Journal 5: Camp Near White Oak Church, Va. 16th Regiment, N.Y.S.Volunteers.
Jan 23rd: Dear one, I am now sitting on
the banks of the Rappahannock. The Major & I have been taking a delightful
walk following down a beautiful brook to the River where the pickets of the
134 are. We have come out by a dam & there are four rebel pickets on
the other abutment & they are now shaking a paper to our boys. They want
to change papers with them. One of them came over some time ago yesterday
2/3 of the way across & the 34 N.Y., I believe, was on picket & he
asked whether he would be taken prisoner & they said no so he came all
the way & they did keep him, which made them mad. One came over yesterday
& said he was from N.Y. but with Southern principles. He said he did
not care whether they took him or not. They traded some tobacco with him
& c. A little below they have got up in large letters on a board, "Burnside
stuck in the mud," which is literally true. We are supposing that we are
going back to the old camp, last night, after going to bed. There is the
old butternuts (the rebel pickets) paper. Yet, you know, perhaps, that the
color of the uniforms (rebel) is butternuts & they call them butternuts.
One of them is dressed in a blue coat of our side; he has probably picked
it up somewhere. The pickets do not fire at all. But when we moved up with
the army the boys say they doubled up mighty fast. Well when I went to bed
between the Major & Col., soon an officer rode up, saying that the teams
with rations over 1/2 a mile back, stuck in the mud & that we should
send a detail to transport the rations (one of pork & three days of light
rations, hard head, coffee & sugar & c.) to camp so the Col. sent
80 men, about 8 from a company. (we have gone on foot here on the River bank.
Oh what a pretty sight. There on one side is the rebel picket one abutment
& there on this side stands our own. An old man, white hair. He is waving
his hand to the rebel & a way down on the river flowing beautiful curly
high banks & thick woods. The Major & I have gone on a mile or two
& have stopped to rest & two soldiers have just come up & saluted
us. "Well Major" says one "do you want to shoot at a mark. I beat you once
at a turkey shoot at Plattsburgh." Se is one of our regiment. The Major has
just fired & come within an inch from the center of the paper. The soldier
has fired & fired over. We have been talking about (?) & a piece
of paper I was drawing on we took for the target, did not fire. We have come
from the river & passed over a clear stream, so we took my little India
Rubber cup & took some whiskey & water out of my flask. A little
further on, the Major found a clearing place, so we had to "ratify the treaty"
again. Coming from the river, we found the roads they had cut for the pontoons
to come down & at last to a fine clearance where the pontoons were to
be massed before laying the bridge & I have picked for you a piece of
sumac to remember the place. While I was writing on the banks of the Rappahannock
in view of the rebel pickets, an officer came by & looked at me &
I address him with some common place & yet he looked & then I said
some other commonplace when he said to me "Have I not met you before." &
do you believe it? It was young Dr. Forest from Schenectady. He told me that
James Clinton Brown was a half mile off in some Regt. & also young Austin
Yakes, both officers in the 134 N.Y. and a little while after Young Ball
came up, the one I met the 4th of Dec of the 18th N.Y. Some of the regiments
were from Gilboa & part from Schoharie & many from Schenectady. We
are now right in the wild woods. The two soldiers have gone on & the
Major has gone back a step or two to get his piece of Sumac.
Well it is several hours we returned from the river. We came back & took dinner, oyster stew. Col. Adams was with us. Well, very shortly we received orders to move out at sun set & we have made a most picturesque march down the same brook that the Major & I went down. & how we hurried to get ready, put up things in saddle bags & strapped them on horses, buckled on blankets & here we are. We are in an open space & there they are dragging the pontoons - 100 men to a boat - how they pull. What a sight. We know not what we are going to do, perhaps we are yet going to cross. We have marched on by batteries & pontoons stuck in the mud & ammunition waggons & now we are in the wild woods, I believe for picket on the river. We don't know what it is. The Major is just asking whether fires are to be allowed. I will soon know. The sun is down, beautiful sun set. I wished I knew what we were going to do. Coats came up to Mayo (one of the boys) just now & says "Mayo we must steal a horse tonight." Mayo laughed, "Yes!" says Coats. "Headquarters are to be moved & we must have no means to do it with." It seems as if we were going into camp but we will see. I will take my little hatchet & match box out.
