General Pope Takes Command

June 26th - August 11th 1862

"Taint always de man that makes the most talk dat gots da most sense."

Henry Bacon "Ye Two Ga-lorious Fourths"

"Ye Two Ga-Lorious Fourths"
 Fourth Battalion Rifles, Mass. Volunteer Militia, Fort Independence, Boston Harbor, July 4th 1861.  Thirteenth Regiment Infantry, Mass. Volunteers, Near Manassas, Virginia July 4th 1862." by Artist Henry Bacon.

Artist Henry Bacon, Co. D,  depicts two memorable Fourth of July's (1861 & 1862) in this lithograph from the Collections of the Boston Athenaeum.  Captions to the artwork are:  "Ye Escort."  "Ye Patriot."   "He Waketh in '61."   "He Slumbers in 1862."  "He Receiveth Presents in '61."  "He Helpeth himself in '62."  "Ye Galorious Procession of 1861."  "Ye Procession of 1862."   "Ye escort collecteth himself, 1861."  "He Resteth himself by ye Road Side, 1862."  "Ye FireWorks of ye year 1861."  "Ye FireWorks of ye year 1862."  "Ye Bewildering Vision."  "Ye 'Rational' Reality."

Table of Contents

Major General John PopeIntroduction

A New Army is Organized
      The optimism of May turned to despondence in July.  After the disaster in the Shenandoah Valley, President Lincoln consolidated the 3 separate commands of Generals Fremont, Banks and McDowell into one army, ‘The Army of Virginia.’  On June 26th, Lincoln appointed Major-General John Pope (pictured right)  to command it.    Pope came from the west where his commands had fallen into recent success.  General Fremont, who was senior in rank to Pope, refused to be a subordinate in this new army, and tendered his resignation to President Lincoln.  Lincoln gladly accepted it.  He was frustrated with Fremont’s leadership, especially after the tepid pursuit of Jackson up the Shenandoah Valley.    The purpose of the new army was to protect Washington, and act in conjunction with General George B. McClellan’s assault on Richmond.

McClellan's Retreat
     The same day Pope was appointed the Seven Days Battle began on the Peninsula.  General Robert E. Lee attacked McClellan’s army.  There was a week of fighting.  The Union army repulsed the attack, then McClellan retreated to Harrison's Landing 30 miles from Richmond.  His assault ended, but he called the move 'a change of base,' and labeled it a victory.   He reported the rebels had 200,000 men  and asked Lincoln for more troops. 

General McClellan    McClellan’s retreat angered Lincoln and had him despondent through early July.  The worn out president began to re-think his war policy, leaning towards more aggressive action.  He put out the call  to the states for 300,000 more men and ordered Major General A. E. Burnside’s army to sail from North Carolina to join McClellan.  Then he went to visit his estranged General on July 8th.

     McClellan rightly resented the fact that he had lost the faith of the President, and the President thought McClellan was too timid a general.   ‘Mac’s’ new plan was to attack rebel supply lines at Petersburg; but only after his 100,000 man army was reinforced with an additional 100,000 troops.   His philosophy was to out maneouvre the opponent and overwhelm him.  General McClellan’s counsel to President Lincoln at the July 8th meeting was to be lenient with the southerners; don’t do anything radical like freeing their slaves or confiscating their property.  He also recommended a single General in Chief be placed in command of the armies.  Lincoln’s new ideas were directly opposed to McClellan’s counsel.

A New War Policy
President Lincoln      The tenacity of the rebel resistance convinced Lincoln that the South meant business.  They were not going to be brought gently back into the folds of the Union as supposed early in the war.  Also, on July 13th,  Lincoln received from border-state congressmen, their manifesto against a proposal for the gradual abolition of slavery.  It was time for more aggressive measures.   Lincoln began to draft the Emancipation Proclamation to end slavery; “this govt cannot much longer play a game in which it stakes all, and its enemies stake nothing.  Those enemies must understand that they cannot experiment for ten years trying to destroy the government, and if they fail still come back into the Union unhurt.” 

     Meanwhile General Pope arrived in Washington July 2nd.   That month he directed 3 controversial orders as part of the new attitude in Washington for a hard war.  In part, citizens would now be held responsible for injuries to soldiers, and citizens acting against the army would be shot without civil recourse.  At the same time, congress approved the General Henry HalleckConfiscation Act, allowing the army to free and employ slaves in occupied areas.   General Pope also issued his infamous order on July 14th with wording that was a direct ‘slap in the face’ to McClellan’s policies.  The order earned him the resentment of his officers and the enmity of McClellan.

     Lincoln took McClellan’s advice and appointed a General in Chief to command the armies; Henry Halleck, (pictured left).  Pope had served with Halleck at Corinth, Mississippi, and Lincoln hoped they would work in conjunction with McClellan for a joint move on Richmond.  In preparation for the coming campaign Pope directed his cavalry to ride south and destroy the Virginia Central railroad; Lee's supply line.

    The private soldiers liked Washington’s more aggressive tone.   The news of McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign, the call for new recruits, the harsher war policies, and  the appointment of new commanders provided plenty of conversational fodder for the enlisted men in camps.  It was a good time for many of the soldiers in the ranks to try for an officer's commission in new organizations, and several in the 13th Mass applied for and obtained them.   July 16th was the one year anniversary of the regiment, and they reflected on the progress (?) made in the war to date, and speculated on the events yet to come.

Confederate Strategy 
   General Lee sent General Stonewall Jackson to Gordonsville to watch the ‘miscreant’ Pope.  Jackson arrived July 19.  Lee re-enforced Jackson on July 27, convinced that McClellan was preparing to withdraw from his position near Richmond.  General Pope joined his army in the field July 29th.   He reviewed his new command during the next few days.  Commanding this army in the field seemed to make him nervous, but Pope still planned an aggressive move south against Jackson to take Gordonsville.  On August 6th he ordered his 3 army corps to consolidate at Culpeper, 28 miles north of Gordonsville.

     Meanwhile, Lincoln and Halleck ordered McClellan to withdraw from Harrison's Landing to co-operate with General Pope.  ‘Mac” was furious.  While McClellan sulked, Jackson moved.

     Lee and Jackson hoped to destroy Pope’s little army before it could be re-enforced.  On August 7th Jackson learned of Pope’s concentration at Culpeper.   Only General N. P. Banks’ 2 divisions were there now.  Jackson decided to attack Banks before more troops arrived.  Jackson marched north.   The real campaign began with the Battle of Cedar Mountain on August 9th 1862.   Jackson’s force out-numbered Banks’ force 2 to 1. 

Picture Credits:  All pictures come from the Library of Congress except where indicated.  Most LC photos have been cropped or re-touched for use on this page. (Check the links page for other photo sources). Photos unique to this page: 1880's Marlborough, Mass., Marlborough Historical Society;  Chaplain Noah Gaylord, Army Heritage Education Center, Carlisle, PA;  Illustration of Warrenton, Va., from Harper's Weekly,;   Contemporary photo of Warrenton Court House, Warrenton Historic District, by Bill Slawski,;  The 1909 photo of Saint James Episcopal Church provided by Richard Gookin, Communicant of St. James Parish, & Nancy Kincheloe, Parish Administrator, (St. James Episcopal Church, Warrenton, Va.);  Waterloo Bridge, by Ed Marek; (; Photo of Cedar Mountain by Craig Swain, Board of Editors, Historical Marker Database. The battle map was created with vector graphics in photoshop by Brad & Susan Forbush, based on a battlefield marker as photographed by Craig Swain.  Pictures of Company B men provided by Scott Hann. 

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Camp at Manassas

General McDowells Headquarters, Manassas

General McDowell's Headquarters at Manassas, July 5, 1862.  Photographed by Timothy Sullivan, Library of Congress Photo.  The photo shows the camp of the General's body-guard.  McDowell was recovering from a bad fall he took from his horse on the night of June 18th.  It should be noted that John Viles, of the band, overheard a '13th Mass' man propose "three cheers for the horse," upon learning the news.

Letter of Edwin Rice; Band

Manassas Junction, Virginia
June 26th 1862


    Yours of the 22nd was received yesterday. Don’t know as I shall make out to write as long a letter as yours but will try.  Sometimes when I commence a letter I think I have got ideas enough in my head to make out a good long letter but find they all run out before I have used one sheet of paper.

    The only item of interest to me that I can write about is the visit of Mr. Albee to the regiment. He came to Alexandria to see Eugene who is sick in one of the hospitals with chronic diarrhea.  The regiment being so near he thought he would make us a short call.  It was really pleasant to see his smiling countenance in the camp.  He came here Sunday and left Tuesday morning.  He had a chance to see the effects of a good smart shower in camp which we had Monday afternoon.

    It was the hardest shower we have experienced this season. Nearly every tent in the camp was flooded, and the rain came through the ponchos as though they were made of strainer cloth, in fact they are not much better.  The sun shines right through them and unless the rain comes very light it strikes right thru.

    I reckon we have some work to do today and tomorrow.  Just heard that there is to be a battalion drill this forenoon, brigade drill in the afternoon, and a division review tomorrow morning.  Heard yesterday that General Pope was to take command of this department.

    Last Sunday in company with two others, I paid a visit to the battlefield of Bull Run or at least a portion of it.  It was so much further than we expected we did not have time to see but a little of it.  The only place which we examined was where the 69th New York Regiment made their charge and lost so many men.  We saw a large number of graves.  Some had rails around them, others had a stone or a board set up at the head.  Probably those were rebel graves as it is hardly probably that they would extend much labor or pains in burying our dead.  If we remain here a few days more I will go up to the field again and give it a more thorough look.  It is reported this morning that we are going to Richmond in a day or two.  Don’t believe there is any truth to the report.

    I think Henry has made a great improvement in his letters both in writing and in composition. Much more than I have.

    We have two black boys in the Band.  They came to us from Warrenton Junction – Bob and David.  Bob is Tom’s boy and is about 13 years old.  He is as dirty, lazy, and ragged a boy as I ever saw and is as black as the ace of spades.  David belongs to John Holt, Charley and Bill Witherbee Frank Loring, William and Steve Kearne.  He is about the same age of Bob, is not as black and is quite a smart boy; does a considerable work and is willing to work too.  Tries to keep clean and decent.  I believe Charley Witherbee intends to take him home with him when he goes.

money graphic    When we were at Warrenton Junction there came into camp one day, a peddler with some facsimile notes for the Confederate States ranging from 5 to $50.  He sold a great many of them.   They were very well executed and were got up by a firm in Philadelphia.   The imprint was on them.

    Some of the boys who bought them said they intended to pass them for the genuine when we got near a town and they did so when at Front Royal. Some of the boys went to a mill near camp and bought some flour and offered in pay for it a $5 U.S. note, but the miller would not take any of those Green things.  He then offered a smaller bill, a facsimile on some bank in Richmond which the miller took and while we were at Front Royal he took nearly $100, though I believe he found out that the bills were counterfeit before we left.  He had some $5 notes passed onto him.  There were also a lot passed to the citizens in town for bread and washing.

    ‘Our boy David’ just made a pretty sensible remark.  The boys were talking with him as to who is the smartest man in the Band.  “Well, I don’t know sah, but tain’t always de man who makes the most talk, dats got de most sense.”

    There is a short piece in yesterday’s paper which I send with this, telling what the rebels have done in the vicinity of Front Royal.

    I received a letter from Henry last Friday. He wrote that he was well but had been working pretty hard.  My health continues as good as ever and hope it is so with yours.

Edwin Rice

Roxbury City Gazette


MANASSAS JUNCTION, Va., July 1, 1862.

     June 28th, was sultry–made a visit to Bull Run.  Something new and interesting meets the eye at every step; we passed three graves, the headstones were demolished either by accident or by some sacrilegious hand.  Enough remained to tell us the State they hailed from, also the regiment to which they belonged.  South Carolina’s sons had found a resting-place on the soil of Old Virginia.  One cannot but be astonished at the great number of rifle pits, which are scattered in all parts of the plain, every knoll from which the least advantage was to be gained, was brought into requisition.  No one point have I visited a second time, yet the same preparation to meet the foe is visible.  One fortification about two miles from our camp, was intended to mount twenty-four guns.  Perhaps these earth works may yet come in use.

     Bull Run Creek is easily forded at the present time.  Its waters are shaded by time honored trees, seemingly the growth of centuries.  Along its banks lie huge trunks of trees fast hastening to decay, reminding one of fallen greatness.  The heavy freshets which sweep with irresistible power through the narrow channel of the creek, pile upon either side a vast amount of refuse trash; trees, the roots of which laid here by wash of flowing stream, stand tottering o’er its bed, present to the eye a scene of rugged grandeur.

     If nothing happens to prevent, we shall have plenty of blackberries in a few days; the ground is covered with them.

     At six o’clock P.M. we had the pleasure of being introduced to a most laborious Battalion drill which lasted until dark.  To-morrow being Sunday we shall have our usual rest.

     Sunday 29th.  Cloudy, looks like rain which will be very acceptable should drill be the order of the day.  At 7 o’clock A.M., inspection, after which, strange to say, we have nothing to do until 5 o’clock P.M., at which time we assembled to listen to a few remarks from our Chaplain, and finished the light duties of the day with dress parade.  The text selected by our Chaplain was taken from a work of Dickens, “Let us be jolly;” briefly he pointed out the folly of giving way to a feeling of discouragement – urged upon all the necessity of bearing up under the various trials to which they might be subjected – thought that even if a man could not laugh and grow fat upon an empty stomach, he could at least be cheerful by looking forward to the meal that would fill it.  ’Tis all right to give good advise, but very hard at times to follow out those words of encouragement.  The influence of our Chaplain is great, and is always used for the benefit of the regiment.  His cheerful happy disposition is contagious, looking upon the bright side of things himself, his example causes all to follow in his footsteps.

