Monday, August 14, 2017

W.B. Rogers..Fall of 1862

Aquia Creek - the quartermasters offices
From what I can figure out, it was Aquia Creek where the mail and packages came to for the troops in Maryland and Virginia. W. B. mentions this place by name in a few of his letters. I also found an identity for one of the names he mentions: Stephen. This is his cousin Stephen Nye Hubbard, who was also in the 36th Massachusetts, Company G. He is listed as a "wagoner", which means it was Stephen who would be going back and forth to Aquia Creek.

Camp Forbes         Pleasant Valley   Maryland     Saturday Oct 25/62

Dear Wife
I will try and write a few more lines. I have not received a letter for the last three mails and I begin to feel lonely. I have been waiting for that box before I wrote again but it has not arrived yet. I begin to feel the need of my mittens and shirts. We begin to have cold frosty nights. It is quite warm again today. it has been very pleasant most of the time. We have been in the camp almost three weeks with the exception of our excursion to Frederick but don’t suppose we shall stay much longer. The troops are collecting fast around this vicinity and they say the rebel camp is in sight of Harper’s Ferry and perhaps this is a calm before a great storm. If it must come the quicker the better. I hope this state of affairs won’t remain a great while longer but the Lord only knows. The men seem to be loseing their confidence and patriotism and don’t care how the thing is settled if the war will only end and they can get home. I should like to get home as well as anyone and I don’t boast of any more courage or patriotism than the other folke but I do want to see slavery receive its death blow before I come home and have the war end so that it will stay ended but I believe God will bring good out of this strife as I have ever believed if I had my hopes in man alone I could not endure it at all.
Oh dear Wife all my earthly treasures are at home. You are of more value than your weight in gold. Oh how I long for the time to come that I shall be permitted to come home and see those dear ones that I know are ready to receive me with open arms. I feel that I have thrown a great responsibility upon you, but I pray that God will sustain you and give you strength to bear your burdens and may we be permitted to spend a few more happy days on earth with our little ones but the future is all uncertain wherever we are. My health has been very good and I have gained eight or ten pounds. The boys all say how you fat up. Calvin has come back with us again. He got sick of teaming but Stephen has gone into an ammunition train. There is some sickness in our regiment. Our Captain is quite sick. They thought he was dieing last night. George Davis is very well. Calvin cheeks tick out like a squirrel but when we begin to march again it will take off our flesh. We have just received orders to be ready to march tomorrow morning so you see we have no Sabbath but can pray to our father in Heaven while we are on the march. We have a prayer in our little tent each night. I used to read in my testament before I layed down and George and Stephen want I should lead in prayer which I was very glad to do but it is not my own little family circle.
My love to Dear Mother and Brothers and Sisters. Write as often as you can. Tell Eugene to write again and I will print him another letter as soon as I get time. Kiss little Ned for me forty times a day.
I must draw my letter close. You wanted I should number my letters but I don’t know how many I have written to you.
Oh you spoke of sending a lock of baby’s hair. I did not find as it was in the evening and opened the letter and read it through before I saw that line. I hunted my nest all over but I could not find it. Please send me another.
Good Bye Dear Wife.
God bless you.

W.B. Rogers
You'll notice that he mentions that Stephen went into the ammunition train. This was a very dangerous job.
An ammunition convoy
With that clear lettering, they were sitting ducks.

Camp Forbes Near Lovette Village Virginia                Oct 28/62
Dear Wife
I will inform of my whereabouts. I am in Old Virginia now. We left Pleasant Valley Sunday morning. We marched to a village called Berlin. It rained all day and it was quite cold. We stood in the village about two hours in the rain and then we went across the Potomack on a pontoon bridge and marched about 3 or 4 miles and encamped. It rained terrible and the wind blew so that it blowed our tent down two or three times. It was a terrible sight. It rained untill about nine o’clock in the next morning. We were wet clear through. They tried to make us camp on a wheat field that was just sowed and was all mud but the men wouldn’t do it. The boys thought it was pretty hard but we lived through it and are well today. I had the chills a little but I had a good night’s sleep last night. I feel pretty well today. I have cut four heads of hair this morning. We probably shall not remain here long. The whole army is coming across. It looks as though there was to be some great move somewhere but we can’t imagine what it is to be or where we are going but I hope it will be a blow that will tell something towards the end of this terrible war but my only hope is in an overruling power. If it was in man alone I should not think it would end very soon but I pray that I may live through it and be permitted to see you once more. I have just been looking at your miniatures. Oh how I love those Dear faces. If it was not for you and the children I should not care to live long in my present condition but Gods will be done. You did not say a word about little Ned. I wondered if he was well. I wrote a letter the day before we started from camp. I shall write as often as I can but we may get away from railroad communication so that we cannot send letters as well as we have but I don’t know. I hope you won’t stop writeing. They will reach me some time if I live. We have not received the box yet and I don’t know when we shall. I should like the mittens and shirts but I suppose it is all for the best. I haven’t much news to write. I dread the cold winter. I don’t think it is a great deal warmer here than it is in Massachusetts but I try to look on the bright side of things but when I think of you I seem to have something to live for and I will struggle on and trust God. There is considerable sickness in our regiment but none have died that I know of. we left our Captain and our Colonel was sick so he had to stop and Berlin. It has just been said in camp that our letters cannot be sent at present but will finish my letter and let it go when it can. Give my love to all and tell them to remember me in their prayers. I need them very much.
So I will bid you goodbye Dearest of earthly friends.
Your affectionate husband
W. B. Rogers
The Pontoon bridge at Berlin(present day Brunswick)
Things are gearing up for the big confrontation. W. B. mentions the troops amassing in Virginia.
"The whole army is coming across. It looks as though there was to be some great move somewhere but we can’t imagine what it is to be or where we are going but I hope it will be a blow that will tell something towards the end of this terrible war but my only hope is in an overruling power. If it was in man alone I should not think it would end very soon but I pray that I may live through it and be permitted to see you once more. "
 Years may go by, but the sense of danger and urgency doesn't. The more things change, the more they stay the same.