12th Vermont Infantry
Jabez H. Hammond
Army Life in Virginia
LETTER NO. 26
Camp near wolfs run Va. Feb. 7th 1863
Dear Father Mother brothers and Sister We received a letter to night directed to Stephen and was glad to hear from you but sorry to hear that Father was so unwell and I hope that this will find you better Stephen is tired & Harler is on guard so I will Scratch a few lines just to let you know that we are all alive and all of dans boys are well. the sick ones are all doing well Stephen saw the boys at the old camp last Sauterday John and Fred had got so that they were out doors some, & the rest were doing well all except C Cady & F Shedd. Cady has been Sick about a month but he has not got the measels he has got a very bad cough is so that he sets up some. Shedd had got the measels and they were about at their height when Stephen was there and they though that he was better that morning that he was there. Steve thinks that the most of the boys will be along the last of this week or the forpart of next I mean those that are at the old camp.
you wished to know how far we were from Burks Station that is more than I know I will tell you the rout that we took as near as I can. you will recollect that the road from our old camp to fairfax Station is due South when we got to the Station we crossed the railroad and passed to the left of that spring there in the mud puddle and to the right of the encampment where that cavalry was or to the right of the hill where Slocums troops were and kept on in that direction for six miles after leaving the Station. So you will see that we are about ten miles from our old camp and we are as near South from fairfax as you can put your finger Burks Station you know more about than we do for you have been there and we have not but I should judge that we were not as near that place as when we were at fairfax I wrote or attempted to write to Lovina yesterday but I do not think that she can read it for I wrote it with a pencil and in a hurry at that. now tell her not to be mad & I will write again Sunday if nothing happens If you send another box I think that the most important part will be butter, cheese, & dryed apple and please put in some writing paper & envelopes & and as much as you please the sausages get a little mouldy for we are not sure of getting the box when it is due or when it ought to be.
Lovina that ring is about done & I shall send in this letter, but the drums are beating for roll call so I shall have to stop until morning So good night
J H Hammond
Well I have gone into the Captains tent So I will finish this letter tonight I believe that we have received everything that you have sent so far & we should be happy to have you send us some more Stamps and we will make it all right sometime if ever we do.
If you can get an army map you will find wolf run and Occoquan river laid down and our camp is about one half mile east of where wolf run emptys into the Occoquan & about two miles from union mills (east of them)
Wilber is so that he sets up most of the time but he has been pretty sick Give my best respects to all who may enquire & please write as soon as convenient
J H Hammond
To the Folks at home
LETTER NO. 27
Camp near wolfs run Va Feb 10th 1863
Tuesday evening twenty five minutes to eight oclock Good evening Father Mother Brothers & sister. All well I hope. the boys here are all of them as well as they have been for some time. Stephen & Harler are out on Picket to day & night they are about five miles from camp they were feeling first rate when they left here this morning
I was out Sunday & got in to camp yesterday about one Oclock had a pleasant time & did not see a reble the weather was warm & the Sky was clear & in the morning the robbins Sang Sweetly making one think of the warm & lovely mornings in the last days of april such as we are used to Seeing in old Vermont. So after eating a hearty breakfast of hard crackers, I waited for the new pickets to come along they arrived at twenty minutes to eleven oclock then we started for camp a distance of four miles. got here at twelve oclock got my dinner & finished a letter to Cousin Juliaett. had rested little while when the Commssary come along & wanted to have go and cut up the beef. went & helped weigh off two thousand pounds. then I cut up & helped weight it off to the companys & by that time it was nearly dark. then I lazed around until nine oclock & went to bed & had a right Smart nap I reckon.
