Yours truly, Mrs. J. E. Hamlin
From Geneva Gazette 12 September 1862
Camp Prouty, Harper's Ferry
September 1, 1862
No doubt many of the readers of the GAZETTE would be glad to learn the
whereabouts, condition, &c., of the gallant 126th Reg't N. Y. S. V.
We left Camp Swift, Geneva, Tuesday morning, August 26, took boat
for Watkins, from thence to Elmira, at which place the regiment
received their rations, arms, (which are Springfield rifles, musket
1861,) tents, &c.; in fact everything complete for the regiment to
take the field. Started from Elmira at sundown, via N. C. R. R.,
arrived at Harrisburg at half-past six A. M. Wednesday; passed through
and arrived at Baltimore, Md., at half-past one P. M.
The regiment everywhere along the line of railroad was greeted
with hearty cheers, and treated in the most courteous manner. At
Baltimore the regiment was sumptuously entertained by the "Union Relief
Whilst passing through Baltimore grim looks and wry faces were
evidently seen, but the regiment passed through in perfect order and
silence. Here and there the National colors were flung to the
breeze, and at the sight of the "dear old flag," the gallant volunteers
of the memorable 26th Senatorial District would give vent to their
in three hearty cheers, which would be responded to by the waving of
small flags, handkerchiefs, &c.
At Baltimore we received orders to proceed immediately to Harper's
Ferry, for which place we started at 6 P. M., and after spending much
of the night on the cars near Sandy Hook Station, at a "dead halt," we
arrived at the romantic, God-forsaken, pillaged, and ever-memorable
Harper's Ferry, celebrated for the advent of John Brown in the land of
Dixie. After disembarking, the troops were formed into line, and
the order, "column, forward !" being given, the field and staff leading
the advance, and
with the band playing Yankee Doodle, the thousand anxious hearts wound
their way to the heights overlooking Sesessia. A fine, level camp
ground being selected, which slopes to the east, west, north and south,
the boys with alacrity pitched their tents and set about cooking their
first meal (supper) in camp -- a sight which many ladies of the 26th
District would have enjoyed.
Various reports are being circulated in camp that old "Stonewall" is
near, and will be down upon us; but let him come, the 126th will give
him a warm reception.
In order to give your readers some idea of the amount of work which we
do, I append the following rules and regulations of our camp: 1st
reveille, 5 A. M.; 2d, squad drill, 6 A. M.; 3d, breakfast, 7 A. M.;
4th, Surgeon's call, 6 1/2 A. M.; 5th, guard mounting, 8 A. M.; 6th,
squad drill, 8 1/2 A. M.; 7th, company drill 11 to 12; 8th, dinner, 12
M.; 9th, company and squad drill, 5 P. M.; 10th dress parade retreat,
11th, tattoo, 9 P. M.; 12th, taps, 9 12 P. M.
Thus, many readers of the GAZETTE will see that activity is the
watchword of the "bloody" 126th. Our field and staff are perfect
gentlemen, and watch with fatherly care over the regiment. The
health of the regiment is exceedingly good, having scarce a dozen in
the hospital, and they are not very sick. All are convalescent
and will be out in a few days. More anon.
John H. Brough, Lieut. Co. E, 126th Reg't N. Y. S. V.
From Geneva Courier 18 February 1863
A Letter from the Army
On Picket, Scott's Creek, Va.
Sunday, Feb. 8th, 1863
Unless we soldiers keep pretty good track of the day of the week, we
are liable to get confounded, as was the case with one of my comrades
yesterday, who dated his letter Thursday instead of Saturday. I
will allow that I was puzzled just now, till a sagacious "Contraband"
come along and set me right, and volunteered the information that
Charleston was "tooked." Almanacs and other Literary
are scarce with us, and you must judge charitably if we do make
mistakes occasionally. Picketing in fine
weather is a welcome change from the duties in camp and the boys are
happy to be relieved from the restraint and Ennui
Scott's Creek is an insignificant stream emptying into the
River, and the Picket Post is at a bridge crossing the creek on one of
the roads leading from Portsmouth. No person is allowed to go by
without a pass from the Provost Marshall. There is not much
on this road, the most being residents going to and from their homes,
and men engaged in oystering in the west branch of the Elizabeth river.
