Roswell Farnham to [C. H.] Harding
Your letter of June 21st was received yesterday. Letters reach us in two days from the time they are mailed. I have received several letters from you of late, but I have not perhaps answered them all, as I have considerable to do and my business is not such that I can well control it, and adopt it to my convenience.
If I had time I should like to write to a good many of the papers and correct some few of the lies afloat in regard to our regiment. We labor under the disadvantage of having written correspondent nor artist. Some of the New York illustrated papers ignore every thing except troops from their own state. When we get home we can tell you more than can be written and somethings that we dont care to write.
Maj. Winthrop, who was killed at Great Bethel, I had become acquainted with. He was a
fine man, and we seemed to "hitch together", as they say. He had been up here from
the fort several times before the expedition to Bethel to see guides in respect to
other matters, and I had looked up intelligent
darkies for him. In this way I had seen him quite often, and the night we started for Bethel we felt like old friends. I say we, for I think he expressed quite as much friendship for me as I felt for him.
Just before the fight I saw him call up a negro with his rifle, sharp's, and that was the last I saw of him. He went in with the Mass. troops on foot and the story is that he fell into the arms of a Northfield man, when shot.
Lieut. Gribble I was slightly acquainted with. He had been with us here from the first, and won the esteem of all with whom he came in contact.
You will see, or have seen, some pictures in the illustrated papers of the fight and of our encampment. The latter are tolerably correct, except that they want life. The forms are entirely works of imagination. The New York special artist who was present during the whole engagement, was probably present in New York. It is true that we had a field price and were in the neighborhood of woods, but that the Zouaves charged in unbroken ranks is absurd. They went out and fired on their own hook, and none of them or anybody else were as near the entrenchment as we were.
I have almost forgotten what I wrote in my account of the battle, as I did not read
the letter over and it was written when I did not feel over well. I am well now
however and eat my
full allowance of beef and hard bread.
The roll call at 9 o'clk. P. M. is just beating and I have been up and rather hard at work since four o'clock. There were ten negroes who came in last night to be got off in the boat at seven o'clock this morning for Old Point, and nine more came in during the morning. I have to make out a full list description, age, owner &c. which I keep in a book here, and a duplicate sent to Head Quarters at the fort; and all this has to be done in good style. The report must be folded just so and go in a government envelope. I have to draw also rations of the Qr. Master to keep them while here, and keep an account of that - as well as of all the negroes employed in camp. In addition to my other duties, today I have been through camp our regiment taking a list of stolen property, and have been the length of the whole encampment often a stolen horse. So you may well believe I am not much of an invalid. I have had a cough ever since I left Rutland, and for the week before and after "Bethel" I feared that it might be something serious, especially as the next week after the fight I had a bilious attack that took off about six lbs. of flesh. I am well and tough now however and my cough is almost cured.
Let Mrs. Farnham read this. I will write to
her as soon as I can. Tell her I write to you first because I want to have time to write a longer letter and I wrote several times last week.
Do the papers say anything of the capture of a vesel vessel loaded with Enfield rifles and rifled cannon? by our squadron off Charleston? There is such a story here in camp and the boys say that they are unloading the vessel at the Fortress.
Taylor is at Fort Monroe. He is not very well but I hope rest will do him good.
Write soon tell all the folks that we should like to hear from them.
They are all hurrying to go to bed and I must close.
Yours trulyRoswell Farnham