This gives you a little tast of what life was like in the Union army.
Some of the times were good and some were not so good.
CAMP NEAR CHICKAHOMINY May 22-1862 On to Richmond.
We march almost every day, we must get up at 3:30. We are only 12 miles from the great city. Providence Church (is) a hospital. It is really a sin and a shame the way sick men are cared for.
We are now within 7 miles of Richmond. The officers' baggage was all sent back over the Chickahominy river, so that if we should have to retreat that the roads are open. A desperate struggle is anticipated within a day or -two. Since the battle at Williamsburg our regt was not encamped at one place more than two or three days. When we left Lebanon we had 102 men, now we have only 35. The meat is issued to the men raw and they have nothing to cook it in but tin cups. They have nothing to eat but hard crackers & coffee. The only water we can get here we dip out of the mud puddles in the swamp. I hope that the rebellion may soon be crushed for I am getting sick and tired of playing soldier.
I think it (writing letters) improves my mind and penmanship. It was a grand defeat for our army. our loss was heavy. We are now encamped about four miles from the river and are putting up winter quarters. We are indeed comfortably quartered. The best is wanting - sausages, mush, ham, and other goodies. We are without hopes of getting any good Christmas dinners. I do not think that this war will be ended for another year, Jan 10-1863 I have about 24 correspondents all together. There is nothing that makes a soldier feel so good as when he gets good news from home. We eat the best the market affords, such as beef, pork, beans, rice, coffee, sugar, potatoes, crackers, &c. I did not see any bread since I was at home. We have a good wall tent and a stove, The news of the great victory in the west was received here with great enthusiasm. The news of the disaster of the Monitor was indeed sad to the ear of this soldier. The men are all tired of this war. I am inclined to think that the Southern Confederacy will be recognized in the end and the sooner the better. Abe Lincoln has declared the slaves free, What will be the result of that? There are few soldiers that approve of the President's proclamation.
If I had not been home in the fall I should get a furlough. We expect the Paymaster every day.