McClellan’s Wild Indians (March 22, 1862)

unioneagleCamp Tennalby.

Washington. DC. Mar 22d 1862

Dear Cousin Hen.

I received your most welcom letter of the 18th and was very glad to hear that you with the rest of my friends are all around as yet. I should think that it fetches some of the folks around on the Island now that the oldest inhabatance is leaving for parts unknown, or over Jordan as some calls it, but if they was not here they would get ust to it. As soon as enny of our friends Dies out here the Sergant of the Company they ust to belong to Sends Three men to dig a grave in the nearest Churchyard and they then they put the corpses in a coffin, 8 men puts him on thare shoulders, as many more follows with reverse arms. . . a fifer and drummers makes up the Persesion, puts him in the hole, fires 3 rounds over the heap of dust, then leaves him alone to his Reflections. Hen, we left Camp Tennalby on the 10th and marched over in Virginia about 20 miles to Manases in the Rain and Mud. . . to get a pop at the Cowardly. . . but as soon as they heard that we was in Virginia they left dam quick, only leaving behind them some old wagons and 20 wooden cannons painted black. After staying in Manases about 5 hours we marched back to Prospect hill about 4 miles and halted for 3 days and nights. While on Prospect hill I thought I had a dam good prospect to starve to death and drown, for it rained . . . for 2 days and one night and us poor Beggars was in it without any Shelter. Then we started to join the Burnside Expedition but when we reached long bridge thare was no Conveyances to take us to Richmond, Virginia, whare they was then. So we camped in the field until Sunday the 16th when we marched back to Tennalby whare we have been ever since. Now we are under Marching orders with 5 days rations ahead, reddy to leave at any moment. I am now in the Commorsaryes department as I was tired of doing nothing. The only thing I ust to do was to cary the Colors out on a Battalion drill or a Brigade drill or Inspection. So perhaps I would not go out for a week to a time as there is only Companies drills now once a day witch the Flag does not appear on the grounds. I am pretty well ingaged now, all my time giving out Rations for the Cook w cook for the men and drawing 5 days Rations to a time from the Quarter Masters. All I do is oversee it, and I have got a very nice little fellow with me that does all the work. So all I do is to keep account of what comes in and what is giving out. Big thing in dress parade last night. The Adjutant of the Regt read in the Orders that Gen. McClellan was going w send us on a march to settle this Rebelion as we are tired fooling with them, but he has kept the army of the Potomack for to wind up this dam mess with and if he gives us orders we will do it dam quick. The biggest part of the Division has imbarked all redy, and as soon as they get out of the way we are going to follow suit. So in two or three weeks. . . you will hear that the Andersons Zouaves or McClellans wild Indians as he calls us have give the. . .all the fight they wanted. . .

Letter of Abraham T. Perine to his cousin Henry

See: “In love and friendship, by Marjorie Kerr”. Staten Island Historian XVI (1955) 28-30.


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