Eleven o'clock at night: Well, I did, little wify & am now writing by the fire light of the fire hubby kindled. The Major & Col. are under the blankets nearly asleep. We are on picket on the flank, not on river, and a telegraph of posts is established by eight sentinels down to the line & shortly after their being in place, the Col. sent a message down & the post No. 1 cried out "Post No. 2" & gave the question & so it went. Then the Col. sent down to Lieut. Jameson to come up to headquarters just to see if the thing worked well & off the message went & soon Lieut. Jameson was here from nearly a mile distant. A short time ago a suspicious person came into camp on horseback inquiring of the U.S. force & had a message for the telegraph operation. He was so suspicious a personage that the Col. was with him to the Adjutant. I think he was a man deserting, but the Col. firmly led him through & we have had some tell about it & one going to see who is right about it. We have led some singing. The Sergeant Major sung the song, "Old New England" sweetly, it seemed strange to hear it by that camp fire among the trees in that wild place. Now good night own one.
Jan. 24th, Saturday. Well here we are on the march again & have stopped to rest on a plain after having had a rough march through brambles. I had a fine breakfast this morning. Col. broiled me two pieces of ham on a stick & I toasted three pieces of bread & it went fine & then I had a cup of coffee out of a cup I made yesterday out of a old oyster can, melting off the top & turning the edge tinman fashion on a large axe with my hatchet. This morning as I left camp a little, I looked off from the top of hill over a beautiful valley of the wilderness in dense forest. I heard the beautiful strains of some band in the distance playing Bonnie Elisse. I stopped at the Dr. tent (stands slanting & covered with boughs) & talked some time & then commenced to make a duguer (?) board for the Dr. & the Col. in the cloth side of an India Rubber blanket but right in the middle of it, the order came to move. We slept rather cold last night, & this morning we had a regular pull & haul for the blankets which resulted in all getting uncovered & tumbling out somehow for breakfast in a frolic & then I took hold of the Sergeant Major's heels sticking out from his booth & pulled him clear out & so we all were up at about seven o'clock.
Our boys have stacked arms & the Major thinks we are going to pull pontoons out of the mud. It is beautiful country around & you would have been delighted with the walk the Major & I took yesterday down a beautiful ravine, very romantic & picturesque, leading down to the river. It is probable that the military movement was abandoned on account of the mud & that we will go back to camp near White Oak Church. The old camp. There goes a pontoon drawn by nearly one hundred men. Coats got corn for the horses last night from a mill near. He amused us with his account of the darkies trying to shut him out. He imitates the negroes finely. I tell you now the trees fell last night - there goes another pontoon drawn by men. They are yelling all over the plain & away go the little boats. A few days ago, down in the old camp a large tree fell on a regiment & many were injured, though fantastically, none killed. There goes another little boat. There another drawn by men & here comes one drawn by six mules. Yesterday in camp before we moved, a pioneer from another camp came & cut a tree right near our quarters & our pioneer corporal (Brown) was sent out to stop him & it aided quite a word fight between the boys of either ferment across the valley. Our boys asked them to come & get the tree. What a strange, wild scene it is, here on the plain. I am writing on my roll of blankets on old Zollicoffer. One of the old Hospital corps threw down some straw before him to keep him still. Mules, men, stacking arms, army wagons, booths hopes down, red flagged (anger) - shouting gangs of soldiers - pontoons jolting & rumbling on & negros with loads of boards for the bridges. The Major's & my horse are nibbling straw together & to complete the scene, Pete & Coats are together, sprawled out nearly under the horses noses by a stump, fighting over their haversacks. Pete is eating a lemon. "Give me a piece" says Coats. "I wont do it" says Pete. "Well give me a piece of pork." Where at Pete pitches out a great hunk. "Give me your knife to cut it out" "I wont do it." "Give it to me." "No sir, don't bother me."
