Midland Railroad, then called Alexandria
, and is connected with that road by a branch.
We seem to have been at this stage, upon the right and rear of the army.
It was now in the first days of November, and the woods and fields were in autumn guise; the nights were chilly, and the mornings crisp and cold for an hour after sunrise.
During the two or three days next preceding the 8th of November we were scouring the west side of the mountain, which we had crossed, for haystacks, and with considerable success; a lieutenant with forty mounted drivers, more or less, and their sergeants, would ride through the woods and across the open fields or along the cross-ways, in quest of feed; and, when hay was found, each horseman would make up two bundles as large as he could conveniently carry, which were secured with halter shanks, whose ends were tied over the horse's back, so that the bundles hung one on either side, like panniers; a troop loaded in this wise, defiling down the side of the ridge, the ponies striving occasionally to draw a wisp from the packs that brushed their sides, or shying when tickled or prodded by a straw, afforded quite an amusing picture to an observer.
We were returning from one of these expeditions in the forenoon of the 8th of November, when, striking at the foot of the mountain the main road that comes over it, we observed a commotion in the camps alongside,—men rushing to the street, and a cry, ‘Bring out the colors!’
‘What's the matter?’
is taking leave of the army.’
And sure enough, there were Generals McClellan
riding along the great road.
Little Mac, bareheaded, was bowing right and left amid the clamorous applause of his late comrades
We believe that none of our company had any previous intimation of the change of commanders.
From the time of our crossing the Potomac
, five miles below Harper's Ferry
, in the last days of October, McClellan
, in his course southward guarding the passes of the Blue Ridge
on his right, through which he threatened to issue, succeeded in concealing his intention so far that, on our arrival upon the plains around and to the north of Warrenton
, one half of the Confederate army of northern Virginia
was at Culpepper
, having moved parallel with the Army of the Potomac; the other half was scattered through the Shenandoah Valley.
It seems to have been