December 22, 2010
Yes, we are back again with Letters From War Wednesdays. Today’s note comes courtesy of Eleanor Kimmell Roubique. In her book, Home by the Fourth of July, she re-prints the letters of her grandfather,William Francis Kimmell, who served with the 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry through the major battles of the Civil War, including Gettysburg and Antietam.
The letters are addressed to his friend, Leah Crispell, back home in Albion, Indiana. Although wounded twice, he would survive to return to Albion and marry Leah.
Timely, this letter was written on December 20, 1862, from a camp near Romney, Virginia. Though Kimmell and his group had recently come through hard fighting, including the Battle of Antietam, he instead wanted to talk of Christmas.
“My Dear Friend,
“I presume you are thinking of Christmas by this time and what good times you will have. My messmates are having a big argument this evening about who shall roast the goose for we are intent on having a goose for dinner. We can cook our own Christmas dinner and enjoy it, too. I had hoped to spend a few days at home about New Years, but I shall have to give it up. So you need not look for me until you see me.
“We have had very pleasant weather for several weeks past, and I can hardly think it is as late in the winter as what it is. For I have always been used to seeing snow and very cold weather about Christmas. I wish you could see our camp as it looks at present. I will try and describe it the best I can. Each company has eighteen tents. They are set in rows about twenty feet apart, and nine in each row so that each company has its streets. There is a row of small evergreen trees on each side of the street. The officers’ tents are in one row back of the company with evergreens in front. And the camp is swept up as clean as any door yard. Our officers are very strict in regard to cleanliness and we have one of the best and finest appearing Regts in Romney.
“I must drag this scribbling to a close. I sincerely hope you may enjoy your self during the holidays and that I may yet ask the pleasure of accompanying you to a great many parties. I will now bid you Good Bye for a time.