Woburn Weekly Budget - November 2, 1861
Hall's Hill, Fairfax, Co. Va.
November 2d, 1861
Since writing the last letter to you I have not seen or heard anything that would be of interest to your numerous patrons, and I know of nothing now that is unusual unless it is in relation to our first picket. On last Tuesday morning 200 of the 22d Mass., and 100 of the 2d Maine and 25th New York, started for our camping place, which was in the vicinity of Falls Church, and about 3 miles from Hall's Hill. Thirty-four of our company under the command of Lieut. Joseph Nason, of Co. K, were stationed on the Loudon & Hampshire R.R., within quarter of a mile of Falls Church. Nothing happened during the day or night excepting the the usual amount of firing at stumps and calves, which often brought us to our feet. In the afternoon, Liet. N. and myself visited the church, which was used in September as barracks for the rebels, and such a scene of sacrilege I never saw before. The windows were broken out, the plastering torn off the walls, and the seats torn up and broken. The building itself resembles very much the church at North Woburn, and must have been a very neat looking edifice. Just in the rear of this, stands the original church for which the village was named. It is a brick building, and does not seem to have been disturbed in the least, it being considered almost sacred, as it is said to be the place where Geo. Washington was married. The building stands in the center of a graveyard, and in each corner are the graves of rebeles who were killed in engagements in the vicinity, and as I look on their graves I could not help thinking in what different acts they had been engaged then the man for whose memory the church not five rods distant they held sacred.
On Wednesday morning we were relived by new men, and then marched to the "reserve", or headquarters of the guard, which we reached about 2 o'clock, when we made ourselves at home in the dooryard and orchard of a "Secesh", who looked as I always imagined such people to look, but did not seem to appreciate his visitors, or rather one part of them, for while the officers were paying a quarter of a dollar a meal, the men were digging his potatoes, killing poultry, &c., while tents consisted of his fence rails stacked against trees and covered with corn, unthreshed wheat and oats. At six o'clock the 22d was ordered to fall in and be ready for a fight, as we had orders to follow and capture some of our teams which were supposed to have been taken by the rebels while on a foraging expedition. We marched about five miles just this side of Vienna, through as hard a road as can be found in the State of Massachusetts. The road was just wide enough for four men and the officers o march abreast, while banks were in some places from ten to twelve feet high, and just on the verge of the forest. After making agreat many inquires, they found that no teams had passed that way, and we then ordered to countermarch and start for home. We had nearly reached the camp when we heard a rifle ball whiz past, and then the command halt! which was repeated three times in very hurrued manner by a frightened sentinel, who did not know that any scouting party was out and had mistaken us for a party of rebels advancing to attack the camp of the N.Y. 27th. We reached home about 10 o'clock, none the worse for our quick march, and all feeling more inclinded to laugh then when we first started. In case anything new occurs, or I am sent off on picket duty, I will endeavor to give you an account of it.
Yours in haste.
We copy the the following extract from a privae letter from Capt. S. I. Thompson, of the Union Guard, which shows that the Woburn boys are made of good stuff, and the honor of the town will not likely suffe in their hands: --
"In pleasant weather it is quite warm in the middle of the day, but at night it is very cold; the air is then loaded with a dampness that gives able one a chilly sensation, such as you have experienced sometimes in a very cold northeast storm, when it seems cold enough to freeze but yet does not. This we have every night, and in stormy weather it is much worse. Now all that a soldier has to keep him comfortable he has to carry upon his back, and he cannot carry enough to prevent his suffering very much at times. * * Then there is the picket duty, which both oficers and men have to do. We have to detail form our company about every other day, to serve two days. They have to take their rations and their blankets and push out two or three miles in front of our camp, and take their post and stay two days and two nights, without fire or lights, let the weather be what it may. As for sleep, they get little if any, and I can tell you they come into camp looking pretty well used up. But let it be said of my men, to their everlasting praise, that not one of them has ever objected, or murmurred in the least".
In regards to sending a box of comfort to his men he says:
"I understand that Woburn people are sending out some things to the soldiers. I would beg leave to say that there is nothing so much needed at the present time as a few good blankets, such as we had at Lynnfield. A part of the blankets which were provided us when we came away were very poor, and we were promised that they should be changed, but they have not been, and some of my men need them vey much".