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Primary Sources for the 8th Massachusetts Infantry

Letters of Dr. Bowman Breed

Letter collection for sale.

Boston Evening Transcript, April 22, 1861

Philadelphia, April 21. - Afternoon. The Eighth Massachusetts Regiment, which left here Friday night, have arrived at Annapolis Junction by way of the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay. They are stationed at Annapolis, and hold the junction of the road communicating with Washington.


The Knickerbocker or New York Monthly Magazine, July, 1861

Letter from the Eighth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers.

'SATURDAY night, and with the beat of the 'retreat,' stillness settles with noiseless wing upon the buzz and hum of quarters, and perches over the Speaker's chair with soothing influences! Saturday night, and whispered prayers go up from many a rude couch, and mingle with those ascending from the homes left behind. Saturday night—but hark! the drums are rolling through the passages! 'Turn out, Bill,' says one, 'and see what's up.' Bill turns out and goes, and soon returns to report: 'Four companies under orders to march at once for the Relay House!' Every one springs to the floor. Co. G have the guard, and of course will remain; and we in the quarters, not being on duty, wander about, picking up, here and there, what intelligence we can, 'The companies detached are falling into line, and receiving their rations one after another, file off down the great stair-case. They are gone, and all is still again, except where the officers of the staff are hasting to-and-fro in the passage where head-quarters are. We sit down in the company-room and talk the matter over. Every one says to himself: ' Our turn will come next.' Knapsacks are packed, letters written, and all are still again in thought, when the tramp of men through the hall arouses us once more. 'The orders have been countermanded, and while we fancied our comrades were already on the route, they have been waiting at the guard-house, and now are back again. And after the excitement of so sudden a call to arms is somewhat quieted, again we fall asleep with that whispered prayer repeated as we dream.

'I HAD but freshly nibbled my pen for the commencement of a new paragraph, when the word 'Fall in!” was passed along the quarters so loudly that it was ill pretending not to hear it. Consequently I fell in, feeling a decided disposition to fall out with the officer in command for thus interrupting my téte-d-téte with 'OLD KNICK.' By the time we got into line on the parade, light suddenly dawned upon my hitherto abstracted vision, and I remembered that we were to march to the Arsenal to receive new arms and equipments. 'By the right of companies, to the rear, into columns, battalion, right face! March!' We faced and marched. 'Music to the head of the column; battalion; forward, march!” And forward it was, out of the Capitol-yard, down the hill in the rear, and left-wheel into a wide avenue, that seemed to have no end, It was very hot, very dusty, and very disagreeable, I really felt an inclination to be disgusted with soldiering. Inwardly, I voted it a humbug, But there, on my left, floated the Stars and Stripes and our regimental color. The one had mournfully descended amid the smoke and flame of Sumter. Was I not one who had sworn to lift it to its place again? and did not my oath bind me, too, to uphold the other, or to die defending it? Ah! yes. Soldiering might be a disgusting humbug, but to support and to maintain untarnished the honor of my country's and my regimental flag, was the proudest task I might ever hope to perform. And thus, each step seeming to add new earnestness to every thought, I actually became enthusiastic in my chivalrous zeal, by the time the regiment filed in between the guard at the gate of the Arsenal. We received, by companies, our arms and equipments, and it was late before we were ready to move again. The thunder-beaded clouds were rising in the south and west, and as I watched the now and then quick lightnings, and listened to the distant mutterings, I fancied I saw the flashes of secession cannon on Arlington Heights, and heard their muffled report, sadly inaugurating this 'holy war' of modern times.

'Tattoo found me at the 'head-quarters of commanders of companies,' where, having the entrée, I pass a great portion of my leisure time. 'Twelve o'clock and all's well'—ditto. They were just relieving the guard when I went to company quarters. 'Captains of companies will have their commands ready for inspection, with twenty rounds of ball-cartridge, at six o'clock to-morrow morning,' were the orders promulgated by the Colonel in person, just before I bade my own Captain good-night. 'There's work for us to do,' I said to myself, and instead of making any attempt to sleep, sat down to one of the desks in the Hall, and commenced a series of letters home —letters brief and to the point, free from all ornamentation or imagery — in fact, quite matter of fact — hold! Was there not one wherein you said something about 'the sweets of home,' 'the charms' of certain cottage surroundings, 'the fond entwinings of —' oh! never mind, thou man of fact—if there was not fancy enough in one of the aforementioned letters to make up for all the bareness of the others, then I know nothing and less than nothing of the strange vagaries of a lover's pen.

'I finished my letters, wrapped in my blanket, nodding in my chair; and thereafter slept awhile, till waking with a sudden start, I found the Hall-clock marked the hour of five. I strapped my blanket while the drums were beating the reveille, and washed and made my toilet while the boys were turning out. 'Pack up, I whispered to my chum, and told him the orders of the night before. He opened his eyes with wonder, but read the truth in the package of letters I held in my hand. The Captain came in as I spoke and echoed my words. We passed inspection at the hour; then breakfast ; and then the word again, 'Fall in'—being marching order. ''Tis our last of the Capitol,' said the orderly as we filed out of quarters. 'Down Capitol Hill for the last time!' I repeated to myself as we took the direction of the depot. It did not seem possible, And whither now? To the Relay House and Harper's Ferry, seemed the instinctive answer to my question.

'The first part of that answer was verified in a few hours. Back to Annapolis Junction; past the field of our cold and cheerless bivouac three weeks ago; out on the Baltimore and Ohio road, we finally disembarked at the Relay House station, Hot, dusty, and disagreeable again was our march up over the hills to the camp we were to occupy. We lay down in the shade of our blankets hung upon our stacked arms, until the call for evening prayer. It was an impressive scene—eight hundred men closed en masee upon the hill-side, around that man of prayer who, with uplifted hands, invoked upon us the blessing of the God of battles. I saw the tears that glistened in many an eye at thought of home, and there was a silence that seemed sad in camp for an hour after. We were glad to prepare our bivouac even there, upon the untented field, and wrap us in our blankets, pillowing our heads upon our knapsacks.

'I was just in the 'first sweet dream of sleep,' when a single shot, and an- other, and a dozen more upon our right brought us to our feet, with hurried roll of drum, and quick repeated cry: 'Fall in! fall in!' In double files, straight up the hill we pressed at double-quick. ' Halt,' and ' Load,' and 'Forward, again down a wooded path, trot, trot. At length we reach the lines of Cooke's battery. A man has only fired at a dog, and the alarm is false. We wheel, and return disappointedly to our camp, for we had hoped 'to have one shot at a secessionist,' as BILLY, my chum, said, when we rolled ourselves in our blankets again, cold and saturated with the heavy dew.

“The next day was hotter than the preceding, and our tents came not till late in the afternoon, How we lay and simmered in the sun the long, weary day, with scarcely strength to buy or cat the pics and cakes that were so plenty on the field, and which' was all there was to cat, for our provisions had not followed us so promptly as they should. In the evening we pitched our tents upon the hill, but your humble servant was too much used up to care for any thing except, with a comrade at either arm, to be supported to the 'Relay House,' where he still remains at present writing, in restoration of his exhausted strength, to the tune of 'a dollar and a half a-day,' and extras.

'The soldier in the field has little time, generally little disposition, to admire the beautiful either in art or nature. The paintings and the sculpture at the Capitol found few connoisseurs to criticise, in the thousands of eyes that had wonderingly passed beneath them, And in the weary march, the tired head cares little to sweep the landscape in search of beauties, But here, in comparative repose, and surrounded by such varied scenes of hill and valley, winding path and running stream, viaduct and rustic bridge, cottage and country-scat, few could help being charmed, fewer still at least help glancing delightedly at the loveliness of spring. This is certainly a most beautiful section of country, and as I sit here in my room I look out upon fields, forests, and valleys, growing every hour more fresh and green beneath the soft-falling rain.

Ay! soft-falling rain. 'Tis a very comfortable thing to sit in a quiet room, (with a coal-fire at one's back,) and look out upon this same soft-falling rain; but not so comfortable, crouching in a dripping tent, chilled through, and shivering in the folds of a damp blanket, in order to produce a reaction after a five hours' drill in double-quick movements, beneath a sultry sun. Who would not be a soldier?

'They say, we march again to-morrow. It is not unlikely. Our 'Brigadier BEN,' promoted to be a Major-General, and ordered to Fortress Monroe, will undoubtedly take with him his 'gallant Massachusetts boys,' and thus will end the record of Camp Essex, its nightly alarms, and exceedingly 'steep' drills. I should be in camp to-day were it not for the rain; but, so nearly well, I do not care to set myself back again unnecessarily. If we move to-morrow, I pray it may be under a more sunny sky than over-arches us to-day. I know not certainly from what part of the country you will hear of me; but wherever I may be, sure am I, I shall not forget 'OLD KNICK,' whose humble servant is 'Yours. truly, E. D. KNIGHT. JR.


The Daily Exchange, Wed, May 15, 1861

The Eighth Massachusetts Regiment went from Washington to the Relay House to-day.


Salem Register, May 23, 1861


The following letter, from one of the Salem Light Infantry, is by the same writer whose interesting communication to his family was published in the Register last week. It gives a graphic description of Life in Camp:

RELAY HOUSE, Elkridge Landing,
May 16, 1861.

Here we are, at last, at the celebrated Relay House, and a very pleasant place it is. I wrote you last Saturday night in a hurry that we were to leave the Capitol at once for the Relay House, and thence were to go to Richmond. We were, called up and ordered to put on knapsack's, haversacks and canteens, were supplied with rations of hard (that means: hard) crackers, salt fish, raw potatoes; and cold water. We then were marched into an entry where we waited over two hours for orders from Gen. Scott. The time was passed pleasantly, songs. and stories intermingling. At the end of that time we were sent back into quarters, where we slept fitfully for the rest of the night, every little while starting up at the sound of someone's voice, thinking it to be the order for march. But the order did not come till Tuesday morning. Oar stay in Washington, though short, gave us plenty of hard work. Every morning and every afternoon we went out upon parade, and drilled for a couple of hours, sometimes more. Lieut. Putnam, myself and Sergeant Gray, Corporals Evans, and Reynolds, and Willy Hill, were detailed to act as drill officers, I had charge of the Lynn Light infantry, and they made in three days very satisfactory progress. I am glad to have an opportunity to renew my acquaintance with the Lynn boys, and am more pleased that the pleasure seems mutual. they invited me, by special messenger, to come up to their quarters and pass the evening. I went up, and stopped about an hour, enjoying myself much.

Sunday was not spent much like a Sabbath. We had services,morning and evening, in the Representatives Hall, conducted by Mr. Haven, but they were short. Most of the day we were in the field drilling the Eighth Regiment, and hot work it was, too. The sun is well fired up here, thus early even, to a degree greater than we experience at home. We were well provided at Washington, three of the men acting as cooks. I passed outside of the Capitol Yard but once, and stayed only a short time, not long enough to see any of the buildings of note.

We left Washington on Tuesday about 10 o'clock A.M. The streets were very muddy, and the heat was oppressive. These, combined with our heavy accoutrements, tried us harder than anything we had yet undergone. We rode in the cars about an hour and a half, the whole of which time I devoted to cooling off. We passed sentinels at intervals of abort a quarter of a mile, posted along the railroads, and sometimes parties of about a dozen, variously occupied, cooking, washing clothes, building huts, &c. After marching from the Depot up the steepest hill that I ever attempted to mount, and moistening the earth with the streams of perspiration which flowed freely from us all, we came to the camp of the Massachusetts 6th Reg't, and the New York 8th. Only small detachments of these Regiments are left here, the rest having gone on to Baltimore, At the summit of the highest hill was the celebrated Winans steam gun, which looks something like an Alligator's head on wheels. That is all the description I can yet give of it, as I have had no opportunity of examining it, not being allowed to pass the guard of the 6th. We had hardly arrived, when we were ordered to go down to the depot, and, stop a baggage train; down we pliched ad the rate of twelve miles an hour, and in three minutes were at the depot, and accomplished our duty. While waiting for a messenger whom Capt. Devereux had despatched to the Colonel to inform him that the train was stopped, I saw an officer whom I know had seen before, but could not think where. After cudgelling my brains for a few moments, however, I recollected that it was Lieut. Emery of Boston. I went up and claimed acquaintance with him, and he recognized me at once. From him I learned how he had fared; but as the Mass. 6th, with which he is connected, are deservedly well known, I need not relate to you his account.

We went back to the hill, and were marched down into a field at the foot of the hill, where we grounded arms and baggage, and lay down in the shade. After idling for an hour our men were ordered into ranks, and marched at the double quick (all our motions are made in double quick time, now,) to the other end of the field, where in a short time we constructed a rough shed under which to put the stores of the regiment. We then dug several holes, and constructed cooking ranges, over which our cooks were to preside. Meanwhile a party of ten from one of the companies of the regiment had constructed a dam across one of the many brooks that encircle the foot of the hill. By the time these things were done, our supper was ready, after partaking of which our company was detailed for guard. Three reliefs were formed, in the first of which were C. and myself. We went on at half past nine and staged till 12, when we were relieved. While our guard was being posted, the sentinel on the upper hill, where the 6th Reg. was quartered, fired his gun, and shouted at the top of his voice the signal of alarm. Our regiment was soon formed and plunged up the bill into the darkness, at the double quick, of course. We were in suspense for about an hour as to what was the cause of the alarm. At the end of that time, the companies returned and we found that Ross Winans had been arrested, and as the curious crowd pressed around eagerly, the guard, fearing an attempt at rescue, fired his gun and shouted the word of alarm. We had no tents nor any huts built, so that we turned in, with nothing between the damp cold ground but our blankets, under the open sky. We built a large camp fire, and by “snuggling” up close to each other managed to keep pretty warm.

The next afternoon, however, we determined to build some huts. A rail fence near by, furnished us ridge poles and rafters ready to our hand, and the woods behind gave us plenty of branches and leaves for thatch and bedding. Soon after our party of six commenced their hut, others began to do the same, till after awhile we had built eight or nine large huts, each of which could accommodate six sleepers. The example which we set was soon followed by the whole regiment, and many other similar hats soon crowned the hill. The view from these huts is splendid. We can see the smoke rising over the roofs of Baltimore nine miles distant, and in the country intervening, the greatest diversity of scenery imaginable. Rivers spanned by splendid bridges, scattered houses, with here and there a village, woods and plains, all combine to make the handsomest view I ever saw. I luxuriated in the thought that I could “lie at my ease in mine own 'ouse,” and lazily take in life as it is at Elkridge Landing; but the arrival of a car load of tents dispelled the fond illusion. We were routed out of our comfortable quarters, and worked till night pitching our encampment on another hill.— The site for a camp is an excellent one. Everything needed for our comfort is within a few moments' walk.

This morning, after washing in the brook, I strolled with C. Emmerton through the woods, and picked some flowers, the ones most highly prized being a couple of violets, usually called, though why I know not, modest. I placed them on the table near which I am writing, intending to send them to you, but the wind has stolen them away from me. The woods are very beautiful around here, but I notice one thing, which is, that there are no evergreens, no undergrowth of consequence. The Sixth Regiment have build a dam in one of the brooks in the vicinity, which does much to add to the comfort of the troops.

On Tursday evening, at a meeting of the commissioned officers of the Regiment, Lieut. Col Hinks was elected Colonel; Maj. Etwell was elected Lieut, Col., and Ben. Perley Poore, Major. The report about Capt. Devereux, though accredited here, turned out to be false. It caused, however, a great deal of consternation amongst us, and we were quite despondent for a few days.

On Friday forenoon, the Sixth and Eighth Regiments were marched a couple of miles out into the town, passing through a long covered bridge, and through most exquisite scenery, just to give Col. Jones a chance to review us, there being no field sufficiently large for the purpose nearer our camp. In the afternoon our Drill Masters were again called out to their posts, and did duty for an hour, after which came the evening parade.

In the evening, at 8 o'clock, we were detached to do duty as picket guard, and were thrown out in the direction of Harper's Ferry about five miles. The marching was of the hardest kind, over a railroad track, the bed of which was made of rough stones, whose sharp edges did more to tire us than any thing else. All but five of us,—Capt. Devereux,,Lake, Cobb, Swasey, and I—were posted at different intervals along the railroad. We went on about two miles in front of the outposts and halted. We sat down by the side of the track, and ate a couple of hard boiled eggs, salt fish and crackers. After this we retreated upon the outposts and arrived there at 2 o'clock. Here we turned in. I was very warm from walking, but when we awoke, at four in the morning, to return to camp, I was nearly frozen, and so were the rest, so that when challenged by our entries, “Who comes there?” answered at once, in the words of Grumio, “A lump of ice-A lump of ice!”

At a point near the Relay House, commanding the track so as to prevent trains passing unchallenged, the Boston Light Artillery have erected a battery for two pieces. They have wooden shanties; designed for sleeping places and seem to be quite comfortable. We were sent out on this expedition because an attack was expected from Harper's Ferry, and we were to give the earliest notice of it. This was our first experience in this kind of duty, and I like it very much. When reading. old hunting stories, I always thought I should like camp fire life, but never expected I should ever see any of it. Nor did I, for we had no fire, but everything else. To-day (Saturday) we have had nothing to do in the line of duty, but in the afternoon we were sworn in for three months from the first of May. All took the oath with the exception of two, who made some demur at enlisting for more than three months, but they afterwards changed their minds and determined to see it out.

Our Havelocks came this morning, and were much liked. I have worn mine all day, and I can assure you they are very useful articles. Indeed I had worn my pocket Handkerchief for the same purpose, and am glad to devote it to its legitimate use again. Can you make one more for me, and one for Moody, size 7 1/4, one of our men, who drilled all last winter with us, but went out West the week before our ball. He is a capital fellow, and we are much rejoiced to have him with us again. The pattern by which John Hodges's was made, is the one I wish you would use, as it is the best one I have seen. Moody got as far as Detroit, where he joined a Michigan company, with the intention of joining us when he came across us. Yesterday morning, when the 6th and 8th Regiments were on line together, I read the letters which Charles received and read that Charley Frye was with the Washington Light Guard. Accordingly as soon as a halt was made, I ran across and spoke to him. He was very glad to see all of us, and said he should have been glad to come with us had he known we were coming so soon. He is looking finely, although much sunburnt. Cnarles Whittredge has arrived. He passed through to Washington this afternoon, and, will probably return in a day or two. Capt. D, has also gone to Washington. He went to find Moody, and attend to other business, but Moody's arrival has rendered his journey, almost unnecessary. Great numbers of troops are continually passing to Washington through this village. The Michigan and Ohio troops passed through yesterday, I am told, and since I have been writing here two long trains have passed having troops on board. While I am writing now, the drums are beating for evening parade. I do not go out to-night as George Gray will take my place. We had religious services last night after parade, consisting of reading extracts from the Psalms, singing a hymn, and prayers. We have orders now to have every one at his quarters as we may be off in half an hour, But I have exhausted my writing faculties now, so that I must bid you good bye, G. W. B.

One of the Beverly Light Infantry, attached to the Eighth Regiment, writes, on Friday —

On Wednesday we received our Camp equipage and are more comfortably situated than we have been before since we left home. We are encamped on a hill, which is covered partly with a small growth of trees and partly with pasturage. I am now rested under a tree, writing on my knapsack. We have command of the little town here, and in twenty minutes could, with the field pieces of the Artillery, lay it in ruins; but there is not heed of this, as the inhabitants are very friendly and inoffensive. The people of whom we are most suspicious are those who come here from Baltimore and the South.

One of our guards was fired at last night, the ball, which was from a pistol, passing between his arm and body, making a hole through the blanket which he had over his shoulders. He did not see the man who fired at him, so the shot was not returned. We have been called out every night we have been here, and on Wednesday night were called up twice by the guard who give the alarm. Sometimes they have occasion to give it, and sometimes they fire too quick, when there is no occasion for it.

Since we have been here we have been fed well and probably shall be as long as we stay here.— We have a plenty of bread which we brought with us, and a drove of cattle, seized by the Sixth and the N. Y. 6th Regiments, bound South.- We have also a stream of beautiful clear water, running all the time at the foot of the hill, where we drink and do our washing. Then there is a small dam a little farther down, where we can bathe; the water is about three feet deep, and lies right in the sun so that it is kept warm, and clean, by the stream running into it all the time. Upon the whole I don't think we could have a better place to encamp if we had made it ourselves.

We are learning the Hardee drill and have from six-to eight hours of practice every day.


Alexandria Gazette, May 16, 1861

The Relay House military post was held on Monday by about 1,000 of New York Infantry under command of Col. Lyons. This force has since been reinforced by troops from Washington, including the Eighth Massachusetts Regiment, Making 2,000 or 3,000 in all there. The Twentieth New York Regiment is at the Annapolis Junction.


Letter of Henry S. Briggs to his wife

Camp Essex
Relay House,Sat morning
May [18] 1861

Dear Molly

I got your good nice long letter yesterday It was dated the 12th and post marked North Adams the 14. So I conclude Everybody who was to put it in the office went to Adams. I believe that I have less time to write at every place we went yesterday. I could not find a minute, having been occupied while we were not on drill in distributing the fatigue uniform furnished by the Govt. And this make me fear that my telegram day before yesterday may be misunderstood. I did not mean to have it understood that the gray pants and additions jackets would not be wanted, but only that the new light flannel suit which I had written about, would not be absolutely wanted inasmuch as the whole regiment was supplied with the dark blue which is loose and comfortable. We shall

Want one full suit of gray - that is, the new pants and jackets enough to make a full set. I haven’t much time to write this morning not yet having been to breakfast and you know how stupid I am before breakfast. We get up at 5 oclk and don’t get anything in the way of eating till 7 or after. The mornings since we have been here have been cold enough for Berkshire; though it is warm enough during the day. You have no idea how beautifully our camp is located, fronting the East on the summit of a hill sloping to the East, and fringed on all sides except an opening in the front with fruit trees - just at our left (and we are on the left of the line) and a little to the rear is a beautiful Mansion, reminding me as much of Wilson’s at Norwalk as any that I can think of. The lawn in front is as much ours as theirs in the front to the North, and theirs to the East look upon the same grounds. The elevation alone, the valley of the Patapsco, below and the Washington R.R. is very considerable some 200 feet and the positions is admirably

calculated in defense. The valley is beautiful almost as anything we have in our own home. The viaduct over the valley of the Patapsco is a magnificent structure of I believe 12 arches of at lease 60 ft spam and not less than 80 ft high. I should think the viaduct or bridge is 60 rods south of the Relay Station House and is for the R.R. to Washington. The Western route of the same Balt. & Ohio R.R. bends to the west just at the Northern end of the bridge. That leads to Harpers Ferry and on west. This road is carefully guarded to the distance of some miles by outposts sent out from Camp each day Tonight my turn comes when I shall go with my company for a 24 hours turn out of camp. Last night I left Capt. Deveraux with the Salem Co on the same post. They are going to bivouac in the open air, although they might have had a station near the bridge where most assigned to the post go. Can’t tell how long we are to stay here though it is conjectured that is will not be long.

Rumors are that we are destined to Fortress Monroe. It will best by all means to direct all letter to Washington. The old address to my care 8th Reg. Mass Voll. I will try to write some of your again during the day though I may not have time We haven’t heard a word from Dodge since he went, but shall be looking for him every day. I suppose Whelden will not come now. Love to all the beloved ones.

Affectionately your husband
H S Briggs

Henry S. Briggs Papers
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Letter of Henry S. Briggs to his wife

Sunday Morning May 19, 1861

Dearest Sister

Ten minutes since on my way from breakfast at the Relay House about 1/2 a mile from our Camp I so unexpectally came upon Col Fessenden who had just been to my quarters that for the instant, I could not speak his name and then called him Mister. I have so many new names

to remember and see so few familiar faces that I fear I shall forget my own name if I am here much longer. Besides I am a little more stupid than usual this morning having come in, with the company from a kind of Picket Guard which we posted about 2 miles out on the Ohio R.R. (towards Harpers Ferry you know). We were out all night and I got but little sleep and that in the open air covered only by my blankets. It was my first time on chore with no shelter but the blue sky. I do not think of or fear taking cold now, and did not last night although the nights here are cold, and the chill of the night was sensibly felt.

I though this morning I was going to have trouble with my stomach again, but it turned out to be nothing serious and I went down and ate a tremendous breakfast of ham, eggs liver and corn cakes. It has been rumored for several days that all Mass. troops are to be ordered to Fortress Monroe and Col. Fessenden informed us that the rumor is authentic by Gen Butler's own declaration. When it will be I don’t know, though I should not be surprised if I get the order when I report to Head Quarters at 10:00 o-c as I have been notified to do. I will keep my letter open as long as possible and if I find out any thing definite before Cor F. leaves will inform you. I need not try to tell you how delighted I was to meet the Col. and receive from his hand the package of tea and a little additional tokens of your loving kindness and the tea a prize in itself. I got a tea steeper at the Fort and have it. Yet among my baggage as well as, coffee and coffee pot but have not as yet had an opportunity to turn to use either.

I hope and believe if we get to Monroe that we shall be permanently located for the reminder of our term of service. My company was yesterday mustered into service for 3 months from the 30th day of April. There are but very few of my command who could be induced to extend their term. They have

experienced so much privation in the comforts which they have been accustomed to that they are very willing to permit the new levies to fill their places coming as they do in such overflowing numbers. As for myself I am willing and even desirous of making the service my business, but do not now see the way how to do it. My application for an appointment in the army, backed by a cordial letter from Genl. Schouler, Oliver Gen Bartwell and Mr. Danes and by Perry Jones and Wilson promised aid, doesn’t seem to make much progress in the War department. Please make my acknowledgements to Mrs. Lorain for her kind remembrance. I hope I have Miss Mary’s condolences in not - yet - having been able to get rid. Of the Elephant. How vividly the sight of Col. Fessenden revived the pleasant associations of my acquaintance. Write him in your pleasant New Bedford home. I really believe I should like now, after more than four weeks absence to spend the Sabbath at

home and one night I could return tomorrow quite satisfied. I am content now and have not had a homesick feeling since the first night on the Ferry boat Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay, after the excitement of our first boarding was over, while we were stoned in comfortless crowds and confusion about the dirty decks. I don’t know that I have written you, since our sudden departure from Fort McHenry though I doubt not you have learned through home sources the fact of our departure.

The only regret connected with our lease was the pleasant mess just fairly inaugurated there. I do not from my short experience at the Fort, fancy the service as a militia man under a conceited and selfish and rude old regular who has attained is no higher rank than one grade above me. Still, what I have learned there I prize; I could have afforded to stay a week or two longer in order to be more familiar with the routine and details of the ceremonies

and etiquette of the service. The knowledge obtained there was such that cannot be acquired by books or any other way than by actual practical instruction. I meant to have gone to Church today and may yet. I shall not order out my Company with out express orders, have not - yet at all on Sunday, except last Sunday, for inspection of quarters and dress parade at retreat.

There is regimental since at 3 o-c P. M. & other services. I understand within practicable distance outside. We have religious service every day at retreat, reading Bible, singing and prayer, though I must say it seems to me almost sacrilege to have such services amidst the profanity and heartless levity about me. I have no complaint to make of my own company in the regiment in this respect but there is a large part of the 8th Regt. from Essex Co. principally that is as rough and vulgar and wicked as anything I ever saw. There are two Marblehead companies and one from Lynn M.

immediately on one eight whose conduct at pray is exceedingly revolting and disquieting. It is nearly ten o-clck and I must go and report. It may be the Col. will return for my letter, before I get back. Address until further notice Co K 8th Regt. Washington. Love to Chas and thank him for his letter of the 4th or 5th which I only got yesterday. Affectionately your brother H L Briggs
Please send this home. We have orders to move on Tuesday for Fortress Monroe via Annapolis.

Henry S. Briggs Papers
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Letter of John Lakeman to his mother

Camp Essex May 19th 1861.

