Destruction of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad--the Difficulties of the soldiers — Burials, &c.
[Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
Winchester, Va., Oct. 25th, 1862.
The army is now lying quietly in camp, with but excitement.
Every few days a brigade or division is sent forward to destroy some part of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad.
Most of it within reach of the army has been destroyed.
They tear up the rails and then, pile them together in large heaps along the road and when some eight or ten miles have thus been piled together the whole is fired at once.
The boys like this fun very much.--The Cumberland
tunnel I understand, has also been destroyed in the last few days.
It will certainly take Yankee ingenuity some time to clear this tunnel, for but few can get in to work at it at once, whereas bridges and such like can be formed miles away and carried to their destination already fitted together.
This, together with the partial destruction of the Chesapeake and Ohio canal
, will in a measure blockade Baltimore
for a while.
Although I do not approve of soldiers finding fault with the manner in which those at the head of affairs in our Confederacy see fit to control their monetary matters, yet there is one thing which, situated as I am, I have frequent opportunity of witnessing, to my sorrow, and to the no little inconvenience of the soldiers, as well as the loyal citizens, in this section of the country.
I allude to the currency of Confederate money.
There has been no law passed making Confederate bills lawful tender throughout the Confederacy
The soldiers are paid only in Confederate money; and many of the citizens — good Southern men, too — refuse to take it except at a considerable discount.
Virginia Treasury notes are the only currency that is taken by all parties here, whereas, if Congress, at its late session, had made Confederate paper a lawful tender, no one would refuse to take it without laying himself Able to lase the whole amount of his debt.
I know of good Southern families who heretofore have not scrupled to take the National
bills, and who therefore have no other kind of money.
They are now informed by the butchers and bakers that they can get no more meat or bread unless they pay Virginia
, or make a considerable discount on their Confederate, money.
Now, this is a grievance which it is hard for the soldiers and loyal citizens to bear, and it is a subject which it seems to me should demand the attention of those in power.--As Congress has already adjourned, I see no better way than for the military commanders
to publish some order with regard to it, and not suffer the soldiers hard-earned money to be discounted one- third before he can purchase any necessary article.
It is a sight revolting to humane feelings to witness the manner in which the soldiers who fall victims to their country's cause in the hospitals of this town are conveyed to their last resting place.
I saw yesterday morning a cart conveying three of them to their graves.
Their coffins were made in the shape of common goods boxes, of rough unplanned plank.
Two of these filled the body of the cart; the third was placed upon the top of these, and upon the head of this sat the boy who drove the cart.
It same trotting briskly up the street, in real business style, with a large dog barking at the nose of the horse as it passed.
I could not but shudder at such a sight, in the midst of refined people, and think to myself that surely it must be owing to the negligence of some one.
I know not why the Confederacy
cannot furnish decent coffins for her soldiers, in a country where nothing but energy is required to obtain anything that is wanted.
Such scenes are excusable at such points as Valley Mountain
and Sewell Mountain
, but not at all so at Winchester
To make this, a bad matter, worse, I have just been informed by a friend, just returned from the burying-ground to attend the remains of one in whom we all at this hospital feel a special interest, that there were no graves dug, and that there were no lass than forty one coffins lying on the ground.
Some of these had lain there for several days, and seemingly with little prospect of being interred at an early hour. --Seeing the state of affairs, my friend tells me that he and some two or three more, who attended the corpse to its last resting place, went to work, dug a grave, and interred it decently before leaving.--There are several hundred soldiers stationed here on provost guard, which proves that there is no lack of means to inter decently all soldiers who may here pay their last respects to their country, and that the fault must lie with some one whose duty it is to attend to such affairs.