Now Mayo & Coats are fighting. Mayo wants some yeast breads [?]. Coats says "We are just going to move & need goes on" (oh, here the men are yelling at the boats) "Give me one hard head," says Mayo. "I have ate them all up." says Coats. Tom would be amused to see how we broil meat. Edo this morning had a fine three pronged stick, so:
normally we are a two pronged one for three are hard to get. Toasting cheese,
I take a one pronged little stick & toast mouthful by mouthful, so as
to have it warm. I can tell you nothing of the movement, dear one, for we,
none of us, know. I can only give the picture as we go along. It is purposely
arranged to have us move like machines for it (the news) gets to the rebels
fast enough without any knowing to tell; think of the pickets changing papers,
you know a rebel picket was waving a paper on the opposite abutment yesterday
when I was writing. The picket I spoke of yesterday as an old man with grey
hair was not an old man I afterwards found, but one with light hair, named
James Bolter. Well, how I must try & catch up & write up the interval
of a few days between the time of last writing with ink & the commencement
of this move. The day I was introduced to Gen. Bartlett, I think it was
Wednesday, part of the day I tried to make a lantern - my little lanterns
blew out. Well, Thursday, the 15th, I wanted the Major to go with me to find
Col. Seward & Col. Bob Potter & Col. Presner, but he could not go
so I worked some on my lantern that day (an octagon one to be covered with
paper). Friday I started out to Falmouth & tried to find Col. Presner
& found Bob Potter - Col. of the 51st N.Y. - He was at dinner but I did
not stay, it was nearly two o'clock. I continued on, stopping at the Adjutant
Gen. office near Burnside's headquarters to find out where Col. Seward was.
I at last found him after a many mile wander over hill & dale & through
regiment after regiment, batteries & c. & c., some three miles beyond
Falmouth. He received me very pleasantly. He had a wall tent with a little
stone fire place & there I found that Piesnar commanded the 119 N.Y.
so I shall be on the look out for him. He is a Master Sergeant. I made a
journey of nearly 18 to 20 miles & reached camp at about 1/2 past six,
went & took something to eat & postponed the prayer meetings that
night as it was late & had Cos. G, R, J. & K, all four, the next
night. Oh, how cold it was. The men shivered as they stood, but we had services
from 10 to 15 minutes long. Saturday, I think it was that all our hospital
sick men where removed to Aquia Creek telling us that there was some more
on hand (No, it was Sunday). Sabbath we had service very short on the moving
& every service in the hospital. Sunday someone came to the tent to see
me & it proved to be Mr. Loomes, brother of our next door neighbor. He
was very pleasant. I sent him back on old Zollicoffer & Pete went with
him to get the box he said was there for me at the 16th Ct. Regt.; as they
had orders to move in the morning. It seemed best to send for the box, then
as it was final. The box came back & one opened it & oh what a meal.
4 large cakes frosted in pans with sheets of tin over them. Crackers, Jumbles,
9 eggs only two cracked & none hurt jumbles, oh how good. It was put
up so neatly, dear one, I will write & thank you for wify's sake. Monday,
Mr. Sheldon came down & I was very glad to see him, I sent to you at
Hartford a piece of bomb shell that burst near me at Fredericksburgh &
a piece of the wooden fuse of another what nearly tumbled on me & an
old flint lock picked up on the field. Pliny Moore gave it to me. Mr. Sheldon
said he would come down Tuesday morning again but Tuesday you know, as I
have written, we moved. I have run over hastily these four days. There was
nothing of importance that I remember or at least matters are somewhat confused
for we have been through so much. Pliny Moore, Major Gilmore & Capt.
