Thursday, January 16, 2014

December 20, 1863

December 20, 1863

---Jenkin Lloyd Jones, an artilleryman from Wisconsin, writes in his journal about camp life and anticipating Christmas packages:

Bridgeport, Sunday, Dec. 20. Considerable frost this morning, but the boys came out in high spirits, full of fun and very noisy. The fire-places doing good service to keep up spirits, and all have drawn clothing enough to keep warm. We received no mail or papers for three days, the cars having run off the track this side of Nashville. Captain Dillon left for Nashville this P. M. after artillery equipment. Wrote a letter to brother John. Darned stockings, etc. Signed receipt roll for clothing.

---Josiah Marshall Favill, a young English immigrant serving as a staff officer in the Army of the Potomac.  He writes in his journal about returning to the army’s bivouac after an illness he has not quite recovered from, and his anxiety about finding comfort in a winter camp:

I remained in New York taking sulphur baths, and received the special attention of several army surgeons, but recovered very slowly. On December 10th I returned to Washington, intending to join the army, but upon examination by an army surgeon, was declared unfit for service, and was detailed on court martial duty in Washington. The court broke up on the fifteenth, and at my own request, I was relieved from duty, and joined my command, now in winter quarters. I found division headquarters located amongst a lot of bushes, on low ground knee deep in mud; the general staff were under canvas, not having commenced the erection of permanent quarters, and for a partially sick man the immediate outlook was not reassuring. The day after my arrival men were put to work to fix us up, and all the wall tents were mounted on framed logs made flat inside, and fitted with fireplaces, chimneys, doors, and floors. We put up a bunk to accommodate two, had it filled with cedar branches, covered with blankets, and thus provided ourselves with a lovely bed. In the evening when the open fire was lighted, we were indeed comfortable and did not envy the richest man in the country. Our servants’ tents were placed on logs, just in rear, within call, and the horses amply provided for, so we were thoroughly prepared for the winter. General Warren, who has been in command of the corps since Gettysburg, which I forgot to mention, is still in command, General Hancock not yet having recovered from the severe wound he received at Gettysburg.

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