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1861 November, Seventh
Letter from Captain Callis
Nov. 7, 61.
Mr. Editor:- I notice in many of the Wisconsin papers that the good folks of the
Badger State after furnishing so many fighting men for the war, are
organizing Soldier's Aid Societies and raising money to be laid out for
blankets, woolen shirts, &c. for our soldiers.
Now this is very kind indeed, and exhibits a feeling toward soldiers and the
cause for which they are laboring worthy of emulation; and I assure you it will
be appreciated as such by the soldiers at large; but I am at a loss to know how
it is the erroneous idea that we are suffering for want of sufficient clothing
and food, becomes so prevalent among the masses at home.
Now I am not prepared to say how other regiments outside of our brigade and the
Brigades encamped near us are suffering for clothing, food, &d. We are in
Gen McDowell's division of twelve thousand men or more, and among that number of
men, I notice many Wisconsin boys that I was well acquainted with at home; and I
must say that I never saw them uniformly well dressed at home as they now are,
and I know they have plenty of bread, beef, pork, rice, beans, molasses tea,
coffee and sugar to live like "fighting cocks."
In order to let you know what out wardrobe consists of I will give you an
inventory, together with our facilities for transportation, after which I will
leave you to judge whether we would be able to make more clothing of utility of
us or not.
We how have two heavy over coats, one heavy round about, one frock coat, two pairs
of heavy pants, one pair of light cotton pants.
Two woolen shirts, two pairs drawers, two pairs socks, one towel, one heavy
blanket, one rubber blanket, all of which, except what we are wearing, must be
lugged in a knapsack, and besides all this we must carry a haversack with from
one to three days rations and a heavy musket when we are on the march.
I must confess I am at a loss to know how we could carry more, unless each man
has a pack mule furnished him.
We however, nevertheless, fully appreciate the kind offerings of the good folks
at home; and I would here say that I cannot tell what privations we are destined
to undergo in the future, and can only speak of the present; but in answer to
many letters, received from friends of our company inquiring what kind of
clothing we stand most in need of to make us comfortable.
At the present time I would refer them to the above inventory of our present
wardrobe, and let them judge for themselves, whether or not we are suffering as
has been reported. I have no doubt of "Uncle Samuel's" ability and
willingness to furnish us all the clothing he will allow us to carry, and that
the allowance will be sufficient to render us as comfortable as the
circumstances will admit of. But if we should fall short at some future time we
would be glad to avail ourselves of the opportunity of drawing on the liberality
and kindness of the good folks of our native homes; but at present I think of
nothing in the way of clothing that would add to our comfort.
We are getting along finely and, all except one man, able and willing to do duty.
I cannot help but flatter myself that our company gets along with less
ill-feelings, one toward the other, than any company on the Potomac, and in the
language of Lieut. Woodhouse "we eat together, sleep together and, if need
be, we will die together."
We have not yet had a chance to "pick a fight" with the rebels; they
don't seem to wish to form an acquaintance with us, but seem to avoid coming in
contact with the "Mud-sills" of Wisconsin. This coolness may emanate
from their aristocratic notions and it may emanate form some other cause, I
can't tell which.
Perhaps thy have met some of us before and did not like our style. We meet the
whole division of Gen. McDowell to morrow at Munson's Hill, for a general
I suppose we will have a fine time as the weather is very fine and our boys seem
to be all up and dressed elated at the thought of seeing Gen. McClellan and old
Respectfully yours John C. Callis
FROM THE 7TH REGIMENT
Nov. 3, 1861
Editors Patriot:-We were reviewed by Gen. McDowell on Thursday; the whole
brigade was reviewed we have got a regiment of cavalry or twelve companies. I
don't know how many there are in a company. To-day the cavalry scattered over
the field ,each company by itself, one company making a charge, another retreating,
others moving this way and other that some walking leisurely by flank &c., altogether
presenting the most splendid and picturesque scene I ever beheld with the
addition of the four regiments of infantry making in all nearly 5,000 men. The
review ground was just adjoining the Potomac and opposite Washington with the
White House, Washington Monument; Capitol House and other conspicuous buildings,
of which I do not know the name, in full view. The long bridge just below is
arranged with two long boxes which meet in the center of the passage. They are
well braced, no doubt but now they are worked back and forth is a mystery to me
to solve yet. How each one is supported one half width of a place where a good
sized steamboat can clear each side, I can't understand. When their two sides
are joined together, it admits the heaviest of laded wagons. Taken altogether, I
beheld the most splendid view that has net my vision since we arrived on the
sacred soil of old Virginia. The next day (Saturday) we all mustered for the pay
roll or something of that sort. Well, the cavalry was there, so I suppose they
belong to Gen. King's Brigade. After we were all arranged on the ground I made
myself scarce-went a little way off to a persimmon tree, went to eating
persimmons, didn't go back till I got my fill, then went back to my company -
in good time to answer to my name, lucky thing for me too. If I had not been
there to answer to my name I might have last part of my pay. But it was all
right; I took the head of my company and led them back to quarters had a real
Had an orful rain yesterday; didn't get anything to eat for our companies. All
clubbed together, went to the Sutler, bought butter and eggs, had plenty bread; got
along first rate. - Pretty cool and damp to lay right on the ground; we sleep very
comfortably, though. We have lots of leaves on the ground, then a pretty good mattress
on top, then an oil blanket; then a woolen blanket to top off with. We then lay
two an???ro so we have two blankets over us, aside from our overcoats, &c.
We get along better than a great many others, but still we sleep cold. The night
are very cold and the days hot. Report is that we are to stay there all winter.
If we do, we will build us log houses and a good fire place, &c.. We
all think we will move before long.
Gen. Scott has resigned, and Gen. McClellan steps in his shoes. I suppose you
know all about it however. All agree to one thing and that is Gen. McDowell put
us through. Some regiments have got to stay there. Don't know but we will do as much
good here as anywhere else. Let some older and better drilled regiments take the
advance. Of course we would like to go on when we could do something. They all
think it is time to do something now. That cold weather is at hand. It won't
look right if we don't do something before hot weather comes again.
