Thursday, February 2, 2012

Letters from the Front - Nathan Hayward

Sunday, February 2, 1862

Doctor Nathan Hayward wrote a letter to his father about life at Camp Benton during the winter of 1862. He had received the joyful news of the parole and arrival of Adjutant Charles Peirson in Washington and hoped that Peirson would visit Camp Benton shortly.

He wrote that there was not much to write about during their winter at camp, except the weather. He observed that the weather had been unfavorable during the last three weeks, and that it was vital to be fastidious in maintaining the sanitary conditions of the camp during episodes of damp weather. The men had been confined to their tents, making them sluggish. He noted that "the privates will confine themselves to their tents in bad weather, and neglect airing their bedding, besides stopping every crevice in their tents, to the prevention of ventilation, if they are not interfered with; and being men of mechanical pursuits, with little mental cultivation, they become more than ordinarily sluggish and indolent in bad weather and confine themselves to eating and drinking and sleeping for occupation."1

1Nathan Hayward, "Letters," Association of Officers of the Twentieth Massachusetts Regiment, Reports, Letters and Papers Appertaining to Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, vol. 1, p. 362-64, Twentieth Massachusetts Special Collection, Boston Public Library, Boston, Massachusetts.

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