Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/10
6 Southern Histor'n-nl ,SV ,-/>/// Papers.
our supplies whilst at Chaffin's were vastly aided and improved by "the old folks at home" in King and Queen, Gloucester, Mathews, Essex and Accomack and Northampton. The latter counties had to run a blockade through narrow passes in the smallest craft, at night, but they sent clothes and medicine and food. Essex and Mathews and Gloucester poured out their cornucopias upon us; but Oh! shall I ever forgot the little hen-coop carts of King and Queen. They were constantly coming packed to the tops of their cover- hoops always with good things from the dear mothers and sisters and wives at home! I had seen those little characteristic carts before the war in the market-places of Richmond, and felt a funny feeling about them, such as used to titulate my nerves by seeing the fish-carts around Norfolk and Portsmouth, drawn by the tackies of Black- water, 130 of which, in a single day, I have counted which had but thirty eyes. As an eastern shore man I could not but think how in- comparable with them was "the train and steers" of Accomack. But the war taught me how precious they are and capacious too of every sort of good things. One of those little carts, hauled by a poney, was like an open sesame, it was full of hams and chickens and eggs and melons and cakes and cider and home-made wine and letters and socks and blankets. And the memory of its fullness is nothing to that of its pathos. Not a company got its home greet- ings that some poor soldier did not bring to me some choicest present of the sweets he so seldom got, compared with my own opportuni- ties. "Why my good comrade keep 'em for yourself, you need them more than I do." But no, he would' nt, he could' nt eat them if I did not take part, and hear what the ' ' old woman ' ' or the children said about us- God bless my true hearted, humble, brave pri- vates who loved for me to taste their morsels of good things. There was no generosity like theirs. It forgot everything but self-sacrifice and devotion, cheerfully made and paid. They all " accepted their situations:'" to fight to the death and to endure to the end for a faith and a principle, rather than eat the diet of dictation thrown by the hands of tyranny as husks to swine!
We arrived at Charleston in Sept., 1863, with an effective force of 2,850 infantry, and found in Gen. Beauregard and Col. David B. Harris, a Lt. -General and a Chief Engineer worthy of the citizen soldiers who composed our brigade.
The command preceding that of Beauregard had an effective force of 45,000 men, to defend the department from North Carolina to the cape of Florida; whilst Beauregard had for the same defence