After Dark a Good While. - Just returned from a foraging expedition. One of our
tentmates found a pile of brick, proposed we should go and get them and make an
oven or furnace to warm our tent, got a good lot on a board, two of us shouldered
the board started off very well. Partner took the fore end, I the hind end, pretty
dark went a little way, partner stubbed his toe, fell down. My end, of course, on my
shoulder, consequence, was spilt, all the brick bats. Thought I'd kill myself
laughing, partner on all fours in the mud, bats scattered all over the ground, O,
t'was fun. We finally got enough to make an oven all right.
Last week the boys broke into the Sutter's tent, went to kicking up a big fuss,
was stopped by the Adjutant appearing on the scene of action. The trouble
originated by the Sutler charging exorbitant prices. Well, as I said before, it
rained all day yesterday. Toward evening the wind rose up pretty strong. Some of
the boys wished to play a joke on the Sutler and partly drew some of the pins
that held his tent. The ground being wet and soft, the pins were easy drawn Soon a
good strong gust struck the tent and over the whole thing went. Such
yelling as those got up who were there soon brought out nearly the whole
regiment. - The Sutler promised a good treat to the whole crowd if they would not
touch anything and help him up with it again and they concluded to help him.
After all was righted, he set a barrel of apples out for the boys to play grab one
day. That means he got a good joke on the boys for they all pitched in and such a
muddy sorry set of boys you never see, for you must understand the mud and water
was from one to three inches deep.
Some got their brand new caps (blue) tread in the mud bad. I did not get mixed
up in the fracas, lucky for me. We have some excitement every now and then. -
2d regiment boys are good fellows to look after No. 1.
One of them picked up a good ham when the Sutter's tent blew down, can't fool
them on green cheese. They have traveled .- I took a walk over to Gen. Lee's house
and gather one of the most splendid bouquets you ever see. I send you what
varieties I can - Perhaps you will know what some of them are. I do not except, the
roses and cedar.
Well, I did not think I could write so long a letter, but some how I deep
thinking of something.
Old man Dyke has got his discharge, and will soon return. The old codger feels
pretty good over it. Haven't had much frost yet can find splendid tomato plants,
nice and thrifty. I believe I told you about the green corn we have had since we
have been here. I believe there are string beans now, was a week ago.
We are getting our blue uniforms now, got two pairs of drawers, good ones too,
blue cap and pants. I like camp life well although unpleasant when it rains, but
we must take the bitter with the sweet.
The tent is full, telling stories, getting off yarns, &c. It is almost
impossible to write without making blunders. I am getting tired of sitting on
the soft side of a board - would like to git out this letter.
From the Seventh Regiment
Nov. 10th, 61
Editors Patriot:- In perusing your sheet, I discover no correspondent from the
"Hungry Seventh," and acting on that impulse, I take the liberty of
addressing you; and moreover to ascertain if you would or would not desire to
have one from this regiment. In case you see fit to accept me, please let me
I will give a description of the grand review of this division by Gen. McDowell,
which took place on the 9th inst. On the morning of the 9th, according to orders,
the brigade took up the line of march, as we understood it, for Munson's
Hill. At 9 o'clock a.m. all were anxious to get a view of a place where our brother-in
arms fought and fell in the glorious cause of maintenance of the Union. All was
What with being braced by a cool breeze, an almost cloudless sky and good
walking, we took up a rapid march and soon over hauled the 6th, which had got the
start of us by half an hour.
About a mile from camp they halted till we came up, the majority trying to empty
their haversacks. We were also halted till the 2d Wisconsin and 19th Indiana
came up when the whole brigade took up the line of march, the 6th in advance, 7th
next, 2d next and the 19th Indiana in the rear.
We passed several houses, all log. Houses, fences, farms in the face of the
whole country as far as the eye can reach is one scene of wild confusion and
desolation. Only those that have gazed upon a section of country where war has
spread its devastation power, those and those only can realize the sad
We passed Ball's Crossroads of old note - nothing here but one or two old
log huts and they are occupied by wood-choppers. At a distance of a mile beyond
is situated the review ground as we soon learned by the presence of the greatest
portion of the division and Gen. McDowell and staff. Here was a great disappointment
to us as we expected to go to Munson's Hill, but a soldier's life is a series of
disappointments; we absorbing scenes before us. On an eminence surrounded by his
staff was Gen. McDowell, two ladies and a gentleman dressed in citizens clothes,
which help set off the picture amazingly (especially the ladies) and scattered
all over the field were companies of soldiers and farther in the back ground
loomed up a large handsome house and beautiful grove with good our buildings
The view was splendid and no mistake. We were soon on the ground, our rusty gray
making a queer contrast with the blue, but our boys are just as big, just as good
in looks and as regards drill but very little behind the rest.
The N.Y. 23d is the best. There could not have been more than 200 of them but it
would do one good to see them order arms, all struck the ground with one
After each brigade had got in position, time was given for the men to eat their
I took occasion to enquire what regiment were in each brigade but only had time
to learn but one this was Gen. Wadsworth's brigade composed of the 21st and 23d
N.Y., 85th Brooklyn, 20th and 12th N.Y., in all five regiments. There is 4
companies artillery, 1 regiment cavalry, 1,200 strong and the three brigades.
About noon the sky was overcast and looked as it it would rain.
Brigade no.1 passed around in front of the General, then ours, then the one in the
rear, the artillery came next, then, lastly, the cavalry. It was a grand sight to
see them ascending the raising ground in front of the General, then disappear
over the hill and soon reappear.
As the artillery came in front of the General, the rain which had been
threatening commenced to drizzle, and by the time the cavalry had passed,
was raining quite fast.
Oh! didn't we have a glorious time "slipping" it back to camp, for you
know that the soil here is of a slippery sticky texture.
Got back safe was excused from dress parade, glad to escape to our tents.
