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12th Vermont Infantry

Correspondence
Jabez H. Hammond

Army Life in Virginia

LETTER NO. 1

Brattleborough, Vt. AM the 26th 62

Well Father I now seat myself to write a few lines to you. We arrived here at the depot about 4 oclock the 22 We took the right of the regiment and led them to the camp ground. the dust flew So that you cold not see one rod ahead of you   We then got our blankets then went about 1/2 mile to supper Which was composed of wheat and brown bread salt beef and one pint of coffee   And then back to the barrack   Camped down   the boys was pretty wide awake but we had A good nights rest without much sleep   this morning we went down to a frog pond to wash   breakfast at about 8 oclock   dinner about 1 oclock   today we have been Examined by Doctor Phelps   We have not found out all who is thrown out but Among those are John P Willard, John F Small, Hosea W Raeed(?), Wilber A Herrick. Cooks Henry D Bryant George Walker Edwin S Small George W Cook Assistant cooks   And as this is mean business I guess I will stop.

U H Hammond

Sept. 26 62

Well mother I am still alive and well. We have just now received our guns canteens and caps   it is rumored that we shall be mustered in about the middle of next week we go as Co A.

I have felt first rate since I left Windsor. No one can get of from the ground without a pass from the Colonel   we have 6 men detailed for cooks, 1 Lieut. 1 Sergj & 8 privates for guard duty   3 on other duty. we have drilled any today evening We have been out on dress parade and are dismissed till to morrow morning at 1/2 past 5 Oclock. Morris says tell Rhoda that he is feeling first rate. J W Perkins is all right   we were examined this morning first. J.P. Willard and J.P. Small were thrown out. it is past 9 oclock and I stop   you had better direct your letter to Camp Brattleboro 12 Reg. V.V.M. in care of Cap Savage, West Windsor guards. Write Soon Good Night.

Japez H Hammond


LETTER NO. 2

Camp Lincoln Brattleboro Oct 5th 1862

Dear Father Mother Brothers and Sister. With my knapsack for a table and a pencil for a pen I will try to write you a few lines. to begin with about an hour before you left here I was taken with the colic   it kept a growing worse and I never was in more pain than I was from four to six oclock when it left me   but I have been very sore ever since. I have not eaten more than the value of one good mean since you left here. But I think that I shall come out of it in the course of two or three days. I got two pictures taken and sent them home by E.E.Houghton you will with out doubt received them before you do this. you may do what you choose with them. Captn. S. & Lieut. Wait & 21 men left here for home last night about eight oclock and will return to morrow on the morning train. I shall try to get a furlough to go home to morrow morning. But do no know as I can. our adjutant says he thinks that we shall start for the seat of war on Tuesday. it is as clear as a bell with a strong northwest wind and pretty cold. Ira M Stephen F. & U.H. are about as usual. J W Perkins has had a diarhea but is now about as good as new. And is now on guard. Religious services are to be held at half past ten on the ground opposite of Co. C. And as it is about ten oclock I will draw to a close till after they are over with

Oct 5th 62 12 oclock noon

I have for the first time in my life attended church out doors   we were formed in a hollow square   our boys on the right of the north side. we had a very spirited discourse but not a regular sermon. Our Chaplins name is Brestow I think. He is a little fellow about the size of Elder Wight. I think that he is a real nice fellow and pretty smart. tell Mrs Herrick that I am much obliged to Her for fetching that applesauce to Wilber for by the help of that I have just eaten a good slice of bread. we talk now (if there can a couple get a pass to the village) of having some oysters for supper. I think Ira, S.F, U.H. & I shall get our pictures taken together to day or to morrow and send it home   we can get them taken for $1.75 those that I sent home coast fifty cents a piece. all the boys from our neighborhood send their best respects.

  give my best respects to all enquiring friends if any there be. Write soon and some of us will try and answer it   Lovina you write when you can get a chance and Elwyn I guess I have made you wok enough to pick this out so I will draw to a close by bidding day