Dear Mother,

I am very much obliged to you for your letters and it is the first one I’ve received from you. We arrived here at a place called Elkridge Landing near the Relay House on Tuesday and went into camp here on Wednesday evening. We received our cap-coverings yesterday morning and wore them yesterday to drill. They are all very acceptable indeed and we are very much obliged for them. It’s the Ladies who made them. I am also much obliged for that thread &c who’s was sent for I found a needle-book the other day full of needles of all sizes but I had no thread. I make a splendid tailor having had occasion to sew the stripe on my pants where it had ripped off. Tell Aunt Sally that I know of nothing that would be more useful to me than that lot of Court Plaster which she sent Charley Whiltredge is expected today as he was heard from in Washington yesterday. He is a fine young man to loaf away the time as he has since he started I suppose he thinks it is so much less time to serve in camp. I wish he would hurry along with our letters although he is not far from here now I suppose. We had some baked beans this morning and they were just about half done and hard as bricks so that some could and eat them. It is the first good meal I have made for some time and some of the boys did not get any of these as there were not enough for all. We have tried to have rice once or twice but it was burned each time that it was boilt. I stand it as well as any of them and feel as well as I did when I started from home if not better. I think the changes agree with me. The Quarter Master says that we should have more to eat soon and I hope we shall I am sure. It is hard cooking for so many men. Captain Deveraux went to Washington with the Colonel yesterday to get the order from Gen Butler who has been promoted to Major General in the United States Army. It is called quite an advancement. Our orders are to start tomorrow or next day for Foretress Munroe at the mouth of the Chesapeake to go from there to either of the Border States to which we may be sent. This is a very pretty place for a Camp on the top of a high hill completely overlooking the railroad and is occupied by all the Massachusetts troops that are on here namely the 5th, 6th, and 8th regiments. The other Massachusetts troops are at the Fortress now and I suppose it is to be made our head quarters. I went yesterday down into water for the first time since last summer and it made me feel 100 percent better besides having a good little swim in fresh water. We have no desks here to write on so we have to work on anything that comes handy with a knapsack or canteen or even on the ground. I have sent Lizzie that the gingerbread would be much appreciated if there is any way of getting it here. We were sworn in yesterday for the term of 3 months from the 30th of April and we are all perfectly satisfied with the term as it is the same period from which the 8th regiment were sworn in a great many of the company expected we should have sworn in for 3 years and were agreeably disappointed. We are to have service here this after noon in front of the Relay House and this morning we were permitted to go in the village if we wished but I would stop and write as I might not have another chance right off. I wish Margaret was here to wash my clothes for I make a poor hand at it. I have not attempted yet on my larger garments but will have to soon. I expect. Give my love to all and tell them all to write. We may not have another chance to write for some time but will try to if possible. Give my love to the children and kiss them for me.

From your affectionate son,

P.S. Please excuse all bad writing and mistakes for we are in a great hurry.


Upper left corner: “24”
Upper right corner: “C H Va[…]yck”
Center: “Mrs. E. K. Lakeman, Salem Mass”
Bottom: “Care of Mr. H. Lakeman”

Upper left corner: “Camp Essex May 19, ’61”

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03394
Author/Creator: Lakeman, John R. (fl. 1861-1908)

Letter of Henry S. Briggs to his wife

Camp Essex May 20 1861
Monday Morning little after
6 o-c

Dearest Molly

I have been calculating was a good opportunity yesterday to write letters, but did not find it. Col. Fessenden call in the forenoon, and at 1 o’clock we had to go out to drill and before that and religious service at 3 o-c were over Dodge and his company came

and you may well imagine that the rest of the day and evening mere occupied in reading letters &c. I am thankful for the goods pile he brought me, both direct from home and from the fort where he stopped on his way out. Night before last my company escort out on the picquet guard on the Rail Road leading westward towards Harpers Ferry. Last night we were alarmed at little before midnight and the whole Camp called to arms. I couldn’t yet learn the occasion. But taking the two nights together my eyes are not very bright this cloudy morning and I must be brief for I am waiting for the Col. to get up, to get leave to go into Baltimore to make some preparation for our departure to Fortress Monroe tomorrow. I have just got it and must be off. The packages are not yet delivered not will come today in provoking haste. Affectionately. HS Briggs

Henry S. Briggs Papers
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Daily Herald, May 21, 1861

HURRAH FOR THE 8TH MASSACHUSETTS! Harper's Weekly is certainly beginning to take the shine off from all the illustrated papers, and shows its good sense in giving just the kind of illustrations that we now want. The number for next Saturday is now at hand, and is trim full of pictures of the brave soldiers on the border. The present number is exceedingly interesting to our section of the country. It has no less than six engravings which relate to the gallant 8th and 6th of Massachusetts, and it is no unmerited compliment which the Weekly pays to our own boys of the 8th, when it says in the conclusion of its description of the 8th in their former quarters at the Rotunda: “The 8th Massachusetts Volunteers are one of the finest regiments in the service; the officers and men are practical, and when the day of battle comes, they will, we are sure, give a good account of themselves”

Our boys in the Rotunda seem perfectly at home, and judging from the sketch, they are not without the sympathy of the gentler sex, who come in to see their splendid quarters. One fellow (he must be from Newburyport) has not yet got his new uniform, while another (doubtless from the same locality), seems to be taking something supposed to be water, out of a mug. As to the water, on second reflection, it is problematical, as enough of that clement, sufficiently cold, poured down upon the brave Twenty-first when they departed hence, to last them a life time.

The pictures in this number are unusually good,and those of the Relay House, and the “Winan's steam gun” will attract immediate attention. We fancy that the man before steam gun, is Batchelder of this city, whose fine mechanical genius was called into requisition by Gen. Ben. Butler, on the Annapolis Junction road. We however do not see the musical professor and lecturer from this city, J H. Jewett

The war map will be very useful. Let every one study it, for all the points of importance are therein laid down. We see the editors of the Weekly are threatened with assassination from the South, because they have spoken out plainly the true sentiment of the North. It, however, is to us, an evidence of the truthfulness of the Weekly when “in Tennessee vigilance committees forbid its circulation, and in Louisiana the Governor prohibits its distribution through the Post Office.” Our Postmaster elect has it for sale here,and will keep plenty of them on hand.

(From our Correspondent in the Army )

CAMP ESSEX, ST. DENNIS, Md., May 17, 1861.

Dear Herald :—Three cheers for General Butler, and three times three for the National Administration whose ideas of real, substantial merit are not cramped into the narrow limits of West Point! Massachusetts may well feel proud of the high compliment paid to her, in the promotion of one of her noblest sons to a position in the regular army second only in rank to the hero Scott. It has shown to the country, that the promptness of Governor Andrew (who has proved himself, in all his acts, the man for the times) in answering to the requisition of the President, the courage and efficiency of the troops first sent forward to the capital, and the real service they have rendered, have been fully appreciated by the powers that be. As Massachusetts soldiers, we feel that in this instance of grateful remembrance by the Executive, we are more than repaid for the hardships we have thus far endured in maintaining the honor of the Stars and Stripes.

You will see by the heading of this letter that we are now in camp, which has been designated as “Camp Essex,” a compliment to our own beautiful county. We have a full set of camp equipage, received on Wednesday, and are now located on a hill, where, with little entrenching, we could successfully contend against a force seven times our own number. Last evening we had an election of officers for the Regiment, Col. Jones, of the Sixth Regiment, presiding. Lieut. Col. Hinks was elected Colonel; Major Elwell, Lieutenant Colonel ; and Ben: Perley Poore, Major. It is said by other regiments that the Eighth is now better officered than any regiment in the service. The officers are all young men, competent, and have the good feeling of all the troops. Major Poore was telegraphed to last evening, and before breakfast this morning was in camp. Capt. Briggs, of Company I, who with his command has been at Fort McHenry since we left the Frigate Constitution, joined us to-day, making our Regiment full, viz. ten companies. We are all in good spirits, liking our outdoor camp much better than indoor confinement. How long we shall remain here it is impossible to say, as we are liable to receive moving orders at any moment,


Letter of Henry S. Briggs to his wife

Camp Essex
Relay House Wednesday
Morning May 22 1861

Dearest Molly

I was so busy yesterday in unpacking the good things each from home and friends by Dodge and Whittlesy and in packing up everything we have, in hourly expectation of receiving orders to strike our camp and proceed to Fortress Monroe, that I did not have time to nite as I intended, to you, and the many others who have so kindly remembered me. All came nicely and in profusion. All the members of the Co so far as I can learn were remembered in some way. How can I thank you all enough. I had a pile of letters too, and did not get through reading 'till late Sunday night. I always put my letters by, promising myself fresh pleasure in rereading, but as yet I have had very little chance to do so. I want to, so as to reply in particular. Tell Father how much I thank him for the remittance and that has in connection with George’s and a literal

donation from the citizens, has supplied me abundantly at present. I have had to buy very many things to make Camp comfortable and have daily to expend on account of the company what I expect of course. Will be refunded to me sometime by the State or Govt.

We were mustered into the U. S. Service on Saturday for three months from the 30th day April. That is the date from which the time of all the rest of the Regt. was, and he did not wish to separate from it before they returned. I do not think by any means so certain how that we go to Fortress Monroe, at all events immediately; Yet I should not be surprised to get the order to go before this letters leave the station an hour hence. But up to last night the Col. Had received no orders and it was pretty generally understood that there had been some change in the plan at Washington, whether temporary or permanent no ones know.

I hope I shall be able to write again before we go. I wish I knew where George is. the shoes are splendid and a good fit,

just what I needed; and so are the pants and the coat what I shall so much need; tho' thus far the weather has been uncomfortably cool nights and very wet. We haven't had but one rainy day tho' since we came here last Thursday. The cap come & caps all will be highly appreciated and are almost indispensable even in such weather as we have now. The sun being very hot in the middle of the day. The blue is a mistake and will be of little use except when I get a chance to go into the City. The material is beautiful, but it was a regulation military coat that I wanted. The tailors Bristol at all events ought to have known.

It is breakfast time and I must go on time. We (officers) shall take our meals at the Relay House 1/2 mile off.
Love to all. Affectionately Your Husband. HS Briggs

Henry S. Briggs Papers
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Daily Herald, May 22, 1861

(From our Correspondent in the Army)

Sunday, May 19, 1861.

Dear Herald —I have just finished a stroll through our camp, noticing by the way the peculiar manner in which most of the troops are spending their time on this beautiful Sabbath morning. Some I find enjoying their sleep, having been on guard duty most of the might previous, others mending clothing, washing, &c., while many are congregated together in groups, singing those good old-fashioned Methodist tunes so often heard at camp-meetings. A due regard seems to be had for the sacredness of the day, all the usual sports of the week-day being laid aside. In same of the streets (for be it known, Mr Editor, a regimental camp, is laid out with streets, avenues, &c) I noticed sundry devices designating the localities of different squares; for instance —in Bartlett's Avenue may be seen the “Atlantic House,” “Railroad House,” Bummer's Home,“ “Bluefish Hotel,” “Butler's Lodge ,” in Calfornia street, the “Pilgrim's Home,” ” House of Refuge ,“ in Marblehead Square, the * Glover House,” “Gerry Saloon,” in Seventh street, Mugford Hall,“ &c. The occupants of these hotels seemed desirous to give me all the information necessary, and each vied with the other in setting forth the peculiar advantages which their premises possessed over the others for the accommodation of the public.

At three o'clock this afternoon religious services are to be held in a beautiful grove in rear of the camp.

Gen Butler as expected in comp to-day, on a visit of inspection. From news received from Washington last night, it is probable that our camp will be broken up on Tuesday or Wednesday. All the Massachusetts forces will undoubtedly be concentrated at once under Gen Butler, at Fort Monroe. Orders have just been issued to commanders to hold themselves in readiness at any moment, for active field duty. Mayor Poore joins us to morrow, assuming the duties of his position I have visited the Hospital this morning, and find we have but few on the sick list—none very seriously all. The weather here grows warm, the middle of the day being equal to the hottest summer days in New England Havelocks are very mach wanted by many of the men: they consist of a bleached covering for the fatigue cup, with a cape extending down so as to screen the neck. Will not our lady friends at home remember Capt. Bartlett's company in this matter? There is but little labor in them, yet in this hot climate they are invaluable as a preventive of sun-strokes. A pattern could easily be cut from a cap which might be had in Newburyport. I make this suggestion, as some of the companies have been so provided. ESSEX.


Letter of Henry S. Briggs to his wife

Thursday 1 1/2 P.M.
May 23rd 1861

Dearest Molly

As I am going down to the Relay House to dinner I can’t omit to take the opportunity to say as does dear little Maurie in her letters, “how I do love you” it is hot & as I stand writing in my cool linen coat I think of the dear brother and you all I have been out an hour reading Boston and N. York papers in the shade in front of Dr. Halls beautiful meadow and the head of my tent is quite refreshing. God bless you all To adopt the dear and honored Father’s signature “Thine Ever”. HS Briggs

Gilmore House Baltimore
May 22, 1861

Henry S. Briggs Papers
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Daily Herald, May 22, 1861


The undersigned wishes to express the thanks of the officers and men of Company A, 8th Regiment MVM, now stationed at Camp Essex. Relay House, Md, to Rufus Cook &Co. D J. Adams, Rufus Griffith, E. M. Reed, E. T. Hardy, J. Tappan,Jr. & Co, C. N. Ballou, J A Frothingham, Jr. Richard Welch, Thomas Twombly, James Caldwell, Albert Harris, J S Bart, R Morton, Patrick Henry, Caleb C Tappan, M H Fowler, R Plumer, Daniel Hamblet, Wm A Little, for socks, Nymphus Stacy, for yarn, John R Stanwood for soap; Moulton & Talbot, for envelopes, G W Clark. for letter paper; Thomas Griffith, Suspenders; Nathan Blake, under-shirts; G W Jackman. Jr.. papers; E W Rand, papers; M B Wheeler, tobacco, M & P Harrod and Miss Lane. towels, Mrs Stedman, Hdkfs; Mrs C M Bayley, towels; S H Fowle, papers, Gillett & Co pap- ers, and for their kindness in forwarding packages and letters free of expense; E P Cutter, Cigars papers, &c; Wm H Huse & Co. papers, Curtis French & Co, tobacco S A Smith. sponge. cough mixture, etc , I O Clement and Jero Stanwood, socks, and to all others who have interested themselves in our behalf, some of whom may have been forgotten The thanks of the Company are especially due to the City Government for their promptness in appropriating money for the relief of the families of the company, to Mayor Jackman, E P Cutter, Nehemiah Flanders. D C Batchelder, for continued exertions for the comfort of ourselves and families, also to those who have contributed money for the Company. Their kindness will always be remembered by us A W BARTLETT.


Leeds Mercury, Thursday, May 23, 1861

A despatch, dated May 5th, says :— “At noon to-day the 52nd Regiment of New York and the 8th Regiment of Massachusetts arrived in a train from Washington at the Relay House, nine miles from Baltimore, and took possession of the telegraph wires, planted eight howitzers on the viaduct, and invested the entire neighbourhood. They have encamped on the grounds of William Talbott, adjoining those of George W. Dobbin, on the west side of the Patapsco. This point is the junction of the Baltimore and Ohio road and the Washington branch, and gives full command of the road to and from the west. The telegraphic communication with Harper's Ferry is cut off, and it is rumoured that no more trains west are to be allowed to leave.”


Letter of Henry S. Briggs to his wife

Friday 1 1/2 PM May 24 1861

Dearest Molly

I came into the city this morning on leave to make some purchases for myself and company and after running about all the morning have half an hour before dinner which is yours. I was out on Picket duty all night last night, in consideration of which, we are off duty today. How much I thought of you as your pictured yourself in your last good long letter ( of the 17 - 18 or 19) as I read it and how you would like at the same time to know just how and where I was. I found your letter yesterday evening about 9 o'c on my tent table upon my return from tea at the Relay but as my Company was already under Lieut. Richardson preparatory to going on the duty above mentioned by special request of the Col. I had no time to read it but put it into my pocket and put on my pistols overcoat haversack and sling my rubber and other blankets over my back, and with musket in hand, marched

my men to the post assigned which was along the line of the Balt. & Ohio R. R. a mile and a half, to guard against the approach of the enemies forces by surprise from that direction. Some company has to do the same duty every night; and since has been called on for it twice already in a week. The Col. when he made the request

to volunteer to do it and of course we did. I posted the men, beginning at the North side Of the bridge or viaduct below & to the Northward of our camp and extending 1 1/2 miles from the first posts in squads of three, taking the whole Co. and directing them to keep strict watch two of three, while the third slept; having see them all all, so posted occupying till near midnight. I halted with a squad consisting of Will Rockwell, Wm. Clark, Harrington & Fuller and disposed myself for the night. Previous to which however I took the lantern and your precious letter and resting my

elbow on a R. R. tie I read the missive so full of pleasing accounts of home selves and of your devoted love and remembrances.

I omitted to say that I had prefaced it by eating half dozens of your ginger crackers and lighting a segar. I did not hurry the reading, and the letter & segar were finished about the same time and I joined Rockwell & Clark who had already spread the rubber blanket on the soft grass by the road side, and getting under my woolen blanket, put the air pillow under my head and lay down under the deep blue sky and in the face of the bright full moon to my second open bivouac. I should not forget to mention that it was Mill’s air pillow which I found for my pillow. I had accidentally left mine at quarters and he, in spite of my remonstrances had placed his in my place while he lay soundly sleeping with his own head on a cardridge box for a pillow. Of course I could not help appreciating his kind attention. The night was a beautiful one, but like

all that we have had here it was quite cold and chilly and we were not all quite as comfortable as we might have been in our good beds at home.

I am so sleepy now that I have sat down still enough to write, that it is with the greatest difficulty that I can keep awake and have in fact fallen asleep over my papers two or three times since writing this page. The news first published in Extras of Col. Ellsworth’s melancholy murder is causing great sensation in the City, as it doubtless will throughout the North, and the hope is freely expressed that the guilty city may be visited with summary vengeance at the hands of his exasperated followers.

An example is needed and I believe would prevent the occurrence of a outrage.

Tell George I have ordered here today what I think reasonable terms a fine flannel uniform for myself, and if he wishes it, will send home to him the blue cloth which I now have on.

The gang has mustered for dinner and I must close, as the mail closes in half an hour. I fear you will not get this, this week, but hope you may. Lieut. Richardson is in the city with me.

Affectionately your Husband.
HS Briggs
write me every day if you can conveniently.

Henry S. Briggs Papers
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Letter of Henry S. Briggs to his wife

Camp Essex
Saturday morning May 25, 1861

Dearest Molly,

This is another, before breakfast hastily & sleepily written note. I got yours of the 22nd last evening. I was somewhat struck with the coincidence of the beginning of your letter with a familiar expression of dear little Maurie's, quoted in my letter to you day before yesterday. I am sleepy because I did not turn in, 'till nearly two o'c and it is not now seven. When I was reading your short sweet note last evening on my way to tea I never felt more sure that we were to be be here for the present, but came back only to commence preparations for departure and was occupied till a late hour in packing my innumerable traps, and distributing ammunition to my man. Expecting from the orders that we should march (that we travel on foot) during the night, but we didn’t; and are still in expectation.

We don’t one of us know however where we are going to. You can keep writing to me at Washington & letters will be forwarded thence to the placed of our destination & where we shall be. It is raining this morning and I hope our departure may be delayed 'till it is over. Love to All affectionately your Husband.
HS Briggs

Henry S. Briggs Papers
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Letter of Henry S. Briggs to his wife

Relay House
2 o-c Sat. P. M.
May 25, 1861

Dear Molly,

Have only time to say, as I am down here to dinner that we are still in camp and know nothing more of the future than we did this morning. The rain and clouds of the morning are gone and it is a glorious full summer (with us) June day warm if not hot; but as fresh and beautiful as are the days at home at this date in time in June. We are having strawberries quite plenty. I wish you could have some. This is the last chance that I have to converse with you 'till another week, as there is no mail from here tomorrow.

I had a sweet sight of you and the dear little girls on my way down from the camp

Love to all Affectionately yours.
HS Briggs

Henry S. Briggs Papers
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Letter of Henry S. Briggs to his wife

Gilmore House
Sunday PM.
May 26, 1861

Dearest Molly

I drove over here to-day again because I through after another nights picket duty I might as well do that as to try to spend the Sabbath in any better day in camp. I meant to have got in in time to go to church but our horse was an awful slow one and it will take us nearly two hours to return and I shall not be able to. I take every opportunity to write now, thinking that it will not be long before we shall be off. We were on the qui vive yesterday, expecting orders - but suppose it was for Harpers Ferry. The Boston papers of yesterday which I found here seem to assume that we are all going to Fortress Monroe soon. Almost the only regret I have is that it will no doubt is some extent interrupt our frequent correspondence. I mean to write you every day, and shall like to hear from you as often. Tell Gus I mean every day to write her.

If you write to Harriet & Charles tell them I want an appointment by the Governor in the new regiments that are organizing; I have so written the Governor today; and perhaps Chas can aid me. I have referred the Gov. to him among others. I do wish you could have Some of the nice strawberries we are now feasting on. If we leave we shall have to make the most of them. The weather has been right hot for two days and my thin coat has been comfortable I assure you. Tell George I can’t tell him how much the shoes have relieved me. It is time for mail to close Goodbye Affectionately
HS Briggs

Henry S. Briggs Papers
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Letter of John Lakeman to his mother

To Mrs. Lakeman Salem Mass. in care of Mr. Horace Lakeman

Camp Essex May 26, 1861

Dear Mother

We are all well and getting along nicely. I think the provender is improving and that were our chief discomfort. I do not see any prospect of our leaving this post at present for this is a very important post and it would not do to leave it unprotected for the secessionists would immediately seize it for those to use. On Friday we received the very sad news from Washington of Colonel Ellsworth’s assassination at Alexandria by one of the secessionists. We could not believe it at first but suffice it to be a Camp Rumor merely but it was soon confirmed and orders came for us to be ready to proceed to Alexandria as they expected a fight there but the city was taken possession of without any more blood shed. The men wanted to march very much and to do their part in taking the city. The troops at Harper’s Ferry have destroyed the railroad bridge and will not let trains pass now. We have been out on picket-guard 4 or 5 times since we have been here and it is quite and contrast to Camp life. We went out last night and it was a splendid evening. There was a full moon and for awhile the evening was a warm one. We had a thunder storm yesterday and instead of clearing off cool as we were accustomed to have it at home the air was very warm indeed being really sultry. I should think it was a very hot month of July here it is so warm. We had some strawberries given to us yesterday and the men said that we would be around soon with them for 4 and 5 cts a quart. Cheap enough are they not? There is a Salem policeman writing at my side now named Chapel. Horace will know him. It seems strange for he used to come round telling us get off at the corner and now we see him here. Some of the boys had some gingerbread sent them the other day as we had something to eat that seemed like home for a day well I wish you could have seen and tasted some baked beans that we had this morning. They did not add any water in and they had no pork to put in so they looked like sugar and beans mixed. I hope that they will not make any of us sick I am sure. I hope you will excuse me for not writing before but I have not had time. The only time I get is Sunday afternoon and possibility we shall have service here this afternoon. I will enclose some of the tracts that we have had distributed among us to day by the regiment I wish these fellows that we sent home for would come for I hope to get some letters by them. I have got two or three more letters to write so I must now close.

From your affectionate son.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03394
Author/Creator: Lakeman, John R. (fl. 1861-1908)

Letter of Henry S. Briggs to his wife

Relay House Maryland morning
May 27, 1861

Dearest Molly,

Last night it was so warm that I slept for the first time in camp with my pants and coat off in my tent. The night before I again bivouaced with my company under

the clear blue and kept watch with the bright full moon and the sentinel stars off on the Harpers Ferry R. R.

I have come down to the hotel this mornings for breakfast; and having a little times to wait, as usual I employ it in my morning report to you. I awoke early this morning at the first tap of the reville ( 5 o-c) & lay a long time thinking of you & indulging in imaginings which would not do to write. I got no letter Saturday night as I expected; and the last I have heard from you was your letter before breakfast Wednesday morning saying that you were going to write again that day. After my return from Baltimore yesterday I went out 5 or 6 miles on the Western (Balt and Ohio R.R.) with Col. Jones to reconoitre. It is a most wild & picturesque country more like the W.R.R. section west of Charte Faclious though finer.

The Patapsco river along and high above which it road run bin of considerable size and offering few water power which in this vicinity is pretty were occupied.

Of course we are still discussing the probabilities of our removal from here. The longer we stay, it’s never both & and go we shall be. I think; for the beautiful scenery and gives a real attachment to the place and I think it must be healthy; through it is very hot.

I have meant to write to Dear Georgie, but am so humid and when I have [. ]. am so glad to take it that I cannot find much opportunity for writing. Our tents are very hot in the day time. And to have to lie down then is go under the shade trees outside to sleep comfortable

The gong has sounded and with love as I must close.

Affectionately your Husband

H S Briggs

Henry S. Briggs Papers
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Letter of Henry S. Briggs to his wife

All well this morning Dearest Molly and only have to say so nothing from home and happens since Saturday disappointed. Tuesday morning.
May 28 1861
Yours in love.
H S Briggs

Henry S. Briggs Papers
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Letter of Stephen Rich to his brother

Camp Essex Relay Station. May 28/61

Brother Hiram,

I have not received any letters from you since the 21st but I expect one by every mail. I also got one of the same date from Augustus have not got the letter that John was going to write. I got a paper last night ( the Advitiser) by the way tell me if you can who the Cor e/n of the Advitiser is their is some of it that reads so much like some of my letters that it seems strange. The mail has just arrived have got two papers the Cap Ann weekly of the 28 and the Journal of the 24th have no letters. We are still encamped here don't know when we leave there is no prospect now of leaving. We were beat to quarters last night about 2 o clock don't know what it was for, we were not long in falling in there was nothing out of the way so we had orders to go to our quarters & expect it was to try the men and get them used to mustering quick, there is a petition outside the camp for the 8 Regt. to stop here to guard this place as the people like The men for their soldier like behavior and good morals. I see by the telegraph that Knights upholds Capt. Center in his behavior now it is not true what he writes about Center as all the men will say when they get home. He (K) make the Capt. tent his quarters when he is in camp and he gets a pass to go out of the camp which is more than half of his time, while I have not been out of the camp since I have been here.

nor while I was in Washington more 3 times and then for not more an hour and a half. So you see that I have not had a good chance to observe what was going on. He has done better since he has received that letter that I spoke of in my other letter. It rained hard here yesterday forenoon It cleared off in the afternoon it blew great guns. Sunday we had orders to clean up camp and we set to work about it. Soon after the officers of the Regt. Came around to inspect and gave us the compliment of having the neatest quarters in the Regt. and it was so, there was not a partical of straw or papers or dirt of any kind in the tents were swept out, and our knapsacks were packed and stowed around the tent in the inside. The door of the tent were open and the officers looked in every tent as they passed along, the orderly sergeant has the most duty to preform of any men in the company. The first thing in the morning when the drum beats at 5 oclock. I have to get up and see that all of the men turn out at roll call an the see that they they clear the straw out of their tents. and clean up the quarters generaly, after that march the men to some place to wash. on coming back we have a company drill until breakfast time which is about seven oclock than they are dismissed until the morning parade at 1/2 past nine. The orderly hours are at 8 oclock the morning report of the Comy if those that the time arrives to go on Parade I have to form company and get them ready to go on line and also move all of the on guard to detail weather night or day.

I have wrote one letter since I received yours one to you and one to Augustus. Our men are all well excepting the one in Washington and Allen in Philadelphia. I send you one paper also one to John, the two New Hampshire Regt passed here last night about 9 oclock. I have not much news to write as everyday is alike we neither know or see anything only all sorts of camp rumors. I suppose that serve one sets them afloat to see how quick they will go through the camp. I have no fault to find with our living now as we have good plain food and enough of it.

May 29 Each Regt. Does guard duty every other day so that the other can go on Parade with a full Regt. today it is our turn. So I have sometime to share the Orderly is never detailed for guard duty yesterday we went about 1/2 a mile to a field to drill in coming back along the road there was a charge of Cavalry on us, in the shape of about a dozen riderless horses. We were marching along in good orders when the head of the column broke to the right and left and such a scampering of horses along the ranks I never saw some of then leaped the fences while others failed and fell on their backs (the horses were ones that were turned out to pasture). I wrote a letter to Sarah Ellen the other day Butler is getting up sure and I think he richly Deserves it. He is a man that is in every respect qualified for the office and i think that he would gain a victory when the odds were against him if not to much so.

