filling up the road which was at the best, but a continual layer of stones of every size and shape.
At occasional intervals the rushing waters of some mountain streamlet would be found across our path or monopolize the road for some distance.
Struggling over the obstacles we at length reached the summit after resting once or twice upon the way. Here we came upon a mountain residence which stood upon the east side of the mountain just where the roads forked in their descent towards the Roanoke valley
; selecting the shortest of these roads we commenced the downward trip which led us through a rugged path.
It made us consider which was the most difficult, the ascent or descent.
The principal characteristic of the road was the steepness and its roughness; a mountain streamlet followed the road in all its windings and crossed it about eight times during a distance of two miles. The mountains seemed loathe to leave us, as they followed the road for two or three miles until we emerged into the broad daylight at the North
river just about seven miles east of Lexington
It being nigh on to evening it was thought proper to make a stop for the night, and we were fortunate enough to obtain lodging at a Mr. Laird
's, where we were treated very kindly.
tells us we have travelled twenty miles today.
14th. Crossed North River this morning and started for Natural Bridge
, followed the tow path along the canal for about three miles and then stopped for the purpose of bathing; this occupied us for about two hours, after which we started upon our march again.
Having lost the way we had been directed to take we had to improvise a road by cutting across some coal fields which led us to Mr. James Thompson
's house on Buffalo river
Here we found a copy of an order which General Lee
had issued to the army of Northern Virginia as follows: