Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sept. 25, 1861: Letter from G.W. Hahn, of the 47th PA Infantry

On September 25, 1861, George Washington Hahn, of Washington, serving in Company E, 47th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry Regiment, and his comrades, David Huber and F. J. Scott, wrote a letter to the editor of the Easton Daily Evening Express.  They wrote the letter in Camp Kalorama, near Washington, D.C.

Hahn and friends wrote, "Most likely you have already published the letter from the headquarters of the company, but it may also be interesting to some of your readers to hear from the boys.

"We left Harrisburg at 1-1/2 p.m. on Friday last, and after a ride of about twenty-four hours in those delightful cattle cars, we came in sight of the Capitol of the U.S. with colors flying and the band playing and everyone in the best of spirits.  After waiting a few minutes, we were provided with an excellent dinner of bread, beef and coffee, and then proceeded to Camp Kalorama, near Georgetown Heights and about three miles from Washington.  We have one of the best camps in the Union; plenty of shade trees, water and food at present; we have had no 'Hardees' [hardtack] yet in this camp, but no doubt we will have them in abundance by and by.  But we can cook them in so many different ways, they are better than beef.  We soak them over night, fry them for breakfast, stew them for dinner, and warm them over for supper.  Who wouldn't be a soldier and get such good living free gratis?

"We are all happy boys.  The way we pass our time in the evening is as follows: first, after supper, we have a good Union song, then we read, write, crack jokes and sing again. We are 'gay and happy' and always shall be while the stars and stripes float over us.

"We have one of the best regiments we have yet seen, and no doubt in a few months, it will be the crack regiment of the army.  We have a noble Colonel and an excellent Band, and the company officers throughout are well drilled for their positions.  Our boys are well and contented; satisfied with their clothing, satisfied with their rations, and more than all satisfied with their officers, from Captain to the 8th Corporal.  Our boys will stand by the Captain till the last man falls.  We had the pleasure this morning of meeting an old Eastonian, Major Baldy. He looks well and hearty and says he is ready for action.  His men are in the rifle pits every night and think nothing of facing the enemy.

"This morning we took a French pass [an unauthorized leave] and visited Georgetown Heights; we stood on top of the reservoir and from there had a fine view of the Federal forts and forces on the other side of the Potomac.  It looks impossible for an enemy to enter Washington, so strongly fortified is every hill and the camps connect for miles along the river.  We saw General McClellan and Professor [Thadeus] Lowe taking a view of the Confederate army from the balloon. The rebels are now only four miles from here.  But we are afraid we have taken too much of your room.  You may expect to hear from us again soon.  Yours, etc., George W. Hahn, David Huber, F. J. Scott."

Copyright 1999-2011: Jay C. Richards

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