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I Began to Feel the Duties of a Soldier [13 October 1861]

I Began to Feel the Duties of a Soldier

[13 October 1861]

 

[Special Correspondence of the Sunday Mercury.]

ANDERSON ZOUAVES.

Camp Holt, Washington.}

October 8th, 1861.

 

To the Editors of the Sunday Mercury.

Having a little time to spare, I thought that I would give your readers some idea of our camp life.

This regiment, at the present time, numbers nearly the full standard, and its officers, no doubt, rank second to none, although I must say, that there was some little difficulty and delay in the War Department in recognizing us, but we have at last arrived at the seat of war as efficient a body of men as there is in the three year service.

With such men as Colonel Riker and Lieut. Colonel Tisdale,* and Major Dayton, at our head there is no doubt but we will prove ourselves very troublesome to the enemy. As for the Adjutant Scullen, too much cannot be said, for he is a gentleman and a soldier in every respect.

It is true that we have met with a great many accidents in our organization, but our friends and the public have every confidence that we will do our duty. We are at the present in Peck’s Brigade, which, in part, is composed of the Anderson Zouaves, Fifty-fifth New York State Volunteers, Sixth New Jersey Volunteers, and the Thirteenth Pennsylvania State Volunteers, all healthy and hardy young men, ready at the commander’s call.

Last week we were reviewed by the president, and he has every confidence in us.

Yesterday we were reviewed by Prince De Joinville and Gen. Peck and Staff.

We were encamped on Riker’s Island for some six or seven weeks, which place we started from on the 21st of August, at 9 o’clock p. m., on the steamer Kill Von Kull, thence to Elizabethport, where we took the cars for Baltimore, where we arrived on the 22d at 9 a. m. We marched through the principal streets to the upper depot, cheered along the way by the old and the young. We took the cars for Washington at 1 o’clock the same day, and arrived there on the 23d, at 11 p. m., where we took our suppers and retired (on the top of a hill ) for the night. When we arose in the morning  I began to feel the duties of a soldier.  We had our breakfast  and the boys took to rambling  through the city and the Capitol – the latter place they seemed to admire very much – and about 1 o’clock the line formed on B street, and we took up our line of march for Meridian Hill, better known as Camp Cameron, where we arrived about 5 o’clock p. m., when we were reviewed by Secretary Seward. At 6 o’clock we pitched our tents and retired for the night. We were encamped there for five weeks, which the boys enjoyed until they got paid ; some of them, tired of camp life, rambled toward the city for a few hours leisure, where, I must say, they behaved themselves very well, the provost guard were very vigilant in arresting every one in uniform that did not have a pass.

On the 10th of September we got our orders to strike tents and march for our present encampment which is on the outskirts of Washington, in a small village called Kalorama. It is very healthy and pleasant, although the nights are cool.

As regards our rations, we can’t complain, considering the present state of affairs. The reveille beats at 5 o’clock a. m., battalion drill at 10 o’clock a. m. and 3 o’clock p. m., dress parade at sunset, tattoo at 9, and taps at 10 o’clock.

We are at present ready to march at a moment’s notice and the boys are anxious to try themselves.

 

Fifth Ward, M. C.

 

* This officer has since resigned

Letter to the Sunday Mercury, October 13, 1861. 62nd NYSV Co I Homepage