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[191] particulars were related at division headquarters by one of the aides who happened to be present, and who was himself captured under suspicious circumstances on Hoke's retreat, but begged off on the ground that he was a neutral and a mere spectator. He was much joked by the other young men at headquarters, who charged him with skulking on the occasion, and there was some reason to suspect that he did not stand the storm of snow balls as well as he did that of shot and shell on many another occasion. Many, very many of the poor fellows who shared in this pastime poured out their life's blood on subsequent battlefields, and a small remnant were surrendered at Appomattox Court-House with arms in their hands, and tears rolling down their cheeks.

About the first of March my division was moved to Hamilton's Crossing to take place of Hood's, which had been sent with Longstreet south of James River, and a body of cavalry took the place of my division on the right. In my new position, it was my duty to picket and watch the river from the mouth of Hazel Run at the lower end of Fredericksburg to the mouth of Massaponix, which was done with three regiments at a time, posted at different positions on the bank. These pickets were in full view of and in musket range of the enemy's pickets on the opposite bank, and also under the fire of the guns on Stafford Heights, but by a tacit arrangement there was never any firing from either side on ordinary occasions, but the picketing detachments on both sides were moved into position and regularly relieved without molestation.

In the month of April the 31st Virginia Regiment of Smith's brigade, in company with the 25th Virginia of Jones' brigade, Trimble's division, was sent to the valley for the purpose of accompanying an expedition into Northwestern Virginia under General Imboden, and did not return until late in May.

The growing timber on the range of hills which had constituted our line of defence at the battle of Fredericksburg

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