     As night is fast drawing her mantle over us, we must close.  Trusting ourselves to the watchful care of the sentinel, we enter our tents perfectly satisfied with this day’s work.

(Roxbury City Gazette; July 10, 1862; pg. 2, col. 6.)

From "Three Years in the Army;" by Charles E. Davis, Jr.     

     As Fourth of July approached thoughts of having a celebration found utterance.  Some of the boys, appreciating that our nearness to Washington, with daily communication by rail, made it possible for friends at home to come out, wrote to them, and several took advantage thereof by suddenly making appearance in camp.  It afforded us a great deal of pleasure to entertain them, and we did our best to make them comfortable while they stayed; but before their departure, they were the most miserable creatures in existence.  To them the fare was poor and the beds hard.  There were also visitors from the State authorities, who came out to look after the condition of Massachusetts troops, but they were better taken care of.  The officers were very courteous in their offers of hospitality to all the visitors, but those of the rank and file said they preferred rouging it with the boys – and they found it was rough.  Boxes ere received from home, in many instances containing the ingredients for a Fourth-of-July punch, and we all looked forward to a glorious time.

Letter of O.W. Albee

Main Street looking west, Marlboro, Mass

O. W. Albee was a famous educator in Marlborough, Mass.;  Principal of the Gates School there, and a state representative from Marlborough, as early as 1849.  He was elected as a Republican State Senator in 1855 and in 1857.   His son Eugene was serving in Company I.  Albee visited the camp of the '13th Mass' at Manassas while on a trip to visit his son in the hospital at Alexandria.  He wrote this account of his visit, published in the Westboro Transcript.  Pictured is Main Street, looking west near Florence, Marlborough, Mass.; 1880's.  Photo from the Marlborough Historical Society.

July 5, 1862


Marlboro, June 28th, 1862

     Ms. Editor; - Having just returned from a visit to Manassas, now the camp ground of McDowell’s division, with which the 13th Mass. Reg. is connected, it may be interesting to the friends of our two companies to know what I saw in camp and Hospital.  I am satisfied from what I saw that a soldier’s life in war is no holiday life.  Those who speak of a soldier’s pay as sufficient compensation for the service he renders, and the toils and privations he undergoes, had better try a three years enlistment and then see what they think.  I am more satisfied than ever before, that the additional pay given by the State to our volunteers was deserved.  The only thing that I regret is that it is so little and so limited in its application.  Additional pay should have been given to every Massachusetts volunteer, though I admit a distinction between those who have families and the single man would be highly proper.  It is a burning shame for us who stay at home and enjoy the blessings of civilized life to grudge (?) the payment a few dollars to those unselfish and patriotic men who have thrown themselves into the gap and stand bravely between us and the destruction of everything we hold dear.

     When I arrived in camp I found about fifteen thousand men encamped on the plains of Manassas.  They were resting after their severe toils from long and forced marches, under heavy burdens, with short allowance, and under great exposure, being a part of the time wholly without tents, storming as it was.   They were now enjoying what may be termed the bright side of a soldier’s life.  It did my heart good to see the general cheerfulness that pervaded the camps, and I could but wonder how men could be so cheerful after such hardships, especially as many men were actually suffering from cramps, rheumatism and fever engendered by their late exposures, an which exposures were liable to be renewed tomorrow.  It is however partially explained by a casual remark of one of our soldiers, ‘we know not what will turn up to-morrow, and we have endured so much, we care but little.’

     The first two days I was in camp and the first night the weather was delightful, the ground was dry, and there was much comparative comfort throughout the camp.  On the afternoon of the second day there were unmistakable signs of a Virginia tempest.  The soldiers were called out for brigade drill, but they came back double-quick before five.  They were hardly in when the tempest came in earnest.  It was terrific in lightning and thunder and wind and rain.  In three hours, it is speaking within bounds to say that on a level the water on the surface of the entire campground would have measured more than an inch in depth besides what had soaked into the earth, making the entire surface a complete mush of mud.  About nine o’clock, P. M. some of the officers desired me to go through the camp that I might tell when I returned to Massachusetts, what I saw on the plains of Manassas.  I went through the camp of the 13th Mass. Reg.  The violence of the tempest had overturned several of their tents, and all were thoroughly drenched.  Their little shelter tents are scarcely better than no tents.  They consist of a piece of cloth five feet square.  When a man camps by himself, he sets up two stakes, five feet apart and a little over two feet in height, and then places a ridge-pole, five feet long on the top of these stakes, hangs his piece of cloth over this ridge-pole, and then pulling the corners as wide apart as he can, fastens them to the ground by pegs.  Thus he makes himself a little Tom Thumb canvass house, with both gables open.  Under his best estate the soldier cannot sit upright in his tent, but must crawl in on all fours, and if he happens to be over five feet long, either his head or his feet must be out.  If he lowers the ridge of his tent he can get a little more width at the bottom, but this gives him a flatter roof, through which the rain will run as through a sieve.  But it is not common for one to tent alone.  These tents are made so as to button on to each other – say three agree to button on, as they term it, two button their tents together making a length of about ten feet, the third buttons his tent on to one of the gables and thus they form the best shelter that can possibly be made with these tents.  These tents are not so good for shelter or for comfort any way as ordinary dog kennels.  Yet under such shelters the brave champions of liberty and right and good government are obliged to crawl.  Here were men coming down with typhoid fevers, rheumatism, dysentery &c. all drenched through, and obliged to lie there, with the water overflowing the bottom of their tents, and the rain sifting through the top.  God save the country that uses her brave defenders thus – for I fear men will not.  Massachusetts did not furnish her men thus; this regiment has good Sibley tents that would shelter them from the storm, but these are packed away somewhere.  This regiment had a train of wagons and ambulances that any regiment might be proud of – but these have all been taken from them, and there is not one left to carry a pound of the burdens of the worn-out soldier, or bear his sick body a mile – but if a man falls by the way, four of his comrades must bear him along on a piece of canvass, or he must be left on the way.

     All this is said to be done because McDowell has had a mortal fear of baggage wagons since the battle of Bull Run.  When the men crept out in the morning to rekindle their camp fires and dry themselves and get their breakfasts, they were a sorry looking act.  But they seemed to put the bright side out, for when I asked them if this did not give them the rheumatism, they said it did some, and the cramp terribly, but they added, after we have stirred round awhile and got warm we shall feel all right.  Such treatment of men as this may be a common concomitant of war, but if it is, war ought not to be an agency necessary to civilization; but if it is a necessary agency to civilization, then certainly civilization ought to be willing to offer more than thirteen dollars a month for men to meet the dread necessity.  I slept in camp, I ate in camp, and I write what I saw.  I believe, to say nothing of the suffering of the men, that by this one storm, or rather tempest, more property was lost from the want of proper shelter than would be sufficient to furnish the entire encampment with proper tents.  The rations of the men were very good in camp, though on their marches they had suffered much from lack of food.

     They said they had often been hungry whilst obliged to guard the property of persons they knew to be secessionists.  The universal testimony in regard to the people south where they had been was that there were but few, if any real Union men there.  They think it will take Uncle Sam a long time to coax his obstreperous children back into the old family circle.  I think the sentiment is gaining ground among the masses of the soldiery that the institution which is the fundamental cause of all this trouble must be rooted out before this war can end, though I must say there was a tenderness, even yet, in some quarters on this question that I was sorry to see.  Some men seem to think that they cannot save the Union and the Constitution without slavery, as though human slavery was an essential element in the government instituted by our revolutionary fathers, the apostles of liberty.  Such men forget that the framers of the Constitution intentionally so worded that great instrument as that slavery might fade out in the country, and yet the Constitution remain intact.  If all our generals came up to the sentiments which the brave Gen. Rousseau of Kentucky, lately expressed at a banquet given him at Louisville, this war would soon be ended.  Though a slaveholder, he seems to be a man for the times.  Speaking of closing this contest, he says, ‘But the negro stands in the way, in spite of all that can be done or said.  Standing before the eye of the secessionist, the negro hides all the blessings of our government, throwing a black shadow on the sun itself.  If it had been any other species of property that stood in the way, the army, provoked as it has been, would willingly have seen its quick destruction.’    ‘Slavery is not worth our government.  It is not worth our liberty.  It is not worth all the precious blood now poured out for freedom.  It is not worth the free navigation of the Mississippi River.”  Let all Union men talk in this style, and act as bravely and decidedly as Gen. Rousseau has acted, and the country is saved; the Union will stand and liberty will be preserved.

Convalescent Camp, Alexandria     I visited most of the hospitals at Alexandria, and searched out all our Marlboro boys I could find.  Our sick were all doing well.  The hospitals were neat and airy, and well supplied.  Yet these neat hospitals are sad sights to look upon.  Each one who has a friend or relation in the army can imagine all I would say. ‘Here,’ said an attendant to me, ‘they come in, and hence they go out; and here is one just going out.’  I looked:  a short breath or two, and he was gone.  Yet the brave fellows lying there by thousands, weak and disabled, said with a momentary animation on their countenances, ‘if we could have pitched into those scoundrels last fall when we had our full strength, we would have whipped them though we were raw recruits; but it is over with many of us now.’  He, in my view, who endures cheerfully and with fortitude, pains and sickness engendered by the hardships of war, is not less worthy of respect than he who meets danger courageously on the battle-field. (photo:  Convalescent Camp, Alexandria, Va.)

     I wish to express through our paper, my sincere thanks to Maj. Gould, Lieuts. Palmer, Pope, and Brown, Dr. Claflin, and Wagoner J. Morse, and to all our Marlboro boys, for their kind attention to my comfort whilst I was in camp.

O. W. A.

"Lets Be Jolly"

Chaplain Noah Gaylord    The failure of McClellan on the peninsular was perfectly understood by the boys, and the outlook as not the most flattering for the little army commanded by John Pope down in the heart of the Old Dominion, when the great army of McClellan had so signally failed.  Consequently the spirits of he boys drooped, and the Chaplain, seeing the gloom settling down, departed from his usual custom and chose as the subject of his discourse a character who at all times could say “Lets be jolly.”  He spoke of the many happy homes we had left; of the many days of toil; the many long and weary marches; and the privation that we had endured, and all so patiently up to this time, the end of our first year of service.  But then [he] said “men of Massachusetts, what came you out to see?  Was it an immense picnic?  was it a gigantic spree?  Was it a day of sunshine without clouds? Or was it rather for the purpose to accept the stern realities of war.  Whether if victory perched upon our banners, or defeat leaned upon our side, were we not to be the same good soldiers, always ready to do our duty whenever, where ever and under whatever circumstances we should be placed?”  And above all he urged us to remember the words of the text.  He told us that gloomy won no battles, conquered no foe that it was best for us to look the danger calmly in the face, to trust in the God of battles, and under all circumstances “to be jolly.”  After listening to the cheering words of the Chaplain, the faces of the men brightened and the regiment marched to quarters with cheers, and ever after remembered the council of the Chaplain. - Sergeant Austin Stearns.  From "Three Years With Company K" by Sergeant Austin C. Stearns; deceased; ed. by Arthur Kent; Fairleigh-Dickenson University Press; 1975; Used With Permission.  (Chaplain Noah Gaylord, Pictured, right).

From "Three Years In The Army"

     Our march to-day was in consequence of the following order from General Pope to General McDowell, July 3, ’62:

GENERAL:  I think you had best push Ricketts’ division as far as Warrenton, and direct it to take post there… Will you please have these arrangements made without delay ?  I desire also to hear from the division at Warrenton at least once a day.

Jeff Davis Hanged      It will be seen by this that McDowell was not responsible for our marching to-day, though we gave him credit for it, as we did everything else that was disagreeable.

Friday, July 4.
  We were early at work opening boxes – those which had not already been opened – and preparing for a grand celebration, when an order was received to march at 8 o’clock.  A howl went up at this news, and groans for McDowell were heard everywhere.  To our minds it looked like a piece of spite. There was no way out of it, so we took all the boxes on the parade ground, piled them up in a pyramid, with the empty bottles on top, and then pelted them with rocks until the last one was smashed.  Soon after we bade “good-by” to our visitors and proceeded on our way in a most unpleasant mood.  As we marched along the road we noticed three figures hanging in the air, effigies of Stanton, McDowell, and Jeff Davis, labeled respectively, so no mistake should be made as to whom they were intended to represent.  We expressed our approbation as we passed by.      

      During the afternoon the question arose as to where we were to halt for the night, it depending on a supply of water.   In discussing the subject with the regimental commanders, General Hartsuff suggested that Colonel Leonard turn the Thirteenth into the nearest field, and he felt sure the men would find water if there was any about.  There was reason for this suggestion, inasmuch as it was the habit of a good many of the boys, when the final halt for the day was made, to start with towels in hand for the nearest brook for a bath, without suggestion as to where water could be found.

     There were boys in each company who had an unerring instinct as to the location of water.  We had one man in particular, whom we called “Simplot,” to whom Nature had unfolded many of her secrets.  He knew the name of every bird, of every tree and flower, and seemed to know equally well where to find water, for whenever there was any doubt, he would give the direction in which to seek it, as if he knew every foot of the country; but his information about whiskey was not as correct.

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Camp at Warrenton

(From "Three Years In The Army.")

Saturday, July 5.
     Started at 7:30 A.M. for Warrenton, eight miles.  As the weather was very hot we were allowed to take it pretty easy.  The cherries were in great abundance along the road, and as they were not included in the list of articles to be protected for the use of Stonewall Jackson, we were allowed to help ourselves.  Just before our arrival in camp, news was received that McClellan had taken Richmond, whereupon we all cheered ourselves hoarse.  Camp gossip set the day for our departure for home during the following week.  A good many of the boys expressed sorrow that they were to go home without seeing any fighting that amounted to anything. 

