Thursday, March 5, 2009

Letters from Soldiers

From Northampton Free Press, Northampton, Mass. Feb. 28 1862


(The following letter, from a Northampton boy in the 31st Regiment, Butler's Brigade, on board the steamer Mississippi, which arrived a Fortress Monroe soon after noon, on Wednesday, 24th inst.)
We left Lowell, Feb. 20th, about ten o'clock, being detained for two or three hours by snow, and reached Boston soon after 12. Here I had the opportunity of spending about half and hour with some friends, when we came on board the steamer. Soon after we came on board, the vessel was towed into the stream and moored. A few of the men were left on shore and some baggage, which were brought off in lighters. One fellow, who had been trying Boston “forty rod,” was so much elevated the he was precipitated into the water, but was hoisted on board with no other damage than a good ducking. We got under weigh about 12, Friday 21st inst.
Feb. 22 - It fell to my lot to be on guard last night, two hours on and four hours off, and it was rather cold work as we rounded Cape Cod. I have not been sick yet, although many of the boys are quite sick. As we expect ot stop at Fortress Monroe, I shall try to send you a few lines. The Ware boys were fortunate enough to receive two or three boxes of luxuries, which were very acceptable. We have on board four companies of the Maine 13th.
Feb. 24th, 11a. m., we came in sight of a lighthouse about nine o'clock, which we have passed, and have just passed a federal gunboat, with eight guns at the port holes, and one or two large guns on deck. Saluted them with three rousing cheers, which were heartily returned. Should think there were fifty or seventy-five men on board. Last night it was quite foggy, and we run considerably out of our course,--fifty miles I hear say. This morning it is clear, the wind fair, and as we come up the bay it is a beautiful sight to see so many sail speeding their course. The pilot boat Coquette of Baltimore ran down by and tacked round us, but no one has come on board. Wild ducks are very thick around us an some wild geese, and the boys have tried their revolvers at them, but none of them have been hurt. As I write this while lying on my back in my bunk, with my tin plate for a desk, you may find it rather hard to decipher. I will bid you good bye. Yours, N.
FRIEND BURT:- I take this opportunity to inform you of our progress towards Ship Island. We left Boston Friday, 21st inst., on board steamer Mississippi, with our 31st regiment, and 500 of Col. Neal Dow's men, of Maine. - Saturday we celebrated Washington's birthday, Col. Neal Dow's chaplain reading Washington's Address; then Neal Dow gave us a temperance speech, which was followed by singing the Star Spangled Banner. It made the boat ring, when 1500 lifted up their voices in song together. The steamer runs very still and smooth. Sunday we had divine services and a good sermon by the Maine chaplain. - Monday morning we were near Fortress Monroe, where we shall stop to take on Gen. Butler and others. Our men are enjoying it much. Western Bay State Boy.

A private letter from Lieut. H. C. Dwight, dated Feb. 22d, from Burnside's Division, states that Lieut. Fred C. Wright, who had been sick with typhoid fever since the battle, is now recovering. The 23d 24th and 27th Mass. Regiment, were preparing to leave for some point up the Sound.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Burnside Expedition

Article from Northampton Free Press, Northampton, Mass. Feb. 28 1862
The Burnside Expedition

The number of prisoners taken at Roanoke Island is now put down in the official report at 2488. When our forces took possession of Edenton, part of the flying artillery regiment variously estimated at 100 to 300, fled precipitately, without facing our shot. Many of the inhabitants also left. There are no fortifications at or in the water approaches to Edenton. Among the results of the expedition are the destruction of eight cannon and one schooner on the stocks at Edenton. Two schooners were captured in the sound, one having 4000 bushels of corn. Six bales of cotton were taken from the custom house wharf. There were no public stores in the town or custom house employ. Com. Goldsborough says they remained tow hours abreast the town, and were visited by the authorities and others, many of whom professed sentiments of loyalty.