Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Blog in Real Time, June 19, 1862, Manassas

                                    Manassas Va June 19th 1862
Dear Mother
For variety I will direct this note to you, mater familias.  You have probably read by this time my letter to Martha of the 16th inst.  On the 17th inst we struck tents and marched to the Front Royal Station where we took the baggage cars for Manassas. We did not then know our destination. It was surmised that we were going to Richmond, where at any rate we are wanted, & where we should find something to do. Possibly we may go there now, but nothing certain can be predicated of our movements.  As we marched into camp I saw Gen’l McDowell for the first time, but not enough to satisfy me. He seemed to be a splendid looking officer with a piercing eye; desirous probably of seeing how we stood the hardships of our mountain soldiering.  Rickett’s brigade arrived to day. Shield’s probably comes to morrow.  There is a report not generally current, from a Washington source, that Hartsuff’s and Rickett’s brigade, with McDowell’s other forces and Gen’l King’s division move from Fredericksburgh upon Richmond, the whole force amounting to nearly 50,000 men; but I give this merely as a singular report, not generally currant.  Meantime the Philadelphia Enquirer of to day states that Hartsuff has been ordered to join Banks.  A petition to the War Department for our brigade to be transferred to Banks has been circulated among the privates of the brigade and generally signed.  Banks is popular with us and McDowell the reverse, but I have no faith in such petitions. Whether Front Royal is to be again turned over to the enemy I can not say, but I should not think the Government would so soon surrender the valley to Jackson who now is in strong force. 
We are there for the third time at Manassas, reaching here about 6 P.M. of the 17th after a ride of about 6 hours from Front Royal.  We are better located than ever before, a fine spring being on one side of us, and a run to bathe in on the other side.  What a change with respect to prices.  Bread which there sold easily at 30 cents a loaf in camp and 25 cents in town is here sold for 5 cents, much cheaper even than at home, I should judge, for the loaves weigh  a pound and a half or more. Pies sell for about half the price they brought in Front Royal, newspapers ditto.
Occasionally I meat with sounds from home.  Gus Coombs formerly I think in John Read’s store, whom Aunt Rebecca will probably know came into camp the day before we left.  He is a pay master’s clerk, and came with major – to pay off some regiment in Ricketts’s or Shield brigades. He finds Washington a very pleasant place to stay in on the snug salary of $1000 and perquisites.  P.J. Rooney’s brother was in camp to day, and Ned Wyeth a few days ago.
I received my pistol on the 17th, but was somewhat surprised at not finding a sheath with it.  So I cannot carry it on my belt, but am obliged to cumber my knapsack with it.  It is a six inch 6 barrel Colt, Perhaps George my find a sheath for it at Read’s, at a reasonable price.  If so I hope to receive it in my box.  As it is the pistol can only be carried in the pocket, a place I am not inclined to trust it in.
How is my box getting on ?  Make the Sugar two pounds. I have to pay 20 or 25 cents for what I buy, and am glad to get it at that price. Do up the tea as before, namely in paper bags,  several up in cloth. It will go nicely these hot days when coffee gets somewhat played out.  In winter give me my quart of Java with tea very semi- occasionally; but now I want some tea.  I spoke of cheese, good cheese, a scarce article here any way, which sets off any meal, where butter is seldom to be had even at forty cents the almost universal price.  Pepper for the beans, our best meal in the army, and in my case a sovereign cure for my malady.  I may be affected with. Anything nice that will keep, and don’t forget to put the cigars in, because in that case George may smoke up the entry with them much to your discomfort.  Make the shirts long enough and hurry up the socks.  Direct the box as soon as possible to J.B.N. Co. B. 13th Regt M.V. Washington D.C., care of Lieut. Chase, Sutler 13th Mass Vols.  It will then come when Chase brings a load of goods to us which is any time convenient to him.  What I don’t think to speak of, you may think of or Charles.  If there is room send tow pounds of maple suger, beside what you send to me, viz. one pound.  Tell me what it costs, as it is for another person.  I believe I said send a common penstock,  and half a dozen pens, and a simple tight wooden ink stand, worth about 20 cents.  Do not send a Havelock, that superlative humbug.  A cotton bag, without a string, about a foot square for my haversack, I need, half a dozen large pant buttons, some pieces of string and some tape.  Frank Stimpson, Tom Welles, E.J. Fisher & Fitzgerald are all well.  I learn that the old gentleman, Mr. Stimpson, having bought out J.D. Green, has gone to Russia to couple the contracts of the old firm.  Has Mr. Stimpson spoken to father of the contract ?  Please send some postage stamps.  Wishing to bother you no more, and hoping to hear soon of the packing of the box, and of the good things put in from your own easy pen, I am
                        Your Affectionate Son
                                                John B. Noyes.

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