Army of the Potomac.
[from our own correspondent.]
Fairfax County, Sept. 7th.
The road from Manassas Junction
is through a tract of country abounding in beautiful scenery.
The succession of hill and valley; of cultivated farms and patches of woodland; of pasture land and meadows, makes it delightful to travel through.
the land is quite level, but immediately beyond it is rolling and broken.
Still farther on the hills grow larger and steeper, until they run into a chain of continued hills that lie opposite the cities of Washington
Taking the Centreville
road, one soon comes to the site of the battle of the 18th near Blackburn's Ford.
On the Manassas
side there is a broad meadow and a long line of intervale land, but across the Run
there is a steep cliff covered with a dense pine thicket.
It was here that the Washington Artillery did such good service on the 18th.
There are few signs of the battle left to attract notice.
The graves of the Federalists are visible still; but everything in the shape of balls, broken guns, cartridge boxes, haversacks, et cetera,
have been removed as relics by curiosity hunters.
A great many canes have been cut from the spot and even the stones have been carried away.
A short distance beyond the thicket is a small house, near which the Federals
planted their large gun on the morning of the 21st and commenced firing on our centre.
The battery was stationed partially behind the house and in an excellent position to rake the thicket where our men might be hidden.
As is now well known, this firing was but a feint to cover the main design on the left; but Generals Johnston
were too sagacious and too skillful in their profession to be caught by it. The landscape, as seen from this hill, is very picturesque, and there is many a delicious bit that would furnish material for an artist.
When this war is over, and the events now transpiring have become matters of history, this spot will attract thousands of visitors, and I have little doubt will become a place of popular resort during the summer.
On our way to Fairfax
, we called on Gen. Toombs
, who now commands a brigade of the Army.
He was seated in front of his tent, busily engaged in a military work, and did not at first notice our approach.
His encampment is near headquarters, and situated upon a gentle slope towards the road, and is completely surrounded by forest-crowned hills.--Located in a deep vale, with his trusty soldiers around him, this famous man is now busily engaged in studying the art of war, and in perfecting himself in the profession he has so recently adopted.
Eminent in everything he has yet attempted, I have no doubt he will distinguish himself in this war, and will come out of it with as great reputation for military skill as he has always maintained in every walk of civil life.
At our approach he greeted us kindly, and for an hour we were much interested in his conversation upon the present state of affairs and of the future prospect.
It was with regret that we quitted his hospitable quarters, and pressed forward to Centreville
On the way were several camps, in some of which we stopped and passed a few moments.
The men, generally, are in very good health, cheerful, and in fine spirits.
Contentment marks every camp I have yet been in, and thus far I have not heard a single word of complaint at any hardship, or at any occasional privation.
The love of the men for General Beauregard
is very remarkable, and the bare mention of his name causes a feeling of enthusiasm and pride that is clearly seen on every countenance.
is very much respected, but as yet is not as well known as Gen. Beauregard
The soldiers have unbounded confidence in his ability and bravery, and speak of him in a very flattering manner.
With two such Generals
as these, and with the brave hearts and strong arms of the men, who can doubt the success of every battle, unless the odds are greater than at the battle of Marathon
I wrote you yesterday from Fairfax
, and gave an account of the small fight near Great Falls
Since that time no reliable news has come in of any skirmishes, or of any firing, beyond that of the pickets, who keep up a continual fire upon each other.
The many rumors of a general fight which I see have gained credence in Richmond
are entirely untrue.
Nothing can be learned from the passengers on the Manassas
train, for they report the most extravagant lies with great prodigality.
They do not willfully intend to deceive, but, of course, circulate such stories as are told to them.
I saw in the Dispatch,
of yesterday, that the story of the taking of Hall's Hill
was believed in Richmond
Not a word of it was true; nor have there been above eight or ten of our men anywhere in the vicinity.
I warn you again to put little trust in the reports that are brought down by the daily train from Manassas
Our men hold Munson
's and Mason's Hills, but have made no attempt to extend the line.
The pickets are within shooting distance, and keep up a continuous fire upon each other. --Strange to say, none are killed on our side, and how many on the other is not known.
The ‘"firing"’ and ‘"heavy cannonading"’ which is heard every day, and from which the large stories of battles and horrid slaughter proceeds, is from Fort Corcoran, a little above Arlington
, where the Federals
waste a great deal of time and powder in endeavoring to become good marksmen.
They practice at a target every day with heavy guns and howitzers.
That is the cause of the ‘"heavy firing,"’ and I do assure you there is to-day no reason for the belief that we are on the eve of a great battle, or that our army contemplate an immediate fight.
What may transpire to-morrow, it is impossible to say; but it seems very ridiculous here to read in the papers that the army is ‘"on the march," ’ and that a "great battle will begin to-morrow.
The object of the public journals should be to allay, rather than excite the feverish anxiety of the public, and I know no better way of doing it than by a prudent statement of facts by a careful and experienced reporter who is near the army.