[Special Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
Army of Northern Virginia., December 26th, 1863.
has passed away marked by few events of interest in the lines of this army.
On Christmas eve at night a party of soldiers, about one hundred in number, entered Orange C. H.
and made a descent upon the sutlers' tents, destroying and carrying off everything valuable contained in those situated near the depot, including, it is said, some $20,000 in Confederate money, $500 in gold, and some eight or ten gold and sliver watches.--The guard captured some five or six of those thus engaged, and they will be held for trial before a Court-Martial.
Divine service was held Christmas day at Orange C. H.
, Rev. P. Slaughter
After preaching, the solemn and impressive sacrament of the Lord
's Supper was administered to a large and attentive congregation, among whom was no less a personage than the Commander-in-Chief
of this army.
is giving renewed evidence of his fitness for the promotion he has lately received.
He has just made the entire circuit of the enemy's rear lines.
on Thursday week, he passed through Stafford
and Prince William on to Fairfax
, in which county he struck the Orange and Alexandria Railroad at Pope's Head Run, near Sangster's Station.
He engaged the guard, both at the station and the one left to protect the bridge, capturing some and dispersing the rest, and burning the bridge.
From this point he moved on, swimming Bull Run
, and attempted to cross the Shenandoah river
near Front Royal
, but was compelled, on account of high water, to go farther up and cross the mountains at Conrad's Store.
's division of Yankee cavalry pursued him, but failed to catch up with him. Finding themselves balked in their efforts to overtake and capture Rosser
, the enemy turned his instruments of malice, as usual on their route, upon the noncombatant citizens — stealing their negroes, carrying off their corn and meat, and destroying several tanneries filled with leather at Sperryville, in Rappahannock county
They followed Rosser
as far as Luray, in Page county
, across the Blue Ridge
Here they destroyed two large tanneries, a fine flouring mill, and some Government workshops for the manufacture of harness.
From this point Gregg
returned to his old camping ground, near Warrenton
But for the high water and bad weather, General Rosser
would have been able to have accomplished much more.
The only change in the situation on our front is the fact that the enemy advanced one of his infantry corps as far out from Culpeper C. H. as Mitchell's Station
, four miles beyond the Rapidan river
, on Thursday evening last.
This is not believed to be indicative of any intention on the part of the enemy to advance, but rather to put infantry on picket on the front in order that their cavalry may be sent back to recruit.
means to give his boys a Christmas treat in the shape of rations for the week of coffee and sugar.
Supplies for that purpose have been received, and will be issued by the Commissaries to-day.
None will be sold to officers, but all will go to the men, who will no doubt be greatly rejoiced at their opportune arrival and issue.
Persons who have just come out from Culpeper
give a sad account of affairs within the enemy's lines.
They report that all vacant and out-houses, including every church, in that county, save two, have been torn down by the enemy for the purpose of building winter huts.
The forests are being rapidly felled in order to supply fuel for Meade
's army, whilst the people have been so beggared by the ebbing and flowing of the tide of war over its borders that they are compelled, in order to subsist, to draw rations from the enemy's commissariat.
Truly, this is a sad picture, but I verily believe it is a true one.
I have been told by the surgeon in charge of the general receiving and forwarding hospital that the number of sick received for the month of December of this year will not be over fifty per cent of what it was for the corresponding month of last year.
There are, however, a good many cases of typhoid pneumonia now under treatment at the hospitals here, of which a large per cent.
And just here I am reminded that the reasons for this disease are to be found in the fact that a large number of our troops are unprovided with shoes, blankets, or overcoats, and hence their sickness results from exposure.
's Louisiana brigade, for example — and it is by no means singular in its unsupplied wants — there are 239 men who have no blankets or bedding of any description.
There are two hundred and twenty-one who have neither blankets nor overcoats, and there are 482 who are without overcoats.
In reading this statement to the commander of another brigade, he assured me that his troops were fully as bad, if not worse, to do than Hays
's men. These facts need no comment, and present themselves in a shape far more eloquent than any words I can utter in placing them to the public.
Will the country respond, or will it refuse to lend a helping hand?
We shall see.
In my last I made some mention of the shoe-shop established by Brig.-Gen. Mahone
in his brigade.
Since that writing I have paid a visit to it and found it most complete in all its appointments.
He has it so arranged that there is one room for cutting out work, another for binding it together, and a third for putting on the soles.
He has also a repairing shop, in which not less than 500 shoes have been renovated since its establishment, and made serviceable — every pair of which would have been cast away but for this shop.--The General makes his own awes, hammers, pegs, and lasts, and captured the hides from the Yankees
which he has thus far used in the manufacture of shoes.
I am told that every brigade in the army might organize a shop for repairing
shoes at an outlay of $500, and the capacity of half a wagon for transportation when the army is in motion.
Ought not every brigade to have one of these shoe shops for repairs?
In my last, in mentioning the members of Gen. Lee
's Staff, I omitted the names of Lt. Colonel Smith
of Engineers) Capt. Johnson
, Ass't of Engineers; and Capt. H. B. Young
, Judge Advocate General
There is now no doubt of the escape of Averill
but it ought to be borne in mind that be made no raid on this Department, but on that of Gen. Sam Jones. Fitz Lee
, I am persuaded, would have begged him but for advices received, via Bonsack's, urging him to take another route from the one he was pursuing.
The result was, Averill
A heavy rain has been falling since Saturday night. The Magidan
is very high and is still rising, and the roads are deep and deepening in mud. X.