J. E. B. Stuart
and some troops of cavalry and the First Maryland were sent to do it. Of course they did it, and for a month or two they watched the dome of the Capitol
and the marchings up and down of McClellan
, in front of Alexandria
Peaches were ripe.
They liked peaches.
held a fine peach orchard in front, so they drove them out, and ate their peaches.
had some fine beef cattle.
drove in their pickets, went inside their lines and got their cattle out and ate them.
There was also an assortment of sows and little pigs over there.
They went over and got them and had roast pig. In August and September roasting ears are very fine, but require selection to get the tender kind.
Just beyond Mason's hill, between the lines, was a cornfield of probably an hundred acres. The Federals held one side, the Marylanders the other, and every morning when the foragers started out to find chickens, ducks, tomatoes, for their messes, the whole command would turn out, deploy themselves as skirmishers, sweep the cornfield, drive in the gentlemen in blue, and pick their roasting ears at their ease.
The picket at Munson
's and Mason
's hills was a picnic, and when their tour of duty—three days—was out, they would petition to be allowed to take the place of their relief and serve double time.
Such a curious request was always granted.
But the service was good for them.
It taught them alertness, promptness, obedience and coolness, for their little skirmishes were not always bloodless and always were spliced with danger.
On a dash on Munson's hill—a mile from their post at Mason
's—they struck a more obstinate antagonist than usual, who killed Fountain, of Company I, and wounded Hugh Mitchell
, first lieutenant
of the same company, like Achilles
in the heel, and lamed him for life.
But the Marylanders, like Colonel Washington
at Fort Necessity
, thought ‘there is something charming in the sound of a bullet,’ and they delighted in that daily music.