Poughkeepsie Eagle Oct, 19, 1861
Camp Federal Hill
Wednesday, Oct. 16, 1861
I saw by a paper that was sent to me, that my letter proved acceptable, so here for another. I have just returned from bathing. We have a splendid place for it in the Patapsco River, about half a mile from camp. The Patapsco at that point is about the width of the Hudson at Tappan Zee, but there is no such scenery, no such associations clinging to it now. The works of improvement, that we find along the banks of the lordly Hudson, the pride of the North. All is desolation and solitude, except on the summit of the opposite mountains, where in the sunlight gleam the white tents of the Michigan Regiment. We can see the long bridge with its line of sentinels over which that funeral cortege, (where the body proved to be concealed weapons) attempted to cross. The many and vigilant sentinels were too cute for the daughters of the South.
On our way to and from the place of bathing, we pass through the yard of the Maryland Blast Works. Where once was activity all now is silence. Where once a hundred men gained a living, naught is seen but the spider as he lazily spins his web over the door -ways and furnace mouths. A little ways and the spectator comes up another scene of unexampled activity. It is the shipyard where the government alters the steamers into gunboats and transports. What a contract! But I will leave this till another day and inform your readers about ourselves. We have a great deal more liberty than at Camp Hamilton, and I am sorry to say that some are found mean spirited enough to abuse it. But not many.
I suppose we will be moved inside the fortifications in a few days. We are supplied with water from the City Works, and as the pipes are buried far beneath the surface of the earth, no such casualty as befell the gallant Mulligan can overtake us. Last Saturday Company C, Capt. Joseph E. Hamblin, went on an excursion to Westminister for the purpose of seizing some arms that were concealed in a schoolhouse. They were also in strong hopes of capturing the owners of the property. Unfortunately they did not succeed in the latter, but the arms and accoutrements they brought back with them. They frightened the "Secesh" to whom the stuff belonged by the mere sound of their name. In fact we can disperse any crowd of disputants in the city, by having some one start the cry of "the Zouaves are coming."
Company I returned from their expedition Sunday, followed by a crowd of spectators. They were received with cheers. Perhaps you would like to hear how we amuse ourselves. As the evenings begin to lengthen, we have to devise some means to help us pass away our spare time. Among a hundred men however this is not very hard work.
We have singing, dancing and music at our company streets. The other evening, in company with some mischievous persons, I amused myself by pinning the boys in couples fast to their own tents. After this was "played out," I saw some of the boys bring out a blanket. What was to come next we wondered. But we were not left long in doubt, for having secured a victim, they proceeded to toss him up in the aforesaid blanket, in a style that would have done credit to any lodge of the Sons of Malta. Fortunately our uniform having so much superfluous dry-goods, permits to do this with impunity. But still it is a species of amusement similar to that in the fable of the "boys and the frogs." We occasionally have a concert, in which the performers consist of the best that can be picked out in the Regiment; consequently they are much applauded and draw good audiences. Most of the officers attend and occasionally they bring some of their numerous lady friends. Last night we had another, which is considered superior to any that preceded it. Poughkeepsie was not left unrepresented, for among the performers was Mr. Jos. Tyndal. All the pieces were enscored, and some of them had to be repeated. This is a kind of amusement that affords pleasure without pain, like the cup that cheers and not inebriates.
I am informed that Mr. Atkins did not like the use I made of his name, so you can make for me a public apology. I did not intend to hurt his feelings, but simply to let his friends know that he was in the way of a promotion.
I was sorry to see by the papers that two such strong republicans as Fanning and A.B. Smith, heading a hybrid ticket, composed with this exception of worn out Democratic politicians. Perhaps though I may be thought digressing from my course, but I am and I hope always will be in favor of Republican principles. Accept my best wishes.
I remain yours, &c.
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