This fornoon we had some shooting at a target for practice This afternoon I have cleaned my gun & sewed some stripes on to my coat sleaves & that is about all I have done To morrow if nothing happens I am going to do my washing The weather to day has been very warm & pleasant & some of the citizens here are drawing manure which makes it seem like Spring
you wished to know about that order that I spoke of in my letter. Well I went & see Wilber & he Said that we would write to his father to have him pay it & then there would be no necessity for the order & so I let it go & I will see Wilber in the morning & if he has not wrote about it then I will have him in his next letter. I have been Sorry Since I sent that note that I did not have it recning(?) to you but if you can make any use of it I will give you that change with all my heart. I do not think of any thing more to write to night & what I have wrote is of not much account. So I guess that I stop. but we must have Something to do to pass away the time & the only trouble is to pay for the paper & get the postage stamps. But I have wrote enough nonsense. So good night. with many respects to all J.H.H. to the folks at home one & all
LETTER NO. 28
Camp near wolfs run Va. Feb. 22nd 1863
Dear Father Mother Brothers & Sister, I now seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know that we are as yet in the land of the living & enjoying good health & and we hope that these few lines will find you all enjoying the Same great blessing
To day it Snows hard & has most of the night. it is now about eight inches deep at nine oclock A.M.
The boys from the old camp got along yesterday, excepting A.E. Houghton, E. Benjaman, C.H. Cady & D. W. Woods.
A. Houghton is not very well & he has got more imaginary Diseases than you can enumerate (So says those that were there) E. Benjamin is full as well C. Cady is better than he has been but has not got much use of his legs for some reason or other
D. Woods is troubled with a Diarhea most of the time that seems to be trouble with him. they are at the hospital at Fairfax
It is Sunday but we shall not have any inspection or meeting either because it Storms to hard. it is a regular Vermont Snow Storm. dry & windy & pretty cold. Folks think that we do not have much snow in Va. Now I am no hand for betting, But if the truth could be known, I should not be afraid to bet a months wages that there has more than four feet of Snow fell here this winter. that may look like a large Story, but I could get backers enough on that bet
Yesterday there was some troops moved in at union mills & relieved about half of our pickets up that way so that will make it easier for us than it has been, which will suit us firstrate for we have had a pretty time since we came here. Sunday twenty minutes to eight P.M.
weather cloudy & cold with from ten to twelve inches of Snow, which makes it look like Vermont. the Snow has slid off from the tents & filled the space between & if it thaws very fast there will be a chance to have a boat ride in the tents. Harler has got a very bad cold but he thinks that he shall come out all right in a day or two. Mother for my Supper I ate a quarter of that Sweetcake & some crackers & cheese & it was tiptop. we ate the last chick for our dinner yesterday. they kept nicely. Stephen & Harler have had some of the bacon & they say that it is nice. One thing is sure it is the best cheese that you sent that I have seen in Va. & the butter was good enough for a Soldier, I think
Old muggins has not got along yet.I believe that there was not but one letter from West Windsor to night. guess that there some trouble Somewhere for to night is the night for Wednsdays mail,l but like enough we shall get some to morrow night
I do not think of much more to write to night but if there is anything turns up before morning worth of note I will insert it then. it is time for rollcall so I will stop for the present
J H Hammond to his Father Mother Brother & Sister
P S monday morning clear & very cold J H
LETTER NO. 29
Camp near wolfs run Va. Feb. 25th 1863
Dear Father Mother Brothers & Sister, I now seat myself to write you a few lines in answer to your letter of the 20th & 21st of Jan. which I just received at four oclock PM
I am greatly obliged to you for your kind wishes & I hope that your wish my be all fulfilled to the letter It is just five months to day since I left my home up in old Vermont near old Ascutny mountain to try and do my duty for my country & my home during that time I have seen some pretty hard times & some that were not so hard as I could expect the hardest time that I have seen was a week ago yesterday & today also a week come to morrow when I started in the snow and marched seven miles with the mud knee deep remained there eight & forty house (with it snowing & raining all of the time) & started back got to camp at three oclock without a wink of sleep in the whole time and my birth day in stead of being to home & having a good time, I had the unspeakable pleasure of working most of the day acleaning my tarrel(?) old gun
The boys are well Ira & Henry left here this morning for the hospital Ira was as tough as a bear.
