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1862 March, Seventh Wisconsin
FROM THE SEVENTH REGIMENT
(Correspondence of the Journal & Courier.)
Camp Arlington, Va., March 1
"All quiet along the Potomac tonight!"
No news in that however as the above sentence has been put over the wires every night for the past three months. Let not you patience weary. Soon your most extravagant wishes will be realized in regard to the Grand Army of the Potomac. On Wednesday afternoon our brigade - (here our correspondent had given some information in regard to army movements which is a subsequent letter he had requested us to omit, it being forbidden- Eds. Journal and Courier.)
We have been supplied with the small French pattern tents which are to be carried on the backs of the men. Each tent is intended to accommodate two persons, and is so arranged that it can be taken apart each man carrying one half. The canvas is linen and the whole including poles, stakes and canvas, weighs but a trifle over eight pounds. They appear to be just the thing for an active campaign. Troops on the march, upon coming to a halt for the night, can pitch their tents in five minutes instead of having to wait for the slow baggage trains to come up .
The "big blow" of the season came off last Monday. In Washington, one church steeple was demolished and numerous chimneys blown down to say nothing about the signs, awnings and shutters traveling about in the gale to the great danger of passer by. In camp, trees were blown up by the roots and tents scattered in every direction and it was only by the greatest exertions that the hospital tent was kept upon terra firma."
The poles of Frank Wheeler's big tent snapped in half a dozen pieces and away went the Sutlers department of the Seventh Wisconsin.
Frank soon had another tent on the ground and now reports himself ready for another blow. By the way, allow me that our Sutler is generous, whole souled and accommodating and possessed of these qualities which in the minds of Senator Wilson and many newspaper editors are not for a moment supposed to exist among that class of persons called sutlers. Unlike many sutlers who desert their regiments as soon as they advance, Frank is bound to see the thing through and is making his preparations to go along with us through thick and thin.
Perhaps some of your readers would be gratified to know how Co. K. are getting along. O, finely of course. We have got along through the long dull winter evenings very well indeed thanks to the friends of the Allen's Grove members who were so kind as to send a box of books to help them pass dull time away. The Beloit boys of Co. K have also derived a great deal of pleasure in anticipating the arrival of something of the same sort from Beloit.
We left camp Randall last September with eight-eight men, seven of whom have been discharged on account of sickness.
Last Sunday morning occurred the first death in our company, David Lord of Afton, a noble man and a good soldier. He laid down his life in the service of his county. Always prompt and faithful in the discharge of his duty he won the admiration and respect of both officers and men. The company by a unanimous vote resolved to send his remains to his friends for interment and they were accordingly forward by express on the following day. He leaves a wife and seven children and I hope that the promise made to him by some friends at the time of his enlistment that in case he did not return alive his family should be cared for will be faithfully kept.
Disease and death are gradually lessening our little band but we still hope to be counted at the raising of the glorious stars and stripes over Richmond.
On Friday we were mustered for inspection and had the pleasure of being informed by the mustering officer that Co. K was by far the best company he had inspected.
But I fear I have already made this letter too long to be interesting and I will "Dry Up" by subscribing myself for three years or during the war.
LETTER FROM THE 7TH REGIMENT
CAMP OF THE 7TH REGIMENT, WIS VOL.
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, MARCH 3D, 1862
Editors of Independent: - Although nothing of material interest has occurred since my last yet amid the varying scenes of camp life in the enemy's country, time passes rapidly away. during the intervals of camp duties, letter writing and reading the news of the day occupy our time.
Our recent successes in the South have filed all with the hope that the war will soon be ended with glory to our arms. During the excitement all news items are read with avidity, while incredible rumors are circulated and believed, gaining size at each repetition as they pass through camp. Yesterday the rumor gained credence that Gen. Banks, after having crossed the Potomac near Harper's Ferry, had been twice repulsed by the rebels, with heavy loss. Although in possession of the town, nothing has been seen of the rebels in any force. Our regiment will, in a day or two, be on picket duty beyond Falls Church. Last Friday we were ordered to report at the Arlington House for in section preparatory to receiving our last two month's pay which we will receive in a few days.
