266 Southern Historical Society Papers.
fications, where we were exposed to a close and rapid shelling all the afternoon. The men are full of surmises as to our next course of action, and all are eager to enter the city. We can plainly see the dome of the capitol and other prominent buildings, Arlington Heights (General Lee's old home), and four lofty redoubts well manned with huge, frowning cannon. Several hundred pound shells burst over us, but only one or two men in the entire division- were hurt. All the houses in our vicinity were vacated by their inmates on our approach, and the skirmishers in front were soon in them. Many articles of male and female attire were strewn over the ground. This conduct was against orders, but a few men led by an Italian, known as "Tony," who was once an organ grinder in Mobile, and now belonging to the Guards LaFayette Company of my regiment, exerted themselves to imitate the vandalism of Hunter and Milroy, and their thieving followers, while they occu- pied the fair valley of Virginia. Private property ought to be and is generally respected by Confederate soldiers, and any other course is unmanly and unsoldiery. Yankee soldiers are not expected to appreciate such gentility and self respect. United States Postmaster Blair's house and farm were less than 100 yards from my regiment. General Breckinridge is an old acquaintance of General Blair, and had placed a guard around it, and forbade any one to enter the house, or at all disturb the premises. This course was in great contrast to that pursued by General Hunter when he caused the destruction of the residence of his cousin, Hon. Andrew Hunter, near Halltown, Va. Breckinridge is the very soul of honor, as are all our leading Generals. The meanest private in our army would not sanction the conduct of Milroy and Hunter.
Some heavy skirmishing occurred on the i2th. and one of my regiment was wounded. The sharpshooters and Fifth Alabama, which supported them, were hotly engaged. Some of the enemy, seen behind breastworks, were dressed in citizens clothes and a few had on linen coats. I suppose these were "home guards", com- posed of treasury, postoffice and other department clerks. I went to Roche's and other houses near the picket line, and was shown some very disreputable letters, received and written by young ladies which had been found in the houses, and which exhibited the deca- dence of moral sentiment in the masses of the North. It was a day of conjecture and considerable excitement, in our momentary expecta- tion of being ordered ' 'forward. ' ' But we were disappointed in our