Thursday, January 24, 2013

1863 January 15 near Fairfax Station

                Camp of Buckingham Legion
20th Regt Conn Vol near Fairfax Staion
                        Thursday Jan 15th 1863
Dear Sister Sarah
                               I recieved your kind
and welcome letter written last Sunday
night, yesterday, & I need not assure you
that I was very glad to hear from you
I also recieved yours & Len's letter written
some time ago in answer to mine
I have neglected to write to you longer
than I want to have done, but my
only excuse is a want of energy.  I
know however that you will excuse
me when you know how I am situated
For the last two months I have had
but very little leisure for some time
before we left Loudon Valley we were
very busy drilling & building winter
quarters which we had to leave when
we got them all nicely fixed for winter
You referred in you letter to the seven
days march that we took, an account

[page 2]
of which you saw in the paper  You ask
if I suffered with the rest.  I can answer
you I had my full share.  I started
on the march feeling first rate, the
weather was fine & the roads were very good
After marching two days my feet became
very sore & I was so lame I could hardly
walk the third morning I found I had
large blisters on the balls of my feet & I
could not get my boots on at all my
feet were so swollen I succeeded n
borrowing a pair of shoes that were large
& easy & started on again with a load
of over 50 pounds on my back & in my
hands. I found it very tedious marching
that day & the next but I got better &
better until I could wear my boots again
I marched in my place the whole seven
days but I was completely worn out &
have not yet recovered from the fatigue
of the march.  I have had a very bad cough
ever since & my lungs seem to be all
out of fix.  Quite a number have died
since we returned who I think would

[page 3]
have been living now but for that march
Soldiering is hard business to say the least
We have now been in this place four
weeks & two days  We have been out once
since we came here on a reconnoisance
was gone two days Marched about 30 miles
& accomplished noting of any account
We left here on the day that Stuarts
Cavalry made their last Raid on the
Orange & Alexandria Rail Road at
Burks Station about 3 miles from here
If we had staid here instead of starting
out on the Sabbath we should have done
better.  We are now under marching
orders again two days ago we were
ordered to be in readiness to march at
12 hours notice with 3 days rations in
haversacks & 8 days rations in waggons
Yesterday the orders were changed to 2 days
rations in haversacks & 3 days in waggons
we may not leave here in some time
but the probabilities are that we shall
leave in a day or two.  I have no idea
where we are going Some say we are going

[page 4]
to a place called Mount Jackson about
30 or 40 miles from Winchester & about 125
miles from here Others think w are to
go to North Carolina but I think it is
more likely we are going to the former
pl;ace it may be we are not going to
either place I ho9pe we are not going on
a march of 125 miles for the roads are bad
& the weather will now probably be rainy as the time
for the rainy season has come It will be bad to
lie on the ground now.   I must now close t his
letter as the mail is just closing.  I hope you will
write again soon.  Len spoke of sending me some
papers. I shall be likely to get them I think.  I
thank him for his kind offer.  Some of those big
apples you spoke of would be a luxury such as
I am not often favored with but it would not
pay to undertake to send any.  I have just
recieved a small box from Jane & my sister filled
with good things.  I have recieved three boxes from
home since I have been in the army
You ask me if I like our present Captain as well
as our former one.  We have no Captain with us
now & never have had the man who is our
Capt now has been sick ever since he was appointed
I am not with the company at all being with
the Color Guard of the Regt which is composed
of ten Corporals one from each Company & a Sergeant
who is the Color Bearer the Color Guard are to
defend the Colors under all circumstances &
if the color Bearer is shot down the Corporal nearest
him is expected to seize the Colors & bear them up
the Color Guard are exempt from all Guard
duty in Camp or on Picket & from all labor in
Camp except such as is necessary to provide for
themselves comfortable quarters &c  The position is
one of danger & also one of honor.  I expect to
be true to the old Flag & if the bearer fall I shall try to be
the first to raise it.  If I fall while holding or defending
it  I hope to fall into the Arms of Jesus & rest where no war is

[in left hand margin of page 1]
I get New York Papers here but no New Haven or Conn papers until they are sent me by friends
If Len will send me some
Conn. Papers I shall be lad
of them I have never had
a letter from Hiram
though I have written to him

[upside down in top margin of page 1]
I suppose Mother is with Carrie now as Jane
writes that she left her for Birmingham some
days ago Give love to Len & write soon Your Brother  Burr

Merritt Burr Woodruff, Co. H., 20th Connecticutt

MSS 11065

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