Camp near Falmouth, Va. 8 A.M. Start for the picket line. Snowing. 12 mi. reach the picket line, six miles from Camp. Snow four inches deep. 2 P.M., raining.
Headquarters 2nd Divn
Near Falmouth, Va.
My dearest children
I want to tell you about a little boy about the age of Grace. The other night just at evening I was sitting before the fire a knock at my tent door: “come in;” when in bounced a little black eyed boy. He looked something like this little fellow, with his pants rolled up near the tops of his little boots. A large man followed him. “Well where did you come from!” No answer, only eyes sparkle. Then, “What’s your name.” Willie. Willie’s uncle had been traveling around with Willie trying to find his father in the 98 Tenn. Regiment all that afternoon. It was in Gen. Sedgwick’s Corps people had sent him to Gen. Sedgwick’s old Division. I was delighted. He looked at my tongs, handled my shovel called for my poker and insisted that that was not a poker but a cane. He got hold of the black end of the tongs and I had to wash his hands. He next had my photographs and in an instant was out begging for a ride on a horse. Uncle Charlie gave him one – it was near night – and the boy and uncle had as much as five miles to go. I kissed the little boy and sent him off in an ambulance. I asked him while here where his mother was – he said in her grave. His uncle said he was an only son – and his father was a Lieutenant in the army.
The men awoke pretty well rested, but many of them rather foot-sore. Spent the day quietly in camp, getting rested. This march was altogether the hardest we have ever had, & was no doubt designed partly as a “toughener” for others that are to follow. A long train of empty wagons followed us up yesterday, & turned off toward the river a little to the rear of the spot where we formed in line & brought out 100 bales of cotton which they carried to Baton Rouge on acct. of Government. It would probably have seen been burned by guerillas had it not been secured as it was. Some think that the sole object of our move was to secure this cotton, & perhaps it “paid” aside from the discipline the men received. A company made up by details from all the companies of our Reg. & commanded by Capt. Wood, was sent this afternoon to Baton Rouge to bring up all the men of the Brigade that were left behind either sick in tents or hospitals that may now be able to march, & all stragglers that are there.
Sergt. Chapman & two men went from our Co. The man have got pretty well rested today, & by another day will be all ready for another March if wanted. Through the goodness of God my health & strength have been continued to me, and I have borne the fatigue of our marches as well as the strongest man of my company.
My dear nephew Guy
Grandmother Gilmore came up last evening and we heard all about you and Grace and Jamie and your Mamma. We have not heard for a long time before and were glad that Jamie has gotten over his cough – that Guy can read in the Bible as well as anybody and that Grace has improved very much. I went to Brunswick after your Papa went back, to see him! But he went the day before. What a good time you must have had going to meet him!
Your loving uncle, Rowland
I am sure, Mr. Hubbard, you will readily excuse my silence when you understand the causes. I think I wrote you that Father and Lillie were sick, Lillie improved temporarily, but Father was quite sick for several weeks, as soon as he was able to [dress?] I went with him to Phila. We had been there only two weeks when we were summoned home by my little Lillie’s death. She had been an invalid for nearly eleven years with Consumption but her death was sudden still. The last wish of her life, she suffered immensely, but throughout she was patient and happy trusting in “Jesus who died for her.” I am only sorry I could not have been with her at the last. We cannot regret her death for it was a blessed release to the little sufferer. [...]
Soon after breakfast our Reg. moved back a few rods into the woods to dryer ground, where we pitched our shelter tents, & [illeg. word] out our clothes to dry, & had a general cleaning up, & an inspection of arms & ammunition. At 3 P.M. packed up & marched about ¾ mile to a field not far from the river, where our Brigade pitched their tents & spent the night.
It was very cold and cloudy this morning, but it moderated in the afternoon and rained in the evening with thunder and lightening. Was due to the 5th in the afternoon, staid with C. until nine o’clock. Reading Bulwer’s “Night and Morning.” Had a call today from the Chaplain of the 104th.
Camp near Fletchers Chapel Va.
[…] They all seemed very glad to see me back, especially Bundy, who said he could not sleep with anyone but me. He tried a number while I was gone [on furlough]. I was very glad to find the box here. I suppose you have got Henry’s letter in regard to it before this. I like the contents very much. The boots, which you thought so clumsy, are just what I wanted, and they fit me very nicely. I expect they will last more than a year. And the slippers, which I expected to find perfect flat boats, from what you all said, are the admiration of all who have seen them. They are exactly the think to wear ’round camp. […]
Another cold day. Went to the Commissary in the morning, in afternoon went to the 5th. C. came about 4 o’clock, brought me a beautiful bible from mother – country living and city thinking from Mary, a bottle of ketchup from Mrs. Dr. Homer – and a pr. of boots and slippers mat he bought in Washington. Enjoyed his visit much.
This has been an idle week, thus far. The first of the week we were ordered to pack up all extra clothing, keeping in the knapsacks only great coats, blankets & one pair stockings. We boxed up the rest of the men’s clothing & stored it, with the officers’ baggage at the Brigade Commissary’s. Drew shelter tents, one for every two men, one piece to be carried in each knapsack. We have been waiting orders to march, probably toward Port Hudson. The hospitals have been cleared to a considerable extent, by sending a large number of the patients to New Orleans. Day before yesterday (March 10th) Lt. R. started for N.O. with the following men of the Co. who were thought by our surgeons fit candidates for the change: O. Booker, Alb. Brown, S. S. Buzzell, Ellis, Ham, F. Holbrook, C. H. Huston, C. E. & D. Skillin, Badger, Baker & Turner. Turner met with an accident by the careless handling of a pistol. It went off & the ball passed through his leg below the knee. He will not probably be confined very long. Besides these, Varney, G. F. Davis, & J. M. Wing were sent to N.O. from the Gen. Hospital, making fifteen from Co. H that have gone there, besides Lt. R. A few will have to be left in camp when the troops march—probably fifty or more from the Reg. who are too weak to carry the load required but am not quite sick enough to go to the hospital. The Adjutant is to be left in care of the camp during our absence. We are ordered (& have been for two days past) to keep two days rations cooked, & in the haversacks. Have been writing a letter to Pamelia informing her that we are under “marching order,” & shall keep it open till we are ordered to fall in.