Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/277

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The Twelfth Alabama Infantry. 273

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 ungenerous return for the humane manner in which Gen- eral 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 compre- hension of sentiments of humanity or Christianity. Breckinridge and Gordon whipped 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' division led the advance" or "Rodes conducted the retreat, serving as rear guard," are con- stantly in the telegraphic columns, and to be found in "Letters from war correspondents." It is true that our gallant and beloved Ma- jor-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. Re-inforcements from Longstreet's corps have reached us, and vigorous work may be expected. Lieu- tenant-General Anderson is in command.

We marched through Winchester, and were, as usual, warmly greeted. Ladies and children and negro servants stood on the porches and sidewalks, with prepared food of a very tempting kind, and goblets and pitchers of cool, fresh water, which they smilingly handed to the tired troops, who seldom declined the proffered kindness. The native Virginians of Winchester and the Valley are as true as steel, and the ladies God bless and protect them! are as heroic and self-denying as were the noble Spartan mothers. Indeed they are the equals of the highest, truest heroines of the grandest days of the greatest countries. The joy they evince, when we enter their city, serves to encourage and inspire us, and the sor- row we see in their fair countenances, and often hear them express, with trembling lips and streaming eyes, as we leave them to endure the cruel and cowardly insults and petty persecutions of Sheridan's hire- lings fill our hearts with indescribable regret. We love to fight for pa- triotic Winchester and her peerless women. We camped one mile