From camp Pickens.
[special correspondence of the Dispatch.]
Camp Pickens, Manassas Junction, June 4th, 1861.
Sunday morning I commenced a letter to you in a strain but poorly suited to its abrupt termination.
In camp there is very little recognition of the Sabbath day, and in place of the sweet chimings of the church bells, calling to the house of prayer, the sound of the pick and spade, wielded by more than five hundred men, was heard about the entrenchments, to which I alluded in my last, and instead of the solemn invocation, ‘"let us pray,"’ the command, ‘"fall in for guard,"’ summoned nearly half of the First Regiment, now left in the camp, to that decidedly unpleasant duty.
In response to this call, I was forced to bring my letter abruptly to an end, being detailed for — as I consider it — the most disagreeable and unsafe of all sentinel duty, picket guard.
Irksome and trying, however, as are those duties, no exercise of authority is necessary, or even thought of, to insure their performance.
The men, one and all, work with alacrity, and when the comparative ease in which the majority of those who fill our ranks have been reared is considered, their patient endurance is indeed a matter of wonder, and cannot fail, under the providence of God, of its reward in the success of a cause as holy as ever engaged the energies of man.
Four men were, yesterday, arrested as spies, and brought to the guard-house by some of our picket sentry.
This morning they were taken to Richmond
It is time an example were made of some of these scoundrels by swinging them to a convenient tree, instead of feeding them at the expense of the State
, whose people they are seeking to murder.
The leniency with which they have been treated only gives encouragement to those who have not yet ventured upon their perilous mission.
Were any of our men to be taken by the Lincolnites, a short shrift and a long rope would be their certain doom.
The weather here is, to-day, very gloomy.
It rained nearly all the morning, and the atmosphere is decidedly chill.