Bygones of Monroe:
From the Fourth Regiment Camp 5 Miles West of Alexandria, VA, July 15, 1861
Saturday at 5 p.m. while we were at Camp Mansfield, we received orders to prepare ourselves with one days cooked rations, baggage packed, and be ready for marching orders. We received such order Sunday morning at 9 a.m. and at 11 a.m. had struck our tents, formed our Battalion, loaded baggage, tents, stoves, sick, etc, on some 20 baggage wagons, and commenced a Sabbath days journey towards the seat of war. After walking about 9 miles, and riding down the Potomac in the Philadelphia and Baltimore, about 8 miles we pitched our tents here in a large raspberry barren. We had finished our tents about 9 p.m.
We have just finished dinner as I write. Somehow new potatoes found their way into Camp and our boys have a good quantity of them, as well as young beets.
There is a bountiful supply of raspberries, which are relished heartily.
We saw several camps this side of Alexandria and some quite amusing incidents. Succession pigs, ducks, geese, chicken, etc, are not allowed to pass our men without the countersign. One of the Zouaves by the side of the road had a small pig in his arms, which he caused to squeal in a very humorous manner by stroking the hair on its back the wrong way; another was fondling a quiet duck, and others had chickens in their haversacks.
The Zouaves have been regaling our boys with some rather quixotic accounts of adventures. You doubtless see some of these in the papers. Our experience here makes us incredulous, else we should send home every day accounts of great fights against fearful odds. The Zouaves are real genuine N.Y. city boys. Their officers dare not subject them to military discipline.
We are informed that we shall have to march tomorrow morning for Manassas. We feel very proud of the position given our Regiment. While the 2nd and 3rd are on the other side of the Potomac we are going right forward to the front with prospect of seeing work immediately. We go with the Michigan 1st under Col. Wilcox who is for the time Brig. Gen. It seems to your correspondent that he is urging matters forward, hoping by some brilliant achievement to ensure the appointment as Brig. Gen. This is a surmise which you need place little value upon for soldiers are not allowed to know much.
We hope earnestly that we shall be placed in a Brigade under Gen. Williams.
We are within half a mile of the 1st Michigan. They have been furnished with 40 rounds of cartridges which they will divide with us. While I am writing their band is playing beautifully.
I am writing on a stump and too much pleased to think of anything but our fine prospect of seeing service soon.
We can forgive for all scant rations and hard fare if we can get at work soon.
In haste, A.
(Monroe Commercial, July 25, 1861, Page 2, Column 2)