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1862 May, Seventh Wisconsin
LETTER FROM THE 7TH REGIMENT
Camp near Fredericksburg, Va.
May 1st, 1862
Messrs Editors.-Although I have been silent a long time, yet the Wisconsin
7th is still alive and ready for any little brush the secesh may see fit to give
us. Since May last we have passed over considerable very fine country in Va.
and it all shows the marks of the great destroyer, war. From the time we left
Camp Arlington near Washington until we passed Manassas several miles, all was
desolation; deserted houses and the remains of many which had been burned to the
ground; farms stripped of every vestige of fences, cattle, poultry and crops; all
had suffered from the presence of the army.
At Centerville were a few houses vastly deserted barracks, and ruins of barracks that had been burned by the rebels previous to their flight.
On every hand were fortifications and rifle pits; in fact all the way to Manassas Junction they were thrown up here and there on commanding positions. At this latter place were a few fortified position commanding the rail-road. Almost every house was burned beside military stores.
From here to the Rappahannock river the country has not suffered so severely although wherever any opportunity offered to burn bridges or throw obstructions in our route, it had been done.
At Aquia Creek, the terminus of the Richmond and Potomac R. R., the track had been torn up and the iron hauled on the road to Edly's Station, twelve miles beyond Fredericksburg. So I am informed by a contraband who has been working on the road between there and Richmond.
The bridges over Brook's Potomac creeks on this road have both been burned but the road will again be in running order in a few days. Our division can then receive their supplies by railroad and boat to the Rappahannock, while at present, teams are obliged to bring everything twelve or fifteen miles over a poor road.
When the advance of this division came into Falmouth three weeks ago, the enemy fired a volley or two of musketry from a concealed breastwork on the north road at the entrance to the town and then fled precipitately across the river, burning three splendid bridges, the only means of crossing here, to prevent the pursuit of our troops. The bridges were all tarred, had shavings piled on them ready to fire at a moment's notice.
The 7th encamped in Falmouth about a week, when they moved to Potomac Creek, to guard the railroad and telegraph for a few days, being relieved by some Pennsylvania troops. We were ordered to march again to the river and we are now encamped three miles below Falmouth and two miles from Fredericksburg under marching orders; how soon we shall cross the river, I can not tell. Yesterday Harris Light Cavalry crossed over the pontoon bridge, but a reconnaissance and coming upon the enemy's pickets drove them in. Gaining the desired information they returned to camp.
There is no doubt a large force of the enemy at or near Gunney's Station, between here and Richmond, but they will probably fall back as the force at Yorktown retreats.
Last evening at dress parade, a dispatch to headquarters was read announcing the capture at Williamsburg of 1,300 prisoners after a hard bought battle. Late news from the south is very encouraging, and the boys are anxious to participate in the glorious achievements which are occurring so near - only forty miles distant. No doubt ere this reaches you we shall be on our road to Richmond.
The rebel sympathizers here have been very confident of a great victory at Yorktown and last week one of them said to me, in answer to my inquiry whether he thought the rebels would be successful in the coming contest, that as sure as the sun above us they would and if they could not whip us here they never could. - Last night meeting the same person, I reminded him of his remark of the week previous; he now thinks this is only a strategic movement! If so I think they are quite common with their strategic movements of late.
We have this week all in the regiment received new regulation hats. They are tall and rather heavy but much better in the sun and rain than our caps. Our muster rolls have been made out and we soon expect our pay.
Gen Gibbon now has command of this brigade in place of Gen. King, promoted to command Gen. McDowell's old division. Lieut. Col. Robinson is promoted to Col. of the 7th and Major Hamilton as Lieut. Colonel and Capt. Bill of Co. A., Major of the same. Quite a number of changes have also occurred in the company officers. We have as capable a corps of officers as the best brigade in the field; give us the opportunity and we will endeavor not disgrace the name of Wisconsin.
Those most sickly and the disabled in the regiment have been discharged and the health of the rest is good at present but a few being in the hospital. About 100 men have been detached temporarily to repair the bridges on the railroad.
The weather for the past few days has been fine and we begin to believe that Spring has at last commenced. The grass is green, the trees considerably leaved out, and many fruit trees and many fruit trees are in blossom.
