transcribed and contributed by Roberta Senechal
Camp Benton Sept. 21st 1861 [Sat.]
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