Warrenton Virginia

     Warrenton, Virginia; from Harper's Weekly; courtesy

     We went into camp in a delightful spot, a mile or so from the town of Warrenton. The whole country about was beautiful, and the land possessed of great fertility.  Near our camp was a clear sparkling brook of pure water, besides a spring highly impregnated with sulphur.  A short distance away were blackberry fields, one of which was many acres in extent, filled with berries of the most luscious kind, reminding us of the words in Izaak Walton as applied to the strawberry:  “Doubtless God might have made a better berry, but doubtless He never did.”  If, perchance, this record of ours is read by other persons than ourselves, who have not seen the like, they may think we exaggerate; that the contrast with our frugal fare added a ficticous sweetness to the berries we found about Warrenton.  And such quantities !  For nearly two weeks the whole division luxuriated in those fields.  This is the only camp of the regiment where the doctor was able to report: “No sick in the hospital.”

Letter of Warren H. Freeman, Company A

WARRENTON, Va., July 5, 1862.

Dear Father, - I received your kind letter Sunday, also one from Uncle Washington and one from Louise.  For these favors you will please thank them for me; it is the only return a poor soldier boy can offer.  The letters were brought from Alexandria by our quartermaster, J.C. Smith.  Eugene will remember him; he was bow oarsman at several of the regattas on Charles River.

I received the two boxes the night before the Fourth, just in the nick of time.  I am very much obliged; the things could not be better selected, or any nicer.

Sun Graphic We left Manassas the morning of the Fourth, and marched over the same railroad we road over on the 17th of June;  it was terrible hot and we only made twelve miles.  Reaching Warrenton Pike, we encamped here for the night.  On the next day marched to within half a mile of this place, when we halted and formed our camp.  I got my boxes carried in the baggage train; so I had them when I got here.  It has been awful hot for the past three or four days;  I never experienced anything like it before; its effect is very depressing.

Recently while on picket guard, during the stillness of midnight, and being seated on a rail fence in the midst of a cornfield, I heard a slight rustle among the leaves, and on turning my head in the direction from whence the sound came, I perceived a slight movement among the cornstalks, and felt quite sure that some object must be approaching; the first impulse was that it might be a cowardly rebel creeping up, rifle in hand, to pick off his man.  And though usually insensible to fear, still I will admit that I felt the cold chills, and a slight perspirations coming on; but I did not leave my seat, only brought my rifle to the “make ready,” and in a moment after a great black dog sprang over the fence quite near me, and went on his way regardless of my presence.  I congratulated myself in that I did not blaze away at this imaginary danger and thereby alarm the whole camp, as is often done by the raw recruit when there is much less cause.

pale of blackberries There are immense quantities of blackberries in the neighborhood of our camp, just in their prime, being dead ripe.  I can pick four quarts, and not be absent from my tent one hour. The boys in the tent just back of mine have come in with their dippers and a large bucket full.  There are also “dead loads” of nice cherries that can be had for the picking.  Our army grub is quite forsaken for these berries; in fact we about live on them; we make sauce of them; and the blackberry juice with sugar and water is a very pleasant and wholesome drink.  I have not been to the town yet, but they say it is quite a beautiful place, and not quite so strong secession as some places we have visited.  What we were sent here for I do not know, nor how long we are to remain.  I have not one word of news; and as there is a reporter for the “Journal" here, and you have that paper every day, I will refer you to its columns for matters of general interest.

(Warren continued this letter on the 15th of July)

Letter of James Ramsey, Company 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.Science of the Bath ad  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.
Wild Cherries      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

The Town of Warrenton

Harvard Graduate John B. Noyes, Company B, gives his impression of the town:  

Warrenton Virginia Historic District

"As I may have said in former letters Warrenton is a very pretty place, with very many pretty houses, occupied however mostly by children and females of ages from 16 to 60.  The town now presents a very busy appearance because of the large number of troups about the town, and because Warrenton is now the military depot of the department. (photo courtesy of Bill Slawski, Warrenton).

Sunday I went to town in the morning with Serg’t Bigelow, Class of 55, and attended the Episcopal Church.  This church is built somewhat in the Gothic style of stone.  The interior has mastic walls.  The glass is stained very beautifully, the pews are roomy & well made. Loring Bigelow, Co. B I don’t know where I have seen a prettier Church even in the North.  There was a very full attendance, the audience composed mostly of soldiers from the Regiments camped near the town.  Two or three old men, one or two boys and about thirty ladies old and young formed the regular congregation.  I used to think the Maryland congregations very small, but Virginia Churches can now show a far greater number of empty pews.  The minister preached a strictly religious sermon with no allusion to political matters.  The singing by the ladies only was good.  I attended Evening service also at the same church.  The elite of the city evidently congregated at the church, as I saw Members of the congregation at a number of the larger mastic houses after the meeting was over.  For all I could see fashion yet holds sway in Warrenton, the young ladies of the place setting off their charming faces and forms with not unbecoming gear. 

   Warrenton is a great place or resort in summer, and noted for its Sulpher Springs, the best of which I believe are about 6 miles out of town.  Warrenton is on the line of the rail-road which leads to Catlett’s Station and Alexandria, by way of Manassas.  The rebels left town on the 3d instant."  -- Ms Am 2332 (64) "By permission of the Houghton Library, Harvard University."

Fauquier Sulphur Springs & the 60th NY

Photographer Timothy Sullivan captured officers of the 60th New York at the famous Fauquier Sulphur Springs in August, 1862.  Nestled near the banks of the Rappahannock River, two beautiful hotels on the site were destroyed during the fighting between General Pope and General Jackson shortly after this photograph was taken.  It is still unknown which side caused the fires which consumed the hotels.  The Fauquier Springs Country Club stands on the site today, about 7 miles south of Warrenton.

St. James Episcopal Church

Private John Noyes and Sergeant Loring Bigelow visited St. James Episcopal Church in Warrenton.  It was built in 1853 by renowned architect James Renwick, an advocate of the Gothic Revival Style.    The building was destroyed by a devastating fire in 1910.  A new structure was rebuilt on the same site in 1912.  This photograph, circa 1909,  represents the church before the fire, as John B. Noyes would have seen it in 1862.  Loring Bigelow received a mortal wound at 2nd Bull Run, Aug. 30, and died October 17th, 1862.

The photo was provided by Richard Gookin & Nancy Kincheloe of St. James, for use on this website.

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General Pope's Introduction to the Troops.

(From "Three Years In The Army")
     We remained in this camp, in this land flowing with milk and honey until the 22nd of the month.  While we were at Warrenton the following order was issued to the Army of Virginia:

Major-General John Pope

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 14, 1862.
To the Officers and Soldiers of the Army of Virginia :

     By special assignment of the President of the United States, I have assumed command of this army.   I have spent two weeks in learning your whereabouts, your condition, and your wants,  in preparing you for active operations, and in placing you in positions where you can act promptly and to the purpose.  These labors are nearly completed, and I am about to join you in the field.

     Let us understand each other.  I have come to you from the West, where we have always seen the backs of our enemies; from an army whose business it has been to seek the adversary, and to beat him when he was found; whose policy has been attack, and not defence.  In but one instance has the enemy been able to place our Western armies in defensive attitudes.  I presume I have been called here to pursue the same system, and to lead you against the enemy.  It is my purpose to do so, and that speedily.   I am sure you long for an opportunity to win the distinction you are capable of achieving.   That opportunity I shall endeavor to give you.  Meantime I desire you to dismiss from your minds certain phrases which I am sorry to find so much in vogue amongst you.  I hear constntly of "taking strong positons and holding them," of  "lines of retreat," and of  "bases of supplies."   Let us discard such ideas.  The strongest position a soldier should desire to occupy is one from which he can most easily advance againt the enemy.  Let us study the probable lines of retreat of our opponents, and leave our own to take care of themselves.  Let us look before us, and not behind.  Success and glory are in advance, disaster and shame lurk in the rear.  Let us act on this understanding, and it is safe to predict that your banners shall be inscribed with many a glorious deed, and that your names will be dear to your countrymen forever.
(Signed)                                JNO. POPE
                                Major-General Commanding.

     Some of the boys facetiously called it the "Pope's Bull."   "Seest there a man wise in his own conceit?  There is more hope of a fool than of him," says the Holy Bible.  Up to this date the army was well disposed toward General Pope, but this bombastic and offensive circular unfortunately lessened its respect for him.

     It will be noticed, on reading the circular, that "my headquarters are in the saddle," does not appear.  It is difficult, now, to recall just how we became possessed with the idea that General Pope wrote it.  Probably some newspaper desiring to ridicule his famous proclamation, added the offensive paragraph on publishing it, and the army not being very frienly toward him, repeated it so often as a joke on Pope, very soon believed it to be true.  It became a by-word throughout the army, and a good deal of fun we had out of it.

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The First Anniversary  of the 13th Mass 

 July 16th, 1862, was the first anniversary of the regiment.  First-Lieutenant Elliot C. Pierce wrote home to his sister the next day, that after Guard Mounting there were no drills or duty of any kind.  "The officers had huge bowls of punch and invited guests from other regiments were coming and going all day and pretty late last night."

    The soldier correspondent for the Roxbury Gazette, a member of Company E, marked the anniversary of the regiment in a letter home.  “One year has fled since we first pledged to support the Constitution and the Laws if need be with the sacrifice of our lives.  If many of the men have changed their minds in some respect on certain points during the late year, it is simply because certain contingencies have arisen over which they had no control.  Hope deferred maketh the heart sick.  Those who are already in the field by taking a backward glance, see much to discourage them, – that which all supposed would certainly be accomplished still remains undone.  In fact appearances indicate that the struggle is commencing.”     With a prescient closing paragraph he writes:

   “In my opinion, instead of going towards Richmond, we shall have our full before long in taking care of “stonewall Jackson.”  When he left for Richmond, he said he should come back, and most of us believe he will be here at no very distant day.”

"Lights Out in K"

From "Three Years With Company K" by Sergeant Austin C. Stearns; deceased; ed. by Arthur Kent; Fairleigh-Dickenson University Press; 1975; Used With Permission.

Captain Charles H. Hovey     An amusing incident happened at this place [Warrenton] which for a long time was a sort of by-word in the regiment, and to this day is often alluded to with many good laughs when we have our reunions.  It was this:  the orders were to have all lights out in camp at taps, the guard-house and headquarters alone excepted.  The boys for some time had grown negligent, and in many instances kept their lights burning till long after the regular hour.

     Orders had been issued to enforce this order, and commanders of companies were to be held responsible for the compliance of their respective commands.  On this particular night Capt. Hovey (pictured) was “officer of the day,” and on him rested the whole responsibility of seeing this order obeyed.  Taps sounded at the usual hour, and about a half hour after, the Col. wishing to ascertain how the order was obeyed, went out; all the lights were out except in K company, Hovey’s own, and their lights were burning brightly in every tent.  He immediately went to the Captain’s tent and, calling him out, showed him the lights.  Hovey, taken wholly aback by the sight, immediately roared out, “Lights out in K.”   It came like a shell into the slumbering camp, awakening all, who, starting up and realizing the situation, immediately repeated the echo of “Lights out in K.”  It was too good a joke to be punished and was overlooked for this time.  

Philadelphia Press; A Visit from General Banks

Philadelphia, Tuesday, July 22, 1862.

General N. P. BanksWarrenton July 17-
     On Wednesday evening Gen. Banks paid a visit of courtesy to General Hartsuff’s Brigade, of Gen. McDowell’s corps. This brigade was formerly commanded by Gen. Abercrombie, in Gen. Banks’ corps.  His visit was unannounced, but notwithstanding the darkness of the night, it was soon discovered, and rounds upon rounds of cheers greeted his presence.  His reception by the Thirteenth Massachusetts was novel.  The regiment was drawn up in line, and each soldier held a lighted candle, screened by his cap. On a sudden a thousand candles flashed forth, and the same number of voices shouted loud hurrahs as the general approached the colonel’s quarters.  To each of the regiment General Banks addressed  few brief, pertinent remarks, expressive of his past and present pleasure in meeting them.

P2. col  4.

Letter of Edwin Rice, Band

Warrenton, Virginia

 July 16th

     Yours of the 10th was received last Sunday.  Since I wrote you there has been but a little doing in this vicinity.  Those who needed it have been refitted with blouses, pants, shoes etc. New horses have taken the place of old broken down ones that could not pull half their weight.  Everything now looks as though there was to be a forward movement soon.  Ambulances have been given the different regiments, two one-horse and one two-horse to a regiment. It is a small allowance but better than none.

     I see by General Pope’s address in yesterday’s paper that he gave the soldiers to understand that they may expect some fighting.  Don’t think the men will mind that as much as they will the marching which they will have to do before they can find anybody to fight them. There is undoubtedly a large body of union troops in this vicinity as General Bank’s Division arrived here a few days since. 

barometer     For a few days past the weather has been very warm exceedingly warm.  Yesterday afternoon we thought we should have a shower since the clouds came up in the west, as black as night, but the most of the showers passed to the north of us.  Towards night there was another that passed to the south.  Today it was hotter than ever.  A shower came up and I thought we should get some rain sure, but didn’t get enough to wet our ponchos through.  The storm split and went south and north, but it has made the air a great deal cooler.  So much so that I ventured to write this letter.

      I wrote to Mother on Monday and told her we were going to march that afternoon, but we did not. Had a general inspection.  From the orders which were given out I supposed we were to march.

Thursday, July 17

     It is quite cool and comfortable this morning.  General Banks paid us a short visit last evening.  He made a short speech and from what he said, I should think that this brigade was to be changed to his division .  The boys cheered him a great deal.  We played Hail to the Chief and quite a number of other pieces.  I never saw the general when he looked better than last evening.

     We have been in the service one year.  Our enlistment papers date the 16th of July 1861.  Yesterday was the anniversary of our enlistment.  It does not seem to me that we have been out here nearly a year, but it is so.  The time has passed very quickly with us.