Last night there was a lot of us out snowballing when there was a ball hit me in my right eye & nearly knocked me down I have done nothing to day & as I write one eye is covered up with a hankercheif & the other one ought to be for as you might say I am blind in one eye & cant see very well out of the other one
They have called for a Sergt to morrow on picket & as there is no other but me I shall have to go or else send a corporeal in my place can tell better in the morning. I think that there is no danger but what E F Benjaman will gt a discharge & I think Moris will also William Clayton of Windsor & William Allen of Hartland. IRa says that he has not received any letters from you. he says direct to Ira M Hammond Post hospital Fairfax court House Va. in care of Surgeon S Ketchum & he will run the risk but what he shall get them. Capt. S has gone to Alexandra after Father Wait he is returned for duty.. I would write you more to night but my eye says that I have wrote enough so I will Stop. write as soon as is convenient & oblige your son J H Hammond To Daniel and Mary Hammond & all others interested
P.S. I will try & do better next time
LETTER NO. 30
Camp Near Wolf run Shoals Va. March 9th, 1863
Dear Parents I now seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know that I am as yet in the land of the living enjoying good health feeling pretty ugly the reason of it is I was on guard last night & did not get much Sleep, which you know make me a little cross sometimes Then to make the matter worse comes the news that General Stoughton is a prisoner in the hands of the rebles. that does not trouble us much But Soon comes the order by telegraph to Col. Blunt to take command of the Brigade & to make his headquarters at the Station. thus you see that we are deprived of our best friend Col. Blunt Stoughton has been tight as an old boot more than half of the time for the last Six weeks his Brigade has been at the Station. I would of said three regiments of them were there & the other two here & he has been at the Court house "a drinking & doing other things to match" therewith well aware that the rebles were lurking around in that vicinity & it is now reported that he had orders to move his headquarters to the Station Some time ago & he did send his aids there But prefered to remain where he could live in a house & live in a more Stylish shape & now I hope that he is Satisfied I understand the the rebles surprised the village threatening instant death to the first one who Should give an alarm they then proceeded to the generals house got a passage to his room & with pistols aimed they threatened instant death if he made the least resistance. I hear that their force was divided into five Squads at the time they entered the village. one quad made for Col Wyndhams quarters (a Col commanding a brigade of cavalry in the Union Army) in hope to take him but he made for a barn & they followed but they did not get him he hid in under the floor As Soon as they had gone he crawled out & in less than one hour he had over one thousand men after them but there is not much probability of his capturing them I hear that they took all of the boys that belonged to the band and a good many besides Some think that they got Ira But I hardly think that they did for he was at the hospital But be that as it may we shall soon find out for Harler has gone to the Courthouse Started before he heard of the raid intending to come back to morrow but he may be back to night So I will Stop until evening & See Col. Blunt is just a packing up & Starting for the Station to take command of the Brigade Would that we could go with him
J H H
Monday 7 Oclock PM Harler has not returned So I take it for granted that Ira is all right. The rumor to night is that Col. Wyndham has recaptured Gen. Stoughton, also 15 or 20 rebles but we do not put any confidence in the Statement, for that does not look like the rebles. they would not stop for trifles with so valuable a prize.
E.F. Benjamins discharge got along to day & he will probaly start for home in two or three days
To day it has been very pleasant over head but under foot the mud has been Axx deep and more if you please
last night we had quite a thunder shower, & it cleared off about one Oclock this morning & about three Oclock was the time that the rebles made their dash into fairfax. The boys say that little Stoughton has wanted to go to the front for some time and they guess that he will get there now
I think that you done well at town meeting. first we did not think G.H. Shedd would get the election of town clerk much less that of treasurer we supposed that that office was for his nephew, but things take curious turns in time of war. the most that we have to say is that the unionists of the town of west windsor done nobly.
Stephen is on picket to night down by the ford with about twenty men to act as a reserve & in case of need to be on hand
J W Perkins is well & sends his best respects to all. to his Father & mother in particular. I believe that there is about twelve or 14 that are excused from duty most every day & a part of the cases are fever none of which are (I am happy to state) considered Dangerously Sick.
