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

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tuesday, November 18, 1862. All Quiet. Drilling like clockwork.

"Monday, Teusday & Wednesday, 17 & 18 19 Nothing worth writing. Had battalion drills &c. A little rainy to day (18) " ~ Joseph Spafford, 1st Lieutenant, Company E, Sixteenth Regiment, Letter, November 24, 1862, UVM

"Our camp remains in its usual state of quietude. I cannot say we complain of a lack of work, for, to say nothing about our drilling, we have plenty of fatigue duty to perform. A part of the men are detailed to work on the forts, another part to work on the barracks in camp, and the remainder are put upon drill six hours each day." ~ J. C. Williams, Corporal, Co. B, 14th Regiment, Life in Camp 31  (1864)

"Headquarters Camp Vermont Nov.18th 1862
16th Reg't Vermont Volunteers, Comp H

"Dear Father:
        I meant to have written you before this but have been very busy moving from one camp to another. I am well as usual and hope you & your folks the same.  I have been in so may different places and so many incidents occurred that I hardly know where to commence first.  For general news I refer you to my letter in the Times signed Duane.  I have written another which will probably be printed today. We are about 10 miles from Washington and 2 miles from Alexandria.  The health of the Regt. is very good none from our town are sick.  We are encamped on the same ground where Sickles brigade has been for 11 months past until we came.  The weather is very pleasant now but we have had very cold weather together with 3 or 4 inches of snow.  It is rather cold now nights but very warm day times.  It seems odd to have such warm days at this season of year.  We have two tents for our quarters which are about 8 feet by 10 each.  The men have very small tents just large enough for four to lay in without stove. Many make the California Stove as they call them.  These are made by digging in the ground an arch and stove it up having a flue running outside the tents and a chimney extending therefrom made of stove & Virginia mud for mortar.  We have to board ourselves you know.  At Washington we bought a Mess Chest  containing stove tea kettle boiler and other necessary wear.  We live very well. Well enough for anybody soldiering. We have a very good cook but don't think him hardly equal to you.  Oysters are the cheapest thing we can live on here.  I wish you could sit down with us today noon for I know you love them so well.  Butter, Cheese and most every thing else here is as high again as it is at home.  We have an order to build barracks for our winter quarters.  The men are chipping today for that purpose.  They are all gone and I have nothing to do today.  The 12 Regt. have commenced their barracks.  They are made of small logs split in the center and set in the ground endways side by side the cracks filled with our Virginia mud which makes the best of mortar.  The officers have fire places.  As things look now I think we shall have an easy time this winter.  Last fall you thought I had missed it because I had got an office.  If you could only be here and see the difference in fare food and work you would not think so.  I  reckon I think I could get in as Capt if I wanted to.  Our Capt is not liked very well.  He has not drilled the Co for a fortnight.  I do all of it myself.  They will go through the manual of arms like clock work.  I think they have entire confidence in me. Write to me wont you."
E. D. Keyes, 1st Lieutenant, Company H, Sixteenth Regiment, Letter of November 18, 1862

PS: "Direct your letters to Washington DC 16 Regt Vt. Vol. Send some papers."

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