Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Headquarters Second Vt. Brigade,
Union Mills, Va.,

April 26, 1863.

Dear Free Press:

It is more than two weeks now since orders came for the Second brigade to be in readiness to take the field; but we still linger on the banks of the muddy Occoquan. The order to make ready was promptly complied with. The extra baggage of the officers (wives included in some cases), was sent in to Alexandria or Washington; the tents were turned back to the quartermasters; the men overhauled their “cotton bureaus” and discarded superfluities with Spartan rigor; and the feeble men were sent into the city hospitals. Over a hundred men were thus sent in from this regiment, of whom many would probably be now on duty if they had stayed in camp, and many others in a very few days more, who will now have to go through the circumlocution office of the hospitals and convalescent camp; and some will hardly more than rejoin the regiment, if at all, before their term of service will be out. But the orders of the medical authorities were peremptory. The brigade was to be “cleared for action,” and it was done. We have been ready to sail in, any day since, but the order to move does not come. We trust that we are not to be kept here any longer, in the doubtless important, but inactive and inglorious duty of the defence of Washington. We have “stood guard” long enough. If there is anything to be done, and they will only allow us to have a hand in it before our time expires, it is all the favor we ask of our military rulers.

The ranks of Company C have been sadly depleted by the prevailing maladies. The company and the cause have lost two good soldiers, in the deaths of Corporal Pope and Private Sutton. I fear that more are to follow them. Some dry and warm weather, however, such as I trust we are about to have, will do wonders for the health of the command.

Brigadier General Stannard arrived last week, and assumed command. He is right welcome to the brigade, for the soldiers know his sterling qualities, and to none more so than to the Twelfth to whom his coming restores their colonel.

The paymaster is paying the brigade four months’ pay.

Yours, B.

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