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    Washington D. C. Sunday April 28th 1861

    Dear Lydia,

    I have been writing to Gertie & Kate
    this morning and now I propose as I have passed
    through one epoch of my soliders life, (for enough
    has been compressed within a single week to mark
    it as an epocha in my quiet stay at home life) to
    take a retrospective view of the campaign so far,
    and show you some of its lights and shadows. We
    cannot as yet boast of many "hairbreadth' scapes
    or moveing accidents by field or flood, yet the
    whole movement has been to me wonderfully inter-
    esting and exciting. As I sit reviewing it, it seems
    like a dream, certainly more like romance than
    reality. And first the preparation, so sudden, so
    unexpected, so imperfect. Starting on a military
    expedition of uncertain length, without definite orders
    concerning our destination, in fact not anxious
    to Know what service might be required of us, our
    only desire being to help prevent our Government
    being corrupted or overthrown by a bunch of un-
    principled, ambitious, reckless, selfish man Stealing
    politicians. And then the leaving home- the gathering
    of necessary articles of outfit- the hasty settlement
    and arrangment of business matters- the sorrowful
    thoughts that would at times unbidden, force them-
    selves upon us as we reflected that it might be our
    fortune not to return- The parting words, the hearty
    shaking of hands- the last Kiss- We reached
    Boston at 3 o clock and now proceeded to Fanuel
    Hall- The room we occupied was also quarters
    for four other companies, composed mostly of young
    men.The joviality and excitement of the occasion
    together with free potations of bad whiskey made
    them rude and noisy beyond measure, so that
    no one was able to sleep- Then the events of

    Saturday, men comeing in to enlist, friends calling to
    bring the few little things of comfort or necessities that,
    in the hurry had been forgotten, the excited multitude
    that hung around the hall ventilating the intensity
    of their feelings in shouts, and cheers and hurras,
    the inspiring music of the band - the varied work
    of Saturday night - loads of military equipments of
    all kinds landing on the hall; the unpacking
    and distribution of them to the thousand soldiers now
    all ready to march. The march through the streets of
    Boston at early dawn to the depot the whole city wrapped in
    silence and sleep except an occasional sleeper
    had been aroused by the musick of the band and
    might be seen in their undress peaking from their
    windows to witness the novel sight. And finally the filling
    of the cars, and at length the slow movement
    of the train from the depot and we leave the Old
    Bay State to do which we can to sustain her
    character for heroic deeds untarnished, and
    give utterance to the deep settld convictions
    of her sons that human slavery shall not
    curse another inch of the territory of this
    great country. You may imagine that by this time
    I might begin to feel the need of sleep not having had
    any for 42 hours - I fancied I might indulge
    in a little in the cars, it not being absolutely nec-
    essary for me to lie upon a soft bed to enjoy
    a refreshing nap. It was an illusion - The day
    was delightful -- The sun bright, the air soft and
    balmy. To look out upon the earth now just
    manifesting its resurrection power, and witness
    the shifting panorama as we whirled along was
    quite exhilarating. But it was nothing in com-
    parision with the intense enthusiasm which found
    expression from ten thousand living, beating,
    sympathetic hearts that crowded to greet
    and cheer us at every stopping place on the rout. From the nearest depot to the farthest men, women
    and children thronged about us to bid us Godspeed
    on our mission. They rang the bells, fired cannons,
    brought food and drink and in every possible
    way labored to contribute to our comfort. Ladies
    would press through the crowd seize the hard hands
    of our brave lads and shake them as if they were
    bethrothed lovers. At all the large stations, Springfield,
    Hartford, Newhaven, the crowds were immense, and
    filled with wild enthusiasm. Our arrival at N.Y.
    was welcomed with if possible with still more
    intensity. The city had been out all day. Two
    Regiments had left from there in the A.M. As
    we marched up to the St. Nicholas for supper, the
    distance being about two miles, the streets were
    packed and the multitudes were vociferous
    in their demonstrations of patriotic delight. We
    took supper in the elegant dining saloon of the
    St. Nick. And then for half an hour the soldiers
    mingled with the crowd in the house in pleasant
    social intercourse. At 12 we proceeded to
    our boat. Here we were delayed a long time
    on account of the difficulty of getting onboard
    the horses and guns of the Boston Flying Artillery,
    and did not leave the wharf until nearly four
    o clock, and so another night was passed
    and still a stranger to sleep. The boat was
    laden with stores for the camp and about
    700 men beside the 80 horses of the Artillery.
