Roswell Farnham to Mary [Farnham]
I received no letter from you today yesterday but expect one today, tho' when I get it it will be too late to reply by today's mail, so I write now.
When I finished my letter Saturday night I told you that I was field officer of
the day for yesterday & today. I was on yesterday but was relieved this
morning, as I suppose they intend to put us on for but twenty four hours at a
time. I went the length of the line yesterday & and last night after half
past eight o'clock. Nelson started with me and went from Woodyard's Ford up to
Bull Run R. R. bridge, where his horse fell down a bank into Pope's Run &
wet him so that I sent him up to camp & went the
rest of the way alone. We had to cross Pope's Run & it was so dark that I
did not find the right place to come out. My horse sprang up the bank with a
good deal of difficulty, but his, when near the top, fell over backwards into
the Run. Nelson sprang aside so that only the
horses feet touched him. I jumped off my horse & ran towards him & asked him if he was hurt. He said "No, but I am wet all over." When I found he was not hurt I could not help laughing - I was sorry & so was he that he could not go over the line. He went to camp & I started out on the R. R. to visit the post at the bridge. I heard the train coming but I thought I would get to the bridge before that did & turn out. There is no chance to get off the track with a horse for a long distance. I found I was not going to get there in season, so I turned "White Face" & the way he clattered over R. R. ties was a caution to a timid man's neck. I soon found a place to turn out & waited for the train to pass. It was then nearly twelve o'clk. I learnred at the bridge that the trains were bringing in forage & that a long train of army waggons was moving in the direction of Centreville. As soon as I left the bridge & got up on the high grounds I could hear the waggon train distinctly. The boys told me that it had been moving since six o'clk. I passed along the line as rapidly as possible & when I got to our right at Blackburn's Ford I learned that the Eleventh & Twelfth Army Corps were passing.
Hooker is moving his whole army in this
direction. A portion is crossing at Wolf Run & a portion at Occoquan. Two corps go up the Potomac & the rest through in this vicinity. The sky is filled with clouds of dust in the direction of Manassas as I write.
I have just looked out of my tent to see a train of pack mules passing through our camps. Stearns brother has just told me that there several batteries at the Shoals, but that no infantry has crossed there yet. We are in the midst of great movements evidently. What it all means no one knows, though every one has an opinion about it. It is reported that Lee has passed or is passing into the Shenandoah Valley for Maryland or Penn. & that Hooker has outmaneuvered him. If Lee is so foolish as to attempt to fight him he will get most thoroughly whipped. Our forces now have every advantage & if Bull Run is attempted for the third time the Rebels will find it once too many.
You must not feel alarmed about us as the probabilites of our being in any fight are not great. Nineteen days more closes our term, - but a great deal may be done in nineteen days.
Write often & direct as usual. I will write as often as I have anything worth writing.
Nelson has just come in & says there are five Regiments at the Depot. Some of the officers of Kearneys old Brigade just rode past here with red patches on their caps. Things are moving fast.
I promised to write about Bull Run Battle Field, but little time.
We did not see much of interest. Col. Randall who was in the First Bull Run Battle showed us where the 2d. Vt. Regt. stood. We found a large number of graves, many with the remains exposed, the rain having washed the dirt off. For you must remember that the rebels do not bury our men, they only throw dirt over them just where they lay-some on their backs, some on their sides & some on their faces. I saw one man with both feet sticking out with his stockings still on. He lay upon his face, with the soles of his feet up.
Well this is a curious letter, but you must not let it make you feel blue. I never felt better or in better spirits. I am a little sore from my long ride but my health is good.
Herrick wishes to be remembered to you both. Nelson sends love. Write soon.
Your affectionate husbandRos.