“Bristow Station, Virginia June 5, 1863“Dear Parents:
“You wonder if I will spend my birthday in chasing after "Rebels" or be a prisoner among them, etc. Well, I was on guard about camp yesterday, and my post was up on the Lookout, so nice I felt nearer Heaven than militarism will ever carry anybody. I employed myself with a spyglass on viewing the surrounding country not a very hard task surely. The weather has not been so boiling scorching hot for a few days...although it is plenty warm enough now. We have very decent water here, though not near so good as at Union Mills, where the county is very uneven.
"...Moses and Alfred have gone out on picket tonight so I am alone. … We are quite comfortable here in our shanty which we built so the air could circulate out through and under it.
“Four long trains of cars have just gone by laden with forage and they say that the entire 5th army corps is at Bealton. I should not think that the army of the Potomac would lie idle and let the present good weather pass by unimproved. The roads are just as hard as stone but there is no pleasure riding done on them, save what is done by the soldiers. No citizen dare trust himself away from home unless he has urgent business and can prove himself above suspicion.
“I saw a small box of strawberries today, containing perhaps a quart. The berries were as big as your thumb, red and ripe. They certainly looked nice. I would not have had the least objection to buying them myself, but no matter, Uncle Sam's cookies (hard tacks) would sustain life longer and probably cost less.
“I understand that Sam Pinney has gone back to his regiment again, having been reported as a deserter by his captain. Moses saw Eugene Bellow in the cavalry the other day. He said that he looked dirty and hard and his horse likewise. They have got some noble horses in the Vt. cavalry, and they look very much better now than they did last winter, and the cavalry boys themselves say that winter almost kills their horses.
“… Speaking of woolen clothes and warm weather! We do not wear a great amount of woolen this warm weather only a shirt and pants, except when on guard or dress parade, and you will see lots of them out barefoot, sporting around like so many school boys. Drawers and undershirts have long ago been thrown away or sent to Alexandria for storage, and overcoats would go too if they would let us send them, for nobody likes to carry any more than he is obliged to. I have not yet taken the lining out of my blanket but if we have to march for a single day, I shall use my pocket knife on it, though if we don't have to travel any distance, I shall bring it home entire. H.G. Day” ~ Hezron G. Day, pvt., Company C, Sixteenth Regiment, Letter of June 5, 1863
"Friday 5th Had a glorious sleep last night. Drills as usual to-day. Weather warm, but not so hot by any means as at Bristow Station. Camp duty does not come very hard & we enjoy ourselves." ~ Diary of Horace Barlow (UVM), 126, Horace Barlow, Pvt., Co. C, 12th Regiment