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[324] familiar, and one of my sergeants found a Yankee concealed in one of their houses.

The country between Martinsburgh and Winchester is much desolated; little grain raised; the lands not good. On Thursday evening we crossed the Potomac at Williamsport. The river is one hundred and fifty yards wide here, but not more than two and a half feet deep. The day was cool and rainy, but the boys waded in cheerfully, and the air was rent with shouts of laughter as now and then some clumsy fellow stumbled and went under, head and ears. There are bluffs on the opposite shore, and here the towns-people collected to witness this singular spectacle. As we passed through the streets, the women and men in great numbers looked on in silence, as they did in Frederick City last year. These people seem to be neither “fish nor fowl.” I saw great numbers of young men of conscript age here, and also in Hagerstown next day. I understand that upward of two hundred of those in Hagerstown joined our army. On entering that pretty town of five thousand inhabitants, Friday afternoon, I was glad to see some very decided demonstrations of white handker-chiefs, and that, too, from dwellings indicating intelligence and refinement. Our boys recognized this greeting of the fair in repeated and hearty cheers. There was really a crowd in the streets. As we halted but a short time, no opportunity was given to converse with the people. The only man I spoke to turned out to be a secessionist.

The crops of wheat all along the road in Maryland, and up to this point in Pennsylvania, are remarkably fine. Considerable corn has been planted, but wheat seems to be the grain best adapted to the soil. You see no such fields, in extent, as we have in Virginia. A lot rarely exceeds fifty acres.

Middleburgh, five miles from Hagerstown, is on the dividing line between Maryland and the Keystone State. About half of it is in the former, and in this part of the town I was glad to witness one or two secession demonstrations. From this point to Greencastle, where we encamped on Friday night, distant nine miles, we passed a succession of Dutch farms, all small, but highly improved, with grain nearly ready for the sickle. The North and South-Mountain, a continuation of the Virginian mountains, causes this country to resemble the Virginia Valley very much. The lands are no better than ours.

The people are exceedingly ignorant. I saw no houses indicating refinement. Were I to tell you how profoundly ignorant some of these Dutch are, you would hardly believe me. Our Virginia negroes are vastly better informed about military matters. Some think that Governor Curtin has a wand by which he can collect a body of militia, who will whip us out of our boots; and in the redundancy of their affections, they even express some little sympathy for us in the event we shall await the shock of this militia host. They think our confederate money is worth no more than brown paper, and one man sold one hundred and fifty dollars of it for a twenty shilling gold piece. Most refuse to take it, and prefer that you take what you wish with out compensation in this form.

By the way, Order No. 72 of General Let is being pretty generally carried out. To enforce it strictly, is impossible. The doctrine of not using or destroying some of the private property of an enemy while in his country, is a pure abstraction. You cannot possibly introduce an army for one hour into an enemy's country without damaging private property, and in a way often in which compensation cannot be made. I am entirely opposed to a wanton destruction of the private property of an enemy, but to use it even without compensation, for the men and animals of our army, is, I think, proper. Yet if a man takes an onion, or climbs a cherry tree, he is, by this order, to be punished. Hundreds of men die annually, yea, thousands, for want of a mixture of vegetable and animal food. A soldier who has been living on dry bread and salt meat for months, feels a longing, especially in summer, which no other man can understand, for succulent fruits or vegetables; and that they should not be permitted occasionally (for it is only occasionally they have the opportunity) to eat this common and every-day diet of an enemy, is singular indeed. If we take all his vegetables, he has some substitute in acids, but the soldier has none. It is wanton and wicked for me to turn my horses into an enemy's wheat-field, when a clover-field, just as good for the animals, is on the other side of the fence. When I am hungry, I have a right to eat at an enemy's table, but I have no right afterward to turn round and break up his crockery. The distinction is too manifest to need further illustration; though, simple as it is, it seems not to be comprehended by some of our authorities. I have no idea that General Lee's late Order No. 72 should be construed in that literal sense that some imagine. It is generally and eagerly discussed. According to the literal construction, the corps quarter-master and commissaries are the only persons who can impress; but it must be manifest that they have a right to delegate their authority — otherwise nothing worth mentioning can be done by these men. I have been informed from good authority that no such idea was entertained by General Lee.

But I must hasten to close this lengthy corn. munication. The roads here are not so good as in Maryland. Yesterday we travelled a mud pike resembling a bad Virginia road. From this point the roads promise to be better. We are about seventeen miles in Pennsylvania. General Ewell left this place, I understand, for Harrisburgh, Friday morning. I presume his force is sufficient to take the capital. If not, we will help him. I know nothing of the future movements of this army, but I think the bulk of it will remain in this vicinity until some large Yankee force is brought out to meet us. One division, I imagine, will suffice to disperse any militia that may be collected.<

Chambersburgh is a beautiful town of about


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