  This From Jabez H Hammond To His Father Mother Brothers and Sister


LETTER NO. 3

Washington Ds of Co   Oct 9th 1862

  Dear father we left Brattleboro tuesday eveng at 9 Oclock   arrived at New Haven wednsday morning at 6 oclock   went on board the steamer Continental   set sail at 7 oclock   arrived at jersy City at half past 11 oclock   embarked   got some dinner got on to the cars and started for Camden   arrived there at 6 oclock   took a ferry boat and crossed over th Phil(?)ia   got some supper and 12 oclock at night started for Baltomore   arived there at 7 oclock   marched about 2 miles   got some Breakfast left there at two oclock   Arived here at 8 clock   got some supper and took a short nap   we are about 40 rods from the Capitol   I have been there this morning   we are all about tough and ugly as ever but pretty tired   we got no sleep after we left B till we arived here. the indications are that we shall leave here this fore noon but we known not where. Hoping that we shall find a place where we can rest a little soon.   I bid you by

J H Hammond

To His Father Mother Sister & Brothers

PS

I will try and write a little better next time   I did not have much time this morning.

  J H Hammond


LETTER NO. 4

Camp Casssey   Capitol Hill D.C.   Oct 16th 1862

  Dear Father Mother Brothers and Sister if I have any such   I hardly know whether I have or no as I have written four letters and received no answer from either of them. two from Brattleboro and two from this place   They are receiving one and two letters apiece dayly throughout the company and it seems rather hard that we cannot get any so as to know whether you are dead or alive. You direct your letters to Washington with the Regiment and Company and it will come direct. if you take the pains to get the windsor journal and send it to some one of the boys we will try and see that you have your pay for it   Morris says ask Rhoda if she has forgot him or has lost her teeth   we have been out on review to day from eleven Oclock until half pat two and it is pretty hard work as we have to carry our knapsacks together with all of our equipments and forty rounds of ammunition which make a pretty good load and rather hard work

  General Cassey was present. the weather continues rather cool

I shall send the roll of this company to morrow by the morning mail   the cost is one doller   I think that it is a pretty good thing   I dont know what you will think about it   The Captain with a squad of men had gone to prayer meeting about a quarter of a mile from here   I think that if you were to come out here that you would not wonder why this war does not come to close   guard duty and review is about all there it to it   Ira Stephen and Harler are about as usual   J W Perkins is well and send his best respects to his father and Mother and all enquiring friends. Yesterday was the first day that I have done duty since you and mother left Brattleboro. Having had the diarhea since that day and it still follows me up. To day I have taken some cholera medicine and several powders that the Surgeon gave me and feel better to night   guess that I shall come out all right in course of a day or two   the order of the days is as follows Roll call five Oclock AM Police of camp five thirty. wash squads from five thirty to six   Breakfast six thirty   Squad drill seven thirty to eight thirty   guard mount eight thirty   company drill ten to eleven   Battalion drill two thirty to four PM. but it is bed time and I must stop   Write soon and all of the news J. H. Hammond to His father Daniel Hammond