Saturday, July 19th

     I did not want to finish this on Thursday.  I thought I would wait and see if I could not find some news to write.  All the news I have to write is that it rained nearly all the time since Wednesday up to last night.  It has not cleared up yet but it does not rain.  We expect the paymaster tomorrow.  He is paying the 12th Regiment today.

     I received a letter from Mother, Thursday after noon.  My health continues as good as usual.

                    Edwin Rice

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Camp at Waterloo, Va.

Waterloo Bridge

(From "Three Years In The Army")

Tuesday, July 22.
     Marched to Waterloo, ten miles. Though the distance was not great it was a hard march, and as it began to rain before we reached our camping-ground, the temper of the regiment was not improved. We had been feasting on the fat of the land and drinking spring-water, and otherwise enjoying ourselves, so that we were in no humor to get pleasure out of a hot dusty road.

[The Photograph shows Waterloo Bridge over the North Fork of the Rappahannock River.  The soldiers were guarding the river crossing here.   J.E.B. Stuart crossed here when he began his famous raid around Pope's Army to Pope's supply base at Manassas.]  (Photo by Mr. Ed Marek.)

Letter of Edwin Rice

Camp near Waterloo, Virginia
July 23rd 1862

     About 5 o’clock yesterday morning we received orders to pack up and be ready to march in 15 minutes, a short notice, I can assure you.  The time was lengthened 15 minutes.  I had not got up at that time but thought I might as well be a moving.  But did not hurry any knowing that there would be time enough to pick up and there was, as it was nearly 8 o’clock before we got started.

     It was a very good time to march and was a little cool and cloudy.  It grew warmer towards the middle of the day.  I never sweat so in my life as I did yesterday.  The sweat ran almost in a stream off my face.  I did not feel unusually warm.  We marched slow and halted often.

    This place is but 7 miles from Warrenton. The whole division under General Ricketts moved, formerly command of General Ord.  There are three brigades in the division, Dugens, Hartsuffs and Towers, 14 regiments of infantry besides cavalry and artillery.  The infantry are camped on a lot of land not as large as the whole of Fathers around the house.  We are huddled together pretty close.

     It rained a little last night after we had pitched the camp and it commenced raining about an hour ago.  It is now about 3 p.m.  It does not look as though it would rain much more.  It is not known how long we shall stop.  Some think we shall move tomorrow.

     I hear a few days since that Willis went to Boston on the 4th and took a young lady with him.  Did he?  I send with this a few pieces which I cut from yesterdays paper.  Don’t know but what you will see the same in other papers.  Also send some letters which I found in the woods where we halted.  They were written to a fellow in the 60th New York Volunteers for St. Lawrence County, New York.  I shan’t write any more today, will wait and see what happens.

Thursday Morning
July 24th

     It has cleared up this morning and is quite pleasant.  There is not any signs of moving this morning.  We had a large mail last night but it brought no letters for me.

     One of the regiments in Towers’ Brigade is packing up and preparing to move.  It is not expected that we shall stay here long as the ground is not suitable for a camp.  It is thought that we might go to Culpepper Court House, which is about 12 miles from here.

     We are now on the banks of the North fork of the Rappahannock river.  The stream is about half as large as the Assabet River.

     The country is very pleasant around here.  There is a range of mountains about 3 miles to the north of us.  It is rather hilly. There once was a woolen factory but a short distance from here which was engaged in making cloth for the rebel army.  It was burned down about two weeks ago

     Has the town got volunteers enough yet?  most of the soldiers out here would like to have them draft, and if a person was drafted who did not want to go, he might hire someone else to take his place.

Yours Affectionately,
Edwin Rice

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(From "Three Years In The Army")

Friday, July 25.
     Moved camp to a better spot, on Carter’s Run.

Carter's Run Map     This is a close up of Carter's Run taken from a larger map of Fauquier County, Virginia, (dated 1862).  I've highlighted the river in blue.  Warrenton is about 8 miles to the east. The map shows the terrain, and names the families in the area. Clift's Mill or Gaston's Mill, (recently burned according to the soldiers' letters) is visible, and Carter's Run Church, (text barely legible) which stood at the crossroads, (center right).  The 13th Mass were camped somewhere in this area probably guarding the river crossings at Waterloo Bridge.   I wonder if the campsite could be pinpointed using the soldiers descriptions of the location or with the locals knowlege of the terrain.   I believe this area is little changed, and there are probably few places in this hilly area where a brigade (10.000 men) could camp.  John Noyes writes (in the letter below); "We are encamped on a hill side, with woods in the rear, and higher hills all around us.  A brook flows by the camp, a run about a quarter of a mile off.  Two or three springs also unite in giving us good water privileges."  Edwin Rice wrote,  "We are now on the banks of the North fork of the Rappahannock river.  The country is very pleasant around here. There is a range of mountains about 3 miles to the north of us.  It is rather hilly. There once was a woolen factory but a short distance from here which was engaged in making cloth for the rebel army.  It was burned down about two weeks ago.  Warren Freeman wrote,  "We are now very pleasantly situated, water handy, and there is a stream where we bathe, within about a quarter of a mile of our camp."  There are other clues to the location in other letters. (Library of Congress map)

Westboro Transcript; Recruiting

August 2, 1862


     The letter of our correspondent F. A. W. published below, is from a young man who was in the employ of Messrs. Boyd, Corey & Co. in Boston, and enlisted for the war.  It exhibits the right kind of spirit.  This, as well as the letter from Vicksburg, will be found very interesting.

     Waterloo, Virginia, July 27, 1862.

     Messrs. ----; ----  My good friends:  I yesterday received the package you have so kindly sent me, and find everything correct according to the invoice.  

Recruiting Poster, Massacusetts     When I left home ----- was ready to enlist when he was needed.  Has he done so yet?  Does he talk of doing so?  I hear from all sources that enlisting goes on very slowly, and that there is prospect of a draft being made to make up the number called for.  It seems to me there are or ought to be men enough willing to come that can be spared from home.  I don’t see what is to prevent unmarried men from coming.  I don’t like a soldier’s life any better than many others, and though we have seen no fighting, yet have seen some hard knocks in the past year, but for all that I would enlist today if I was at home.  I am glad that I came voluntarily at the beginning of the war, and did not wait to be drafted or hired to come.  Although I had not so great inducements to remain at home as some of my acquaintances, still it was some sacrifice, but no more than any one ought to be willing to make when the country requires it.  I dislike the idea of drafting, because it is nothing more or less than conscription, the very thing against which our Northern people have talked so loudly.

     I have read a great deal about the Southern army being forced to enlist, and of their being unwilling soldiers, in the Northern papers.  Now I believe a large portion of such statements are untrue.  However, be that as it may, the rebels are as a whole, much more in earnest than our people.  In all that part of Virginia that I have been through I have seen very few persons, except old men, women and children.  All those capable of bearing arms are in the field.  If we had been as much in earnest as they have been, the war would have been at an end a great deal sooner than it will be.  There has been blundering in the War department, and meddling among the politicians, and, between both, they have made a bad mess of it.

     I hope, now that those who don’t join the army will at least place no obstructions in its way.  I think McClellan is all right, and if he had had his own way, would have been in Richmond before now, and so thinks the whole army.  I am glad Halleck has been appointed general-in-chief, for there ought to be some one at the head of affairs in Washington that understands military matters, and everything looks as though the war was to be carried on in the future to some purpose; still I don’t think much will be done till a portion of the new troops are raised.

     Everybody seems to believe that, Gen. Pope is going to have the next slap at the rebels, and if such should be the case, no doubt we shall have a finger in the pie.  I am in first-rate health, and so are all the troops in this vicinity, and there is no reason to doubt we will give the rebels some work when we get started.

     Gen. Pope announces his headquarters to be in the saddle, but I am a little afraid it may prove he has talked rather loud to commence with.  Anyway it is certainly better that there should be one head then three to direct the movements of the army in the valley.

     We are having fine weather now, and though it has been hot some of the time, have not as yet suffered much from it, but I suppose we have gradually become acclimated, and probably the new recruits will feel it much more than we do.

F. A. W.

Letter of Warren H. Freeman; Routine of Camp Life

WARRENTON, Va., July 29, 1862.

Dear Father, - I received two letters from you last week, and yesterday two papers, for all which, of course, I am greatly obliged.  I had seen the “Reporter” before yours arrived;  Dorman lent me his copy.  Uncle Chad’s matter-of-fact letter was entertaining; his “dottings down” quite original; and I doubt not his fellow passengers must have been well entertained by his quaint remarks during the protracted journey, and while the iron horse was being “refed.”

We left Warrenton on the 22d of July, and marched eight miles, when we encamped on a hill; on the 27th we moved about half a mile and encamped again.  We are now very pleasantly situated, water handy, and there is a stream where we bathe, within about a quarter of a mile of our camp.

In reply to your inquiries, and for the information of the numerous young men about entering the army, I will briefly describe our mode of life and duties for one day; and will begin with our tents – “shelter tents,”  I believe, is the proper name – known in the army as “dog-huts.”  They are made of thick cotton cloth, about five feet squared, and fit together by buttons and button-holes.  Each man is allowed one piece – a tent.  Two pieces will weight five pounds. 

They are raised from the ground about two feet, and you cannot sit up in one comfortable.  The floor is made of poles resting on crotches two or three inches from the ground, and when covered with straw, hay or leaves, makes quite a comfortable bed.  These tents will protect you from the dew and light showers, but in a smart rain-storm you will “catch it.”   Winslow Homer "Late for Roll Call"At five o’clock in the morning, at this season of the year and on ordinary occasions, the duties of the day begin. The reveille is beat; the men turn out and in double ranks for roll-call.  This occupies a short time, and sometimes we turn in again till six o’clock, when the breakfast call is beat, when we make our coffee and eat our hard bread.  Once or twice a week we get stewed beans, the best dish we have.  Drill call sounds at seven o’clock, and a few moments after, the surgeon’s call, when the sick, who are able to go out, are conducted to the hospital. Eight o’clock we have guard call; it takes about half an hour to get through guard-mounting; at half-past eight the recall for firing drill; at twelve o’clock the dinner call, when we may, or may not, find something to eat; at one o’clock orderly call.  Sometimes we have a drill in the afternoon.  At seven ‘clock a call for dress parade; nine o’clock tattoo or roll-call; and at half-past nine taps, or put out those lights.

It is one year to-day since our regiment left Boston, and eight months since I left; they have quickly sped away.  You ask if I could not get a furlough to come home and spend a week?  I cannot do it.  When we were at Warrenton a boy in our company had a letter from home, saying that his father was not expected to live but a few days, and desiring him to come home if possible.  He went to the general and stated his case, and asked for a furlough to go home.  He was told that he could not have one, but a hint was given that he might be absent for a week, if he would run the risk of being apprehended as a deserter.  So he got a suit of citizen’s clothes and started off; he was arrested in Alexandria, but managed to get away from the provost guard and reached his home in Boston; he found his father alive, but very ill:  he has since returned to camp.  I have no means of knowing the number of troops in this army; but within sight of the spot where I am now writing there are at least 10,000 men.

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'Shelter Tents'

by Charles E. Davis, Jr. 

The following article appeared 'untitled' in the 13th Regiment Association Circulars;  # 31,  September, 1918.  I have given it the title 'Shelter Tents.'  It describes some of Davis's  tent-mates in detail and although it is long, it is a very entertaining read.  - Brad Forbush, April, 2010.

Charles E. Davis, Jr.     In reading about the civil war, and in fact about any wars, we have been struck by the lack of information about the men themselves - what they do, how they live and what pleasure or pastimes they engage in to enliven the weariness of army life and make it possible to undergo the hardships, privations and fatigues common to a soldier's life.  Most of the articles are from the officer's standpoint and have relation to battles and critical observations about what ought to have been done or what was done.  This is not of any special interest except to persons who are interested in that particular phase of army life.  There was a bright side to army life.  Composed as the army was of young men from 18 to 20 years of age it is not strange that an outlet must be found to work off the accumulating mental energy quickened by out-door life, simple food, regular habits and exercise.  All of the boys in our regiment had a fair education, while some were graduates of high schools and colleges.  A good many who went out in the Thirteenth in 1861 and '62 subsequently received commissions in other regiments.  The liveliness that was characteristic, of our regiment and which sometimes brought us unpleasant notoriety, was often exhibited by a thoughtlessness of the feelings of others.  One reason for this was that a private soldier soon realizes that his position is looked upon as, considerably lower than the lowest round of the ladder, of which fact he was often made to feel by his superior officers.  This last, however, was not universal for most of the officers were considerate and just in their treatment of the rank and file.  A good deal of our talk was necessarily about officers, their intelligence, or lack of it, their occasional offensive manners, their pomposity or marked peculiarities of speech or appearance.  We must have something to talk about and our superior officers often supplied us with material.  Of course there were other subjects such as the books we had read or the newspapers supplied.  Some were fond of playing practical jokes on others, but as a rule this was discountenanced.  The exercise of wit often found an opportunity for its employment on other officers than our own who would make remarks or give orders that were considered impertinent coming from those who had no authority over us.  The effervescence of youth must have an outlet and it is quite impossible to restrain the feelings of boys.  Thoughtless and inconsiderate, full of mirth, looking for fun, a strong sense of humor, keen-witted, ready in reply, aggressive, saucy and independent but warm-hearted, willing to make sacrifices for comrades, brave and patiently bearing the burden of a soldier's life.

