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1861 October, Seventh Wisconsin

Letter from Col. Vandor, of the Seventh.
The following letter received this morning from Col. Vandor will be read with interest by the many friends of that able and popular officer and those having friends to the regiment will be glad to learn that it has been assigned to an honorable post in the Brigade of Gen. King. We are much obliged to the worthy Colonel for the favor of his letter, and hope to hear from him frequently.

Camp Arlington Heights
King's Brigade, Oct 1, '61

Messrs. Atwood & Rublee, Madison-
Gents:- Remembering with much pleasure the honor of your acquaintance, and having promised to write as soon as our military movement would permit, I take the liberty of informing you, gentlemen, that the Seventh Regiment of Wis. V. has been assigned to Gen. Rufus King's brigade and is now forming with the 19th of Indiana and the 2d and 6th regiments of our own State, said Gen. King's brigade.
Our journey from Madison to Washington has been already reported to you and all I have to say is that after an encampment near Washington on 15th Street and another encampment immediately in front of that celebrated chain bridge on the Potomac, we were ordered to join the army of Gen. McDowell, our present encampment. The Brigade left Chain Bridge on the 5th inst. about ten o'clock a.m. and arrived after a very tedious, dusty and hot journey (90deg.) at our present destination, Arlington Heights, and took possession of the former camp of the 23d of New York. 

The brigade is encamped in order of battle, the Sixth Regiment on the right wing and the 19th of Indiana on the left wing and the 2d, and 7th Regiments of Wisconsin in the centre of said Gen. King's Brigade. We are today very busy in cleaning the camp. It is in the midst of a forest, partly cleared, and will require several days before half way in condition. Our advance position is about six miles distant from the enemy, two miles in front of Fort Corcoran - near Fort Tillinghast, a position sufficiently flattering for a young regiment which has not had more than a half dozen of battalion drills.
I cannot do other wise than to pay my thanks to Col. Schuyler Hamilton of the U.S.A., Aide to Gen. Scott, and brother of our Major Charles A. Hamilton who got the regiment well introduced to Gen. Scott and Gen. McCLELLAN and On Whose Recommendation We Received That Post Of HONOR. OUR OFFICERS AND MEN ARE WELL, STAND THE FATIGUES SO FAR SPLENDIDLY, ALTHOUGH THEY ARE VERY MUCH FATIGUED from the Continued marches they experienced. Excuse my hurry and please to believe me to be yours very Respectfully
Joseph Vandor
Col. Commanding 7th Reg. Wis. V.

FROM THE SEVENTH REGIMENT we have a letter from a member of the Marquette Sharpshooters in the 7th Regiment part of which has been anticipated by other letters. We give some items, however. The letter is dated:
Headquarters 7th Reg. W.V. 
Camp Randall, near Washington, 
Oct 1, 1861 
Eds. Journal- You have perhaps had some account of the earlier part of our trip eastward so I shall say nothing about except that the boys were not led by their long march in Chicago and railroad coffee to extol very highly Chicago people or their hospitality. 

At Fort Wayne, which is a very pretty place, we had a good time. In passing through Ohio we saw some pretty girls, fine horses, and lib timber. 

At Pittsburg the ladies had a good breakfast prepared for us to which we did ample justice and "God bless the ladies of Pittsburg" was spoken by more than one of our boys. we did not like the looks of Pennsylvania, " there is too much land to the acre." 

We started from Harrisburg in cattle cars that looked as through they had run into a masked battery, the most forlorn looking set of cars I ever saw in which a white man was expected to ride. After going about a mile, one of the cars, which happened to be the one our company occupied, gave out, and the Colonel stopped for the night and rolling ourselves in our blankets we passed the night in an open field without tents. The next morning we started for Baltimore and as soon as we crossed the Maryland line things wore a different aspect with the railroad guarded by soldiers and much of the land uncultivated. It seemed almost like a foreign land. We were received splendidly in Baltimore. The streets were lined with Union flags and the cry for the Union was on every lip. One lady said to me while passing through the streets "Dont's you dare to come back here without Jeff. Davis head!" A good supper was given us here and we slept all night in the station house starting for Washington in the morning. At the Relay House we found the Wisconsin Fourth Regiment, a fine looking set of fellows, the boys in their blue army suit appearing better dressed than their officers. Washington is surrounded with troops and the camps are as thick as they well can be. There are some 350,000 federal troops here. (We rather think that is an overestimate. EDS. JOURNAL.) The Seventh Regiment has been assigned to King's Brigade and we leave for Chain Bridge tomorrow morning, the 2d, at 8 o'clock, There has been a forward movement of our troops across the Potomac 12,000 having crossed night before last. We saw a balloon across the Potomac this afternoon about 4 o'clock. I have seen Capt. McKee and several boys of the 2d Regiment. They report the boys well and in good spirits. The Journal of the 26th has just been received and from it the Grant County boys and especially his old scholars were glad to learn of Mr. Pickard's recombination. When we get "over the river" I will write again. S. W.

