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From Stockton's Regiment

From Stockton's Regiment image
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IÍAiL'8 Iín.r,, Va., ) Nov. 4th, 1861. ) Dl-ap. Brotheii:- (1:: Mórdav, t!. ■!:'■, we, thilt is, tbis ' división oL tho " Grand Arroy," raeüeeü a new drill, at lenst new to of them. Tiio instruments used ' wars oot fito-nrms, but asea, pieles aod shovel ■ ■ tuctics " put in practico ' wei-o ;!indr: I piroíers in'clenrióg ; u; ll.cii aims. UUlt, tG-&peak plainiy, the fqur rgim.cnte contpomng this ' ditision wiM-e st to work clearing ap a pieee of gromid lor pSraèlé rinrp'ö Ono and all turned out. General Butterfield aml Sff ivere on the ::roun.!s superiütonding tho work. - Treea wcro lëlled, and stampa and bushes gnibbud out. I do hot btlíéve tbá! thoreis another jfariiñ in the State of Virginia as weij eleared ns we cbftíod this. On tho rnorningof tho 5ih inst., JnSt as we liad forrhed fbr i!il), it wá's anQounocd to the bttttallion that a teJegrapbip dieputcb luid been received, that the Etéet bad arrived off Charleston, añd tliat Fort Sumpíer liad bcon taken. Tinco timea Ihree cheers mnde the weikin ■ing', whioh wero aqswered by the othor regirheots situaled near US, and wfao luid recêi vod tho sanie cheering nows ; but wljich has eince proved incorrect. On tho sarao dav we aleo received oews that Floyd liad been defeated ; t that is so, and as yet ithas not been contrudictocl, it is news enough for one day. On Thursday mOrfling, the 7:h, vc wcro called in fróm skirrnish drill, and twenty-one of Co. A, accomppnied by Lieut. Svvan, dotailed to go out on a foragióg cxjjoJiíion. I vvas lucky enough to be ono of tho nuinl)er. As soon as haversacka woro fillod. the orders wero givèn : "fiííí in," "right tace," "forward march," 'quick time," ' nnd n a fow momenfa wo found our selvas at the encainprnent ot the New York Seventeenth, a equad of which ' was to accompany us. Here we baltcii, and were soon joined by equada i'rom the " EUtrwörth AvèngerB," another New York regiment, and also one frorn a Pennsylvaoia regiment. Ilaro wo were also joined by Major WuLcir, who took command, and gave the orders to " f'ortn into line," :' to the rear open order," " inareh," " in-Bpaction of arnis," vvhen the conimander of each squad i ñapee tod the arma to see that all were id good eondition. Tbis over, the Major gavo the eomtn'ands: "shoulder arras," " olose order, mareh," "right face' "forward march," and wo were off on a "" expedition, I liad thought that we were one of the advanco regiment?, and lay close to our picket giiards; but as wo aqváncéd I found that there were at least fiíteeu f pot twenty thousand troops aheadofus; and I ihink the largest estímate the nearest right. We passed over a most beautiful country in our progress, winding aud turning up and down, passing over ground which but a short time ago bad been a forest ; but it had fallen before the soldiere' as. Crossin," the iiailroad which leads frora Alexandriu to Vienna, we struck the turnpiko which leads írom Alexnndria to Drair;svilltí, at Fall's Church, which is situated ri a small vailey, and surrounded Ijy a few houses which is :ulled Fail's Church Village, the first village lliat I had seen since I hae been in Virginia. We followed this pike for two miles, when we carne to a road or lane which was very narrow, and where we entered it te lined on éither sido by an under growth of pines, briers and brambles. We were now soino distance outside of our picket gnárds, and Hablo at any moment to le attaclíecl by the rebels, and men were thrown out to scour tho country, üno company vvas sent aln'ad of the teainp, and ono companv behind ! them ; theso vvent in the road in a body. One compmi} was placel on the right, aod onc on the eft of the road, to place themselves ten rods apart, and march parallel with the road; and thus we would scour a largo estent of country, and if there was an enemy near we would be apt to discover them, and be prepared to meet thom. Thus we went through woods, over fences, aoross iieids, until we reached tho placo of our