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12th Vermont Infantry

Jabez H. Hammond

Army Life in Virginia

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    Camp Vt Va Dec. 10th 1862

  Dear Father Mother Brothers & Sister I now seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know that we were alive and well although we are not all well yet   the sick ones are better to night than they were last night   We received a letter from home tonight also one from Clark.   we were glad to hear that you were all well   I will not try and let you know how Company A stands in point of health. Too begin with Lieutenant Wait is better.   the orderly is better   will be able to take his post to morrow. Ira was rather hard up last night but has been with his team today. C. Spaulding was excused from duty to day   is hear at Camp   B. Carpenter is better   will be able to return to duty in a short time   A Blood went to the hospital yesterday noon with the diptherea (so called) But is a good deal better to night. B.F. Perkins is rather slim at this time with the jaundice   Father Wait is pretty sick to night with the same disease   there is two or three more whose names I do not remember at this time making nine in all that were excused from duty this morning.   they are all comfortable   the disease is mostly of the jauindice   I am happy to say that the surgeon is gaining friends fast amongst the regiment. I will now try and answer some of the questions that you asked in you last latter.   the first which was about Brown I answered in my last. the second The distance from here to Washington is ten miles   the rout that we take that is by water from Alesandra 3thd(?) The distance to Fredericksburg from here is as near as I can find out is about fortyfive miles next the distance to harpers ferry is variously estimated from fifty to seventy miles. fourth   the distance Manassas is about twentyseven or thirty miles to Centerville thirtyfive miles.   from here to Alesandra is two miles   you wanted to know if the 12th Vt see any Rebbels while out on picket.   in answer I will say that I have seen nothing of a rebbel.   nor anything that looked so much like one as a good many men I have see in Vt   As for the advantageous gained by keeping a picket here. In answer to that, I will say that there is four or five line of pickets between here and the rebels and the federal army besides. And the only reason that we can give for it is that they cannot kill off the men fast enough by drilling but must put them out on picket forty eight hours to Stand one(?) resulting from such a source then you can see differant from what we can out here   I have asked the boys what they wanted you to send in the next box   They say dont forget that bag of sausages that you were a going to bring out at new years. and if you can get any cheese handy send it along. As for butter we can get it here for 35 cents per pound. if you can get it here and not have it cost more than that you may send some. The applesauce was good but perhaps that is rather heavy freight. I think perhaps that a few doughnuts and cookeys done up in a paper would go very well but you must act your own judgment about them   there has been fourteen in this room most of the time since I commenced this letter making it harder to write than it is to home with all the young ones there is in the neighborhood around you. So you must excuse a part of the mistakes this time  J.H.H.


    Fairfax court house Va Dec 13th 1862

Dear parents   I now seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know that I am still alive but as lame and sore as an old draw horse. A thursday went out on picket.   stayed until eight oClock in the evening and were ordered to camp to pack up and be ready to march at half past four yesterday morning   But we did not get ready to start until half past five   we marched to fairfax court house and about a mile this side making a march of some eighteen miles. we got here about three oclock Which would have been easy enough had it not been for the knapsacks. But as it was we were tired enough and some of our Stoutest men fell out and a good many others said that they could not have gone a mile further. There was some that were left behind unable to march   Lieut Wait and the orderly stayed behind.   we to come by rail   Harler was left behind as a guard   Ira was driving team   therefore I have not seen them since yesterday morning and do not know when I shall   a part of the brigade have gone to Centerville   We expect to have to go to day or to morrow   We got here   rested a few moments   kindled up a fire   made up a cup of tea, ate some supper which consisted of hard crackers and I had some cheese that came from home. That done we put up our shelter tents   got a few cedar boughs to lay on and then I changed my stockings and het my feet   Took my blankets and laid down under our shelter tent open at both ends and only about five feet long   Nat and I were together   we slept well until about three oclock after that we were rather cold. It is now about ten oclock and is clear and warm as a may day morn in Vt. There is a little snow in some places But it must soon disappear if the sun holds out   I do not think of much more to write this time. but if anything happens before this starts I will put it in   I am a going to put in a little sasafras bark which grows in abundance here. my love to all from your son

      J H Hammond

P S Ira does not have much time write he has to start early and work late   I think he is excusable