The 22nd was celebrated by the regiments of this brigade by meeting at Gen. King's headquarters and listening to the reading of Washington's Farewell Address, and also a few remarks from Gen. King, in reference to our recent victories in the South. After firing several salutes we returned to our quarters just as it commenced to rain. The several forts about the camps kept firing occasionally from sunrise till sunset.
Monday quite a heavy gale passed over camp capsizing tents, blowing down flag, staff, &c. During the first of the gale, the tent used by the regiment as post office, was blown away scattering papers, letters and stationery in every direction, some of the companies had most of their tents turned over during the afternoon.
The health of the regiment is very good, only fourteen in the General and two in the Brigade hospital. There has been one death during the week. Thus another brave spirit that nobly answered his country's call, has been sacrificed to the demon of secession. May the time soon come when this unholy rebellion shall breath it's last gasp.
FROM THE SEVENTH REGIMENT
Camp Arlington, Virginia
March 4th, 1862
Dear Record:-I again take my pen to let the readers of your columns know that the Seventh Regiment is still alive, and enjoying as good health as can be expected from the state of the weather, which has been rainy, for nearly two months past, producing any quantity of mud. The prevailing complaints are colds, rheumatism, etc.; none with any serious complaints confined in the Hospital at present.
All is anxiety here to know when we are to make an advance. We were called out for brigade drill on the 27th inst., and received orders while out from General McClellan that this (King's) Brigade must hold themselves in readiness to march at a moments notice.
Yesterday we received our portable tents which are large enough to shelter two men; one carries the tent and the other the posts and pins. It is quite novel in appearance and I suppose you will think that we would be novel-looking persons, with one change of clothes and our houses upon our backs. Well, we will find them more convenient than the open canopy of heaven and many times when the rain falls in torrents the tents will be more preferable than none.
The death of General Lander creates a great sensation throughout this department of the army; but he died as many have and must in the defense of his country and the Star Spangled Banner, which I hope soon to see again floating in all its glory and splendor over all the States of the Union. General Lander died at Paw-Paw, Western Virginia, on the 2d instant from the effects of wounds received at Edward's Ferry.- Brigadier-General Shields succeeds Lander's late command.
The Seventh Regiment is now perfecting themselves in the Ellsworth Zouave drill; it is a bayonet drill and we are progressing and are getting quite proficient in the use of arms; but I hardly think we will use them on the rebels.
But the Seventh would rejoice to hear the word "forward march," to Centerville, Manassas or Richmond. There must be fighting here or laying down on arms; one of the two things must be done and that within a short time, with out doubt, and I hope to enjoy an advance with the rest.
Yesterday I received a visit from the Fifth Regiment in the person of J. E. S. Cooper. He reports the boys in good health and spirits; eager and anxious for an advance. The joke of the visit is on me; we went to fight with Blenker, I missed roll call at Dress Parade and this morning was detailed on water-squad in the rain; but it is our practice and all right.
I had almost forgotten to mention that M. M. Charles has been promoted to Corporal. F. L. Warner, Second Lieutenant in place of L. Kroner, resigned. Fred is a whole-souled good nature fellow and will make a good officer, loved and respected by all.
Friend Chase, the Record is a regular weekly visitor at my tent, eagerly read not only by me but by others and I am glad to see the paper protected the names and the industrious pursuits of Marathon county against the purpose and intentions of those that would see and barter away all for the sake of filthy lucre, sordid gold, in the shape of county orders.
I hope to see the Record always what I have found it, a good family paper, interesting, useful, not only as a paper read and supported by the people of the county but by all.
Yours in the Army,
Signals - The Capitol - Rev. Mr.
Signal Camp, Georgetown, D.C.
March 6, 1862
Mr. Editor:-As Badgers are very fond of knowing everything that is going on, perhaps a few lines from a member of the 7th will be interesting. The regiment still lies at Arlington Heights. I am not with it at present, but have understood that it is under marching orders. I am detached from the regiment and am now a member of the Signal Corps. As this is something new, I will explain a little.
