Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Post image for Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery — George Michael Neese.

Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery — George Michael Neese.

April 29, 2013

Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery — George Michael Neese.

April 29 — Rained little last night, and this morning when we awoke a thick curtain of misty fog hung all around our spacious bed-chamber. We renewed our march early. At the lower end of Franklin we left the grade and took the Harrisonburg road, which is rough and bounds over hills and mountains. About a mile from Franklin we forded the South Branch where on the east side the mountain comes down and dips its foot in the limpid waters of the rolling river.

Franklin, the county seat of Pendleton County, is nestled amid green hills and wooded mountains that rise majestically from the banks of the South Branch. The little town is situated on the left bank of the South Branch, twenty-four miles below Monterey and forty miles above Moorefield. Right opposite Franklin a beautiful mountain rises gently from the river bank, and with regular wave-like swell lifts its wooded crest toward the eastern sky. It is heavily timbered, which carefully conceals all the rocky protuberances, and from the streets of Franklin the western side of the mountain looks like an extensive wall magnificently upholstered and decorated in various shades of green. Trout Run empties into the South Branch on the east side about one mile below Franklin, and near the ford we crossed to-day. The limpid little stream of pure mountain water drains some mountain dells and pasture lands that lie high and far above the level of the Branch, its waters being as clear as crystal and full of mountain trout. The last half mile of its course is through a rough gorge with shelvy sides, ornamented with mossy rocks, with here and there a bunch of mountain fern clinging to a scanty bed, all darkly shaded with spruce and pine and at places form a thick canopy a hundred feet above the rocky bed over which the turbulent little stream rushes wildly, lashing its laughing waters into snowy spray a thousand times, when, with a death song, it gently glides into the quieter embrace of the South Branch that winds away to the Potomac.

We marched hard all day over hills and mountains. Early in the day we crossed between the South Branch and South Fork a little mountain composed of knobby hills and rocky slopes, wooded ridges and grassy fields. Toward noon we arrived in the little mountain-environed valley of the South Fork, which is very narrow. The land along the little stream is of the first quality and produces abundant crops of corn and hay. We forded the South Fork some six or eight times and then struck into the foothills of the Shenandoah Mountain, and soon after we were winding up the side of the lofty Shenandoah. The road up the mountain is smooth and of an easy grade, but so crooked that at one place it appears like three parallel roads. When we were about halfway up the mountain a heavy thunder cloud that had been bombarding at long range for some little time opened on us, and for about thirty minutes the rain came pouring down in torrents and drenched us to dripping of the last stitch. Flash after flash of vivid lightning shot its fiery lances into the mountain sides close around us, and crashing peals of thunder made the rocky slopes tremble as the deep diapason roar rolled from cliff to cliff and leaped from peak to peak.

We are camped this evening at the eastern base of the Shenandoah Mountain, six miles from Rawley Springs.

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