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bullets, or charred by the torch of war. The land seemed doomed, and to rest under a curse.
That Federal vedette yonder, as we advance, is the only living object we behold, and even he disappears like a phantom.
Can this, you murmur, be the laughing land of yesterday, the abode of peace, and happiness, and joy?
Can this be Fairfax, where the fields of wheat once rolled their golden waves in the summer wind, and the smiling houses held out arms of welcome?
Look, it has become a veritable Golgotha — the place of skulls --a sombre Jehoshaphat full of dead men's bones!
I remember all that, and shall ever remember it; but in contrast with these scenes of ruin and desolation, come back a thousand memories, gay, joyous, and instinct with mirth.
The hard trade of war is not all tragedy; let us laugh, friends, when we can; there are smiles as well as tears, comedy as well as tragedy, in the great and exciting drama.
You don't weep much when the sword is in the hand.
You fight hard; a
t writer-like many others, doubtless-goes back in memory across the gulf of years to 1861, recalling its great scenes and personages, and living once more in that epoch full of such varied and passionate emotions.
Manassas! Centreville! Fairfax! Vienna!-what memories do those names excite in the hearts of the old soldiers of Beauregard!
That country, now so desolate, was then a virgin land, untouched by the foot of war. The hosts who were to trample it still lingered upon the banks of the Potomac; and the wildest fancy could not have prefigured its fate.
It was a smiling country, full of joy and beauty — the domain of ancient peace; and of special attraction were the little villages, sleeping like Centreville in the hollow of green hills, or perched like Fairfax on the summit of picturesque uplands.
These were old Virginia hamlets, full of recollections; here the feet of Mason and Washington had trod, and here had grown up generation after generation ignorant of war. Peace reigned