May 20. Lying around here in the woods, hearing no sound but the moaning of the wind through the tree tops, is rather dull business. There is nothing in it that inspires any lofty, rapturous thought, and yet it inspires thought, and already one of Mr. Bogey’s sheep has fallen a victim to thoughts inspired by the soughing of the wind through this dark forest shutting out the day; I reckon it will not be necessary to say anything to Mr. Bogey about it, as he is a loyal man, and, as the lawyers say, the presumption is he would be more than glad to contribute a mutton in suppression of this unholy rebellion.

The Pine Forests.

The woods here abound in timber of the finest description, many of the trees attaining a height of more than 100 feet. It is seldom one is seen of more than two feet in diameter at its base, tapering but slightly and without limbs for a distance of from 60 to 80 feet. I have seen some that would square fifteen inches, 80 feet from the stump. These are the turpentine trees, and the pitch, or turpentine as it is called, is obtained by cutting a wide, deep box at the base of the tree capable of holding two or three quarts of the pitch. From each corner of the box the bark is stripped off, coming to a point about three feet above the box. This is done when the tree is first boxed. The next year about three feet more of the bark is removed, coming to a point as before. This process goes on until the tree is blazed for a distance of 20 or more feet, and can be done on the east, south and west sides of the trees. The tree will run pitch quite a number of years before it dies, and is then called lightwood, and is either split up into rails or converted into tar. The pitch that runs into the boxes is dipped out into barrels, and is called dip or virgin turpentine, while that which adheres to the tree is scraped off and is called scrape, and is less valuable than the dip. The pitch is barreled up and sold to the distillers. Tar is obtained by cutting the lightwood into lengths of about eight feet and split fine a tunnel-shaped hole is dug in the ground, with the center about three feet deep, and from the center a drain runs to a barrel or vat sunk low enough in the ground to receive the tar as it runs from the kiln. The wood is packed in this hole with the ends to the center, keeping the center lowest; when all the wood required for the kiln is piled up, the sides and top are plastered over with clay, and the fire kindled on top. The fire smouldering down through the pile, tries out the tar, which settling to the bottom, runs out into the vat, and is then barreled. A kiln will run from ten to twenty barrels according to size.


“Spaulding,” May 20.

Dear Mother, — It is so uncertain whether you receive any of my letters (I receive none of yours) that I write to-day by the “Daniel Webster,” though I have but little to say. The “Webster” and the “Elm City” came up the river yesterday. We were invited to tea on board of the former, and were much pleased to find how we are missed. Dr. Grymes is still in charge of her, and Mrs. Trotter reigns over the women’s department with great success. Mrs. Strong, Miss Whetten, and Miss Gardiner returned on the “Elm City.” The “Webster” came up in perfect order, ready to ship her men as soon as her cargo was discharged. She is now loading, and sails for Boston this afternoon. We ourselves remain here. Mr. Olmsted is anxious to keep his “staff” at the heels of the army. I like this much better myself. It is more interesting, and the work, though harder, is more satisfactory in every way. The weather is delightful. At present we are idle,—kept so, I am told, in reserve for the expected battle. The “Elm City” is to remain here as a receiving-ship; this vessel (the “Spaulding”) and the “Daniel Webster” are to be used as ocean-transports, and chiefly for sick men; the “Knickerbocker ” and the “Daniel Webster No. 2” as river-transports for wounded men, — “surgical cases,” as they are called. The former make the sea-passage to New York, Boston, or Philadelphia; the latter run to Washington or Fortress Monroe. These five ships can transport about two thousand men a week. Mr. Olmsted is struggling, with probable success, to bring the Medical Department to establish a large receiving-camp-hospital for the lesser cases that ought not to go North. Meantime the “Elm City” is to be used as a receiving-ship for them pro tem.