T. H. R. S.
From the 7th Regiment.
FROM THE 7TH REGIMENT
Headquarters 7th Regiment.
Gibbon's Brigade, King's Division,
Fredericksburg. May 4th, 1862
All quiet in the department of the
Rappahannock, but it looks like the lull
which precedes the storm. The enemy is strongly picketed in front of us, a few
miles across the river.
Patrick's Brigade and Harris Light Cavalry occupy the city of Fredericksburg. Our artillery is posted on the heights commanding the city and could reduce it to ashes in just fifteen minutes. Movements of troops this way have occurred which augurs an advance. And Angur's brigade will lead in company with Patrick's and Gibbon's (ours). We have veterans from glorious fields with us - but it may be contraband to tell particulars.
The rebels persist in shooting at our pickets; thereby making apparent their bad skill as marksmen. One of Co. H's boys being on an outpost a few miles down the river, punished a squad of them one day last week. They had fired from the south side of the stream at our guards, but did not hit any one, when Co. H's man fired bringing one of them down. - He tried to walk off but after falling down a second a second time, was lugged off by his comrades.
The Seventh has dwindled down in its force a great deal lately. Company F is doing guard and fatigue duty in the city. Co. H has just been detailed for some such purpose. Details from companies are out for miles as safe guards and pickets. Last night a portion of Co. G came in from Potomac Creek, where they had been bridge building. The bridges over that stream and over the Rappahannock have been completed; and the cars run in to Fredericksburg at all hours day and night. Our troops run the city now, - the large foundry run by Union soldiers is busy making all sorts of material for our use. We have built three bridges over the river since our arrival to wit: a railroad, a pontoon, and a bridge made of canal boats anchored lengthways, bow up stream - all planked over so that any team can cross. There is also material enough on hand fitted up to build bridges across every stream on our road to Richmond - a distance of sixty-five miles - to which place all are eager to march and take the consequences, whatever they may by. But no doubt our Generals have some wise reasons for halting here.
The western brigade has had a new General. He is very strict - too much West Point and white gloves to suit the boys at first sight. He seems to take to the Seventh. He has been a Captain of artillery and is a fighting man of the regular U. S. A. stamp. His name is John Gibbons. Col. Cutler has resumed his old command of the Sixth Wis Regt. The Sixth says they are glad he is back with his regiment again. So are we.
Yesterday what remained this side of the river of King's division was reviewed by President Lincoln. He looks pale; no wonder. He travels so much. At Norfolk one day: here the next: the third at Williamsburg. In Fredericksburg the citizens, men and women, turned out en masse to see him. They kept their sentiments in themselves, however, and improved on their ordinary behavior.
In a field near our camp on Potomac Creek, I found a rough hewn gray stone with the following inscription. The old fashioned style of the letters worn by the storms of two centuries and a half rendered a literal copy impossible. But here it is dated back to the source of our present woe when cupidity first imparted the evils which we harvest:
HERE LIES INTERNED
THE BODY OF EDMOND
HELDER. PRACTITIONER IN
PHYSICK AND CHYRURCERY
BORN IN BEDFORDSHIRE.
OBIT MARCH 17, 1618
SATATIS SUA, 76
I saw the lot enclosing the remains of Mary Washington. By the side was an
unfinished marble monument, defaced by cuts, or case spots and bullet marks; the
rebels having used it as a target. It is neglected and needs repairing very
The traitors who were so vile as to desecrate the tomb of Washington's mother furnished more proof of their character of civilization besides showing their consistency. It is quite in keeping with organized bands of murders who, too cowardly to wear a soldier's uniform, murder from pure cruelty when no military need calls for it.
It would astonish any one to notice the number of contrabands which flock to this army. Every day the roads leading to our camps are lined with fresh arrivals.
"And still they come."