LETTER NO. 5

PS you will direct as before

Camp cassey capitol hill   Oct 29th 1862

  Dear Father Mother Brothers and Sister. I now seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know that I am as yet alive and well and hope that these few lines will find you all enjoying the same great blessing. We received a letter from you to night as was glad to here that you were all well. you stated that you heard that I was or had been pretty sick and I here will state that from the time you and Mother left Brattleboro until five days ago if I had been at home that I should not have considered myself able to have fed the hogs. During that time I took tannin choler mixture of two or three different kinds   bought one pint of brandy and two pounds of crust sugar   and used that up with what help I had   and other medicine in proportion but no no effect. I then got some medicine of U E Damon twenty drops of which effected a cure within twenty four hours. Since that time I have been on the gain   am now as tough and ugly as ever. and can eat as much as ever I could. as for the rest of the boys they are with few exceptions pretty smart. Those exceptions are as follows. M.L.Dimmock has not been very well for the past week and this afternoon he has been worse   hi is to night in the Captains tent and I am keeping fire for him. at dark he was threatened with the fever   he has taken a dose of composition and about nine oclock he ate a piece of toasted bread and drank some tea   since then he has been asleep   it is now about half past eleven   We should have gien him a sweat if it had not been for a change in our camp to morrow which i will hereafter mention Lnd(?) Page went to the hospital yesterday morning with Disentery   was out doors this fornoon   have not heard from him since then Captain S. is better to Day but I guess that he is pretty sick yet   Ira, Harler, Stephen, Henry Watson, Wilber S Cock & Martin are well at the present time. Father Wait is as tough as a knott F G Rice is as well if not better than when he left home   he will tucker out half of the boys on a march   Charley Stones neck is better but I think that he is a little homesick   F Robinson is on the gain   his cough has pretty much left him and he does not act like the same man that he did when he was in Brattleboro. the rest of company A are as well as usual. I have made one mis stake   J Tayler and D. Hosington have been unwell but were so as togo out and drill this afternoon   I suppose that you have heard of the death of E Hopkins before this time. There was a paper circulated in the company this afternoon for the purpose of raising mony to effray the expenses of inbalming and transportation of the body home   there was upwards of thirty five dollers raised and there is still more to sign   Now for the war news   night before last intelligence was received   that the 12th 13th 14th 15th and 16th Vt regiments were Briggaded together and that Col Blunt was acting Bigadier(?) General   accordingly the companys were called out and marched to the Col.s headquarters and gave him three rousing each(?). Col. B responding with very apropriate remarks telling them that if he lived the he would stand by the 12th Vt until their time was expired   The 14th left Brattleboro on wednsday of last week   arrived in washington Sauterday   marched to Arlington hights a distance of twelve miles and put their tents like those little ones that we had about four feet square and went to bed   it was a severe cold night the next morning it rained and continued to all day and night and cleared of(?) cold   they rigged up some the next day   yesterday morning they were taken out and reviewed by Gen Cassey marched about five and back. were ordered to sling knapsacks and march   it was then about four oclock PM   They were then marched back and on to our camp Ground making one week from the time they left Brattleboro with but two days rations except what they bought of the peddlers which was worse than nothing   they were a tired set of boys I can tell you. This morning they ate their Breakfast with us after which they marched one half mile and put their tents with the hopes of resting a little. but about seven oclock to night the whole Brigade were ordered to have their knapsacks packed tents down and rolled up with one day cooked rations in haversack and be ready to move at 1/4 before eight AM Oct 30th Consequently there is a good deal of comotion in camp to night   the cooks of the several companys are most of them busy in prepairing the rations it is said that our destination is camp Seward five miles from here. One oclock AM Morris just waked up   says he feels better. I hope that he will continue so   if he is any worse we will send another letter Friday   if not I will not promise to send another before Sauterday or monday   according to your letter we shall look for another from you on friday   I will say that Clark E. Perkinss letter to Watson was received to night and that he was glad to know that the folks at home had not forgotten him

  Well Father as for the end of this war it looks sometimes as if there never would be an end to it and then perhaps the prospect looks brighter for a day or two   This morning the news was that the whole rebble army were retreating that the whole army of the Patomac was in persuit   if such is the case there will probaly be warm work before the week is out. Everything looks that way at the present moment as it was only this morning that Col. Blunt was looking out some better ground for us to camp on. You wrote that Mr Allen wished to by the calf   you can act at your own pleasure about selling her and set you own price   I guess that I have scrached enough for this time So good night