Camp Lyon at Chain Bridge, near Washington, D.C. 
7th reg. Wis. V. 
Oct. 2d, 1861 
Eds. Wis. State Journals   When we left Madison I promised to write you occasionally in regard to any matters of interest connected with the 7th regiment. Up to this time my duties and the hurry and bustle of moving and removing have left me no leisure for any communications to you. I now take the opportunity which a rainy day and the necessity of a little rest for our regiment gives me to send you a few items . You have doubtless before this time received and published accounts of everything of interest connected with our journey to Washington. I cannot, however, forbear mentioning the excellent dinner provided for us by the citizens of Janesville as we passed through their city, the fine supper furnished, which we heard of but did not taste, in Chicago; the strange hallucination under which the agent of the Chicago, Fort Wayne & Pittsburgh R. R. Co. labored in being able to see ample accommodations for 60 soldiers in a car that would only seat 48 and the slops they passed around in accordance with their contract for taking us through under pretense of giving us coffee, the hospitable treatment we received at the hands of the ladies of Pittsburgh who have furnished an entertainment for every Regiment of soldiers that has yet passed through there and did not forget to provide us with a most excellent breakfast; the first night of the Regiment in the open air at our bivouac in the fields just across the Susquehanna river from Harrisburg compelled by the insufficiency of the cars we occupied, our kind reception at Baltimore which went far beyond Chicago in their provisions for our necessities and comfort; and the strong Union expression we met with all along our route in no degree lessened down through the State of Maryland. There are probable many secessionists in Maryland but the Union feeling is so demonstrative that that in passing through, in this respect, it seemed little different from Ohio or Pennsylvania. We arrived in Washington a little after noon on the National fast day passing the Wisconsin 4th Regiment on our way down from Baltimore at the Relay House where they are guarding the Railroad. The Wisconsin 3d, we there learned, was still near Harper's Ferry. On the day after we arrived in Washington we were ordered into camp 1.25 miles east of the city on Capitol Hill. We remained there until Tuesday (yesterday morning ) when in compliance with an order received on Monday evening we broke up camp and moved to Chain Bridge. Today finds us regularly brigaded in Gen. King's Brigade with the 2d and 6th Wisconsin and the 19th Indiana Regiments which compose the Brigade and all encamped at the east end of Long Bridge. The 2d, until yesterday, has been across the Potomac in Virginia hard at work building forts, cutting timber and picketing. They had just finished pitching their tents when we arrived. The 6th has been here for the last month. The 5th Wisconsin is now at Fall's Church, about 5 miles from here across the river. The health of our regiment is excellent and the boys are in good spirits as is also the case with all the other Wisconsin Regiments so far as I can learn. Of the number of troops in and about Washington we of course know nothing. The estimates are various ranging from 150,000 to 400,000. My estimate from all I can gather would be about 250,000. From this point we see fortifications and encampments in every direction. Of our own further destination we know as little. It is through by some who profess to be knowing that we will be sent down to Fortress Monroe to join a coast expedition. It is useless to speculate. McClellan from all indications is cautiously advancing his posts. You have heard and will hear of important movements by telegraph sooner and more reliably than by letter from here. We get most of our news respecting army movements from the papers. When anything takes place of importance in our immediate vicinity however I shall not fail to give you and account of it. Your paper comes to us as an old friend. The Republican Union nomination for State officers headed by the able L.P. Harvey, give perfect satisfaction in camp. While such men are called upon to administer our State Government, Wisconsin volunteers will not regret the loss of their votes this fall at home. Their presence in Wisconsin would only swell the majority of the ticket. Yours truly, B

