CHRISTMAS SEASON ON CAMPAIGN-PART 4
As I said before, we marched from the Shenandoah Valley to Culpepper, VA. We made the march in about 7 days. The march was steady and we made good time. It didn’t rain much, thank the Lord, but it was cold at night.
We had to move fast and arrived at Culpepper without our wagons, so we had to sleep out on the ground without any tents. The weather kept turning colder and me and my mess mates are in this bundle that I described to you.
We just heard first call and will have to fall out for roll call and any orders for the day pretty soon. Jim, who is one in the middle, is still snoring. Phil, the other one in the middle, just groaned. All of us are facing south and I am on the outside facing south looking out over the camp. Bill is on the other outside position facing toward Jim. We got one fire for two messes made up of 4 men per mess. It is my turn to go and get the fire restarted and get some water boiling in our community mucket, which holds about 4 cups of hot water and will just provide enough water to fill up all our tin cups.
We have already run out of coffee during the first of the year and we get some kind of grounds from the quartermaster. It ain’t coffee. I don’t know what it is, but it is black and hot when boiled, and somehow we have acquired a taste for it.
I put on my brogans, which sends a chill through me because they are so cold. I had them under the cover near my feet, but they still get stiff and cold during the night. I head toward the fire. I find that the fire still has some embers and it isn’t hard to add some wood we confiscated last night to get it started. So I emptied my canteen into the mucket and start the water to boiling with the conglomeration called coffee.