Tuesday, February 12, 2013

1863 February 12 Newport News, Va.

(I think my last was No 20)   Head Quarters 15th Regt. Conn Vols
             (21)                             Camp at New port News Va   Feby 12th  [1863]
My Dear Sister Helen..
                                      I suppose you are very
anxiously waiting for a letter from me as you
have no doubt heard of our moving – Well here
we are at Newport News – we started from our old
camp near Fredericksburg Friday morning recd
order that we should be ordered to Fortress Monroe
as soon as we had pleasant weather)  Thursday eve
at 6 ock and at 3 A.M. Friday we got orders to pack
and pull up immediately and march to the depot to
take the cars for Aquia creek – well start we did
at about 7 ock and marched to the depot in the mud
and rain but had to wait here until about 7 P.M.
before cars arrived to take us down to the creek –
We finally got there and went aboard the “John
Brooks” and sailed out into the Potomac to wait
until morning – when morning came we took aboard
a few more troops and started down the river having
the 16th  & 8th C.V. aboard with us some 2000 men
in all – we were packed pretty thick but got along
very well   arrived off Fortress Monroe at about      
12 ock Saturday night,   Sunday morning we started up
the James river and disembarked at the wharf
here and went right into the empty barracks here,
There are lots of large and small log houses built

here that were occupied by our troops before, and the
boys went right at work fixing up bunks and beds
etc     The officers picked out houses to suit them selves,
and commenced repairing and fitting up in good shape
and we are very nicely situated now – we have got
a good sized house, with 2 good windows for the
Col’s quarters    then the dining room and cook room
are connected with it and a door leads right into
them form the main room.
                 See Diagram ->   [Here Howard has drawn a sketch of his quarters.]
   Oh this is a beautiful country
down here – the weather is very warm and mild
the boys went in swimming the next day after we
arrived here and the sun really was uncomfortable
     I hope they will let us remain here for some
time but we shall probably have to start again
as soon as the whole of the 9th Corps get here
but it will take certainly 2 weeks more before
it will all arrive   then we expect we shall
have to move further down the coast   perhaps
to Newbern.    We are very nicely situated here
there is quite a city of log houses laid out,
in good streets and with good windows &
doors and can go down to the beach any time
at low tide and dig all the oysters and clams
one want – had a nice meal of clams this
noon.  There is pleanty of good water and wood
here and near at hand.  The boys all feel first

rate and I don’t hear them saying any thing about
going home or wanting to        Things of all

kinds are much cheaper here than at
Falmouth and much more pleanty – boats
arrive from Fortress Monroe 4 times a day
so that express and mail matter is more
regular than at our old camp.. – The wreck
of the famous “Cumberland” lies about
gun shot distant from the shore here and
I enclose a piece of rope that I saw a
man cut from the wreck as I stood on the
beach and saw him go out to it in a boat
but they do not allow any one to go near it
now as they wish to preserve it and are going
to raise it soon.   A little further to the left
and about ¾ of a mile from the “Cumberland”
is the wreck of the “Congress” which was run
ashore and burnt     the ribs of her hulk are
visible above water   she is very near in shore
I will try to get a piece of her also..  The “Nahant”
one of the Monitor built craft lies off in the
river and cruises up and down on the watch
for game   keeps steam up all the time and
she tried the range of her guns a little
yesterday firing up stream   I saw the balls
skip over the water – kicking up the spray
like smoke..   we passed lots of gun boats and
craft of all kinds and had a quite near
view of the “Nahant” when we came down

Fortress Monroe is a splendid old fort and
the biggest thing I have seen lately.  I should
say she is built of granite or a lightish kind
of stone and mounts an awful lot of guns
I saw the Union guns and another almost as
large that fires across to Sewalls point
and it is a big ways over there I notice..
     Rip Raps is a gay old pile of stones and will
make a strong fort when finished..
                   I recieved your letter dated Jany 3rd
but not numbered    am surprised that you had
not recieved  the letter with order for boots
and with the money I sent, guess you will
get them before you receive this..   got a letter
from Elbe and one from Hen Wilcox at the same
time of yours     The boots I want made of the
same leather as the other but smaller every
way.     Ward has got my measure..   would like to
have you hurry up my coat if you have
got me one yet   also the drawers and other little
things that I wrote for..  Did Phil Chapin [?] call
at the house or only at the Bank or dident he
call at all?   I am well and happy – wish –
Father would take a trip down this way –
before we get further off.   would like to have him
call at Fortress Monroe very much..  Yours till next time  Jim

[transcript by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

James Howard 15th Connecticut 

MSS 12668

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