|LETTER FROM A PRINTER IN THE ARMY
Correspondence of the Sentinel.
Arlington, Va., Jan. 13, 1862
Gentleman:-There is an institution connected with our brigade which has
never need noticed in the Sentinel, I believe, which is the Brigade
Hospital, now under the able management of Dr. Andrews, of the Sixth
Regiment, and late a resident of Pierce County, Wisconsin.- The doctor is
very popular and successful in his practice; and the Hospital Steward, Mr.
Buck, is one of the most thoroughgoing men, in his line of business, in the
army. Between the skill of the doctor and the energy and industry of Mr.
Buck, the sick are well taken care of.
The Regimental Hospitals in the Brigade are all in a most efficient state.
Let all who have friends in this Brigade rest satisfied that no pains are
spared by the Surgeon in Command that would tend to the comfort or welfare
of the sick.
I observe a disposition of the part of several of your correspondents to
pander to a spirit of jealousy between the regiments in the Wisconsin
Brigade. This is simply ridiculous, and I could mention a certain one in the
Sixth who has lost the esteem of all who know him in the other regiments and
not gained anything but contempt in the Sixth, by the absurd stories he has
retailed to the readers of the Sentinel and in private letters. I am
an Iowa pioneer and like plain, honest talk, and either through your widely
circulated paper, or some other journal as well known and read as it is, I
will let these facts be known. In all that I have written I was never moved
by the hope of reward from any one in the service or out of it, tho much
for myself, if you do me the simple justice of making statement public; and
furthermore, the man who will disparage another regiment in order to work
his own advancement (and a regiment, too, from his own state) only lacks one
short step of imbecility.
The readers of the SENTINEL in Pack Waukee, Marquette County, will be pained
to hear of the death of an estimable lady, the wife of C. W. Babcock, a
sergeant in Company E, Seventh Regiment. At the time of her death they had
only been married about five months, and the heroic young wife had left all
the luxuries of a Wisconsin fireside to share the toils and privations of a
camp life with her husband in Virginia. She died of Typhoid fever at the
apartment of the females attached to the Brigade Hospital, on the 30th of
December, and attended by those of her own sex who well knew how to bestow
those delicate attentions which only a woman can bestow on the sick.
To my old printing office "chums" in Dubuque who read the SENTINEL, I would
say that my "Shooting stick" has grown rusty for the want of a little work
in my line just at this time, and that I have never yet succeeded in opining
any other "form" with it than that of a poor old row and the only "matter"
which I have been called on to "set up" here was a drunken soldier. Let all
the typographers beware, however, of the service, for not one in a dozen can
ever hope to get a perfect "register," even though a member of that immortal
Association, the "Printers' Union." And now I think of it, follow typos,
what a boost of associations crowd the mind at the mention of it-the
Printers Union-glorious title! I'd rather have its "certificate" in my
pocket that a diploma of L. L. D. of old Yale or Harvard.
Glorious Union, next after the glorious American union it comes in for all
the keen and ardent sympathy of those who drink of the god-like waters of
the foundation of liberty.
But facts are cold and stubborn things; and the wind and fog and all the
other little annoyances of a camp life, have joined the atmosphere around
here as far as my observation extends so that it is very difficult to think
of anything pleasing to communicate.
The soldier on his post forgets the tune he commenced to whistle, and thinks
of home and the girl he left behind him. All are quiet and with few
exceptions cherish a tranquil and social feeling in the camp. Many are the
letters which go and come and the little token sent off to the west by those
both married and single who left all rich and manly treasures of their
affection there; and there is a poetry in the calm self devotion which
breaths in much of the correspondence betoken of some of the volunteers and
their friends at home.
By the way, it is said there is some trouble about
the money appropriated by the State to the families of volunteers. How is
it? do they get it regularly? will you tell us, and relieve the minds of
those here who are interested in the enquiry? And let me say to those who
contribute blankets and other necessary articles for the use of the army
hospitals or commissary, that they need not be surprised if the articles so
contributed are not acknowledged for a time. All those departments are
overrun with work and cannot possibly account to all for their
contributions. I make this statement on the authority of an officer of high
rank in the city.
U. M. Weidemann
From the Sixth Regiment
Arlington, Va., Jan. 16th, 1862
Editors Patriot:-The days are ominous of evil. All the news
which centers here today is full of dark and sinister forebodings. There are
vast and extensive frauds rumored about the army. Congress has enquired of
McClellan as to the Ball's Bluff slaughter and the pet General politely
informs them it is not expedient to tell all about that affair. The credit
of Government is ebbing fast. To-day is pay day in the Fifth Wisconsin
Regiment and the pay except the change consists of treasury notes which are
on the decline in value now being at a discount of five per cent. This state
of things would be tolerable if there seemed to be the least show of a
better hereafter. Speaking of frauds there was a contract let here for a
great amount of wood for the army at seven dollars per cord to be delivered
at this camp. Well, Mr. Contractor lets out the job again, it is cut and the
Government teams are now hauling it. All Mr. Contractor has to do is to
pocket the money at a profit of two hundred and fifty per cent over all the
expense. This is one of a thousand gigantic robberies of the Treasury that
could be mentioned and yet not one of all those who cried out about Fremont
can see it at Washington. What in the name of all that is hopeful can we
expect of this administration now?
