which last I have checked to a considerable extent, to a degree which I never thought I should be able to.
He had never been a horseman, and this requirement of his new position was not at all agreeable.
The horse he had purchased at Washington
, before rejoining his regiment, was a fertile source for his half-serious, half-joking abuse.
‘I wish,’ he says, ‘Uncle Sam would allow his majors to walk.
The horse has passed the largest part of his valuable existence, since I became his unwilling owner, tied to a stake back of my tent, where I can distinctly hear every sneeze and cough, every motion of the quadruped. . . . . Nature never intended me for a horseman.
I hate the beasts.’
On the 9th of October, the regiment was moved to Pleasant Valley
On October 24th he writes:—
‘For five weeks our men “have fought, marched, dug, slept, ate, and camped out in the same clothes,” having but one suit.’
He then describes his great relief since the return of the Lieutenant-Colonel
He is willing to bear his own share, and more;
but it is hard to do three men's work, and get blown up for six, and to tread with the greatest caution, lest you come upon the military gouty toes of some precise old tactician, who roars in wrath at the slightest error in your course of proceeding. . . . . If I live to come back, it won't be for want of all sorts of training that I am not evenly developed, body and mind.
The army under General Burnside
now moved southward in a line parallel to that pursued by the retiring army of Lee
down the Shenandoah Valley.
On the 10th of November, near Jefferson
We have been marching incessantly since November 1st; had snow-storms; slept tentless about the whole time; had salt pork, raw; hard bread, and coffee sugarless, where we could get it, and thankful for it. O, it's jolly campaigning in the winter; turning into a potato-field, in a driving snow-storm, to sleep. . . . . I think that we shall see a fight soon.
The Rebels are close to us; and, while I write, the cannonading is incessant.
I shall try to do my duty like a man, when the time comes.
On November 13th he was again (and the third time) put in