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

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Saturday, January 10, 1863. Camp in the rain near Fairfax Courthouse

"Camp near Fairfax Courthouse
"January 10, 1863
"Dear Parents

"We are this afternoon having a rainstorm and as we have no drill and do not like to go outdoors to wash or other outdoor jobs, we are all inside, and not wishing to sit entirely idle have gone to writing. I do not know that I have any special news to relay . . . but we have got back from our trip to Centerville all in good shape.. . and we now expect to be kept here for support for the troops at Centerville, but no soldier can tell where he will be in an hour from any stated time. 

"We started from Centerville for home about four o'clock Tuesday in the midst of a gentle rain which made us put an our rubbers and contrived to swing our woolen blankets in such a manner as to keep them dry. As it was, the regiment never marched over that road; in spite of mud we made the distance in less than three hours and it must be at least eight miles. 

"While we were gone a lot of sick men were sent from the brigade to Brattleboro and among them two from our company. We were very sorry to lose them, but we could not wish them to stay being affected as they were with palpitation of the heart. Whether they had yet arrived at Brattleboro I do not know, but we heard only a day or two ago that red tape still holds them at Washington. 

"Dr. Story is here. I had quite a little chat with him. I watched with Henry Fletcher night before last and the doctor slept in the tent. Wait and Bailey have taken care of him all through and have given him the very best attention. 

"I see by one paragraph in your last that you are borrowing trouble about us. You need not trouble yourself about our being in any great danger unless something happens more serious than the recent Rebel raid near Fairfax. To read the accounts of it as they come to us in the Washington and Vermont papers one would think that we had a great battle right here under our noses. We have smiled frequently at the accounts of it in the papers. I believe I have told you as much about our situation as I conveniently can.

"In regard to our living I have omitted telling about living on half rations a because I did not know anything about it, never having tried that system. To be sure there are times when for a meal or two we cannot be furnished all that one would like and if a fellow is improvident enough to waste his "grub" when there is an abundance, he may expect to go short once in a while. For my own part I have never gone hungry and if I happened to have an extra loaf of bread or a dozen hard tacks when we were out on picket or on a march I never threw them away.

"You can have your tomatoes and we will take the onions, though I never should have thought of them if you had not mentioned them. There are times when on picket that we have to eat three quarters of a pound of salt hog per day and then raw onions come very handy. My haversack is full now, its contents being hard crackers, sugar, onions, some fresh beef that they gave me for breakfast, and some things that Uncle Joe gave from his abundance.

" . . . The Journal came in last night and is the only newspaper we have received in this tent for a week, although we usually have four or five. Surry Ross is ailing again. I should not wonder if he went home with the next lot. He had a small box come to him the other night, which seemed to please him. It all came in good shape except some fresh meat which was somewhat moldy, and indeed meats are apt to spoil coming from Vermont here. I cannot think of anything that would he likely to please you more than the bottom of the sheet as here it is. H.G. Day"    Hezron G. Day, pvt., Company C, Sixteenth Regiment, Letter of January 4, 1863

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