I do not think of much more to night worthy of note So I will Stop until morning & see what we can hear & see before that time perhaps we may have to lay in the rifle pits we cant tell but will wait & see. J.H. Hammond
Tuesday Seven Oclock AM weather cloudy everything remained quiet during the night I have not heard anything from fairfax this morning
Give my best respects to all enquiring friends & please to write as soon as is convenient
Jabez H Hammond
Father Mother Brothers & Sister
LETTER NO. 31
Camp Near Wolf run Va. March 11th 1863
Dear Father Mother Brothers and Sister one and all. how do you do this evening. we are all well at this time (when I say all I mean Guliver, Tetor(?) esq. Longbow & old Bogus)& I hope that these few lines will find you all the same
we got a letter from home to night written by Father & Elwyn Stating that you were well at that time
A E Houghton & D. W. Wood came from the hospital to day they are a good deel better but do no look so touch as they might now
they say that Stoughtons mother got a letter from him this morning stating that he was at Culpepper court house & should soon be exchanged & come back to his post may be so & may be a woodchuck. he was captured by Gen. Lee, his old classmate at west point
probably Lee was right glad to meet with him at this time. you have with out doubt got the particulars of his capture before this time so the most that I have to say is that it a little coolest thing that has ever happened in what war the capturing of a Brigadier General & 18 armed men without a gun being fired upon either side is something that does not happen every day.
In my last letter I stated that the report was that they captured the members of the Brass band, but the report was untrue. they were withing forty rods of the Gens. quarters yet they were not molested. neither did they molest the hospital
The Regiment is very unhealthy with the camp & typhoyed fever there is one case in our company that is rather doubtful his name R R Williams typhoyed fever. George Parker is about the same as he has been he has got a slow fever but is not terrible Sick.
we have not received the last box yet but look for it to morrow If you send another box I should like to have you get three of four boxes of Millers oil blacking as it is the cheapest & best preperation that we can get & there is Several who want a box of it. put in also a page of alumn. I have merely mentioned the above so that if you were intending to send another box that you could put them in but do not put yourself out for the sake of Sending
I do not believe that you can read this for I have been a washing this afternoon & my hand trembles very bad. either caused by that or poor rum. Tell Elwyn that I will write to him just as quick as I can get time & my nerves get steady enough. please to write soon.
Sergt. J.H.H. to the folks at home
LETTER NO. 32
Tuesday evening 7 oclock (in envelope hand dated "March 18 from Jabez"
Heavy canonading has been heard all of the afternoon in the direction Fredericksburg. do not know the cause But hope that its old fighting Joe knocking Jeff Davis & Co hull gull
The paper states tonight that the rebles have evacuated Vicksburg out but does not State where they have gone. But I hope that they are in the gulf of Mexico one and all & Jeff Davis at the bottom & all who sympathize with him.
I have off from picket sunday fornoon & have got to out again to morrow I am going out onto bull run about two miles from where it emptys into the Occoquan & by going across lots it is about two miles from the camp. Tetor Says tell you that he is not wounded but he can not tell how quick he will be. he & Harler are well they came in from picket to day
I saw Doctor Ketchum to day & he said that Ira was as tough as ever & that he worked all of the time & as full of the old harry as an egg is of meat.
