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[347]

Nothing could add more to the zest of the gathering or be more effective humanely. These unvarnished experiences can but be inspiring in the cause of national fellowship and of lofty patriotism. They bear a wistful charm that touches alike the heart of the true soldier, whether it beat in jacket of gray or blue. Honest hearts are truthful everywhere!

The Star commends itself to regard in preserving in its columns the Soldier Experiences of Pickett Camp. This Camp very sensibly entitles its presiding officer Commander. As there are some 300 or more Camps in the South, there has already been difficulty in identifying the Confederate war Colonel among the recurrent crop of each year, bearing the same title.

Commander Northen is as modest as he has proven himself faithful. His earnest performance has received recognition in his repeated re-election to the post he so worthily fills. We republish from the Star, in preceding pages, a paper by Sergeant Charles T. Loehr, ex-Commander of Pickett Camp.]

Comrade Northen said:

On Saturday morning, April 19, 1861, five companies—the Petersburg City Guards, Petersburg ‘A’ Grays, Petersburg ‘B’ Grays, Petersburg Riflemen, Lafayette Grays, and Petersburg Artillery—were ordered to Norfolk, Virginia, distant from Petersburg about eighty-six miles. Just before we reached Norfolk we were ordered to load our guns, which we did with much elation and great care. We were told the Yankees were in Norfolk about 2,000 strong, waiting for us. We were landed at the depot about sundown and marched down Main street, and were quartered back of Main street in an old hotel, to the joy of a good many of us, as yet without the sight of a Yankee.

Here at this hotel was the first blood lost by the Virginia troops. One of the ‘A’ Grays went to sleep in the window and fell out on his nose, causing it to bleed. The same night we were very much disturbed by the firing of cannon over on the Portsmouth side. A few of us started out and went down to the river. We could see very plainly the Gosport navy yard, and three or four large ships on fire. While we were there enjoying the beautiful sight, we were informed, by one of the smart Alecks, that as soon as the Yankees finished burning Portsmouth they were coming over immediately and burn Norfolk, and lick the Norfolk and Petersburg soldiers out of their

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