Saturday, December 3, 2011

December 9, 1861: Letter from Charles Hinton of the 9th NJ Regiment

The 9th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry Regiment was camped in Washington, D.C. by December 9th 1861.  The regiment was commanded by Colonel Joseph W. Allen, of Bordentown, and Lt. Colonel Charles Heckman, of Phillipsburg.   The bulk of Warren County men in the Jersey 9th were in Company H under the command of Captain Joseph Henry, of Oxford Furnace.

On December 9, Charles Hinton, of Belvidere, a member of Company K, wrote a letter to Franklin Pierce Sellers, editor and publisher of the Belvidere Intelligencer.  Hinton was one of Sellers' war correspondents.  Hinton wrote, "Having a little leisure, I thought I could not better employ the time than by writing to you.  We left Camp Olden, Trenton, on Wednesday morning last, for Washington.  We had a fine start, the day was beautiful; the boys were all in good spirits and glad to leave their old camp for one in which they could learn more about war.  We arrived in Philadelphia about sundown - there we stacked arms and went to supper, and we had a fine supper - one that a soldier don't get every day.  We all got ready again and started on our way towards the depot, where we had to take the cars for Baltimore.  We all got aboard the train and started with the expectation of getting to Baltimore about 2 o'clock that morning, but we did not get there until 9, and then we marched about a mile through the city until we got to the depot, where we were ordered to sling knapsacks and get ready for breakfast, which came very acceptable, for we were hungry just about that time, but the boys had been paid off just before they left Camp Olden, and they made the cakes and pies suffer, which boys and girls brought down for sale; and by the time breakfast was ready, they had no wish for dry bread at all.  As I did not join the Regiment in time to get any pay, I had to take dry bread and coffee, and I ate heartily of it.

"We left Baltimore about 2 o'clock for Washington, and about every five minutes the train would stop at the passings, and they kept on that way, so we did not get to Washington until nearly daylight, where we got out of the old sheep cars and started for the Soldiers' Rest, which is near the depot - there we slung knapsacks, washed up, and got ready for breakfast. We started for the Soldiers' Retreat, where our breakfast was all ready: we had good coffee, bread, and corned beef, and we all ate of it very heartily.  About one o'clock, we started for our encampment, about a mile-and-a-half from the Capitol, there to await further orders.  It is thought we will not remain here long, but how long we cannot tell.  We don't know any more about that than you do.

"The Belvidere boys of Company H are all well and in good spirits, and want to get further South so they can play a little on the rebels.  There is nothing of importance going on in our Camp, so I will bring this letter to a close, and the next time I write you I hope there will be something more to write about.  Chas. H."

Copyright 1997-2011: Jay C. Richards

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