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

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sunday, February 22. 1863. Snow!

"Winter Quarters"
February 22, 1863
William Henry Jackson,
 12th Regt., Co. "K"
"Camp near wolfs run Va. Feb. 22nd 1863. To day it Snows hard & has most of the night. it is now about eight inches deep at nine oclock A.M. ... It is Sunday but we shall not have any inspection or meeting either because it Storms to hard. it is a regular Vermont Snow Storm. dry & windy & pretty cold. Folks think that we do not have much snow in Va. Now I am no hand for betting, But if the truth could be known, I should not be afraid to bet a months wages that there has more than four feet of Snow fell here this winter. that may look like a large Story, but I could get backers enough on that bet."  Jabez H. Hammond, West Windsor, age 20, Sgt. Co. A, 12th Regt,  Letter no. 28

PS "Sunday twenty minutes to eight P.M. weather cloudy & cold with from ten to twelve inches of Snow, which makes it look like Vermont. the Snow has slid off from the tents & filled the space between & if it thaws very fast there will be a chance to have a boat ride in the tents."

"Fairfax Station Feb. 22nd, 1863
"Dear Parents,
"Virginia!- the land of many changes ... is today swept by a most merciless snow storm, the toughest of the season. The Lord have mercy on those poor soldiers who have nothing but their 'shelter' tents to protect them from the fury of the storm. But we here in our comfortable stockades and with good warm fires, do not need much sympathy. 

"It commenced storming about midnight, and at the present time, a little after noon, we have 7 or 8 inches of snow, perhaps more. Nobody goes out today unless he is obliged to. Here in our tent we have done nothing today except keep a good fire, and split hardtacks with a hatchet for dinner. Hardtacks don't generally need to be split with a hatchet, but these we have got now are solid substance sure enough. ...

"There is no use thinking that there will be anything of any importance done here in Virginia while the winter lasts, for there is not an army under the broad canopy of Heaven could more now. The infantry might possibly get alone, but for the artillery and baggage, moving is simply impossible. Neither could infantry move far without supplies. 

They have been obliged to corduroy the road from the Station to Wolf Run Shoals where the 12th and 13th are stationed, in order to get their supplies to them. The 15th have done most of the corduroying on this end of the road, and the 14th and 16th have done all the guard and fatigue duty at the Station. The 16th is rather improving in health as the measly characters are all getting better, and there are not many new cases....

"So severe is the day considered by the officers that the guards have every one been taken off, and the Colonel and commissary and sutler each takes care of himself. These are all the regimental guards that are usually kept on through the night, with the exception of one in front of the guard tent. We have to send guards to the Station every other day, and today fortunately we have none there. 

"We have just proposed to go out fox hunting tomorrow, now that there is snow. There is a fellow in Co. "B" that will bark just like a dog, and we thought he would do for the hound, but Alfred thinks we wouldn't be apt to find many foxes about here. It is not snowing so fast just now. Perhaps it may clear off again some time....H.G.Day" ~ Hezron G. Day, pvt., Company C, Sixteenth Regiment, Letter of February 22, 1863 

"Fairfax Station Sun. Eve Feb 22nd/ 63
"My Lettie

"I have been lounging about my quarters all day reading, writing a little, studying less, lying on by bunk a great deal. I waited until 3 o'clock thinking that I should get a letter from you. then I would answer but I am obliged to take pen and write without receiving a thing. The mail come here Sundays the same as any other day. I wrote you Tuesday last I believe. Since then I have sent a soldiers record also one to Father from Floyd. I havn't got a bit of news to write. The sun rises and sets in the east and west as usual. (isn't that sentimental.)

"My health is very good indeed--never was better--never so good. I am just as fat as a pig. Do not think when you are at home assembled around a warm fire or at the dinner table that I am suffering from cold or hunger for we are nicely situated in our little village of tented houses. Good quarters, warm and comfortable and plenty to eat.

"But we have all got idea that we shall move when the mud dries up but still no one knows. if we do we shall have to take it then. I do not expect to have my trunk carried any further if we move to the "front" We are in Casey Div. "Defenses of Washington" and unless we are transferred we shall have but little if any fighting to do in my opinion. But we shall most likely be put some where where we shall have something to do because our time will soon be out and this is one of the nicest Brigades in the army. We are not idle now. The men have to work as hard as they ought and it is necessary that some Brig. should be here and they may keep ours possibly.

"Last Sunday was had a terrible snow storm concluding with a heavy rain, and the mud you have no idea. Tuesday I think it rain it cleared away and came of as warm as summer and continues so until yesterday when it clouded up and last night it commenced snowing and has snowed most of the time since. A more _____ storm I hardly ever knew in the Northern States. It must be quite a while before the snow will melt and the mud get dried up. It is estimated that there has been three feet fall of snow here this winter.

"I have been writing to Sam today. Floyd is getting along quite well with the rheumatism. Is on duty now. Has a tight bunch of them occasionally nothing bad. Geo is feeling first rate better than he did before he was promoted. I think he felt pretty sorry at times that he enlisted.

"Mr. Herrick has gone home with his oldest son on a furlough of 20 days. How pleased his wife will be to see him. The were married you know the same day that we were only an hour or two later. That ring I sent home made of bone by a fellow in my Co. I want you to keep. This same fellow was taken sick a few days ago and is now just alive he will probably not live until morning.*  He was a real comical fellow and the life of the Co. Every other Co. has lost more or less.

"Have you got your money yet? Where did you draw it, what bank? You wrote me long long time ago about a Dr. Conn where you thought was in the12th Regt. I remember at the time that I thought there was no such a Dr. here but the other day I saw his name here and the thought struck me what you wrote--I will make myself acquainted with him if he is any of your old acquaintance at once. The 12th is about six miles from here I was going down there today horseback if it had been pleasant.

" Please accept this as a poor specimen of a letter form your true ____I embrace and kiss you & have much as I retire for the night and bid you again Good bye my_________. 
E. D. Keyes, Captain, Company H, Sixteenth Regiment, Letter of February 22, 1863

* Carlos D. Slack, Pvt, Co. H, 16th Regt. died 2/24/63.

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