12th Vermont Infantry
Jabez H. Hammond
Army Life in Virginia
LETTER NO. 10
Camp Vt. Va. Nov 17th 1862
Dear Father Mother Brothers and Sister yours of the 13th and maild the 14th came to hand to day noon and with five dollers and the postage stamps for Stephen. we were glad to here that you were all well at home & that the neighbors that were not well were on the gain The boys here are mostly well D. Woods & N.E. Perkins are feeling rather hard at this time think they will come out all right in a day or two. I saw O Thomas yesterday think we will be able to return to duty in two or three days H N Bryant is about the same is so that he is about J Taylor is about as smart as ever he works a coocking at this time Father Wait stands it first rate Cook J W P Wilber and F P are all well Morris is on guard to night F.G.Shedd says tell Dan that he is as saucy as ever. he is considerable heaver than when he left home. This morning A Houghton F Robinson C Cady and myself with thirty five men worked until two oclock and were ordered to our quarters there was about four hundred from the Vt Brigade and I assure you that excitement was great until we arived in camp. some were going to Richmond some to Centerville some to harpers ferry some to Washington While others were a going to be paid off or were a going to work on our barricks I think the last is more probable as the teams are drawing timber wood and brick I understand that the Vt troops are to be reviewed by general Fremont to Morrow or next day as he has the command of the troops in and around Washington. Harler says that the way it is here is that niggers come first then the mules then the Soldier and there is not many that dispute him. There are tens of thousands of niggers in N.W. & Aa.(?)l that are doing nothing which are clothed and fed by the Government While since we came here there has been detaild from our briggade from four to six hundred to work on forts of which there are three in progress withing one hundred rods of here besides one that is completed which mounts from fifteen to twenty guns. But the rumor is to night that we are not to work on forts anymore at present(?). It rains some to night and come to do our cooking out doors it makes it rather bad. but that is not so bad as to put five & six in to a tent with all their furniture and the tent only eight feet on the bottom running to a wedge at the top and all the time tracking and while now and then a drops of water works through the top. Look at that and you have a sample of a Soldiers home in a rainy day or night Still the inconveniance is the worst for hardly a man takes cold And then again the thought that hundreds of thousands have nothing but shelter tents and a good many that have none and once can but help to rejoice that we are as comfortable as we are. and then the indications are now that we are to have comfortable quarters during the winter. Still we may leave here any day as the army orders are uncertain Ira says that he will write as soon as he can get a chance but the going is good and the teams are kept busy most of the time he wants you to write how the colts get along whether Shedd is going to winter them or not Stephen is writing you know where or who to as well as I. I wish you could come out here before the season sets in so as to see how the war has affected this part of Va. I do(?) you have any conception of the ruin it has produced I had not there is not a fence to be seen neither is there a piece of ground a hundred rods square without it is woodland but what there had been troops encamped on and they are not careful about digging a hole or chopping a tree if they want any such thing. A little north of here and you can see the convalesant camp at fairfax seminary also the patrol camp I understand that in both there is over thirty thousand men (in both camps together) G W Cook wants I should tell you to fetch out a corncracker to crack his hard crackers with we have not had but two days rations of them yet and if we stay here I do not think we shall have many any way. In the 16th I understand they establishing a baker. the comisary of the 16th is apointed brigade Commissary and there is a large quantity of flour and other provision a being drawed there. Well the bugle says blow out the light so I will bid you good night and finish in the morning J H H Tuesday morning Nov 18th Dans boys are all well. N B Perkins & D Woods are better this morning The rest of the boys hold their own firstrate To day there is seventeen detailed for guard and twenty odd for fatigue duty of some sort or other Morris says tell Rhoda that he had commenced a letter but being on guard cannot send it before to morrow as it is about time for the mail to go out I will draw to close give my best respects to all enquiring friends
From J H Hammond to his Father Mother Brothers & Sister
LETTER NO. 11(the second of three letters from Daniel Hammond to his four sons)
Dans Crotch Sunday A.M.Nov 23d 1862
