Table of Contents:
[for the Richmond Dispatch]This famous institution is now among ‘"the things that were."’ Its corpulent landlord, so accommodating and polite, and so moderate in his charges; its admirable cleanliness; its table loaded so bountifully with choice edibles; the ease and rapidity with which its guests were served; the warm welcome its inmates gave you, especially at night; the comfort and luxuriousness of its sleeping apartments, where no bug found a resting place, will long be held in vivid recollection by the weary traveler who took up his quarters at this delightful hostelry, which has been graphically described by a visitor, who intensely appreciates the ludicrous. He writes of a visit to the Junction thus: ‘ "The scene that presented itself on arrival was very striking. The lines of the encampment commence a short distance beyond the junction proper. Pausing at the place a few moments, we steamed up towards a station further on, and soon found ourselves in the midst of the encampment — in the midst of the bustle and population of a city without a city's rows and files of houses, and a city's ostentation of commercial insignia. All was military; all wore the aspect of warlike vigilance and preparation. Even the whistle of the locomotive sounded more like the war snort of a ferocious beast than a peaceful signal for the sleepy-looking negro brakeman. And the little two-story hotel, which formed a sort of frontispiece to the scene, was evidently on its military behavior. It accosted the stranger with the stiff and bristling air of a sentinel, when a night attack is apprehended, demanding the countersign. The burly landlord was in keeping with the rest Military brevity and precision had unquestionably been his study. He required his guests to observe military punctuality in regard to their meals. I, for my part, delivered myself meekly into his keeping, with nothing about me remarkably military but a military pass over the railroad and a military appetite. He, for his part, had little or nothing about him or his house pertaining to civil life — not even a civil answer. "It was by no means a passport to the favor of this Cerberus of landlords that I had a military appetite. Military punctuality was the thing of all things that I lost by detention of the train. So, though coming breakfast less, I was compelled to go dinnerless, entering the memorandum in my note book that the highest use of a military hotel is to disgust rational people with at least one circumstance of glorious war I must confess that we derived some compensation when supper came. But then was presented the perplexing question of where to sleep. All the rooms were full of officers and soldiers, sick or off duty, and the whole house sweltered in a rank chaos of camp blankets, haversacks, satchels, canteens, woollen shirts, dilapidated boots and shoes. "My fellow-traveler, with almost superhuman enterprise, obtained the permission of the landlord to occupy the triangular third section of a bed; but on going to take possession he found the enemy swarming on the spot, and after a brief but desperate contest was glad to retire with the loss of considerable blood. The last I saw of him after the conflict, he was trying to accommodate his length to a short bench on the galley, after endeavoring in vain to balance himself longitudinally on the railing; I meantime having sought the comfort of a soft plank on the floor, overspread with a traveling shawl. "I should not omit to mention a kind of hydrophobic eccentricity in our landlord Compliant in nothing, he was most of all incompliant in the matter of water.--He served it at stated times in military allowances; and having but one well on his premises, and that dry three-fourths of the day, you may imagine the supply was not copious. When we asked for water to wash our hands, the landlord looked at us as though he thought we might be fish who had undergone a human transformation, and then flatly refused, saying that if people in a camp could wash once a day it was quite enough. Reconciling ourselves to this decree, in the idea that there might be some necessary connection between war and dirt, we refrained from breaking the delicate subject of water to the landlord until we wanted to drink the second time after our allowance was gone. He was horrified at our presumption. Oliver Twist, asking for more broth, did not receive from Bumble more annihilating looks of amazement and indignation. No! not a drop more until the time came for dealing out the allowance! "There was nothing for it but to go thirsting and gasping like a fish on a sandbank, or seek relief in another quarter. This we did, and finding a humane officer of the guard, he es- orted us to one of the camp wells, where we drank long and deep, you may be sure. Such is life at a military hotel. But I claim no sympathy for what I endured. The sympathy I would claim is for our soldiers, whose average camp life, I am convinced, is attended by ten times more hardship and pot less privation than the brief experience I have just described without material exaggeration." ’ In connection with the above, a visit to Gen. Beauregard from the same pen is equally graphic and just: ‘ "We called upon Gen. Beauregard at his headquarters, which are in a small frame house, near the Northwest angle of the camp. The General received us with that kind of quiet, easy cordiality which finds its way to the heart more readily than profuse and pointed demonstrations can. There was nothing 'pronounced' in his appearance or manner. He is not a man, though full of power, to waste energy, like a steam engine with leaks in its flues and boiler. He was standing in the yard, with an unconscious grace and dignity, as we approached. There were no 'tigers,' no 'toadies,' around him. His dress was as simple as a uniform could well be — a blue frock coat, blue pants, and a fatigue cap. --He held his spurs in his hand, thus unconsciously displaying an emblem of a man of action — a General of the field — not of the closet. As you know, he is somewhat below the middle height; but his appearance betokens health and vigor, and you cannot feel you are in the presence of a small man in any respect when in his. His face was composed, his eye serene. He had never studied the military stare, affected by some officers of small calibre. He conversed freely and without the faintest tone of professional dogmatism, and vet he is a man of quickness, decision and firmness. "While in his presence, some one asked him if a certain regulation which had just then been promulgated in the camp was final, to which the General replied, in an unmistakable tone, it is as final as fate. You may be sure there was nothing further said on that head. In a word, he impresses one as an accomplished gentleman and an accomplished commander. He is surrounded by a numerous staff, and in that respect South Carolina seems to have taken our gallant Louisiana General in her keeping. "The hotel is now turned into a hospital, and there is no shelter or accommodation for the traveler but such as he may procure from some friendly camp. The frame building, formerly the headquarters, is now the office of the commandant of the post, and the General has removed about half a mile to a brick house on the road to Mitchell's Ford and Centreville, a little over half-a-mile from the Junction." D. ’
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.