There was considerable excitement at the Station two or three ago on acct. of a report that there was a force of seven thousand of reble Cavalry that had crossed kellys ford on the Rappahanock & that they were on the road to the Station. Gen. Cassey telegraphed to Col Blunt a Sauterday morning & told him that there was reported to be a force of rebles marching on that point & that he must hold the place at all hazards. Accordingly Col Blunt put all of the men there to work a digging rifle pits & I understand that there is now a row of them almost round the Station dug round on the hills about the same as those that we Saw on top of the hill at the right of the Station
I do not think of much more to wright to night So I think that I will draw to a close by wishing you one & all good night & pleasant dreams. Please to write as Soon as convenient & you will greatly oblidge your little boys who are out South J.H.Hammond To the Folks At Home And All Father Mother Brothers & Sister
LETTER NO. 33
Camp Near wolf run Shoals Va. 1863 (March 18th according to dated envelope)
Dear Parents I now Seat myself to write to you in answer to your letter which we received to night. we were glad to hear that you were all well. But Sorry to hear that Uncle Calvin was so low. & I hope that he is better before this time. As we have wrote Several times Since the affair at the courthouse it is unneccesary for me to mention in this letter only that it is considered a most shameful affair here & has we think cost Stoughton his commission as general which by the way he never had received the president sent in his name to the Senate to be confirmed but before they acted upon it he was taken prisoner & the president withdrew his nomination. at least that is the report
Last Sunday afternoon & evening we had a very hard thunder Storm with some as heavy thunder & as sharp lightning as you Seldom hear or see. but for storm instead it was hail and Snow. yesterday it was very cold but to day it has been quite warm & the hail & snow has mostly disappeared
The typhoyed pneumonia & typhoyed fever are both raging very high. there having seven died in our regiment within the last sixty two hours one of them was from our company. his name was Roderick R. Williams. he enlisted from windsor, but I understand that his father resides in Cornish, N.H.
I understand that there is one or two companys in the reg. that do not report but from thirty to forty for duty, & where there Should be 18 Lieutenants there is not but Seven reported for duty
There was an order to night calling for one man to vollenteer from each company to enlist into the Second Rhode Island Battery to Serve there until our nine months expire & if the battery is Seperated from the Brigade before that time then they will rejoin their company.
The one that vollenteered from our company was Fred. P. Mather. they are to report to Col. Blunt on or before the twentyieth of this month
Col. Blunt still remains in command of the Brigade & he is liked by all of the command
LETTER NO. 34
Camp Near wolf run Shoals Va. Apr. 4th, 1863
Dear Parents, Brothers, & Sister. I now Seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know that we are all in the land of the living & enjoying tolerable good health. (when I say all I mean Ira, Stephen, Harler, & Bogus). Ira has been to day. he is as tough as ever he says that he has not received any letters from you since he has been there only those that we have sent him & he has not got near all of them
R.E.Turner is very sick with the typhoid fever & they do not think that he will stand it until morning he was carryed to the hospital day before yesterday. the day before that he was out doors & it took considerable talking to make him stay in his tent
Stephen & I went to the telegraph office day before yesterday he sent a dispach to Alferd(?) Worcester
Capt Savage sent another one this morning at about eight O clock
N. Parker Starts for home a monday morning we send some Ambrotiypes(?) by him. I also sent a couple of slide to go on a necktie one for E.E. & one for E.M. F.G. Rice marked them. I believe that I wrote you that we were a going to move our camp. well we went to work & cleaned up our ground & our company had got their tents all up (I would say stockades) when Lieut. Col. Farnham (who has a good deel more red tape than he has brains about him) said that we must turn round. So that every company had to move. our co. from one end of the camp to the other. Yesterday morning we commenced moving our stockade. that done then we moved just time enough to get it up before night. to day we have been to work a putting in our buncks & muding up the cracks in the stockade & to speak plain I have had the guts ache all day. to night I took a dose of Painkiller & I feel better. I expect to be detailed on picket to morrow. But if I dont feel better than I have to day I cant see much picket
Stephen received your letter & the receipt for the box to night. also one from Uncle Gilman I received one from W.C. Wight. one from C. Lombard & one from Wat Blanchard. Seven Oclock P.M. it snows & blows & blows & snows enough to take the hair off from a mans head & his ass full of gimblet holes
I will stop till morning So good night. Bogus. Sunday half past Six A.M. the Snow is six or eight inches deep & it still snows hard J.W. Perkins is as tough as a bear & sends his best respects to all. as it is time for the mail I must stop Jabe Please to write soon
