12th Vermont Infantry
Jabez H. Hammond
Army Life in Virginia
LETTER NO. 37
Near Wolf Run, Va. Aprl 23d 1863
I now seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know that I am yet alive & well. (But I do not expect to be a great while longer, for I just ate about a dozen potatoes) And I hope that this will find you all enjoying the Same blessing. Stephen is on guard & Harler is on picket. I have not seen Ira to day. But he was all right last night
One Oclock P.M. it has rained a perfect Shower all day & looks now as if it would continue to the rest of the day if not all night Yesterday I went & see Sergts. Small & Houghton. Small is getting along finely with the exceptions of his feet they badly swollen & are very sore that if it was not for that than he would be able to return to the Co in a short time. Houghton is not dangerously sick. But if we come home in May it will be doubtful whether he is so to do much duty before we get there
The number of men present for duty this morning was fifty one John Savage was reported sick in quarters. But I think that it is nothing but the result of a bad cold which will be all right in two or three days J.W. Perkins is out on picket W.A. Herrick is on guard. Both are well at this time
Lieut. Wait has been rather off the hooks for a few days. But he is better to day. it was nothing but a cold
There is considerable talk here concerning our time. But a good many have come to the conclusion (since they saw the order from Hockeer relative reinlistments) that they have got to stay until the fourth of July
Two months ago I though that we should be at home in may or the fore part of June. But I have altered my mind But the boys that I tent with say that they are going home in may so you see we have some jolly times. they say that all that makes me say so is Because I want to be on the contrary side & I let them have it to suit themselfs so that we can have Something for an argument I think sometimes that I should like to be home to help you do Springs work. But if we are well it will not make much differance to me whether I go in may or july. it is I think just seven months come day after to morrow morning since we left home & we have all of us been blessed with good health or at least better than the Co. will average, a blessing which cannot be to highly prized in this buisness.(?) As to night is the night for Sundays mail I will dray to a close until evening
Jabez H. Hammond
half past seven PM we received your letter of the 19th to night & was glad to hear that you were all as well as you were
The boys are quite merry & then again they are quite ugly about the way that Moulten paid his respects you. they think that he will be quite apt to get the Office of constable or some other high office if they live until another Spring. the most that I have to say is that a man who will show his hind end in that way & on such an occasion is more to be despised than any reble that there is in the reble army The boys say that they are glad that they (the Sech) hold good to their old principles for there will be more fun for them when we get back
I red that part of the letter which related to the affair to Capt Savage & it made him hop up & down & tickle himself mightily. Some of the boys say that the authorities of the town ought not to allow such proceedings. that it comes to the next door to heathenism & that some parts of he town need to be purified by fire as much as some of the Secsh towns in dixie
But enough of this for now
General Stanard is a going to move to union mills to morrow & as Iras team has been turned over to the Brigade & is a Brigade team & belonging to headquarters, he has got to go with him. But I do not think that he will have so much to do as he would to stay here, as the cars run through there towards warrenton. he has been to the Station to day & he got wet and he feels rather hard up to night
N.E. Perkins's box arrived to night & everything was all right we have not opened the cheese. But as we know who made it we take it that it is about as good as they make, so we will let it set until the other is used up which by the way was a tiptop one
The boys that are well feel as good as horses & say that Uncle Sam may do what he is a mind to with them But that it will play out in about seventy one or two days more at the longest, which is but a short time
I am glad that your bees are in good shape & I hope to be able to hive some of them but if I am not you will have to be careful & not get stung. by the way, Cook wants to know if you wintered that Swarm that stung Grandfather & him so. He thinks that he should likeed(?) to have had a chance to have smoked them a little. The report is at this time that we have got to move to union mills to morrow & if we do we shall know more about it, that is all. But I guess that I have wrote enough without its better. So good night. please to write soon & we will do the same Jabez H Hammond To the folks at home
LETTER NO. 38
Camp Near Wolf Run, Va. Aprl. 30th
Dear Parents, Brothers & Sister. It is with pleasure that I seat myself this evening to write you a few lines to let you know that we are all alive.
Harler is rather hard up with a cold. Steve has gone to Washington to day is going to be gone until day after to morrow if nothing turns up
Well to day hs been fast I suppose or at least there was a proclamation by the president of the U.S. to that effect. But I believe that it has been the hardest days work that we have done for several weeks for there has been inspection, muster for pay & five hours work a clearing up land for the rebs or rebel Sympathizers then a company drill of an hour & a half & to wind up with there was Dress parade.
