Byrns, William – May 11, 1862

Michigan Civil War Collection Letters

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Regiment: 1st Michigan Infantry Battles Mentioned: Historical Figures: Camp Buthe Newport News Va May 11th 1862 Dear [   ?   ] I wrote, as I supposed, my fi nal letter from this camp. but it pleased the “great powers” to ordain it otherwise for at midnight of the same eve I wrote. Our orders were countermanded + we were held as reserves As the facts are now before the world at large. I care but little for I think the laurels now at Norfolk not of the most improvishable sort. The past week has been full of incident + excitement to this de- partment. From the time our gunboats began work on Friday A.M. until the explosion of the magazine of the [   ?   ] but as you will see many accounts of it in the papers before this reaches for I leave it for those whose bunness it is to use their descriptive powers to give you correct ideas of the subject. I will only say that twas more than six miles away + the concusion shook our [  ?  ] so that we were alarmed. I suppose it is not proper for a soldier to say that he is alarmed at anything but to be started from a grond doze by such a report as that was will try the moves of veterans. My first thought was that Merrimac was tossing shell into our camp + that our had struck uncom- fortably near my tent, but the idea was instantanous + was in a twinkling dis- missed + I felt sure that the Merrimac had blown up   My first news con- firming the idea was brought by Albert -our servt- “Lieut” said he as he set down my wash dish an hour after “The Merrimac has gone when all the rebels are going” What do you mean, said I offecting a yawn “Blown to H-l Didn’t you hear it” I re- -marked that I thought one of the guard had accidentally discharged his rifle- “Well I declare I should have thought that report would have thrown you out of your bunk” + he went out muttering something about, if all the artellery of Fort Monroe were firing over my head I would declare some one was snapping caps on a [     ?     ] I had thought that the capture of Richmond would end the war, that is ofter one other [   ?   ] engagment in the West, but from todays intelligence I fear that tis to be prolonged. The rebels are retreating across the James + we will have to follow + make another campaign. This one I consider finished. The possession of the Mississippi River + the state of Va –end it-. My [   ?   ] Abbott does not get better + is going to Baltimore early this week. I go with him. If he does not [   ?   ] very raoud- ly then he will return to Mich.- He tells me I must not leave his company in the hands of strange officers- I fear he [   ?   ] finished his career as a soldier— I had hoped that when the enemy was cleared from this department that I could procure a leave of abscence, but now I will have to stand by for a General Order says that two officers must be with this Cos- Probably our Reg will be ordered to some other position. I cannot see the use of so great a force here There are some 17 Regs + I can see no work for them to do except eat this ration. Unless we change + are placed when there is a prospect of work, something will be done on my part Remember me to your people at Mt. M. + your Mother at home- Write [  ?  ] very often. perhaps I will tell you of a trip up the Chesapeake in my next— In haste Always Yours Will Byrns [On Envelope:] Miss Florence Clark Care. C.R. Adams Esq. Mount Morris New York Lieut Byrns No. 65 May 11th 62 Newport News “They [  ?  ] to [  ?  ] tell us love can die. With life all other passons [  ?  ] All  others are but [   ?   ]. But love is in [          ?          ].”