Eben N. Ford, Warren Guards, Co. H, 10th Pa. Reserves.
Oct. 14, 1861 [Warren Mail: 10-26-1861]
Camp Pierpont –
Editors Mail: The excited states of affairs during the last few weeks has prevented my giving any attention to correspondence whatever. On last Wednesday evening there was a general movement forward of the entire army. The Reserve Corps under the command of Gen. McCall left their camps at 3 P.M., and proceeded over the Chain Bridge in quite a lively manner. By 7 P.M. we halted five miles north west of the Bridge on the “sacred soil” of Virginia, where we slept on our arms during the night. In the morning the several regiments selected their camping ground and before evening on Thursday the Valley of Virginia in and around Langley presented one vast array of camps for miles around.
Langley is a small village on the Leesburg turnpike 24 miles from the latter place. The Tenth Pa. Regiment is situated in close proximity to the place and also to the pickets. The country around bears the impress of having been lately one of the most beautiful, cheerful and flourishing that God of nature ever smiled upon. It has been described numberless times by other and abler pens than mine, and when beholding it as it is, I am forced to remark that they have failed to do their subject justice.
The fields are large and the soil fertile; but the cultivation of the soil has apparently not received that attention, that is exhibited in the north. This war has also had its effect on this country; the best of farms are deserted and three-fourths of the houses are vacated, and gloom and distress on everything that you behold. A dismal and uninteresting appearance is now presented where lately there were seen the fascinations of beauty. Thus rapidly is the curse visited upon those whose folly induced them to favor the overthrow of the best government on earth. Most of the deserted dwellings have been taken possession of by the troops to be used as hospitals and officers quarters.
On Saturday morning the rebels made their appearance on Minor’s Hill, a prominent elevation within three miles of our camp, and drove in our pickets. The troops were called out in line of battle, but the rebels were soon discovered to be in small forces only, and retreating. On Monday a large force of Pennsylvania choppers were sent out to the place and before night Minor’s Hill was divested of all its gigantic forests, and hereafter will not afford to Southern scouts a spies a place of secrecy in which to watch the movements of our troops. This was equal to a forward movement of 2 1/2 miles.
The boys of the tenth are all well with few exceptions. I am sorry to report the loss of Victor Chase, of Sugar Grove tp., Warren County; his disease being typhoid fever. There are three others of our boys still in the hospital, but recovering slowly. I must acknowledge the receipt of funds forwarded to our company by the boys of Warren, the proceeds of a concert held by them; the donors have our most sincere thanks.
The ladies of Warren also have our thanks for the kindness manifested by them, and they will certainly be remembered by our company until death. With my respects to all our friends, I close for the present.