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From Camp Pickens.
[Special Correspondence of the Dispatch.]

Camp Pickens, Manassas Junction, May 28th, 1861.
Camp duties have prevented my writing to you before this. Having now a few hours' leisure, I avail myself of the opportunity to give you some information of things transpiring here, knowing that your entire community are anxiously awaiting authentic intelligence from us. Leaving the Hermitage Fair Grounds on Saturday morning at 10 o'clock, we expected to make the trip to this place in the usual time, but did not arrive until Sunday at 2 o'clock P. M., the cause of our delay being the intelligence that a collision had taken place on the road a few hours previous, of which you were several days ago apprised, the authorities deeming it proper to stop at Gordousville until it could be ascertained that the way was clear, and everything in condition for our safe conveyance.

If the hearts of our men needed inspiration, the tears of our wives, mothers, sisters, and which even bedewed the cheeks of iron manhood at parting from us, were enough to nerve them to do battle to the death. Stirred as were our softer feelings for a while, the buoyancy of the soldier soon returned, and song after song beguiled the tedium of the journey. Along the route the greeting we received was a perfect ovation, and a ‘"God speed you"’ was given to us from every farm-house and dwelling. At each stopping place the train was surrounded by crowds of both sexes and all ages. Ebony faces peered from the fences, doffing their hats or bonnets, and making an enviable display of ivory. Baskets filled with bouquets, confections, tobacco, etc.were borne along the platform from car to car, and their contents given to the soldiers by the fair hands of more lovely women than I had seen for the previous twelve months. On reaching this place the Regiment immediately went into camp in a broad and gently undulating field, (said to be the property of the editor of the New York Sun) flanked by a beautiful wood. The sound of the axe and hammer broke the stillness of the Sabbath day, and in a few hours the white tents of the First Regiment of Virginia Volunteers were shining in the sun.

The country here is fair enough to look upon, but, much to our surprise, we soon found that water was scarce; that which we are able to get in the immediate vicinity of the camp is the color of the freestone strata through which it flows. Of this mineral there seems to be an inexhaustible quantity, the entire soil partaking of its dull red color. There is something of a village here, consisting of one tavern, two stores and several private dwellings. Within the circuit of a mile or two are several handsome residences.

There are numerous bodies of troops here, besides our regiment, among them Col.Kershaw's regiment, not long since encamped in Howard's Grove, near your city. What our force is, of course I will not say; but, few or many, their numbers and resolution are sufficient to give any force that the enemy can well spare from their boasted thousands a welcome with bloody hands to hospitable graves.--There is no sickness of consequence among our men, and all are in excellent spirits, and rapidly acquitting that degree of proficiency in drill necessary to fit them for the art of war.

On Monday morning, about 10 o'clock, the intelligence spread like lightning through the camp that two of our scouts, having approached too near Alexandria, were killed, and that the enemy were rapidly moving upon us. Instantly every man was in arms, and in less than a quarter of an hour the ranks were formed and ready to march. Not a cheek turned pale, not an arm was unnerved; but the bearing of each man bespoke every inch the soldier, and a thrill of almost savage joy went from heart to heart at the thought that the hour was near at hand to strike a blow for our homes, our loved ones, and our honor — an hour of terrible retribution for the many insults and wrongs inflicted upon a long suffering people.

Never had I witnessed such a scene; never did the palmiest days of Greece or Rome witness a grounder. Men who had left their peaceful a vocations at the call of their country, all unused to scenes of bloody strife, whose only ambition had, perhaps, been to pass their lives in the midst of domestic tranquility, were, as if by the wand of some arch magician, transformed into heroes, not only ready, but eager to go forth and offer up their lives in defence of a principle as eternal as the heavens — the principle of justice. No cheers ‘"rent the air."’ There was none of the loud talking and bluster with which the bully seeks to hide his fear; quietly and quickly falling into ranks, every man stood ready for the word of command, and within less than half an hour from the moment of the call to arms we were on our way to meet the foe. Our march could not have been more disagreeable. The deep dust that filled the road was hurled into our faces in blinding clouds by a high wind, blinding and almost suffocating us. But this was almost unheeded, and our columns pressed rapidly on. Arriving at a small stream called Bull Creek, distant about four miles from Manassas Junction, the command was given to halt, in order to allow us a few moments to get water. While there, we were met by a portion of the S. C. Regiment. They had preceded us several hours in anticipation of a fight and were then returning. From them we learned that the rumored killing of our scouts and the advance of the enemy were unfounded, everything being quiet ahead. Great was their disappointment and our own, and throwing themselves upon the grass under the protecting shade of the beautiful wood that bordered the pretty little stream, our men gave free expression to their regret that they were not yet to have a brush. Just at this time, Gen. Bonham, first in command here, came riding down the road from the direction opposite to that from which we had come. Our Captain, (Rev. F. J. Boggs, 2d Grays,) had had an inkling that the General would soon make his appearance, and, while the other companies of the regiment were laying about at ease, our Captain, in the pride of promptness, commendable in a soldier above all other men, quickly and quietly formed us into line, and as the General came to our front, our pieces were promptly brought to a ‘"present."’ Immediately reining up his horse, he raised his hat in acknowledgment of our salute, and as the other companies came running up, delivered a short and highly complimentary speech, expressing his pride and gratification at the readiness with which our soldiers had responded to the call to arms, accepting it as an evidence of the spirit which animated them, and of what would be their action when the enemy was really at hand. Three cheers and a ‘"tiger"’ testified the pleasure of our men at this compliment as the General rode away towards camp, whither we soon followed him, and from which I hope to date a few more letters.

A few words in conclusion, and, in those few words, an appeal. Of all the companies here, the Second Grays and Co.‘"I"’ are without tents, and we are sleeping with no shelter from the weather but boughs, of which we have constructed rude huts. Should a heavy rain come, we should be in a sorry plight — ourselves chilled, and clothing thoroughly wet, and our guns disfigured with rust. Have we any generous friends in Richmond? do they miss us at home? or is the old adage true, ‘"out of sight, out of mind?"’


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