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Characteristics of the armies

H. V. Redfield.
For the first three years of the war my home in Tennessee was surrounded by the armed hosts of one army, and then the other (and sometimes both at once, or so near it as to be uncomfortable), and my opportunities for observation were good. When the war broke out, the people of our portion of lower East Tennessee calculated upon exemption fro its ravages. I remember vividly how the old citizens in whom I had implicit confidence, shook their heads with prophetic earnestness, saying that we would see no soldiers of either army, “as they couldn't get their cannons over these mountains.” The leading merchant,--the leading minister, and the leading physician were of his opinion, and the solemn judgment of three such distinguished men was, in my mind, all but conclusive. Yet, alas! the village knowledge of war proved as illusive as that of Betsey Ward, when her old man, the immortal A. Ward, was prancing up and down the room, musket in hand, “drilling.” The cellar-door being open, a sudden right — about wheel threw him in, nearly breaking his neck. “Are you hurt, deary?” exclaimed Mrs. A. W., running to the hole, and putting her question in the direction of the groans below. “Go away!” shouted Ward; “what do you know about war?” Well, when the war was over our little circle of prophets, or those of them who lived through it, knew more about it than they did when it commenced. They found that mountains were no barrier to cannon, and that “terrible armies with banners” swept past them back and forth with the apparent ease that a pendulum swings in its course.

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