Then Battle's brigade was ordered on picket duty two miles beyond Middletown. Marched over twenty miles during the day.
August 12th—Left the picket-post, marched through Strasburg, and halted at our old camp near Barb's tannery, on the Back road. At night the Twelfth Alabama went again on picket.
August 13th—The brigade was in order of battle in the hot sun all day.
August 14th—Still in line of battle. Rude breastworks of rails were thrown up, but the enemy kept aloof. Although we have thrown up scores of earthworks, we have never been called upon to fight behind them.
August 17th—Left our post for Winchester, and on our route saw where several large barns, loaded with wheat, corn and hay, had been burnt by order of General Sheridan. One large flouring mill, of great necessity to the locality, had also been destroyed. I suppose Sheridan proposes to starve out the citizens, or rather the women and children of the Valley (for the men are in the army), as well as Early's troops. Grant and he have resolved to make this fertile Valley a desert, and, as they express it, cause it "to be so desolate that the birds of passage cannot find enough to subsist upon." This is a very ungenteel and ungenerous return for the very humane manner in which General Lee conducted his Pennsylvania campaign last year, and for the very kind treatment of the citizens of Maryland and Pennsylvania by General Early and his command recently. Such warfare is a disgrace to civilization; but I suppose that Irish-Yankee Sheridan and that drunken butcher and tanner, Grant, have little comprehension of sentiments of humanity or Christianity. Breckinridge and Gordon whipped out the Yankees badly to-day in some severe skirmishing. Rodes, for a wonder, was not engaged. My good mother says Rodes' division is in every battle her papers mention, and that such expressions as "Rodes bore the brunt of the battle," "Rodes began the action," "Rodes' command suffered severely in killed and wounded," "Rodes' division led the advance," or "Rodes conducted the retreat, serving as rear guard," are constantly in the telegraphic column, and to be found in "Letters from War Correspondents." It is true that our gallant and beloved Major-General is usually foremost at the post of honor and danger. He is ably seconded by his efficient adjutants, Major H. A. Whiting and Major Green Peyton. Reinforcements from Longstreet's corps have reached us, and vigorous work may be expected. Lieutenant-General Anderson is in command.