Roswell Farnham to Mary [Farnham]

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Rutland Vt.May 5th, 1861Sunday, In CampDear Mary:

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I had intended to write you a long letter today, but this morning I was very unexpectedly appointed officer of the guard and I shall be busy for the next twenty four hours.

You probably got my note written in pencil from the Town Hall, Saturday night. When I wrote I supposed you would be able to reply so that I could get it last night but I find that it takes two days for a letter to go from here to Bradford. I feel very anxious to hear from you.

We are getting to be quite soldiers. We have now lived in camp two days, sleeping in tents on straw and eating what is cooked for us over the fire in camp. I enjoy it first rate and am growing fat and hearty. It was terribly cold Friday night and we all suffered from the cold. Some of the soldiers had not straw enough and some no blankets nor over coats. Friday morning we came into camp without any provisions at all. Along in the forenoon we had

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a lot of raw fresh beef served out to us and some dry bread - no butter nor anthing else.

We had no wood to build a fire with and the boys made their first dinner on dry bread without water to wash it down. The boys had good pluck and did not grumble much. The first day and first two nights tried the boys' mettle pretty thoroughly. We have now got into some sort of regularity.

We get up in the morning at 5 o'clk. and attend roll call. From that time to 7 o'clk we take care of tents, roll up blankets, and put things in order generally - at seven "Peas on the Trencher" is played which is the call to breakfast. Through the forenoon inspection and battalion drill. At one o'clock "Roast Beef" calls us to dinner. Then we have nothing to do till 4 o'clk. At four review - and half an hour before sun down dress parade. At seven o'clock supper. At 9 o'clk the "tattoo" is beat at which time all the soldiers are required to be in bed and at the "taps" ten minutes after every light must be extinguished, except in the officers tents. So you see we have quite a busy time. The boys have to do their own cooking but the officers have it done by their waiters.

We are as black and tough as you please.

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I had intended to write a good deal today, but I have charge of the guard mounting as I told you and it keeps me pretty busy. The guard consists of thirty men divided into three "Reliefs" who take turns and are changed every two hours. I shall not probably get much sleep tonight. If I had no anxiety about you all at home I should enjoy this life very much. Our chances of going south are rather slim. We don't know now what our destination is. We may be ordered to Burlington tomorrow and thence to New York. George A. Merrill told us yesterday, that if we did not have a chance to go to Washington that we should go to New York. He says that they are expecting the Vt. Regiment with a good deal of interest. I have had no time to write to any of the papers yet.

You must get along as well as you can and keep up good courage. Our chances of seeing a battle are all moonshine, though 700 out of 780 men want a fight. We have a splendid regiment and for men the Bradford Guards are quite up to the mark and a little more so, we are as well drilled as they well average. Our Col. - Phelps is a firm man and a good soldier. He has put us under U. S. army discipline and the men come into it

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first rate. Our whole encampment is like a real army encampment in many respects. I wish we were going to stop here longer for I should like to see you. If we stop in New York sometime, you may come down there if you are able. We shall be received all through N. Y. state & city with the greatest enthusiasm.

Gen. Wool in a speech made at Albany said we were coming Monday. This is not so. I will write to you often, but it has been so uncomfortable when I have been at leisure this I have not been able.

When you write direct

Lieut. Roswell Farnham

Care of Capt. D. K. Andross

First Regiment Vermont Uniformed Militia

Rutland Vt-

Direct to Rutland in reply to this unless you get a dispatch to direct elsewhere. We are all pretty well, but some of the boys have caught cold. They will soon be over it. We shall send home four or five boys. Love to Laura and all that enquire.

Your affectionate husbandRoswell Farnham

I will write soon.

I would write more but I am writing in the guard house & have a good deal to do.