desünatiou, that is until we found plenty of har, tho article that wo were after. Here wo halted and c(mmenced 16 lad. Whilo they were doing so John Berry Mnd myself thought that wc would takoascoui on our own book; so westarted off and visited two or three farms in that section, bnt discovered nothing in tho shape of rebel; in fací we saw but ono man in our scout, and ho vvas very old. When we got around wo found tho wagons were loaded and ready to start for camp, but that the most of the men wore out. There eould only four of ihc Michigan boys be found, and among ir missing wero Lieut. Sw.vx. Eight of tiie Pennsylvania, rís of tho " Klis. woth Avengers," and all ot the New Ycrk Seventeenth, and their Lieutenant, were alao missing. Sinco our arrival a íew cavalry had joined us, some of wbórn wero now sent out to hunt up the missing. While thcy wcro out the teams, under tho escort of a feW iiifantry and cavalry, startcd for camp. The Major dotailed mygell wiüi three men to wait for the Btragglera ; but if they did not make their a)i)earanco in an hour wo wero to inake our way to camp. Soon two of our men made their appearanco, and repo'rted tbat they had not seen the Ijieutenant or any of them. A short lime after the Pennaylvaoia boys came in ; Uiey had been some distance towards Fairfax, and had seen nq énemy. I now went totho liouse, and inquired if they eould furnish mo sometling to eat. The lady of the house poinled to tío tuble, a:u! said that there was al] sbo had - a liltlü warm corn broad - I could t;ko a setit at the table and eat what Ibero was. Sho apologisji(i for the FthortBfesB of tlio fare, by nayiog ihat sho had had moyo to dinner than u.-ua!, thaí a numbèr oí theoffioera had heen :i and taken dinner with thom. I took a seat and made a very good mea] out of corn bread, well butterod, and washed down with milk; but Ï wouid fiave defied abotber to have got , even as muefa as a smell. On inquiring how iniich it was, she sr;id that site did not thúik that I liad got enough to pay for. I oileie J her a piece of inoncy, whioh sho took with tlc remark that inoncy was vury scaree wiih thom. On going out I f ornad that Lieut. Sw.w had returned, and gomo rnen with liim, and also the Lieutenant of thf1 New York Seventeen'.h. On uotinting, we found six of our men stil! missing, and ten óf the .Now York men; shortly alter soine more of each carne in, bot Stil] wo were 6hort two, and the Seventeenth two. Wo had waitod long cnough ; 83 orders were given to : "fall in," and we proceeded homeward, ! ovei taking on the way our two men, ; raaking our number full. At dark wo reached camp, all right, having boon I itito the country of the ''soeesh" without golting a sight of ono Lieut. Swa.v, with two men went within two miles of Fíiiríax O. II., without coming ins ght of any rebel pickets. Major Wklcii, in company wilh sorno cavalry, ventured near Vienna, and got a sight of the rebel pickets. In thi tramp I iound the necessity of cutting down tho timber, great and small, as our forcea moved. Il grows close togother, the pino underbrush branohing close to the ground, making it almost impossible to get through, and furnishing a good Liding place for tho eoemy. In many places I was under the necesshy of crawling through it on my hands and knees, and drawing my gun after me; so you see it is rather a poor place to fight in, but a good place to bide in. I (mi in good heajth. J. P. Halis IIill, Va., Nov. 15, 1861. ] Dkar Bkothbr : - On Tuesday of last week wc liad a ! slight variation in our brigade drill. A battery of artillery praetieed withus, ad ding its loud bellowing to tho noise of our musketry. Besides this, there was another chango, it consisted of the whule brigade falling down, and the artillery uring over them. In the first place, it was doue wliile the whole brigade was drawn up in line of battlo array, - Again, each regiment was drawn up, oue behind tho other, then all feil flat, the artillery fired over them ; thon the last regiment of infantry rose aud fired over thoso ahead of them, then tho next arose and fired, and so on through the whole : brigade. ïhis was a chango of scène, a ', variety, and it is a saying that " variety ia the spico of life." Ou Saturday we liad a división review. We were reviewed by Gen. McClbllí n, I now Commander-in-Chief. At 12o'clock we, that is, tvvelve regimeuts of Infantry, one regiment of Cavairy (the Lincoln), ! and one battery of Artillery, numbering in all thirtcen thousand, wero drawn up on the parado gvound, wuiting tho arrival of the distinguished General. "Whilo thus waiting, the rain which had been j threateuing all the iorenoon, conimenced ■ to pour down, aud it kept up duriug the whole review. The arrival of the Cotu inander was annouuced by the boomiug of the battery, whon it was taken up : by the soldiers, and one deafening shout went up from tho whole asseinbled multitudo. Again aud again was it repcated, and then thcGeueral aud his staff rode iu front of each regiment, and then each regiment passed before him. We were then formed into squares, and the firing of blank cartridges commenced, accompanied by tho firing of tho Artillery; after which wc were dismissed. Cold, wet, and hungry, we reached our encampment at 4 o'clock. Thcrc wero hundreds of visitors on the grouud, aud had it been a pleasaut day it would havo beeD worth going some distánce to witness. - As is usual in such cases, the rain ceased as soon as we reaehed our camp ; it elearcd up, and Suuday was as warm and nice a day as one ever need see. Last week it was decided by the Geuerals of this división to send out a scouting party towards Vieuna and Fairfax. Major Wbloh, of this regiment, was summoncd to tho couocil, aud inforined that the said scouting party would be placed under his coinmand. Iu this selectioí a liïgli compliment was paid to the Major, as t is not fteu tuat a u(iI( ' eer is placed iu commaiid of suoh a party. Aud I do not thiuk that thsj could hare placed t in better hands. Ou ' day evening, the lOth inst., a detail of; thirty men and two Captains, Meyres and Flagler, was made from this regiment for that purpose. I was not among those detailcd, (thoro was no Sergeant detailed from this company,) but through tho politeness of Major Welcii I was j lowed to accompany the expedition - Wc left the cucampment at 1 o'clock, ! Suuday evening, and made a halt at tho eucampmeut of tho N. Y. Seventeenth, ! wherc we were joincd by a resident of this section of country, who acted as our guido. Again wc moved on, and at 9 o'clock -we passcd through the last ca Minpmcnt of Federal troops, and in a short timo halted near Fall's Church. llerc we wero to pass beyond our pieket : guard, and tho Major brought us to a " front," and addressed us in a few but : appropriatu words ; after wiiich he ; brought us to a " right l'ace,:' and wc moved forward, occasionally halting to vibit a houso to make inquiries about the rebels. They informcd us tliat they, the rebels, had fallen back to Genuantuv.n. but that thero was a regiment of (juvalry scouting through this spotiya of country. At Iciüt wo reaehgd pletina, wtiero wc made a sh ;rt, and ll.rew out scouting partios; but discovering no eneuiy wo ïuoved on. We èrosied tlie Iïail r;j::d, and bood after balted in frout of a , The Major, Captains, and guide, vfaitcd it. routed tho puople out of bod, and after getting what Information thcy eould, returned, and once more ivc moved on, soou again to stop to visit another house. (Japt. Fi-agleu ranpedat the door and denr&ndcd admittance; thcro was a stir withiti, tho blinds of a window oponed, and thovoieo of alegro inquired what was wantcd. Tlio Captain iskcd him if lio knew where the seeessiouists were encampedwiien he answered, " indeed, Massa, I do not." After some further questious, he said that by the sound of the drums ho thought that they wcre about two miles off, in a westerly direo tion. With this information we returned to tho party and again moved on. At 2 o'clock, Monday nionmii.', wo were drawn up around a largo house ; thq, officers entered it, and aftor a good deal of knoeking around managod to arouse the inmates. After a half hour's delay the signal was sounded aud wc were on the maroh