The following letter was received by C.C. Keeler, Esq., of this city. 
Oct 3d, 1861 
DEAR FRIEND KEELER: Having a few minutes leisure, I will improved it in redeeming my promise to write to you. We were five days on the route to Washington. Camped 1.5 miles east of the capital for two days. We then struck tents and came to this place. We are in King's brigade, which is now composed of the 19th Indiana, 2d, 6th and 7th Wisconsin Regiments, the 5th Wisconsin having gone into Smith's Brigade across the Potomac, some two miles in advance of us. I have I think seen every one of the Beloit boys excepting one or two in the 5th Regiment. We are having a first-rate time and enjoying good health. Cannot say or even guess how long we may remain here. We are liable to move at any moment. Out pickets extend for 5 miles along the river. A Lieutenant and 40 men from each Regiment are detailed every day for picket duty. It is generally considered hazardous but the men are all in for it, as they all seem to enjoy the excitement. Of the magnitude of the army movements you can form no idea, until you have seen them. It is a gay sight at night to see the lights of the different encampments as they stretch for miles away upon the heights of the surrounding county. Frank Wheeler was just in. He goes to New York this P.M. to get his supplies. The weather is very warm here during the day and quite cool at night accompanied with a very heavy dew and thick fog. 

Address until further advice Co. K, 7th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers, Washington, D.C.

LETTER FROM CAPT. CALLIS The following private letter from Capt. Callis contains so much information of public importance that we venture its publication: 
October 3rd, 1861 
Mr. Cover:-some time having elapsed since we have heard from you through your paper and thinking perhaps you do not know where to send the paper, I thought best to drop you a line by way of advising you of our whereabouts. The 2nd, 6th and 7th regiments Wisconsin Volunteers are encamped at Chain Bridge: to our Regiment , i.e. the 7th, has been assigned the first post of honor in General King's Brigade. When I say the first post of honor I mean the 7th is the advance Regiment in the Brigade. 
This enviable position has been obtained through the influence of our Colonel James Ban Dor and our Major Hamilton the former having an enviable reputation as a military leader and the latter being a gentleman and having strong friends in Gen. McClellan's staff. Our boys are all well and conduct themselves like model men should. We are now exposed to the fire of the enemy should they pitch into us. We have dared to set our foot upon the sacred soil of the Old Dominion, and none dare to dispute our right but I must say it is enough to cast a gloom over the most impervious mind, to see the blighting influences of the present war, together with the relicts of the accursed institution of slavery, the exciting as well as the approximate cause of the trouble which now agitates our once proud republic. Slavery coupled with the indiscriminate opposition it has in the free States and its unscrupulous adherents in the slave States, are alone changeable with the present disorganized state of things - and the present generation will leave the stain thus brought upon our history as a legacy to their offspring which will be indelibly stamped on each page of true history compiled from facts connected with the present war. We see the once fertile hills and valleys of the Old Dominion spread out before us, a perfect picture of waste and sterility; the once happy homes deserted and left to the mercy of the ruthless hand of the infuriated soldier. I have not changed my opinions, early conceived, of the nature of the grievances complained of on both sides of the question. Some men even at this late day, talk of compromise, but the day has past for such idle sophistry; the only way now is to seal a compromise with the blood of thousands and never give up the goal until the compromise or treaty of peace can be written on a sheet as pure and white as the driven snow. which sheet must be pure from the stain of involuntary servitude and disloyalty; which may God grant. I am in the service actuated by pure motives and if I should, in an hour of great peril, make a mistake and give way to the nature that God has given me, I trust men in commenting on my acts, will be as lenient as the circumstances will permit; so that my family may not suffer the chagrin of hearing disreputable charges against me by my personal enemies. Our Wisconsin boys are all well; I saw Mr. Clark to day; he looks fine and I am told that he is the best Quarter Master in the Brigade. This is truly gratifying to hear our Grant County men so favorably spoken of. Capt. McKee is well and has the name of a model officer and his company is the crack company of the Regiment. Col. Cobb of the Fifth  is now in the hospital about a mile from us. I am told that he is improving and will soon be able to resume his command. All the Lancaster boys are well, and are known by the name of the "bloody Second," and if any desperate fighting is wanted they are called out to do it. I have had the honor and pleasure of seeing old Abe, Gen. Scott, Gen. McClellan and many other big guns and I don't see that they are different from other men, only surrounded by a combination of different circumstances; that is what makes the man in this latter as well as former day. I cannot say how long we shall be at this point, but if you send us any papers send as you send to Capt. McKee, and we will get them. Yours with respect, John B. Callis. 

P.S.-I write on the bottom of a tin plate with a bayonet for a candlestick, so you will excuse all errors, &c. 
J. B. C.

