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This letter was written while the 16th Ohio was camped near Cumberland Ford, Kentucky, about 15 miles north of Confederate held Cumberland Gap. Cpl. Lamm mentions, in rather metaphoric terms, the scouting mission the regiment made on March 22. He also tells the audience that his Company takes the most newspapers and is likely the most "literary" of the regiment.
From the 16th Regiment.
Camp near Cumberland Ford, Ky.,
April 1, 1862.
Mr. Editor -- Dear Sir: Again through your columns, I wish to say to our friends, that, although our hardships have been great, yet we are still as true as steel to the cause in which we have enlisted. I am also glad to say that the health of our regiment is improving fast. A state of general good feeling pervades the ranks, partaking somewhat of the nature of the pleasant weather we are having at present.
We have moved our camp back from the Ford about two miles, and are now encamped upon an eminence, where we can breathe the pure mountain air.
Judging from the appearance of the weather, our wading mud will soon be among the things past. Yet with the departure of rain and mud perhaps other and greater difficulties will arise, like the fable of the fox with his flies. I will illustrate: Perhaps you all, or at least the greater part of you, are practically acquainted with that dreadful malady, "spring fever," as well as the cause which produces it. The cause has come and with a certainty we will experience the effect. Again, in lieu of the almost endless quantities of mud through which we have had to pass, there is a place up in the mountains called the "Gap," through which we must go. And it is my opinion, judging from what I have seen, that we will meet at its mouth that which will be worse than water or mud.
The hail in the vicinity of the Gap has some very peculiar qualities, differing very materially from that which has fallen upon us in our marches hitherto. Could you witness certain places in its vicinity, you would think that the earth, trees and rocks bore ample evidence of what I have stated. In short, I think the Gap an equal, if not a greater impediment, than all we have met with yet.
Doubtless you have heard of our skirmish with the enemies of our peace and harmony. Some of the 16th (among which was the Canaan company) had the pleasure of exchanging thoughts with these gentlemen. Our interview lasted for some hours, during which time we spoke freely and without intermission, (except to let a snow storm pass,) and it comes to us pretty straight, that we spoke to the point. Some reports say that 200, others 60, were killed.
One or two incidents occurred worthy of note. Our Colonel - de Courcy - bravely led us up the hill, from the top of which the enemy's works were in full view and within good range of their rifles. After standing a short time, a cannon ball from one of their batteries struck the bank some 10 or 20 feet below him, upon which he took off his cap, and, saluting them very gentlemanly, said, "Thank you, gentlemen; try it again." Also, our First Lieutenant, P. M. Smith, had his sword strap cut off, the ball slightly touching the skin, after which he went in stronger than ever.
As you have doubtless heard the full particulars, a recapitulation would be uninteresting and wearisome. I must say, however, that such experience as the Canaan company had on the 22d day of March, is what we need to make us brave soldiers. It takes away the imaginary terrors of a battle, and reveals it in its proper light. And by the way let me say to our friends, that I feel sanguine in the belief that the 16th will bravely and cheerfully follow and defend our dear old Flag wherever it shall be unfurled.
I am well informed that our Major is to leave our regiment, having accepted the position of Lieutenant Colonel in one of the Tennessee regiments now raising here. In losing our Major we sustain a great loss. Our present acting Quarter Master also, I am credibly informed is going to accept a position in a Tennessee regiment.
With regard to our movements little is known, at least by us. We are expecting large reinforcements soon; and it is reported that we are transferred from this to Gen. Morgan's Brigade. As for the truthfulness of this report I will not answer, but if it is true, we will soon have a little marching to do.
Lest I weary you, I close, not however, without acknowledging you favor, and returning you my thanks for you kindness. Your paper is truly interesting, especially as it is our home organ. By the way, let me add, that I think the Canaan company should be called a literary, if not the literary company. We take 5 dailies and some 12 or 14 weeklies, among which are found the Wooster Republican, Forney's War Press, the New York Ledger, two religious periodicals, and others which I will not mention. This at least will give our friends to understand that we will be posted.
Respectfully yours, J. LAMM,
Co. K, 16th Regiment.
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