Yours Affectionately – October 9, 1862

Yours Affectionately – October 9, 1862

From Yours Affectionately,

 C. D. Westbrook

Col. Cornelius D. WestbrookHarriet Brooks Bellows


Compiled by:

Gary M. Ingersoll, Ph.D.

Headquarters 120th Regt N.Y.S.

Camp near Fairfax Seminary

Oct 9th 1862

My dear wife

I received your letter last Sunday and am glad that you have found so favorable an opportunity for going home & trust that you are safely in Boston or Portland.

I wrote to Mother last Monday from Washington where I had gone to see about the enlisting pay rolls to engineers whether you had received a letter from me containing a $10 treasury note mailed at the same time with a letter to Kate. I have not yet heard whether the money has been received & desire to know what additional amount it is necessary to send home.

We are still encamped on this spot which we moved to three weeks ago last Sunday. Yesterday we received orders to prepare for marching as our Division was ordered into the field. But the marching orders have not yet arrived.

I have had a soldier from the ranks take care of my horse & the Sutler[1] has furnished meals for the field & staff. While in Washington some time since I went to the Contraband Camp & brought out with me a couple of darkies, one of whom I transferred to one of the companies & retained the other in addition to the soldier I have with me. Since that time I have taken meals again in my tent. Some time ago I went to our old encampment at Uptons Hill where a fragment of the 20th Regt were staying and the Adjutant of that Regiment handed over to me eleven Wall tents a cooking stove for which the field & staff had paid $30 a month or two previous & a variety of other articles. The four men staying with them had been ordered away & he was unable to procure transportation for the baggage. Rather than abandon them, he handed them over to our Regiment.

I have taken one of the tents in addition to my own, placed it behind the one I occupy at a sufficient distance to accommodate my horse between them & placed the fly of the tent supported by the two tents so as to make a good shelter for the horse. The Cooking stove I have used to cook my meals with. The back tent is for the servants & my horse accoutrements.

Today my colored man went back to Washington to bring out his wife & daughter who are to cook and wash for the mess.

My tent is well floored. My man has manufactured a bedstead and I am really fixed very comfortably.

But all this will be changed when we march again. All our wall tents will be left behind excepting two or three for the officers & shelter tents given to the men. I presume we will get back our present tents when we go back into winter quarters.

The Colonel has been sick again for a week & absent from camp at a farm house about a mile away.

Last week we had a review of the Division by Genl Sickles[2] who has lately taken command of it in place of Genl Grover. Genl Heintzelman the commander of the army corps also reviewed us at the same time with Genl Sickles. We marched with Genl Carr’s Brigade about 2 1/2 miles to the ground & had a very fine review of about 6000 men with several batteries of artillery. I was in command of the regiment.

We have no idea to what point they intend marching us. As we are not regularly brigaded with any regiment it is uncertain whether we take the field with Sickles although our orders now point in that direction. In fact everything ahead is uncertain.

I will write to Charley in a day or two. Take good care of the children. Give my love to Hannie & Elija and respects to the Barrett, & Mr Perkins. By the by what is Mr Perkins’ first name?

I will take advantage of the first opportunity to get leave of absence, but am not likely to apply for one until we get into winter quarters.

Yours affectionately

C D Westbrook

[1]                Sutlers were merchants who followed the army and sold goods to the soldiers.

[2]                Under Burnside=s reorganization, the 120th became part of the Second (Excelsior) Brigade under Gen Sickles’ 2nd Div. (Col. George B. Hall, commanded the 2nd Brig.)

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