In camp near Fredericksburg, Va.
August 7th, 1862
Knowing you would be anxious to know of my whereabouts, I take the first opportunity of addressing a few lines to you.
We left camp at Newport News, Saturday, August 2nd about 10 o’clock P.M. and went aboard the steamer “Columbia.” I was one of a detail of 75 men to load and unload baggage and convey it aboard. We were detail at 4 P.M. and finished at 3 A.M. Wednesday morning. I can tell you we felt like sleep about the time we finished our work.
We were all put upon one small steamer – baggage, horses and all – and the weather was hot, hotter, hottest. You can judge of the room we had but I was fortunate enough to get a place upon the hurricane deck and got all the breeze there was. We left the dock, or rather the steamer started the trip, about noon. We left Fortress Monroe at 4 P.M., arriving Aquia Creek next P.M. Went ashore next (Tuesday) morning, took the cars for the South. Here again I was fortunate enough to get on top of a box car and was quite comfortable while the train was in motion. The road runs through the finest country I ever saw and contrasts strangely with the country we have seen heretofore. The place where we at last brought up is the pleasantest place I ever saw. The railroad runs through a fertile valley with low hills upon each side. We toiled up one of these hills to the east with our knapsacks and accoutrements on under a blazing sun, many falling out by the way. After supper, on reaching the top of the hill, we had a splendid view of the city of Fredericksburg and the village of Falmouth which lie west of the railroad upon either side of the Rappahannock. There are very many nice farm houses surrounded by any quantity of shade and fruit trees – some built the same style as Chester Seymour’s, but nicer. One peculiarity about the hilly land here is that it is so free from stones of any size and the land is comparatively smooth and the hills nearly regular. I saw some that were perfect cones and others that are in ranges so the sides are like the sides of a huge roller.
In the P.M. we were marched down the hill to the opposite side of the railroad where we bivouacked for the night. Yesterday pitched tents and commenced housekeeping. We have not had any rations yet but lucky for us we were paid off before we started.
There are picketing skirmishes nearly every —— (words missing) —— We shall probably advance in a short time.
Enclosed find 30 dollars. I received express bill yesterday. Think the box will be forwarded without doubt as letters from Newport News are forwarded daily. I send you by mail the paper published here.
Direct: Burnside’s division, Fredericksburg, Va. via Washington.
I gave this to the Chaplain to send by express but could not. I have to take out the money.