whose coming we made coffee and disposed of a box of sardines and a few hard crackers, making a very comfortable breakfast. . . . . Mother makes me laugh when she talks about hardships, for I have suffered nothing yet. I am exceedingly tough, and in better health and less capable of being fatigued than when I was at home.
I eat with a fine appetite and enjoy my meals with Sancho Panza's gusto.
The new year found the regiment encamped opposite Fredericksburg
It was just after our terrible repulse before that city, and the feeling throughout the army was exceedingly gloomy.
The rations were short; many of the men were sick.
The coughing at night sounded mournfully.
Arthur was off duty for a few days, but soon recovered both health and spirits.
Under date of January 25th, after returning from an expedition defeated by rain and mud, he writes, ‘We seem to be destined not to go into a fight.
We were just too late last year for the Bull Run
and the Fredericksburg
fights, and this expedition has turned out a failure.’
In February he replies to a letter from his aunt as follows:—
It is very refreshing to listen to your sentiments in regard to the soldiers and the cause of the Union.
Nothing truer has been said than that the women sustain the war, North and South.
You perceive by this that I am not wanting in appreciation of the influence and importance of the sex. I received ——'s letter a day or two before yours, and take this opportunity to assure you that my political views are the same as his. I am first for supporting the government and prosecuting the war by every constitutional means, without regard to prejudices of color or race, and with the destruction of slavery in view as an aid in restoring the Union.
I look on the bright side whenever there is one, and have a good deal to do to fight the desponding views of the men, who are many of them too ready to believe evil reports and to discredit good ones.
Whether or not the direct object of Providence is by means of this war to overthrow slavery, I am convinced that this will be the result, and shall rejoice to see it accomplished.
Arthur was naturally desirous of promotion; but in a letter, dated March 8, expresses himself as follows:—