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[55]

The regiment had very hard service at first, and then was converted into heavy artillery, and kept at Fort Albany, with always a hope of being ordered into active service. The climate was formidable, in respect to fever and ague, and at one time they had a hundred and twenty men on the sick-list from this one cause. Simmons was also ill for a time with this disease, early in September, and perhaps never fully recovered from its effects. The change of armament and service necessarily threw very hard work upon the Adjutant, because of the great amount of writing required; and then, before having any opportunity to take part in active service, he was taken ill again, and felt that he could never do anything more. It was a bitter disappointment. Apparently he had never dreaded the thought of death,—certainly not of being killed in battle, —but to be a permanent invalid was an appalling prospect. After his return he said, indeed, that, had his position been one where an invalid could have been of any service, he would gladly have remained and have died in his place.

After a severe exposure, one October night, he was attacked with violent congestion of the lungs, followed by bleeding; but he tried for some time to convince himself that he was gaining, and would not apply for leave of absence, being at last decisively ordered away by the surgeons. The following letters tell the story:—

Fort Albany, October 22, 1861.

I am sick to-day. Have had to detail a lieutenant to perform my out-door duties. Had to ride to the other end of Long Bridge the other day, in a pouring rain, without cape or leggins. Have been out for a week together, since I was in camp, without damage, but this time am quite knocked up by it. Rode the same morning out to the Rebel lines near Fairfax Court-House; and perhaps that was the reason I took cold, being tired. You say, perhaps we shall not be here. I hope we shall not. It will be heart-breaking if we are. There is a great stir in our camp to-night. I feel just sick enough to care nothing about it; but if a kind Providence should inspire General McClellan to order us forward, with or without our guns, I should be very glad to go, sick or well.


Fort Albany, (toujours,) October 31, 1861.

I have checked my hemorrhage, in spite of constant horseback


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