Letter to Rufus and Sebra Towle

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Send me the address of the TribuneHead Quarters Camp GriffinFairfax County Va.Dec. 7th, 1861Dear Parents

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Not less than four times have I sat down today to write a few lines and no sooner did I set down then a call came in from the Adjutant to detail some men for some police or fatigue duty. Yesterday we moved some two miles and today there is an amount of fatigue duties to do and as Orderly Serg. it devolves on me to detail them and all of the Guards and Pickets also. And then I have to keep all the Records of the Co.- an account of the men able to do duty of the sick of those in Hospital - of those in arrest or confinement (if any) - of every man that is absent from Roll call and make a written Report of it all to the Adjutant every morning at half past Seven and go after my Report Book at noon. and if I fail to be there promptly at the minute I am liable to arrest and be reduced to the Ranks. In addition to this I have to call out the Co. for Roll calls drills and all other purposes. Once I failed to get my Guard men to the Adjutants on time by about half a minute. I took a good round swearing at and was told if the thing happened again I should be put in arrest. When I first commenced it kept me in a perfect stew but now I have learned to take things cool although I should not work harder if I were at work on a farm by the months Thursday (guess I said yesterday) and that made quite a busy day. Many of the men have been accumulating things convenient in Camp.

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Camp Stoves- plates, etc. and it was amusing to see the various expedients the boys would get up to convey their various Traps along some would stager along under their usual equipments a straw bed-tic, a box of home luxuries from home under the Arm and a Camp Stove stuck on the end of the bayonet. The whole Reg. moving along in this kind of a fix made rather a novel show it looked something like a train Irish Emigrants. Our mess had more than we could bring and two of us went back and brought in a cracker box some hundred and fifty pounds of trash. We are now pitched in the woods on quite uneven ground near a brook it will be quite warm and comfortable for cold weather. Yesterday we went out on an other foraging expedition and got a good haul of Corn Oats and hay. Gen. Brooks said in the morning that we should see fighting before night if we did this winter. Just at night as we had got our Spoil loaded and having seen no Rebels except some Pickets who fled before our Scouts, the orders came to about face – march. We had gone about a mile when Gen. Hancock - whose Division was on another road – sent a messenger for our Div. stating that he had discovered a large force of Rebels and wanted us to join him in an attack. We set out accordingly but had not gone more than two miles before another messenger informed us that the Bird had flown. It was then dark and as we were some eight miles from Camp we took up our homeward march with heavy hearts and found our Camp tired and hungry about nine o’clock. Remember some of my letters are yet unanswered


Recd a Paper last night would be glad to get the [Flagg] every week when you have read it think I shall take the Tribune through this Session of Congress if I can get it