O F Quinby says that he knows you but you dont know him. but you may send him a piece of mince pie. He is like an old fashioned clock   dont want to be wound up only once in eight days. You can do as you please about sending any chickens or anything of that sort   And if Elwyn will crack a few butternuts you may send the meats. Lovina send a couple of biscuits to Jabe   Father you and Mother may send what you are a mind to, & I will let you. General Stoughton took the command of the Vt Brigade a(?) Sunday morning. Since then we had had two drills a day. one in fornoon and one in the afternoon   yesterday and to day I have been over to the fort with a squad of 19 men a shoveling and pecking or pecking & shoveling the ground was froze about five inches. To morrow our regiment goes out on picket   the detail from our company is one Lieutenant one Seargeant four corporals and 49 privates. I shall go for one   There is a report current this afternoon and evening that Richmond has fallen and is now in possesion of the federal troops. But we consider it to good to be true   Henry Branick has been here to day   he looks as tough as ever   he is a teamster in the cavelry regiment I hear by what is called good authority that there was four men froze to death in the convalesant camp Saturday night   The story is that they were in A tents with nothing on but their pants and shirt   they were found in the morning dead with some parts of them froze. I cannot vouch for the truth of the Statement as I did not see them (do not doubt it)   Harler says if you send a box to send his old hat that hangs up in the closet   Tell Clark that I am a going on picket and shall not write to him before Sunday   Watson says tell Clark to tell G.C. Wait to send him some butter and chease and if he thinks he cant afford it to come out and take his place he will not ask for any

  It is half past nine and as I shall not get any sleep to morrow night I shall not write much more to night   A good many of the boys look for you out here at new years while others say you will not be here. We want you to disapoint the named ones   I think that you will never have a better chance to see the Capitol of the united States than now. Ira and Stephen I believe have sent for some money this week but that has nothing to do with my case and if it comes handy you may send me five dollars. You may think we spend a good deal of money but the most of it is paid out for apples and milk which besides the luxury are condusive to health. at least we think so   I will now draw to a close by wishing you all good night and pleasant dreams

  My respects to all

    J H Hammond

To the folks at home

Harler is writing you can guess who to   write often

send some stamps


Camp near fairfax court house Va Dec 14th 1862

Dear parents   I will not try and write a little more and draw to a close   We still remain where we first encamped   do not know how long we shall stay. Stephen is better   Ira and Harler have not got along yet   It is now about dark We hear today that Fredericksburg laid in ruins and that our troops had crossed the Rapahanook in pursuite of the enemy   Since yesterday noon there has been a continual train of troops and bagage trains passing here en route for Fredericksburg. They are composed of Slocums command   They are estimated at fifty thousand and without a man can see them when on the move he can have no conception of the imense bagage trains for a brigade   It is dark and I must stop until evening and finish by the light of the campfire as the mail will go out early Monday morning 15 minutes before seven   all is well as they were yesterday and some are better   I have not seen Ira and Harler yet   Our Chaplain told me last night that he thought that we should stay here two or three days but it is all uncertainty   The boys since they left Camp Vermont have made their mind that they dont care much where they go   I saw Edward Hewlet last night   he belongs to 3th Wisconsin Regiment going to join Burnside. He looks tough and Hearty   I will not stop to write much more this time but if we stop here a day or two I will try and give you a discription of our camp   Adieu for this time

    J H Hammond


Camp Fairfax, Va Dec. 31st 1862

Dear Parents, Brothers, & Sister   having a little leisure time I though that I would try and write a few lines to let you know that we are all in the land of the living and are well and I hope that these few lines would find you all the same. To day it is cloudy and windy with now and then a squall of rain and snow   This fornoon we were mustered for pay. this after noon we (have?) not got anything   to do which makes it seem the most like Sunday of any day that I have seen for some time. yesterday but working hard between drills we made out to get our tents stockadd   the stockade is four feet high eight feet wide and about eighteen feet long with two tents on top and shelter tents to cover up the joints with which makes it a little more comfortable than we were before. There is nine of us in the room   I have not seen Ira Since Sunday   he was well & hearty at that time but I guess if it was so that he could be with the boys a little more that he would be full as well suited but he does not find any fault as it is   There was a man just came in to camp with a lot of rabbits trying to sell them and in his tour he came within the hearing of the old Col. who asked him where he was from. he said that he lived about six miles from here (and?) that his boy had killed some rabbits and was afraid that they would spoil so he though that he would try and sell them. The Col. thinking that not a very good reason for such a journey in these times, he very politely sent him to Gen. Stoughton under an escort of a seargeant and two men   I have not heard the result yet   Farwell & Watson have been a stewing some apple. have got about eight quarts of it and it is good. we have not heard anything from the box yet but I am in hopes that it will get along so as to have some of the contents of it for new years but do not expect it as the boxes have here on Sunday   We have nobody in the hospital at this time excepting Henry and A Blood who are at Alexandre & I think that health of the regiment never was better than at this time   I do not think of much more to write now so I will stop until evening and see whether we get any news from home by the mail

