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

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January 23, 1863. A Letter from Camp Hell

"Camp (...this side of Hell) Jan. 23, 1863 
"Friend Eaton

"I received your letter night before last. I am well and so are the rest of the Warren boys. We have had one more death in our company. John Canada from Duxbury. He was a good soldier and a nice fellow, good-natured as a kitten and we thought he would stand most anything but somehow the tough Bullyboys do not stand Camp life any better than some of the weaker ones that are always complaining.

"I don’t want you to show what I wrote this time. Burn it up for I am going to tell the thing ...as it is. I have written that it is all right so as not to worry my friends at home. To tell the truth, a soldier’s life is not to be envied. Every time we have a march someone of the boys receives a death blow. Some to march in the rain and mud and they lie down in our wet clothes without shelter as we did the first time we left Camp Vermont for Union Mills and then to come back in a snowstorm and not have any shelter as some of the Boys did....

"Then our other moves were hard. Our last one was a tough one. The ground was frozen hard but the bubbles were awful. Then, the night after, we got here, there came up a shower all of a sudden as the storms do here and gave us a regular drenching (our tents have come now but our stoves have not)

"We can get along if the rations are not short. If you never saw a hard cracker I will send you one... For six days we have had only six a day. When we were entitled to 12 and a pound of pork and a ration of Beans, Peas, or Rice a day and many a day we have been on short rations one day or two or three days so that we got rather hungry.

"(You wrote that you wished you could enlist. I tell you that you had better stay at home) ...

"Our company reports only 61 men for duty. The rest are sick or dead, mostly. Only 4 died. Some companies do not muster men so many men as ours.

"I am much obliged to you for what you sent to me and I wish you to tell Mother Ann that I thank her greatly every time I taste of her cheese. The things came all right except for a bottle of Molasses. The bottle got a piece broken out of the side as large as a cent so it all ran out. The rest was all right so we felt first-rate about it. ..

"Well I must close now so goodbye. Write soon to your friend. 
Jim"James Willson, 13th Regt. Co. C. , Letter #16 Janury 23, 1863 (VHS)

"Friday 23rd Clear, warm, & pleasant.... Went down to the Occoquan this P.M. & it is a beautiful valley. The river is about 2/3 the size of the Winoosski & shut in by high hills. A mill is situated near the river, on Wolf-run & is fed by a part of the run, which is turned in a "race", some half a mile above, & along this race is one of the most pleasant walks, I have ever seen. In fact this valley is a place of beauty. There are 2 Regs here, the 12th & 13th & 1 battery of 6 guns, the 2nd Conn. all under the command of Col. Blunt." Diary of Horace Barlow, 73-74, Co. C, 12th Regiment

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