Biography

Jarusha French (7) {Calvin (6), Josiah (5), Josiah (4), Jonathan (3), Joseph (2), Richard (1)}, was born in Proctorsville, Vt. 16 Sept., 1843. She was known by her family as "Rusha". She was married at Cavendish, (by her father, Judge Calvin French), 26 Jan., 1870, Hezron George Day of Plymouth, Vt. (b. Plymouth, 4 June, 1841, son of George Washington & Sarah Anna (Sargeant) Day).

To Jarusha----My Daughter---- on her Wedding Departure From Her Beloved Home (from Father, Calvin French) Do they miss me at home? I am wont to inquire When assembled all quiet, Around the hearth fire; In their nice Rocking chars, Dear Father and Mother, By the organ and gate, Beloved Sister and Brother.

Each morning, each evening; In sunshine or showers, I Fancy each dear one, Recall the sweet hours; Of Infancy's foibles, of childhood pursuits, Of maidenhood's employments, The soldiers brave looks; Of the last one in battle; His country to save; Of the terrible anguish, To know not his grave; All this and far more, Than my pen can impact By the Love ones at home, Is enshrined in my heart.

Hezron Day was a Civil War soldier. He had volunteered for service at Plymouth, Vt., and was mustered into the 16th Regiment, Company "C", 1st Vt. Volunteers of the Grand Army of the Republic on 29 August, 1862. The men of this company were all local friends and acquaintances with 102 of them signing up about the same time. They were mustered into action exactly two months later on 29 Oct., 1862. They fought bravely at the Battle of Gettysburg-- one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Hezron made it through and served about a year-- which was his enlistment period, and was mustered out of service with a majority of his company on the 10th of August, 1863. He wrote a letter to his mother every week in fulfillment of a promise he made to her before he left Plymouth. Many of the letters were written in pencil as he used the bottom of a barrel as a table while stationed in the field. At times he used ink he and his friends had concocted from a wild berry they found in the Virginia woods. He speaks in the letters of all the happenings and maneuvers of this company-- the day to day struggle to make it through the war and fight the battles necessary to win the peace. His letters are extraordinary candid. The story they tell is the account of all the young Vermont boys of Weston, Ludlow, Cavendish, Plymouth, and Andover, who joined up in the same group together and experienced the same hardships.

Jarusha attended the District school in Proctorsville and was such a studious young scholar she was able to teach her Proctorsville district school by the time she was 16 years old. She also taught at various times the district schools of Cavendish, Springfield, Ludlow, and Chester in Windsor County, and Athens (Windham County) Vermont. During the year of 1867 she was in the west teaching in Cambridge, Illinois. She had inherited from a long line of New England ancestry many characteristic qualities and was prudent, practical, positive and out-spoken when principle was involved, but ever kindly in thought and liberal in views.

Hezron came back from the war and settled in his home town of Plymouth where he took up farming. In due course he decided he wanted to learn the mercantile trade and went to work as a clerk in Cavendish at Robbins & White store. This is where Hezron met and fell in love with Jarusha. For many years the young people maintained a congenial friendship. It was through a dedicated term of letter writing -- over three years duration -- that the two became better acquainted and pledged their love for each other. This wonderful collection of 'courting letters' have been preserved with the French family correspondence.

Jarusha and Hez were married in Proctorsville by Jarusha's father Judge French. She was 27 years old, and Hez was 29. Immediately after their marriage the happy couple moved north to Bradford where Hezron had already opened a drug store, or "apothecary" operating under the name of H. G. Day, Dealer in Drugs and Medicines, Paints and Oils. The Days found Bradford a charming village which was about 100 years old, and located on a big bend in the Connecticut River. After a few years in Bradford, Hez and Rusha had constructed a large house on the Main Street which is still known as "The Day House". Their four children were born in the house. During their tenure in Bradford they made frequent trips by train and stage back home to Proctorsville for family gatherings. After Judge French's death and considering Hez had long suffered from asthma, the family decided to follow his doctor's advice and move to a more favorable climate. They had lived in Bradford for eighteen years before moving to Beatrice, Nebraska in 1888. Mr. Day opened a pharmacy in Beatrice and moved his family into a house located at 822 North 8th Street where they lived until Jarusha's death. Jarusha often visited her old home in Vermont and spent summers here with her mother, sister, cousins, and her children. Proctorsville, 12 June, 1891: "Mrs. Hezron Day with two children from Beatrice, Nebraska, came Saturday evening, intending to spend most of the summer with her mother-- Mrs. Valeria French."

Jarusha was a good neighbor first of all, and both she and the four children whom she reared, took decided interest in intellectual and humanitarian movements and were active in civic life. It was a French family trait, and an example for each succeeding generation. Thoroughly patriotic and so possessed of the ideals of our Revolutionary forefathers, Jarusha naturally was one of those to take great interest in the D.A.R. and Elizabeth Montague Chapter of Beatrice, Nebraska was organized at her home Jan. 19, 1904.

From: Memories of Jarusha written 12 May, 1910 to her niece Georgie French, daughter of George B. French: "The only old home that I can remember is the long, low cottage in Proctorsville that, you know, where your grandmother [Valeria Blood French] still lives and which has been her home for nearly or quite seventy years. I was born there, but your father was born at his grandfather Blood's [Zaccheus & Experience (Proctor) Blood]-- the old brick house [on High Street in Cavendish] which burned several years ago. Our mother was a second wife and her marrying my father met with much dissatisfaction from his step-mother-in-law [Amy (Brown) Matthewson French], who had "other plans" for Calvin who was her step-son as well as her son-in-law. [Amy's daughter, Jarusha Matthewson was Calvin's first wife and Amy was Calvin's father's third wife]. He [Calvin] had one little crippled son, four years old when he married my mother [this was Charles M. French]. Mother [Valeria] was only twenty when she married, and I have often thought what an undertaking it was for a girl of that age to take charge of the poor little step-son, especially under such circumstances. Father was ten years older than mother but for all that I think, it was an unusually happy union, for I have heard mother say since father died in 1879 that she could not remember that he had ever spoken a cross word to her and that was surely a very uncommon record for they lived together almost fifty years."

Excerpts from: Mrs. Jarusha French Day's October, 1905 address to the Beatrice, Nebraska Women's Club entitled: AS OUR SERVANTS SEE US, ".... one of the pleasantest memories of my far distant childhood is of a pleasant-faced young Irish girl, Bridget Moyland, who came to live in my father's family when I was about eight years old. [Bridget went to work in Proctorsville for the French family in October of 1852, per Valeria's letter of that date., and left the French employ in April of 1855] It think she was probably very fresh from the sod of old Ireland - she was one of the best tempered, kindest, most willing girls it has ever been my lot to know. A dollar and a half a week was her wage and for this she worked from early dawn until everything was done at night. I don't remember that she asked or expected a day off. I don't think it was customary in those primitive days. She and an older sister who worked in the same village, Proctorsville, for the same price, saved enough money to bring from the old country their old father and mother and younger brother and sister. Well I remember their arrival after the anxious weeks of watching which was most heartily shared by the whole neighborhood, so closely woven were the interests of mistress and maid in those early days. [Bridget's father was Michael Moyland and he died in Cavendish, 8 Aug., 1867. Bridget must have married and left Cavendish after she left the French family service. The 1870 census of Cavendish shows the James Maloney family living in Proctorsville. James' wife was Mary Moyland, probably Bridget's sister. Also living in this household was Bridget Whalen Moyland (age 65), born in Ireland in 1805] Class distinction was very faint. Eating at the same table and sitting evenings with the paper. Bridget was one of the family and no one thought her out of place. Horrors! My father and mother looked after her interests as though she were a younger sister or a daughter and she repaid their interest by most faithful service."

Jarusha French Day died 28 Jan., 1916.

From her obituary: "... poor health and almost total loss of sight did not deter her from a keen interest in current events nor lessen her intellectual activity. She was an effectual, efficient leader of the current events department of the Woman's Club at a time when she could only recognize friends across the room by their voices. About four years ago, at the ripe old age of seventy, she accompanied her husband to a claim near Wood, South Dakota, at which place she died 28 Jan., of this year, after an illness of only a few hours. Besides her husband, H.G Day, she leaves to mourn her death two sons and two daughters: George C. Day, Captain of the USS Brooklyn; Warren F. Day of Lincoln, Nebraska; Anna Valeria, Dean of Women, Wisconsin State Normal School; and Mrs. Helen D. Coon, Spokane, Washington. Mrs. Day was a woman of strong personality and vigorous mentality and possessed a cheerful quiet courage not easily daunted, that was an inspiration to all who knew her."

After Jarusha's death, Hezron spent his summers in Hot Springs, South Dakota at the Battle Mountain Sanitarium and his winters with his son Warren's family in Lincoln, Nebraska. Excitement came about on 18 Aug., 1926, when a very distinguished visitor arrived at the soldier's home in Hot Springs. It was none other than President Calvin Coolidge. He was on a trip touring Yellowstone National Park with Mrs. Coolidge and their son John. They arrived at Hot Springs by special train where thousands of cheering fans gave them welcome and the bands played and flags waved. "Stop," said the President, suddenly. "Didn't I hear something about a veteran from my old home town?" So the auto cavalcade motored to the Battle Mountain Sanitarium while attendants put in a hurry call for the 'feller from Plymouth, Vermont'. Hezron G. Day, the aged veteran of the Union Army, was surprised beyond expression when the President walked in and singled him out. "Pull up a chair," said the President. "Did you know my father?" "Indeed I did, Mr. President," said Mr. Day, "and your grandfather too. I visited often with him and with your mother." "Been back there lately?" "No, Mr. President, but tell me, how's your Uncle John Wilder and Aunt Sarah and all the folks in Plymouth?" The two Vermonters chatted there for 15 minutes, interrupting a program which the people of the mountain resort had been weeks in the making.

Hezron G. Day, Civil War soldier and Plymouth, Vermont native, died in Lincoln in 1932 and his body was carried back to Bradford, Vermont where he was buried.

The following is a letter from Edith Day to Helen Day Coon concerning Hezron's death:

"Wednesday Night--: Dearest Helen: Father died in my arms at one thirty today. He came down from Hot Springs alone on Sunday and showed up in a taxi about two o'clock. We had had no word and didn't know he was expecting to come. He was awfully tired all day Sunday and Monday, but by yesterday he seemed to feel quite himself again and enjoyed having the paper read to him. This morning he started to get dressed but went back to bed and asked me to get him some of his asthma medicine. It was then just time to get the boys to school and I got the medicine on the way home and gave him a good smoke and his breathing got easier. He didn't want the doctor and seemed very comfortable but was persuaded to stay in bed. He ate quite a little lunch and then about one o'clock, tried to get up and I ran in to help him and he sank in my arms. I called Bailey's and Dr. Flanagan was here in five minutes but he had ceased to breathe by the time she got here. He was not in pain and his asthma seemed no worse than usual, but he just hadn't strength to fight longer.

We all mourn him deeply. He had the visit he wanted with Warren and seemed very happy to be here. How thankful we all are he did reach us and that we could be sure he was loved and cared for at the end. Warren had to go out to Mr. Cook's yesterday and had only reached Lincoln about two o'clock. The man at the office located him and after some delay with the car he got home before father was taken away. Father had told me several times that he wished to be buried beside mother. He was so sweet this morning Helen, and said once, "You've always been very kind to me Edie, I don't want to make you trouble" and I was so glad to be of any use at all to him! I didn't dream he was so near the last for many many times he has seemed far more ill and then felt much better in a day. He has had a lonely time, in spirit, and I knew he was very, very tired of the long struggle with the asthma. He told me the news you wrote him last and was eager to hear the letter George wrote to Margaret this week. Lovingly yours, Edith.

Day Children (born Bradford, Vt.):

1. George Calvin Day, b. 8 Nov., 1871

2. Anna Valeria Day, b. 4 July, 1874

3. Robert Ichabod Day, b. 28 May, 1878. From a note written by Hezron G. Day dated at Bradford, Vt., 13 May, 1879, to George French in Woodstock, Vt: ".... : Little Robert passed away last evening. His troubles are all over. We bury him tomorrow afternoon. We shall miss him very much. [I] have telegraphed Proctorsville and do not know but the news may find you there. Yours Truly, H. G. Day." little Robert d. 12 May, 1879 (age two months shy of one year)

4. Warren French Day, b. 17 June, 1883

5. Helen Grace Day, b. 29 Oct., 1886

Source: "Families of Cavendish, Vol. 3", compiled by Linda M. F. Welch, published by the Cavendish Historical Society, Cavendish, Vt. 1999. Used with permission.

Correspondence

Capitol Hill, Washington DC, Oct. 28, l862
TO: Mr. and Mrs. Day
From: Hezron G. Day

Dear Parents:

In compliance with my promise to write you immediately after our arrival in Washington I embrace the earliest opportunity to do so.

We left our camp at Brattleboro about half past 11 on Friday and left the depot about 1, each man carrying three days ration i.e. each man took a haversack full and started for Dixie. We were well received wherever we stopped. At Northampton the ladies threw bushels of apples into the cars for us and at Springfield which we reached just at dusk the people crowded around us and gave us many a hearty good bye and as we moved off it was amid the thunder of cannon and the enthusiastic cheers of the populace. From there we went on board of the cars to New Haven where we arrived about 11 o'clock and so soon after as we could we embarked on board the steamer Continental for New York. It was a splendid night. The Sound was as smooth as a looking glass and the boat was as steady as though planted on terra firma. We reached New York and landed on the dock and were furnished with breakfast consisting of soup, bread and coffee.

We were again pushed on to ferry boats and embarked for Monmouth Port. Arriving there we found that there was no car in readiness for us and then for eight mortal hours we waited until we began to think: Uncle Sam had got through wanting us, but they came at last and received us; and a relief it was indeed for we were so crowded on board the boat that we could not lie down to sleep without piling up at least seventeen deep.

The parts of New Jersey through which we traveled was for the first twenty or thirty miles as far as we could judge by riding through it in the night, was barren, sandy, piney, miserable country, but as we got nearer Philadelphia the country began to look better, though their oddly contrived Dutch buildings did not compare favorably with the farm buildings in any part of old Vermont. At Philadelphia they took us into the Cooper Shop Refreshment Saloon and gave us a superb breakfast. This was on Sunday morning and rainy at that, but our reception at the old Quaker city was one that will probably be long remembered by every member of the 16th. Gentlemen came out and shook hands with us and cheered us. The ladies waved flags and handkerchiefs at us from the windows and all seemed just as joyously demonstratively enthusiastic as though we were the first regiment that had passed through the city to the relief of beleaguered Washington. We left Philadelphia about seven on Sunday and proceeded on our journey on board some very comfortable freight cars and got to Baltimore just in the edge of the evenings. The boys rode into the city singing "Old John Brown." Pennsylvania, that part of it which we saw, is a splendid looking country but neither the people nor their buildings would remind one of New England, though they were all true Union blue, for from every hamlet and village, from every hovel and shanty could be seen waving flags, handkerchiefs and other tokens of good will. Perhaps the late rebel raid into Pennsylvania has refreshed their loyalty, but be that as it may, their devotion to the Union was manifest and thorough. Yours, H.G. Day


Oct. 29, 1862

Dear Parents

I have a few moments of leisure and propose to improve it. We marched through Baltimore from depot to depot over the same ground where the Mass. 6th passed. Baltimore looked dark and silent. There was only now and then a Union sympathizer to greet us, and at one place a big Union flag suspended across the street. From Baltimore to Washington the distance is forty miles and we were eight hours on the road and a more comfortless ride it is seldom any person's lot to enjoy. Our cars were leaky and dirty and for a considerable portion of the time we never saw it rain harder, but all things have an end and so did that ride, and we finally found ourselves in the suburbs of far-famed Washington.

Our first view of Washington was far from prepossessing for we had only seen the outskirts of the city, and that sight verified the expression of Lawyer Fullum that there was nothing to be seen in Washington except niggers and speckled pigs, and we didn't see anything else worth mentioning except the meanest yellowest, nastiest, and greasiest mud you ever saw.

We understand that the five regiments of Vermonters that went for nine months are to be formed into a brigade to go together. We went over to the 13th and took supper on Monday night and to the 12th and got our breakfast on Tuesday morning, because we had not got fairly arranged for housekeeping and so were invited over there. I saw Hudson and Bartlett there. We have got tents and the most of camp conveniences now. The weather here in the middle of the day is like a warm September day in Vermont while the nights are as cold as they are in Vermont at the end of October. The first morning after our arrival there was the merest scale of ice in a mud puddle on our campground, but the nigs called it an uncommonly cold night for the country. It was cold enough at any rate to take hold of us pretty severely, so much so that some of the boys got up and built them some bonfires out of an old rail or two, a cedar post, and some old roofing paper that we found on the ground, and by that means managed to keep comfortable.

Our campground is but a little way from the city on what is called Capitol Hill in full sight of, and I should guess some half mile from the dome of the Capitol. Abe's house is some two miles off. the pickets of the 12th yesterday captured six rebel prisoners down near Long Bridge and the 13th captured another rebel spy only a day or two ago. I cannot stop to write more now. The boys are all in very good health and spirits. Yours, Hezron G. Day P.S. Direct [your letters to] Co. "C", 16th Regt, Vermont Volunteers Washington D.C.


Camp Vermont, Virginia,

November 9, 1862

Dear Parents:

Sunday eve finds us in our tents taking things as easy as we can. When I last (or first) wrote you we were on Capitol Hill near Washington. Since then we have moved twice; first from Capitol Hill across the river on to Arlington Heights, and after remaining there two or three days we again moved, and finally landed some three miles from Alexandria on a sort of bluff or knoll which must be perfectly healthy, as the wind has full opportunity to whistle over and about it in a style that would not be disgraceful even to old Vermont. The distance from our first camping ground on Capitol Hill to our second abiding place was seven, perhaps eight miles, which made it a very comfortable (!) march for us, green at the business as we were. We like this situation very much, better than we did our first, but we were not destined to enjoy it long, for in about two or three days; we were again moved off in a southeasterly direction until I will judge that we are a little southeast of Alexandria and not more than a mile from Fort Lyon (if you know where that is). Me marched from our second camping ground between two and three P.M., each man taking with him half of one of the misnamed shelter tents, and a little after dark were halted in the bushes and told to pitch our tents and make ourselves as comfortable as we could, and accordingly we stuck up our canvas, set fire to the bush, bundled up, laid down, and went to sleep.

