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[newspaper clipping: first column]
The Evacuation of Manassas, and Stories
	of the Contrabands.
From Another Correspondent.
     Within two miles of Alexandria, Va., Marsh 12, 8 a. m.}
  When I left Washington, on the afternoon of the
10th, I expected nothing so little as to find myself,
two days afterward, stranded in inaction.  The city
was all astir with excitement and expectation, its
streets almost blockaded by slowly-moving trains of
artillery and departing soldiers, horsemen spurred 
and splashed hither and thither through its muddy
streets; its windows were thronged by spectators,
its Long Bridge was a mere procession of troops and
cannon, their faces and muzzles turned steadfastly and
animously toward Dixie.
  Hurried off by the fever of the occasion, I quitted
the capital under an aspect which I shall long re-
member, and which for excitement and interest could 
only have been paralleled by the morning of the
disastrous day of Bull Run, anticipating a night-ride
of twenty or thirty miles in order to overtake the
division reportially assigned to me.  I had been told
that  Heintzelman s  was moving, and though I
might have distrusted the assumed celerity in con-
nection with such a body of men, I floundered and
splashed down the dirty mile that lies between Penn-
sylvania Avenue to the Alexandria Ferry at good
speed, arriving just in time to ship myself and horse
for the disloyal side of the Potomac, and to be, five
minutes afterward, agreeably undeceived as to the
necessity of such exertion by a friendly quarter-
  Accordingly, I rode leisurely through that admira-
ble sample of a third-rate Virginia city, Alexandria,
which loves the Union no better at this hour than on
the morning of Ellsworth s assassination, albeit it is
now obliged to mutter its hate covertly, or at most
like the superannuated ogre Pope in Pilgrim s Prog-
ress, to scowl in impotent defiance at the passer-by.
Its streets were in their normal aspect of Spring filth,
in its main thoroughfare a great gap of smoldering and
smoking ruins indicated the past locality of a batch
of its few really handsome stores, and around the
Provost s office there clustered a handful of idlers,
desperately sympathetic in behalf of a dozen newly-
captured Rebels within.  Making a slight detour to
enjoy the spectacle of the ruined slave-pen of which
we have heard so much where certain of Uncle
Sam s blue-coated  Yankees  were gymnastically
disporting themselves, and laborers at work tearing
down the building (may it prove symbolical of the
result of the war!)  I gladly left decayed, dingy,
and depressing Alexandria behind me, and rode out
into the wild country, turning my horse s head in the
direction of Fort Lyon and  Heintzelman s. 
  It was sunset, on a moist, dull March day, and a
red glare on the western horizon lit up the land-
scape.  Can the readers of THE TRIBUNE imagine

[newspaper clipping: second column]
the look of a country under military occupation?  I
will supply a few details.
  In the first place all the fences are gone used up
for firewood.  Many of the farm-houses ditto des-
stroyed piece-meal, either for the building of shanties,
barracks or for fuel.  Then the crops all indications 
of them have disappeared there is no more  bourne
filth and tillage  evident than in Gonzalo s imagin-
ary kingdom in the Tempest.  Trees also and brush-
wood are sparse and scanty, plenty of recently-hewn
stumps suggesting the past existence of the former.
There is no vegetation, no grass, no very accurately-
designed roads, only earth, for the most part just
emerging from its two months  condition of mud all
intersected, cut up and crossed by innumerable tracks
of men, horses and vehicles.  Suppose a country so
hilly as almost to deserve the title of mountainous,
with attendant declivities and ravines, a monstrous
area of earthwork fortifications, still in progress,
named Fort Lyon (after our Missouri hero) upon 
a breezy elevation, its cannon commanding the
vicinity for five or six miles in every direction; add
hundreds of white tents most picturesquely situated
on the summits and sides of the surrounding hills,
and you have the general aspect of my present 
	            HEINTZELMAN S. 
  The Headquarters from which I write is, or was,
a pretentious Virginia house of the modern sort, built
of wood, with a piazza in front, marble mantle-pieces
in the parlor, and unusually spacious rooms.  Con-
structed for and abandoned by a Virginian of strong
Secession sympathies, named Bellenger (now resi-
dent in Alexandria), it, in common with much of the
surrounding territory, has lapsed informally into the
possession of our national Uncle, as represented by 
his loyal soldiers.  They have sojourned here for
something like twelve months, enduring both the
Summer s heat and the Winter s cold; and worse 
than either, the abominable mud, rhapsodically desig-
nated the sacred soil of Virginia.  Happily, under
the blessed influence of sunlight and wind, it is fast
disappearing.  What it must have amounted to a
month ago it is fearful to think of.  Any number of 
mud-Pythars, inclusive of the old original one ad-
dicted to turning up adjectively in the pages of
Thomas Carlyle, could certainly have been comfort-
ably accommodated within it.
  The two front parlors of our  headquarters  are
occupied as offices.  That to the left is used by our
General (who returned from Washington about an
hour after my arrival in camp, with the assurance
that we should hardly receive marching orders for a
day or two).  I write in the other devoted to general
official business.  It stretches from front to rear, is
accommodated with a stove, sundry desks, camp-
stools, maps, and a telegraph apparatus, which fur-
nishes a ticking accompaniment to all that is occur-
ring.  Out of doors the sun shines gloriously, the
morning breeze blows fresh and free over the hill-
tops, fluttering our newly-hoisted Star-Spangled Ban-
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Nineteen: page thirty-eight
Description:Newspaper clipping written by Gunn for ''The New York Tribune,'' regarding his experiences in Alexandria, Virginia, and at the camp of General Heintzelman.
Subject:Bellenger; Civil War; Ellsworth, E.E.; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Heintzelman, Samuel Peter; Journalism; Military; New York tribune.; Slavery
Coverage (City/State):Washington, [District of Columbia]; Alexandria, Virginia
Coverage (Street):Pennsylvania Avenue
Scan Date:2010-06-14


Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Nineteen
Description:Includes Gunn's descriptions of his experiences as a war correspondent for ""The New York Tribune"" in Virginia while traveling with the Army of the Potomac during the Peninsular Campaign; the Siege of Yorktown; the Battle of Williamsburg; his departure from Alexandria on the steamer Kent; the ruins of Hampton, Virginia, after it was burnt by John B. Magruder; touring the gunboat Monitor; the death of Fitz James O'Brien from a gunshot wound; Jim Parton's temporary separation from Fanny Fern; and seeing Robert E. Lee's house in Virginia.
Subject:Civil War; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Marches (U.S. Army); Marriage; Medical care (U.S. Army); Military; Military camp life; Peninsular Campaign (Va.); Prisoners of war (Confederate); Siege of Yorktown (Va.); Slavery; Slaves; Travel; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; Washington, District of Columbia; Alexandria, Virginia; Hampton, Virginia; Yorktown, Virginia; Williamsburg, Virginia
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2010 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.