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The Winter Quarters of the Confederate Army in Virginia

The Illustrated London News, vol. 44, no. 1251, p. 313.

April 2, 1864

Army In Virginia.
(From our Special Artist and Correspondent.)

Two months ago I rode through the log and canvas city illustrated in the Engraving on the preceding page, and as I left it I lingered for a few minutes to make a farewell sketch. There was much of sorrow in the feelings that governed me at that moment. I was looking, perhaps for the last time, on the camp that sheltered men who had been my companions for nearly two years. What thoughts crowded on me then--what a kaleidoscope of great events whirled through my recollection! Many a gallant deed and many a well-fought field that I had witnessed with my Southern friends were reviewed rapidly as I rose in my saddle and waved a trembling adieu. There curled the blue smoke from the tent of Robert E. Lee, whose hand I had just shaken, and whose friendship I am proud to own; there were the quarters of the gallant Stuart, whose guest I had been for the past few days, and whose hospitality in the field I had enjoyed for many months. Yes; every soldier of the army of Northern Virginia was a comrade; we had marched many weary miles together, and I had shared in some of their dangers. This brought me nearer to them than years of ordinary contact could have done; and now, as I looked on their camp for perhaps the last time, I realised painfully and forcibly the many friends who were lying there, some of whom would breathe their last in the first glad sunshine of coming spring. Not only did I survey the camp of the living, but around me, on every side as far as the eye could reach, lay spread the battle-fields of Virginia; and in many a distant clump of pine wood slept their last sleep those whom I had known in life. Requiescant in pace. Far away in the background, tipped with snow, towered the mountains of the Blue Ridge, every pass of which bears the imprint of the dead hero, Stonewall Jackson, and of the gallant men who fought with him in the valley of the Shenandoah that lies beyond. Through these passes were made some of those wonderful flank movements which for celerity and success have challenged the admiration of the world. There, within the eye's glance, lay a classic ground, crimsoned with deeds that will make history for the future. The camp which now looked so calm and peaceful in the clear winter's sunshine, with naught to disturb the quiet but the stroke of the pioneer's axe cutting fuel for the bivouac fire, would in a few short weeks be broken up. Across the Rapidan, which flows beyond the nearer crest of hills, lay the enemy, only waiting probably the first approach of spring to renew the awful drama that has spread desolation over many a once smiling acre of Virginian soil. As I grasped the hands of my friends at leavetaking, they knew that the present lull was but the forerunner of a coming storm; every man amongst them spoke hopefully and confidently of the future, and here, dispassionately, will I assert that, whatever be the result of the approaching campaign, I am confident that General Lee and his veterans will have done their duty. And now, while bidding farewell to an army with which I have been associated for a lengthened period, let me take an opportunity of thanking all those officers and soldiers whose guest I have been during my sojourn in the Confederacy. From the Rappahannock to the banks of Yazoo in Mississippi, from the Tennessee to the Atlantic seaboard, every detachment, every Southern command, has received me with unvarying courtesy and whole-souled hospitality; what they have had has been cheerfully shared with your correspondent. To procure me facilities great warriors and "medicine men" have not hesitated to inconvenience themselves where necessary, and if your readers have not benefited as they might have done by my experiences, it is the fault of a rigorous blockade which has intercepted much destined for your pages.

[Our Special Artist is now in London. He has brought several Illustrations, which will appear from time to time in this Journal.]

Previous: The War in America: Winter Quarters of the Left Wing of the Confederate Army on the Rapidan.--From a Sketch by our Special Artist.--See Next Page.IllustrationVolume 44, no. 1238, p. 3 (27 paragraphs)
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