CAMP LYON, Chain Bridge,
Washington, Oct. 5, 1861

After I had mailed a letter to the Journal yesterday, an order came to strike tents this morning at 8 o'clock, and to be in readiness to march at 10 o'clock for Arlington Heights to join Gen. McDowell's division. The whole Brigade commanded by Gen. King is ordered to move so that the 7th, 6th and 2d will pitch tents on the Heights this evening. As I write Prof. Lowe's balloon with five men in it is nearly over my head at a height to make it appear about eighteen inches in diameter. A battle is hourly expected at some point on the Potomac probably near where Gen. Banks is stationed. According to all the information that can be gathered, the enemy is concentrating at that point. The men are delighted at the idea of meeting the enemy. Gen. McClellan crossed Chain Bridge yesterday with his staff and body guard. This is an uncommon move and is interpreted by the knowing to mean something." 
Rumor in camp and the city says that the general is determined to make an advance. Every opportunity for fight has been offered the enemy but they are not disposed to accept them. You will probably received some exciting news before this letter reaches you.
I visited the camp of the unfortunate 2nd to-day. I find many of the men are discouraged - this is especially true of the Janesville company. Their highest company officer has been under arrest for several days for drunkenness and was discharged today in a manner not satisfactory to the company. Lieut. McLain tendered his resignation today it was accepted by the Colonel and is now in the hands of the Brigadier General awaiting his action. 
The company has the fullest confidence in his courage and bravery.
He would be their choice for Captain and Sergeant Geo. F. Sanders should be groomed to his position. The men are ready to fight but demand officers who will lead them and not run. So far, as I learn, they have entire confidence in their Lieut. Col. Fairchild. Col. O'Connor is unable to speak a loud word. Gen. Sherman and McClellan have said that no regiment in the field contained better fighting material than the 2d Wis.
Gen. King's present headquarters are near the building Gen. Washington used for his headquarters on the Potomac in the Revolution. It will be remembered it was called Montgomery Hall, so says local tradition. The building is now in ruins.
It is important that regiments yet to come to Washington or to the battlefield anywhere should know that laundresses had better stay at home. All necessary nurses are detailed for that purpose by Miss Dix with whom this matter is entrusted. The cAmp or battlefield is no place for women. They are in the way. I would advise all ladies to stay at home and this advice is based on observation. There are no provisions made for them and they are regarded as outsiders by the authorities and their friends have no time to provide for them - stay at home ladies by all means.
All letters for the 7th Regiment should be directed to Washington. The regiment is constantly moving and this is the only safe way to direct them to avoid their being miscarried they will be sure to reach us from Washington. the regiment and the name of the Co. should always to specified on the envelope. 
My next will be dated at Arlington Heights.
yours &c.,

The following are a few extracts from a private letter from Capt. Gordon.
Oct. 5th 1861
You see by the date of this we have moved into Virginia. Our present situation is about four miles southwest of Washington. We are surrounded on every side by forts, and are well protected. We marched yesterday about ten miles, the thermometer at about 85degrees, you can imagine we were fatigued.
We are on the left of the Brigade, an honorable position, our regiment being skirmishers. We are four mile from Mauson's Hill about forty rods east of our present camp is the residence of Gen. Lee now occupied by some of our officers. It is a beautiful place.
On our way to camp I saw the noted Washington Monument as yet unfinished. I have not had time to see much of Washington City for we are not here on a pleasure excursion.
We are now about eight miles from the seat of active warfare; we are anxious to get on; we are here to fight and our only fear is that we shall be left as a reserve.-
Our Colonel however is doing all he can to get us in the advance.
Our present camp is situated in a clearing in the forest so that we can see out but one way and that straight up. The 21st N.Y. were encamped here before us and from appearances I should judge they left in great haste for we find many things. I have a first rate wheelbarrow, pick ax, chair with a back &c., &c.
For the first time I have a splendid bed, made of the soft side of four pine boards covered with a blanket; boots for a  pillow. This is first class accommodations. We live first rate; have plenty of bacon, pork and beans&c.
My men are well and getting along finely. 
Yours truly
Capt Gordon

