December 1

December 1, 1862

Monday. Winter. Just think of it, and yet but for the almanac I should call it Indian summer.

December First


The Fir-tree felt it with a thrill
And murmur of content;
The last dead Leaf its cable slipt
And from its moorings went;

The selfsame silent messenger,
To one that shibboleth
Of Life imparting, and to one,
The countersign of Death.
John B. Tabb



Well, I am a nine months' man! Good (?) I went into General Stevenson's headquarters and found the Tenth Vermont was at Petersburg. He ordered me to report to Col. Hunter commanding Camp Distribution at Harper's Ferry; was ordered to take command of the Twentieth Company, Sixth Corps—about 200 men; have got to receipt for clothing, camp equipage, etc.; don't like it, but have to obey orders. The camp is on a barren, bleak side hill long used for such a purpose, and it is cold, windy and dirty with a great deal of dust. I don't like the prospect.

Tuesday, December 1st.—We are to-day in a beautiful high embankment at Wimereux, three miles from Boulogne, right on the sea, and have been dry-docked there till 3 p.m. (when we have just started for?), while endless trains of men and guns have gone up past us. H.M. King George was in the restaurant car of one of them. We have been out all the morning, down to the grey and rolling sea, and have been celebrating December 1st by sitting on the embankment reading back numbers of 'The Times,' and one of the C.S.'s and I have been painting enormous Red Crosses on the train.

'Punch' comes regularly now and is devoured by our Mess. We are very like the apostles, and share everything from cakes and 'Spheres' to remedies for "Jack Johnsons." Bread-and-butter doesn't happen, alas!

6.30 p.m.—We've just caught up H.M. King George's train at St Omer, but he is evidently out dining with Sir John French. We are just alongside. He has red and blue curtains lining the bridges to keep his royal khaki shoulders from getting smutty. His chef  has a grey beard. He is with Poincaré.