On board Steamer “Chasseur”
Off Roanoke Island
March 11th, 1862
As we are about moving for some place we know not where, I thought I would pencil a few lines to you to keep you as well posted as possible. We left camp (rather broke up camp) last Wednesday and were conveyed bag and baggage aboard this steamer bound for someplace, rumor says Newbern, but it is as likely to be some other place.
Saturday, orders from Gen. Burnside were received that the 1st, 2nd and 3rd brigades should hold themselves in readiness to march on an hours notice, each man to carry one woolen blanket, one days rations in his haversack (two others to be cooked and carried in bulk,) 40 rounds of ammunition in the cartridge boxes and twenty more in pockets. Each man is to be held responsible for his blanket and the excitement of an engagement or of a charge will not be deemed a reasonable excuse for their loss. We are eager for a start and shall probably go today and we expect to make a hole somewhere when we move. It is likely that the fleet and land forces will act in conjunction and while the former peppers them in front, we shall attack them in the rear. Sunday night we heard of the taking of Nashville with 8000 prisoners, whether it is true or not we do not know as we have heard no confirmation. We want to do a big thing here as well as the army in Tennessee, and if we succeed in cutting railroad communication between north and south Secession it will be a big thing. There will doubtless be a large number killed on both sides, but will it not be a good time to die? A man better die fighting for his country than at home. There is not the dread of Death here as there; but I expect like everyone else to come out alive. I have yet to see the man that did not. It is much the best way on the men to go into action with high hopes and good spirits instead of feeling low and depressed.
There has been some talk of enlisting in the regulars. The recruiting officer has been around in some regiments and many have enlisted. He has not been here and probably not in this division, but doubtless will be. I should like very much to enlist but will not until I hear from home, and know what you think about it. As for me, I should like it better than anything else I can do. Write what Father and Mother think about it when you receive this.
There was a soldier shot last night in the upper part of the thigh. It was about 11 o’clock when a pistol which another man accidently lost from his berth; the jar fired it off. The ball is left in him and will probably not be taken out, as it is only a flesh wound and nothing serious.
I have received no mail for nearly two weeks and am very anxious to receive one. We shall, I think, start before getting one as the anchor is being weighed at the present time, and in a few moments we shall be off. If we pass Hatteras we may have an opportunity of sending letters and perhaps receive mail. We have started, and are now under way.
Respects to all. Write soon and often.