Cold enough for a Great Coat and Dinner Horn, and all Froze up Tight as old Poppa Hales Txxxxxxxxe and twice as windy. Dan seats himself at the Desk in the Old Womans bedroom to scratch A few lines to Lightfoot and the Deacon, Old Tip, and Bogus, to scratchass, And all the rest of my Boys in Company A, whose Names are to numerous to mention in this Epistle (Father Wait in Particular) Also Colonel Blunt he being A man in every sense of the word, that every Boddy in this vicinity says, and Wat every Boddy says must be True, and I think so in this case. well Boys we received two Letters Last night one from S.F. and one from U.H. Stating that you were all Well with slight exceptions & them exceptions was on the gain which News is good in our ears you better believe. my Prayer is that you may all (I dont means half) have your Health untill the President shall unlock the doors, and Let you all out of Prison, and let you all return to your Homes and Friends where you will all be greeted with warmth and Friendship, that never was before dreamed of, as you have all been buried 500 times A Piece by all your friends in this place. you will be Looked upon as risen from the dead.(but Enough of this) I will now proceed to Business. We are all Well to day with slight colds and hope these few lines will find every Man in Co A in perfect health and Enjoying themselves as well as Any boddy in the best of Circumstances. you Mother and Elwyn Elverton & Ernest Mark, are cracking Butternuts, and Lovina has gone to Church. Elwyn carried her Down. Clark is Rigging Round up home for his Horses. I settled off with him Last Wednesday and have let him A Job to Draw my Wood From Masseys he Draws 19 cords from Massys to Windsor, and ten Cords here for Nineteen Dollars I find one Horse and keep it he finds one and keeps it and Boards himself Tell Watson G his father & Mother are well & Puddleford is Tiptop. Tell Morris that I want he should write me A great Long Letter & if he cannot find any knews to Write hire Cook to Manufacture some & will Pay Cook in Corn Crackers to Crack his hard Bread in Tell Farwell Shedd I should think he might be ashamed to ask me to come out there and slide on his Cellar Door when he hant got any, and I meant to tell Woods how he Abuses me Well it is 20 minutes to one P.M. I have been into the kitchen & had A good Meal of Butternuts and been to the Barn and done my chores. Found Every thing all Right the old Cow that I am Feeding and trying to fat does pretty well & Iras Colt Stands in the east End of the Cow Stable Looks the best I ever see her. The Black Charger, that Chased the Bear is in good fair working Order. feels first rate the Minister Mare is rather thin I think the greatest trouble with her is she has got too Much Stretch Leather Behind, and in addition to that she ant Bright. Stephens Colt is in the stall in the Hogpen full of the Devil as the Orderly himself and I guess if the Girls round here did not well let that go the Gals know. (by the way Tell Wat that Clark had another Letter from Windham Friday Night he can guess who from, as well as I can) the Hogs are doing well. they are about Ripe enough to Lay up for Winter. the pigs that I had of Father Wait are fat I guess that they will Dress 200 lb A piece Jabez Calf is fat as A skunk. Mark tends him has to tie him with A Trace Chain and I Expect every Day that he will eat that up. he has eat every thing in his reach except the Hog Hook and the remainder of that Barrell of Poudrette. expect he will eat that soon. Hallers heifers are doing pretty well for the chance they have your Mother has stirred up between two & 3 lb of Butter this morning. (I forgot it was Sunday) I would not have you think she works Sunday. the boys say that they have got 6 chickens that you have not Seen. they come to hand the next day after you Left Brattleborough they are pretty well and I guess if they dont have Gaps and the Boys give them Enough to Eat they will ready for Draft about the time you get back from your Job of Uncle Sams. It appears now that Old Burnside is Driveing them Rebels Back so mutch faster than they want to go. as Rays said when he got pretty Tight down here to Brownsville when he sot out to get to the Bar and went the other way, the clouds seem to be riseing, and if there is not Another Storm to Arise soon and the Gale from the South I think we shall have some Cheering Knews from the Army before the first of January Next if not sooner twenty five minutes to two Oclock the People are just returning from church guess they have not had A great Turn out and short Sermon Elwyn had just started after Lovina the waggon Bobs like an old Woman on A Pile of Apples I which that Jabe would get A furlough and come home and clean out my back house, and help Drink up my Cider for you know that I always fnid Cider when I clean out Backhouses Now I guess that he will come. if he dont like enough Farwell Shedd will. Just Speak to him about it. Tell all the Boys that all I ask of them is to think of Me once, while I think of them ten times. Clark is here reading Mr Abbots Sermon Preached for a Funeral Discourse on the Death of Hopkins of Co A 12 Regiment Vt Vol Infantry. Our Governer had Appointed Thursday Decr 4th 1862 Thanksgiving Day so you see we are to have A thanksgiving whether we have any Government or Not. Jiry is Here. Looks like an old Turkey with all his Feathers Picked off. S.L. Herrick has just come in Dressed up as nice as tho he was going Courting. (I guess he ant) the Wind has gone Down and the sun shines as neat as you ever see it. guess it will be a Nice Day to Morrow it is now 15 minutes past 3 oclock and I think it is About time to begin to write some knews. well then in the first Place Harvey Ayers had got to be Daddy or Pappa Just which you choose to call it. His wife has been unwell all Summer and the Doctor had been Doctoring her for Dropsey and she stuck to it to the Last that she want going to have a houngone but she has found out that she was A little debuded or Mistaken. I went up Friday morning to Butcher A Hog for Delight, she said she did not believe that A Woman could carry A Woodchuck and not have him scratch round some. Old Doctor Davis Wife is yet alive. Loorryett Winn is sick with the Kidney complain Rhoda went down yesterday to take care of her I have not seen Captn Savage since I wrote you but Mr Gardner says that he see him out to Lumbards Barn to Day ought to be pretty smart to be out as cold as it is to Day
