Aug. 19th. Near Charlestown, Va. I have just heard that the mail was going out. I must send this unfinished, as you probably wonder why you do not hear from me. We are going towards Harper's Ferry now. Have had a very hard march from where I commenced this letter. The rebs have got their heads rubbed pretty hard in this valley. What has been going on in the balance of the world I know not, as we have not heard one word. Have had but one mail, and no newspaper. In that I will give an account of the march when we get to a place where I can write. Came through Winchester. None of the second or third division have seen any fighting since we left Middletown. Have not seen Zopher but suppose he is all right.
Aug. 15th. Here in the same spot. When we came in here the supply trains were just coming
in. The report was that the whole of the cavalry train of thirty-five wagons had been captured by guerillas that came through Snicker's Gap. Our train was in the rear, the cavalry train in the center of the train guarded by hundred days men. They run without firing a gun, in fact, there was no firing on either side. That was all true, but last night we heard the rest of the story. Our cavalry in small force came up before they had time to remove the wagons or the supplies. There was a paymaster and his wagon, and money with the train. They had got the paymaster and had just got the money out and were opening the box but got none of the money. Others were taking off the mules. The cavalry retook all except the paymaster and a few of the mules. My informant said that he saw 16 of the guerillas that were captured and that there were others, so that and that Snicker's Gap region is an infernal one. They care but little for anything but the plunder.
New Middletown, Va. Aug. 14th, 1864.
I hardly know at which end of this march to commence this letter, but think I will begin where I left off. Well, in a few minutes after I sent off my last, Aug. 9th, went on picket. Did not go back to camp, but started to go up the Shenandoah Valley. I had a paper put up to send and told you where we were going, but had no chance to send it until yesterday. We followed and the rebels retreated, the cavalry occasionally skirmishing, occasionally a reb killed or wounded and quite often a few captured. Came through Charlestown, where John Brown was hung on the 10th. On the 11th in the forenoon left Berryville about a mile on the left.
(continued on the same page from Aug 8, 1864)
This is the morning of August 9th.
General Sheridan is in command of this department now. I know not how long we shall stay here. Am thankful for the good that come, and make the best of the bad, but I must close, so good bye. Have more leisure than I have had since I joined the regiment, and at such times think more of home. If I could just get home; if it was just for one day, say next Sunday, it would be pretty nice I can say.
The celebrated travelling mail dog was in town yesterday.
At the same old place,
Aug. 8th, 1864.
It is now 6 o'clock P.M. and will try and write you a few lines. Spent yesterday in visiting. Is it not often that so many Vermont regiments are brought so near to one another. The 3d division is a little from us on the right of our Division. Went to see Zopher. Found him well. He now looks well, much better that when I first saw him at Reams Station. Told him that the 8th was on our left. He went with me. Saw Henry Holt, Asa Moran and Charley Barrett. Found them all in first rate health, then came back and Zopher went to see Orrin Bartlett in the 11th. He had supposed that Orrin had gone with the other boys until I told him. It is too bad that the other Morgan boys are not here, but it is all for the best. The hard marching might have killed them.
Aug. 7, 1864. Here we are back in the same old place. West of Harper's Ferry. We had our tents nicely
fixed and some had gone to sleep and all were congratulating themselves on having a good nights sleep, when we had orders to pack up and fall in and at about 11 o'clock we did fall in and marched to the Railroad near the City where from appearances we were to take the cars. The whole column laid right down in the road and slept for 4 hours, or I did for one, except twice, when a horse or mare that had got loose ran over me, but could not afford to keep awake long. At 10 o'clock we were making our coffee on the heights West of Harper's Ferry. At about 12 noon we came here.
Monocacy Mill, Aug. 5, 1864.
