Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Blog in Real Time - May 15, 1862

     I continue the retrospective 'real-time' posts to catch up to date.  Here is another letter of Private John B. Noyes, Co. B.  He describes the march to Falmouth.

Near Falmouth Va.  Thursday May 15th, 1862
Dear Father
On the 10th Inst. I sent a letter to George, and on the 12th one to Martha, which letters, by this time, may have been received at home. The latter letter was sent out a short time before we set out on our march to Fredericksburgh, by the 105th N.Y. Reg’t. mail.  That regiment, a part of Duryea’s brigade, relieved us at Warrenton Junction, before we set out to join the advance of Gen’l. McDowell. Our mail was closed Monday not to be opened again until last night.  We left our splendid camp at Warrenton Junction, with its excellent water facilities, and magnificent prospect at 12 M.  Monday. The 12th inst.  The roads dried a weeks sun were in excellent condition, ruts excepted.  No mud whatever yet every where evidences of the almost impassable state of the roads when McCall’s Div. joined McDowell at Falmouth.  We marched but six or seven miles before pitching tents for the night. I preferred to bivouack having selected a nice spot before the tents were pitched, and did not regret my choice.  The next day we wee up betimes (?) and started on our march at 6 A.m.  I was not burdened by my grey blanket which I had succeeded in getting stowed away.  The day was terribly hot, and we had not advanced far when the men began to tumble out to get water. The dirt road was so terribly cut up, and the ranks so open on that account, that every chance was offered for so doing.  Onward we plodded, every now and then an overcoat or a blanket being taken from a knapsack and left by the wayside, especially by members of the N.Y. 9th.  Their dark overcoats, with red facings were easy to be distinguished.  We marched nine hours to within seven miles of Falmouth, where shortly after 3 AM. We pitched our tents, having traveled 17 miles.  I consider the march perhaps the toughest we have yet seen, as it was in the heat of the day, over a road of ruts, and the day such a day, although I was able to be one of the dozen in my Company who came into line at the end of the march.  The men did very well as a general thing, the greater part of them coming to within half a a mile of the halting place.  The country we passed through seemed rich and was covered up with vegetation. Nice grass lots and clover fields.  Cherry trees along the route with cherries on them as large as cherry stones.  Apple trees in full bloom, the buds falling.  Woods thick with foliage, the leaves not yet having attained their full size.  There was one tree or very large bush in the woods on the route in full bloom, the white blossom of the size of a half dollar.  But on such a march as that one has little thought of the landscape.  His eyes are much more Keenly alive to the beauty of a well, with is old oaken bucket, or better still a spring by the way side.
At last as I said we halted.  A mug of chocolate disposed of, the tent pitched, a bathe all over, and supper ate, I was ready to make a short call at the New York 9th camp.  I found my friends there much elated at the manner their regiment came in, which has a great reputation as a “fall out”  regiment.  I of course had not much to say, but wondered at the vacant room in the tent.  My mess were all in at supper time, which was an hour before.  The absence of the Knapsacks was satisfactorily accounted for, when not so much to my surprise after all in came six stragglers and threw down their Knapsacks. The laugh was then with one.
At 7”10 yesterday morning we again started and marched through Falmouth to our present camp, which is opposite Fredericksburgh, a distance of ten miles in a drenching rain storm.  We shall soon cross the Rappahannock and advance upon Richmond. These are probably 50,000 troups now in McDowell’s command here or across the  river McClellan has had eight days of splendid weather for his march upon Richmond.  I hope he is now safely there, and that he has invested the place.  Yesterday and to day’s rain has doubtless made the roads well nigh impassable.  We arrived here just in time.  If I  am any judge the wagons could hardly have come through, over the roads we have passed, in their present condition. When the roads have again become good, the weather clearing up, the Division will doubtless set out on its march. What our position shall be we have yet no means of knowing. While going out after boards for my place in the tent yesterday I heard the name Myrick pronounced while I was passing through the Maine cavalry camp.  On returning I thought I saw Myrick of my class standing by the fire.  I enquired of them was a Lieut. Myrick in the Regt., and was informed that there was in Co. K, in whose street I then was.  I shall pay my respects to him the first fair day.  We were a month at Warrenton Junction with the cavalry and it was a piece of luck that I ascertained he was in the Regiment.
Fredericksburgh, over the river appears to be quite a large place. There were many large brick mills along the bank of the river.  There are three or four bridges in ruins.  The towns of Falmouth and Fredericksburgh are now connected by a pontoon bridge. It is said that one bridge was saved by our sharp shooters but little damaged.  There are likely to be great battles in Va. Within the next fortnight. If Johnson is caged in Richmond what road is open to him for escape ?  Wherefore can he draw supplies ?  Whether I shall be in at the finish is only Known to the God of battles, in whose hand victory lies.
The sun and rain to [????] I experienced in my last march, but am still alive and hearty.  With love to all, I am as ever
                                    Your Aff. Son
                                                John B. Noyes.

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