May 20th. The entire corps is encamped upon nine separate hills, facing the Chickahominy. All about us are, or rather were (for they are fast disappearing), waving fields of corn and wheat, evidences of better cultivation than we have seen before. The corn makes fine feed for our horses, and is about the only useful thing we have found in this state so far. Regimental headquarters are pleasantly situated in a piece of woods just in front of the regiment. We swing our hammocks between the trees, and sleep in them to keep clear of snakes, which abound near this swampy river. We are closed up now very near to the enemy, and expect a battle at any moment; get little news, and know almost nothing of the situation.


May 20.—Edward Stanly, of North-Carolina, received his commission as Military Governor of that State. He is invested with the duties and functions of that station, including the power to establish all necessary offices and tribunals, and suspend the writ of habeas corpus during the pleasure of the President, or until the loyal inhabitants shall organize a State government in accordance with the Constitution of the United States.

—Lieut.-Col. Downey, who was sent to Wardensville, near Moorfield, Va., after the guerrillas who recently overpowered a party of convalescent soldiers in that neighborhood, reported having killed the notorious chief, Umbagh, and three men, and that he wounded four. He took twelve prisoners. The Nationals lost nothing.

—A train of seventeen wagons, laden with government stores, which left Rolla, Mo., on Monday last, was overtaken to-day, when about twenty miles out on the Springfield road, by a band of rebel guerrillas, who burned the wagons and their contents, and carried off all the mules, eighty-six in number.—Four United States gunboats bombarded the rebel works on Cole’s Island, Stono Inlet, S. C, when the rebels burned their barracks and evacuated the Island.

—Lieutenant-Colonel West took possession of Tucson, Arizona, this day, without firing a shot The confederate troops stationed in that city fled across the Rio Grande on his approach, and the citizens of Tucson who were imbued with secession proclivities started for Sonora. The citizens of the town came out and met the troops in great numbers, greeting them with cheers, and of their own accord sent out wagons and brought in loads of forage for the animals, which were worn out by their march from the Pimos around by Fort Stanford.—Los Angeles News.

—A party belonging to General Fremont’s command, under Col. Crook, made a successful descent upon the Central Railroad at the Jackson River depot, Va.

—The rebel pickets were driven across Bottom’s Bridge by skirmishers of General Couch’s division of the army of the Potomac. On the right General Stoneman’s advance reached New Bridge, also on the Chickahominy.

—General Shepley, Military Commandant of New-Orleans, informed the citizens of that town, that, in the absence of the late Mayor, he, by order of Major-General B. F. Butler, commanding the Department of the Gulf, would discharge the functions which appertained to the office of mayor, until such time as the people of New Orleans should elect a loyal citizen of that city, and of the United States, as Mayor.

Written from the Sea islands of South Carolina.

Monday, May 19, 1862.


Our men have returned from Hilton Head and nearly all are eager to go there again and serve in the forts, though Marcus says he does not wish to fight, but only to learn to fight. . . .

Very much has occurred lately, but I have no time to write. I have received and distributed twenty-one boxes of clothing, having sold over $155 worth and sent out fifteen boxes to the plantations, which will be sold on account or given away. . . . People have come from great distances to buy here and seem almost crazy at the sight of clothes — willing to pay any price.

We have had to refuse to sell, being so overworked. I am sorry to say that I have discovered two cases of pilfering, and the cotton house has been entered again and again, we think, but nothing that we can miss is taken. Our house-servants are honest as the day.

Mr. French spent Saturday night and preached here on Sunday. He thinks good times are coming for us. He says that General Saxton[1] will be our friend, and that we shall have the military in our favor instead of against us as before. The danger now seems to be — not that we shall be called enthusiasts, abolitionists, philanthropists, but cotton agents, negro-drivers, oppressors. The mischief has been that on this side of the water, on these islands, the gentlemen have been determined to make the negroes show what they can do in the way of cotton, unwhipped. But they have only changed the mode of compulsion. They force men to prove they are fit to be free men by holding a tyrant’s power over them. Almost every one who has attempted this has failed. Those who have not attempted driving are loved and obeyed. On the rationed islands, Port Royal and Edisto, the negroes have worked much better and have been perfectly contented.

