Woburn Weekly Budget - June 25, 1862
Headquarters 22d Reg. Mass. Vols.
Curtis's Farm Hanover Co., Va.
June 25th, 1862
Dr. William Gaines House.
We are in camp about a mile from the one at which my last letter was dated. On Friday last we pulled up stakes at Gaines' hill, and moved a mile north to this place. The ground on which we pitched our camp is part of Dr. Curtis's farm, and has been occupied until a little while ago by cavalry of McClellan's guard. It is a level spot surrounded by woods on three sides, and consequently quite sheltered. We laid our camp out with unusual care, having company streets forty feet wide, and all tents surrounded with shade trees. When we arrived here it was a barren flat of hard sand; now it has the appearance of a large garden. The trees not only add to the good looks of the place, but afford a good shade, which is very acceptable to the soldiers. In a hollow in the rear of the camps wells have been dug, and now we have very good water. On a little knoll on the right of the line, the staff have their tents pitched, so that the colonel can sit in his quarters and overlook the whole camp. We have a fine level parade ground in front, and on the whole we are now encamped if not in the finest situation, to the best advantage we have ever been since leaving Hall's Hill. The officers are very strict with us now as regards leaving our quarters, and in the early part of this week a pass was necessary to go for water. That difficulty has been obviated by digging wells just over the line, but in sight of the sentry. Our daily duties now are as follows: reveille at 5 o'clock, when we turn out to roll call and sweep up the street, the rubbish so accumulated being carted off during the day by the prisoners under charge of the guard. Next comes breakfast, consisting of hot coffee, and hard bread. At eight o'clock we drill for an hour, and then make ourselves as comfortable as possible until four o'clock when we have another hour's drill. At half past five we are inspected by our company officers, then comes supper; at eight o'clock tatoo, and taps a half hour later. The boys relieve the monotony of the hours which intervene between drills, by reading, cleaning equipments. cooking some extra dish, which their ingenuity has suggested, from the rather slim variety on the army bill of fare, or by athletic games. The popular game just now is quoits, old horse shoes being the tools, and the game seems to possess considerable interest throughout the regiment. When we came here the few apple trees on the place were well laden with green fruit, but their present bareness is suggestive of apple sauce, which the boys did not fail to enjoy because they were on secesh ground. There is promise of a splendid crop of berries here, and even now ripe blueberries have been picked not far from camp. Of blackberries there will be an immense quantity next....
The regiment have been furnished with new pants and blouses, the latter to be worn this summer to the exclusion of our heavy dres coats. They are cool and loose, and give the regiment a vey neat appearance. It is said we are to be furnished with low crowned hats and linen leggings, which complete a very neat and comfortable uniform. We all hope the hat improvement will be introduced, as are army caps are rather uncomfortable during the hot hours of some of our warm days.
We left our old camp about eight o'clock Friday morning, as above stated, and it is well we did, because we had hardly got away before the rebels began throwing shells, and they dropped about the camp in a way which would have been unpleasant had it been occupied. They shelled Dr. Gaines' house and buildings, which were used as hospitals, and some of teh fine shade trees in the old rebel's yard had their branches shot away. The sick were removed without harm however. As Commissary Hackett, of our regiment,was returning to the old cmap with a train of wagons to bring away the baggage he could not bring the first trip, a shot struck one of the teams, taking out a piece of felloe of the hind wheel, and passing through the side and bottom of the wagon. The mules took fright, and soon had the wagons out of range. Luckily no one was hurt, and the only damage done was to the wagon. Not so fortunate were other regiments, for the rebel shells that day killed a private in the 1st Connecticut, and a lieutenant in the 14th Regulars. Day before yesterday a corporal and three privates came in from the rebels, having been watching an oportunity to desert for some time. They belonged to the rebel battery that fires at Gaines Hospital, and this corporal commanded the piece from which the shell was fired. He said he hit it but once, and then was obliged to, as having missed the mark he was ordered to shoot at so many times the lieutenant who was watching him became suspicious. He gave much valuable information in regards to the position of the rebel batteries. A private of the 14th Regulars deserted to the rebels last week, and it is thought that information he gave enabled the rebels to get our range.
Capt. Wardwell, of Co. B, has resigned his commission and I think it has been accepted. Two other captains have sent in their applications, with what success has not yet transpired. These resignations will make some important chnages in the regiment, both in regard to promotions and position of companies on the line. While we were on Hall's Hill I was informed, and said so in one of my letters, that 1st Lieut. C. C. Conant, of Co. A, had been commissioned as captain of Co. I. That statement was incorrect, but the Boston papers now state that his commission was insured by Gov. Andrew on the 18th inst. He has been in command of the company for some time. 2d Lieut. H. C. Conner. of Co. A, is promoted to the first liuetenancy made vacant by the the promotion of Lieut. Conant.
Prentice Childs, of our company, died last evening in the hospital. There was no specific disease, but a general debility, a wearing out, caused no doubt by the may hardships which he in common with his comrades have been forced to undergo. At Gaines' he entered the hospital, where he was sick, with so small chance recovery that applicatoin was made for his discharge, and the preliminary papers made out. The "law's delay" bear no comparison to war's delays, and it would have been weeks before he could have been sent home. But death has discharged him, and his campaigning is ended. On Monday he was very low, and thought to be dying, but Dr. Milnor succeeded in reviving him, and he seemed much better than he had been for some time previous. I saw him in the hospital Tuesday morning, and spoke with him, and he looked finely. He did not suffer much during the day and ate his supper, but soon after fell away. He was buried this morning in a grave which we made under the pines near our camp. The company escorted the body to the grave, where services were performed by the chaplain of the 13th New York in a very impressive manner. The following inscription was carved on a piece of wood and placed upon the coffin, so that the .....
Prentice Childs, Co. F
22d Reg. Mass. V.
died June 24, 1862
aged 48 years
The whiskey rations which have been heretofore served out at the rate of a gill a day to each man have been discontinued. The order in regard to their discontinuance enjoins upon commanders of regiments to see to it that the standing order furnishing the men with hot coffee immediately after reveille is strictly enforced. There is nothing which has made so much trouble in various ways as teh few drops of whiskey which used to be given out night and morning, and the discontinuance of the practice is a good thing, though some of the boys don't see it.
We have now no one in the hospital, and but two or three who are unable to do full duty. Our sanitary conditions are carefully attended to, and we have very good water to drink, so that we are likely to be pretty healthy in this camp.
John Lord Parker