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

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Saturday, March 21, 1863; reverberations of Stoughton

"Camp Near Fairfax Station, Va.
"March 21st, 1863

 "…  S. C. Covey in company B, received news, through a telegraph dispatch from the governor to Col. Veazey, last night, that his wife and three children were sick, the former not expected to live. We got him a furlough for fifteen days and he started for Washington this morning to get it approved by Generals Casey and Heintzelman, and if successful, will have Washington and arrive at Brattleboro Monday by the morning train from Springfield. If tomorrow were not Sunday, he would get through from Washington tomorrow night - 23 hours being the regular time between the two cities. He will call upon you before he comes back. He used to peddle meat for Hadley and cut up a pig for us a year or two since. He was detailed as cook for Gen. Stoughton down to the time of the raid, and has since been on similar duty at Col. Blunt’s quarters.  

"Gen. Stoughton has arrived safely at Richmond and is lodged with the other prisoners in the Libby prison. I suspect he will find it uncomfortable quarters in that lousy, filthy den, as his habits and taste for personal neatness and cleanness are of no ordinary order.  I regret that there should be so much bitterness manifested toward him by the city peers and such petty spite and small, low sort of malignity at home. … He is a ladies man, that is he is passionately fond of the society of pretty and chatty young ladies. He was a good tactician and disciplinarian and did much in these respects for the Brigade. But he is far short of being such a genuine soldier as Gen. Phelps. However, he is dead to advancement.  

"I enclosed you slips one giving an account of the general’s arrival at Richmond and the other a copy of Miss Antonia J. Ford’s commission as Major from Gen. Stuart. Miss Ford was always regarded as a respectable woman and member of a highly respectable family. They were all secesh, her brother being in the rebel cavalry Stuart gave a number of such commissions. … Stuart, the Rebel General of Cavalry is only thirty and is fond of just such frolics. …

"I expect Gen. Stannard will be assigned to this brigade, at least it is so understood. He is a plan, practical man with an abundance of good sense, and with that a good soldier. If he comes he will live in his tent like the others of his command, and if he is taken prisoner it will only be after a fight and with the rest of the brigade.  

"I have got my rifle pits nearly completed having made about 3000 yards. Next week I have two or three redoubts to build for artillery and then the defenses for this station will be sufficient for any probable contingency.  

"Lieut. Simonds is not worth much since the reports of his infantry tactics at Brattleboro. He was found drunk in his quarters when wanted for duty the other day, but was let off with a stinging reprimand. Another such offense and he will be court martial and cashiered." ~ Lt. Col. Charles Cummings, Sixteenth Regiment, Letters  March 21, 1863. VHS. 

"Headquarters Second Vt. Brigade,
"Near Wolf Run Shoals, Va.,
"March 21, 1863.

"Dear Free Press: ... Colonel Blunt, as brigade commander, has been making his presence felt at Fairfax Station in the right way. The Station is a point of supply for all the troops at Centreville, Union Mills, Fairfax Court House, Fairfax Station and Wolf Run Shoals. The quantity of quartermaster and commissary stores here, is of course very large -- and the position is to be held at all hazards. It is now, I am happy to say, in a very much better condition for defence than ever before. Rifle pits have been dug and breastworks by the mile thrown up, by the men of the Fourteenth, Fifteenth and Sixteenth regiments, along the high ground surrounding the Station on every side, from behind which they will be happy to meet any force likely to be sent against them. The picket lines have also been closely looked after; the various departments of supply for the brigade have received attention; and the brigade and regimental hospitals have had the benefit of the colonel's occasional unannounced presence and quick eye for defects in management. One learns to value energy and attention to his business in a commanding officer, after seeing how the influence of such qualities is felt throughout down to the last private in the brigade." 
~ Lieut.  G.G. Benedict, Company C, 12th Regiment, Letter to the Free Press of March 21, 1863 in Army Life in Virginia.

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