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[250] the sick and wounded to the great Physician; the hungry to ‘the bread of life;’ the thirsty to ‘the water of life;’ the weary to the ‘rest that remaineth for the people of God,’ and the dying to ‘the resurrection and the life.’ The largest congregations I ever addressed were on the eve of some great battle, when men would throw away their cards, cease their profanity, and be in a most tender frame of mind to hear the Gospel. And some of the most precious seasons I ever enjoyed were in some of our meetings on the eve of battle. I can recall, as if it were last night, some of those scenes on that famous ‘Valley campaign,’ which won for our brave boys the sobriquet of ‘Jackson's Foot Cavalry.’

Starting at ‘early dawn’ (a favorite hour, by the way, with our great chief, of whom ‘the boys’ used to say: ‘He always marches at early dawn, except when he starts the night before ’), it was tramp, tramp, tramp all day along the hard turnpike, the only orders being, ‘Press forward!’ ‘Press forward!’

As the evening shadows began to gather on the mountain tops some of the best men would fall out of ranks and declare that they could go no further, and it did seem that even ‘the Foot Cavalry’ could do no more. But presently the word is passed back along the line, ‘The head of the column is going into camp.’ Immediately the weak grow strong again, the weary become fresh, the laggard hastens forward, and there upon some green sward on the banks of the beautiful Shenandoah——though like Jacob of old 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 rest, oh! so sweet after a hard day's march. But before the bivouac is quiet for the night there assembles a little group at some convenient spot hard by, who strike up some dear old hymn which recalls hallowed memories of home and loved ones, and of the dear old church far away, and which serves now as a prayer-call well understood. From all parts of the bivouac men hasten to the spot; the song grows clearer and louder, and in a few moments a very large congregation has assembled. And as the chaplain reads some appropriate Scripture, leads in fervent prayer, and speaks words of earnest counsel, faithful admonition or solemn warning,

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

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Thomas J. Jackson (1)
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