But to-day the war is over except in song and story, in which it is fought over by the firesides all over the South.
The queer makeshifts of our mothers and grandmothers in those sad days only furnish us food for wonder and amusement now. “Memorial day” calls forth praise and panegyric, and the soldiers' graves studding the land all over give reality to the marvelous tale.
A generation of eye-witnesses still lives, and many a heart now beating bears its record graven on it; its losses are losses yet to many a life among us. But peace and sympathy and kind feeling reign to-day.
The rancor and vindictiveness of a quarter of a century ago are now unknown and forgotten.
We erect statues to our beloved heroes, and the North joins its voice right heartily in our songs of praise.
The South swells the funeral processions of their great men with feeling hearts, and so “the dead past buries its dead.”
In another part of her letter Mrs. Showell
When the division of the Union Army under General Hunter passed through the Valley of Virginia it left a record like the proverbial new broom.
All the horrors of warfare were repeated, and heaps of ashes marked its progress.
The “cloud of smoke and pillar of fire” which went before the Israelites, indicating the favor of God, followed behind Hunter's division, typifying the vengeance of man and the unbridled animosity of war. The reminiscences of the generation now passing are replete with hair-stirring horrors, romantic and thrilling incidents, wonders of heroism and endurance most strange.
There was an exodus from home of the male population, embracing almost all of the “seven ages of man,” “robbing the cradle and the grave,” as it was pithily termed, to make up the ranks that stood between the invading foe and home and family.
There was the wail of lovely women who mourned their dead—for of the many who went forth few returned, even for a grave, and the quickly decimated ranks killed hope in mothers' and wives' and sisters' hearts.
The Valley of Virginia has deep scars to remember.
It was the battle-ground of the war. Every home was a hospital.
It gave all the fruits of its fertile soil and the offspring of its far-famed stock for the support of two armies, and its most venerated inheritance to satisfy the vengeance and ruthless destruction of the one.
Down the Valley came Hunter's army, and woe and loss and pitiful despair followed everywhere in his wake!
In stern adherence to war principles he spared not even his own brothers and kindred's possessions.
Up the Valley went his victorious army, with a torch