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Letters from members of the First Maryland Potomac Home Brigade Cavalry

Submitted by: Mark Dudrow

Note: Frederick Maryland Barracks, December 10, 1861 signed by JHCW in Sentinal issue of December 18, 1861 is Corporal Joseph H.C. Wills who enlisted August 21, 1861 and died February 28, 1863

Frederick, Maryland, Dec.10 [1861]

R.G.Harper,Dear Sir: - I embrace this opportunity to write you a few lines. We are still here in our tents at the east end of the Barracks, and in all probability will winter here. This is the best place we can get for stabling. We drill four hours each day Maj general Banks and units arrived in the city on Wednesday last and now occupy the house on Third St, formerly the residence of B.T. Johnson, now a Captain in the Rebel army.

Our Company (Keystone Rangers) are under the immediate command of Maj. Gen. Banks at present. We have been doing duty as bearers of dispatches for the last few days between the different camps. About 20 of our men are out now as .....cugers. Signals are exchanged and rockets thrown up from the camp of the Wisconsin Third Regiment and the Sugar Loaf Mountain nightly. Col. Roger, of the above regiment, has been appointed Provost Marshal of the city.

There are three Brigades encamped within three miles of this city viz: Gen. Abercrombie's east; Gen Hamilton's south east, (and Perkins Battery nearby) Gen William's Brigade west, at the edge of the mountains. All the camps are abundantly supplied with pure mountain water. The First Regiment of the Home Brigade moved their tents last week, and are now encamped two miles north of the Barracks on the farm of Mr. Worman. There are between 12 and 13 thousand men in and around the city.

Heavy cannonading was heard here today in the direction of Harper's Ferry. We are getting quite expert at our drill horses are being trained quite rapidly. In a few weeks we expect to get our new uniforms from the Government. No doubt Uncle Sam intends giving us a "Christmas Gift". We have no swords yet, but will get them in a few days. Business in the city is very brisk. The glorious old Flag is flying from all public buildings and also from many private residences. Gen Banks has been ill for a few days, but he is considered better.

The weather continues very fine. The air is soft and balmy as that of spring. Our tents are very bad, being torn up by the wind. We expect soon to get others. ALBERT M. HUNTER, formerly of Gettysburg, has been elected Second Lieutenant of our Company in place of Lieut. MORRISON, who was elected First Lieut in the room of Lieut. J.M. ANNAN, deceased. Lieut. HUNTER has made himself very popular with the men. He is a good officer and none know him but love him.

There are four companies of cavalry quartered on the Fair Grounds around the Barracks  Cole's Rangers, Capt.Cole; Keystone Rangers, Capt. HORNER; and two companies from Van Alien's New York cavalry Regiment. GEO.W.SCHRIVER has been appointed Corporal of our company. No more at present.

Yours J.H.C.W.