Some of the boys slept more and some less, just as they happened to be situated. I slept till about five o'clock when I awoke with a decidedly chilly sensation around the lower extremities, and immediately got up, went to a fire, and went through the warming up process . In the morning we were marched about one mile to our present situation where we found our tents and the rest of our baggage and set to preparing for housekeeping again. We have had quite a wintry spell for a few days, and indeed old residents say that they have not known so cold a time, even in winters for a good many years. Perhaps you will wonder that we could have had in Virginia during the first half of November, a cold so severe. Well, I will tell you if thin miserable pen and my present uncomfortable position will allow.

On Fridays Nov. 7th, after two or three days of rough chilly weather, we had a genuine snowstorm, not one of your soft sticky Injun snows, but a regular driver, such as you frequently have in Vermont in December, which left us at least four inches of good solid snow on the ground, and sent every man not on duty shivering to his quarters or in search of some friendly fire. It was my good fortune to be detailed as guard and to stand the storm for one turn of two hours, but before my turn came again the guards were called in to go with their respective companies to Alexandria. After their guns arrived we were obliged to right about and march straight back to camp again, completely verifying the old adage of the King of France marched up the hill with 10,000 men and then marched down again. However, our guns were brought up on teams so that we got them the next day (yesterday). I did not have to go out on guard again that night as there none put out, but 1 had the sweet privilege of dreading it for several hours.

We have seen several of the Vermont brigade since we came here. There is a convalescent camp near Fairfax Seminary not far from here, and they come over to see us. The first that came that I know of was Ian Gilson. A day or two after, Freeman Conant of Cavendish came. Today Sam Pinney, and a Blanchard fellow from Plymouth are here. Pinney has not been with his regiment since July, he says, that during the whole of last winter he never saw such severe weather as we have had for the last few days. Most of us have got some kind of warming apparatus in our tents. We in ours have got a sort of arch with a chimney outside but the thing smokes considerable, and if we can't contrive to remedy it I guess we shall have to give it up.

Tuesdays Nov. l1th

I will now endeavor to finish what I commenced the day before yesterday, and was then prevented from finishing by the candle going out. We have now had two or three days of most beautiful weather in strong contrast to our late experiences. Yesterday I was engaged in drilling on what some of the boys call McClellan's drill, i.e. I was detailed to work on a fort which is in process of construction less than a mile from here, and I must say that if any good enterprising Vermont farmer had a lot of help that couldn't do three times as much as we did he would be very likely to turn them off and try again.

I see Uncle Joseph very frequently. I do not see but that he is as well and in as good spirits as usual. You asked if I have got a cold yet. I answer yes, and so have nine tenths of the regiment. I am no worse off in that respect than they will average as I have managed to keep out of the Surgeon's hands, so although our company has sometimes had as many as 15 or 20 on the sick list at once, and although from the fact that they have drawn full rations and eat them all up clean you might possibly infer that they were not all desperately sick. Our Assistant Surgeon is George Spoffard (you know him, of course), and he seems to be very active in looking after the sick. Each of the tents we now have contains, or is supposed to contain, five men. The occupants of this tent are M. P. Baldwin, Alfred Moore, Surry Ross, Mr. Parker of Mount Holly and myself. For beds we have cedar boughs which we consider the bests all things considered, of anything we can have. We are not the least bit afraid of getting lousy as long as we can get them.

The talk now is that we have got to go into winter quarters not more than a mile and a half from here. Our stove works very well. We think it quite an institution. Ross has been sick in his tent for more than a week. It makes him feel quite blue, and I can't say that I much wonder as he never been used to sickness at all. You must tell Charlie Scott that he must not be hard on the soldiers as all that amounts to. I wish you would send me a bit of rubber cord, say a half yard, if you can put it in a letter. If not, let it go.

I do not know that there is anything more of any consequence to write now. Will write as often as I can. Yours, Hezron G. Day


Camp Vermont, Va.

November 16th, 1862

Dear Parents,

Again on this Sabbath day I embrace the few leisure moments that I have in writing a few lines to you. We are all in very good health and spirits the weather just cool enough to make us feel good. I do not know that I have any special news to write but never mind, I'll do as well as I can. Our boys have just commenced cutting timber for winter quarters, though they have not done a large business at it, as six full companies and small details from some of the other companies have been out on picket for the last two days, coming in yesterday afternoon.

They manage the picket business somewhat after this fashion: The men take two days' rations, roll up their blankets, tie the ends together in such a manner as to make an endless chain and sling it over their heads. They also take with them their shelter tents. When on the picket line they are stationed on their respective posts, usually three or. each one, and one of these has to keep awake all the time. The other two can do what they please: sleep, fish, or visit. I haven't seen Uncle Joe since he came in from picket, so I don't know how he liked it, but our company had 7 out, and they said they hadn't had so much fun for a long time.

The ground on which we are now camped once formed part of a regular Virginia plantation and Old Sesesh's mansion where he still resides is not more than 100 rods from where I now sit. Before the war broke out he had over 200 acres of land that would have brought him $300 per acre, with plenty of slaves, but now his nigs have skedaddled and his land, by the tramping of thousands of soldiers has been trodden down until now in a dry state it is almost as hard as the "talcose" rock of my native hills. And Mr. Sesesh is today a "short fed" man although last spring he had accorded to him the privilege of gathering up for fuel the timber which the Union troops had cut on his own land, and had used during the winter about their winter quarters.

The Old Journal coming as it did almost fresh from the press, was a very welcome visitor. I hope we may have more such. I suppose Henry has got fairly underway with his school. I should like to know how he likes it and how he gets along with it, and all about it. I must write to Henry when I get a good chance, but if you see him you must tell him not to wait for me but to write as often as he can make it convenient. They sell butter about our camps at from 28 to 40 per pound and call it goods though as I have not purchased, I cannot say as to that. Cheese, 20 , brown bread 30 for about such a loaf as you would bake in a two quart dish; good fair handsome onions 1 each, milk, 10 per quart, oysters 15 to 20 per pint, etc.

What are the good people of Plymouth generally about these times? Don't mourn that McClellan has been superseded, do they? By the way, we had a rumor in camp this morning that we had been put under Fremont's command, though I would never vouch for a camp story. We are now in Casey's division, Heintzelman's corps, but the report is that our colonel is trying to get out of it, fearing that he will not see much active service so long as he remains in Casey's division. I believe all the Plymouth boys are comfortably well except Abner Archer, and he is almost always out of fix some way. More next time,H.G. Day


Camp Vermont, Va.,

November 23, 1862

Dear Parents:

The regimental teams have been set to drawing timber for us to stockade our tents with, although as they take the companies in succession ours had not yet got any. I saw Uncle Joseph this noon. He had been detailed to chop for his company and had come in for his dinner. It did not seem to make him feel as bad as I supposed it would, but he seemed to consider it a necessity that could not be avoided as they could not have the use of the teams after today. Speaking of teams, I would say army horses, taken as a class, are the most forlorn specimens of animated nature that I ever saw without exception. When the boys feel particularly uncomfortable they sometimes say that the nigger is the first thing cared for then a mule, then a soldier. But it ain't so, for

Though I won't say anything about the nigs, I will say that army horses and mules fare worse than anything else on the face of creation. The cavalry horses don't look as though they are capable of anything faster than a walk or at best a very slow trot. The cavalry men say that their horses are not supposed to eat but twice a day while they are not supposed to eat at all.

Did I in any former letter tell you about Wayland Bishop being taken prisoner by the rebels in a late skirmish down somewhere near Bull Run? Having digressed this far I will try and return to the subject you commenced upon and tell you about the tents. We are to raise them some four feet from the ground on a stockade of timber which will give us a great deal more room than we now have. The stockade is set in the ground deep enough to make it firm and then the cracks are plastered with Virginia mud which makes excellent mortar, while any little conveniences that we can ourselves devise we will of course be entitled to. Some of the boys buy stoves to warm their houses with while others get bricks and build fireplaces to suit themselves.

We have had another journey to Alexandria under the following circumstances. On the 17th we received orders to march to Fort Albany for a division review on the following day and at the same time received orders to be ready to march at an hour's notice. During the night it rained considerably so that as we marched along, the "sacred soil" transformed itself into a sort of paste usually called mud which in some places was four or five inches deep and so stiff and sticky as to almost pull off your boots! When the boys would raise their feet it would make a noise almost as loud as the crack of a pistol, while in other places the mud was only about an inch deep and about as thin as porridge. After marching about a half a mile or so beyond Alexandria the colonel received orders to march his regiment back to camp. Accordingly, we were headed around and started for home again. Got back into camp about eleven o'clock, tireder if not wiser men. Having marched at least eight miles since we left home in the morning and we were just in time, for we had not been in camp much over an hour when it commenced raining by the bucket full as it occasionally does in Vermont when you have a particularly severe thundershower. At the first clash it beat through our tent some, but we spread out a rubber blanket or two and thus managed to keep ourselves and our things dry and nice. Indeed, our tents are a much greater protection against rain than you would suppose. Still I had rather hear the rain rattle on a shingle roof than to hear it beating against the roof of our tent.

Isn't it cold in Vermont now? the ground froze quite hard here last night although it didn't freeze under me as I slept just as warm as toast, and today is a clear cloudless, beautiful day, Just such an one as you sometimes have in October. I went over to the 14th the other night with some of my tent mates. M.A. Ives and Harrison Earl were both sick and in the hospital and I happened to go into the Bates boys tent (Warner Bates' sons), and there ran across a man that used to know you. I asked him who he was and he proved to be Simon Sawyer that used to live on the Jones place. You remember him, of course. Our company is getting to be somewhat reduced by details, there being six now permanently detailed from the company. Clark has been appointed Sgt. of the ambulance corps and one other man has been appointed ambulance driver. Blood is in the commissary department and Crain and two others act as waiters for the field officers. There has not been a single death in the regiment since it first came together at Brattleboro. I think we have been very lucky in that respect don't you? A11 the other regiments have lost more or less from sickness and accidents. I expect we shall have to go out on picket soon and certainly hope that the weather will be as fine as at present. The fourteenth had a dubious time the last time they were out, besides having one of their men accidentally shot.

If you can get plenty of postage stamps there now you may send me a few, say, to the amount of the enclosed U.S. scrip which is the only change we can get here, except "Sutters' Shinplasters", and they, like the Sutters themselves are a nuisance. I haven't got hold of a bit of silver since we were paid off at Brattleboro, where I got 80 cents of the genuine article, for which 'twas said the State paid 29 percent premium. I believe I never wrote you about being mustered for two months pay while we were on Arlington Heights, but we were, though we haven't got the greenbacks yet. From this I conclude that the Gov't intends to pay us from the date of our organization whether our nine months commenced then or not. Some are thinking that our nine months term of service commenced when we were organized but I don't know how it will be. Do you know anything about it? Anything certain I mean, but be it as it may, one month of our time is gone.

We are having a few hard crackers now for variety. I suppose they certainly are not bad eating unless the bread is poor and wormy. Those that we have are first rate. What are all the Plymouthites about this pleasant autumnal weather? Not digging their potatoes, I hope. We have got to go on battalion drill at 2.30 a.m. and will not get off until near 5, so I must close. If you cannot get the stamps handily you need not mind, as I can get them here. Yours truly, H. G Day


Camp Vermont, Va. Dec. 1st, 1862

Dear Parents:

Again as opportunity presents, l will try to write a few lines to you. We have Just returned from picket for the second time. We first went out Tuesday, and while we were gone the 13th, 14th and 15th were marched off in the night toward Bull Run, leaving only the 12th and the 16th to do the picket duty that had previously been done by the whole brigade, and as the picket lines have been so arranged as to take a full regiment at once, the 12th and 16th of course had to relieve each other every 48 hours, and must continue to do so until some of the absent regiments come back, or some other regiments are sent out to take their place. tonight we expect that the l4th will be back again tomorrow, though we can't tell anything at all about it.

The first time I was out our company was posted down on the left wing not more than two miles from Mt. Vernon, and a part of them were posted on what was once a part of the degenerate Col. John A. Washington's estate, though as we could not get down to Mt. Vernon it was of no particular benefit to us. The first night of our first picket tour was rainy and wet, but the pickets were divided into three reliefs each, one staying on 8 hours and I with a dozen or 15 more of Company C's boys were fortunate enough to be on the first relief, which went on at 10 a.m. and came off at 6 p.m., and got our suppers consisting of bread (hard and soft),meat and coffee, and then got leave to go in search of quarters more comfortable in shelter tents or bough houses, and we succeeded in finding lodgings on the floor of a man's house less than half a mile from the camp of the reserves where we should properly have stayed. While the rain pattered against the windows we thought of our absent and less fortunate comrades, who were then standing on their dark and lonely posts, and went to sleep.

In the morning some of the boys took breakfast with the people of the house-- corn cakes, bacon, butter, coffee, cheese, and so on, all for a quarter. But as I had plenty of hard crackers and meat in my haversack I preferred to go back to the camp of the reserves, get a cup of hot coffee and take breakfast on my own hook. At the house where we stayed through the night there was a pair of babies that cried almost incessantly, and some of the married men of the delegation thought that about the most civilized sound they had heard since they came to the Old Dominion State. The next morning in a Negro house I saw still another sign of civilization in the shape of a parcel of school books from which Young Africa was getting his education. This nig seemed to be quite a Yankee, and owned quite a farm which seemed to be fully as well cultivated and taken care of as those of his white semi-sesesh (sic) neighbors. The bogs formed their likes and dislikes quickly when in contact with the Natives, and if they happened to conclude that a man is sesesh some of them will draw on him just as liberally as possible. Indeed I saw some folks that lived near where we stayed on our picket trip out in the morning counting over their hens. Guess they found them All that morning, though I could not say whether or not they did the next, as I am pretty certain that some Of the boys had a meal of chicken during the night. As for myself, I got a little short and went to another house and got a few corn cakes with butter and cheese and a good cup of coffee with trimmings all at an expense of only 10 cents. I will say of them that although not quite equal to a good Yankee Johnny cake they tasted very good.

Picketing is hungry business. I thought I used to eat some at home, but good gracious, put me out on picket 48 hours and I can eat hard crackers enough to shingle a meeting house and salt pork, raw or roasted, enough to astonish all the hogs in Vermont. Baldwin and Alfred have just returned from Washington where they have been during the day, and they say that during the last 24 hours 50,000 men have left the vicinity of Washington for the region of active operations. Yesterday where we were on picket we saw one train of 130 army wagons loaded with supplies for the advancing army. Indeed the whole Army of the Potomac is on the move, not lazily and slowly, but it must be pushing on with a will as though it meant something. But with all this moving we expect to remain where we are to prevent Gen. Casey from getting too much frightened. We have got our log houses pretty well along in our regiment and they are certainly more roomy and comfortable than our tents are without being raised from the ground at all. It is almost time for roll call so I will have to adjourn for tonight but will write more tomorrow if I can.

Tuesday eve, Dec. 2, 1862: We have just been at work all day building a doghouse for ourselves and have got the walls up and the roof covered so we can stay in it for the night. We are to have it chinked and plastered with Virginia mud but we haven't had time to do that today, so we have hung up our shelter tents against the wall to keep out the wind. We have got the whole construction of the affair planned except the pantry, and as we are going on picket again tomorrow morning we will take that along temporarily, and adjourn the discussion about its find construction until we get back again. Perhaps you would like to know how I get along with my washing. Well! Sometimes I do it myself but there is a family of nigs that live not more than 20 rods from our tent and the last time I got them to do it for me, price 18 cents for 3 articles: shirt, undershirt, and drawers, and I don't see but that I shall have to get them to do it again, as I shall be quite busy for several days in picketing and fixing our house.

Wednesday morning: I have no time to write more now so excuse all blunders etc. I suppose you are having sleighing at home now while here the roads are as dry as you please. Yours in haste, H.G.Day


December 8, 1862

Dear Parents,

In pursuance of my plan Of writing once a week I again address myself to the business. You may perhaps wonder how we kept Thanksgiving Day. Well, we were on picket and it was a beautiful day here. For breakfast we had hard crackers, salt beef, and pork. For dinner beans and coffee. For supper hard bread, coffee, and three cents worth of hoe cake and molasses, and that was extra rations. Good enough for anybody, wasn't it? It seemed the most like Sunday on Thanksgiving Day of any day I have seen since I came to Virginia. We were out of camp and stationed at a small picket reserve back in the woods where there was nothing to molest or make us afraid, and indeed we have not seen anything to make us afraid since we came here, and why should we, as there is not an armed Reb within nobody knows how many miles of here. Surely I don't think we shall see one as long as we remain in our present position.

We are still picketing, having come into camp this morning after having been absent 24 hours, just half our usual time. we had a very good time while out. We were allowed fires on our beats and though it was quite cold we were very comfortable. The 12th that was out last before us had a cold, rough time of it, as there was another snowstorm while they were out, and some 2 or 3 inches of snow still lies on the ground. The 13th, 14th, and 15th have all got back again so we will have to go on picket only once in 5 days for 24 hours at a time. There is plenty of wood on the lines and the boys 'drawn" it with utmost freedom. You asked what our chaplain is about. Well, to all appearances I should think he was gaining flesh and taking things easy generally. He gives us one short sermon every Sunday that we are in camp, and semi-ocasionally goes round through the regiment and distributes a few tracts or something of that description. Sometimes he holds prayer meetings on Sunday evenings and that is all that we are apt to see of him unless he happens to take a fancy to go down to the colonel's quarters.

