Near Falmouth, Va., Feb. 16.
On the 2d we received two month's pay, and there was
a good deal of murmuring, as five months were due. There is a rumour around
camp that our corps is going to remain here while the rest of the Army goes to
the South and Southwest. But Dame Rumor is a fickle jade, so we don't place any
reliance in anything she utters. Thursday, last we started for picket on the
river, in a heavy snow-storm. It wasn't bad enough to be out in the storm, but,
as we passed the Reserve Post, we had such epithets as 'Cracker Hunters', 'Coal
Heavers' etc., thrown at us. But it was through a mistake, they thought we were
the One Hundred and Thirty-ninth (Persimmons) Regiment. We were on the reserve,
at an old mill a little distance from the river. Very few of us slept that
night, as the rain came down in a continual stream. I lay down under my rubber
blanket to sleep, but I didn't sleep long, as the water began to get a little
deep for me. I don't mind a couple of inches, but hang me if I can lie in it
six inches deep! Friday night, a scared corporal being on guard at the river,
and thinking he heard the 'Rebs' crossing, aroused the whole guard. Out they
tumbled, with their rifles in one hand, their shoes in the other, and put
themselves in a listening attitude. The moon now appeared, it having been
obscured by a cloud, and revealed to their anxious gaze ten or twelve large
muskrats sporting on the ice. There was a general laugh at the Corporal, and
the boys turned in to snatch a few hours more sleep.
Mercury, c. February, 1863.
Styple., W.B. (2000) Writing and Fighting the