From the Valley.
[correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
Winchester, May 30, 1862.
You can imagine the joy with which the people of Staunton
received the news last Monday, of the glorious achievement of ‘"Old Stonewall,"’ in driving the Yankees
from this part of the Valley
You can hear them specially the refugees from this section, laughing, and to each other a cross the street, and see them shaking hands at every street corner.
As the facts were immediately telegraphed to Richmond
, and, see more authentic
details were to be had, I deferred writing you till I should get nearer the scene of action.
On Tuesday morning, I was one of many on the road for this place.
The essay 1st, Rogers
, tells of a women in a German town, who had lived to a good old age without going out of her native town — The king hearing of the case, and thinking it told finely for the contentment and happiness, of his people, made an edict this woman should not leave her native town.
Whereupon the old, creature, who had never before wished to , became oppressed with a sense of imprisonment, and, actually died in consequence.
In like manner, while I have always wished to visit the lower Valley, I have for years lived very contentedly without getting below Harrisonburg
; but as point after point became in accessible by reason of the occupation of the enemy, I more and more felt that it was a necessity to me to get into the country I had before neglected to see. It was therefore, with a peculiar sense of relief that I started down, feeling that the coast was clear to this place, and perhaps are very long to Baltimore
At Mount Crawford
we find the first sign of the enemy in the two burnt bridges over the river.
Our first thought was, what a pity to destroy such substantial bridges, when the ford is so good, but we were emended that the water was high when the Yankees
were along, and were assured by intelligent men that most probably the burning of the bridges here was all that kept the enemy from Staunton
Moreover, we were assured with reference to the many small bridges burnt on the road, that, besides their destruction being a military necessity, it saved, by the detention of the enemy, more than would rebuild them.
At Mt. Crawford
we talked with an influential gentleman, who, while he had no power to keep the Yankees
from taking his corn talked very plainly to them.
He said, ‘"gentlemen, you seem to be hinting to find out my sentiments; I will save you the trouble and tell you all, I am with my State and the South
, heartily and forever"’ One of them replied, ‘"you are can did, and we like you much better than we do such as favor as now and turn against us when our backs are turned" ’ He told us what we heard everywhere,
that after getting what they asked for, either as free gift or for their abominable scrip — worth not one mill — they would go and steal anything they, could lay their hands on.
From Mount Crawford
to New Market
there are no special signs of an enemy, save that grain and all provisions are gone, and here and there a force is burnt.
But after passing the latter place the desolations begin.
For miles we travel, seeing cely a line or cross fence, and clover and wheat fields trodden down and exposed to utter destruction.
We need not to hear the women and children, and even the servants, in order to see what a foe has been through the land.
Where forests abound fences have been burned, even yard fences and gates; stone walls have been wantonly pulled down.
seem to bate Stonewall.
Here is a deserted house and there the smouldering ashes of one they have burned.
we saw the fortifications of the enemy, on a commanding hill and elaborately finished.
Here it was supposed, of course, they would make a stand.
How different was the result.
All last week an impression prevailed along the entire line of the enemy that Jackson
would be upon them very soon, and they commenced to fall back, probably to stand at this place.
On Saturday, ‘"old Stonewall,"’ having taken a considerable part of two regiments and some cannon at Front Royal
the day before, reached the Valley turnpike
, and flanked the wagon train and forces moving from Strasburg
Here he poured shot and shell into them till dark, and took large numbers of loaded wagons and many prisoners.
The next morning he resumed operations and chased the enemy to the edge of Winchester
, where they put their cannon in position and fought with effect for some time, when finally they fled through the streets, our men pursuing, with Jackson
at their head.
The citizens say that the rout was perfect and that the enemy's cavalry fled disgracefully, pursued by numbers smaller than their own. Unlike Jackson
kept a long way from the flashing of the guns.
On both sides, this entire affair was comparatively bloodless.
Our loss, in killed and wounded, did not exceed forty. Col. Campbell
, of the 48th Virginia, was wounded in the arm. A Louisiana Major
was killed We took in prisoners some 2,500 or 3,000, including those taken at Front Royal
, and they are still being brought in. Many more would have been secured but the larger part of our cavalry were pursuing a portion of the Yankee
army who fled towards Romney
As the Yankees
Winchester they fired the town next to the depot, where were most of their stores, and several large buildings were destroyed.
They attempted to fire the upper end, and had they succeeded the explosion of the magazine would have caused terrible destruction of property and life.
We have taken considerable quantity of commissary stores, several hundred horses, wagons and ambulances, between ten and fifteen thousand stand of improved rifles and muskets, besides many unopened boxes of revolvers.--Large quantities of stores have also been secured.
It is understood here that large quantities of stores have also been taken at Charleston
I walked to day among the prisoners.
They are lofting at their case in the court yard and at the depot, guarded principally by company ‘"F,"’ of Richmond
, and especially from Middletown
, the road is filled with evidences of the to night of the Yankees
All sorts, of equipage, half burnt wagons, letters by hundreds, and grain, poured on the road, lie every where.
are dozens of dead horses, many of which were killed during the running fight of Saturday P. M. and Sunday morning.
I read many letters to Yankee soldiers from friends at home.
None are fit to send you. --The only one not stupid was too foul to be read, and shows a bad state of morals at Morris, ill.
One letter was from a girl, and said ‘"This is the devilishness pen." ’ Another from a girl apologizes for being the second without an answer, and hopes the writer will not be thought ‘"unladylike."’ Another says, ‘"Bill we have received your picture, and you do look Bully
"’ Another says, ‘ "We do not miss you except at meals,"’ Another childs a son for sending only $26 home, and asks ‘"What have you done with the rest ? You have drawn over $40. We have sent you paper and stamps — What did you need to buy ?"’ All the letters speak of hard times, and many talk as if they fully expected the war soon to end,
I cannot tell you half of what I have heard of the Yankee
doings at Winchester
A big placard stares you at every turn, in which the commandant of the post in one breath tries to be very oily, and in the next warns the people to avoid any offence to the Union Government
or its representatives.
You can't imagine the joy and relief of the people at their They seem to breaths free again.
The women, God bless them, seem to love our Southern soldiery and Confederacy with all their hearts.
They used to strew the graves of our Kernstown
heroes with flowers.
On one occasion the guard followed two of them to the cometary to prevent this if attempted.
spread a secesh flag on the street, and hung one across, so that all must pass under the latter and over the former.
What does a noble girl do but kneel, and again and again kiss the dear Southern-flag?
You have heard of the Yankees
using one of the churches as a stable.
They arrested several ladies here--one for shouting for Jeff. Davis
She preached them a proper sermon, and when released repeated the offence.
You may be sure the Yanks found little aid and comfort here.
Many of the slaves were persuaded to leave.
They were directed to get into the lower end of the town, and told that it would be blown up.
I rode this morning over, the Kernstown battle field, in company with a Colonel who was in the battle.
The hill from which the enemy shelled our men is a most commanding one, and our troops had to go a mile under fire of twelve pieces before reaching position.
The scene of the infantry fight abows how hard was the contest.
The see are riddied, and many small ones cut all to pieces — The enemy admit a force engaged of 10,000.
The people here carefully estimate there loss at 1,500 killed and wounded. By the way, I see that Banks
reports that he retired last Sunday in good order !
I write this after a weary day. It has the one merit, at least, of being reliable.
I could have written days ago, had I chose to write rumor.
I could write more now did I choose to run the risk of writing what may not I cannot tell you where our army is now; but I follow them tomorrow and when anything turns up again; and no harm can be done by a communication, you may hear from me again.
The greatest interest is felt as to the position of affairs in Richmond