Last Saturday the provisions from Philadelphia were distributed, and I heard our folks singing until late, just as they did after their first payment of wages, only then they sang till morning.

Thorp was here the other night. He wanted Mr. Pierce to let him stay in his present position for a time, for Mr. P. had wanted to remove him. He pleaded so that Mr. P. yielded and Mr. T. went back to work, but he is now ill and Sumner is taking his place in the distribution of clothes and food. This has not yet been begun and the people are gloomy. Last Sunday Ria, of Gab. Capers, came over to me and asked me to speak to Mr. Pierce about her horse. Mr. Saulsbury, a cotton agent, had taken away a fine horse (belonging to the estate), which Ria took care of and used, and in its place he gave her an old beast to take her to church, as she is paralytic. She came to church and heard that Mr. Eustis, the provost marshal, who had made a law that no negro should ride any horse without a pass, was going to take away the horses of all the negroes who had come to church without a pass. She appealed to Mr. Pierce. He sent her to Mr. Park. She is afraid of Mr. Park and appealed to me. Park was there and I went directly to him. He heard me, and smiled as if a little pleased to be petitioned, came forward and promised the woman a pass or permission hereafter to use the horse. The Mr. Field, a sutler and friend of the Whitneys, who was here a few days ago, told me he had found a fine horse on the island named Fanny — a thoroughbred, which he meant to take North with him. As Ria’s good horse’s name was Fanny and he was probably one of Saulsbury’s gleanings, I think we can see how the negroes have been wronged in every way. Last Sunday Mrs. Whiting asked me to accept a quarter of lamb. I offered to buy it and we had it for dinner. Afterwards Mrs. W. told me she had no more right to the lamb than I had, that she took it from the estate, had it killed and generously gave me part. I told her of the strict military order against it, when she said Government agents had a right to kill, and that Mr. Mack and others did so. Mr. Pierce instantly wrote to Mr. Mack to ask if he had done this thing. Mr. Whiting has not been a Government agent for two months, and yet he lives in Government property, making the negroes work without pay for him and living upon “the fat of the lamb,” — selling too, the sugar, etc., at rates most wicked, such as brown sugar, twenty-five cents a pound; using Government horses and carriages, furniture, corn, garden vegetables, etc. It is too bad. The cotton agents, many of them, are doing this.

[1] Rufus Saxton, Brigadier-General of Volunteers.


Monday, 19th—We were ordered to strike our tents and move to the right, but just as we were ready to fall into line, the order was countermanded and we were ordered to go to throwing up breastworks. It was reported that the rebels were going to come out of their breastworks and attack us. The pickets were fighting all day, and there was brisk skirmishing and cannonading all along the front. Our entire picket line has been reinforced by extra men.


May 19th. We left Natchez this morning and went up some fifteen miles, followed by the other ships, and stopped in the woods. In the afternoon the steamer Laurel Hill arrived and passed from below with troops, and the gunboat Kennebec came down from Vicksburg with news. At eight P. M., William Preston, signal-quartermaster, died of apoplexy induced by the heat, after an illness of three days.


Union soldiers and supplies including stacks of cannon balls at the dock in Yorktown

Embarkation for White House Landing, Va. from Yorktown; Stereograph showing Union soldiers and supplies including stacks of cannon balls at the dock in Yorktown, Virginia. Steamships in the distance will transport the supplies to White House Landing Virgina.

Photograph from the main eastern theater of war, the Peninsular Campaign

Brady & Co. (Washington, D.C.), photographer

Part of Civil War glass negative collection. Another version in stereograph card collection.  Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Record page for this image: and


May 19—The battery was reorganized to-day, officers elected, and non-commissioned officers appointed.