Major Meyers of the Regular Army has invented a code of signals and men have been detailed from most all the regiments on the Potomac to learn the code. The signals consist of certain motions made with small flags which correspond with numbers and the numbers, in turn, correspond with the letters of the alphabet.- By means of this system of telegraphing, messages can be sent right through the enemy's country without having them intercepted. A detachment that went from this camp with the Port Royal expedition rendered efficient service in the battle.-
Another party went down the river a few days since to Gen. Hooker's headquarters. We all expect to leave soon, and will be scattered around among the different divisions. There are representatives from all the loyal States and we have jolly times. We are mounted and equipped similarly to cavalry. We are encamped on Red Hill, in a beautiful situation. The landscape that stretches out before us here is very beautiful. On the left is the great city of Washington with its numerous turrets and towers; above all the rest, reaching far up into the blue is the capital. Truly this is a magnificent structure. I have been through it several times and it seems as if the genius and talent of the whole world have been brought into action to beautify it. Well may Americans be proud of it. I have also been to the Halls of Congress where sit our law givers. You CAN IMAGINE THE EMOTIONS THAT WOULD ARISE IN THE BOSOM OF A BOY FROM AWAY OUT WEST upon finding himself an intimate of those old halls whose walls have echoed back the voices of the greatest statesmen the world ever knew. But I am digressing from my description, on the right is the quaint old city of Georgetown. This is an old fashioned, shabby, forsaken looking place and serves as a good representation of the effects of slavery. In front is the broad Potomac dotted over with little sail boats and steam tugs. Across the river standing bold up against the horizon, are those old hills known as Arlington Heights.
Yesterday I received a copy of the Herald from home containing a letter from Rev. Maiben to a Canada paper.- Once I was a Sabbath School scholar in Hazel Green and I used to love to attend and listen to the few remarks that Mr. M. would generally have to offer at the close of the school. Then I thought he was a good man, but since I have been a soldier and have read several productions from his pen, I have formed a different opinion of Him.
It is useless to waste time and space in taking up the rebellious portions of his letter one by one. Suffice it to say that the whole letter is considered by us soldiers entirely beneath our notice. It is plainly to be seen that his will is good enough to do all be can to make a disturbance between the two countries. For my part, when we get this rebellion crushed and the leaders of it disposed of according to their deserts, I am ready to carry a musket long enough to help silence all such men -"preachers of Christ" though they will stay at home where there are scarcely any inhabitants, save a few defenseless women and children, and find fault with our government. Yes, even stigmatize the whole American people; Has the landed bravery of the Scottish chiefs degenerated so far as this? It is well for the so called divine that he is out of the reach of our regiment. I fear he would have a worse opinion of Military law than he has of Judge Lynch. I would advise him to go on in the way he has begun, and get through venting his spleen before any of the soldiers get home. He reminds me forcibly of a dog baying at the moon in his vain efforts to do something for his outraged country." Our nation like the moon goes straight forward entirely unconscious of the vituperation which demoniac demagogues may in their madness heap upon the American people in this hour of danger.
A. V. Richards.
Camp King, Virginia
March 12, 1862
Friend Chase:- King's Brigade
consisting of the 7th, 6th, 2nd Wisconsin and 19th Indiana Regiments left Camp
Arlington for an advance further into Virginia the 10th instant at 4 o'clock
A.M. About eight it commenced to rain and continued until near noon.
We arrived at Fairfax about noon found the place occupied by our troops who had taken possession the 9th inst., the rebels fleeing for Centerville like scared sheep. We are encamped about two miles from Fairfax, four from Centerville and near Germantown; a noted place consisting of six deserted houses and the site of four which have been burned. It was the rendezvous for rebel troops and all kinds of pictures, figures and various pieces of writing are found upon the walls. As a fair sample of the latter I quote the following: "I love the Yankee girls," "Yankees what made you run at Bull Run? come to Centerville you d--d *-* Yankees you are doomed to die."
This exhibition of rebel feeling tells its own story but with all their vaunted bravery, if they continue to flee as they have done, before next Saturday night the Army of the Potomac will occupy Richmond.
