Wheelock G. Veazey to Julia A. Veazey
I just rec’d yr letter & was happy. Have been trying to write to you several
days but had to work so hard I could not. We happen to have a man for Col. who
is a Col, therefore we have to work. He says himself that
we have overworked, but our position rendered it necessary for our safety. as
well as that of Washington. Many have been & are sick, officers as well as
men, therefore we, who are well have double duty to perform
much of the time. I was officer of the day three times in one week, when my turn would come but once in 10 days. Last Monday I was officer of pickets. We ran our line out 4 or 5 miles. I worked all day to station them, 80 in all, & in the eve the Col. sent up 90 men, as he had an intimation that we were to be attacked that night & the approach was to come on our picket line. he also sent an order for me to station part of the men at a certain point & take the rest to scout 3 or 4 miles beyond our pickets & attack anything I could find. We got back abut 5 o’clock
& I reckon a more tired set of men could scarcely be found. If I halted them for a moment for any purpose they would fall asleep instantly & it seemed as tho. they would never wake again. almost as soon as I got back I had to go the whole length of the line to station the relief pickets & we got back to camp about 3 P.M. I had a pretty good command that night & I longed for an opportunity to strike a blow. The men were picked & we could have made a pretty good show in a surprise. The next night but one we had an order fr head quarters at Washington to be ready
for an attack & the Col. turned out all the reg’ts with a battery, provisions & 20 rounds of cartriges, he took us off to the trenches & there we spent the night. that was last night. I was sent forward with my Co first as skirmishers nearly a mile ahead of the main body, then was ordered to fall back about half way & get a good position in the bushes to fire & after the first fire to return and make another stand if possible & soon till I got within the line. We were not attacked, but I spent the night mostly in examining the woods & grounds for a good place to retire & and make my stands, so I got no sleep. We came in this morn, then got leave of absence to go to W.
to day. 6 miles. the first time I have left camp except for duty & to-day went more especially to see my sick men in hospital. Went 2 miles on foot to see the N. H. 2nd & found they they had left at 5. this morn. Came home in a shower this eve & am now writing this. To-morrow I have charge of the Virginia pickets & shall not have a moment to sleep for 24 hours. I give you this detailed account to give you an idea how I am employed & what active campaigning is in an Enemy’s country. All do not work so & in fact but few. It is our
advanced position & the paucity of our force that imposes so much upon us, but another reg. has come now & as soon as they are broken in we shall have a little relief. The weather has been almost insufferably hot ever since we came here & I get all my clothes wet through nearly every day, but never take cold & feel ready for anything at any time. I never appreciated a vigorous constitution & good health so much as now. I try to be careful, & so can go through anything, yet I waste no strength or labor unnecessarily. I sleep all I can
& eat with care.
I believe if we had been smartly attacked one week ago we should have been
beaten, but now they must be brave & strong to drive us fr our trenches
& batteries. I think Col Smith will make this one of the most efficient
reg'ts in the army. We have the advantage of a military head. regts had better
be kept at home than sent without such. I dont care how smart a man is or how
good a militia officer he may be, he must be educated & have seen service to
be right & without one of these he is worthless to the regt & the reg.
itself is worthless
except to breed contagion and insubordination.
I rejoice darling at your fortitude and good health. If we are permitted to come together again we shall have much of happiness at the worst. Whatever may be our misfortunes there must be happiness for us, for we are all things to each other. Always be brave devoted & true & you shall ever have the intire worth of my affections & self. You are all I want my own angel. Nothing but this unholy war could keep me fr you. I wish the people of the North appreciated what there is between this and the End. They cant do it till they come here.
Good night my own sweet wife. God bless & Keep us for each other. Yr husbandWheelock