No. 63. [At a later date, this sequential number was added to the top of this letter.]

Winchester Mar. 14/62

My dear Helen,

As I expected here we are
safe & sound without a fight & the
rebels supposed to be at a most
respectful distance from us.
Jackson ought not to have escaped
us & I understand Genl Banks
wished to come down by way of
Millwood -- between here & Manassas
-- & so get in his rear & cut him
off but instead of doing so
called a military council, which
I believe are ever complete stoppers
on any task in military operation
& his Brigadiers thought there
was too much risk & he gave it
up; as it has turned out he might
have done it with perfect safety.

The morning I wrote you we
marched to Berryville some 12 miles
over a bad road & bivouacked in
a wood; the evening was cold &
rainy & windy & the men had just

got settled about eight o'c when
my company was ordered out on
picket. I did not say much but
should not like to tell you what
I thought; We plunged through
the mud of a by lane for some
ways & then took to a field which
was so full of briers that we
had to go back to the mud
again at last after walking nearly
two miles in this way we arrived
at our destination & by this time
the moon had come out & the
sky was perfectly clear

While I stationed my outposts &
sintinels I told Sawyer to take
possession of a house close by for
those of the men who did not
go on duty & for another company
which was to report to me; on my
return I found that the house had
turned out to be deserted by everyone
but the negroes, the proprietor having
left that very day for this place.
We rummaged all over the house
& found a couple of guns hid but

nothing else of any interest; the
next morning we had a famous
breakfast of chicken & ham & bread
& honey & the men lived on the best
of ham which we found in the
smoke house & corn bread; about
noon we were relieved & returned
to camp with many trophies in the
shape of hams & a large demi-john
of native wine which was quite nice
& which was carried with my over-
coat thrown round it to keep it
from the gaze of envious or objecting
eyes. Everything went on very
quietly till Wednesday afternoon
when mounted orderlies were seen
coming pell mell from Charlestown
& in a short time we were ordered
to get ready to march immediately
-- there was fighting at Winchester
& Genl Shields had been captured
& Genl Hamilton was engaged, so
off we started about dark & had
got three or four miles on our way
when we met Col. Gordon returning from Winchester where he had been
during the afternoon & his surprise
& disgust may be imagined when
he found the regiment moving
on account of a rumor which
he knew to be utterly without found-
ation - nor have I yet heard it
explained how the mistake occurred
& can think of no other explanation
than some misunderstanding of signals
- however we pushed on & bivouacked
about two miles north of the
place in the woods the next day
we pitched our camp in an
open field & yesterday the com-
pany came in here on Provost
Guard duty.

This is quite a nice town of some
five thousand inhabitants its
situated in a hollow & all the
approaches are admirably adapted
for defence & I understand the
entrenchments are quite extensive
but I've not yet seen them.

We are very pleasantly quartered
at present in a house formerly called
the Union Hotel kept by an elderly lady

& her daughters - the mama I dis-
covered in conversation is a sister of
Mrs Bruden of Mobile - do you re-
collect an old lady dressed in black
who used to sit in the front pew
of the middle aisle at the church
we patronized? because if you do
she was the lady in question - last
evening we sat in the parlor &
talked while one of the young ladies
played on a broken winded piano
she played pretty well for this
part of the world & knew some
good waltzes Morning Star,
Brightest Eyes Gallop & really played
in excellent time.

Brig. Genl Hamilton was called
yesterday to Washington to take com-
mand of Genl Heinzelmans brigade or division
the latter being appointed to one of
the corps d'armee' & Col. Gordon
is appointed to the command of
his brigade & our regiment transferred
to that brigade Lt. Col. Andrews
is to be relieved from the post of Provost
Marshall & probably my company will
be returned to the regiment shortly &
I shall be glad of it.

I understand Charly Horton is to

be Col. Gordon's Acting Asst. Adjt Genl
& Lt. Col. Batchelder of the 13th Mass.
will succeed Col. Andrews as Pro. Mar.

What a success it is driving the
rebels from Manassas without a fight
but I suppose the grumblers will
continue to growl because McClellan
did'nt annihilate them there but
I fancy the effect of a retreat or
rather a series of retreats as have been
lately from their several strongholds
will be as great or greater than
a similar number of defeats - at
Forts Henry & Donelson we showed
that we could whip them out
of their entrenchments & at Columbus
& Manassas we have shown that
we could maneuvere them into
abandoning their fortifications & sure-
ly the latter is best in every point
of view military or otherwise so long
as the desired eff object is obtained.
I am very doubtful whether they
will be able to make any stand
of great consequence on their new
line of defence from Gordonsville
to Staunton or indeed in s this state
but sixty days will show a great

deal & wear out a great deal of
shoe leather for we shall have
to follow these fellows a long way.

The Merrimac played us a pretty
trick & to give the d-l his due
did it well; if it had not
been for the Monitor she would
have got out & would have raised
Ned with some of our blockading
ships; however all's well that
ends well & the plucky little
Monitor showed that she could
thrash the "iron clad monster" &
have a little to spare; the Congress
& Cumberland were no doubt good
vessels in their way but as compared
with the men-of-war of the pres-
ent day were comparatively of
little real service & the loss of
life is the only thing we have
particularly to regret in the
late naval fight.

How long we shall remain here
is of course mere conjecture but I
should fancy but a few days
Jackson is said to be at Strasburg
but I think will retire as we advance

I do not know what to say
yet about sending on the blouse
& think you had better keep it
for the present as Adams' Express
has not yet penetrated as far
as this.

Although the mails are likely to
be irregular for some time still they
will come through eventually so don't
be discouraged by not hearing from
me as often as in the winter as I
cannot always get an opportunity
to write & sometimes it may become
necessary to keep back the mails
from the army for a few days at
a time.

I have received yours of the
6th & 9th inst & enclose you Booths.
I saw his brother Wilkes for an hour
or so in Balte one evening & did
not like him at all - he rants
& his face has no more expression
than a board fence - his voice is
like Neds'.

Good-bye! Love to all & a kiss
to Georgie.
Your Affectionate Husband