As it is half past nine & as I have got to make our a detail of eleven men for picket & three for guard for tomorrow, I will draw to a close until morning & then I will try & finish it, if I can get time before the mail goes out.
Friday morning at half past seven
it quite pleasant this morning. the sick ones are all as well this morning as they were yesterday
Harler is on light duty to day that is simply to answer to roll call & to go out at dressparade.
J.W. Perkins is as touch as ever. he sends his respects to all. is going on picket to day W.A. Herrick is going on picket he is well
G.W. Cook thinks that he is a little better this morning. he has got a light fever
J.W. Taylor is pretty sick & very nervous (or in other words) I think that he would be as well contended if he was at home we now have 17 men sick at Alexandria. four in the hospital here & four sick in quarters making in all twenty five sick ones James Bowers got a letter from one of the boys at Alexandria that Charly Bowers was very sick. do not know the disease. But think that it is the chronic Diareah. James is going to see him as quick as he can get a pass.
Harler will send a note in this letter of thirty dollars
But it is most time for picket & guard mount. So I Shall have to draw this to a close. please to write soon. write whether you have received any more mail from me I have sent twenty dollers & shall send some more to morrow if I can get time to write
From bogus To the folks at home one & all
LETTER NO. 39
Camp in the field Near Warrenton Junction Va. May third 1863
I now seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know that I am yet alive & well with the exceptions of being pretty lame & pigpen on my eye
Well father, I commenced this letter this morning had written five lines & the order came along for Co. A & B to fall in as quick as possible. we did so & under the command of Capt. Savage we marched to warrenton Junction a distance of about three miles & there I saw a sight that I never see before
I now commence at the begining & tell you what it was. yesterday morning at half past eight we left camp near wolf run Shoals & marched to union mills halted, Stacked our arms, ate some dinner. then we got aboard the cars & same to this place, a distance of some twenty miles & about three miles above warrenton junction. then there was twenty of Co. A went back to the mills to guard the train back. well every thing went along nicely until about nine oclock this morning when one of our boys of Co H came into camp a horse back & said that he had been taken prisoner by mosbys cavalry but by close work had got away & took a horse with him. but it is almost pitch dark * I shall have to stop until morning
Jabez H Hammond
Monday morning all as usual
I will now commence where I left off. In a few minutes after the man came in that I spoke of last night, there was another one came in to camp in the same shape, horse and all & about the same time there was a cavalryman from the 1st Vt. who are stationed at Warrinton junction & said that they had (been) attacked by the rebels under Msoby & that they wished for a reinforcement of infantry So Co.s A & B under the command of Capt Savage started for that place. But before we arrived there they were gone. there was A detatchment of the first virginnia stationed at a large house at the junction then there was a detatchment of the fifth new york in the woods about one hundred rods below the house (I will say that 1st Va. had just come in from picket & consequently their horses were unsadeled & the men were resting themselfs as best they could) Mosby with his gang of about one hindred & ten men came in upon them on a charge across a meadow, taking them completly by surprise. Our men fought as best they could But the rebs had captured or disabled nearly the whole force. but just at this critical moment the fifth N.Y. came out of the woods & charged upon the rebs Scattering them like the chaff before the wind
The first Va. had one man killed instantly & from twelve to fifteen wounded. The Rebs had one man killed at the house & when we left the house at three Oclock there were 2 rebels dead & 18 wounded & several of those were wounded mortally & when we left they were fetching in the wounded ones in ambulances that were wounded in their retreat. they stated that there was several dead rebels laid along the road that the rebs took
The Rebels were the roughest looking mortals that you ever saw. dirt & rags, rags & dirt. A goodly number o them were citizens & one of them I have seen a great many times in our camp at wolf run Shoals & there was another one that was badly wounded who we saw a harrowing with a yoke of cattle only the night before & all of them were dressed in citizens clothes
I saw one Capt that belonged to the fifth new york regiment. There had pistol ball that entered his left side & cam came out at his right shoulder shattering his shoulder blade. But he did not seem to care much about it. Said that he had the consolation of knowing that he had wounded two or three rebs.
But I have wrote enough about that for this time.
