Cambridge Chronicle - November 23, 1861
Headquarters 22d Reg't Mass. Vols.
Hall's Hill, Near Fall Church, Va.,
Nov. 14, 1861
MR. EDITOR, -As usual with newspaper correspondents, and to show that I am learning my biz, I will occupy the usual space in correcting errors of omission and commission in my preceding communications.
In the first place, then, I omitted mention of our present efficient and popular Quartermaster, H. A. Roger, of Natick ; I believe than whom a better or more accommodating ofifcer never was commissioned, he is, in fact, a model Quartermaster; and I do not know of any instances of the usual grumbling at men in his office. In the next place, I believe I located our Adjutant in Newton, when I should have placed him in Dedham.
Our new Colonel arrived among us last evening, and the band gave him the usual complimentary serenade. He looks every inch a soldier, and we are looking for vigorous drill, and a marked improvement as the result.
We are just now enjoying a delightful series of beautiful nights, and I can tell you who have never seen a summer sunset, or passed a summer night in this locality, you can form no conception of its beauty ; in fact, the "silver moonlight" is wanted to add the finishing touch, and on the evenings that music is added by our band — and they have favored us liberally during these pleasant evenings — nothing has been wanting but one thing, which we cannot have, to render the scene perfect.
By the way, Mr. Editor, I must acknowledge to having felt a touch of homesickness; my first attack, for I have resolutely set my face against all sensations of that kind.
Last Sunday morning, myself and a comrade took a stroll outside our lines, a mile or so, in the direction of Georgetown, and while enjoying the day — for it was a delightful one — from the direction of that place, there came the sound of a church bell — the first I have heard since leaving home. You cannot imagine what a tide of recollections swept across my mind. I pictured to myself the familiar spot towards which, with each returning Sabbath, I was wont, for so long a time, to wend my way. I saw the congregation in their accustomed places, and I could hear the tones of the organ I have so many times listened to with a pleasure which to me now seems tame and unappreciative. The blending harmony of the choir, and — but I shall have a relapse, and that will, as is the rule, be worse than the first run of the disorder; — and "none but he who feels it knows" how awful a feeling is homesickness.
We have nothing new or stirring at present with us — our sole items of interest, outside our daily routine of duty, being reports from our pickets — the latest of which, by the way, is, that Secesh is pushing his pickets nearer and nearer daily, and he threatens that before a fortnight he will occupy our present quarters, which of course we don't believe.
"Let'em come; we're armed;" but "tell it not in Gath," nor let the sound reach the C. S. A., with just the meanest lot of rifles that ever disgraced an army.
It is amusing sometimes to see the boys at target practice, and hear their raillery at some poor unfortunate whose gun won't work. Snap goes tbe cap — miss fire. "Try again" — "bring a bucket of water" — "here's a match" — "strike a light" — and numerous other similar utterances are liberally bestowed.
This would be amusing were it all; but when one reflects on the situation of men armed with such weapons, in a hostile country, in the very face of an enemy whose lines are daily nearing them, then it assumes an aspect anything but funny, and we "can't see where the laugh comes in."
However, as matters are, we have no hope of any active work; there's no such good luck.
Our regiment, and in fact, our entire brigade, are away on fatigue duty to-day, clearing up a large place for our great review, by Gen. McClelland and others, to take place, it is expected, within a week. Four divisions — about 50,000 men — are to be reviewed; and we, who have never witnessed anything of the kind, are expecting a great treat.
We, that is, our division, was reviewed by Gen. MeClellan last Saturday, in a driving rain-storm, and you may believe we got most thoroughly drenched. Whew ! I haven't got dried yet.
Capt. Whorf's Company are all well, I believe, at the present time, and attend closely to their drilling. Their officers, com. and non-com , are all efficient, and they bid fair, in a short time, to stand second to none. Our regiment, as a whole, are daily improving in drill, and when our new Colonel takes hold, I suppose the improvement will be more marked.
F. N. S.