Yours Affectionately – October 12, 1862 (Two Letters)

Yours Affectionately – October 12, 1862 (Two Letters)

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 at Uptons Hill Va

Oct 12th 1862

Dear Mother

We are here after another change of Camp. Arriving with the rear guard last evening too late to do more than hastily put up a tent I have been busily engaged today in putting my household in order and after a supper of tomatoes with wheat cakes & a cup of first rate tea (Government price 55 cts) I sit down to write to you. Two wall tents joined together form my establishment. In the back tent is a fine kitchen cooking stove with appropriate furniture while the tent itself is nicely floored. In the front tent I have also a floor with table, bedstead, a couple of chairs. It is a cold stormy night. The weather had been very fine without rain for a month, when yesterday changed to a North Easterly storm. In my tent the air is nicely warmed by the stove, and while enjoying my pipe in the best of health it is pleasant to hear the storm whistling without, were it not for the consideration that hundreds of thousands of troops are nearby suffering from the weather from which I am so nicely protected.

And I have procured these things without the expenditure of a dollar. The 20th Regt when ordered into Maryland left behind a number of wall tents with the mess stove & other furniture. About 40 men gathered in the Camp which they left who were ordered into the Camp of convalescents & the adjutant unable to procure any transportation for the baggage or to dispose of it in any other way gladly turned it over to me, rather than to abandon it.

To give you an idea of the changes that take place in Camp life I must tell you that prior to our arrival here the hill was occupied by a Brigade (Berry’s late Kearney’s) who had evidently prepared themselves for a long stay. Yesterday morning they were ordered away at 4 oclock into Maryland & have left behind them a great deal of stuff, of which the regiment arriving yesterday have helped themselves without ceremony. Our Regiment arriving yesterday morning has helped themselves liberally. A large number of Wall tents, stoves, board floorings, hay, straw **** were left scattered over the ground. We were ordered here yesterday with the 26th Pennsylvania, an old Regiment, and a Battery of Artillery. The Regiment being commanded by a Major, of course Col. Sharpe takes command of the Brigade, and with it of the Forts of which they are several in the neighborhood. I am the next officer in rank & of course when the Colonel is absent, the command will come to me.

Tonight it is four weeks since we moved to our last camp near Fairfax Seminary. It was a pleasant location. On Wednesday an order to prepare for marching came for us to take the field with Sickles Division to which we now belong. The order for the Division to march has not yet come & I do not suppose that it will affect our present position, as we have not yet been regularly brigaded.

About two weeks since Genl Sickles assumed command of the Division which up to that time had been commanded by Genl Grover. Shortly afterwards he had a Review of the Division which was a very fine affair. Col Sharpe was sick for a week & absent & I consequently took the regiment to the Review. The Colonel’s health is now better & he will probably recruit again if not obliged to undergo any excitement or exposure very soon.

I have had a soldier from the ranks to take care of my horse who has also cooked for me. About a fortnight after our arrival in Virginia the sutler boarded us, but not liking his fare, after I was able to procure a couple of contrabands from the Camp at Washington I set up again my own table. My kitchen apparatus was comprised in a Crimean Set which I bought in Washington for $13.50 which is composed of a large iron pail tinned over, in which is packed 4 plates (larger size & can be used for soup) of the same material, 4 cups, 4 knives & forks, a gridiron with folding handle a lamp stove, pan with folding handle, 4 spoons, while the cover of the tin pail is also a soup dish. In it was also a Coffee pot & in the Coffee pot was a strainer into which the coffee is put, 3 large cups, a sugar tin box & another for coffee. All these were packed within the tin pail & all are made of iron tinned over & will stand the fire & any hardship. The acquisition of a cook stove with its furniture of course enlarges my kitchen apparatus.

My horse is in good condition. He has plenty to eat & good shelter. He has done much better that the other horses, partly because he is tougher & partly because he has been better cared for. Tell Mr Buckman that I am well pleased with him, & that I have heard from Miller, although it was previous to the fight in Maryland. He was there in Washington. I hope to see him one of these days.

After reading my letter send it to Harriet. I have not much time to write long letters. I will attend to the matter mentioned in your last letter. Enclosing one from Harriet which I received today.

Remember me to Mary & Theod & Will. Much love I remain

 

Yours afftly

C. D. Westbrook

 

 

Headquarters 120th Regt N.Y.S.

Camp at Uptons Hill Va

Oct 12th 1862

My dear wife

I have just finished a long letter to Mother giving an account of our moving to this place which I have requested her to send to you.

I received a letter from her today enclosing one from you, by which I learned that you had safely arrived with the children at Boston.

My tent, or rather tents, stands within a few rods of my old one last Fall. I am fixed very comfortably, with a cooking stove in the sack tent, which warms them both comfortably this cold stormy night. I have had wheat cakes, raw tomatoes & some very fine tea, having already eaten two hearty meals during the day. My health is excellent & if I suffer at all it is from the want of sufficient exercise.

There has been a complete revolution in the weather. Up to yesterday we had had no rain for a month & the sun shone with summer heat without hardly a cloud. Yesterday it changed & a cold north easterly storm set in. In the morning our Regiment moved with the Colonel & Major & I was left behind to bring baggage, procure the waggons & bring on the pickets of which we had 170 men on duty. The rain I did not mind at all; as with my indian rubber poncho & a pair of long boots which come up far beyond the knees, to say nothing of the overcoat, blanket & shawl strapped to the saddle, I can keep comfortable in any weather.

We appreciated comforts & luxuries fully in camp, but when need be I at least am prepared for any weather. I have lain out more than once with nothing to hide the moon & stars with much less furniture than I now carry & cannot conscientiously say that I suffered much. My health is good it seems to me as it can be. But with all these advantages I must say that a warm tent seems preferable to getting up at 4 oclock in the morning & marching some 30 miles on a stormy day, as the Brigade did who left the quarters yesterday morning of which we have now taken possession.

Be careful to protect the children against changes of the weather. The weather hitherto has been warm & from that weather they plunge at once into winter at New Hampshire. Change their clothing accordingly.

Give my love to Hannie & Elija & my respects to Bennet & Perkins. I will write to Charley next. Kiss the children.

Yours afftly

C. D. W.

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