Barney right at my side on the ground & the Major has just come up &
Pliny has just said to him, "Major have you ever heard the story of the three
red tailed crows," joking me of my trying to catch the soldier last night
who we were questioning, supposing he was running away. Now we have moved
on & stopped in a ravine. The soldiers of Co. K have stacked their arms
to help a pontoon out of the mud. They have pushed it along & several
other waggons. We had quite a laugh a little while ago. Pliny Moore jumped
up on two officers with right hand on one of their shoulders & the left
on the other, when suddenly quite taking him by surprise, I put my head under
him & run off with him on my shoulders & finally tumbled him over
in the grass. A soldier came up to give me a cup of coffee & I shared
it with the Col. We have such comical things continually happening you may
suppose of course that a pig appearing in camp creating a good deal of excitement
the men of course start to kill it. The other night some one was ordered
out on shot detent - to get rations for the soldiers a half a mile off &
he said he could not get his shoes on. Some one in a neighboring tent cried
out "only let some one cry pig & he will get his shoes on fast enough"
Pliny Moore was waked up rather unceremoniously this morning. He heard some
one cry "stand from under & out of that tent," he supposing the tree
was about to fall on his tent, went out at a pop, blankets & all, till
found it was not his tent that was in danger after all. There go more waggons
with boards of the bridge & tools. There are two covered waggons with
boards. Yes, we are guarding & helping along the returning pontoon bridge.
Last night's picketing was to guard against a cavelry raid or something of
that kind on the flank. Here comes a drum corps of another regiment &
the head of the regiment itself. Some one cries out "Burnside on the move."
Its the 5th Maine Regt. Perhaps I will see Chaplain Adams again. Oh, I forgot
to say that after service, Sabbath night, I went over to the Chaplain's (Adams')
tent & had a very pleasant time with him & a session of prayer. He
gave me some testaments. I had only some German ones. Two men are an officer
& another a soldier of our regiment had asked me for some. He came back
with me to my tent & I gave him a half a one of the frosted cake. Monday
I gave another half to Pliny Moore & jumbles & c. & also I gave
a whole of one of the frosted cakes to the Dr.'s tent, Dr. Murphy & Crandall.
Dr. Murphy has resigned & so he did not come with us on this move. He
joins the 12th N.Y. as full surgeon. The boys are talking around me of 121st
N.Y. & they call them the hundred and twenty chesters. That is the name
they go by. Our Brigade consists of the 16th N.Y., 27th N.Y., 121st N.Y.,
5th Maine & 96th Penn & neither is Dr. Crandall with us, Dr. Purdy
is with us & is setting just at the base of a pine tree near by, whittling
a stick. Dr. Crandall started but has gone back. I think he has not yet recovered
from the effects of that night of the 1st of January. They are yelling &
cheering & howling in the woods beyond, pushing on the pontoons. We have
seen during the march, cases of cartridges strewed along the road in the
mud & some broken up & cartridges strewed about. Here we are at the
great hill of difficulty. 52 men pulling on a rope with six mules have just
pulled up an army waggon & there about as many more waiting. Col. Seaver
has just told Gen. Bartlett over there that only one pontoon is yet behind
& it is off its waggon. Here are 60 men, country as far as I can see
down the hill & they can not stir the waggon. There it comes. 66 men;
the men cried "take the mules off (6) & we will fetch it." Every now
& then you hear "Who pulled Burnside out of the mud?" Here is Gen. Bartlett
on horse back stopped a short way off & his young brother, an aide &
Wilson, the Brigade Adjutant. His likeness that I sent you does not do him
justice. Gen. B. is a fine looking young man. Wify, I have just received,
a while ago, your dear letter of Jan 15th, one also from Mr. Eddy & from
Mother. The two last I have not yet read. But dear one, every word of dear
wify's letters are dear to me; write as much as you can, own one, but do
not sit up late. Yes, own one, ! have written but not daily, since I said
I would try. You can see how we have been situated for mail facilities. We
are now probably going back into the old camp near White Oak Ch. & then,
own one, I will try & send a little letter daily & this journal letter
from time to time, when it is large enough. Here we are again in another
camp, all safe after a tedious day through the mud. It is eleven o'clock
at night. The Major & Col. are fast asleep & Pete is here at my left,
rolled up in a blanket in the open air & Edo on the other side of the
fire rolled up in his blanket. I am sitting on a log by the light of our
good fire that I kindled tonight with one wax match & a few whittlings.
