I'm bringing back the blog in real time series, as it was very popular and very useful. Hopefully I will be able to keep up and make it at least until the end of John Pope's Virginia Campaign.
The summer campaign of 1862 was very arduous for the 13th Mass regt. Even though the unit was in the field more than a year before they participated in their first major battle, they did a lot of hard service prior to that. I wanted to begin this new series in early May, but did not have the time to organize it, - so will put up five "retro" posts to catch up.
The introductions and background information to these 5 posts are brief. The soldiers letters will stand on their own. More detailed information can be found at my website.
In March the regiment advanced from the site of their long winter camp at Williamsport, Maryland, into Virginia. In mid-march they were at Winchester. General John Abercrombie took command of their brigade and marched it to near Warrenton Junction, Virginia. Abercrombie camped the regiment in a bad swampy area which the men dubbed 'Camp Misery' and 'Camp Starvation.' For a month the men lingered in camp, many getting sick with fever and filling up the hospital. In early May, a new brigade commander was appointed; General George Lucas Hartsuff. Hartsuff inspected the camp and immediately moved it to higher ground near Catlett's Station. On May 19th the brigade hooked up with General McDowell's Division of the army. McDowell advanced his command to Falmouth where it was intended he would eventually advance and hook up with General McClellan's army near Richmond.
I'll begin with a letter of private John B. Noyes, Company B, May 10, 1862
Catlett’s Station, near Warrenton Junction Va
Camp Staunton, May 10, 1862
Your letter of the 18th ult. arrived safely on the 27th. Since that time I have received a letter from father of the 25th ult., from Martha of the 28th ult. (rec’g May 1st) and from father again of the 4th inst. received yesterday. The mail is now received somewhat regularly. Journals of late as the 5th inst. have come to hand. I sent a letter to Martha on the 4th inst. Since that time the tedious monotony of camp life has been somewhat enlivened. There is plenty to occupy the time now, both in drilling and reading.
With love to all I am Yours Truly
John B. Noyes.