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9th Vermont Infantry



FEB. 27th, 1865

Mr. Editor: --- Our regiment is encamped upon Chapin's farm about one half mile from Fort Harrison, where our brave General Stannard lost his arm while nobly cheering on his men. This is a very pleasant locality, especially in dry weather. We have very comfortable quarters indeed, although it was a very tedious job to build them. We had to take our stockade timbers about two miles upon our backs, but we feel amply rewarded for our labor by having a good fire place to sit by these cold, windy nighst, Perhaps it would be interesting to some to know how we build our fire places. Well, I will tell you. We drive into the ground some stakes in the form of a half circle, or nearly so, then we drive another row outside of them in the same manner, then we fill up the space between the two rows with mortar which is already mixed, and quite plenty in this part of the country. As the stakes burn the mortar becomes baked, and when thoroughly baked is very hard. In this manner we get a very comfortable fire place. Our chimney's are made of small sticks put up cob house fashion and well mortared outside and in.

Our rations are very good and a plenty of them. The regiment is in pretty good spirits, especially just now, as we expect to get paid this week. Our duty is not very hard, mostly drills and inspections. There are six regiments in the brigade, ours is the largest. We have had quite a strife to see which regiment would come out upon inspection in the best shape. Last Sunday our regiment got the premium, consequently we are excused from one week's outside duty.-- that is picket and fatigue.. Now we are going to try with the division for the premium. I may be disappointed, but I am of the opinion that the Ninth will not be to far behind, for Colonel Ripley is a soldier in every sense of the word, and he will leave no stone unturned.

Some of the boys are getting furloughs. They get them in this way: First they are inspected by the Captain. If they pass they are sent to the Colonel (one from each company), and the one that bears the best inspection goes to the brigade headquarters. There he finds one from each regiment in the brigade, and there he runs his chance with the representatives from six regiments. The inspector examines their gun and equipment very closely, then your hands, ears, neck and even your feet. If you bear a good inspection so far, the best one out of the six gets a furlough of thirty days, and the second best gets a furlough of twenty-five days.

Washington's birthday was observed here by a salute of one hundred guns from the left of Fort Harrison. We were also furnished with a little of the Irishman's riches. After all had imbibed, Capt. Gorham proposed three cheers for our bully Colonel E. H. Ripley which was given with a hearty good will and then came the tiger, and all retired to their respective places of abode.

There are only nine of the old boys that came out with the company here now. There are a few sick.

I do not think of only one from Hyde Park. That is Corp. Gauthier, who is well and hearty. Lieut. Hodge has retired from the service much against the will of all the company. He was a noble generous hearted, much beloved by all his company.

There is a vacancy although Sergt. Branch of Co. C is acting as second Lieut. and we hope he will come into the company to stay, as he is well liked by all the boys. There has been several deserters shot here lately, and several more hung within a short time.

Rebel deserters are flocking in from every point where there is any chance for them to reach our lines. The boys while on picket cry out to he Johnyites and ask them where Sherman is. They shake their heads and keep silent. And it's my opinion they had better keep mum, for I think in the coarse of a few months they will be mum.It is nearly roll call so I will be obliged to close.

Yours &e,

[Webmaster's note: assuming this is the soldier's first name, there were four Sylvester's in the 9th Vermont, none of them from Lamoille County. Tha author of this article could be Sylvester Burlingame, of Dummerston, or Albert Sylvester Tobein, of Waterville.]

Submitted by Deanna French.