Capt. Center drew a crayon sketch of the camp of both Regts the other day it is on a small scale and is a correct view. The cars on the tracks looks just as natural as though they were there. I believe that he is going to sent it home, most likely you will see it on exhibition at Center & Co. There is a man (Weston) the one that walked to Washington that will carry letters from camp to all the towns where all of the Companys belong and answer all the questions about the Regt. that they may ask. He is bearer of dispatches for Gen Butler. He told Capt. Center that he would like to take the steamer in Boston and go to Gloucester

12 oclock just got a letter from John and another from Joe will answer them both as soon as possible. I like here first rate and it is a fine and pleasant country. am in good health but somewhat thin as usual. Get about 7 or 8 hours sleep in 24 but am out at the first tap of the drum. The Regt are being supplied with rubber blankets. The knapsacks that we have got are miserable things the stuff on the outside comes through and daubs the cloth all over cannot keep anything decent in them. Had stewed beans for dinner today. It is no use for me to write war news as you get all in the papers before you get my letters. The Fatigue pants have not got here yet, I hear that the Gloucester Band are to join the Regt. Should like to see them here for We have not get but one decent drummer in the Regt. Can't think of anything more to write
was glad to hear Mother was better
Your Stephan
Direct letters to Washington

Letters of Stephen Rich
US Army Heritage and Education Center
CWDocColl (box 97, folder 6).

Letter of William F. Chapple

MAY 28, 1861

Friend Weed. I am well and I hope Mrs. Abbot and you are the same. Give my love to all. I should advise to get a letter from you. This place is the most splendid place that I ever saw, that is not saying much for me though. There is not a great many sick ones here. We have had a few but none of them very dangerous. Our camping is on a very high hill. We have the best chance to snuf up the pure air in the world. There has been since New England men here, Aug Hardy of Salem, Eber S. Poor of South Davis and last night we had the pleasure of Shakeing Hands with John B. Alley Esq. and Williard Phillips of Salem it is a great treat to see anybody from home. They leave this morning. We are still ready and willing to start day or night on errand of mercy and Justice let come what will. We have a great many rumors of all kinds. We get started out every night by some alarm. We take our turns on Picket Guard. The alarms alarms are given by then mostly if they see anything and it don't give the countersign of goes the musket and sometimes it turns out to be a post. We most always get out of our tents before the drummer beats the long roll, for that is the signal for all hands to turn out. We remain is a line about half hour waiting orders by our Capt to go to our tents and lay down and wait for the next one. We go through a great many hard ships. No more than we expected though, for of course we made up our minds for the bitter not the sweet. The Picket Guard have the worse part of it. They have to go some miles over hills and in ditches. They go as far as they have mind too.

Our Capt. goes the whole length he seems to be very inquisitive and wants to see all that's agoing on. In fact the whole company has got the same bump of inquisitivness. At 5 in the morning the Revelles is beat to turn out at 9 1/2 pm then fellow at 10 the taps to turn in. They keep us snaping about all the time a doing something. Our living I think is not so good as it ought to be. Some of us come of short. I suppose they do as well as they can. You would be surprised to see the troops that go by here in the cars about everyday some go by on their rout to Washington. I should think without streching it that since we have been here there has been 200 cars full. Last night at 9 o'clock the New Hampshire troops went by 2 trains full. Give my love to Mrs. Abbot. City Marshall Perkins and his Depets. and to all. The weather here is Hot and nights cold. And any Quanity of Strawberrys. I must now stop I don't know what more to write.

W.F. Chapple
US Army Heritage and Education Center
CWDocColl (Enlisted man's letter, May 28, 1861).

Letter of Henry S. Briggs to his wife

Camp Essex May 29, 1861

Dear Molly,

Mr. Kellogg and Misses Wm. And Thos Carson have just surprised us by a call at camp. Of course we are all delighted to see them.

Why do I hear from home. Have not heard a word since your letter of Wednesday and Friday evening.

I wish you would hear some our procure about four dozen large state Military buttons and three doz small ones if possible and send that by express to me at Washington

I haven’t been to breakfast yet but am going down now with one button

Affectionately yours
with love to all
HS Briggs

Henry S. Briggs Papers
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Letter of Henry S. Briggs to his wife

Camp Essex Thursday Morning
May 30 1861

Dear Molly

Am yet without any letters from home since last Friday more then a week has passed since you wrote the one sent then. I am worried and anxious about you. I don't think it is right to keep me in ignorance of any thing at home. You know what I have always said and as far as my own practice is concerned I have done. & can of [. ]. The first that I sent the book which Father sent postmarked the 27th yesterday incurs my suspicion that all is not well with you.

Last night is was again intimated that we were to be on the move and the cooks were ordered to light their fires and prepare marching rations; but the order was soon countermanded and here we are yet.

Our stay here has been so uncertain there I have hardly touched the goodies sent from home in the box. Reserving them for a time when we shall to cut off from the conveniences and supplies we have here. I look them all over last night, after every body else almost was asleep. And I can't tell how much the looker of home and they stirred me up. I can't express the gratitude were love which I owe to you all for these kindnesses.

The maple sugar reminded me so much of the numberless similar favors where dear Mother has put them into mail with her own loving hand.

The meat was spoiled I do not think it safe to send meat.

We were [. ] to arms again last night by an alarm caused by some of out picket guards firing into a train of cars; but it amounted to nothing but a needless disturbance of the whole camp after all the men were quietly asleep.

The mornings are still cool here, but the days very pleasant. As I sit in my tent with the open door looking towards the East, the beauty really is in full view and the whole scene is a pleasant an eye could wish.

Four gentlemen have called to go to breakfast and & I will say good morning
Affectionately with love to all.
HS Briggs

Henry S. Briggs Papers
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Letter of Henry S. Briggs to his wife

Relay House Md
Thursday noon. May 30 1861

Dear Molly

I was glad to get your letter of Tuesday this morning. And was most happy to learn that you were all well notwithstanding my forebodings. Still I was saddened by the sad time of your letter and made unhappy by the thought that you were straitened for money. I enclose you $5 and will try to move more though I hear that we shall not receive our pay from the government till the separation or time of service.

Affectionately your husband.
HS Briggs

Henry S. Briggs Papers
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Berkshire County Eagle, May 30, 1861




The last extract from my Journal contained the movements of the Allen Guard up to May 14th—dated at Fort McHenry, May 14 Capt. Dodd's company of volunteers from Boston, arrived here this afternoon from Washington, and are to be annexed to the Worcester battalion of rifles. They brought orders from Gen. Butler for us to pack up immediately and proceed to Federal Hill, Baltimore, where the 6th Massachusetts and 8th New York regiments are encamped. We arrived there at 7 o'clock P. M., after a march of 1 1-2 miles, the distance from the Fort. We found here a detachment of the Boston Flying Artillery. This camp is very pleasantly situated, and commands a fine view of the entire city. Considerable excitement exists in camp this evening, caused by the seizure of a large number of arms in the city, which it was the intention of the secessionists to ship South. The number seized is said to be about 3500. A detachment from the 6th regiment acted as escort to carry them to Fort McHenry. The roughs in the city made some demonstration at the time of the seizure, but they were promptly quieted by the police.

May 16,—Three thousand Pennsylvania troops arrived to-day in six steam transports. They are enlisted for three years, and seem to be a tough, sensible body of men. They are to be quartered between here and Fort McHenry, on the flats, not a very desirable location, particularly if it rains, but it is the best at hand at present. Fort McHenry was reinforced yesterday by some 300 men from Annapolis. The citizens from the city have visited our camp quite freely to-day, they are quite social and the troops have enjoyed their society much.

May 16.—We broke up our camp this morning and started for the Relay House.— observed sentinels stationed on the route, and as we came to one very commanding position we saw heavy gun mounted, which I judge overlooks some important point on the road. Half an hours ride brought us to the Relay House, from which place we marched to the camp, which is about half a mile from the station, where we found the balance of our regiment encamped. The camp is beautifully situated on an eminence which commands a fine view of the surrounding country. The scenery in this section is beautifully romantic, and reminds mo of some of the scenes which may be had between your place and Lenox.— The Salem Zouaves met us upon our arrival here, and it seemed like the meeting of old friends, We became much attached to them while on board of the Constitution, and they are in every respect a fine set of fellows.

Our company are allowed 6 tents and clean straw, which I think is a great improvement over our quarters in the old barn at the Fort. A ham, which was sent to our much esteemed member Wm. Reed, was devoured for supper this evening, after which a proper expression of thanks was made to him for the donation.

May 17.—This forenoon we passed through one of the most severe drills that we have experienced, as a company. Our parade ground is a side hill, miserably rough. After forming squares, wheeling by companies, and going through dress parade, &c., are ordered to the roads where we marched some two miles, then right about, and performed the double quick, part of the way back. This is a part of the Hardee tactics, which is now adopted in the U. S. Army. It comes rather hard upon the boys, but all stood the heat but two who had not been well for a few days previous. This afternoon we have been furnished with the army fatigue uniform, which consists of blue fatigue pants, loose sack of flannel and fatigue cap of blue cloth. It is perfectly easy, and well adapted for camp wear. The boys look rather comical in them, and not as dressy as in their Grey suit. But the captain informs me it is his intention to have the old suits kept with the company, which can be donned when necessary.

The steam gun is but a few rods from our camp, and is an odd looking machine. Last evening we had religious services, during which ceremony the utmost quiet prevailed.

May 18,—Nothing special this morning. — The officers from Washington were in camp to administer the oath to those of the troops who had not taken the same.

We are detailed to-night to go on picket guard some two miles out of camp.

May 10.—We returned from guard this morning somewhat fatigued. We were stationed on the branch Railroad which runs to Harper's Ferry, our picket extended some 1 1-2 miles from the Relay House station, The object of this guard is to intercept any night train which may be bound south with provisions or arms for the southern confederacy.— We stopped one train which Lieut. Bache passed through, but finding nothing but coal, whiskey and tea, allowed it to proceed. We have had the usual regiment drill this afternoon, and service this evening. D.J. Dodge, Whittelsey and Montville arrived in camp this evening, bringing letters and papers from P. Two long trains passed us to-day with troops for Washington.

May 20.—It rained quite hard last night, we were routed up about 12 o'clock by an alarm from the picket guard, but after standing in line about five minutes we had orders to turn in, as the alarm proved false.

The baggage and provisions which came with Dodge, arrived in camp this evening.— There was great rejoicing among the boys.— The dainty bits were eagerly devoured, but the more substantials were packed away for future use. The cap covers will prove of great service as the warn weather advances, The company all seem to feel grateful to the people of P. for their kindly donations, although many of the donnors are unknown to us here, be assured their gifts are none the less welcome. It still rains to-day. I have been to the village, and written ten letters, and many yet remain unanswered. One of the boys received fifteen letters to-day.

May 21.—Pleasant morning—some 20 cars filled with troops passed us to-day bound for Washington. A secessionist was captured today and wounded in attempting to escape.

May 22,—The steam gun left here to-day for Washington, accompanied by a guard from the sixth regiment. The gun is generally looked upon as a destructive affair, but the difficulty of ranging it will, I think, deprive its possessors of using it to advantage. Several of our boys are unwell, to-day, suffering from various complaints brought on, it is generally believed, by indiscretion in eating.

May, 23.—Three trains passed through here to-day, bound for Washington, numbering in all 64 ears, which at an average of 50 men to a car, would make 3200 troops. We were drawn up in regiment parade us they passed, and they cheered us heartily as they came. Something is up I imagine by the great number of troops which are being thrown into Washington., we expected to leave here some days since, but are here yet. Our sick list is much improved to-day. Canteens are much needed by the troops, and I hope we may receive them soon.

May 24,—Last night we were a picket guard again, and returned this morning all safe. The news reached us to-day of Col. Ellsworth's death. The flags were displayed at half-mast in camp. We are ordered to hold ourselves in readiness to march at a moments notice. Ten o'clock P. M. now orders have just reached camp this evening, and we shall leave he to night or in the morning without doubt, for some unknown destination to ourselves. You may look for important army news for 10 days to come, as some decisive blow is to be struck immediately.

I have been obliged to pass over much of my journal that would perhaps prove interesting to you, for want of time, as only a few moments is left me.

Yours in haste I remain,


Letter of Henry S. Briggs to his wife

Camp Essex May 31, 1861

Dearest Molly

Another most beautiful morning which opens upon us as I sit in my tent looking over the beautiful valley - with it’s veil of mist.

We came in an hour since from another night of picket duty on the road and in the country southward from the post. After establishing my pickets and patroling once or twice. I lay down by the side of the road by the bright light of the moon and with the songs of the whip poor wills to go to sleep by. I lay down at 2 o-c and up at 4 1/2. By good luck 8 of us got a [. ] cup of coffee at a humble cabin of a German farmer or gardener. An came see to camp fully quite well.

It is beautiful time and they are so talking [. ] [. ] about me that I am write no more. Affectionately your husband.
HS Briggs

Henry S. Briggs Papers
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Harvard Magazine, Cambridge, MA, June 1, 1861


[From our Special Correspondent.]

Camp Essex, Relay House, Maryland, May 19, 1861.


You little know what you asked when you requested me to write you. What will neglected classmates, disconsolate friends, and “anxious parents” say to it? Yet will I brave their anger, and write, —but what? As some distinguished personage has said in a moment of inspiration, “Hanged if I know.” I cannot write to you about the war, for you in your easy-chairs know far more about it than I on stump or greensward. Privates know nothing of the plans or operations of their superiors; and as to the army news we know even less than nothing, being completely humbugged about three times per diem. You see, then, I cannot send you news, but I will endeavor to give you some idea of a soldier’s life and fare.

The first thing you must learn is, that nobody cares how you get along, or what becomes of you, if you are only able to do your duty. The next is, that it is everybody for him- self, and - take the hindmost! Since I have been gone, except the week we spent at the Astor House, and one meal in Philadelphia, I have not eaten a decent meal. Breakfast usually consists of hard-bread (hard-tack, we call it) and coffee sine milk, and sometimes sine sugar also, Dinner, when we have had it, has varied from hard-tack and water, with now and then raw “salt-horse” accompaniment, up to stewed beef, boiled potatoes, pickles, and rice and molasses, —the last we have had only once, and do not expect again. Then supper usually consists of the inevitable hard-tack and tea or coffee, as above, with now and then an egg, hard-boiled. On this sort of fare, and a limited quantity of it, they expect us to be ready at any moment to do anything, and not to


grumble; and I must say the boys stand it pretty well, and seem to think it a matter of duty.

We turn out at five A. M., - as captain of the tent, it is my duty to wake up the men (ten in number),— have roll- call, and walk a quarter of a mile for the privilege of a wash. At half past six we have breakfast, after which we get ready for regimental drill from nine to twelve, which in the sun is a pretty good pull. At twelve we come back, and usually get another bath before dinner, which occurs periodically at one o'clock. After dinner come letters, and the P. P. (perennial pipe), company drill at half past two, and dress- parade at half past five. At six tea, and afterwards many pipes, until half past nine, when the tattoo sounds, and all turn in, lights being put out about ten. This is the regular routine, with once in a while a night of guard duty.

For an incident, I may mention that our company* was detailed for picket guard the other night. We left camp at eight P.M., and went up the Harper’s Ferry Railroad. It was quite exciting. We sent our scouts out in advance, and stationed parties of four or six at intervals of about half a mile, posting them in empty cars, on high hills, or in secluded spots, until our squad of eight was about three miles from camp. We took position in a little hollow near a hillock, which kept off the moonlight, while the Captain and two scouts went some six miles farther, but came back, having found everything quiet. Arranging for a watch of two at a time, we turned in on the ground, and, my word for it, I was never so cold in my life. Our instructions were to stop any train which might come, or any suspicious persons. 'T was romantic, — very, — but excuse me from any more duty of the same sort.

[Our correspondent here enters into a detailed description of the Winans, more properly called the Dickinson, steam- gun. We omit it because one of the illustrated papers has

* The Salem Zouaves. — EDs.


already given a drawing of it, which most of our readers have doubtless seen. — EDs.]

If this description is not lucid, you must lay the fault to cries of, “Corporal of the guard, No. 8,” “No. 7,” &.; to the fact that it is raining, and that the rain comes through the old Massachusetts State tent like a sieve; to the perfect Babel the boys keep up; to my position, viz. flat on my face, knapsack for my desk, and lantern poised, on the most scientific principles, on a heap of equipments; and last, not least, to the manifest defect in my descriptive powers.

We sleep every night ready to be in the ranks in three minutes from the moment the roll-call sounds, and we are frequently called upon, — sometimes twice in a night. One night (our first here), we had spent a miserable day, having marched a great deal with only two meals, viz. breakfast — crackers and coffee — and tea soft-tack, cold roast meat,and tea (not in abundance, but very limited). We had no tents, but were forced to turn in “under the canopy.” Well, our company built a log camp-fire, and we had just got comfortably settled, when bang! went a musket, the drums beat the alarm, and we fell in, and started for the Relay House station on the double quick, about a mile distant. On arriving, we found the row was only that Ross Winans was arrested, and that too before we made our appearance. We were the crossest crowd you ever saw. The next night we were roused and turned out twice, — false alarms both times.

There is a report current here to-day that we leave day after tomorrow (Tuesday, 21st inst.) for Fortress Munroe, and go thence direct to some part of Virginia, or North or South Carolina. The truth of it I cannot vouch for, but I devoutly hope it is true, our boys are so anxious for a brush ; there is no knowing though how they would act under fire. If we go you will hear from the old Eighth, you may depend, and perhaps from us as the leaders of their van.

If anything turns up I will write you again, if I can.

J. L. W.


Cape Ann Light and Gloucester Telegraph, June 1, 1861

(Correspondence of the Gloucester Telegraph.)

Camp Essex, (Relay House,) May 24, '61

DEAR TELEGRAPH: I hardly thought, when I mailed my last communication, that I should to you from this post. Our orders having been that we should hold ourselves in constant readiness for marching, we all felt sure that we should get the route by this time at least. But the daily routine of camp duty has been fulfilled as usual, with nothing to break in upon its accustomed regularity. And I hardly think that many are sorry. We are in such a beautiful section of country, where every point in the landscape presents such peculiar attractiveness, the weather been of late so favorable to a full enjoyment of all the pleasures that can be in any way made attendant upon the service of the soldier,and we have, in a certain degree, formed such an attachment to our surroundings, - that when we do pack up and travel, will be with no little feeling of regret.

I came down to the “Relay House,” a few days ago, for the sake of getting a chance to write, and a little quiet and remained there two days. To the courtesy of the accomplished landlord, Mr. J. M. Lowe, and his agreeable lady, I am much indebted. The Relay is in the very thoroughfare or Western and Southern travel on the Baltimore and Ohio road, and presenting, in its neighborhood, so many attractions as a summer resort, is without an extensive patronage. To the disciples of good Izaak Walton, the Patapsco and its tributary streams flowing within a stone's throw of the house offer a never failing school of practice and instruction, and are alive with white and red perch, pickerel, trout,and many other fish. To the artist, the scenery in the vicinity is lavish of beauty. To the mere idler or the pleasure-seeker, the fine grounds to the hotel are a sufficient inducement to come out from the hot city, only nine miles distant, to breath an atmosphere so pure, and lounge in such soft shady spots as here abound. Mr. Lowe, besides attending to the mere business of the house has they superintendence of the offices which concentrate at this point:—Washington Junction Station, St. Dennis post-office; telegraph office, Adams & Co.'s express, &c., &c., - in truth, he is the generalissimo and factotum of all the neighborhood. Not a contract is made or a bill settled without in some way passing through his hands. Some twenty five or thirty regular trains pass daily, and at this time, when there is so much military travel, often a greater number. A regular guard is detailed for inspection of every train and occupy a room at the station. Gen. Jones himself […] the Harper's Ferry cars and exercises strict surveillance over their transit.

The boys of the Eighth are enjoying their camp life exceedingly, to all appearance. Pantomine has of late been a favorite amusement. A young elephant was caught night before last in the woods behind the camp, and exhibited in the principal street at head-quarters for the benefit of all who had never before seen the wonderful animal. A wild Indian, of immense height, was also brought in, and escorted through camp that the boys might realize what they were to look forward to in the North Carolina campaign. The slaughter of Jeff. Davis, (in effigy) would up the evening's entertainment to the great satisfaction of that individual's numerous friends in Camp Essex. “Ours” is very much of a favorite hereabouts. I think we have a very good reputation for reliability and good behavior, and I have understood that the gentleman on whose estate we are now encamped, a large landed proprietor, and of considerable influence in this section and at government headquarters, is making great interest to have us remain here so long as the post shall be maintained. This gentleman and his family have been exceedingly kind to some of our invalids. Is it not pleasant, to such especially, to meet with friends and favors when away from home! In one of my strolls, a few days since, I cam to a neat cottage, attached to which the flowers and fragrance of a fine garden brought me at once to a halt. Such attractions are to me irresistable; and like a “bowld sojer boy,” I forthwith commenced conversation with a lady sitting on the piazza, introducing myself with a “complimentary notice” of her garden,&c. I was not long discovering that she was a Massachusetts woman, and thereby ensued a long and most agreeable chat. An old lady joined us as a detachment of Cooke'* battery came galloping up the road. “The great God look down upon every one of them and save them!” was her pious fervent ejaculation as they passed. “I was a hot secessionist,” observed the younger lady, “before Sumpter was taken, but with the firing of the first gun upon the flag that waved over Major Anderson, my rebelled and every throb became fierce for Union.” “Many an one in Maryland,” the lady continued, men women and children, will tell you the same story of conversation.

The little incident just related, lets us into the secret of the real State of in many parts of the South. Southern politicians are no fair representation of the Southern people. It is my own belief, on good grounds of reasoning, as I doubt not it is of a great many, that were the true minds of the, so called, seceded States at this moment known, a large majority would be for the Union and the Flag. I know I am only repeating an already well known view of the case; but I can but repeat each so striking argument in its favor is developed in the course of events.

10 A. M. I must bring my writing to a period for the present. The exciting news of this morning from Washington of which you will be in receipt ere you read this, has set the camp in motion. I must find out what are the orders and then resume, if I have opportunity.

11 A. M. I was sitting very quietly in the parlor of the Relay, when interrupted so unceremoniously, as above stated. On reaching camp, I find everything and everybody astir. The news of the death Of Col. Ellsworth produces a profound feeling of sorrow and indignation. The colors at the head-quarters of both regiments hang at half mast, and the orders to hold ourselves in readiness for an immediate march bring them a determination to avenge his fall and wipe out from existence the treacherous for that holds the Old Dominion with such high and lawless hand. Like all camp excitements, however, in time of war, this may not result in any direct movement on the part out regiment. That the plans of the leading generals will necessarily be somewhat changed is very probable; but whatever may be our destination, we are ready to take our chance - only happy if it may be to meet the enemy.

I was in Baltimore a day or two ago, by leave of absence from the Colonel. Everything,so far as our party saw seemed quiet. Our “company fatigue” attracted much attention and we were the observed of all observers. No one said a word to us of anything but Union. But it is evident that the secession element exists be• low the surface, and that the city of Baltimore lies obedient rather to the bayonet than to any thorough sense of patriotic duty. The magistracy are at present engaged in ferretting out those who took active part in the riot of the 19th Of April; and I was assured by gentlemen whose position was a sufficient guaranty of the truth of their statements, that a great many have secured themselves from punishment by enlisting on the Union side. It is therefore probable, that, as I heard it said by members of the Sixth, they had recognized, in the ranks of the 1st Reg't Maryland Volunteers now camped in this neighborhood, those who stoned them in streets of Baltimore.

I have heard fears expressed, even in this section, of the uprising of the slave population. Government would undoubtedly use its first efforts to quell any such movement; but that it is a matter that been seriously discussed in all its bearings, by those at the head of affairs, is beyond question. In a conversation with Gales Seaton, Esq., of National Intelligencer, before I left Washington, that gentleman informed me of several plans which it has been deemed fair and practicable to set on foot in relation to this very thing. He also entertained me with various reminiscences of past insurrections of which he had actual experience. From those narrations, it seemed to my mind that the ultras on both sides had conspired to make this if possible mare terrible in its cruel horrors than any that has ever yet desolated the earth. No one of course believes a tenth part of all the bombastic threatenings of the South; still it is safe to make up one's mind to anything within the range of possibility.

Even the contemplation of such as subject it is pleasant to look up at the […] and through the oak and chestnut vista look at the distant hills of Old Cape Ann. The sun is hot, but a delightfully cool breeze comes to me laden with the soft perfume of the locust blossoms and gently stirs the foliage above my head. The sentinel of the quarter guard tired of his measured walk just in front leans listlessly against a tree and, as if inspired by mesmeric thought in sympathy with mine, looks up between the forest leaves to the blue sky above and whistles low, of “Home, Sweet Home;” and then steps up to me and says in tone half sad, half vengeful: “That's tough news about poor Ellsworth!” and I bowing my head in just as sad reply, wish I were a host to sweep secession with the besom of destruction, from the land.

At a meeting of the officers of the Eighth Mass. Reg't held in camp on the 22nd inst., the following preamble and resolutions were offered by Capt. Addison Center, chairman of a committee informally appointed for that purpose:

Whereas, by the resignation of Col. T. Monroe, the mutual relations existing between the officers of the Eighth Regiment, have been again unexpectedly changed, therefore—

Resolved, That, in thus losing our commander, we perceive, with regret, that the memories and associations which have been for years growing up our hearts, are being gradually broken up and dissipated.

Resolved, That in Col. Munroe's retirement, we are deprived not only of the services of a meritorious officer, but also of the society of an agreeable and respected gentleman; and that we hope, whatever may be his future career and purposes, he will not forget his old command, the Eighth of Massachusetts.

Resolved, That a copy of this preamble and resolutions be transmitted to Col. Monroe; and likewise, for publication to the National Intelligencer at Washington, and to the Atlas and Bee at Boston.

The preamble resolutions were unanimously adopted by the meeting.
KNOTT V. MARTIN, Chairman.
A. CENTER, Secretary.

Col. Monroe is still with us and takes lively interest in the affairs of the regiment. He seems unwilling to leave those with whom he been connected so long and in such intimate relations. What his eventual purpose is, however; not ascertained; and it is probable, indeed, that it depend entirely upon the movements of the regiment. Thus much for this time. Adios.
Yours truly. K.

May 21st, 1861.

Dulce et decorum &c, which, freely rendered, might signify that it is pleasant to go the wars and get killed—with kindness. To this sweet fate I have almost drifted. “The broken soldier” was not only “kindly bade to stay,” but as if “pleased with his guests, the good man” even went to camp with me to see about leave of absence. Similarly indebted to myself was a Salem Zouave, who was suffering from cold and the sore throat which has much annoyed us. We were invited to pitch our tents in separate apartments, but unwilling to trench so far on kind hospitality, we encamped in the same sheets. Without disparaging camp life in the least, I must say that a good bed, like ours, is a luxury not to be despised.

My ebony tinged friend Annie Jones is quite a Florence Nightingale in her way. She is famed for her knowledge of simples and her skillful tenderness in applying cataplasms. Perhaps she is the “gentle Annie” in whose honor were composed the strains to whose music we Wide Awakes marched and countermarched (in preparation for this campaign as it happened) last autumn. Annie is held to service labor under the laws of Maryland, but she is too wise ever to secede from the beneficent sway of Claremont. At least, so thinks this “abolitionist,” as the family laughingly call me. But if she were certain to “form a more perfect Union” with some wealthy gentleman of color up North, and thereby secure the blessings of liberty to herself and her posterity—that would be another thing.

It is again fine weather; the tents look very queerly, covered over with shirts, blankets, etc., etc, hung out to dry. Last night they were damp and cold, the men say. Its a pity rubber blankets are not more plentiful with us. The Salem boys have received Havelocks, and very comical and very comfortable they look in them on a hot day. I, too, am the happy owner of one “manufactured expressly for” me by the kind ladies at Claremont, who furthermore, have offered to repair damages of my scanty wardrobe, hitherto performed by myself with great strength, but little neatness. By the way we have noticed in the Boston papers several donations of housewives to soldiers. Puritan fashions must hove changed some since we left. As for Company G, we have become such proficients in cooking, washing, sewing, mending and darning, that can dispense with such innovations in our domestic affairs.

