Ransom W. Towle to Rufus and Sebra Towle

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Head Qts 4th Reg. Vt Vol.In Camp Near Newport NewsMar. 29th 1862Dear Parents

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We shipped from Alexandria on the 23rd laid on board till next morning. Came down to Fortress Monroe where we arrived at ten P.M. Next morning we landed at Hampton or what was Hampton before it was burned by the Rebels. We then went three miles up the James River and camped two nights Day before yesterday we went with a force of forty thousand fifteen miles up the James River driving in the Rebel Pickets near Warwick, who retreated in force burning a Bridge over a Creek to stop our progress

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Yesterday we came back to this Camp we are now seven miles from Fortress Monroe and two from Newport News. for the last week we have known what it is to be hungry Day before yesterday we got nothing This is owing to the inefficiency of our Qr. Master and not that there was any necessity for our going hungry. There is not much chance for us to learn much of the Country or what is going on but there seems to be a concentration of troops here probably for an advance into Virginia This may take place in two hours or two weeks or months But there is to be a General advance soon and then there will be some sharp fighting or some tall backing down

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Coming down the Bay we passed Several Gun boats one regular Man of War of twenty six Guns She was a black saucy looking fellow We came by the renowned Monitor on the way which the Rebels very accurately describe when they [say] She looked like a raft with a Cheese Box on her There is nothing to be seen above the Raft but a cone in the Center Fortress Monroe is a Saucy looking Fort with her three hundred Guns looking suggestively out at you but the old Union Gun Caps the whole which with the big Floyd guns are mounted right on the Beach One on looking at them cannot help [but] think of the Ruin

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They would cause fired into an Army of Men They would almost batter down [Priam] In our last tramp we passed two Rebel Cannon of wood mounted on common cart wheels but more hereafter

in haste
Direct as usualRansom