    We soon began to look about for places
    to rest ourselves, and bales of hay haveing
    been provided it was scattered about the
    hold, and soon hundreds were unconscious
    of all surroundings. A dear fellow by the
    name of Bates and myself stretched ourselves
    in a corner and easily were rocked away
    to silence and rest. About 2 o clock I roused myself and prepared to go on deck--I felt a
    sort of dissiness and an unpleasant action
    of my stomach. Getting upon deck I saw doz-
    ens of men holding on upon the sides of the
    boat and another party appearing to take pe-
    culiar delight at their expense. I soon found
    myself united to the former party and the way
    bitter yellow bile flowed from my mouth was
    unprecedented in my experience. After a while
    I thought I would go below, but was quickly
    obliged to return. I remained on deck until
    past 5 when I went down again. But the
    air of the hold had become very close and offen-
    sive, dozens lying on their backs being unable
    to stand upon their feet, and vomiting after the
    most approved style. Bates was among the number
    and was in great distress. I soon found it impos-
    sible to remain and went again on deck, and
    there remained until morning. Another night
    making four in succession without sleep. Tuesday
    was a bright warm day and by 10 o clock I began
    to feel all right again. In the meantime I had
    eaten two or three lemons, and my appetite began
    to come. I soon began to eat and all feelings
    of seasickness vanished. Tuesday night by accident
    I learned that I could secure a good berth in the
    state room occupied by the steward for the night
    for one dollar. I quickly accepted it and at
    8 o clock I was resting on a good bed, with two
    nice blankets over me, and slept soundly until
    called at 7 in the morning by the steward, who in-
    formed me that he could furnish me with
    breakfast in my room if I desired, with two or
    three others if I could find any. I soon returned
    with Garty and Geo. Buttrick, and we had
    a breakfast of the best of hot beef steak, good
    bread and butter, and hot-coffee, for which we paid one dollar a piece. Although the price was enormous
    I did not regret it for I think I never enjoyed
    a breakfast so well before. I owe the good fortune
    of getting it to my dear friend Mr. Phelps. During
    the day Wednesday I enjoyed a great deal.
    We were anchored in the lovely Chesepeak
    bay - and on every side were objects of great
    beauty. Close to as almost within hail, was
    Fort Munroe. A regiment of troops had just
    reached there and every thing appeared to be
    lively and active. The grounds on which the fort
    is situated were a mile in length running
    back to some distance. Several fine buildings
    adorn it. Everthing about it was a model of
    neatness, large trees were unfolding their foliage,
    and the grass was of the deepest green. Our
    men were sorry it was not our good fortune
    to be stationed on this charming spot. In the
    afternoon a boat of smaller size than ours came
    along side to take our heavy stores, I went on
    board her and was invited by her Capt. in to his cabin
    and partook with him of hot coffee cake &c. It took
    so long to remove the stores that we were compelled to
    remain here until morning. I was on deck after
    most of the men had retired and a more glorious
    panorama including the heavens, the earth and
    the sea I never witnessed. I shall never forget the
    evening spent in the lovely Chesepeak bay. We were
    called early wednesday morning to prepare to sail,
    and soon our boat was in motion. At 7 o clock
    we reached the harbor of Annapolis and eagerly
    went ashore on the grounds occupied by the
    United States Naval School. It is attended by about
    300 young men in preparation for military and
    naval service. It is a large area of land surround
    with a brick wall of perhaps a mile in extent. They
    are all large & substantial, and many of them splendid structures. The school has been broken up, and the
    buildings are to be occupied as barracks for
    the soldiers - the place being selected as a rende-
    voux for the reception of troops for the war,
    I occupied the day in visiting objects of beauty
    and interest, and never spent a day more hap-
    pily. In the afternoon the young men about 170
    in number were removed in the U.S. Sloop Con-
    stitution to Newport R.I. It was a sad sight.
