from The Southbridge Journal, 1 Aug 1862 (Volume 2 #24), contributed by Mike Branniff
Army Correspondence of the Journal
From the Fifteenth Regiment

Near Harrison’s Landing, Va.
July 20th, 1862

Mr. Editor: The promptness with which we receive your familiar paper from week to week is commented upon by us, and should we be so unfortunate as not to receive one of the numbers, we feel assured that it would not be your fault. Since our last communication, we have been recruiting ourselves and gaining our health and strength, although we find that we are not sufficiently able to take the field again.

We have been detailed as a Regiment, one hundred and twenty five, to do fatigue duty, such as building entrenchments and fortifications, once in every third day. The heat has been very oppressive, particularly during the first ten days after we arrived here, and till Wednesday afternoon, the 16th inst., when we had a heavy thunder shower. The sun came out as hot as ever, the following day, but at night we had another powerful thunder shower, the rain coming down in torrents, wetting us completely through. On Friday we had a drizzling rain till nearly dark, when it rained down in torrents again. it is now quite damp and chilly, making a great contrast to the previous hot days. The Government has not furnished us with tents and blankets in place of those we threw away, as yet. We have had the pleasure of hearing the different regimental bands, since we have been here in this camp, which is a great contrast from what we have heard in front of Richmond. There every movement was done quietly, but here, our front line is one mile and a half from our right’s camp, therefore we are not obliged to be ready for all alarms or sudden movements that are made by the enemy, and are in comparative ease at present, waiting patiently for the good old Bay State to recruit and send her quota of the last call of the President.

There has been one Sabbath that has been enjoyed by us in attending religious services. On the 13th inst. we met in front of Lt, Col. Kimball’s tent, at nine in the morning. The Chaplain of the Regiment, the Rev. Mr. Scandlin, officiated. Services commenced with singing and reading a portion of scripture from Matthew, 25th chapter, commencing with the 11th verse. he then followed with a fervent prayer that God would help us to gather our thoughts, that we might render him an acceptable service: that the Lord would bless our near and dear friends at home. After reading and singing a beautiful and appropriate hymn, entitled, “God speed the Lights”, he preached from the words “For unto whomsoever much is given of him shall much be required,” being the last clause of the 48th verse of the 12th chapter of Luke.

As a general thing we suppose that we are a law abiding people; in one sense we are, and in another we are not, interlining the subject with remarks on the obedience to the physical and moral laws. Said he, are we obeying the laws of God from day to day, do we believe that Christ came to save that which was lost? If we had half the confidence that we do , we would be better and happier men, and a law abiding people in the true sense of the word. One man will tell you that he follows the dictates of his own conscience, and another, that he lives by the light that he has around. He also referred to the blessed and sacred influences of home, how that we would not do such and such there, showing to us that the same law governs us here among the fields of carnage and strife, that govern us at home. The text if understood rightly required much of us who are placed here. But men think that they should do what the mass do around them. If any of us doubt the responsibility that we hold to ourselves and to God, he would refer us to the men that had their talents that he read to us from the good book this morning, that he who lives a good Christian life cannot keep it wrapped up in himself; he must let his light shine.

The subject was closed with good remarks, that God grant that we may use these present surrounding circumstances for his glory and our own benefit; that amid the scenes of strife that we had passed through, and whatever we may be called upon to pass through, remember to have in mind that whatever is just and right must and will prevail; that God will not permit justice and right to be subdued by tyranny and wrong.

As we sit here today, let us look back to Fair Oakes, aye, look back on the carnage of that week we passed through, which shall never be forgotten so long as life shall last. remember to give God the praise that we have passed through it all safe. Do not forget the sacred influence of your mother, of your sister ,and your wife, that you have left at home, that it may make you better men and soldiers. He made a closing prayer as we were about to separate, praying, as we know not whether we shall have another so favorable opportunity to meet together again, that we should prepare ourselves for whatever awaits us. That our military leaders should recognize God in all their movements; and finally that rebellion should be done away with, that peace and plenty should once more reign through this unhappy country.

We have given you a poor description of the service and of this excellent discourse, which was listened to by us. It was pleasant to have one quiet Sabbath, to listen to our faithful and agreeable Chaplain, after two months of hard labor and toil, and it is enough to say that the subject commanded the close and deep attention of the Regiment.