Zollicoffer is right back of me tied to a tree & the saddles are over
there by Pete's head & as the fire suddenly brightened up just now &
covered me with ashes & discovered Coats, beyond in the woods, rolled
up in his blanket right back of me in a tent of some 27th men & they
are gambling. I have, a short time ago, returned from camp where I met Co.
C, D, E, F, G, H, J & K in meeting of prayer, thus completing the cos.
with the week I met Co. A & B last Monday. We will probably be travelling
tomorrow & we will not be able to have Sabbath service but our little
prayer meetings were pleasant this evening, but very short, of course. Invocation
one verse of a hymn & word or two & a closing prayer. Dear one, I
read your dear letter while halting on the hill, Mother's while marching
on & Mr. Eddy's just now. We had some fine beef steak for tea; Edo broiled
mine on a stick & I toasted some bread. As we were coming in to camp
we saw that they had collected the pontoons in a line behind a woods nearby.
Some that were exposed along the road before they moved then they covered
or washed with boughs so that the rebels should not see them from the opposite
side. As we came near camp the men found some fences & they commenced
gathering the rails & soon the fires were going.
Saturday Jan 31st 1863. Own Dear Wify - I have taken advantage of the pause today to write up my journal. Yesterday the tent was occupied by the Lt. Col. Frank on housing of the camp Marshall of the straggler's & c. of the last march. Last Sabbath morning we rose & soon receive orders to march & getting ready in all haste, we started & after an advance of a mile or two we halted & at first were going to encamp but Wilson told us that it was only a hold for a short time. So we kindled a fire in front of an old bough house & arranged to take a bite. I lay down upon a heap of boughs and was roused up soon, I feeling what I thought was a spider crawling over my hand. In a little while I was roused again by the same feeling & much to the amusement of the others when I found that John Lyon, one of the boys, had been tickling my hand with a twig. There was a little sapling or rather a small oak tree at the foot of the head of the boughs & soon the Col. came with my hatchet & commenced cutting down the tree so as to have it fall on me. It was not more than an inch & a half in diameter so when he had accomplished that & made me raise up again to catch it he went at the bough house in the back part of which the Lieut. Col. Frank was sitting & by a sudden jerk of one of the poles, brought it down & with it the Lieut. Col. also.
Well, after a while Nevins came up with a plate of biscuits, cold chicken which he very politely offered to us when poor little fel Pete whom was bending over fixing something on the ground & perfectly unconscious that our biscuits were near when up suddenly under the plate between Nevins & Palmer in such a way as to upset the whole & the biscuits & chicken went gracefully rolling down his back & elsewhere all over into the ashes & upon the ground. We picked them up, washed the ashes off the chicken & c. & c. & thus the (7) was partially remedied. Soon we were off again & oh what a march we had that day. Oh the mud. We went over plains & through woods & ravines, crossing creeks & continued till after dark & the last part was even worse than the first near White Oak Church, the men nearly stuck in the mud & our horses went down over their knees &what was worse than all when about one mile from camp, they halted the regiment & then the men stuck in the mud all in a perspiration from the day's effort and what do you think it was for, that Gen. Bartlett might deal out to them a superintend in person the dealing out of a ration of whiskey. Multitudes of colds have been taken in consequence. Doubtless the intention was good but the execution was very injudicious. Pliny Moore had his company refuse in toto the preferred whiskey & then gave them what stimulus they needed afterwards.
