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Woburn Weekly Budget - February 24 1862


Camp Wilson
22d Reg. Mass. Volunteers
Hall's Hill, Va.
February 24, 1862

The good news of the present week has given the soldiers great encouragement, and they seem more anxious then ever to have the war brought to a close. We get the news here very soon, and generally receive it with demonstrations of some sort. Last Monday about noon the news of the capture of Fort Donelson was confirmed, and Gen. Martindale sent an order to have his brigade assembled without arms on the brigade parade ground. We had heard the news a short time previous, and cheers had been given in each of the company streets, but the men turned out cheerfully and marched over to the 18th Mass. parade ground where we met the 18th, 2d Maine, and 25th New York. Forming a square the general and staff rode to the center and command the brigade to sound "Attention", and then said "My men, I have called you here that we may together hear the glorious news which has come to us like lightning along the wires from the west. The Adjutant will read". The dispatch was accordingly read, detailing the victory, when the general, waving his cap shouted "Now men, Let it go!" and such a cheer as arose from four thousand throats is not often heard. The band struck up, successively, the national airs. After quiet was somewhat restored the general said, "Regimental commanders will make requisition upon the Quartermaster for a genlet ration of whiskey".

General John H. Martindale


I thought the fisrt cheer was as loud as could be given, but the "whiskey speech" brought out a noise that threw the first far in the shade, gave pretty conclusive evidence that the army is not wholly composed of teetotallers. We marched back to quarters, and half a gill of whiskey was given to all who chose to draw it.

At our dress parade on Friday evening a general order was read from Gen. F. J. Porter, commanding the 22d of February should be celebrated throughout the Division. The different brigades were to assemble on their grounds, and each to have a battery. At noon a salute was to be fired, a portion of Washington's Farewell Address to be read and the bands play Hail Columbia, Star Spangled Banner, Yankee Doodle, and the Washington's March. The program was carried out, and although the weather somewaht rainy the men enjoyed it as much as they could. Salutes were fired all about us, and the firing was continued all day. Some of the regiments got up celebrations of their own, and had various ceremonies, but here all was quiet after the parade, the afternoon was spent after the usual manner of Saturday afternoon, in cleaning up the arms and equipments preparatory to the Sunday morning inspection.

During the week we have had two deaths in one company, Co. E. from Roxbury. They both died of typhoid fever. The first one, Henry M. West, died last Monday. He resided in Roxbury and was 24 years of age. Thomas M. Hannah, died on Tuesday, was 20 years of age and also resided in Roxbury. They were both buried here, the expense of sending the bodies home being too much for the circumstances of their friends.

Pethams's excursion tickets continue to bring Massachusetts friends out to our camps, and no week passes without seeing some one from the old Bay State. Mr. Jospeh Wade, of Woburn, was here, and spent a couple of days this week, and we are expecting to see quite a delegation from home this week.

I mentioned in my last that volunteers were called for us to man the western gunboats. Several members of the 18th Mass. Vols. were allowed to volunteer and went to New York. There mustered out of the army, and before they were mustered into the navy one of them made off, and went home. It was a pretty sharp game, and no doubt that soldier is thankful that the western gunboats needed filling up. There are many who now wish they had tried the same game, but one man can play a trick where a dozen would fail.

Mr. Eben S. Henry, a mamber of the band residing in Clinton, Mass., has been discharged for physical disability, and left for home on Friday last.

Saturday Gen. Smith's division went on a reconnoisance towrds Centervill, with orders to proceed till they met the enemy. Rumors are strife that the rebels, have evacuated Centerville, and several scouting expeditions which have gone out into that direction bring back word that no rebels can be found. It may be so, and we hope it is, but if they haven't left they will soon be obliged to do so. The Cameron Dragoons went out on a scout Saturday, and brought in fifteen prisoners.

While we were on drill the other day, I noticed half a dozen of Capt. Martin's artillery men with drawn sabres escorting a comrade towards their camp. It seems he got a pass and went to Washington, where he got drunk. While in state he exchanged his uniform for citizen's clothes, and when he came to his senses he found himself in Massachusetts. He immediatley telegraphed to his captain and came on and gave himself up. The uard which I saw had very likely been over to the depot for him. He will be courtmartialed, but probably will not suffe the penalty of desertion, as the intention is always considered in such cases.

Col. Gove understands the bugle calls and can blow them very well, and lately the commissioned officers have acquired a desire to learn the bugle. There are two buglers in every company, the drummers being shorn of their honors, and the drum corps reduced to two. These buglers are in different states of progression in the art of blowing, and the notes they raise coupled with the blasts and counterblasts from the horns of the officers make a precious Babel. After dark the officers have it all their own way, and each one seems determined "to blow his horn if he don't sell a fish", and to outvie his neighbor in quantity of tone, quality being no account whatever. I understand that the chief bugler, Mr. Chas. H. Day, of our company, is about to open a school and teach the young musical idea how to blow, and then we shall stand a better chance than now to hear a concord of sweet sounds. It is very essential that the officers should know the calls, and there is no quicker or surer way of learning them, then by themselves learning to make them. I like the bugle call much better then the drum call, and it seems to meet with general favor. Every morning at 6 1/2 o'clock the drummer boy at the adjutant's office beats a short call in front of the office. The bugler then turns out and from the flagstaff blows the "bugler call", after they have come out the "assembly" is blown for the companies to assemble in the company streets, then "reveille" is sounded and the roll is called. Next comes the "breakfast call" followed soon after by the "sureon's call". There is not much blowing in camp until noon when the diner call is blown. During the forenoon the bugler takes his pupils outside the lines for a lesson. There is considerable musical talent in the various companies and it "crops out" not only among the buglers, but in every tent there is a musical club that of an evening troll forth the popular airs of the day with a gusto worthy of a larger audience and a more commodious hall.

The regiment improves daily in drill, especially in the bayonet exercise, and although "Perley" of the Boston Journal, gives us too good a notice when he says we are the best drilled regiment in the army of the Potomac, yet we are improving rapidly, and we will soon deserve the credit.

There are two kinds of birds which we have out here in great quantities. There are snow birds and crows. I am sorry to have occaision to mention them in the same paragraph, but such quantity of crows I never saw together. They are dismal fellows at best, and with their doleful croakings are the very personification of meloncholy. They don't caw like our Yankee crows, but make a harsh guttural croak very disagreeable to listen to. The little snow birds hop around as sociable as you ever seen them, and they are as fat as Ducthmen. I hope they will stay with us till the robins come, at any rate, and we only wish they were big enough to drive away their black feathered companions.

The mud isn't any thicker than it was last week, but I fear it isn't much thinner, and we have some time to wait yet before we can have clear traveling.

John Lord Parker

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