Misses Stow send her Love to you all, and if it is Measured by size you have a Lot of it. she is going to have an addition to her Family Next Tuesday. her daughter Misses Gardner and three Children George come up Last Thursday is up to Aretus Bloods says he wont Live with the old Woman no how the Above are going to Spend the Winter. Gardner has gone to Washington D.C. and set up A wholesale Liquor Store. Old Uncle Bela is smart as ever says the rebels got to take it Now. he says that it has been just like one just like tother Diamond Cut Diamond. Finally I believe that all are well or comfortably well except those that I have Mentioned Above. Now Haller you wrote that there was so many Niggers to A Man and Let me tell you it ant so here, but is about 20 women to one Man take it in Fair Weather, start Out and the first man you Meet is Dressed in Womans clothes. dont know it A Woman or not the Next Man you meet it two Women and the 3 is two or three girls next 1 or 2 Old Maids with face as long as your Arm and so it goes from one to the Other, to the end of the rout. Well Haller you wanted I should write and let you know about the $75 I will just say that all I have talked with say it is collectable there has not been any thing done About it yet. the Ration Money has not got round yet I sent on to Rutland the 10th of this month have received No answer yet Alfred says the Widows first & then comes Attornys Claims. he thinks it will be round this Week. if it does you will Hear More About it in my Next after I hear of it. S.F. wrote he wanted $5.00 I will Enclose it in this letter. send for Anything you want and your Orders are promtly answered. I have got this sheet About full and will Draw to A close by Asking A few questions First What has become of Bill Brown I have not from him since you left him in Guard House at Washington Charley Stone write me a letter and let me know whether you knocked any sense into your head when you got hurt. write how your Boots Sand it & whether you have got to have More before your time is out Write often if it is not quite so cunning(?) Yours as ever Dan
LETTER NO. 12
Wednesday three oclock PM
Dear Father I will now try and write you a few lines to let you know that we are all alive and well and hope that these few lines will find you the same. we received the boxes last night about dark. opened them found everything right side up with care The Turkey and chickens were as nice as when coocked. we have with what help we have had eaten the turkey and two chickens that leaves three chickens in our tent enough for supper and Breakfast The butter and sauce is nice We gave Father Waite some of the turkey and doughnuts he said that made him think of Mother and Dans boys came to the same conclusion Last night about seven oclock (just after we had got well filled up with roast Turkey) we received orders to be ready to march in two hours But ere we had time to pack much the orders were countermanded then there was an order that we must pack up and be ready in about an hour the 13th 14th & 15th came along through our camp They halted until about 11 oclock the object of there halt was for Col. Blunt to come from Washington he being there as I understand with his wife. I think if he had been here we should not have had to pack up The regiments that left had nothing but their blankets and haversacks besides their guns and equipments the last I have heard from them was their passing Alexandria but it is though that they have gone to guard that railroad station between Alexandria and Centerville, but we do not know anything about it nor will not any faster than we can see with out own eyes. you may talk about a negros being kept in ignorance, but you can not make me believe they as bad off as the Soldier in that respect. it is time for dress parade & I will stop until evening good day J H secen oclock P.M. I will now finish this scribble we have just ate our supper it consisted of boiled rice molasses butter and pickles. good so thought we Ira has just got in from teaming and sets here eating his supper We have got our barricks well started the barricks for Co. A are 100 feet long equaly(?) divided into eight rooms. we have got the cracks all muded up and should finish them this week but have got to go on picket tomorrow morning and shall not get back before Sauterday noon Ben Carpenter came in from picket SUnday he got poisened and yesterday he could not see out of his eyes but I understand that he is better to day. Morris says tell Rhoda that he is right down ugly tonight thinks that if he could live to home a little longer he should be all right. Mother I got them stockings for which I am very thankfull and when I get home I will make it all right The rumor is to night that 13th have gone to Manasses but I cannot vouch for the truth of it Tell Clark that that three dollers came through al right and I will answer his letter as soon as possible give my love to all and write as soon as convenient from J Hammond to the folks at home.
