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From Winchester.
[special Correspondence of the Dispatch]

Winchester, June 23, 1861.
The evacuation of Harper's Ferry on the 13th and 14th of the present month, was a source of regret to those unacquainted with military tactics, as well as to those who are forgetful that ‘"prudence is the better part of valor."’ I myself must confess to feelings of surprise, not to say sorrow, when I witnessed the movement, and I deemed it a pity that our boasted stronghold should fall an easy prey to those Northern vandals. On conversing, however, with men who had passed successfully through military campaigns and when I heard the powerful reasons urged for this evacuation, I began to discover that my chances were desperately slim of ever becoming a Brigadier General.

It is no every-day sight to see one hundred and fifty wagons, laden with baggage and provisions, all in a train, followed and preceded, in different detachments, by some sixteen thousand soldiers. The men marched briskly, in good time, and full of enthusiasm. They had taken up a pretty general impression that they were about to advance on the enemy who were intending a flank attack; and I speak the truth when I tell you that each and every man evinced, by the countenance and quick tread, that he was ‘"eager for the fray."’ Blessings from farmers by the wayside greeted the immense force, and comforts were freely and nobly distributed. At Charlestown, particularly a widow lady, who conducts a hotel, was patriotic enough to bestow several quarts of strawberries on the dusty guards who lay upon the baggage wagons. I had the honor to pass some thirty plates of this delicious luxury to the weary boys, who, in return, gave me such thankful glances that I felt as though I could attend to such work for a month. God bless all who try to alleviate the soldier's toil.

On arriving within a few miles of Winchester, the main column moved off towards Martinsburg in a northeasterly direction, stopping at a point called Bunker Hill. Here the entire force was drawn up in battle array, hourly expecting the advance line of the enemy. Our men were disappointed, and were marched down to this place, where they are now encamped. Gen. Scott has evidently been nonplussed by the movement at the Ferry, and has altered his plans accordingly. Don't believe the old General had an idea of the evacuation. He will find that General Johnston will trump every trick he undertakes.

About three hundred of the Maryland Line, two nights back, made a flying visit to the Ferry. They have returned, and report having burned the rifle works, destroyed the Shenandoah Bridge, tumbled a locomotive into the Potomac, brought away 20,000 rifle stocks, and seven Union men as prisoners. Verily, a good night's work, and worthy of double rations. These rifle stocks are valuable, being made of seasoned wood, several years old, and valued at $1.50 each.

We are in good spirits at this cosy little place, and I am really glad that it is to be made a military station. Dealers in all kinds of merchandize are just now at the ‘"tide which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune."’ Ice cream disappears rapidly, both from the heat and consumption. Whiskey is a ‘"touch-me-not,"’ and dusty throats go unwashed. Ladies are scarce, and ‘"soger beaux"’ plenty.


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Winfield Scott (1)
Johnston (1)
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June 23rd, 1861 AD (1)
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