The Blue Hen's Chickens.
In the Jersey City
Standard, of the 9th instant, we find a number of letters from the volunteers in Lincoln
's army, stationed at Washington
We make a few choice extracts, which present a mournful contrast to the brag and bluster of the politicians who have deluded these poor soldiers into the belief that they were setting out upon a campaign of glory and conquest.
One honest lad thus describes the first sensations of misery:
‘"Sunday night I first began to realize what a life it is I have commenced.
Everything was miserable.
"’ There were nearly one thousand of us crowded on one boat, with scarce hall room enough to lie down even, let alone to walk about.
At nine o'clock the drum beat for us to go to our ‘'bunks.'’ In the hold berths had been put up of rough boards, but even they would only accommodate half our number.
The rest had to wrap themselves in their blankets and sleep on deck.
I did the latter, as the hold was so close I feared I couldn't stand it. The officers fared better, occupying as they did the state-rooms.
‘"In the morning we were terribly hungry, and had to stay so, or eat said junk and one hard biscuit — that constituting our only allowance.
This is all that we have had to eat since we left, and only twice a day at that.--The steward, it is true, made pies, sandwiches, coffee, &c.; but charged one dollar for aple, twenty-five cents for a sandwich, and twenty cents for a cup of coffee, which prices were lar enough out of the reach of the exchequer of the most of us."’
On the arrival at Annapolis
things grew worse, and the writer thus ventilates his sorrows:
"Now came the roughest part.
We stayed all day at the Naval Academy, in company with part of a Rhode Island Regiment; but on Thursday morning, at four o'clock, we started for Annapolis Junction
, 28 miles off We could not march on the track, as we had our baggage wagons to see to. That was an awful hard walk, I tell you; and we had nothing to eat until ten o'clock, and then only two hard biscuit.
After eating this scanty breakfast, and an hour's rest, we resumed our march, and did not halt again, for any length of time, until six in the evening, when we had a piece of ‘'junk'’ served out to us. At eight o'clock we started again, and reached the Junction
at four A. M. of Friday, having marched twenty-four hours with hardly anything to eat. After we arrived we had to build fires, and catch an hour's sleep on the ground.
Over twenty of the boys gave out, and had to be carried on the baggage wagon.
‘"We met with no ‘'rebels'’ on our march, although we sent scouts out ahead.
We stayed all day at the Junction
, but not to rest,
as we had three full dress parades
in the hot sun. We don't look much like the soldiers who marched down Broad way the Sunday we left New York.
All our faces are skinned and sore, our hair cut off close to the skin, and our clothes dirty and torn.
It has been very hot."’
Another soldier, from the same State, uses John Hickman
's desk, in the House of Representatives, for the purpose of writing to the editor of the Standard ‘"a little history:"’
‘"We left Trenton
, where we slept in tents and barracks, on Friday afternoon. The food was very poor at first, and we refused to eat it. About four days after we upset the tables and threw the fat meal and bad butter at the negro, but our sufferings were slight compared to what other companies were obliged to submit to."’
The same writer describes his first experience of soldiering in Washington
"After arriving in Washington
, in our hunt for quarters we paraded the streets through the mud and rain till four o'clock this morning, when we burst in the door of a large iron building on Pennsylvania Avenue, near the Capitol
, and went to sleep.
‘"I have now slept on very hard boards for three nights, with nothing but my wet knapsack for a pillow, and a blanket for covering.
We are trying to get straw for to-night."’
With one more extract from a third letter, we leave the Blue Hen
's Chickens to their sorrows:
#x34;When we came here we had no place to ‘'turn in,'’ and walked the streets for three hours in a drenching rain, until finally we fetched up at a place in Pennsylvania avenue, where we are now quartered.
"I can tell you, it almost took the fight out of us. The streets through which we marched looked like a burying-ground — the ‘'white folks,'’ as the darkies said whom we once in a while met, ‘'bein'’ away on de farm.
‘'I don't wish to go to Annapolis
again in a hurry, for a more gloomy place I never saw."’