Front Royal, Va, June 7, 1862.
Editor of the Gazette:
We are still here resting our weary tired limbs, the weather being half the time pleasant and the other half rainy. There is a sutler here with goods, and is well patronized. The boys are all stowing away under their jackets, honey, candy, oranges, butter, cheese, &c., &c. Only think how well provided for these soldiers are, say some of our loving and patriotic friends at home; how can they grumble and complain. Perhaps our friends do not say this, but there are many who do. The man who does not study anatomy is not supposed to know much of the intricate parts and the workings of the human system, and a profound treatment of the subject by a master hand, would be beyond his conception; let a person visit a gallery of fine arts and he may see a thousand beauties, and may praise the production, but can he for a moment conceive of the immense amount of labor, the weary hours which wear away the best and brightest portion of his existence before these creatures of his genius are given to the world. To accomplish any object, trial, and often suffering is to be endured. If this be the case in the ordinary affairs and pursuits of life, why should the soldier be supposed to be exempt. Surely no class of persons are more likely to be exposed to trial and sickness, and all the inconveniences of life, than the man who, taking his life in his hand, goes forth to defend his country. If the sunlight of pleasant memories did not at times illumine his path–if the dreary monotony of camp life was not occasionally relieved–if food, which in other days constituted his common fare, food by the way which to get he must pay for, was not occasionally substituted for the articles furnished by government, the life of the soldier would be unendurable. Some may say the excitement of seeing new and strange scenes, meeting with and studying the different characters and manners of those with whom he comes in contact with, may in a measure compensate for the inconveniences of this kind of life. A person soon becomes tired of such things. Follow us in one of our marches, if you please; compare it as many do, to a pic-nic excursion or a holiday amusement, and let the fun begin by strapping on equipments weighing 7 pounds, then take twenty round of cartridges in your pockets for ballast, sling over one shoulder a haversack containing three or four days’ rations. Over the other a canteen containing two quarts of water; then a knapsack weighing from 15 to 25 pounds, shoulder a gun 8 pounds more, start from camp, and march under a burning sun 18 miles, then halt and pitch a tent and make coffee and eat a hard cracker and go to bed. During the night a heavy thunder shower sets in, you wake up and find the water running down your back,–next morning start again in mud knee deep, ford streams, and when night comes again find rations getting short; follow up this kind of amusement for two or three week, through rain and heat and then picture to yourself, if you can, how much holiday amusement it affords.
An accident happened to-day by which four lives were lost. One man, named Fuller, belonged to company B, Mass. 13th, and another to the 12 Mass. Regiment were drowned. The bridge over the Shenandoah having been carried away by the late freshet, they attempted to cross in a boat and the boat got swamped and they were drowned. Mr. Fuller was Seargent of Pioneers.
Saturday 8th inst.–A pleasant day–during the evening a heavy thunder shower passed over us.
Sunday 9th.–A day of rest, so called in good old New England, but our business goes on as usual. It is difficult to distinguish one day from another in this part of the country. The boys are generally well, but the last march told rather hastily on many of them; a day or two will recruit them. Azof.
(Roxbury City Gazette; June 19, 1862; pg. 2, col. 5.)