Friday, January 3, 1862
Second Lieutentant Henry Patten of Company E, newly recruited in November, wrote to his father about his experiences at Camp Benton. He reported, "Our day is spent in drilling and superintending our men. There are a thousand and one things to attend to which would be tedious to enumerate. At night we talk ‘round our fireplaces, where blazes Maryland oak in abundance, or read or write ... Our Regiment does its share of picket duty on the river – a duty which has its hardships and danger, but our ordinary camp life has little of either. The men live well, are well and handsomely clothed in army blue, and suffer less from the cold than they would at home." Patten remarked that army life agreed with him and that he was in perfect health. He concluded with, "We know not when we shall march. Write often."1
1Henry Patten, "Letters," Association of Officers of the Twentieth Massachusetts Regiment, Reports, Letters and Papers Appertaining to Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, vol. 2, p. 195-98, Twentieth Massachusetts Special Collection, Boston Public Library, Boston, Massachusetts.