clay of the fireplaces was made to crack with the heat of the rousing fires which the cold, night winds made extremely welcome.
The comfortable night's sojourn in this quondam Confederate cantonment was a pleasant episode in our first severe march.
The frost was working out of the red clay soil of this region, and the march of artillery was not made with such celerity as in later times in that year, and advancing too, it proved possible of attaining.
Yet somehow on the 6th, it cut its way through the mud and the mire to Blackburn's Ford on Bull Run
, crossed the tottering temporary bridge which had there been constructed, and drew over the broken land and plain to Manassas Junction
Those were three days fraught with interest which we spent in the village of log houses at the Junction
, examining the abundant evidences of Confederate military architecture, field-works and barracks, and unearthing many a relic of their winter's sojourn at this place.
We remember a quantity of wheat that some one discovered, which, though a trifle garlicky, nevertheless made a palatable mess of pottage, being boiled, and served as rice often is.
The railroad to this station seemed now in running order, for troops, infantry, at least, continued to alight at this point from platform cars that came from the direction of Alexandria
, soon after our arrival hither.
A storm, a genuine nor'wester, set in on the 8th, in the midst of which we abandoned the quite comfortable cabins at Manassas
, and pushed on toward Bristow
, the wind and sleet accompanying us and furnishing lively entertainment.
Then, before noon, we had snow for further variety, and it would encrust itself beautifully upon our ponchas, giving us a celestial appearance.
But the air nipped ‘shrewdly,’ and you may be sure that it was a cold, damp, numb set of boys that were drawn up on the north side of Broad Run
on that evening; besides, we were short of rations, and had no shelter.
Yet as some philosophic comrade observed, ‘There is no situation so bad that it might not be worse;’ and our stomachs were toned with a dose of quinine per man, which was administered by a hospital steward who had the most brilliant carmine beak that we ever beheld off the stage.
Some one said he was a very clever chap, which a listener allowed might be true; but said he, ‘He never supports that nose on cold ’