By some Essex County paper I see that Lynn and Salem have had a friendly quarrel about some of doings the Eighth. One of the points in dispute was raised by a New York Herald reporter, who pumped Capt. Devereux, and then embellished, what was said, as only newspaper reporters can. This occasioned some feeling. Capt. D. promptly published a manly and generous disclaimer of any wish to assume for his Company more than was due, or to ignore the merits of others. He was as right in repelling the careless or ignorant assertion reported at Lynn, that in the Havre de Grace march the Sappers let the van. Probably no body of men ever was more sure they were marching to certain death for many of their mess than the Eighth that Saturday afternoon.

The Salem Zouaves were first. It was their Post, of right, and well they filled it. Then tramped along we boys of the axe and pickaxe.

But the Captain did not carefully enough weigh his language which seems to implicate the whole corps in making a false claim to position in column, when we of Company G, which fur[…] half or more, made no such claim at all. Salem and Lynn may fight without out caring which whips, but if either party wants our affidavits that the Sappers and Miners were the first corps to tread the decks of old Ironsides, and the who did the lion's share of work on board - work as was work -they can have them and welcome.

23d. Still here, and content to remain in so fair a country. Nor can I say when, or how we shall go, not being, as the amusing lucubrations of many correspondents of city journals would have one suppose them, in the secrets of the government and consulted about its policy. In fact, I don't believe Scott even knows I am here.

The kind considerateness of Capt. Center keeps me still Off duty, yesterday took a long ramble. Down by the great bridge I visited one of the Maryland Regiments, as yet a ragged regiment” indeed. Awaiting arms and equipments, no two are dressed alike. They have the name of being saucy fellows, but they treated me civilly enough, except that they would make fun of my Havelock, call it a night-cap, and ask what I would take for it. While loitering on the bridge I fell in with a gentleman and lady (handsome of course as are most ladies here) who conversed with Southern frankness. The Mrs.' maiden Washington, (so her husband said)a direct descendent of George's brother, her father stiff living in Westmoreland Count, Va., and a strong unionist. In consideration of his being thus faithful among faithful and the high respectability of the family, I promised the son-in-law we would protect the old gentleman's life and property when we take Virginia.

I saw once more that famous old ark of a steam gun which a detachment of the Boston Light Artillery were bringing down the hill to send off to Washington. One of 'ours,' a very intelligent machinist, says it is a humbug as now constructed, but he believes he can “reconstruct” it into a very powerful affair, Please tell me what the Eighth cannot do?

Passing through the woods I met a venerable black couple who have ice creams for sale.— brighter and cleaner spoons I have seen, and purer, and better creams. yet I don't know as I ever relished any at Copeland's better than this rural saloon. We were all jolly. Constitutional law was duly expounded. The sable pair are sound on the Union. While setting by the road side after this, a verdant chap with a wagon load of strawberries, drove up and asked my to go into the camp and sell them. It was granted on condition that he should give me a ride and treat to berries. He accepted the proposition with much gratitude. His military escort had a capital ride and took strawberries enough to confirm the rustic's impressions of the great favor bestowed on him.

Last evening, while wandering about the camp enjoying balmy air and delicious moonlight, I heard singing in the chaplain's tent, and proceeding there found a prayer meeting was being held. Our beloved Lieut. Col. sat among the singers and lifted up his voice most melodiously. Sooner or later the rebels will learn that the psalm-singing yankees whom to affect to despise, are gifted in fight too.

Company G was thrown out 4 or 5 miles as picket guard last night. This morning they brought in as trophies their caps covered with beautiful flowers. A few nights ago Lieut. Harry Clark took out a detachment some 8 or 10 miles scouting. They saw and heard wonders, pretty much I take it, like the lions and other tropical beasts the early settlers of Cape Ann used to hear roaring in the woods.

Comrade K. started yesterday on a short trip to Baltimore.

The “special artist” of Harper's Weekly has been caricaturing the Relay House. the print would answer as well for your West Parish station. c.


Cape Ann Light and Gloucester Telegraph, June 1, 1861

[Correspondence of the Gloucester Telegraph.]


Camp Essex, (Relay House,) May 24, ’61,

11.30 P, M. When I mailed my letter to you this morning, Mr. Editor, I did not really think that the dispatches of the morning, although creative of considerable excitement, indicated an immediate movement. Orders were however received at head-quarters, this evening, at 8 o’clock, direct from Gen. Mansfield, directing both regiments here stationed to hold themselves in readiness at any moment. An extra train awaits us at the foot of the hill; the cooks are preparing twenty-four hours’ rations for the men; the regiment went on line at tattoo, in heavy marching order, were inspected and received ammunition; and now, except where burns a lantern here and there, stillness reigns over the camp, broken only by the bustle of the quarter-master’s and cook’s quarters. It is a lovely night. The waning moon seems to look down sadly onus and veils herself in passing clouds that break and show the splendor of her silver once again. The hush of all nature ill contrasts with the turmoil of the tented field where slumber hearts eager for the fight. The peacefulness which it seems should reign in such a lovely spot of earth as this, destroyed by the selfishness of man’s passions,—this tells more a tale of paradise lost than any other development of human wickedness and folly.

Moral philosophy. in camp! Fudge! says many an one,perhaps. My dear reader and member of the Fudge family, let me tell you, Sir, or Madam, that there is far more of actual philosophy in this rough every day life of ours than is apt to be found in spheres apparently better adapted to its cultivation and growth.— These are times and this of ours is labor eminently calculated to make men think; and many a true philosopher finds education and training in the toils of a march or the hard routine of camp duty. Men here, if they possess in any degree the faculty of thinking, find that faculty developing itself with every new experience and growing to a habit with the ordinary fulfilment of each day’s duty.

May 25, A. M. Notwithstanding the hurried preparations of last night, Camp Essex finds us still within its lines. There is, beyond the orders to which I referred last night, quite as little prospect of movement this morning, as there was a week ago; although our orders may come within fifteen minutes. The camp looks deserted; everybody, except the unfortunate sentries who stand, in the rain, with secured arms, like dripping statues, is housed. The pie-peddlers are late in coming in, and only at head-quarters seems to be anything like business. Letters written late last night, in expectation of sudden march, are this morning torn up and thrown aside as being useless now. But I rarely destroy a letter once written—let it go as illustrative of the occasion that called it forth—and particularly now, in this fickle time, such letters afford better testimony than aught else, to the harrassing perplexities of campaigning.

Ah! the clouds lift a little; and through the soft veil of mist and rain, how fresh and green the landscape! One after another the men emerge from the tents, and across the “streets” interchange a word of morning gossip. The sentries throw back their rubber capes, and recover the mobility of living beings. The pie-women are seen in the distance climbing the slippery hill. The news-boys with the Baltimore morning papers are making themselves heard.

The rain-clouds begin to gather again, hungry men with beef and biscuit and pots of coffee are moving to and fro between the “cook-shops” and the tents. And while we fighting boys are longing to be up and doing for the flag, the groves and valleys over which it here waves in such comparative peace, are growing fresher, greener, lovelier in the gentle falling of the late spring showers.

Again I will put up my pen and wait the moving of the powers that be—a word or two more before I close.

4 P.M. The body of Col. Ellsworth has just passed through on its way to New York. Notice of its approach was so short that there was scarcely time to get the brigade under arms to do honor to the memory of that gallant officer. The two regiments formed on the parade, which is close to the line of railway, and saluted with drooping colors and arms reversed as the train passed by. ‘The guard at the station turned out and reversing arms stood with uncovered heads as the cars entered. The crowd of spectators on the platform showed similar token of respect. The committee in charge of Col. Elsworth’s remains appeared at the entrance of the rear car, which was draped with the secession flag so triumphantly and so dearly captured, and which was stained with the Colonel’s heart’s blood.— Col. Jones and staff paid their respects to the committee and alone were allowed to enter the car that contained the body.

We are still here and likely to be until we go.
Till you hear from me again,
Yours, K.


Salem Observer, June 1, 1861

A letter from Camp Essex, dated on Monday, published in the Newburyport Herald, says:

Yesterday afternoon the Sixth and Eighth Regiments united in religious service. Our temple was in the open air in front of the residence of Dr Hall, the gentleman who owns the grounds on which our encampments are located. Rev Mr Babbage, the chaplain of the Regiment, preached a sermon from the words “Fight the good fight of faith.” A more patriotic sermon never fell from mortal lips. His allusion to a celebrate divine, [the late Rev Dr Bentley,' who administered the sacred rite of baptism to him and some others present, and who in the war of 1812 stated to his congregation in Salem, while in the midst of his services on a Sunday morning, that the British were landing at Marblehead, that it was their duty to serve God at all times, but at that particular time they must serve their country, dismissing his congregation, and one hour afterwards being found at his post beside a gun at the old fort - was a most happy one, having present one Company from Salem and three from the old town which the reverend divine was ready to defend with his life.


Letter of Henry S. Briggs to his wife

“Camp Essex”
Relay Station Monday morning
June 3 1861

My Dear Georgie,

I presume Mama will consent that I shall give the few minutes I have this morning for a letter to you.

I thought when I got up at half past four that I should have time enough to write you both letters; but it is now nearly seven and I have but little time before the mail closes and it is time for breakfast.

I was very glad to get Mama’s and your letter of the 30th yesterday morning; and I came very near crying when I read what you said about keeping my letter. Your letter is a very sweet and affectionate one: to say nothing about Mama’s. I went to bathe this morning as soon as I got up in a beautiful little brook a few rods from the camp where dam has been made for that purpose.

The gentleman are waiting for me to go to breakfast and I must bid you good bye and with love to dear Mama and the dear little children and Dear Grandpa & Grandma & Uncle George if he is there. Affectionately your father. HS Briggs

Henry S. Briggs Papers
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Letter of Stephen Rich to his brother

Camp Essex Relay Station June 4/61.

Dear Mother

I received a letter from John 3 or 4 Days ago and was glad to hear from him. I should have written before but I have not had much time lately. It was very hot here yesterday and today it rained hard. John said in his letter that he was geting ready to go away he did not say where he was going. Hiram wrote that John was going up in Vermont he did not say what he was going to do their. Ed Burnham arrived here on Saturday afternoon. We were all glad to see him he was the first man from Gloucester that we have seen since we left Boston. Tell Hiram that the rubber blanket that he sent me I do not need as I have one that the State of Mass. furnished me. Tell him that the money that he sent me I have sent back by Burnham as I have $10 that the state payed me. And I think that it will do me as I have 2 dollars left that he sent me while we were in Washington I have not much use for money now only for to buy a few luxuries. I send him a Baltimore paper this morning. Tell him not to send anything more as I have everything that I need. I am obliged to him and can appreciate his kindness towards me. The here was a rumors that Gen. Butler had been capured with 150 men don't see anything of it in the papers so I don’t think it is true. I don’t know when we leave here although we are liable to be ordered away at any moment.

Don’t be worried about me as we have every comfort that a soldier can have plenty to eat and drink and to wear and when it rains we keep in our tents all except when doing guard duty.

We are all well and in good spirits. I have often though what you have said to me when I have come home to dinner and found fault with what we had to eat, (that I would sometimes be glad to get, that) and so it has happened since we have been on the campaign. There is no news to write so I must close.


Letters of Stephen Rich
US Army Heritage and Education Center
CWDocColl (box 97, folder 6).

Letter of Henry S. Briggs to his wife

Camp Essex Monday
morning June 5, 1861

Dear Molly,

The rain is pouring this morning and I need not have got up so early but to say good morning to you. So it rained nearly all day yesterday and we had a rest there being no duty the the count martial in the forenoon and dress parade at 7 1/2 PM. we have been much favored in the weather we have had since we have been. Only two rainy days I think: Summer seems to be upon us in full glory and fervor. And I do not anticipate that our men are going to be much more affected by the heat here than at home; if they can be kept clean and in flannel. Some time ago it was said that the Ladies of Boston had sent flannel to Pittsfield to be made into undershirts. Our men are needing undershirts; and this is about all they do need as present.

You rightly imagine that with all my supplies I must have a large accumulation of baggage. And yet I don’t know what to send home. The clothes sent by George have not yet come. I suppose he sent them to Washington by Adam Express though he did not say. There is all the time great delay is getting Express packages. Our Colonels wife and child came on last

Evening and together with Col. Jones wife and daughter are at Dr. Halls just on our left and rear.

I wish I was a Colonel and had my wife and children within a stones throw of my tent as they are. I think I should do as they do - stay there nights. We are very comfortable now in our quarters having put up another tent in near of the first on our opened the communication between them. Our bedding is in there, while in the front one is our table, covered by a very good scarlet are black woolen spread which one of the men gave us and on which we have had flowers from the neighboring residence for a few days. It does seem as through we are to stay here, though nothing is known about it.

Good Morning
Love to Father and Mother and the dear children and Gus & the folks at the home.
Affectionately your husband.
HS Briggs

Henry S. Briggs Papers
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Letter of Henry S. Briggs to his wife

Thursday morning
June 6 1861

Dear Molly

As usual I have but a moment this morning after breakfast and the morning mail. I was made doubly glad yesterday by the receipt of your two good Sunday letters and one from Harriet.

I only regret that my $5. bill should have caused unpleasant feelings in any one. It can hardly be necessary I think for me to give the answer that you have failed to appreciate and speak of the exceeding kindness of dear Father and Brother to all of us. All you wrote to me was that you was afraid you should have to call upon George for money before Father returned from New York.

The weather is still rainy and it is getting disagreeable rather the mud and dampness that cloth roof does not quite keep out. The men are most uncomfortable from the want of straw as floors. Our mattresses are rubber cloth blanket make us much less exposed to the wet. I wrote to Father last night. After so long a time answering his kind the letter to me. Taking out the slippers to put on before “turning in” Prompted me to write. Love to all.

Affectionately your HS Briggs

I forgot to say I am well, only I have a [. ] uncomfortable little boil on my cheek

Henry S. Briggs Papers
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Letter of Henry S. Briggs to his wife

Thursday 1 o-c P. M.
June 6, 1861

Dearest Molly

Yours of Tuesday June 3rd (4th) was welcomed this morning. How much I prize this frequent and interrupted letter communication. I do enjoy it while it lasts. Your letter was accompanied by a very kind one for Mr Plunkett saying that he and Mr. Colt were [. ] themselves on my behalf in the matter of an appointment to the [. ] Mass. Regt. I am exceedingly grateful to the kind friends who are thus unsolicited acting for me.

The weather looks much like clearing up; And I shall be willing soon to exchange it […] air but for hot [. ] and hard work

Affectionately yours HS Briggs

Henry S. Briggs Papers
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Salem Register, June 6, 1861

The Gallant Eighth. “Perley,” now acting as Major, sends the Boston Journal the following account of the Eighth Mass. Regiment.

The Eighth Massachusetts Regiment claims, the title of the Essex Regiment, as all of the battalion and one of the flank companies are from that glorious old northeast county of the Commonwealth. Lynn has furnished 160 men, Marblehead 162, Beverly 72, Newburyport 61, Salem 59, Gloucester 53, and other towns lesser numbers. Of the 705 men on the rolls, 490 are single, and 215 are married men. The average age is 24 years and 10 months, and the average weight about 145 pounds.

The occupations of the members of the The Essex Regiment in civil life are varied: Among them are: 289 cordwainers, 48 clerks, 36 carpenters, 30 mariners, 20 painters, 17 merchants, 28 farmers, 12 machinests, 11 cabinet workers, 11 truckmen, 10 bakers, 9 blacksmiths, 8 butchers, 8 curriers, 9 laborers, 8 morocco dressers, 7 printers, 7 shoe cutters, 6 jewelers, 6 manufacturers, 6 hack drivers, 5 tinmen, 5 shoe manufacturers, 5 masons, 5 gentlemen, 4 horse railroad-drivers,4 moulders, 4 students, 4 artists, 4 sailmakers, 3 lawyers, 3 railroad hands, and 2 each of saddlers, saloon keepers, stair builders, fishermen, weavers, calkers, expressmen, peddlers, landlords, stone cutters, bricklayers, tailors, harness makers and coach makers.

The Essex Regiment has also one conductor, spar-maker, factory overseer, engineer, teacher, piano maker, confectioner, musician, ship carpenter, collar maker, comb maker, auctioneer, provision dealer, shoe packer, glue maker, miller, box maker, whalebone cutter, plumber, telegraph operator, ice dealer, trunk maker, tobacconist, gold beater, fish dealer, physician, cooper, watchmaker, supercargo, hatter, bookbinder, belt maker, marble worker, boiler maker, silver plater, book agent, wool spinner, factory operator, paper maker, &c., &c.

Material for establishing a colony, is it not? If Governor Andrew will accept the services of the regiment as tendered for the war, it can settle down in Virginia and establish a live community with its own members.

A letter from Quartermaster Ingalls, of the 8th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, received from Camp Essex, near the Relay House, in Maryland, says: “Our regiment is a reading and writing regiment, and as I write this, the men are lying around in the shade, perusing the Atlantic for May with evident pleasure and satisfaction. The 'war numbers' were distributed this morning, thirty to to each company, so that every other man in our regiment has a copy.”

The Baltimore Sun says —

A number of persons from Baltimore visited the Relay House on Saturday, and all had the good fortune, unexpectedly, to witness the field drill of the two Massachusetts regiments and the battery of flying artillery. The drill came off in a large grass field on the high ground on the north side of the Patapsco river. About 2,000 men appeared in line, with 6 pieces of artillery and caissons, and four horses to each piece. Many of the foot soldiers and all the artillerymen and riders were protected from the sun by the white linen havelocks, now so much used in the army. At the sound of the bugle the guns, which are also used in the two batteries, were out and limbered up, and with horses attached dashed off for the parade ground those on the south ride of the river crossing over the Washington road bridge, and those stationed at the battery on the railroad track coming up the track. The horses attached to the guns were ridden at full speed, and the battery rolling along, enveloped in clouds of dust the white havelocks of the gunners and riders contrasting with the green foliage, afforded a sight not often seen except in actual war. Less than five minutes suffices to place the battery in position on the field, where it was followed by Col. Jones and staff, mounted and wearing havelocks.

The parade and drill occupied several hours, and at six o'clock the line was dismissed. Then again the bugle sounded, and the battery thundered down the hill to the Relay, the horses bathed in foam and the soldiers perspiring “at every pore.” In another five minutes the guns were again looking out of their grim batteries, like watch dogs from their kennels, and the regiment slowly followed to their quarters.


“Relay House
Camp Essex
June 6th 1861

Dear Wife,

I received your letter of the 2nd this morning and you may rest assured that I was glad to hear from you. It had been nearly a week since I had received a letter from you and my anxiety for Fred & the intimation in Dodge’s letter of Mrs. Whipple’s being sick had made me so nervous that I could not sleep when I got a chance for my thought would stray (in spite of all my endeavors to make myself believe that you were well & comfortable) to that home and loved ones that I might perhaps never see again & I would imagine how hard it must be for you to be there sick with those two little ones and would wonder who there was that would take care of you. Oh “Ri,” I do so hope that you will not be sick while I am gone for if you should be and have to suffer with no one to care for you, I shall never forgive myself while I live. But as you did not mention in your letter anything about being sick, I shall take it for granted that you are well (at least as well as usual), and my prayer is that you may be until my return—if God spares my life for that happy hour.

I am provoked to think that anyone should be so lost to all Principle of Right & so selfish in their motives as to dun you for debts contracted before I left when they know that your only support is hardly enough for the necessaries to say nothing of the luxuries of life. The coal bill of Gayle’s I intended to have Werden pay but forgot to mention it to him and since he has had the impudence to dun you for it, I am glad I did not and you need not pay that or any other debt for I know that you will need all that you have or can get if you get such things as you need without running in debt any more. You mentioned in your other letter that Joe said that I agreed to board him for $2.50 per week. He is very much mistaken for there was no price set but it is no matter about that. I can arrange that when I get home. If Werden has not paid you anything and you need it, you had better ask him for $10.00 as he owes me that or more besides Joe’s board. You wanted to know if I had received any of the money that Dodge brought on with him. I have not as it was not given to be distributed amongst the men but to be expended by the Commissary. Mr. Dodge for food & necessaries to make us comfortable when our rations were not sufficient which I think is the best way that it could be used as there is some of our men that would fool it away for Rum if they had it & I am willing to suffer a little myself for the sake of doing good to others.

Capt. Briggs has not got very popular yet with the men but many of the stories that get circulated are false. Still I shall not sustain him nor censure him until I get home. I received a letter from Sister Sarah this morning when I did yours. She wrote me an excellent letter. They are all well & have given us all an invitation to come home & make a visit in my return from the war so I expect to be lionized a little when I get out of this, if I ever do. If you can only be comfortable & enjoy yourself, I shall not be sorry that I have come for I think that I have done my duty. Besides, I have seen & learned a great deal that I could never have done in any other school.
Now dear “Ri,” do write me often. Write me a good confidential letter for it would seem so good to have a chat with you if it is only on paper. You can tell me all how you get & how you are three all alone. I wish I could write 3 times a week. My health is very good. It is a great wonder to me that I do not have the rheumatism for we have had a great deal of wet weather for the last few days & yesterday I was on guard in the rain all day, wet to the hide. I had a good nap this morning & am as good as new again. There afternoon there is quite a number of the boys in the hospital. Wm. Clark & Wardwell with the rest. If I get there, I shall be homesick in good earnest.

I have written to Alvin & Jane since I wrote you, I believe. Give my respects to all enquiring friends. Don’t forget to write often. Your ever loving husband, — A. H. Whipple

Have you got the letter I sent by Kellogg?”

Letter of Albert H. Whipple, sold on Ebay

I. M. S. Circular, June 6, 1861


A young friend who passed a year with us here at Oneida, but who is now in the 8th Massachusetts Regiment, in Maryland, writes as follows:

Relay House, Md., May 27.
I am not now, as you will see by the date above, at Fort McHenry; therefore cannot give you very special news from Baltimore, but such as transpires to my certain knowledge, in the city of Baltimore or near it, I will faithfully report, and I shall be happy to give you the interesting incidents of our camp as they transpire. Our camp is situated near the Relay House, which stands at the junction of the Baltimore and Ohio, and Baltimore and Washington railroads, It is 9 miles from Baltimore, 30 from Washington D, C. and 72 from Harpers Ferry. It is in a very beautiful situation, selected, with good judgment in regard to the health and comfort of the soldiers and strength and advantage in case of an attack. There are two Regiments encamped here—the 8th and 6th of Mass., commanded by Cols Jones of the. 6th, who is the senior of Col. Hinks, the commander of the 8th regiment. We are encamped on two hills, covered with luxuriant verdure,,and beautiful shade trees; springs of soft water, and. several brooks are near, affording bathing conveniences, which are very necessary for the comfort,and health of the soldiers. Our position commands the Railroads and highway. We have 6 pieces of Flying Artillery, stationed here—4 pieces on the hights commanding the great Viaduct, crossing the Patapsco and the other two at the sand battery commanding the railroad to Harper's Ferry. . Our drill here is somewhat irregular, but generally, the weather permitting, it is roll call at reveille, which is at 5 a. m., then company drill for an hour, at 9 a. m,guard mounting at 3 p.,m, regimental drill until 6 o'clock, when we have religions services for the whole regiment, dress parade, after which we are dismissed.Our company, which is the Allen Guards, is the 10th co., or, left flank co., a very important position. In an engagement, we should be deployed as skirmishers to harrass and confuse the advancing enemy until the rest of the regiment had gotten into a position and alignment. Our Captain is the son of ex Governor Briggs of Mass.; he is a fine man, and a good officer.

We are under orders to march at any moment, wherever we may be wanted. But I believe the impression is quite general, that we shall remain here until we return home. We are sworn into the service fur three months, unless sooner discharged; and all troops now enlisted, are not taken short of three years, or until the end of the war. Our time being so nearly expired the impression is that the government will supply our place with three year volunteers, and return us to Mass., either as a home guard, or to receive our discharge. It has been said that Gov. Andrew has offered 3,000 troops for three years, for the return of the 8th and 6th regiments to Mass. The weather seems very warm here to us, although the inhabitants say that the season is unusually backward. There are many strawberries sold here in camp 3 the retail price is 20 cents per qt.; although I have seen some sell for 10 cents.

I have seen the, Dickinson steam-gun, but do not think it is worthy of much praise in its execution of the object intended. It appears impracticable, except in certain positions.

Camp Essex, May 30th.—I promised to describe our food and lodgings, and will now endeavor to do so. We have tents for lodging, in which are quartered about 12 men each. We have straw and blankets to lie upon—two woolen blankets, and one india rubber.

Our food is principally Government pilot bread, or hard crackers— we have some soft bread occasionally-tea, coffee, salt pork, fresh beef, salt ditto, potatoes and rice. We have some sugar, vinegar, salt, and sometimes a few extras in the shape of strawberries, butter, &c, Sometimes we have nothing but a pint of tea without milk, and two or three crackers almost as hard as glue.

Last night at about 12 o'clock we were aroused from our sleep by the cry of “Baltimore Baltimore!” the alarm word which is here recognized; in about 4 minutes 2,000 men were in ranks ready,for action. The cause of the alarm proved to be a train of passenger cars on the Railroad from Harper's Ferry, which would not stop at the signal of the line of our pickets, stationed there every night; the train was fired into by two sentries, and one ball grazed the cheek of a lady passenger; no farther harm is known to have been done; the train then stopped. It was searched, and permitted to pass on to Baltimore. It is against the orders of the Cpl. to fire on the trains if they do not stop, but to give them time to break up if they seem so disposed, and if they do not stop to stop them. The order is to throw then, from the track, by piling on trees, or whatever obstruction can be procured at a moment's notice. The train is to be searched then, by the commanding officer of the company, and if nothing suspicious is found, it is allowed to pass on. The engineer of this train gave us his reason for not stopping, that the down grade was so great that he could not stop soon enough. The sentinels were censured by men, officers, and the Col. for their hasty and imprudent action in firing into the train.

I confess Christ in my daily duties,and in my object in enlisting in this cause. And if I am called upon to meet the enemy, as we have been several times, I confess Christ my strength and courage to meet the foe without flinching, and a in the defence of my country and its flag. Give my love to all the family and pray for me.
I. M. S.


Boston Herald, June 6, 1861

FIRING UPON A RAILROAD TRAIN. A private in the Massachusetts Eighth Regiment, stationed at the Relay House, sends to the Gloucester Telegraph the following graphic account of the firing upon a train of cars near that camp on the night of the 29th ult., about which statements have already been made:

“The sentry swung a lantern as a signal for it to stop. There is a difference of opinion among the men whether this was obeyed. I most certainly believe the train began to brake up, while others think more steam was put on. We were ordered to draw up on the side of the track, and cock our pieces. In a second after, to my horror, we were ordered to fire! As there were only two cars, and those were both lighted, and, as I heard some of my comrades say, although I had not noticed it myself, that there were women among the passengers, I had no idea of committing what seemed to me murder.

Happily many others of our squad of fifteen to eighteen were impressed with the same feeling, and we fired over the cars. But I heard the glass rattle, and shuddered at what might have been done by the rest. I saw, too, one man deliberately fire into the rear of the last car, but, thanks to his poor marksmanship, the ball went crash through the glass and out of the roof. We were ordered to re-load, which we did, and then rushed for the cars, which had stopped. The first man I heard speak said “Four or five are killed;” and then another cried out, “Good God! two women are shot.” My blood curdled at the sound. I jumped into the train.

I should think there were 25 women and a number of children among the passengers. They were pale and trembling, but otherwise perfectly calm. We found no lives were lost; no person even was injured. I never thanked God so devoutly and so gratefully before. But there were some narrow escapes - one bullet went within two inches of a girl's head; an other struck near a woman; another whizzed close by the head of a man; and another, it is said, chipped a bit of skin from the nose of the engineer.