The ground is now frozen some 4 or 5 inches deep and thaws just enough in the middle of the day to make mud enough to daub. You wished to know if the journals you have sent me have come through regularly. I have received three from you besides a piece of slippery elm. The journal is always a welcome visitor and indeed I don't care if you should happen by mistake to send a little more slippery elm as that was quite acceptable and convenient. Grandma had better keep her dollar bill for the present rather than send it to me, as I have money enough.

The night before we left Brattleboro we received the State pay due us which amounted to 12 dollars and 80 cents, and I had 6 or 7 dollars besides, which made rather more than I cared to take with me. But we left Brattleboro so soon that I did not have any chance to send it home from there. There are now three good Fives riding in My shirt pocket as safe as comfortable as you please. I am sorry that Henry got so unceremoniously exiled from his school, but still it seems like a regular Hosley operation. I hope he will be more lucky next time.

Brig. Gen. Stoughton has arrived and assumed command of this brigade. Whether we shall like him or not any better than at Brattleboro I cannot say. Uncle Joseph has receives his box and has probably disposed of the contents before this time. He gave me some and it was very good though I should like the articles contained in some of their boxes. The prices of various extras at the brigade commissaries are about as follows: cheese 14 cts, butter 32, apples $3 a bushel, sweet potatoes 3 a pound, molasses 50 a gallon, sugar 12 a pound, etc. But to get the molasses and sugar you need an order from the captain of the company. They occasionally get me so reduced as to make me drink a dish of tea, though I hate the stuff. The cooks make it about half the time and I occasionally have to drink of it rather than go without. The cap you spoke of might come in handy. I had one that I bought at Brattleboro but while I was out one day somebody wanted it and so it is gone.

I am writing with ink of our own manufacture made from a berry that grows wild here in Virginia. In answer to the various little inquiries concerning my comfort, I would say that my boots are perfectly comfortable, and that we sleep as warm as need be. We have two beds in our house, one above the other. The lower one, calculated for three, and the upper for two. we spread our overcoats and fly tents under us and all the woolen blankets over us, making quite an amount of bed clothes. I must close. Yours H.G. Day.


Fairfax Courthouses Va.

Dec. 18, 1862

Dear Parents,

You will probably be somewhat surprised at finding this letter dated from Fairfax Courthouse. It will be one week tomorrow since we left our old home and started for Bull Run. Our only regret was that we could not take our comparatively comfortable habitations along with us. However, our successors, the N.Y. 111th will have the benefit of them. But to the story last Thursday: About 4OO of the 16th worked on the fort which I hare spoken of before and on our return to camp at night were told by our comrades that orders had come for us to be ready to strike tents and march the next morning. At first we hardly credited it, believing this to be one of the many camp stories that we hear told, but the next morning we were routed out at 3 o'clock, had breakfast at 4, and started between 5 and 6. I would hardly have believed we could start from camp with knapsacks, 50 rounds of cartridges, 2 days rations, etc. and march 18 miles the first day. But such nevertheless was the distance we made by the middle of the first afternoon, landing a little beyond Fairfax Courthouse. The next morning we resumed our loads and marched on toward Bull Run, to do picket duty for 4 days when we were to be relieved by another regiment and return to Fairfax and rejoin the brigade. On our way to Centerville we lost our way and, going across lots to regain our road, we passed over the old Chantilly Battlefield, where the lamented Kearney fell. This battle was fought in the woods, and the trees looked as though it had rained bullets. If you remember, at one time during Ropes' retreat, General Bunks and division were cut off from the rest of the army and it was feared would be destroyed. but he escaped, slipping by the enemy while the battle of Chantilly was raging, taking the selfsame road that we should have taken in coming out. I have seen the very man that guided him by. He said that Bunks' division at that time could not have numbered more than 2,000 men, and had he not been able to slip by as he did he would have been awfully cut up.

We halted for rest on the famous heights of Centerville, so long the stronghold of the Rebs. The position to an unpracticed eye, seems strong indeed, a long slope at last half a mile, crowned with earthworks whose guns could sweep every inch Of the declivity and quite a space beyond. From Centerville we marched about a mile and a half and again halted near the spot where we finally pitched our camp, but by mistake we were marched about a mile and a half further, while the colonel was absent looking for a better camping ground. 250 men were detailed to go on picket and the rest, myself among them, went beak to our last resting place and set up our fly tent, made coffee, roasted salt heavy (?), and made ourselves as comfortable as we could generally.

The next day it was my turn to go on picket, so I had an opportunity to go down to Cub's Run, slightly famous in history, on the banks of which our pickets are stationed, and along which grow the wild grapes which the pickets eat in untold quantities. We are now expecting to stop here through the winter, but no one can tell. H. G. Day


Fairfax Courthouse

December 21, 1862

Dear Parents,

We are now encamped in a pine grove perhaps a mile from the famous courthouse, the 15th being but a short distance from and between us and the village, while the 12th, 13th, and 14th are some little distance from us. The roads in Virginia are just now in the most unlovely condition, having been mud half axle deep and freezing hard as rocks to be almost impassable for man or belt. On leaving our old quarters at Camp Vermont, we left a guard over our baggage and they have but just now joined use They were obliged to stop at Fairfax Station 2 or 3 days and while there they performed one of the neatest "drawing" operations that we have known lately, namely, "drawing" a couple of barrels of salt pork, one of which they were obliged to give up though they managed to keep the other and it was excellent, as I can testify. I don't think the account would be any more than square had they succeeded in getting both of them. Fairfax is about the muddiest and nastiest place that can be found anywhere outside the limits of Virginia. There are some few good, handsome houses, some of them used as hospitals by the Union troops, and the rest you would hardly be able to say much in praise of. The courthouse itself, now used for a hospital, is a moderate sized two story brick building, with a small belfry, altogether not looking so well as many a northern schoolhouse. Centerville is half burned and filled only with soldiers, sutlers, and commissary stores, looks pitiable indeed. The old Rebel camps are as thick as you please around Centerville, still I would hardly suppose from the appearance of things the rebels had any such forces as we had concentrated around Washington.

From Fairfax down to Cub's Run, as far as we went, the whole country was almost a desert, strewn all over with the evidences of war: ruined buildings, dead horses, broken guns, broken wagons, old stalls, and indeed with everything used by an army. We have just had, and are now having, severe cold weather for this country. Lt. Peabody says it is as cold as they had last winter. We have managed so far to get along without getting frostbitten, and as wood is plentiful and free in this country I guess we shall survive. We are just now living in our "A" tents some of us having stoves and some not. Before our "A" tents came we managed to sleep very comfortably under our shelters by stretching two of them over a pole, buttoning another up at the head, and building up a fire at the open end over which, before our cooks came, we had to cook our coffee, roast our pork, toast our bread, and make ourselves comfortable generally. We are now having about half hard and half soft bread, and although the soft bread is a first rate article, I had rather have a few hard tacks than all soft bread.

The Weston boys in our company had a couple of boxes last night that weighed nearly 700 pounds, containing apples, pies, cakes, tobacco, brown bread, butter, cheese. on sons, dried fruits and almost everything you could mention, besides a little poultry. You ask if the Union boys have got their box get. The only one that has come was for Levi and Lt. Moore, which came just before we left Camp Vermont They gave me a little slice of butter which I rolled in paper and put in my haversack, which went well with my two loaves of bread on the march.

I have just now received a letter from home which, though it said nary a word, was as you said of our red ink, quite an institution, viz. the night cap, which will be very convenient and the paper that it was done up in, by cutting one end, makes a little bag that will be very handy to put coffee in the next time that we have to draw and cook our own coffee. You don't know half the uses to which we put things, even a jack knife has to do more service than the manufacturer ever dreamed of. It answers at once to cut bread and meat, to make the spider on which to fry it, etc. By the way, somebody has dealt out a good deal of news to some of the people of Vermont, much to their dismay no doubt. For instance, we heard by way of Vermont that the 16th had been in battle, and were pretty much all killed or captured, when the fact of the case is that we have not seen a single 'live Reb', and hare had but five men die out of the regiment. The Plymouth boys are all in good health, none of them being off duty except Abner Archer who is at Alexandria and will be sent to Brattleboro where he will probably be discharged.

Cummings, who looked so slim does as much duty as the heaviest man in the regiment, and is heavier now than he ever was before, while some of the toughest and strongest men in our company have been on the sick list quite frequently. I have not been under the Surgeon's care a single day since I came here. Uncle Joe is well and sends his respects. He is raising a big pair of whiskers and by the time he gets home you will hardly know him. We are thinking that we shall stay here for two or three weeks and propose to stockade again. Perhaps you will think that it would hardly pay for us to stockade for so short a time, but it won't take but a day or two, and we might as well do that as anything, for you know that they won't let us lie still long at a time. H.G.D.


Camp near Fairfax Courthouse

December 27, 1862

Dear Parents:

Another week is almost gone and we are still here in the pine woods mentioned in my last and likely to remain there for another week, although we had marching orders for a little while this afternoon: countermanded soon afterward. We have no field officers just now, the colonel and major being both sick, and the lieutenant colonel detailed as provost marshal of Fairfax, but managed to get along without them. We have again stockaded our tents, not in as good style as at Camp Vermont but still quite comfortably. We had but one axe to work with and went into the woods one morning, cut our timber, forged for bricks, and that night had a house to sleep in, fire place and all, notwithstanding we had gone out on battalion drill in the afternoon. The weather for the last few days has been very nice indeed, warm and pleasant, so warm that a person could perfectly be comfortable in his shirtsleeves. We had a holiday on Christmas, no drilling and no work, and moreover no marching or picket duty to do: something quite unusual for us. My humble self, Corp. Baldwin and John Knights, and Alfred went down to Fairfax Station to see the country but got back in time for Christmas dinner, which consisted of beefsteak and potatoes, both excellent.

I had a letter from Julia, and she seemed to think it was almost wicked to be comfortable because she imagined we were not. Now we keep as comfortable as we can and would advise everybody to do the same. I do not think we suffer half as much as our friends think we do. We always sleep warm, and that, you know, is something. You know that the climate is not as cold here as it is in Vermont, although the boys when they get short of grumbling timber very frequently scold about the sunny South. You in one of your last spoke of Sutler's stuff as being indigestible as bricks. Now I think quite differently as I have occasionally seen some of the boys eat pies and so on enough to have laid them out flat as pancakes had they been at home, and still come out all straight. I do not often buy anything from him unless it be occasionally a few apples or onions. Indeed I find that raw onions make a first rate salad to go with our bread at times.

Who has been questioning you in regard to what I say about our officers and why do they feel concerned about them? Our pay comes of course through the regular army paymaster, though when it will come we certainly do not know. Uncle Sawtell had not written the letter which he said he was going to, so I haven't had time and mind to write him another. How are Dr. Scott's people and the good people of Plymouth generally? I try to keep my face clean and guess I generally succeed, though it is a pretty hard case sometimes. Yesterday we could hear the boom of cannon from the middle of the forenoon until near night, and today the report is that Sigel and Stonewall Jackson had been fighting, the advantage resting with Sigel. This was probably why we were ordered to march, as Gen. Stoughton heard the firing and telegraphed to Washington for instructions, but receiving no answer to his message sent orders to the regiments of his brigade to be ready to move at a moments warning, whichever way circumstances might dictate. But the cannonading finally ceased and our orders were countermanded. I suppose that if we remain here we will have to go out beyond Centerville on picket again about the middle of the week, say, Thursday morning and could we but have as good weather as it has been for the last four days I would rather go than not.


Sunday, December 28th

Another splendid day, such a one as you frequently have in October, but not such as you are apt to have at New Year's time. Our first scout has just gone over to the Court House with a squad of men detailed for Guard duty. We frequently have to furnish guards for patrol duty there. I have not been over there myself, so I do not know the exact nature of their duties, but suppose they have to guard the government property there, maintain order etc. We have just been out to church and heard a short sermon from the Rev Mr. Webster, and some singing from the choir led by the Drum Major who, whatever else he may be is an excellent singer.

Orderly Serg't Fletcher is sick and we fear that we shall be deprived of his services for some time. He makes a very good Orderly and we miss him much, as our only remaining sergeants are Willey and Pense of Weston, who as far as military matters go is about on a level with Willey. You have often said that these young boys of 17 or 18 were too young to go, that the old men ought to turn out, but let me tell you that this is no place for an old man, and that there are three times as many of them on the sick list as there are of the boys, as you call them. While boys like Cummings are doing their whole duty and getting fat on it, great stout men like Crane get sick and need the doctor's care. Eldridge Kingston is sick and will get his discharge. Corporal Wait thinks that he will waste away and never recover. I must stop for I must darn my stockings and go on dress parade.

The Journal came in last night. You may send a little woolen yarn if you safely do so. We are again under light marching orders, whither, no one knows, sure that light marching orders will carry us forward. Yours, H.G.D.


Centerville, Virginia,

January 4th, 1863

Dear Parents,

When I last wrote you I said that we expected if nothing happened, to go to Centerville on picket about the middle of the week, and here we are. After getting my letter all ready to mail last Sunday we received light marching orders to be ready to march at a moment's notice, without knapsacks but taking our blankets and fly tents, and accordingly we started out and marched to Fairfax station where we were wanted to repel an anticipated rebel raid upon that place, although it does not necessarily follow that We always travel when we have light marching orders, for we have had them so frequently of late that we should hardly be able to enjoy a good night's rest no without them, unless we are ordered to lie on our arms or something of that description. After going doom to the Station at about the quickest common time ever put on record, we were stationed in a little grove some 40 or 50 rods in the rear of, and supporting two guns of the 2d Conn. battery, which belongs to our brigade, and were told to make ourselves as comfortable as we could without fires. I lay down under a fly tent With Baldwin and Alfred and with our three blankets made ourselves entirely comfortable, though some of the boys routed up a little after midnight and kept traveling the rest of the night to keep their feet warm.

The next afternoon, sufficient force having arrived there to render our presence unnecessary, we were taken back to camp again. During our absence The Reb cavalry succeeded in breaking over the picket line, and a detachment of them came up close to Fairfax Courthouse but were driven away by a volley from two companies Of the 12th and a few of the guards stationed in an old rifle pit, which killed one or two horses. They also got three or four prisoners, and the rest went off over the old Chantilly field road and escaped. From that time until we came here we had any quantity of scare stories about the Rebs, that they were coming in this direction of that, and since we came here even the story in our old camp has been that the 16th were all driven in to the Forts and rifle pits by the enemy. To be sure some of our company are camped in the old forts, but we have not been driven a single inch and as for capturing us, it would trouble all the cavalry in Jeff Davis' dominions to capture us as long as hard tack and cartridges lasted, although artillery would drive us out unless we could have some ourselves.

We have got to stay here in Centerville seven days instead of four, as we did the first time we were here, and then we will go back to camp again. Centerville is a nasty stinking desolate hole, half of it has already been burned, and it would do the other half good to burn also. There have been so many troops camped about here, both Sesesh and Union, that the country roundabout is a perfect desert covered with the rude stone chimneys constructed by the Rebel army to warm their winter quarters, and by the ruins of houses that once covered the inhabitants of this war desolated land. The Rebel huts have mostly been carried off for fuel, leaving only their great unsightly chimneys to mar the landscape, though near the post where Alfred and I stood on picket yesterday and last night, there were the remains of some which we found made first rate firewood.

I am writing with pencil out here because my knapsack is in camp and we have no ink out here, though we could buy it if we wished, and it is about the only thing you can buy, unless it be a little might of milk,- nothing in the line of eatables can be had for love or money. Even our officers got short and were unable to buy anything for themselves, and have been on a great deal shorter rations than have we. Oh, how is it about the pay for my board while I was at Ludlow? Has Uncle Sawtelle ever drawn the money for it? I suppose he will keep the whole of it, won't he? We have lately been mustered for two months' pay, but when we will get the greenbacks I don't know, but whenever we do, I shall try to send home some of them, as I have more than enough to last me another trip, if we get paid with any sort of regularity. And if we don't, I guess I have enough. I am glad to know that Jacob gets along well with his school and hope Thatch had equally good success at Hule Neville (?). I had a line from Henry a few days ago and he mentioned his trip over to the Kingdom [Plymouth Kingdom, ed.] How is the staid old town of Plymouth moving? Do they have any Lyceum at the [Tyson] Furnace? Is change scarce? How is the weather, etc.? It is very warm and comfortable here. We have no rain of any consequence this winter, have not got our blankets wet since we have been here. I call that very lucky, don't you? The candle is just going and I must quit.

Your Humble Servant - H.G.Day


Camp near Fairfax Courthouse

January 10, 1863

Dear Parents

We are this afternoon having a rainstorm and as we have no drill and do not like to go outdoors to wash or other outdoor jobs, we are all inside, and not wishing to sit entirely idle have gone to writing. I do not know that I have any special news to relay . . . but we have got back from our trip to Centerville all in good shape.. . and we now expect to be kept here for support for the troops at Centerville, but no soldier can tell where he will be in an hour from any stated time. We started from Centerville for home about four o'clock Tuesday in the midst of a gentle rain which made us put an our rubbers and contrived to swing our woolen blankets in such a manner as to keep them dry. As it was, the regiment never marched over that road; in spite of mud we made the distance in less than three hours and it must be at least eight miles. While we were gone a lot of sick men were sent from the brigade to Brattleboro and among them two from our company. We were very sorry to lose them, but we could not wish them to stay being affected as they were with palpitation of the heart. Whether they had yet arrived at Brattleboro I do not know, but we heard only a day or two ago that red tape still holds them at Washington. Dr. Story is here. I had quite a little chat with him. I watched with Henry Fletcher night before last and the doctor slept in the tent. Wait and Bailey have taken care of him all through and have given him the very best attention. I see by one paragraph in your last that you are borrowing trouble about us. You need not trouble yourself about our being in any great danger unless something happens more serious than the recent Rebel raid near Fairfax. To read the accounts of it as they come to us in the Washington and Vermont papers one would think that we had a great battle right here under our noses. We have smiled frequently at the accounts of it in the papers. I believe I have told you as much about our situation as I conveniently can. In regard to our living I have omitted telling about living on half rations because I did not know anything about it, never having tried that system. To be sure there are times when for a meal or two we cannot be furnished all that one would like and if a fellow is improvident enough to waste his "grub" when there is an abundance, he may expect to go short once in a while. For my own part I have never gone hungry and if I happened to have an extra 1oaf of bread or a dozen hard tacks when we were out on picket or on a march I never threw them away.

