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

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February 27 1863. An Officers' Ball

"Fairfax Station, VA Feb 27th, 1863 

"I did not know anything of Lieut. Simonds* amours until I received your letter albeit I knew that he had an unenviable reputation for a man of family or even without a family in the line. I asked the Colonel about it. He told me that it was common talk in the camp, and that Simonds had spoken to him about it, denying that he had gone to that extent, but admitting more or less intercourse. It seems that three women claim his services, but their names I have not learned. 

"Simonds is acting Provost Marshall at Fairfax Station, the duties of which office consist mainly in having charge of the freight, loading and unloading cars, and countersigning passes for transportation merely. He is quite unwell. I think these new developments will make him sick. He is unquestionably a libertine, but he thought probably that he was sufficiently smart to avoid the ultimate consequences of his indulgences. I do not pity him. I told him more than a year since that he was disgracing himself and friends. He has made money in his hotel fast, by selling rum and keeping improper persons on his presumes have naturally contributed to his gains. I hope this lesson will be useful to him. But I will say for him that he discharged the duties of Commissary Sergeant so ably that he deserved promotion he received. However, the regiment feels disgraced by his conduct. 

"To night there is quite a gathering at a new building near the station, erected for the Quartermaster’s Department. Mrs. Col. Nichols and a dozen other Vermont Ladies had made preparations for a social dance and gathering there, and they invited all the field officers and some of the line officers there. The Colonel and Dr. Lyman of Vermont have gone. Your perhaps remember the Doctor. He dined with us at the time of the convention and is now the agent of Vermont to look after the sick and wounded soldiers. It will be a pleasant time bathing in the mud. These ladies somehow manager to ride out occasionally on horseback, but there are not enough side - saddles for them all to go at once. I believe they will leave for Vermont soon. 

"A recent order has been promulgated by the terms of which all the troops around Washington from the Monocacy in Maryland down to the Occoquan in Va, are organized into the 22nd Army Corps under the command of Maj. Gen. Heintzelman. This includes the three Brigades in Casey’s Division, of which the 2nd Vermont is the 2nd Brigade. Our designation is: "16th Vermont Regiment, 2nd Brigade, Casey’s Division, 22nd Army Corps.” 

"I think that these new brigades will be detached in the spring and sent into the field. ... I hope so, for I should not like our time to expire with no sight at service. 

"There does not seem to be much army news just at the present moment. The traveling is horrible and it is next to impassable to move an army. Our troops cannot do much except to drill on their company grounds, and study tactics. All the troops in the service are to be mustered tomorrow, as is usual on the last day of every two months. It is from these rolls that the men are paid."  ~ Lt. Col. Charles Cummings, Sixteenth Regiment, Letter  February 27, 1863. VHS.

*Possibly Charles F Simonds (1836-1886), Age 26 of  Brattleboro, 16th VT INF, commissioned 2nd Lieut.Co. I, 1/16/63, resigned 5/4/63

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