A few in comparison to their aggregate number stay with the regiments and
hire out to the officers and privates. A mess generally hires one or two. They
assemble in the evening after retreat and hold prayer meetings. Imagine one of
the so interesting scenes when these dusky children of the tropics address
their positions to the throne of grace. I have been present at revival meetings,
have read Uncle Tom and Dred, and seen the drama of the Octoroon and Christy's
Minstrels. But nothing I ever saw or heard rivals one of these meetings on a
clear starry night on the banks of the classic Rappahannock. The hulks of the
steamers Virginia and St. Nicholas and hosts of lesser craft, schooners &c.,
submerged in the still rising tide having contributed their quota of tarred rope
to the fires which blaze fiercely and add to the picturesque but grotesque
scene. The city of Fredericksburg is quiet. The Drum Major of the Seventh has
concluded his taps. A large group of every hue surrounded by a larger multitude
of whites are assembled. One commences a hymn; that is the dusky portion. An
other follows, succeeded by a third, until they are all engaged. The poetry, the
very flower, the calumniating blossom of every guttural fellow, howl and
dismal yell finds its echo in this concert, An Indian War Dance, our drum corps
beating the double quick on the wildest wails of the Banshees; the song of the
bullfrogs, the hoot of the owl and the sorrow of the ape and wild cat would be
nightingale's notes compared with it. All the representative echoes of Afric's
golden sands, dismal swamps, ravines and caves, find utterance here from the
uttermost Barbary States to Mozambique Bay.
A cry of grief ascends from the heart of Africa and the resounding halls of hell cannot rival it. The figures move about uneasily by the strong relief the fierce fires afford. Finally one kneels in prayer. You can hardly distinguish what he utters. He is followed by another more audible, one who does not mouth his words so much. He prays for the white man and black; asks that our camp ground be blessed; that we may win the victory that they may be scattered.
And that all may be guessed; forgetting not to mention our enemies. They wind up with more unearthly singing.
Company I has eight of these interesting "animiles" employed. Some are steady honest Uncle Toms; some are wicked and tricky; some valueless and lazy, but all are contraband of war. One in our squad employed through the efforts of Horace Currier, as good a Democrat as ever voted for Douglas in Waushara country, is an interesting specimen.
He is a newly married man, and leaves a young wife to mourn his departure. He lived near King George Court House - He is a steady strong man. Currier says he is going to take him home to work on the Sandy Forty on the Indian Land.
The rebel ladies of Fredericksburg are not so sulky as they were in our
arrival, and they treat the Federal uniform with more courtesy. They walk by
silently now and do not study our insults. At first we were ---
"Monsters of such hideous miens
That to be hated need but to be seen;
But seen to oft, familiar with our face
They first endure, then pity - then embrace."
Which I predict they will do, taking the oaths of allegiance and alliance and
one incentive will be jealousy of their cream colored sisters, who persist in
talking to the pretty Zouave Hessians of the Brooklyn 14th regiment.
Two men of Company B - Orrin B. Cromwell and Samuel Dustin died of typhoid fever since we came to this camp. Cromwell came to Camp Randall with the Waupaca Union Rifles, but changed to the 7th. Mr. Dustin was from Sun Prairie, Dane County. Private William Steely of Co. I has been discharged.- all the rest here are well.
The following extract from a letter, written by Lieut. Clum, of this city dated West Point, Va., May 11th, is another among the multiplied evidences of the barbarities practiced by the rebels upon our wounded and dead:
"By the way, we had quite a fight here on the 7th. General Franklin had partly landed his troops when the enemy appeared and opened fire on them and the gun boats with a battery.
At the same time they had made preparations to bag the whole of Franklin's force. The gunboat opened fire in return and after throwing a few 11-inch shells among them they, as usual, turned and ran like whiteheads. We probably lost some 250 or 300 in killed and wounded.
Some of our killed were brought in with their throats cut showing the kindness of the scoundrels to our wounded. I pity them for the comrades of those who were so mutilated can but remember their inhuman barbarity with a spirit of revenge and retaliation, and when next they meet, will mete out justice fourfold. We shall, unless they again run, have a fight between here and Richmond.
Don't fear for the result.