It cannot be concealed that the army is suffering morose over the
present policy of our Government. This fact is patent to all, and the Great
West is asleep while ruin and bankruptcy knock at the door of the nation.
Prodigality and wanton plunder of the public purse is winked at all over the
North. In the vain hope that something will be done on the Potomac after a
while a cold and pusillanimous policy prevails. Our commanders all act as if
the war was commenced in order that each of them might make a political
hobby of it to ride into office upon. A shadow looms up in the distance, dark
and somber and terrible. The Government seems to see it but cannot see that
it is anarchy and discord which it has courted all along and that by this
wavering vacillating course they breed a viper that is fastening on our
people an enormous debt, and a prospect of disgraceful defeat or a shameful
peace at the end. Doubt and gloom are on all faces. There must soon be a
solution of the question -are all these preparations for any practical and
useful purpose or are they merely an idle pantomime to glorify the vanity of
would be military men and amuse the people?
There is nothing going on here at all, except the expensive business of
paying clothing and feeding a great army and the usual bustle of a large
city. The weather is snowy and rainy and foggy by turns with a cold day
occasionally by way of change.
Letter from the Sixth Regiment
Correspondence of the Sentinel
Arlington, Va., Jan. 25
Washington swarms with refugees from all parts of the South, but more
particularly loyal Virginians. Only yesterday I met one from Rockingham
County, in this State-Mr. A. K. Morris, the youngest of six brothers-all,
except himself, are in the rebel army, and all of them were forcibly
impressed and sent into other States. Albert, only, escaped their fate by
leaving in the night. He says his brothers are Union Men, and will not fight
against the Stars and Stripes, and that terror and gloom overshadows all the
dominions of rebellion not of our troops more than those of Jeff. Davis and
Beauregard, and that they are the meet rapacious and turbulent spirits and
of all men, or at least that portion of them who are in leading positions in
the rebel army. Men of the stamp of the filibuster ,Walker and Henningsen,
reckless adventurers of all grades, with no character to lose, they fight
like the buccaneers of the sixteenth century for booty and rob and pillage
all that are even suspected of cherishing a love for the Union, and many who
The exodus from the South includes many of the most intelligent of the
population-men of large means-but all seem to express the conviction that
the Union will be restored, and that order, harmony and progress will return
to our now troubled land, and then the bone and sinew of the country will
find ample scope for remunerative employment. White men will not refuse to
work in the cane and cotton fields of the South, society will not be any
worse for an infusion of New England go-aheaditiveness, which will carry
with it civilization and refinement where now all is barbarism and
ignorance-for of all creation there is no spot I ever visited where
indolence, filth and ignorance were so well exemplified as among the lower
classes of the southern people at the present time, and it seems like a
moral pig-sty, where no breeze of elevated or purifying thought can enter
until the channel is utterly cleaned.
Some writer has said that the Army was becoming abolitionized in the
presence of all the beauties of the "Peculiar institution" of the South;
this is a fact that is notorious here. The intelligent and active spirit of
a Northern man revolts at much that is seen already, remote as we now are
from the inner temples of slavery, and some of the old pro-slavery Hunkers,
who admired it in New York, declare that they can't abide it in Virginia,
and admit that it ought to be wiped out.
The streets of out camp are now principally paved with an equal mixture
of rain water and clay, and the consequence is they are pretty hard to
navigate though. The boys have carried a large amount of short sticks and
made sidewalks in all directions about the camp. Phillip W. Plummer,
(formerly of the Juneau Guard of your city,) is now Captain of Co. G., Sixth
Regiment. He entered the service as First Lieutenant, in the Prairie du
Chien Company, and his brother, Thomas, now holds his place. The
Prairie du Chien company presented Capt. Plummer a splendid sword on the
occasion of his promotion, as an evidence of their high opinion and esteem
of the man. If I mistake not, Capt. Starr's old company has furnished a
number of excellent officers to other regiments now in the field.
Affairs at the Capital are looking up a little, and everything betokens
the fact that the Secession bubble is about to burst into fragments.
Every day brings accounts of the most atrocious barbarities perpetrated
by the rebels on the people in the rural districts of the South which serves
to increase the wide spread feeling against the authors of this great
conspiracy. Everybody breaths freer, the War Department is whipping and
spurring night and day to increase the efficiency of the army, and Jonathan
really seems determined to roll up his sleeves and whip somebody, if John
Bull will just wait until certain little preliminary matters are settled and
seems to care but little whether he does wait or not.
The City of Washington is transformed into one of the liveliest places in
the country and is full to overflowing with a population as various as that
of Paris or Constantinople. Business is transacted at a galloping speed, and
of course quiet and repose are strangers here.
The fine bird and robin red breast were here one day last week, and
chirped as gay a note as if they expected to stay with us, but to-day old
boreas had opened another page, pipes and a perfect gale.
Yours, U. M. W.