From Camp Pickens.
our journey — Attentions on the Route — bouquets from the ladies — alarm in Camp — Pruitlishes march in Search of the enemy — disappointment — magnificent sight, etc.
[special Correspondence of the Dispatch]
Camp Pickens, May 28th, 1861.
Our journey to this place was very slow, owing to the prolonged stoppages at different stations to prevent a collision with other trains.
It was made very pleasant, however, by the cheers from the honest hearted country people and the bouquets from the ladies, who seemed to stretch in a continuous line from Richmond
In one place about haft-way on the road, every girl in the country seemed to have prepared a small package with something nice in it, tied up with a piece of paper containing an appropriate mo or exhortation, signed with her own names.
As for bouquets, every man in the Regiment was smothered with them, and I doubt whether we will get over the hoarseness from constant cheering for a week.
When we reached the encampment, which we did Sunday morning about eleven o'clock, we experienced some little inconvenience, and had to put forth some slight exertion to get things into comfortable order.
Our sleeping accommodations, as you might imagine, were not of the most insurgent character, though old Dame Nature had provided us with couches of a creditable quality.
Some apprehension was felt in regard to the supply of that greatest of all luxuries, water; but a short reconnoitering tour disclosed to us the most ample supply of the purest kind.
We are all perfectly satisfied and as merry as larks.
We are expecting every day to meet the troops from Alexandria
, and at night every man is sleeping with his loaded market at his side.
Yesterday the Regiment had a very good opportunity of showing their spirit.
While we were at work we noticed that something unusual seemed to be going on; the staff officers and cavalry were flying about converting orders, when suddenly a horseman come in a gallop through the Regiment, spoke a few words to the Colonel
, and was off in a second.
Soon after, we heard the command given for preparing to march, and the men fell into line with a rapidity and precision not often displayed at dress parade or battalion drill — During the few minutes allowed for putting on equipments and getting ready, men rushed into the Regimental camp with the news that the enemy were right upon us, and were driving in the pickets; that they had killed one cavalry vidette and taken another, and that they would be during through as upon the main encampment in five minutes. To add to the slight excitement which this news created, we heard at the same time volley after volley of musketry in different directions around the camp — sometimes a detached report, then a dropping fire, and then a long, awful, concentrated roll.--Thinking that the pickets were already catching it, as they always do in an advance upon an encampment, the Regiment formed into line at a double quick, and, wheeling out of the camp with great rapidity, marched off on the road to Alexandria
, expecting to meet the enemy's vanguard every moment, (which we did not meet, however). All along the road we met wagons, carriages, and other vehicles conveying families and chattels, coming down for safety, while every now and then some General, Colonel
, or staff officer would pass us at a gallop, the only one of whom any of us recognized was Colonel Pression
We also passed Mrs. Moreton Marye
in a carriage, just coming from Alexandria
About two miles from camp I saw the most splendid sight of the kind that I ever dreamed of. Just on our right, a quarter of a mile off from the road, a large body of Cavalry, from the upper counties, swept over the slope of a hill to a beautiful green field, taking everything in their stride, and moving with more regularity than I ever saw men move.
The great, powerful, glossy black horses, with ponderous troopers on their backs, their burnished arms and equipments glistening in the morning sun, formed a spectacle in the highest degree granted.
We marched on towards Alexandria
through the dust, and over brooks, creeks, and small rivers, until late in the day, and had halted to rest a little while, when General Bonham
, the commander of the forces about here, surrounded by a large number of officers, rode up and us a small speech, informing us that the detachment of the enemy (about 500 strong) who had occasioned the alarm by some predatory excursion, had returned to Alexandria
, having killed the unfortunate viderte mentioned above and taken the other, both of whom, with their eyes wide open, had gone, very rashly, close in on them.
The General, in his speech, thanked us for our zeal and alacrity, said he knew where to find us when the enemy were before us, and then galloped off — leaving us nothing to do but to foot it back to camp, much enraged at not catching the scoundrels who had subjected us to the odious march and the sore disappointment, after undergoing it, at not having an opportunity of dealing out to them the just punishment which their treachery and depravity to richly merits.
A thousand interesting things happened on our march back, which I am unable to write.
We reached camp about dark, having had no dinner, and a very fatiguing march; and I would frave pitied the man who had offered any one of the regiment supper for a dollar.
We found when we got back that the firing in the morning was occasioned by some regiment firing off their guns previous to reloading.
I cannot give my definite information as to the number of men encamped here, simply because I don't know.
I know stirlless what we are going to do, except to fall in at the alarm call, and march wherever they order us. J. H. B.