J H Hammond

  Eight   oclock PM

we got our box tonight   found everything in shape   I also got a letter from Elwyn which I will answer in a day or two   my arm feels a little sore on account vaccination

  J H Hammond To The Folks at Home


Camp Fairfax, Va Jan 4th 1862(sic)

Dear Mother Brothers & Sister   I now seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know that we are alive and well and hope that these few lines will find you the same   Father arrived here last night about four oclock   He was rather tired having walked from the Station here, four miles   but this morning he feels pretty smart   I think that he will start for home about wednsday morning   he talks of assisting in taking the sick and wounded to Vermont and they will go either tuesaday or wednsday   I do not think of much to write to day and if I did Father would tell you more in one minute thant I could write in fifteen   So I shall not write only enough to let know that we are well   Lovina Father says that you had company at new years   now I dont see why you did not give me an invitation and not be so partial. but I guess that I will excuse you for this time   Father & Henry have gone down into the 13th to see Frank Wait   Elwyn I will write to you as soon as I can get time. But I dont want you to stop writing for you have a little better chance to write than I have and if you dont believe it you may ask Father when he gets home and if he dont tell you so then I wont say any more about it. and Lovina I want you to write often and I will write as often I can   The drums are beating for roll call so I must bid you good day

  J H Hammond

    To His

    Mother, Mary Hammond

P.S. the brigade Surgeon has just here and see F. Robinson and Father Wait   they are both agoing to Brattleboro with the sick and Father Wait is a going home and I guess that Robinson will get his discharge to

  Jabez H. Hammond


Camp Fairfax, Va Wednsday Jan 8th 1863

  It is cold enough for a great coat and pair of mittens and still a growing colder   Well Father I got back from the station at twelve oclock just as it began to rain and rained until dark   then it cleared off and was clear as a bell until midnight when it clouded up and snowed about one half hour. then it cleared off and has been agrowing colder ever since and now it is very cold   But I feel better this morning   I went and see the Surgeon this morning and he excused me from duty to day and told me to stay in my tent out of the wind   it is the first day that I have been excused by the Surgeon since I left home   Edgar Perkins is sick with the measels. he has been ailing for two or three days and yesterday morning he went to the Surgeons   told him he had got a sore throat and a bad cough   but he was reported back for duty and was about the camp during the day. It was his day to go on guard but the orderly put one on in his room(?)   last night he was so much worse that they (went?) over to fairfax after the Doctor   he came and pronounced it a bad cold and Sore throat but this morning he is broke out and the docter thinks that he has got the measels. That firing that we heard at the Station I hear was at Trainsville about twenty miles north of this place where they were having a little bit of a fight. do not know the result. The orderly moved out of our house before I got back yesterday and J Savage and F. Mather have moved in this morning   they are to work putting up a bunk   Our regiments does not have to go on picket this time   You can tell the reason as well I can. I do not think of much more to write So I will draw to a close until toward night and see what turns up   J H Hammond

  Half past eight PM   all as well as in the morning and some are better. Ira has been here this evening. feels pretty well. the mail has not got along yet it is rather late   There is some doubt as to whether Edgar Perkins has got the measels   Some thinking that it is a sort of rash   I have not time to write any more so good night with my respects to all   J H Hammond To the folks at home


Camp Fairfax, Va.

        Jan. 18th 1863

  Sunday night twelve minutes past eleven oclock   To the folks at home   I now seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know how all of the sick are. Well to being with John is pretty sick   he is broke out so that it is one complete blotch all over him   I think that if he does not take cold that he is having the worst of it now. he is quite nervous and a little out of his head and calls for his boots and such things once in a while. but we lay it that it is on accounting of the measels turning   I think that he will feel better in the morning. The Docter was in this afternoon and said that he was doing well (he calls twice a day)   Freds have come out well and he is not so sick as John is but is sick enough for this place   I have written two letters for him to night   one to his mother and one to Allen.

