[from the diary of Charles Hay, Private, Co. H, 23rd Ohio]
Raleigh, March 22nd.
My pen is called into requisition
again to continue my Records.
Portions of Cos. H. I. & B, have been on
a scouting expedition in the edge of
Greenbrier Co, for 3 days past, returning
yesterday, after a successful descent
upon the “bushwhacking “, fraternity
early Sunday morning. For our
deluded Southern brethren to wake up
on a fine Sunday morning, &, on
opening the door, to be confronted by a
‘posse’ of ‘Yankees,’ the effect would be
easily imagined. In the course of
the morning, we picked up about a
dozen prisoners, and 12 horses. We
then recrossed the river, here some 200
yards wide, having to swim our horses,
and ourselves cross in common “dugouts.”
We staid at the house of a Mr. Richmond
all night, and reached camp next
day. Having been fortunate enough to capture
a horse the day previous, he came most
opportune on this occasion.
The Mr. Richmond mentioned, and
his neighbors have experienced no
little annoyance from the pestiferous
“bushwhackers” across the River. For
this reason, Mr. Richmond requested our
aid in “wiping them out” a little.
How effectually it has been done,
remains to be seen.
A single remark here about our
prisoners which can be generally applied.
With one or two exceptions they are
a most illiterate looking set, and none
the less so than their appearances would
seem to indicate. This is the usual
proportion, so far, at least, as my
observation & inquiry extends, or probably,
the class of ignorance is even greater.
Dressed in their homespun habiliments
of ‘linsey’ or ‘blue jeans’, made after a
pattern not unknown to men of
revolutionary memory, with a shambling,
awkward, striding gait, and that
stolidity of countenance as next akin to
the vacant stare of the idiot, & we
have the principal ingredients of a
genuine Western Virginian. To him,
books are a trouble, newspapers a
toy, works of art works of folly, the
arts, sciences, & education a cheat.
And the effect can plainly be seen.
And these are Virginians, & this
is Virginia. The land of the F.F.V’s, the
“Mother of Presidents,” the “Old Dominion”.
It seemeth to me that “her glory hath
departed” somewhat. Now that she is
the scene of a great struggle, it is hoped
it may be the means of renovating
and purifying her of the disloyalty
and corruption with which she has long
been infested. Certain it is that the
broad fields & wide domains of more
than one active conspirator will become desolate
from the scourge of men, & they will have cause
to regret having instituted a rebellion, which
unluckily, visits such calamities upon them.
[transcription by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]