Woburn Weekly Budget - December 22, 1861
22d Reg. Mass. Volunteers
Hall's Hill, Va.
December 22, 1861
In company with a friend a day or two since, I walked out to the encampment of the 62d Pennsylvania volunteers and as we strolled along, my foot struck a meerschaum pipe. My friend had a good tobacco burner with him, and as I don't consider a pipe an indespensible article, we passed it by with a heedless kick. Next day, walking in another direction, we found a very good stem for what might have been a nice pipe. My friend then remembered the rejected bowl of the previous day, and wished he had secured it, as it then would have made a perfect pipe. However, he picked up the stem, and we are on the lookout for a bowl to it; when he finds one he shall furnish the Budget readers with the camp "reveries of a bachelor", drawn from the smoke clouds of a Virginian meerschaum. This incident reminds me of the man who found a horse shoe in the street and then went home and commenced building a barn. His neighbor asked him why he did so, and he replied that he had found a horse shoe and might someday find three more; it was ot impossible that he might find a horse, and in anticipation of the event he was resolved to build a barn. To this the neighbor objected, and would never submit to having a barn built where a horse might be kept that would kick his children, so the two fell out, and the peace of the families was destroyed by a worthless horse shoe. If we ever succeed in finding a bowl for our pipe, I will write you if it should affect our friendly relations.It is but a step from the sublime to the ridiculous as will be seen by the following verses, which were written by a soldier who suffered some annoyance from several members of his mess who occupy a portion of the tent which they have named "Five Points", and whose quarlesome habits when together it would seem are only excelled by their gastronomic ablities. The verses are sung to the tune "Hebron". The verses were not intended for publication, I presume, but having procured a copy, the Budget readers shall have a specimen of camp poetry.
Just look into the horrid den,
And see those forms, some call them men,
They'll eat and drink and rave and tear,
But never offer up a prayer.
At early dawn, when out on drill,
They lunge and thrust like pigs for swill,
And when into their nest they creep,
Their first word is, "What Shall I eat?"
Oh! may they turn and seek the Lord,
And praise his name with one accord,
For in that blessed world above,
There'll be no calling out for grub.
A soldiers church has been organized in our regiment and promises to be a very successful institution. Last Sunday evening the chaplain invited members of churches to meet at his quarters on the Tuesday following for the purpose of forming a soldier's church for the regiment. A meeting was accordingly held and a covenant and articles of faith adopted. These are simple, and embrace the "Apostle's Creed", with a few additions suitable to the wants of this novel society.
The officers consist of a Chairmen, who shall be the regimental chaplain, a treasurer and secretary, and a standing committee composed of one member form each denomination represented in the church. There are about thirty members enrolled, five of whom have experienced religion since coming to camp. The officers are chaplian, Rev. Mr. Cormack; Secretary and Treasurer, George Burnett, sharpshooter; Standing Committee, P. W. Gorham, Methodist, Co. F, Thomas Boardman, Episcopal, Co. A, G. W. Carleton, Baptist, Co. D. A. B. Emerson, Othrodox, Co. D. On Sundays there is a morning service on the parade at half-past ten, Bible Class at 2 P.M., and prayer meetings at 6 1/2 P.M. Tuesday evening there is a prayer meeting, and on Thursday evening a class meeting. Tese meetings are held in the chaplain's tent which is too small to accommodate those who wish to attend. The purchase of a large tent is under discussion, and a canvas which could accommodate three to four hundred persons would be a great accommodation. If one is procured it will beused for literary and musical gatherings as well as religious meetings.
Col. Gove is strict disciplinarian, and officers as well as men must conform to the regulations of the service. Several non-commissioned officers have recently had a lesson in discipline which they will be slow to forget. The men have great confidence in him, and he will do well by them if they but do theor duty.
Yesterday, a captain's servant crossed the line on his way to the Brigade Commissary, but was ordered to halt by the sentry; he disregarded the order and kept on, and was again ordered to halt, which he did not do, when teh sentinel fired upon him. The shot did not strike the man, but he took the hint and came back. The officer of the day being in doubt about the sentry's conduct, being in the daylight, reported teh case to the colonel who said the sentinel did just right; that any man refusing to stand when ordered to do so by the guard, should be fired upon.
Yesterday, Henry Williams, a sharpshooter, died in the hospital of typhoid fever. His body will be sent home tomorrow. He belonged in Lynn and was 34 years of age.
Last Monday, Major Tilton arrested and brought in a slave, whom he found near our line of pickets. Had he been a little sooner, he would have got is rebel master. The negro was a very old man, and but little could be got from him in teh way of information.
On Friday our attention was attracted by the booming of cannon in the direcion of Fairfax. It continued without intermission for half an hour. We heard next day there was an engagement at Drainsville between four regiments of rebel infantry and a portion of McCall's division which is situated about three miles to the right of us. The rebels wre completely outed with a loss of sixty killed and nineteen wounded. They left behind them two caissons, a quantity of small arms, blankets, overcoats, etc. The federal loss ws ten killed and fifteen wounded. The battle lasted an hour and a half when the rebels fled precipitately.
There was a review of Gen. Porter's division at Ball's Cross Road yesterday. There were about 15000 troops on the field, and the spectacle was a grand one. They were reviewed by Gen. McClellan and staff and Secretary Cameron. There was a large concourse of visitors, including the principle military leaders of the army of the Potomac. The 83d and 62d Pennsylvania regiments were each presented with a splendid stand of national colors just before the review. Both of these regiments have lately been furnished with the French Chasseur uniform which is very unique, and doubtless looks well on a Frenchmen, but think does not improve the appearance of the regiments now wearing them.
Pvt Temple 62d Penn Vol Inf
After the troops were excercised in theie usual evolutions,and appeared very well. From an elevated position, the different batteries, squadrons and brigades had the appearance of contending forces, and the booming of cannon, the rattle of musketry, and the sulphurous smoke gave the illusion of a real battle. Everything passed off satisfactorily, and his general-in-chief seemed pleased with the appearance of his division of his army. I had a fine opportunity of seeing Gen. mcClellan, and found him accurately represented by the portraits which I had seen, with the single exception of moustache, which is very light - red some call it - as is also his complexion, which from his portraits I had judged to be dark.
All the camps about us have put on robes of green in anticipation of teh approaching Christmas. the soldiers have set cedars and pines about their tents, and over the entrance to the camps, evergreen arches with appropriate ornaments, are erected. Camp Holmes (our camp) is neatly decorated in the company streets, in ingenuity of the men being everywhere apparent. The regiment had orders on Tuesday to fix up their tents with logs, which smacks strongly of winter quarters, but we can't tell. A trench is dug about two feet deep around the tent and chestnut logs about five feet long placed upright all round the trench. The tent is pitched on top of these, the cracks between the logs plastered up, and a strong and warm wooden wall three feet high is secured. This renders the tent warm and roomy, and the boys will not suffer very much if compelled to stay here all winter.
Our mail arrangements are very poor, though we pay enough to have the very best. If this letter reaches you in time for the Budget of Dec. 27th, it will fare better than may private letters from the regiment. I hope we shall have an improvement before long.
John Lord Parker