  Tell Charlie that Fred got a letter from his to night but will not be able to answer it for three or four days at least   Allen Houghton is down but is not broke out yet   Elmer Benjamin is about as Allen is and A D Buck is do.(?) Farwell holds his own as yet. but do not know how long he will. So you see that out of nine in our tent only three of them have had the measels   those are Harler Watson and old Bogus. and out of the six that have not had them there is tow of them that are broke out and three that are unwell and unfit for duty while one remains well as yet & edgar Price James and Charles Bowers both with them but are doing well   we received your letter this morning but did not receive that account that you spoke of   guess that you forgot it. It is now twenty minutes past twelve and as John is very restless I must draw to a close   I am going to wake Farwell up at two clock to take my place. if you can make it come handy you may send Some stamps in your next

  Write soon and oblige your affectionate Son Jabez H Hammond.

P.S. Give my best wishes to all.

    Jabez H.


camp near wolf run Va. Jan 25th '63

    Dear Father Mother Brother & Sister. I received a letter from home to night and was glad to hear that you were all well. but was sorry to hear that R L. Sawin had lost his little girl   I stayed at our former camp until yesterday morning at half past ten oclock, when I started for this place behind a baggage wagon. the distance is ten miles, and we arrived here at six oclock, and the mud was so deep that the axel tres draged on the ground a part of the way, and the rest of the way it was not much better. We left at that place twenty men. fifteen Sick with the measels, four as nurses, and one to cook for them   I left them all a doing well except Farwell   he was taken that morning and I have not heard form him, not yet   Wilber was taken with the measels day before yesterday. The measels have come out well and he is not very sick   think that he will have them light   In answer to your enquiry about the box, I will say that we got the receipt in due time, but the box has not arived as yet but I suppose that it is at the Station six miles from here and we shallproboly getit in two or three days   We should have got it before now if we had not moved but now we shall have to wait until the baggage for the regiment is all got along

    Well Father the apearances are now that we shall get some pay in the course of the week, but you kow that all signs fail in dry times, as well as in war times. but I think that we shall get payed up to the first of November in the course of two or three days

Since we moved here the teams have all moved to the Station except Ira. he is detailed to at the Brigade hospital and has taken up his quarters there and says that Docter Ketcham told him that he should have as good quarters as there was   I think that it will be easier for him. still he will not belikely to see the boys very often which he will not fancy very much.

    I ahve not been here long enough to know what to write, So I will Stop and will write again to morrow   give my best respects to all and write soon

    J H H

P.S. Tell Clark that I Suppose that he can do as he is a mind to about writing


camp near wolf run Va

Jan. 29th, 1863

      Three oclock P.M.   all well at thistime. that is, Dans boys are well and the rest are doing well   yesterday it snowed all day and the snow is about eight inches deep. the sun Shines bright & warm and the trees are loaded with snow so that a number have broke down

    Well Father we have just got our pay from the 19th of August up to the first of November amounting to $31.63 and as the orerly has been promoted he wants more mony than he has got to get his uniform   So I have let him have ten dollers and shall (?) his note for it in this letter and perhaps a greenback   Steve is Second Lieut. and Fred Small is orderly   The drum Major is our fifth Seargent apointed by the Colonel so that he can draw more pay   I suppose that it is all right but it does not look just right

    George Dimick is captain of Co. I in place of Capt. Bounty resigned   Lieutenant Wait had the chancebut would not leave the company for he said that he promised to stick by the Co. and nothing but sickness or death would deter him from so doing

    I have felt rather hard up last night and to day   have ate to day just two hard crackers and that is all. But I guess that I shall come out all right by to morrow   I am now a going to see Wilber and when I get back I will write how he is


Thursday evening 7 oclock   Wilber is doing well and sends his best respects to all   Watson is well and sends his respects to all. I just received a letter from Grandfather and Grandmother and was glad to hear that they were all well and I will write them again Soon   I will add to the sicklist Willard Wiat, who is sick with the measels

  I do not feel very well   I will draw to a close fornow and will try and do better next time   My best respects to all who may enquire and write as soon as is convenient