From the 7th Regiment
Arlington Heights, Near Washington, Nov. 11
EDITORS PATRIOT:-You remember I told you we were on the opposite side of the
Potomac from Washington. There is but three places to cross over, Chain Bridge,
Aqueduct and Long Bridge.
Each is guarded by heavy guns and sentinels at both ends.
No one would be fool hardy enough to try to pass the sentinel with only a space
of few feet between the side of the bridge and the point of a bayonet.
As soon as I get my pay the Captain has promised me a pass to Washington. I
intend to do some tall sight seeing when I get there.-writing material is plenty
in the regiment and just as cheap as with you, but don't talk of apples being so
cheap; it makes my mouth water. we have to pay pretty dear for them here:- eggs
25c per doz., butter ditto per lb, Orleans molasses, 12.5c per pint, and all
eatables in proportion. Potatoes are $1.25 @1.50 per bush. I am well and hearty.
Perhaps you would like to know something of our duties. First, we get up at the
beat of the drummer's call, and play the reveille which is a pretty cold job
these cold mornings. That done we build up a good fire in our brick stove and
get warm by the time breakfast is ready.
We have to swallow it pretty quick sometimes to get out to guard mounting. Here
we are obliged to go through another torment of cold fingers and am glad when it
is over. Have time to get my drum hung up and almost snoring over the fire, when
rattle goes the drum.-
"come drummer come," &c. Get up and take the drum and play till
the regiment is all out then lead the way for a mile to battalion drill grounds.
Here we have to stay till they are ready to march back to camp when we take our
place at the head again. We get back about noon. At all events dinner is
generally ready. We then have a long rest till half past one when rattle, bang
goes the guard drum and we have to go it again to brigade drill.- when that is
through (we go in a different direction for brigade drill about the same distance
as the others) we return in time for dress parade. Sometimes it is so dark the
Adjutant can barely read the orders. When through, supper is ready. After this we
have a rest till nine o'clock, when we get out and play the tattoo, then we make
up our bed, warm ourselves and go to bed.
It rains about every other day the soil of old Virginia is more sticky then our
Wisconsin soil so you see we have a great time sliding about. Aside from our
drill we have a review every few days, an inspection now and then and a
regimental inspection every Sunday. Yesterday there was a grand review of the
whole division composed of three regiments of infantry, one of cavalry and four
companies of artillery. The review took place beyond Ball's Cross Roads on a
Your imagination cannot picture the devastation and waste that meets the eye in
every direction. It is terrible. We passed but two houses, all log and miserable tottering
they were. Quite a distance in the background on the field of the review stood
the only house worthy of notice or bearing the least semblance to the fine
estate I had pictured to my mind that covered the face of Old Virginia.
This one was a large splendid brick, as near as I could judge from the distance,
nearly hiding the dwelling from view was a a magnificent grove. The out
buildings were large and good. Only the house and immediate surroundings were
enclosed by a fence.-The broad lands were appropriated to the use of volunteers.
The house appeared to be inhabited by officers of rank, no doubt. For nearly a
mile after leaving camp our course lay through a fine forest, (our boys having
cut this by-road through to the main road.) The trees are not large from 10 to
30 feet high. They were cut and piled up by the side of the road so it would be
impossible to make any headway except along the road. After reaching the main
road we were halted till the whole brigade came up. The 6th Wisconsin takes the
lead, ours next, the 2d next, the 19th Indiana on the left, we're formed and
marched in division until we reached the field then formed in four ranks and
took our position in the field, about one mile from the cross roads. Here was
the largest army I have seen yet. 13 regiments of Infantry, 1 of cavalry and 4
companies of artillery - There must have been at least 10,000. The 23d New York is
the best drilled on the ground. I could not but admire their "order
arms" it seemed as if but one gun struck the ground it was done so precise.
While they were eating dinner, I took occasion to run over to one of the band,
and learned that it was General Wordworth's brigade composed of the 21st, 23d,
20th and 12th N.Y. and 35th Brooklyn, five in all. The other brigade I had no
time to learn anything about. It began to rain before the review was through. We
donned our oil blankets which were just the things for the occasion. We had a
pretty slippery walk back but we managed to slip it through. Of course Gen. McDowell
was there, this being his division.
Col. Van Dorn had gone to Washington. All sorts of reports are in circulation,
some that he has resigned, others that he has gone on furlough for a week, one
month, two months and three months. I don't know what to believe.- The Lieutenant
Colonel is like and the majority are for him. All the commissioned officers but
one are against Col. Van Dorn, decidedly. You wish me to write for the Patriot. I
should like to do so very much but you see, there are many things against me. In
the first place, time to spare. Secondly, but small chance to learn things until
they are old; and lastly, but little confidence in myself.
We expect our pay Tuesday. The 2nd has been nearly paid, will finish to-morrow.
Our turn comes next; I will be among the first as my name is next to the non
commissioned officers and my company second on the list.
The prevailing opinion is that the war will close ere long; some say before our
first blue suit is worn out. We have got all but dress coats. Some co.'s have no
overcoats but ours has. When we are all rigged out I do not think we will remain
here long. We want to do one thing or the other. If we are to stay, we would
like to know it; we would build us log huts and make ourselves comfortable for
Messer Editors Wisconsin Patriot:-Having read the article in your paper. from
O.S.H., calling for facts relative to the statements made respecting the
soldiers wives of the wealthy village of L., now left under the protection of
our worthy citizens, I can vouch to some of the statements as truths.
There are also other facts that I have from the mouth of one of those loved ones
of a still more aggravating nature, which ought to be brought to light that our
citizens may be warned how they trifle with the virtue of the wives of our brave
soldiers who have gone forth in defense of our beloved country.
One of these facts is that the soldiers wives ought not to be seen
gadding about so much amongst the men.
Ah, how cruel being forsaken by those who promised to be their protectors, having
to sally forth themselves to look after the humble pittance that Uncle Sam
allows them to support their little flocks.
