a visit on picket — Germantown and Fairfax C. H.--a foraging expedition beyond Fairfax C. H.--the ladies, &c., &c.
[correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
Centreville, December 9, 1861.
It fell to our lot to go on picket on the morning of the 3d inst. It will be remembered what a bitter cold day that was — overcoats were quite acceptable, and with them the body did not keep in that degree of comfort which is desirable.
We did not know when we started where we were going — to what post — but as soon as we got fully underway on the pike we knew we were going to Germantown
, a distance from our encampment of nearly seven miles. It fell to my lot to go on the first detail to the outpost.
I went on about four in the afternoon, and was relieved about dark.
We had to walk our post in order to keep warm, or more correctly to prevent our limbs from becoming benumbed.
I was truly glad when I heard the ‘ "relief"’ coming around, tramping upon the frozen ground.
I omitted to halt them, which is customary, such was my desire to get to the fire, which, though allowed on the reserve, is positively prohibited on the outposts; this is done to obviate the possibility of any ‘"sneak up"’ by any of the enemy.
Those who relieved me remained on the whole of that cold night, without a particle of fire!
The next morning, in they came, having been relieved, with faces and noses as red as the sun, which pretty soon arose to aid in thawing them.--Having enjoyed a good night's rest, and it not being my time to go ‘ "on duty,"’ an opportunity was afforded me to go to Germantown
, to take a wash.
While some of my comrades were enjoying this luxury, I took occasion to look around the once comparatively good looking and flourishing town of the Germans.
This little town is almost completely desolated.
Several of the most prominent of the houses have been burnt — set on fire by the enemy in their triumphant march ‘"on ward to Richmond
."’ Nobody, save two poor old ‘"contrabands"’--an old man an old woman — who, on being asked to relate how the Yankees
passed by on their ‘"retreat,"’ said that they had narrated it so often, that really they were disgusted with it. They say they ‘ "will never go wid de Yankums."’ It is as much as they can do to get enough to eat, probably they could not, but that in getting their cooking done, the soldiers allow them toll or money, They declare the Yankees
four times quicked it, and not double quicked it, to Washington
It came my time to go on post the succeeding night; but my Captain
, convinced of the impracticability of standing out the entire night.
told the ‘"Orderly
"’ to post us but for half the night.
This suited me exactly, for I did not fancy the idea of a whole night's business of it.
On the following and last day, it was ordered that we go on a foraging expedition — this being the daily practice of some of the companies of the regiment while on picket.
This took us directly through Fairfax Court-House, which does not present such a desolated appearance in passing along down the street.
If my eyes were sore, they were certainly cured at seeing several very fair specimens of female beauty.
The ladies appeared never to tire in looking at and after us. We went to the corn field several miles below the Court House
, where we halted and deployed around about our wagons, between them and the enemy, to prevent any sudden attack upon them by the enemy's scout.
It was amusing to see with what agility the corn pullers stepped around and filled their wagons, and, after doing this, hurried off the way they came.
We ‘"rallied"’ again, and; having formed in proper order, we marched back.
This time the little crowd of ladies became larger, and as we returned through we threw them Richmond papers, which they, with indescribable eagerness, caught, and bowed a hearty return of thanks.
It was your correspondent's pleasure to throw them a paper.
‘"R,"’ 18th Va. Reg't.