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[377] against fearful odds, her honor untarnished by a single disgraceful reverse, this army was indeed worthy of her pre-eminent Chieftain, and no higher praise than this is possible. Cold must have been the heart of that man, and dead must he have been to every exalted sentiment, who could gaze for the first time on the veteran columns, the dear grey-jacketed ranks, of the Army of Northern Virginia, without feeling his soul expand with enthusiasm.

We were anxious to get to the front, so after waiting a few hours for a train at Wilmington, my English acquaintance and I had to part. He went direct to Richmond, where he had letters of introduction. I journeyed into the interior to consult an old family friend as to the best place at which “to pitch into the fight.” Arrived at his house, I met the warmest of welcomes only tempered by kindly anxiety on my account, and grave regrets for the excellent prospect of my being speedily knocked on the head. On my first reaching his residence, my friend was not at home, but came in a few minutes afterwards. He had been drilling in a company formed for State defence, intended for local purposes. As his age was over seventy, I admired him in more senses than one.

Shortly after my arrival dinner was announced. I then experienced something of

The stern joy which warriors feel
For foeman worthy of their steel.

For my appetite, unhappily usually one of the best I have ever met with, was then stimulated to great hunger by long fasting. But with the joyful thought of dinner flashed across my mind, the accounts, which we were constantly reading in the Northern newspapers of the great scarcity of food in the South. According to these, not only were the armies in the field destitute almost always of rations, but throughout the country, even in rural districts, far remote from military posts, the people everywhere were starving. To a great extent, I credited these statements. I therefore thought it would be brutally inconsiderate in me to allow myself to consume more than a very moderate portion from my friend's larder; I felt that that even was almost unfair. I determined to do my plain duty by comparative abstinence, but I could not cease regretting the sacrifice even in the charming society of the ladies of the household. Of all feasts, the Barmecide style was the only kind I did not fancy: however, I comforted myself as far as possible by reflecting that it was well for me to have a good deal of practice in fasting to prepare myself for the field.

We sat down to table to a meal rather moderate in quantity, and I

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