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. - We paid a brief visit to
, (the Hermitage Fair Grounds near
,) a few days ago. The place is sadly altered since it was appropriated to the
exclusive use of the agricultural exhibitions, but it is in much better plight
than could be expected, under the circumstances. The commandant of the post,
Col. John C. Shields, has provided, as far as it was possible to do so, against
the defacement of the place, but as the purposes for which it is now used are of
the practical rather than ornamental order, there has been but little margin for
any observance or display of picturesque.
Col. Shields’ “headquarters” are in the isolated
building known, in agricultural times, as the “President’s Office.” The
business room is on the lower floor; the dormitory up stairs. During our stay,
he was plied with questions, about substitutes, furloughs, etc., and seems to
have his hands full. His Adjutant is Lt. James H. Binford.
The long building beyond the headquarters is occupied by
quartermasters, surgeon, drill masters, etc - In front of this building is an
enclosed space, in which the officers seek recreation, in the “cool of the
evening,” by playing games with marbles.
The new exhibition hall and the “horticultural hall”
are both used as hospitals, and contain a large number of patients. We hope that
they are not overlooked by those benevolent people who attend to the
distribution of delicacies for the sick. The spiritual welfare of the patients
is not neglected. In passing the first mentioned building, we heard the voice of
supplication to the Throne of Grace, and observed a minister in the attitude of
prayer, many of the patients also kneeling at their couches. Religious services
are held on the lawn east of this hospital every Sunday afternoon - conducted by
Rev. Dr. M. D. Hoge.
A number of tents occupied by artillery companies,
conscripts, and exchanges prisoner are scattered over the grounds. The men
generally lead an idle life - the exceptions being the artillerists who are
drilled every day, in practical gunnery. A gymnasium of some sort, with regular
hours for training and exercise would not be an unprofitable acquisition.
A pool for bathing purposes is very much needed at
. The men now repair to a shallow creek in the vicinity, but it is doubtful if
their ablutions in that stream are productive of cleanliness.