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[431] end have been worthily written in a sketch by the graceful pen of Captain W. Gordon McCabe, which concludes as follows:

The following letter, the last he ever penned, reflects the soldierly spirit which animated him and the rest of the army on the eve of that great campaign:

in the trenches, four miles from Fredericksburg, April 30, 1863.
My Dear Mother: The battle of Fredericksburg, to all appearances, is, like Manassas, to have a duplicate. At ten o'clock yesterday morning, without any previous notice, or the least expectation on our part of an advance by the enemy, a courier, in a desperate hurry, brought the order to be ready to move at a moment's notice, which was soon followed by the final one, and at 10.30 our winter-quarters were broken up, camp deserted, and the ‘Light Division’ was wending its way towards the old battle-field. There are soldiers for you! After being in camp six months, where a great many little comforts had been collected, to be on the march in half an hour from the time they were told to prepare to leave! Of course there was no time for cooking, so we had to do without food until this morning, when hard crackers and raw salt beef was served to the thousands of hungry men anxiously expecting something. It rained from the time we arrived yesterday evening until noon to-day, but we were so tired and hungry that sleep was not to be driven off by any circumstances, however disadvantageous, and I for one slept like a top. Our brigade occupies exactly the same position it did in the last battle, and there is not much danger of the Yanks flanking us again. The men are in splendid spirits, ready to yell on the least provocation. ‘Old Jack’ and Lee both caught it mercilessly this morning while making the rounds. We just know that we can thrash Hooker ‘out of sight,’ and the beauty of the thing is that he and his men know it too. From the top of the hill, behind our lines, their long lines can be plainly seen. Our skirmishers are only a few hundred yards apart. The batteries have opened and the men are falling in, so good-bye; have no fear for me, for I fear nothing for myself. My trust in God is always strong enough in such times as these to keep me cool and confident.

Long before this letter met the loving eyes for which it was

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Fredericksburg, Va. (Virginia, United States) (1)

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W. Gordon McCabe (1)
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April 30th, 1863 AD (1)
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