Dixies Land, 3 Miles from
Alexandria Dec 3rd 1861
When I last
wrote you I was in Bladensburgh.
We left there last Thursday. We were
expecting to have a grand time
Thanksgiving day but Wednesday the
order came for us to be prepare to march
into Virginia the next day. The next
morning we were called up at 3 o’clock
to strike out tents & pack up. Started at
7 o’clock with all our wagons & baggage
& our knapsacks on our backs. Marched
thru Washington & over Long Bridge
without stopping. Washington from
what I saw of it is a nice looking
place. The only public buildings I
saw was the Capital & Patent office.
Marched on to Alexandria where we
expected to take the cars to Springfield
9 mile distant. We waited in Alexandria
about 20 min. when an order came for
us to camp near the city. The 61st N,Y.
reg. which got to Alex. before us went on
to Springfield & found a large
body of rebels but a short distance from the
place. They had no ammunition so they got
into the cars & put back to Alex. in 15min.
after they left. The place was swarming with
rebels. This was why we were ordered to stay
where we were. We camped in a field that
night about one mile from the city, had no
tents & it rained a part of the night
our rubber blankets helped keep us from getting
much wet. The R.H,4th was with us all the
time. The next morning we marched 3
miles & pitched our tents here. We are
camped at the foot of a hill on the top
of which is Fort Ward about 1 mile
from Fairfax Seminary & 3 miles from
Alexandria. Our brigade is composed of
the N.H.5th , R.I.4th N.Y.61st & Penn. 36th. Our
regt. has the right of this brigade.
We are under General Howard of Maine. he
is an old West Pointer and a very [---?]
man. He came out as a Col. of the 3rd Me.
Regt. and was promoted for his bravery
at Bull Run. We are in his brigade &
our brigade is in the division of
General Sumner. So if you read about
us you may understand. There are
thousands of troops within 5 miles
of here. Large bodies have come over
within the past week. I expect some
great movement is on foot, but what
I do not know. We are within 5 or 6 miles
of the rebels pickets. Probably we will shall
have to go on picket if we stay here long.
One of our boys asked the Col. this morn-
ing if these were to be our winter quarters.
He said No Sir. Mother wrote me that
she should be alone this Thanksgiving day
but I suppose you all had the usual
Thanksgiving dinner. Well I was truly
alone between Blackensburgh & Alexandria
with my knapsack & rifle on my back
& all I had for my Thanksgiving dinner,
breakfast & supper was salt pork &
hard bread with a little coffee. I felt
sorry when we were ordered here
as I wanted to go on an expedition,
but I suppose there is no hope of that
now. However, I am perfectly contented
and in perfect health. I rec three
letters from you since I came here. They
were very welcome. Nothing gladdens
a soldier so much as to rec letters
or papers from friends at home.
I wrote to mother yesterday. Please write
to me soon. Give my love to all.
Geo S. Gove