Bermuda Hundred Landing
January 4th 1865
My dear Kate,
The pencil notes have commenced again. I was half expecting and hoping that the occasion for them was over but here we are again on the move. Whither bound, I know not but everyone says to Wilmington. It seems tolerably certain that we are to embark today on transports. Everything looks like it & yet this may be all a feint.
Yesterday morning at 3 o’clock. I was summoned to the General’s and then received orders to have my regiment ready to move at 11 a. m. At that hour we were ready taking baggage and tents and leaving horses and invalids. By the way, we rode our horses as far as here and are to send them back today.
Well we started about noon and marched down to Deep. Bottom, crossed the James and on to this place. Of course as it didn’t rain, it snowed and on reaching this ground at six p. m., the snow covered everything. We were to bivouac and as this implied sleeping out in a snow storm, you may imagine the prospect at first was not very inviting. However, it was not so bad as seemed. To be sure, it snowed all night, but we rigged up a screen to keep off the wind, kept a good fire going, and had plenty of blankets and I slept uncommonly well, waking up only a few times when the blankets slipped off and a snow drift had piled up in the back of my neck. I have also an indistinct remembrance of someone moving my feet away from the fire to keep my boots from burning. What should I have done if my “Seven leaguers” had come to grief! And now this morning the sun has come out bright and clear. The ground and trees look beautifully in their white covering (remember I have hardly seen any snow for three years) and the dark evergreens and holly with its bright red berries contrast very prettily. Altogether it would be a charming morning for a drive—at home.
We are awaiting orders and are sitting about the camp fire [with our] blankets rolled, dishes washed and packed up, all ready to move. Mr. Tiffany sits by reading the morning paper. Col. Klein is smoking and the orderly and servants are on the other side keeping a grand blazing fire. Mr. Tiffany thinks this pic-nicking in winter time is all very nice and picturesque but expresses the opinion that it’s more comfortable under cover in such weather.
What effect this move may have on the time of my leaving [the army] remains to be seen. Of course I cannot think of the matter now and this affair may last a month. Meanwhile, we must possess ourselves in patience and trust that all will turn out well as it has done in time past. I shall hope that it be possible and proper to leave at the time I proposed. Perhaps my last campaign may be a glorious one. Who can tell? Now, dear Kate, goodbye. I will keep you informed of my movements.
Yours, — Alfred
General Terry goes. General Hawley not.
P. S. 3 p.m I have this moment heard of our destination—Savannah, to report to General Sherman. I don’t know what to make of it but I have it confidentially from an officer who saw the order from General Grant. It may be only a ruse but anyhow not a word must pass your lips till you hear from some other source. I enclose a new direction which will answer till I know more positively. I may be in at the taking of Charleston after all. The prospect of a warmer climate is agreeable this cold weather. Yours, A. P. R.