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

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Saturday, December 27, 1862. The Sound of Distant Cannon

"Saturday 27th. This forenoon is given to us to prepare for to-morrow's inspection, so we are cleaning everything generally. Battallion drill in P.M. & Dress Parade as usual. Before dress parade, an aid of Gen Stoughton's rode up & we were ordered to be ready to march, with two days rations in haversack, in light marching order, at a moments notice. Before we could get our rations, another came & gave orders to march at once with one day's rations. Before we were quite ready, another aid came & countermanded the last order, & left the matter so that we are liable to march any moment with 2 day's rations." Diary of Horace Barlow, 57, Co. C, 12th Regiment

"Camp near Fairfax Courthouse
"December 27, 1862

"Dear Parents:

"Another week is almost gone and we are still here in the pine woods mentioned in my last and likely to remain there for another week, although we had marching orders for a little while this afternoon: countermanded soon afterward. 

"We have no field officers just now, the colonel and major being both sick, and the lieutenant colonel detailed as provost marshal of Fairfax, but managed to get along without them. We have again stockaded our tents, not in as good style as at Camp Vermont but still quite comfortably. We had but one axe to work with and went into the woods one morning, cut our timber, forged for bricks, and that night had a house to sleep in, fire place and all, notwithstanding we had gone out on battalion drill in the afternoon. The weather for the last few days has been very nice indeed, warm and pleasant, so warm that a person could perfectly be comfortable in his shirtsleeves.

"Yesterday we could hear the boom of cannon from the middle of the forenoon until near night, and today the report is that Sigel and Stonewall Jackson had been fighting, the advantage resting with Sigel. This was probably why we were ordered to march, as Gen. Stoughton heard the firing and telegraphed to Washington for instructions, but receiving no answer to his message sent orders to the regiments of his brigade to be ready to move at a moments warning, whichever way circumstances might dictate. But the cannonading finally ceased and our orders were countermanded.

 "I suppose that if we remain here we will have to go out beyond Centerville on picket again about the middle of the week, say, Thursday morning and could we but have as good weather as it has been for the last four days I would rather go than not."  ~  Hezron G. Day, pvt., Company C, Sixteenth Regiment, Letter of December 27, 1862

"Dec. 27. ... There was a great excitement here this afternoon. All the Regiments were drawn up in line of battle, and the battery took its position, and we waited with the greatest anxiety for the word to march. We were in this position about half an hour when the order was countermanded. The cannonading was at some twenty five miles from here, but was plain and distinct."  Diary of Oliver A. Browne, Co. K, 15th Regiment.

"December 27. The Corps commanded by Gen. Slocum is encamped at present at Fairfax Station, three miles from here, and forms a reserve for Burnside. Firing is heard to-day, in the direction of Union Mills, supposed to be an engagement with the enemy. There is a rumor that the rebel Gen. Stuart is in this vicinity, and intends a raid here. The weather is quite comfortable." J. C. Williams, Corporal, Co. B, 14th Regiment, Lifein Camp, 47-48 1864)

Farifax Station

Union Mills

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