OCT, 7,' 61
Friend Cober:-I told you in my last that I would write to you again soon, as I have failed to keep my promise up to this time and I should have written sooner but I suppose that some of the boys had written to you.
We are in the same Brigade with the 2nd and 6th Wisconsin Regiments which with the 19th Indiana are the ones constituting Gen. King's Brigade. We are in Gen. McDowell's division of the army. 
We started from our last camping ground near Chain Bridge last Saturday about 11 o'clock and arrived here about sun-down; the tents did not get here in time for us to pitch them that night so we laid on the ground and it went very well. We all are getting used to sleeping on the ground and can now get up in the morning rested although at first we thought that in more ways than one it was rather hard.
The boys with the exception of a few who have the measles are all well; there are some of them who are in a degree tired of a soldier's life. But that is not to be wondered at  for if anything else but love of country induced them to come they might better have stayed at home for there is nothing very funny about it as far as I have seen. 
We are well taken care of as far as clothing, provision, &c. are concerned, and have no right to complain as everything is done that can be done for our welfare. We have not seen any "seceshers" since we left but in every place there was displayed the good old Stars and Stripes.
This is the greatest country, for many reasons, that I have ever been in and it is a unanimous vote that the sacred soil is a humbug. It is as not here at this present time as it was in Wisconsin last harvest. The water is very poor and scarce at that; we carry all we use over half a mile; it is very it is very much like poor rainwater. The wonderful Potomac is but a slough which can be easily thrown across by any one; it is deep however the water is not clear and clean like the Wisconsin, but of a dirty yellow color. 
The little streams (when found) are not like those at home in any respect and everything around us puts us in mind of the fact that we are not in "Old Grant" any more. One of the boys came near being put into the guard house for singing 'Carry Me Back to Old Virginny'  and I think that he should be put in the guard house as a confirmed lunatic.
We go along however hoping for the food time that is coming, everybody tries to feel lively and, to judge by the noise, they succeed to a charm. If jokes are free in harvest they are more so in camp, here is a conundrum which will show for itself:
Why is Capt.. Callis like a honey-comb?
Answer, Because he is full of sells, (cels.)
Our position at present is one of almost perfect security, hundreds of acres of timber being cut down and left as they fell thus giving a sure aim and preventing and approach except by the regular road which is guarded by forts with guns placed so that an enemy approaching would be almost annilated so you see that there is not likely to be any more Bull Run runs very soon. As for the number of men here, there are enough to give old Jeff all the acquaintance he wants with the "mudsills" of the North. How long we stay here or where we go to next it is not possible for any one 'o tell.
It will not do to believe any reports you may hear. We learned from a letter to one of the boys that we had been in battle and were all cut up; if it was so we were not aware of it. 
You get all the news long before we do so that all I write must be of our own crowd for we do not hear from any other source than the papers.
There is one thing more and then I'll close this long letter: I am asked by the boys to get you to request the friends of volunteers, (if they have any,) to answer their letters as it is a source of satisfaction to hear from those they left behind them and I am sure that if they could see how glad we are to get a letter, they would written oftener than they do.
The boys send their best respects to al and hope that all is well.
Yours Respectfully,
John W. McKenzie

The following letter was received by N.P. Waterman, Esq., of this city:
Oct 8th, 1861
Mr. A.P. Waterman:
Dear Sir:-Having a few minutes leisure this evening, I will improve the time in informing you of our present whereabouts. The brigade took up their line of march from Chain Bridge last Saturday morning crossing the Potomac at Georgetown. We are now encamped within 300 yards of the rebel General Lee's former residence now occupied by Gen. McDowell as his headquarters.
Our brigade is about in the center of the line of advance but not really in the advance as there are several regiments some three miles ahead of us. The Wisconsin 5th are on our right and the Second on our left.
Of the magnitude of the army movements it is hardly possible for a person to get a correct idea until they have first seen them.
All of the movements are conducted with great secrecy and the first intimation we get of a movement is the order to strike tents and march. Our brigade is generally in good health and what few cases of sickness there are are mostly of a mild form. My own health is excellent, camp life agrees with me first rate. Playing soldier has come to an end or rather, as our Col. says, 'is played out," and we begin to fully realize (as a stray bullet whistles over out heads or the booming cannon is heard) that we are in the enemy's country. I was officer of the Guard on Sunday and we had a little excitement and stir in camp 'bout 11pm caused by one of the guard receiving a shot in his leg passing directly through just below the knee.  He is dong well, and will soon be able to do duty again. Tomorrow there is a grand review of the whole brigade by Gen. McDowell or McClellan, I am not positive which.
Our regiment already ranks very high amongst military men and the competition amongst the Brigadier Generals as to which one should have us, was quite spirited. I do not say this by way of boasting but merely to show you the high esteem to which Wisconsin troops are held.-
From every appearance I think that we shall quite soon make an advance as our regiment will, the day after tomorrow, receive the blue uniforms throughout, which is certain indication to me that an advance of our division is contemplated, there being some other regiments here a much longer time than we and who have as yet received no intimation they were to have their uniforms exchanged. Our company have not yet been out on picket duty but expect to be called upon soon.
Yesterday one of our officers was out placing his pickets when he was met by a "Secesh" officer in the same business who immediately wanted to know what he was doing there; our officer immediately answered his question by asking Mr. "Secesh" what his business was in that locality and quickly giving a peculiar whistle which brought his men about him, he succeeded in capturing Mr. "Secesh", officer and four men and brought into camp
Today a cavalry company went out scouting and as the fruits of their day's labors brought in twenty four horses and mules and six head of fine fat cattle; consequently roast beef will be plenty tomorrow.
Our mail facilities are very convenient each regiment having a postmaster.
My address for the present and until further notice will be
Co. K, 7th Reg't Wisconsin Volunteers 
Kings Brigade,
Washington D.C.
Your respectfully,

