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[287] better. Old Stonewall would have marched on, caught and killed the Yankees. What Lee thought, this writer don't know. They who know, say Imboden begged to go to Covington. He made it plain to the dullest mind that the Buchanan story was past belief. What's done is done.

No language can tell the suffering of our men. They were in saddle day and night, save a few hours between midnight and day. They were beat up by their officers with their swords — the only means of arousing them — numb and sleepy. Some froze to death; others were taken from their horses senseless. They forded swollen streams, and their clothes, stiff-frozen, rattled as they rode. It rained in torrents, and froze as it fell. In the mountain paths the ice was cut from the roads before they ventured to ride over. One horse slipped over the precipice. The rider was leading him; he never looked over after him. The whole matter is summed up in a couple of sentences. Averill was penned up. McCausland, Echols, and Jackson at one gate; Lee and Imboden at the other. Some ass suggested he might escape by jumping down the well and coming out in Japan, that is, go to Buchanan. Early ordered them to leave a gate open and guard the well. He did not jump in.

Meanwhile, the Yankee cavalry came up the valley through Edenburgh, New-Market, up to Harrisonburgh, within twenty-five miles of Staunton, “their headquarters.” This was bearing the lion in his den. Tubal took the field, at the head of company I, and a party of substituted men. farmers and plough-boys, called “home guards.” The Yankees got after him, and the “Major-General Commanding” lost his hat in the race. The last heard of him he was pursuing the enemy with part of his division — footmen after cavalry — with fine prospects of overtaking them somewhere in China, perhaps about the “great wall.” The Yankees were retreating toward the “Devil hole.” Early bound for the same place! They did very little damage in the valley.

Here is the moral: The marshals under Napoleon's eye were invincible — with separate commands, blunderers. A general of division, with General Robert E. Lee to plan and put him in the right place, does well. Mosby would plan and execute a fight or strategic movement better than Longstreet at Suffolk or Knoxville, Tubal Early at Staunton. Jackson's blunt response to some parlor or bar-room strategist in Richmond, “More men, but fewer orders,” was wisdom in an axiom — true then, just as true now as when the hero of the valley uttered it. It is difficult to direct, especially by couriers, the movement of troops a hundred miles distant, among mountains the “ranking” general never saw, except on an inaccurate map. It is not every commander who can point out roads he never heard of, and by-paths he never dreamed of, as the proper ones to cut off an enemy. Bullets, not brains, are needed here.

note.--Some say ten blue-bellies ran the whole “home guard.” This, I believe, is a lie; at least as far as the substitute men are concerned. They had “flanked out” to buy the “plunder and traps” of the flying farmers. This statement is due to truth. If any fell back hurriedly, it was not the substitute men. They were not there!

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