The Heaven daring opprobrious epithet falls upon their ears - gadding after the
Oh, shame! where is thy blush? Let these epithets rest down where they belong;
let Mr. E. W., who is a dealer and manufacturer of tin ware, consider what he is
But enough of this. We will give three cheers for O,S. H,. alias Orderly Sergeant
Humphrey, who can not only make his mark on the battle ground but use his pen for
the benefit of his townsmen at home.
No sooner was his letter read last eve., in public when up starts Mr. B. and
sends $2 to Mrs. P. (money that was owing Mr. P. before he went to the war) with
a message if she was in want of anything to call on him.
God bless Orderly Sergeant Humphrey; may he keep on wielding his pen, and may
God ward off the bullets aimed at him; and let the laurels and glory rest on
whom they belong in the humble prayer of a sincere friend and well wisher of her
LETTER FROM THE 7TH REGIMENT, No. 8.
Arlington Heights, Nov. 15th, '61
The Seventh since my last letter have not performed anything remarkable. They
continue in the beaten path, and persist, involuntarily to pursue the un-even
tenor of our war; task none of your readers would think easy were they compelled
to follow our drum major from our Brigade drill-ground up to camp. Our route is
covered a foot deep with excellent mortar and our drum major improves the
opportunity whenever it is deepest and when we march up hill to strike up a
lively quick step which causes the men to wish that worthy functionary in the
possession of a very warm place. But, their wishes proving unavailing, they submit
with as good grace as possible and charge their toil to their country's account.
On the 5th inst. Lieut Ayres of the Berlin Light Guard visited our camp and I
obtained a pass from Lieut. Rogers accompany him back to the Headquarters of the
5th regiment at Camp Griffin. It was a pleasant afternoon and we took the road
running between Fort Tillinghast and Fort Cass direct to Barley's Cross Roads
where Lieut. Ayres, who appeared to be very familiar with the topography of the
country, pointed out the place where a party of our skirmishers had a brush with a
troop of rebel cavalry Leaving this road which continues on to Fall's Church, we
turned on the right in the direction of Fort Moray, till we came to the church
of Olivet, (which in its present dilapidated condition resembles an old barn, the
siding being almost all taken away, nothing remaining but the roof and frame
work) There we left the road and made our way across lots, if the latter term can
be applied to the tented field occupied by the Army of the Potomac, passing Camp
Vanterwerken where the Lieut. Showed me the old camp ground of the Fifth and the
Abbatis which surrounds the hill which they had built; then crossing over trees
and brush, or, rather what would be a clearing in Waushara county ,which had been
chopped down by the soldiers of the Fifth, we came to a hill on one side of which
their was a corn field and on the other a thick pine grove. Here the Berlin Light
Guard had, under cover of the corn field, attacked a body of rebels, driving them
A California Captain was killed in the encounter. At the end of the cornfield we
came to a farm house occupied by the female portion of a secession family where
we halted to rest. Last summer the Berlin light Guard ware posted as guard
around this domicile to prevent the occupants from communicating with their male
relatives in the enemy's ranks and an acquaintance sprang up between them and
our men which the courteous bearing of the Berlin volunteers improved into
From the conversation of Lieut Ayres with these forlorn widows of secession, I
should judge that he was engaged in the task of collecting facts for a
publication on the now extinct tribe, to witness, the first families of Virginia.
Mrs. Hurst, the housekeeper, an aged lady, almost bald, whose organs of volubility,
for the time being, acquired a celerity unparalled in my experience of the
capacity of woman's tongue, recited the annual of these families. Commodore Jones
family who's existence is a little to the right of the present camp of the
Fifth who, owing service to the United States in the Navy, turned traitor, suffered
some of the troubles of war. His mansion is in the possession of our troops
and of all family relics handed down from the days of Jefferson are are now pretty
well distributed among the venial heroes of mudsill who desecrate the sacred
soil, this is the case with the majority of abandoned regal mansions within the
lines of the Army of the Potomac. However, where the women are left behind, they
are protected by guard detailed for the purpose by our Generals and their
property is respected by the troops but when the boys advance as skirmishers or
scouts and before the body of the army takes possession, disputed territory is
considered fair game and unoccupied houses are thoroughly searched and bed
spreads, pincushions, embroidered work, and even love letters are picked up and
sent as souvenirs to the mercenary and trafficking Yankees up North. It is sad
to think that soap makers, inventors of shingle machines, brick layers, schools
teachers and curing workers in iron, should have opportunities to peruse these
scented missives which Cupid had prompted the authors the folly to write. Such
quantities of bad spelling subjected to the inspection of northern school girls
must bring the blush to the cheeks of Virginia's daughters who boast an illustrious
lineage down from the original settlers who priced the first cargo of black
muscle from Africa imported in old pirated crafts manned by the out laws of
all nations. One of these whom the old lady mentioned named, Virginia Newcomb, who
has a lover in the rebel army
must have been omitted by treachery in his chronicles of the mishaps of the
latter family. The ease she talks treason to our officers is a caution. Had she
been a Northern school teacher in the south and presumed to be loyal there is no
telling what odium and contempt the gallant and chivalrous descendents of
ancient loyalty would bestow on her defiance and scorn in the very teeth of
Generals, unmolested, protected by the forbearance and courtesy of an higher
civilization than she had, in which she was wont to draw the inspiration of her
But I am digressing. After a halt of a half an hour, we proceeded on our journey,
passed a large body of cavalry, splendidly equipped, and an old church where a
Beaver Dam company had once held a prayer meeting; the walls was covered with soldiers
autographs from Minnesota to Maine; thence past Langley's, a collection
of buildings now occupied as Gen McCall's Headquarters. From thence to Camp Griffin
near Louisville was but a short distance at which place we arrived
just at sunset and, with the Fifth, was on dress parade. Here I heard the most
thrilling music from the Brass band of the Fifth, which has the reputation, acknowledged
everywhere, of being the best in the army, excelling even the Marine Band at Washington.
