|from The |
| Editor Spy;
Having just returned from a visit to the camp of the Massachusetts fifteenth regiment, and having been requested by many of its members to communicate in some way with their friends at home, I have thought that a few lines in your paper might be the best way of complying with such requests.
Poolesville, the present quarters of the fifteenth is about thirty six miles from Washington, and can be reached three times a week by stage over the Georgetown turnpike from Washington. I preferred the more independent way of going upon horseback. Tenallytown, the first place on the road after leaving Georgetown, and about six miles from Washington, is now occupied by large camps of our volunteers, including both infantry and cavalry. Ten miles farther on is Rockville, the usual dining place of travelers en route for Poolesville. Rockville is he shire town of Montgomery county, Md., and, in the language of the natives “is a right smart Place,: but unfortunately for its credit at this time it is of strong secession proclivities, as I was informed by the hangers on at the “Washington Hotel,” the most imposing of the three or four taverns in the place.
There are also several encampments in this vicinity, and a few miles distant a large wagon camp, consisting of the horses and wagons attached to Gen. Bank’s command. A ride of nine miles brings us to Darnstown, a village of very little pretense heretofore, but now noted for being the headquarters of Gen. Banks. The General’s headquarters are a mile or two from the village, and off the main road, from which can be seen ten or twelve regiments encamped, a most beautiful sight either to a military man or a civilian.
The Massachusetts second and twelfth regiments, Cols. Gordon and Webster, are here in camp; and a short distance off, nearer the turnpike, the Massachusetts thirteenth, Col. Leonard. The last named regiment appears to be in fine order, only three or four men in the hospital, and they not dangerously sick. Worcester men can be assured of a hearty welcome from Lieut. Col. Batchelder of the thirteenth, if they see fit to give them a call.
Poolesville, about ten miles from Darnstown, is a village of some pretense, and a church which would do credit to any New England town. Camp Foster, so called by Col. Devens in honor of our worthy attorney general, is only a short distance to the left of the village, and is finely situated upon a level tract of land of several acres, with a very large and level parade ground and has the name of being the best arranged and cleanest camp in that division of the army. Dr. Bates the popular surgeon of the regiment, and his assistant Dr, Haven, have charge of the sanitary condition of the camp, and the comparatively few men in the hospital prove that their labors are not in vain. A detachment of fifty or sixty men under Dr. B. make the tour of the camp every morning, removing all dirt or rubbish that has collected about the camp or parade ground the previous day, thus rendering the encampment not only more agreeable to the eye but healthier for the men.
The improvement in the discipline and drill of this regiment is very marked and decided, particularly to one who saw them while in camp in Worcester. The battalion drills conducted by Col. Devens show great proficiency, as does also the exercise in the manual of arms at dress parade, and the high encomiums bestowed upon the colonel and his regiment by officers of experience are well deserved. Worcester county and Massachusetts have reason to be proud of this regiment; and when they shall be called upon for more active service in the field they will not be found wanting.
The regimental band, under the leadership of Mr. Goddard, has made great progress, and ranks among the highest in this division of our army. Services are held every Sunday under the direction of Rev. Scandlin, the very popular chaplain of the regiment, his pulpit on these occasions consisting of a small platform, with a drum fastened to a stack of muskets for a reading desk; on his right,, the beautiful flag presented to the regiment by the ladies of Worcester, and on his left the banner of the state. a choir taken from among the members of the regiment, has been started, and take part in the exercises. prayer meetings are held on Sunday and Wednesday evenings, and are well attended. Mr. S. is evidently the right man in the right place, and he deserves and receives the confidence of the men. Not the least pleasant recollection of the regiment is the harmony and unanimity which prevail at headquarters; and the excellent order and system with which the duties of the officers are carried out, adds greatly to the good discipline of the regiment.
Quartermaster Howe’s department appears to be in fine condition, and is highly commended by officers of his own and other regiments. The rations allowed by the United States are regularly served out, and have been since their departure from Worcester. So say both officers and man.
Two companies of the fifteenth are detailed for picket duty at the river, and this duty is considered the most desirable of any which falls to their lot.
One thing only appears to be wanting to make this one of the most, if not the most efficient regiment from the state, and that is the want of good serviceable arms. The exposed position in which they are placed would seem reason enough to supply them with good effective rifles or rifled muskets, those they now have being pronounced by both regular and volunteer officers as unfit for service. It is to be hoped for the credit of the state, at least, they may be soon supplied with good arms, and with them they will do honor to the state and themselves.