    From J H H to the folks at home

  P.S. Colonel Blunt has the command of the post here   J H

I will give you a distory of the disposal of the mony that I have got to day viz Sutlers orders five dollers. To Capt Savage for gloves 1.00, for paper 26 cents, for knife fifty cents, total $1.76. for carrying the remains of Lamphere home fifty cents.   total in all $7.26   lent to S F Hammond $10.00 making in all $17.26 leaving me $14.34 and I shall send home six dollers but I may not sent it in this letter but shall send the note   you may think that I have bought more stuff than was necessary, but the most of it has been paid out for apples and molasses both of which are very acceptable in this place   my boots still hold good but my pants need considerable patching and sowing. Shall have to draw a pair soon   J H


camp near wolf run Va January 30th 1863

    Dear parents I now seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know that we are in the land of the living   Wilberl is doing well, yet he thinks that round poles are not a very soft bed to lay on for a week or so   Willard Wait is pretty sick to day but I think that he is doing well. those at the old camp I have not heard from for two or three days, but the last time that I did hear they were doing well. Steven has gone to the old camp to day   his business is to have the sick ones there sign the pay roll, and he is to meet the pay master at the court house and get their pay then cary it back to them

As quick as he gits that done he is going to Washington to get his uniform and will proboly be back day after to morrow Some time in the course of the day

  There was some money sent by express this morning and directed to A. Worcester. Wilber Herrick has got twenty dollers in there which was five dollers more than he intended to send   therefore I am going to let him have five dollers and you will get the above sum of Mr Herrick   I think that I will get an order from Wilber on Mr. Herrick then it will be all right   To day there was two hundred men goine out about three miles towards the station to codaroy the road which is so muddy that they could not get along

  One may talk of mud when he is in Vermont but let him come out into Va. and travel here as the going has been for the last ten days and I will bet that let him get back to Vermont again and he will not think of mud for as much as two ro three days. When we left our old camp six of the sick ones were in my tent. therfore we had to leave it   and thos that did come have to look up new quarters   there is eight of us in our tent now to wit Otis Thomas   G S Persons   Charles Spaulding   F G Rice   Morris Dimick   E S Taylor   C J Cushman and old Bogus   I wish that if there is any news that you would write it   let it be war news or what not   We do not get any papers here now only what comes from home and that is all the war news there is. the day is warm and pleasant and the snow has mostly disapeared leaving it muddy beyond all discription   It is now four oclock PM and I will draw to a close for now   J H H

Sauterday morning seven oclock   clear and cold   The boys are as well as they were last night


camp near wolfs run Va Feb. 5th 1863

    Dear Parents   I received two letters from you to night   one mailed the 28th of January and one the second of this month & we were sory tohear that you were so unwell & I hope that these few lines will find you better. I wrote a letter last night and sent it this morning   so there is not much news to write to night   the boys are all doing well as far as I know. Wilber is doing well

    Capt. Savage got a box today   everything all right   Stephen is officer of the guard to day and night   it commenced snowing this morning & snowed all the fornoon. about noon it began to rain & has rained all the afternoon & now at tenty minutes to eight oclock it rains very hard, & if it continues to rain until to morrow it will be so muddy that we might as well hive up as any way   we have men out on picket that must be wet to their hide before this time   you wished to know whether Ira got any of the contents sent in the box. in answer I will say that we sent one fourth of it (& I think more) to him & all of the letters that we got that we think he would like to read we send to him, as there is an ambulance that goes from here to the brigade hospital almost every monring So you see that his only one day behind the rest of us   I heard from him to day & He is feeling tiptop   Since we came to this camp we have received from home ten dollers in mony, twenty four postage stamps, one box of eatables, & two pounds of tobacco, one pound for Stephen & one for W.W. Wait. of the mony I have had, one $1.00 Harlet $1.00 Ira $2.00 & Stephen $6.00

It is now just eight Oclock PM. it still rains very hard with a fair prospect of a rainy night

    you must not think strange if you do not get an answer to your letters as quick as you did when we were at fairfax for now it takes one day longre than it did there for the mail to get through. & some days we do not get any mail which I suppose as Henry used to say is owing to the weather. As it is getting late I will draw to a close by wishing you good night   hopgin that this will you better than when you last wrote which was feb second   give my best respets to all & please to write soon

J H Hammond.   To his Parents Brothers & Sister, & all others who may inquire.

Hammond Introduction

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