From Western Virginia.
December 12, 1862
From Western Virginia.
Princeton, Va., Dec. 6, 1862.
A few days ago we had a very plain intimation from Brig.-Gen. Williams that an Examining Board, composed of gentlemen skilled in the science of war, would soon visit us for the purpose of inquiring into the fitness of regimental and company officers for their respective positions. --The effect of this has been to set every gold-braided and epauletted son of Mars studiously investigating the (to many of them) previously unexplained mysteries of Gillham and Hardee.
The man Payne who was recently branded for desertion has died. He was so much mortified that he would not go to any house, but lay in the woods and caught cold in the wound. On the 4th inst. six others were publicly whipped for a like offence. If this should not check desertion recourse will be had to the extreme penalty of the law.
For the last forty-eight hours the weather has been extremely severe, and many of our men have suffered very much. It is heartrending to see the poor fellows but half clad and shivering around their camp-fires. Are we thought of by those who sit snug and comfortable at home? If we are to judge by results, we are not. Mammon worship seems to have become the all-prevailing sin of our people; the soldier freezes in the tented field, and his destitute family both freeze and starve at home unheeded and uncared for.
If the signs of the times are not false there is a woeful day in the future for robber extortioners. That peace that will bring joy to the heart of the soldier will bring destruction on swift and terrible upon those heartless wretches who are fit for nothing but the unquenchable fires of hell? Societies are about forming in camp, the members of which will solemnly vow never to disband as soldiers until the last one of these scoundrels shall have been made to feel the vengeance due their crimes. The men are being marked now, and the soldiers of each county will effectually clean out their own respective districts. It is bad when individuals are forced to redress their own wrongs, but where there is no law no other reconcile is left them but Lynch's code.
A great stampede was created in Lewisburg, on the 28th ult., by some mischievous fellows firing several guns near Livisay's Mills, with a view of frightening a cavalry regiment stationed at that point. A dispatch came to town with the startling intelligence that a large force of Abolition infantry and cavalry was advancing and actually engaged in a desperate conflict with our men. Citizens fled, commissary stores and sick soldiers were hastily started off, and the wildest excitement prevailed. Early next morning the facts became known, and the place resumed its previous quiet.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: November 1862