Another letter written by Henry Trowbridge to his nephew William Earl Woodruff. The brief descriptions of the encounter with a southern family and the ladies participating in the military review are especially interesting. Note: the abbreviation “inst.” is short for instante mense (Latin for “this month”).
Camp of the 14th Regt. NJV
Near Culpeper, Viriginia
Thursday evening March 17th 1864
Dear Friend Willey,
I received your kind and welcom letter of the 15th inst. this evening and was very glad to hear from you again. it found me well and a kicking as usual which I hope this may find you all. Yesterday we had a review of the whole Corps. We went out at 10 o’clock and did not get back until 3 in the afternoon. The wind blew very cold and chilly. but it all past off very nice. General French and staff past each brigade in review followed in the rear by about 30 ladies all mounted and draped in style. some were very good riders and good looking and others were very homely. but you know that fine feathers makes pretty birds. they make Uncle Sam’s horses [???] I tell you. but there time is short in the army. They will soon haft to go home. it is quite a sight to get a peap at them down here. last week on thursday we went out on picket and came in on sunday. it rained all the time we were going out and all the first night and the second day untill after sunset then it cleared off once more. we were glad to see a clear sky. we were all wet through and sat up all night to get dryed off. the first night we did not get a moment’s sleep. The 3 day a [???] and myself went outside of our picket line to a farmers to get some eggs and milk. guefs what we paid for them. we gave 40 cents for a canteen of milk and 60 cents for a doz eggs. that is awfull. they had one daughter, a young lady, and a pretty girl she was, but we did not stay long for there were to strong secesh for me. the father sat in an old chair patching old shoes. the mother sat in an old chair knitting over old yarn. everything they have seems to be old and about played out. they were very anxious to hear the news for they say they cannot get a paper or a letter. they hear nothing of what is going on around them. but they did not find out much by me for I did not say much to them. they call the Rebel Army our Army. they say the live in hopes, but they do not say what they live in hopes for. Sargent Wardell came back day before yesterday. he looks better than when he left. he told me that you was to see him and that you wanted him to let you know when he was comming back. but he could not see anyone to let you know so he could not fetch anything for me. you did not say whether your father got a letter with a greenback in it or not. but I suppose he did as I sent it by Hanning [?]. he did not see your father so he gave it to Wardell to give him but he told me that he gave it to Uncle Ogden [possibly Francis Woodruff’s brother, Ogden Woodruff (b. 4 Mar 1832, d. 4 Nov 1918), OR Francis Woodruff’s uncle, Ogden Woodruff (b. 1776, d. 21 Nov 1883)] so I suppose it is all safe. I am very sorrow to hear that Ogden’s wife is so sick for she is a good woman to anyone, I think. Well, Willy, the noisy drums are a beating tat too, and I must close for this time hopeing to hear from you soon. From your loving Hen. my love to all. good night.