H. R. Clum"
Interesting Letter from the Seventh
May 12, 1862
Mr. Editor: - As the existence of such a regiment as the 7th Wisconsin would seem
to be doubtful to the minds of parties who gain their information by reading the
army correspondences now crowding the newspapers and in view of the fact that
the "hungry 7th" (so called) have no correspondent whose subsistence depends on
the elasticity and versatility of his correspondence, your humble servant begs
to inform the world at large that there is a 7th Regiment of Wisconsin
Volunteers now in the field at the city of Fredericksburg on the banks of the
Rappahannock, the place desecrated and made hallowed by its proximity to the
birth-place of the illustrious Washington and now the resting place of Mary who
gave birth to the father of our country whose tomb and monument erected to her
memory can now be seen but not looked upon without plainly showing even there
the depths of degradation and desperation into which the once high minded and
proud inhabitants of the south have been precipitated by the politics, law and
order hating, power loving demagogues of the south, now the leaders of the
hell-deserving bandits and guerillas called the army of the Confederate States.
They have violated the sanctity of the dead by using the monument of Mary
Washington as a target at which to test the range of their guns in order to know
just how far they could kill a "d---d Yankee." (to use their own language.)
These are not the only evidences of their madness; we see the remains of fifteen
steamers and other water crafts at the wharf which were fired and destroyed at
the approach of forces.
We see the once lordly residences, beautiful grounds and fine farms, desolate and looking as through the whirl-wind of destruction had pervaded the entire country surrounding the city.
The city itself is putting on the habiliments of despair and unwilling submission to the power and rules of the Federal Army; and notwithstanding the absence of nine tenths of the able bodied men of the city, there remains nine-tenths of the worst original secession element; This rests with the women. I think I never knew so much bitterness manifested in one day as I did a day or two since while reconnoitering the city in company with the reporter for the New York Times; they seem to be uncompromising in their determination to gain their independence and forever absolving themselves from any allegiance to a government that tolerates the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the freedom of "niggers" and the presence of an atmosphere that a Yankee could breath and live in.
And, Sir, I am sorry to say that in my humble judgment the course pursued by our army, in protecting and guarding the the property of these dammable traitors while they openly and avowedly, with the most dignified impunity are aiding our enemies, both in words and deeds, to lay the pipe for our destruction, if possible. I never did believe in destroying property of any useful kind to gratify a feeling of animosity but I do believe in letting an enemy take care of his own property without our having to suffer the humiliation of doing it for him while he sharpens his razor to cut my throat!
About fifty men out of our regiment have been making rails and repairing fences and making full reparation for every rail that has been in any manner used by our boys. And the owner of the rails, fences, &c., is known to be the identical man who set fire to the fifteen vessels loaded with corn and provisions for fear they might a fall into the hands of the federals and be of some use to us; these are the kind of men whose property we are guarding and protect at the tune of from 13 to 295 dollars per month.
If the 7th Regiment could be allowed to participate in the dangers and perils of the battle field we think we should be better satisfied; but to be held back when we are in sight of the enemy is dull music to us. We had the pleasure yesterday of seeing a skirmish on a nice open field between a rebel Brigade or part of a Brigade that lays about one and a half miles from us, and part of Gen. Patrick's Brigade of our army, who made a dash on the rebels and bagged one lieutenant and fourteen privates. While returning with the prisoners the rebels gave chase and drove our forces to their quarters where they secured the prisoners and then rallied, about two thousand strong, and charged on the rebels who about faced and double-quicked it off the field.
Our loss was one killed and five or six wounded, the hungry Seventh was drawn up in line of battle and looked on with great interest expecting to be called upon any moment; but alas! the fight closed without the assistance of the Seventh. We could have bagged the whole Brigade if King's Old Brigade had have been turned loose; but I suppose our folks though it would be taking an undue advantage of the poor rebels and held us back for the more noble and glorious purpose of building the bridges and railroads destroyed by the rebels, repairing fences and guarding the property of our enemies. We are now in Gen. Gibbon's Brigade, King's division. The 7th is without any exaggeration one of the best regiments in the division and all spoiling for a fight. The 2d and 6th Wis. Vol. are here with us in fighting order.
Co. "F" is all sound; Lieut. Woodhouse has resigned and 2nd Lieut H.F. Young promoted to First Lieut; orderly Serg't J. W. McKenzie had been promoted to 2d Lieut. and makes a good officer. The Grant Co. boys are all in fine sprits and usual health. We have just heard of the capture of Norfolk and the destruction of the Merrimac; also that McClellan occupies Richmond which gives our men great joy. We expect to be at home soon, God willing.