You can have your tomatoes and we will take the onions, though I never should have thought of them if you had not mentioned them. There are times when on picket that we have to eat three quarters of a pound of salt hog per day and then raw onions come very handy. My haversack is full now, its contents being hard crackers, sugar, onions, some fresh beef that they gave me for breakfast, and some things that Uncle Joe gave from his abundance. I told him that he had better keep them for his own use but he said that he had just had one box, and just heard that Rufus Piper's people had got another started for him, so I accepted. Mrs. Knight's P.O. address is at Upper Falls. We are getting to be quite friendly with him and his tent boys. We all like them quite well.

Why are the militia to be enrolled again? I do not see the propriety of it unless they expect another draft which can hardly be. . . . The [Windsor] Journal came in last night and is the only newspaper we have received in this tent for a week, although we usually have four or five. Surry Ross is ailing again. I should not wonder if he went home with the next lot. He had a small box come to him the other night, which seemed to please hem. It all came in good shape except some fresh meat which was somewhat moldy, and indeed meats are apt to spoil coming from Vermont here. I cannot think of anything that would he likely to please you more than the bottom of the sheet as here it is. H.G. Day


Camp near Fairfax Courthouse Courthouse

January 15, 1863

Dear Parents

A little leisure and plenty of candle, so why not write a few moments before bedtime. To he sure, the week is not quite out, but still as I have time I might as well improve it as well as I can as I can see we move at any moment, though the only sign of moving that for the last two days we have been engaged in fixing up for the winter: building railroads, corduroy sidewalks, our streets, arranging the drains, etc. The colonel says that things look more like staying now than they every have before. The mail has just come in brining yours of last Sunday, which like all letters from home was eagerly perused. It seems that when small things get into the papers they look remarkably large to the readers. For instance, The Rebel raid near Fairfax seems to have been magnified into quite a battle by the newspapers.

You might possibly be astonished to learn that some thirty of the 16th's boys, myself among them, have teen put in Fairfax jail for twenty four hours, though for no particular misdemeanor. I have before written you that we have to send over on a patrol guard to the Courthouse every few days. Well, it so happened that on that particular day there were 30 or 40 more men detailed than were needed, and the supernumeraries were quartered in the rascally old jail and left at liberty to skedaddle around the city and see the sights which were not great. Uncle Joseph is quite sick, though I hope that he will be better soon. He had a bad cold and headache and it seems altogether to have made him sick. Co. "F" lost two more men last night, making six in all from that one company, against only two or three from the rest of the regiment, and the same company lately sent home eight invalids. Strange, isn't it, there is more sickness in camp now than there has usually been.

January 16, 1863: The measles are in camp. There have been twenty or thirty cases of them but they say that they run light. You wonder if anybody has wanted my mittens or whether I keep them yet. I have got the mittens myself and if anyone else has wanted them they have not been able to get them. I have seen Uncle Joseph again this morning. He thinks he is a little letter though not much. He says he has just had such turns at home so I suppose Aunt M. will understand his case better than I can describe it. His tent mates will take good care of him as possible, I guess. He wanted me to say that he had written three letters since January 1st and understood that Aunt had not received any of them. He says he will write again as soon as he feels able. I am well enough myself, have not got the measles yet, though I may have if they take a thorough run through camp.

Rain again and it rained again all last night but did not wet the roof of our house through so as to leak. I would not wonder if the rainy season had fairly commenced and that we are a permanent fixture here until after mud time. Moses and Alfred are going to have a box sent them before long, they say, how soon I do not certainly know. You wonder if I have any trouble? with my tent mates. I would hardly think you would ask such a question, and if you could see us operate a few days I know for certain that you would not. What is the use of getting up a fuss in the family when you can get along without just as well. In regard to discipline and punishment, I presume you do not think we are all natural fools to be here three months and not know what is allowable and what not. Besides, our officers are not of that class that they take any extra pains to have the boys get into trouble. Our 2nd Lt. Peabody has been promoted to 1st Lt., and we are to have the Sergeant Major for our new 2nd Lt. He is a smart officer and I think we shall like him very well, but what is really wonderful is the fact that Jason Freeman has been appointed 2nd Lt. Of the Co. "H" (the Felchville Co.) He was the Colonel's waiter. The boys all hate him so, even though they like Peabody first rate.

I am sorry to hear that Jacob has trouble in his school, but can't help it as I know of, though I should have thought he would have remembered who hired him well enough not to have offended Isadore. Vilus failed up this winter, he was not able to get a certificate though he was at Springfield at school in the Fall. Jacob is a good boy enough, but I would not have picked him for a schoolmasters though under the circumstances 1 did not expect him to have any trouble. You ask particularly about our living...so I will tell you what we have had today: in the morning, tea, which I have got so I won't drink, boiled fresh beef and our day's ration of bread, - eleven hard tacks. At noon, all the beans we could eat, which we always season with cayenne; at night, coffee and boiled bacon. Good enough for anybody, wasn't it? And enough of it surely. We have beans about twice a week and rice soup or potatoes the rest of the time. And speaking of soup: our cooks make better soups than you ever did or ever can see unless you have the hard tacks to put in for dumplings. We have some hard and some soft bread, and I had as least have the hard as the soft, although the soft is very good, better a great deal than we got at Brattleboro. And our beef is first rate also. I wish I could send home half a bushel of hard tack as curiosities. John Knights has got so that he sends home recipes for cooking to his wife, and she tries them and calls the result good, yea very good!

We are not having as hard a time of it as you imagine, indeed we get along very comfortably and hope that you at home manage to do the same. Orlo Fullam has just been detailed to go to the ambulance corps, a good chance for him as he had some difficulty with his feet, which troubled him much about marching. The wind is blowing in a style that would not disgrace Vermont, though there is no snow on the ground to sing and whistle about our ears. And the ground was not frozen this afternoon, though it may be before morning. But no more for now. Yours, H. G. Day


Fairfax Court House,

Jan. 19th, 1863

Dear Parents,

Better, much better, in my opinion, is Uncle Joseph and I thought I would pen just a brief note to inform you of it, thinking that it might somewhat allay the anxiety which you and Maria would he likely to feel for him.

We move in the morning though we don't know certain where. We expect either to go down to the Station or to a place called Woolf Shoals some ten or twelve miles from here. We go at seven. All well as usual except a sore thumb which plagues me some about writing. Slocum's Division which has all along been around the Station have just left, which we suppose to be the occasion for our moving. Nothing more now. H.G.Day


Fairfax Station, Va.

January 27, 1863

Dear Parents,

I have somewhat overrun my usual week but still I hope for pardon as I have been quite busy of late. Yesterday and the day before I was in the Capt.'s office helping to fix up accounts preparatory to payday and tonight the Paymaster is in camp and has commenced work. We are to be paid from Aug. 29th, the day we organized, to Nov. 1st, ($27.30). I shall endeavor to send home the quarter part of mine as I shall have enough without it. We have got the $1.57 (?) due us for making our clothes. I have been detailed at the quartermaster this afternoon and am to go again tomorrow. Whether the detail will be permanent or not I do not know.


January 28th: Have got the greenbacks,--wish they were at home. The box came yesterday all in good shape, though the hen had begun to mold a little, though not enough to hurt it. Give my thanks to Dr. Scott for his papers and his other things. What was the express on the box? I did not expect you to send one to me, but still I am very much obliged, of course, though I would as least you would have eaten the chicken yourselves. Moses Baldwin has just got a letter from his sister in Texas written the 1st of August. John Ordway was in the Rebel Army was wounded at the Battle of Valverde, taken prisoner and paroled. They liked him very much and would have made him 1st Lieut.! So goes the world.

I have keen a little unwell for a few days and this morning I went up to the Surgeon and he gave me three pills and said that I was billious. I next went to the Q. M.'s to commence my days work and found they had all "been out late last night" and were not ready to go to work. Uncle Joseph is gaining some, he is round out of doors. We are having a useful snowstorm this morning but I fear we shall not get enough for sleighing as the snow melts almost as fast as it comes.

Evening: Still snowing and there is somewhere in the neighborhood of six inches of snow on the ground. Our present campground is the muddiest one we have had and our street almost is the worst, or rather was the worst in the Reg't I say, was because we have taken poles and corduroyed it all over so that it is not muddy although it is very rough to travel on. We shall probably remain here until after the rainy season is over. The 2nd Conn. Battalion which was with us undertook to move the other day and fairly floundered in the mud.

I can not write any more but will try and do better next time. H.G.Day


Fairfax Station - February 3, 1863

Dear Parents,

I presume that you will have learned before this reaches you that I have had what you most feared the measles. When I last wrote you I told you that I had been unwell for several days and that the surgeon said that l was billious. Mistaken man! The next morning as expected I was sick as a dog but I got along nicely and now am able to sit up all day and should go out were it good weather. I must tell you that it did not take the whole Regiment to take care of me, indeed all I wanted was to be still and drink cold water. That tasted the best of anything except lemons, and those were recommended by the doctor and I ate what I wanted of them.. You want particularly to know our officers. all I have to say about them as this: I never asked a favor of them that was not granted, and l have received some favors from Capt. Foster that were not expected and last night he came along and gave every one of his boys that had the measles a good nice lemon; and Lieut. Moore is always obliging anybody than don't try to shirk. Of Lieut. Whitmore I can say nothing only that he was a good Serg't Major and is a pretty smart fellow. He has not been with his company any as get. As for their drinking and gambling I couldn't say as I am not behind the scene. There is no doubt but that most of the officers in the Regiment drink more or less. I have no doubt but that ours do, but nobody has seen one of them intoxicated since we came to Virginia. Whether they ever did before or not I cannot tell, of course, though others may pretend to know.

Uncle Joseph has just been here. Mr. Balcom is in camp today and is going to take home some of the boys' money for them. I gave Uncle J. $30.00 which he is going to put with his and hand to Mr. Balcom all to be paid to you. Uncle proposed this as Aunt M. is at Plymouth I suppose, and he thought it would be more convenient for you to get it for her. Perhaps you may think that I have sent myself short but it is not so. I have about $12 left and if we get home in June that will be plenty enough to last, even if we are not paid off again.

I have been out in the street today and mean to go again if nothing happens. In short, I am getting along nicely though I do not intend to go on duty for some time. The weather today is clear and pleasant though quite cold. The measles are having a pretty general promenade through Camp. Joseph Weston has got them hard a great deal harder than I had them I should think according to their tell, that he makes almost as much fuss about it as Father did. Father used to say that he could taste his measles long afterward, but I have got done tasting mine already. They didn't taste good enough to make it an object to hold the flavor long.

You should have been in camp the day after we were paid off. Everybody was rich and almost everybody was trying to trade watches. The cry was "Who wants to buy a watch? Who wants to swap watches? I'll stump the whole state of Virginia to swap watches with me, etc. etc." Orderly Fletcher has so far recovered that he was in camp yesterday, though he returned to his quarters at night. He will probably soon resume his position in the company unless he is promoted, and we shall be glad to see him for of all the orderlies in the world Willey is about the poorest, and it would be an awful task for a new hand to take them now that they have grown so careless and indifferent under Willey's tuition. They fall in when they please, and out about the same unless sore of the commissioned officers happen to be present,- then they will do very well.

February 4th: I have been out again this afternoon and got a breath of fresh air. I am sorry for Jacob that he could not get along with his school, should have supposed he would have tried hard to keep ahead of his scholars, but I suppose he did as he thought best, even at the time he so mortally offended Isadore. Jacob was a good boy and loved life, but I never thought he would make a great school teacher, yet I was in hopes that he would nave no trouble....

I have got an old hill dated 1761 that I am going to enclose. I have got another of a little different description that I would send but it has no date. I wish you could continue to send me two or three good pens, in a paper or some way, but if you can't I can get along somehow without them. About the boxes, I have as yet said nothing, but now that my appetite is just returning the contents of it will come very handy. I had eaten nothing of any consequence for several days before I came down with the measles and when I first began to eat again the crackers came handy, and now I imagine the other edibles will have to suffer also. I am glad that you sent the sausages raw as they will keep better and we can get frying pans enough,-we have a good one in our tent that belongs to the Orderly's stove, and when they take the stove away, half a canteen makes a good pan, and that we can get any time. We are not such destitute people after all, but have furniture, houses, etc.- like civilized people. Father will, I suppose, get the money from Mr. Balcom and take care of it. I don't know certainly how much Uncle Joseph put in, but guess $20, making $50 in all. Mr. B. leaves in the morning though I don't know whether he goes directly home or not, but I must close for the present. H.G.Day


Fairfax Stations Va. February 8, 1863

Dear Parents,

It is Sunday again, and one of the most beautiful days you ever saw, though we may have another storm almost any time. I am getting along first rate, have been out taking the air today. The measles are taking a pretty thorough run through the company, and it takes about a week to get over it. I believe you wanted to know what became of the sick when we moved. Well, the last time we moved there were a good many sick in quarters, and one company was left behind for guard duty at the Courthouse (it is said they could only muster thirty men), and each company left one hut behind for the use of the sick, and did not move them until we had got somewhat settled in our present situation.

About the old Catholic church that the Chaplain wrote about: They say it is a good place for a hospital. There are four of our men there now, three sick with the measles, and one (Hastings of Ludlow), with inflammatory rheumatism. I really wonder though that the Chaplain should have taken pains to write anything about the 16th, unless it was for popularity's sake, as all he seems to care about the 16th is to make money out of them. He has a son here with him, and he lets him out to the sutler [a man who follows an army and sells food, liquor, etc. to the soldiers] and has a man detailed from this company on purpose to wait upon him, and he employs him in peddling stationery that he has sent to him from New York with his tracts, etc. Whether he gets it through freight free or not I do not know. He himself gets his living at the hospital, thereby saving the expense of boarding himself. A part of this I know to be true, and the remainder I have from sources which I cannot doubt.

How does Uncle Alden get on with his new wife, and how do they and George agree? How do they like their new schoolmaster, and how do they get along with spelling schools? G.W., Esquire, I beg your pardon not making a particular acknowledgment of your whole half sheet, but it was received, and perused nevertheless, with a great deal of interest, so try again sometime as you say you will. There came an order yesterday for each company to send two of their best shots to headquarters. Hazen Fletcher and M.P. Baldwin were the men selected, each fired four shots, and each put three balls into the bird. None of the other companies succeeded in getting more than three shots into the board, while we had six.

Thank you for the corn. I could also use a few good steel pens. As for Orlo Fullam, he had trouble with his feet so they detailed him to the ambulance corps as driver of the transport which carries the officers baggage. Our company has become so reduced by details and sickness that it cannot today muster sixty men present and fit for duty, though we have as yet lost but one by death, while Co. "F" has lost 10, twice as many as all the rest of the regiment. H.G.D.


Camp near Fairfax Station

Sunday, Feb. 15th, 1863

Dear Parents,

It rained so much that the officers dispensed with the usual Sunday morning inspection, so we have nothing to do but keep quiet and comfortable. It is so warm that we do hot have fire enough to stew our applesauce. We have of late drawn dried apples occasionally, and find it a great improvement. Your quart of butter came very handy, as I lived on toast principally for several days, but now I have got so that I can take anything that is rations, except ration tea, and that I neither can nor will take. Never have got reduced enough for that yet, and don't expect to. It is about time for us to be on our travels again, but I don't see how we can go now, it is so muddy. Besides we hear that this regiment has been reported unfit for duty, on account of sickness, principally measles. All the measly ones in our company are doing well with one exception, -Gould of Andover, who it is thought must die. If he does it will be a hard case, as he was a poor man, and will leave a wife and four children, the youngest only three years old. There are twenty six in our company off duty from sickness, and fourteen permanently detailed for service out of the company, one discharged, and one dead- Demary, whose body has been sent to his folks, the expense being paid by the company, amounting to about half a dollar a head.

Our captain is in Vermont, having gone home on a ten day furlough, though how in the world he ever got it through I do not see, as it had to go through Stoughton's Casey's and Heintzelman's hands before it was allowed. (So much for red tape.) Major Pounds seems to have about the same opinion about my having the measles as Isadore had, as one Sunday morning while going the rounds inspecting the quarters of the men he stuck his head into our shanty, and seeing me there sick, remarked jokingly that I ought to have had the measles before, as it was bad to have them at twenty dollars a month. I told him I knew it was bad for Uncle Sam, and he smiled and passed along.

The most stirring thing that we have seen lately was a day or two ago when three regiments of Pennsylvania Bucktails landed here direct from Fredericksburg and overturned a sutler at the Stations and drank up a barrel or two of his whiskey. They were first sent to Alexandria to recruit but they acted so like the very devil that they sent them right straight off, six miles from the city, and now they are out somewhere between Centerville and the old Chantilly battlefield, where I would defy all the Bucktails in the army to steal anything, because it isn't there.

I hope you will have a chance to go to Pachen's this winter, as you have been so long wishing to. I am sure you would have a good visit. I should think there might be snow enough now in Vermont so that you could even get to Rutland.

We are not living on half rations now, and I guess no newspaper will tell you so, though we live on hardtack about half the time. We are going to use your old quart measure for a coffee pot after the butter is gone, provided the old thing doesn't leak, and if it does, why we can get along well enough without it. I have not seen Uncle Joseph for a day or two, I presume you have heard from him since you heard from me. Levi Moore is having the measles, as is also Henry Miner- both having them quite hard.