Contrabands pass and repass often, and I asked one intelligent
today if he was free, he said he "specked he was but didn't know
zackly." I then asked his opinion of Prest. Lincoln and if he and
his acquaintances were willing to join the army as soldiers, with red
pants as part of their uniform. He seemed delighted at the idea
of wearing red pants and replied, he thought "Lincum was a right smart
man, kase he favored de slabe",
and that as far as he himself was concerned he was ready and anxious to
shoulder a gun get at the secesh and "snatch 'em heavy." From my
observation of the people in this section, I judge them friendly,
polite and hospitable, though intensely pro-slavery and very decided in
An old gentleman came along about an hour ago and while the guard
was examining his "pass", entered into conversation with our Lieut. in
the course of which he observed that before the war began he was the
of "Live-Stock" enough, the value of which was sufficient to allow him
to ride in his carriage the remainder of his days but the same
had walked off with impunity and were at present knocking about in
as Sovereigns, and that he was ruined. Such is the case with the
of slave owners in this military district. I have just been
that seven or eight hundred dollars worth of contraband goods have been
seized today at the headquarters Picket post on Deep Creek and
road and confiscated by the indefatigable Capt. Daly of Co. A.
has been many attempts to smuggle necessaries through our lines lately,
but if the seceshers imagine they can carry aid and comfort to their
while the bloody 148th are the Pickets, why, I apprehend they count
their host. Quite a number of good-looking young ladies have
here today seated upon the bottom of the inseparable one-horse cart,
"nary one" deigned to smile on us, (Strange for we are all pretty
of the 148th,)
and seemed to act as if we did not deserve a sweet
look; but we were comforted with the reflection that there was many a
"Bonny one" in our beloved North. This is indeed a beautiful day.
"Old Sol" imparts a genial warmth. Robins are mingling
their chirps with the warbling of little sweet singing birds, and
everything save the face of nature reminds us Northerners of May.
We are fortunate in having with us as officer of picket Lieut. J.
D. English, than whom
none are more popular in our Regt., a kind friend, genial companion,
accomplished christian gentleman; may his days be many.
12 O'CLOCK P. M.
The sun that smiles on the just and the unjust alike, hours ago settled
behind the tall forest of pine at the west of us, (the sun sets in the
west here too.) Two hours ago we heard in the distance sweet
music, and heard cheer upon cheer in the direction of our camp, and
knew that our splendid Regimental Band were discoursing sweet harmony
in honor of the return of Col. Johnson and honest hearts and honest
throats were giving utterance to their appreciation of an honest
How beautiful the night. Countless thousands of bright
stars are twinkling, everything is quiet save the music of toads in a
neighboring swamp, and the solemn tread of the sentry pacing his lonely
beat while the midnight moon serenely smiles o'er nature's soft repose.
In our little tent on a welcome bed of straw, are stretched our
wearied comrades, enjoying a refreshing sleep. Perhaps in their
dreams they are with their loved ones at home again. I weary and
turn in, wishing you long life and prosperity.
From Geneva Gazette 30 October 1863
CAMP DISMOUNT, Oct 24th, 1863
As I have a few moments' leisure, I thought I would write you a short
account of our trip to Washington, thinking, perhaps, it might interest
some of your readers. We left the good old village of Geneva, as
you are aware, Monday October 19th. We took passage up the
beautiful Seneca on the the steamers Elmira and P. H.
Field. The weather was unpleasant during the day -- in fact
it might be called a cheerless day -- and how well it corresponded with
the feelings of some who were leaving near and dear friends, perhaps
never to meet them again. Some were leaving with a sad heart, the
home of their childhood and the scenes of their boyish days.
Others were enthusiastic with the idea of leaving home and seeing
strange places; and all felt that they were leaving home for the
preservation of our glorious Union.
About 1 o'clock P. M., the men being aboard and everything in
readiness, the boats moved off amid the cheers and waving of
the thousands assembled to say Farewell and see us off. We made a
quick trip up the lake, arriving at Watkins at 4 P. M. During the
trip some busied themselves with performing gymnastic feats on the
Upper Deck; some gathered in groups and talked over the events of the
day. In the cabin of the Fields was a group who were
singing merrily; here and there could be seen some who preferred to be
alone with their thoughts, busy thinking of the past and future -- and
thus the time passed until
we arrived at Watkins, where the Regiment was transferred to the cars
that were waiting for us.
