Illustrations of the War in AmericaThe Illustrated London News, vol. 45, no. 1284, p. 407.
October 22, 1864
We have received, from our Special Artist and Correspondent with the army of the Confederate States in Virginia, two sketches illustrative of the recent operations in the Shenandoah Valley, and one representing a conflict between Howlett's battery and the Federal iron-clad gun-boats, or "monitors," in the James River, some miles below the city of Richmond. In the first of these Illustrations we have a picturesque view of the scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains at Front Royal, where the divisions commanded by Kershaw and Fitz Lee descended into the Shenandoah Valley, and crossed the river on their way to form a junction with the forces under General Early, near Winchester. Our second Engraving shows the march of the same body of troops through another part of the valley, which here spreads to such width that it should rather be called a plain. The Blue Ridge is seen in the distance, to our right hand; and to our left is the smoke and flame of burning villages which have just been visited by the Federal army. Our Special Artist, indeed, from his actual observation, testifies that, on this occasion, "the Federals retreated, burning and laying waste every homestead in their track; thereby reducing hundreds of families to absolute poverty and possible starvation"--treating the State of Virginia as a hostile country, but in a spirit of wanton destructiveness unknown to modern European warfare. The site of Howlett's Battery, which appears in the foreground of our third Illustration, is on the south bank of the James River. It forms the extreme left of the Confederate lines of defence before Richmond, while the Federal works, discerned amid the foliage of the background in our view, mark the extreme right of the besiegers' position. The gun-boats or monitors are lying beneath the opposite, or north, bank of the river. Midway between those vessels and the battery are the obstructions placed in the channel by the Federals to prevent the Confederate flotilla descending upon them. The navigation of the river is so effectually closed that neither party can get at the other by water, but they frequently exchange long shots, as displayed in the present Illustration.