A STRANGE SCENE for a Sabbath day is presented to a visitor, who will stand on one of the hills back of Alexandria, and look around him. Thousands of camps dot the hillsides, which are whitened by whole villages of them as far as the eye can extend. Frowning fortifications crown every hill, while innumerable roads and paths cross from one to the other, intersecting at all angles. The valleys are filled with soldiers, who are strolling about for wood, water, and various other purposes. Here and there horsemen are seen galloping from camp to camp. Guards are stationed in every direction, pacing regularly to and fro, and a strange activity, yet military precision, marks the whole. The ruin and desolation, as well as the “pomp, pride, and circumstance of glorious war,” are the distinguishing features of the whole scene.
Yonder, amid all this strange sight, is a funeral procession. In front, mounted on a splendid charger, rides the chaplain. He is followed by a full band of music, from which come the saddening, yet thrilling and solemn procession as it passes. Following these is the ambulance with the remains, escorted by a few companions of the deceased. Another soldier has gone to rest, far from home and friends. Who is he? “Only a private!” “Henry Sleeper, Company H, 13th New Hampshire, died November 15, 1862,” will be the simple record on his regimental rolls, and on the rude board, placed on the sacred soil where sleeps the brave, and then he will be forgotten. Fond friends in the distant home will weep for a time, almost broken-hearted, and then he will be remembered only by the wife or mother, who will, in after years, tell of the loved one who lost his life in suppressing the great Southern rebellion. Virginia will, indeed, be “sacred soil” to many an aching heart all over our land–sacred as the resting-place of the flower of thousands of families.–Nov. 1862
Originally posted 2008-06-29 13:13:08.