LETTER NO. 35
Camp Near wolf run Shoals Va. Apr. 8th, 1863
Dear parents, I now set myself to write you a few lines to let you know that we are as yet alive. But we are not all all well. Stephen was out on picket yesterday & took a little cold & does not feel very well to night. In my last I wrote that Harler had got the sick headache. well that followed him up for about twenty four hours & left him feeling rather hard up I have him some sage tea & some thoroward(?) yesterday & then I gave him three pills & he has felt better to day. I have just made him some water grewel & he says that it tasted good
It is now about half past nine Oclock P.M.. I am agoing to set up until about eleven Oclock & give him some powders then I am going to bed. I was up most of the night last night & have got to go on picket to morrow. I think that Harler will be all right in the course of two or three days
F. S. Small is about the sam,e gaining very slow G.H. Parker is gaining nicely
Capt Savage handed me a paper to day to circulate for the purpose of raising money to enbalm the remains of T.R. Turner & transport the same to Windsor & in less than one hour I had the required sum upon the paper (which was $48.75)
The weather here yesterday & today has been quite comfortable But cloudy most of the time. the Snow has mostly disapeared leaving the roads very muddy. Two men have died in Co. D since yesterday morning & one of them was buried to night in a pine grove near by. The procession was head by the band with muffled drums & at the grave three salutes were fired I believe that there had ben but one (before this one) of our regiment burried in Va. & he died with smallpox the day after the regiment left Fairfax courthouse. We expect Surgeon Kitchum here to morrow to stay we used th think that he was rather hardhearted But I guess that he is as good as they will average
we have not received the box yet but look for it soon. I suppose that to morrow is a fast day up in old Vermont. I would give six cents for as good a dinner as I had last year fast day & that was ham & eggs with everything else needful to make a good meal But who care for who cares. as Father says everything will come round right once in seven years, so let it rip. It is now about half past ten Harler sleep nicely. please to write soon write (if you have not) who you have got for clerk, School Committee &C. &C. in our district. give my best respects to Morris & all others who may enquire. Tell Mr Perkinss folks that Watson is well & is going on picket with me to morrow. Tell Mr Herricks folks that Wilber has been rather off the hooks, but is so that he is on guard to day. write how neighbor Bramble gets along & Uncle Bela. I believe that you have not wrote much about them for some time N.E. E. Perkins is rather hard up. had got a bad cold with some cough. But he says that he is better to night
I see by the last windsor Journal which came into camp to night that it is talked some of making a brigadier General of Col. Blunt. there is not a man in the regiment but what hate to lose him as a col. Still there is not one but what would like to see the Star placed upon his Shoulder Strap for they think that he is well worthy of it, if any one is. Said he to the Captain the other night if there is any help for the Sick boys they should have it & said he I have telegraphed to Dr. Ketchum to make his appearance here forthwith & when Ketchum got here he went with him & visited all of those in the hospital & those that were confined to their tents. a thing I do not believe that Lieut. Colonel Farnham has done since we have been here. But it is half pas eleven & I shall not get much sleep to morrow night. So I will draw to a close by wishing you all good night with pleasant dreams.
BOGUS TO THE folks at home, one & all
Thursday morning. the boys are smart as a trap this morning & the rest of the boys in the Co. are full as comfortable It is time to rig up for picket so good by for this time
LETTER NO. 36
Camp (Peter T.) Washburn, Va. Apr. 19th, 1863
Dear Parents we received a letter from you to night which contained five dollers I was sorry to hear that you (father) were so unwell, but I am in hope that this letter will find you better & all the rest of the folks well
Ira, Stephen & Harler are well Steve & U.H. are on picket to night. Ira has been here in our tent all of the evening. My health would (?) tiptop were it not for a little cold that I took out on picket last Wednsday, which was as Stormy a day as you ever saw. Bull run, which is about the same size of black river near Downers, rose from twelve to fifteen feet in twenty four hours. So you can imagine whether it stormed or not. A(?) thursday morning between the hours of six & seven it rise(?) 1 foot after it had got so that it covered all of the medows. E.F. Perkins has got a bad cold & is very hoarse. John W.P. is as good as new
Sergts Small & Houghton are full as well to day
well it is ten Oclock sunday evening & is time that all children & fools were a bed So I will close for to night wishing you all a good nights rest with pleasant drams Jabe. monday morning all about the same as yesterday I have got so much to do that I cannot write more please to (?) soon J.H.H. to the (?) at home