Roswell Farnham to Laura

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Camp Butler, Newport NewsJuly 31st, 1861Dear Laura:

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I have been interesting to write you for several days but have not found time. This sheet of paper I send you so that you can see a little how Ft. Monroe looks. The view is taken looking towards the east, probably from a mast head. The fortress itself you can trace by its walls and the ditch or moat. The large building with the piazza about it is the Hygeia Hotel where we were for a while quartered - now a hospital for all the forces. The road and bridge at the [back] lead over to Hampton, where we were encamped just before we came here. Right over the top of the Fortress you will see the sand beach which leads off towards the cemetery where Underwood lies buried. A little to the left of this you will see a building outside the walls of the fort, near which I spent my first night on guard duty.

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At the right you will see the wharf where we landed and near it the light house, and just beyond that the big Floyd gun. The houses about the fort are summer residences of Southerners. They were mostly deserted when we went there. They are now occupied officers of the army. You can see that the fortress is quite an extensive place and can accommodate a great many men. I am going to get a large picture of the Fort to carry home with me.

This is now Wednesday and we have a good reason to think that we shall start for home on Friday. We go by steamer to New Haven and thence by R. R. to Brattleboro where we expect to be paid off.

I have nothing of interest to write. I see that the newspapers say that we are soon to be attacked, but I am inclined to think that the rebels will wait till Col. Phelps leaves with the Vermont Regt. They have a wholesome fear of us. Our forces are very much weakened here and at the fort still we can hold this place undoubtedly against all that can at present be brought against us. The men would not feel much like fighting now, it is so near time to leave.

Aug. 1st. I did not finish this yesterday. I had considerable to do and besides did not feel very well. The latest news now is that we are not to be allowed to leave here till Monday Aug. 5th. The boys are grumbling terribly for they had made up their minds to start for home tomorrow. I dont know as we should care much about

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going through Boston, for we are dirty and ragged. Our uniforms are all worn out, and we look pretty hard except two or three companies who have got new uniforms.

I rec'd your short letter written Sunday and was glad to hear from you. It came yesterday. I hope your ear will be permanently benefitted.

I dont know what this camp will do when we leave for the other, all New York regiments are a miserable lot - no discipline at all. They are drunk, officers & men, two thirds of the time.

Night before last Merrill Beard, Dan Buckley, Moses Gels and Burton Davis, all of our company formed the picket guard at a house about a mile and a half from here. During the night Dan Buckley was fired upon by some scoundrel in the bushes, and he & Mose returned the fire. They saw nothing of the rebels after that. There were three of them, and they had intended to pick off one of the boys and leave without showing fight. None of our boys were hit.

Last night a captain in the 1st. N. Y. Regt. shot one of his men, it is said in self defence. The man was drunk.

I have no more to write this morning.

Yours affectionatelyRoswell Farnham

P. S. Have you written or heard from Cy.?