Quincy F. Thurston to William Wirt Henry

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Camp in the Field7 miles from RichmondJune 7th 1862Lieut. W.W. Henry
Dear Sir:

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As we are on the eve of the final "decisive battle" I seize the moment to give some account of things lest the chances of war should cut me off and interfere with my little plans.

You are kept better informed of our past movements through the daily press than I could do it.

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You probably know all about the evacuation of Yorktown ­ the battle of Williamsburgh in which we acted as a reserve – our stay at the White House and our advance to the now celebrated Chickahominy river. Yesterday we took up our line of march and after a very roundabout course of five or six miles we arrived near the site of the grape vine bridge, built by Gen. Sumner before crossing last Sunday. The rains since that date have erased the said bridge and our troops have been employed in building a more permanent structure. I had the pleasure of assisting in the matter by carrying one rail to the pioneer engaged in the structure work. This amount of work

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performed by a large detail of men was more than sufficient to furnish material for what was wanting when our Brigade arrived. The “corduroy" extends over half a mile. Towards night, we shouldered our knap- sacks again, and crossed the “Rubicon" as we supposed, but found another body of water a branch of the Ch- which had flooded the meadow. This was bridged the most of the way only by string pieces and we found it rather “skittish" business crossing. We all reached the Richmond side, safe and sound, and after ascending a long sloping bank, proceeded to pitch our tents in clover field on the summit. It was then about five oclock and

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we had just arranged ourselves for a nights rest, when the order came to pack up and prepare for another march. Such is a soldier's life. We were consoled however by the reflection that we were on the road to Richmond. A further march of some miles through mud which you know all about, and we arrived in a wheat field, situated somewhat like the bed of clover we left. It was about dark and we made ourselves busy in preparing for the night. So here we are, and we know not how long we shall stay in here or what may happen from one hour to another.

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The battle of last Saturday and Sunday was fought not far from here. You will see where we crossed in the New York Herald of the 3rd inst.

This morning we learn the rebels have retired from the position they held last night in the woods about here, and the pickets have been advanced a mile. They don't think much of McLellans "crowding them so" as they call it. They will soon be crowded out of Richmond.

Our last camp was occupied since a week ago Saturday. We did not expect to stay so long when we came there, but the heavy rains have

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much delayed our progress. Our troops are now moving onward with the greatest rapidity. From 20 to 30,000 have come up the river by the R. Road from the Pamunkey river. The defeat of the rebels last Sunday has rather demoralized the rebels, and although I anticipate a general battle and a very bloody one, I have no doubt as to the result. The rebels are nearly our equals in musketry firing. They stand fire in first rate style, but when our boys charge bayonets and yell, they always scatter. So it proved the other day, and so the rebel prisoners we have taken acknowledge.

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The boys from Waterbury are well as usual, with the exception of T. Sleeper. He is with us now however and in his usual spirits and will probably soon be on duty again.

Our Captain is very much liked. He is what we call a "bully fellow" right up to the chalk in every thing.

I wish you could be here to see the big skirmish come off ­ but if nothing happens, we mean to be at home and see you this summer.

Please give my respects to all the friends, and write when you can.

Yours RespectfullyQuincy F. Thurston