Release of Ficklin — our forces prepared to meet McClellan — a Grand visit to General Stuart--a funeral sight — Uniting the Eighth Virginia regiment to the third Brigade, &c.
[correspondence of the Daily Dispatch
Centreville, Nov. 25, 1861.
--In a communication sent you from, Charlottesville
, I stated a report current there that Mr. S. W. Ficklin
had probably been taken prisoner by the enemy.
I am happy to inform you that he returned home last Tuesday, after being detained longer than he expected in the enemy's lines.
I came to Centreville
on Thursday, and here had a ramble in the camps and around the fortifications erected in this vicinity.
I have no right to say how many there are, or how strongly the army here is posted.
There are soldiers enough, I believe, to whip the Grand Army
of Abe Lincoln
, and to annihilate it. Let it come whenever General McClellan
pleases, and our numbers will report them their full strength.
It is a magnificent sight to stand on the parapet of one of the fortifications near Centreville
, and see as it were spread out before you a city encompassing several miles.
Here is a larger army than your correspondent ever believed he would live to behold encamped in the Old Dominion; and, notwithstanding his eyes see large batteries on every side, and ‘"any quantity"’ of regiments of brave and patriotic men armed to the teeth and clad in armor ready to do or die; habitations till recently blessed with happy families now deserted, fields laid waste, and forests destroyed; yet it is hard to realize that war with its sad realities exists in this once happy and prosperous country.
May the great Ruler of the Universe continue to favor and bless the Confederate States
as He has done up to the present time, and make us a people loving holiness, humbly and devoutly serving Him. The recognition of Heaven is above that of all the potentates and princes of the earth.
On Friday last the three regiments of Gen. Philip St. George Cocke
's Brigade, (3d,) the 18th, commanded by Col. R. E. Withers
, of Danville
; 19th, Major Henry Gantt
, of Albemarle
, and the 28th, Col. Robert Preston
, of Montgomery
, paraded in full strength to welcome the 8th regiment, Col. Eppa Hunton
, of Prince William, which had been assigned to the 3d Brigade.
About one mile from the headquarters of the 19th regiment, the ‘"Bloody 8th,"’ as Col. Hunton
's corps is designated, was received by the left and marched to the right, when they took position, the band of the 19th regiment and the music of the other regiments playing as it marched by the line in column.
The three receiving regiments then passed by the 8th in column of companies, after which, General Cocke
, in a brief and pertinent address, welcomed the 8th regiment to a position in the 3d Brigade, in the course of which he said ‘"they had distinguished themselves at Manassas
, and covered themselves with glory at the battle of Leesburg
H. acknowledged the compliment by the usual military salute, after which the officers of the three regiments were introduced by Gen. Cocke
H. The brigade then took up the line of march for their respective quarters.
The 18th regiment, whose special duty it was to escort the 8th regiment to their new camping ground, at the word of command from their Colonel
, gave three rousing cheers for their new associates, which was returned with vigor by the 8th regiment.
To give you some idea of what is necessary for the transportation of ammunition, baggage, &c., of a single regiment, I will state that twenty-eight baggage wagons, each drawn by four horses, composed the train of this regiment.
The men were a noble band who had gloriously fought and conquered the enemy in two hard contested battles, and they will, most assuredly, fight valorously on all occasions whenever the enemy shows himself.
On Saturday I visited Gen. J. E. B. Stuart
at his headquarters, about five miles below Centreville
On my way thither I saw many houses vacant, the windows destroyed, stables and bars from which the planks had been torn off, and farms desolated.
For miles near Centreville
the fences and land marks have been destroyed and carried off.
S. is perhaps the youngest man in the Southern Confederacy who has attained to such a high position as he so worthily fills, having only reached his 28th year last February.
In his manners he is courteous, affable, and gentlemanly.
An inferior may approach him with ease, as he displays none of that hauteur which some officers assume, He dispatches business promptly, and at the same time converses with his visitors in a social and friendly style that at once secures confidence and commands respect.
While sitting in the business room of Gen.
S., his Sergeant
announced a visitor; he was admitted — a youth of perhaps 19 years, the Serg't Major
of Colonel Ransom
's North Carolina Cavalry; intelligence beamed from his bright flashing eyes, and after his report was made, General S. and he conversed with as much familiarity and freedom as if they were equals in rank, and then followed an invitation for both of us to dine with him. After dinner, another visitor came into the General
's office while he was asleep; he took his seat by the sleeper, spoke to him, and he opened his eyes, attended to the business desired, and then in a twinkling was again in the land of nod. In less than five minutes General S. was up again, and took us to the portico of his house and showed us the Tenth Virginia Regiment returning from picket duty; he then showed us a formidable Belgian 12-pound rifle cannon, which had been run through the blockade, and was safely standing in front of his house ready to speak for itself whenever the enemy visited his quarters.
Long may he live to serve his country and win unfading honors and glory.
On Sunday, I witnessed the burial of one of one of the members of Captain Crisp
's Artillery; the band of the Nineteenth Regiment played a mournful requiem, the cannon boomed over his grave, and the sod was turned over his remains.
A few months since, I stood by the grave of my oldest son, who had died in the service of his country, when similar honors were paid.
I could not help dropping a tear over the grave of this soldier, who was doubtless a dutiful son, a fond, affectionate brother, a good citizen and patriot.
To-day I witnessed a grand and imposing scene — it was no less than the whole army in line.
This was done to assign the different regiments the positions they were to occupy whenever the enemy makes his appearance.
, and Longstreet
passed in front of the entire column.
The day was cold and uncomfortable, snow having fallen, and ice an inch thick was formed the previous night.
Before the Generals
made their appearance, two of the regiments in line near Fort Beauregard
, where I was standing, gave a specimen of the Yankees
running at the battle of Bull Run
It was truly a laughable scene, and created shouts of applause.
It was ‘"tall running,"’ and a few of the mimickers had long legs and made rapid and astonishing strides.
For the past five days I have bivouacked with the 19th Virginia regiment, commanded by Lieut. Col. J. B. Strange
, who is at present sick with the jaundice, (‘ "yaller janders,"’ as the disease is usually called,) which is prevailing in the army.
It is endemic; blue mass and the usual medicines do not effect a cure, while mustard plasters applied to the stomach and cupping will accomplish the object.
With your permission, I will hereafter give you a sketch of some things in camp life that I have seen while among my friends, neighbors and kinfolk, who have come up here to fight the battles of us who stay at home, and perhaps think and say, too, what lazy fellows the soldiers are. Could the grumblers come and see for themselves, as I have done, the five miles of fortifications and breast-works which the army has thrown up, they would never utter another complaint during the war.
This morning it was rumored that a fight was expected by the picket, (the 15th regiment is now on that duty,) and that Gen. Stuart
intended making an advance on the enemy.
As the 8th regiment was also sent early this morning on picket, it gave some color to the report; but I find rumors and reports here are like those which float about in the cities and towns — they have no good foundation.
This evening I learn the enemy at Evansport
are constructing pontoon bridges to cross the Occoquon
This, too, may be mere rumor.
It is evident that the Yankee
nation are anxious for a forward movement.