Bandmember Edwin Rice, describes the march to Falmouth.
May 16th 1862
Yours of the 10th was received Monday eve. We left Warrenton Junction Monday about noon, marched 6 miles and pitched camp for the night. Weather was pleasant and pretty warm. Your letter was handed me just as I was going to bed, also one from Sid Learing. I went to sleep about 8 o’clock and slept pretty sound. Shouldn’t think I had been asleep over an hour when I woke up and heard the reveille beating. Got up and found out that it was 5 o’clock in the morning. Started on the march again at 6 o’clock. We marched that day 17 miles over the worst roads that I ever saw. McDowells Division passed over them two or three weeks before and the wagons cut the road up very badly.
We should not have marched so far that day if we could have found water enough for the brigade. Water was very scarce on the road. The day was pretty warm and a good many men fell out on the march. There are 7 men missing now out of our regiment. It is said we passed within 100 rods of a rebel cavalry company. Perhaps they took some of the straglers prisoners. Wednesday morning we started about 7 o’clock. The sky was cloudy, but did not look as though it would rain.
With the exception of 4 or 5, the Band put their blankets and overcoats on our wagon. It rained a little all day long. We got onto our campground about noon. The wagons did not come up till about 4 o’clock. By that time we were wet through. Made ourselves pretty comfortable as soon as the tents were up.
There are stories in camp today that when we leave this camp, we leave the tents behind and that only 5 teams will be allowed the regiment. The usual number is 20. Rubber blankets are to be furnished us. Two of them put together with some sticks and pins that come with them will make shelter enough for two persons to lay in under. The officers are to have the same as the men.
There is not a brigade in McDowells Division that have large tents except ours. If we who belong to the Band have any valises we shall have to carry them on our backs. Am going to send mine home. Also my overcoat and a grey blanket.
I have not had a chance to see Fredericksburg yet. Cannot get across the river without a pass. Falmouth is not much of a place. We are about a mile and a half from the river. [Sketch by Edwin Forbes of Falmouth, VA, click to view larger image.]
The country between Warrenton Junction and this place is level, thickly wooded and very thinly settled. There was not a village in the whole distance – 33 miles. I received a letter from Mother yesterday morning mailed the 12th.
I was pretty well tired out when we halted Tuesday night. Was not feeling very well when we started in the morning. Am as well now as ever.
Hope that the next march that we make will be toward Massachusetts. When you direct letters to me do not put on any general’s division. Nothing but the brigade (General Hartsuff).