Valley of the Shadow


Thomas G. Pollock describes the beautiful and plentiful surroundings in Franklin county, the high morale of the Confederate troops and their reverence for Robert E. Lee. He also notes that he himself has seen no cases of looting or plundering in violation of Lee's orders.

Headquarters Kempers Brigade, Chambersburg PA

My dear Father --

A mail carrier will leave for the Confederate States to night and I hasten to write this to accompany him on his doubtful journey and then to encounter still more doubtful fate of letters from Culpepper Ct House to Fauquier. We passed the Potomac at Williamsport on the 26th and entered this town on the suburbs of which we are now encamped on the 28th--nearly in the rear of the army. You can form some idea of the discipline now when after a long days march when the rolls are called on entering bivouac but one single absentee is reported from a whole Brigade. The constrast between the condition of the army now and last year when we entered Maryland is most encouraging--Every one noticed it & spoke of it in Hagerstown. It is almost amusing to witness the anxious stare with which we are regarded as our sunburnt motley dressed regiments but moving in closed ranks with the cadenced step to the tune of Dixie and with enfield muskets glistening and the red battle flag inscribed all over with the names of our victories pass through the thoroughfare of one of the numerous towns. Sadness is on the countenance of all but some try to look fierce and angry and tell us confidently we will never get back. It is a beautiful country overflowing with wealth & fatness. Every inch of ground seems to be producing something. The army is revelling in good eating such as the poor fellows have not so much heard of since the beginning of the war. But all this regularly and in good order. I have heard of no case of outrage to person or property. Such is Genl Lees order. I enclose you the last, and what Genl Lee says the army does down to the lowest private because they say "I reckon he knows." The perfect reverence the soldiers [unclear: feel] for his orders is only equalled by their faith in him. It strikes me as a perfect picture of faith. Here they are penetrating the heart of a hostile country leaving their homes beyond broad rivers and the largest of the enemies armies while in front of them is gathering all of resistance that can be obtained by a power fruitful of every element of military power. Yet they are as happy and as secure in their feeling as if they were already won--simply because they have an almost fanatical confidence in their cause & their leader. Important movements are on foot but it would be imprudent to trust them to the doubtful fortunes of this letter.

Give my love to Ma - Lilly Roberta Charles & Uncle Alfred.

In haste I am as ever your devoted Son

T.G. Pollock