  From J Hammond To His Father & Mother
    Daniel and Mary Hammond

Elwin and Mark be good boys and if I live to come home I'll fetch you some candy


LETTER NO. 6

Camp Vermont Fairfax County Va. Nov 6th 1862

Dear Father Mother Brothers and Sister   as I had a little leasure time before roll call which is at half past eight PM I took a chair and set myself down on the floor to let you know that Every man in company A were reported for duty   a thing which no other company in the regiment can boast   I will except Capiton Savage but he is better   Stephen wrote you last evening probaly all of the news up to that time   The camp has been in the greatest excitement for the last three or four days on account of a rumor that the Vt Briggade was a going to Texas   But to night it does not run so high as we received orders this morning from Colonel Blunt to rig up for winter quarters   our huts are to be made of small poles and are to be about sixteen feet square   there is to be a fireplace in each   there is to be six in number to each Co.   I think that we have got a good healthy camp ground   also good water for this climate which I think is more than half of the battle   Ira and Harler with about forty of Co. A have been to work on a fort about 100 rods from here to day   I have been to work at my trade this afternoon   volenteered to go about three miles and help tare down old huts to make ours out of   got back about dark pretty tired   I told the Major that it was hard work but if I knew that we could use them after we got them done I should not regret that   The answer was that there had got to be five or six thousand men here all of the time to do picket duty and he did not think that gen. Blunt would have us build huts for other troops. It takes from four to five hundred for picket dayly   to morrow morning there will three companys from this regiment go on picket of which Co. A is one   we shall not get in to camp again before Sunday afternoon   therfore we shall not send another letter before monday but we shall take some paper and write while we out as there is from three to twenty at a place according to danger. yesterday it was warm to day it is cold and windy and so it is one day it is warm as Summer   the next day cold enough for a great coat and pair of mittens   Farwell Shedd says tell Dan to come up to our house and slide on our cellar door when we get it done   Watson is as tough and hearty as a buck   sends his best respects to all   Wilber is well   sends his best wishes also Elwyn why dont you wright and let me know who is a going to keep school and all of these things. Lovina you write and let us know how you and the rest of the girls get along   I suppose that mother has lost her teeth. Mark if Father dont sell the calf I was you should take good care of it   I presume that that is rather poor writing but the ground for a chair and a tin plate for a desk with four or five jamming around is not quite so convenient as the desk that sits in D.H.s bedroom for writing at least but my sheet is getting full and I must stop so good night

This From J H Hammond


LETTER NO. 7

Camp Vermont Fairfax Co Va Nov 9th 62

Dear Father Mother Brother & Sister   how do you do this evening   well I hope and enjoying yourselfs   for all of us are here even to old Bogus who is regaler fighting ugly and pretty sleepy having had but four house Sleep since thursday night   was out on picket Friday Sauterday and till noon today   Friday it snowed and blowed   Snow fell to the depth of eight inches   Sauterday blowed. Sunday do. we received a letter from you Friday night   was glad to here that you were all well   I received one from Melinda   tell her that she shall hear from me hereafter   Well Father you thought that I did not give much of a history of our camp in that letter that I wrote to Clark   so do I but what of it   you would not wonder at it if you were to take my place   Harler says that Stephen wrote yesterday   he proboly gave a history of this camp   if he did not I will try. To begin we are encamed(?) about two and one half miles on a beline due west rom Alexandria on near the same ground that Sickless(?) Briggade has occupied for the past ten months until the day of our arrival here   they went towards Centerville and were in a fight there last Sunday our camp ground is about the same as it would be to encamp up under the hurricane in waits mowing oly(?) there is no woods on the north side. The 10th is encamped a little Southeast of us   the 14th & 15th right south   the 16th Southwest. all in sight of this camp we are about seven miles Southeast from Mt. Vernon. fourteen from fairfax Court house   As for niggers they are about as plenty here as they are in Woodstock though in the City of Washington they are as thick as parsely and blacker than a thunder cloud. as for mules your four boys harness them together get on to the near hind one with one line to drive the four with and you have a sample of a mule team   all they know is to draw   the most that I ever saw together was a train about 1/2 mile long   In regard to officers I think that the 12th Vt is a little ahead   Col Blunt is considered trump of the Brigade   Col Farnham is an nice man   our Major is a great good natured fellow   the Adjutant is a nice little fellow the quartermaster is what he is but not what he ought to be   Col B says if he dont tend to his business that he shall take it into his own hands. the doctor feels a good deal above his business   The Chaplain is liked by all   There is a rumor to night that Mclellan has been superseded by Burnside. there is another that the 12th and 16th are a going to Washington to do patrol duty but it is not believed can tell better in the course of seven or eight months   As for victuals there is enough if the Lieut. Scolds to the quartermaster enough   but it is time for roll call and I will draw to a close until morning. Monday morning Nov 10th 7 oclock AM   all well but O Thomas   he is at the hospital   Ira has had the luck to get four horses instead of mules. has gone to Washington after hay this morning   The weather this morning is clear and cold   the snow has all disapeared. Deserts from the Rebels come inside of our lines every day   Some days one and some three or four at a time   they are lousy and ragged   my sheat full and I will stop   This from Bogus To Dans Crotch