Wednesday eve. Nov 26th 1862
Dear Father I have just received your letter and wit hit five dollers for Stephen Stephen has taken the letter and gone to read it to the Company They all want to know what you have to say I think that if go on picket to morrow that I shall take my writing utensils and if I get stuck in the mud I can have something to buisy myself with I do not think of much more to write this time only tell Puddleford none of his business Denis Borne says that if he ever gets home he pitys the man that wants he should go to fight for the union again ford D. d if he does it. He is about as he was at home up one day and down the next Lovina F.P. had had some of the Turkey says that he is much obliged Tell Melinda that it is time for her to write and if she does not write soon that I shall And if you dont write soon I shall serve you the same There I guess that I shall get a couple of letters right off spry.
I will not draw to close by bidding you all good night.
From J. Hammond To His Father Mother Brothers And Sister and all whome it may concern.
LETTER NO. 13
Camp Vt. Va. Dec. 6th 1862
Dear Father Mother Brothers and Sister I now seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know that I am yet alive and well, and hope that these few lines will find you all enjoying the same blessing. Yesterday our boys went out on picket. It commenced snowing about ten Oclock A.M. yesterday and kept it up until midnight. about four oclock i the afternoon the 14th and 13th regts came in from bulls run. wet, tired, cold, and hungry, our regiment being on picket there was a good many of them came into our camp and stayed. there was five of us in our room we took in nine more which made 14 in a room twelve foot one way by 14 feet the other way Ira Stephen and myself slept in one bunk three foot and a half wide and I slept in the middle and I though that it was as thick as three in a bed This morning after breakfast there was a team to go and carry the rations to the pickets I took the mail and two other men and went to distribute it distance from camp four mile. had to go a foot and then go through the line of pickets and give each man his rations found them cold and cross. but we cheered them up by telling them that the old col. had sent them a gill of whisky a piece. the first that they have had. we got back to camp about two oclock and thinking that there would not be much of a chance to write to morrow, I thought I would write a little to night, and finish tomorrow. as I said before it stopt snowing about midnight it cleared off then and a clearer pleasanter morning I never saw, than it was this morning today it has been clear, windy, & cold. and pretty muddy withal A good many of the boys are troubled with the jaundice. B. Carpenter is no better. R. Lamphear, they say is but just alive. it is a getting dark and about supper time so I will waite until evening
J H Hammond
Co. A 12th Vt.
