From the Peninsula.
matters on the Peninsula — no advance of the enemy — sword Presentation — winter quarters — a sad funeral, &c.
[Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
Camp Deas, Nov. 2, 1861.
From information published in your paper last week, many persons have been led to believe that important events were about to take place on the Peninsula
To relieve such as may be interested in the forces stationed here, as also to inform you of some other matters that may be interesting, I drop you a line.
The late prospect of a fight here was, I think, due almost entirely to the appearance of a large fleet in the neighborhood.
These ships, as I supposed at the time, were simply waiting for the transports that had been sent up to Annapolis
As you have seen, the entire fleet sailed a week ago for some Southern port, perhaps Pensacola
, or New Orleans.
You may remember that some time ago some Northern writer attempted to show the absolute necessity of the possession of a Southern port during the winter, in order to the enforcement of the blockade.
As to the prospect of a fight here, I give you simply my opinion.
A month ago, I had supposed that ere this we would have had an engagement, but matters have taken such a turn in Kentucky
, and on the Potomac
, that I think the Yankees
must have changed their plans Secure in the possession of Old Point
, and everything being insecure in the West
, it is natural they should lend all their energies to those exposed points.
now demands that their interest be at once attended to, and I doubt not their appeals will be heeded.
About ten days ago a scouting party came across the advance guard of a large force sent out after wood, and fired upon them, killed, it is supposed, one, and certainly took one prisoner.
He states that there were 4,000 men at Newport News.
The next day a company was sent down within a few miles of Newport News Point, and burned 300 cords of wood, which the Yankees
had cut, and, though in sight, they dared not come out. A few days before this they had driven in a picket of three men, stationed on the river, but with no idea of any advance, as it has turned out.
An amusing scene took place a few days ago at an election in the Virginia Life Guard, while doing picket duty.
having resigned to take the office of Captain
of the Young Guard, it was necessary to fill his place.
After the election of 2d Lieut. Lyon
to the post of 1st Lieutenant
, and Serg't Willis
to that of 2d Lieutenant
, private Daily
stepped forward from the ranks, and, in the most grave and solemn manner, said that the Company
had requested him to present to Lt. Willis
a sword, and having unbuckled it from his own person, he drew from his pocket a paper, which read thus: ‘ "Sir, this magnificent sword which I have the honor to present you, has been procured by this company at a great price.
Its keen edge has spilled the blood of many a braw man. It is, sir, the same sword that was worn by Goliath of Gath
, and with which the youthful hero, David, severed the Giant's head
from his body.
At the destruction of Jerusalem
it was buried amid the ruins of that great city, and found many centuries afterward by an English traveler, who sold it to Richard the Third, and was used by him in the great fight, where he cried--'A horse, a horse; a kingdom for a horse.' The next time we hear of it, it had fallen into the hands of the family of Cornwallis, and when his lordship of revolution times was about to leave England
for this country, it was presented to him with great ceremony, and brought over in two ships.
After the battle of Yorktown
it was surrendered to General Washington
, on the 19th day of Oct., 1781. From thence it got into the hands of Gen. Scott
, (not the one he left in a drinking-house in Richmond
,) and was worn by him at Manassas
, and left in his carriage just before the great Bull Run
races began. --From a gentleman who now lives near Yorktown
, the company, as before said, purchased it at great cost.
You perceive, sir, from the scars and other evidences of age and hard usage, that it has done serious work in its time, and I trust, sir, that with a strong arm and valiant heart, you will with it hew your enemies and the enemies of your country in pieces."’ This old relic, whose interesting history Mr. Daily
sketched so briefly, looked
very much like the upper half of a scythe blade, with a rough wooden handle improvised.
It was about two feet long, and had various gaps in it, and was attached to a strong coarse leather belt or girdle by means of several links of a chain very much resembling an ox chain.
The great subject of interest here is as to our ‘"winter quarters."’ If we continue to live in tents, there will be a very small force here by the spring.
We will all simply freeze.
Some nights ago half the men could not sleep at all. Having to put blankets under them to keep them off the damp ground, they have nothing scarcely to cover with. --They have no straw even.
This is sad to think of, but much sadder, I tell you, to witness.
There is very bad management somewhere.
The ‘"sick list"’ already is telling a tale.
The roads here, contrary to my expectations, are getting very bad, and transportation difficult.
Orders were issued from Gen. Magruder
on 3d October to build huts, but the first pole has not been cut.
I witnessed a sad spectacle on Thursday last.
The picket, where I was stationed, was informed that a funeral procession would pass, and we were instructed to permit it.--About dusk we were surprised, and grieved to see a two-wheeled vehicle, and upon it a plain pine coffin, covered with black, advancing up the road.
Upon the coffin was mounted the son
of the deceased woman as driver, and behind followed a single mourner, who turned out to be the husband.
The sight touched every heart.
The poor woman had sickened and died, without the attention of a physician, and perhaps without the sympathy of friends, most of whom had been driven from their homes by the enemy--(they lived some miles below.) With several others, we concluded to follow the sad procession to Darby's Church, where we had seen an open grave.
Without a minister, and without friends, this father and son were about to deposit their best earthly friend in the cold ground.
We had been at the grave but a short time before several others collected, and we committed the ‘"earth to earth, ashes to ashes," ’ with a prayer from one of the company, and left after dark, thinking of the strange contrasts in life, of mustering legions and beating drums, of the death-bed, the sad funeral, and the vacant hearth stone. P.