MOBILE REGISTER AND ADVERTISER, March 15, 1863, p. 2, c. 4
Camp of Washington Artillery,
Near Fredericksburg, Va., Feb. 23, 1863
. . . You have heard, I presume, of the second performance of the "Washington Artillery Varieties" Company—it was a complete success, even better than the performance before the battle of Fredericksburg—in fact, the army thinks the Varieties an "institution." It was attended by scores of ladies from the surrounding country and different points on their railroad (a special train having been run for the accommodation.) Gen. Longstreet and staff were present. Gen. Lee was prevented by business from being present, but sent his regrets in an autograph note thanking the managers for their kind invitation, and wishing them success in their efforts to introduce these entertainments into the army. Representatives from all the divisions of the army were present; one of the men of Jackson's corps walking twenty miles, so great was their desire to be present. Our theatre being "out of doors" we could of course accommodate the largest kind of audience. There could be no danger of crowding the house.
The stage was tastefully decorated with the Battalion colors and the guidons of the four batteries; the battle flag presented to us by Gen. Beauregard was conspicuously displayed; the side scenes were blankets and a tent fly served for a drop curtain, on which was handsomely sketched a representation of our badge, the Cross Cannon and motto, "Try Us!" The whole scene was illuminated, not with "soft light from alabaster lamps," but with tallow "dips," hung in Chinese lanterns of fantastio shape, (brought from Maryland last summer.) The United bands of the 12th and 16th Mississippi regiments, under the leadership of Prof. Hartwell, furnished us with music. The programmes were handsomely printed in Richmond and distributed throughout the army. The performance opened with "Pocahontas; or, Ye Gentle Savage,"—a "demi-savage, semi-civilized extravaganza"—with music dislocated and re-set through the instrumentality of Sig. Knight.
Private W. P. N., of 3d Co., sustained the part of Powhattan 1st, King of the Tuscaroras, and one of the original F. F. V's. Private Bob M. of 3d Co., was capital as Pocahontas, and Corpl. W., of 1st Co., as John Smith, was excellent.—The rest of the characters were well sustained by different members of the Battalion.
"Toodles" was the afterpiece—Corpl. H., of 2d Co., as Toodles, and Sergt. B., of same company, as Mrs. T. Of course throughout the plays the house came down an unknown number of times, and everybody was delighted. The band, played the "Bonnie Blue Flag" as our audience scattered for their respective camps in the jolliest mood imaginable.
The bills announce that the "Lady of Lyons" will shortly be repeated, and that the "Serious Family" and "Box and Cox" are in rehearsal. Everything is now ready for another performance, except the weather. Who is to play the part of Pauline is now the question. The knowing ones will not tell. You remember, on our "opening night," before the battle of Fredericksburg, Sergeant John C. W. took the part, and the next day was put hors du combat by a shell from the Yankees. He is still absent at the Charlottesville hospital. John didn't "go in" in his crinoline, however, as the Zouave actors did at Inkermann, as it was borrowed. . .