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 pit 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.
Washington Correspondence, Washington, July 20, 1861
Editor Commercial: On the 14th inst. about 9 o’clock a.m., our 4th Mich. Regiment broke camp and marched down to the foot of 7th Street, where they embarked for Alexandria, where it was supposed they would remain until better armed and equipped, as their guns were of an inferior quality and 600 of them were un-provided with cartridges boxes. Being in camp on Saturday evening (13th inst.) I learned from the boys that Co. A. in fact the entire Regiment with a few exceptions were well, and well pleased with commissary arrangements.
Nelson and Stewart thought they would rather be soldiers than farmers, and that sentiment, so far as my observation reached, seemed to prevail through the Regiment.
The boys were all anxious to set their feet upon the “sacred soil of Virginia,” and take a part in putting the rebels to flight. They want to see the F.F.V’s,--“fleet footed Virginians,”—moving southward at a double quick.
Thinking of visiting the 4th Regiment on the 16th inst., I made inquiry of its whereabouts and was told, it, with all the Regiments on the other side of the river, was moving on towards Manassas Junction.
Since Sabbath morning 13,000 men have marched over into Virginia and yet they are going! Many who saw the first great movement against the rebels from this point on Thursday last, say they never saw so grand and imposing a sight, as an army of 45,000 men, armed in defense of constitutional and Republican liberty, marching against traitors who are armed in an unjust, unholy and humanity degrading cause.
There is an awful retribution in store for the instigators of the present troubles, who have for the gratification of disappointed, fiendish personal ambition, sought to destroy the wisest, and best government on earth; a government which has not laid a straws weight upon its subject for its support.
The House is not in session today, and many of the members have to gone to Manassas Junction to see the progress and result of a battle being fought there today or tomorrow. Late reports say Manassas is a strong position and strongly fortified and no doubt it will cost the lives of many brave men to take it. The above named place and Richmond furnish the last
retreats for the rebel army, and they will be defended with desperation. I learned a moment ago that our army extends for 8 miles in a southeasterly direction from Centerville, not yet having crossed Bull Run. Seven al siege guns (56 pounders) have been sent over today. The object is to drive the traitors from masked batteries so skillfully planted and hid as to be unnoticed by our scouts.
There was a great movement of troops last night, but everything is quiet today.
Yours in haste, S.C.H