Equipment      The weary side of a soldier's life is the toting on long marches a knapsack, blankets, ammunition, rations, and last but not least his gun.  There never seemed to be any way to carry a gun without its being an incumbrance.  While on a march you were permitted to suit yourself in carrying it; it seemed always in the way and at the end of the day it felt like a ton weight.  Forty rounds of cartridges hanging from the waist was a burden that brought no joy to the soldiers.  It often happened that the number was increased to sixty rounds and occasionally to one hundred rounds.  The cartridge box held forty rounds and when the number was increased we had recourse to the haversack which might contain six day's rations, although ordinarily but three.  Forced marches or departure from the wagon trains necessitated the additional burden.  Ten cartridges weighed one pound, so that when forty rounds were exceeded it brought forth remarks that could be understood by the dullest mind.  A day's march under such circumstances was the best cure for Insomnia I have ever known.  At the end of a day's march, unless we were detailed for picket duty, our troubles disappeared under the influence of coffee and tobacco and the natural buoyance of youth asserted itself.  We forgot our troubles in the delightful companionship of comrades whom we had learned to regard with sincere and lasting affection.

     As we recall those times and think of the boys we then knew and loved that have passed away, it is not strange that the living feel bound together, by a genuine attachment.  But it is not the trials and tribulations of our service that prompts me to write.

     Life in the army was not all a weary grind. There was wit and humor abundantly displayed among the rank and file as well as argument and stories to enliven a camp-fire.  Occasionally we would meet with exciting adventure on picket or on some detail.  We had a fondness for discussing the qualifications of brigade and division commanders, wondering why intelligence should have existed only among the rank and file.  Mr. Lincoln has been quoted as saying that he could get all the brigadier generals he needed for nothing, but toward the end of the war the price for enlisted men rose to $1,200.00.  The price of an article generally determines its value.  It will be seen therefore that our criticism of general officers had some foundation.  However, it was only an occasional brigadier general that excited our indignation, as in the case of one who marched us several miles in a circle because he knew better than his advisers the road to take.  The irrepressible levity that existed when we were at Fort Independence continued during our three year's service and made it possible to enjoy life and maintain cheerfulness and good humor.

     We left Boston with 1,038 men - ten companies of 100 men each and were quartered in Sibley tents capable of holding, not uncomfortably, seventeen men, and these tents continued in use until the spring of 1862.  It was impossible for one to know each and every man of his regiment on leaving home.  He would know all the men of his company and possibly many others.  As time wore on he would know a great many.   In the last half of our service, when the regiment was reduced in numbers by casualties, there was an intimacy of companionship that took in all the companies.  Men in a Sibley tent were much like a family and shared the contents of their boxes from home before others were invited to partake.  On the 24th of May all this was changed like a kaleidoscope.

Sibley Tent      The Sibley tents with which we were supplied were made of heavy duck, round in shape, coming to a point at the top, which was open for ventilation, with a flap that was capable of adjustment in case of stormy weather.  They accommodated seventeen men without discomfort.  There was little to complain of, even in wet weather, and the men were generally satisfied to endure the overcrowding that occasionally took place.  In winter a pit was made about two feet deep in which was placed a quantity of straw.  Over this excavation the tent was pitched.  In the centre was placed a stove, it being a sheet-iron funnel that spread out at the bottom about three feet from the ground like an ordinary tunnel of domestic use.  At the bottom was a small opening for supplying a draft.  About midway of the enlargement was a door through which the wood was put for the fire.  In the winter the stove was elevated from the ground so as not to set the straw afire.  This construction being made of only sheet-iron, with a damper to regulate the fire, was easily heated red hot, whereupon the language expressed was like the stove.  It often happened when a man came in at night after the performance of some duty, cold or wet, he would fill the stove with wood to warm or dry himself before lying down to sleep.  If he happened to neglect the precaution to open the door before so doing, he would soon realize his mistake by the profanity that was sure to occur.  The feet of the long-legged men were the first to feel the effect and unconsciously they would draw up their knees until they nearly met their chins and eventually wake them.  "Who in H-- put that wood in the stove?" was the inquiry sure to be made.  With everybody awake, there were certain to be some strong well-seasoned expletives about being born a D. F.  As soon as the stove cooled and good-humor restored, the men would resume their sleep.  Early in May, 1862, it was noised about that these tents were to be replaced by shelters and indignation meetings were held in consequence.  We knew nothing about shelters, but any change was disturbing.  It had the effect of making conversation lively and gave us something to talk about.  It is fair to say that it was a wise move even if we didn't like it at the time.  Eventually the men became reconciled to the change, but for the moment there was much discontent.  As the days went by and no change was made we concluded that it was a camp story and began to wonder who started it.

     The 24th of May opened with a drizzling rain and as we put our noses out of the tent we were glad there could be no drills and those who were to go on guard had our charitable commiseration.  Suddenly an order was received that the regiment was ordered in full marching order to go somewhere, destination unknown.  For some days we had been drilling afternoons with knapsack and equipments as a preparation for the coming campaign, so this didn't seem so unusual as otherwise it might.  It was such a disagreeable day and the roads so muddy we hoped to escape work.  The tents were allowed to remain, giving us the impression that possibly it might be a reconnaissance.  That idea prevailed until we reached a spot for a halt, about mid-day.  No one seemed to know what for.  Even the Colonel was in ignorance until, after an hour or two of standing in the rain, which began to fall shortly after we left camp, an orderly was seen approaching.  He was the bearer of an order for our return.  We were glad of that anyway and looked forward with expectations of comfort when we were back in our Sibleys.  There was nothing to excite our joy as we marched along the muddy, slippery road, wet-through, and in heavy marching order.  Finally we reached our camping-ground, but where were the tents?  None were to be seen, and in place thereof piles of cotton cloth soaked with rain and many of them muddy.  It was difficult to understand the meaning of the removal of our Sibleys.  When we came to a halt we were addressed by the Colonel, who explained that the piles of cloth we saw were shelter tents.  Each man was to take a piece, find four other men and button the pieces together, when it would become a shelter tent.  In addition we were to cut sticks on which to pitch them.  Such a sudden change on a day when the men were wet through and cold, seemed an outrage and dangerous to health; that a general having any regard for the welfare of his men would have postponed the change to a more suitable day.  If an outsider had been suddenly dropped from the sky he would have imagined himself in a camp of the sons of Belial.

     We had in our company a corporal whom we had dubbed "Simplot," who was later on commissioned in another regiment, and after the war became a minister of the gospel.  He was gifted with a strong sense of humor and by temperament philosophical.  When the opportunity was afforded for him to speak he reminded us that if we would consult the 14th chapter of Job we would learn that "Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble."  This diverted our minds somewhat and while there was not much gaiety, the men were soon at work selecting their tent-mates and cutting sticks for completing the work of pitching tents.

     The immediate selection of tent-mates under such inauspicious circumstances was a different problem and not attended in all cases with success.  Difference in disposition or habits interfered greatly with the peace and comfort of the occupants. Eventually these matters straightened themselves.  It was my good fortune to become associated with four companions whose dispositions were so agreeable that the short time we were together has made a lasting impression on my mind as one of the most delightful experiences of my service.

     Comrades of Company B will easily recall the names of Sergeant Frank Stimpson, Corporal Walter Beaumont, Fred Williams and Albert Morse.  With one exception we continued as tent-mates until the 30th of August, when we were separated never to meet again, the only exception being Morse and myself.

Sergeant Frank Stimpson      Frank Stimpson was a graduate of the Norwich military academy in Vermont.  His training made him the equal of any officer or man in the regiment, and was the best soldier I ever saw.  Immediately on rising he proceeded to fold his blankets, pack his knapsack and roll the straps ready at an instant's notice to take his gun.  After reveille he polished the buttons of his coat, shined the brasses of his equipments and carefully brushed his clothes.  We used to jolly him about his fastidious attention to these details that most of us attended to when required to do so on days of inspection or when orders were received to march, but he remained unaffected by our chaff.  He was an agreeable, companion at all times, though easily disturbed by our pompous first lieutenant.  When we were in the tent he would give utterance to his feelings and wonder how such a man could have been given a commission.  When we arrived at Front Royal, we walked down from the hill, where the regiment was encamped, to see the town and learn if possible what was going on.  While there we saw them bringing in the wounded of Shield's division, who were in the fight the day before, when the effort was made to stop Jackson from proceeding down the Shenandoah Valley, after having driven Banks across the Potomac River.  The building where we stood was a recruiting station for the regular army.  The desire of the government being to transfer volunteers to that branch of the service, Frank went in to inquire and learned that his rank of first sergeant would be continued if he saw fit to be transferred.  On return to camp we tried to discourage him; that his chances for promotion were better in the Thirteenth, but it was useless.  No persuasion could change his determination and so he left us, the first to break our happy combination.  His subsequent career was ended at Fredericksburg.  Shortly after his transfer he was made a second lieutenant and for gallant conduct promoted to a first lieutenant and later brevetted captain for gallant conduct, and as he received the latter honor was killed.  Beaumont was badly wounded August 30, 1862, at Manassas.  He recovered after some months and was commissioned a lieutenant in the Heavy Artillery and became the provost marshal of Washington. Fred Williams Fred Williams was killed in the same battle, while Al Morse and myself were wounded.  Morse was the only one who remained with the regiment.  He had a habit of getting wounded and also of leaving hospitals without leave in his anxiety to get back with his comrades, preferring to be with the regiment rather than remain in the hospital, which he detested.  He served his three years in spite of wounds, was a good soldier, a brave and modest man who never lost his head or heart in battle, and a lovable companion.

     Upon the regiment's arrival at Carter's Run we conceived the idea of raising our tent by building sides if we could get the boards.  On the opposite side of the run from where we were encamped was an old disused barn and upon examination proved to contain just what we needed, though its proximity to Gen. Hartsuff's tent made the business rather risky; that didn't worry us,  however,  for about everything a soldier wanted to do outside of prescribed duty contained an element of risk, particularly if one's commanding officer was a martinet or had a microscopic eye.  There were comparatively few officers who were big enough to understand that dealing with soldiers was like dealing with children.  Of course it was imperative that men should obey orders promptly and explicitly, but there were many things happening that might be overlooked.  Some officers appreciated the difference and so governed their men as to acquire their affection and their willingness to make great sacrifices in emergencies and show great valor in battle.  While in the other case, much ill-nature would be manifested and the esprit de corps, so important in companies or regiments,  lessened and in some cases completely destroyed.   In the present instance there was no question but it was, strictly speaking, a violation of the order respecting the destruction of property.  The misinterpretation of orders caused much trouble in the army.  

     The interpretation of this order according to our views had reference to buildings worth preserving and not to a barn about tumbling down, long disused and dangerous for any one to disturb it.  The private soldier always gave a liberal construction to orders of this kind as became a man of broad and enlightened understanding.  In this instance I am about to relate, it will be seen that we believed with the owner that the barn was useless for any purpose and tearing it down would be saving him expense and trouble.  Be that as it may, we saw an opportunity of making our tent more habitable and less like a dog-kennel.

Albert E. Morse      Upon our arrival at Carter's Run, we saw this barn standing on a knoll across the brook like a sore thumb, which upon investigation turned out to be just what we wanted.  Before attempting to move in the matter we argued the case out with Frank Stimpson, our senior officer, and companion in the tent.  He was against the proceeding, but we were four to one.  Stimpson would have nothing to do with it and did his best to discourage us.  As he was nearer being a major-general than we were, his opinion was accounted for.  The higher, a man rises in rank the narrower his field of view.  We always deferred to his usual sound judgment or advice, but in this instance we felt he was wrong; that his mind was too firmly fixed on the inhuman doctrine of "Obeying orders and breaking orders."  We wouldn't willingly break the officer who issued the order, however unintelligent he might be, so we set the advice aside and repaired to the barn and proceeded at once to tear off such boards as were fitted for our purpose.  We became so interested in our work that we failed to notice the approach of Capt. Brown of Gen. Hartsuff's staff.   He was an officer who had no liking for a Thirteenth man and this feeling was encouraged by our treatment of him.  On occasions he had exhibited a disposition to reprimand men for something which he disliked.  We were not under his command, so his orders were not considered of any account and the boys proceeded to make things lively whenever we were on the march and he was seen to approach.  A good deal of liberty was allowed to soldiers when on the march and conversation was carried on with each other and observations made about persons we passed on the road, sometimes to excite laughter and sometimes to attract attention.  I think the Thirteenth went to the limit in this liberty.  Now when Brown rode by unaccompanied by the General, the inquiry would be made in a loud voice, "What was Ossawottomie's last name?" and the reply would come, "Brown!"  "Was he hanged?"

General Hartsuff       "Yes, he met the fate of all Browns."  This kind of talk would get on his nerves and he would stop his horse to learn what was intended by the remark, and who made it.  This, of course, made matters worse for him and then followed no end of chaff not apparently aimed at him, though he thought so because the name of Brown was always mentioned.  Now, when he saw us pulling off boards from this ram-shackle barn it was his opportunity to retaliate for the chaff he had endured.  His manner and words showed how gratifying it was to put some one under arrest, and he promptly did it by ordering us before the General, who was sitting quietly before his tent.  He was somewhat surprised to see four men brought before him under arrest for violating orders.  He was obliged to treat the matter seriously and inquired of Corporal Beaumont - ignoring the privates as was highly proper and considerate even if in accordance with the custom that prevailed in the army — "Who gave you permission to tear down the barn?"

     Beaumont was a clean-cut boy as you could find, and not easily scared. To the General's inquiry he replied, "No one!"

       "Didn't you know, corporal, that orders had been issued that property should not be destroyed?"

Charles Beaumont      "I thought my comfort was of a good deal more consequence than an old Secesh barn," said Beaumont.

     This reply rather startled the General, who was a strict disciplinarian.  "Corporal, this is not a question of Secesh barn or any other barn, but a question of violating orders."  Then followed many other questions and replies, ending at last in our being told to return to our company and report to the orderly sergeant; the commissioned officers of our company being absent, I certainly thought we would be punished when Walter replied to the General, and was glad enough to escape.

     About five o'clock the next morning we went up and after several trips secured the boards, unseen by Brown, who was probably abed.

