks.
Seldom was a place visited in this part of Loudon County
where we were not assured that the proprietor was a ‘good Union man,’ and were cautioned by the officers in charge of our little expedition, not to yield to any temptation that might present itself to plunder, as if such injunction were necessary in a command in which, as a rule, a Spartan diet was a matter of preference, and luxuries were despised.
But one was forced to wonder why this section did not send its delegates to the West
Virginia Convention, in order that it might, as a part of the new loyal state, receive the recognition and protection that its fidelity merited.
What a network of blackberry vines covered the uncultivated tracts along the line of march, as we advanced over and beyond the height of land between the tributaries of the Potomac
and the Rappahanock
, and what a wealth of wild fruit there was!
It is estimated that the free use of blackberries at this time saved the medical department thousands of dollars.
We have seen a brigadier, during a few moments' halt by the way, filling with the luscious fruit the tin dipper which he usually carried at his saddle.
This valley region which we were now traversing, together with both slopes of the eastern range of mountains, which bounds it, is known in geography as the Piedmont
region, and covers an area of nearly 7,000 square miles; its northern boundary is the Potomac
; its southern limit, the south state line of Virginia
The upper waters of the affluents of the Rappahannock
are a little north of the centre of this district.
One of these streams, called Hedgeman's River, we crossed the third week in July, and moved over the east side of the mountains to the vicinity of Warrenton
The army headquarters were, we believe, at Warrenton
; there is a branch of the great Midland line leading northwest to this place, which was our immediate base of supplies.
This county of Fauquier
, where our forces lay in August, 1863, is a most beautiful region of undulation and plain, with fine tracts