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6th Vermont Infantry

Kimball Collection

Letter to the Editor

From the Sixth Regiment
Camp Griffin, Va., Feb. 21, 1862

EDITOR STANDARD: During the weeks that have passed since last I wrote you quietude has reigned in our camp. The ground has long been very muddy from the continued storms of rain and snow, thus deterring the advance movement of the grand army. The marching is so bad it would be almost impossible for infantry to move, and certainly for artillery; but as soon as the weather shall admit, doubtless, will be heard the tramp of the many thousands encamped upon the Potomac as they march on to glorious victory. I say victory, for victory is ours. We can suffer no defeat. Our cause is just, and I believe God approves. In common with all our fellow soldiers, we offer our hearty congratulations to the liberty and Union loving citizens of the North upon the victorious achievements of our patriotic troops at Roanoke, and Forts Henry and Donelson over disloyal hosts. At the reception of this cheering news our entire camp became wild with joy. Long and loud cheers ascended heavenward, such as give token of loyal hearts; and the soul-stirring strains of music from the many bands were such as could but arouse the most dormant spirit. But every cheer is said to bring a tear. Many mothers and sisters will mourn the loss of a son or brother who died contending for the right. The capture of Fort Donelson was a bloody contest. "When Greek meets Greek then comes the tug of war." From the first of this rebellion it is evident our leaders have aimed to spare, so far as in their power, all great and needless bloodshed, still they have been subjected to much criticism and many comments upon their plan of warfare as differing from the system adopted in foreign countries. Were we engaged in the same mode of warfare as is usually practiced by European powers, we might well expect ridicule and rebuke. But ours is not a war of vengeance; it is not waged to gratify any inordinate ambition, where the lives of men are not questioned if the object desired be only gained. We are forced into an unwilling conflict with our own kindred and blood; we fight to preserve our existence as a nation, bring back the erring, and punish the wicked.

The news of the past few days has electrified the whole country and sent joy to the hearts of the millions who are looking in breathless anxiety upon the destiny of the war; but such results must greatly dishearten the rebel army who are fighting in an unholy cause, and tho' tomorrow Jeff. Davis is inaugurated as president of the C. S. I fear his six years may end in six weeks, aye, perhaps in six days, and being himself launched into shame and infamy. Monarchs have ascended the throne to reign but a day.

Such intelligence as is freighting the pages of Northern periodicals, of the repeated successes which are attending our arms, pours confidence into the hitherto desponding hearts of the loyal men of the South who have long suffered the oppression and tyaranny of secession rulers. The fugitives will soon be able to return to the land of their nativity whence they were driven because they desired to be true to the principles of liberty, and justice, and the flag which our fathers fought and died to sustain.

The Vermont Brigade is comparatively healthy. There are but few sick in the hospitals here, as they are taken to the general hospitals preparatory to a sudden march, and this the men are but anxious to have. A little fighting is all that is need to make the men all right, and this desire may not long rest unsatisfied, for I have just learned, and from unquestioned authority, that a telegram has been received for Gen. McClellan by Gen. Smith (and probably, if really true, by all the divisions along the Potomac) that the rebels are going to attack us tomorrow, and for every regiment to be ready. Col. Lord, via Gen. Brooks, received such orders. We can only say, 'let them come on, we will give them a warm reception and thus celebrate Washington's birth day;' but 'tis too good, I fear, to be true.

We can realize nothing of the severe winter at the North only by an occasional breeze coming from your snow banks and the little smackings of snow which fall and rest but for a day upon Virginia soil-beyond, all is imagination.

There has been some promoting made in our company, of which you have doubtless learned; Lieut. C. W. Dwinell to first, and Orderly Sergt. C F. Bailey to second Lieutenantship.

Yours truly,

F. M. K.



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