Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 17.djvu/172
164 Southern Historical Society Papers.
I have thus given you a sort of chronicle of our movements up to this time and our present position. I might intersperse it with many little incidents, personal and otherwise, of camp life, but they would make this letter too long and perhaps hardly repay the general reader for his pains. They are treasured, however, in our memories, and their recital will serve to enliven many an hour in the future when we shall have driven our invaders away and returned to our fondly remembered homes.
The country through which we have passed deserves some notice, possessing as it does many striking and interesting features. Making much of the travel from Richmond to Staunton in the night we, of course, had but limited opportunities to observe anything. One thing, however, we must record for the honor of the Virginia ladies (and we will not restrict it to the Virginia ladies, lor the same thing met us at every step of our way from our homes in Georgia to Staunton), and that is the enthusiastic and graceful welcomes and greetings and God- speeds they showered upon us from the doors and windows, and even house-tops along the road. Old women and young women, girls and even babies (so young that it must have been an instinct with them), waved their handkerchiefs, or bonnets, or aprons, or somethings in token of their enthusiasm whenever we passed them. If there is anything that will stimulate faltering courage to the fight- ing point it certainly is the cheering of the fair, and our boys seemed fully to appreciate it.
Staunton is pleasandy located in the midst of towering hills that overlook it on every side, and is a place of frequent resort during the summer for its healthfulness and pleasant surroundings. It is also the site of the insane asylum and the institution for the deaf, dumb and blind — two institutions under State patronage.
The road from Staunton to Laurel Hill (as far as we travelled it) is a turnpike cut into the sides and over the tops of the mountains. So tortuous is its course that you may travel for miles without gain- ing in actual distance more than a few hundred yards, and sometimes the extremes of our column, stretching out a mile or nearly so in length, would be within a stone's throw of each other.
These mountain heights over which we passed sometimes dis- covered to us the most magnificent views that ever greeted the eye of man. Stretching almost infinitely on either hand are alternations of valleys with their teeming fields of grain, and mountains with clouds hanging gracefully on their sides and floating lazily about their tops. But these have been so often described that I shall not