Sunday, April 6th, 1862
I don’t know but you think I have forgotten you in delaying writing for so long a time, but the truth is all our movements of late have been in light marching order, everything being left behind except blankets and accoutrements. The last I wrote you, I believe, was dated Newbern where we stayed until the 18th when we again went aboard of the steamer, destination unknown. We landed up the creek about 7 miles; the same one that we landed at the mouth of before, and again took to land. Here we remained until 5 ½ o’clock, without having had any rations for one and one half-days, when 35 men from A company were picked out for a forced march of a dozen miles.
There was the 4th R.I. and the 8th Conn. It was the hardest march I ever saw; mud over shores, water often nearly knee deep, our haversacks empty, stomachs ditto. We arrived at deserted Secesh Camp barracks about 9 ½ o’clock where we made up fires and kept ourselves quite comfortable for the night. Some of our men were so completely exhausted that as soon as they got to the camp they fell upon the ground and could not be aroused. We again took up our line of march about 11 o’clock the next day, leaving a few companies to guard the barracks, on the road towards Morehead and Beaufort. We had proceeded but a short distance when we were halted and a day’s rations of hardtack and about ½ gill of whiskey given to each man. Our march was rather hard for the reason that we were so stiffened up by our last night’s tramp, but as we only marched nine miles we stood it pretty well. I was put upon picket the first night which I did not relish very much after the fatigue of marching, but lucky for me I had a pair of dry stocking in my pocket which were worth their weight in gold at such a time.
It was the 22nd when we arrived at Carolina City where we have remained in some shanties of boards which we have picked from some old dilapidated dwelling. The sesech burnt the principal buildings before they left. There has been a splendid vessel burnt near the fort since we have been here to prevent its falling into our hands. I have been out on picket 7 miles from camp with two day’s rations this last week and like it very much. We traded off our hardtack and salt horse for sweet potatoes and hoecake and had a fine mess of greens. When I got back, Co. A was on the other side of the sound, except a few sick ones who were left behind, and as our tents had come to pitch and floor them and get into camp once more. We expect the Co. back today but they may not be in, in several days. Our regiment is pretty well split up; two companies at Morehead, one at Beaufort, and ours over on the Island.
Fort Macon is situated upon the extreme west of the island and completely hemmed in by our forces, both by land and by water. Our gunboats will make an attack soon, assisted by the artillery, if they do not surrender. It seems a pity that they should attempt to hold it when they themselves know they cannot and it will probably cost them a great many lives. The garrison consists of 300 men which cannot hold it a great while against our mortars.
I received all your letters, the last with one from Father. I was much rejoiced to receive a letter from him. I was very sorry to hear that Uncle J.A. Tuller’s house was burnt. The deaths of Wm. Mather and wife; were they not sudden?
I will write a better letter next time.
Love to all,