Army of the Potomac.
[our own correspondent.]
Manassas, Oct. 30th, 1861.
Two months have passed since I wrote anything about Tudor Hall, and yet in that time one notices but little change.
The same broad plain stretches away to the Westward, bordered by the blue outline of the Ball Run mountains
, while the same oak and chestnut forests shirt the landscape as far as eye can reach.
Autumn has produced some change in for the deep green of the summer leaves has been turned to ‘"green and brown, and gold."’ The hundreds of encampments this were once seen, are now gone, and the distant hillsides are no longer dotted with the white tents of our soldiers.
In the village one still finds the usual quantity of dirty mud, and a list of unpleasant things as long as a Norther-German hotel bill.
It would be difficult to find a more disagreeable village — if it can be called a village — from the Potomac
to Pascagoula bay
Some few buildings have been created, but with one exception, they are merely board shanties roughly thrown together, and used as sutler shops.
The Express Company (to whose agents at this place I am indebted for many courtesies) have a new building, which is very useful and very comfortable, although not very elegant.
It was built entirely by the employees of the company.
A new building is in the process of erection that is destined for a hotel, and one or two more intended for hospitals — Generally the outward appearance of Manassas
is little altered.
No person visiting the army can fail to notice the improvidence of our soldiers and their utter disregard for all the principles of economy.
They cost aside to-day articles that will be of value to them during the long and tedious winter.
The amount of property daily destroyed through carelessness and neglect would astonish the people who provide so liberally for the comfort of the volunteers.
They are as reckless and thoughtless as children upon all matters wherein the idea of property occurs, and need almost as much watching and care.
Not only with their own, but with any articles belonging to others with whom they are brought in contact, this improvidence is seem.
I recollect to have read in my college days — in ‘"Political Economy
,"’ I think — that it property were held in common, neither fruit nor grain would ripen in the fields.
Although the saying might have been noticed hundreds of times, it was never fully understood before the present war. Our soldiers seem to consider all private and public property their own and act as if it were, indeed, held in common.
The result is there was not a ripe peach, apple, melon, or even a persimmon anywhere in the vicinity of the camps.--Peaches were eaten green, and before their time to mellow the trees were stripped.
The persimmons were shaken and hundreds were do stroyed in the vain attempt to get one fit to eat. The chestnut trees have been cut down before the bu s were opened, and corn plucked in the fields before the autumn had time to mature it. Here, at Manassas
, the fences have been entirely destroyed; and burned in the camps, and now they are gone, the nearest groves have been laid low. All the time longer and this whole region will be but a resolute waste, and almost as little cultivated as the arid table lands of Utah
or the desert of Sahara.
The people near Manassas
have, indeed, suffered, and now look abroad over the ruins of their once prosperous and thriving farms, deeply feeling their sacrifices for the cause of the Confederacy
As far as regards the destruction of private property, I am glad to see that attention has been drawn to it, and that it is being prevented as far as possible.
It is contrary to the rules established at the post to cut down a single tree, or to remove a rail from a fence to destroy it. Occasionally this rule is violated, but if it reaches the cars of the commanding General
the damage has to be made good by the offenders.
A case happened the other day, in the command of the first soldier in the army, and who, I regret to learn, has sent in his resignation for some real or failed indignity offered him. When the army returned to Centreville
some of the Louisiana
troops took away a number of rains from a farmer's fence to keep up their camp fires.--Gen. Walker
, in riding by, noticed the trespass, and at once demanded the offenders.
Of course they were not to be found; and a general order
was issued to the regiments near to replace every rail, and if they were not found, to go into the woods and split more.--The next day the fence was as high as ever, and those men, whether the real offenders or not, were cured of taking rails for fire-wood.
Instances of individual and public prodigality are too numerous to mention, and it is much to be regretted that some more rigid principles of economy cannot be instituted in our army.
Yesterday, as Mr. William Tillet
, accompanied by his wife, was riding near this place, they encountered a drunken soldier, who seemed at the time to be suffering from mania a porta.