Another move, but a short one. We are now about seven miles from Frederick City, near a large grist mill. Came here the 3rd, and such a quantity of Griddle cakes and things of that kind as have been cooked since we came here! The flour and meal is not dear, meal 3 cents per lb. And a 3 quart pail full of flour a ½ of a dollar. I have a little frying pan, and it is in use most of the time, so is my pail. Hard tack is at a discount. I had some cheese yesterday. It is the first that I have had. Yesterday we expected to stop here some days and we had quite a time rejoicing. This morning at about 3 o'clock we were called up and ordered to pack up and move, at daylight. Got all ready. Daylight came, but we did not move.
1 ½ miles from Frederick City, on the Harper's Ferry road,
August 2, 1864.
I think that the last letter was written on the Hills west of Harper's Ferry. In a few minutes after it was finished we all started for Maryland, again marched all night or rather we were marching all night. It took a long time to cross the river. We had no cattle and came along as we were a mind, bathed in the Potomac and stopped where we pleased, calculating to keep near or division. That part of the 8th corps with us led the
column across the river, the 19th corps next, our Corps next, the first division of it leading the 2d ours next, the 3d bringing up the rear, the 2nd Brigade of the 2d, -the one Zopher is in were in rear of train as train guard. I believe the world knows nothing of the number of troops here, or what they are. No newspapers ever mention us.
2 miles Beyond Harpers Ferry, on the Virginia Side of the Potomac, July 30th. I did not have time to finish this before the troops were in motion. Crossed the Monocacy, went to Frederick City, then took the road to Harpers, got to Jefferson at 12 o'clock Midnight. You may guess we slept sound. Crossed the Potomac at the Ferry yesterday at about noon on a pontoon bridge, and came here on the Second ridge from the river. It is now 10 o'clock A.M. And have not moved yet. Hope we will lie still today. May move in the afternoon. The stragglers are coming in, limping along. The men need a little rest sadly. It is sore feet mainly. Health otherwise good. I am all right.
Near Frederick City, July 28, 1864.
Here I am out in orchard, a little west of the battle ground of Monocacy, pronounced Mo-nox-y. I received a letter from you yesterday and sent one. Had to send it by a citizen I met in the road. The last three letters I have sent to be mailed just as I could. One of them I am glad to hear you have received. We left Tenallytown day before yesterday a little afternoon. Came just through the town of Rockville; stopped over night, the country very fine. Yesterday came through Nielville, Clarksville to Hyattville to this place. The country yesterday was poorer and quite broken.
Tuesday morning July 26th.
Here we are yet. Things packed ready to move. Teams nor cattle not turned over, so it appears we are not going to Petersburgh again, just yet. Don't fear up there in Vermont. Richmond has got to fall. Grant is working easy but sure. The rebels are as averse to charging as are our men. There is no use in it on our side now. The main thing is to bring the pressure on them and if there is any charging let the Rebs do it. Zopher went to see Jacob yesterday. Have not been up to the third division. I told him to tell Jacob to write for me, as it was so wet that I could not write. Night before last was a rainy one, and it rained all the forenoon. In the afternoon it cleared off and I got out my paper and commenced, and am now near the close. Is there anything doing up there in the way of recruiting? I tell you, if the men are forthcoming and of the right stamp, this rebellion must go up.
Tennallytown, D.C. Monday July 25, 1864.
Came in Saturday night. Yesterday signed the pay roll. Were inspected, paid off, washed up, etc. etc., received this first mail that we have received since we left Washington. Received two letters from you. Saw Jacob. Mr. Baxter came down to see us, sent thirty dollars to father for you by Mr. Baxter. I have not yet all the pay. The next time we are paid shall square up for the year. I wrote you at Poolsville, again up in Snicker's Gap. A few minutes I wrote here yet on the envelope of the last letter were ordered to cross the Shenandoah, did so and went about 1 ½ miles. Staid a short time and were ordered to start immediately for the Gap and to wait until the troops came up, then to start for Chain Bridge, so back across the river we went.
