Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December 23, 1861: Jersey 9th at Meridian Hill, VA

On December 23, 1861, Charles Hinton, of Belvidere, in Company K, 9th NJ Volunteer Infantry Regiment, wrote a letter to Franklin Pierce Sellers, publisher of the Belvidere Intelligencer.

Hinton wrote, "Since I last wrote you, we have moved to Meridian Hill to take winter quarters.  We left Camp Allen on Thursday morning.  We were ordered to leave our tents struck and knapsacks packed and be ready to march by 8 o'clock - all of us ready and we started off.  Our knapsacks were very heavy, as we had our blankets and other things to carry.  The distance was about four miles, and some of the boys felt pretty tired before we reached the Hill.  I had been on guard the night before and didn't feel like carrying my knapsack, but as it was the first duty of a soldier to obey orders, I did not complain, and there would have been no use to complain of a march of only four miles.  If we never march any farther than that, none of us will be hurt.

"The boys all seem willing to do their duty as soldiers, every one of them, only we would like to go a little farther South, so that we could do a little more than we have been doing.  We all came here with the expectation of fighting, and we don't want to be disappointed and kept out of it by laying here all winter where there is nothing to be seen.  We want to go where we can see something and hear and know something more about war than we do.  We did not come here to live off Uncle Sam for three years, and then go home without ever seeing a battle, or doing anything to put down the rebellion.  There are fighting boys in the 9th, and if they have half a chance shown them, they will make things tell.  The boys are in very good spirits, and there has been but little sickness among them as yet.  The weather has been very pleasant ever since we have been here, but it is not quite so warm this morning. 

"I seen Commissary [Lycidias] Hamilton, John E. Matthews and Jacob Meyer this morning.  They are all well, and as far as I know, all the other Belvidere boys are well.  Jacob Sharp and William Silverthorn were out here to see us.  We were much pleased to see them, only that they made such a short stay.  We were in hopes they would have remained with us to dinner.  The Intelligencer is a welcome visitor to us all - we are all glad to see it every time it comes.  As dinner is ready, and I am hungry, I will bring my letter to a close.  C.H."  

Hinton and the men of the Jersey Ninth wished for battle and they soon would get - and later regret - their wish in January 1862 when they shipped out for Roanoke Island, North Carolina.

Copyright 1997-2011: Jay C. Richards   

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