than any other region of similar area in the world.
The gold fields of Virginia
and North Carolina
belong to this region.
In northern Virginia
it has two noted passes: one at Aldie
, and the famous Thoroughfare Gap, between Loudon Valley and Manassas Plains.
Through the latter extends the Manassas Gap Railroad, to Manassas Junction
The course of the pass is from the southwest to the northeast; our course being to the southeast, as we are moving toward Warrenton
, we do not go through the gap, but pass the mouth of it, and climb the mountainside east of Salem
The ascent was difficult, and the progress slow, over the broad summit, whose surface is broken and irregular, like that of the valley which we had lately traversed.
In following the mountain roads, you jog through the same soft soil as that of the fields, which the rain has rendered plastic.
Here and there, to the top of the mountains and down the eastern descent, families had settled, and had established homes in this wild section.
We would pass, now and again a rude cottage, having in front and around it a vegetable garden.
We recollect one in the midst of the forest, high up on the crest.
The proprietor was sitting on the threshold.
Some soldiers came running through the garden before the door, and some of them stopped to pluck something from the grounds, the man expostulating with them.
Some chap told him he should be a Union man if he did not want his garden plundered.
‘That don't make any odds,’ said he, ‘I was Union; I never got any protection; it's no use to be a Union man, you have to suffer from both sides.’
These assertions were mingled with some profanity, which no doubt relieved the outraged spirit of the mountaineer.
We were impressed by the large grain of truth in the man's asseverations.
It was near night when we came down to the base of the mountain on the eastern side.
‘What place is this?’
asked one of our number of a soldier who had arrived earlier.
‘Where is the village?’
‘I don't know; somewhere about.’
We were now once more in the heart of old Virginia
The army lay on the great plain that extends south of Bull Run
to the upper Rappahannock
, and thence west into Culpepper County.
Army headquarters were at Warrenton
, which lies west of the great