retreated toward Strasburg
The next day (20th) we crossed the Shenandoah
at Snicker's Ferry, moving thence toward Berryville
But before reaching Berryville
, we turned back, retraced our steps through Snicker's Gap to Leesburg
, encamping that night on the east side of Goose Creek
The next night was spent at Dranesville
; thence we moved by rapid stages via Falls Church
We hurried on toward Arlington Heights
, passing the highly-cultivated government plantation, where freedmen were employed in the culture of corn and vegetables; and reaching one of the numerous forts in the southern chain of defences, not far from Chain Bridge, we made a brief halt.
Rumor said we were on our return to the James
, to further participate in the siege of Petersburg
We were a travel-stained, dusty set of fellows, and we have no doubt, from an esthetic point of view, unsightly looking soldiers; but we heard a comrade say as he viewed the soldiers in the fort, with their clean raiment, polished boots, and shiny breastplates and shoulder scales, that he ‘much preferred the feverish excitement of a campaign to the humdrum life that was evidently led by the men of this garrison.’
In less than an hour, the bugle said, ‘Drivers, mount!’
and following our leaders we proceeded to Tenallytown
But transports were positively waiting off Washington
to convey the Sixth Corps to the James
Indeed, our return from the Blue Ridge
was in accordance with Gen. Wright
's construction of the orders given by the commander-in-chief
through Gen. Halleck
,—‘to go only far enough to verify the enemy's retreat, and then be ready to return speedily to City Point
We went into camp, but there was an evident feeling that we were only waiting our turn to embark.
There were the most stringent orders in vogue, forbidding any private to enter the capital, and the strictest injunctions to be always within call.
Nevertheless, a good representation of each command might have been found in the city on any day during this tarry at Tenallytown
Even in the Capitol
, venturesome privates were seen inspecting the paintings, and alas!
too many others, victims of the venders of bad whiskey, who would later come straggling to their companies, weak and enervated, when marching orders should be received.
Four days of suspense dragged by; on