[Four miles from Warrenton]
November 8th 1862
I had scarcely finished my last letter when we were ordered to march immediately. After going quite a distance, we halted on a hill and stayed there two nights and one day.
Monday we marched again and crossed the Manassas Gap Railroad and put up for the night near what was called Recordstown but I think the proper name is Springfield. Thursday we started on the back track and after going about four miles, we commenced bearing to the right and continued so until we crossed the railroad (about three miles below where we first crossed it) and then went in a straight course through the towns of Salem and Orleans and at last halted just outside of Orleans after a march of only twenty-two miles.
I was troubled with the rheumatism in consequence of exposure and was carried in an ambulance the last ten miles of the march. Yesterday morning it commenced snowing and the boys commenced marching (I rode in an ambulance) and halted for the night after going about six miles in a pasture somewhere near the Rappahannock river. It snowed until late last night and it is bitter cold.
We arrived in Orleans just in time to drive out four regiments of rebel cavalry. They burned the bridge across the Rappahannock in their retreat. We live like kings—steal all the honey, sheep, pigs, cows, ducks, geese, chickens &c that we can get hold of. All the Secesh say that hell’s broke loose and the devils are come. We are about four miles from Warrenton and are going to Richmond only about 140 miles distant. I feel pretty smart today and shall march if possible for I don’t want to be behind hand in case of a fight.
People at home see war in this light. They imagine a battlefield, the thunder of cannon, the clashing of steel, the charges, the groans of the wounded, and scarcely think of the terrible exposure, the irregularity of the meals, the wearisome marches, and the sickness (the worst part of war) that a soldier is liable to endure. I for one want to keep clear of sickness and the bullets won’t trouble me. But there are signs of starting and I must close.
I can hardly find time to write at all and if you don’t receive my letters regularly, don’t complain for I have not received a letter since we left “Pleasant Valley.”
My best wishes to all friends and much love to you at home. Write soon. Yours truly, — Charley