Before night the day we camped here a large hog made its appearance in Camp on four feet and it was not long before the savory smell of fresh pork emanating from the frying pans of our camp fires greeted our hungry comrades and made Mr. Hog quite welcome. Pigs, calves, geese, chickens, ducks, honey, etc. make their appearance without long intervals.
I received a copy of the Record today which was a welcome messenger.-we are ordered to get three day's rations and I expect now a forced march.
You will hear from me again as soon as circumstances will permit.
Yours in the Army,
From the Seventh Regiment
Camp King, Virginia,
5 miles from Centreville,
March 14, 1862
We were awakened at midnight, the 9th
inst. and ordered to prepare two days' rations and be ready to march at 4 a.m. Quietly
but with rapidity everything was prepared. All articles not absolutely necessary
were left behind. All of our tents that we have had in use were left standing and
at the appointed time the whole effective force marched leaving only the sick
and the women behind. As day began to brake as far as we could see the troops
were in motion.
Soon a drizzling raining set in, continuing until about 10 o'clock, finding the clayey soil very slippery. But we kept on until striking the Alexandria turnpike when the marching was much easier.
We arrived at Fairfax Court House about noon which had already been occupied by our troops. Passing through Fairfax Court House we encamped in the woods about a mile and a half beyond. Soon word came into camp that the rebels had evacuated Centreville and Manassas and the next morning the contrabands coming into camp confirmed it. They came alone and in squads, men, women and children with their traps and baggage on their shoulders and some few Secesh shinplasters in their pickets. The broad grin on their faces indicated that they were well pleased with their escape from the rebels. There are a number of them kept as servants and others sent on to Washington. Several were kept at work last fall upon the fortifications at Manassas. We have now been here four days but expect to be off as soon as we can find out where "Secesh" have gone. The greatest mystery to us is why did the rebels leave Manassas and Centreville without a fight? We have just received orders to march at 3 a.m. - destination unknown. Will write again as soon as we come to a halt.
From the 7th Regiment
Headquarters Seventh Regiment Wis Vol. Camp
near Fairfax Seminary,
March 19, 1862
Ho, Ho! the Eagle of the North
Has stooped upon the main!
Scream on, O eagle, in thy flight,
Through blast and hurricane-
And when thou meetest on thy way
The black and plunging bark
Where those who pilot by the stars
Stand quaking in the dark,
Down with thy pinions on the mast,
Scream louder in the air
And stifle in the wallowing sea
The shrieks of their despair.
(Brothwell, Part 1 - found in the library of S. T. Stuart, near Centreville, who ran away before the advance of the Union troops, taking with him his two hundred Negroes, many of them escaped back to our troops, however, and are now employed in lucrative situations in Washington.
This renegade was a most active secessionist of the Bombasts Furious, Henry A. Wise school; his cruel persecutions of Union men will long be remembered by the inhabitants of Fairfax County).
The long hoped for, long expected and long deferred advance has been made.- Centreville, Bull's Run and Manassas are taken and nobody is hurt. On Monday morning about 4 o'clock the Seventh Regiment was formed in line and soon took its position in King's Brigade, attached to which was a battery of (New Hampshire) Artillery and Harris Light Cavalry. We passed through Blenker's division and found them under arms waiting for us to pass. Augur's (NY) Brigade as immediately ahead of us. - How much more I can't tell something. When on top of a hill we could see the line of blue coats two miles ahead. About half-way to Fairfax it commenced raining but this did not dampen the ardor of our soldiers. Jokes were exchanged and songs were chanted and screamed out of the war. We reached Fairfax about 2 PM and here learned that Centreville had been evacuated. Gen. McDowell was in the streets talking to one of his staff about taking a battery.