He said he was hauling up the train but it was under too great headway to be checked sooner. It was providential that it stopped as it did, for six hundred yards ahead was a party with orders to throw from the track any train that should get by us. They had so placed a rail as inevitably to throw the cars down a steep embankment.

Lieut. Putnam put a man on the engine and passed the train along to the Relay.


Berkshire County Eagle, June 6, 1861




[I sent you my last journal from this place in rather a hurried manner, and was compelled for want of time to omit much which might have proved interesting to your readers, but in future I shall endeavor to keep my journal copied up more closely, and thus avoid a recurrence of the same.]

May 24.—Last night we were ordered to picket guard along the Harper’s Ferry road, and returned this morning feeling well generally, but rather sleepy.

The news has just reached camp, 10 o'clock A.M., of the death of Col. Ellsworth; the flags were displayed at half mast; much feeling is expressed in camp over the news. We are ordered to hold ourselves in readiness to march at # moment's notice, and the probability is that we may be ordered into some section where actual service will be seen.

May 25.—Last night at 11 o'clock we were ordered into line for inspection of arms and ammunition, expecting to receive marching orders during the night or early in the morning. Capt. Briggs told the boys to get all the sleep they could, as they might soon need all the strength they could command. We begin to take all orders of this description quite easy; the fact is Bear has been cried out so often since leaving home, that when the animal really makes his appearance, and not until, will they believe that active service is before them.

May 26,—Another week has passed of soldier’s life, and the new one opens with a beautiful warm sultry day. The Boys all begin to speak of time passing more quickly than at first. The principal cause of this being the improvement in our fare, and all are beginning to get more used to the hardships of camp life, and take things more as they come. ‘Only 64 days more,’ some of the boys exclaim with a sigh as they vainly attempt to imprint their teeth in a Bomb proof biscuit. Picket guard was our duty again last night. This duty all seem to prefer to any other as they are relieved from most of the drills the day following.

The Testaments and Bibles presented to the Allen Guard by the Berkshire Bible Society, were distributed among the company to-day, and were generally acknowledged to be very tasty in their design. Sleeping, washing clothes, a 2 hours drill, and afternoon service, ending with dress parade, have comprised the programme to-day.

May 27.—Cool and windy—one of the soldiers became quite unruly to-day, and struck at the Col. of the regiment, who was present—he was soon subdued and placed in the guard tent in irons, Two Eagles arrived in camp to-day, bearing dates of the 23d, and a few letters. Our mail has been quite light for several days passed, and causes no little grumbling among the men. If our friends at home could but appreciate the great amount of pleasure we derive from the receipt of their letters they would write more often.

The New Hampshire regiment passed through here yesterday, and filled 24 curs besides one train of baggage—several of the company were at the Relay station when the train stopped and seemed much pleased with the general appearance of the troops. The 6th regiment of our camp were at the depot and drew up in line to receive them as the train passed.

May 28.— We were called out last night by an alarm given by the picket guard, as usual, We remained under arms about five minutes, and then returned to quarters. The alarm word passed through the camp with the rapidity of lightning, and in five minutes the two regiments and flying artillery were in marching order, Two trains passed through here to-day filled with troops, one of them numbering 29 cars, Rev. Win, Stewart, formerly of your place, visited our camp this afternoon from Baltimore. We were out on regimental drill—but some few of the company who were on the sick list, that remained in camp, had the pleasure of meeting him, He had just returned from a trip into Virginia, and reports intense excitement throughout the state—also the movements of large bodies from the South, destined to military points now occupied by the secessionists. A heavy mail arrived in camp this evening, numbering one letter for our company, all are indignant and declare they will write no more letters until some are received. The Eagles are much behind, only three having arrived of last week's issue.

May 29.—E. H. Kellogg, also Thos. and Wm. Carson of Dalton, visited our camp this morning and were welcomed by the company. Mr. Kellogg addressed the company for a few moments, which was very gratifying to all.

May 30 —Considerable excitement was created in camp to-day by the arrest of Capt. Devereaux of the Salem Zouaves, and Capt Mentain of the Marblehead company, for absenting themselves with their commands from camp yesterday for picket guard duty, without orders from the acting Brigadier, Gen. Jones, but with the knowledge of Col Licks, of our regiment. About one-half of the members of each company immediately marched up to Col. Hinks’ quarters and piled their arms.

While I am writing this, Frank Leslie's artist is taking a sketch of the scene, which you will probably see in his next issue.

Later—The men, under their proper officer, have retaken their arms and returned to their quarters, deeming this a proper show of their indignation for the arrest of their officers. Tonight we are detailed again for picket duty.

31—We were detailed last night, in company with another command, and spent the night in the woods. We returned this morning much worn out for want of sleep, many not having slept at all, and those that did were so chilled-with the heavy dew that they complain of feeling old and stiff. We passed rye upon our way home which looked finely, and stood some four feet high. Peas are in bloom, and vegetation of all kinds look well.

This afternoon we were called up to receive our 13 days’ pay, duo from the State of Massachusetts. The amount which we received was $5,50 per man.

Our company, and in fact both regiments, are very indignant at this action of the state, us they all expected and think they are entitled to the amount usually paid by the state when called out for special service, but instead of this they have received but the regular army pay.

June 1st.—This is a warm, sultry day. We had a tedious drill this morning, and were then exercised until regiment drill, 3 o’clock P.M. A court-martial was ordered this morning, and some 150 men, who run guard and visited Baltimore, were brought up to the Colonel’s tent for trial. I have not learned their punishment, but they will probably be subject to extra drill or perhaps imprisonment, in the guard tent,—their fare being bread and water, But this latter will be no punishment, as this is the standard bill of fare throughout the regiment.

It is reported through the camp this afternoon, that Gov. Andrew has gained permission to call the 6th and 8th regiments home, replacing them by three years’ troops, and that we will be in Boston in less than ten days, The report has caused general rejoicing among the men, but I think it more probable that we will be under Gen. Butler’s command in ten days, as he is quite anxious to have us with him.

The two regiments and artillery had a brigade drill this afternoon, and a sham fight, It was very well conducted, and seemed quite like war to witness a whole regiment rushing on at double quick time, and charge bayonets. Once we charged upon the artillery battery, when they went through the defence in a soldierly manner. One bayonet was broken in the charge, but no lives lost.

2d. — Pleasant morning. We have just cleaned up our quarters for inspection, and are now awaiting the arrival of the Colonel and staff to inspect them.

I must now close this, in order that you may receive it in time for publication.

I enclose you a secession badge; they are worn in Maryland.

Yours, &c.,


Letter of Henry S. Briggs to his wife

Relay House
Friday morning June 7 1861

My Dear Molly

I have been the whole live long morning cleaning mud you from my boots and shoes and then down to breakfast without my [. ] note to you. I have now but a moment before mail closes in which to say that I am well been mindful of you and the dear scene and loved ones at home.

The weather is still dull and heavy it has rained this morning and the wind in East.

I fear the effects of such weather on camp. There is already considerable sickness among my men tho no serious cases.

I am anxiously awaiting it [. ] of my package. I wish I knew how it was addressed.

Love to all
Affectionately your husband.
HS Briggs

Henry S. Briggs Papers
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Letter of Henry S. Briggs to his wife

Relay House 1 1/2 PM.
Friday June 7 1861

Dearest Molly,

I had scarcely finished reading your and Georgies letter of the 5th the morning when the box came and oh how full of love and good things. I wish I could be gratified enough for them and love it gives enough. I want to throw my arms around you all and cry.

George, I suppose is good I shall with him by the night mail.

Affectionately yours
HS Briggs

Henry S. Briggs Papers
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Letter of John Lakeman to his mother

Camp Essex Friday June 7 1861

Dear Mother

I hope you will excuse me for not writing before but we have not a pleasant day this week since Sunday and it is almost impossible to write here when it rains for everything is so nasty and wet. Our tents do not shed water as a roof does and we are often wet. I feel however as if I could not best give some kind of acknowledgement on this my birthday for all the favors and kindness I have received even if it does not read well well. I intended to write Sunday but our box of uniforms arrived on Saturday night and of course we had to spend most of Sunday on washing and putting on clean clothes and in the first place I wish to thank you all for the articles that were sent in the box. I only wish you could have seen us at the opening. It would have done you good to see us. We all clustered around like bees around a hive. We had been out on drill in the afternoon and having had a pretty hard drill we were down to the brook wash ourselves when we heard that the uniforms had come. Up hill we came on the double quick and formed in around the boxes. Captain opened the boxes and called out the names of the different ones as they appeared in view and they were seized quickly I can tell yours in on the bottom

of the 2nd box I had one bundle but waited patiently or rather impatiently for my uniforms these being underclothes. We were really thankful for these things and the boys took really good a deal of pride in their new clothes as though they were on Essex St on Sunday Some paraded around in their underclothing mostly and that makes a pretty uniform in itself. We did not go on parade until the afternoon when we attended divine service in front of one of the residences here owned by a Dr. Hall. We had very interesting exercises by our chaplain. We all wore our new uniforms and the Marblehead company had on one that they had just received. I hardly think you could imagine what the material is. It is what in the store we use to call “hickory” and they have both jacket and pants of the same. We cut quite a dash in the ranks I can tell you. In the evening you could have seen quite a change for when it was known that we were to go out on picket guard in the evening we all made a rush for our old clothes and put on the worst things that we had. We went out on the Harpers Ferry Road and this time we found (or at lease those who wished it found) some good bread & butter and coffee at one of the houses on the road. The people here are very kind and obliging and I have not seen one instance since I have been here where they refused us hospitality. Why today we had been out getting some boards to floor our tents with and met a teamster who offered to carry them to camp for us free. They made up a little sum and gave him

however although he did not seem to wish us to. We have not seen a good clean day this week for it has been a dirty drizzling rain. The people here say that they have not known for a dozen years so cold a Spring as we have had since arriving here. If this is cold I do not care about seeing not for we have had it 98 degrees in the shade and I call it that pretty warm. It has not wholly cleared off yet but the clouds are broken and the sun is very warm. We have been obliged to lay around in our tents or else get wet through and sometimes we would get wet in spite of the tents - the water coming through in a fine mist. We have kept a camp fire going most of the time but all the wood has got so wet now that it will hardly burn. On Wednesday we had a fine little turn out in a dining room. There had been some of the Baltimore Union troops camped near us for sometime (and a most precious set of roughs they are I can tell you) and Wednesday a messenger came over from their commanding officer calling for two companies to quell a riot between two of their companies only one of which had any fire-arms at all and they had nothing but revolvers. They called on us and Captain Martin’s company from Marblehead and we started through brooks and over fences for the distance of a mile on the double-quick. We were wet through the first half being rain and the other half being perspiration. We arrived at the Camp but found that it had been stopped by the officers saying they would punish those who were in the wrong. We stayed there for about 2 hours and then came back

to camp. Yesterday we heard that they had all been sent home to Baltimore. It is a good thing for they were continuing quarrelling among themselves. We went out on drill on Thursday afternoon and when we came back we had another great surprise in meeting Dan Johnson. I should have as soon as thought of seeing Horace out here as he. It seems he has got a vacation and he thought he would come on here and see the boys. The same day we received something when we have waited for patiently and it has as last arrived and that is a box for Geo. Batchelder including one for your young hopeful. I grabbed at it quick and we were soon feasting on the gingerbread. It was splendid and I have some now in hand. I am going into soon. Sam Smith had some come in the same box and it was a little mouldy but mine was splendid. I am greatly obliged for it and for all the articles in the box. It matters not how small our handkerchiefs are for the smaller the better and they do not get any dirtier than the larger ones. I am also thankful for the other cap cover that wassent for mine was dirty as can be all though. I had washed it twice. As soon as Dan arrived we were immediately on over taps for letters. We broke ranks very quickly after the order was given and soon to shake hands with him. He seemed much pleased to see us looking as well and healthy. He soon gave me mine and I soon was master of the contents I had just got through reading them when I heard Will. Hill say that he and Charley had a trunk down to the Relay House and he was going for it. I waited patiently till it arrived hoping that I might find some little note or perhaps something more and I was not

destined to be disappointed for I received my box safe and sound. This was Thursday afternoon so that this splendid cake which you sent me arrived just in time for a Birthday cake and present and I passed it around such to the boys. They praised it highly and well they might for we have tasted nothing like it for one while nad probably shall not again. Of the cookies that Lizzis thought were so hard I do not wish myself to see better then the boys seemed to relish them. Charley received some splendid cake from Miss B. I suppose you sent the cake to be eaten although it looked so nice and rich as any rate most of it is gone beyond recall The boys are fatting up nicely now on things and money received and I have myself had many compliments on my healthy appearance. They tell me I grow fat a batter and I can say that I have carried through so far without a single sick day and that is saying a good deal in this climate and with the provisions we had the first part of the time Dan Johnson is going to Washington tomorrow and is going on picket-guard with us tonight. I must close but will write some more tomorrow.

Saturday June 14, 1861

We went on picket-guard last night and Dan went with us. He says that he likes it very much and would like to stop here with us for our whole time but his time is up now and he is obliged to go home next Tuesday As that will be a much surer way of sending home although

it will not be new quite yet. I think I will keep this and send it with some others home by him as he requested me to do so. He left for Washington today and will not be back until Tuesday when he starts for home. The boys all like him much and we wish he could stay with us. I suppose he will tell Horace or Lizzie about our appearance, mode of living &c if so requested and then you will hear direct. He is very kind and wishes to do anything for us that he can. We are going to dress our tents up tomorrow with flowers for Sunday inspection and we have been working hard to-day putting in floors to sleep on. We had to go nearly a mile to get some boards and then lay them and nail them down. Our men we divided into tent-messes and each tent has a Captain. We have J. Langdon Ward for our Captain. I think you know him or have heard of him. He is a fine fellow and is at college with John Hodges at Harvard.

Sunday June 15, 1861

I am writing by snatches but still I think I may yet more news in by so doing than by letting it go on the first day. We have been expecting orders for sometime to return home and let the 3 years troops take our place You can rest assured that we shall not enlist for 3 yrs at any rate not until we have come home first. There were reports around camp that we were to be ordered home and Major Ben Perley Poore offered to bet $500 that we should be home in 70 days but I hardly think it is so for nobody knows and it all guess work. We

are now on our 2nd month and that is some condition I did not expect 3 months ago that I should spend my birth-day in the State of Maryland but so it is. Our tents look splendidly this morning being dressed in roses and other flowers. We have names for our different tents. There is the Astor House and Hincks' Hotel (named for our Colonel) and our tent is named Sleepy Hollow for the time being. It is a splendid Sabbath day and I have been detailed for guard duty today and am just relieved 4 horses when we go out again. It seems very quiet here for we are having an inspection. We are to have services this afternoon at the same place as usual and I hope they will be as interesting Again thanking you for the articles and letters that have been sent me. I must close

From your affectionate son.
P.S. Please give my love to Aunt Fells folks and give them my thanks I will write again when I can.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03394
Author/Creator: Lakeman, John R. (fl. 1861-1908)

Letter of John Lakeman to his mother

Camp Essex Friday June 7, 1861

Dear Mother,

I hope you will excuse me for not writing before, but we have not had a pleasant day this week since Sunday and it is almost impossible to write here when it rains for every thing is so nasty and wet. Our tents do not shed water as a roof does and we are often wet. I feel however as if I could not best give some kind of acknowledgement on this my birthday for all the favors and kindness I have received even if it does not read very well. I intended to write Sunday, but our box of uniforms arrived on Saturday night and of course we had to spend most of Sunday on washing and putting on clean clothes. And in the first place I wish to thank you all for the articles that were sent in the box. I only wish you could have seen us at the opening. It would have done you good to see us. We all clustered around like bees around a hive. We had been out on drill in the afternoon and having had a pretty hard drill we were down to the brook washing ourselves when we heard that the uniforms had come. Up hill we came on the double quick and formed in around the boxes. Captain opened the boxes and called out the names of the different ones as they appeared in view and they were seized quickly. I can tell your in the bottom of the 2nd box. I had one bundle waited patiently or rather impatiently for my uniform these being underclothes. We were really thankful for these things and the boys took really a good deal of pride in their new clothes as though they were on Essex St. on Sunday. Some paraded around in their underclothing merely and that makes a pretty uniform in itself. We did not go on parade until the afternoon when we attended divine service in front of one of the residences here around by a Dr. Hall. we had very interesting exercises by our chaplain. We all wore our new uniforms and the Marble head company had on one that they had just received. I hardly think you could imagine what the material is. It is what in the store we would call “hickory”” and they have both jacket and pants of the same. We cut quite a dash in the ranks I can tell you. In the evening you could have seen quite a change for when it was known that we were to go out on picket-guard in the evening we all made a rush for our old clothes and put on the worst things that we had. We went out on the Harpers Ferry road and this time we found (or at least those who wished it found) some good bread & butter and coffee at one of the houses on the road. The people here are very kind and obliging and I have not seen one instance since I have been here where they have refused us hospitality. Why today we had been out getting some boards to floor our tents with and met a teamster who offered to carry them to camp for us free. They made up a little sum and gave him however although he did not seem to wish us to. We have not seen a good clean day this week for it has been a dirty drizzling rain. The people here say that they have not known for dozen years so cold a Spring as they have had since arriving here. If this is cold I do not care about seeing hot for we have had it 98 degrees in the shade and I call that fairly warm. It has not wholly cleared off yet but the clouds are broken and the sun is very warm. We have been obliged to lay around in our tents or else get wet through and sometimes we would get wet in spite of the tents the water coming through in a fine mist. We have kept a campfire going most of the time but all the wood has got so wet now that it will hardly burn. On Wednesday we had a fine little turn-out in a driving-rain. There have been some of the Baltimore Union troops camped near us for some time (and a most precious set of roughs they are I can tell you) and Wednesday a messenger came over from their commanding officer calling for his companies to quell a riot between two of their companies only one of which had any fire-arm at all and they had nothing but revolvers. They called on us and Captain Martin’s company from Marblehead and we started through brooks and over fences for the distance of a mile on the double-quick. We were wet through the first half being rain and the other half being perspiration. We arrived at the Camp but found that it had been stopped by the officers saying they would punish those who were in the wrong. We stayed there for about 2 hours and then came back to camp. Yesterday we heard that they had all been sent home to Baltimore. It is a good thing for they were continuously quarreling among themselves. We went out on drill on Thursday afternoon and when we came back we had another great surprise in meeting Dan. Johnson. I should have as soon thought of seeing Horace out here as he. It seems he has got a vacation and he thought he would come out here and see the boys. The same day we received something when we have waited for patiently and it has at last arrived and that is a box Geo. Batchelder including one for your young hopeful. I grabbed at it quick and we were soon feasting on the gingerbread. It was splendid and I have some now so […]. I am going into soon. I Sam Smith had some come in the same box and it was a little mouldy but mine was splendid. I am greatly obliged for it and for all the articles in the box. It matters not how small our handkerchiefs are for the smaller the better and they do not get any dirtier than larger ones. I am also thankful for the other cap-cover that was sent for mine was dirty as can be although I had washed it twice. As soon as Dan arrived we were immediately on our taps for letters. We broke ranks very quickly after the the order was given and ran to shake hands with him. He seemed much pleased to see us looking so well and hearty. He soon gave me mine and I soon was master of the contents I had just got through reading them when I heard Will. Hill say that he and Charley had a trunk down to the Relay House and he was going for it. I waited patiently till it arrived hoping that I might some little note or perhaps something more and I was not destined to be disappointed for I received my box safe and sound. This was Thursday afternoon so that the splendid cake which you sent me arrived just in time for a Birth-Day Cake and present, and I passed it around as such to the boys. They praised it highly and well they(?) might for we have tasted nothing like it for one while and probably shall not again. Of the cookies that Lizzie thought were so hard I do not wish myself to see better and the boys seemed to relish them. Charley received some splendid cake from Miss B. I suppose you sent the cake to be eaten although it looked so nice and rich at any rich most of it is gone beyond recall. The boys are fattning up nicelly now on things and money received and I have myself had many compliments […] healthy appearance. They tell me I grow fat as butter and I can say that I have been carried through so far without a single sick day and that is saying a good deal in this climate and with the provisions we had the first part of the time. Dan Johnson is going to Washington tomorrow and is going on picket-guard with us tonight. I must not close but will write some more tomorrow.

Saturday June 8th, 1861

We went on picket-guard last night and Dan went with us. He says that he likes it very much and would like to stay here with us for our whole term, but this time is up now and he is obliged to go home next Tuesday as that will be a much surer way of sending home although it will not be so new […] yet. I think I will keep this and send it with some others home by him as he requested me so to do. He left for Washington today and will not be back until Tuesday when he starts for home. The boys all like him much and we wish he could stay with us. I suppose he will tell Horace or Lizzie about our appearance mode of living &c if so requested and this you will hear direct. He is very kind and wishes to do anything for us that he can. We are going to dress our tents up tomorrow with flowers for Sunday inspection and we have been working hard today putting in floors to sleep on. We had to go nearly a 1/2 mile to get our boards and then lay them and nail them down. Our men are divided into tent-messes and each tent has a Captain. We have J. Langdon Ward for our Captain. I think you know him as we have heard of him. He is a fine fellow and is at college with John Hodges at Harvard.

Sunday June 9th, 1861

I am writing by snatches but still I think I may get more news in by so doing than by letting it goon the first day. We have been expecting orders for some time to return home and let the 3 years take take our place. You can rest assured that we shall not enlist for 3 yrs at any rate and not until we have come home first. There were reports around camp that we were to be ordered home and Major Ben Perley Poore offered to bet $500 that we should be home in 10 days but I hardly think it is so for nobody knows and it is all guess work. We are now on our 2nd month and that is some consolation. I did not expect 3 months ago that I should spend my birth day in the State of Maryland but so it is. Our tents look splendidly this morning being dressed in roses and of other flowers. We have names for our different tents. There is the Astor House and Hinck's Hotel (named for our Colonel) and out tent is named Sleepy Hollow for the time being. It is a splendid Sabbath day and I have been detailed for guard duty today and was just relieved for 4 hours when we go on again. It seems very quiet here for we are having an inspection. We are to have services this afternoon at the same place as usual and I hope they will be as interesting again.thanking you for the articles and letters that have been sent me. I must close.

From your affectionate son,

P.S. Please give my love to Aunt Fells folks and give them my thanks. I will write again when I can. John


Kindness of […] D. Johnson Jr.

Mrs. E. K. Lakeman
12 Elm L[…]
Salem, Mass.

Care of Mr. Horace Lakeman


Camp Essex

June7, ’61
(18th birthday)

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03394
Author/Creator: Lakeman, John R. (fl. 1861-1908)

Cape Ann Light and Gloucester Telegraph, June 8, 1861

(Correspondence of the Gloucester Telegraph.)

Camp Essex, (Relay House,) May 30, '61,

Dear Telegraph: So little has been transpiring of late, that I possibly have allowed more time than usual to elapse since the date of my last communication. But the ordinary routine of camp life offers little of remarkable incident to relate the benefit of your readers. From reveille to retreat, the days pass much the same; a stroll beyond the lines, through the woods, to the Relay House, or to the village of Elkridge, occasionally varies the monotony of our inaction. The men have become so anxious, amid the war's alarms, to be themselves up and doing, that they become, at times, fairly exasperated with the unaccountable indifference of the commandant of the post. There have been, and are still, so many ways and means of quietly annoying the enemy at Harper's Ferry, from this point, as the basis of operations, that it would seem difficult to show good reason for neglecting opportunities so continually occurring. Whatever may be thought, indeed, it is not for us to question the orders of a superior officers—— Still, possessed as we have been of such reliable information in regard to the passage of army supplies not only over the railroad at this points but by wagon conveyance on the highway, so often continued, too, in regard to individual secessionists and spies, that it is natural for us all, from the colonel, down, to feel dissatisfied and puzzled at such apparent carelessness of the interests of the Federal government, not to say compromising Of our position as occupying a most important post. Such being the state of feeling in our camp, every available chance for scout or picket duty has been eagerly sought. Expeditions have been planned and talked over, only to be abandoned because forbidden by the senior commanding officer. A slight alarm, night before last, only served to add to the general intensity of feeling, make us still more anxious to have a hand in settling secession.

Yesterday, however, a detachment of the Salem Zouaves, accompanied by detail from Knott V. Martin's company; Marblehead, and Co. G, all under command of Capt. Devereux, of the Zouaves, started on a tramp. The receipt of marching orders, last night, caused a messenger to be sent for them, who failed, however, to discover their whereabouts. Another messenger; dispatched this morning, found them returning on a dirt-train, haying, unfortunately, accomplished nothing: the Pennsylvania troops, some ten miles in advance of this position, having already captured the ammunition wagons, which were the object of our especial devoirs.

Towards evening, it was evident that there was some anticipation of an alarm during the night. The pickets were strengthened by details from the quarter-guard, a detachment of “ours” were sent to assist in protecting the batteries on the camp of the sixth, and the outposts on Harper's Ferry road received orders, at all hazards, to stop any train advancing from that point. At midnight, the firing of musketry along the line, and the alarm, “Baltimore,” brought all out; but, to our great disappointment, only to turn in again, after shivering for fifteen or twenty minutes in the unusual chilliness of the night air. We learned this morning that the alarm was caused by the stoppage of a train on the Harper's Ferry road, which, owing to obstructions below, was several hours behind time. The engineer refusing to stop at the waving or the guard lanterns, the whole picket fired, braking the train up at short notice. No one was hurt, and as several rails had been thrown across the track, inside the out-posts, which would have brought it to, all standing, it was, perhaps; just as well. Our boys thought they had a prize; which, after all, amounted to nothing, except that as one of the passengers remarked, it brought them all to their knees quicker than anything else could have done; and some of them had narrow escape, for, said of the boys, “What's the use of firing if you don't take aim?” We had previously, at about ten o'clock, received notice that rations were to be served and cooked during the night. This order and the unusual movements at head-quarters, through the evening, had prepared us for something serious somewhere; so that the morning finds us considerably annoyed and disappointed. Altogether, Editor, you may set it down as a fact not to be controverted, that Co. G, if not, in the technical sense, “spoiling for a fight,” are bound to give a good account of themselves when they are out to work.

An invoice of rubber blankets, woolen blankets, overcoats, knapsacks, haversacks and canteens, arrived yesterday morning, for the regiment. These nearly complete our equipment, and will add very much to the comfort of the men, particularly the first article, on night duty. In the quartermaster's and commissary's departments, the management is considerably improved, and with some trifling exceptions, there is little complaint. So well established here, it would be a matter of regret on many accounts to be compelled to pull up stakes in a hurry; although we are all so anxious to have a finger in the secession pie. For my part, I should regret leaving such delightful scenery —which grows more varied and more lovely with every opportunity I have of searching out its beauties.

Colonel Jones and staff, With Col. Hinks, Major Cooke and escort of dragoons rode off from head-quarters few moments ago probably intending reconnaissance in the neighborhood. It is to be hoped that the first named officer will be better pleased with his expeditionary exploits, than with those of the officers of the Eighth, whom he ordered under arrest immediately on their return this morning. Some little excitement was caused in camp, by this proceeding, which amounted to nothing more, however, than a rather free expression of feeling. Thus much for this time. More anon, from

May 29, 1861.

The same rumors of wars that continually disturb you, reach our blissful abode. We read them regularly at 5 1/4 A. M. For, as you know, we must rise, “nilly willy,” on reveille beat at 5. And immediately after the simple process of “making the bed,” which consists in spreading blankets and straw to air and folding up overcoats, we invest part of our eleven dollars per month in the Baltimore morning papers. But we believe precious few of the canards that the lying Telegraph (not your veracious journal, O Editor) so lavishly scatters. In fact, this life of luxurious and fashionable ease we are living, tends to beget an indifference which either does not believe or does not care, I sometimes doubt whether, if we were, attacked, there would be half the excitement here if at a fire in the country.

Night alarms continue, and bring us into line quicker than the quickest “double quick.” This, mind you, is under a solemn sense of duty, and net because we are scared. The Beverly boys are great for sights and sounds. Their guard have the keenest eyes for wonders and the quickest ears for explosions. I awakened a night or two ago by some one talking with Sergeant Rich about the guard. Quickly Knott Martin's voice rang out like trumpet the war cry “Baltimore.” All were in line and ready for the foe once, but only to stand admiring the beauty of the moonlit landscape, while our Beverly friend on guard should ascertain that the three men he saw skulking behind tree were harmless as moonlight shadows.

