Cambridge Chronicle - November 9, 1861
22d Reg't Mass. Vols.
Hall's Hill, Near Falls Church, Va
November 9, 1861
Mr. Editor - Many thanks for your liberal supply of papers. They reach me with each mail, and are extremely welcome; in fact, they are almost regimental property.
Matters remain in much the same state as when I wrote last, and we begin to fear we are doomed to go into winter quarters somewhere in this immediate vicinity, or in Washington. To do either is discouraging enough.
Our expectation, since the sailing of our great expedition, has been that it would open for us a passage into seceshdom, and that on some bright and glorious morning, we should here the welcome order - "Forward, march!" This prospect, however, is daily becoming a "disolving view", and we are compelled to "wait for the waggin'" (of the tongue which is to give the order - don't you see the pint?) to the melancholy music of "Fading - still fading".
The time, however, is not wasted, as we are kept constantly at work improving our drill - of late, mostly loading and firing.
We were startled, a day or two since, by the arrival of news that our fleet had taken Sumter, and Charleston was in our hands; but that has proved "How vain are all things here below!" particularly any news which seems to present our side in a favorable light, and we shall soon get into the habit of believing nothing except tidings of disaster and loss, for they have never proved a mistake.
In my last, I introduced some of our officers, &c. With your permission, I will initiate you into some of our institutions, and show you how we relive the monotony of camp life.
Lieutenant W. H. White
We have a good quartette, and also a small orchestra. The former consists of Marshall S. Pike (our Drum Major), Lieut. White, of our Co., Lieut. Richardson, of Co. G., Cambridge, and myself. We have as yet been unable to rehearse much, as our First Lieut. has been sick for some time, and now Mr. Pike is in the hospital. The orchestra consists of Messrs. Backus, Forbes (Johnny Forbes the drummer), Wheeler, and others of the Band, assisted by Lieut. Wm. D. Morris, of Co. B., who, with his flute and French and Italian songs, is decidedly an institution. If we are fated to winter quarters, we shall manage to pass our time pleasantly. In our tent we have had some little sport of late.
The sergeants and others messing with us have started a sort of lodge, which coming to the knowledge of some others outside our number, fired their curiousity to such a pitch that nothing short of initiation into its mysteries would satisfy them, and accordingly two or three of them applied for admittance. "We didn't se it in that light" exactly, but as we wished to be accommodating, we selected one of them, rather a "spooney", and somewhat unpopular at the time, though he has improved somewhat since, and made arrangements for his initiation.
Accordingly, at night, we put him through an initition into its mysteries, which he will not soon forget, neither will the witnesses and actors. Our Captain was concealed under some blankets in the tent, and was a pleased participant; in fact, he goes in for anything in the shape of fun, off duty, and is a member of our institution. For the next victim, we have got a new initiation, which will come off soon.
Night before last we had some rare sport with our Lieutenants. I had been assisting our sutler until "taps" - 9 1/2 o'clock - and had just returned to our tent with some pies for a treat for the mess. It chanced that the Captain saw me bring them in, and he accordingly rushed in for his share, which as a member of the lodge, he was entitled to. I got them all nicely cut, when the Lieutenants made a rush through the opening, knocked over and put out the candles, seized upon a pie, and bore it off in triumph. We had enough, however, and did not miss it, but we vowed revenge, and - waited.
The next morning the Lieutenants crowed lustily over their success, and taunting us with such questions, as - "How do pies go?" But "things was working". After breakfast, we all seized our empty pans, &c, and , forming a line, we charged into their quarters, clanging our dishes, and after a tussle bore off three pies and a large plate of griddles, which they were in the act of devouring, being at breakfast; in fact, to use the classic language of Lieut. Symonds, in giving an account (not a complaint) of it to the Captain, we "cleaned them out" completely; but we sent them their griddles again, as we did not want them to go hungry. We are on the watch for them, as we do not imagine we have seen the last of this.
Our regiment are looking with eager eyes for pay-day, which, we are informed, is close at hand.
Frank N. Scott