22ndMass / USSC Boston Branch
"Here's a yellow sash for six feet of Virginia soil..."
Captain John F. Dunning, 22nd MVI, Co. D
Cambridge Chronicle - January 25, 1862
Headquarters Co. D, 22d Reg. Mass. Vols.
Jan 14, 1862
Mr. Editor —Two important personages have arrived in our camp since yesterday morning — Uncle Sam's Paymaster, and old Winter, and both are "shelling out" freely, although welcomed with entirely opposite sentiments.
We are now enjoying (?) a real New England snow storm, about three inches of snow, on a level, having fallen during the night, with no signs of cessation, and our camp and its vicinity present a decidedly Massachusetts appearance.
We have almost made up our minds that wintering in our present quarters wouldn't be quite so "bad to take," but whether we shall do so or not is still an open question, the "powers that be" keeping a powerful silence.
In my last, I intended giving you an account of our Dress Parade on Christmas day, under the direction and command of the Sergeants. Being a holiday, and no duty, the Colonel gave permission to the Sergeants to have out their several companies, the Sergeants acting as commissioned officers. Accordingly it was done. Field and Staff officers were elected, and the parade conducetd in a manner which elicited the warmest encomiums from our officers, all of whom were lookers on. The only spice in the affair, was in the orders read by the Adjutant, some of which I give you, as I chance to have copies.
GENERAL ORDER NO. 19.
Head-Quarters Shoulderstar's Div.,
Dec. 24, 1861
"Tomorrow being Christmas, it is desirable that the day be spent in a manner which may be congenial and appropriate, and in order that it may be so spent, Commanders of posts will see that no duty is done within their jurisdiction, employing an extra police force to carry out this order if necessary, and all persons found violating shall be sentenced to promotion.
After the usual intermediate Brigade order transmitting the above, was
GENERAL ORDER NO. 69,782
Head-Quarters 650th Regiment Mass. Vols.,
Dec. 24, 1861
"In compliance with orders from Head quarters, to-morrow — Christmas —all duty, excepting that of having a good time generally on strictly temperance principles, will be dispensed with, drummers, buglers, and other similar nuisances are forbiden to make morning and night hideous by disturbing the rest, or hanging out lights in the camp.
"Offenders will be punished by being forced to listen to their own music an hour (if they can bear it) at a great distance from camp.
"Passes to other regiments, together with a small sum of money to defray incidentals, will be furnished to any who may wish to go; — the number from any one company not to exceed ninetyfive; — the remainder, together with the sick, being wanted for a Home Guard.
GENERAL ORDER NO. 69,783
"Commanders of companies will see that the arms, equipments, &c, of their respective commands are immediately put in perfect order, as an advance is looked for at any moment during the next three years, either to Fort Warren or elsewhere.
"The Ordnance Sergeant will attend to the repair of such arms, &c, as have been injured by being lain upon so much during the late alarms."
After the usual Guard Detail, parade was dismissed, the officers closed to the front and centre, and so ended the affair. The orders were relished by all, containing as they do, sundry local hits which to be appreciated require to be understood.
The closing part of No. 69,782, refers to one of our Captains, who, when officer of the day, at a time when the regiment was absent at a review, becoming alarmed at some distant muskets, ordered out cooks, fatigue, and the sick, adn kept them in line, under arms, for about an hour. The several hits were appreciated and some fun produced thereby.
Our Health Department is much as before, the hospital being pretty well filled. The severest case is that of Surgeon Warren himself; but all are, I believe, doing well.
The Eighteenth have lost another man since my last —a private of Co. G, he having died of typhoid fever. One of our boys, John Morgan, shot off the two upper joints of the fore and second fingers of the right hand, a few days since, and will receive his discharge. He was on guard, and while walking his beat, tripped and fell, and while picking up his gun, tbe lock became tangled in the leg of his pants, and discharged the piece while his fingers were over the muzzle.
Courts martial are having lively times here just now, and at almost every dress parade, batches of sentences are read of victims by the score.
Last night, ten or twelve were fined various sums, from six to ten dollars each, for having left the Guard House while on guard duty, without permission. Just now, these financial sentences are of peculiar interest. The hardest of the lot, were those from the General Court Martial, just adjourned, of two privates of the New York Seventeenth, who left their picket posts a short time since. Their sentencea were, two years and six months solitary confinement at hard labor in the penetentiary at Washington, all pay forfeited, and at the end of this time to be dishonorably discharged from the service; — rather a tough sentence, apparently, but when we think of the offence, and that the death penalty might have been inflicted, it appears more merciful. Thank Heaven! we have not yet been compelled to witness an execution in our Division, and I pray we never may be.
Last evening we had quite an exciting little time in our tent. Our stove-pipe, which goes up through the ventilator, set fire to the flap, which was soon in a blaze; however, it was, as the papers have it, soon extinguished without a general alarm, but not till my hands were pretty severely burned. We are having a holiday to-day on account of the snow-storm, and our quarters are quite a gay place. Euchre and muggins take precedence just now, interspersed with drollery. Corporal Frothy has just pronounced the following, and been sent to the Guard House uder arrest: "Why is the weather like a child with a cold in its head ?"
"Because, it blows, it snows."
The officer of the guard has sent him to the hospital in a straight jacket.
The Chronicle arrived last night, and I observe that your correspondents have been slightually amusing themselves by pitching into me. Like the big blacksmith, whose wife, a small woman by the way, was in the habit of using her hands rather freely upon him — I haven't any objections; it amuses them, and don't hurt me. W. D. G. comes first in order. In my communication alluded to, I do not believe there is anything that can be construed into any disrespect of either the intentions of the Committee furnishing the refreshmnts or the gift presented. No man has a greater reverence for the Christian institutions than myself, but I do believe that a sermon on the abuses of good living, preached to a starving audience, would be likely to go into one ear and out of the other; for, as everything has itss place — body first and Bible afterwards, and had there been more beef and less Bible, less giltedge and more grub — we should have felt more like listening, with some chance of profit to the prophets. And, furthermore, the whole thing was a swindle, as I was informed by Col. Wilson that he drew on the State of Massachusetts to pay for our living while in the city of New York.
And now for Hatteras, who, it seems to me has a cool way of misstating my original item and then criticising it. I presume, Mr. Editor, that all Chronicles of the same, date, are alike, and my paper of the date containing the article alluded to, spells the word found faulty, brewin' — or there might be a, or rather might have been a chance for dispute. As it is, I will content myself with a desperate attempt at a blush for his immense admiration of my punning.
[Mr. Editor, tell Mr. Oakes to be sure and italicise the words so marked, or no one will discover who Hatteras is. And if he spoils the point, he will tread on a-corn that will ache on until remedied.]
I have heard it said that "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh," and if this test be applied to Hatteras, it will account for his whereabouts when I was vainly seeking him on my recent passage through his camp, at the Relay House. Doubtless at some mart in which brewed articles are furnished.
more about you.