Chew was re-elected captain. We might search over the whole State, and it is very doubtful whether we could find his equal in every respect as a commander of artillery. For competency and skill in handling a battery on the field his equals, according to my judgment, formed by observation, are few and difficult to find. He is gallant and brave, a strict disciplinarian without the least sign or flavor of arrogance or overbearing haughtiness, as calm and cool on the battle-field as on dress parade, and generous and impartial to his men, always manifesting a care for their welfare on the battle-field as well as in the camp and bivouac. All these characteristics are of much importance to men on the field and in camp, and are hardly ever found in one bunch, consequently he has now the esteem and utter confidence of every man in the battery.

I was appointed first corporal, which means first gunner in the battery. I know very little about gunnery — in fact, nothing except that a gun in good health never shoots backward. This gunnery business is something new to me, and will be a new field for my brain to browse in. I am afraid it will take a dogwood mallet to beat even the elementary principles of efficient practical gunnery into my skull. I heard it thunder, and do not know where, but the echo of the reverberation seemed to whisper strange words to me, like these: “The trajectory of projectiles, the windage of shot or shell during their flight, application of scientific principles to practical gunnery on the field.” All these strange things will come crowding on my brain in one flock when the next Yankee battery opens on us, if I am called on to direct the response. Yet I can plainly see that if I ever acquire any efficient knowledge of practical gunnery it will have to be gathered on the battlefield, a rather dangerous place for experimenting with fireworks in the hands of a rawish green tyro. If any Yanks should happen to get hurt by my first attempts at gunning, it will be their fault, not mine.


Near Corinth, Miss., May 19 ,1862.

Our regiment now is acting as a kind of rear guard for Pope’s division. The enemy’s cavalry in bodies of from 1,000 down have been running around our left flank and threatening to interfere with our trains. Every day we send out six companies to patrol between here and the river and forward. Yesterday (Sunday) I was out. We went to Red Sulphur Springs, one of the most romantic, beautiful places I have ever seen. There are about 40 double cottages for families, and stables, kennels and quarters for the servants, hounds and horses. The buildings are in good repair, though the place has not been frequented much for the last three or four years. White Sulphur Springs are four miles from the Red and more fashionable. I am going there to-morrow. There were about a dozen real ladies at the springs yesterday, and they were quite sociable and so interesting that I could not help staying an hour after the column left. We were the first of our soldiers that the party had seen and they were much surprised that our boys behaved so well. None of them had ever been North, and they occupied about all the time I was with them in asking questions, principally though, about the conduct of our army. About a mile before we got to the springs we passed a house where there were as many as six young ladies in full dress. The major sent me to make some inquiries of the man of the house, and I noticed the party were in something of a flurry but ascribed it to the presence of our men. Of course Sunday was an excuse for the finery and there being so many together. After we had advanced a little way one of our captains took a squad, went ahead and passed himself for a Rebel officer just from Corinth. By his figuring he found out that at this house I have spoken of they were expecting some Rebel officers and men, 14 in all, from Corinth to dinner and a visit. We set a trap for them, but they heard of us through the citizens and sloped. They came within a mile of us and then their tracks showed they had gone off through the woods and a swamp on a run. We got one of their horses, a beauty, fully equipped. It being a hot day the owner had strapped his coat on his valise and not having time to take it off we got it. A dozen of our boys went back and ate the dinner, but without the company of the ladies who had flown. Our line has now closed to within two and one-half miles around the north and east sides of Corinth. Our men have thrown up breastworks within that distance along nearly the whole line. The cannons play on each other occasionally, say as an average four times a day, a half hour each time. Our line is, I think, nine or ten miles long; am not sure. The Rebels are suffering for rations, not more than half rations having been served for the last ten days. Hundreds are deserting from them. One battalion that was raised in this county, over 500 men, have all deserted but about 90. The commander himself ran off. Of a 100 men that deserted from them probably five come within our lines. The rest all go to their homes. If Porter takes Mobile, and Farragut and Davis get Memphis, I think in ten days afterward there will not be enough Rebels left in Corinth to oppose our regiment. There is no doubt that they have more men now than we have but they lack discipline. Success at the points above named will leave them without any railroad communication whatever or telegraph either. I’m afraid that our gunboats got the worst of that little affair at Pillow the other day. An army is the slowest moving animal. Here we’ve been over a month making 20 miles. I think I shall run off to McClernand’s division this p.m. and see some of the 17th and 8th boys.


