Friday, August 26, 2016

Major Wilder Dwight: April 9, 1862

camp Near Edinburg, April 9, 1862.

Scene, camp, snowing and raining, and blowing angrily; Time, Tuesday morning. The Major Second Massachusetts Regiment enters his tent, shaking the dripping oil-skin cap and India-rubber clothing. He discovers John, his John, surnamed Strong i’ the arm, or Armstrong, digging a hole within the damp tent to receive some coals from the hickory fire that is trying to blaze without. John (loquitur). Sogering is queer business, sir. M. Yes, John. J. But it's hard, too, sir, on them that follers it. M. Yes, John. J. It's asy for them as sits to home, sir, by the fire, and talks about sogers and victories, very fine and asy like. It's little they know of the raal work, sir. M. Yes, John. J. ’T wouldn't be quite the same, sir, if they was out here theirselves trying to warm theirselves at a hole in the ground, sir. M. No, John. Then the coals are brought on, and a feeble comfort is attained. The woods are heavy without with snow and ice. In the afternoon I visit the pickets, and spend a chilly and wearisome day. This morning is again like yesterday. –––, who has shown himself  a trump in our recent exigencies, but who has certain eccentricities of manner and speech, came to breakfast this morning, rubbing his hands and saying, “You wouldn't hardly know that this was the South if you did n't keep looking on the map, would you? hey? What say?”

Since I wrote the above I have spent two hours in the hail-storm visiting pickets. This, then, is an invasion of the South, query?

We receive this morning news of the capture of Island No. 10, and the defeat of Beauregard.

Westward the star of — victory takes its way. How long can this thing last? Is it not collapsing with occasional throes of vigor, and are not these spasms the twitchings that precede death? I cannot say. But of one thing I am sure, that it will be warmer farther south; so I wish to go there. It is a week that we have hesitated on the bank of this stony creek; soon we will move on. Our signal-station on the neighboring mountain can see Jackson's camps beyond Mount Jackson, and his wagons, with teams hitched, ready to move at a moment's notice. We can advance again at any moment, by a prolonged skirmish.

I wish you all at home much better weather than we have, and the same peace and quietness.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 230-1

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