transcribed and contributed by Roberta Senechal

Camp Benton Sept. 21st 1861 [Sat.]
Dear Wife,
I received your letter the 16th and was glad to here from you & to here you was all well. I am very well now we came into camp Benton last Sunday. We are all well rested now, the camp is about 35 or 40 miles from Washington. We marched most all last week we did not think of going so long a distance & started with out any provision. Most of the time we had nothing but hard bread and cold water and slept out in the open air on the ground. When we got through with our march we was very week for the want of food. But now we have plenty of food and feel strong and well except those who are trobled with a diarera. I could write 24 hours and not write all that would be interesting to you & sis perhaps, but I will write what perhaps will be most interesting to you. You wrote about having to chose to keep me comftable. I have a plenty if I had more, it would be burdensome to me. I have 1 Pr draws, 2 Pr wolen shirts, 2 Pr woolen socks, 1 Pr pants 1 knit fatigue coat, 1 thick black coat, 1 heavy over coat, large coat that I can cover over my head when I sleep at night. 1 Inderruber Blanket, 1 heavy woolen blanket. Besides 1 old under shirt and 1 Pr of woolen & one pr of Cotton socks that I brought with me; 1 fatige cap, 2 good black caps. With my knap sack, haversac & canteen you see it makes me a heavy loud. At this moment there is a beautiful Band from Misagan playing. Drect your letter to me Care of Capt. John Launders [Saunders], Sharpshooters. Attached to the 20 Mass. Rigement, vol Washington D.C. I do this for I may be called off to River. We are in camp 2 miles of the River Poetomuck where the rebes want to cross, at least some of them, in the town of Poolsville. Some of our Company went down Tuesday and the rest are a going to releve them. The Pickets are on one side and our troops on the other, they talk to each other. One of the rebel picket said he was hungry and one of the 15 Mass Boys took him up to his camp and gave him a good meal of victuals, then he went back he said he would never shoot at one of that Rig. Before I write any more I would say that I am out of money and if you can send me two dollars, I would like it but do not make your self short. I do not know how I could lived if I had not bought some provision on the Road but I think I shall have more now I have had to let Hixon have some of my money or I should of had more. I saw Albert Irving & Moses Daniels and two or three more from Medway in N.Y. when we was in there. One of the Medfield Boys that belong to the Medway Com. Came to see me last Sunday where we stoped over night 2 miles above here. He came 9 miles horse back. He said the Medway Boys was all well. Hixon wrote home last week.

Sunday afternoon I had to leave letter yesterday. I was called upon to go on gard and my 24 hours was up at 10 o’clock this forenoon. I did not sleep any last night. It was the coldest night we have had this fall. It has been very hot through the day ever since we came to Washington, hotter than it has been any time in Mass. The Company are all together today. Now I think of it, I want you to send me a Housewife, that is, something to carry thred & needles Buttons etc. if you can. I nead that more than any thing I can think of. I want you to write me soon for I don’t know as we shall be with the 20 Rig. Much longer. You see I have plenty of close, all I can take care of. You must excuse my writing for I have no conveint place to write on. A part of the Company have been out practicing with our Rifles two days last week. I believe they give me credit of beating the crowd; we shot one hundred Rods and I think I could hit a Turkey twice out of three times. Tell Asahell & William that I have got a good rifle. It weighs about twenty five lbs. and I am well pleased with it. When we marched without our guns, Soldiers asked us when we past them where our guns was & some thought we was prisernes marching with the 20 Rig. But when we march with our guns they say, see that gun, what a gun that fellow has, see that small cannon. At this moment news has come that there was fighting at Chain Bridge near Washington yesterday. There was a fight and the federal los was not very large but they took a good number of Rebel troops and drove them back but they have ralied again today. So reported in Camp today. There is know doubt there will be a great Battle soon and I think the only one that will mount to much. Nobody knows any thing about it; every thing is kept so still, all officers and soldiers are forbid writing so that can get into press. Tell Asabel & William that there is plenty of game here but we are not aloud to shoot at them. We cannot shoot at targets only between the hours of 10 to 12 o’clock. If we should here a gun near the River at any time, the Soldiers would be in arms. There is Hogs all round the fields and woods here into our cookery some times nights. Tell Bub there is a lot of little niger Boys round here where there is a house, but the houses are very scarce here. The negro Boys bring cakes & pies on the camp ground to sell. Write me all the news, how is Sis, Crow and the garden. I suppose you will have to get some more wood soon. I want you to make your self comfortable if you can. If I live I think I shall be with you in the spring. I want Lucina and Hattie to write a few words in your next letter. There is 3,000 troops on this ground. I think we can raise 12,000-15,000 Troops here in one hour time. How are the Rigerments filling up in Mass.? I will leave, for I may want to write a few lines before close this letter.

From your Dearest Husband M Hill

[in margins] My love to all. Kiss bub & Sis & hattie for me. I think of you a great deal & Bub, I dream of him often. Send me a Boston Paper as you can