    It was a great disappointment for them to leave,
    and almost all were in tears. They marched in a
    bevy to the wharf the splendid band of the Consti-
    tution offering musick. The thousands of troops
    lined their way, the feelings of the whole subdued
    in sympathy for the noble looking lads so suddenly
    separated from scenes and friends they loved. As the
    vessel gracefully left the wharf the band played
    "Old lang Sien", the students all stood upon deck their
    heads uncovered, and with waving handkerchiefs
    and fond longings bid adieu to their beautiful
    home. It was rumored that our regiment would
    be stationed there for a few days, and I felt glad
    to hear it. About 5 o clock we were called into line.
    And after supper of herring & crackers, the adjutant
    pointed out our quarters and being rather tired
    I longed for the order to move to them. [illegible]
    of my disappointment when an order suddenly came
    that we must take rations for two days in our
    haversacks and be prepared to march in half an
    hour. The expressions of surprise and indignation
    were quite plainly expressed, yet every one went
    quickly obeyed. At 8 o clock we began to march
    to the depot at Annapolis enrout for Washington.
    The feeling of the people in the city is strong se-
    cession, and undoubtedly many would be glad to
    follow the example of Baltimore. But no dem-
    onstration was made of an offensive nature. On the contrary the silence that pervaded the place was
    opppressive. The doors and windows were mostly
    closed, no lights were seen, and we felt that we
    were in an enemies Country, if want of sympathy
    was an indication of it. It was in shocking contrast
    with our reception in N. York. Our column em-
    braced 10 Companies and it was found it had been
    impossible to procure cars enough to carry but 4
    and we were told that the rest must march. It
    was a stunning announcement, but it must be
    attempted. We stood upon our feet in the streets
    till 1/2 past eleven when the cars were ready to
    run and we to march. It was a beautiful night
    and if we must march it was much better to go in
    the cool of the night. I have written to so many of
    you concerning this march I will not spin out any
    more about it- We proceeded in our march, at
    1/2 past 7 o clock A.M. the first man reached An-
    napolis Junction our destination, and at 1/2 past 12
    the last one came silently and painfully to quarters.
    Probably a more worn out dejected looking set of
    felows never met there before. I threw aside my
    equipment, lain down upon the ground under
    the shade of a large oak tree, made my pillow
    of a protruding root and slept soundly three hours.
    On waking I found a few of the men had
    risen, some conjectureing what would come next,
    others examining themselves to ascertain whether
    they were really alive and able to walk - I soon
    found a little brook where I washed me as well
    as I could and felt refreshed. A little party of
    went to a house at a short distance, and were
    able to get a cup of hot tea and a genuine
    corncake, made by the hand of a real slave,
    and fried on a spider as you fry Slaps jacks.
    We sat down to a table and ate with syrop
    and relished it richly. At 6 o clock the men were all on their feet again, beginning to prepare
    for supper, [as we had?] nothing with us but herring
    and crackers it was suggested that some had
    better go out forageing. A Contribution of 9 or
    ten dollars was quickly collected and the men
    started off. In about two hours they returned
    laden with a bushel of potatoes, 8 dozen eggs, sugar
    tea, Coffee, salt pork and several hoe Cakes. They
    also secured Kettles & pans to cook with - Watts
    is our Caterer & Cook, and at 11 o clock he Called
    us to supper. It was not arranged with all
    the care and cleanliness Augusta would observe
    in our dear old Kitchen, yet I think no supper
    was ever eaten with more satisfaction. All ate
    and were filled and there were some baskets full
    left notwithstanding we had a large number of in-
    vited guests so that the number of men who
    did eat exceeded an hundred. After supper
    we mad a large fire and Collected as much
    wood as we thought we should need for the night,
    laid ourselves down on the damp ground to
    sleep. At 3 o clock we were suddenly called
    up and it was announced that a train was
    ready to convey us to Washington. We hurriedly
    prepared to go, Our Company 64 men, were packed
    into a Common freight Car such as one used
    to carry cattle in. We fill the car closely all of us
    standing. Soon the air became stifled, and I began
    to feel sick. The breath of so many men, more or less
    pouring out the fumes, of onions, tobacco and bad
    whiskey was terrible. Fortunately I stood neer the
    door and endured it. After a ride of three
    hours we finally reached our long sought
    destination the beautiful Federal Capital of
    the nation. I shall inform you of all I see here
    that I think will interest you. As yet I have been able
    to see but little. Read to uncle George.

    Love to all affectionately
    Charles.