I saw the other day the famous “deus ex machina Charles Homans,” Whom I instantly recognized as a fellow-passenger over part of the route to Boston on the Gloucester freight train early one morning last winter. I then admired the patriotic vigor with which he opposed a hunker, who asserted, among other wise sayings of the hunkerdom of that time, that the North wouldn't fight. Homans told him the North would fight. As for himself, who loved his home as well as any other man, he would leave it on an hour's notice at the call of his country, even if he had to shoulder his musket alone. The summons came, the mam was ready, and his name has become historic.

Yesterday I went with comrade Stokes to visit our Maryland warriors over the Patapsco. It is very clear that they be F. F. M. They are scaly looking patriots. Many of them minus boots or shoes. But they were very polite to us. They advanced and shook hands, and we were honored by invitations to dine with their sergeants. Although somewhat used to “eating Southern dirt.” we knew nature would revolt the quantity that would inevitably be served up in this banquet. Hence thanking them for their courtesy we declined the proffered repast. Speaking of “Southern dirt,” I had rather eat the genuine article down here, than the sort Northern politicians used devour so greedily.

On out return we regaled on strawberries and cream, sugar, and the regular condiment above mentioned. What a delusion that silver and china are indispensable! Dispel it by seeing the gusto with which we eat ours with iron tablespoons from tin cups, and sugar the coarsest of brown. These delicious berries are brought to camp in great abundance at from 8 to 12 cents per quart. They are larger and sweeter than your Massachusetts cultivated ones, and have more of the fine flavor of the wild ones of Maine.

I rejoice to once more reported “fit for due duty.” Again I deploy in column, flank, form hollow squares, shoot blank cartridges at unseen rebels, charge bayonet on imaginary foes, and receive with veteran firmness the attack of phantom cavalry. Our regimental drills are exciting, and it is easy by them to imagine how one can carry himself in battle forgetful of fear.

Capts. Devereux and Martin have taken their commands, with Lieut. Low and a very small detachment from Co. G., off somewhere on secret service; provided with rations enough to indicate that something is in the wind.

May 30. Some of our last night's picket, myself included, will be likely to remember their experiences, for many a day. We formed at eight and a quarter, about seventy-five strong, in detachments from several companies, Co. G furnishing fifteen, under command of Lieut. Putnam of the Salem Zouaves. It was a beautiful, clear, cool night. We marched perhaps three miles beyond the Artillery battery, posting sentinels all along, at every few hundred yards. The road was so hard to travel, that I was reminded of the Jordan the poet sings of. Finally, we halted the advance guard. Sentries were posted, and the rest of us told that we might go to sleep, It was said to be the order of Col. Jones to stop any train, as no legitimate one would pass after seven, and from all could learn, an attack from Harper's Ferry was expected.

Taking a railroad sleeper as an appropriate pillow, I wrapped my blanket about me, and lay down to pleasant dreams. From these I was awakened by the call of our commander— The train was heard coming, and soon it appeared in sight. The sentry swung a lantern as a signal for it to stop. There is a difference of opinion among the men whether this was obeyed. I most certainly believe the train began to brake up, while others think more steam was put on. We were ordered to draw up on the side of the track, and cock our pieces. In a second after, to my horror, we were ordered to fire! As there were only two cars, and those were both lighted, and, as I heard some of my comrades say, although I had not noticed it myself, that there were women among the passengers, I had no idea of committing what seemed to me murder. Happily many others of our squad of fifteen to eighteen were impressed with the same feeling, and we fired over the cars. But I heard the glass rattle, and shuddered at what might have been done by the rest. I saw, too, one man deliberately fire into the rear of the last car, but, thanks to his poor marksmanship, the ball went crash through the glass and out of the roof. We were ordered to re-load, which we did, and then rushed for the cars, which had stopped. The first man I heard speak was Abe Williams, who said “Four or five are killed;” and then another cried out, “Good God! two women are shot.” My blood curdled at the sound. I jumped into the train. I should think there were 25 women and a number of children among the passengers. They were pale and trembling, but otherwise perfectly calm. We found no lives were lost - no person even was injured. I never thanked God so devoutly and gratefully before. But there were some narrow escapes. One bullet went within two inches of a girl's head. another struck near a woman. another whizzed close by the head of a man. and another, it is said, chipped a bit of skin from the nose of the engineer. He said he was hauling up the train but it was under too great headway to be checked sooner. It was providential that it stopped as it did, for almost six hundred yards ahead was a party with orders to throw from the track any train that should get by us. They had so placed a rail as inevitably to throw the cars down a steep embankment.

Lieut. Putnam put a man on the engine and passed the train along to the Relay. It was due at 3 P. M., yesterday. Why so much behind time, I do not know. Some one has blundered.

Capts. Devereux and Martin returned this forenoon, but their game had escaped the wiles of the fowler. Col. Jones (whose unpopularity beyond description) put them, for their venturesome trip to Point of Rocks, and Lieut. Putnam, for last night's mischance, under arrest. They surrendered their swords to our Lieut. Col. in the absence of our own Col. Hinks. Their companies then marched with arms reversed, to the front of our Colonel's quarters, and there grounded arms. The excitement in camp is intense.

I was made glad, the other day, by the arrival of a box of military stores from an arsenal of charity, where weapons of kindness are constantly forged, the household of my Boston pastor. Out of the generous supply of clothing, I was enabled to contribute to the greater needs of others. There were implements cunningly devised and arranged for camp tailoring, there was food for the mind, and there was food for the body, for which special sort I have had a strong weakness from my youth up.

The State, or Nation has furnished the much needed rubber blankets, among other new supplies. We are looking forward to some fine Sabbath morning, when we shall proudly walk out in the Gloucester ladies thin, gray pants. If, as to some other companies, from the girls they've left behind them, a donation of Havelocks should follow, I don't know of anything more we shall want, except sun umbrellas to save our delicate complexions from tanning and kid gloves to keep our hands white. c.


Daily Herald, June 8, 1861

[From our Correspondent in the Army]

Camp Essex, Maryland, June 4, 1861.

Dear Herald —Yesterday having obtained leave of absence for the day, Major Poore, Dr Breed and myself made a visit to Baltimore. After attending to matters of business we visited Fortress McHenry which is located on a beautiful point of land at the mouth of the harbor, about four miles from the city. On our arrival at the outer post we found a strong guard posted, and having no pass, Major Poore, (who by the way has a larger military acquaintance than any officer from New England,) sent for Capt. Dodd of the Massachusetts Rifle Battalion, which for some weeks has been at the fort on garrison duty. Through him we gained admittance, and by his politeness we were enabled to examine all the points of interest in and about the fort.

The fortification is a strong one, commanding the harbor,and the city; but from its general appearance we should judge that of late years every about it had been much neglected. The armament—which consists of a large number of long 32 pounders, a good supply of mortars, and several bronze 6 pound field pieces which command the gates and other points in the rear towards the city—was in part mounted, and the remainder will be so in a short time. Many hands be sides those from the troops are at work making all necessary repairs for this purpose. We were much disappointed in the number of troops stationed in the fort - 150 Regulars and companies of Massachusetts Rifles being all that compose the garrison. There is, however, large number in the city encamped on Federal Hill, which hes about half way between the fort and the city. Gen. Cadwallader, the commander of the post, has his headquarters inside the fort. He is a fine looking officer, but not so popular with the military and citizens as Was Gen. Butler. The garrison is in command of Major Morris, of the regular army—a gentleman who appears to enjoy the good opinion of all the troops. We found among the Massachusetts boys several with whom we were acquainted; and the old saying among our people at home, that go where you will you will find a son of Newburyport, proved true on our visit here. Lieut. Goodhue, acting as adjutant of the Battalion of Rifles, is a native of Newburyport. Our time being limited we could not extend our stroll through the Barracks, Hospital, &c. The buildings, the stables, and the promenades are surrounded with flowers of almost every variety, which gave the whole interior the appearance of some wealthy gentleman's summer residence.

To a person who visits Baltimore for the first time, one thing-will attract his attention—the perfect cleanliness of the streets. I have never seen any city equal Baltimore in this respect. The citizens are very courteous to strangers, more so than one would naturally expect after the exciting times so recently experienced among them, The large number of troops encamped in and about the city, many of whom visit it daily to make purchases, gives the appearance of real activity among business men; yet they complain unceasingly of dull times, nothing doing, &c., which if not at present, will be before long, literally true.

Yours, Essex.


New York Sun, June 13, 1861

FROM THE CAMP. Rev. G. HAVEN, chaplain of the 8th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers, refers to the religious condition of the camp, as follows:

“I am happy to say that the practice to which I have referred in one or two of my letters has very sensibly diminished. In some of the tents are found the words “No swearing allowed her;” in others, a scrap cut out of the Good News, entitled “Don't swear,” is pinned up. I am in hopes that we shall be entirely delivered from that curse. Our meetings are well attended and much liked. Last night, Bro. J. M. McCARTER of the Philadelphia Conference was with us at a little prayer meeting, and gave the soldiers much encouraging and instructive advice. He is to be Chaplain of the 14th Pennsylvania Regiment, under Col. JOHNSON. Bro DADMUN'S melodeons make melody throughout the camp, and the boys coming and looking in the door of our tent, as they are being sung by our many good singers, gives a very familiar look to the scene.”


Vermont Christian Messenger, June 13, 1861

The Evening in Camp.

Rev. G. Haven, Chaplain of the Massachusetts Regiment stationed at the Relay House, says:

“I have referred to the sounds of the Camp. These are most interesting in the evening. The toilsome drill of the day is done: the warrior's arms are laid aside, and the lightsome gayety of youth and hope has full play. This charming June night, with the moon throwing her silver mantle ever the white roofs of our village, brings out in full force the various expressions of this hilarity. Here is a knot singing patriotic songs more lustily than any concert choir can; for these sing with the spirit and with the understanding also. They weigh well, when they sing them, the full meaning of the warlike resolves, and they mean far more than their lips can speak as they sing,

“The star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Anon they glide into the sweet and tender strains that they learned from the lips of sisters and sweethearts in the far-off homes. Then they trip easily away into the lively airs of our social meetings, aid make the camp ring with “O that will be joyful,” or flow sweetly and sacredly with the more touching melodies that spring from the exhaustless fountain of Methodist song.

Mingling with these you hear the loud discussion or the louder laugh coming from other tents. Sometimes a general outside amusement draws all lesser noises and circles to itself. The elephant moves through the camp as he does through the spacious parlors of summer hotels, carefully covered with a soldier's blanket; or the execution of Jeff Davis diversifies the evening exercises. On a broad platform, borne by six men, is a culprit kneeling with a rope round his neck, and the executioner standing beside him holding the rope, and having in his hand an ax.— Here are cozy conversations by loungers buried in the straw, and there busy pens pouring out for distant eyes the intense loves and longings of the soldier's heart.

So move the hours till about ten o'clock, when the 'tattoo' sounds and the varied fife gradually die away. So that when the 'taps' are touched, half an hour later, the great host is dreaming the soldier's dream.


Berkshire County Eagle, June 13, 1861



Camp Essex, June 9, 1861.

Dear Sir :— I closed my Journal, No. 5, rather abruptly, in order to get it in the mail in season, and did not give you but part of the programme of June 2d.

The officers of the regiment have voted to have no more drilling on Sunday, and to-day it has been carried into effect. We are all much pleased with the movement, as we need one unbroken day in the week to clean up our tents, bath, &c.

The vote of the committee on Ways and Means, presented to D. J. Dodge in company with the donation of funds, was read to the company to-day. It was very gratifying to the company to learn that they were so kindly remembered by the citizens of Pittsfield.

We were treated with duff to-day for dinner, got up under the supervision of D. J. Dodge. All hands pronounced it good, and were brought to believe that Dodge's early sea-life was not entirely a misspent one, as his experience on this and many other occasions has provided us with many a good meal.

JUNE 3.—Another sultry day. It seems almost unendurable when on drill, but we are informed that the worst is yet to come, as they do not experience their hottest weather until July. Our prayer now is, that we may not get moved further south, as it now seems probable that we may.

A boy has been in camp for several days, selling secession badges, a sample of which I sent you in my last. The U. S. Marshall was sitting in front of the Captain’s tent to-day as be came up and offered them for sale; he immediately made inquiries Of him where he procured them, remarking that he would see if they would sell those things in Baltimore. We have been glad to procure them to send to our friends as curiosities, but I have many times thought that so free a circulation of them was not just the thing.

Our company and one other were excused from regimental drill this afternoon, in consideration of the fact that we are detailed for picket guard to-night. The Colonel was warmly applauded for this kindly consideration of our comfort, He is in every respect a gentleman, and is greatly beloved by the entire regiment.

Strawberries are beginning to come into camp quite freely, and are selling for eight cents per quart to-day. They are still on the decline, and we are informed that they on be bought in a few days for four cents per quart. This decline will be hailed with pleasure by us, as we can then have them for a regular desert on our bill of fare.

An ambrotype car came into the camp today, and is wheeled up in front of our tents. There is a great rush for pictures, and you may soon look for a life-like picture of the Allen Guard taken in full dress uniform.

JUNE 4.—Last night was one of the most comfortable we have experienced whenever it has fell to our lot to serve as picket guard. Many went out without overcoats, and blankets were a needless encumbrance. The heavy dews which fell here in the early summer have told heavy upon the boys, but the natives here tell us that the cold nights are now over for the season.

A guard of one company from our regiment was detailed night to guard the turnpike toll bridge, about one-fourth of a mile from here. The owners,who are secessionists, had threatened to destroy it, in order to deprive the federal troops from crossing it, as they never pay toll, and this is about the only travel there is in this section at present.

It has rained all day to-day. The time has been spent in our tents, and no duty has been required of us.

The flags in camp are run up at half-mast to-day as a token of respect to the memory of the Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, All seem to feel that the country lost a powerful man, and one whose fidelity to the Union was of the strongest material.

The news of the shooting of Col, Kelly was received here to-day. The Colonels seem to be favorite targets for the secessionists, and if they a have as good success in future. in picking them off as they have thus far had, we may soon look for an army without officers.

Wars and rumors of war still seem to fill the columns of the papers, but they are very unsatisfactory to us, as all seem anxious to see some important movement which shall rout, the rebel army from the soil of Virginia.

I enclose you a card which was approved by the unanimous vote of the company, and which they desire you to publish in your columns, It fails to express all the gratitude which we feel towards our kind friends at home, but it may answer until our return, when the gratitude which all feel for your kindness can be more fully expressed.

JUNE 5.—It rains again to-day.- Our quarters are in a miserable condition. No straw in camp, and no boards for the floor of our tents, while the mud inside. reminds one of a model pig pen. But I understand that a movement is on foot to procure boards for flooring for the tents, which is very necessary. Something must be done, or the greater portion of the regiment will be in the hospital. Two out of our tent go in to-day. To-day we have been supplied with a ration of soft bread, the first which government has furnished us for six days. Once we have had a company treat of strawberries, and fresh beef we receive about three times per week. We get along quite well, as most of us have money and can buy at the pea nut stands what Uncle Sam fails to en Many of the boys have fatted up since leaving home, but they owe no thanks to Uncle Sam, as their purses have suffered heavily to bring about this improvement in their, physical condition. I am not naturally dainty, but should many times go hungry if the government rations were all that could be procured.

Three of us from the temperance tent rambled up the creek this afternoon a distance about two miles, where we found a deserted shanty. We took possession of a sufficient number of floor boards to cover our tent bottom, and to-night we expect to keep tolerably dry.

The Guard tent, which has been well patronized today, is a miserable hole. After a two days’ rain, the mud is about three inches deep, and presents any thing but an inviting prospect.

The report of the court martial was read before the regiment last evening, and ran as follows: Two were sentenced to chop the wood and draw the water for three companies for one week; - another to drill two hours per day for ten days with knapsack on; and one was docked ten dollars, or his month's pay. These punishments are inflicted for running guard, being absent from roll call, drunkenness, &c.

JUNE 6. — Rainy morning, Guard was not mounted until 11 o'clock, around quarters, account of the intense rain. Two loads of boards have arrived in camp to-day, for flooring for the tents of our regiment. Nothing could prove more acceptable, and to-night all can enjoy the luxury of laying their bones on the soft side of a pine board—which all consider an improvement upon soft mud, Sleeping so much upon the ground begins to produce its effects among our boys, four of whom are in the hospital and ten on the sick list, Strawberries are selling in camp to-day at 8 cents per quart.

JUNE 7. — Pleasant morning, the Regiment was put through a severe drill of 3 hours duration, through ditches and over fences at double quick time. Guard duty yesterday relieved me from this drill, and seated on a stump I exulted over their misfortune, Two trains filled with troops passed here to-day en route for Washington. I see by the papers that a new requisition of three years troops is to be called, add that the number will depend upon how many of the three months troops re-enlist. The number will be small that reenlist from these two Regiments.

JUNE 8 —We had a photograph of the tents of our company taken to day. The artist pronounced it good, and sends it to Washington for copying, a number will be purchased by the company and sent home for the gratification of our friends, I visited the Relay House this afternoon for the purpose of seeing our sick comrades, I found two of them quite sick, and confined to the bed; the others are able to sit up at times and move around. They have succeeded in procuring the services of the Zouave doctor who is considered skillful, and we are in hope to see them improving soon,

Capt, Briggs left for New York this morning, to be absent a few days. We have been performing the double quick to-day at charge bayonets, cheering as we advanced, the men seemed quite excited and marched on as if the imaginary foe was a real one. Several Eagles were received to-day, and read with interest. I have received none for two weeks, I think they must have been captured on the route. I am surprised that you should think that my journal was not a correct statement of affairs here. I do not expect that some portions will suit all ears pleasantly, but it is truth nevertheless, and I am confident that the majority of the company will endorse my statements. I have no desire to exaggerate matters here in the least, but if I write at all shall speak plainly, and represent as I feel, confident I have thus far the feeling of a majority of the members of the Allen Guard.

JUNE 9. - We returned from picket guard this morning all right, we had a pleasant night. A package of Eagles arrived for me this afternoon. We are now receiving soft bread rations in abundance, and our general fare for the last few days has been quite good —for soldier life. — We had service this morning, and were favored with an eloquent address from Rev. Mr. Hubbard of Boston. Nothing more yet presents itself, so I close.

Yours I remain, FRED.


Letter for sale at:

Camp Essex Elkridge Md.
June 14th 1861

Dear Wife
Yours of 9th inst. is received by which I see that Carlo is well taken care of. That patriotic letter of Johns was read with pleasure. I find Johns idea of what should be done has been for is being done by the Federal Authorities. I had not answered Sinclairs letters, in fact, I did not know how to. I received another yesterday with a blank sheet & postage stamp enclosed, for which I had to pay 3c extra postage which I take to be a hint for me to write. You can judge what I have to contend with to keep in good spirits by the following. He says I do not intend to discourage you in business affairs but you cannot collect any bills whatever from any one, you may think it strange but it is no less true that the Gloucester fleet has not payed their store bill for two months, if fish are sold you cant depend upon pay. We have stopped buying & selling as much as possible the Boston folks wants us to buy, but we see no way to pay and finally times never were so dull here before. Our Notes are coming due every day and how to pay them is impossible to know we have lived so long but how much longer we cannot tell. All hands is tarred with one brush and I expect will be cooked in one pot, so good bye for the present. Now that has been the tone of his letters for some time past, if business is so bad as he represents, the sooner it is closed up the better for I can get an appointment in the Army I think, which will give me a living if not more but I think (in fact I dont believe) that it is half so bad at home…


Cape Ann Light and Gloucester Telegraph, June 15, 1861

{Correspondence of the Gloucester Telegraph.]
Camp Essex, MARYLAND,
June 8, 1861.

It was just told me that some of our neighbors across the street, the Beverly boys, fancied that in my description of a recent night alarm, injustice was done them. I would therefore now write, if for no other purpose, to say that nothing but pleasantry was intended, Nothing could have been farther from my thoughts than to seriously reflect on these our brothers in arms, among whom I have made pleasant acquaintances which I would gladly have ripen into friendship. One cannot always, in the clutter of camp life, weigh his phrases and round his periods to the best advantage. Should any of your readers have received such an impression, let me dispel it by this explicit assertion.

This street feature of our martial little town of Essex was too happily sketched by your correspondent ‘x’ in his graphic description of a rainy day, to allow of my venturing beyond this allusion to its resemblancy to the laying out of the peaceful abodes of men, other than to pray that it may be paved or macadamized. For mud of such depth and consistency as sometimes abounds hereabouts, is not everywhere to be trod in.— You may believe all the stories you read about our being attached to the soil of Maryland—especially in rainy weather.

I didn’t expect to see the celebrated Eighth floored quite so soon, but that has been done this week. You should see the skilful ingenuity with which Sergeants Rich and Fears, who can lay down their muskets and take up joiner’s tools in a second, and Corporal Fears, who can drive his needle through canvass just as he would prick his:bayonet into a rebel, have transformed the Colonel’s marquee into a residence quite palatial. The corporal is employing his skill in peaceful arts to provide us with cloth bedsacks, so that we shall soon be at housekeeping in the most approved style.

Speculation is rife as to the future of our regiment. It is feared we shall lose our distinctive title under the new cast. It is said, too, that its services for the war will not be accepted —the more pity. For there can be no more effective body of men, or one better officered, from Colonel to Corporal. For all that, we came near getting taken to-day. We were drawn up into line for a regimental photograph, but for some cause, the operation wasn’t performed on us.

Last night, a party of us were out on picket, under command of Lieut. Low. At midnight, there was a rare display of celestial pyrotechnics. Such sharp lightning and rattling thunder I never before saw and heard. Every flash illumined the whole country! In the quick shifting of the scenes, trees looked like men. The sentry next me challenged one three times, and then threatened to shoot. None the less deceived, I stood ready to draw a bead on the sulky rebel in case he shouldn’t fall under my comrade’s fire. Thanks to the Andrew overcoat we escaped a severe drenching.

It was rather thought—hoped, certainly— some of the Harper’s Ferry insurgents might be retreating this way, in which case our plucky Lieut. would have had an opportunity with his little squad, which fortune denied certain fearless ones on a memorable trip toward (not to as your types had it) Point of Rocks.

There is always care and excitement enough about picket duty to make it interesting, even in the worst weather. Three nights ago, we had, with the ugly Scotch mist, a darkness that could he felt. Groping our way along, some of us tumbled down, several times too often for comfort, in the soft red clay.A roving cur that should have known better than to be out at such a time got fired on during the silent watches of the night.

On the return of the advance post to the main guard, at daybreak, we beheld a sight worth many a miles journeys They had built a fire by the roadside, and were sitting around it, some with capes over their heads, some with blankets about them. In the dull grey of the morning, and the falling mist with which everything was dripping, this was a scene to charm one by its picturesqueness. I have seen many a fine picture of soldiers in bivouac, but here was a picture to the life, that excelled them all.

A good lady near there turns an honest penny by providing the guards with an early breakfast before return to camp. Her coffee is like nectar. The delectable draughts on which I have regaled at the famed Boston restaurants seem poor beside it. Perhaps because they lack the flavor of a night watch.

There is a story current in camp of a vigilant sentry who challenged a mar at the lines. The reply was “a friend” — whereupon says the sentinel, “advance friend, and give the countersign Lincoln.” Probably he advanced.

June 9.—After much rainy weather, we have been blessed with the most beautiful day of the season. We have breathed a deliciously warm, beautiful atmosphere. The camp was made clean, and the tents were attractively decorated with green boughs, laurel and other wild flowers which abound. The talley through which the brook runs where we wash, is filled with laurel now in full bloom, and exceeding in beauty even that of Cape Ann. Some of our Sons of Mars have displayed an exquisite taste in their floral adornments.

At noon, we marched up in front of Claremont House for Divine service. An excellent discourse was preached by Rev. Mr. Hepworth, of Boston. It was pleasant to hear his familiar voice. The meeting closed with singing Dr. Holmes’ army hymn in the June Atlantic, and with three cheers for the Stars and Stripes.— We hear of most enthusiastic demonstrations toward the dear old flag, since we came away. Is it cheered yet in the New England churches?

Towards night, we went on parade and performed sundry tactics greatly to the edification, I doubt not, of the Massachusetts commissioners. One of them I speedily recognized, John Morrissey, (not the pugilist—but) your popular Sergeant at Arms. Perhaps the advent of these commissioners had something to do with our allowance of butter at supper, which we had then for the first time. There was a slight “twang” to it.

Camp discipline is so strict of late, that it is difficult to get a pass beyond the lines. But Col. Hinks best knows what is needful, and we can only render a cheerful obedience. I am keeping myself on good behavior, (one of the Colonel’s canons is an always clean musket,) hoping before long to merit a much coveted trip to Baltimore with Sergeant Tremaine.

We flatter ourselves to have acquired a Proficiency in Zouavish tactics, into which we were initiated by Sergeant Emmerton of the Salem Zouaves, an excellent soldier and drill officer Perhaps some of our wild movements in that line would astonish our friends. If “the Proper authorities” would put your old U. S. arsenal in High street on a war-footing, we might one of these days give an exhibition in storming and capturing citadels.

The lively contraband wares which are smuggling themselves over the lines of our troops down South, give us no concern here. It will be time enough to attend to that matter when our plebeian feet tread the sacred soil of Virginia. Such Ethiopians as then choose to come to camp, make themselves useful, and be satisfied with army rations, will find us rather agreeable masters,

But here in loyal Maryland it is our part to preserve a sort of “armed neutrality.” We will neither run off anybody's “institutions,” nor will we run after them. When the men of old Essex are so false to themselves and to the memory of Nathan Dane and Robert Rantoul, as to stoop to slave catching, 'May I be there to see.'

By the way I was mistaken as to the status of my good friend Annie Jones, who, I am glad to say, is not a bondwoman, but a free. Long will her kindness be remembered. C.


Cape Ann Light and Gloucester Telegraph, June 15, 1861

(Correspondence of the Gloucester Telegraph.]


Camp Essex, (Relay Station,) June 12, '61,

Dear TELEGRAPH :—The mind of the regiment is being very much exercised-with regard to the chances of a re-enlistment. As the time of our present-term of service passes, bringing nearer, every day, the expiration, nearly every one is beginning to feel that it will be hard to leave the field during the continuance of the war. Having shared the conflict's earliest labor and hardship, it seems that we cannot give up the final victory to be won by other hands—its laurels to be worn by another Eighth of Massachusetts. Thus the majority, I think I may safely say, of the men are making such disposition of themselves and arranging such plans as may enable them to take the field, in event of their services being accepted. Three companies, of 100 men each, are, I believe, already conditionally organized; and it is safe to say that, with these as a nucleus, a full regiment would be made up immediately on our discharge. That the present Eighth regiment will be, as some say, disbanded on its return to Massachusetts I cannot believe. It does not seem to me that either the State or national government will do us the in justice implied in such a disposition of three months' troops. Our existence cannot be ignored—our deeds cannot be put aside, nor can any other claim our honors. The record has been made.

No measure of political policy can wipe out the stains of Massachusetts blood from the streets of Baltimore, or undo the labors of the weary march from Annapolis; and it will be found no easy matter to blot our names from the Flag that we have borne through battle and through toil. So great and so universal is the indignation that reigns in the camps, in view of such denial of our dues, that I should be justified in using the strongest language of description.

The last week of mud, mire, and misery, has given place to some pretty hot weather—thermometer 98° in the shade. Coming so suddenly it has wilted some of us down amazingly; your correspondent, thanks to his early education, however, rather luxuriating than otherwise in the healing rays of this Southern sun. There have been in camp one or two cases of sun-stroke, which were, however, in no degree serious. The men have stood the rapid changes of temperature here much better than was expected, and the sick list is very small, most of the eases being simple colds, sprains, &c. The havelocks so kindly supplied by our lady friends at home, have doubtless been a protection against many a headache and fever. It is to be sincerely hoped that we may continue to he favored with such general good health. Nothing would go so far to dishearten the men as the spread of any particular sickness in the camp.

