January 10th. The officers of corps and division headquarters are determined to have a gay winter and are making great exertions to this end. Under the direction of Major Hancock, our division is branching out prodigiously. Within the lines was found an abandoned saw mill, much dilapidated, but still susceptible of repairs. The major conceived the brilliant idea of fitting it up, felling the forest trees, sawing them into boards and timber, and building a large hall for music, dancing, and other amusements. As officers are allowed to invite ladies to camp, and almost every commanding officer has some of them, this seems an excellent thing to do. In response to a circular sent to regimental commanders asking for men familiar with sawmills, several Maine regiments offered many more than were needed; so we ordered a saw from Washington, kegs of nails, etc., and put as many men to work as could do so to advantage. We planned and built a building 80×40, with two immense fireplaces on one side large enough to take in logs ten feet long. In the course of two weeks the whole thing was completed, decorated handsomely with evergreens, flags, guidons, various kinds, of small arms, drums, etc., and was ready for occupancy. This palace of Mars became the center of the social hospitality of the Second corps and lectures, concerts, dinners, and dances followed each other in rapid succession.
The ladies are in ecstasies, bewildered by the immense attention they received, and dazzled by the splendors of a military camp. Every officer is devoting himself, his horses, and his servants to their comfort and thus they are in a measure repaid for their long, anxious hours of expectancy during active operations.