Fairfax was under a strong guard and some rebel prisoners were in the Court House. The women looked on us from windows and doors; some of them crying and others staring vacantly. Many of these Rebels had the day before parted with lovers, husbands and brothers and the sight of our blue coats did not seem to comfort them much. Every dwelling was guarded but no one molested their sullen and distrustful reticence. After wading through mud and water a mile or two further; in fact as soon as our commanders learned of the abandonment by the rebels of their stronghold at Manassas, King's Brigade camped in a white oak and chestnut grove near Germantown, a deserted and burnt village on the Alexandria turnpike. Here we tarried several days, drilling, cooking, washing and foraging - living in a sort of a free and easy style. Foraging was fun. In fact, the latent talent of the Northwestern Tigers in this military accomplishment was fully developed.
Chickens, hogs and stray beef was surreptitiously brought into camp and all had extra meals The inhabitants were unmolested however only they gradually became sociable and even allowed the boys to pay them specie for milk, hoecakes, and meals. One day a party of eight - Lieut. Bird, Geo. Robinson, Ch's Harris, Amos Redian, Jacob Phillips, Harrison Mathews, Lewis Welding, Sergeant Johnson and myself got a pass to visit around in the neighborhood. After walking about four miles we halted to rest at a respectable looking man's inn and asked for water. They offered us milk which substitute we gladly accepted. After sitting down and chatting a few minutes on the state of the Union, an elderly lady who claimed to be an old Virginian and to be connected with the very first families, having a son in business in Centerville and another a merchant in Baltimore said she had an American flag in the garret and if she thought it would not offend us she wo'd hoist it.
Upon being answered that it would please us, and furthermore that we insisted on its being brought down, she presented it to us. Geo. Robinson tied it on the corner of the verandah and it floated gently in the morning breeze. After giving some specie to Madame, we resumed our march and continued on. Then we came up to a splendid palace but a few days before occupied by one of the fugitive secessionists of the old dominion - named S. T. Stuart - notorious for his persecutions of Union men in this vicinity. He had left two elderly and decrepit female chattels in charge of his Negro quarters and the rest of the premises - we made a thorought inspection of the mansion but left everything as we found it save that we took some relics away. - Sergeant Johnson played some fine airs on the piano, executing some very difficult passages in the music book before him in a bold and original style. The cellar of this worthy baron was well filled with all qualities of liquors, from old wines down to Saratoga mineral water. After being surfeited with splendor and magnificence and basing on the reflection of our dusty countenances in the huge mirrors we left to the Negro cabin ordered some dinner of hoe-cake and eggs which we relished, highly accustomed as we had been to meager camp fare. Giving some specie to the old Negro woman we returned to camp King by a different route, meandering to the north of the turnpike making calls in every house.-
On the road we met a carriage with three persons in it. An elderly lady and a middle age man and one of the handsomest and most intelligent young ladies in Virginia. They stopped their team and cried out in northern accents: "We are glad to see you - we've been long expecting you and then they shook hands with our whole party.
They had suffered some from secessionists; the man said groceries had been very high there. He had to pay fifty dollars for a bag of salt. He owned a farm close by; this was his first trip to Fairfax since August last. - the charming naiveté of the young lady was a novelty to us. She must have moved in the very highest circles and was probably educated in New England. The gentleman's name is Barlow, formally of New York State. He exchanged cards with Lieut. Bird.
He gave us the points of some noted secessionists, one named Saunders and the other Jenny.
We were too much worn out to pay then a visit that night. We reached camp at dusk with a right smart lot of chickens I reckon.
After battalion drill on Friday, we received orders to march to Alexandria - there to be shipped south. So, on Saturday morning we again took our line of march when it commenced raining. - this is persistently kept up all day, blowing a stiff north-Easter, swelling the waters in every ravine - in fact, making a pond of out entire route. We were wet to the skin in a short time but the boys kept up their spirits by chanting and singing semi religious songs:
"We are going Home," &c.
Being a favorite another ran thus:
If you brother wants religion why don't he come along?
He can pray and be converted in the army!
rain! Oh rain! o rain my Savior!
Rain! Oh rain! Good Lord send it down!
Send the sanctifying power in the army of the Lord.
Rain! Oh rain! etc. etc.
