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 - February 10 1862
22d Reg. Mass. Volunteers
Hall's Hill, Va.
February 10, 1862
The regiment has been quite busy with target shooting the last week. A general order from Division Headquarters commanded that target practice should begin on the 3d instant, and continue at the rate of three shots per day per man; "for the company firings the distance of the target will be 100, 150, 225, 250, 300, 350, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000 yards for the rifle". The best marksmen in the ten companies, (one from each company) will, after the companies have all fired at the above distances, contend for a regimental prize, and the regimetal prize men will again shoot for a brigade prize. Some very good shots have been made, though we have not as yet had any very favorable weather for target practice.
We had some snow here last week, several inches falling on Monday last. We were out skirmishing, or rather practicing the skirmish drill, while it was snowing, and it seemed very much like home as we were running about the heavy flakes coming down with all spite of a New England snow storm. The same day the 17th New York regiment made a large snow fort near their parade ground, and in the afternoon one half the regiment were put into position to defend it against the other half. A lively snowball fight then took place which was intensely interesting. The fort was taken, recaptured, and retaken several times, and may of the combatants got bloody noses and black eyes. They enjoyed it very much, and as the attack was made under the regimental officers, and the movements directed by the bugle note, it was a very useful as a military lesson. If they were as sure with their rifles as they were with their snowballs, the slaughter in a real engagement would be terrible. The rule of the battle seemed to be that any man who was too hard pressed, could lie down, when he must not be struck, but he was counted as a dead man, and the "hospital cadets", as the band are called, would come up with ambulances and strecthers and carry him to the rear. Half a dozen soldiers of the attacking party surprised a captain near the parapet, and undertook to make a prisoner of him. A party of his men seeing the movement also took hold of the unlucky officer to prevent his being carried off, and for several minutes it was doubtful whether he would survive the pull. Finally, being a strong limbed man, he succeeded in keeping his limb whole, and his party pulled him away from the enemy.
Four "contrabands", who came inside our lines, bring information from the rebels, pased through our camp on Wednesday, on their way to Washington. These sights have come to be common to attract much notice however.
Lieut. Crane left us friday for a short visit to Woburn. He took with him private Frank Merritt, of Marblehead, of whose discharge I spoke in my last. Merritt has been waiting for someone to accompany him home, he being unable to go alone. He was much liked by the company, and it is to be hoped that he will recover under the good medical treatment which he can have in Massachusetts.
They had a blow up in Company D on Wednesday night. A box of blank cartridges under one of the bunks in the sereant's tent got afire, and an explosion ensued. Several of the occupants got singed, and the tent was set on fire. No on was much hurt, but moustaches and whiskers were rather scarce among the occpants of the bunks. It is common for the ordinance sergeants of the companies to keep their cartridges under their bunks, and it is a wonder that there are so few explosions.
One of the craft, Mr. E.P. Hayes, of Dover, N.H., a business partner of the Twombly brothers, who formerly published the Great Falls Advertiser, is about the camps for the purpose of getting a descriptive roll of the New England regiments, which he intends publishing and selling to soldiers. He has called into our quarters several times, and I find him well informed, and as they say out here, a "right smart chap", just the boy to be a partner of the Twombleys.
Quartermaster Sergeant Daniel F. Brown died in our hospital Friday night. He was a resident of Cambridgeport, Mass, where his parents still reside. His disease was typhoid fever, and he was sick about three weeks. He was a member of our mess, he being a strong personal friend of one of our sergeants. Early in the week it was thought he would recover, but suddenly growing worse, his father was sent for, and he died as above stated. He was 23 years of age. His father was with him when he died, and took his body home to Massachusetts, and he will be interred in the family burying place at Danvers. Sergeant Brown was a promising young man, had served his country during the three months campaign with the 3d regiment, and his loss will be felt by those with whom he associated. It is coming pretty near home when a comrade is taken out of his own mess, and we are forcibly reminded of the solemn fact that life is brief, and that we too must be ready to answer the dread summons to depart.
John Lord Parker
The owner of Hall's Hill, Mr. Basil Hall, lives about half a mile from our camp in the house of a relative, which is partially occupied as a hospital for our brigade. The attendants at the hospital not being so particular in regards to the rights of Mr. Hall and a neighbor named Burroughs as they should be, a guard of four soldiers is daily posted there. It was my fortune to be detailed on that duty, a few days ago, and I had a good chance to see Virginia life at home. According to his story, Hall's farm consist of 327 acres of woodland and tillage, where our division is encamped. He had a nice, well furnsihed house, situated near the camp of Follett's battery. Our own troops carried off his furniture after he was driven from his home by rebel shells. Subsequently the rebels advanced and burned the house. He recoverd a small portion of the furniture only. He expects to be paid for the losses by our government. He has two little negro boys (slaves), Jim and Bill, nine and twelve years of age. The boys pick up a good deal of change from the soldiers who visit the house, by dancing and wrestling for their amusement. Hall says he "goes for the Union, but aint no abolitionist, and say any man of common sense will say that slavery is the very best <<print unclear>> in the war, but that Southern rights which means with him the right to "raise niggers") will be strengthened thereby. Perhaps they will, but many of our "best authorities" don't see it in that light!
That "moving weather" which we are all wishing for, doesn't seem to come along. Our comrades in Kentucky are doing so well, however, that perhaps we needn't do anything. We shall see.
John Lord Parker