1864: “Civilization To Our Headquarters”

Jany 23/64

…Tonight we dedicated our new chapel and in remembrance of R.I. [Rhode Island] and in recognition of God’s goodness to use we have named it “Hope” Chapel. The building is made of logs hewn smooth on one side and built up cob fashion. Most of the hewing was done by Chaplain Beugless and Lieut. John M. Turner. The roof is covered by a large canvas, presented by the Christian Commission. Inside we have a fireplace and tin reflectors for candles on the walls. A chandelier made from old tin cans, or the tin taken from cans is in the centre. The pulpit or desk is covered with red flannel, and the ground or floor is carpeted with pine boughs. We sent a detail of men in command of Capt. John G. Beveridge to a deserted church near by and took out the seats and placed them in our Chapel. Our boys had a fight with the guerrillas but brought back the seats…

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1863: “Friends Among Strangers”

February 14, 1863

…Your delightful letter of six pages received a welcome reception this evening. I am thankful to see that our kind Heavenly Father is again restoring mother to health. I felt uneasy about her, and thought that Joseph had better make a visit home. I have made the restoration of mother’s health a subject of prayer; but then we know that our dear ones are mortal, and that God does not always answer prayer according to our erring feelings. I think that if, when we see ourselves in a glass, we should consider that all of us that is visible must turn to corruption and dust, we would learn more justly to appreciate the relative importance of the body that perishes and the soul that is immortal…

Your accounts of baby are very gratifying, and intensify my desire to see her. If peace is not concluded before next winter, I do hope you can bring her and sped the winter with me. This would be very delightful. I f we are spared, I trust an ever-kind Providence will enable us to be together all winter. I am glad little Julia was pleased with her present, and wish I could have seen her laugh… Continue reading

1863: “Get Into A Battle With Snowballs”

January 20 1863.

I have almost given up writing in my journal for the fact that I have nothing in the world to record. There is too much sameness about this kind of soldier life. One day is the repetition of the duties of the day before, and I can always tell what (in all probability) I will be doing on the same day one month ahead. Capt. Crow is often on other duty, Cannon and Chandler on detached services, and I am generally in command of the Company. Every fifth day at three o’clock P.M. I go on picket and remain twenty four hours. We stand on our side of the river and look at the Yanks. They stand on their side and look at us. Sometimes we exchange papers, though in violation of orders, and sometimes the boys trade them tobacco for coffee. Just below the dam the water is not more than three feet deep, and the boys wade out to a little shoal of rocks in the middle of the stream and meet and take a drink together, make such trades as they wish, then each returns to his own side again. I have to visit some other post in the meantime, or make it convenient to have business in another direction, for it would not do for me to see these violations of orders. And yet I like to read a New York or Philadelphia paper. Continue reading

1862: “We Had No Christmas”

[Christmas Day was not even] a holiday, much less a Christmas. No, we had no Christmas, merely the 25th of December come and gone. No chimes of gladness at the recurring anniversary of the advent of the Prince of Peace – no outward recognition of the fact that anything was commemorated by the day – only incessant work of the army which brought in the regular routine of the day – a pause of only two hours with a better dinner than usual – a glance of surprise to see our table garnished with oysters & turkey – a hearty meal, a great joke & Christmas was gone, and we in camp watching the Yankees, and only anxious as to the duration of the war. Continue reading