And it kept on raining. We camped in
the rain laid our blankets on the wet ground; pitched our towel tents in the
rain, built fires and slept on the ground, while it still rained. Just before
daylight the sky cleared the moon shone and we pulled off our shoes dried our
socks and eat breakfast to wit: coffee cooked in a tin cup and hard crackers,
which the rain hadn't softened a bit. Then Sunday we packed up our wet
blankets and wet overcoats and wet tents and marched round about via the
inevitable Munson's Hill where we intercepted Gen. McCall's division on the way
to Alexandria - After a tedious compromise we passed each other's tracks and went
on to Arlington again. The Seventh's old tents had been destroyed in our absence;
the Quartermaster not expecting us to return had taken care of things and as
the foundations of our old quarters were filled with water we bivouacked in the
woods. Tuesday afternoon we started again under orders to report at Fairfax
two miles west of Alexandria but our Acting Brigadier, Col. Cutler of the Sixth
Wisconsin, halted us on low ground near Alexandria right in the middle of a Bogotá
of dead cavalry horses. After getting fires burning and tents pitched we had to
fall in and march where we were ordered to but as it was dark and the road not
well defined we became a loose brigade." After becoming sufficiently lost
in the labyrinth of hills and brush Col. Robinson rode along crying "Men of the
Seventh, camp where you please within a half mile of the road: there will be no
roll call to-night.": this morning we moved to our right place. We expect to embark
any hour on some gigantic expedition composing the whole Army Corps of McDowell,
Gen. King commands McDowell's division, hence Col. Cutler's blunders.
Many of the boys not fit for duty have been discharged. Jos I. Ingraham and several others in Company I will be discharged. We have welcomed in a new recruit, Mr. Thos. Hastings, brother of Corporal John Hastings. I forgot to state in the proper place that we passed through Hancock's Brigade on Saturday and that the Seventh had a general shaking of hands with the Fifth. I saw Capt Bugh, Lieut. Strong, Dawes, Brown, Packard and several others some Berlin boys all well. They are all going with us.
We have now parted with the ladies belonging to this regiment. It was with feeling somewhat akin to what we felt when leaving old Wisconsin that we parted with them yesterday.
Miss Mary Stevens shook hands with all
the boys in Company I, and bade us God speed.
W. D. W.
Letter from the 7th Regiment
March 20th, 1862
EDITORS INDEPENDENT:-The orders for marching which I intimated in my last have
been carried out to their fullest extent. We have marched till we are about disgusted
and tired of defending our country. If marching toward the enemy and then going
back about a half dozen times for no ostensible purpose is called "defending one's
country." but likely it 's all military.
Now I presume something will take place soon as we are under new "orders," and we will at last leave Virginia. We hope so. A little more than a week ago - the 10th - we, with all the rest of the Potomac Army started for Manassas, the great rebel stronghold! Leaving Arlington at 4 a.m. before daylight, King's brigade, or rather what was his brigade - now under command of Colonel Cutler- arrived at our picket lines at 9a.m. We passed through Fairfax about noon with out opposition. The town was taken possession of by a New Jersey regiment the night before after a slight skirmish with Stewart's rebel cavalry. Our loss was one Lieutenant killed and three privates wounded - rebel loss, two killed and eighteen prisoners. Here it was rumored that Centreville and Manassas had been evacuated and the rebels were retreating to Gordonsville, twenty-five miles from Richmond. About 2 p.m. we struck tents near Germantown and camped for the night.
Here the news of the retreat of the enemy was confirmed and the army halted. Gens. McClellan and McDowell, and body guard passed forward to Manassas. All pursuit of the enemy was impossible on account of his burning the bridges and destroying the railroad. they too had all of a day start of us, and retreating towards their own position, no doubt determined upon long before in case of a united attack in front and rear. Nothing was left behind that would be of advantage to the Union army. Molasses was running shoe steep over the ground where the hogsheads had been knocked in. Flour and other provisions were scattered here and there. Some of the forts in the vicinity of Centerville were poorly armed with artillery - large burned logs being placed in position. Still, there were enough cannon beside to have caused immense slaughter had it not become by the plans of our commander-in-chief, a military necessity for the rebels to evacuate and retreat. Their forces was sufficiently large to effectually oppose all our formidable army if only attacked in front. The barracks in the rebel camp were better than anything of the kind provided our regiment since we have been here.
