Roanoke Island
Camp Foster
Feb 18th 1862.

My Dear Sister,

    Your lively and interesting letter reached
me here at the Island a few days after our glorious victory and
it was the more welcome as I had not heard from you directly
I believe, since I have been in the service. I suppose your
long delayed visit to Salem has been made Ere this, and those
dear little prodigies have been the wonder and attention
of all the good people of Salem from the family to the most
distant relative. You must be Enjoying highly the Sleighing
above Chestnut Hill as you are a true lover of that exhil-
arating exercise. Such a thing as snow however is a rarity with
us poor servants of Uncle Sam and I have seen none of it this
season except a light fall before we left Annapolis. You
know by the papers what we suffered for a long while at sea
and about Hatteras and I will not repeat the gloomy account
of our experience. Yet it can be said our position did not seem
so perilous to ourselves as to you, as we had accustomed our-

selves to what you might call a routine of danger.
Of our glorious victory here in Roanoke Island, dear
Rose, you have likewise full accounts and I know not
what I can add that you would be interested in. It
is now some ten days since the Battle of Roanoke fought
at [Cross?] Road Battery and they are busy Escorting the pri-
soners to the vessels. Yesterday Evening our Regiment Escorted
some 500 of them and our company took them from the
stem wheel boat which we call the Wheelbarrow to the
S. R. Spaulding which will carry them to Fortress Mun-
roe. Most of the prisoners will be exchanged. I am told
and the North Carolinians, lukewarm successionists, are
to be released. I believe on their parole. It seems to me
an unwise proceeding but probably Gen. Burnside
understands what he is doing. Why fight if the prisoners we
take are to be released on parole which I believe is not
binding with most of them. I am surprised to find such
a hetereogenous body of deluded mortals; no two dressed alike
in fact Every man must have had his uniform made at home
of whatever material could be fitted to him. their is nothing
uniform whatever about their dress and I should think the
maneuvering of a division of Jeff Davis' followers would be the
drollest thing imaginable. I think a company of them would
compare unfavorably with a railway gang of laborers in
appearance. The men however are larger on an average then our own but not so muscular nor Enduring and as for
intelligence they rank far behind them, officers and
all; notwithstanding the popular Estimate at the
North of the superiority of the officers of the Southern army
to our men, I believe it to be untrue if these be a spec-
imen and I think these must be up to the average in in-
telligence amongst the officers for we find several picked
bodies of men here, sent to support the Carolinians. Such
as the Richmond Blues, Ben McCulloch's Rangers, Mississippi
Riflemen and most of Wise's Legion. Gen. Wise's son that
notorious [traveler?] O'Jennings Wise, was killed, he ranked
as Captain and was said to have been brave and much
beloved by his men. Sickness alone prevented his more
notorious Father from Enjoying the lot of a prisoner with the rest
he was detained on the mainland near Nagg's Head. The
battle continued some four hours or more. Our men behaved
nobly. Our regiment was sent round to the rear to flank
them and were obliged for two long hours to remain in a swamp
over knee deep in mud and water, with an impenetrable thicket
of bramble and busy of Every kind to poke our way through we
gave up several times but finally Each man for himself we
succeeded in getting through to find the Battery taken and
the glorious old Banner floating over it. I experienced no
feeling of fear or nervousness whatever, and so it was gen-
erally with the men and officers too. I couldn't realize the danger of our position, I suppose, for it indeed was
dangerous, the bullets flew thick about us in the begin-
ning of the fight All beginning the Second Regiment in
the fight supporting the Masstts 25th. Several of
our men had narrow Escapes but I am happy to
say that only two of our company were wounded
and they are rapidly recovering. Lieut. Goodwin of Marble-
head, the Orderly Sargeant and one private from the same
Company were the only [their?] men in the regiment killed.
I have Enjoyed Conversing with the prisoners highly
and find that there is some Union feeling amongst
them, how much to be trusted I couldn't say.
We don't know when we shall move again
but probably soon, when we hope to give a good
account of ourselves again and hope the rest
of the army will do the same so that the rebellion
may be crushed by summer. I am in excellent
health and trust my patriotism will sustain me
through the war. And now my dear sister Rosy
good bye for the present. Kiss those dear boys
for me and remember me to Leverett and all
friends, not to forget George and family.

From your Aff Brother

25.1 cm x 19.9 cm

From the Saltonstall family papers