May 19th. The division moved this morning to St. James Church; when the column was formed, the colonel ordered me back to the White House, to tell Broom to fetch up the regimental wagons. I rather liked the idea of riding back, although the road was lonesome and a little risky for a man alone; about half way, I met the colonel’s brother traveling in search of the regiment, half scared to death through fear of being captured. He was delighted to see me, and so we dismounted, and over a beverage he detailed all the news and gossip from the rear; amongst other things, he says that our forces in the valley are being roughly handled, and that at Washington there is quite a scare. Jackson has been detached from Lee’s army, and is making things lively there. What a shame it is McClellan does not pitch into them here promptly, and take advantage of Jackson’s absence. After a comfortable chat we parted company, and I rode along, meeting no one, until close to the White House, where I passed an immense drove of cattle, and apparently an endless string of wagons; by good luck, I ran across Quartermaster Demarest, of the Sixty-sixth, in charge of the brigade train, and asked him to send our wagons up to the regiment, which he promised to do. After taking a look at the immense piles of stores, and prodigious number of wagons. I rode back, overtaking Doctor McDermot, of the Sixty-sixth, on his way to join the regiment, which belongs to our brigade, and so we rode together. He is a rollicking, jovial, drinking, Charles O’Malley style of surgeon, and made the journey back most agreeable. We lost our way once, and had a narrow escape from running into the enemy’s mounted pickets, whom we saw uncomfortably close, but arrived in camp safely, about four o’clock.

The regiment is encamped around St. James Church, situated about a mile north of the Chickahominy. It is a very ancient and interesting little church, built of brick brought from England, in shape a parallelogram, having a small belfry at one end and a heavy porch and entrance at the other. There are many simple tablets on the walls, commemorating the virtues of some of the early settlers in these parts, and under the floor and in the church yard, many vaults and tombstones. Upon one of these I read the date 1725, which is quite old for this country. Some of the natives here claim Washington was married in this church, and frequently attended worship in it; I do not know whether this is true or not; now the poor old church is doing duty as a stable for cavalry horses, the pews having been taken out and piled up on the ground. Of course, they are gradually disappearing and will soon be all burned up.


May 19.—A gloom seems to hang over every body, as if something dreadful was going to happen. No news of a battle yet. It would not surprise me if none took place here. We will be compelled to leave soon, as this place is becoming daily more sickly.

Mr. Smith has just left for one of the hospitals below. He is rapidly improving. So much for the opinions of doctors! but the best of us may be mistaken sometimes.


Georgeanna Wolsey to her Mother.

May 19.

We are lying in the Spaulding just below the burnt railroad bridge on the Pamunkey. It is startling to find so far from the sea a river whose name we hardly knew two weeks ago, where our anchor drops in three fathoms of water, and our ship turns freely either way with the tide. Our smoke stacks are almost swept by the hanging branches as we move, and great schooners are drawn up under the banks, tied to the trees. The Spaulding herself lies in the shade of an elm tree, which is a landmark for miles up and down. The army is encamped close at hand, resting this Sunday, and eating its six pies to a man, so getting ready for a move, which is planning in McClellan’s tent.


May 19.—Gen. Stoneman’s brigade of McClellan’s army advanced to within fourteen miles of Richmond, Va. They left their encampment near White House at daybreak this morning, and preceded by the signal corps, pushed on to a point six miles above Tunstall’s Station. Soon after they reached a position within four miles of the Chickahominy, where the signal corps discovered a body of rebel cavalry drawn up in line to receive them. The National pickets fell back a few yards, when one company of the Sixth United States cavalry came up and charged upon the rebels, driving them back and capturing two of their horses. The Nationals lost one horse.

