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[186] (Ball's Bluff), an officer of high rank, who had just returned from Richmond, and who said to me: “We shall have no more fighting. It is not our policy to advance on the enemy now; they will hardly advance on us, and before spring England and France will recognize the Confederacy, and that will end the war.” The time of the enlistment of nearly the whole of the Virginia army expired in the early spring of 1862, and nearly all of the infantry were planning to “jine the cavalry,” or to become artillerymen. A number of new companies of cavalry and artillery were formed (on paper), and if these plans had been carried out, the whole army would have been converted into cavalry and artillery. But the disasters at Forts Henry and Donaldson brought us to our senses, the patriotism of the men promptly responded, and most of them enlisted “for the war,” while the “conscript law,” which was now passed, settled the matter with any one who wavered.

The Thirteenth “Foot cavalry” had tried in vain to be transferred to Stuart's cavalry, and they now gracefully accepted the situation, enlisted for the war, and entered upon the reorganization by the election of new officers. This fatal defect in the law by which the men were allowed to choose their own officers would have demoralized almost any other troops in the world; but the splendid morale of our army, their high intelligence, and their devotion to the cause, brought us safely through this severest ordeal without serious damage. There were, of course, some good officers who were thrown out, and some indifferent ones elected; but on the whole the army was about as well officered as before. In my own regiment the Colonel (J. A. WalkerA. P. Hill had been recently promoted), stated in my presence soon after the election, that if he had had the appointment of company officers, he would have appointed just the ones whom the men had elected.

Stonewall Jackson had been sent to the command of the “Valley District,” in October, 1861, and had displayed that wonderful activity which seasoned his men and prepared them for what was to follow. His mid-winter march to Bath, Hancock and Romney; his indignant resignation because he thought the Secretary of War (Mr. Benjamin) had listened to complaints of his subordinates, and undertaken to regulate the internal affairs and movements of his troops without consulting him — and his brilliant fight at Kemstown, which, though in in one sense a defeat, recalled to the valley the column which was marching on Gen. Johnston's flank — are all of deep historic interest, but will be omitted from these sketches, as we had not yet joined the valley army.

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