     We had lots of fun building sides on which to pitch our shelters and lots of advice.  We built the sides about four feet high and when the tent was placed on top we had a very comfortable habitation, though compared with the adjoining tents it looked like a skyscraper.  On each side running lengthwise with the tent we built a seat, which became a bed by night.  In the day-time; the seat was so comfortable that it became a loafing place for those who were tired of sitting on the ground.  Our pleasure was of short duration, for we were soon ordered away and thereafter until the battle of Manassas we were on the move and no opportunity occurred to repeat our experiment."

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Van Buren for President

Thursday, July 31.
Orders were read notifying us of the death of ex-President Van Buren. Some of us were shocked because one of the boys, an Englishman by birth, asked, “Who in h—l is Van Buren?”

The brigade was ordered out in full marching order to be inspected by General Pope.

Letter of John B. Noyes, Company B

Ms Am 2332 (66) "By permission of the Houghton Library, Harvard University."

Waterloo Va. July 31st 1862

Dear Martha
        Your letter of the 23d inst. arrived safely on the 26th.  I am glad to hear that you & Sophie enjoyed yourselves as highly about Commencement times.  Sophie is a tip top girl, easy affable & bright, one in a hundred.  Did you row yourselves at Trask Pond, with George & Martin, or have you not yet been initiated into the mysteries of boating?  You tell me that alterations have been made in Charles’s house & remark that the old dining room is now the study.  To what use is the old study put?

        Cambridge must be pretty dull now.  Are all the people off to watering places?  Are you intending to taste salt water this season?  How does Charles intend to spend his vacation?  And where?  In the country the mountains or at the seaside?

        If I should have a vacation, I doubt whether I should spend much of it in the mountains and the country. I have seen considerable of both.  Methinks that Cambridge – Trask pond would not be insipid even in a summer vacation.  Waterloo Va stands at the head of my letter, and yet there is no town or village even that I know of to justify the name.  I believe the fields round here are called Waterloo from the fact that the Waterloo Mills now burned here stood.  There are but very few houses near.  We are encamped on a hill side, with woods in the rear, and higher hills all around us.  A brook flows by the camp, a run about a quarter of a mile off.  Two or three springs also unite in giving us good water privileges.  Blackberries are scarce, and near the picket lines, and a pass, hard to be obtained, is necessary if we desire to pick them. There are no level fields near fit for a Regiment to drill in, - much less a brigade.  We have no fatiguing battalion drills, therefore, for which company drills are substituted.

Winslow Homer Illustration        Day before yesterday our Company went out on picket about half a mile from camp.  Our headquarters were at a house owned by a farmer.  He had a large family of girls of from 25 years to 5, some of them passably good looking.  He had three sons in the rebel army.  Probably one of them was either killed, wounded, or taken prisoner before Richmond, and his name given in a Phila. Enquirer which was lent them by one of our men, for after they retired there was considerable sobbing among the woman folks as if over bad news received.  Picket duty here has but few terrors.  In deed our company would like to take the duty by the job, instead of having the companies relieve each other daily.  The duty consists in carrying a gun but three hours during the twenty four.  The rest of the time you have to yourself, to be off in the shade, sit in the piazza pick berries, et cet.  The duty is actually less than that daily performed in camp, where none of the et cetera can be obtained.  Add to this that hot buiskit can be bought as many as you like, and milk at sundown.  The women have the face to charge 20 cents a quart for new milk, and ten cents for skim milk, no milk being left to skim in fact. However they do not have much milk to sell in the morning, the calves, as they say getting at the cow during the night.  By the way the cows sometimes hold their milk; one of this kind one of our boys outwitted while on guard.  He could’nt milk the beast, so he drove it into the enclosure where the calf was.  The cow not wishing to cheat the calf on one side of it was obliged to fell a quart cup on the other side – a loss of 20 cents to the F.F.V.  If high prices are asked for such cheap articles as milk it remains to confiscate the article as occasion serves. Think of $3.00 a bushel for potatoes. No wonder a farmer loses half his produce.

        Occasionally a good thing turns up in soldiering.  During the last week or two our regiment remained at Warrenton I was on Brigade Headquarter duty.   At one of the posts there it was the duty of the guard to keep all soldiers from entering an enclosure in which was a log house where a negro sick with small pox was confined.  The orders were to shoot the negro if he attempted to escape, and to allow no one to enter the enclosure.  Illustration by YostA member of my Company was on the post, at about 8 o’clock P.M. when a man came out of the enclosure hopping over the fence.  “Who comes there” shouted the sentinel.  No response.  “Halt.”   The man continued on his way.  “Why don’t you halt?”  You’d better halt I tell you" followed in quick succession.  Still the man pursued his journey. If you don’t halt I’ll fire at you continued the guard snapping his unloaded and capless piece to suit the word.  Once, twice, thrice, the hammer fell upon the nipple but still the mysterious visitor Kept on his way.  Frantically rushing before his adversary he placed himself in the position of charge bayonet and ejaculated “halt”!  The bayonet effectually prevented the further progress of the man and he was accordingly prepared to answer the question of the sentinel which immediately followed. “Are you a white man, or a black man ?!”   "A white man and a member of the N.Y. 9th - - -"  replied the now aroused unknown.  Passing the sentinel at another post the 9th boy enquired if the guard at Post 4 was insane or not.  One would have thought that both challenger and challenged were insane; but whether this be so or not, the story is too good to be lost.

        Gen’l Pope has taken the field, but whether we shall see the enemy the quicker for that remains to be seen.  I have hope that Pope will do something, but we want no such botched conquests as that of the South West.  I don’t Know but that Pope now might be better employed in protecting Missouri or Kentucky from the inroads of the armies which he dispersed but could not annihilate.  There is a great cry in the army for more men.  Unless they are furnished, and that too, quickly, we might so well let the South have its own way.  If recruiting is slow, immediate resort should be had to a draft.  When will the government learn to put forth its strength in crushing the rebellion?  What benefit is it to us to be four times as strong as the South if we put forth but one fourth our strength?  We only impoverish and depopulate the South; we prolong a cruel war to the great detriment of agriculture, and commerce, and civilization. 

     To day tribute is paid to the memory of Van Buren by order of the President.  Thirteen guns were fired at Sunrise, one gun is fired at each half hour, and thirty Four guns will be fired at Sun-set. We were inspected and received by the Col. at 7 o clock.  At ten the regimental line was formed and prayer offered by the chaplain. The regiment then marched round the camp with reversed arms.  For six months the officers will wear crape and the flag be draped in morning.  Unless our armies are increased faster than at present there will be more need of the crape at home.  Mourning for dead sages will not revivify our nation, it is action in the living present which is needed.  Have you seen Frank Stimpson yet”   Has he left Cambridge for Fort Preble, or is he resting for a time at his father’s house?  Fitzgerald sends his regards.  Hoping soon to hear from the news that Stephen is making a visit to Cambridge, and wishing you all manner of good times this hot weather, and with much love to all and several the members of the two families & with regards to whoever enquires after me,  I am as ever

Your Aff. Brother
John B. Noyes.

        You speak about certain coins.  Keep the 1798, 1802 and 1817 and the rest if good specimens. All the old cents by which I mean those older than 1815, and excellent copies of the later ones are desirable.

        Among the articles I sent home were two or three coppers.  See that they are not lost, as the two copies of 1838 or 1839 are in splendid condition.  They were bright, just out of a Winchester bank when they were given me in change.  When you see a cent not much rubbed, older than 1840, or in perfect condition, Keep it.  They are very scarce and add much to the beauty of a collection.  I will endeavor to get a one cent stamp for you when I get into some sesesh town.  Is there any thing new from Lowell?  I mean of the condition of my classmates. Death has made sad inroads into our ranks in the short space of one year.


Letter of Dennis G. Walker, Co. A

     Dennis G. Walker of Company A, would play a key role in a famous incident during the war on May 8th 1864 at Spotsylvania.  Sam Webster describes the incident:  "As a shell passed Walker, who carried the National Color, he said to Joe Keating, who carried the State flag, "That fellow means me."  The next shell cut the staff at the lower fastening of the silk, caught the upper part of hs knapsack and carried it some rods, spilling its contents along its route, and knocking its owner some feet.  I helped dress his shoulder which was awfully bruised."  The shattered flag staff of the 13th Mass was later seized by General G. K. Warren to ralley some Maryland troops when the Confederates repulsed the Union attack.

   Walker's descendant, David Walker, sent me transcriptions of Dennis G. Walker's letters.  Walker, who would become known for his plain talk, (if not his spelling) complains about the leadership in the Union Army, the need for more soldiers, and the hardships of a private soldier's life, in essence, he grumbles like a true soldier.

Waterlew, VA
Near Warrenton
July 31 1862

Dear Father,

     I hav got seated at last to write yo a few lines to let yo no that I am in the Best of health, and I hope when theas few lines Reaches yo thay will find yo and the rest enjoyn the Same good gift.  Yo may hav for gotten me, or at least think that I have forgotten yo.  But it is far from bein so with me.  I hav often thought of yo and thought of writing to yo.  But I have Pute it of from time to time until no, I have Never Heard from yo  But once I think Since I last Saw yo, but I have had a plenty of time to write sinc I have Ben in this Army, and it is mi own neglect that I hav not written to yo Be fore this.  I suppose yo hav heard By the way of others all a bout Soldiering.  I can only Say that I hav learned manny long lessons sinc I last saw yo.  I enlisted April the 19 1861, and I hav don nothing But Play and act Soldier sinc, and thair is not much Prospect of my doing much else for a long time to com yet.  I have traveled over a great Part of the State of Meriland, and then crossed the Pertomack River in to V.A.  I crost the River the last time on the 28 of Feb last we hav Ben on the move ever sinc.  We hav traveled many milds sinc we came in to this State and a complished near Nothing.  So far we hav lost Near 300 men by sickness But I hav hed the Best of health I hav not Ben Sick a day yet.  But I am tired and sick of this war, or the way that it has Ben carried on, and thair is not a soldier in the whole army But what is sick

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     if we had a few mor men like N.P. Bankes, Gen Butler + Mclellan this thing would Be settled up shortly.  Thair is But a few men living that hav gut the lov for thair country that Mclellan and Banks hav gut thair is kno two men that would of stood what they hav, and when this war is ended thay will Bring a great many things to light that the Publick little thinks of now, we chal no then who ower traitors ar, com to take traitors Politicians Speculators and Nigers and Niger Simperthisers and a fewe Maj Gen trying to get a bove the other and all working a gainst each other, their can not Be much union fealing in a crowd like this and that is just such a croud as we hav hed for leading men. Thay ar a union as far as prolonging the war and make all that thay can out of it  Theas are the leading men, Speculating on a Poor Soldier after he sholders his musket and goes in to the field to Restore union and Peace. Thay take this time to speculating on him be caus he can not help himself.  Theas Same [unintelligible] that I speak of Pretend to Be ower strong Petteratick men.

     Now coming down to Regimental and company officers, thay are all after money, money gets them the office, a Private in the rank is not surprised to kno when he is hungry, a soldiers lif is wors then a dogs he is not supposed to kno anny thing or even say anny thing he is thought Nothing of

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     A Soldier is mad as uncomfortabl as Posible out hear and a sick man has kno Buisness out hear for he is of kno a count.  But Now we ar under Gen popes command and thair has Ben a great many new orders and Plans gut out lately.  I hope this war will be caried on on a difrent Princepale from what is has Ben, we hav always guarded [illegible] Property until with in a few day.  Now we do not guard them.  I suppose yo hav sean the New orders, they ar already in force hear and I hope that they will be caried out as they ar started.  whair is all of them Patteratick men that wanted to go down South a year a go and great many other that sayd thay would go when thay was wanted.  thay ar wanted Now.  Recruiting Poster, Army or Navywe or the country will Never will want them moor if thay do not feal like coming what do thay think of the soldiers that hav Ben in the field one year and over, it hed not aught to Be the soldiers that feals Patteratick But the ones at home that was ready to com one year a go, and som of them that was growling last winter be caus this war did not move faster nough for them them are the men that we want to sea out hear.  Now is the time for them to com and mov this thing faster.  Ar

thay coming, or ar thay goin to Canada and leav thair homes, and relations in the field to fight an over whelming force.  if so they ar not men But cowards they can not Be hired to fight can thay.  I would not [missing word] much for a Boughten man.  I say let som of them merchants shoulder a musket or ar their life sweeter than owers I think that thay hav something to fight for as well as a Poor man that has nothing.  hav thay kno lov for thair country if knot thay ar not much Better then the Rebels.  I can not Blame men for not enlisting the way this thing has Ben conducted.  But it must Be caried on differently now.  I hav sayd and thought when men would not volintear to com out hear to let the South go.  But the Ball is roling.  I say keep it a goin.  Now it is started, If men wil not volintear I say draft 600,000 thousan in stid of three and crush this Rebelion, the troops now in the field ar not ancious for a fight for thay have sean the efects of it.  But thay ar ready to face the Battle field and meet the fo and fight the Battle if needed if a few men will only com leav thair home for a little while and Back then.  I thank god that I am not a cowerd.  I sayd when I left Boston that if we did not com hom vicorys, I hoped that I should not com at tall.  I hed just as [unintelligible] die out hear as as to Be defeated, my life in kno Better then anny one elses, But just as good if my Boddy is left on the Battle field it will not Be left a mong cowards.  we hav gut to hav som hard fighting and that Pretty soon to, But that is what I enlisted for, I will cut this short as I suppose yo will get tired of reading, I must write a little moor and then I will close.