—General Hunter’s proclamation, by which the slaves in Florida, Georgia, and South-Carolina, had been declared free, was officially repudiated and pronounced void by President Lincoln.— (Doc. 42.)

—Governor Yates, of Illinois, issued a proclamation calling for recruits to fill up the volunteer regiments from that State. Many of our regiments, he says, entered the field with numbers scarcely above the minimum. These have nobly done their duty, and many have purchased lasting honors with the price of their lives, and it remains only for us to maintain what they have achieved, and therefore I call upon the people of Illinois to raise men in every precinct in the State for the regiments that were sent from their own sections, to fill up their own companies. Relying upon the same patriotism that has thus far furnished a brave and noble host at the shortest notice, I send forth this proclamation, and confidently expect a prompt response that will maintain the present glory of our State.

—A reconnoissance was made to Clinton, nine miles, south of Newbern, N. C. The rebels’ advanced pickets were met, and a skirmish ensued, resulting in the loss of one Lieutenant and four privates belonging to the Nationals. The rebels lost nine killed and two prisoners.

—Lieutenant S. M. Whitesides, with eight men of company K, of the Sixth cavalry, captured a train of one hundred mules and eight contrabands belonging to the brigade of the rebel General Whiting, near the advance of General McClellan, en route for Richmond.

—The Legislature of Virginia adjourned in accordance with a resolution previously adopted. In the House of Delegates, the Speaker, Mr. Sheffey, of Augusta, delivered an affecting valedictory.—(See Supplement.)

—This afternoon a boat went ashore from the Wachusett, lying in the James River, Va., with a flag of truce, containing six officers and twelve men. The surgeon of the ship had been sent for from the shore, and the officers and the men, and the rest remained to guard the ship. For some reason, the party in the boat were fired on by some twenty or thirty men, and simultaneously the party on shore were attacked and all taken prisoners. Of the party in the boat, the master’s mate, Almy, of Philadelphia, and W. P. Pierce, seaman, were instantly killed. Henry Johnson was severely wounded in the face, breast, and neck; Brown, wounded in the kidneys; John Close, wounded in the thigh. The three latter were placed on the George Washington and carried to Fortress Monroe; but Brown, who was severely wounded, died in an hour after being put on board. Among the prisoners taken were Baker, engineer; Paymaster Stockwell; the Surgeon of the ship; Depford, signal officer, detailed from the army; Thos. Green, coxswain; J. O’Marley and Frank Cousin, seamen; and several others.—(Doc. 112.)

—John T. Monroe, Mayor of New Orleans, and other municipal officers of that city, were arrested by order of Gen. Butler, and sent to Fort Jackson.


Sunday!! Came again unawares upon me at Princeton. At 1 or 2 A. M. aroused to prepare to move. Moved off quietly; got off, again unmolested, to this point, viz., Bluestone River,

Mercer County, Virginia. I hope this is the last of the retreat. We have [the] Thirty-fourth, Twenty-eight, Twelfth, Twenty-third, Thirtieth, Thirty-seventh O. V. I.; Second Virginia Cavalry; and Simmonds’ and McMullen’s Batteries. The enemy reported to have three thousand or so under General Heth and five thousand or so under General Humphrey Marshall. The numbers are nothing, but at present our communications can’t well be kept up. All will soon be remedied under Fremont. Then, forward again! In the fights we have lost in our army, chiefly Thirty-seventh and Thirty-fourth, near one hundred killed, wounded, and prisoners.


May 18th. Found us under way early, expecting to reach Natchez in the course of the day. About noon the order was given to get the anchor ready for letting go, and we looked ahead for an anchorage. In one of the everlasting bends of the river, on a bluff forty or fifty feet high, could be seen a few houses, and others on the river banks below, with a road running from one group to the other upon almost perpendicular banks. This was Natchez, and here we anchored alongside the sloops-of-war Brooklyn and Richmond, which had been here several days waiting for us. Natchez is not discernible from the river, as it lies mainly over the hill, back from the river; but, from present appearances, we should judge it to be a rather lazy city.


