|VOL. XIX.--NO. 63.||RICHMOND, VA., SATURDAY, SEPT. 7, 1861.||PRICE ONCE CENT.|
Richmond Daily Dispatch, 7 September 1861.
THE ARMY OF THE NORTHWEST.
[CORRESPONDENCE OF THE RICHMOND DISPATCH.]
WARM SPRINGS, Sept. 4th, 1861.
Stopping a few hours at this place, rendered doubly delightful after the rough scenes through which, for some days, I have been passing, I concluded to drop you a line about our army in the Northwest. I left Staunton on the 28th ult., and after riding two days in the rain, spent the night of the 30th on top of the Alleghany mountains, camping out with a refugee from Upshur county, who, solitary and alone, is waiting [sic] in his tent the time when he may safely go to look after his family. From our lofty position we could distinctly see the camp fires of the enemy on Cheat Mountain, and my companion told me that, on a clear day, the tents were readily described with the naked eye. I availed myself of the opportunity afforded to visit some Georgians encamped near by, composed principally of the sick and those left to tend them. While I was there two more were buried, and two more died. One of the deceased was a company chaplain, and since his sickness there has been no one to minister spiritually to the sick, or to perform any service at the grave. It was sad to look at the long row of graves and think of the desolation of a death in such a place and under such circumstances, and of the bereaved friends far away. I could only go into the church whose floor was strewed with the sick and dying and speak a word to those who could hear it, drop a tear of sympathy, and breathe a silent prayer to Him who knows all. * * * On the 31st ult., having taken a near route across the country none too far from the trampling ground of the enemy's scouts, I reached Valley Mountain, the headquarters of Lee and Loring, and the station of our most advanced regiments. The roads, for a few miles before reaching said place, are the worst I ever saw, being well nigh impassable even to an equestrian. This is due to the nature of the soil, to recent constant rains, and to the heavy wagoning. I found much sickness here and at Big Spring, specially in Gilham's regiment, though there are few severe cases.--Company "F" has its share, but its members whom I saw seemed in good spirits. One of them told me, with glee, of a scouting expedition in which he walked twenty-four hours, making some thirty miles, over mountains, often knee deep in mud and waist deep in water. The soldiers have plenty of the best of beef, but have been only partially supplied with such articles as coffee, sugar, and salt. But all seemed to bear their privations cheerfully, and specially to be rejoicing in the fine weather to which they had been so long strangers. By the courtesy of Dr. Lewis, I was made very comfortable in his tent. But the nights were very cold, and at one time my mind was forcibly directed to the text in the Bible which speaks of the shortness of a bed and at the insufficiency of cover. I spent two very pleasant evenings by Dr. L's cosy fire, in company with the Doctor, Col. Gilham, Major Gildersleeve, (who is now amateur soldier, but will be at his post the 1st of October,) and the other agreeable gentlemen composing the officers' mess. On Sabbath I preached to a congregation usually attentive, made so in part, I am sure, from the fact that they heard no preaching since leaving Richmond, nearly two months since. Several of the regiments in this division of the army have no chaplain, and a general desire was expressed to be supplied with preaching and pastoral ministrations. As to the chances for an early engagement and its results, I will say not a word. I am satisfied of this, that the movements in the Northwest are now conducted on a plan, and that when a blow is struck it will be a well-directed one. Scouting and skirmishing are being carried on--the former to a considerable extent. You may have published an account of an of last week, resulting in the killing of our guide and three or four Yankees. But I do not think this exploit was approved by our Generals. Col. Gilham is now acting as commander of a brigade, and his energy and industry are the theme of general remark. As I came to this place loaded with letters from the camp, I passed two or three regiments en route for the Big Spring neighborhood, sick soldiers scattered all along, and met any number of wagons, one of which, I am happy to say, contained many long expected private packages. Quite a number of sick soldiers are at this delightful place, and a large and commodious hospital is being prepared. At present the convalescent soldiers eat at this Hotel, and it did me good to see them sitting down to the tempting dinner to-day.
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