"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 4, 2013

Sunday, January 4, 1863. A compliment

"Sunday, Jan. 4th.--We are in Centerville yet, and are experiencing very pleasant weather. We are to stay 8 days. Two companies are on picket at a time, and stay 24 hours;--the other companies drill twice a day, as usual. On battalion drill, the other day the Col. complimented us by saying we had never drilled so well before. I am sure we all did our best. We have great confidence in Col. Vesey and Capt. Arms, and in our officers generally." ~ Daniel B Stedman Brattleboro, VT, age 22, Pvt., 16th Regt,  Co. B, Letter of January 2, 1863     Brattleborohistory.com

"Centerville, Virginia, January 4th, 1863

"Dear Parents,

"When I last wrote you I said that we expected if nothing happened, to go to Centerville on picket about the middle of the week, and here we are. ... From that time [Stuart's raid] until we came here we had any quantity of scare stories about the Rebs, that they were coming in this direction of that, and since we came here even the story in our old camp has been that the 16th were all driven in to the Forts and rifle pits by the enemy. To be sure some of our company are camped in the old forts, but we have not been driven a single inch and as for capturing us, it would trouble all the cavalry in Jeff Davis' dominions to capture us as long as hard tack and cartridges lasted, although artillery would drive us out unless we could have some ourselves.

"We have got to stay here in Centerville seven days instead of four, as we did the first time we were here, and then we will go back to camp again. Centerville is a nasty stinking desolate hole, half of it has already been burned, and it would do the other half good to burn also. There have been so many troops camped about here, both Sesesh and Union, that the country roundabout is a perfect desert covered with the rude stone chimneys constructed by the Rebel army to warm their winter quarters, and by the ruins of houses that once covered the inhabitants of this war desolated land. 

"The Rebel huts have mostly been carried off for fuel, leaving only their great unsightly chimneys to mar the landscape, though near the post where Alfred and I stood on picket yesterday and last night, there were the remains of some which we found made first rate firewood.

"I am writing with pencil out here because my knapsack is in camp and we have no ink out here, though we could buy it if we wished, and it is about the only thing you can buy, unless it be a little might of milk,- nothing in the line of eatables can be had for love or money. Even our officers got short and were unable to buy anything for themselves, and have been on a great deal shorter rations than have we."  
 ~  Hezron G. Day, pvt., Company C, Sixteenth Regiment, Letter of January 4, 1863

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