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Alfred P. Rockwell, 4 May 1864

Steam Transport “Convoy”
Headquarters 1st Conn. Lt. Battery
1st Division, 10th Corps
May 4th 1864

Dear Kate,

I know that the mails are all detained at Fortress Monroe, but as we all expect to have something to do within 48 hours & too busily occupied to write, I improve the present moment. Yesterday noon I received orders to embark and at once moved from camp & put my guns &c.—all but the horses—upon one of the large North River Barges that you have seen often no doubt. Owing to the usual delays, the steamer for the horses was not ready till this morning and we spent the night by camp fires.

Today has been my first day of rest and I have been making up lost sleep. Troops have been embarking all day and probably before morning all will move. It is a beautiful sight—the river full of steamers & barges loaded with men, flags flying, bands playing, steam tugs moving swiftly about in the fleet carrying orders to the different steamers, some getting underway. Altogether it is an exciting scene and appears like a busy harbor. Tomorrow all will be quiet and deserted as it was a few weeks ago.

As to our destination, I think my former surmises are correct but know no more now than before.

On the eve of what I presume may be a rapid and probably successful movement, of course I feel very anxious for we have not heard the sound of shot & shell for may months & a considerable number of my men are recruits. But I trust the Battery will not lose reputation. Thoughts of the personal danger and possible chances are not agreeable nor are they proper for any officer to dwell upon as they only unfit him for duty. But I can not keep out all thoughts of home & tonight particularly I have been wishing for one more look at least at her who is dearest to me.

May 5th. We got underway at midnight and this morning I woke up at anchor at Fortress Monroe immediately after sunrise. We are ordered & underway for Newport News. What next? Isn’t this uncertainty delightful? Just think how these great forces are moved—a few touches upon the telegraphic instrument at Washington & all the great armies move—no one but the favored few knowing anything about where they are going. We have just come to anchor at Newport News. It is a beautiful morning. Everything seems to smile upon us. How beautiful it must be in New Haven now! I will go and see as soon as we finish up this little job.

I have been reading that story in Littell and like it very much. I should like to continue it unless you wish to keep the magazine complete. The numbers will of course have to be thrown away as I read them.

Don’t smile at the heading of this letter. It was the beginning of an official communication & I had no other paper at hand and then my pen gave out & I took to lead. However, if it will only serve to convince you of my devotion, it will have done its work & may be consigned to the flames.

My letters will be less voluminous than formerly as I find it a little difficult to carry many reams in my waistcoat pocket. The consummation of stationery while on Folly Island was enormous. Goodbye, my dearest.

Affectionately yours, — Alfred


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