Bivouac near Woodstock, April 1, 1862.
Last Thursday I received an order from Gen. Jackson to take charge of four companies and report to Col. Ashby for duty on the advance-guard. I go down occasionally to take a view of the enemy’s pickets, but most of the time have been lying idle. The enemy are encamped around Strasburg and for some four miles this side, where they seem disposed to remain quiet for the present. The whole country here bears the appearance of a funeral, everything is so quiet. In a ride yesterday along our lines, I scarcely saw any person moving about, and all work on the farms seemed suspended; many of the houses seemed to be deserted. The soldiers alone seem to exhibit the appearance of contentment and happiness. A mode of life which once seemed so strange and unnatural habit has made familiar to us, and if peace ever comes many of them will be disqualified for a life of industry.
I have seen, in a Baltimore paper, a list of the prisoners taken from the battle at Winchester. It is very gratifying to find that some are captured whose fate was involved in doubt. Among them I am pleased to find the name of Charley Rollins, whom I saw upon the field behaving very gallantly. Send word to his mother if you have an opportunity. Capt. Morrison and Lieut. Lyle of the College Company are on the list. Two captains and one lieut. were captured from our regiment. Our loss in killed and wounded and captured, I expect, will reach 500. I do not think we had over 2500 men engaged, whilst the enemy probably had four times the number, consisting, for the most part, of troops which have been in service for the last year under Rosecrans in Western Virginia, than whom they have no better troops in the field. I never expect to see troops fight better than ours did. Our force is rapidly increasing from the militia who are coming in and will be used in filling up the volunteer companies. Many of those sick and absent on furlough are returning, and with all, I think, we will have a force sufficient to meet the enemy with success. Until our force is increased and reorganized, I think we shall continue to retreat without another battle.