Monday the 16th: Another splendid day is gone, and I will try to finish this. I went up to the surgeon's yesterday morning and he unexpectedly gave me quarters, so I will try to fix them up a little, accordingly we have been building bunks. We are expecting to have some new guns again, Springfield Rifles. Companies "A" and "B" already got them, though I don't believe they speculated much by the swap, as the guns they got were some of them second handed ones, and awfully rusty inside and out. We are also expecting soon to lose our Orderly, as there is a vacancy in Co. "F" caused by the resignation of their 2nd Lieut. Burns, an officer much liked by his men. Furthermore, we are expecting to have four or five of our boys discharged. The surgeon offered to get Joseph Weston his discharge if he wanted, and I guess he will take it. The story here is that Stoughton has been trying his best to get us down on the front, and finally went to Gen. Heintzelman about it, and the answer he got from the rough old Pennsylvanian was "Gen. Stoughton, report yourself back to your command immediately, and if I hear any more of your trying to change your position, I'll bring you back within four miles of Washington and keep you there until you are discharged."

Gould, of whom I wrote yesterday, is still alive, and that is about all. The Journal came today, with the pens, enough to last quite a while. The papers miss once in a while, but generally come, say three-fourths of the time. The weather here now is about what it is in Vermont in October and November, occasionally freezing a little nights, but not near enough to stay frozen through the forenoon. We have good water, plenty of wood and plenty of mud, when it rains, still rain does not disturb us as much as you might think, as the shanties are not apt to leak, and our pine paved streets don't soften easy. I imagine that to transport us right from here to where the thermometer runs 24 below zero we should feel the cold some for a few days. Warner Bates of Sherburne was here a few days ago. He came with Mr. Colton after the body of his son. He was 2nd Serg't of the Rutland company in the 14th, and a first rate appearing fellow. The Bates boys occasionally came over here to visit their cousins, and they seem to be first rate good sort of boys. The boys you know who were in hospital are all doing well. All this from H.G. Day


Fairfax Station Feb. 22nd, 1863

Dear Parents,

Virginia!- the land of many changes, whose soil has so oft been devastated by contending armies; Virginia! The home of the soldier, and the backbone of the rebellion, is today swept by a most merciless snow storm, the toughest of the season. The Lord have mercy on those poor soldiers who have nothing but their 'shelter' tents to protect them from the fury of the storm. But we here in our comfortable stockades and with good warm fires, do not need much sympathy. It commenced storming about midnight, and at the present time, a little after noon, we have 7 or 8 inches of snow, perhaps more. Nobody goes out today unless he is obliged to. Here in our tent we have done nothing today except keep a good fire, and split hardtacks with a hatchet for dinner. Hardtacks don't generally need to be split with a hatchet, but these we have got now are solid substance sure enough. Fletch Morgan Just came out of his tent with an axe and said he had got to go and get some wood, as he had got everything into the stove except about 30 hardtacks. We don't happen to be in that fix however, as we had the good fortune to get in enough last night to last all day and more too, and in a storm, green pine interspersed with a few dry rails are not to be sneezed at.

There is no use thinking that there will be anything of any importance done here in Virginia while the winter lasts, for there is not an army under the broad canopy of Heaven could more now. The infantry might possibly get alone, but for the artillery and baggage, moving is simply impossible. Neither could infantry move far without supplies. They have been obliged to corduroy the road from the Station to Wolf Run Shoals where the 12th and 13th are stationed, in order to get their supplies to them. The 15th have done most of the corduroying on this end of the road, and the 14th and 16th have done all the guard and fatigue duty at the Station. The 16th is rather improving in health as the measly characters are all getting better, and there are not many new cases.

As for me, I am growing fat, if not saucy, I am heavier than I was before I had the measles; weighed 164 yesterday as the commissary weighs things. The Plymouth boys are most of them gaining, though Archer at the hospital is pretty sick,- I can't say how sick as no visitors are allowed in the hospital. I believe on the whole that the boys who stay in quarters get along better than those that go up to the hospital....I wonder what Andrews thinks now about going to war. He thought that he never should come unless he was obliged to, and I'm thinking that his honor will have a chance to come before we are obliged to come again, as I believe we shall be exempt from the first draft, which we here think will come before long, as we expect to be back in Vermont again about the first of June, and the government must have some men to take the places of the nine months' men now in service....The old bass drum is just beating for church. I am afraid the chaplain won't have a very large audience this afternoon, as his meeting house is not over and above comfortable, even if the seats are cushioned; at least I don't feel much inclined to swell his congregation, even if I had any faith in the man, which I have not.

So severe is the day considered by the officers that the guards have every one been taken off, and the Colonel and commissary and sutler each takes care of himself. These are all the regimental guards that are usually kept on through the night, with the exception of one in front of the guard tent. We have to send guards to the Station every other day, and today fortunately we have none there. We have just proposed to go out fox hunting tomorrow, now that there is snow. There is a fellow in Co. "B" that will bark just like a dog, and we thought he would do for the hound, but Alfred thinks we wouldn't be apt to find many foxes about here. It is not snowing so fast just now. Perhaps it may clear off again some time.

Where is Tyler Coolidge now? I should be very glad to have him write to me. I judge by your letter that you have not seen him yet. It seems your new schoolmaster is mighty wise to be wiser than the eminent man that built the Spelling book (Noah Webster) I should presume that you might have snow enough now so that you could dare to go to Rutland. Even ours won't last but a few days, but if anybody had a sleigh they might take a sleigh ride any where through the corn fields. I do not feel at all concerned about my money. Some of the boys have already heard that theirs is all straight. There are more or less Vermonters in camp most of the time, though there is none here now that I know. The ones who cared for me when I was sick were my tent mates, Alfred and M.P. Baldwin. We three have stuck together since we first came to Virginia. Ross is a little different animal. His first and sole care is for himself. The mail has just come into camp, so I will close and hold myself in readiness for anything. Yours, H.G.Day


Fairfax Stations Virginia,

Sunday, March 1st, 1863

Dear Parents,

The weeks are flying rapidly, and each one is supposed to have a Sunday, and lately the Sundays are all of them rainy enough to kill knapsack inspection, though the rain has not saved me from duty, even this Sunday. I have had to work on the muster rolls all day, as Levi Moore is not able to work, and it is necessary to have them done by a certain time....It is expected that we are to be paid off again soon, and it is thought that this time we will receive four months' pay which will bring us up to the first of March.

The Rebs are trying their hand again in making some small raids on their old favorite playground about Bull Run, Centerville, etc., and today we judge by the sound there has been skirmishing somewhere. If firmly held, Centerville will be hard to take, as the 11th Mass. battery have their guns mounted upon the old Rob redoubts, and Mud is still King to an extent that will prevent anybody-either Reb or Unions from moving with heavy forces, but their Cavalry might dash in and keep ours busy.

It must be hard indeed for David Sawyer to get as far as Washington and then find that he had not money enough to get Elwin's body home. What regiment is he in? Is it the 10th? You speak of seeing Tyler Coolidge. Where is he, what is he about, and why don't he write to me? I am not Quartermaster's clerk yet, though I heard by way of Vermont that I was; nor yet Captain's, though I have had some of his work to do. Where was Warren Leslie wounded? Was it at Fredericksburg, and how badly was he hurt? I believe the health of the regiment is steadily improving. I have not seen M. A. Ives for some little time before he left for Philadelphia, if I remember rightly. He never seemed to like it, and so it didn't seem to agree with him. You can understand the fact of my having quarters one day and duty the next as a difference in the "feelings" of Assistant Surgeon Spafford, nothing more.

It is almost time for roll call, and MPB is by my side finishing up a letter for the morning mail. We have never got our tent fairly fitted out yet. The day we came here we got a little timber and put up a slight stockade and got boards enough to make us a floor, and so we stayed, but had always meant to make them into bunks, when it came handy, and that happened to be the time.

I do not of course know exactly what they want us to have new guns for, but presume it is because the new ones look a little better, and are a little prettier to handle than the old ones, as the old ones will shoot about as well as the new. We have not had anything particularly exciting for a long time, so long indeed that it might possibly do us good to rouse up a little..... H.G. Day


Fairfax Station, Virginia March 6th, 1863

Dear Parents,

March with its uncertainties and fickleness is upon us, and is flying rapidly away. One day it is balmy warm and spring like, and the next is cold and stormy, and only a day or two ago we had a good smart thunder shower. Quite Spring fashion, isn't it? I have been engaged in the captain's office all the week until yesterday, and I guess there is no more to do there now. Adelbert Bartlett stayed here with us last night. He looks hale and hearty and tough. He is going back to the 12th today. His company is stationed down 1/4 mile from the rest of the regiment at a ford on Occoquan River, with the 2nd Connecticut Battery

You have no doubt read the Resolutions passed by the 16th some time since and we have the response, offering to take care of the Copperheads at home, and tendering us their sympathies, and promising the Vermont Volunteer regiments to keep their ranks full, if need be at the point of the bayonet. All very well in its place, but it seems to us that instead of their sympathies, we shall nave themselves out here before long. Won't the order for a draft make a sensation among some of these self-same sympathizing patriots such as were so anxious to avoid it last Fall?

The box you mentioned Aunt M. sending to Uncle Joseph has not yet arrived, or at least had not a day or two ago. They do not bring the express boxes up here from Alexandria every day, but wait until they get a lot of them, and so bring them up altogether.

Saturday, March 7th: Again we have an illustration of the fickleness of March, for it commenced raining last night, and has rained moderately ever since, so there is no particular likelihood of our having a drill this morning. Uncle Joseph got his box yesterday, and was much rejoiced there at. Everything came through in good shape, even the half bushel of crackers you sent him. I guess you think him quite an invalid. True, he is not well, but still he is not so sick as to need a cracker diet entirely. I imagine that his bag of meal will be of infinitely more service than his crackers. Norman Taylor had a box yesterday, containing among other things a paper of salt. His good friends no doubt thought that, as he was down in Dixie, he must be as short of that useful article as though he was in Richmond itself in the hands of the Rebs. Uncle Joe is disposed to divide his treasure with me, but I do not feel like taking them, at least not so freely as they are offered, as I know that Aunt M probably paid the express.

The company turned out at least fifty men for dress parade last night, besides the usual details for guard and fatigue duty, the cooks and the sick. The orders in camp now are that no man shall be out after taps at 8 p.m. But last night the guards picked up three of the officers of the regiment, one captain and two lieutenants, and marched them up to the guard house. One of the guards was from our company, and he said they looked crestfallen enough; and the officer of the guard was a lieutenant at whose expense the other officers have had a great deal of sport. Even he laughed over it all fight, and told the boys that it was worth five dollars to him.

All is quiet and still just now, with nothing to relieve the monotony of camp life except an occasional rumor of moving, which probably has no foundation except in the minds of the circulators. The greatest excitement we have had lately was over a piece in the paper from Adjutant General Washburn saying that our time would be out in nine months from the time we were mustered in. Some of them were inclined to believe it would not be out sooner. H G D


Fairfax Station, Virginia, March 11, 1863

Dear Parents,

As I have a few leisure moments, and as there is something to write about, here goes. Brig. Gen. Stoughton has left for the front where he has so long been trying to get us, and the brigade seems to rejoice in his departure, though it seems rather "riled" at the idea of the Rebs being able to dash in to Fairfax Courthouse and get out again unthrashed. Last Sunday night was dark as pitch and very rainy, and the Rebs having previously laid their plans and looked over the premises, did with the aid and connivance of the citizens make a dash into Fairfax C.H. and carry off Brigadier Brindle.

Their object does not appear to have been the capture of any great number of prisoners, as they did not take any of the guards, only those that were in their way, and a number of those escaped from them. Lieut. Prentice, one of Stoughton's aides, was twice captured, and twice escaped. He was the only one of the aides taken, though one or two of them might as well have been. It was curious to hear the comment in camp on receipt of the news! All were somewhat indignant that the Rebs should be so successful in their dash, but their care was not for Stoughton. He had five men detailed from the various regiments for guards, and you could hear the boys inquiring anxiously after they, and making such remarks as, 'Well, I wonder if Old Stoughton feels like cutting anybody's D--d head off now? How much will it reduce the price of whiskey?" "Old Stought has started for the front now. There'll be whiskey enough now so that the men can have some every day," etc. etc., While it is said the 14th almost burst into a cheer when they heard he was gone. I don't think anybody sympathizes with him much, because he had no particular business to be off there three or four miles from his own headquarters, which are at the Station, and from all his command, and remain there week after week. Let him R.I.P.

Col. Asa E. Blunt is now in command of the brigade. He is much liked by his own boys, and I guess by the rest of the brigade. I received yours of the 6th today. I am writing with one of the pens you sent now, that has done all the writing that I have done for the last week or two, which is no small amount.

What were the oxen that Father sold for $110 and does he propose to buy again this Spring? As to your questions about whiskey etc., before I answer those, let me ask whether you knew me when at home, and whether you meant to insult me or not, before I answer that, though perhaps I will tell you this much, that we have had the critter dealt out to us a few times, that we have got some in a bottle here in the tent now that we drew, that we gave a drink of it to a native that came into camp, and got a Virginia pie in return. It made the old fellow's mouth water to think of it, because they cannot get it unless they succeed in smuggling it through the lines. I happened to learn that the Adjutant's clerk had resigned and been promoted, so I remarked to the captain that I would like the clerk's berth very well myself, and he bunged out his eyes and asked about my penmanship, as though he didn't think there was anybody in his company that could hardly read writing, but finally told me to come down to his tent and write a letter for him, so I went down and scribbled a little for him, and he told me to write a specimen and have it addressed to Col. Wheelock G. Veasey. What he wanted of it or was supposed to do with it I know not....

Our family are all doing well: Alfred writing, Moses standing by the door smoking a cigarette he made by rolling a little tobacco in a corn husk, and all as contented as clowns, while the other family that lives here, viz Surry M. Ross, is eating a hard cracker, and the boys in the opposite shanty singing songs. The hatchet we use to split hardtacks is badly nicked out on the edge. You can form your own conclusions as to whether the tacks did it or not.

March 12th: I have been at the Station on fatigue all day, and worked well for a soldier. Did not have anything to do but stay in the forenoon, and this afternoon only had to unload five carloads of hay and three of grain. I saw a party of refugees there, numbering 21 in all, the most of whom came from Richmond. Gen. Windham has gone out on a scout with all his cavalry, numbering somewhere from 5 to 8,000 and 'tis said that he declares himself bound to have a fight if there is one to be had this side of Richmond. and it certainly would not be well for him to be captured by the Rebs, as he was captured by them once and paroled, and has gone back to fighting again.

My shirts are not wearing out at all, and are all good yet. On the whole we are not so ragged a looking set as you might imagine. To tell the truth, it would not do for a man to get over and above ragged here. The officers might be after U8. It is cold and squally toddy. Matt Clark has concluded not to come back into the company, but to keep his pony for the present. I cannot tell who the orderly will be, but surmise that it will be one of the first two corporals, L.G. Coolidge or M.P. Baldwin. Have not seen Uncle Joe for a day or two, but when I saw him last, he was as well as common. H.G. Day


Fairfax Station, Va. March 13, 1863

Dear Parents:

Yours of the 13th came to hand yesterday, and today finds me without a great deal of business on my hands, so I propose to fill the sheet you enclosed, though I am not out of stationery just now. The weather today is quite spring like, more like May than March, warm enough so that fires are quite unnecessary.

Our boys are digging rifle pits now, have been at it for several days. I dug for three days and today am detailed to act as supernumerary, which is simply to attend guard mounting and to go on the usual drills tomorrow. I will have to go on guard. The three regiments stationed here have dug several miles of rifle pits, and are still diggings so you see if Stonewall of any other Wall wants us he will have to work for us. Co. B. went out on a scout the other night and captured four Rebs. sesesh citizens, I suppose. They had a pretty severe tramp, from 16 to 18 miles, I believe. The prisoners were taken over to Co. Blunt's headquarters, and what was done with them then I do not know. One of our company, Mike Sullivan, got hurt yesterday while out on fatigue when a tree fell on him. He is better today, but he did some extensive swearing, that is, when he was able to talk again....

I am the only one left in the tent today, all the rest being out on the pits. The rumor is that we are to be paid off next week, for four months instead of two. I do not know whether it will prove true or not, and do not much care, as I have plenty of money for the present. Would you believe it? Crane has got his discharge on account of ill health, though some say it was because the colonel had got sick of him as cook. There was another one discharged at the same time that really needed a discharge: Dodge of Andover, and I am heartily glad he got it. We have got a new orderly at last in the person of Matt Clark. I think the boys will like him very well. Far be it from me to ridicule the contents of Uncle Joe's box, though the assortment would not have been one of my choosing, if bitter "herbs" are good for the blues, let him have them of course... His dried apples, dried beef and even the butter were very good things and I have no doubt what his meal will prove a good thing for him, but for the medicines filagree ee.

There was a scouting party sent out from our regiment this afternoon. They found a few old tents, a musket, etc. I do not know exactly what, and 'tis said that there is another party going out tonight, to try and get a Reb. Very many of the citizens about here are believed to be peaceable enough in the daytime, and are supposed to act as guerrillas at night, and the officers seem to be taking measures to catch the rascals.

I saw a sesesh cow near camp today, and by the appearance of things, I thought the poor calf might go hungry if his mammy didn't keep away from camp. Spinning are you? Well I should think you were taking up new trades in your old age. Perhaps you are spinning some of the same rolls you brought from Proctorsville. I have the promise of going to Washington some day before long, what day I cannot yet tell. I believe that the health of the company is as good as it has been at any time since they commenced having measles. Ezra Weston is perhaps the sickest of any of the Plymouth boys, but he is a little better today....