Snicker's Gap, July 20th,
Here I am just in the mountains. I wrote you Sunday when we laid back near Leesburgh. We have no mail now. Was detailed yesterday for cattle guard. The letter that I had written I gave to Asa Moran, as the 8th Vt. lay near our cattle and mails might go out and I know nothing about it, as we lay generally in some out of the way place with the Beeves that belong to our brigade. The third division came up Sunday. You can judge how anxious I was when they passed us, for the 10th Vt. came and Zopher among them all right, as you have probably heard before this time. We left Monday morning, came on by an easy march through the Gap and camped. The troops remained in the same place yesterday and I suppose are there now. The cattle were there then. Our forces are near the river. Last night just at dark got orders to take the cattle back into the mountains but not through. We got here just on the East side of the Ridge at 11 o'clock and are here now. It is now 8 o'clock A.M. How long we are to remain I know not. Most of the wagon train is near us. The air, the same as it was Sunday, is full of rumors.
Six miles from Leesburgh, on the road to
Snicker's Gap, July 17, 1864.
Here we are on our march. I wrote to you last from Poolsville. Sent the letter to Washington by Bill Dwyer to be mailed. The day I wrote we laid still. The men were very badly used up by being up nights and the march. We left yesterday morning, followed the river up to White's Ford. The Ford was held by a few rebels. They were quickly shelled out. The cavalry crossed and took a few prisoners. The main force of the rebels crossed there, the day we came to Poolsville. We crossed about noon, forded the river. It was fun, then we came here by a rapid march.
I picked this up at Washington. Man who had it will never see friends nor loved ones more, as he laid dead on the rebel skirmish line.
Charles E. Blake.
Rocky Mount, N.C., May 31, 1864.
Dear Husband, -
July 15th. Poolsville, Md.
Came here yesterday about 4 o'clock P.M. Left Washington just after dinner. Came about one half mile and waited for the division and trains to pass. Our brigade brought up the rear. Our company was detailed as flankers for our brigade train, and on we came, not knowing where we were going, so one we came, up hill and down, over one of the roughest rough roads I ever saw, men lying down at every step. At about one o'clock we had orders to stop ten minutes then long enough to make coffee, after that to lie down. So we did and slept soundly until about day light, then on and on until we reached here.
On Picket Line North of Washington, July 13th, 1864.
I have but just sent off the last. I will just continue. When we reached the wharf the word was that the rebels were fighting with our troops on 7th Street, but you see I did not believe it, as we were marching very deliberately through the city, though every woman and child we met had great stories to tell. We marched through on 7th street, got well out of the city, crossed over to another road that leads to 14th St. was marched up near Fort Stephens and turned off into the woods and lay there all day. There was an occasional gun from the fort and some picket firing.
On Board the Transport Daniel Webster
July 12, 1864.
Here we are nearly up to Washington. Last night the 3rd division went to Baltimore. I understand the 1st went there, but of that I am not certain, but I saw the 2d and 3d Vermont go aboard a transport, and the 5th and 6th is on this boat. In about 15 minutes after I had sent my last letter, I received a letter from you, written the 3rd and 4th. I read the letter and then went to cooking up my beef. I had just finished when I dropped a stitch in my back, which just straightened me out. I could not get into camp, could not turn over, nor get up alone, but made the best of it. At one o'clock the major in command of the Pickets came and told us to pack up the whole corps was moving. Wasn't that good news for me? Had to be helped up and no surgeon or ambulance or anything else, but my feet and legs they were in good order.
Near the Railroad, July 8th, 1864.
Here I am on picket again. Came on yesterday morning, pretty well round towards that rail road. I should write with clean hands if there was any water near, but it is half a mile to the spring, and we can only spare a man occasionally to get enough to cook with and drink when it is fresh. It is as good water as I ever saw. It is at that house I wrote to you about where I was on, the first time I was on picket. The women and children are all at home and are not molested in the least. People may talk about the women of the south being she-devils and all that. I have not seen many, but such as I have seen say, when they hear firing they only think of the killed and wounded, without reference to which side they belong. There are some that are decidedly Union. They show it pretty plainly.