From the Peninsula.
a Trip down the Peninsula and back — the Howzera — death of Capt. Standard and Reynold Kirb — throwing up breastworks, &c.
[special Correspondence of the Dispatch.]
Yorktown, Va., Nov. 9, 1861.
Called by the sickness of a relative from the calm quietude of our country home to mingle once more for a short time in the familiar, but stirring scenes of army life, we hasten to drop you a line; with the hope that our face will be recognized and welcomed by our former friends.
At West Point
we found the Logan
totally disabled by the recent storm, and were thus forced to take passage with about forty others on board of a small sized river pungey or sloop.
Our crew consisted only of a Captain, Crockett
by name, and another, a son of Ham
, whose Scriptural title, Lot, contrasted strangely with that of our Captain
In a few minutes our canvas was spread and filled with propitious breezes, which bore us swiftly over the placid bosom of the broad and beautiful York
About night we found ourselves in a dead calm.
The sails flapped lazily against the mast, and our little schooner lay sweetly asleep on the breast of the peaceful waters.
Thus we dragged through the long hours of the lonely night, and reached our destination about two o'clock the next morning.
But we found it utterly impossible to make a landing.
To remain longer on board, with out anything to eat, and no place on which to rest our weary head, was more than our patience could bear; so, with Lot as our pilot, we left the schooner, and, passing the sentry, soon were surrounded by the familiar scenes of the Howitzer encampment.
Yet how great were the changes which a few weeks had wrought.
Nothing met our eye but the smouldering remains of the guard's fire in a spot once filled with white-rowed tents.
The view of an encampment at such an hour of the night was peculiarly impressive.
Not a sound was heard.
The stillness of death hovered over the entire face of nature.
The dull, heavy tread of the faithful watchman, as the dim outlines of his receding form faded into the distance, fell upon the ear with a peculiar loneliness.
The heavens were lighted up with the pale glare of the dying watch-fires, which gave them the appearance of the dawning of day. The setting moon shed a pale silvery light over the placid waters, whose melancholy splashing on the beach strangely mingled with the surrounding scenery.
A few hours' rest and the bright rays of the rising sun awoke us from our peaceful slumbers, our eyes to rest upon even far different scenes from those which met us by moon-light.
The Howitzers had struck their tents and were far down to the Peninsula
A few straggling soldiers, here and there, met the eye; some detained by sickness, others by business.
's (now Colonel
's) headquarters were alone left to tell us of the departed.
Two noble men whom I had known and loved from early boyhood, during my absence had been laid in a soldier's grave.
The noble-hearted Stanard
, who commanded the third Howitzer company, and my beloved friend, Reynold Kirby
, had paseed away from earth, both in the prime and vigor of an early manhood.
Everything about Yorktown
has undergone a change.
New soldiers have been moved rapidly into the places of those who are farther down the Peninsula
, and scarcely a familiar face met us. Col. Colquitt
now commands the post in place of Gen. Hill
, who has been transferred to the defence of his own State.
We did not see General Magruder
, but suppose his headquarters are where they have been during the campaign, in the saddle.
, the Commandant of the fort at Gloucester Point
, we also saw. The Colonel
has won the heart of every soldier under his command, and the hospitable citizens of the county literally burden him with the good things of life, of which he is peculiarly fond, we take it.
We saw a large number of servants belonging, we learn, to the citizens of Gloucester
, busily engaged in throwing up breastworks at the Point
, and their happy faces and merry jests, and jolly laughter indicate plainly that they are heart and soul in the work.
The accommodations at Gloucester Point
for our soldiers are far superior to those this side of the river.
Why General Magruder
has postponed preparing winter quarters for his men until so late a day we cannot say.