Adjutant West's loud cry of 'parade dismissed' brought the regiment back to quarters
and I was soon engaged in the vigorous exercise of shaking hand with many members
of Capt. Brugh's company. Took supper with Benjamin Starkey and slept in the tent
of Corporal van Norlman that night . I saw Frank Smith, Frank Merry, John Videll,
Dawes Bates and Sergeant Kees, the latter said he had to go on picket the next
morning. All the boys appeared to be well that I saw although Cap. Burgh said that
some sickness prevailed. The arduous duties and exposure to the frequent fall
rain storms affecting seriously the general turn out on parades. In the forenoon
of the next day I strolled around through the various encampments of the New
York and Pennsylvania regiments visiting also the celebrated Mott's Battery
stationed on the top of a small hill. Neath the spreading Chestnut shade, where, also, in an abandoned secession mansion, Gen. Hancock's headquarters in
situated. Before leaving I took dinner with Capt Brugh with a copy of the NY
for a table cloth and it was the best meat I ate since I left Berlin. The
captain enjoys hugely, apparently, a soldiers life. He said he could sleep any
where in all sorts of storms. Pie eating with its perils develops the manhood of
our troops and the position of honor now held by the brave Berlin boys is much
coveted by us of the Seventh. Smith's division is on the right wing of the Grand
Army; Hancock's Brigade is in the right of the latter Division and the Fifth is
in the right of the brigade and as our cause is right, you may rest assure they
will go right ahead.
On my return I took a different route, passing many New York and Pennsylvania
regiments, also the 4th Michigan whom I found playing ball. They are encamped on
a high hill near Falls Church. I believe it is called Halls Hill. From its summit,
on which there is an observatory, I could distinguish the well defined outlines
of the Blue Ridge mountains, their summits blending with the clouds. The scene is
magnificent. I could not help thinking that with in the range of vision lay
fields of contests which history will hand down as ever memorable, here shall be
placed the chair of the future historian and he shall tell how Baker fell, the
rout at Manassas, and the many picket encounters. Every bush has its tale of
blood to utter, here poised, swings the destiny of our great Republic. May we be
spared the fate of ancient empire; at least until our career ripens into a glorious
exampled of national existence which shall eclipse the light of former
ages, culminating in the happiness of our citizens. As the road was rough it was
dark ere I reached my quarters that night.
The following soldiers in our regiment died on the 13th W. I. Compton, Company D
Columbian College Hospital; Corporal Eli P. Sayre; Company A in the Eruptive
Fever Hospital. And here I have to add a more melancholy story;
Mrs. Mary Williams, wife of Orderly Sergeant Byron Williams, formerly of Barr Oak
Valley town of Leon, Waushara County, died last Sunday, Nov 10th
She was buried inst Tuesday near Fort Albany, the whole Company attended the
funeral. She came with us from our homes, determined to see the worst, but now
rests in an alien grave, mourned by all, but more by her husband who has the sympathies
of his old friends in this more than ordinarily severe bereavement.
After the funeral Captain Walther asked if the men were willing to subscribe
enough to place a suitable grave stone to mark the resting place of the already
dead of this company and the proposition was readily agreed to. The Captain
pledged, himself, to furnish more than his quota for the same purpose.
The following from the Seventh are in the hospital; at Kalorama Eruptive
hospital, 15; at the General Union Hospital, Georgetown, 2d Wis, 1; at Columbia
College Hospitals, Washington, 5th Wis, 1.
On the 13th and 14th, the Seventh received their pay and the boys are in the
greatest stew as to how they shall spend their money, much of if will be sent
home. The rest will be spent in buying stationery, postage stamps, maps, gloves, boots,
pies, cakes, apples, cigars &c., the balance in playing
poker, euchre and some, I am sorry to say, for Rifle whiskey.
As I am very lengthy this time, your patience and that of you readers must be
severely taxed but you can blame Uncle Sam for not giving work such as that at
Piketoa and Port Royal for us to do when I promise to be brief and concise. We
have just got our blue uniforms and I must
Yours, W. D. W.
LETTER FROM 7TH REGIMENT
CAMP ARLINGTON-NOV. 15, 61
Mr. Editor:- In all my reading of
soldiers letters, I have not seen anything concerning our mode of sleeping.
First we drive stakes in the ground and by placing poles upon them raise a kind
of platform , on which is laid a mat of cedars boughs, taken from trees once
belonging to the rebel Gen. Lee, now confiscated property.
On this kind of bed we sleep as happy and contented as if beneath our parental
roofs. Yesterday was payday and the boys are all as merry as larks and twice as
full of song. There is nothing of any importance transpired of late worth of
note. This not worth while speaking of the success of our naval fleet as the
news has reached you ere this. Great enthusiasm exists in camp on the receipt of
the news of the bombardment of Port Royal and capture of the rebel flags which
arrived in Washington yesterday.
I must compliment the Lancaster boys for their fine and soldier like appearance
on parade, in fact all of old Grants sons do not disgrace their county. If we
should be favored with the opportunity of getting into a battle, be assured our
friends will never have cause to blush for us for we have made up our minds long
ago to acquit ourselves like men from Wisconsin.
J. C. Mann
Nov 16, 1861
SENATOR WILSON has determined to introduce a bill immediately on the opening of
Congress to abolish the office of Sutler in the Army. He has been impelled to
this by reason of the extortions and abuses practiced upon the soldiers, the
profits often being from 200 to 300 per cent and the quality of the articles furnished
as bad as will be tolerated.
Liquor, too, is often clandestinely furnished. The pastry and other articles of
food furnished have been known to cause sickness. It is known that in very many
cases the Colonels of regiments are partners of the sutlers, the profits being so
large that men are often unable to get the appointments upon any other terms.
The profits of a Sutler for a full regiment are from $6,000 to 12,000 a year.
"WESTWARD THE ROCKS OF EMPIRE FLOW SUBSTANTIAL AID" FROM THE SEVENTH
Arlington Heights, Nov, 17
Friend Cover: I herewith send a package of money which the members of my company
wish you to distribute to the parties whose names are inscribed out on respective packages with the amount of money each contains. You will discover
the name of the person sending it and the amount in figures with the full
address of the person to whom the money is sent.