I am somewhat surprised at learning that Ella has taken orders just at this present time, but a body must learn to be surprised at nothing nowadays, though I should think that happy couple might send me their card. .... H.G. Day


Fairfax Station, Virginia March 24th, 1863

Dear Parents,

Today is a stormy, rainy, nasty kind of a day and I have nothing to do but read, write, and keep comfortable, which last I have been doing all day, taking things easy according to the best of my ability, and you must judge for yourselves whether that is easy or not. Alfred and Moses Baldwin have gone to the Station on guard today, and our shanty has been pretty much alone, nobody here but Surry and me, and we have done nothing but cut wood to last over Sunday, eat our hardtack, potatoes, salt hog, and beef, so we are not excessively fatigued, unless the fact that we were drawing $20 per month- work or no work, has a deleterious effect upon the constitutions of the boys.

I got a Bellows Falls Times today. I see by that that S.N. Swain has received some old papers from Drs. Scott and Story that came from Fairfax C. H. and presume that the grog bill of rum punch and cider was the same one that I sent you. Was it so? If it was, I hope that S.N. Levi will ponder well upon what the habits of the great great grandfathers of the first families of Virginia probably were, and form in his own mind a comparison between their habits and the habits and manners of their degenerate sons. But Virginia is altered now. Her stately mansions are in ruins or in ashes, her fields are deserts, and her once proud people have mostly skedaddled. Only here and there a solitary squatter with his ill tended cornfield, and roving cattle to keep up the appearances even, of peaceful habitation, while the deserted huts and fallen forests show where the roving soldier has had his temporary abiding place, and ever and anon the solitary chimney standing alone like some permanent landmark in the desolation around tells where the proud Virginian had his once stately mansion, and the planter's Nigs know him now no more forever, nor will ever know him, for Abraham in his wisdom hath seen fit to put his foot on such knowledge. Though the slave owner would have his chattel retain a knowledge of him as master, the instinct of freedom that comes welling up through every human breast has severed that connection forever.

Sunday evening: I have just finished my supper, put away the dishes, stretched myself a little, and now feel at peace with all the worlds myself, and the brigade band which is now playing on a hill over toward the Station....Do you want to know what we had for supper? Flapjacks, soft breads coffee, sugar and molasses, and might have had either "salt junk" or "dead hog meat" also. All the above mentioned articles were very good...we can beat the wide world on certain kinds of cookery under difficult circumstances. We have been skedaddling around the country- saw a big railroad bridge that had been destroyed by the Rebs, also a big sawmill in the same fix, as well as about a million Nigs who were basking in the sun, and enjoying themselves generally.

I have the promise of a pass to go into Washington some day before long. I mean to go with one of John Knight's tent mates, if we can get our passes through together. There can go only one from a company per day, so we cannot go with one of our own comrades. We are all well- growing fat and saucy. H.G. Day


Union Mills, Virginia March 27th, 1863

Dear Parents,

You will see by the heading that we have again moved, and got a little nearer the Richmond, which has so long been the goal of our desires; though not a great deal, only about five miles. The 15th and 16th are here doing picket duty on the banks of that historical stream known as Bull Run, while the 14th as you will no doubt learn by the papers, has gone to Wolf Run Shoals to join the 12th and 13th. We came here by rails i.e. we walked on the railroad tracks. They detail about 150 men for picket every day, detailing from our regiment one day, and from the 15th the next. Our boys are on today, and will come on again Sundays when I expect to go again....When out on picket day before yesterday I was within 100 rods of MacLane's Ford where the skirmish that preceded the Battle of Bull Run occurred. The point from whence the Rebs opened fire on our troops from a mock battery is now occupied by a small earthwork and a few of our pickets stay in that. It is situated on a small island in the Run, and entirely surrounded by trees. Bull Run was so high the other day that no living thing could hope to cross alive, but during the night it 'subsided' about four feet.

The further side of Bull Run, the country appears to be smooth- inclining from the Blue Ridge down to the river's bank, and all dotted with Rebel barracks, which sheltered their main army during the first winter of the war, and to which it is to be hoped they will never be able to return, though this has been lucky ground for them. I guess my thoughts are somewhat wandering tonight,- I have been out today to see an iron cased car fitted up as a railroad battery and mounted with a small Parrott gun.

March 29th: ..It commenced raining about 4 o'clock this morning, and has kept it up ever since. The boys have got in from picket, but did not get very wet, as they had their rubber blankets and cap covers. They went clear up almost to Centerville, went up so far that they could see across the River to the field where Ellsworth Zouaves and the Black Horse Cavalry fought, and up to Black burn Ford, which was once so much talked about. They say that that field yesterday looked as green and as thrifty as anything you ever saw. There may be a third Battle of Bull Run on that self same ground, but there is no Rebs there now save a few of their marauding cavalry. I have heard that they captured Stoughton by getting a countersign by posting one of their own pickets between ours at a place where they were a good way apart in the dusk, to give the sign. They got it, too, and shortly after vanished.

It is related of Captain Mosley that Monce came along our picket line acting as Field Officer of the day! Gave the pickets instructions, etc. and told them that he would be along again, and departed, and when the real officer of the day came alone, they began to inquire into matters and soon found out the deception. Since that the cavalry men say they have always been told who the officer of the day was, and have known him when he came along.

I am glad to hear that the good people of Plymouth are going into the nursing recruit business so extensively... Father did not say anything about his new horse, black or white, old or young, big or little, only that he was satisfied with his bargain, and of course I am glad he is.

The boys in the next tent had quite an amusing time this morning. It seems that one of them had a bottle of whiskey, and put it in a satchel under lock and key, and the rest of them somehow got the nose of the bottle out of the satchel and drank it all up, and he gave them a severe lecture for "drawing" his whiskey, and they in turn scolded him for buying liquor for eleven cents a gallon, and selling it for eight, so that on the whole they had quite an amusing scene.

You wonder if it isn't hard work for the boys to work on the rifle pit. Now that is a certain sign that you have never been out soldiering, for it's a standing joke that if a man sweats when he is out on fatigue he must be put in the guard house, and they aren't apt to go there for that. The first afternoon that we dug pits the boys worked well, and indeed they had to in order to keep warm, but the hard work soon played out and the longer they worked on anything, the less they would do. If any farmer had a squad of soldiers to work for him he would turn them off, unless they would do more for him than they would do for Uncle Sam. It seems that the young men die at home as well as here. I have reference to Sumner Spaulding. I have got the Journal of the 14th, and now as this sheet is full also, I will close. H.G. Day


Union Mills, Virginia April 2, 1863

Dear Parents,

We are not having any drill this forenoon, but a game of ball instead. 'Tis said that the officers of the right wing are to be matched against those of the left, for an upper ten game, and the smaller fry match up to suit themselves. l have not had to do enough to injure me for the last two or three days, though I have nominally been at work for the captain on quarterly reports, etc., and have done jobs as fast as they have been furnished me. I didn't rob the calf, as you intimated, indeed we didn't have any calf sustainer's at the time you mentioned, and haven't had any for a long time, though we should be glad to get a little of it. We make "flap jacks" without milk in the following style: viz. Crumb up soft bread and soak it to a pulp, then stir in flour enough to make a batter of requisite consistency, grease the griddle with a bit of salt hog, bake quickly and eat hot. Oh, I forgot to tell you who wrote the pieces in the Journal signed "Ned". It is Ned Reed of Springfield.

I have just been out watching the officers' game of ball. There is a good deal of fun about it. The old colonel has one side, and the major the other. They had a good laugh a few moments ago, to see the colonel get out. The boys have just begun to come in from picket; had a very good time out, didn't see any Rebs on their side of the river, but thought they saw a few of them on the other, though I don't third they were very much frightened.

You mentioned something about the Chronicles. I am sorry but I am obliged in strict honesty to inform you that the enterprising genius that sent them to the B.F. Times first saw them in the Washington Chronicle, and merely revised the numbers so as to make them applicable to our case, though many of these imputed to the 16th are well deserved, and the rest they haven't had a chance to deserve yet. We have got a new 2nd Lieutenant in the shape of Sg't Major, late Orderly Fletcher. His appointment suits the boys. and officers first rate. Moses and Alfred have been over to Wolf Run Shoals to visit the 12th, 13th and 14th. They report all well and enjoying themselves over there. It is about six miles from here. The boys are beginning to catch fish in the larger streams, and if we stay here long I should not be surprised if we had some too. You said once that Mrs. Boynton took a great deal of interest in Ezra's welfare. I am glad for it because he's been sick again and he looks as if he ought to have somebody to feel an interest in him. Though I don't think I will have another box sent to me...as our wants are very few, our needs still fewer, and if we had anything we might lose it by moving any time...;though for naught I know we may stay here for some time. H. G. Day


Union Mills, Virginia April 12, 1863

Dear Parents,

As this is the last opportunity that I may have for addressing you from this post, I propose to embrace the present chance. We have orders to march tomorrow morning at 9:30 and the cooks etc. have orders to take seven days' rations along with them. We have not the least idea where we are going to. Well, so be it; we bargained for travel when we bargained to come, and might as well be somewhere else as here. The Quartermaster has just said that we were to go on the cars, so it does not seem that we are going down on the Rappahannock. Some of the boys are going to send off the extra baggage, and they are getting boards from the Qrt. Master to make the boxes for that purpose.

We have been having several days of splendid weather, and the ground is just as hard as a rock. I think I shad send home a few little things which, though they are not very valuable, will yet pay the expense of transportation.

It will be rather hard for those that are on picket to start out on their travels in the morning, but still tougher things have been, and may be again. I got your "mixture" as you call it in due time, and made it all out in due time, and of course if anyone cares enough about me to write, why I am glad to receive it. I am well tough and hearty, and never was so heavy in my life. I weighed 176 pounds on the Patent office scales in Washington a few days ago. By the way, I believe I have not told you about our trip to Washington.

The way it happened was this: The Captain had got a pass for a man to go to Washington to make purchases, and something happened that he did not want to go. So the Captain gave me the pass, and let me have a chance to see the elephant. I didn't have time to get a good look at the entire 'critter', but I saw as much of him as conveniently could during the time I was there. I left Union Mills about 3 o'clock, and got to Washington sometime before dark. I could not visit any of the public buildings that night, as they were all closed except the Post Office: that I saw, and it was quite worth the while to see its workings. In the morning I tramped over the city as much as I could, and saw all I could before the Patent Office was opened, then I went through that, seeing all sorts of machines, both useful and curious, together with many of the personal effects of G. Washington, the coat that Gen'l Jackson wore at the Battle of New Orleans, the presents that the Japanese brought over to President Buchanan etc. etc., from there I hurried to the Smithsonian Institute and spent the remainder of my time there, and might have employed a great deal more time if I had had it. To undertake to describe the collection there would be simply impossible, so I will let it pass without saying anything further about it than that it rather beats Isaac Pollard's. I left Washington at 1 p.m. and went home minus about $2.50. Still, I rather think the trip paid.

Poor Ezra Weston! His troubles are ended at last, and his sorrows past. You must have heard that he was dead, and it seems a great pity that it should be so, when he might just as well have been alive and gaining in health and strength, had it not been for Ass't Surgeon George Spafford, who so mercilessly forced the sick from their comfortable quarters at Fairfax Station where they might just as well have stayed until he could get a comfortable place for them, down here. That settled Ezra, but he is dead and gone now, and there is no use accusing anybody of murder. I believe the health of the rest of the Plymouth boys is as good as usual. I have been writing for the captain for a day or two, so that I have not had a very hard time.

So you have been down to visit Aunt Maria. Well, how is she getting along and how are Uncle Joe's things managed? Uncle Joe seems to think that his man does not mean to do the fair thing by Aunt or by his things. Tell the doctor that I was very glad to get a letter from him, and will answer it to the best of my ability as soon as we get settled again. Yes, we took our tents and all our duds, stoves, fireplaces, and all along last time, but we may not this time. I suppose Aunt Maria will feel better if she has got her farm paid for, as they never liked very much to be in debt, but you see this sheet is almost full, and I must haul this disjointed epistle to a close. H.G. Day


Union Hills, Virginia April 23, 1863

Dear Parents,

Having Just returned from a pleasure trip down to the Rappahannock, I propose to devote a part of this rainy forenoon writing to you. Day before yesterday morning, we got orders to be ready to march in twenty minutes (before we had fairly finished breakfast), but were not required to go until 9 o'clock. Marched down to the Station and five companies were put upon the cars and the rest were obliged to foot it, our company not being among the lucky ones. We marched to Manassas Junction (six miles), without halting, and then stopped for a couple of hours or so, and "struck our teeth against much hardtack", then started on, leaving Co. "B", and marched about nine miles further, when we met the train returning with those of our regiment who had gone on before. They had been only two miles or so further than we went, and had repaired the bridge over the Broad Run just beyond Bristow Station that they expected to find demolished, but it was very good. They only had to lay a new track across it, and do some slight repairing to make it passable again. We came back to the Junction, and camped for the night; meanwhile the pickets had been sent on after us, after they all had got a bit rested. We met them about eleven miles out from camp, took them on board with us and all rode back, though we were somewhat crowded.

Next morning, (yesterday), we were all taken on board a train that was sent up on purpose for us, and went down some twenty miles beyond Manassas Junction, within three miles of the Rappahannock, found the road in good condition, and came back home again, having successfully accomplished what we suppose to be the object of our expedition, viz. to guard the trains and workmen while they were repairing the road so that Uncle Sam could transport supplies down this road to Stoneman's Cavalry. They are now operating rather secretly in the vicinity of Warrenton, with a small force of some thirty or forty thousand men, and all the available light artillery of Hooker's army. I never saw a quarter so much cavalry before, and yet we saw only a small part of the whole force. I do not know what the idea is in having all Hooker's cavalry and light artillery up there, unless they intend to dash across the river and take the enemy in the rear while he takes them in front. To see the train of pack mules that carried the baggage of the cavalry was quite a novel sight. There would be one mule with a lot of camp kettles, frying pans, and other camp equipage packed upon him, and another with a couple of boxes of hard tack slung across his back, etc.

In this last trip we have seen something of the destruction caused by war. At Manassas, which must have been a beautiful place before the war broke out, there is not a single house left standing. But the plain is there, still lovely still beautiful, even in ruin. Here Pope's supply trains were burned last summer, and the ruins of miles of cars still ornament the track. Here was destroyed clothing, hospital, officers, sutlers' and all other kinds of stores that you might mention, to the amount of hundreds of thousands of dollars- if not millions. The old Rebel fortifications are still there, though somewhat decayed. At Bristow Station, the next one beyond the Junction, there was a mile or two more of cars burned up and destroyed. The country down the railroad from Catlett's, down about Warrenton Junction and down to Bealton Station which was the extent of our journey, is superb,-almost level, and as green as can be. The peach trees are all in blossom here, and if I had a sprig handy, I would send it along.

One thing that happened at Manassas I must not omit to mention. While we were resting there, Matt Stewart and another started off in pursuit of adventure, and came across a drove of Virginia pigs, whereupon Matt grabbed one that would weigh 60 or 70 pounds, by the ears, and kept the old sole away as best he could, while the other one stuck him with his bayonet. Matt came back and reported just as we were ready to start on again, and one took his gun and another his blanket, he grabbed his rubber and pressed on ahead until he got to where his pig lay, and then picked him up and put him in his rubber, slung him on his back and brought him off. But he was soon relieved of his load by Bingham, who rode one of the officers' horses. I had a mouthful or two of said pig, and can testify that he tasted very much like veal....

The Vermont Journal of the 18th has just come to hand. One piece in it entitled "The Nine Month Men" has been read by many of the boys, and pronounced by all an unmitigated lie. Some of them wish that they could see the man that wrote the piece--you may guess for what. It is true that they are in no hurry to turn their backs on Rebeldom until their time is out, and that the men of this brigade firmly and conscientiously believe to be in nine months from the date of organization, and they are not men that like to be fooled or tampered with, whether it be by P.T. Washburn and Fred Holbrook, or by our respected Uncle Samuel. Very many of them and half the entire brigade, would enlist again within thirty days after they were discharged if they were only discharged within a reasonable time after they consider their time honestly and fairly out, but say they, if they keep us until the twenty third of July, Uncle Sam may run his machine just as he can for all we care.

Not that they care for the extra two months time, for they consider themselves good for that, but they enlisted, believing their time to be out in nine months, and the idea of being fooled and hocussed by General P. T. Washburn or any other general does not sit gracefully upon their minds, and some few of them go so far as to declare that they will not do a day's duty after they call their time out, and the great majority of them say that they may have fooled us once, but never can again, for, say they, if they can hold us two months and then muster us in and keep us for the full time of our enlistment, they can hold us twenty years and then do the same. This brigade is ready to do its duty, whatever that may be, but "play not with edge tools all ye State authorities", for if our bayonets do not count in the coming struggle, our votes certainly will count in the Fall elections, and against you too, I fear. H. G. Day


Union Mills, Virginia, April 28th, 1863

Dear Parents,

You see that we still hold Union Mills, and have not taken up a permanent abode on the Rappahannock shore, though we are just now having a little more picket duty to do than we have had before. Our new Division General, Abercrombie, is mighty strict. He has ordered out all the fires on the picket line, made some new regulations about passes, etc. The boys feel rather aggrieved about the fires, and were so mad yesterday morning they set fire to the woods. I was kept off picket this morning to make out the muster rolls, as we all have to be mustered for pay again the last day of t is month. The paymaster has just been around with four months' pay ($52). Many of the boys are sending home a considerable portion of it. I am going to send $50 in the shape of a check from the paymaster, which I presume you can draw at any bank, as well as you could the widow's order that you dealt with last year. There seems to be some sort of movement in progress down in front of us this morning. Artillery, cavalry, and a lot of mules have been sent down on the railroad this morning, and 'tis said that there was a skirmish down on the Rapahannock this morning, and that the first trains brought up some wounded soldiers, though I did not see them.