Stephen is on picket to day & all of the rest of the boys (excepting those on picket) are digging rifle pits and building block houses
It is nice country around here is very level. yet there is a good deal of woodland each & cherry & some apple trees are in full Bloom. The forest trees are nearly leaved out. and take it all together if it were not for this rebbelion it would be a pleasant country where we are now John Gay of Windsor or at least he enlisted from Windsor died at wolf run Shoals yesterday morning James W. Taylor was but just alive & Surgeon Ketchum said that there was no help for him so I think it doubtful if hi is alive now
Norman Perkins came back to the Co. yesterday. He looks pretty tough
It is now just a quarter past three & if the cars come up I shall send this letter out to day & if they do not then I cannot send it until to morrow
The contrabands are coming in from culpepper courthouse & that vicinity in squads of from one to six at a time & I believe that take the mon average that there are brighter than the whites are. But I must stop for now & if the cars do not come up I will write some more to morrow if there is anything worth a writing please to write soon & we will do the same give my respect to all enquiring friends if any there be
J.H.H. To the folks at home
Tell Mr.Perkins that I will write to him as soon as I can get time
LETTER NO. 40
Camp in the field at Rappahanock Station on the banks of the Rappahanock River Va. May 7th 1863
Dear Father, Mother, Brothers & Sister I now seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know that we are yet alive & enjoying tolerable health, although I thought yesterday that I should have to lay off for a few days. I was threatened hard with a fever. But come to lay down in the mud knee deep to Sleep last night I found myself a good deal better this morning & I am in hopes that I shall come out all right in a few days
We had orders last night to be ready to move to day at 11 Oclock A.M. But the cars did not get along until one Oclock. when they got there we got aboard of them & came to this place, a distance of seven miles. we are encamped about sixty rods from the Rappahanock river & about that distance from the Bridge. The bridge is somewhat out of shape & it is talk that there will be workmen here immediately to repair it & that we are here to guard it
I understand that if Hooker is successful that his supplies will have to pass over this road in the course of three or four days The 15th regiment came up to Bealton Station (three miles below here) to day.
Lieut. Wait & Wilber Herrick were sent back to Union mills this morning they are both of them rather off the hooks. But are not very sick Wilber has been in the hospital three day But he was so that he was out doors this morning & looked pretty bright. They will probaly be sent to Alexandria.
I heard from J W Taylor to day there was a hope of his recovery
There is rumors of all sort in camp. Some are that Hooker has ben repulsed & others are that he has been Successful & that he has got the Rebs into such a position that he could withstand the whole force of confederates that there is & so it is. But we shall know sometime if ever we do I reckon right Smart As it is about dark, shall have to close until morning J H Hammond
Friday morning. all as well as we were yesterday & hope that this will find you well. It has rained a good share of the time for the last four days & it rains some now & some it dont. Ira, C. Small & myself set here on our Rubber blankets under our shelter tents doubled up about as much as E. Sanders used to be. So you may judge what kind of a chance we have to write. The Country between here and manassas junction is as nice as any that I ever saw & where we are encamped now the clover is three our four inches high & looks as green & rank as any that you ever saw
I heard this morning that Peter T. Washburn was dead & buried. is it So? & what was the trouble with him
I saw Ira last Sauteray at union mills he was feeling tiptop Said that he had not harnessed his hosses but once the week before. he has an easy time to he has had some of the time. & easy times compared with what the Soldier has who is in the ranks. & I Say this it is good enough for him. dont pity him a bit I understand that the Adjutant general of the State of Mass has decided that the time of the nine months men will expire the nine months from the time that the field Officers received their commisions & if that is the case, then our time will be out the 19th of June, instead of the 19th of May or the 4th of July. But we have but eight weeks more at the longest & only six if it is out the 19th of June. But the longer we stay the more Uncle Sam will be owing of us when we get done. I understand that the distance to culpepper court house from here is 4 miles
I presume that you have seen in the paper about the death of Templeton the notorious Rebel Spy who was shot at the Battle of Warrenton last Sunday he was a man I should think of about forty years of age. Slim built. was about five feet seven inches in height I should think (could of tole better if I could have been him a standing up) I saw the one who shot him. he said that he Templeton rode up to him & said Surrender you d...d yankee son of a bitch well says he I will. at the same time he drew his revolver & put a ball through his heart & he fell from his horse & died without a struggle. I heard some of Mosbys men say that they had better lost fifty men than him. Dick Moran whose name you have probably noticed in the paper I should gage would weigh about two hundred pounds was shot through the windpipe
But the cars have come in & I must stop in order to have this go out
J H Hammond to the folks at home
LETTER NO. 41
Camp Near Bristol Station, May 24th 1863
Dear Parents, I now seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know that we are yet alive & well & I hope these few lines will find you all the same
It is quite pleasant to day, there being air enough so that we can take a little comfort
Stephen & Harler are out on picket. are at the bridge across kettle run, which is about two miles below here
It is about eleven Oclock A.M. & if I was in Vt I presume that I should be at church. But if I was not there I should be somewhere else
yesterday morning the Bush whackers attacked our cavalry patrol on the road about thee miles below here. they killed one man from the first Vermont, without any loss to them. Our men said that two of the men had bee in their camp several times. But I reckon that they had not better be seen there again. if they be they will face Slim.
