Augusta County: Clinton Hatcher to Mary Anna Sibert, August 14,
Clinton Hatcher comments on some of the regiments from other states, mentions mutual acquaintances, and criticizes Yankee "cowards" for delaying his plans to see Mary Sibert again.
Miss Mary A. Sibert
Aug 14th 61
Dear Miss Mary:
I received your very welcome and interesting letter day before
yesterday, but I am sure you will excuse this delay for I assure you it was entirely
unavoidable. I went to Leesburg on Sunday expecting our regiment to follow the next morning but
on account of the rains they were unable to cross the creek. My paper and envelops were all in my knapsack and there were none at all in town for sale. But a
few hours ago I again returned to camp and your letter has been the first thing to claim my
attention after my arrival. I am really very much obliged to you for
writing me such long kind letters; it is such a relief to the monotony of camp life to receive
letters from one who writes so well,
and is so kind a friend as to waste her time in raising the drooping spirits of a soldier.
I think from your letter that you must have misunderstood my allusions to the battle. I was
in the fight of Sunday the 21
ult. and it was that of which I spoke. I had not heard that the Augusta troops were in
the battle. I thought that all of Gen. Johnson's force arrived too
late for the fight. We have all of Gen. Evans Brigade here now consisting of three Mississippi
Regiments besides our Virginia one. I expect more force will be sent up here before long and we
will be ordered to cross the river and march on to Washington. I hope to dine there at
Gautier's soon. Won't you come down? I expected to have made a desperate effort to see you once
more about this time if it had not been for the war, but it has broken into all of my
I have been a little unwell for several days, indeed for about a week. Since I have been staying at the Hotel in Leesburg some fellow has stolen my pistol. I wish I could only find the man who has it.
I met a Mississippian the other morning in the regiment who had given out on the march, and as he got in the carriage with me to ride I recognized him to be one of Judge Ferry's sons whom I had met at Georgetown college. One of the old Columbian students is also in our brigade from Mississippi. It is so pleasant to meet old acquaintances in that way out in the army.
I am very sorry that Chum did not conclude to come on and join our company, my cousin and I
have just had a private tent made for ourselves and would be very happy to share it with him.
I have no very intimate friend in this regiment and would like so much to have Sam's company. But I suppose he is doing more good for his country by manufacturing bombs and if so, I ought not to wish to take him away from that employment. I have not heard from him for a long long time although I wrote him four pages of foolscap about the time I last wrote to you.
I do wish with all my heart I could have been with you in your ride, besides being fond of
horseback riding, I am sure it would have been impossible for me not to have enjoyed myself
exceedingly in your comapny. Indeed, I want to see you very much. I shall be tempted never to spare a Yankee for interfering so
much with my
plans and arrangments for this summer.
I think my photograph on the "Noble Six" is very good. I would give much to look at one of
yours now as good. There is not a single ambrotypist in Loudon now, is not that dreadful? Are
there any in Augusta? I have never had a very good ambrotype taken to leave at home even and
now if I should get killed it would be unfortunate. I am still compelled to write with a lead
pencil and rather a dimm one too but I hope you will excuse it without
any apology especially as I am endeavoring to write you a long letter. On account of the
irregularity of the Virginia mails it is impossible for me to write to you and receive
your letters as often as I would wish to, so the only resource is to write long letters every time.
Our company are out on Battalion drill now but I do not feel well enough to be with them; and I prefer writing to you to being out with the numerous ladies who have come here from the adjacent county to look at the dress parade.
The Missipians have just come out for Battalion drill, their Col. is on horseback, something quite unusual with us. Our Cols. of the infantry always appear on foot. I suppose their Col. is like Napoleon, the present Emperor, who appears much better on horseback than on foot on account of his long body and short limbs.
The men have just been drawing comparisons between the line of
battle marching of our regiment and the 13 th Mississippian. Our regiment really beats them awfully. In fact we have been drilling over rocks and hills so long that now our men are getting to be quite soldierlike.
I expect now that the officers see how well we drill we will be pushed into battle as soon as possible, at least I hope so. I would like to be in one bayonette charge. I can then know whether I kill a Yankee or not. I think I should feel better after I knew that my bayonette had been the means of ridding the earth of one of the cowards.
If you see Sam Forrer soon please tell him to write me a long letter. I received a short note from him about a month ago which is the only time I have
heard from him for nearly two months.
I heard yesterday that our forces had crossed into Md at Mathias Point and Aquia Creek and were advancing on Washington; if so I expect we will advance soon in this direction. I hope we will have McDonald's Legion with us. I have great faith in their efficiency and wished very much that they had been on hand the day of the battle to follow the Yankees into Washington. They are daring fellows. Please excuse my hurried and disconnected letter and write me another of your long, interesting ones very soon.
I remain as ever, your truest and most unchanging friend,