Saturday, February 2, 2013

1863 January 27 Camp near White Oak Church

Camp near White Oak Church Va Jan 27th / 63
Dear parents
               I have received one letter
and a billet that you went in Samuel's
letter since I wrote to you and, I think
I can give a good excuse for not writing
sooner soon after I recieved your letter
we got orders to be ready to march with
three days rations and 60 rounds of
catridges[sic] on the morning of the 20th we
were ordered to start at 12 Oclock and
when the time arrived we took up our
line of march we had a circular read
to us that we were about to meet the
enemy and more our Genl. thought the
auspicious moment had arrived and now
was our time to strike we marched
all day and just as dark went into

[page 2]
and before we got out tents it
began to rain it continued to rain
hard night about five Oclock in the
morning we got orders to pack up and
be off our tents and blankets were wet
and we had no chance to dry them
and it still kept on raining but we
packed up and started by this time
it began to be muddy we marched
through the mud and rain about
four miles and all along the rout
we passed artillery stuck fast in
the mud with 20 horses trying to pull
our guns and the road was lined with
dead horses and mules the pontoon
bridges they were hauling up for us to
cross the river on were in the same
condition and the more they tried
to get them along the deeper they
would sink in the mud and the
Genl was obliged to give the order
to hault[sic] and then came the orders

[page 3]
to return to our old camp ground and
then came the hard work for the tired
soldiers the horses could not haul the
artillerry[sic] and pontoons out of the mud
and the soldiers had to get long ropes
and haul them back again our division
was left back for one to do this work
the mud by this time from six inches
to 3 feet deep you can imagine something
about the hardship but the reality you
never can now in six days after we
left our good quarters we returned to
them again and you might as well
believe we were glad to get back
again and as we were coming into
camp we met a man from Mcfalls
Me. who had come out to see  his
two boys who is are in this company
Mr. A. Dwinal was the man he says
if he should go back to Me. and tell
them there what he had seen that he
could not make them believe him
and I think so myself

[page 4]
This last move of the army has cost
the government millions of money
and accomplished nothing and all this is
because our leaders are not fit for their
position it is trying the patience of the
army and they will not stand it much
longer the day we started on this
advance quite a number deserted from
our Regt. 4 out of our company as good
men as we had Ting Libbey was one
of them from Co. D and not one of
them has been heard from since
and unless we have different management
this army will go into pieces and be
entirely demoralized Ting Libby told me
he intended to desert but did not want his
folks to know about it so you must
not tell about it for if he can get
away let him go it is considered here
an honor to a man to get out of the
army in any way in a short time
the two years men and the six moths[sic]
men will be going home

[remainder of letter of Hiram M. Cash of the 5th Maine is missing]

MSS 12916

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