I imagine that if the weather holds good for a week, we will hear of awful fighting on the Rapahannock, and I feel confident of success, for they are taking unwearied pains to make it a sure thing and of all the forces of cavalry and light artillery that they have on the river 30,000 cavalry on the river around the railroad, and Warrenton, besides the artillery and what troops have gone down on the railroad last night and today: all these exclusive of the troops that Hooker has with him in front of Fredricksburg. We saw 10,000 cavalry the day we went down the railroad, and had we not received orders from Averill we would probably have run right down to the river and had a few shells thrown at us. We had some new non commissioned officers made last night, and concluded that the newly promoted men had better wet their stripes, so the company fell in to two ranks and marched down to the sutler's, the non coms heading the delegation, and there we devoured a half barrel of apples at their expense, the Adjutant and commissioned officers sharing with us. Then we marched back to our company ground, dispensed a few good lusty cheers and had a good time generally for the remainder of the evening. We are now expecting to get back about the first of June. Have just got my check from the paymaster, which I enclose, but do not have time to write more. H.G. Day


Union Mills, Virginia, May 3, 1863

Dear Parents,

We are going down to Bristow Station to stay four days, and relieve the 13th, who are down there now, if the Reds don't catch us, and I don't much think they will. We came down on the cars, and expect to go back the same way. We are working quite hard down here, doing guard duty on the railroad, and patrolling all over the country, yet we are having a good time, good weather, and a superb country to stay in. I understand that the captain is going to try to get permission to stay four days longer, He thinks that he has got a clue that will enable him to catch a Reb or two...Matt Stewart was shot at night before last while on picket. There is no regular force of Rebs about here, only some men detached for scouting service- some say 150 in all. There is once in a while a Union man in the neighborhood, but most of the citizens are either Sesesh openly or sympathize with them.

The cavalry catch a Reb or two almost every day. A dozen of us went out scouting, and only a little later two Rebs came on the opposite side of the woods and were caught. We can hear cannonading even now, and know that Hooker is at work. We are very anxious to know the result. Mosely's gang of Rebs got thrashed down at Warrenton Junction twelve miles from here. They first caught about fifty of the 1st Virginia (Union) Cavalry with horses unsaddled and turned out to graze, and the men cooking coffee, and charged them. They rallied in a house, as they did not have time to saddle and mount, and there held Mosely's men-110 in all, at bay until they set fire to the house and burst in the doors.

They sabred the Rebs as they came in, but they had to surrender at last, though not before the 5th NY Cavalry, which was some little distance away, had time to get up, and the tables were turned. The 1st Virginians were all released, three of Mosely's men killed, 25 or 30 taken prisoner, the most of whom were wounded, including two lieutenants and one captain. And Mosely himself was wounded in the shoulder severely enough to make him drop his saber, which the boys picked up. The loss on our side, I believe, was one killed, thirteen wounded. But dinner is ready, and I must go on duty afterward. H.G. Day


Bristow Station, Virginia

Sunday, May 10, 1863

Dear Parents,

We are still at Bristow, having been ordered to remain here four days longer than we thought when we first came out here. We have had considerable bad weather since we came, but have enjoyed ourselves very well notwithstanding We are expecting to go back to camp today. The 15th has left its old camp and gone down to Warrenton Junction. The fruits of our labor thus far have been 45 or 50 contrabands, one sword, one double barreled shot gun, and one carbine, which we found concealed in the houses of citizens. Also about forty Sesesh fowls, and a lot of hams, meal, etc. The cavalry that was with us has picked up a dozen or so of citizens accused of being sesesh in their proclivities and actions. It is as beautiful a Sabbath morning today as ever was; the grass looks green and thrifty, and the apple trees all in bloom. A few of the boys have just gone up the railroad with a hand car for a ride, and are now coming back. They were rather careless, as they had neither arms nor equipment along.

Since we came here we have seen some good looking white women, the first we have seen since we came into Virginia. From one thoroughly Sesesh widow lady we have taken at least thirty Negroes, found a carbine secreted in one of her beds, etc. We have also in some of our excursions found some good Union people, but those that can be relied on are few in comparison with the whole population. The Unionists are all northern people, mostly from NY or NJ, who have worked their own lands, and have never owned slaves. However, slaves and slavery fast are disappearing from Prince William County. Brentsville, the former county seat, is a little one-horse place so thoroughly Sesesh that there is only four to seven men left there, and unless they are more exemplary in their morals, than most of the people here, they will stand a chance to have their numbers reduced whenever we get in some more cavalry here. Stoneman's Cavalry, I presume you have learned, has returned to the Rappahannock. They sent in some thirty prisoners yesterday, including one major, and two or three carloads of contrabands, all smart active young men. 'Tis said that Stoneman has twenty acres of land covered all over with mules, horses and cattle, all standing just as thick as they can be tied, which he brought with him on his return from his recent raid.

General Stahl is getting his division all down on the Rappahannock, and it is said that he is going to make another raid while Stoneman takes a rest . The weather now is quite hot....We have learned that we are not going to be relieved before tomorrow, and then 'tis thought that the 13th will come out here. We would certainly rather stay here than go back to camp. The boys in camp have drawn all our boards, stovepipes, etc. They would like very well to have us come back and help them do the picket duty, which is coming rather severe on them just now, as there is only one regiment in Union Mills. We were deeply disappointed when we learned that Hooker's movement had failed, for we had an abiding faith in the success of this grand movement and even now we have hopes that he has only returned to try it again under what he may consider more favorable auspices.

I saw Gen. Stahl yesterday. He was on board the cars. Not a very remarkable looking man for a General, though his men say that he is the only man that can take a regiment of cavalry and break a regiment of infantry. The boys are all well and in good spiriting full of fun and frolic, hale and hearty, ready to attack anything from a box of hard tack to a band of bushwhackers. Give my regards to all my friends if I have any, and tell them that we think of coming back to Virginia after the war is over, provided we can get some confiscated land...

Not long ago the Rebs set fire to a bridge not more than a mile and a half from us but it was put out without damaging the bridge seriously. There are a few bands of these Rebs about here first in one place and then another whom we are not shrewd enough to catch. There is a guard here from Co. "F" now that came down in the cars to guard the train. We need a whole regiment here instead of one company, and if the 13th is coming, I am glad of it. Good bye for now ... H.G. Day


Union Mills, Virginia, May 18, 1863

Dear Parents

Yours of the 6th came duly to hand and found me at Bristow, but was just as welcome there as anywhere. Co. "E" is down there now with enough men from other companies to make up 100. By the way, last Sunday while we were there the Rebs under Mosley undertook to burn two bridges, the first one was across Kettle Run about 1 and 1/2 miles beyond us, but the cars came along just in time to put out the fire and leave a guard. Foiled there, they next tried to burn a small bridge about a mile this side of us, but the man on the lookout saw the smoke and a part of the boys started off on the run and got there just in time to put out the fire before it had rendered the bridge impassable and to get a glimpse of the Rebs (30 or 40 in number) who had done the work. The captain started a scouting party after them in the hope that they would halt somewhere so that we could get a sight of them, but they did no such thing, Though they caught two of our boys who had strayed off on their own hook and captured them in plain sight of the camp. They took them off some 8 or 10 miles and then Mosley paroled them and they came into camp early next morning. They have now gone to the paroled prisoners' camp at Annapolis. Their names were Joseph Ashley from Cavendish and Juda West of Weston- the tallest man in the company. When captured, Ashley had on neither coat nor vest and they had to lie out in the woods overnight with no other covering than what brush they could gather up.

West had some $30 in cash with him but managed to hide it as they were walking along so that the Rebs did not find it. Ashley cried like a child when he started for Annapolis, but there was no help for it. General Stannard would not permit them to stay with their regiment. Stannard is much liked by the men under his command. He is not showy and dashing like Stoughton but seems to be a kind fatherly sort of an individual, chuck full of common sense with a good word for everybody.

You want to know what a vidette is? It is a mounted sentinel posted outside the picket line to observe the movements of the enemy. I had the pleasure of taking another trip down the railroad the other day, going down within two miles of the Rappahannock. Went down as guard on one of the trains. I think from all appearances that we will not have to keep up this picket line alone a great while longer as I think the 12th and 15th will be brought back to assist us. There are not many troops left in the Dept. in Washington now. Most of them have been sent down on the front to help Hooker. I have heard that Phillip Crosly was killed in one of the late fights on the Rappahannock. If that is true he is the first Plymouth boy to be killed in action.

May 19th: The weather here is quite warm, but I do not see anybody planting corn about here, though I presume you are just beginning to plant at home, and here if you can get across Bull Run and a mile or two away from the Railroad, you will find all sorts of farming business in full operation, except when the men are away on some bushwhacking expedition or other.

We have just heard that Moses P. Baldwin has got an addition to his family in the shape of a little daughter, so that his time has not been lost after all. You speak of Martha Sesstess being married to Norman Bates! Does the widow live there on the Kingdom now? How do you prosper with the Spring work? You mention Father is going up to mend fence on the old pasture. How many sheep has he this summer and are their as good ones as those that he sheared last summer? How many cows have you got this summer? Oh, tell little Charlie that he must learn to play on his new "drum" so that he can play for Clarence the next time he gets his regiment together as it is highly necessary at all military gatherings to have a little music. More anon, H. G. Day


Union Mills, Virginia, May 24, 1863

Dear Parents,

Another uneventful week....two months ago today we came here, hardly expecting to remain nearly so long, but now all is quiet and we have made up our minds that we have got to stay where we are for the present or until we get ready to start for Vermont, and we are not certain how soon that will be. The colonel was rather cross this morning on inspection. The Regt. did not march to suit him. We have never been drilled on slow time at all, and come to put us to marching slow time we made bad work of it. But try us on quick or double quick time and the 16th can't be beat! I presume we will be reviewed by the General and staff before long.

The weather is now decidedly hot here, and has been so for some time. We get up at 5:00, do police duty immediately after, eat breakfast at 5:30, and go on company drill at 6:00, come in again at 7:30. Guard mounting comes at 8:00, after which there is nothing until 5:00 p.m. when Battalion drill comes. This lasts until 6:30. Dress parade comes at 7:00, and supper as soon as we can eat it afterward. Tattoo at 8:30 and taps 9:30, after which everything is supposed to be quiet.

May 25: I was interrupted yesterday forenoon by the boys coming in to see us, and we had beans for dinner and I was as sick as a horse in the afternoon. whether it was the beans, warm weather, or something else that made me so, or beans and hot weather combined, I don't know. However, I am feeling a great deal better today and will probably be as well as ever in a day or two. The thermometer has stood 90 and 92 in the shade for several days, but it is cloudy today and somewhat cooler. I believe the Plymouth boys are all as well as usual now. There is not much sickness in camp now except someone who has a sort of temporary trip like mine yesterday. W have heard that those two boys of ours who were captured at Bristol have had charges preferred against them by Major General Heintzelman for signing their parole papers. We hope that the authorities in Washington will not be too severe with them. I understand that F.C. Sherwin has been improving his time and has already got an heir. I wonder what my dear Aunt Salome will think of it and Uncle Johntar [Dunbar?] too. Well, so be it.

Uncle Joseph is as well as usual for aught I know. I saw him a day or two ago, for the first time since we went to Bristow. It is rumored that we are going down on the RR to relieve the 12th day after tomorrow. Bristow is a pleasant place and I had as least be there as here, or if we should happen to land in Manassas or Catlett. There is a good place to stay at either place, and we are perfectly willing to take a car ride and have our knapsacks carried. Besides, we may catch sight of a real live wild Reb once in a while, though we will not be likely to see any considerable force of them. But dinner pork and boiled potatoes is ready and I must go down to the cook house and get my potatoes, though it has got too hot to eat much pork. H.G. Day


Bristow Station, Virginia May 30, 1863

Dear Parents:

When we are moving about the time flies away so rapidly that we can scarcely keep track of the rapidly flying weeks. Nine months ago yesterday -August 29th we went to Ludlow and organized our company. Therefore according to law and order our time was out yesterday, but it seems we must stay a while longer. Well we are good for it. If we don't see any harder times than we have seen thus far. Immediately after arriving here we went to work to get us some boards and build us some first class summer houses. Indeed we have got the best quarters now that we have ever had, considering the season of the year, though they would not be so good for winter use. The table that our cooks use for giving out rations etc. was once the counter to an old store, and there is one or two shanties built entirely of green window blinds and several composed of good panel doors, painted and grained, which makes them all the better for soldiers' use. We do not expect to stay here more than a fortnight anyhow. We will then either go back to Union Mills or else got to Occoquan where the 13th now is. They say that 'tis a splendid country down there so that if we do have to march down we will get partly paid for our travel. The grass is up now about as high as it usually is in Vt. at the 20th of June or 1st of July, and the clover has been in blossom this long time.

Give my thanks to Dr. Scott for a copy of the Bellows Falls Times sent to me, and tell little Charlie that the "drummers" are out now trying to learn to drum as well as he can. ..Uncle Joe is at Catlett with his company. You will remember that Popes wagon Train was surprised and burned there last August by Stuarts Cavalry and many of his papers captured. Companies E, H, C, and D and F are here and B, I, and N, at Catlett, and A and G at Manassas Junction.

Sunday morning, May 31, 1863: Yesterday the Rebs attacked and burned a train two or three miles below us. They planted a gun on a knoll a little way from the road and when the train came along they poured the shells into them disabling the engine and burning the cars-10 or 12 in number. There was no one killed, but a few hurt by jumping off the train. The guards are like sheep. They say they were from the 15th. Our Cavalry took after the Rebs, caught them, captured two guns, took some 20 prisoners, and killed some 20 more as near as we can learn. A train has just gone up to repair the road, taking with them at least half the regiment as guards, -- always lock the stable after the horse is stolen, you know. The whole value of the train that was burned is estimated at $50,000. Whether Mosely's gang is chastised enough to pay the expense remains to be seen. Mosely is smart on his raid business but lately he has been getting some hard knocks from the 1st Vt., 1st Va. and 5th NY Cavalry. Just before we left Union Mills we saw two of his men who assisted in capturing West and Ashley, themselves prisoners in the guard house. By the way I saw a piece in the Journal which would lead one to think that the 12th had had a part in the late cavalry fight at Warrenton Junction. Such was not the case. The only men of the 12th that saw the Rebs that day were two or three whom they caught away from camp, and but for whom Mosely would have run slap against the 12th and most probably got cut up some. ..I must close and leave the rest until the next time. H. G. Day


Bristow Station, Virginia June 5, 1863

Dear Parents:

You wonder if I will spend my birthday in chasing after "Rebels" or be a prisoner among them, etc. Well, I was on guard about camp yesterday, and my post was up on the Lookout, so nice I felt nearer Heaven than militarism will ever carry anybody. I employed myself with a spyglass on viewing the surrounding country not a very hard task surely. The weather has not been so boiling scorching hot for a few days...although it is plenty warm enough now. We have very decent water here, though not near so good as at Union Mills, where the county is very uneven. Apparently the good people of Vt. liable to stand the draft are getting wonderfully pious and remarkably moral. Indeed one good old Saint wrote to one of the 15th men that he for one, would be sorry when this brigade got home because there would be so many reckless men thrown back upon society. Pity, he in all his goodness could not have been placed before Mosley's gun the other day. He might have been the means of saving someone who was useful to his country. .. Moses and Alfred have gone out on picket tonight so I am alone. I do not understand that we are to stay here until July 25th and then be red taped home, but we must be red taped home by then unless there is some pressing emergency that it would endanger the safety of the army to withdraw us. In than case they could keep us a few days longer, though there is not the least prospect that such an emergency will arise.

We are quite comfortable here in our shanty which we built so the air could circulate out through and under it. Four long trains of cars have just gone by laden with forage and they say that the entire 5th army corps is at Bealton. I should not think that the army of the Potomac would lie idle and let the present good weather pass by unimproved. The roads are just as hard as stone but there is no pleasure riding done on them, save what is done by the soldiers. No citizen dare trust himself away from home unless he has urgent business and can prove himself above suspicion. I saw a small box of strawberries today, containing perhaps a quart. The berries were as big as your thumb, red and ripe. They certainly looked nice. I would not have had the least objection to buying them myself, but no matter, Uncle Sam's cookies (hard tacks) would sustain life longer and probably cost less. I understand that Sam Pinney has gone back to his regiment again, having been reported as a deserter by his captain. Moses saw Eugene Bellow in the cavalry the other day. He said that he looked dirty and hard and his horse likewise. They have got some noble horses in the Vt. cavalry, and they look very much better now than they did last winter, and the cavalry boys themselves say that winter almost kills their horses. I wonder if Jennie in going to stay at home long this summer. I would like to see little Mary and see what she has in that head of hers. I wonder how little Charlie gets along, whether he is growing or not.

Speaking of woolen clothes and warm weather! We do not wear a great amount of woolen this warm weather only a shirt and pants, except when on guard or dress parade, and you will see lots of them out barefoot, sporting around like so many school boys. Drawers and undershirts have long ago been thrown away or sent to Alexandria for storage, and overcoats would go too if they would let us send them, for nobody likes to carry any more than he is obliged to. I have not yet taken the lining out of my blanket but if we have to march for a single day, I shall use my pocket knife on it, though if we don't have to travel any distance, I shall bring it home entire. H.G. Day


Union Mills, Virginia June 15, 1863

Dear Parents,

We came back from Bristows as We expected, and are now here with the 12th. The weather is excessively warm, 114 by this thermometer hanging against the tent. We have to get up at 4:30 in the morning, a half hour earlier than usual, but I don't think that will hurt us any. You wonder that they put us on a new drill when our time was so nearly out. Well perhaps you don't imagine that our colonel wants to make a big show when we get to Brattleboro. In fact the only great fault we have to find with him is that he does not know when men have drilled enough. Indeed it was remarked here today that if Lee's whole army were in sight, he would keep on drilling.

There is a great movement going on among the troops composing Hooker's Army. The report is that Lee crossed the Rappahannock above Hooker's army and was making off up the Shenandoah Valley. Of course we do not know as this is true, but we do know that the whole Army of the Potomac is falling back. 180 pieces of artillery stayed at Wolf Shoals last night and where we are we could see infantry, artillery and cavalry streaming off toward Centerville. Whether they stay there or go somewhere else I do not know. The army is confident of not having another Bull Run defeat in case of a collision here, though I believe Lee means Maryland more than he does Bull Run. If so, he will have to keep a bright look out or I am afraid he won't get back safely. The trains of the 1st Army Corps passed by our camp today. It is said that they will reach five miles to stand in a row just as close together as they can. We hear tonight that the 15th has been ordered back here again and I have no doubt that this is true, and they would not be likely to leave a single regiment out there while the whole Rebel army is on the wing.

