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 - November 2, 1861
22d Reg't Mass Vols.
Hall's Hill, near Falls Church, Va.,
October 29th, 1861
Mr. Editor, I observe in my Washington letter, that I stated that the "long roll is beating," &c, which is in error; the regular roll, " fall in," was sounding as I closed, and shortly afterward we were on our "winding way" through just about the meanest looking piece of country extant.
Since my last, nothing new or of interest has transpired - the regular daily routine of camp life and duty being unbroken by anything which would relieve its monotony.
The only incident which can he called of sufficient note to record, was our review by Maj. Gen. McClellann on Saturday last.
Our entire division, commanded by Brevet Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter, consisting of the brigades of Brig. Gens Morell, Martindale (of which our regiment is a part), and Butterfield, in all to some 13,000 infantry, 250 artillery, consisting of two companies of Rhode Island and our own, Follet's and a squadron of 300 Kentucky cavalry — passed in review before the General and Staff, in presence of a large concourse of spectators, military and others, who had come from Washington and elsewhere to witness the spectacle. It was a glorious sight, the greatest I ever saw.
The long and apparently endless lines of infantry, with their glistening bayonets flashing back the rays of light; the thundering rush of artillery, the onward sweep of cavalry, shaking old mother earth to her very centre, as it seemed, the wave of our glorious banner, the quick commands of the officers, the roar of artillery, and the rattling of musketry; the ever-changing tide as the troops deployed from column to line and the reverse; the dash of "double quick," and the more sober but surer advance in column, — formed a combination of incidents which, to a novice in military on a scale as massive, was intense enjoyment.
Of Gen McClellan, my impression is, that in his hands I am willing to place my life and destiny, and blindly go where he may direct; for if the future of our country is not safer with him, then fortune is against us. His look is an inspiration, and his appearance at any time and place must create in the minds of his command a sentiment confidence, without which all else is vain. He is the man for the times and for the place, and if restless demagogues are allowed to weaken that trust and confidence, or make any movements to remove him (which rumor says nre already on foot), then with them must rest the dire responsibility.
Various speculations are afloat in relation to what is to be done with us - some affingirm that we are going back to Washington into winter barracks; others that we are to go on; and still others that our final rest will be in Richmond. But, as it is impossible that all of these should be the case, I think that the best thing I can do is to wait patiently, attend to my duties, and in my brief leisure seasons attend to reading and answering the welcome letters which from time to time come to me from a few friends, who still think it worth while to waste a few moments and a little stationery in writing to me.
I promised in my Inst to make you acquaintcd with our regimental and company officers; but I believe that I will defer the introduction, as we are as yet a little unsettled in regard to regimental officers, as our old and well beloved Col. Wilson has left us, and our new colonel hns not as yet taken command.
The band is playing Viva l'America, and I cannot resist the impulse to pay them a visit at their quarters, which are immediately in the rear of ours.
Frank N. Scott