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Let us hope for the Best and tak what comes.  I hav often wished this war would com to a close But I want to se it close right if it is a possible thing. the president will soon call for more men and thay must com.  I thought of this som time a go.  But perhaps yo will not like to hear anny more a bout war so I will cut short and draw to a close.  Pleas write when yo can find time and write all of the News. Give my respects to all.  with my lov and Best respect to yo and the res of the family.  I remain as ever your well wishing Son


Monday, August 4.
     At 5.30 A.M. we left our pleasant and healthy camp at Waterloo and marched towards Culpeper, eleven miles. The roads were dusty and the temperature of the air, as well as our language, was very high.  We had been very comfortably situated, with an abundance of cherries, good water, and enough to eat.  Nothing better could be got by moving, so we preferred to stay.

Tuesday, August 5.
     Marched at 5 A.M. Having padded off twelve miles we went into camp within sight of Culpeper Court House, and in close proximity to a large number of troops.

Friday, August 8.
     In the afternoon sudden orders were received to move, and after marching about four miles beyond Culpeper, we halted for the night near Pony Mountain.  An order was received that no horses be allowed, except to those men mounted by law. Perhaps the Government thought we were keeping private saddle-horses.

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The Battle of Cedar Mountain;  August 9th 1862

Battlemap of Cedar Mtn.

A Short Summary of the Battle by Brad Forbush.

Confederate General Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson marched his army north on an oppressively hot day, toward Culpeper, to strike at Union General N. P. Banks corps before the rest of Maj-Gen. John Pope’s army could concentrate there.  About noon the vanguard of Jackson’s army found the Culpeper Road, near Cedar Run, blocked by Union Cavalry and artillery.  The Confederates brought up their guns and cleared a regiment of Union Cavalry from their front about 2 p.m.  Both sides brought up their infantry and formed battle lines.  A  two hour heated artillery duel started about 3:30 p.m.  Confederate division commander General Charles S. Winder, was more involved in directing artillery fire than attending to his infantry placements, when he was struck by a passing shell towards the end of the artillery duel.  It was a little after 5 p.m. and General Banks’ launched two strong attacks against the Confederate line; one on the center, and one on the left.

     Two Brigadier Generals in Christopher Auger’s division,  John W. Geary, and Henry Prince, attacked the center and right of the Confederate line commanded by Brig. Gen. Jubal Early.   The Federals pressed hard but Gen. Early was able to hold his line.  "Stonewall" sent a courier to hurry along General A.P. Hill’s division which was still on the Culpeper road, in reserve. General Edward L. Thomas's brigade of Hill's division, arrived in time to shore up the right of the Confederate line.

     Over on the Confederate left, at about 5:45 p.m., Bridgadier General Samuel W. Crawford’s brigade attacked General Sidney Winder's weak line, now commanded by Brigadier General William Taliaferro.  This part of the Confederate line ended in a piece of woods with an exposed left flank.  There was a gap in the line and Crawford's attack broke through it.  The Yankees came out of the woods in the rear of two Virginia Regiments positioned on the Culpeper Road facing east.  Deadly fire into the backs of the Confederates reaped heavy casualties.  A brief & vicious hand to hand combat followed before this part of the Confederate line collapsed.  In the fury of the moment Crawford's men rushed on toward the batteries on the Confederate left.   Confederate Artillery on the left of Crittenden lane was withdrawn.    Crawford's flanking Federals were in perfect position to send an enfilading fire down Taliaferro's line which swept away two 'green' regiments from Alabama.  This part of the Rebel line collapsed and threatened General Early's line in the center.  At this crucial moment, General Jackson, who was observing the battle, rode to that part of the field to rally his troops.  He sword was rusted in its scabbard, so he raised the scabbard, sword and all, over his head.  The gesture worked, and the inspired soldiers of the ‘Stonewall Brigade’ counter-attacked the over-extended Federal forces.  The arrival on the field of A.P. Hill’s Confederate division gave the advantage to Jackson.

Jackson's Counter Charge by Edwin Forbes

Edwin Forbes Illustration depicts the General Jackson's counter-charge against Union attackers on the left of the Confederate line.

     On the Confederate left, Federals reformed their attack force and repulsed the charge of the Stonewall Brigade, but Gen. A. P. Hill’s reinforcements arrived and ran them off.  Special mention should be made of the 10th Maine Regiment.  

     This regiment was part of Crawford's brigade, but it had been held back protecting a battery when Crawford's other 3 regiments attacked.  Orders arrived late for the 10th Maine to advance.  They advanced to the center of a wheatfield on the Confederate left just as the Union attack began to falter.  A Major on General Banks staff ordered the regiment to make a stand in the wheatfield, while retreating Union forces were telling the Maine men, the Confederates were to numerous.  Consequently the 10th Maine faced roughly 10 advancing Confederate regiments alone.  The Confederate troops were A.P. Hill's re-enforcements.  Now,  Jackson’s army outnumbered Banks’ army by 2 to 1.  What was left of the10th Maine retired just as the 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry dashed up Culpeper Road in  a daring charge on the Confederates.   General Banks sent the Cavalry forward thinking one of his batteries was threatened by enemy troops.   The Cavalry charge was a disaster.  Only 71 of 174 troopers returned from the clash.  With dark coming on, Gen. Banks’ overwhelmed troops withdrew on every front.   Jackson’s newly re-enforced line followed the retreating Yankees over the battleground.

    At night, Jackson organized a pursuit of Banks retreating army.  A couple of artillery duels took place during the pursuit – one of them lasting an hour.  The heavy artillery resistance and word that reinforcements were coming to join Banks made Jackson call off his pursuit.  His exhausted men fell back and re-organized their line.

     Casualties were high on both sides.  The Federal army lost 320 men killed with 1,446 wounded and 617 men captured or missing.   Jackson lost 314 killed and 1,060 wounded and 42 missing.*

*Stonewall Jackson at Cedar Mountain" by Robert K. Krick.  For this book author Krick carefully re-considered the traditional tally of Confederate casualties by examining each regiment engaged.  His research increased the number of Confederate casualties by about 150.  He suggests a careful consideration of Union casualties would increase their number proportionately, and that the standard ratio of about 2 to 1 must remain the standard.

Sources: National Park Service battle description;; “Battle of Cedar Mountain;”; “Battle of Cedar Mountain.”  James I. Robertson, Jr.; "Stonewall Jackson, The Man, The Soldier, The Legend;" Robert K. Krick, "Stonewall Jackson at Cedar  Mountain."

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The 13th Mass., at Cedar Mountain

As soon as General Pope heard the general engagement of infantry begin, he ordered General McDowell's Corps to advance to the battlefield.  Pope then rode ahead to survey the fight.

Cedar Mountain Battlefield

Photo: Looking East Across the Confederate Battle Line at Cedar Mountain.   The Confederate line was placed diagonally from this point back to the Crittenden Farm Lane, which ran from the tree line on the right of the photo towards Cedar Mountain in the distant center.  The small knoll, also called "The Cedars" in some accounts, where other Confederate artillery was posted, is in the bright green winter wheat field seen in the distance before Cedar Mountain.  The "Shelf of Cedar Mountain," where additional Confederate artillery under General Ewell was positioned, is in the dark green stand of trees on the lower slopes of Cedar Mountain. (photo by Craig Swain;  visit; for a virtual tour of the battlefield).

From "Three Years In The Army:"

Saturday August 9.
     At daylight the army marched a few miles and halted, while General Banks; corps continued on and became engaged in the battle known as Cedar Mountain.  During the day we several times changed our position, short distances, in hourly expectation of taking part in the battle which we knew, by the sound, was going on.  Late in the afternoon we were ordered forward to take our place in line of battle, first leaving our knapsacks.

 sketch of Cedar Mountain by Edwin Forbes    

Edwin Forbes sketch is titled "Night at the Hospitals  Arrival of General McDowell's Corps."

     By the time we reached the front it was nearly dark and the fight had ceased. While we were halted, waiting for orders for the night, General Caroll’s brigade came marching along headed by a fife and drum corps playing “Dixie” loud enough to wake the dead.  They had scarcely reached our line when the enemy’s artillery, from an elevated position, filled the air with exploding shells, whereupon they turned and fled to the rear, helter-skelter, with an alacrity that was laughable considering the boldness of their advance, while the enemy, anticipating what would happen upon a sudden attack like this, attempted to follow up the advantage.  It was a critical moment; a panic might ensue unless prompt and vigorous measures were taken to prevent it. General Hartsuff disposed his brigade at once. His prompt action and his experience as an artillerist, in moving his brigade from point to point out of range of the enemy’s guns, saved it from the loss which might easily have occurred under an officer with less practical appreciation of the situation.  Edwin Forbes sketch of Knapp's PA BatteryShortly afterward we were led along the base of the hill to the right, hugging the ground while the enemy’s artillery fired over our heads into the woods at our rear until after midnight, during which time our artillery returned the fire with equal vigor.  It was a grand sight to watch the burning fuses of the shells as they hissed through the air, while we laid flat on the ground, safely ensconced, until morning.  At daylight a flag of truce was received from Jackson asking for a cessation of hostilities to enable him to bury his dead, which was granted.  Instead of attending to this sacred duty, set forth in his request, he obeyed the injunction contained in the Holy Scriptures, which says, “Let the dead bury their dead.”  In other words, he took advantage of the armistice, and with his army slipped quietly away.  (Pictured, Edwin Forbes sketch of Knapp's Pensylvania Battery in action at Cedar Mountain).

     When daylight appeared, we found ourselves near a cornfield, and taking advantage of the occasion, we gathered the ripening ears and proceeded, without let or hindrance, to roast them, and considering the shortness of rations this was a big streak of luck.

Colonel Samuel H. Leonard        We were very fortunate on this occasion, as the Thirteenth was the only regiment in the brigade that suffered no loss.  Persons unfamiliar with such matters, commonly estimate the value of a regiment’s service by its number of killed and wounded.  This is not a safe guide, as it frequently happens that the commanding officer of a regiment can save his men by coolness and good judgment.  The regiment that can do the most execution with the smallest loss, is certainly the one that serves the county best.  An instance happened with us at this time which, though seemingly insignificant, illustrates this idea very well.  When we received orders to change position to the right, the brigade had its bayonets “fixed.”  The moon happened to be in a cloud when the movement was begun, and, as it was important that it be made with all possible secrecy to the enemy, our colonel gave the order to “trail arms!”  which order had the effect of concealing the bayonets from view as the moon became unobscured.  The position of the other regiments was discovered when the rays of the moon flashed on their bayonets, thereby drawing the enemy’s fire.  Whether or not this accounts for our good fortune, the thoughtfulness exhibited by the colonel on this occasion has often been spoken of in terms of praise.  There are plenty of instances during the war when the rashness of officers has cost the lives of many men.  Colonel Samuel H. Leonard; pictured above, Carlisle Army Heritage Education Center;  Massacusetts MOLLUS Collection.

General Hartsuff’s report of his part in the battle of Cedar Mountain is as follows:

      I first took position in close column by division about two hundred and fifty yards in the rear of the centre of General Tower’s line, and when the fire of the enemy’s battery was directed toward my position, I moved my brigade a few yards beyond the crest of a hill, which sheltered them from the fire, and changed my direction so as to face the fire. In this position I remained until 3:30 A.M., when, by General McDowell’s directions, I moved about half a mile to the rear.  Officers and men behaved under the unexpected and close fire with very commendable coolness; ranks were unbroken, and there was no confusion

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Austin Stearns Tours the Battlefield

From Three Years with Company K; by Sergeant Austin C. Stearns, deceased.  Edited by Arthur Kent; Fairleigh-Dickinson Press;  p.88-90; used with permission.     (I have removed a few paragraphs from this narration).
       We lay in line of battle till into the afternoon, when having heard of Stonewall’s retreat, we went back and brought our knapsacks up and pitched a camp about a mile away from the battlefield.

     The next day, with Henry Gassett, without leave, we stole over to view the field, for we had a great curiosity to see how a battlefield would look.  Details of men were there burying the dead; in the center of one field was a long trench filled with Union dead; in a stubble field we saw several bodies that were still unburied.  At first I thought them Colored, they were so black and swolen, and I wondered how Negros should be wearing the blue coat of a soldier, but I soon discovered my mistake; the stench of the bodies were fearful.

     Farther on we saw where the rebel’s had buried quite a number of their dead, and not buried either, for they were laid on the top of the ground with some dirt hastily thrown over them; here an arm, there a knee; and then a foot protruded from the ground to tell of the ghastly sight beneath that only awaited the first rain to be revealed.

Timothy Sullivan Photo of Dead Horses at Cedar Mt

     On our way back we passed the place where the battery was planted that first night and opened fire upon us so heavily.  We talked with a few captured rebs and they told us that in that Artilery fight the Cap’t was killed and some twenty five or thirty men killed and wounded, and that so many of his horses were killed or disabled that the infantry were called upon to help draw off his guns.  Be this as it may, I counted ten dead horses all within a few feet of where the battery stood, and saw several more that were badly wounded.

     Mike O’Loughlin of our K company, who was out, told me that he was standing looking at some rebs when one of them says “Hello Mike what brought you hear?”, and going up to them he found an old acquaintance, one he used to work with in the coal mines of Penn.  Together they sat down on a log and each tried to convince the other that his side was right.  After an hour of pleasant conversation they separated and each went to his command; he belonged to a New Orleans regiment.  As we were not actively engaged, there was no casualties in our regiment. 

The Joint Stock Frying Pan Company

    People long before me, have chronicled interesting tales of the Civil War and pubilished them in anthologies.  This story from the '13th Mass'  is one that is often included.

From "Three Years In The Army" by Charles E. Davis, Jr.

