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h Mrs Stuart. Our friend Lawley having announced by telegram his coming in this day's train from Richmond, I drove over to the station at Culpepper Court-house to meet so welcome a guest, who had promised to give us the pleasure of his company for several days. To do him proper honour, I substituted on this occasion for the rough-going, yellow-painted waggon in which Pelham and I were accustomed to make most of our journeys, a top-buggy which Stuart had brought from Pennsylvania. On the 12th the General started on a reconnaissance to stir up the Yankees a little, as he expressed himself, in which he was accompanied by Lawley, who desired to get an idea of our mode of cavalry fighting. My orders were to remain at headquarters in the performance of some important duties there. I disliked this exceedingly, but I was soon compensated by the unexpected arrival of Vizetelly and Brien, who, after a very amusing ride through the valley and across the Blue Ridge, had at last found us ag
burg, demanding, in grand words, the surrender of the place, he found Longstreet, to his great surprise, seriously objecting to this,--Longstreet who, by a movement parallel to his own, had reached the spot with his corps several hours too early for him. Whereupon the Federal General was fain, after many useless threats to shell the town, to postpone yet a little while his rapid On to Richmond, thus giving General Lee time to move his whole force towards Fredericksburg, where, at the end of November, the two hostile armies were confronting each other. This change of base gave me one day's longer leave of absence, as I could reach the vicinity of Fredericksburg by rail in twenty-four hours less time than Stuart by marching across the country. There being nothing to detain me in Richmond, I took advantage of my additional holiday to visit my dear friends, Dr P----and his family, at Dundee, near Hanover Court-house, where I passed Sunday the 22d most delightfully, continuing my journ
November 7th (search for this): chapter 14
in Richmond, and the negro waiter at the Spotswood Hotel had just left my room, promising, with a grin upon his swarthy face, that I should certainly be called in time for the early train the following morning, when a telegram was brought me from General Stuart, ordering me to proceed by rail, not to Culpepper Court-house, as I had intended, but to the vicinity of Fredericksburg, to which place he was upon the eve of transferring his headquarters. General McClellan had already, on the 7th of November, been superseded as Federal Commander-in-Chief by General Burnside, who, ambitious of a glory that in his wild dreams his exalted position seemed to promise him, and vehemently urged by the Government at Washington to rouse himself from his inactivity, and undertake something conclusive with his largely reinforced and splendidly equipped army, had decided to try the shortest and most direct route to the long-coveted Confederate capital. Accordingly the new commander had moved the grea
eks, and the few who had been compelled to remain behind plainly exhibited in their features that the apprehension of doom was pressing like an iron weight upon their hearts. The knowledge on their part that more than a hundred hostile cannon, planted on the dominating Shepherd's Heights of Stafford, over the river, bore directly on their unfortunate town, might well have given disquietude to this community of non-combatants. A lively contrast was presented, however, in the demeanour of Barksdale's Mississippi Brigade, stationed at Fredericksburg, the men of which were wandering carelessly about, talking and laughing, as if there were no Yankees within the radius of a thousand miles from them, or making themselves at home in several of the largest houses which had been quite converted into barracks. As the river was not more than 200 yards wide, we could distinctly see each one of the numerous Yankee sentinels who were pacing to and fro in their lightblue overcoats on the opposite
sired to get an idea of our mode of cavalry fighting. My orders were to remain at headquarters in the performance of some important duties there. I disliked this exceedingly, but I was soon compensated by the unexpected arrival of Vizetelly and Brien, who, after a very amusing ride through the valley and across the Blue Ridge, had at last found us again, and came into the encampment with the outburst of Dixie, sung to new words, the composition of the versatile Vizetelly himself. Most heartind for a few days on some matters of business. As I had never once asked for leave of absence since the commencement of my eventful campaigning, the General, at my request, very readily extended the term of my sojourn at the capital to ten days. Brien and Vizetelly having determined to accompany me, the gay trio soon rolled along in one of the most uncomfortable of railway carriages to our place of destination, where we arrived the same evening, and took lodgings at the well-known Spotswood Ho
