"Who is this that looks forth like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army with banners?"

Sunday, October 28, 2012

October 28, 1862. A fine hearty looking set of men.

Camp Casey, East Capitol Hill.

"All the Vermont regiments are here, the Sixteenth having arrived yesterday. ... The Sixteenth went into camp right over against us last night. They slept under the little shelter tents – if sleep they could, for it was a very cold night,  the ground damp and covered with white frost this  morning. They would have had a rather poor look, too, if left to themselves for something to eat, as the got into camp too late to get up their cooking arrangements. 

"But they were not allowed to go hungry.  The Thirteenth  Regiment had them to supper last night and the Twelfth invited them to breakfast this morning. Each company entertained the company of the corresponding letter and Company C of the Sixteenth, who were guests of the Howard Guard,  got a first-rate breakfast and acknowledged our hospitality before they filed away, with three hearty cheers for the Twelfth.  The  men of the Sixteenth are a fine, hearty looking set of men and behaved like gentlemen, as they doubtless are." ~ G.G. Benedict,  Letter to the Free Press of October 28 1862, in Army Life in Virginia, 38-39 (1895)

William Henry Jackson
12th Regt. Co. K
"Dear Wife,
Here we are on a little plateau a few feet elevated about an extension but slightly broken plain of table land with a view of miles in every direction. We are in plain sight of the capitol and its magnificent dome rises about one mile west of us, while the Asylum is the same distance east of us with the Navy Yard and the Potomac just below beyond. It is a magnificent spot. 

"Today our regiment is excused from drill, and under the direction of Lt. Danforth of Co K,* a civil engineer of eminence, our camp is being laid out with great skills. My tent is pitched and after writing this letter I shall get some boards and make a floor stable. 

"I got cold sleeping on the ground [last night], but with that exception never felt better or heath in my life. The 12th  Vermont Regiment, breakfasted us all, officers feeding officers, and companies feeding corresponding companies by letter, A taking A, etc. Was it not kind? 

"Today we have established our officers mess. Colonel, Lt. Colonel, Major, Adjutant, and Quartermaster. We are in Gen. Casey’s Division and all the Vermont Regiments are within half a mile of us. We shall be at least temporarily brigaded, Col. Blunt the senior Colonel Commanding, in a few days we shall probably have some General in command.

"Sitting in my tent at this writing I can see the dome of the capital less than a mile off. All about as are encampments. It must be that 20,000 troops are within two miles of us." ~ Lt. Col. Charles Cummings, Letter No. 1, October 28, 1862

" We went over ... to the 12th and got our breakfast on Tuesday morning, because we had not got fairly arranged for housekeeping and so were invited over there. I saw Hudson and Bartlett there. 

"We have got tents and the most of camp conveniences now. The weather here in the middle of the day is like a warm September day in Vermont while the nights are as cold as they are in Vermont at the end of October. The first morning after our arrival there was the merest scale of ice in a mud puddle on our campground, but the nigs called it an uncommonly cold night for the country. It was cold enough at any rate to take hold of us pretty severely, so much so that some of the boys got up and built them some bonfires out of an old rail or two, a cedar post, and some old roofing paper that we found on the ground, and by that means managed to keep comfortable.

"Our campground is but a little way from the city on what is called Capitol Hill in full sight of, and I should guess some half mile from the dome of the Capitol. Abe's house is some two miles off. the pickets of the 12th yesterday captured six rebel prisoners down near Long Bridge and the 13th captured another rebel spy only a day or two ago. I cannot stop to write more now. The boys are all in very good health and spirits."  ~ Hezron G. Day, Company C, Letter of October 29, 1862

* Second lieutenant  William C. Danforth, age 39, of  Weathersfield. See Co. K Roster

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