Will Fisher to his mother
Camp Stoneman
March 2, 1862


It is Sabbath & so, consequently, there is reason to write. I attended church on the regimental parade ground this AM. Lately, they have let the men go to church or stay at home just as they please, & I am sorry to say they do not attend very well, but there is a good many Catholics. The chaplain is very brief & short when it is cold or anything. The band plays & we have some very good singers indeed.
I thought our regt. was pretty hard cases when we were in Camp Strong, but, come to see them beside the other regts. around here, they are the best, smartest, cleanest looking regt. to be seen around here. A good many of the regts. are Irish, Dutch & all kinds & of all the rags and dirt I never see the beat in my life.
We were mustered in for pay. We will be paid off some time before the 15th of the month.
Gen. Palmer was here. He is our brig. gen. The way we done it, the regt. was got into line & then wait till they see Gen. Palmer coming (you see they know about when he will be there) & then the band & the bugles struck up “Hail to the Chief” & they ride the whole length of the line as hard as the horses can go. Then they go along & call the roll of each company & each man answers to his name. This they call mustering in for pay. There is a good deal of ceremony to most of the military performances.
I just hear the boys talking outdoors that the 22nd Regt. has orders to move. I don’t know how true it is, but I should not wonder. I think there is some great plan about to be put in action here & they report that they are fighting to Harpers Ferry in Gen. Banks’ Division & you need not be surprised if another great attack should be made on Manassas Junction before long.
But I guess I will keep kind of a diary for a few days & then send it, for I have just four post stamps & them I got by miracle for day or two ago I got most awful wet in a rain storm & the stamps I had in my pocket got wet & spoiled. There was about 8 spoiled, but I had four in my other pocket.

This morning it is a little wet. It rained all night. During the night we heard some heavy firing over in Virginia & now as we are expecting something over there this morning the newsboys cry the advance of Gen. Banks & the death of Gen. Lander. We have not heard the particulars yet.
The 22nd & 30th have not had a chance to go into action yet, but now they are going. All of their things such as trunks, carpet bags, tents & all of their equipage was sent over to Washington for storage & Jim McLellan got a letter from George Overracker (the fellow that married Nettie McClellan) directing him what to do with his things in case he should be killed. They start for Manassas today or yesterday.
I guess we will be victorious this time for we don’t commence it on Sunday. If we win the day we will certainly be disbanded & if we loose it we will not be.
Gen. McLellan intends to have them all advance together. Gen. Banks at Harpers Ferry is already commencing. Gen. McLellan was up to Harpers Ferry 2 or 3 days last week. It is said he was not off of his saddle, only to eat, for 2 days. He came back to Washington Sunday morning about two o’clock. “Look out for big doings.” I wish we had our horses to go too, but I guess we never will get a chance to see any fighting.
Last night there was a battery of guns fired that made my dishes rattle. The guns were at Harpers Ferry 45 miles from here. Perhaps you would like to know what my dishes are? Well, we have a tin plate, knife, fork & spoon & a quart cup. We also have a canteen & haversack. The canteens hold a quart & a half. We draw three candles for four nights & one loaf of bread per diem.
I had a letter from John the other day which I guess I will answer & the rest of my postage stamps I will devote to you. If we should not be paid off in some time I shall run short. I had a letter from Jim Skinner. He is teaching school near home.
I guess I might as well tell you that Nelson & I have got the itch & lousy too. Nelson wrote home about it, so I thought I would now. I will tell you how we think we got it. The itch, Nelson caught that, over to the 22nd & the lice we got off of our clothes coming from the washer woman. You see they have everybody’s clothes there washing & the lice got on to all of them. We use sulphur for the itch both inwardly and outwardly & an ointment for the lice.

Thursday the 7th
It is much longer since I added anything to this sheet than I expected so I guess I will finish it & let it go in today’s mail.
Today it is kind of a chilly, raw day with high winds. We have had a good deal of wind lately. One day we had a regular hurricane which blew all of the tents in the camp down & unroofed houses & blowed over church steeples in Washington.
Nelson & Barton had their box come the other day. Nelson had a letter saying that you & Shiland’s folks were going to put in some things. But, I was glad you had not been to the trouble & expense, for, as well as I like good things to eat, I do not think it pays the cost & then I would rather wait till some other time. In fact I like the living here first rate. We have a good deal of fresh meat & you know how I like that & we get first rate bread. Butter is high & you know we would have to buy that if we have it. We have bought a little some times when we had company, but not much.
We had a great funeral here in Washington the other day. I suppose you heard of it. Brig. Gen. Lander. All of the big men were there, the President & lots of Generals.

Monday 10th
I have not had postage stamps lately to write much & now it seems as though I could not write this morning. I am wanting some stamps quite bad. There is a talk now of our not getting paid till first of April & I don’t think we will. But I don’t need any if I could get some stamps. I owe John a letter but I shall have to wait. I am going to mail this today with the 1st stamp I have got. This is the greatest place to beg stamps I ever saw. You have a dozen ask you in an hour. Albert & Nelson are both as bad as I am. No money nor stamps.
Col. Crocker’s Regt. came here Saturday & yesterday we went over and saw them. They are just pitching their tents but they have nicer weather than our regt did. It seems that they pouring in all the troops they have got up north. They are getting ready for some large battle soon. Everybody has got marching orders, our regt. with the rest. So now I begin to think I have got to leave these nice quilts, bunks & stove & go out to lay on the ground. I understand we are to go in the rear of the great battle train that is going against Bull Run. We will be to guard the provisions.
When you write you had better put on the “Camp Stoneman” just the same as before.
Everything looks most dreadfully fearful. Last night sat up half the night just to hear the sound of war. You could see the signal lights & hear drums, bugles & brass bands all beating the long roll for battle & I tell you it made me feel a little solemn. I never did hate to leave any place worse than I did this camp. They are not numbering the tents & getting things ready. We may not leave for some little time & we are liable to any moment.
I expect Wood Hill will go anyway along with the Dr. of our regt. to drive the “dead cart.” I got up this morning expecting he had gone but he hadn’t. Don’t say any thing about it to his folks.
Give my love to Aunt Sarah and all of the rest & receive this from your boy who is among the scenes of war.