Bivouac in the woods. Moved into the woods early this morning. Good fires part of the day. Roast meat relishes well today. Civilized people would have been surprised to have seen us eat. Rebels distinctly seen today. Cold and winter-like but fair. Two incidents today. A little flour left at the foot of a tree by the rebels was eagerly scraped up by me. A cabbage leaf was relished. Not because I was hungry but a change is exceedingly desirable.
Bivouac in the open field. Changed position this morning and dress up behind a hill in support of batteries posted on top. About eight cannonading commenced, but a few guns only were fired. One shell past very near the fire around which we were seated. It made some scattering. Gens. Meade and French were along the lines and surveyed the enemy’s position. They occupied, i.e., the rebels, a range of hills extending in an arc of a circle for a long distance, some mile and a half in front of us. We might have charged across the plain and ravine and taken the rifle pits and redoubts but it would have been done at a great sacrifice of life. Breast-works thrown up on the hill. Rails brought. Very cold and windy, as we sat in the open field and waited for orders to move, to fight, to make ourselves as comfortable as possible.
I received your letter for the 22d. inst., you complained of my short letters. I think we are about even on that item. I write so often once a week. I can not make out a very long letter.
I have written a letter to Mother which I will send in this mail. I spoke to her about a Christmas box. I hope you all will think favorably of the plan. There is only a month to get it ready.
I hope you will excuse my short letter this time since I have written another long one home.
Your Affectionate Son,
Head Quarters, First Division Dept. West Virginia, Harper’s Ferry, Va.
Special Orders No. 39
Lieut. A.S. Buchanan A.D.C. is hereby ordered to proceed to Washington, D.C. in charge of a citizen prisoner (Moses Ankew) ordered to be forwarded to that place by order of the Secretary of War.
The Dept. Quartermaster will furnish the necessary transportation.
My Dear Brother,
Father has written you this mail, but the letter is sealed, so I must send a separate envelope. I wrote you some time since, but I fear you did not receive the letter, for I did not put on the outside the name of the county. I wrote in regards to my going to California. I was finally decided to go, so you may expect me soon. I shall try to get an opportunity to teach. What do you think of it? I should wait to hear from you, if it did not take eight weeks. So it is I think I had best go without. I shall want a good boarding place secured before I arrive so that I can go immediately to it. Everything will be very new to me, but I can in a little while, I guess, learn their manners and customs. I wish I knew exactly what things to purchase so that I should not have to pay so high for them there.
I should rather teach Drawing than anything else, but most anything I should be willing to teach. […]
Utica, New York
You will probably remember that upon an occasion some three months since while going from Washington to Philadelphia, that I chanced to become known to you, and that we then had some conversation relative to your son who was mortally wounded at the second battle of Bull Run.
I have recently been looking over some of my notes taken during Gen. Popes’ Campaign in Virginia, touching upon matters in which I was personally an actor or writer of, and being impressed with the thought that probably you have but little of the history of the past enacted by your brave son in that unfortunate campaign, it has therefore occurd to me that it would be gratifying to you to be put in possession of even such brief and broken threads of the history of him as a military acquaintance who very often had official and quite frequently conversation of a more social character with, could note down amid the hurried and exciting duties of those times. This thought is suggested from the impression that you remarked to the effect that you had but little information as to his military acts, especially as connected with the battle of Bull Run. […]
Your obedient servant,
William Henry Christian
Adjts Office 20th Maine Vols, Camp at Mountain Bear Creek
My Dear Brother:
We moved today as was expected- the “Army of the Potomac” marched but it was like movement of that French General, “who marched 10,000 men up a hill and then marched them down!” For we are back in our old camp tonight, as easily as if nothing had happened but no fault. [...]
Last night our brave and respected Brigade Commander, Col. DeTrobriand reported, “relieved of his command.” This is much to our sorrow, for he was a fine military man. Busy around camp. Sutler camp up. Six apples eaten. Fine day though somewhat chilly. Our friend the Steward, Colman, mustered as Asst. Surgeon today. His commission came last week. A worthy young man meriting the promotion so long due him.
I received your letter of the 15th. inst. mailed on 17th. on Thursday, with an interesting letter from Mother enclosed. I wish she would write oftener if she can find time. I will answer her letter soon.
How I wish I could be with you at Thanksgiving. This will be the third Thanksgiving I have spent at West Point. I hope I shall spend the fourth here and the fifth I hope to spend with you in Limington. This will be the first Thanksgiving we ever had here. We shall have no extra dinner, the only difference is no Academic duties and Church in the forenoon.
I want a good dinner and I can not get it with out money you know. Can you let me have some? I should like to have about three dollars ($3.00). I owe Tolman, my roommate, a dollar that I borrowed before going on Furlough which I should like to pay, and besides something to eat. Thanksgiving I want quite a number of little things which I can get at the Sutlers. If you can let me have it, I wish you would send it as soon as possible. I think I need this money or I certainly would not ask for it.
As soon as I get time I will send my demerits for September.
Your Affectionate Son