Nov. 3rd, 1861
Having a few leisure moments of spare time I thought I could improve them no better than by writing to you. I presume that Mrs. Thompson has ere this informed you how she left us at Hunter’s Point. We stayed there in the depot till 8 o’clock and then went aboard the boat for South Amboy; it was raining very hard at the time. The whole of us (1000) were stowed into a steamer that was not large enough to accommodate more than half that number; every available niche of room was occupied, many of us lying with our heads upon each other.
We were told that it would take us about two hours to reach our destination but after we had been on board one we were, that is the boat was, hauled up to Pier No. 1 N. River to wait for the storm to abate. We lay there till one o’clock from where we sailed and reached S.A. in safety. At four o’clock we left the boat and a jollier, happier, set you never saw. We were got upon the cars with but little delay and tried to start for Philadelphia which was not so easy a job as you might imagine as we had on 19 passenger cars, but with the help of another engine we got under way and arrived safely at ½ after eleven o’clock where we had a huge dinner and if anyone ever did justice to a dinner, we did to that. I think I never tasted anything so good in my life. We stayed there until nearly five talking and shaking hands with everyone. After we were aboard of the cars, while they were passing through the city (they did not go faster than a person could walk) we were upon the platform, or with our arms out the window shaking hands and bidding every Goodbye. We were 27 cars in all, 19 with passengers, the rest with horses and baggage.
Eleven car couplings broke at different places before we reached this place. We arrived here not far from midnight and stretched ourselves in the depot as best we might expecting to be called to fall in to march to the boat at any moment. I never slept better in my life than I did last night; we were packed in pretty close though. We had some cracker delivered out to us this morning, and they disappeared very rapidly, many not having eaten anything since yesterday noon.
I never saw men in better spirits than we are at present. We are confined in and about the depot with a guard, some different from what we used to having, that is, much more strict.
There is regiment encamped near here beside our camp containing 900 trunks (?) and 900 horses. This place is situated upon the NE bank of the Susquehannah, upon the Baltimore, Wilmington and Philadelphia RR about thirty miles from the former place. This is a steam ferry boat which carries over a whole train of cars at once so there is no change of cars at this place for the south. We expect to leave on the boat every minute.
P.S. There is great excitement and cries of “fall in”: almost everyone is strapping on their knapsack. I’ve just asked the Capt. Whether I shall put mine on he says “no, I have had no order and you can finish your letter”. Annapolis we suppose to be our destination. Simsbury boys all well. I have seen them all today. My paper was wet on the boat. I am writing standing amid a great deal of noise.
Love to all,