again, and iu an honr or so halted at what is known as the blockade, which consista of the timber being cut down, and at one time the road had been en tiroly blocked up. ifere the boys tumbled into tlio tree tops aud laid until daylightj when the orders were given, i "getup," " fall in,'' and wo moved on-1 ward for about two miles, when wc visited a house, and on inquiring of the man for the rebels, ho said ho supposed that tlio maiü body was at Ceuterville ; that tliere wcro small partios at Fairfax and Germantown ; and that fhcre was a large body of Cavalry scouting around in that section ; also tbat t'ieir picket guards were stationed about a mile from his house ; that two weeks ago they had a relief of twenty men, but they had now been reduccd to three. We left, him and proceedcd on towards the pickets, who seeing us coming took a " doublé quick," and left, taking tho direction of Fairfax. Wo brought up in front of a graveyard. The new mado graves liero and the inscriptions show that discaso is is in the rebel camp, and that death is fast thinning o.ut tbeir ranks. We now stood opposite, and not over one and a half miles from Fairfax Court House, but not an enemy was to be seen. The picküt guards had disappeared, and all was quiot and stilt, and whcre we had expected to see aud meet au cneray none waa to be secn. It was now thought best to turn our faces towards home, but tlie question arose, iu what direction we should go. - Some of the boys wished to go through Fairfax ; the guide thought it was best not to, and the Major decided,- although the boys swore they would stick by him to the last, - that we had done enough for one night, having gone farther than any other scouting party since the Buil Run iight, that it was runniug the small pajty into too much danger to go through Fairfax, and that wo would return by a different and loss dangerous routo. We, therefore, turned our footsteps campwards. We struck across the country until we struck the Alexanaudria aad Leesburg Railroad, which we followed until we camc opposite a large plautation owned by one Williams, a soniowhat notcd rebel It is said that he has shot more Federal pickets than all tho other southerners put together, He bas a fine plantation, good buildings, and p'euty of stock. e found no one at home but an oíd negro and his family. - He was very polite, and showed the Major over the premisos, but nothiug was discovered. The Major asked him " if he would not like to have his liberty and go away V He said " no, he would cot leavo Massa Williams, on any acecunt, neither would his family." "But," said the Major, " suppose that we take you away ?" He hesitated awile, and then said, " he supposed that he would have to go." Turing the couversation he said he was not afraid of tho Northcrneis, tbat the ueighbora did him the most damagc, that when they wanted any. thing they took it without leavo. The Maj r told him to stay and take care of the plantation, and to look after the stock, for the Uuited States would buy it of him. Once more wc moved on, again striking and followins; the Ilailroad to whero it crosses the pike ncar Fall'a Charch, whero we again halted and bid good bye to our guide. For miles this Railroad is eompletely destroyed. Iu places the rails have been torn up, pui in piles, the ties thrown upon thein and set fire to, and when the rails beoame hot they wcre bont in the center, and thus mado worthless ; in other places, the ties and rails have been shoved bodily over the grades. Once more we moved on, and noon on Mondav found us in camp, having iuthis scout passcd through Vieuna, and entircly around Fairfax Court House, and with a amall party of thirty, gone througli the enemy's country, where wo were at any miuute Hablo to meet an cucmy four times as largo as ours. I thiuk this demonstrates one fact, that the enemy is fast faüing back. Too much credit eau not be given to Major Welch ; he accompanied us the whole distance on foot, and I bclicve he stood it better than most of the men. I ani iu the best of hcalth.


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Michigan Argus