LETTER NO. 8

Camp Vermont Fairfax County Va Nov 14 1862

Dear Father Mother Brothers & Sister   on the sacred soil of Va. sits Jabez with his feet curled up under him his knapsack resting on his knees for a desk   on it lays some paper   in his hand he holds his pen trying to scratch a few lines to you to let you know that we are all alive and for the most part well   I was on guard last night which makes me rather cross and sleepy and to make it worse I have got a large bile under my arm which you know is not very comfortable   we received a letter from home last night and was glad to hear that you were well and that the sick were all on the gain. Harler sent a letter this morning and proboly most of the news as it is rather dull here at this time   Stephen showed your letter to Damon last night   he denounced the charge as utterly false and withought foundation or even cause and sent a letter home this morning to that effect   B(?) there has been times when I heard them (Windsors boys) intimate the same thing but supposed that they were all done away with now   They all acknowledged to day that one had faired as well as the other. And that the victuals was better than they expected when they left home. there has been some days when we have been moving that we have faired rather hard but it was owing to the fact that there was not time to coock(?) any meat and the want of teams to move the coocking(?) utensils, and even then it has not been so bad as any one might expect   Since we arived here the only thing that we have fell short of was bread   there was one or two days that we did not have but half rations of bread   We have had better wheat bread since our arrival in the city than we had in Brattleboro until yesterday   yesterday we got two days rations of hard bread   we have good beans once and twice a week   good rice with molasses on sugar about the same   we draw good fresh beef two hundred a twenty five pounds once in five days   it being two days rations of meat. the other three rations meat is salt beef or pork or both as we please   the port is gook for sale(?) pork. the beef is sweet but salt and rather had. we have coffee for breakfast and black tea for supper. the tea is very good   the coffee most of them like but I dont   we draw a barrel and half potatoes in five days. also salt and vinegar as much as we want. And although there is none of the luxerous(?) of home yet our food is better so far than I expected when I left home   And the boys enjoy themselfs first rate   better I fear than the fools at home. I keep green tea with me most of the time and make some about every day. now and then we buy some oyesters and a loaf of as good brown bread as you ever eat   Apples are the most tempting   to day the best that we can do is to pay five cents for two   But as this may not be very interesting and dinner is about ready and there is to be a Battalion drill at two oclock I will draw to a close and finish this this evening   JHH

Two oclock P.M. on account of the bile on my arm I got excused from Drill and will finish this letter before dark. Harler is not feeling tiptop this afternoon   he is out to drill. E North is a getting to be pretty smart. O. Thomas is getting along nicely. H. Bryant is on the gain and everything looks favorable except the progress of the war in that there seems to be a perfect standstill. But I am in hopes that there will be something done before long. if you can get any news from the war write and let us know it for there is not as much news here as there was in Vermont and we do not get it so quick. Some say that Mclellans removed will have a tendency to shorten the war while others say that it will lengthen it more than one year   But this will be discussed hereafter. Mother dont work to hard on them stockings for I have got so I am quite Good at Darning. I do not think of much more to write this time. give my love to all enquiring friends if any I have. I understand that Captain Savage went home yesterday morning. P.S. if we stay in this vicinity we shall looks for your here between this and new years. J H Hammond to his Father Mother Brothers & Sister


LETTER NO. 9 (from Daniel to his sons in Co. A, 12th Vermont Regt.)

