camp Near Winchester, Virginia, March 20, 1862.
I have no sympathy with the strains of peace which come to me in your last letters. Indeed, I am so much dispirited by our inaction, that I have hardly energy for letter writing or elasticity for effort of any kind. McClellan's order, which should be a clarion, is simply an irritant. Here we are, and it is a week since we pitched our tents near Winchester. Daily duty comes with every day. We have had our seed-time and our harvest season, but no fruit. . . . . I presume I love life and home and friends as much as any one, but I would sooner give them all up to-day than have our regiment go home empty. . . . .
As for Howard, if he closed his eyes honorably on Pea Ridge he has only my envy.
I hope we may get orders of some kind soon. Even long marches and picket duty, of which we have done too much already, are better than this hopeless idleness in the rear of the vaunted Army of the Potomac.
If you have any prayers to give, give them all to the supplication that the Second Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers may find a field whereon to write a record of itself. Do not spend your days in weakly fearing or regretting this or that life, — lives whose whole sweetness and value depend upon their opportunities, not on their length.
SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 213-4