Arlington Heights, near Washington
October 9th, 1861
My last letter was darted at Camp Lyon, Chain Bridge. From there Gen. King's brigade has moved to Arlington Heights. The headquarters of the brigade is in the Arlington House, the noted Residence of the last member of the Washington family, Geo. Washington Park Custis and, more recently, of the rebel Gen. Lee, son-in-law of Custis. 
Gen. McDowell's headquarter are also here. McDowell is the most soldierly looking man in the army, I think.
Perhaps all of the readers of the Journal may not be familiar with the history of the Arlington House and its residence and I will briefly state that Geo. Washington married, for his second wife, Mrs. Custis, the grand-mother of G. W. Park Custis and Washington adopted this grandson - the Gen. having no children of his own. When Washington died he willed the Arlington property to young Custis who occupied it to the time of his death four years ago to-morrow. Gen. Robt. Lee married one of the four daughters of Custis and by this means nominally come into possession of their property - being in his wife who is now living in Virginia while the traitor Gen. is at the head of a division of the rebel army opposite to Gen. Banks division on the Potomac. It is said that Mrs. Lee is still loyal and will return to Arlington and leave her traitor husband to his own inclinations. When Washington died he emancipated all his own slaves, but his wife chose to retain hers, which under the laws of Virginia she had a right to do. These slave's were willed to Custis with the Arlington property and some of them are still living, their hair white with age. - One slave is about eighty years old and was born at Mt. Vernon and remembers Washington distinctly. There are now about thirty-five slaves here. They claim that by virtue of a writing they were free as soon as Custis died but by the knavery of Gen. Lee, their term of service was extended five years - and by this arrangement they will be free the 10th of October, 1862. 
Some of the more intelligent intimate that they are confiscated on account of Massa Lee's treason and think they will "improve the opportunity." They are familiar with what is going on and talk very intelligently about current affairs. One slave, a coachman, has been on the estate sixty-five years, never having been farther away than to Washington. His wife and children ran away to New York several years ago and thinks he will now "hab a play spell and go and see her."
When Gen. Lee left he took the biggest furniture, paintings and relics which have for years been cherished by the American people as memorials of the Washington family from this residence, not an article of which did he ever own.
The present camping ground of the 7th is a poor one, full of stumps and brush - but all seem to be "resigned to their fate," and submit to it. There are several cases of sickness - measles principally.- The 19th Indiana, in our brigade has 800 cases of sickness.
Today the Wisconsin men were cheered by the presence of W. H. Watson, private Secretary of G. Randall. The Secretary informs me that he has succeeded in getting ten batteries of artillery, one regiment of cavalry besides several additional regiments of infantry accepted by the Secretary of War. Generals Scott and McClellan say they will accept all Wisconsin soldiers offered them. They are the men for service.
Last Sunday night, Mr. Wallace Alloe a private in Capt. Nasmith's company of Platteville was shot through the leg while on guard. There are different opinions as to how it was done. He says he was shot by a man in a bush near by and several who were near him confirm his statement, others think he was accidentally shot by his own pistol in some way. He was taken to the hospital.
Last Friday night in a camp near Washington a captain tried to "run the guard" for the purpose of testing the courage of one of his men whom he had placed at that post and refusing to give the countersign was shot by the guard through the heart and instantly killed. The man did his duty in the eyes of the military law and consequently could not be called to account. It would be better to take some other method to test the courage of a suspected guard. No one would fire sooner under such circumstances than a coward.
According to all appearances, the rebels are gradually falling back. I went out to the extent of our lines yesterday and saw several rebel pickets, all mounted, which would indicate that the body of their army was not near, and they are mounted in order to retreat more rapidly if attacked. The federal army will soon be in possession of the country again this side of Centreville.
I am informed by the best authority that a fleet of twenty-five thousand men sailed down the coast last Friday evening destined for Charleston. They have gone to carry out Gov. Randall's idea of "ending the war where Charleston was." An other expedition has been or will be sent to New Orleans. This is the most expeditious and effectual mode of subduing the rebellion.