Ira was well this morning at eight Oclock for I have seen a man who saw him at that time. we had an inspection this morning at nine Oclock by Lieut Waite, Capt. Savage being Officer o the day Watson is Orderly for him to day perhaps you will wish to know what his business is well he had for one thing scoured up the Capts. Sword & now he has gone to carry a letter to the Chaplains & all such Business. He is as tough as a bear. I will now give you a history of our days work
Reville 5 1/4 A.M. Breakfast call 6 A.M. Police call 6 " Surgeons call 6 1/2 " Company drill 6 1/2 to 8 1/2 " Picket mount 8 " Guard Mount 8 " Dinner 12 N. Company drill 5 to 7 P.M. Supper 7 " Tattoo 8 1/2 " Taps 9 "
So you see we have to keep busy most of the time, come to take in the extras. when I undertake to call them out to drill, the first that you hear is my time it out But they get out after a while & then we sweat & drill around for two hours. It makes the boys feel rather ugly but they cant get out of it. There is thirty nine privates to do duty & take from thirteen to fifteen men for guard & picket every day. So you see that they have a little picket duty to do as well as to drill The Capt. went down to the Shoals the other day to see J.W. Taylor he says that he was pretty slim But better than he was
There has not been any men to report at the hospital for the last fortnight & the boys all feel tiptop, but rather ugly & want their own way & if you say any thing it is none of your D...d buisness, my time is out I reckon
LETTER NO. 42
Union Mills Va. June 10th 1863
Dear Parents, I now seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know that I am not well, But a great deel better than I was yesterday. last Sauterday morning I went out on picket & as it was very warm in the morning, I did not take any thing with me but my rubber Blanket & Overcoat it continued warm during the day & at night I went through the lines (a distance of about two miles) to carry the Countersign & I got pretty well warmed up & when I got back the wing began to blow & I never suffered more with the cold on picket that I did that night. I took a severe cold. We got into camp monday noon & signed the payroll & got our pay. at six oclock there was a Battallion drill which lasted until about dark & yesterday morning there was a co. drill at Six Oclock. I drilled about an hour & I had to fall out & by the time that I got into camp I shook like popler leaf that followed me up about two hours & left me with a very high fever. But the Lieut. gave me a sweat, which made me feel better. This morning I feel as if I was about eighty five. But I am in hopes to feel better by to morrow
Col. Blunt says that it is his intention to have the regiment muster out on or before the 3rd of July & he calculates to start the regiment from here by the 27th or 28th of this month. The Quartermaster had orders to have everything ready by the 27th. so if things work to suit Col. Blunt, we shall be at home to celebrate the fourth.
As I am about tired out. I will draw to a close. I sent home $20 last night by express which you will please to take charge or. Charles Stone & F G Shedd are rather hard up. caught cold while on picket. My best respects to all.
Jabez H. Hammond
To The Folks at home.
LETTER NO. 43
Union Mills Va. June 11th, 1863
I now seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know that we are all alive & enjoying ourselfs first rate considering the curcumstances in which we are placed. I feel somewhat better to day that I did yesterday, but do not feel like setting the on fire today.
I received a letter from you to day & glad to hear that you were all well. But sorry to hear that the little mare was dead. But as you used to say every thing is for the best & that makes it bad for us some times. it is a great loss to you Still it is nothing compared with the loss of a human being of a Mother, a Father or Sisters or Brothers.
I think that three weeks from yesterday will see us in Brattleboro if we have our healths. & as that is so near the fourth we shall expect to see some of your pretty quick after we get there. There was a fight day before yesterday near Rappahanock Station.
