The Commander at Mason's Hill and his Aids — a deserter — the enemy's pickets want peace, and don't like to be shot.
Mason's Hill, Sept. 13, 1861.
Our near approach to Washington
may be inferred when I announce that two schooners, with their sails and rigging, lying just below the latter city, may be distinctly seen, and at several points the eye can rest upon either side of the Potomac
Mason's Hill is situated 1 ½ miles southeast of Munson
's, both command main routes leading to and from the enemy, are equally important in point of strategy, and can be used as the bases of operations either of offence or defence.
Col. James L. Kemper
has been commanding at this post for several days, and his bravery, his unceasing vigilance and sagacity, are ample safeguards against accident and surprise.
There are indeed few officers in the service who are as much beloved by those under his command, or possess in such a degree the confidence of the Generals in Chief
had no more promising statesman than Col.Kemper
whilst the condition of the country permitted him to hold a place in her civil councils.
As an officer in our armies, he is destined to win a solid and brilliant reputation.
In the command of his regiment he is ably seconded by Lieut. Col. Williams
, of Orange county
, formerly a Brigade Inspector in the militia, and one of the most thorough drill masters in the army, and by Major W. Taze
, son of the distinguished John M. Patton
, deceased, who is also a graduate in military science, and an officer of high courage and intelligence.
The prisoners we have taken recently report that the Federals
have been contemplating an attack upon both Mason
's and Munson's Hills, and I have just learned that a Confederate soldier, belonging to a Maryland regiment, deserted to Washington city
a few days ago, and informed the enemy of the condition of things at the latter place, which doubtless led to the advance against it, of which you will be informed before this reaches you. They attacked us with three pieces of artillery, which we forced them to withdraw fro the fire of a single piece belonging to the Washington
Battery, without having a man killed or even injured.
The enemy lost several.
We have strong picket guards below Mason
's, and from the most advanced posts numbers of Federal stragglers can be seen marching and watching upon the neighboring hills.
Their officers have commanded them to cease the picket warfare, and, instead of the flash of the hidden musket, you now behold numerous little white flags waving from the bushes and tree tops near where their sentinels are posted, indicating a wish for peace.