This afternoon McClellan had a grand review on East Capital Street of the artillery and cavalry on the Washington side of the river, consisting of 4,200 cavalry and 120 pieces of artillery. It was a grand occasion. The President and cabinet and foreign ministers were out and McClellan with his staff and body guard. After the cavalry and artillery had passed in review Lord Lyon pronounce it the most formidable and magnificent display of the kind he had ever seen. Secretary Seward asked if any one could longer doubt that we had the elements of a powerful nation not from these alone did he judge but from the proportionate strength of the whole army, the part reviewed being only about a hundredth part of the Grand Army! 
Last Saturday night there was in and around Washington about THREE HUNDRED AND TEN THOUSAND men in the army I hear Sec. Cameron say that over 50,000 cavalry had been accepted and he would not have any more. It cannot be used to advantage. A sufficient amount is well. It costs more than double what infantry costs for the same number of men. It is well to have it understood that Scott or McClellan do not want any more.
The rumor about the city of the death Gen. McCulloch and that his son is in command of his former force needs no other refutation than the fact that Gen. McCulloch is an old bachelor and has no children - at least none that bear his name. It is generally discredited in well informed circles.

On this side of the Alleghenies Gen. Fremont is slandered and abused most shamefully by the friends of the long standing Presidential candidates in the East. They are envious and jealous of his rising frame in the West. They hold him to account for the death of Lyon, when it is a fact that Simon Cameron is alone responsible. Fremont did not have it in his power to reinforce Lyon - he had no men to do it with. 
When he took the field the army was composed of three months men whose term of service had expired. These eastern fogies would blame Fremont for the Manassas affair if there was any appearance of reason in it.
Western men in this city feel indignant at the slander Fremont so unjustly receives; and well they may. You cannot fully appreciate it without you can hear it. But let the wind blow, Fremont will maintain himself if the authorities here do not take away all his men.
The men are anxious to know why copies of you paper are not sent them, will you answer?

Arlington Heights
Oct, 13th, 61

My last letter was mailed just as we were going to break our encampment at Chain Bridge on the morning of the 5th inst. Orders has been received for the whole of Gen. King's Brigade to march to Arlington Heights to form a part of Gen. McDowell's division. In obedience to which the 7th, 2nd and 6th, Wisconsin, and the 19th Indiana, were soon filing alongside of the canal on the north bank of the Potomac till we reached the aqueduct near Washington which conveys the waters of the canal across the Potomac to the Virginia side. Our road was dusty, the sun hot and the thirst of the men was poorly satisfied by the odorous water on the canal. Then the rattling of the baggage wagons past our files raising the dust and the weight of our knapsacks added somewhat to our practical knowledge of a soldier's life but it was for all these hardships that the 7th had left their homes and I heard no murmur; once in awhile a joke passed amongst the men about the "Sandy forty" on the Indian Land. After crossing the Potomac we ascended a ridge of hills covered with a thick growth of white oak saplings leaving Washington in our rear till we reached our camp ground which and been vacated by other regiments who are now occupying advance posts. The soil on these hills or heights as they are called is red clay, heavy and mean to cultivate. It is every where thickly sprinkled with forts; the whole ground as far as I can find out is like a vast chess board: the yellow clay where the camp grounds and forts are located contrasting with the green woods. The places will be moved too soon and we shall see who wins.
As we arrived too late to mark out the ground that night all slept on the bosom of "Ole Virginia," beneath the peaceful stars which looked quite as bright from the blue above us as if they never before witnessed the marching of armies for the purpose of mutual destruction. It was a silent but deep protest against war.
Order is heaven's first law. War is disorder. Sunday morning it came my turn to go "on guard" till the succeeding morning. I could hardly realize that is was the Sabbath. A soldier soon loses track of the days of the week; he measures time by the roll calls I was on the "first relief," and had a chance to attend all meals. At nine o'clock at night I had to go again. Before being relieved I heard a loud report succeeded by the cry "corporal of the Guard, No. 11"; which was occasioned by the discharge of a pistol in the pocket of one of the guard wounding him in the leg. Three such accidents have occurred in our regiment, and all revolvers and bowie knives have been taken away from the soldiers .
Before being relieved the last time I was sleepy and learned now hard it is to avoid the penalty of sleeping while on guard at one's post which is death.
On the 10th we were reviewed by Gen. McDowell and his Staff, and I overheard him making a remark when passing Company I. that our "Grey uniform looked very well; pity they could not be dyed blue." Col. Vandor, whom a better officer for his post is not in the army, was tickled with our conduct, and expressed himself delighted.
Last week we have been exercised in skirmish drill. such words as "Rally by fours," "deploy into line," "double quick" becoming more familiar than any household words ever uttered. This drill has proved like a medicine relieving the sick and effecting a general care of the slight ailments. There are some cases of sickness, measles &c. but not more than was expected after a change of climate and habit of life among over a thousand men.
As a general thing the men like and have confidence in their officers; but it is painful to allude to the fact that some of the latter are not able to govern themselves, much less are they fit to govern others. Some cannot conceal their low bred instincts beneath their uniforms, their patience is as snappish and brittle as their pronunciation of the English language is incorrect and their utterance of profane language against the men does no credit to them not is it likely to be of any benefit in the end. Some of them are quite stupid yet these are the the most abusive.
The Fifth is stationed at Prospect Hill. I saw Frank Hyde in our camp this morning looking well. He was the guest of Lieut Rogers who, by the by, is as much among the boys and as familiar and good humored with them as if he carried a knapsack and a gun. All like him as they also do Lieut. Bird, who is always cheerful and gentlemanly.
Today Gen. McDowell and staff, accompanied by W. D. Russell visited our camp on a tour of inspection. How satisfied they were I had no opportunity to discover. The boys are disappointed at not being led against the enemy, as it was threatened last evening. But I must close to attend divine service hoping sometime to afford your readers something more interesting. Yours,
Wm. D. W.