The fight commenced in plain sight of the camp that we occupied when we were at the Rappahannock. The wounded & prisoners passed by here last evening en route for Alexandria I did not see the wounded but those that did say that they were pretty well or badly cut up.
I do not think of much more to write this time so I will close until morning
Jabez H. Hammond
Friday Morning at twenty minutes to eight Oclock, sits old Bogus near the Station at Union mills in Capt. Savages tent a trying to write a few lines to the folks at home.
To begin with it hot enough to roast eggs without any fire & the sweat rolls off from me almost a Stream. I fell full as well as I did yesterday & not much better Stephen is going on the train today & has command of the guard Harler is to work on fatigue a blockading the Occoquan river. & Ira is not a doing anything for the very reason that there is nothing for him to do. I understand that E.R. Shedd has got the appointment of provost marshall of the town of West Windsor. if such is the case there may be a little fun if ever the Blacklegs of that town live to return home you cannot imagine the feeling that exists i the Co. in regard to that point
I suppose that a great many in Vt. are laboring under the impression that we shall have to Stand the draft if we get home before it takes place, or in other words they think that we liable to be called out at any time. But I will send you an order issued at the War department which decides the thing, so that there need be no more dispute about it. perhaps you will get it before this reaches you.
Lovina if Father comes to Brattleboro & Mother does not, if it is so that you can leave home come with him & I will pay your fare. For I think that you would like to see a Regiment out on drill & we shall probaly have one or two drills there. I cannot think of much more to write this time So I guess that I will Stop. write when it comes convenient & we will do the same
LETTER NO. 44
Camp of the 12th Regt. About one mile from Wolf run June 22nd 1863
Dear Parents I now seat Myself to write you a few lines to let you know that I am yet alive and well and hope this will find you the same it is pleasant and warm to day Saturday night we had orders to be ready to move at 6 A.M. on Sunday and We Started at five Moments(?) of 6 and marched to this place and got here at Nine. A distance of about five miles in three hours, with our house and bedding and our cupboard. got our houses All Framed and put up at Twelve N. Ready to go to Keeping house again Ira was tuff as a bear when we left & the Rebels are doing pretty good business up in P.A. yesterday there was very heavy Canonading off Towards Thorifare(?) Gap but dont know where it was James w. Taylor is here in my tent he is pretty poor and Weak, but is in pretty good Spirits Jabe is hear to Work on a Saurel(?) pipe he has got the Teeth ache and feels pretty ugly we are in Camp about 3/4 of a mile from where we was last Winter. We Expect to have to go out on picket tomorrow but do not know. to day there has been a paper to see if the boys will vote to stay six months more but I Think that Capt will vote to go home Just as Soon as Uncle Samuel will let us go and then we can Talk about Enlisting and that is that I shall Talk with them if ever I do there is talk that we are going to Accatinck(?) Court House but dont think that there is any truth in the report. Well I think that I will put by this Writing a little While. half past five P.M. I will now try and finish this letter.
there has been pretty heavy fireing this afternoon. We have been out on Battalion drill Just for a Change. I think that We shall be at home about the first of September if we have good luck Jabe has been cut to find a house for Taylor to go to bood(?). they have returned him to his Co. they Turned over their beds and bedding on Saterday.
Tuesday morning one half past seven Oclock Co. A is out on picket to day & Harler wanted that I should finish this letter the boys are all as well as usual this morning. D. Parker died last Sunday morning with typhoid pneumonia. the orderly went to Ax. with his remains & got them embalmed & started for home yesterday. the cost of embalming & for transportation to Proctersville was $59.63.
I do not think of much more to write so I will stop. we expect to Start for home next Sauterday if nothing new turns up.
J.H. Hammond to the folks at home, one & all
LETTER NO. 45
Camp Lincoln, Brattleboro, Vt., July 9th 1863
Dear Parents, I now seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know that we are all alive & once more in the old green mountain State. we are in hopes to be able to get home by Sauterday night if we everything works to suit. S. Burnham is here says that he saw you last night & you thought that you would not be able to come down here to see us. Our Co. is all here now with the exceptions of G.W. Cook. we have not heard one word for several weeks & even not since he went Washington
Watson, Wilber & the rest of the boys are all well
I cannot think of anything to write only that we are well. I hope that this may find you all the same.
No more this time
Jabez H. Hammond
his Father, Mother, Brothers