Woburn Weekly Budget - April 25, 1862
HeadQuarters 22d Reg. Mass. Vols.
Near Yorktown, Va.
April 25, 1862
The accounts that are sent from this locality seem a good deal like those we used to have from Island No. 10, and the seige of Yorktown is not unlike that of the former place. Every day a few shots are exchanged with but little effect, and the only intentions on either side appear to be embarrass laboring parties. Meantime our forces are by no means idle, and I wish that those gentlemen who grumble so much about the inactivity here might be attached to one of our fatigue parties for a day or two. They would have to work "right smart", and do "a heap" of shovelling, and by night "I reckon" they would think there was considerable activity about here. The works are in charge of the U.S. Engineer Corps, and the officers lay out the work, while our officers boss teh diggers. In the trenches may be seen men who have never wielded any other than a fire shovel who have become quite proficient in the use of spade, though no instances of broken back from over exertion in the gravel bank have as yet come under my observation. The works that are to be used on the town progress rapidly, and are the most extensive character, and it appears to be the determination of our commanding general to spare no pains to make victory certain and with as small a loss of life as possible. The rebels are also at work, and strengthening their position as much as possible. Our regiment has to do its full share of work, and every day furnish a detail of men for fatigue, does picket duty, is called on to make reconnoisances and has to stand ready to be called out at any time of day or night to support pickets. And here let me say one word in regard to Berdan's sharpshooters. From accounts we see in the papers it appears they are slaughtering the rebels at a fearful rate, and if McClellan will only wait a little while they will pick off the whole rebel force, who will of course appear in his turn on the batteries and be shot according to military regulations. They have already, according to latest advices, killed about three thousand rebels, and the work goes bravely on. Every body of course is willing to admit that they are the most efficient corps of riflemen the world ever produce but there is some doubt about their doing all the work that is being done here, and when they claim to have sustained the attack and repulsed the rebels on the 11th inst., when the 13th N.Y., 63rd Pensylvania, and a portion of the 22d Mass, had that honor, the thing looks a little like bragging. The sharpshooters serve a good purpose, and have annoyed the rebels considerably, but they are not expected to do wonders.
Yesterday morning at five o'clock our regiment went out for a reconnoisance in the woods where we were first made acquainted with rebel gunnery. It was surmised that the enemy had advanced into the extreme point of the woods where we spent the night of the 5th. The regiment halted in a sheltered part of the clearing, and Col. Gove, Capts. Sampson and Thompson with ten men from each of their companies, and ten of our sharpshooters went in too. Advancing cautiously sheltering themselves behind trees from the aim of pickets if any there were, they passed through the woods, and found no signs of rebel pickets. The small fort, that was empty on our previous visit, was found to be ocupied by sharpshooters, who discovering our party, fired a couple of shots without effect. No attempt has been made to bridge the stream, and other details of importance were learned. The trip was very satisfactory to our officers, and we returned about noon. Our party, or rather a portion of them, went so near the rebels as to see that a large party was engaged strengthening their works, and they could hear them talk. From our encampment the rebel bands can be heard, at evening, and on clear mornings the smoke of the camp fires may be seen above the woods. Our balloon enables us to form pretty correct ideas of the enemy's force, and to trace his fortifications, and ascensions are frequent. Little Mac is through camp quite often, and has a keen eye for all that is going on. His presence in camp is a signal for shouts of welcome and a rush to get near him. Whatever outsiders may think of him, he certainly has a strong hold of the affections of the men.
The weather is very warm, and vegetation is rapidly assuming its rich robes of green. We have had some April showers lately, but have not been drowned out again. The Budget readers must be content with short letters for the present, for although there is enough to be seen here, there is very little to be written about, as the war correspondencts msut confine themselves to past events, and not prophesy or be very descriptive. Our company is quite healthy, as is also the regiment.
John Lord Parker