[Camp?]of instruction, May 3, 61 [1]
My Dear Ma
I received your Kind and affectionate
letter day before yesterday, I was very anxious to hear from
home and to know how you were all getting allong
I expect it is right lonely sence Jack and I left I never
get lonesome here surround by about four thousand men
of all kinds, we all get along very well here, never have
any disturbances at all except at night sometimes the
guard take people to the wach house There is a guard
of 100 men detailed from the different Companys every night
which are devided into 5 different waches and each wach
stands 2 hours before it is releived by the next succeeding
one the Cadetts have the guard u[n]der their care the reason
is they are so much better acquainted with military duty than
any one else in Camp
Every thing moves as regularly here as if moved by Machinery
the drum beats at 5 to get up, at 10 minutes after 5 the
rool is called at 6 the drille begins, ends at 7 and breakfast
at 8 and drille at 9 ends at 10 camences again at 11 and ends
12 dinner at 1and then we have a recess untill three when
drille squad camences again and ends at 4 dress Parade at
sundown the People of Richmond turn out by the thousands
to see this, they assemble on the seats erected on the race
Course, it is a buatiful sight to see 4000 thousand soldiers
[Page 2]
in full uniform forming the Hollow square with a thousand
on each side Col Gilam [2] of the Institute is our Commander
he is a very pleasant man I was in his office the other day
onbuisiness There is a guard at his door all the time and only one
man is admited at a time and then only on business
Col Preston is a very quiet unpritening man. I think that the
soldiers like him very much, he very often comes around and
speaks to his men. Capt Walker is one of the strickest drille-masters
in Camp. the men complain of him sometimes. he dont care
much what he says on Parade but as soon as that is over he is one of
us again for my part I dont care how strict the Officers are if
they keep in the bounds of reason for we cant expect to accomplish
any thing without discipline. The South Carolineans are about
a mile from here, I am going to their Camp the first opportuny
I was all through the Penitentiary day before yesterday there is
about 340 convicts in now all most every trade you can think
of is carried on here, the spining Factory is the greatest curiosity
to me there is about 300 spindles worked by one man, in the
shoe shop there is 125 men I got my boots fixed here and
was not charged a cent for it
May 4th Sydney Painter was here last night he says
that we all get along better than he thought we did from
what he herd. Mrs Farris and Walker were here yesterday
evening, Idont know how long they are going to stay
I was at prayer meeting last night in Dr. Brandts
tent of the Wytheville Greys he invited us back again
Jim Trolinger and Fonrose Hany are going to hold
meeting next Sunday in the woods. I was at church
[Page 3]
last Sunday in the City. the Editor of the Christian
Advocate preached. I forget his name. he is a splendid preacher
he thought we were engaged in a just war, I am going to
hear Dr More next time. I herd him in Christianburg
Lincoln Seems to be acting with puting the utmost confidence
in his thousands. he will soon force us to fight if he
keeps on in this way. I expect we will have to leave here
in about thre weeks, three Companies leave to day for
Alexandria, I recon you read the papers very attentively now to
see if you can hear any thing from us. we get the daily
Examiner for ten cents a week but we havent much time
to read them. if I was Pa I would take the Richmond
Paper as he could get the news so much,
You must all make yourselves easy about us I expect
your anxiety is harder to bear than our hardships
I will stop writing for the Present You must excuse
this letter I am writing on a bord with about 50 men
playing foot ball just outside the door Jack sends
his love to all dont let Gillie forget me love to all
Remember me to An Em and Harrison write soon
give my love to Mrs Summers tell me every thing
that is going on in the nieghbor hood Yours affectionately
Wm B. Darst

  1. Camp Lee was the Camp of Hermitage Fair Grounds Camp Instruction for the Infantry
  2. Col. Wm. Gilham, Virginia Military Institute Professor of Tactics
May 3, 1861


Company C, 21st Virginia Infantry
Residence (County): 
Pulaski County, VA


Residence (County): 
Pulaski County, VA


From State: 
From Municipality: 
From Note: 
Camp Lee


To State: 
To County: 

Transcription/Proofing Info

Bambi Whitaker
Transcription Date: 
September, 2013
M. Ellis
Proof Date: 
January, 2014

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