Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford
Miss M. J. Spafford
Camp Vermont, Near Alexandria Va.Nov 9th 1862My Dear Sister –
I shall send you, for a letter to day, a copy of the Journal which I have kept from the time the Regt left Brattleboro. You will notice it has been kept expressly for you, and not as a regular diary, but more like a letter written a piece at a time. Any thing that I happen to think of that I wish to write you, I put down in the Journal.
Oct. 24th Regt left Brattleboro at 2 o’clock P.M. went by rail to New Haven Ct. Took a boat for New York arrived there at 8 o’clock A.M. Took a boat for Fort Monmouth N.J. at 10 A.M. arrived there at 12 M.. Stoped on board the boat until 10 P.M. Then took cars for Philadelphia arrived there at 9 A.M. 25th Took breakfast & started for Baltimore Md. at 12 M. where we arrived at 9 P.M. Took supper & started for Washington at 11 P.M. Arrived there at 8 A.M. 27th Went into camp on Capitol Hill at 5 P.M. Got our tents until after dark, mighty cold night, men suffered for want of comfortable quarters.
Tueday 28th Had no drill to day. Got some new A tents and been pitching them.
Wednesday 29th Been busy all day cleaning up our camp ground. Had no drill. 9 P.M. Just recd orders to strike our tents at 7 tomorrow morning & be ready to march with two days rations.
Thursday 30th Struck our tents at 7 A.M. and started with
the other 4 Regts of the Brigade for Camp Seward Va. about 6 miles from
Washington Stoped to rest after crossing Long Bridge; while there a boy came to
me & wished to have me take him along with the Regt, said his name was
Daniel McAuliffe, 13 yrs old, had been stoping for some time in W- had no
parents living, liked the appearance of the boy & persuaded the Capt to take
him along with us
he is here in camp with us to night. The weather is warm & we have got our tents all hitched in good shape, every thing all right & comfortable.
Friday 31st Officer of the Guard. Muster day with the Regt. Weather uncomfortably warm with pleasant moonlight night. Have not recd a letter from Home since we left B-.
Saturday Nov 1st Came off guard at 9 A.M. The Brigade was
to be reviewed near long bridge at 12 M. The Regt was formed at 10 o’clock for a
start, when orders were recd by the different Regts to be ready to strike their
tents & march in half an hour. The 16th came back into camp at the double
quick & the men made themselves busy packing for the march, & were all
to strike our tents when the order was countermanded probarbly to be given again tomorrow. Wrote to you this afternoon. Like the boy Dan first rate. I shall take him to Vt. with me when the 9 months are ended.
Sunday 2d Uncomfortably warm Cannonading heard in the direction of Centerville. Cavalry boys who are here state that a fight is in progress beyond them between the Rebs & Seigels Corps. Recd a letter from you.
Monday 3d Ordered at 12 M. to have every thing packed
& be ready to march at 2 P.M. Struck our tents at 2 & left Camp Seward
with the other Regts. Passed by Fairfax Seminary & then down in the
direction of Alexandria to
within 2 miles or so of the city. Our tents were not brought so we are stoping among the bushes for the night.
Teusday 4th Got a pass this morning to go to Washington
to meet George. Walked to Alexandria (2 or 3 miles) & took a boat for W.
Called at Step. Prentice’s (496 9th St.) Looked around the city until time for
the N.Y. train (6 P.M.) then went to the Depot & watched the passengers as
they came from the cars but failed to find Geo. among them think possibly he
came in the morning train & I have missed him on the road. Have bought Dan a
pair of shoes & cap to day Am stoping to night at the Metropolitan Hotel.
Shall have a good feather bed to sleep on but had rather have my old
place on the straw in camp. My leave of absence will be out tomorrow night.
Wednesday 5th Got up this morning & went to the depot hoping to meet Geo. but did not find him, thought prehaps he had come in the yesterday mornings train & I had passed him on the road in going down, so after stoping about the city until 2 P.M. concluded to go back to camp & see if he was there. Got back about 4 P.M. but he had not been there, but I had not been there more than half an hour before he came. Said he came in the noon train, said he got down to the wharf just as the boat I was on started for Alexandria so he was one boat behind me, the boats run every hour.
Thursday 6th Had Co. & Battalion
drill. The Capt is at Washington going to stay until tomorrow.
Friday 7th Commenced snowing this morning & snowed quite hard all day. This evening it is quite blustering & seems quite winterlike. We have a stove in our tent & it is nearly as comfortable as a house. Regt fell in at 1 P.M. & marched to Alexandria to receive new guns in place of our old ones, they being poor french muskets. Marched to A. & immediately turned about & came home without our guns, dont know the reason, prehaps they had not arrived, or prehaps they are going to bring them to us with teams.
Saturday 8th Changed our guns at the Quarter Masters for Austrian Rifles. Not been warm enought to day to carry off all the snow.
Sunday 9th Been quite cool all day. I shall mail this to
night and now before I close I will answer your questions which you asked in
your letter of Nov 3rd which I recd last night.
We are encamped about 6 miles from our old camp of last winter. We have a chance to get daily papers every day so you see we can keep posted. All the boys from our vacinity are well. George (Dr. Geo.) likes first rate & so do all the boys. Our 9 months commenced the day we were mustered in. You may take as much of my money as you please to pay Merrill for those pictures with I will send you a list of names that I had promised them to & you can give any one else one that you please. I will write no more to night but will continue to write you in this way if you prefer it to a regular letter. Love to father & mother & with much for yourself.
Thank Alfred for the present of tobacco he sent me.
as Ever Your Aff. Brother – Jo.
P.S. I burn my letters as fast as they are answered. It is much the best way. Our Capt is one of the best fellows in the world.