Beaufort, S. C. May 18th, 1862.

My dear Mother:

I am going to write you a short letter to-night, as there are some rumors of business on hand this week, which may not leave me much time for correspondence. If it should turn out a false alarm, I will try and write again shortly. Time is slipping by rapidly, as my clothes testify especially, and unless I soon receive a reinforcement to my stock, I shall look like a “Secesh” after a twelve-month blockade. My present suit, after standing by me nobly for several months, seemed all of a sudden to give out all over, as you know clothes will do at times. Fact is, I supposed I should have been home for a few days long before now, but a favorable moment does not seem to turn up ready made to suit my case exactly. If you have a chance, please send me a cravat, as my own, under the influence of the weather, after passing through a thousand varieties of color, has finally settled into such rueful hues, that I have concluded to beg for another. Any lady that will make me a present of a new cravat, shall receive in exchange the old one as a specimen of what things come to after having been through the wars. A box of tooth-powder would likewise be acceptable as my teeth are getting quite shabby. Never mind, I will come home and get tinkered up one of these days, a thing I am mightily in need of. I wonder whether opening the Port of Beaufort will bring hitherward a large installment of the commerce of the world; if so, never mind about the tooth-powder.

We have all been pleasantly excited by the cunning escape of the negroes from Charleston with the Steamer “Planter.” The pilot, Robert, is the hero of the hour, and is really a most remarkable specimen of the dusky sons of Africa (alias nigger), never using a word of less than three syllables when an opportunity offers.

We all were in the habit of abusing Genl. Sherman in old times, but with customary fickleness, wish him back again now. This last batch of General officers with the “Great Superseder” (Hunter) at the head, is poor trash at best, so that there are few who would not rejoice to have “Uncle Tim” (Sherman) back again, notwithstanding his dyspepsia and peripatetic propensities. This is entre nous, and quite unofficial, for as my superior officer, I must recognize in the “Great Superseder” a miracle of wisdom, forecast and discretion. Oh my, what an ill-natured letter! Never mind, behind it all there is lots of love in it for those whose eyes it is likely to meet, and kisses too for my mother, sisters, nephews and others where they would be at once desirable and proper.

The “Connecticut” has arrived, but the mail has not been distributed yet.

Yours affec’y.,

W. T. Lusk.


18th.—Last night, after we had retired, the aids-de-camp of the several brigades, rode through the camp, and calling up the company commanders, read aloud: “Orders from Headquarters. Roll will beat at 5 in the morning. Army will move at half-past six, precisely.” All was bustle. The chests and boxes which had yesterday been packed for a move, in the morning, Unpacked in the afternoon, were again packed at night, which showed how eager our soldiers are to get to work. The roll, at 5 this morning, instead of calling them from their beds, summoned them to breakfast. They were ready, but had not finished their hurriedly prepared meal, when it was announced through the camp, “Order of last night, to move this morning, is countermanded.” If the oaths then perpetrated were recorded in heaven, the recording angel would certainly have been justified had he have “dropped a tear upon the page and blotted them out forever.” Our army swore terribly, but their ruffled feelings are now being calmed by the beautiful notes of Old Hundred, exquisitely performed by our band, and recalling, oh! how many sweet recollections of homes where many of us have, for the last time, had the warring elements of our souls soothed into quiet submission by the “peace, be still,” of this master piece of sacred music.

We are now in an intensely malarious region, with the sun’s scorching rays pouring on us, and our men coming down by scores daily. We have been nearly twelve months in the field, have fought but one battle, and I fear that General McClellan’s plan, to win by delay, without a fight, is poor economy of human life, to say nothing of the minor subject of wear and tear of patience; of the immense debt accumulating for somebody to pay, or of the major one of the effects of a protracted war on the morals of a nation.