Sunday, June 12, 2011

June 14, 1861: Archibald Nimmo's Letter From Camp Olden

On June 14, 1861, Archibald Nimmo, of Belvidere, wrote to The Warren Journal from Camp Olden in Trenton, NJ.  Nimmo enlisted in Company E, 7th NJ Volunteer Infantry Regiment in May.  During the Civil War, John Simerson, owner/editor of The Warren Journal, and Franklin Pierce Sellers, owner/editor of The Belvidere Intelligencer [originally founded as The Belvidere Apollo by Gen. Daniel Sickels' father], urged Warren County soldiers and sailors to send letters to their newspapers as a way to reach more of their friends and relatives - and increase newspaper circulation. 

Nimmo wrote, "Editor Journal, I suppose you had forgotten my promise made you some time since.  So far, I am satisfied with camp life, and the men of our company are equally so.  Our camp is situated about three miles southeast from Trenton, upon ground that is hardly fit, for part of it is marshy and damp, although the health of our company is good (Company E, Capt. Campbell, Third Regiment). We are quartered in No. 1 tents, each holding 16 men: they are portioned off in messes, each mess having a cook, who attends to our rations, cooking &c. Our time is occupied as follows during the day: at sunrise the reveille takes place, when every man has to fall into line, and the Orderly Sergeant calls the roll, and then all is dismissed until 5 o'clock, when squad drill takes place until 6 o'clock, then breakfast.  At 9 o'clock, guard mounting takes place for the next two hours, it consists of nine privates and one corporal from each company, directly after which the surgeon call is made, when the First Sergeants conduct the sick to the hospital tent.  We have leisure time until 10; from that time until 11-1/2, company drills; dinner next in order; more spare time until 3 o'clock; company drill from 3 to 5 o'clock, then dismissed for supper; dress parade next in order at 7 o'clock; then dismissed until 9 o'clock; then the tattoo and roll call; at half past nine, douse the glim [lights] and retire for the night.

"I am quartered in tent No. 5, Corp. [Henry] Neimeyer, who is Captain of the tent. We have also three more Warren County boys in our tent - - Nelson Easton, Abraham Salmon, and George Freeman - - who are in good health and spirits, as are all of our Regiment; we are all anxious to get  on the field of battle.  Captain [Edward] Campbell is well liked by all members of the company, and is an efficient and good officer, attending to all our wants as far as is in his power to do so.  We have a fine Brass Band connected with our regiment, which discourses some very fine music.

"On Monday last, a private belonging to Company H, Captain Brytan, deserted, and was arrested in the evening at Mount Holly, and brought back to Camp Olden on Tuesday morning; he has been court marshaled, but I do not know what his sentence was.  We expect to get our uniforms during next week; when we get them, we intend to parade the finest regiment of the three that is encamped at Camp Olden.  Our encampment is visited by thousands of ladies and gentlemen from all parts of the State. We have plenty of good food, consisting of ham, salt pork, fresh meat, rice, coffee, bean soup, &c.  Excuse the shortness of my letter; in future I will endeavor  not only to lengthen, but make them more interesting.  Yours truly, A. N."

copyright 1999-2011 by Jay C. Richards 

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