Letter from Barger, Frederick C

Soldier: Barger, Frederick C
Allegiance: Union
Unit/Service Branch: 49th Infantry
Home State: New York
Date Written: Sunday, March 9th, 1862
Location: Camp Griffin, VA
Correspondence Type: Letter
Subjects: Camp Life, Daily Life, Drilling, Eastern Theater, Enemy, Family, Friends, Newspapers, On the March, Secesh, Suffering, Warfare, Weapons, Camp Life, Daily Life, Drilling, Eastern Theater, Enemy, Family, Friends, Newspapers, On the March, Secesh, Suffering, Warfare, Weapons
Link Source: http://cchsnys.org/mp/mp_civil_war_bargar_5_15/mp_bargar_5_15.html
Camp Griffin VA March 9 1862
Sunday afternoon

My dear sister
I received yours and Mothers letters right before last and was very glad to hear from you. You will see that we are still in Camp Griffin but I do not know how long we shall stay here. Last Thursday at one o'clock in the morning we were formed in line and marched to Lewinsville where we were joined by the 3rd Vermont and about 150 Cavalry then proceeded to Vienna where we arrived about 7 o'clock we then stopped for breakfast as the march of about 10 or 11 miles had given us quite an appetite we stayed there about an hour and then started on toward Secesh. We went about two or three miles from Vienna and our Company was deployed as Skirmishers in front of the whole force we scoured two small pieces of woods and halted in an open field when our Cavalry went on and surrounded two houses there was a few of the Rebels there (Cavalry) but they put spurs to their horses and were soon out of sight - a Bugler belonging to 2nd US Regular Cavalry chased one fellow that seemed to separate from the rest and went a little too far & the chap turned on him & fired his revolver - the Bugler fired back until the six shots which his revolver contained were gone & then the fellow sent a ball near enough to graze his thumb & make him drop the revolver and turn his horse and run for home - he lost his Cap & Pistol by the means. when the shots were fired we immediately heard drums beat on the right & left & in front of us & distinctly heard the "long roll" so if we did not hurt them we scared them some. Gen Davidson after reconnoitering concluded that they had a pretty strong force there & did not think it expedient to attack them with our two Regiments. we had no Artillery with us this time. I should not be surprised if we go out there soon with force enough to make an attack but cannot tell. we were called in about 2 o'clock & marched back to Vienna where we stayed about 2 hours - we expected to stay there until the next morning but the General thought it best to come back. he complimented our company highly on our Skirmishing. I do not think that 30 long miles would more than cover our march that day - we were not much used up on coming into camp at 7 o'clock that night. oh no! - therefore the next day the General took us over to Division Head Quarters gave us a Brigade Drill - (such as you read of) told Capt Drake to "trot" that Company out & "display them as Skirmishers on the right file" to cover the Battalion which was accordingly done allthough the mud was about a foot deep & the left of the Company had to "trot" about half a mile - we had no sooner got there than the order was to "assemble on the right file" & back again - as Gen Davidson was a short time since a Cavalry Major he may be excusable for thinking that a poor "shoger" can "trot" "gallop" or "run" like a cavalry horse through the mud day after day. this I think is his only trouble. he thinks that we should get around as fast as horses & consequently somewhat disappointed. he compliments our Regiment quite highly - he has ordered that our Co ("G") and Co "K" of our Regiment be drilled five hours a day exclusively in Skirmish drill & target shooting. we are excused from Picket. (Bully for us) Division. Central. or Camp guard. Fatigue. or any other duty in order to to perfect ourselves in the Skirmishing - & Target practice. we are the best in the Regiment now but can still improve. our Co can beat the best shooting. I am getting to be a tolerable good shot my self at two hundred yards I put two shots out of three in the target. (about 18 inches by 30) Yesterday they were shooting 400 yards but I was over to the 21st. when I saw the Sheldon boys - Capt Layton & his wife & some others that I know. I had a very pleasant time. I heard through her from that Miss White that you saw at Mr Rage's when you were in Buffalo - this is a great place for Ladies -

I heard from Ed Sterns the same day I got your letters but have not written to him yet as I have no means of paying Postage which is the reason I do not write some others letters.

I have not seen or heard anything of the Skimmers I wrote to Ed the night I got your letter but have not heard from him yet - I think it strange - but he may be waiting to Come over. I cannot possibly get over there as we are under marching orders all of the time - I think it is settled that we get no pay until the 15th of April which is only two weeks from another pay-day unless they hold off as long as they do on this. I have only got one cent and although I very much dislike to ask to ask for money I should be very glad if you could send me a dollar or so - to keep up until I get some pay - when I shall send home $20. and I hope more the next time - Please write soon - I have nothing new or interesting so I must stop

As ever your affectionate brother

send me a paper or two
we were further advanced the other day than any infantry troops have been since the Battle of Bull Run