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2nd Vermont Infantry

Francis Finnegan



DEAR FRIEND: --- Since I last wrote we have been rather busy building a fort here, and the work is progressing fast. We use the pick and shovel about 5 hours each day; the rest of the time is spent variously in eating, sleeping, drilling, picket guard, &c. &c.

I have not seen any of the Hyde Park boys since I left Camp Lyon, except Col. Hyde, who rode by where I was at work 2 days ago. I did not have a chance to speak with him, but he looked well and as an officer he stands high with the military authorities. I understand thet C.A. Reed is sick and unable to do duty.When I last saw him at Camp Lyon he was pretty well and looked better than he had for some time before. I shall take the earliest opportunity of visiting him, as I consider him almost as dear as a brother; and I think he is of the right stamp; brave without boast, patient under reverses, and scorns to complain of everything that does not go to suit him. He appears to mean as if he came with the intention to do and bear, and not to be rocked in the cradle of ease and luxury.

The President and his Cabinet visited us last Tuesday; also Gen. McCellan and Smith, and Gov. Curtis was present. Abe looked tall and rough as a rail cut, yet he is good natured and intelligent looking. I shook his hand and resolved to stand by him as long as he satnds by our country.. The crowd about Gen. McClellan was so great that I could not get near him. He stilled the crowd and made the following speech; " Soldiers, you have seen your last defeat; and made your last retreat; stand by me, and I will stand by you, and success will crown our efforts: The soldiers cheered lustily.

This fort will not be near so large as was said in the first plan, but when finished will be a powerful place. One night last week when we were napping comfortably, we were disturbed by being visited with another deluge much like the one we encountered at Great Falls; the water fell in real Southern fashion, and flowed freely around; so that each was obliged to " take up his bed and walk"; and most of the men spent the balance of the night in a vertical posture, but after we got a warm breakfast, we all felt able to dig and pick dirt as usual. We have become so tough that these Southern rains effect us but little, any further than to deprive us of sleep, when they occur in the night. We had a pretty extensive alarm the day before yesterday; it was caused by a party of rebels who came within 1, miles of our camp, and set fire to what few buildings came in their way. They threw two shells that burst within mile of our camp. We all got our harness on and turned out at the word. We got into line; stacked arms: and took the shovel and through up a breastwork on the unfinished rampart, but when we got a good place fixed we had to march out where some rifle pits had been constructed; we again stacked arms and went into the rifle pits with pitck and shovels, and by midnight we had transformed what was a slim show into a formidable position. We then spread our blankets in line and rested till morning without being troubled by the rebels. Although our men showed the greatest activity, few believed that a battle would be fought. All despise and regard with horror the vandal disposition of thr rebels. It is said they burned one house that was worth three thousand dollars last year.

John Roddy is well and enjoying himself; he is one of the cooks, and is well contented. Terrance's health is yet poor, but I think he grows no worse.He is very watchful of the mails perhaps more so than if he was able to do duty. My own health never was better.; J.P. Sawyer is well as usual; he is enjoying himself well to all appearances. I mean to see the boys in the 3d Reg. before writing again.

I Remain Yours, With Respect,

Francis Finnegan

Submitted by Deanna French.

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