12th Vermont Infantry
Army Life in Virginia
CAMP CASEY, EAST CAPITOL HILL.
Camp Casey, East Capitol Hill.
Washington, Oct. 14, 1862.
Dear Free Press:
The health of the Twelfth is on the whole good. Some twenty-five members of the regiment are suffering from minor ailments, brought on in most cases by exposure on guard duty or sleeping in damp clothes; but with a spell of fair weather--thus far it has been rather cool, damp and variable--they will soon be on duty again. There has been but one case of a dangerous character, which terminated fatally last night. We are giving strict attention nowadays to company and battalion drill, and shall soon be able to make a presentable appearance.
The Thirteenth regiment, Col. Randall, arrived yesterday afternoon, after a comfortable passage from Brattleboro, and has gone into camp to-day about half a mile west of us. It is to be brigaded with us and the 25th. and 27th New Jersey, under command of Col. Derrom of the 25th New Jersey. We are for the present attached to Gen. Casey's Division of the Reserved Army Corps for the Defence of Washington, and it is the general impression among the men that we may remain here for some weeks.
Of Col. Derrom I know nothing except that I am told he is a German by birth, and an old soldier. In his first order of duties for the regiment, "Evening prayer at 8 P.M." has a place, week days, and he omits the inspections on Sunday which in many brigades make Sunday the most laborious day of the week. Our Sunday order, at present, is as follows: "Church call, morning, at 10.30 A.M. Divine service (voluntary) 11 A.M. Church call, afternoon, 3.30 P.M. Divine service, (positive) 4 P.M. All drills and parades except church and dress parade are omitted on Sunday."
Our chaplain returned to us to-day after an absence of four days, having been under rebel rule at Chambersburg in the meanwhile. He left us at Baltimore to accompany a Vermont lady on her way to her brother, an officer in the Third Vt. who was lying at the point of death at Hagerstown; and was returning by the way of Chambersburg when the rebels* occupied the town. He thinks there were about 1500 of them. They were well mounted, and well clothed as far as their captured U.S. clothing went--the men under strict discipline and perfect control of the officers, who conducted themselves for the most part in a very gentlemanly way. Private persons and property were strictly respected. They left in a great hurry, amounting almost to a panic.
The chaplain being with us, the order for evening prayer was observed this evening. The regiment was massed in the dim twilight, and Mr. Brastow offered an earnest and appropriate prayer.
An order read at dress parade to-night, directs the captains to hold their companies in readiness to march at a moment's notice. Forty rounds of ammunition apiece have been distributed to-day.
I find soldering no lazy business, thus far, and have literally no time to write a longer letter to-day.
* Under Gen. J. E. B. Stuart.