Well we reached camp at last & found our tent all up & all in order & a fine fire burning in the fire place & tea on the table. The quartermaster had had it all arranged for us & in my bed there was a fine lot of dry hay out of which I have made a most comfortable place to repose in. The Quartermaster slept in my five foot four poster for several days when we were absent. Monday we received a visit from Gen. Slocum, the former Commander of the Brigade. The whole Brigade was turned out on our parade & the cheering was very hearty. The Gen. made an address of a few words & complemented the Brigade very much upon which there was more cheering. He said he believed he spoke the truth to them when he said that there was no finer portion of the army. Monday night it commenced to snow & it was yet snowing mingled with rain. I went through the camp & oh what discomfiture among the soldiers. Many with no fires, rolled up in their blankets, fire places broken down by the rain & soon sick. One man I found with a cold stretched out on boughs on the ground rolled in his blankets & at his feet a pool of water 18 inches deep, tent all open to the wind & snow & no fire. What would they think of this up north & yet the fellows seem to get along. We were only able to have one hospital tent instead of two as before & therefore there was not room enough for the sick today (Saturday). We are getting up the second one. Wednesday the rain stopped to some extent but I had no Wednesday meeting in the hospital tent for I feared that the men coming in wet would be bad for the sick men crowded as they were together. Thursday it rained pretty near all day & part of the day I whittled out a set of chess men & in the evening was hoping to have a meeting of the companies but it rained again & consequently I did not. Friday, I went through the officer's tents, calling upon them & c. & in the evening sit talking with the Major & Col. by our cheerful fire till Wilson came in to have the Col. go with him & play a game of chess. Major Gilmore, a few days ago, joined our mess, so now we have four around the table, instead of three. Poor Dr. Purdy has lost his mother. He received the intelligence five four days ago. There is a physician from Canada here now who came down to see Dr. Crandall (who happens at present to be oldest in leave). The physician, Dr. Bartt is entertained by Dr. Purdy & I have tried to be polite to him, calling upon him & spending some time in there & Thursday evening I called with him on Chaplain Adams. Thursday or Wednesday, I forgot which. Chaplain Adams introduced to me (the day when Gen. Slocum came) Chaplain Hanes, a very pleasant gentlemen, a Presbyterian, son of Gen. Hanes of N.Y. There has been nothing of importance happen during these days since our return that as it has been life as usual, so there appears nothing very prominent, save that Thursday afternoon just before sunset, I had old Zollicoffer saddled. Rode over to Gen. Bailey Head Quarters to put my daily letter in for Wify. I had missed the mail here & it was the most intense ride I ever took. My horse nearly sunk clean entirely into the mud; had to go on a very slow walk & after all missed the mail there too. It was a beautiful moon light night overhead coming back & it was a satisfaction to me to think I had tried for own wify to get the letter in even if I had not succeeded. Lieut. Gleeson told me a story somewhat akin to the nature of my ride, descriptive of the more intense muddy relation of the vest shows full by one who so endeavored to do the following story of a traveller who kicked a hat over in the rode & found a man's head in it. Where upon he said "my dear fellow shall I not help you up out of the mud?" When he replied, "No, Sir. I am astride of as good a horse as can be found in the Country." The mud must certainly have been deeper than ours. I heard also another story the other day of the battle of Fredericksburgh. The order at the bridges, cut after the battle commenced, that no one should return across the bridges without a pass. When the thunder of the battle was rolling, a zestful, puffing German came riding down to the bridge wanting to cross. The guards refused. He said he must; they said you cant. "I must, said he, "I am perfectly demoralized." So, since that was the case, as the story goes, they let him pass. A. just came to the tent fly with a note for Dr. Crandall. Inquiring extra politely & with a little extra quality, "Where will I find Dr. Crandall, sir? .... You will find him in New York, sir, or Baltimore or Washington" says the Col. There were