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[90] near the town of Winchester, in the Shenandoah Valley. The people of this town were intensely loyal to the Southern cause. Time and again had both armies marched through her streets, the one cheered, but she scowled on the other from behind closed blinds. At this time Sheridan was pressing Early back from the Potomac. The Federal army was 45,000 strong, and the Confederate about 10,000. Sheridan was advancing with a bolder front, having heard that part of Early's force had gone to re-enforce Lee. He had a large body of cavalry, splendidly equipped. However, he came on very cautiously and slowly, beating the brush, as it were, to uncover ‘masked batteries,’ and find hidden lines of brave Johnnies. After a few days of marching and countermarching, of watching and waiting for the foe, there seemed to be a lull in the storm.

Then the thoughts of our younger soldiers turned from war's alarm to the more peaceful homes in the dear old town; Romeo had his Juliet there. We remember with the greatest pleasure how the parlors were thrown open to us, how we were invited to their tables, how the girls sang ‘Dixie’ and ‘My Maryland’ for us, and those delightful moonlight promenades, all made life so pleasant there!

There was to be a grand party at one of the old aristocratic mansions, and the society element in our camp were all aglee. Such rubbing and scrubbing, sewing and shining, borrowing and lending were only seen on such occasions. Major Bennett, of our regiment—the Fourth Virginia Infantry—and I, were comrades for the evening. The rooms were filled and the dear girls looked so sweet; many of them in calico dresses, yet made in an artistic way. The Major was in a devotional spirit towards a black-eyed widow, who charmed every one with her spicy conversation. I forgot there was war in the land as Miss Bonnie Eloise smiled graciously upon me, when I whispered to her that she was ten times sweeter than the rose she wore in her bonnie brown hair.

The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men;
Then all hearts beat happily; and when
Music with its voluptuous swell,
Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again,
And went merry as a marriage bell;
The clock in the hall struck ten.


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