I am aware that it is troubling you too much but knowing you to be ever willing
to render any assistance to our soldiers, I take the liberty of sending it
to you; also knowing your superior facilities for notifying the parties through
your paper or otherwise, Our boys wish you to say to the friends who call for the
money that they are all well and getting along finely and we all hope this will explode
the idea that we are suffering for money, "grub" or clothing, we have
plenty of money left to run our boats till the next pay day, providing we keep
our health and if we should be so unfortunate as to get sick, which we have no guarantee
against, you see, from the number of names who send money that over one half of us
keep all we have. If one of us gets sick the last dollar in our camps would go
if necessary to render assistance to the sick and destitute. we are thus
far favored with better health than any company in the regiment and if prudence
will avail we propose to continue so yours &c., J. B. Callis
The packages showing a total of $1613 according to sums named on letters were
received and have all been distributed except packages directed to the following
names Geo. Atkinson, Calvin Parker, Orris McCartney, Lewis Kuntze, H. H. Ray,
Catherine Gilbert, Wm. Wafer, Edith Pointer, J. E. Parker, J. N. Sayres, W. H.
Garner, Leonard Bradley, Washington Ellis, Mary A. McKenzie, J. Q. Catin, James
Gilbert, J. W. Kaump, Jacob Carrier, Mrs. H. Harris Jared Warner.
These will doubtless be called for in a few days.
On behalf of the receivers, we assure the senders that such certificates of good
character and faithful services in the army are current in the west for all
manner of things as well as curatives for every ailment in the catalogue of
Mountains of trouble may be removed by a more copious shower of these U.S. Treasury
institutions. They spread contentment and health to many broken family circles
and, in a measure, splice the finances which have been broken by this rebel war;
they mend all the breaks, they do, and are a pledge that day shall break, and that
this rebel veil of night shall not last forever.
Our Washington Correspondence
Washington, Nov 18, 1861
The success of the expedition to South Carolina has occasioned much rejoicing
among loyal citizens and created an eagerness among our troops to march southward.
The general expectation, however, is that no immediate movement by land will be
made here farther than a gradual pushing forward of the federal lines as the rebels
shall withdraw to strengthen their southern defenses. No general engagement with
the rebels in Virginia can be brought about save by attacking the enemy in their
entrenchments which are known to be formidable both at Manassas and Centerville
and aggressive movememtnts will, for the present, be confined to the coast and
the western division of the army. Still no preparations are yet being made for
winter quarters for the army on the other side of the Potomac which favors the
idea that it is not decided to retain it in this vicinity for any length of
time. In most of the camps, stoves have been introduced in the officers quarters
and the soldiers have erected temporary fireplaces of brick to make them
comfortable during the cold storms and chilling winds which assail them. Winter
quarters are being provided for the regiments on this side of the river.
The army is kept in the best possible condition for immediate and effective
service by daily brigade and battalion drills, and weekly reviews of divisions
by the commanding general. The soldiers and officers are now becoming so
accustomed to the habits and dangers of military life as almost entirely to have
thrown off that nervous sensibility and keen apprehension so prolific of
disaster in camp and among reconnoitering parities in the earlier part of the
campaign and the business of war, its hardships and blood and carnage are now
contemplated with a steadfastness of nerve and coolness of mind, in remarkable
contrast with that manifested at the outset when quaking sentinels found an
enemy in every bush and reconnoitering parties would meet in deadly conflict
without determining whether they were friends of foes.
Coupled with this, however, there is also an increasing wantonness of character
and recklessness of life among the soldiery that ill accords with habits of
civil life and which bodes no good to society when the soldier shall have
returned from the war. Many a young man who return unscathed by rebel bullets and
unmarked by disease will find his moral sensibilities blunted and his heart
calloused by the habits and association of the "tented field."
A few hours ride over the territory now occupied by the belligerent forces exhibits
the realities of war as none can appreciated them from a distance. The desolate,
despoiled farm houses, fenceless farms, broken hedges and barren fields stand out
in melancholy contrast with the naturally beautiful face of the country, while
glistening bayonets, threatening cannon and whitened tents occupy every eminence
and hill side and martial airs and clanging sabers of galloping horsemen continually
remind you of military array. It is interesting to behold the grand displays of
the marshaled hosts which are continually occurring under the direction of the
commanding General. It is seldom in the history of a civilian that he is
permitted to see twenty or thirty thousand armed men marching in all the panoply
of war with attending horsemen and well appointed batteries of artillery but is
is painful to reflect that in this enlightened age and country those things
should be rendered necessary to secure the blessings of freedom and put down the
aggressions of slavery.
Nov 18, 1861
The Wisconsin regiments are now in fine
condition and make a most creditable appearance having, all save a portion of the
7th, received their blue uniforms. There had been some sickness and several
deaths since my last but, as a general thing, our men stand it better than those
from other states, either from the better regulations of their officers, or from
their better adaptation to the service. Still, there are weekly discharges
of disabled and weakened solders and many deaths by disease. Last week, three died
from the 7th, and one from the 6th. One of the former died from small pox, and
two from typhoid fever. The wife of Sergeant Williams of Company I, 7th regiment
(from Waushara county, I believe) died in camp of typhoid fever on Sunday
morning the 10th inst. She was sick but eight days. The camp of the soldier is
no place for a woman either to live or to die in. Patriotism and love for her
kindred may induce a woman to surrender the comforts and quiet of home for the
privations and hardships of the camp but it is no place for her, and in nine
cases out of ten she will be more an inconvenience than an advantage, either as
a nurse or a "laundress,"
Lieut. Col. Seet, of the 6th has been confined to his quarters for some days
with premonitions of typhoid fever but he is now better, and it is hoped he will
soon be out again.