The 12th is expected to start for Washington the 27th of this month. I think those heroes who have been in so many battles including the one at Fairfax Courthouse last winter, would hardly like to come in collision with the Sesesh Army now that they are going to leave so soon, but perhaps they would not be of the same opinion as that Lieutenant from the 15th who had charge of the guard on that train that Mosely burned. His idea was that he did not have to get cut up and disfigured when he had only 50 or 60 days longer to stay.

June 16th, Morning: It bids fair to be another scorching hot day just such as we are in the habit of having at the present time. We have to start at 5:30, and that does not leave much time for writing or anything else. We have just packed up our overcoats in a box to send to Alexandria to stay until we come home. We do not need then now! [And] we do not want to lug them in case we have to march anywhere. This makes our knapsacks quite light, yet a man could go full as easy to leave his bureau behind him. But I must close. Yours, H. G. Day.


Union Mills, Virginia, June 20, 1863

Dear Parents:

Hooker's Army has lately made an advance on Washington in true military style! The old brigade is not more than 8 or 10 miles from us now. They stayed nearer than that one night and a good many of the boys went over there to see them and some of them came over to see us. I did not go, as I was on picket that night. John Crosby came over a day or two ago, looked just as tough as a bum, and as to his appearance, why he is just as Paddy as ever, though I would not care to use that expression were I speaking to his folks.

There are about 35 men for duty in that company. There are no troops now between us and Richmond now, unless they be Rebel troops. All have either fallen back or gone to Maryland. I do not think that the Rebs have got a very heavy force in Pennsylvania, neither do I believe they will have. I cannot believe that Lee is foolhardy enough to take his whole army or the greater portion of it north of the Potomac. If he does, I am afraid that he will never get back again without getting it all cut to pieces. We expect that a heavy force from Hooker's army has gone up to meet them there; while another good part of it remains within the defenses of Washington ready for any emergency.

We have been having some rain- am glad of it, to lay the dust for a while, and where the dust flies like snow in a regular March tornado, that is no small favor. Besides, it is cooler now. Day before yesterday it was 108 degrees in the shade. Would like to go to Brattleboro to celebrate the 4th, but I know that we can't so there is no use making a fuss about it. As the army fell back this time, it did what ought to have been done long ago, viz: cleaned out the country as they came along. I do not suppose that every house is burned, but they have purified a good many Sesesh kennels and left the inhabitants thereof to go either north or south as they felt inclined, though it is more than probable that most of them chose to go beyond the Rebel lines. For several days we could see immense clouds of smoke looming up from the direction of the Rappahannock, but hardly knew what to make of it. At last we learned that the cavalry were cleaning out the country as they came along. At Bealton they burned all the station buildings and at Catlett did the same thing, but at Warrenton Junction they did not burn a single thing for the simple reason that there is nothing there that will burn. Neither is there at Manassas, except the water tank, and at Bristow there is nothing left worth burning, for we used up the buildings pretty much for shanties to live in.

By the way, I believe I would as least have a farm down here somewhere as to go west to look of it. Take Wier's place, which was Beauregard's headquarters at Manassas for instance....But I must close. I do not know whether this will go straight along or not, but think 'twill get there before I do.


Union Mills, Virginia, June 25, 1863

Dear Parents,

We are packing up our things, preparing to move by noon. We have been transferred to the first corps even to the 12th. The other regiments are ordered to report here this morning though their have none of them arrived here yet. Last night at half past nine about half of the regiment was down on the Occoquan River eight miles from here, and by 12:30 we had got into camp, good for another day, though I think that my feet will get a drink of whiskey before we start, as I find that it keeps the feet from chafing and getting sore as they sometimes do.

We have lightened our packs all they will let us but would like to send off our dress coats, but they won't let us. Mine is good yet, worth at least five dollars, and I don't want to throw it away, so I see no way but to carry it. I am going to put in $10 and run the risk of its going through. I do not think we will go further than Centerville today, and would not be surprised if we did not start before tomorrow. I am glad we came from the Occoquan last night rather than wait till this morning. We went out there day before yesterday, caught three Reb cavalrymen and three horses. One of the men was a Lieutenant and one a Sergeant and they had come home to visit their friends and got nabbed. They were smart, intelligent men... I suppose we are going up toward Leesburg, but do not know.

I saw several of the Plymouth boys from the 6th yesterday: Mike Barker, Sam Hastings, Barney Cannon, King that dug gold, and R. H. Earles. They all looked as tough as bricks but I have nothing more of importance to tell you, but what has become of that red headed cousin of mine? f you see him, tell him to do his duty to his country and write to the soldiers. H. G. Day


Camp of the 2d Vermont Brigade

near the Battlefield of Gettysburg, Pa. July 4, 1863

Dear Parents:

As I am aware that you know of our old camp at Union Mills and that there has been a great battle. I suppose you will be anxious to learn of our welfare. So far as I am concerned, I am safe and sounds but alas I couldn't say as much for the whole company. Moses Baldwin is dead, as is also S.A. Winship of Weston Joel R. Spaulding of Andover, and Joseph Ashley of Cavendish, and seven or eight more are wounded including Alfred Moore, Volney Earle, Lorenzo Miner, Mark Bixby of Ludlow, and Carlisle of Cavendish. I do not know where Alfred is and can not find out, though I think he must have got to one of the hospitals, as we can not learn that any of the burying parties have buried him, and he is not in the fields. He is the only one of our company that is not accounted for.

I learned just now that Lenal Lamb has died of his wounds. Our regiment has lost 140 men in all, out of between 600 and 700 that we went in with. We captured two stands of Reb colors and any quantity of prisoners. It has been a rough experience for us, but we have got along with it so far and depend upon it, this band box Brigade has done no discredit to the State. Indeed all the old troops and officers and everybody else that knows anything about it say that they never saw men behave better.

My knapsack, blankets and everything else except what I had on my back has in soldier parlance, gone up, but l have picked up two rubber blankets and two fly kits, and that with a towel, this comprises my outfit, but I guess 'twill do until the 23d. I have let one of the boys have one of the rubber blankets. Lee's army is getting awfully beaten here, and I am in hopes that he will not escape. Longstreet is a prisoner to us.

We may have to fight them again but I feel in hopes that they are so badly beaten that they will not be able to do any more such fighting as has been done lately. Our wounded boys are not any of them dangerously hurt. Miner has a wound in the leg from a grape shot but no bones broken or injured. We have been having the biggest thunder shower that you ever heard of just now.

I am indebted to Uncle Joseph for this sheet of paper and pencil, and will not write again until I can get some more somewhere. We have had no mail since we left Union Mills, and I don't know when we will have some. I will write no more now but will answer all questions when we get back to Vermont. Perhaps I ought to have said that the 12th and 15th were both with the trains and did not get into the fight. H.G. Day


Funkstown, Maryland July 11, 1863

Dear Parents:

Having some leisure time this morning, I think of penciling a few words to you. We are Just now on a clean bit of woods near Funkstown, which place you will not likely find on any map. They have been quite good to us for a day or two. Yesterday we did not have to march more than 6 miles and that left us here but a short distance from one of the best springs you ever saw, clear, cool and sweet, one that runs more water than four of those famous ones back of Uncle Sawtelle's old place. In order to give you an idea of where we are as near as I can, I will say that we are 3 or 4 miles from Bonnesboro, about 10 from Hagerstown, and can't be much more than that from Williamsport. We have had some hard marching to do but we have borne it thus far and now let them do as much as they can and they cannot make it last forever.

We have got our mail at last and out of the lot, I had 2 letters and three papers from home. You mention there was to be no celebration nearer than Rutland, but I should think that throughout the country there was quite celebration enough for one 4th of July. What with the capture of Vicksburg and the tremendous defeat of Lee at Gettysburg on the 3d, I should think we had quite a 4th-the awfulest 4th of July that I ever went to, and one that nobody would be particularly anxious to attend again. We have found where Alfred Moore is. He is in one of the hospitals slightly wounded. We do not now look so fat nor so clean as we used to. This campaign has taken off all the spare flesh we had, and as for cleanliness-well we keep as clean as we can, but look very much tougher than we used to and as to our guns, if they will only shoot, that is all that is wanted.

Don't you think Henry is going into business rather extensively to buy out Mr. Rice? How do you think he will come out of it, or what was his idea in buying? He can't mean to get married, surely, as you intimate.

You are of course aware that the 12th did not get into Washington the 27th, but had to stay here till the 4th. The 13th left day before yesterday playing "Away, away, I can't stay any longer." They all felt first rate and who blames them. If we were in Virginia now we might want for water or get only that that was unfit to use, but here every farm house has a spring or wooden pump and where troops are passing one can see about sixteen soldiers on every pump handle getting good cool water- not ice cold like some of your Vermont wells and springs, but plenty cold enough and as pure as water can be.

Western Maryland is just the finest country you ever set pour eyes on. I don't blame the Rebs for crying "My Maryland" or fighting for it either. The wheat is now up and is being harvested and the broad wheat fields extending in places as far as the eye can reach look is though they might gladden the eye of the owner. But war is injuring the beauty of things here as well as else, where, though not to so great a degree as in Virginia. Still it don't improve a wheat field any to have an army march through it or to have the fences thrown down for artillery to pass, but I don't see but that the Marylanders stand it as well as Pennsylvanian's did. We came by the Tenth Vermont regiment on our way out here. I did not see any of the boys that I knew except Willie Chapin and Lt. Perham, but inquired after the rest of course. I believe they are all well,- at least all that you know anything about. I believe I see a chance to send this. H.G. Day


Memoir: The Battle of Gettysburg, by Hezron G. Day

H. G. Day dictated this account March 20, 1928, sixty five years after he had fought in the battle! His memory of the occurrences there were still vivid.

In June, 1863, the 16th Vermont Volunteers regiment, of which your grandfather was a humble member, was and had been for some time located at Union Hills, Virginia, which is just where the Orange and Alexandria railroads cross the famous stream which in its upper regions is known as Bull Run, and its lower regions as the Occoquan River. The Army of the Potomac and Lee's army were facing each offer across the river. The poor old Army of the Potomac was composed of as good material as any army has ever known, but through incompetent leadership had some discouragement after the massacre at Fredericksburg caused by the disastrous defeat at Chancellorsville by an army not much more than one half as strong as the Army of the Potomac.

The last of June, it became apparent that the rebel army was moving north and west, evidently seeking the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and the northern route to Maryland. Hence the cavalry was sent across the river to see what was going on and the result was the Battle of Rappahannock, Which was simply a reconnaissance to ascertain whether the rebel army was on the move, and which developed the fact that it was, northward. Having attained its objective, the cavalry came back across the river with such infantry support as had been with it there, composed of poor, worn out and foot sore New Hampshire regiments camped by the site of Bull Run to rest and recuperate for awhile.

Thus matters remained for some days. the cavalry remained on the southeast side of the Blue Ridge and the rebels moved north in the valley, our cavalry going through the passes of the Blue Ridge and feeling for the enemy. The balance of the brigade to which we were attached consisted of the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th Vermont Volunteers. We remained at Union Hills for some days, although the Army of the Potomac began to come back and move towards the north, and for days the trains of the Army passed through our camp and across the Bull Run ford. While the infantry was further west, if we listened nights, we could hear the rattling of the artillery as they moved across the plains. The guards were several days passing through our camp, going toward Washington. About the 25th of June we were ordered to strike camp and move. Our tents and baggage of every kind was sent back to Washington. The regiments that had been picketing the Occoquan came through camp, and after resting a little bit, moved to the north with orders to report and join the 1st Corps of the Army of the Potomac.

We camped that night near historic Centerville and the next morning continued our march north. After several days we found ourselves at Emmitsburg, Maryland, crossing the Potomac, if I remember rightly, at Leesburg on a pontoon bridge. We arrived at Emmitsburg on the last day of June and in the morning of the first day of July, it happened to be the day for making out the company muster rolls, and I being the company clerk, they brought up the wagons containing the books, threw them out, gave me a drum, set it on the grounds and I wrapped my legs around it and I made out the muster rolls for the company. When that was done, I took my breakfast which that morning consisted of a piece of liver toasted on the end of a stick over the campfire. By the time that was done, orders came for us to march. Here the 12th and 15th regiments were detached from the brigade and ordered to Westminster to guard the trains. We could hear the sounds of conflict all through the middle of the day and as we approached, it grew louder and louder. We arrived at the foot of Cemetery Hill just about dark, tired almost to death, in fact too tired to eat or do anything else except lie down. On Cemetery Hill at that time, was the remainders of the 1st and 11th Corps and our reinforcements seemed to be very welcome to the survivors. The three regiments being pretty strong, there was probably two thousand muskets. During the night, the 3rd corps came up and camped close to us. You see we had nothing to do with the battle of the first day and the battle of Gettysburg really divides itself into four or five separate battles. The First corps made a very gallant fight and lost one half its number before being forced back by superior numbers.

The second day there was nothing much done except a little sniping and skirmishing across the field, until in the afternoon Sickles of the 3rd corps proceeded to the Emmetsburg Pike. This line the Johnnies attacked in the afternoon with considerable confusion and a very heavy loss of nearly one third of their numbers. Their advance was finally stopped by the coming of new troops among which was the First Minnesota, which went in with 350 men and came out with 39. This brought to a close the fighting of the second day and just before night, we moved our position to the left some distance. Our regiment included Company "C" which was composed of men from Ludlow, Plymouth, Cavendish, Andover and Weston [(Windsor County) Vermont]. While marching outs the rebel artillery got the range on us and fired a few shells at us, two of which went through our company and killed my tent mate, Sergeant Baldwin of Plymouth and Winship of Weston. We then went out and were stationed to the left up a little draw at the foot of the slope and Sherify's peach orchard. There we remained until morning when the regiment behind us and to the front, crossed our line in skirmishing order and the rebels opened on as with great shot which fell around us like hailstones in a shower. This lasted but a little while, but two of our men were seriously wounded, one with a great shot through his thigh, and the other having his front teeth knocked out-a very narrow escape.

We then left the line and went a little further down the draw where there was some small timber and a large rock. We lay there until many of us were asleep and suddenly we were awakened by a sound of cannonading which preceded Pickett's charge. While we lay there, we could plainly hear the whistling of the bullets through the trees. I cannot describe our further movements, but can only say that we were rapidly moved from our place to a place behind the guns and that we got a couple of shells which did considerable damage, killing one man from our company and several from others. After this they rapidly moved us out and the Battle of Gettysburg for us, was over.

I forgot to mention that on the 2nd day, Colonel Randall and one half of the 13th Vermont was just at our left and the Colonel was sitting on his horse making remarks to cheer up his men, when General Doubleday came along and told him that the rebels had captured a battery and asked him if he had a regiment to take it. The answer was a little profane, saying that he had five companies with him that could do it, and he took them out to the front taking the battery. His horse was killed under him and he fell to the ground and was thus able to see under the smoke cloud the legs of the moving columns of the southern troops. However, they went forward, got the battery and brought it in much to the delight of his commander.

The battle line at Gettysburg was several miles in length and was somewhat in the form of a fish hook, the left of the line representing the shank of the hook might be said to be at the top of Round Top, while the right of the line represents the point of the fish hook, and lay perhaps a mile or more in the rear of the position we occupied at Culps Hill.

This country owes a great debt of gratitude to General Warren who was then Chief of Staff of the Army, although he was unfortunate in incurring the displeasure of General Sheridan at the close of the war and was relieved of his command.

On the morning of the 2nd day, he was reconnoitering and discovered the unprotected condition of the rebel troop, and without stopping to consult his chief, ordered his troops to occupy the position. He met the 5th just coming out and they arrived just in time to save the position which they held after a bitter fight.

Had the Confederate Army met with success in that position, the result of the Battle of Gettysburg might well have been a defeat instead of a victory in which case the history of this Country for the last century would very likely have been much different from what it is now; it would not have been one country with one flag, but more and several countries with several different flags.

If my memory serves me rightly, there was a motion in Parliament at the time of the Battle of Gettysburg to recognize the southern Confederacy. The only one of the great powers of Europe who was really friendly to our Government was Russia and her fleet was and had been laying for some time in New York Harbor under sealed orders which no one knew, while England was chafing over the loss of cotton held here by the blockade. It is very doubtful that the recognition of the Confederacy would have been much longer delayed had defeat come at Gettysburg instead of victory. This the victory of Gettysburg and the surrender at Vickburg, coming at the same time, the tide of the war from that time on was a losing game for the Confederacy. Nevertheless, I have always felt that the success of Lee's army was lost for want of good leadership.

Signed, H. G. Day, March 20, 1928

Above contributed by Linda M. Welch, Windsor County researcher.

Obituary

HEZRON G. DAY DIES HERE
End Comes to South Dakotan While on Visit

Hezron George Day, ninety-one, of Hot Springs, S. D. , died Wednesday at the home of a son, Warren F. Day, 4300 South st. He had come to Lincoln only last week for one of his periodic visits with his son.

Born in Vermont, Mr. Day removed in 1888 to Beatrice, where he operated a drug store for a number of years. He went to South Dakota in 1906 and Hot Springs had been his home in recent years.

Mr. Day served for a year during the Civil war with the Sixteenth Vermont infantry, and was a member of Rawlings post, G.A.R., at Beatrice. The body will be taken to Bradford, Vt., for funeral and burial.

Besides the son here, Mr. Day leaves another son, Rear Admiral George C Day, Washington, of the United States navy; two daughters, Anna V. Day of Milwaukee, and Mrs. Sheldon B. Coon of Huntington Park, Calif.

Source: Lincoln (NE) Journal Star, November 17, 1932
Courtesy of Tom Boudreau.