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12th Massachusetts Infantry - Fletcher Webster Regiment

Item LTR-7147
November 30 (1861) Ezekiel P. Bourne
Price: $250.00


Original Civil War soldier's letter. 4 pages written in period ink.

November 30th (1861)
Camp near Seneca

Dear Brother,

As it is Sunday and there is nothing to do I will write to you. It is getting awful cold and we have to wear our overcoats all the time and drill with gloves on. We start tomorrow for Frederick. The roads are bad enough I tell you it takes a four horse team to carry the company’s tents and provisions. Company B of our Regiment has gone today as advance guard and Gordon’s 2d Massachusetts Regiment goes at 10 o’clock today. They will repair the roads so we can get along. It is a long march and the boys all dread it but will be glad when we get there as it is our winter quarters and is a large city. Our brigade is going there. We expect it will take four days to get there. Our knapsacks will weight down some. All our blankets and winter clothes in them, and the roads being so bad makes it ten times worse. We were on inspection last night, monthly inspection. It was a cold job stand an hour at shoulder arms. When we get to Frederick we shall get a mail every day, as the cars run there every day. The Brigade Surgeon was in our regiment last week. He gave us the compliment of being the healthiest regiment in the Brigade. He told Captain Bates he could tell when his Company marched by with his eyes shut. They were the happiest Company in the Regiment and were always joking or laughing. He spoke about the difference between our Regiment and Gordon’s. They all say that they never saw so much difference between two regiments from the same state. They are a brow beaten set and dare not say their souls are their own while there Officers are around. There Officers say that Webster’s men have got control of their Officers but it is not so. The Officers mix with the men and are not so stuck up and important as theirs are. They call us “Webster’s Cattle”. Webster says they are cattle on the march. But on review they can beat the crowd. When we march he lets us pick our way along the best we can. Gordon’s have to go in four ranks if it is up to their waists in mud or it is not military. But let them go they cannot get along side of us on drill. Company H can knock the spots out of their best Company. You may think I am bragging but it is no such thing. Every one that has seen us drill say that they never saw our equal on bayonet exercise which we have just commenced. Only drilled one month. We drill well as the rest of the companies that have been drilling ever since we arrived in Maryland. All the boys are picking out what they are going to carry tomorrow. We will have to leave our old uniforms as we shall have all we can carry without them. The N****s will all come out with new trousers and coats after we leave I reckon as they are always in camp after the tents are struck picking up the leavings. I was up two Major Peters and Old Fellow Major in the Mexican War. He gave six of us a dinner on Thanksgiving Day which was last Thursday here and it was the best I have had since I left home. Has Elias got my miniature yet? I am fat again as I was when that was taken and when I get to Frederick I will send another.

E. P. Bourne