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[91] when he wept bitter tears, upon being “compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.”

It will be for me, therefore, a privilege and a pleasure to recall a few reminiscences of our grand old army, as I saw it, and to give some pen pictures of it, which I trust will be true to life, of interest to old comrades and others, and not devoid of historic value.

I will not dwell upon the details of leaving home — at sundown on the memorable 17th day of April, 1861--in obedience to a telegram from the governor of Virginia, of the ovation along the route to Manassas, Front Royal, Strausburg, and Winchester to Harper's Ferry, nor of the bloodless victory in the capture of the armory, arsenal, and an invaluable quantity of arms, machinery, etc., which were safely sent to Richmond. The world has rarely seen a more splendid body of men than the volunteer companies who composed the troops which captured Harper's Ferry. Among the rank and file were the very flower of our Virginia men, and, perhaps, half of those who afterwards attained the highest rank in the Virginia forces were in the rank and file of those brave fellows who rushed to the frontier at the first tap of the drum.

The gallant gentlemen who at first commanded at Harper's Ferry were totally inexperienced in the art of war, and there was a great deal of confusion in the management of affairs, the camps being filled with wild rumors, and the whole force being frequently turned out on false alarms.

Soon, however, a master hand took the reins--“Major T. J. Jackson,” of the Virginia Military Institute, having been commissioned Colonel of the Virginia forces and sent to take command at Harper's Ferry. This promotion was a surprise, and a grief, to people who only knew Jackson as a quiet professor in Lexington.

But Governor Letcher knew the story of his brilliant career in Mexico, and had faith in his soldierly qualities. When his name was presented to the Virginia Convention for confirmation a member rose and asked “who is this Major Jackson?” and the delegate from Rockbridge replied, “He is a man of whom you may be certain that if you tell him to hold a position he will never leave it alive.” I remember that we, too, asked when he first got to Harper's Ferry, the last of April; “Who is Colonel Jackson?” but during the month he held the command he showed so clearly that he knew just what he was about that we were almost sorry when we first heard, the last of May, that the command had been turned over to that great strategist, General J. E. Johnston.

Frequent guard and picket duty, almost constant drilling (I remember

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