He seized Mr. Tillet
's horse, and it was some time before it could be released; but after breaking away from him the soldier raised his gun and shot Mr. Tillet
in the back, killing him in a short time.
The soldier's name is Brown
, a member, if I am correctly informed, of company F, 21st Mississippi regiment.
The deceased was a citizen of Fairfax county
, and was very well known in this vicinity.
This lamentable affair is the first that has occurred in our army from the use of liquor, although we see by the papers they are common in Washington
and in the Federal
For many weeks Major Cornelius Boyle
, the Provost Marshal
, has done all in his power to prevent the sale of liquor to soldiers, but still they manage to purchase it in some manner from the citizens residing near, who smuggle it into them, in various ways.
Several men have been tried before Major Boyle
, have endured the penalty of their offence and immediately after their release have been detected in a repetition of it. In this case both the murderer and the man who furnished him the liquor upon which he got into a drunken frenzy have been arrested.
Which of the two deserves the greater punishment?.
Yesterday evening Mr. C. B. A. Weedon
, a member of the Prince William Cavalry, was returning to his company from a visit to his mother and sisters, when his horse became frightened and ran at a fearful rate through the woods.
In endeavoring to stop him, Mr. Weedon
pulled him suddenly around, when the saddle turned, throwing him violently against a stump, causing a serious injury.--He is somewhat better this morning, and it is hoped his wound will not prove dangerous.
He was found late in the evening lying in the woods, and was carried on a stretcher to his father's house.
Misfortunes, they say, do not come single.
While Mr. P. A. Weedon
was sleeping in the room with his injured son, he was roused by the cry of fire, and found that his wheat stacks, three in number, standing within four or five yards of his barn and granary, were in flames.
The wind happened to be in the right direction, and the barn was saved.
In the stacks were some two hundred or two hundred and fifty bushels of good wheat, which was entirely consumed.
What the object of the incendiary was, it is hard to imagine, but it is more than probable that the perpetrator of the outrage will go unpunished.--Mr. Weedon
is one of the most loyal citizens of Virginia
, and is a man much respected in this community, having been for a number of years sheriff of Prince William county
.--He owns the land upon which the greater portion of the village was built, and has given up everything to the use of the soldiers.
His house has been filled with the sick, and often has he given up his own bed to some suffering volunteer.
His kindness to every one, and specially to those who apply to him for old, has almost become proverbial.
His whole crop has been destroyed, his fences burned, his wood, cut down, his hay and grain taken for the use of the arms, his farm nearly ruined, and now this, his only hope for feed for his cattle and bread for his family, has been destroyed.
Universally kind and accommodating, I seems almost impossible that any one should cherish feelings of enmity or revenge against him. It was extremely fortunate that the burn was saved.
A short distance from the station and in a grove now half levelled to the earth is a little mound showing the spot where a brave soldier was buried.
It has been freshly Hesper up and attended to by the kind hands of his fellow-soldiers, who live to scatter autumn flowers over his last resting place.
Upon tree at the head of the grave is a board containing the following inscription: ‘"The body of Thomas
a Slaughter, who was killed in the charge made by he Alexandria Rifle-men up the Bull Run
night, July 18th, 1861.’--Underneath this is the line--‘"Here rests the brave."’ The place is well cared for, and kept in good repair.
Every few days I notice evergreens scattered upon the grave and some alight changes made, showing that he is still remembered kindly by his old companions in arms.
I wish that I could write some war news to-day, but fear I shall be unable to do so.--Our reliable information seems to state that everything is quiet, although there are a great many rumors afloat about the advance of the enemy.
I am inclined to believe they are all untrue, so far as they relate to an immediate attack.
The rumors of the landing of such large bodies of the enemy down the river, of course, are untrue, and I am astonished that such wild tales gain credence in Richmond
Does any one suppose the Federals
could land sixty thousand men on the Virginia
shore in a single night?
When anything actually occurs, rest assured you shall have it, unless telegraph, mail, and couriers fall me. Benerian.