Friday, June 15, 2012

Blog in Real Time, June 15, 1862, Front Royal, VA

The following came from the now defunct website "Letters of the Civil War."

Front Royal, Va., June 15, 1862.

Editor of the Gazette:

Front Royal is at the present time is filled with wounded soldiers. D-cilings, - ----- Churches, and every place are filled to ------ ----. The advance guard of Gen. Shields Division, consisting of two thousand men were attacked at Port Republic, and after a desperate resistance they were obliged to fall back with a lost of about fifteen men in killed and wounded. In turn, the rebels were ---- after driven back. The order given to burn the bridge was not obeyed – the result you know. Two hundred wagons made of wounded have arrived in town to-day.  They were hit in almost every conceivable place–in the head, arms, legs and body – a --- sight for sensitive --ture, though we have most of us got use to these things.  One hundred and fifty rebel prisoners leave for Baltimore this evening.  A surly looking set of fellows those rebels are–full of pluck, still confident of the success of the secesh cause.  If they are brutal in battle they but follow the example of the female kind, who are as vindictive as – I won’t say who.  The things called women in this part of the country, must at some time in their lives, have had infused into their nature a strong spirit of fiendishness; they are women of one idea, and that all wrong.  They seemingly have but one instinct, so imagine, if you can, what kind of feminines we soldiers have to deal with.  Some are quite lady like in their manners, when they choose to be, which is but seldom, so thoroughly are they imbued with the spirit of imaginary wrong–so often they have turned up their nasal organs – looked aslant, curled their lips, that most of the force that have met my view are sadly distorted.  Is it not a pity that the fairest and most beautiful creature of God’s creation, and gift to man, should, by her blindness and willfulness, render herself a bye word and scoff.  Think of a woman, one whom we from infancy have been taught to love, serve and protect–to consider the embodiment of all that is pure and good, drawing a pistol upon unarmed and wounded soldiers.  The bare thought is revolting, and yet no doubt of the fact exists.  Hugging a moral wrong to the heart, results in what we behold–moral deformity, dark, deep, implacable hatred.

            There is but little stirring in camp; we are fast gaining strength and recovering from the effects of the late march and attendant exposures.  Our commander, Capt. Hovey, has arrived safe at camp.  He is looking well, but is much troubled with his old complaint, rheumatism, and since his appointment to the command of company E, we have seen but little of him, owing to his affliction.  Lieut. Colburn and Frost have fulfilled the duties imposed upon them by his absence, in a manner which should gain them great credit.  During out long and tedious marches, there were many things occurring which sadly tired the patience of the officers.  Whatever others may say or think to the contrary.  I consider his position the most trying.  Obliged to be constantly on the alert, watching and caring for his men, seeing that none stray too far from the regiment, that others who, through weariness, fall by the way side are properly cares for–suffering from heat, from chill, from hunger.  These latter, in common with his command, with many other petty sources of annoyance, place an officer in a position sometimes not to be envied.  Lieut. Colburn has faithfully performed his duty, and deserves credit not only at our hands, but at the hands of all at home who feel an interest in the members of company E.  We hope our captain will soon be able to relieve him of his heavy duties.  Those of us who are in camp at the present time are well, except perhaps a few cases where the dampness causes rheumatic pains.  I fear from what I see at times, that many of us will soon be pulled down by this most painful disease.  Give us plenty of dry weather and we will hope for the best.

            They do say that our Brigade is transferred into Banks’ Division.  If so glory to God for the change; to-morrow will settle the business.

            Yesterday a few of us started for pure water:  we found a fine spring about two miles from camp, on the farm of a certain Dr. Burke.  He is one of those kind of men who think the rebellion all O. K. – gives freely to the army of Jackson, has one son in his army, but from us he hides all his good things, except his cows; for the favor which he grants us, by allowing them to eat grass, we feel thankful, as by experience we find their milk excellent in quality, but as to quantity can’t speak so confidently, as we lost our measures while out of camp; but we thought we might as well enter into the spirit of the thing and have a pic-nic; so taking a few dippers of water, and a few lemons to the top of the hill, we sat down under the spreading branches of several ancient oak trees, made a table cloth out of some newspapers, and at it we went.  We were all in good spirits–rather hungry and very dry–had quite a conversation with an intelligent darky boy, and learned almost enough from him to hang his master, but thought of the cows and let him alone.  We then concluded to have a bath, and filling our dippers with milk, we hid them in the brook at the foot of the hill, and started for the Shenandoah, passing through a field of wheat at least five feet high.  A portion of the wheat was prostrate to the earth.  These mountain storms sweep all before them.  We had a swim, after which we visited the grave yard of Front Royal–plucking a rose from the grave of Col. Wheatley, late of the rebel army.  I pitied the poor slave whose grave was outside the fence in the road; the ---- most clearly showed his earthly position,–and finally, as the minister says, reached camp, went on dress parade, eat, no, drank some coffee, and lastly, went to bed to dream of home.  They do say the guerillas are in the mountains; don’t believe it.

            Please excuse these rambling thoughts, and believe me ever.

                        Yours Respectively, 
            P.S.  A circumstance rather more vexatious than otherwise, occurred to-day.  Lieut. Frost was placed under arrest.  The charges performed against him were as follows:  First, for appearing as guard mounting with pants inside his boot.  Second, having sword in position of parade rest, which position is in accordance with sword exercise, but not in accordance with the custom of the Massachusetts 13th.  Third, giving an order after having sheathed his sword.  Your own judgment will weigh the charges as well as our Roxbury friends, and pronounce them foolish in the extreme.  The charges are most probably performed to gratify personal feeling.

No comments:

Post a Comment