Woburn Weekly Budget - January 27, 1862
22d Reg. Mass. Volunteers
Hall's Hill, Va.
January 27, 1862
We are still here. It may seem strange that I should trouble myself to assert a fact that is so self evident, but the fact is so contrary to our expectations that it seems as if we are out of place, and ought to be off. Early in the week orders were issued to our division to pack up all the stuff that had been accumulated, and which we could not carry on our backs, and send it to Washington, where it would be stored, subject to our future order. The quartermaster gave orders to officers to draw whatever articles they were in need of, and then packed off what was left to the Quartermaster Department at Washington. This is done so as to require a less number of teams for transportation. Axes and shovels were given out to the companies, and four men were detailed to act as pioneers. These are eached furnished with a leather sling in which to carry an axe, and they will be obliged to prepare they way for the regiment on the march. In fact the regiments are all in fighting trim, and by this time are pretty nearly in marching trim. The tents of the officers which last week were neatly fitted up, and furnished with many of the comforts known to civilized society, are now reduced to the primitive appearance of private's quarters, and nothing but the weather seems to be in the way of our doing something. The day we receive the order to pack up, it rained hard, and next day it hailed. The third day was pleasant, and mud in abundance. Next day it snowed, and then it melted. Saturday afternoon the snow was scraped up by fatigue parties, and that night it cleared off cold, freezing up the mud and crusting over the oozy soil. It continued cold yesterday, and a few such days would make a movement possible, I might almost say certain. It is next to impossible for artillery or baggage to move in muddy weather, such as we have here, and though infantry might get along, it is no part of the general paln for the army to move without batteries. You probably know more of what the plans are then we do here, but we know there is great activity manifest in every department of our division, ad a few days has been sufficient to effect a great change in the appearance of things. The men are in fine spirits. They say "You needn't talk to us about an advance; we have heard that ever since we came here, and we won't believe it till we have got out of sight of Hall's Hill". But I do notice they pack their traps a little closer, and cross-question those whom they suppose possessed of information, and in many ways show that they do believe it, and are anxious for it.
Lt. John P. Crane
The five companies composing the right wing of the regiment - Cos. A,F,D,I and C - went out on picket last Tuesday morning. It was raining hard when they went out, and was unpleasant both days they were on duty. The mud was more then a foot deep in the road on the way out, and those who wore the "Maguffins", as the army shoes are called, suffered no little inconvenience, as can be readily imagined. On some of the beats, sentinels had to stand two hours in mud that was over shoes. Lieuts. Crane and Davis, Sergts. Stratton, Rundle and Dennett, Corpls. Lunt, Barker, Wentworth, and Thompson, and fifty-two privates went out from the Union Guard. The only notable incident which occurred wsa the falling of an old house in which twenty-five soldiers had taken shelter. Strange as it may seem, not one of them was injured. Although the weather was so unfavorable, no one of teh soldiers was taken sick, all going through with the duty in good shape. I doubt if the same number of men could thus expose themselves at home without fatal results.
Since my arrival in this part of the world I have visited Washington twice, and were it not that every person who reads papers, has seen that city described hundreds of times since last spring, I should have given a sketch of it for the benefit of the Budget readers. There is a great deal there wort seeing, much more than I had thought from reading letters from there, and I am constrained from my experience, to say that - Washington is not so bad as it might be! It is easy enough to get into Washington from the North, but to get across teh Potomac requires diplomacy. The first time I went to the city from camp, I had no difficulty getting in, not having at that time been put on the livery of Uncle Samuel, but when I preseted myself at the Georgetown Acqueduct, and wished to accompany out the friend with whom I came in, I found that my citizen's clothes would pass me in, but would require a provost martial's signature to pass me out. Accordingly, I returned to Washington, and next morning laid the case before a Congresional friend who gave me a note to Gen. Porter, which I took to his office. He occupies the house formerly owned by a Senator, now a rebel, corner of 16th and I streets. In one of the principal rooms a crowd of fifty or more had assembled for the purpose of getig passes, and were arranged in two ranks before folding doors, which would open every few minutes, and let in two. Falling into line it was nearly two hours before I got up to the doors and into the inner sanctuary, where a number of clerks were busy making out passes, recording, etc. Giving my letter to a clerk, he looked it over, made a few scratches, handed it to another clerk, who made out the following document. From the fact that "visiting relatives" is alleged as the reason for giving the pass, I incline to the belief that M.C. friend gave that cause for my desire to cross the Potomac, that being the reason which is most seldom called in question.
To all whom it may concern:
Headquarters City Guard
Provost Marshal's Office
January 2d, 1862
Know ye, That the bearer, John Lord Parker, has permission to pass over any bridge or ferry to Virgina, and within he lines, and back, for the purpose of visiting relations, being subject to the inspection of guards and patrols,
By command of
A. Porter, Brig. Gen. U.S.A., Provost Marshal
C. D. Mehaffy, Aide-de-Camp
[This pass will expire January 3rd.]
"in availing myself of the benefit of the above pass, I do solemnly affirm that I am a true and loyal citizen of the United States; and that I will not ive aid, comfort, or information to the enemies of teh United States Government in any manner whatever,
John Lord Parker
[This pass to be taken up at its expiration.]
With this pass I came out to camp, and next time procured a pass from Gen. Martindale, commanding our brigade to go to Washington and return. All persons visiting camps on this side of the river have to get a pass like the above before coming. Passes are issued between the hours of 9 and 3, and during that time the clerks at the Marshal's office are kept constantly employed. Not everyone who applies gets in, for they are very strict in this matter, and whoever has a pass must urge stronger reasons than mere curiousity.
There are two kinds of incidents which I almost always sure to have to record when writing a letter. They are, - presentations and finger shootings. Capt. Sampson, of Co. A, was presented on Friday with a field glass by his company. Sunday morning at 3 o'clock, when the relief went on guard, a private of Co. C, was posted in front of the Colonel's quarters. Having neglected to fix his bayonet when he left the guard house, he proceeded to do so on arriving at his post. The bayonet went on hard, and he struck the butt of his gun on the ground to settle down the bayonet, when the gun was discharged, and one of his fingers was blown off. The experience by which some of the men learn carefulness, is a hard one.
Capt. Thompson arrived safely in camp from his furlough, last Wednesday. He brought welcome messages to the boys, and a small box of mittens, gloves, socks, etc., from our Woburn friends. Mr. Dwight F. Eager is out here with the purpose of remaining. He is stopping at the camp of the 9th at present, with Dr. Drew.
I wish the readers would look into our quarters, and see what are accomodations are. There are ten occupants, and it is known as the "Sergeant's tent", because five of the family are sergeants. A sheet iron cook stove, gives warmth, and as thus far proved a valuable auxiliary in he preparations of our rations. All the sergeants, corporals Bryant and Lunt, Messrs. Wade, Gleason and myself form the "crew". We have five bunks, built of poles, elevated two feet from the ground, on which we make very comfortable beds. Corporal Bryant shares his bunk with me, and we have named it "Bohemia", in view of our habit of writing an occiasonal letter to the Woburn papers, thereby entitling us (we have had the assurance to assert) to the title of "Bohemians". We are as comfortable as any of the tent companies, and though not so well of as we would be at home, are "much better than might be expected".
Patience is a great virtue, and we have it; but it is a compulsory virtue, I am sorry to say. We are al in hopes to go somewhere soon, and my next may be dated from some other point than Hall's Hill. I hope so.
John Lord Parker