United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865; Bruen, Luther Barnett--Correspondence


6 pages; + clipping from Harper's Weekly, 10/3/1863, "Signal Station on Pony Mountain"


Camp near Culpeper Va Sept 29th 1863 My dear Wife: To-day I got three letters from you, the latest dated the 21st. I have been pining to hear from you ever since I got your last. Some how we have not rec'd a mail, until to-day, since your other letter came to hand. Every body was growling and wondering why it was so, but to-day we all got letters and are in high good spirits. We are encamped a little ways from Culpeper. The regulars are all in one Brigade, commanded by Col. Burbank. Our Brigade is in the Second Division, commanded by Gen. Ayres of Sykes Corps (the 5th). You can direct your letters to me until further advised, in the above Brigade Division and Corps, Army of the Potomac. Enclosed I send you a sketch taken from Harper's Weekly for Oct. 3. Pony Mountain is near our camp, and we see the light burning on it every night. The signal station is plainly in sight in the day time. -- I got into a big business immediately upon arrival. Col. Burbank being *abreak*, Lt. Col. Greene on the 17th assumed command. He like myself had just come into the field and was ambitious to show himself off. He immediately ordered a Brigade drill. Never having seen a drill of that sort and having to command a Regt. made me feel very nervous, but with the assistance of Mimmack I got thro so that the 12th didn't make any more mistakes that the others. The next day matters grew worse. Col. Green determined to have a Review and consequently was obliged to turn over the command to the next in rank. Fancy my feelings when one of his staff rode up to me and told me I was to take command of the Brigade. I was on my horse ready to go out, so there was no way of getting out of it, so I went thro' with it, making mistakes, but as the whole thing was a series of blunders upon the part of every body I didn't feel very badly about it. Yesterday, we were reviewed by Gen. Meade and a Mexican General and all the other generals of the army pretty much. The Review passed off very satisfactorily. To-day we had Brigade drill again and I acquitted myself quite to my satisfaction, my regiment doing rather better than many of the others. I am getting into the harness quite rapidly and think I will make a respectable soldier after while. There are officers here who have been in the field a good while who can't do much better than I can. -- We have a very pleasant camp and most delightful weather. The county is rolling and not much unlike some parts of Montgomery County save that the hills are higher and there are no houses nor fences. The whole face of the county is covered with Camp and the way the soldiers burn up the fence rails is *straining*. Where the people who live here when the war is over are to get fencing material I can not imagine. Our routine is about this: in the morning about sunrise, the first call for Reveille goes; if I am not awake this generally wakes me; before I can get to sleep again Reveille begins in the 14th, the camp on our right, the fifes squeak and the drums rattle and the bugles blare until every hair in one's head is wide awake; then the 3rd takes it up and the same thing is gone thro' with them. My Drum Major who is very proud of his drum Corps scorns to commence until all the others are done, when he gives us another one about thirty feet from my tent. I get up shortly after it is all over with and after washing go sit before the camp fire until our breakfast is announced. What we have for breakfast 2 depends upon the state of the Commissariat and the Sutler's stores. The latter are completely sold out and the former has had little for some time but pork and hard bread. So canned peas and peaches have been a standby dish at our breakfast. Sometimes we have canned tomatoes and "flap jacks" with molasses. The fare has been rather slim but to-day we are having a feast. For supper *to-night* we had a change, potatoes, onions, beef steak, peach pie and coffee being our spread. Our meals are pretty much alike. After breakfast we pick our teeth and smoke till *9* when we have Brigade or Battal. *in* drill. Then we lie around till dinner. After dinner, I read and sleep till guard *mounting*, 5 o'clock and after that we have our parade, which closes our work for the day. Our band then usually plays an hour or two and the three or four other bands in the brigade play in their camps until ten or eleven o'clock or later. I generally turn in about ten or eleven. I have my tent *paved* pine boughs and when I stretch my leg on my buffalo *robe* I soon get into a good sound sleep. -- I think my hay has been better for a day or two, tho it was quite bad by spells after we came here. The weather has been so cool for two or three evening, I don't know whether there was a frost or not -- that I am much better and suffer very little inconvenience from my fever. -- Have you received the box from F. Hamilton? I ordered it to be sent on immediately, and if it has not been rec'd I will inquire about it. I shall write to Stacey about it in a few days any way. -- I gave Major *Kinzie* Pay Master $50 to send to you in a check on New York. Let me know when you receive it, or if you haven't got it write and will try to learn the reason. -- I sent you my *7.3* Treasury Notes and my 5.2 bonds *to* Capt. Gebhart. It is doubtful whether he has reached home yet. If he has I suppose you have received them -- It is contraband to say any thing about army matters I understand. Indeed we know very little about what is going on or what is to be done. I think you need not worry yourself with apprehension of an immediate fight. The rebel camps I *learn* can be seen from the highest station on Pony Mountain, but I do not think they will put themselves on the offensive soon, and the chances are that we will not either. Love to all especially Priscilla. I shall try to write to her soon but you need not mention it as I may not be #able to do so very soon. Good bye darling and keep up your spirits for my sake. L.B.B.#



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