A quarter past seven oclock P.M. Clear as a bell and as cold as you lease with about 2 inches of snow on grass ground and about the same amount of ice and mud in the roads and on plowed ground. The mail has just come in and amongst it was one from home directed to harler and as he was out on picket I took the liberty to open it ans was glad to hear that you were all comfortable well. hope that you will remain so Allen Houghton just came in from picket says that the boys that are out there are feeling well but are rather cold. They are about two miles and a half from Mt. Vernon which place I intend to visit sometime next week I wish that it had been so that I could have been there at thanksgiving supper but if we ever get home I shall have kind of a thanksgiving supper which will consist of something besides dry bread and poor coffee yet that would have gone very well had it not been thanksgiving
I hear to night that General Stoughton is to assume command of this briggade immediately which news is not very thankfully received by the boys I assure you. They say that they dont want anybody better than Col Blunt. This sheet is about full so I will stop till to morrow J H H
(The following is written at the top of the first page above the date:) B Brown has to help pay for the mule and is reduced to the ranks into the bargain he was in the guard house about two weeks at the time he pounded the mule he hurt his hand so he has not done anything but fetch water and wood and do chores. He is a durty as a pig but is a good to work will do anything that you want to have done
LETTER NO. 14 (From Daniel Hammond to his sones in the 12th Vt Regiment)
20 minutes before 8 of the Clock Saturday P.M.
Decr 6th 1862 all as well as usual at this time and hope these few lines will find you all the same. I wrote you Thursday Morning Last in Hurry I stated in that I should not write again, untill I could write A good long letter, so I have commenced to Night and am going to Continue it from Day to Day & Night untill I fill the sheet it being the Last of that Lot that I got at Sheddsville the Day before you left for Brattleborough. We received A Letter from Jabez last Night written Last Tuesday and was Glad to hear that you was all well Sorry to hear that Muggins had been Excused from Duty on Acct of Inability but hope he will be all right when this reaches you. well Now I will begin back to Thursday Morning when I finished writeing my last Letter to you Father and Mother Sawin come up to Thanksgiving. had been here but A few minutes, Mr Ely come wanted to let me the Job to Build him A house. he wants just such a House as he had before with some alterations he wants I should take it just as it stands and complete it all ready to Live in I have not Made him an offer yet. think I shall the fore part of the week. before he got away Jim Kendall come and wanted I should go and Kill Hogs for him yesterday. we passed of the Day as well as we could but finally on the whole it was rather lonesome we had A baked Chicken for Supper & had Enough left for Dinner Yesterday so you see that there is some lack of help compared with former years when it took 3 or 4 to make A Meal but so it is and who is to Blame (Answer) the Damned Office seekers, or Sneakers, and if God should see fit in his anger to kill them all I would have No Objections well yesterday morning I went up and helped kill Kendalls hogs the Heaviest weighed 390 lbs. come home got some Dinner & helped your Mother in the Afternoon and Evening to try out her Tallow Cut up and salted my Beef went to bed at 10 Oclock P.M. it begun to snow About 9 and snowed all night this morning there was About 6 inches enough to make good Sleighing it begun to Blow about 9 A.M. to day and has Blowed Like a Hurricane ever since to night it is severe Cold But I have one comfort the Horses and Cows are all in good comfortable quarters well Watered and fed the Shoats are in the Horse Manure as warm as need be the Doves are in their Cot, and the hens on their roots with their Roosters to Protect and care for them. the Guinea Pigs are in the Cellar the cats go where they are A mind to. Elwyn & Mark are in Bed. Lovina is getting the Potatoes for Breakfast your mother is mending a shirt for Mark. Dan is useing his old Pen the same one that he has had for three years the house is Warm as summer & I wish you were all here to enjoy the comforts that we enjoy. it give me disagreeable feelings to think that thousands are standing and Lying out of Doors this cold Bleak night, with no shelter to protect them save the canopy of the Heavens when I think of it which is most of the time when I am Awake, I wish those Folks that so fraid of their almighty dollar was Obliged to stand out Doors untill the wind blew the Hair all off their Heads, and their Ass full of Bimblet Holes. they would then begin to work for the Union it is now 9 O'clock and I will bid you good Night by wishing you in good quarters. Sunday Evening 15 minutes past 6 I again continue my rabble Last night just at Dark the alarm of fire was sounded all turned out it proved to be the chimney of royal Sawin which had taken fire. it was soon quelled by throwing water down chimney. To day I have been to church it was quarterly Meeting. Mr Pratt from Woodstock officiated