T. R. C.
Letter From the Seventh Wis.
Camp opposite Fredericksburg, Va.
May, 15th 1862
Dear Times:- It is a rainy afternoon
consequently no drill. I have not written you in a long while for we have been
so busy and the conveniences for writing so poor that it is indeed a task to
write even to our family and friends; but I knew you would be glad to hear some
thing from the old honest 7th and I will try and make out a brief letter while
It would be very foolish for me to attempt to give you a detailed account of our movements and various encampments since April 4th, at which time we left camp "Smoky Hollow," near Alexandria but suffice to say of the path that we have traveled about 100 mile and encamped on about 30 40 divergent grounds since that time. Saturday night last we came on to our present camp ground, which is on a beautiful field directly opposite the city of Fredericksburg Va. The Rappahannock river flows between us and the city, and the there is a fine bridge constructed of canvas boats from Georgetown, D.C., yet we are not allowed to cross over. The very fine railroad bridge, just above our camp was destroyed by the retreating foe before we reached here, but the reconstruction of it has been assigned to the brigade, and you may be sure it will not be long ere the cars can cross again and we follow on toward Richmond.
Here let me inform you that "King's Old Brigade"- more recently commanded by Col. Cutler, of the 6th Wis.,- changed hands again last Thursday and we are now commanded by Brig. Gen. Gibbon formerly Captain of Battery "B" of the regular army, which artillery now forms part of King's division. Gen. Gibbon is a young fine looking officer, and has the reputation of being thorough disciplinarian and able commander.
The ground on which we are encamped is said to be the identical farm on which George Washington spent a portion of his early life, and the place where "little George hacked the cherry tree, and found his name growing in the cabbage bed in the garden." It is now owned by a mean bitter old secesh whose wife is as black as the ace of spades, as are also his and her children; this wench is his second wife, and was undoubtedly a slave ere his wife departed this life. I assure you one can form but little idea of the degenerated state of society, the ignorance which prevails in this land of slaves and slavery until he has been here and witnessed the thing himself. Mrs. Stowe was charged with exaggeration but "Uncle Tom," and "Dred," are now here when the real truth is known. Contrabands are flocking in by scores and hundreds everyday. Oh, that the day may soon come when this cursed system of human bondage may be entirely wiped out. I sincerely hope that the rebellion that has been excited by these same slave dealers may result in the liberation of their slaves.
May 22d, 1862.
I have been delayed some days in finishing this epistle, for we have been very busy in attending to drills reviews. in sections, &c. the railroad bridge was completed on Monday last and the cars are now running daily between Fredericksburg and Acquia Creek. everything indicates a "forward to Richmond" move with two or three days and the opinion of our officers is now that we will meet the enemy in force before we get ten miles. The pickets from our regiment and the rebel pickets shoot at each other across the river; we have lost none as yet though many of their shots have been very close. Our boys have killed and wounded as they suppose some three or four. But I need not make my letter lengthy for there is not enough of interest to write at present. I am sir,
Your county's Ob't Serv't
From the 7th Regiment Camp
Opposite Fredericksburg, Va.
May 18th 1862
Dear Sir:-As today is the Sabbath and as beautiful a one too as man ever enjoyed, I thought I would again employ a few moments in speaking of things in this branch of the army of Uncle Samuel.
Well, we have been marched since I last wrote you some thirty miles to the banks of the Rappahannock, striking it at a small village called Falmouth, a dirty, dilapidated, antediluvian looking apology of a place for either a nigger or a white man to live in; yet it contains quite a respectable Cotton Factory, and possesses natural advantages which, if they were possessed by any one of the villages of Marquette, would have made it a city of thousands of inhabitants in on tenth of the time that Falmouth has been struggling to die, as judging from the tombstones in its grave yard, it must have been settled one hundred years ago - some of them bearing date, A.D. 1758.
From Falmouth we (our brigade) was marched out on the Acquia Creek R.R. to the crossing of Potomac Creek at which point we were halted for the purpose of rebuilding the bridge destroyed by the "rebs" in their retrograde movement from Acquia Creek on the Potomac river. It was entirely destroyed and the abutment's so badly injured as to be almost entirely useless, by an attempts to blow them up.
