22ndMass / USSC Boston Branch
"Here's a yellow sash for six feet of Virginia soil..."
Captain John F. Dunning, 22nd MVI, Co. D
Woburn Weekly Budget - December 27, 1861
22d Reg. Mass. Volunteers
Hall's Hill, Va.
December 27, 1861
My last letter was dated "Camp Holmes", but the Budget readers must not suppose from this change of name that our regiment has moved. It still remains on the airy summit of Hall's Hill, and the encampment will hereafter be known (by order of Col. Gove) as "Camp Wilson", in honor of Hon. Col. Henry Wilson. Today the wind is blowing hard, and we feel its full force in our exposed situation. It is not very cold, and we are reminded of March weather at home. Since I arrived here the weather has been very fine and with but one or two exceptions. Last Monday was one of these. Sunday evening was rainy, and during the night the storm increased. Monday the wind blew a gale and rain and hail fell at intervals all day. Monday night was very cold and disagreeable; some of the tents were blown down in neighboring encampments, and much of the evergreen ornamental work prepared for Christmas was laid low. The storm cleared away Tuesday morning, the ground was hardened by a frost and consequently we had a good day for our holiday.
Christmas has come and gone, bringing with it the usual merry joyfulness and leaving behind many pleasant recollections. The friends at home doubtless had a "merry christmas"; if not it ws not for no want of wishing on the part of the soldier lads in the army. With fewer convenience for enjoyment than commonly at their disposal, the soldiers did manage, as far as my observation went, to have a very good time. All the camps about were decorated very tastefully, and it was a sight worth seeing to witness the ingenuity displayed.
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