Friday, March 28, 2008

from The Rebellion Record, a Diary of American Events, 1864

(page 99)

Remarkable Phenomenon—A writer in the Staunton Spectator, dating at Lewisburgh, Greenbrier County, Virginia, September fifteenth, writes to that paper a description of a remarkable atmospheric phenomenon witnessed in that town. It was seen by our pickets, a few miles from the town. The same scene has been described in several respectable papers, the editors of which all vouch for the reliability of their informants. The writer says:

"A remarkable phenomenon was witnessed, a few miles west of this place, at the house of Mrs. Pearcy, on the first day of this month, at about three o'clock p.m., by Mr. Moses Dwyer, her neighbor, who happened to be seated in her porch at the time, as well as by others at or near the house.

"The weather was quite hot and dry; not a cloud could be seen; no wind even ruffled the foliage on the surrounding trees. All things being propitious, the grand panorama began to move. Just over and through the tops of the trees, on the adjacent hills on the South, immense numbers of rolls, resembling cotton or smoke, apparently the size and shape of doors, seemed to be passing rapidly through the air, yet in beautiful order and regularity. The rolls seemed to be tinged on the edge with light green, so as to resemble a border or deep fringe. There were apparently thousands of them, and were, perhaps, an hour in getting by. After these had passed over and out of sight, the scene was changed from the air above to the earth beneath, and became more intensely interesting to the spectators, who were witnessing the panorama from different stand-points.

"In the deep valley beneath, thousands upon thousands of (apparently) human beings (men) came in view, travelling in the same direction as the rolls, marching in good order, some thirty or forty in depth, moving rapidly, 'double-quick,' and commenced ascending the sides of the almost insurmountable hills opposite, and had the stoop peculiar to men when they ascend a steep mountain. There seemed to be a great variety in the size of the men; some were very large, whilst others were quite small. Their arms, legs, and heads, could be distinctly seen in motion. They seemed to observe strict military discipline, and there were no stragglers to be seen.

"There was uniformity of dress—loose white blouses or shirts, with white pants, wool hats, and were without guns, swords, or any thing that indicates 'men of war.' On they came, through the valley and over the steep hill, crossing the road, and finally passing out of sight, in a direction due north from those who were looking on.

"The gentleman who witnessed this is a man with whom you were once acquainted, Mr. Editor, and as truthful a man as we have in this county, and as little to be carried away by 'fanciful speculations' as any man living. Four others (respectable ladies) and a servant-girl witnessed this phenomenon.


"P.S.—On the fourteenth instant, the same scene, almost identical, was seen by eight or ten of our pickets at Bunger's Mill, and by many of the citizens in that neighborhood; this is about four miles east of Pearcy's. It was about an hour passing."

—Richmond Dispatch, October 2.

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