The bridge is sixty feet high supported by two stone piers it being about four hundred and fifty feet long.
We remained at that place a few days when we were ordered to march to this place leaving about one hundred men. Under the command of Lieut. L. E. Pond, of our Company, to help finish the work which has not yet been entirely completed, although the cars were able to cross it last night and the whistle of the locomotive was sounded in the ears of the Friends across the river this morning and it now stands on the track on the bank of the Rappahannock waiting impatiently to dash through the streets of the goodly little city of Fredericksburg and frighten the little niggers and pigs from its track, hauling Uncle Samuel's family on a summer tour, through to Richmond.
From the Seventh Regiment
(Correspondence of the Journal & Courier)
Camp 7th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers
Opposite Fredericksburg, Va.
May 18th, 1862
After marching and countermarching, we again
find ourselves pleasantly encamped on the banks of the Rappahannock directly opposite
the city of Fredericksburg.
The rebels, in their retreat, having burned all of the bridges at this point has somewhat delayed the advance of the troops. We have now completed one pontoon bridge and one bridge of canal boats and yesterday the railroad bridge was so far completed as to allow persons to cross on foot. A few more days and the track will be laid allowing trains to run to and some miles beyond the city.
Although not doing much in the way of fighting. still you must not get the idea that our brigade is lying around loose in a state of masterly inactivity. - during the past three weeks we have rebuilt some four or five railroad bridges, - one of 400 feet in length and 85 feet high and another 600 feet long and 50 high and have a few more of the same sort left to re-build as we advance. Gen. Patrick's Brigade is across the river, also some companies from our regiment and brigade, laying track and cutting ties for the completion of the railroad. Our forces have taken possession and are now running the extensive foundry and machine shop of Scott & Herndon.
They would probably have allowed the proprietors to retain quiet possession if they had not declined doing some work for Uncle Sam, no doubt hoping thereby to put us to a little inconvenience. A little delay was caused by the refusal; but if you could have been at the establishment a couple of hours later you might have seen a company of about 100 men taken from the different regiments march up to the said foundry, stack arms and walk in. The secesh proprietors were politely informed that their services would not be required as Uncle Sam had soldiers boys to run that "machine." In a few hours the boys had steam up and the whole establishment in good running order, engaged for the present principally in repairing engines, turning out castings and bolts for the bridges, car, wheels &c.
The day after taking possession some fiend or Secesh devil in human shape by some means entered the molding room and put a heavy charge of powder in one of the moulds expecting no doubt as the molten iron was poured in to send some of our boys to "kingdom come;" but fortunately the hellish scheme was discovered in time to prevent any serious results. The unfinished shot and shell lying around is pretty good evidence that the institution is decidedly Secesh.
Fredericksburg is a place about the size of Beloit and has, in former times, been quite a thriving place. The river is navigable to the place for vessels drawing eight feet of water. It has several flouring mills, a paper mill and cotton factory. The U. S. Government is running the flouring mills; the other "institutions" are having a very quiet time of it.
Last Sunday our pickets were driven in by a body of rebel cavalry. The result was our forces captured sixteen prisoners, and the rebels retired. Yesterday the pickets were amusing themselves firing back and forth trying the range if the guns.
From the Seventh Regiment - McDowell's
Camp opposite Fredericksburg Va.
May 19th 1862
Messrs Editors:- The Journal was received last night and right glad was I to get it as it contained the first news from Wisconsin since our party left the state.
When we reached the Regiment the last week in April it was encamped at Potomac Run, about 8.5 miles from Acquia Creek on the railroad to Fredericksburg, engaged in rebuilding some bridges destroyed by the rebels. They are now finished and the cars run from Acquia Creek to Fredericksburg.
Up to this time they have not crossed the Rappahannock, the bridge just having been finished but the track not yet laid down. The Western boys know how to build bridges as you would admit could you have seen the railroad bridge walk across the river. We have three bridges across now and will be ready to advance when called on. We have a fine army here and all the men want is a chance and the country will bear form them this morning we had our regular monthly inspection and are in good trim to move.
