Yours Affectionately – November 22, 1862

Yours Affectionately – November 22, 1862

Camp of 120th Regt

near Occoquan Nov 22 1862

My dear wife

I received your letter of the 16th Inst. Enclosed. I send to you a Carte de visite taken at Washington which I have just received. It represents me in the only suit of clothes I carry with me on the march.

We are halting here for rest after a severe march, during a continual rain storm of two days. One of the Captains in the Brigade to which we are attached (Excelsior Brigade, Col. G. B. Hall Commander of Hookers old Division, Brig Gen. D. E. Sickles Commanding of Hookers Army Corps, on detached service) told me that he had seen nothing in service on the Peninsula to equal the exposure night before last. One of my servants was sick and I let him ride on my horse, during a severe rain, which saturated my blanket when uncovered by my indian rubber cloak. We encamped at dusk & while endeavoring to build a fire with my overcoat & rubber cloak removed, another dash of rain saturated me. Along in the night however I procured my tent which sheltered me from the rain, although I had to sleep on the wet ground with wet blankets. In the night my horse broke loose & before I returned to my tent my teeth rattled with a shake like a severe ague[1]. At daylight we were in line ready for a march.

The departure for our Division from Warrenton Junction was a retreat burning stores & buildings behind us although it was part of the general movement abandoning that part of the railroad between Bull Run & Warrenton to the enemy who followed us. As yet we have had no engagement. We are on the march now probably to protect the country between Occuquan & Fredericksburgh. Our Division though numbering 18 regiments & well equipped does not equal that to which the 20th was attached under McDowell at this time last Fall. Our own is the only new regiment in the Division. The others have been much reduced, the Division having suffered more & seen the hardest fighting of any other in the Army.

Genl Patterson, the Commander of one of our Brigades shot himself last night[2]. His Brigade, together with that of Genl Carr & our own from the Division. The two first are camped close together.

My own health continues to be excellent. Dr Van Hoevenburgh[3] & myself have today united our tents. The forward one is used for cooking & the servants. In the rear one, we have beds, chairs & a table while the two are warmed by the same stove. The tent is very warm & comfortable while I am writing although outside there is a freezing North Wester. We are to March however in the morning & I have not much time to spare for writing. The matters referred to in your letter I will attend to when I am able to visit Washington. Be careful of the children & if the diphtheria is about return to Kingston.

Yours afftly

C. D. W.

[1]                 Ague is a term used to describe a malarial fever and spasm.

[2]                 Patterson had retreated from combat under conditions that were not seen as terribly dangerous. He was relieved of his command by Gen. Daniel Stickles who, in a statement supporting his decision, described Patterson as “quite ill” and the matter as “delicate”. Official Records, Vol 19, Pt.2, pp. 562-563.

[3]                 Dr. J. O. Van Hoevenburgh, Surgeon to the 120th.

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