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Augusta County: James R. McCutchan to His Sister, March 19, 1862

After describing the retreat from Winchester, McCutchan declares his intention to keep fighting, even though he will not officially reenlist. He notes that "this is the darkest hour of the Confederacy," and discusses the need for southern patriotic spirit and determination.

March 19/62

Camp Near Mt. Jackson

Dear Sister

I would have answered yours & Rate's letter some time ago, but have been on the trot for most a month & you know perhaps that marching & baking minnie biscuits, & boiling b--l beef & writing letters don't suit so well together. We had to leave Winchester but we didn't practice the "double quick retrograde movement" that the Yankees did when they left Bull Run -- Old Banks thought to distinguish himself by begging "Old Jack" but he finds an affinity between Gen. Jackson & the Irishman's Flea - "When he goes to put his finger on him he aint thar". & I'll bet my head "agin" a rotten rail that if old Banks comes up the Valley very far he will get into a bag himself.

It looks pretty hard though to leave the finest portion of the Valley to be overun by the Enemy & of course hundreds of good loyal secessionists must be trampled upon & insulted by a cruel and relentless foe.

But there will be a time & I don't think it far distant when the Hessians will be glad to stay on the North side of the Potomac.

They are in large force now in Winchester

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not less than twenty thousand I suppose I don't know how many Gen. Jackson has & I suppose no one knows but Jackson himself. Though we haven't half as many as the enemy. I heard this evening that there were 15,000 on the march to reenforce us. I don't know where they are, where they are coming from, from Eastern Virginia I suppose. I think we will go to Staunton soon, I hope so for I will be in town then as saucy as a boy with a bucket full of rocks. This is a grand encampment where we are now, as pretty as any we have ever been at yet.

Most all of our company have reenlisted I haven't reenlisted & I don't intend to do it, but I mean to stay & fight for my country & her rights [illeg.] to my friends and to the World that my service can't be bought for fifty dollars. This is the darkest hour the Confederacy has ever seen. Now is the time for every true & patriotic spirit to rally 'round the Bonnie Blue Flag & fight & never cease to fight while there is an enemy South of Mason's & Dixon's line.

I am well. Write soon. Direct to Mt. Jackson whether we are gone from there or not.

I remain as ever your Affect. Brother

J. R. Mc Cutchan

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