Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 21.djvu/377

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.

Tin- ('renshaw 7v///</;</. 369

quietude enjoyed by the Federal army in succeeding this great bat- tle, as they never attempted to follow us until the next day, and then only with the cavalry, under Kilpatrick, who came up with our wagon train, attacked it, and were beaten off by Stuart. We moved on over the roads, which were in a horrible condition, the men dis- cussing the battle and its effect, occasionally being interrupted by the report that the Federal army were marching to intercept us and cut us off from the main force, which were moving on another road. We reached Hagerstown after a long and toilsome march, where we halted and awaited the approach of the enemy. The Potomac was swollen to a considerable height, occasioned by the heavy rains, which prevented our crossing.

It was while we were here that the news came how I know not that the Confederacy had been recognized by France, and that other European powers were ready to do the same ; that our ports were to be opened to the world, and our independence was soon to be an assured fact. How joyous was this news, with what delight and pleasure was it told and retold by the men. Meade's whole army was now gathering thick and fast, flushed with victory, and just in our front were the. angry, surging waters of the Potomac, leaping high in their endeavor to get over their banks all nature seeming to conspire in our


Such, indeed, was the situation of our army at that time. But it soon became noised about that this unexpected joy was like the morning dew, to be dissipated by the first rays of the sun, and we soon learned that the report was untrue, which had, of course, the effect of causing the men to express their opinion on this very im- portant subject in no uncertain way. How we needed help ! Fighting the whole world that was about the size of it. Was there ever such a destruction of life the very flower of the Southern country by such an unprincipled enemy as made up, to a great extent, the Fed- eral army, many of whom could not speak a word of the English language, and were soldiers only for the thirteen dollars per month, and the bounty which at that time the United States government was dispensing with lavish hands ! We expected here to have another tilt with the enemy, and were hastening our troops through Wil- liamsport on the march to Falling Waters, the point selected for our