At West WindsorDans Crotch, in Dans Bedroom at the Desk 3 minutes before 8 oclock sits Dan pretty tired writeing A few Lines to his 4 little Boys in the Great Big Army, that is conducted by great Big Men, and seems to me Devilish Poorly conducted and worse than that if Possible.(well, what of it)   Thursday Night Nov. 13th 1862   thee now I have got ready to tell you that I have been down to Mr Perkins   to work to day on his store house   it will take 2 or three days more to finish it   it is 30 ft long   20 wide   three windows in the North end and one on the south   Door upon the north 6 ft wide   8 ft posts and jet all around   clapboarded, floors Above and below (& Solomon says that it is for Stephen and Clem to live in next summer   thinks that it will be as good as Barracks out south)   Yesterday it was warm and the snow pretty Much disappeard in the Valleys   the hills are still white with snow. I got up yesterday Morning found the Old Cow all Bloated up as big as A small shit house. turned her out   finished My chores   eat my Breakfast   give the old Cow 1 lb of Butter   went on to the hill & got the Hearse come home rigged up and went to Sanders Funeral   got there at 10 oclock   waited until 11 oclock   took the corpse   carried it the Union Church at Brownsville where the services were conducted by the Mr. Buttler of Windsor. the corpse was as fair as any that I ever saw and remained so to the grave at Wethersfield Corners where it was opened and excibitted   it look Like a Piece of Sollid Marble after being Dead 63 hours   the Coffin was 22 inches Deep and if it had been an inch Shallower the corpse would not gone in to the Coffin J.P.Hill Made A Box to put it in and it Looked Large enough to hold 20 bushels but Coffin filled it and the Corpse filled the Coffin   there was A Large lot of Mourners. Linsey & FRank were her to Funeral   did not get hil untill after the Old Gent died   Mr Mansfields Folk are all better. Lorrette Winn is sick with Typhoid Fever. the rest of the sick are all Better in this town as far as I have heard. Well I like to forgot to tell you that we are all well to Night. Cook George, W. Mises have been here to night and Just gone home   Lovina had gone over there to stay to Night   the Boys are as Noisy as ever   Clark E. Perkins got home from fishing or Courting   Call it which you are A mind to Last Night 9 oclock swaped Horses says he got some Boot. got a White face 9 year Old Horse About as big as Those Black one   smart as need be (A Little Lame)   he has been plowing for me to day. Pappa Hale has got Moved into his New house   the Union Meeting house was Dedicated to Day   had A full house so Elisha Dake told me to Night. the Pews was all sold yesterday but two. Morris Hatch is no More   Died of Numbpalsy Last Week. I have not got much knews to write this time but perhaps I will find some by next sunday. Well Stephen & Jabez we received A Letter from each of you to Night. Mailed the 10th giveing a description Mules and Niggers   Now Bogus I guess if My hogs new that you compared them to mules you had better be drawing your Ass out of their way   and as for Niggers they are Just About as much consequence as so many Rattlesnakes   the less we have to do with them the better we be off. what do you think About that   Let us have your Opinion. (Old Tip) Muggins what are you Doing. come up to Dans and get some Cxxxx and Axxxxx and some Butternuts. there Now I guess you will come. Ira why dont you write or have you Lost your Teeth   say how you enjoy camp Life and I will go and see Ellen in a few Days and Speak A good word for you. Now dont get Mad and fly all to Pieces for I mean Just as I say   Mother says follow your hand and Write as often as you can   it Makes her feel sorry as Dog when the Mail comes in if she dont find A Letter. J you wrote you wanted A little money   I sent five dollars in my Last and shall send five more in this   want you should write whether you receive it or not. Stephen wrote to have me send A Dollars worth of Postage Stamps   I will send fifty cts worth in this and fifty in my Next   I would send all in this if I had them   you can divide up & write for More Money or Stamps or anything else   I wrote in my Last that I should write in my More About your Thanksgiving I shall send it the fore part of Next Week   Missis Persons Misses Small, Carpenter Hosington Rice Dimick Herrick & Cook will all send something so Look out for the Waggon   More About it in my next which will be next Sunday Night. This from Dans Crotch to Old Abes Boys way out South.


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