Correspondence of Caddo Gazette.
Norfolk, Va., May 18th, '61.
Dear Doctor:--I write with hands encrimsoned in gore, but not of the enemy. A fine old Virginia gentleman—the happy owner of a ten-acre strawberry patch, very kindly placed it at our disposal, and you may well believe that we pitched into it incontinently.—We have received all possible kindness and attention from the citizens here, and all through the State. On our arrival here, every house in the city was thrown open to us, and all vied with each other in affording hospitality and civilities to those who had left their own homes in sunny Louisiana, to defend the hearths and homes of the Old Dominion, from the foe that threatened her with invasion and rapine.
We have been here a week, encamped one mile from the city, on Tenner's Creek, a tide water stream affording excellent bathing, and furnishing fish, oysters, &c., in abundance.—We have 1000 men in camp, and present quite a lively appearance. We are visited daily by crowds of ladies and gentlemen, who evince much interest in our welfare, and do all in their power to promote our comfort.
A soldier's life is far from being a "gay" one, but the Caddo boys bear the hardships and privations inseparable from it, most manfully, and murmur at nothing but the discipline. That they will not stand, and our Regimental officers "caved" at the start, and allow us to do pretty much as we please. We behave well, however, and are the only company in the regiment that has no member under arrest. Col. Blanchard believes strongly in the Caddo Rifles, and has high hopes of us—hopes which we will take care, shall not be disappointed.
We have several musical amateurs among us, and when the daylight has faded, and the "stars are in the quiet skies," the sweet notes of the violin, flute, and guitar, float out on the evening breeze, in concert with the tones of fifty or more human voices. "Home, Sweet Home" is the favorite, and as the old familiar strains ring sweetly out, many a manly cheek quivers with emotion, and many a manly eye is dimmed with tears, that are no shame to manhood. Even your correspondent, all unused as he is to the melting mood, has dropped sundry pearly tears at such times, and felt slightly "spooney," to think that while he is "gone for a soger," some stay-at-home rival may step in and supersede him in the heart of the affections of the fair—never mind who. It is all right though, I suppose. I will return with any amount of laurels, nary one of which shall she receive, unless she receives me with them.
Norfolk is a very pleasant city, with a population of about eighteen thousand. In ordinary times it has a very extensive business, but the blockade has effectually stopped that, in consequence of which, fish, vegetables, and fruits, that were formerly shipped to Northern cities, are sold now at ridiculously low prices. Garden peas at fifty cents per bushel. Strawberries three to five cents per quart, and other things in proportion. The only thing at high figures is beef—for that, we pay twelve and a half cents.
We live high in camps; fresh meat, fresh bread, vegetables, fish, strawberries, &c., &c. Letters from home say, they think in Caddo that we are almost in a starving condition, but that is entirely a mistake. We did fare rather badly on the trip, but since we have been here, we have wanted for nothing in the eating line.. . .
We are all in high spirits to heart that Jeff. Davis will be in Richmond soon. His presence here would be worth ten thousand men. At present, all the Confederate forces are under command of General Lee, of this State. He is said by those who know him, to be a capable and efficient officer. . . .
I will write again as soon as anything "turns up." Your readers will find my "epistles" somewhat of the driest, but imagine my situation, and they will readily pardon them.