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[277] Luray Valley with the evident purpose of crossing the Massanutton by New Market Gap, and thus striking Jackson in flank if not in rear; but this purpose was defeated by our watchful chief, who sent parties to burn the White House bridge over the Shenandoah on the road to New Market, and the Columbia, some miles higher up the river. General Fremont pressed our rear with energy and gallantry, and some of the exploitsof his cavalry displayed a heroism which elicited the highest admiration of our men, although stern old “Stonewall” did say to Colonel Patton, who expressed to him a regret that three gallant fellows who charged alone through his regiment were killed: “Shoot them, Colonel, I don't want them to be so brave.”

A number of gallant charges were made on our rear guard, and temporary advantages were gained, but Turner Ashby (who had recently won his wreath and stars, and was the idol of our whole army,) brought up our rear, and met these gallant dashes with a cool courage, which soon restored order, and usually inflicted more loss than we received.

I recall many scenes of those marches as the “foot cavalry ran from three armies” (for General Banks was now pressing on too), but I may not linger to describe them in detail. One picture may serve for the whole. Starting at “early dawn,” we would tramp all day along the weary pike, the monotony of the march only varied by the ringing of carbines, the sharp reports of the horse-artillery, or the shouts of charging squadrons, as Ashby received the attack of the enemy, or in turn assumed the offensive; and as the shades of evening gathered on the mountain tops, even the best men would fall out of ranks and declare that they could go no further. But presently the word is passed back, “the head of the column is going into camp.” Immediately the weary grow fresh again, the laggard hastens forward, and there on some green sward, upon the banks of the beautiful Shenandoah (though we had but the hard ground for our couch, rocks for our pillows, and the blue canopy of heaven for our covering), we lay us down to a rest — O! so sweet, after the hard day's march. But before the bivouac is silent for the night, a little company gathers at some convenient spot, hard by, and strikes up some old familiar hymn, which serves as a prayer-call, well understood. From all parts of the camp men gather around this group, until a large congregation has assembled, the song grows louder and clearer, and often as the passage of God's word is read, and a few simple comments made before joining in prayer--

Something on the soldier's cheek
Washed off the stain of powder.

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