12th.—Dreamed last night of social scenes and comforts, and woke up a little home sick. I was not made better by the appearance of a cup of wishy-washy coffee which was set before me; but, observing my old man carefully washing himself, after he had served my breakfast, I enquired of him, why so particular to wash after cooking. He replied that he had not water enough at first to wash and get breakfast, too, so he concluded to use what he had for cooking, and to get some to wash him afterwards. This, of course, settled all daintiness in regard to the poor coffee, and I took my breakfast with a relish, thinking no more of home and its comforts. My home sickness was cured.
At 12 o’clock to-day, we moved again, starting in the direction of Frederick, but after a short march we bore away to the left. This, in connection with the fact that General Burnside, with his corps, is ahead of us, and that we have heard heavy firing in that direction, induces me to believe that the enemy are leaving, and swinging around in the direction of Middletown, to take the valley between the Blue and Elk Ridges, and to recross the river above Harper’s Ferry. At dark we encamped to the northwest of the Loaf, near its base, with our backs towards Frederick. It is surprising what a change has taken place in the feelings and appearance of the men. The sallowness of face has given place to flush, the grumbling of dissatisfaction to joyous hilarity, the camp at night, even after our long marches, resounds .with mirth and music.
The boys feel that we are now in active earnest, and McClellan stock is rapidly rising.