We had a lioness in camp yesterday: a vivandiere of Pennsylvania Zouaves. Dressed in the appropriate uniform of her regiment with her little baril de liqueur slung jauntily from her shoulder, she attracted great attention on the field and received the devoirs of nearly the entire regiment. Being of French Canadian extraction, with snapping black eyes that indicated the temper of the tigress rather than a leonine magnasimity, wearing a sword of no trifling dimensions, and being a married woman, into the bargain,—she was treated with all due deference.

Intelligence of the fight at Great Bethel furnished the nest sensation. All were saddened and astounded at its unfortunate result. The obvious mismanagement of the officer who commanded the expedition is the worst feature in the case. But dear though be the experience, it will prove a lesson for the future. This morning's Baltimore Sun. comes out with a huge display of big type, giving all the details, and estimating the loss on the Federal side at one thousand odd. This is Secessionist “truth,” the actual return of casualties being, as you will have learned ere this, 14 killed, 41 wounded and 4 missing. Two of Co. G's boys, John Williams and John S. Carter, who were left at Annapolis, in charge of Gen. Butler's horses, and who subsequently went to Fort Monroe,—returned this morning to the regiment. They left Fortress Monroe, last evening, and report all quiet, bringing some rumors of the future plans of the campaign, which, however, are, I imagine, but the stories of the camp. As we thought, notwithstanding our commanding officers' endeavors to have them rejoin us, that it would be almost impossible for them to get away from Gen. Butler, we were glad enough to see them again.

With exception of the two sensations referred to above, the routine of camp duty goes on as usual. The Massachusetts commissioners were here on Sunday and the regiment was put on parade for their express benefit. Rev. Mr. Hepworth, from Boston preached a most patriotic discourse before the two regiments, in the morning, at which however I was not present. I am told that the Stars and Stripes were vociferously cheered by the brigade at the close of the services.

Towards the little Episcopal church of the village of Elkridge-Landing, where officiates the Rev. Mr. Jackson, I slowly wended my way, down the hill, that Sunday morning, Front yards and gardens that I passed were full of roses breathing sweet incense to the holy air; and across the way from the church door, the folds of the Flag of our Union were gently lifting in the early breeze. In such frame of mind as would naturally be suggested by the day, and its home associations and longing, what could have been more apt to a toiling soldier's needs than the words of the apostle Paul to the Phillipians 4th chap. 11th verse—”The peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” In argument and delivery, there was a simplicity and gentleness that seemed to touch every heart—to me it was a sermon worth more than all the eloquent enthusiasm of the reverend gentleman that was discoursing upon the hilt ; although, under other circumstances, I should not, doubtless, have failed to appreciate his appeals.

Adjutant Creasey went on to Massachusetts, yesterday, on business for the regiment. It is possible that you may see him in Gloucester.— Ifs o, he will be able to communicate to you many facts of interest. It is unnecessary for me to say how much we appreciated the visit of one of our Gloucester friends, Edw'd Burnham, Esq., to the camp. He would not have needed any special mission to make him welcome. But I imagine that to you all at home, an actual presence from the seat of war, particularly from a regiment in which you have such an interest as in the Eighth, would be of no ordinary interest. “I saw so-and-so of the —— regiment” would carry with it a weight of authority among you not easily to be denied belief.

By the way, Col. E. Z. Judson, alias Ned Butline went through here yesterday, happy as a clam, on his way to Washington. I enjoyed the honor of a fervent grip of his versatile hand, as I assisted him into the cars. ‘I'm with you, boys,' were his last words, almost lost in the whiz of the swift departing train. K.


South Danvers Wizard, June 26, 1861

Maryland, June 19, 1861.

Dear Parents:—The weather is lovely out here—rather warm if anything. Gen. Devereux of Salem arrived here this morning, and brought some letters and boxes of food for the boys, from their kind friends at home. Mr. Charles Weston, of Boston street, is expected here to-morrow with some more. The 17th was celebrated here by firing a salute of 18 rounds apiece of blank cartridges, and having a review in the morning. In the evening, we secured a Band, which played until 12 o’clock.

The first Massachusetts Regiment for three years passed through here last Monday afternoon. They stopped here a little while, so we went to see if there were any there with whom we were acquainted. I saw two or three from South Danvers—David Osborne, George W. Gray, and one or two others. They looked and felt well. All our men are well now, and are looking rugged as can be.

We received a handsome present, consisting of one hundred havelocks, from the noble-hearted ladies of the First Unitarian Society of Philadelphia. They arrived this morning. Our time is out the first of August, but I should not be surprised if we were at home by that time, but I do not know.

Yours truly. MOSES SHACKLEY.


Berkshire County Eagle, June 20, 1861



CAMP ESSEX, June 16, 1861.
JUNE 10.This has been the hottest day of the season. The thermometer stands at 99 in the shade, and the sweat pours off of us as we lie under the trees. Our usual 3 o'clock drill is postponed until 6 P.M., on account of the extreme heat.

One long train of care filled with troops passed through here to-day from Annapolis, and have proceeded to Baltimore. I am informed by the quarter guard of last night that one train went through in the night, bound the same way. These are the first troops that have passed here bound North, what their destination may be is more than I can determine, no one in camp seems to know, and all sorts of rumors are afloat.

We are having a surplus of soft bread in camp at present, and the boys are trading it off for strawberries and cash. It begins to look like full rations now, and we hope it may continue.

Since writing the above in relation to the troops who passed through here I learn that one was the Rhode Island regiment, and that they are bound for Harper's Ferry. Gen. Banks takes immediate command of this military district, in which Fort McHenry and these two regiments, viz: Mass. 6 and 8 are included. Our regiment was excused from drill this afternoon, which I need not inform you pleased all.

JUNE 11,—Col. Hicks with his accustomed regard for the comfort and welfare of his men has issued his order this morning to have the different commands drill by companies at half past 4 in the morning, and thus dispense with the usual regiment drill st 11 o'clock A. M. This is another hot day, the heat is intense but a light breeze makes it more endurable than it was yesterday. We were blessed with a heavy shower lust night which cooled the air and enabled us to sleep with comfort.

The report reached us to-day that we are soon to lose our Captain, he having accepted a Col's. commission in one of the Massachusetts regiments. The thermometer stands at 97 in the shade to-day, and all begin to feel that they are indeed in the sunny South.

The number on the sick list remains about the same to-day, but those in the Hospital are improving slowly. Our Adjutant left camp to-day on a furlough bound north, possibly to look after a commission. There seems to be a general fever among the officers of the regiment to secure commissions in the three year's organizations, but I fear some of them will be disappointed.

JUNE 12,—Capt. Briggs returned to camp to-day, and confirms the report that he is made Col. over the 2d Massachusetts regiment.

Col. Hicks formed us into a hollow square after drill this afternoon, and road a dispatch to us stating that Gen. Butler had taken the battery at Great Bethel, containing 21 guns and 1000 men. This report was responded to by three times three cheers from the soldiers, drums included. The report needs confirmation, but all hope it may prove true.

The officers of the different commands have received orders to have their men provided with thirty rounds of cartridges. What movement is on foot now is more than I can determine. The city election comes off in Baltimore, to-morrow, and we may be ordered to that city.

JUNE 13.—Captain, now Col. Briggs, left us this morning at 5 .a.M., bound for Massachusetts, where he is soon to take command of his regiment. The company accompanied him from camp to the Depot where be made them a short address and presented his sword to Lieut. Richardson as a parting gift.

The Sixth regiment left camp this morning for Baltimore, to attend the city election. The camp has been strictly guided this forenoon, and no passes issued, the object being to keep the entire regiment together, in case their services should be required.

Strawberries are quite plenty in camp, today, and selling at four cents per quart. This is probably the last week we shall be able to procure them, as the season for them is about over. Yesterday they sold in Baltimore for two cents per quart.

Sergeant D. J. Dodge, now acting as quartermaster for the company, was offered the commission of quartermaster in Col. Briggs's regiment, which ho refused, declaring his determination to stick to the Allen Guards. The company are all much pleased with his decision, as to lose him would be to lose a pillar Which the company would find it difficult to replace.

JUNE 14.—Our regiment had double guard duty to perform last night, in absence of the Sixth from camp. Quarter Gaurd for the Sixth's quarters, and extra pickets were taken from our regiment, Our company took their station at the Relay House, where we were kept some twenty hours without being relieved. The Sixth returned from Baltimore at 11 o'clock this forenoon, and stated everything quiet. The 13th regiment, which visited Baltimore to remain through the election, returned to Annapolis this morning. I had the pleasure of meeting Lieut. Chas. Morton, formerly of Pittsfield, who holds a commission in this regiment. He seems to take the same interest in military as in days of yore, and declared his intention of enlisting for three years. He showed me a beautiful sword, that was recently presented him by his friends in Brooklyn, N. Y., with suitable inscriptions engraved upon the hilt.

This movement of sending so large a body of troops to Baltimore to secure a quiet election, has been strongly censured by Union men here, as they contend that such demonstrations tend rather to retard than advance the Union sentiment. From all that I can learn of the matter, the city authorities of Baltimore were abundantly able to sustain themselves through this election without the interference of U. S. Troops, and the fact of their swearing in 500 extra policemen for the occasion would tend to convince one that they really did possess the power of self-protection within themselves, and intended to make use of it. Col. Hicks, of this state, was at the Relay House this morning, and several of us had the pleasure of meeting him. The satisfaction to us of being able to meet a man who has assumed so true a position for the Union, and that against so large a portion of the citizens of the state over which he governed, was great. The threats which are frequently made to take his life do not seem to affect him, as ho declares his position to be a true one, and one which he will never abandon.

JUNE 15.—Last evening we were favored with some fine music from our camp band, tho pieces having just arrived, and consisting of two pieces, a bass viol and violin. Detachments from several regiments fell in behind tho band, and marched over to the quarters of the 6th regiment, where they were warmly received. After performing a few pieces, they returned to their camp, ending the programme by a dress parade and dance by moonlight. One Eagle arrived in camp to-day. The Boston Light Artillery have received marching orders this afternoon. Their destination is unknown to them us yet. This is a fine battery, and will prove a very valuable addition to whatever corps it may be attached. The election ordered by the Colonel to fill vacancies occasioned by the resignation of our Captain, came off this evening at 8 o'clock, when the following officers were elected by nearly unanimous votes: H. H. Richardson Captain, Robert Bache 1st Lieut., A. E. Goodrich 2d Lieut. Several vacancies in the ranks of the non commissioned yet remain to be filled, which are by appointment of Capt. those I will give you in my next journal.— The company all feel much pleased with the officers whom they have placed in command; I think that their choice is one which will give great satisfaction to the brother soldiers at home. The election passed off very quietly and none of the troops on the ground were needed to suppress any disorder.

JUNE 16,—The 6th Regiment returned the call which we made them some few evenings since—last evening they came over leading an elephant, one of their own manufacture, and were accompanied by their Regimental Band, the names of the pieces being of foreign pronunciation I will not attempt to give them to you. They were joined here by our band and a company of giant soldiers got up by the Guards. After a suitable parade ground the camp they halted front of the Col's tent who came out and treated them to a fine speech.— He spoke of the friendly relations which existed between the 6th and 8th Massachusetts Regiments as commendable and hoped it might never be less. He was warmly cheered by both Regiments—Major Ben Perly Poore was called for but could not be found—Col. Hicks then offered 30 cents reward for his arrest as a deserter but he could not be found and consequently we got no speech from him. To-morrow we intend to celebrate the 17th of June is commemoration of the battle of Bunker Hill. I will endeavor to give you a detailed account of the celebration in my next. It is reported in camp this evening that martial law is to be pronounced in Baltimore. The 13th New York Regiment passed through this evening en route for that city a few moments since. The Light Artillery left this afternoon for the same destination.

Lieut. Bache leaves camp in the morning on short furlough to Pittsfield, he has been quite unwell for a week past and we hope the trip will prove beneficial to him.

I am almost ashamed to send this Journal to you for publication; you may find some items of interest in it but to me it seems upon looking it over to be dry enough, but you must bear in mind that camp life as best is monotonous and but little occurs from day to day which possesses sufficient interest to write. The health of the men is much better than when I sent you my last journal, although we have two quite sick ones in the Hospital. I received a package of Eagles to-day, they seemed full of interest and were read with pleasure by the boys. Nothing more at present. Yours, &c., I remain, FRED.


Pittsfield Sun, June 20, 1861

“Shavings” from the Allen Guard.

CAMP ESSEX, near Relay House, Md.,
June 12, 1861.

If any thing I write would be interesting to the readers of The Sun you have my consent to publish it. The Sun is a paper I have perused since I was old enough to read, and when one comes to me, as it does now, like “angels' visits,” I prize it as I would a cup of cold water in the desert. As to our movements, we are still at the old camp, and I suppose we shall have to stay here till we are ordered home. Yesterday there was a rumor in camp that our Regiment was going to Boston in less than two weeks. As near as I can learn it is the opinion of the Officers of the Regiment that we shall be there in that time. I hope it will be so, for I prefer being at home to being cooped up here doing nothing but drilling in the hot sun. I never was in such a climate before. Yesterday a “vivandiere'” of one of the Philadelphia regiments, stationed near Baltimore, made her appearance in camp and created quite a sensation amongst the soldiers. Yesterday I was at the Relay House for a short time. Col. Munroe, who is stopping there, told me that Capt. Briggs, of Co. K, 8th Reg't, had been appointed Col. of the 3d Reg't M. V. M. This caused another “sensation.” A better selection could not have been made in the State, for he is well posted on all military movements as laid down in Scott's and Hardee's infantry-tactics, and if his regiment is called into action I have no doubt its progress will be as famous as the 8th, who in the taking of the Constitution at Annapolis, and also in the march from Annapolis to Washington, have earned for themselves a reputation never to be destroyed. His place will no doubt be well filled by Lieut. H. H. Richardson —a change which will make “our Bob” 1st Lieut. This morning I reported to the Surgeon 18 names on the sick list; of these half were marked able to do light duty, the rest were marked as off duty for one day, with the exception of four, I think, who are in the hospital. This hot weather will make us all sick if we are not careful. Of the various reports circulating in Pittsfield about the Allen Guard I would say, believe nothing till you are convinced of the truth. I would advise the citizens of P. to keep their ears closed and their tongues still for three months. C. R. S.

* Sergeant A. E, Goodrich writes that the thermometer at the Relay House on the 13th stood at 105!—[Ed, Sun.]


Letter of Stephen Rich to his Mother

Camp Essex Relay Station June 21/61.

Dear Mother

Having a few spare moments. I though I would write you a few lines and let you know that we are all well. Their is nothing here worthy of note every day passes of pretty much the same. We were sent out picket guard last night consequencely we have the rest of the day until 4 oclock to ourselves our- selves. We had a very pleasant night the morn and stars shine out bright and the night was warm so we made ourselves as comfortable as though we were in camp. Have had one letter from John and I have answered it and got a letter from Joesept Henry, day before yesterday

have had one or two letters from Hiram that I have not answered. We shall be at home in about six weeks weeks, if not sooner. We celebrated the 17th of June by firing 13 rounds of musketry in the Morning by the whole Battn. In the afternoon we had a flag raising, in the evening we had a band of music. Yesterday we had a splendid silk flag presented to us by the lady friends of the NY 7th Regt. In commemoration of the march we had from Annapolis to Washington. I think that both the flag and the march will long be remembered by every member of the 8th Regt. Tell Hiram that he need not send the Boston papers if they are any expense to him. There is no war news in this that we do not get in the Baltimore papers.

The day is very hot in the sun. In the shade it is cool and comfortable as there is a fine breeze. I have not seen but one calm day since we have been here. The first Boston Regt. passed through here the other day. Both the 6 Regt. and us marched down to the Relay House to see them. There was no one that I knew except George Wood (Capt. Charles Wood son) They were bound to Washington. Their is thousands of troops go by here every day. Last night there was a train of 36 cars all full of soldiers. We have good food to eat and a plenty of it. I cannot think of anything more to write so I will close

From Stephen

Letters of Stephen Rich
US Army Heritage and Education Center
CWDocColl (box 97, folder 6).

Cape Ann Light and Gloucester Telegraph, June 22, 1861

[Correspondence of the Gloucester Telegraph.]

Camp Essex, MARYLAND,

June 14, 1861.

FRIEND Rogers :—Your journal is not welcomed with quite the usual warmth to-day by myself and some of my comrades, since your regular correspondent has chosen to rap my own knuckles and administer an implied rebuke to themselves.

The credibleness of my account of the adventure which befel the Harper’s Ferry train is called in question. In corroboration of it, I might refer to contemporary accounts, among them that of your regular correspondent himself, who pointedly wrote of the “narrow escape.”— But I will come more directly to the purpose.

Of the alleged explanation or command previously or otherwise given, I have yet to know. I described simply, what I saw and heard, nothing less, nothing more. Impugning no one’s word and doubting the sincerity of no one’s mistake, I appeal from the assertion of him who was in camp, two miles away, to my own record. By that I stand. And, if it were needed, I could add the volunteered testimony of some half dozen members and two non-commissioned officers of Company G, who were present. Expostulating with my comrade, I have been told that he alone is your authorized correspondent — in other words I am but a poor waif on the epistolary sea. Following the genial example of good Uncle Toby, who was so ready to throw open his window, I concede the point at once. It is true that I have not written “by authority,” but only in compliance with your friendly request.

It is more in the line of both duty and pleasure to keep sharp the point of my bayonet, than the nibs of my pen. I much prefer the fire of our common enemy in front, to that which the now foremost man of the nation once called “a fire in the rear.” May I not, therefore, bid your hospitable columns a kind adieu?

{Most emphatically we answer—No. We cannot afford to lose so entertaining a correspondent from our columns. The friends of every member of Co. G., and our readers generally, desire to hear as often as possible from our valued correspondent “c.” We regret extremely that any misunderstanding should arise between our correspondents from Co. G, but “k” having impugned “c's” veracity, we have published the above rejoinder. In the future we wish to hear often from both, and hope that each will write as though he was the sole correspondent.—ED.}


Cape Ann Light and Gloucester Telegraph, June 22, 1861

REPORTS from “Camp Essex” and the Relay House continue to represent the Eighth Regiment to be one of the best in the service. Messrs. Morrisey and Davis, the Massachusetts commissioners appointed to examine the condition of our absent regiments, thus speak of the Eighth in their report:

The 8th regiment under the command of Col. Hinks has made rapid strides, and the sympathy and care manifested by the officers for the comfort and contentment of the men as well as the strong attachment felt by the men for the Officers, afford abundant promise for the future position of this noble regiment.

A correspondent of the Boston Advertiser has the following:

It is well that the Sixth and Eighth regiments from Massachusetts had their share of the rough work of the campaign first; otherwise their encampment here might have proved their Capau. They are posted on the hills just beyond the viaduct at the Washington junction, in the midst of as lovely scenery as can be imagined. The Sixth have their tents pitched upon a hill, the sides of which are shaded by a thick wood, with little or no underbrush except the mountain laurel, which is now loaded with blossoms and furnishes decorations for half the tents in the camp. Just beyond the Sixth on another open hillside and almost upon the lawn of a handsome country seat lies the Eighth.

Posted in this stronghold, with nothing to break the monotony mote serious than an occasional night alarm, the troops are having an easy time. They find opportunity for drills and for dress parades, such as officers in the Fourth Regiment at least, sigh for in vain. The Eighth especially, under Colonel Hinks, has improved its opportunities,and is now one of the best regiments in the service, officers and men having had all the “bounce” of militia training knocked out of them, and having acquired the steady bearing and solid movement of regular troops. Besides having the advantage of an admirable camping-ground, the troops here have also learned valuable lessons as to the use of their rations. Officers and men declare that the supply under the army regulations is so abundant that, as one stout, hearty and intelligent young private told me, “no man can eat his own ration.”

Both regiments have got a considerable amount to their credit in the ration-account with the Government. One item which I observed was 650 pounds of coffee, saved by the Eighth, if I remember rightly, within this month. The effect of all this upon the spirits as well as the health of the men is at once obvious. They are for the most part cheerful, contented and eager for action. The chief complaint which I heard, of any hardship at the hands of the government, was caused by the doubt as to whether they can be taken on their present footing into the three years' service. The Eighth Regiment is eager to be recruited up to the full standard and mustered in for the long term, and the Sixth might easily be made the basis for another valuable corps. The great point on which they insist is that they shall not lose their present regimental numbers; they are jealous of having any new regiment confounded with the Sixth that forced its way through Baltimore, or the Eighth that opened the road to Washington and they have a right to have their honest pride respected. It is not possible that this opportunity to obtain two regiments which have had their training in actual service, have become accustomed to army fare and inured to the climate will be neglected by the government. I am glad to add that these regiments are also recommended by their approved good conduct, the inhabitants in the neighborhood of the camp, including the gentleman whose grounds are occupied by some of the troops, having petitioned to the War Department to have the Massachusetts men retained at this post. On the other hand it is said that the neighborhood was somewhat relieved at the departure of the Maryland regiment, which was at one time encamped close by the Relay House.


Boston Traveler, June 26, 1861


Camp Life - A Stroll to a Maryland Town - Poverty and Desolation - The Inhabitants - Presentation of Colors to the Regiment by the Ladies of New York - Other Presentations - Return Home of the Three Months Men - Negroes and Flies.

From our Correspondent.

June 22, 1861.

Camp life drags along somewhat monotonously with us at the relay camp. To be a soldier and know that we are entitled by right to be in old Virginia where the fighting is going on, and yet be forced to remain quietly here with another regiment for something, the possible good of which you cannot see, is most certainly a grievous bore. Well-appointed regiments destined to Virginia via Washington, are carried by our encampment by the railroad every day. We greet them with patriotic enthusiasm, but at the same time we cannot help envying them the good fortune of being permitted to pay their respects to the poor fools down South who are growing very angry at being let alone.

The weather continues dry and hot, but as our drills are now early in the morning and late in the evening, exclusively, we manage with but little difficulty to keep tolerably comfortable, and the long rest at mid-day gives us plenty of chance to bathe, or to walk about the country, for which passes are issued in liberal numbers. The most of my recent walks have been through the neighboring woods; but a day or two since I passed through the streets of the adjoining village of Elkridge Landing, where some years since there was in operation Iron works which gave employment to a large number of men; but the furnace has ceased operation and closed up some time ago and every inch of the premises is the very picture of desolation. Nearly all the dwellings of the village are in keeping with the furnace property. The brick store, after fourteen failures in one year, shut up shop, and closed its shutters for the last time; the houses, for the most part, are miserable specimens of architecture, sadly out of repair, and somewhat after the supposed style of Noah's ark; the inhabitants, if one may judge by appearances are not rich enough to be troubled with investments, and too lazy to warrant any fears of their ever adding, by labor, much more to their wordly goods; in short, the whole concern is about as much of a one horse with a broken harness settlement as I every saw.

And yet this settlement, as poor as it is, is quite a convenience to us. From its inhabitants we procure, at reasonable rates, milk, eggs, butter, fruit, &c.: but we are of still more advantage to them, for aside from what they gain from us by peddling, washing, and doing trifling errands, they obtain our swill for their hogs, our cast-off clothing for their growing children, and our surplus rations for themselves. It is a singular community hereabout - a mixture of Union and secession sentiment. I met a man yesterday, who told me that he had two brothers who had been pressed into the Virginia service, and that one of them was totally blind in one of his eyes, yet he expressed strong Union sentiments, and would, if necessary, enter the Federal forces and trust of Heaven to care for his wife and children. Then, on the other hand, there is a professed secessionist residing near our camp, who is reputed wealthy, and who has a son holding a commission in the Confederate Army; he sent one of his men into camp, a day or two since, with a load of cherries to sell, and the darkey told me, confidentially, that the old man had never sold his cherries before, but times were had and money scarce, and he wanted to raise enough to pay his daughter's music tutor the next day, and so keep up his reputation for prompt payment.

There are in this vicinity numerous well-to-do farmers with fine estates, well improved, and to a number of them our men are under great obligation for favors rendered; their strawberry beds and cherry trees have been thrown open to us with great liberality, and consequently we have had fruit in profusion. One of my mess tells of climbing into a cherry tree a day or two since, where he eat so many cherries that the stones which he dropped upon the ground almost reached a lower limb of the tree! I am inclined to doubt his statement, but I am positive that he and two companions were disturbed last night in their slumbers by cramps, supposed to be caused by too much fruit.

Our regiment is not likely to want for regimental colors. We had a third banner presented to us last Friday. It is the present of several ladies of New York, and was forwarded to us through Maj. Gen. Butler with the following neat letter:

“To Gen. Butler: We take pleasure in presenting this flag to the Sixth Mass. Regiment as a token of our admiration and respect for the noble and courageous men, who were among the first to obey their country's call to arms, and the first to shed their blood in defence of the laws and property of the United States.”

The donors are Mesdames Lydig, Kernochan and Colden, and Misses Berriam, Lydig, Gerry, Fish, Lorillard, Clift, Wolfe, Russell, Prime, Campbell, Wilkes, Minton, Field, Tompkins, Griffin and Whitsey. Gen. Butler says in forwarding the flag - “It gives me pleasure to be the medium of transmission between the ladies of New York and your Regiment of this token of good will. I know that in the hands of my old friends and neighbors it will be borne forward in such manner, as never to call a blush to the cheek of the fair donors, but they will hear of it carried in advance of you, with sparkling eyes of pleasure and triumph.”

Col. Watson forwarded to the ladies the following letter of acknowledgment:

HEAD QUARTERS 6th Regiment M. V. M.
Camp near Relay House, June 21.

To Miss Berriam and other ladies of New York City

In behalf of my command, the 6th Regiment of Mass. V. M., I take great pride in acknowledging the gift from you of the beautiful Regimental Colors transmitted by Major Gen. Butler. Such a gift - wrought by fair hands - prompted by pure and patriotic hearts, and presented to us by a gallant officer whose name every citizen of our old Commonwealth pronounces with pride, and to whom the eyes of an expectant country are turned, calls out from every heart in our land the terms of gratitude, and nerves every arm uplifted in the pledge of devotion to the flag. To us it symbolizes the pure patriotism of the Fathers - their noble blood shed and the band of free States united. It reminds us of the successful labors of those great and good men who followed in their footsteps, and following, nourishes the growth of Freedom's Empire. In its folds we read the call to duty in a cause which seeks only to maintain and not to conquer. In behalf of every officer and soldier in the 6th Regiment, I feel authorized to return sincere thanks to the fair donors and to pledge a rally around that flag whenever floes or traitors danger it, and that we will never dishonor it.
Lieut. Col. Commanding.

While on the subject of flags I may as well say that we are expecting to be presented with another one from the Union merchants of Baltimore. The Eighth Regiment have also had a splendid affair in that line presented to them by the ladies of the New York Seventh.

Our men are now engrossed with the subject of returning home, and rumors are rife that we shall return before the expiration of our time, but rumor is liable to be false; most of our men will probably reenlist for the war, but I think that ll of them will desire to return and arrange their business and see their friends; besides, some of our boys desire to try a different arm of service. As our present term of service draws to a close we are receiving smarter drills, and the reins of government are being drawn a trifle tauter by the officials. Besides the “Shirks' Battalion,” we have almost daily court martials, and they sentence men to carry knapsacks upon their backs containing from 25 to 40 lbs. of stone for several hours. The regiment remains very healthy, and although we have at present a very fine hospital, for which purposes we have taken possession of a find house a short distance from the camp; yet the boys do not seem inclined to patronize it to the extent that was anticipated, but those who are sick receive the very best of care. The wife and daughter of Col. Jones - who still remain in camp - as well as the colonel himself, are very attentive to them.

Negroes and flies are very thick here, the latter, perhaps, a trifle the thickest, but the former the greatest annoyance by all odds. Nearly all our commissioned officers sport a darkey body servant, which which the camp is over-run, and they all answer with great pleasure to the name of Ephraim. There is a big nigger wench, a frequent visitor to the camp, formerly a slave, who had a hand cut off by a mowing machine some years since, who, with many other of the blacks hereabouts seem to think that our mission is to free all the slaves. She answers readily to the above general name, and swears worse than any man in our Regiment.

