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

Friday, January 18, 2013

January 18, 1863. "It will take generations efface to from their minds the the irreparable mischief that treason as we call it has done. "

"Fairfax Court House, Jan 18th, 1863
"Dearest Wife,

"My own health remains most excellent. Indeed I hardly remember the time when I have been uniformly so well. The weather is now quite cold to the “natives” and to some of our soldiers, but it seems quite mild to me. I do not dress any warmer than when at Brattleboro in October, for I wear the same pants, vest and the same thin blouse. Yet I ride an hour or so nearly everyday without any overcoat or any addition except cap and gloves to what I wear in my office. I have not had a symptom of a cold for six weeks nor an ache except I sometimes get quite tired out in listening to the same complaints repeated with scarcely a change or variation continuously. 

"It is rumored that we shall soon move towards Thoroughfare Gap soon move with what truth I do not know but the rumor seems plausible enough. I have made up my mind that in the army there is no abiding place. My experience in preparing for your reception at Camp Vermont settled that question.

"I suspect that I shall have to visit Washington this week. We have taken several political prisoners that will probably find a resting place in the Old Capital and I shall be wanted to give my evidence against them, unless prospects of an immediate forward movement prevents.

"The President’s proclamation has waked up all the latent bitterness in the Southern heart, and secesh is on its rampage. The atrocious sentiments uttered in this messages and speeches by Jeff Davis find echoes more or less strong in this part of Virginia. What is to be the result is beyond human here. I am becoming a little shaky in my faith that the “Union of these States” is to be preserved. Our prospects are darker than ever before; and then is so much division at the North that when the time of one nine months men expires I do not know who will take their places. Look at the matter in another point of view. The feeling of bitterness engendered in the hearts of all the South including those who fought against secession until it became a fixed fact, against the old Union is one that will never be out lived. It will take generations to efface from their minds the irreparable mischief that treason as we call it has done. ...

"There is nothing new in camp. Mrs. Proctor was here a few days with her husband in his camp, but I did not see her nor know of her visit until she had gone. Abner White was my “orderly” yesterday and thought he should like the place every day when the guard is detailed from the 16th Regiment. He is a good boy and a good soldier. There have been ten deaths in the regiment. 8 of which were in the Wilmington Company. 

"Quite a number of officers have resigned - a way we have of getting rid of inefficient officers, they having that opportunity or the alternative of being sent before a board of examination. Among these is Adjutant Bridgman who was a very inefficient officer.

"The Colonel is in excellent health. So is the major. The 16th is by all odds the crack regiment of the brigade. The men drill superbly.  
~ Lt. Col. Charles Cummings, Sixteenth Regiment, Letter No. 17, January 18, 1863. VHS.

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