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Letter from the Seventh Regiment

Letter from the Seventh Regiment

Camp 7th Mich. Vol. Inf’ty

Stephensburgh, VA, April 14th, 1864

Editor Commercial – But few matters of interest have occurred since my last letter – The principal feature of the past two weeks have been very severe weather with continued rains making even hills about us very muddy.  Bridges have been washed away in two instances, interrupting our communication with Washington for a day or two, and of course stopping the mails and newspapers.

A review of the 2d Corps has been expected for some days past by Lieut. Gen. Grant, but every time a day has been fixed, a pelting rain has prevented the pageant of the martial columns.  A review on a small scale took place yesterday when this Brigade walked before Gen. Gibbon, commanding the Division, and Gen. Gibbon commanding the Division rode the Brigade- a case of mutual admiration no doubt.  The reviews degenerate into mere formalities, tiresome to the men, and suggestive of nothing new to the Generals.

Sutlers, purveyors and civilians without visible means of support or an actual connection with the army have been ordered to leave the lines by the16th inst, or have their goods confiscated and be put at hard labor.  In a word the army is stripping itself for a fight, for which, the weather is now propitious and the mud is fast disappearing.  I need not say that this army has been increased; for that is known-how much time will show.  The line of this regiment on dress parade has visibly lengthened, and battalion drills are of more than daily occurrence.  The next letter I write will, perhaps, be within hearing of groans and death struggles on the field of carnage.  Oh! Shudders are natural, when we think death is before us.  Proud forms will fall in the dust and bright hopes be crushed out forever.  A few days more and the time will be at hand.

Col. Hall has been ordered back to his regiment and we expect him here in a day or two. The men all have confidence in him and are proud of him.  Two captains of this regiment have resigned since my last writing, Capt. Vrooman, than whom, a better officer never grasped a sword, and Capt. Henderson, who is now on his way home.

Corporal Van Wormer has had his trial by Court Martial, and been returned to duty, without punishment, which leniency has surprised us all.  A Court Martial is a queer engine of justice.  There is no telling what punishment awaits a given crime.  Life and death often hang on the probable digestibility of a stone dumpling or a sour flitter in the stomach of some snob of a lieutenant.  Fortunate it was, for the friends of Van Wormer that the court, for once, found its dinners easily digestible.  May he take warning and sin 
no more.  

There are now no serious cases of illness in the regimental hospital, and only a very few subjects of trivial and temporary ailment-The religious meetings are still kept up with their usual interest among us.  The Brigade chapel is occupied every evening in the week and during the seven days. The exercises are made up of five sermons, seven prayer meetings and a bible class besides two Lyceum debates.  The opportunities are ample, whosoever will, let him be saved.  A large number have been baptized and go on their way believing and rejoicing in hope.  

Should you hear one of these days of this regiment doing wonderful things with the Spence repeating rifle you need not be surprised.  Your correspondent is working heart and main to secure for the men this king of destructive weapons.