Col. Cutler is, as the boys say, "tough as a billed owl," and never
disabled either by hardship or misfortune; he had been acting Brigadier general
for a few days past in the absence of Gen. King, who has been to New York. Cr.
Chapman, Brigade Surgeon has been sick for some time but has still continued the
discharge of his arduous duties until to-day when he has yielded to necessity
and the recommendation of his friends, and obtained leave of absence to recruit.
He leaves for home to-morrow and bears with him the good wishes of the entire
Col. Vandor had not yet resigned, but does not pretend to command his Regiment
or even visit them. It is the unanimous wish of the officers of the Regiment
that Lieut. Col. Robinson should have command. He is a most efficient and
popular officer. The Regiment has sustained a great present loss in the disability
of Adjutant Cook who is still confined to his quarters from the fracture of his
ankle, and who will be unable, for weeks ,to come to mount his horse.
Lieut. Bailey, of Company E., is now acting Adjutant and does the duties will.
By the way, the Adjutant as interim was innocently made the subject of a
practical joke one day last week. Adjutant Cook had been removed to the vacant
quarters of Col. Vandor, where he was confined under the care of his
Surgeon. Acting Adjutant Bailey occupied Dr. Cook's quarters, and was temporarily indisposed
and under treatment by the surgeon. The surgeon ordered some pills to be taken to
the Adjutant--the steward, not discriminating, proceeded to the Adjutant's
quarters and delivered the order and pills to Lieut. Galley who was already
under the influence of a powerful dose but who, supposing all was right, took down
When they had fairly begun to operate, the servant appeared with the Adjutant's
dinner prepared with great care; the acting Adjutant was too far gone for the
effects of his pills to be able to contemplate the dinner with the composure and
peremptorily ordered the waiter to decamp with his dainties.
The mistake was discovered only when about 4 o'clock, Adjutant Cook sent to
enquire why he could have no dinner. He had lost his dinner and his pills while
his substitute had received a double portion! Lieut. Bailey survived the pills,
and after being pretty thoroughly "cleaned out," returned to duty but
he don't care to be reminded of the affair!
Col. O'Connor is not able to be in command of his regiment yet, and Lieut. Col.
Fairchild is, as he has been most of the time since his appointment, the acting
Col.; the Regiment wants no better, and if Col. O'Connor is compelled to resign
from continued disability, they would be abundantly satisfied with Col. F.
Gov. Randall and Col. van Slyke are now here negotiating with the Department for
funds to reimburse the State for expenditures for the war and I am pleased to
know that there is every probability of success-- though the State Treasurer and
Mr. Watson, on the same errand, were sent away empty. There is every disposition
to treat our State with liberality as the manner in which Wisconsin has
responded to the calls of the Government gives her an enviable position here and
receives the highest commendation. I have no doubt but all the expenditures,
lavish though in some respects they may appear, will be reimbursed and that time
will show that no State had been more economical and judicious in their
FROM THE SEVENTH REGIMENT-A private letter from
"P" of the Seventh Regiment dated November 21st, says: "We are
still at Camp Arlington with the prospect of staying or moving whither so ever
the "powers that be" may list. The general desire of the boys is to do
some fighting for therefore are we come. Still we are enjoying ourselves here, careless
of the morrow. Yesterday I walked over to the grand review at Balley's Cross
Roads, that was a sight worth going along was to see. I took my stand on
Munson's Hill and had a fine view of the troops filing in all directions.
Seventy thousand troops do not often get together in one field nor do we often
have such an exhibition of "battle's magnificently stern array." The
young commander with his staff and train rode around with shouts and cheers from
the troops that must have made the rebels wince, if they were with in hearing.
"I see by the Journal that the election has gone as it should, which is
most cheering. We are always glad to hear from Wisconsin, our favorite State. Our
hearts are still there if we are on the "sacred soil" burning secesh
timber and spoiling for a fight."
FROM THE SEVENTH REGIMENT
CAMP ARLINGTON, VA.
November, 22d, 1861
Friend Cover:-Since I last wrote to you
we have made several moves, but at present we are encamped about four miles west,
or nearly so, of Washington city, on what is termed by some "the sacred soil
of Virginia." But oh! what an error. It is anything else but sacred, It is
the theatre of blood and carnage when thousands of loyal and patriotic men will
sacrifice their lives to suppress a rebellion that has no precedent in the
annals of American History and although we have a formidable foe to contend
with, one whose mode of warfare is only known by the execution of their bloody
deeds, I apprehend no fears. I believe there is enough loyalty and patriotism
left to preserve this Union. Our government is a good one, and must be
sustained. We have all the requisite means to maintain it. Then "let us
strike" until the last armed foe expiates and victory shall be our reward.
still going through our regular routine of business, company and battalion
drill. Our drill ground is about three quarters of a mile from camp near Fort Corcoran.
A strong fort mounted with nine guns (Columbians, of eight men caliber. They are
usually called Barbette guns, beings erected on platforms, and are fired over the
parapet thus having a free range in all outer directions. The fort is
felled trees with their sharp branches placed outward, so interlaced as to present
an irregular row of pointed stakes towards the enemy. The military name of this
is Abatis. Our Regiment is making great proficiency in the military service and
although we are young in the cause in comparison to some other regiments. I am
enough to say that to place us on equal footing with the rebels we can make them
run like rats from a burning barn.
But our prospect for battle is not very shattering at present. But you know
these are eventual times and it is hard to tell what to-morrow may bring forth.
Nothing but time develops these momentous results which must inevitably take
place before this war is terminated. We are strongly fortified here, having
Fort Ramsey on our right and Fort Tillinghast on our left. They are mounted with
eight guns each, sizes from twelve to twenty-four pounders and are all well garrisoned.
The Sixth Wisconsin Regiment is encamped on our right and the Second on our
Those regiments above named and the Nineteenth Indiana regiment constitute Gen.
King's Brigade. Today we have on general review between Baily's Cross-Road and
Muson's Hill. The latter of which was formerly held by the rebels with an inferior
fortifications mounted with basswood cannons and several field pieces having
strong resemblance to stove pipe.
