Pawpaw, March 7, 1862.It is one great satisfaction to me to reflect that you are not and cannot be here, or know anything of this life, and that in a few months (how long they seem!) shall know it only as a thing of the past. You speak of being plentifully supplied with pure air. I think I can surpass you at your own practice. On our return from Blooming Gap we slept on the ground in a thick snow-storm, and I was surprised to find myself not very cold. A good fire at one's feet is a comfortable thing at such a time.
near Yorktown, April 9, 1862.On Monday our company was not called into play until late in the afternoon, when we came in front of the Rebel batteries in two squads, supported by two regiments. Only our squad fired, and that with only thirty or forty shots; but the Rebels answered with volleys that would have cut us up if we had not been protected by a small knoll. I posted myself behind a large tree near the top of the knoll, and received some credit for coolness, but it was the coolness of perfect safety. Some doubts arose in my mind when the first shell came. It burst over my head so near that I felt the hot air on my face and the presence of the gas in my ears, and it scattered the branches all around me; but I thought it would not happen twice in succession, and stayed where I was. The Colonel, having found out what he wished to, retired, and we with him. It was growing dark, began to rain hard, and the roads, under the tramp of so many men, were mere sloughs. We had the choice to lie down in the mud or sit up all night about the fire. I chose the latter, and with a rubber blanket and a good fire was pretty comfortable.
camp near Yorktown, April 13, 1862.dear father,—I have received ten letters during the week. I cannot tell you how precious they are to me. The love and kindness in them all are enough to make one contented, if not happy, in far worse circumstances than mine. I wonder if I shall ever see you all again. I have very little fear of being killed, a great deal more of being sick; but I have not felt as though I were to die yet in either way. We are encamped, if the term may be used,—for we have no tents, and are sheltering ourselves in the cellar and outbuildings of a little farm-house, while the brigade are out in the fields and woods. Yesterday I spent the day with a dozen of our
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Ode recited at the Harvard commemoration, July 21 , 1865 .
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