Monday, July 9, 2012

Blog in Real Time, July 7-8, 1862

I post two letters describing the regiments activities around the 4th of July, the summer of 1862 - B.F.
Letter of Private John B. Noyes, Co. B
Sunday July 6th 1862, Near Warrenton Junction Va
Dear Stephen
On the 4th of July instead of going into Boston and staring at the country girls from one of the benches of the mall of Boston Common, as of old or instead of doing escort duty for the City Government of Boston and imbibing huge drafts of brandy and water, I packed up my Knapsack and started with our Division for Warrenton, (not Warrenton Junction) Va.  The first day brought us to beyond Gainsville, the second to near Warrenton.  Both days were sweltering.  To day beats them both, for here even in the shade the perspiration drops from my forehead. This A.M. I went to see the town. It is quite a large place, said to contain 3000 people.  But this must be an exaggeration, for although it is a much prettier place than Martinsburgh it does not seem to be so large.  There are many very pretty private residences here, a few very pretty girls, none of whom I have as yet spoken to.  Indeed to have never made up to any Virginia damsel.  The place is said to be quite a fashionable resort in the summer months on account of its sulphur springs.  The rebs skedaddled out of town last Thursday, perhaps they went to Richmond.
By the way yesterday at a halt the general announced the capture of Richmond by our forces, Beauregard as prisoner and 27000 rebels captives.   I wait patiently to see the newspapers, hoping that the report is true, though fearing it may not be.  Please send me a file of the Herald, covering the whole fight of Seven or more days.  The Philadelphia Enquirer, which I am only able to purchase sees nothing but Pennsylvania troups and beslobbers them often with undeserved praise.  By this time you may have seen Wm. H. Rice A.B. Columbia College, late orderly of Co.D. N.Y. 9th.  You will find him a hale and well met fellow excellent in head and hart and thoroughly posted in all matters connected with camp life, having entered Martinsburgh with Gen’l Patterson last Summer, and having since continued in the service. I shall miss his company much. You may consider this as a letter of introduction for my sudden departure from Warrenton on the 4th inst prevented me from writing a note of introduction and delivering it to Rice himself.  Mr. Rice will give you an envelope containing a set of studs made from laurel dug up from the battle field of Manassas near where the charge of the Black Horse Cavalry was made. The studs are in rather rough condition but you can easily have them cut to your fancy.  I should have had them better finished had I had time.  Some of our men have B & R cut on them, signifying Bull Run, Others B. 13th M.V.  If you had been a smoker I should have tried to obtain a pipe.  Between a rings & a set of studs I though you would prefer the latter.
In haste Yours Truly,
              John B. Noyes.
 Letter of James Ramsey, Co. E

Warrenton  Va  July 7th 62
Dear Mother
     I now find my self writing to the light of a candle which is stuck in the neck of a bottle and curiously fastened to the ridgepole of our tent so as to hang, like a chandelier, in the centre of our tent.  To day has been very hot and oppressive and we have to thank our stars that we have not had to march.  In the morning after breakfast I commenced the order of the day, in the first place I took my towel and soap and in company with my bed fellow or in other words my tent fellow, started for quite a large brook near our camp, to have a swim and rest myself in the shade of the trees overhanging the brook    after enjoying a good bath and feeling somewhat refreshed we agreed to go and get some cherries which are very plenty and in fact I never saw as many in my life and I can almost say with impunity, I have never eaten as many as I have during the last four days since leaving Manassas.  It did not take us long before we had our fill of nice black cherries and were on the way back to camp as visions of beef steak arose before us and seemed to nerve us on; on our way we came to a sulpher spring which was not very strong but cleer as christal and most as cold as ice, it was in the center of a group of fine shady trees.

     The spring is forced up through the trunk of a gum tree cut close to the ground which was done some twelve years ago    so a slave on the farm of the owner of the spring told us.  He further told us that his master was a very wealthy and aristocratic man and owned two hundred slaves, he is now a quarter master in the rebel army, so much for a rebel.   After dinner we saw there was prospects of a shower or thunder storm as it soon proved to be, and concluded to make ourselves as comfortable as possible, so my companion agreed to get the boards if I got the poles and fixed the tent, while he was after the boards I raised the tent a foot from the ground which made it resemble a bedstead with the boards for slats and bed together.  Soon the storm broke upon us but was of short duration  we all the time was pretty well sheltered from it which full paid us for our pains.

     On account of the thunder storm we did not have a dress parade only a roll call which to us seemed the best of the two. We have had Tattoo and Taps and my candle is still burning but I suppose it would be proper me to retire and I now bid you good night.  

     To morrow I will tell you how I spent the fourth of July.

July 8th 1862.     To day it is quite cool and a fine breeze blowing  I have just got back from berring and on my way I visited the sulpher spring and took a bath.  Early on the morning of the fourth of  July we received orders to be ready to march by eight-o’clock   much to the disappointment of a great many who were expecting to have a good time and fire works in the evening, myself among the number.  The camps of the 90th Penn and 26th New York (Rickets brigade) were trimmed up in grand stile with evergreen, they being to work all day the day before, they were also expecting friends from Washington and they felt disappointed to be called on to march   I don’t think there was a bit of need of it as we are lying idle at Warrenton.

     I do not know as I have got any thing more to write in this letter.

     I send my love to all   Kiss Hugh for me  I still remain your affectionate son
P.S. Write soon   Pray for me that I may remain faithfull

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