Chapter 13: Camp-life at headquarters near Culpepper Court-house. ten days in Richmond. return to headquarters. a disagreeable journey. Burnside's change of base. headquarters near Fredericksburg. description of the town. danger of our English visitor. opossum-hunting. All was quiet next day at headquarterse was upon the eve of transferring his headquarters. General McClellan had already, on the 7th of November, been superseded as Federal Commander-in-Chief by General Burnside, who, ambitious of a glory that in his wild dreams his exalted position seemed to promise him, and vehemently urged by the Government at Washington to rouse pid marches down the Rappahannock towards Fredericksburg, hoping to cross the river and occupy the town before Lee should be able to divine his intentions. But Mr Burnside had not counted on the vigilance of Stuart's cavalry, the untiring activity of our scouts, and the promptness of decision that belonged to our noble leader; and
ed, and the white tents and swarming numbers of the enemy on the heights across the Rappahannock. Fredericksburg, one of the oldest places in Virginia, was before the war a pretty town of about 5000 inhabitants, which enjoyed a considerable local trade, and was distinguished for the hospitality and refinement that belonged to its society. It was now comparatively deserted. The larger part of its citizens had been driven off by the continued threats of bombardment which had hung like a Damocles's sword above their heads for several weeks, and the few who had been compelled to remain behind plainly exhibited in their features that the apprehension of doom was pressing like an iron weight upon their hearts. The knowledge on their part that more than a hundred hostile cannon, planted on the dominating Shepherd's Heights of Stafford, over the river, bore directly on their unfortunate town, might well have given disquietude to this community of non-combatants. A lively contrast was
d inexplicable disappearance of its commander may be imagined. Fitzhugh and I having been invited to supper with Captain Dearing, a friend of ours commanding a battery of Pickett's division in Longstreet's corps, who was encamped about two milesndy; but wit and good-humour make amends for the lack of dishes, and our songs re-echoed through the adjoining forests. Dearing soon proposed that we should send a courier for Bob Sweeney and his banjo, which was carried nem. con.; and before halfc of the banjo, the songs of the bivouac, and the dances of the negroes, amused us till a late hour, when we returned on Dearing's horses to our headquarters. Captain Dearing, who was a very gallant and distinguished officer of artillery, was traCaptain Dearing, who was a very gallant and distinguished officer of artillery, was transferred at a later period of the war to the cavalry. He became the colonel of a North Carolina cavalry regiment, and soon afterwards a general of brigade, in which position he gained a high reputation for daring enterprise and celerity of movement
h poor in viands it was rich in good fellowship, in mirth and anecdote and song. On this excursion, of which we had animated accounts from Stuart and Lawley, Captain Farley had executed another of those daring feats for which he was so famous, and the recital of it called forth the highest compliments of our whole dinner-party. plantation-house, doubtless in the hope of obtaining eatables for themselves or forage for their horses. As soon as they had dismounted and entered the dwelling, Farley rode up, and, confronting the astonished officers with his revolver, said, Gentlemen, you are my prisoners; make the least outcry to your men for assistance and I will blow your brains out. The brave colonel and adjutant, finding it was the best they could do, surrendered at discretion; and Farley brought them quietly into our lines, with their excellent and well-equipped horses, away from their regiment, which was marching along at a distance of only a few hundred yards. The astonishment
Norman Fitzhugh (search for this): chapter 14
isoners; make the least outcry to your men for assistance and I will blow your brains out. The brave colonel and adjutant, finding it was the best they could do, surrendered at discretion; and Farley brought them quietly into our lines, with their excellent and well-equipped horses, away from their regiment, which was marching along at a distance of only a few hundred yards. The astonishment of the regiment at this sudden and inexplicable disappearance of its commander may be imagined. Fitzhugh and I having been invited to supper with Captain Dearing, a friend of ours commanding a battery of Pickett's division in Longstreet's corps, who was encamped about two miles off, started on foot, late in the evening, for this entertainment, and after losing ourselves in the darkness, and getting our boots full of water in a swamp, at last reached the camp of the gay artilleryman, where we found large company and little supper. The spread, indeed, consisted only of a small piece of pork and
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