joked each other about numerous incidents of the campaign.
They moved along at a lively gait, and when night came on, sang plantation songs, such as ‘Rock the Cradle, Julie
,’ ‘Sallie, Get Your Hoecake Done,’ ‘We're Gwying Down the Newbury Road
’ and others.
The brigade was strung out for a mile or more along the road, and the woods echoed with their melodies.
The troops had passed through a trying campaign, comprising many hotly contested battles, and marched several hundred miles with very scant rations.
The scenes they passed through the last two months, left memories which can never be forgotten; not a man in the division but had lost a dear friend, or maybe a relative, whose bodies lay in long trenches and without shrouds.
Ordinarily, this would be a solemn and mournful retrospection, but those were not ordinary times, nor ordinary men. The times were eventful, and the men were heroes who realized that there was no sentiment in war, and that they must meet the trials and bear the sufferings incident to hostilities between two great armies with cheerful spirits.
As memory takes us back to those scenes, we are amazed at their fortitude and endurance.
On they marched, singing at the top of their voices, thinking of the ‘ashcakes’ and ‘apple butter’ we had heard about around Winchester
and other places in the Valley
, when suddenly we arrived at a fork in the road and the column filed to the right.
As each regiment changed direction the noise of singing and jesting would cease.
The men realized the war was not over, and that we would again cross the Potomac river
Within half an hour not a sound could be heard, except the tramp of the column and the din of the moving artillery.
All the humor and bright anticipations of an hour ago were gone.
The men were silent.
Very soon the pace was quickened, and orders were given, over and over, ‘Close up;’ ‘close up.’
The step grew faster and faster, and mounted officers rode along the column with words of encouragement, calling on the ‘boys’ to ‘close up.’
The gait continued to increase, until finally all were going in a trot, and hundreds could not keep it up, but fell down exhausted by the roadside, where they remained until morning.
About daylight we reached Shepherdstown
and crossed the river to the Maryland
side, but only a small proportion of those who began the march from Harper's Ferry
were with us. The march was one of the most trying and fatiguing undertaken during the war. The writer was a member of Company C, 18th Mississippi, and remembers that of the fifty-eight men and officers who began