[Samuel Hodgman letter, March 20, 1862, United States Civil War] : electronic edition
   
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 p.1 Samuel Hodgman letter 1862-03-20 [page 1]

Harper's Ferry Va.Harpers Ferry (W. Va.)
Mar 20th/62

Dear Brother


Having heard of the march
of our Division I suppose you are anxious to
know where weUnited States. Army. Michigan Infantry Regiment, 7th (1861-1865). Company I are and what we are
doing. I will give you a short account of
our tramp and when you have read
it send it to Father as I dont know when
I shall have another chance to write. I may
have plenty of time or we may have to march
again at a moments warning. We left
Camp BentonCamp Benton (Md.)March 11th and embarked
on the canal for Harper's Ferry & WinchesterWinchester (Va.)
We got under way about noon and reached
Point of RocksPoint of Rocks (Md.) about 9 P.M. We disembarked
supposing that we were to take the cars
for the ferry but orders came about mid-
night for us to get on board again and
ready to move at 1 1/2 A.M. We got but little
sleep after getting our fires lighted and
supper eaten. The night was quite cold and
uncomfortable. At the appointed hour we
were under way and arrived at H.F. about
9.A.M. and crossing the Pontoon bridge marched
through the town and halted for rest and
refreshment on the heights near the western  p.2 Samuel Hodgman letter 1862-03-20 [page 2]
bank of the ShenandoahShenandoah River (Va. and W. Va.) which is here a
very rapid stream roaring and foaming over
its rocky bed. At 2 PM. we resumed our
march and arrived at CharlestownCharles Town (W. Va.) of John BrownBrown, John, 1800-1859 notoriety before sundown and bivouacked
for the night in a beautiful grove half a
mile east of the town. Next day at two
we again set forward for WinchesterWinchester (Va.) - arrived
at BerryvilleBerryville (Va.) after dark and bivouacked
again this time in a rocky ravine with
no water nearer then 3/4 of a mile. In the morn-
ing we were surprised by the order to counter
march, which we did with the rest of
our division which had preceded us to
Winchester. Two days march brought us
back again to Harper's FerryHarpers Ferry (W. Va.) where we are
now quartered in houses belonging to
Union men who fled north last summer
to escape the secesh. Some time in the
night while we lay at Berryville a
contraband came into camp with the
news that a rebel Quartermaster was
concealed at his house about four
miles from camp. Lt ShafterShafter, William R. heard of
it and as soon as it was daylight he
took McFarlinMcFarlin, Hulet P. and a private with him
and started to capture him. On arriving
at the house, which was a splendid one,  p.3 Samuel Hodgman letter 1862-03-20 [page 3]
they found the family at home and inquired
after the Major (senior Division Quartermaster)
His daughters said that he had been there
but that Lt ShafterShafter, William R. would not find him now
The evasion was too palpable to avail and
he politely informed them that he should
consider it his duty to search the house
One of the young ladies acted as guide
and conducted him to the different
rooms. In one of them- a garret they
found a large amount of silver plate
hidden. He then asked her if she supposed
that we were robbers, that came to steal
private property. On hearing this the Major
came from his hiding place- close by
and surrendered himself. After showing
them his papers, commissions &c he invited
the party to breakfast doing the honors of
the table in person, They had a first rate
breakfast which I suppose tasted better
from the fact that the service was all
of solid silver. The country from here
to Berryville is the most beautiful I ever
saw. Here, it looks rather ragged. I shall
not attempt to describe it as you have
probably read better descriptions than I
could give. I went yesterday and visited
a cave about a mile from here. It was  p.4 Samuel Hodgman letter 1862-03-20 [page 4]
not worth the trouble Everything of any possible
beauty or value has long since been stripped
from it. I have also visited the ruins
of the Armory and also saw the engine
house in which John BrownBrown, John, 1800-1859 made
his stand. My opinion of Harpers FerryHarpers Ferry (W. Va.)
in a military point of view is that it is
a much better place to be outside of
than inside. The mountains on each side
are first rate places to plant batteries on
and pour down shot and shell into the town
I cannot write any more now. If we move
I will try and write you. We have had no
mail since last Saturday but expect it to
day. Direct to me Via Harper's Ferry, Va.


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