Camp near Fredericksburg, Va.
December 8th 1862
It is with great pleasure I take this opportunity of writing a few lines to you and answering your letters. I should have written long before but have had no time or conveniences for doing so. You know when I entered the Battery again. I had not been on duty two days before we had orders to march. Well we have been marching ever since until we encamped here and now we are under strict marching orders. We marched out to Warrenton. We stayed there a few days, then we marched back to Fairfax. Then we had travelled 80 miles. Then to Fredericksburg is a long distance. I don’t exactly know how far it is. Through all this march, it rained constantly. You can judge how the roads were with a whole division traveling over it. We marched for ten days steady. You can think how pleasant it was after we marched all day to encamp with no tents—nothing but the coverings of our guns to cover us—hungry, wet and cold, tired. I tell you, Father, I thought something about my snug little room above the warm dining room. ¹
Father you must not blame me for getting a little homesick and wishing the war was over so I could come home. Father, if I could come home safe, I would be contented to live on the poorest fare and in a barn or cellar for we have no tents yet. It has been snowing and it is very, very cold. It seems to me I never was so cold as now. But I must not fill your ears with my troubles. You have enough to think of taking care of the family. Don’t think of me for I guess I shall live through it an if God spares me to come home again, I will be an Old Soldier or Patriot—but my patriotism is most worn out.
Father, you must not expect to see me this winter for we are not going in winter quarters at all. We expect to encamp out all the rest of our time unless Richmond is taken before spring, which event I am afraid will not happen.
I have not received your letter with my receipt for my box, but I shall write for it as soon as possible. I cannot think of any way to get my boots so you had better wait till there is a good chance to send them. I would like to write more but it is so cold and I have to lie down to write so I shall close and write more another time. I have received two from you & one from Amanda. I cannot answer hers yet but will as soon as I can. Please remember me to Mother. Tell her not to worry about me. I think always of her kindness and yours. Much respect and love from your soldier boy.
Direct all letters to Washington D. C. in care of Captain A. J. Clark
— C. V. H.
¹ From Michael Hanifen’s book on Battery B (p. 33): “November 15th, army marched past our camp on its way to Falmouth, Va. It, with its immense trains of artillery, wagons and ambulances, was passing until November 21st. Next day we were rear guard. Marched to Catlett’s, from there to near Brentsville, thence to Wolf Run Shoals, where we were caught in a snow storm. The ford was barely passable, and the roads, owing to the recent rains and travel of trains preceding, almost impassable. Our next bivouac was at Stafford Court House; thence to Falmouth, arriving there at dusk, Nov. 26th. The plains near there were already dotted with hundreds of camps. It was necessary to go back a mile to procure fuel to make our coffee. The wind was strong and cold. No tents were erected. Many men spent the night shivering over the embers of the camp fires. Owing to a mistake of Gen. Halleck the pontoons which should have been at Falmouth Nov. 25th did not arrive until December 10th, when we received orders to be ready for the attack on Fredericksburg next morning. All was ready. About half past five the signal, two guns on the right were fired; then all was quiet for half an hour. Then, from oyer one hundred cannons, from ten to thirty-pound calibre, fire opened along our front. The ground trembled with the shock. The fire continued until noon, during which time our engineers had laid a pontoon bridge below the city, but were repulsed in front of the city by the deadly fire of the enemy’s sharp shooters concealed in buildings near river bank. Finally men rowed across the river, dislodged the enemy and the bridge was finished. We were spectators of the bombardment. We lay in front of the city all day, and bivouacked there. About noon the fire upon the city slackened up for an hour. In this fight we took no part.”