Arlington Heights, Va.
7th Reg't W. V. 
Oct 13, 1861

Editors State Journal- My last letter was from Chain Bridge, where we were then encamped.
On Saturday, October 5th, our Brigade broke up camp in compliance with an order from headquarters moved over to this place and joined Gen. McDowell's division of the army.
We are stationed in the line of forts built since the battle of Bull Run, between Fort Tillinghast and Ramsey. Our camp is situated about one half of a mile north west of the Arlington House famous as the late residence of the rebel Gen. Lee. It was formerly the old Custis property and was once owned by Martha Custis who was afterwards the wife of Gen. Washington.
It was the house in which Gen. Washington was married. It is now the headquatters of Gen. McDowell. The day on which we came over was hot and dusty. The thermometer stood at 90 degrees in the shade. Our line of march was along the east bank of the Potomac between the bluff and the canal to Georgetown and thence across the river on the Aqueduct up past Fort Corcoran and back to our present position. Along the river the rays of the sun reflected from the waters below and down from the rocks above and created a most intense heat.
Some suffered from sun stroke none however in our Regiment.
The boys of the 2d declared that it was worse than Bull Run.
We have heard the firing of heavy guns in a westerly direction at intervals for the last three days in the night as well as during the day. It can't be all practice.
Last evening our brigade received orders to prepare one day's rations and be ready to march at ten minutes notice.
The firing in the west continues this (Sunday) morning though not steadily. We think there is fighting going on in Gen. Banks' division. The 7th is ready and anxious to go, but no orders for marching have yet been received.
AFTERNOON-I learn this afternoon that the orders we received yesterday evening to prepare rations and hold ourselves in readiness to march at ten minute's notice were given on account of indications as of an advance upon our lines at this point. We are between Chain Bridge and Alexandria where military men seem to insist we shall be attacked if an attack is made upon us. I think there is no danger of an attack though, we are too strongly fortified.
It was really singular to notice the effect the order of last evening had upon our camp. The order was at first understood to be to march in ten minutes and the order was given to fall in with knapsacks slung .
All was quiet for a moment and then there was a general rush for the tents.
In less time than it takes to write it some were emerging again and falling into line fully equipped. Others took it more coolly and carefully laid aside what must be left behind. The most remarkable feature, however, was at the hospital among the sick. That department suddenly found itself almost entirely deserted. All that could walk though they were able to go. A number made their way to their company quarters slung knapsacks, took their guns and fell in who when the real nature of the order became known were unable to get back to their tents with assistance.

All is quiet this afternoon no firing to be heard. In all probability we shall leave here in few days.
Yours truly.