If the friends of any of our men wonder why then do not hear from them they must bear in mind that the most of us are out of money, without postage stamps, and that the franking privilege is cut off.
Co. K.


Pittsfield Sun, June 27, 1861

“Shavings” from the Allen Guard.

CAMP ESSEX, near Relay House, Md.,
June 20, 1861.

Friend Allen: We have had some gay times in Camp since I last wrote. On Monday both Regiments were reviewed by Maj. Gen. Morris and Staff. In the various maneuvers, evolutions and formations the 8th received the most praise, particularly informing squares. For me to attempt to describe the review would be useless; words are inadequate to the task; one must see to appreciate it.

Monday being the anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill salutes were fired in honor of the event and there were fireworks in the evening. Speeches from Col. Hinks, Major Ben. Perley Poore and others closed the celebration.

In the afternoon, the Massachusetts 1st Regiment for three years passed the Relay House, bound for Washington, and both regiments turned out to meet them. They are a fine body of men, well equipped, and lock as if they might do good and valiant service.

Yesterday we had a Banner raising. A large pole was erected in front of the Colonel's quarters, and a splendid Flag thrown to the breeze. The “Star Spangled Banner” was sung, three cheers were given, and now the Flag floats aloft, bidding defiance to all enemies.

This morning the Colonel of our Regiment received from Gen. Butler a splendid Flag, sent to the 8th Regiment by the Lady friends of the New York 7th Regiment. The Flag was presented to the Regiment by Col. Hinks, in behalf of the Ladies. Accompanying the gift were two letters, which were read to the troops, when they gave three cheers for the Flag, and nine more for the Lady friends of the New York 7th. By the kindness of Col. Hinks I am permitted to copy the letters:

Letter of Major General B. F. Butler.
Commanding 8th Regiment M. V. M.

SIR—I send herewith a Flag presented by the Lady friends of the New York 7th Regiment to your corps, with the accompanying note of presentation from them. This gift will call up to your minds the glorious reminiscences of your march from Annapolis to Washington when you first opened a route from the loyal States to the National Capital. I cannot let the occasion pass without putting on the records of your regiment my high appreciation of that fortitude and courage which bore privations without murmurs, faced dangers without flinching, in an enterprize which brought out to the knowledge of the country those high soldierly qualities which I knew the soldiers of Massachusetts to possess, and that ready adaptation of the arts of peace to the operations of war, which has given a name and fame to your regiment to be striven for and envied by all. Renewing the assurances of the kindest regard and respect to yourself and each soldier of your command, who suffered with us the privations of the Steamer Maryland and the labors of the rescue of the Constitution,

I am, most respectfully and truly yours,

Maj. General Commanding.


Berkshire County Eagle, June 27, 1861




JUNE 17—The regiment fired a salute of 13 rounds this morning, in honor of the Battle of Bunker Hill. The two regiments had a Brigade drill in the forenoon when Gen Morse of the 3d Division M. V. M., was present. I learn that he is much pleased with the improvement which our regiment has made since leaving home, and remarked that he would never know that it was the same regiment which marched out of Faneuil Hall a few weeks since.

The 1st regiment of 3 year's volunteers from Massachusetts, passed through here this afternoon, our regiment in company with the sixth, marched down to the depot to see then, and many who are members of the Eastern companies found old friends in the new corps. They seem to think that they have seen hard times already, which rather amused us. The regiment seemed well provided-—as an extra train brought up the rear with baggage wagons and horses on board. Their destination is Washington.

We have had a band in camp this evening, procured from one of the neighboring villages, which played for our dress parade, and is now performing some national airs in front of the Colonel's quarters.

Fire works of domestic manufacture, and music by our camp band which I have before alluded to ended the celebration of the 17th of June in Camp Essex.

War news has been quite scarce with us for a few days past, but as the newspaper trade is getting quiet again, we may soon look for startling headings of several thousand troops engaged on both sides, and one man slightly wounded. Right smart fights they have these days, as the dailies say.

JUNE 18,—This morning all the pea-nut and pastry stands, per order of Col, Jones, were ordered off the grounds at 8 o'clock.— This was brought about by a row, which originated around a lager beer table yesterday. Their absence will be much felt by the troops, as many depended upon them for their living. But the movement will not probably be a permanent one, as the order will probably be revoked as soon as the excitement subsides.— This has been a very quiet day in camp, the usual routine of camp duty has been performed, but items of interest are scarce.

JUNE 19.—We returned from picket duty this morning, as usual sleepy, but otherwise feeling well.

The order has come from the paymaster to have our company pay-roll made out immediately, which news has caused general rejoicing, as our pocket-books are beginning to look rather lean. A flagstaff was erected in camp this morning, and this evening the flag was raised, the Col. made a short speech, when the Star Spangled Banner was sung, and three cheers given by the regiment. One Rhode Island regiment passed through here to-day.

JUNE 20.—A beautiful American flag was received in camp this morning, as a present from the lady friends of the N. Y. 7th regiment to the Massachusetts 8th, in honor of their successful march from Annapolis to Washington, in company with the 7th. The flag was very tasty in its design, manufactured of silk; the top of the staff being surmounted with a Silver Eagle, with spread wings.— After a short presentation speech from Col Hinks, nine cheers was given by the regiment for the ladies of the N. Y. Seventh, and three for the Stars and Stripes. A communication was read from Gov. Andrew, which stated that none of the regiments about taking the field should bear the numbers of those already in service, all are much pleased at this change in the programme of numbering, as we prefer the new regiments should earn their own honors rather than take those which we have won and which justly belong to us alone.— All sorts of rumors are in circulation in camp to-day in relation to our going home, but I place no reliance in them, and have but little idea that we will return before the expiration of our time, which is July 30.

Five long trains filled with troops have passed through home to-day, containing probably five thousand troops.

JUNE 21.—Another warm day, in which all have felt the heat intensely, the thermometer stands at 103 in the shade, which we think is about as high as it averages in old Berkshire. I visited the new Hospital which has lately been established for the use of the 2d regiment, It is a large cottage house, beautifully situated in a fine grove about half a mile from camp, and in this respect is all that could be desired. We have six of our company confined there at present, suffering from rheumatism, fevers, and billious complaints, two of these are quite sick, but the rest are comfortable, fault is found by the boys with the medical attendance, but perhaps this is natural, where there is so little choice of physicians, and that which is offered must be accepted or the patient go without any.

The 6th regiment was presented with a fine flag by the Indies of New York, which was received with great applause.

A bunch of fire-crackers, the first of the season, has just been discharged in camp, which reminds us of the near approach of our National holiday.

JUNE 22.—A drove of 25 cattle belonging to the U.S. army fell through a bridge near The Relay House, this morning, injuring three of them so that it became necessary to butcher them immediately, The bridge is a complete wreck, but I understand it is to be rebuilt at the expense of government, and that a detachment of men from the several companies will be detailed to rebuild it to-morrow. Two N.Y. regiments passed through here to day, the 26th and 29th, several of the men discharged their pieces from the cars as they stopped at the Relay House, One of the balls passed sufficiently near my head to give me a realizing sense of what we may as a company yet be called to face.

The heat seems to increase as the month advances, and the glass stands to-day at 102 in the shade, Two Eagles arrived in camp this morning, bringing us as usual local news of great interest to the boys, they are anxiously looked for from week to week, and we often become impatient before it is time for them to arrive.

JUNE 23.—Inspection of arms and quarters came off this morning. Our ranks are hastily run over by the Col., at a glance indicates to him that they are in good order. Service this afternoon and call to the colors in the morning, is all the duty that has been required of us to-day.

JUNE 24.—We returned from picket duty this morning, but I have nothing of interest to communicate, so I will close. FRED.


Daily Herald, Volume 24 No. 323, July 1, 1861

[From our Correspondent in the Army.)

Camp Essex, Relay Station, (Md.) June 27, 1861.

Dear Herald :—The usual quiet incident upon the every day routine of camp life, and which for some weeks past has reigned supreme at this military post, has been changed within the past few hours. Orders received from the commandant of the District, Gen. Banks, requiring the entire 6th Regiment and 5 companies of the 8th to report for duty immediately, with two days rations and 40 rounds of ammunition, aroused every one to new life and activity. The drums of the Police Guard gave the signal for the field music to assemble on regimental parole. This being given out of regular hours reminded all within hearing that something was up, and if the command to “take up thy bed and walk” was never before fulfilled in this age of the world, it was literally so in this instance; for be it known that in our immediate rear is one of the most beautiful groves ever witnessed. It is the resort of all the men when off duty, and scarcely an hour from 10 A. M. to 5 P. M. passes when a visitor to the camp could not number from 400 to 500 enjoying the cooling shade of these noble old oaks, which stand as the monuments of other days, when union and harmony prevailed throughout our now distracted country; some were sleeping, others writing to loved ones at home, and not a few were throwing off dull care by tuning their voices to the land of Dixie, or dancing to the music of an amateur string band organized among themselves.

The drums beat the assembly. The order is given to fall in; and sleep, letter writing, singing and dancing are forgotten, while all are eager to ascertain if this corps of that is to be included in the number required, each being anxious to have an opportunity to meet face to face a real secession army. The order goes forth for the right wing, composed of company C, Captain Martin, H, Capt. Phillips, E, Capt. Porter, & Capt. Centre, and J, Capt. Devereux, to be in readiness to march. All now is bustle; knapsacks must be packed, rations provided, ammunition supplied, canteens filled, a parting good bye written to sweethearts at home, and the line be formed. The drums beat again, but to the color. The companies march out of quarters on to parade, the faces of the men. beaming with joy at the prospect of having something to do—of more active military life—while those of the left wing appear very much like the Irishman we met at the Relay Junction a few days since. He had come on from Baltimore, bound to Washington to enlist. Being somewhat thirsty he stepped into the bar for a drink, but when he came onto the cars had left. Running a few rods to no purpose he came back, and with a face the most woe begone I ever saw, broke forth— “The Virgin Mary cuss yer; for a dirty old blackguard as ye are, and dint I come all the way from Baltimore sure to jine the army and fight for Americy! but ye just rin away from me, did ye! Well, if ye don’t want me sarvaces now, ye will sure when the secess have killed off all you Yankees, and then be jabers, ye’l be glad to wait until poor Pat gets a drink, ye will.”

But to return. The line is formed; Col. Hinks in person takes command; and off goes the Battalion with the cheers of their comrades in arms. Lieut. Col. Elwell is in command of the post, with 350 men.— Where the troops have gone, on what the emergency might be which called them away so suddenly, was a matter of doubt, but it appears that Baltimore was their destination.

From Massachusetts we learn that Capt. Devereux has a prospect of commanding one of the new Regiments, the one from Essex county; if so two Captains will have been selected from the Eighth Regiment for that honor. It is somewhat remarkable that the Eighth, who have thus far received the commendation of not only the President and his Executive Government, but of the people throughout the country, for the promptness displayed in the discharge of the severe duties which they have been called upon to perform—cannot be allowed to reorganize for the war, under its present officers. Col. Hinks has no superior as an officer or gentleman in the volunteer force now in service, To remain with his Regiment he has made every personal sacrifice, even to resigning an appointment in the Regular Army. He has since making the request in behalf of his officers of the State authorities to remain as the Eighth Regiment in service, seen one of his Captains promoted to his own rank, and will, if reports are true, soon see another. The policy of promoting untried officers in place of those who have proved themselves worthy and competent to command we cannot understand. Yours &., Essex.


Berkshire County Eagle, July 11, 1861




JUNE 24—A Springfield Republican arrived in camp this evening, containing an account of the swearing in of the 10th Massachusetts regiment, and the drumming out and misusing of these who refused to take the oath, Much indignation was expressed among the company that such a course should be pursued with these who for reasons best known to themselves, preferred returning to private life rather than serving in the army. From experience, I am assured that many enlist in the service under the great excitement which always prevails at such times, who, after gaining a little insight and personal knowledge of soldier's life, repent the step which they have taken, and wish to leave the ranks. The administering of the oath gives all such an opportunity to do so, and we consider that any who may wish to retire should have the privilege of doing so honorably. This is the light in which we look upon it here, and perhaps when these at home who are so hard upon the seceders have had a little personal experience in military life, they will judge and act with more mercy. I have too much pride left for my native State to wish to see her, or any of her citizens, assume or endorse an enforced enlistment, which will place her on a level with the most fanatical of the Southern States. The principle is the same which would compel men to join the army and take the oath of allegiance through fear of their condemnation by public opinion,as that which used physical force to enlist men into an army whose action and sentiment they repudiate.

Another warm day, a long march and pleasant evening closes the programme for to-day.

JUNE 25—Col. Hinks has declared his intention of starting for Boston in the morning to make some preliminary arrangements for bringing the 8th regiment back into service when their three months cf enlistment shall have expired. A subscription has been raised among the men to procure a band to escort us home, and the Newburyport Band has been decided upon, and the Colonel will bring it with him upon his return. There seems to be a general good feeling existing throughout the regiment, as the time for our return to the old Bay State draws near.

Green peas have been offered in camp quite freely of late, ant one barrel was bought and shelled by the boys for company dinner to morrow. Great quantities of cherries are raised in this section, which are offered quite freely to the boys, who from time to time take prospecting tours into the surrounding country.

Money seems to be the one thing needful at present in camp. $5,50 being all that we have received as yet from the Government. Some error in the pay roll seems to be the difficulty, as it has been twice returned from Washington for correction. Our pocket books present a deplorable picture, and it would take several like mine to make a good shadow.

JUNE 26.—Our regiment was put through the manoeuvre of street firing this morning, much to the amusement of all who witnessed it. This is the first time the movement has been attempted, and an officer remarked in my hearing that, had the 6th regiment been able to form themselves into a similar column, the result of the attack at Baltimore would have been attended with far more disastrous consequences.

Our camp was thrown into great commotion this afternoon by an order from General Banks for the 6th regiment and five companies of the 8th, to proceed immediately to Baltimore, leaving the left wing of the regiment, numbering five companies, the Allen Guard included, to guard the quarters of both regiments. The object of this sudden movement of troops is more than I can determine; but time will tell.

Lieut, Bache arrived in camp this evening, looking somewhat improved from his furlough. He brought a heavy mail, and several packages, which, as usual, were joyfully received.

Our camp is quiet this evening, and as I wander around among the vacant tents, I am reminded of a deserted village. the men responded promptly to the call this afternoon, and seem pleased with anything which will tend to break the monotony which has characterized our camp for some days past.

JUNE 27.—The absence of troops from camp has left me almost without an item for today's journal. Major Ben Perley Poore returned from Washington to-day, but brought no news of importance. A party of fourteen of us are detailed to accompany Capt. Richardson to night, on some special duty, the particulars of which we are as yet ignorant.

We are now suffering in camp for want of two very essential articles, viz., cash and tobacco. It is amusing to see the boys running from one tent to another to beg a pipe full of tobacco. Up to this present time we have had a bountiful supply, but at present we are almost entirely destitute.

The refreshment stands, which have heretofore existed in great numbers, have nearly all seceded; but they will probably make their appearance again when our finances shall have become improved.

JUNE 28.—This morning the greater portion of the Allen Guard may be seen spread out beneath the trees endeavoring to regain their lost sleep. Picket guard comes more often than than when the whole Regiment were together, and much of the day following is spent in sleep. The news from Baltimore to-day is of rather on unpleasant character. We had thought that the Union sentiment to be gaining there, and expected to see her soon able to take care of her own interests. But much has been brought to light to show how vain were our conjectures. Important seizures have been made, the city marshal is under arrest and confined in the Fort, and the city seems as strongly bent to defy the Federal Government as when they attempted to obstruct the passage of the 6th Regiment. The left wing of our Regiment still remain the city, and there drills in street fireing and marching attracts considerable interest, and causes many conjectures as to their object. The 6th Regiment of main troops passed through here this afternoon, we were drawn up in line as they paged. They seemed to be well uniformed and numbered upwards of one thousand.

JUNE 20th.— I have been tempted to leave this date blank for want of items to fill out a square. Troops still continue to pass here in great numbers, and I am informed from good authority that five thousand have gone through to Washington to-day.

JUNE 30.—Private Atwood arrived in Camp this morning; he reports Pittsfield as quiet. Business dull, but the War fever as running higher than it does with us, There will probably be a chance for these who are anxious to go to the war, to enlist in this Company which, without doubt, will be recruited up again and dispatched for a three years campaign. I have enjoyed the luxury of a table to-day, for the first time to copy my Journal. It is a rough affair of domestic manufacture, owned by Sergeant Dodge, and made from an old dry goods box. We have been blessed to-day with cooling showers, light drills, and a quiet camp, all of which were duly appreciated. We have all sorts of rumors afloat in camp as to the time when we will return home, but at present I am unable to determine any thing reliable in relation to it.

Hoping this will reach you in season for publication, I remain yours, F.


BALTIMORE, July 7, 1861.

JULY 1.—The news from Baltimore to-day seems to indicate affairs there as in a very unsettled state. The depot, post office and police station are all guarded by soldiers, and strict watch is kept of every movement which would seem to indicate rebellion. Our camp has been strictly guarded to-day, no one except commissioned officers being allowed to go in or out, without a pass from the Lieut. Col. the highest officer in command at present.— This comes rather hard upon the boys as the guard has been heretofore rather slack, allowing their friends to pass them without making particular enquiry as to whether they were in possession of passes. Our company have been on guard to-day and it has been amusing to see what stratagems have been resorted to by the soldiers to got over the line; old passes with altered dates have been presented, and attempts to pass out under the pretext of wishing to wash, &c., have all proved unavailing in procuring their exit from camp, The experience which the Guards had in Fort McHenry has proved of great advantage to us, and our company is always relied upon and spoken of as one which performs guard duty with soldierly promptness and decision. An old man was arrested in the village below camp this evening, and brought into camp charged with being a secession spy —he was a comical old fellow with a bundle swung across his shoulder on a stick, and was followed to the Colonel's tent by a crowd of soldiers—his examination was brief when he was released under the belief that his brain was slightly shattered—he said that he had been to see Jeff. Davis and was now en route to seem Abraham Lincoln, and it was his intention with the help of God to have this difficulty settled immediately, and he seemed to feel strong in his own strength to bring about the result. It rains quite hard to night and we shall have a bad night for guard duty.— The boys have been singing “I am going home in ten days more,” and perhaps they may, but I shall feel more inclined to believe it when I see the Regiment fairly on the route.

JULY 2.—Our camp was thoroughly aroused this morning by the report that the 11th Massachusetts Regiment was at the Relay station—guards were run by scores of men until Friday, no attempt was made to keep them in camp, and all hands started for the depot to see the Regiment. They numbered some one thousand and ten men, and were accompanied by Gilmore's Band of Boston— this band well deserves the reputation which it has won, and as they performed the Star Spangled Banner and Hail Columbia, we felt that revival of patriotism within us, which characterized our first starting for the wars, but which our monotonous life here had almost extinguished. the equipments of the Regiment are of a more substantial character than these which were provided for the three months troops strength not beauty is what the soldier wants. I was much surprised as well as pleased to meet a Pittsfield boy in the Regiment, in the person of Wm. Bassett, son of D. H. Basset —he was looking tough and hardy, and seemed in a good physical condition to withstand the hardships of the campaign. We wore awoke last night by one of our guard to view the comet which quite unexpectedly had just made its appearance.— It seemed much larger than the one that made its appearance some few years since, and all seemed surprised that we had not been apprised of its approach. The 6th Regiment has arrived from Baltimore bringing packing orders for the balance of the 8th Regiment to emigrate to that city to-night or in the morning. All seemed pleased with the idea and our camp has presented quite an animated appearance this evening—striking the tents belonging to the right wing of the Regiment at present in the city—packing up baggage, cooking extra rations and a huge bonfire have all seemed to occupy the attention and amuse the men. I enclose you a vote of thanks which was read to our highly respected captain in presence of the company, and endorsed by nine hearty cheers. It will perhaps convince you that the Berkshire boys are at all times ready for duty, but will at the same time demand those rights which belong to them as soldiers, The temperance tent was complimented by a serenade from the Lynn boys this evening, who have a fine Quartette club in their ranks, which from time to time have served to relieve the monotony of soldier life, and remind us of pleasures and associations which we have left behind us. Jeff. Davis was burned in effigy this evening in the presence of a largo number of the troops—his character does not stand above par here, I can assure you, and this is but preface to what he might receive were we able to gain possession of his person.

JULY 3. Reveille was sounded at 3 o'clock this morning in order to give us sufficient time to strike tents, pack baggage, &c., preparatory to taking the 8 o'clock train for Baltimore. 7 o'clock A. M., our once beautiful camp of neat tent houses and regular sentinels presents at this hour a very distracted appearance, and reminds one of moving day, not the moving of one family, but rather that of a small city. Piles of tent poles and floor boards, trunks, carpet bags, cooking utensils, and extra accoutrements may be seen in sundry piles scattered over the hill.

While several rows of stacked guns with knapsacks piled around them, indicate the readiness of some companies to sling knapsacks and shoulder arms at the word of command, the scarcity of teams has compelled the men to pack all their baggage to the line of the Railroad, some l-4 mile distant from camp, but they bear a good hand to the work and consider this as always included in the programme of $11 per month. At 10 we bid good bye to pleasant Camp Essex, and 12 o'clock found us with guns stacked and knapsacks unslung on Mount Clare, two miles from the center of Baltimore. This is a pleasant location for camp, and the boys seem as well satisfied with it as with the one we have but just taken our departure from.

The first duty upon our arrival was to mount quarter guard, and then wait for our baggage, which arrived about 6 o'clock—when one hour later found our tents pitched and our camp fully located. A detachment of the 13th New York regiment is quartered across the street from us.

The right wing of our regiment arrived this evening, having been down the Bay some 60 miles on special service, and captured the Captain of a secession Cavalry company.— They seemed highly elated at their success, as this is the third attempt which has been made to capture him.

Two Pennsylvania and one Maryland regiments are encamped within sight of us and the regularity of these camps with our beautiful National Emblem floating on them presents an appearance which every soldier views with pleasure and patriotic pride.

JULY 4—The anniversary of our National Independence has arrived, and the anxious enquiry passes through the regiment—how shall it be celebrated? The Manchester band arrived this morning from Washington, having been engaged by the regiment to remain with us until the expiration of our term of service, and then escort us home.

They discoursed some fine music to us during the day and at dress parade, where they, presided. Thousands of spectators crowded around to gain a view. Our camp has been strictly guarded during the day and evening, and but few passes were issued. It made but little difference, however, as Baltimore was very quiet as far as any recognition of the day was concerned, and had we been allowed unlimited passage in and out of camp, our panic struck purses would not have admitted of our celebrating to any great extent.

National salutes from the tent were fired during the day, as well as from the camps around the city. The most interesting feature of to-day's celebration was the parade of the inmates of the city House of Refuge, numbering some 120 boys, headed by a juvenile band of 10 pieces. The extreme youth of the boys who composed the band and the accuracy with which they performed the martial airs, excited universal admiration from our regiment as they passed by our quarters.

The 13th N.Y. regiment have a curiosity their camp in the shape of a revolving gun; it is capable of being fired some 30 times per minute, although they have not yet succeeded in reaching that number, owing to their limited knowledge of its full capacity. It was captured by them in Baltimore, and is the first and only one as yet manufactured.

Our celebration of the 4th as you will see was not a very grand affair, but perhaps it was all which we could expect in secessia.— If we did not show our patriotism by fire works and bonfires, we have the happy consciousness of feeling that we have in a substantial manner assisted in perpetuating the existence of our flag and Constitution which this day commemorates. A heavy mail was received to-day, including a large number of letters bearing dates of May 28th. This is the mail which was robbed in Washington, and over which so much mystery hung at the time. It was found in the canal in the city, the monied letters having been robbed of their contents, and many opened which contained nothing of value. Several of our company are losers by this operation. But to what amount I am not able to relate.

JULY 5.—The regiment marched into the city this afternoon accompanied by the band. We took a circuituous route and marched a distance of about three miles, the regiment improves daily in marching and we are in hopes soon to be able to make a creditable appearance, You can judge somewhat of the feeling which exists in Baltimore, when I inform you that we did not receive one solitary cheer during our entire march. To be sure Union flags were displayed in considerable numbers, and occasionally a youngster would exclaim, I am a Union man. But so slight a demonstration from a city which claims to be Union—seems to me but an idle farce. Two little girls came into camp this evening dressed in Union costume, they excited considerable attention and for a few hours were the pets of the camp.

JULY 6.—The excitement of moving has subsided, and the camp is fast settling down into that quiet which the soldier dislikes to see.

The band have been preparing themselves to take part in the religious services of tomorrow — all the singers in the regiment have been practicing with them, and we expect a musical treat as the result.

We had a presentation of colors a few days since from the ladies of Lynn. The presentation speech was made by Maj. Poore, and replied to by the Col. I was absent from the ranks at the time and am unable to give you the particulars, which all speak of as being very interesting.

My Journal as you will observe is quite lengthy this week, but the incidents attending to our moving camp have been numerous, and I hope they may not prove uninteresting to your readers. F.


Daily Herald, July 7, 1861


Camp Essex, June 30th, 1861.

I want, Dear Herald, To grumble! Soldiers are constitutionally grumblers, and I certainly have a right to grumble on a wet day like this, when the rain comes through our old tents as it would pass through sieves, and when every one is more or less out of sorts, Besides, am I not a subscriber to the Herald - I have a vague idea that I havn't paid my subscription for along time,—but I am a subscriber, and I have an undeniable right to grumble. My cause of complaint is your regular camp-correspondent, whose sins are of omission, rather than of commission, for he never alludes to our excellent adjutant.

Now an adjutant is to a regiment what on editor is to a newspaper, or a pilot to an arriving and departing vessel. It's all very pretty to talk about ambitious colonels, or indefatigable lieutenant-colonels, or portly majors, but they don't amount to much without the regiment has a good Adjutant. Ho is the main spring about which all the machinery revolves, and he keeps everything moving like clock work. Morning reports, guard details, parades, equalization of companies, orders—in short, be is busy from reveille until retreat,—here, there and everywhere, Yet with all the complimentary notices of the officers of the Eighth, I have not seen an allusion to Adjutant Creasy. Of this I complain, for one of the best officers in the US. volunteer service should not be passed over in silence.

Company A is well and in the best of spirits awaiting, the return of Capt. Bartlett,who is expected to bring all sorts of glad tidings from home this afternoon. At the inspection of camp this morning the tents of Company A bore off the palm, and everything and every body was in apple-pie order, not forgetting the officers’ servant, Charles Alexander Williams. This as a likely young, contraband, with jet black skin, a famous set of ivories and a literary turn of mind. Whether the company will take him home to Newburyport or not, as a “specimen,” I can't say. He is one of about thirty who are employed by the officers, and who occasionally get into a regular shindy.

The right wing of the Eighth is at Baltimore, to support Gun. Banks in keeping the secessionists down, while the left wing remains here to guard the camps of the Eighth and Sixth, which the rebels threaten to destroy. A few weeks more, and we all expect to be at home, on the banks of our beloved Merrimac, but duty may soon send us forth again.



Liberator, July 19, 1861

The Baltimore Sun has this account of another fugitive:—

“While the Eighth Massachusetts Regiment was in the occupancy of Baltimore, a colored man, slave of William Dorbacker, Esq., proprietor of the Three Tuns Tavern, absconded to the camp of the regiment, and was taken into the employ of some of the officers.

When the regiment returned to the Relay House, the man went with them, and continued there until a day or two since, when Mr. Dorbacker, discovering his whereabouts, sent for him. The messenger was somewhat maltreated hy the soldiers as soon as he made his mission public, and had to leave the camp rather hastily.

On Tuesday, Mr. Dorbacker procured the services of officer John Wright, who, armed with an order from Provost Marshal Kenly, presented it at the quarters of Col. Jones, and claimed the property. Col. Jones said he did not recognize slaves as contraband, and gave up the man at once, The officer, however, saw the propriety of making a circuitous route from the camp to the railroad depot, to avoid a possible rescue.”


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