Cambridge Chronicle - February 8, 1862
HeadQuarters Co. D., 22d Reg't Mass. Vols.
Hall's Hill, Va.,
February 3, 1862
Mr. Editor: — The rainy season still holds its reign, and also holds us weather bound — for it is now impossible to move, until the soil becomes sufficiently hardened to admit of the transportation of artillery and heavy camp furniture; consequently, we are still an army of occupation, and wear away the time as pleasantly as possible, confined as we are to our quarters, and wait patiently (?) like the immortal Micawber, for "something to turn up."
The worst feature in the case is, that the time is worse than wasted; for, as "an idle brain is the devil's workshop," so among the various expedients resorted to by some for killing time, is gambling; and despite the energetic action of our Colonel, whose watchful eye is ever open, seconded by the officers of the regiment, many of the boys, on pay day, only receive their money to pay it away immediately; and Adams & Co. are saved writing receipts by the consolidation into one, of certain sums which thus are sent to one when they should go to several.
A soldiers' pay, in itself, is very small, and every cent should be looked after closely.
Speaking of pay reminds me of a kindred subject, viz., clothing. And I would like to ask for information, of some one posted in the matter, whether the blankets lately distributed to us as a donation, are a donation to us or to the United States; and if to the former, why they are charged in our clothing account, for forty-five dollars is soon exhausted if any extras are put in.
Yesterday, by order of General Porter, little flimsy things, made, or rather thrown together, of cheap material, slazy canvas, skeleton buckles, poorly put on, and everything to correspond, and dignified by the title of leggings, were distributed all through our Division, and our clothing account is made to suffer accordingly.
I question the propriety, if not the right, of those in power, to distribute to us, as part of our clothing, articles like these, particularly situated as we now are, a large majority of the boys having been to the expense of purchasing boots, the shoes furnished by government being useless when the soil is simply mud varying from three to ten inches in depth; and, having boots, these things are simply in the way, and only amount to another article to add to their budget on the march. However, I don't know as it makes a great deal of difference; and we have the old grain of comfort: "it will be all the same in a hundred years."
To-day the monotony is relieved by substituting snow for rain, and wo are having plenty of it.
Furloughs are granted very sparingly, but few being among the lucky ones. To-day, our Orderly Sergeant, Robert S. Nodine, leaves on a short one of eight days, to visit friends in Boston, and applications are daily being sent in for action. About one in ten will be lucky, and the rest must "grin and bear it."
It is rumored that our regiment is to be used as skirmishers for the division, our excellent average in target practice having excelled any other battalion in our vicinity; and accordingly we are drilled as skirmishers by bugle call, and are ordered to continue target practice, three shots per day per man, till further orders. Division, Battalion, and Company prizes for best shots have eebn offered for competition, and it is anticipated, that when the weather will admit, some good shooting will be shown.
The boys in Co. G are in as good health and spirits as usual, and, like all the rest, "eager for the fray."
F. N. S.