The fort was taken by the federal troops the latter part of September without
much resistance on the part of the rebels. Their guns, it seems, did not prove
very effective. Munson's Hill is a strong point and I wonder why the rebels did
not secure it. - for it is higher than any other point near it, and commands the
ground for a mile around it. Now in regard to the grand review which I must say
language is inadequate to describe. Eight divisions were reviewed as follows:
Generals McCall, McDowell, Heitzelman, FitzJohn, Porter, Franklin, Blenker, and
Smith, comprising ninety regiments of infantry, one hundred and twenty-four
pieces of cannon, making twenty-one batteries, and nine regiments of cavalry,
forming an aggregate of seventy thousand troops. The largest armed force ever
assembled together in the United States. And it was a grand and magnificent
sight. At twelve o'clock, Gen. McClellan and staff accompanied by the President
and Secretaries Seward and Cameron made their appearance. Every person was
anxious to see the young commander and when he passed along, loud cheers went up
for him. After this, the troops marched around on quite a large piece of ground
thus making a circle and when each regiment would march by, McClellan would
salute them by taking off his hat.-
At five o'clock the review closed and the troops went off in masses to their
Our boys made their camp about seven o'clock with keen appetites ready for the
regular pork and beans, &c.
Yours until secession is cleaned out.
FROM THE SEVENTH REGIMENT
Camp Arlington, Nov, 28, 61
Editors Patriot: Thanksgiving in camp
is somewhat differently observed from what it is back in the Badger State, still,
said day has its peculiarities here. We were ordered to appear in our best blue,
Sat, 11 o'clock, to march over to the Arlington House to listen to the farewell.
Drawn up in front of the house, on the beautiful green award which descends from
a small knoll used as the speakers stand with the Potomac,
Long Bridge and city
of Washington in full view.
The four regiments were drawn up describing a half circle. When all had come to
"order arms" the governor made his appearance amid the cheers of drums,
then the brass band of the 19th Indiana struck up the inspiring air of 'Hail
Columbia'. The governor was brief in his remarks enjoining in on the soldiers to
obey their officers to place implicit confidence in those at the helm of our
national forces, &c.
He enumerated the numerous wrongs we have suffered by being too lenient to the
South and that now it was a question of Liberty and freedom or tyranny and
despotism. Of course there were numerous cheers given in honor of the Governor,
old Wisconsin &c.
The Governor proposed three cheers for the Governor of Indiana, which was
greatly responded to then the brass band played our national air, Yankee Doodle.
(I came away about that time).
My tent mates and I had a luxurious meal. We had some turnips, which we drew from
the field when out on the grand review, sweet potatoes, good bread, fresh beef,
hominy, baked apples ginger bread, &c.
We pronounced it the best meal we have had since we have been in
Our stove is a combination of brick, sheet iron, mud &C.- brick we drew. The oven where we bake our taters and apples is situated on the back part
of the institution- said oven is formed by placing four of said bats together
forming a hollow square over which makes quite a good oven.
The prevailing opinion is that we will winter here, in case we do we will build
Rains about every day hinder slippery -to see the boys walking, guess you'd
think they'd been at their old failin'.
S. I. M.
CAMP ARLINGTON, VA., 28, 1861
Messers. Editors:-we beg the privilege to say a few words to our friends and
relatives through the medium of you valuable paper. As today is Thanksgiving,
and as we are not compelled to drill, we have a little time to spare to write
and feeling that our Annual fast day will be this year to many households an
unusual solemn occasion - the empty chair telling a story of devotion, of courage,
of determination, to shield the remaining ones in the enjoyment of the blessings
they are singing praises for and tenderly will the prayer ascend of the absent
one's protection and guidance. We hope the day throughout the land will be
observed as it never was observed before.
A portion of the day might will be devoted to the preparation of a fitting
tribute to our country's defenders.
To-day the weather is fine the sun shines bright and warm as at a June noon day.
At half past eleven we, Gen. King's brigade, were assembled in front of the Lee
mansion - Gen. King's headquarters - where His excellency,, Gov. Randall addressed us.
He spoke at some length, paid us many compliments and bade us farewell - yes, I
fear, a last farewell to many of us.
We then retuned to our quarters to partake of our noonday meal which, I may say
was almost a feast; and as there is a good deal of doubt on the part of our
friends at home as to our having enough to eat, I will mention the bill of fare,
which is not an uncommon thing with us:
We seated ourselves at a pine table covered with a white muslin cloth. After
returning thanks to the Giver of All good, the thought occurred to us whether our
friends and loved ones at home had as good a dinner to eat--but I am digressing.
We commenced with mashed potatoes, roast beef, warm biscuit, fresh butter,
pickles, tea and cream, winding up with apple pie, sweet cakes and crackers,
fresh peaches, plum sauce, tomato sauce, oysters, fried nut cakes, green apples
and good sweet cider. Considering that we are in the midst of enemies and in a
soldier's tent almost on the field of battle, you may well imagine, that as it
was, all prepared by a sister's experienced hand, who was seated at the head of
the table, that it had a look of homelikeness; and as I said before, having good
appetites, we did ample justice to our repast.
The health of the regiment is generally very good and being as it is a holiday
the time passed off pleasantly.
While on dress parade, Hon. Wm. H. Seward and Senator Wilson drove up in front of
our line and halted to see the regiment maneuver. The men having all received
their new uniforms felt well and performed their exercises with spirit.
The day closes with a gentle rain showering on us, and the same of our enemies a
few miles beyond verifying in a singular manner the scriptural saying that it
rains the same on the just and unjust.
Before another Thanksgiving - probably before another holiday - we may have the
opportunity of showering a rain of fire on their heads which we hope will
annihilate them as effectually as Sodom and Gomorrah were annihilated. Let us
hope and pray that when another Thanksgiving rolls around it may be such an one
as will see our country rescued from its present dangers, and that we will again
be a united people joining in a general Thanksgiving to Him who holds our
destiny in his hands.