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

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Monday, December 15, 1862. On Picket at Bull Run.

Ruins of RR bridge
Blackburn'sFord, Bull Run 1862
"Dear Friends at Home:--Well, here I sit in a cluster of trees, on the classic bank of Bull Run!... Last night we slept on our guns, in an anticipation of an attack, having learned that a party of rebel cavalry was near. This morning I was detailed to go on picket again, and here I am now, writing this letter and waiting for 4 o'clock to-morrow morning, when our "relief" comes on.... 

"The country is as woody as Vermont, and as level as Connecticut. There is very little, if any snow, and the weather is after the style of October. Passing the heights of Centerville, I saw the first stone too large to lift, in Virginia; and on the side of the main terrace of Bull Run, the first ledge shows itself,--red sand stone. The soil is mostly a red clay--red, before ever human blood was mingled with it.

"It is now 5 P.M., and the boys are eating supper. An old canteen, split in two, with a split stick for a handle, makes a good spider to fry pork in, as we have found by sweet experience. Pork, raw, or cooked, with "new" hard crackers, and coffee, which we boiled in our cups, are our rations at present. It is generally necessary to break up the crackers and pick out the bugs and worms, though some "go it blind!" I have eaten them when less than two out of five were free from the "varmints.'" ~ Daniel B Stedman Brattleboro, VT, age 22, Pvt., 16th Regt,  Co. B, Letter of December 15 1862     Brattleborohistory.com

"I returned to Centerville that afternoon and the next morning they put me on picket again.  To the same place, and so on for four days when we returned to Fairfax Court House near where we are now.  The most we had to eat was had bread and raw pork but this tasted good I tell you." E. D. Keyes, 1st Lieutenant, Company H, Sixteenth Regiment, Letter of December 23, 1862

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