Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Major Wilder Dwight, April 26, 1862

camp Near Harrisonburg, April 26, 1862, Saturday.

Rain! rain! rain! March! march! march! What a life! We marched fifteen miles yesterday, in mud and rain, to this point, and got into camp at night in reasonable comfort, but almost without rations, and now we are busy with the miserable interrogatory of what to eat?

Such is our experience. Colonel Andrews is again on detached duty, and, for the past few days, I have been in command. It is impossible to exaggerate the difficulty of taking care of a regiment when the whole Quartermaster and Commissary Departments of the army corps are in such hopeless confusion and debility.

No other army corps has the obstacles to contend against of this kind that we have. At Yorktown they have the sea, and the Western rivers bear supplies as well as gunboats. Here our wagons cannot bring supplies enough to last until they return from a second trip. We shall be driven to forage from the country; and I do not see any system adopted wise enough and prompt enough for that effort. But there is no use in croaking; we shall get out of the woods somehow, I suppose.

Among other short supplies, we are wholly without newspapers since a week ago. What is the news? I hope McClellan is silencing his opponents by silencing the enemy's batteries. That's his best answer.

Well, the first year of my military service expires this week. It has been a busy one. I am willing to enter on another, but I wish I could see the beginning of the end more clearly than I can. We didn't think the Southern Confederacy had a year's life in it a year ago. They have illustrated the power of able and unscrupulous leaders, and we have furnished some hints, at least, of the weakness of feeble and scrupulous leaders. I am in such a trite and moralizing frame of mind that I will spare you any further prosing.

We may go on to Staunton, and we may cross the gap to Gordonsville. We can't stay here much longer, and I hope my next letter may give you some guess at our future.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 240-1

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