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History of Cambria County, V.2

once. When I came to unpack my valise I was at once sensibly reminded of the comforts of home, for everything was the same way when I packed it the day I left; however, that is not necessary as a reminder, for this has been without any exception the filthiest and most uncomfortable siege I ever put in in any campaign, but we have gained a great deal and won many and splendid victories, shirtless and barefoot as many of us were; this, like a great many other trying things, is nice to think about after it is all over and ended well, but not pleasant to contemplate trying on again should the exigencies of the service demand it this winter, as the uncertainty of the present may still indicate. The operations of this valley campaign have been a sort of an enigma pretty hard to solve; two large armies have been butting and rubbing against each other all summer, appearing and disappearing. Early has been acting somewhat the character of Amphibis in the Naaid Queen, and finally, after it was through, the campaign had ended in a general conflagration of wheat stacks, barns and houses; he suddenly reappears in formidable array on Fisher's Hill after our army had retired back on the somber hills of Cedar Creek. After a somewhat bloody little introduction on the 13th of October, in military terms, a reconnaissance – some call it a feeler, as it was we felt it pretty sharp. I thought there would be nothing more to do than sit and look at each other all fall and throw up dirt until one or the other become disgusted and leave, as there were few but what believed the enemy's power broken, but alas for many of us, the old maxim “that a beaten enemy is never to be dispised” was disregarded, much to our chagrin and nearly to the sorrow of the country.
    On the morning of the 19th daylight was ushered in by the roar of musketry and cannon, which was incessant the whole day through. A division of Longstreet's attacked our small brigade by surprise, before daylight; we occupied an advanced point on the left of the line and without support our men fought gallantly and held him in check until daylight, when the balls began to come into our backs. I cannot describe my feelings when I saw that villainous line of dirty grey in our rear, yelling like devils, but I think every beat of my heart distinctly articulated, Libby prison: neither can I tell how I got out, as I never expected to. I know when I came to look around me I found myself alone with the exception of the brigade commander, a captain of my regiment, an artillery officer and my acting adjutant (Joseph Peck), who was shortly afterwards killed. The men had all taken the gauntlet and about a third were captured and killed; our party, after a very brief consultation, and disregarding all imperative demands yelled at us by profane rebels, gained a ravine which proved a God-send, for we all got out except the adjutant.
    Our brigade was reformed on the turnpike and joined to

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Created: 20 Mar 2003, Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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Lynne Canterbury, Diann Olsen and contributors