From the army.
[special correspondence of the Dispatch,]
Ewell's Corps, July 20.
The late march of this corps, particularly of Early
's division, from the Lower Valley
over the mountains, was one of the severest of the war. Before leaving Winchester
that division especially had been nearly broken down by the fruitless forced march from Bunker Hill
in pursuit of the force of Yankees in the vicinity of Hedgesville
having been ordered to flank them and get in their rear, for this purpose had to cross the mountain near Martins
burg and make a long detour to the left, which threw him a hard day's march behind the remainder of the corps and not a little imperiled his division, as the Yankees
were endeavoring to occupy and hold the mountain passes to cut off the junction of the corps with the main body.
It was not the intention of Gen'ls Rodes
to cross at Manassas
's Gaps, but to cross the river at Front Royal
, proceed up Luray Valley and cross the Blue Ridge mountains
at — Gap, which was most successfully accomplished.
The occupation of Front Royal
by the Yankees
, after the passage of Rodes
, caused Gen. Early
to turn to the right at Cedarville
, flank the Yankees
and strike the Staunton turnpike
, bivouacking the first night on the banks of the Shenandoah
, near Strasburg
The weather was hot as Tophet, and notwithstanding the march of two miles every hour, including a halt and rest of ten minutes, it required all the energy and fortitude of the men, despondent at times on a long march, to bear up under the oppressive heat.
The sleep that night near Strasburg
, in the tall grass, with no covering but the canopy of Heaven, was to the weary men as sound and refreshing as an infant's slumber.
The first range of mountains was attained Sunday afternoon at New Market
, and crossed Monday morning.
Reaching the Shenandoah
about mid day, two or three hours were consumed in throwing a pontoon bridge across at Columbia bridge, destroyed by Jackson
in his brilliant Valley campaign, to prevent the crossing of Shields
, who was compelled to go up the eastern side of the river and mountains, while Jackson
went pari passu
up the western, an efficient, signal officer keeping him advised of his adversary's movements.
The division reached the second and last range of the Blue Ridge
Monday night, and encamped at the foot, in Littlepage Valley.
The greater part of the day (Tuesday) was occupied in crossing at Fisher
's, better known as Milam
's, Gap. The road over the mountain here is crossed by a Macadamized road, much broken since the war began, but one of the most splendid pieces of engineering in the country.
On the western side, by the direction of the road, it is seven miles from the foot to the top, and six miles from the job to the foot on the eastern.
The windings of the road, like the convolutions of a huge serpent, would frequently bring one part of the line of march within speaking distance of another, while it would have to traverse the distance of one, and sometimes two, miles to reach it. The scenery from the top of the mountain is grand beyond description, and affords a prospect not surpassed on the castle bordered, Robins
On either hand, as far as the range of vision extends, large smiling valleys, clad in the verdure of the season, dotted here and there with beautiful farms, elegant residence and little villages, while far away, until lost in the dim distance, extend the ranges of the Blue Ridge
, lifting their heads above the clouds.
Littlepage Valley may ever appropriately be termed the Eden of Virginia
.--It is one of the most fertile spots in the State
, and its cultivated fields, thriving and independent farmers, show that it has yet seen little or none of the desolation that follows in the track of war. Returning to the march, the Division
encamped on Robertson river
, Tuesday night, and soon effected a junction with the corps.
Coming down the Staunton turnpike
it was a melancholy sight to see refugees from Winchester
and other portions of the Lower Valley
fleeing with their household gods from their homes, hallowed by sacred memories and associations, and abandoned again to the desecration of the vandal Yankee
Let us hope it is the last time the accursed foe will pollute our soil with his tread.
's division comprises some of the best troops in the service, including the Georgia
brigade of Gen. John B. Gordon
, of Alabama
, with which I moved on the march.
In the battle of Gettysburg
it killed and wounded more of the Yankees
than its own numerical strength.
At least three hundred were buried in its immediate front.
The previous brilliant record of this brigade is already well known.
, one of the most gallant and efficient officers, as well as best managers of men in the army, is a very pleasant and affable gentleman, one evidence of which is evinced in the fact that he seems to find nothing in the duties of the officer incompatible with the obligations of the gentleman.
While he is a strict disciplinarian, he appreciates the community of interests of the officer and private in this war for mutual independence, and faithfully protects the rights of the men entrusted to his charge.
As might be supposed, he is the idol of his brigade, and respected in an eminent degree by the whole division.
The Adjutant General
of this brigade is Capt. Jas Mitchell
, second son of Mr. John Mitchell
, of the Richmond Enquirer
, and one of the most intelligent and brave young officers of the army.
, an eminent and successful teacher of Alabama
, and a gentleman of rare accomplishments, is a private in the signal corps of Early
As the invasion of Pennsylvania
did not equal fully the expectations of Gen. Lee
, who magnanimously assumes all responsibility under reverse, and modestly assumes less than is due him in success, it is to be regretted now that the corps of Gen. Ewell
, which had penetrated within sight of the spires of Harrisburg
, had not been allowed to prosecute its march, while the main body remained on the border of the State
They were cooking rations for a three days march further on when the order came directing Gen. Ewell
to come back to Gettysburg
is in fine health and spirits, and though somewhat emaciated, is far from being pale and feeble as Yankee correspondents represented.