many little things happening all along the march & are constantly happening, things which make up the whole & cause few & pleasantly during the day & at night about the camp fires. & I wish I could give you them as they occur, stories & all, but you know it would fill many pages that perhaps might not after all be so interesting, even if it were possible for me to get them down. I have been sometimes amused in reading over my letter to see what incongruities they do present in the way of chirigraphy & every thing & I now see plainly why a person in a hurry & writing with cold hands or something, not quite at his ease, in a roll of blankets, will have moving mind & c. & c. & c. Why, such a person, I say, struggling simply to get down the idea does not head much more than the thought. But own dear Wifey loves it all & sees only the thought, too. Dear one, how sweet it is for hubby to think of your reading in his old Bible, or rather in our bible, & so many things in your letters that you have told me that have gone down deep & yet when I came to write, I do not put down what I have thought, too. Well, own one, you know hubby's thoughts & heart & you know how his own wify is his own. All in all, I must try & get this off today & write a letter also to mother & I have heard nothing from Luzerne. I wonder if my letter miscarried. Perhaps, however, Charles Ruckwill does not write because he must think he ought to send a check at the same time. I must write again to them at least a little, telling them I have sent. I must write also to Mr. Eddy & also to Mr. Adams of Thomsonville. Col. Adams past the tent a short time ago, but could not come in. The Col. told us a funny story of him or of one his men. Major Wormser, the Major of the 27th N.Y., was, as is customary, bringing up the rear & forcing the men on in the march, when he came to one of the men quite drunk. Re urged him ahead, when he said, "Major will you please tell Col. Adams I am not reliable." It is beautiful today, plenty of sun shine, but very soft & pudding below. It is nearly dinner time. I have had my morning prayers as want in the hospital & hope soon to have my company prayer meeting again, if the ground will ever permit. The mail has come but not letter from own wify today. The papers have come & also papers sent from Plattsburgh to me as Chaplain to be distributed his mails' stamped on, Mr. Hartnet's, Mr. Drum's, & c. & c. I have given them to the hospital sick men to read & they have been interested by them. I thought it would be interesting for the ladies & persons who sent them & that on reaching here, they went out to the hospital in a rain storm to the patients & did their mission. Own one, you know what hubby means, not that I wanted the persons to know, only that I thought if they could have traced the journey of the papers out from Plattsburgh, letter box over the Lake & down through the various mail bags & mule backs to the Gen. Div. head quarters & then down from the corps. Subdivision & Brigade Head Quarters mail carrier bags to our own Regimental Adjutants tent & then to hubby's hands & could have seen them going out in a severe storm to give entertainment & with God's blessing spiritual benefit to sick men, laying with their body on the boughs that covered cold ground. They would not have been dissatisfied that they sent the papers. One man with typhoid fever or near to it, yesterday, was lying in the corner & you could see through the canvass beside him that a wall of snow, about 14 inches of snow, went round on two sides, at his left hand side & at his head. Admittedly, considering it did really keep him warmer, yet with home notions, it certainly did look hard. The Hospital Steward said it was better not to remove the snow as it was warmer for the men. Here comes dinner, so I will suspend writing. This makes at the end of this sheet about 172 pages, so I will send this amount off & then commence with a new edition to send by & by. We are now fixed here in the mud. Gen. Booker has the command, whether he will attempt another move or not we can not tell. We shall certainly have to remain here till the mud is less pudding. I think the Army of the Potomac ought to move some way or do something of some kind, but it seems fated to be toting around without effect. However, there is a good time coming. The Col. grabbed away my ink stand & made us come to dinner & now it is time to send the letter as the mail is about going. Mr. Bemis will soon be taking it so good by own dear one, with kisses from own hubby. Love to Grandma & dear love to own wify from Hubby.