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We Raised Our Colors Beat Our Drums [28 August 1861]

We Raised Our Colors Beat Our Drums

[28 August 1861]


Aug 28 1861

Headquarters Camp Cameron, Washington, D.C.


My Dear Aunt,

As it is rather rainy and wet this morning and I am excused from drill. I can think of no better way of improving my time than in directing my thoughts towards home well knowing that you will be glad to hear from me. I am seated in my tent on my knapsack with my cartridge box in my lap for a desk as independent as a king. Quite a fancy way of writing so you must excuse me if I do not do this paper justice situated as I am.

I arrived at camp on Rikers Island after leaving your place the following Sabbath1 afternoon after spending over half a day with Mr Sawtell. Found our regiment making hasty preparations for their departure which took place the Wednesday following at 6 o’clock P.M. We took the boat2 for Elizebethport N.J. without stopping at N.Y. City at all. When we arrived at "E" we took the cars for Baltimore passing through Reading and Harrisburg, Penn when this side of Harrisburg our engine was thrown off the track by a rail in the track being misplaced about nine o'clock at night. I suppose by some of the rebels although there was union guards along the road to protect it. There was Southerners living near there and it was very dark so it is not known whether it was them or not. Fortunately the train was going very slow so that none was injured. We immediately after starting the next morning loaded our arms having learned that the southerners were calculating to mob us in Baltimore (they thinking that our pieces were not loaded.)

When we arrived there we got off the cars and formed in a line of Battle. The crowd began to gather around when one of our men accidentally shot off one of his hands which disclosed to them that we had loaded guns, they finding we were so well armed, did not attempt to molest us. We stood in line about half an hour when we found we had got to march two miles through the city in order to take the cars for Washington. ln marching there we raised our colors beat our drums and Hurrahed for the union just as much as we were a mind to. When we got to the depot a sad accident occured. Our men were allowed too much liberty and the foolish fellows went right to some grocery and bought liquor in which poison was administered so that two of them died in about an hour.

We arrived in this place Friday night about 9 o'clock. Went once prepared to encamp for the first time right out in open air on a gravelly hill near by. We awoke in the morn to find ourselves almost wet through with dew but very much refreshed from our tiresome ride. Never slept better in my life. We are now quartered at Camp Cameron, the most pleasant situation around here and the quarters of the Seventh Regiment [7th New York State Militia was stationed at Camp Cameron May 2-23, 1861] when they were here. we have plenty of water (two good springs) and everything that we could expect. My eyes are some better so I feel well contented and happy although I often think of home. Our payroll is being made out today and the calculation is I believe that we will be paid off Monday next. our company is expected as the left wing to take the leading column in the next Battle.

We are to have the new minnie muskets. We were to have enfield rifles but these are supposed to be better than them.

Well, my dear Aunt, it is clearing off and I guess l shall have to drill after all so please excuse me for this time and I try and do better the next. Give my best respects please to all of our folks, Mr. Trimble and all others who are kind enough to enquire. I wrote to Mr Trimble's folks yesterday. Oh! how is your health?

Now please write me particularly every illness as I shall be anxious to hear from you all and shall look for a letter soon. I will now close by bidding you adieu. I may never see you again but I will now close hoping for the best and remaining your affectionate nephew,



Alfred C. Woods

P.S. Please direct as follows

Anderson Zouaves

Camp Cameron

Washington, D.C. Company E care of Capt Riggs


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