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The kaleidescope of war memories.

For instance, I remember after the seven days fight around Richmond, from out of the great quantity of stores we captured and marched over, I had in my haversack a handful of coffee and four inches of spermaceti candle, and at Harper's Ferry just outside of which we were on the morning after the surrender, and after 11,000 or more prisoners marched by us we went into town, out of which I brought only four horses, which I never had an opportunity to use; and does a certain captain now living remember the very small piece of tobacco he swapped for a very large blanket with one of the prisoners and which had vermin enough on it to carry it into the Potomac, without throwing it in, which he did. I say it is astonishing how memory brings up these trivial things, in fact, war besides being ‘hell’ is a kaleidescope of events humorous and pathetic.

When the Army of Northern Virginia left the vicinity of Richmond to enter upon the first Maryland campaign, it was in excellent condition and the march through Virginia at that beautiful time of the year was a treat to the men who had for months been cooped up in trenches.

I have heard it said that there was much straggling in the army on that march and that General Lee's army numbered more within two days after the battle of Sharpsburg than it did the morning of the battle.

I do not recall that it was so with the Fifteenth Virginia Infantry, which I commanded as senior captain, after the loss of two field officers at Malvern Hill, one of them was the gallant Major John Stewart Walker, who was killed, and our gallant Colonel Thomas P. August, wounded. [101]

I know it was a continuous march, day after day, but I do not remember that any of them were forced until two or three days before Sharpsburg. We reached the battlefield of second Manassas two days after the fight and marched by heaps of dead, especially red breeched Zouaves.


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