In 1728, when Colonel William Byrd, of Westover, was running the boundary line between Virginia and North Carolina, he finally was repulsed by parallel chains of savage, unpeopled mountains that rose tier beyond tier to the westward, everywhere densely forested, and matted into jungle by laurel and other undergrowth. In his Journal, writing in the quaint, old-fashioned way, he said: “Our country has now been inhabited more than 130 years by the English, and still we hardly know anything of the Appalachian Mountains, that are nowhere above 250 miles from the sea. Whereas the French, who are later comers, have rang’d from Quebec Southward as far as the Mouth of Mississippi, in the bay of Mexico, and to the West almost as far as California, which is either way above 2,000 miles.”
A hundred and thirty years later, the same thing could have been said of these same mountains; for the “fierce and uncouth races of men” that Poe faintly heard of remained practically undiscovered until they startled the nation on the scene of our Civil War, by sending 180,000 of their riflemen into the Union Army.
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