All our sick were sent off to Alexandria today. There were not very many and none seriously ill, One of the new recruits from Grant County, Munson, had his leg broken while at work on the bridge over Potomac Run. He is now in the hospital at Alexandria doing well. Mr. Britton of Platteville, who was shot sometime ago in the leg by a "secesh", is also doing very well. He was one of Gen McDowell's scouts. He is at Falmouth and the General has the best care taken of him.
We have a new Brigadier General Gen. Gibbon recently of Gibbon's Battery. He is an accomplished solder but it will be a long time before the boys think as much of him as they do of Gen. King.
This is a most beautiful country. One could wish for no better. The crops are all in and look finely. Who will take care of them when harvest time comes I cannot tell as most of the laboring class - "contrabands" - are coming to our camps.
They come in every day singly and in squads as large as twenty. We give them something to eat and some of the boys get them at very cheap rates to cook and do other things for them.
We have 12 or 15 in our company. You would laugh to see them maneuver. They do not like to work over well and some of the boys say it will take three or four of us to attend to them in a few months. You know that a soldier in camp has little to do beyond cooking and keeping himself and his arms and equipments in good order.
Still he likes to be a gentleman of leisure and as servants are so easily procured, it is handier to have them do our work then to do it ourselves.
So the officer now says when there is any police work to do- "Send down your man to do this or that."
When anything turns up I will let you know.
FROM THE SEVENTH REGIMENT
Camp in field near Richmond, May 27
DEAR RECORD:-AT THE TIME OF MY LAST WRITING I WAS AT WORK ON A RAILROAD BRIDGE
ACROSS THE POTOMAC CREEK. Which was completed on the 17th instant, and a train of cars passed over on the
18th to Fredericksburg. During my stay there I traversed a considerable portion
of country which is thinly settled, the real estate owners owing from 400 to
4,000 aces of land. There is scarcely any white inhabitants left in this
section. About one mile from the Potomac Creek there stands the remains of a
splendid brick church, nearly sixty feet square, the walls being two feet in
thickness and what remains are as firm as though just built. It was constructed
in 1716, of the Episcopal order, and used at the time of the Revolutionary struggle
as a stable for horses and has never been used for church purposes since the
time. I was informed by a Mr. Green who lives near, that the walls were in
perfect order until they were torn down by the secesh for building chimneys and
arches in tents.
On Sunday, the 25th, whilst we were enjoying ourselves and listening to the sacred word of the Gospel, we were suddenly aroused by a terrific explosion in Fredericksburg opposite our camp which proved to be a torpedo placed under a door stone by the rebels, and by which one of the Ohio boys lost his life. It was a deserted house, and he was told that he was in a dangerous place by a lady near. On being cautioned, (he) replied he was not afraid. The lady told him to raise the door stone and he would find out. He done so and himself and house was thrown into fragments.
On the 25th we were ordered to march at two o'clock in the afternoon. We were consequently in readiness, at the appointed hour, and crossed to Fredericksburg and took the road again to Richmond; marched about six miles along the pleasantest road I ever traveled. Upon either side were locusts and cedar trees forming a pleasant shade and presenting a beautiful appearance. The farms are under good state of cultivation; splendid orchards of peach and apple trees are numerous. The fields are rich to behold; wheat and rye headed out, clover fields in full blossom and thousand other specimens which adds music to the theme.
Provisions of all kinds sell at enormous prices which will be seen by the following: chickens 30-40 cents a piece; butter, 30 cents per pound; eggs 25 cents per dozen; cheese 20 cents per pound; sugar 30 cents per pound; potatoes one dollar per bushel; corn meal one dollar for fifty pounds.
During our march we observed a man seated on a horse by the side of the road and as we passed along the remark was made that he was suspicious looking. Before we camped the same person was seen trying the cross the fields on our left and get in advance. He was arrested and is now under guard as a spy. He proved to be a Captain and is very uneasy in his present situation.
It is reported that SHIELDS is in the rear and BANKS in front of old Stone Wall Jackson; just where SHIELDS has wanted him for some time. SHIELDS says JACKSON must be whipped - if his men stand by him - and judging from their appearance they will follow a leader like SHIELDS cheerfully.
The railroad bridge six miles from Fredericksburg will be completed to-day. The rest of our forces are seventeen miles distant and we have marching orders to morrow.