Letter from Camp Seminary

(Continued from previous post)

January 1862 found Private Uzal Trowbridge of Company A, 1st New Jersey Infantry, in Camp Seminary, Virginia. From here he sent his niece, Emma Woodruff, aged 16, another letter:

Dear Niece:

Your welcome letter of the 2nd just reached me to day. I was very glad to hear you spent your Christmas and New Year so pleasant. I spent my Christmas in camp but New Year found me on picket in a large pine forest near Annandale on the little river turnpyke. we were out here one week and this evening we returned to camp we had a very pleasant time until last night when we had a light fall of snow just enough to track a rabbit by, we fetched a fine lot of them in camp with us, we had no shot, but made some slugs by cutting up some balls out of the cartriges and buck shot. Not to enter into a long and tedious story of our adventures of the week I will briefly say that we saw no rebels all the time we were out. we sent out scouts every day who went very near to Fairfax but brought no signs of the enemy. we was very glad to get into camp once more after living in our rude chanties of pine branches for seven nights but we made it very comfortable by keeping up a large fire all night on each post of ten or twelve men we had a large fire and around this fire we made our beds by laying down rails and on them we put pine branches for feathers. and this way we slept as we ever did in the best feather bed. a man does not know what he can endure until he is forced to it. we would not know how to sleep in a bed now. that we have been without so long and made our beds in the wood, we have fine quarters in camp now we have basements made to the tents four feet high. I mean they are fine for a soldier but I suppose you would feel sorry to see them and to know that they are the only home for us. rude as they may appear to the citizen we are very glad to get back to them after being from them a week. While I was on picket I recieved a letter from Mary Cooper they are all very well there she writes a very nice letter. That was a very nice fellow you had for your beau I heard about it. I did not know the Major had gone home again he must have left while the company was on picket Since I wrote you last we use many signals on going on the out posts they are to tell if the men which are coming up to us are friends or foes these signs are done by inverting our muskets and swinging them to and fro and upon their giving the desired motion with their arms they can pass our post. I am nearing the end of this sheet and must close for this time. Good Bye All From your affectionate Uncle U.H. Trowbridge

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