Ross Family Letters, RG 149
Sang[sters] + Roads Va.
Oct 10, 1861
As I have not written to you for a week or two past I now seat my self to write you a few lines I am well at present and have enjoyed fine health since my recovery of the measels. I have nothing of much importance to write to you but I will drop you a few scribbles any way just to let you know how we are thriving on Old Virginia's war like stage.
Times here are tolerably quiet [but] it is quietness [for] One day then all noise and bluster the next. Sometimes We are perfectly calm & still then in our camp only hearing the word war mentioned. Then all in a moment The scene is changed by some trooper coming up at full Speed, with a dispatch to our Col. to send a company or perhaps the whole Regiment out, some eight ten or twelve miles distant as the case may be to meet or watch The movements of the enemy. On the 29th of September our Regiment received orders to move out near Springfield, there to stand picket as twas said and has since been found to be true that the enemy were in possession of that place. When our Regiment was first ordered out Capt. Kennedy left in camps about 25 or 30 sick men, whose names were carried on the sick report up to the Surgeons tent every morning, G.W.R. unfortunately being one of The Squad., and on the night of the 30th orders were sent to camps by Capt. Kennedy that Springfield Would be attacked on the next morning and he would be glad for every man who was able to march to join his company by sun up next day. So by day-break fifteen (15) of us had our guns in good order and marched right ahead to join our company. We arrived at our mens camp in due Time and remained There long enough to be well rested before the command was given for us to march on as we thought to the scene of action. We moved on in the direction of Springfield, traveling mostly on the rail-road for about five miles (Miles Slaughter was in our company) We were then halted and Gen. Ewell directed our Regiment (the 6th Ala) to move up on the right of the 24th Va. Regiment which was with us to advance on the left of the Rail Road we proceeded in This way until we arrived in about one 1/4 of a mile of our destination Then all of our Companies except two or four I do not know which were thrown out as Scouting parties. The Loa Rifles & Independent Rifles of Montgomery were not thrown out as Skirmishes but were Thrown into line of battle on the Left of the Rail Road and whether two other companies were ordered to do likewise on the opposite Side of the R.R. I do not know, This accounts for me not knowing whether two others comp, besides ours were left or not.
In about 10 or fifteen minutes after these scouting parties left us we heard their guns bang bang for a minute or longer, we Thought we were into it then sure. We were then marched double quick Through some of the Thickest woods I ever saw right up to Springfield. When we got there behold no Yankees were to be seen, our men had Fired only on the enemys pickets, wounding one, getting his gun & Spy-glass. The proceeds of our days work was the capturing a gun Spy-glass & Telegraph., it was taken down and wound up as far as fair-fax Station.
If you should chance to see Miles Slaughter he can give you a verbal statement as he was an anxious participant in The whole affair. I do not think, there will be a battle here of much counsequence Soon. I think both parties are working for the same Thing, my opinion is the enemy has been trying to draw us out as far as Alexandria or Fort Ellworth where they have two Brigades Stationed without the Fort Which we think are out for us to attack, then they will fight us like wild fire for a little while, then feign a stampede and get us to pursue them if possible near enough to the Fort for them to bombshell us, While Beauregard & Johnson are trying to get them to follow Us as far as Fair-Fax Station, not farther than Bull Runn no how. If we can ever get them to Bull Run we are quite confident, that we can drive them back to Washington at the rates of 140 degrees over double quick, but I have no Idea we can ever induce them to advance on the Southern army that far again.
I am well satisfied that as long as both parties work like they are at present there will be no battle of much note. For instance we place pickets at Springfield The yankees will run them in--they place pickets at the same place and we run them in; so here it goes, It reminds me more of playing baste than any thing else. For both Parties take care to stop at their respective posts.
I saw on the 4th of October a balloon in the direction of Alexandria I suppose it asseended from that place. I guess it was professor Low, I believe that is his name, trying to make observations for Old uncle Abe. It went up about five in the evning and came down about Sun down, it did not appear larger from here than the size of a water Bucket. While it was passing through a cloud it had very much the appearance of a bright Star. The Health of our Regiment is only tolerably good, I Suppose in all we have some 350 or 400 Sick men. William Rowe & T. Rowe are both sick they have The billious fever, both of them are improving. We have had a great many cases of billious in our company since I arrived here, but they are all well now but about five or Six. I saw Poss Prather on the 3rd inst at Manasas Junction, he had just arrived there going on to the 19th Mississippi Regiment. If you recollect he went to Miss some time ago to join a company. He is not well, he Said that he had been a little sick for some time. Bro Green write as often as you can conveniently & tell Rolly that I would be glad to hear from him. I neglected to mention at the beginning of my letter that I had received yours of the 17th of Sept., it came to hand about of week ago, the contents of your letter gave me much pleasure, and I was glad to learn that it left you all well. Give my best respects to all our relatives & accept for yourself & family the best wishes
your most obedient