Crossing the Potomac-the Reception, &c.
[correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
Parker's Battery, Camp near White's Ford, Sept. 6, 1862.
I wrote you on the 31st ult. a brief account of the battle of the 30th, and on reading the Baltimore
papers of the 1st inst., which I got hold of yesterday in Leesburg
, I had such false statements in regard to it that I am satisfied the writers thereof could not in any case have seen what they attempt so graphically to describe.
When I wrote you last I did not know exactly the relative position of our forces, because, having arrived at 2 o'clock A. M., and being assigned a position soon after, with no opportunities of leaving my post, I could not-learn the exact disposition of the forces on our side.
It turns out that the twenty pieces of artillery of which I spoke in my formes letter, occupied the centre
and front with General Anderson
's division; on our right was Longstreet
, and left, Jackson
The fight was brought on by the artillery, and a few troops upon our right and left, all in sight of our batteries, and not more than 1,000 yards off. Of this there can be no mistake.
If you will read the Yankee
accounts you will see what a different case they make of it. So soon as the six lines of battle on our immediate left were repulsed by the 20 pieces of artillery, and infantry in the woods, our whole line — fight, left, and centre — was ordered to advance,
and they did advance in handsome style, sweeping everything before them.--The Yankee writers say not a word about loss of artillery, and yet they lost largely.
I know of ten pieces, and yet my observations were confined to a very small part of the field.
We have some of these pieces in our own battalion.
Our position was the most commanding by far of any on the field as a place of observation.
Another hill arose behind us and a little to our right, which was occupied by Gen. Leo
This, though a good position, and not command so extensive a view, especially towards the right, as did ours.
A short time before the fight began in the afternoon, signals with white flags were made from headquarters on the hill to Jackson
's position on the left, but of the nature of them we could know nothing.
I supposed they indicated that the enemy was sending his forces towards our right, a movement which we had observed, and which, I think, must have been a feint.
In regard to the losses on either side, I can only say this: that having visited all the battle fields about Richmond
soon after the fights there, I have never seen such disparity between our losses and the enemy.
I think I saw five dead Yankees to one Confederate.
We left Leesburg
yesterday for Maryland
--‘"My Maryland."’ The people of this beautiful and exceedingly enterprising little town were ‘"eaten out of house and home"’ by us. The ladies crowded the doors and porticoes and gave us a welcome that made every man's hand stronger and every heart firmer.
When we took up the line of march last night, at 10 o'clock, and although our army had been passing constantly for two days, still these patriotic women remained at their post and cheered us on. Mad God bless them and all near and dear to them!
The scenes along the roadside for sixty miles to the rear, has presented many touching pictures of the trials of war. Broken down soldiers, (not all ‘"stragglers,"’) have lined the road, and at night-time particularly the scenes presented are most touching.
Man fall asleep in every conceivable attitude of discomfort — on fence rails and in fence corners — some half bent, others almost erect; m d ches and on steep hillsides; some without blanket or overcoat, and yet how gently falls the chilly dew upon their heads.
Sleep that flies from ‘"downy pillows"’ sits so quietly and composedly upon their weary heads and limbs, and they slumber on sweetly dreaming of far distant homes and bright faces there.
Daybreak finds them drenched with dew, but strong in purpose, and with half rations of bread and bad meat, ragged and barefooted, they go cheerfully forward.
How the heart swells with admiration when it remembers who these beardless youths and gray-haired men are that thus spend their nights like the beast of the field!
They are the best men of the land — of all classes, trades, and professions.
Great God, reward their devotion to principle and justice by crowning their labors and sacrifices with Thy blessing, which always beingeth peace!
I really think this must be the finest army in the world.
There is an amount of individual bravery in it that the sun has never shone on before.
Will we go into Maryland
To us 'tis a day of deep and solemn feeling.
To the noble exiled Marylander
tears alone can express the sentiment of the heart.
We take our lives in our hands, sons of Virginia
, and go into our sister State to lift the yoke from her neck.
If her exiled children truly represent those left at home, let them be of good cheer, for their redemption and the redemption of Maryland
If not, your glory hath truly departed, and we can but leave you to hug the chains that bind thy once beautiful limbs.
But we will not indulge such sad and unworthy suspicions.
Already is thy great heart swelling and sending its hot currents to thy fleshing eyes and unfettered limbs.
Blessed be God, she comes!
How suspicious the hour!
All things are now ready.
Cope to the high attar of Liberty with your most precious offerings.
Yours, A. B. C.
） Monday, Sept. 8th, 1862--We crossed the Potomac
Saturday night. Had to stand three hours in the river with our batteries, such was the crowded state of the ford — this was due also to bad management.
We have come about fifteen miles into Maryland
--have seen no enthusiasm for Southern Rights — not a white handkerchief from a window, though from the stateliness of some of the mansions there must be white handkerchiefs in them.
The country is very rich and beautiful.
All the Richmond
boys are well — More anon. A. B. C.