Letter from the 12th Regiment



Date Issued


Bibliographic Citation

Blauvelt, I.D. "Letter from the 12th Regiment." Rockland County Journal, June 8, 1861, 2.


Our Correspondence


The following letter from a well-known citizen of Piermont, kindly furnished us for publication, will be read with interest by all his friends in this county :

Camp Anderson, Washington, June 3,1861

Dear Father: Back again in our old quarters in Washington. Of course the papers have informed you of our movements in Virginia. We were encamped at the base of Arlington Heights about six miles from Washington, on the Virginia side. The country round about is as fine as 1 ever saw. Potatoes and corn are about six inches high, and we have had strawberries in profusion. The farmers bring them in quart boxes, with the hulls on, and sell them for 30 cents; milk 9 cents a quart; butter 23 cents per lb. So with money a fellow can live quite comfortable. There are a great many cedars all around the country, the finest I ever saw : they are somewhat larger than ours and more beautiful in appearance.

I did not see but one armed secessionist while out there. I was stationed on the Picket Guard, about one mile from Camp, last Friday and Saturday. There were six men and a corporal composing the picket, and three of us were on two hours and then the other three, called the relief, took our places for two hours. At about half-past eight o'clock I was stationed the farthest picket from the Camp, in a dense grove of cedars, with about ten feet to pace in. I tell you I kept my eyes open about that time—heard a noise as of a horse or some other animal coming through the woods. I approached cautiously to the edge of the thicket and saw a Virginia picket on horseback. He was heading away from our Camp, and had evidently been reconoitering. When within about twenty paces I sung out,
"Who comes there?" and "halt" and raised my musket at the same time. He seemed surprised and put his hand to one side as if to draw his pistols, but seeing the Corporal with the relief coming, he deemed discretion the better part of valor and surrendered. He was sent into Camp and Butterfield sent him to Washington. I slept out of doors the whole time in huts built of rails and cedar trees, and am in perfect health.

We were relieved on Sunday morning by the First Connecticut Volunteers and immediately marched back to Washington. After marching about two miles we halted in air woods, unslung knapsacks, and spent about an hour in divine service, Matthew Hale Smith conducting the exercises. We were drawn up in a square, the officers and band in the centre. The Chaplain commenced by reading the army regulations, then made a prayer, and spoke for about half an hour, closing with "Auld Lang Syne" accompanied by the Band, and the benediction. Then we slung knapsacks and on to Washington.

As we got to the top of the hill a splendid view burst on our sight. The City of Washington, the Capitol, the Navy Yard and its surrounding, with the fields of grass and groves of trees between the Potomac and the mountain, formed one of the most splendid sights I have ever witnessed.

Land in Fairfax County is worth from 100 to 150 dollars an acre, and would by proper enterprise and cultivation be cheap at that. The weather is intensely warm, and on our march five or six men gave out and had to stop. They are all improving, however, at present.

I. D. Blauvelt

Original Format

Newspaper article


Isaac D. Blauvelt, “Letter from the 12th Regiment,” accessed October 1, 2022, https://rocklandroom.omeka.net/items/show/18.