as Presiding Elder. Mr. Hooper, the Presiding Elder could not attend in person, as is customary Before commenceing the Afternoon services he anounced that there would be A Prayer Meeting in the class room this evening at 6 Oclock Class Meeting on Thursday evening, And on Wednesday Evening there will be an address by Reverend L.C. Dicison Who is now to home on A Furlow for A few Days. we as I for one, will be very happy to see him. I will try & get this done so as to Write again as soon as convenient after I hear what he has to say, for I think it will be worth a good deal to hear him. I did not know that he was at home untill the announcement was made to Day. to morrow I am going to Kill the Pigs one for Herrick one for Cook one for Bramble, one for Grandpa Sawin, Which will Make out a Days Work for these short Days there is some considerable sturing About Town on acct of the Dog Law that has pass the Legislature at their Last session the Legislature I believe adjourned Sini Di Last Wednesday and what they have done is more than I can tell except the Dog Law, but I supposed they have been making Axes(?) we shall see it. it will be Printed as Old Cim Buck said. Jiry has been here to night has gone to keeping house by himself has got 3 or 4 Barrels of Cider and A Gallon of Soup feels pretty well it very Cold here to night. hope it will be A little warmer to Morrow. If you got the Last Windsor Journal you will see that Nathaniel Moulton, Coleman Shedd, Thomas, Bagley, Madison, Taylor, Carlos, Warner & James,Kendall, have all Ceceded from the Union. Division 306 it is all on acct of the Town matters concerning soldiers Bounties. I am haveing considerable of A time with some of them once in a while and some time twice in A while I shall send the Windsor Paper again to morrow & these Letter if I get it done if not I shall send it Tuesday. It has Been reported that the 16th Regiment has left you and that the 9th and 10th Vermont have come to assist you, but I consider it all moonshine and shall untill I hear more About it. I see nothing in the Daylies to show that there will be any thing done at Fredericksburg at Present but I think that some thing is going to turn up for After A calm comes A storm & everything has been very quiet for A few Days Past, and I expect to hear cheering Knews soon. the first of January is near at hand & then as Uncle Bela says Diamond Cut diamond. Now I am going to ask A few questions some of them I have asked before but have received no answer. First what has become of Bill Brown the last I hear of him he was in the Guard house for Pecking his mule 2nd what do you want most in our Next Box write and Let us know. How far is camp Vermont from Washington how far is Fredericksburg from Camp Vt how far to Harpers Ferry How far to Manassas how far to Centerville Does any of the 12th Vermont when out on Picket see any Rebels. Do you know what the advantages are for keeping Troops where you are if so Let us have it What has become of the Orderly I have not had A Letter from him this Fortnight. Ira if you dont write when I come out there I will tell you something about the girls up here in Vermont. Boys I have taken A good deal of comfort in reading your letters to myself and Neighbors. we did not receive but two Last week and glad to get them. hope you will be Able to send us 4 or 5 A week we feel anxious to hear from you Every Day, and finally we do about every Day Sundays excepted, for when we dont get them, the neighbors do I do no know but you will think that I have rather neglected to Inform you of the health of Captn Savage he is getting Along first rate think he will join you before the first of Jany(?) I have been so busy the Past Week that I have not seen but A few the Widows about Town but Tell boys I will do better hereafter Jabez you wrote that you heard that James Mansfield had been Arrested as A deserter it was not true but enough to make the story out of. the papers was made out by Major Austin of Burlington and send to Windsor to Daniel Stearns to serve he found out how the Matter stood and did not serve him Jim went to Woodstock to see Washburn he ordered him to report to Phelps at Brattleborough. he accordingly went to Brattleborough & Phelps ordered him into the Hospital. said he guess he could Make A soldier of him in the course of six weeks. the last I heard from him he was washing dishes. I received A check from the state Treasurer for the 7 Dollars for month State pay have not presented it to the Bank yet. Ask Henry if I shall Pay his over to Caroline or send to him. I will do as he Directs I sent on my Orders the 5th for the 2nd Months Pay expect to get it About the 15th or 20th of this month send in your Orders if you are in want of Any thing. I have not received Pay for rations yet be good when I get it. Mark has got Jabs(?) Calf Broke to lead and perform about as well as Old James Juquitt had his cow Steve I believe I shall get your Colt shod, and use him some to run round with this Winter with your leave. Ira you Black Horse looks first Rate I have not drove him but once since Puddlford commenced Drawing wood the Colts look first rate. I guess I will stop and as Ira used to say go to the Barn and go to Bed
Daniel Hammond to his four Boys Away Down in Virginia i'm in vermont