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

Monday, October 29, 2012

Wednesday, October 29, 1862. Orders come at evening to leave Camp Casey

"My own angel wife,

... We move over to Fort Seward, Va. tomorrow. Am sorry as I was getting my camp into shape. Am in great haste to-night. Will write again as soon as we get into camp again. Yr. Devoted husband, Wheelock" ~ Col. Wheelock G. Veazey, Letter to Julia, October 29, 1862

"The 2nd  Vermont Brigade, composed of the 5 new regiments are to move tomorrow - Wednesday morning, in accordance with orders just received to Camp Seward in Virginia, three miles from the Alexandria side of Long Bridge. 

"Today we were assured by an officer on Gen. Casey’s staff that we were likely to remain here at least two months. Accordingly we purchased stoves for our tents, and ordered lumber for the floors. My stove is not yet up, it is a little sheet iron concern oval in shape with two holes on top six inches in diameter with covers. The funnel runs out through a rip made in the tent. My tent is just like the one that we had in the 11th Regiment.

"Today I rode down Pennsylvania Avenue past Willards Hotel and Presidential Mansion to corner of G and 22nd street to the office of Capt. Robinson who furnished forage for officers horses. I went to headquarters to learn how to untie the particular red tape used in this connection.

"The tenement occupied by “Old Abe” is respectable in appearance, and I should judge decently comfortable. It is large enough for his family, I presume, but not so large as I had supposed. I did not call as I am the last comer and ordinary etiquette would forbid my making the first visit, in as much as he could have known of my arrival by consulting the War Department. 

"Nearly opposite the War Office, I was stopped by a patrol and asked for my pass. I cheerily told him that I had just come to town and was on my way on official business to Secretary Stanton. “All right” said the credulous officer and I passed on. Ordinarily it requires paper from the Colonel, Brigadier, Maj. Generals to visit the city. But I have had as yet no curiosity to see any of the sights.

"Our mess is composed of the Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel, Major, Adjutant, Quartermaster. We left the chaplain to dine with the surgeons, and non-commissioned staff have a mess by themselves. Today we had sweet and Irish potatoes, pork, sausages, beef steak for dinner with pickles, cheese, and coffee. For tea, bread, butter, cheese, tea, and pies and peaches. When we get away from Washington, we shall not fair so well.

"The nights are foggy and cold, worse than at Brattleboro I think. I caught a magnificent cold Monday night, but it is all in my head and nose. My appetite is good and I sleep well.

"A large number of the men have taken cold sleeping on this ground. They are not so sick as to be unfit for duty, only coughing and blowing their noses." Lt. Col. Charles Cummings, Letter No. 2. October 29, 1862

"We have just rec'd orders to move tomorrow morning at eight o'clock. This is an order that is to be acted upon. We are now getting ready. I feel sorry to break up camp, as we have a nice camping ground & everything comfortable. We may not be so fortunate next time.

"All of the new Vermont troops moved in here together with  us this morning, making five regt. 12th, 13,14,15,16.  And Col. Blunt is place in command of the brigade. It is at present only temporary but he may be made brigadier general. He will command the brigade in our move in the morning for we all move together. ~ 
Roswell Farnham, Lt. Co., 12th Regiment. Letter of October 29, 1862

"At nine o'clock at night orders came that we must have our knapsacks packed, haversacks filled with two days' rations, and be ready to start at eight in the morning Where are we going? This is the question." ~ Edwin Palmer,  13th Regiment,  The Second Brigade: or, Camp Life, By a Volunteer (1864) 

"Before the order to pitch our tents was hardly completed, a new order came, rebrigading the five Vermont regiments by themselves, under Col. Blunt of the 12th, the ranking Colonel, constituting it the 3d Brigade, Casey's Division, and ordering it to march to Camp Seward, nine miles across the river into Virginia." ~ John C. Williams,  14th Regiment, Life in Camp:... a history of the Fourteenth.

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