Letter from Austin, Matthew S.

Soldier: Austin, Matthew S.
Allegiance: Union
Unit/Service Branch: 5th Infantry
Home State: New Jersey
Date Written: Tuesday, September 16th, 1862
Location: Near Alexandria, VA.
Correspondence Type: Letter
Subjects: Commanders, Comrades, Eastern Theater, Family, Maneuvers
Camp Fifth N.J. Vols.

Dear Father

Your letter of the 13th was rec’d last night. It contained one set chevrons. My letter of Sunday evening acknowledged the rec’t of those sent me on Aug 5th by Q.M. Rusling. I had not been informed of their being in his hands; hence my writing for them again recently. I am sorry to have caused this extra trouble.

We are under orders to be ready to move at a moments notice, with 5 days provision and an hundred rounds of cartridges. It is probable that by (or on) tomorrow we shall be on our way to Centerville.

We changed camp on yesterday and are now close to Fort “Lyon”. These changes are very “annoying” as one fast gets his bed rigged up, of crocheted stakes, poles and barrel staves and then has to move “just far enough” as to make it impolitic to “carry his bed” and at the same time “walk”.

On a march it is quite different - we select the best or softest place the ground offers and lie down, knowing it to be “temporary”.

Col. Starr has asked for and obtained leave of absence for twenty days and will doubtless leave us tomorrow. There are vacancies again which are now being filled but who the fortunate ones will be, the “Sheep Skin” can alone reveal. Not your humble Serg’t however.

The commanding in the battle of Sunday and Monday morning could be heard here distinctly. Should we remain in our present camp a day or two linger I will write again. It may be we should not move at all but the order indicates the contrary. We do not like the idea of going into winter quarters at present and have to resume field service next spring - now is the time. If our ranks could be filled up by new troops, the men would feel more spirit. As it is now, all the duties of camp dissolve upon so small a number of men, as to make the service tell severely upon those fit for duty.

Am in good health and send love to all.

M.S. Austin

Com. Serg’t.
Fifth N.J. Vols.