Woburn Weekly Budget - January 11, 1862
22d Reg. Mass. Volunteers
Hall's Hill, Va.
January 11, 1862
Last Sunday the sacraments of the Lord's Supper was administered on the parade ground of the regiment. The soldier's church, of which I spoke in a previous letter, now numbers about fifty members. The services on Sunday were very interesting, the more so from the fact that two young men who have experienced religion since joining the regiment, recieved the rite of bapitism and were enrolled as members of the church. The chaplain of the 44th New York regiment, Rev. Mr. Pease, Rev. Mr. Brown, of teh Stockton (4th Michigan) regiment and Rev. Mr. Fowler, of the 83d Pennsylvania regiment, assisted in the ceremonies of the occasion. The excercises were similar to those on the like occaison at home. The candidates for baptism were Leroy S. Champion, of Co. A, and Gerando J. Watson, Co. F. The sacrament was partaken of by a large number of soldiers who are members of churches at home, and I noticed the wife of one of the captains among the communicants. There was a large attendance of spectators, as a communion in camp is a novel spectacle, and there can be no doubt that the solemnity of the occasion will have a good effect on the regiment.
On Saturday last, private Geo. Booth, of the 18th Mass. regiment, committed suicide under peculiar circumstances. He was a coward, and his fears so worked upon him that he dreaded a battle as the certain means of his death. He lost his ambition, if he ever had any, would not do his duty, and becoming sick applied for a discharge. It is a long story, this getting a discharge, and the delay to him was more then he could bear. He meditated suicide as a remedy for his trouble. One night while on picket guard not long since, he cocked his rifle, laid down with it, the muzzle resting under his chin, and a string tied to the trigger he fastened to his foot; he went to sleep in this position, expecting that if he turned in his sleep the rifle would be discharged and he never awaken. He was disapointed in this, however, for when he turned the rifle was thrown to one side, and although it went off he escaped unhurt. Last Sunday he went into the "dead tent" of his regiment, hung his piece on a nail, muzzle down. He then kneeled down, seized the gun by the muzzle, and pulling it was discharged, the shot passing through his body and lodging in his cartridge-box. He belonged to New Bedford, where he has a wife and three children. His body was sent home. His captain had recieved the discharge of the man, and would have given it to him on that day.
Sunday night we had a snow storm, and snow fell to th depth of one inch. Next morning it was too cold for snowballing, but the parade ground and company streets had all to be cleared of snow, which made work for all the men. Tuesday night we had rain and hail, and slippery going it was too. Yesterday began with rain and then cleared off warm, but at evening a heavy fog settled down, and during the night rain fell, so that today Hall's Hill is one of the muddiest places I ever visited. We have no sidewalks, and boards are to scarce to be used as footways over the mud, so we have to make the best of it, and lucky he who can sport a pair of boots. Virginia is the stickiest kind of mud, a sort of red clay, all vey well when used as a substitute for mortar, but nasty stuff to walk in. We may have cold weather in a day or two, which will stiffen the mud and improve the traveling. We haven't suffered much from the cold yet, though the thermometer ranges pretty low here some of these mornings.
Last Wednesday evening my attention was attracted to the Colonel's headquarters by the music of the band, they having stationed themselves there, and were playing a lively serenade. I soon ascertained that a presentation was on the tapis and accordingly looked in on the party. After several pieces had been played, Lieut. Col. Griswold came out and invited the drum major, M. S. Pike, into the tent, and presented him in behalf of the regiment with a splendid baton, silver head, rosewood staff and gold tinsel cord. The head is surrounded by a zone of thirty-four stars, on one side teh U. S. coat of arms and on the other the arms of Massachusetts. It is inscribed "22d Mass. Reg. Monstrat viam". The presentation being private I cannot report further, but am sure that the major though surprised took it kindly. He is a universal favorite, not only with the band, but with the whole regiment, and is happy countenance is a better remedy for the blues than any drug known to Dr. Warren's pharmacopeia. Speaking of the band, they have made great improvement of late under the efficient leadership of Mr. Heywood, who is a soldier and a musician, and their playing compares very favorably with that of the bands in the vicinity. They are supplied with instruments of inferior quality, and an improvement in this direction would be gratifying to the band and satisfactory to the regiment.
Many of our readers I know are fond of statistical information, even if it is not of the highest importance, but having been furnished through the politeness of private John F. Gleason, of Co. F, with some facts in relation to the company, I will give the Budget the benefit of them: --
The Woburn Union Guard left Woburn for Camp Schouler, Lynnfield, Aug. 7th, 1861. Left Camp Schouler for the army of the Potomac, Oct. 8th, 1861. Reached Camp
Wilson, Hall's Hill, Va., Oct 13th, 1861. The "Guards" formerly numbered one hundred and four members, but two have been transfered, and two discharged, leaving the present number one hundred as follows:-- 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, 5 sergeants, 8 corporals, 2 buglers, 1 drummer, 2 teamsters, 79 privates.
The tallest member is 6 feet 1 1/2 inches in height. The shortest member is 5 feet 2 inches. The average height of the company is 5 feet 7 1/2 inches.
Born in Woburn, 9; in Massachusetts, 58; in New Hampshire, 11; in Maine, 6; in New York, 1; in Ireland, 15; in Canada, 2; in England, 2; in Nova Scotia, 2; in New Brunswick, 2; in Newfoundland, 1.
Born inthe United States, 76; in foriegn lands, 24.
The following occupations are represented in the Guards: -- Merchants, clerk, teamster, shoemaker, blacksmith, printers, carpenter, teacher, currier, operative, tanner, mechanic, bookbinder, machinist, student, cabinet maker, sash and blind maker, stone mason, potter, painter, tailor, stairbuilder, laborer, morocco dresser, barber, fisherman, sailor, drummer, rope maker, carder.
The following items may be interesting to the female friends of the company:-- married 43, single 57. Blue eyes 61, black 9, grey 20, hazle 10. Brown hair 59, black 19, light 16, auburn 4, gray 2.
The following styles of whiskers are worn: -- Full beard 13, full beard without moustache 2, side whiskers 5, goatees and moustache 17, moustache 12, a la McClellan 9, clean shaved 35.
The paymaster has been hovering about the camp, and the men are anxiously waiting his appearance with the needful. Sutlers, peddlers, artists, etc., will reap a rich harvest as soon as the men are paid off. I heard a peddler say, "Somehow money burns the soldiers, and of we're round we can do them a good service by helping them get rid of it." I think Woburn friends will not be forgotten, however, and a goodly pile will fly that way.
We have been "going, going" ever since I came here, but haven't "gone" yet. The rebels think we are cowards, and afraid to move, but they'll have a fine time finding out the contrary when we get the order to "forward, march!" Meantime we must be patient and wait for the good time coming, when the 22d in company with other regiments of Porter's division, shall drive the rebellion from the Potomac.
John Lord Parker