79 HISTORY OF THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT O.V.V.I.
the sight was entirely unexpected. The opening was made by the rebels, who had felled the timber for about three hundred yards in front of their entrenchments, for the double purpose of obstructing our progress, and giving them a fair view of our column when in rifle range.
The view from the highest point of the rebel works, immediately in front of Davies' Division, was truly grand. The circle of vision was at least five miles in extent, stretching from the extreme left, and the magnificent display of banners, the bristling of shining bayonets, and the steady step of handsomely attired soldiers, presented a pageant which has seldom been witnessed on this continent
. Upon many of the regimental ensigns were printed "Wilson's Creek," "Fort Donelson," and "Shiloh," which mottoes were waved in the breeze. Those who passed through all these trying ordeals unscathed, or who received honorable wounds in either, in future can look back upon a life devoted to their country's service, and feel that proud satisfaction which is denied to others not less patriotic, but less fortunate. In future pageants in honor of the nation's birthday, when the last relics of former struggles have become extinct, and when these shall be bowed down with age, they will be their country's honored guests, and receive that consideration due their noble deeds.
The troops from every direction marched toward a common center – Corinth – and as they neared each other friends recognized friends whom they had not seen for weeks or months, though separated but a few miles; greetings were exchanged. As regiments met for the first time since leaving the bloody fields of Donelson and Shiloh, cheer after cheer resounded through the forest, and were echoed and re-echoed by the hills, as if earth itself desired to prolong the sound.
The town is built upon low lands and clay soil, so that in wet weather the place may very properly be denominated a swamp. But the soil is as easily affected by drouth as by rains, and the result is that at the present time the clay is baked perfectly solid, and the ground filled with fissures. Just outside of the town are the ridges, which might appropriately be named hills, and upon which second, third and fourth lines of defenses could have been erected. The highest lands are in the direction of Farmington on the east, and College Hill on the south-west.
Corinth is the only pleasant country village we have seen in this section of the country. I was informed that it contained formerly, 2,200 inhabitants, of all colors. The houses are built after the Southern fashion, with front door for every room looking toward the street. This is an odd feature to one used to Yankee architecture, but it is the universal style of the Southern States. The apartments of most of the houses are large and airy, and surrounded with immense porticos, where the high toned chivalry enjoy their siesta in the most improved Spanish, Southern manner, except that they imbibe before sleeping, a somewhat different beverage from that of the Castillians. Instead of the wines of Andalusia, they consume almost unheard of quantities of Bourbon and rifled whisky.
The yards of the rich are decorated with shrubbery, and what is far more in accordance with good taste, forest trees are left standing, and neatly trimmed – a custom which has been too sadly neglected in the North. There are several substantial brick and frame business houses, all of which have been stripped and deserted. There was a fine, large Baltimore clothing store, but neither keeper nor clothing could be found; a druggist was all that determined to remain.
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