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[136]

Advance sheets of
Reminiscences of secession, war, and reconstruction,
by Lieutenant-General Richard Taylor.

[The following advanced sheets from General Taylor's forthcoming book will be read with an interest which will excite a desire to see the whole work. We publish without note or comment of our own, and without, of course, expressing any opinion as to the justness of some of the keen thrusts of the distinguished Author.]

The Valley of Virginia.

The great Valley of Virginia was before us in all its beauty. Fields of wheat spread far and wide, interspersed with woodlands, bright in their robes of tender green. Wherever appropriate sites existed, quaint old mills, with turning wheels, were busily grinding the previous year's harvest, and, from grove and eminence, showed comfortable homesteads. The soft vernal influence shed a languid grace over the scene.

The theatre of war in this region was from Staunton to the Potomac, one hundred and twenty miles, with an average width of some twenty-five, and the Blue Ridge and Alleghany bounded it east and west. Drained by the Shenandoah with its numerous affluents, the surface was nowhere flat, but a succession of graceful swells, occasionally rising into abrupt hills. Resting on limestone, the soil was productive, especially of wheat, and the underlying rock furnished abundant metal for the construction of roads. Frequent passes or gaps in the mountains, through which wagon roads had been constructed, afforded easy access from east and west, and, as has been stated, pikes were excellent, though unmetaled roads became heavy after rains.

But the glory of the Valley is Massanuttin. Rising abruptly from the plain near Harrisonburg, twenty-five miles north of Staunton, this lovely mountain extends fifty miles and as suddenly ends near Strasburg. Parallel with Blue Ridge and of equal height, its sharp peaks have a bolder and more picturesque aspect, while the abruptness of its slopes gives the appearance of greater altitude. Midway of Massanuttin a “gap” affords communication between Newmarket and Luray. This eastern or Luray valley, much narrower than the one west of Massanuttin, is drained by


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