     The last place to look for a stock company would be among a regiment of soldiers.  After being deprived of camp kettles, mess pans, etc., each man was obliged to do his own cooking, as already stated, in his tin dipper, which held about a pint.  Whether it was coffee, beans, pork, or anything depending on the services of a fire to make it palatable, it was accomplished by aid of the dipper only.  Therefore any utensil like a frying-pan was of incalculable service in preparing a meal.  There were so few of these in the regiment, that only men of large means, men who could raise a dollar thirty days after a paymaster's visit, could afford such a luxury.  In one instance the difficulty was overcome by the formation of a joint-stock company, composed of five stockholders, each paying the sum of twenty cents toward the purchase of a frying-pan, which cost the sum of one dollar. The par value of each share was therefore twenty cents.  It was understood that each stockholder should take his turn at carrying the frying-pan when on a march, which responsibility entitled him to its first use in halting for the night.  While in camp, it passed from one to the other each day in order of turn.  It was frequently loaned for a consideration, thereby affording means for an occasional dividend among the stockholders.  The stock advanced in value until it reached as high as forty cents per share, so that a stockholder in the "Joint Stock Frying Pan Company" was looked upon as a man of consequence.  Being treated with kindness and civility by his comrades, life assumed a roseate hue to the shareholders in this great company, in spite of their deprivations.  It was flattering to hear one's self mentioned in terms of praise by some impecunious comrade who wished to occupy one side of it while you were cooking.  On this particular morning, when we started out, expecting shortly to be in a fight, the stock went rapidly down, until it could be bought for almost nothing.  As the day progresed, however, there was a slight rise, though the market was not strong.  When the order was given to leave knapsacks, it necessarily included this utensil, and so the "Joint Stock Frying Pan Company" was wiped out.

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Letter of  Warren H. Freeman

IN CAMP NEAR CUPEPER, VA., August 11, 1862.

     I improve this opportunity to let you know that I am alive and well. We left Waterloo Tuesday, August 5th.  At three o’clock the reveille was beat, and at five the march began.  At four P.M. we reached the Rappahannock, thirteen miles, and halted fort the night. It was terrible hot.  I thought I should melt down.  And the dust was almost suffocating.  Some of the men fell down in the road perfectly exhausted, and men were left by the way-side, to follow on when their strength would permit.  After cooling off, some of us took a bath in the river and felt much refreshed.  Took an early start next morning and marched seven miles, to Culpepper; passed through the town and about two miles beyond, where we encamped. Culpepper is quite a pretty place, about as large as Warrenton.  On Friday we started again but halted in the road most all day, where we drew rations. The rebel army under Stonewall Jackson, supposed to number 10,000 men, were entrenched on Cedar Mountain, about two miles in front of us, and General Banks was ordered to attack him; and the battle with artillery was going on.  But at about four ‘clock the infantry fight began, and was very heavy for some time; and as far as I can learn, we got the worst of it.  But then the rebels had the advantage in position and number of men.

     At about six o’clock we were ordered forward.  We left our knapsacks in a cornfield by the road-side, with two men detailed from each company to guard them.  When we reached the battle-ground the fight was about over.  We halted in a large open field for about an hour, where we were ordered to advance again. Soon after stating, the rebels opened on us with artillery from a battery in the woods.  We advanced toward the woods a short distance, then filed to the right, and took up the double-quick right by the battery.  We received a volley of musketry as we went by, but the shots were rather wild, for it did not do much execution. We now got a position on the side of a hill, and the rebels shelled away at us, but without much effect.  Our general, Hartsuff, is an old artillery officer, and has smelt powder before to-day.  He seemed to understand just how to handle his brigade; for as soon as the enemy got us in range of his guns he knew how to change our position for one of greater safety.  We had but one battery in position, and the rebels were silenced after a fight of about two hours. They were so close at one time the the voice of the officers could be heard while giving orders. When w passed the rebel battery we were within 200 yards of it.  We had about a dozen killed and wounded in our brigade.

     I have just come from where the rebel batteries were stationed.  They left two officers and seven horses just where they fell. They are bringing in the killed and wounded now.  I should judge, from what I have seen, that our loss is about 600 men.  The rebels are on a mountain about two miles from here. I saw a portion of their army drawn up in line this morning.  We are expecting another battle to-day or to-morrow. 

     As we have letter-writers for the press in camp, you will get all details of the battle through the newspapers; and as I hear them singing out after “letters fro the mail,” I must draw to a close.

     I saw the Webb boys before the fight commenced, but have not heard from them since. The Maine Tenth suffered severely.

     From you affectionate son,


The Cambridge Chronicle

John B. Noyes' Letter to his hometown Newspaper, 'The Cambridge Chronicle' describes the Battle of Cedar Mountain.
Ms Am 2332 (71) Houghton Library, Harvard University.  

     Noyes mentions the heavy loss of the 2d Mass. Vols of Gordon's brigade.  Two regiments of the brigade broke under a deadly fire received on their right flank and rear from advancing Confederates at the end of the days engagement.  The 2nd Mass. was more resolute and made a stand as the 'last organized Federal Regiment on the field."  They suffered terrible loss as a result.  [They were posted near where Gen. Crawford launched his attack, only later.]  (Quote from Robt.K. Krick's "Stonewall at Cedar Mountain").

Camp Thirteenth Regt. M.V. Near Roberson’s River, Culpepper Co. Va., Aug. 17, 1862.

     Mr. Editor. – Perhaps the readers of the Chronicle would like to receive an account of some of the particulars of the late great battle of Cedar Mountain, from a Cambridge volunteer who was in the fight.

     On Saturday morning August 9th, about four, A.M. Ricketts’ division of McDowell’s corps consisting of Generals Tower’s. Hartsuff;s, and Carroll’s brigades ??? about three miles outside the town of Culpepper, to take their line of march towards the Rapidan. After advancing about two miles, the division halted in the road and stacked arms. Here it remained till after five o’clock in the afternoon. During the morning, two days rations were drawn and distributed among the men, who immediately built fires and set about cooking their dinners not knowing how long it might be before they should be obliged to resling their knapsacks and march forward.

     The delay in Ricketts’ division was caused by Banks’ corps, which had marched out of Culpepper by another road, filling up the road ahead. All day long the infantry, cavalry, and artillery, with the immense train of baggage wagons filed along the road. For the first time since we were at Winchester, we shook hands with our friends of the Second Massachusetts and bid them God speed. How we envied this regiment, because its knapsacks were carried, while we were oblige to toil along with our possessions on our backs !  The whole of Banks’ corps had not passed by, when heavy cannonading was heard a few miles distant. Still we remained near our stacks, wondering why we were not ordered to advance.  Heavier and quicker, we thought nearer came the din of battle, the sharp crack of musketry being clearly distinguished from the louder thunder of canon.

     At last, orders were received for Ricketts’ division to advance.  Leaving our knapsacks in a corn field, near the battle field we marched along the road, which was already lined with wagons, with their horses heads turned towards Culpepper, ready to move at any moment. As we turned off the main road into a by-road heading to the leading scene of action, Gens. Pope and McDowell and staffs rode by us, amid the cheers of the men.  It was now about seven o’clock. As we kept on our way, stragglers from the battle-field became more and more frequent, till we began to thing that we would take all our men to fill their places.  A few wounded men helped to swell the number, but most of them were unhurt, with arms in their hands.  “All cut up,”  “You are wanted bad enough,” “Union ahead,”  “Cut to pieces,” was all that these stragglers had time to say to our serious questionings about the battle. Not at all dismayed by the dismal cheer of these skedaddlers, who at least, we know were not “all cut up,” we marched ahead and at last halted in an open field, near the road – that is, Hartsuff’s brigade , consisting of the Ninth N.Y., Twelfth and Thirteenth Massachusetts, and the Eleventh Pennsylvania, for Tower’s brigade had preceded us onto the field and were not in sight. The Eleventh Pennsylvania was on the right.  Then came the Twelfth and Thirteenth Massachusetts- last of all the Ninth New York. We had remained nearly an hour by our stacks, many of the men filling their canteens with water at a spring near by, when Carroll’s brigade came up, their unique drum corps playing “Dixie.”

     Suddenly the order was given to fall in and we had hardly found our places when a battery from the enemy opened upon us at short range. The shells whizzed uncomfortably near our heads as we formed a square around one of our batteries.  Most of these, shells passed to the left of us, and fell among the baggage wagons, causing a panic which ended in a “Skedaddle.”  A member of the New York Ninth, however, was killed by the bursting of one of the shells. The New York Ninth passing off to the left, the Thirteenth Massachusetts reduced square and filed off by the flank towards the woods in front of the battery, the Twelfth Massachusetts coming up close behind.  At that moment a regiment of infantry supporting the rebel battery, afterwards ascertained to be the Forty-Seventh Alabama opened upon us from its concealed position in the woods. We had not been too well satisfied with the shells, which we were in part able to dodge, by stooping as they came by, but the little leaden messengers were worse still, and with no attempt to elude them we filed off to the right at the double-quick, and were soon formed into columns of division at half distance, facing the enemy, awaiting orders. The Twelfth Massachusetts passing over our ground, a little to the left, suffered the full force of the enemy’s fire.”  It appeared to halt, and in a moment a sheet of fire came from a portion of its line, succeeded by an occasional  flash along the line. It is said that this volley of the Twelfth, fired without orders – Lieut. Co. Bryan having been thrown from his horse a few moments before, and temporarily hors du combat – saved Gen. Pope and staff from being taken prisoners.  However that may be Capt. Scott of Gen. Gordon’s staff, assured me that he had a very narrow escape at that time, the enemy’s bullets having struck several of the horses of his party.  He was returning from the battle field of his brigade and had missed his way.

     The Thirteenth had scarcely escaped the Scylla of the enemy’s infantry, when its artillery opened upon us at less than a hundred yards, from a little knoll. Gen. Hartsuff riding up, ordered us to change front, and we moved to a safe position, a few rods distant, where we stacked arms and ad halted.  So close upon us was the enemy’s fire we at first thought that the battery belonged to our side, and our escape from its fire, [as we] double-quicked past it, at within less than sixty yards, seems almost miraculous.  The Shells went over our heads and fell into the woods beyond, where doubtless the enemy thought we had repaired.  We were quickly undeceived as to the character of the battery so near our position, by the return fire from Thompson’s and Hall’s batteries, to the support of which the Ninth New York and Twelfth Massachusetts had been sent. Terrific became the cannonading, scarcely a second elapsing between the reports of the guns. Now three or four guns thundered at the same moment, and now in quick succession came the reports at regular intervals. For over an hour this terrible cannonading continued, we lying down looking at the flashes of the guns and perhaps falling asleep, amid the tremendous hubbub.  The din became still more furious as a light, as if of a destroyed caisson, shot up by the enemy’s position. The deafening clamor at last ceased, and we fell asleep by our stacks. So ended the conflict.

     At three, A.M., we fell back from the open ground we had occupied during the night, and passing trough the woods stacked arms in a corn-field and proceeded to cook our coffee for breakfast.  Lines of battle were formed at about eight o’clock, and our line filed into the woods to escape the hot rays of the August sun. The battle was not renewed.

Capt. Nathaniel Shurtleff, 12th Mass     The loss in our brigade was trifling & one or two in the New York Ninth, and about a dozen wounded in the Twelfth Mass., besides’ Capt. Shurtleff killed. The Eleventh Pennsylvania and Thirteenth Massachusetts escaped unscathed.

     Notwithstanding this small loss of life it cannot be doubted that our brigade was of great service to our side.  It protected the rear of Banks’ division, and checked the progress of the rebels who had advanced nearly a mile beyond the battle-field of Banks division, doubtless with the expectations of capturing our wagon train and completely routing our forces.  The vigorous fire of our batteries under the immediate supervision of Gen. Hartsuff, an old artillery officer, dealt death and destruction among the rebel ranks and prevented their bringing on a general engagement during the night. The rebel battery fired wild, and from it we experienced no harm. On the contrary, our batteries were handled in the most masterly manner, finally silencing the rebel fire. (photo AHEC, Mass. MOLLUS Collection; Carlisle)

     The next morning, eleven dead horses strewed the field on which the rebel battery was posted. So many I myself counted, and nine more were said to lie in the woods a few rods off.  Indeed the rebels, during the armistice of Sunday, spoke admiringly of the management of our guns, confessing to a loss of over eighty in dead alone.  This loss probably included that of the supporting infantry, but the loss in artillerymen must have been great, so thickly lay the carcasses of horses.

     It may be inferred from what has been said that the battle of Cedar Mountain was a drawn battle, the rebels in the afternoon gaining ground, but in the evening being driven from their advance position by our artillery fire.  They held the battle field of Banks’ division, and had rifled the bodies of our dead and piled up the arms for removal before the armistice was granted on Monday for the purpose of burying the dead.  Most of the rebels’ dead had been carried away, but a number were still left unburied. The caps, pants,? shoes, and coats of our soldiers and officers had been carried off when good for anything, and the bodies completely rifled of every valuable.

     Our loss was terrible, regiment after regiment having been fearfully decimated, Six captains out of seven that went upon the field with the Second Massachusetts, were left there, together with the major, and it appears that the Second Massachusetts suffered no more than several other regiments I could mention.  The rebels, however, must have suffered severely, as they retreated during Monday to the Rapidan.

     On Wednesday last I went over the field of battle viewing the different positions taken by the two forces. Nearly all the dead in the immediate vicinity of the battle-field had then been buried, but the nauseating carcasses of the horses gave the field an unpleasant appearance.  On the right was the wheat-field, with woods in the rear separated by a rail fence, where Gordon’s brigade was posted and where it met with its most severe loss. Here were many graves, and a trench containing many dead bodies. To the left was a corn-field, the corn trampled down and withered where the Pennsylvania cavalry charged upon rebel batteries into the woods, and where Crawford’s brigade, three times driven back by leaden hail, left most of its dead. In front was the woods in which the rebels fired upon our men behind the fence which separated their ground from ours.  Ruined cartridge boxes, belts, bayonet sheaths, caps, shirts, empty knapsacks, shoes, and heavy grey rebel coats, were strown around – evidences of the late battle.  This was the last scene of all, before the field strewed with the dead and wounded, before that the furious din of battle, succeeding the marching upon the field to the gay strains of martial music.


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Page Updated  May 16, 2010.