A BATHER UNDEFINED CAMPAIGN.
On the 12th of May, the division of Gen. SHIELDS
was detached from BANK's command, and commenced its
march to join Gen, McDOWELL's force at
Fredericksburg. It was claimed by Gen. SHIELDS,
that but a small rebel force remained in the valley; on the contrary, Gen.
BANKS believed the rebel JACKSON
was watching a favorable opportunity to repossess himself of the valley.:
BANKS opposed this depletion of
his command strenuously, and predicted disastrous consequences as the
result of such a movement, all of which were very soon realized. Our
brigade, Gen. KIMBALL's, left camp at seven in the
morning, our route passing over the Massanutten mountains. The day was
beautiful, and the scenery along the line of march very grand. Our baggage
train and extra horses, sumpter animals, stock of provisions, and other
comforts of camp life, had improved vastly of late, and-
was at least full up to the complement prescribed by the army regulations.
All these things shed a cheerful influence over the troops, and good
nature was never more conspicuous than during this march. About ten
o'clock on the morning of the 14th, we neared Front Royal, and the sound
of a locomotive whistle, which the men had; not heard since we left Back
Creek, was a signal for; a hearty cheer throughout the entire division.
We remained in Front Royal, until the morning of the
16th, when we commenced our march up the Blue Ridge by way of Chester Gap.
The hazy atmosphere of this mountain, gives it a peculiar and dreamy
appearance, but during this morning, the hazy mists seemed to condense
rapidly and we were all thoroughly drenched. By the time, however, that
the summit was reached, the mists had cleared away, and a most beautiful
and extended panorama opened out before us. There was the "Old
Dominion"—the land of Dixie—an unbroken plain extending to the ocean.
On the 19th, we arrived at Catlett's Station, where a
force under Gen. DURYEA was stationed, which, either
for their own amusement or for our instruction, was going through a sham
battle, making a prodigious noise with blank cartridges. We left this
place on the 21st, and next day, about noon, we reached Falmouth, opposite
KIMBALL's brigade was ordered
into a newly fenced field for its camp and no sooner were the men
dismissed from ranks than the entire fence disappeared. Gen. KING,
who was in command at this place, seeing this movement from his quarters
at the PHILIP's Mansion, sent down an aid-de-camp to
arrest all of our officers, and compel the men to rebuild the fence.
Officers laughed and the men jeered at him. The rails were soon on fire,
and our dinners cooking. King called up his Adjutant, Major BARSTOW,
who had been Gen. LANDER's Adjutant, when he
commanded us, and ordered him to detail sufficient troops to arrest our
whole division: Exclaiming "who are these Vandals?" "Why," said BARSTOW,
"they are LANDER' s old troops from western
Virginia; you had better keep your guards here at headquarters, for you'll
be devilish lucky, if they don't steal your house roof before morning!"
KING was dumbfounded, but his fence was never
rebuilt. Subsequent events showed how useless was this effort to save the
property of these rebels. The vast army under BURNSIDE,
encamped here the next winter, when, not only fences, but almost every
house and tree, and the vast forests of Stafford County for miles around,
were consumed for fuel.
On the 23rd, our division was reviewed on the plain in
front of the Lacy House, President LINCOLN,
Secretary STANTON and Gen. McDOWELL
being among the reviewing personages.
Col. CARROLL received at this
time, from the President, the nomination of Brigadier General, and the
division was re-brigaded, leaving four regiments to a brigade, Col. CARROLL
being assigned to the Fifth. Lieut, JOHN G. REID
of Co. D, acted as his Adjutant General, in which capacity he served
during the balance of his term of service. This nomination was not
confirmed until about the close of our term of service ; yet Col. CARROLL
was never returned to duty with his regiment, being afterward in command
of a brigade or division, and its command from this date, devolved upon
the writer of this history.
On the evening of the 24th, information was received of
the defeat of Gen. BANKS', in the valley, and of his
rapid retreat into Maryland, in consequence of which our division was
ordered back to the valley, to move at three o'clock next morning. The men
were greatly disappointed, as they had believed they were in full march
for Richmond, to realize the hanging of JEFF DAVIS
on a sour apple tree, and now to be turned back with faces to the north,
and to have to retake the valley, was really disheartening to both
officers and men.