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From the Shenandoah valley.

Federal operations — Harper's Ferry — the militia — a patriotic Lady, &c.

[correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]

Charlestown, Jefferson Co., Va., October 14th, 1861.
Our county seems destined to be harassed during the coming winter by the Northern vandals now stationed on our border, and our military force here is wholly insufficient to keep them in check; and unless vigorous measures are taken, and reinforcements under an able commander is immediately sent to our relief, they will, I fear, have gained a foothold upon our soil from which it will be impossible to dislodge them.

Report says, that General Banks intends making Harper's Ferry his headquarters this winter, and their present movements seem to give some reliability to the rumor; the past week has been one of excitement and alarm, and for two or three nights the enemy succeeded in penetrating to within two or three miles of this place; but, by the vigilance of Colonel Baylor, they were each time discovered and driven back.

On Thursday morning a slight skirmish took place between our cavalry and a party of the Federalists; but their overpowering numbers obliged our men to retire, with one man wounded, who has since died. On Friday evening they brought their cannon upon a hill, two miles this side of the ferry, commanding a wide range of country, for the purpose of driving our pickets from their position. This same hill they have since been fortifying, and, under cover of their guns, they will be able to make predatory incursions into the country for several miles, inflicting suffering, danger, and losses upon our unoffending citizens. Yesterday they came out again and attempted to surround our pickets, but failed, and this morning we hear that two farmers living in that neighborhood have been compelled to vacate their houses for their accommodation.

In consequence of the near vicinity of the Federals, some of the Union men have ventured to hold up their heads and look deflant, and before long we will hear them talking of ‘ "suppressing rebellion"’ and maintaining the Government. But there is another class of men here even more contemptible than those who openly declare themselves Unionists, for, though they profess to be friends of the South, they are deterred from ranging themselves boldly under the banner of our young Confederacy, because they are not yet able to determine which will be the strongest side; and for the same reason they are unwilling to take up arms in defence of their country. Self interest is their governing principle. But the time will come when they will receive their reward at the hands of an indignant and outraged people. When the militia was called out it was quite amusing to hear the various reasons assigned why this one and that one should be excused from obeying the call. It was deplorable to find how many poor suffering creatures had been in our community, without our being aware of it. One was wounded in the arm, some twenty years ago, which rendered it entirely useless where Yankees were to be fired at; but the partridges and squirrels suffered most astonishingly from his skillful management of a gun. Others were willing to personate the character of overseers, who would, at any other time, have held any one who intimated such a thing personally responsible for the insult, if their courage did not give way, as it has been known to do on some occasions. Some had the rheumatism, who had never been known before to have a pain or an ache; but it is useless to go on — suffice it to say, that ‘"every ill that flesh is heir to" ’ was discovered lurking in our midst.

The widow of a revolutionary officer, who has been receiving a pension from the Federal Government, a few days since received a letter from the Secretary of the Interior, enclosing the form of the oath of allegiance, saying that if she would sign it, her pension would be continued. Upon being asked if she would take the oath, she indignantly replied that, although that pension procured her many comforts of which its loss would deprive her, she would rather suffer privations than take it. This lady is seventy-five years of age, and we are proud to call her a citizen of our county. A Jefferson Lady.

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