Some of our boys visited the ever memorable battlefield of the 20th of July last. They brought back old cavalry swords, guns, pistols &c, but all were more or less injured, having been placed in a pile and set on fire before the rebels commenced their retreat.
We remained in camp at Germantown three days, occupying our time in drilling and camp duties. We then received orders to march to Alexandria. Saturday, during a heavy rain storm we took up our line of march and arrived at Fairfax Seminary wet, muddy and tired. Here we struck tents and lay on the ground in the woods with our light tents that we carried on our backs only between us and the pelting rain. Thus we sought to obtain few hours rest During the night we received orders countermanding those of the day previous to march to Alexandria and returned to our old camp at Arlington Heights.
Remaining here until Tuesday we were ordered to our present camp which is near Fairfax Seminary, four miles west of Alexandria. Here we await further orders. The weather for the last two weeks has been quite bad. A few have colds been caused by our late marches and exposure; otherwise the health of our regiment is Good.
Gen. King, our late brigade commander, had been appointed to the command of a division and Col. Cutler of the 6th Wisconsin, had charge of the brigade.
The boys are in excellent spirits, and hope soon to see more active service. Present appearances denote a early conclusion of the war and we hope this may be the case.
FROM THE SEVENTH WIS. REGIMENT
IN THE FIELD NEAR FAIRFAX
March 30th, 1862
FRIEND CHASE: - I again seat myself on this Sabbath morning, pen in hand, to lay
before the readers of the Record, a sketch of the doings of the Seventh
Wisconsin Regiment since March 14th. On the 15th instant we started for
Alexandria from near Fairfax Court House per orders received the night before.
10 A.M. and soon after we took up our line of march the rain commenced falling
in torrents all day and in many places the water was knee deep in the road. We
marched about 12 miles and camped for the night in the rain which continued to
fall till after midnight and in many instances extinguished our camp fires. We
passed, as Colonel Robinson said the next day in dress parade, as hard a night as
we will be likely to experience in the whole campaign.
The next day instead of steaming down the Potomac on an expedition against secesh we received orders to return to Camp Arlington and the Regiment passed towards their winter encampment; though a beautiful day their countenances were sad in consequence of their orders being countermanded.
The old camp ground looked desolate, enough the large tents having been taken down, we were obliged to camp in our small ones which many times are convenient and at other inconvenient so to makes about an even thing.
The 18th we again started for Alexandria and about dark camped about one mile from the city. Soon after receiving orders to march all was anxiety supposing we were to embark; but after marching till near midnight we found that we were to resume out position in the division which is now commanded by General King, Colonel Cutler of the Sixth Regiment commanding the brigade.
We are still encamped in our position and how long we may stay here it is impossible to say. This much we have learned - "that it is not all gold that glitters," and if we received orders it is no sign they are to executed.
Generals Franklin and King's divisions passed review the 26th and 28th instant. The day was the most beautiful of the season, the parade ground unexcelled and the review the most magnificent of the kind ever witnessed with an equal number of troops. Lord Lyons and the Prince de Joinville, accompanied by a number of ladies and members of the diplomatic corps were in attendance with several British colonels of note and officers of the Cold Stream Grenadier Guards of Canada.
General McClellan with his entire staff was on the field and everywhere received with the utmost enthusiasm.-The British officers expressed great surprise at the superior stature, drill and general appearance of the men and declared the troops to be unexcelled on all the elements of military maneuvering. Lord Lyons expressed the greatest admiration of the fine physique of the men and regarded them as the finest troops he ever saw.
General King's old Brigade composed principally of Western men was the subject of many remarks and was not only highly complimented by General McDowell, but attracted the attention of all the distinguished observers.
Yesterday it stormed and today it rains which with the chilly air presents rather a gloomy appearance in camp.
Yesterday was pay-day and as usual was stormy; one in four both fair days.
The Record is regularly received.
Yours as ever