Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Saying Good-bye to the Cabins

Today at Brandy Station, April 27, 1864

A soldier from the 141st Pennsylvania Infantry wrote to his sister:

"Yesterday we bid goodbye to our winter quarters and moved out into the open to try the simple shelter tent, and to sleep on the ground and cook out of doors. Thee fields are green again and the flowers all returning once more. Soon will come the dusty marches and summer of toil and danger. We have the report that no mail will be permitted after once getting into a new wave. If it is for the best we must submit, but ‘twill seem hard to be deprived of our almost only enjoyment. …
Ville, I am so tired of hearing the drum, fife and bugle—seeing the white tents and white covered army wagons nearly as far as the eye can see on every side. …"

During the next few days throughout the Army of the Potomac, soldiers were ordered to vacate the cabins they had built and lived in for nearly five months. It was time to get into the habit of living in the field under canvas. So, out came the tents and down came the cabins and huts, many were burned along with the furniture that had been hand-made during the quiet of winter - by soldiers whose real talents were something other than weapons of death.

The women had left; the sutlers and business that had sprung up in and around Brandy Station had packed up and gone home; and now the cabins were to be destroyed. Even the greenest recruit knew what lay in his immediate future.

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