Third Battery Light Artillery Vermont Volunteers
Civil War Diaries and Letters of
Eugene William Rolfe, Tunbridge
City Point Sept 18, 1864
Letter number one, 1
Here we are within four miles of the Rebels and are having a bully good time. We started from New Haven a week ago last Friday on the transport New York. We sailed across the Sound and was on the deep blue sea before midnight and in the morning was rocking and rolling good and a harder looking set of boys you never see. They were leaning over the side of the ship and vomiting like fun some were down in the hold. They vomited all over each other. I tell you they looked hard. There were four of us (Gabe Lance, John Sleeper, Carl, and myself) that escaped entirely. I never enjoyed myself better than I did whilst we were on the water. I had as leaves serve out my time riding back and forth as not. And we served out part of it in that way as will see before long.
We got to Fortress Monroe Sunday noon. There the boys for the ninth got off. Lance and Sleeper with the rest. We started Monday morning for City Point. We got here at four PM. We left a lot of recruits here and changing boats we got into a side wheel steamer, the Nell Prince and Tuesday morning we started down the river. We sailed own the river up the Chesapeake, then up the Potomac to Alexandria. We got there about noon and marched back from the wharf about four miles to Camp Distribution. There we got the best meal I have had since I left Vermont. We had some good soup, bread and coffee. Carl wrote to his mother whilst there telling her to write also to tell Gen to write and I hope you will do so today. I wrote before I want you to as soon as you get this. We started from there Thursday. We got to the wharf. At noon we stayed there till about half past two. We had a great time with the frait girls here on the wharf most of them very good looking.
We started from there at three pm on the mail steamer Massachusetts. We went down the Potomac on to the Chesapeake an I lay there on deck looking out onto the bay till after midnight. It was splendid scene. The moon shone out onto the water every few minutes a steamer would pass bound up the bay. We arrived at Fortress Monroe at 5 o'clock this morning. We found Sleeper and the rest of the recruits for the ninth. Here they said they met their regiment at Cape Hatterus. They were bound for Petersburg but they would not let the recruits off here but carried them down to Newburne and then turned round and came back and now are going to join their regts. at Petersburg. We shall see them before as they are in the same corps. We shall get to our battery before any letters can get here. We got home to City Point about three pm and marched back from the river about a mile to where we are now camped. We found a great body of men here but the were all excited for the Rebels made raid on the outposts last night and took fifteen thousand head of cattle. We have heavy firing every night since we have been here and even now they are booming away like fun. We have not got any tents as yet but are putting our blouses on over our jackets. Our rubber blankets under and rolling ourselves up in our woolen blankets. We lay as warm as you please but I missed it in not having mother make my shirts before I came away. But I cannot help that now. Contrabands and Rebel prisoners are coming in all the time but I have not got room to write any more of what we are about. I want you to open all letters that come to me, read hem and send them to me. Also all photographs. Heres with the rest. Now do this and never mind where they come from or the expense. You will know what to do about showing them to anyone else. When you write let me know all that has been going on since I left if it takes a dozen letters to do it. Let me know what the selectmen and the fest of the folks done and said after father and Uncle Earl got back or if they said or done anything before they got back.
Well I have got to take another sheet so I will be gone now.
We heard that Dickerman sent two men to Montpelier after us. Let us know how that was and what Ed Hill , Mill and the rest of the boys said and what they think about it now. You have father go out to the office take one of those large sheets of paper and fill every line of it with the facts of the case and anything else he can think of you write and let me know about the boys. Tell Ed --- and all the rest of the boys to write and not wait for me. I shall write to them this week if I can get time and I shall probably but I may not before next Sunday so they can write at the same time and I will meet them half way. Tell Ed to let me know how the subject of music is getting along since I am away. Tell father that I only got my government bounty and did not get that tell we started away from New Haven and by the way, you tell him to send on those powers of attorney (with some for Carl) as soon as get around to it but he need not hurry as there is no hurry this month yet. Oh, I want you to let know what they have done about the organ. Where weatherby is now and who plays the organ and how they make it go. Did father give you those letters I sent up from Windsor and have you given that letter to Sue . What did she say to it. Tell her to behave and write and let me know what she is up to now. Let me know what pieces of music you have got home and what you have done with my things and Carls. You get that piece of music (the cottage by the sea) down to Janes and send it up to girls. There is a couple of book and some papers with a piece of music in each on down there get them and give the books to Sue and the papers to Willard. Tell Willard that father will pay him what I own him you tell him to speak to him about it and tell him that if any of his music gets lost I will make it right with him you make Hale let you have that photograph and as soon as you get it you send it out to me.
I should have hit it if I had had some photographs taken at Windsor for the artist at the camp in new Haven went away the day we got there and I have not had a chance since there was an artist at the camp in Alexandria but we did not stay long enough to have any taken. But I shall have some taken the first chance I have. How did you like the one I sent to you from Windsor. Don't we look bully in our military suit of Blue. When did Uncle William start and what Regiment did he go into. We left Milo at New Haven he was feeling well when we left we are expecting him every day. Oscar and Jim are going into the second battery. We left them at New Haven. I want you should send me the last state paper you can get and let me know who is the representative from Tunbridge is this year. If I write anything you cannot understand, you take our old key (the third lock) Carl wants you should tell old Albert that if he gets a letter from New York to give two of the things to Charles Smith and to give one to Gen and to do what he is a mind to go with the rest. Give my love to all. We have just had orders to pack up so I must close . write soon and accept this with much love from your brother Eugene W. Rolfe
Direct to Eugene W. Rolfe
3rd VT Battery, Washington
PS: I shall number my letters after this. this is the first one I have wrote to you from Virginia so I will call it number one.
Have you seen any of the Williamstown folks since we come away or have you heard from them or Charlotte or any of the Canon folks. The things that are coming from New York is some ----. One belongs to me. You may have that two of them belongs to Charles Smith and the rest to Carl. He can do what hes a mind to with them. This are coming from the orms (?) New York.
Contributed by Eugene L. Rolfe, Las Vegas, Nevada, great-grandson of Eugene William Rolfe.