The train was comprised of all sorts of cars -- some open and some
covered. The men had rations of Bread served to them here; (they
were obliged to go without meat, as it was so strong,
not be got off the boat.) Everything being in readiness, the
moved off amid the cheers of the people gathered together to see a
of Veterans. The train stopped at Havana about an hour and half
for the Express train to pass, when we started ahead again. It
up grade from Havana to Horseheads, the train was obliged to move very
and one of the boys, being in a hurry, concluded to walk; so he got
and while walking along the train came to a deep ditch filled with
and he, not seeing it, fell in, of course. He soon got out,
and succeeded in getting on the rear car, wet from head to foot, and
ardor to reach Elmira cooled.
We arrived in Elmira about half past 8 o'clock P. M.; and there being
no cars to convey us any farther, we were marched to barracks No. 2,
where the men passed the night as best they could with the
accommodations they had. The next morning the boys were up at an
early hour, looking
around to see where their breakfast was coming from; but they "didn't
it," and so were obliged to go hungry. About half-past 8 A. M.
Regiment was ordered to barracks No. 3, where, after waiting until
we were marched to the eating room. Here we were served with
butter, meat, potatoes and coffee, and you would have thought they did
to the food the way it disappeared. After dinner the men formed
line and marched to the Depot, where we went aboard the cars -- which
freight cars with board seats. About 3 o'clock P. M., the men
aboard, the word was given and away we went for Dixie. We first
at Jillett, a small station, where two trains passed us, and then on we
went again. The men passed off the time, some by singing, some by
playing cards, others by laughing and talking; and here and there could
one reading his Bible -- the parting gift of a kind mother, wife or
As it began to grow dark the men began to make arrangements for
and ere long most of them had forgotten their cares and were slumbering
soundly, perhaps with bright dreams and happy visions of home and
to awake and find it naught but a dream. In the morning the cars
at a small station near Harrisburg, but on the opposite side of the
We stopped here about half an hour and then we went on again.
next stopped at York, which is quite a large town. The men got
here and washed themselves, and afterwards strolled around the town.
stopped here about an hour, and then the whistle blew and you could see
jackets running toward the train from all directions. After all
aboard, the train moved on; and after quite a pleasant ride,
the cars we were in, we arrived in Baltimore about 3 o'clock P. M.
the Regiment was formed into line and marched through the city to the
Relief Committee's rooms, where they were fed -- and they were in need
it, as they had eaten nothing since leaving Elmira. We were
with coffee, bread, meat and cabbage; and after a large amount
provision had disappeared, the men were formed in line and marched
the cars, and after waiting nearly two hours we started for our
Capital, where we arrived about 1 o'clock Thursday morning, and marched
the barracks near the Depot. All were glad that our journey was
for we were nearly worn out; and we bivouacked on the floor, where I
the most of us slept soundly the remainder of the night.
In the morning the men washed and brushed up. There was not much
straggling about the city, as a strict guard is kept around the
barracks. About 8 o'clock orders came to march the men to
breakfast, at the Soldier's Retreat, where we partook of bread, coffee,
and cold meat. We then marched back to the barracks, where the
men staid, expecting to be
ordered out to camp; but at noon, instead of being marched to camp, we
marched to the Soldier's Retreat again for dinner. After dinner
marched back to the barracks, and packed up and started for camp.
marched down to the Navy Yard bridge, where a portion of the 50th
are encamped. The Geneva company are here. We saw some of
Geneva boys, but hadn't much time to visit with them. We crossed
bridge, and are now encamped on the Eastern branch, about five miles
Washington. We camped in most any way for the night, and
were busy in laying out our camp. Some of the boys find fault
they do not have more rations; but they will soon have more than they
eat. We are encamped on a side hill, and a very good camp it is;
only objections being the scarcity of wood and water. We had but
got our tents pitched when it began to rain; and today (Saturday the
it rains quite hard and is cold and uncomfortable, but brighter days
soon come. Colonel Taylor told the men that Divine service would
Sunday morning, by the Paymaster paying off the bounty -- a service the
would like to attend every Sunday. The health of the Regiment is
with the exception of some slight colds.
I must now close, as I fear I have wearied you already with this long
letter. We will, I think, stay where we are until we are equipped
and drilled. Hoping this will interest your readers, I remain
GEORGE E. BARKER
Q. M. Serg't, 1st, Vet. Cav. N. Y. V.
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