Ransom W. Towle to Rufus and Sebra Towle

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(No. 7)Headquarters 4th Vt. Vol.Camp Griffin, Fairfax Co. Va.Jan 11th 1862Dear Parents,

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Saturday – rainy – muddy - and - no Drills except a short Co Drill in firing which is quite an interesting exercise. In these Drills we use blank Cartridges which make all the noise we need and harm no one. This looks quite warlike when done by a whole Division in line of Battle – some fifteen Thousand men in two Ranks firing by Co. by Rank or by file - or by Battalion makes such a noise as was never heard in old Vt. and then it is some excitement for the men and wakes them up from Camp Dullness and stupidity. We now Drill in firing to use about twenty rounds of blank Cartridges per Day - that is when we Drill Rainy Days I study Tactics and post up on military - read the Papers write letters and Smoke. I am a very hard smoker yet indulge a little by the advice of the Surgeon as a preventative against Ague and other Camp Diseases. And I think it a good Remedy for I notice the Smokers are generally exempt from a certain class of Diseases.

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Camp life is the same every Day Revellie Roll call Drills Retreat Tattoo Taps all Breakfast Dinner and Supper come at the beat of the Drum each in their accustomed round with military exactness and are each despatched with military precision - no variety and in consequence no news except now and then a Foraging Party when all eyes are turned in anxious hope towards Secessie hoping to See the Skulking Enemy and get a chance to pay Them their respects through the medium of the trusty Rifle There have been some resignations among the Officers of the Line and will be some more. Some for Physical inability some for homesickness. Some for the reason that that they dont know enough to pass an examination before the board of Examiners - to do which takes a good judgement and a good deal of hard study, and as w e have some Officers a little stupid, some that like whiskey pretty well and for various reasons dont come up to the scratch Most of the Boys In Co. E. are tough and in fine spirits.

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Capt Terry is unwell from a little Lung difficulty which has troubled him for some time and seems to hang on Our Col. though quite unpopular among the men at first is getting to be liked first best. The men have got accustomed to his Swearing and find out he dont mean half as much Swear as he says One thing is quite evident and that is Col Stoughton is the smartest and best skilled in military of any Col. in the Vt. Brigade and the talk is that he is to supercede Brig General Brooks. If true we shall miss Him. But it is bed time and I will stop. Just write about the Boots I wrote my old ones which I supposed would last all winter are giving out and I must have some from somewhere soon Give my respects to all. tell Willie to be a good Boy and I will bring him a nice present from Dixie when I come home Good bye


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Inside is a wishbone for Miss L which belongs in a Secesh Chicken that I found about Christmas