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

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Friday, December 19, 1862; Camp in the Woods near Fairfax Courthouse

"Dec. 19. Lying in the woods; no drilling. The Colonel won't let us stockade the tents, as he says we shan't remain here but a short time. But few have any fires in them. The nights are cold. This morning, when I went to the little stream to wash me, I found it frozen an inch deep. If you wake any hour of the night, you heard the strokes of a dozen axes; and what is really painful, many coughing-coughing-deep and hoarse. The cold has crept through the tent and blanket, and thief-like, robbed the soldier of his sleep. He starts up, cold all over, feet, hands, head and body. His fire outside his tent has burned low. He throws the brands together, and then starts with his axe after wood. Now the logs are burning brightly, forming a beautiful circle of light, the radius of which is growing fainter and fainter till lost in the darkness; within is another circle of soldiers chatting around the fire. In the afternoon the bugle calls the officers about the Colonel's tent. The order is given to have their men ready to start at a moment's notice. This is soon changed, and we go on battalion drill. It has been rumored all day that McClellan is reinstated in power. ..." ~ Lt. Edwin Palmer, 13th Regiment,  The Second Brigade: or, Camp Life, By a Volunteer (1864) 

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