Zink Letter #2 Soldiers Letter Index 16th OVI Home Page Zink Letter #4
Letter (#3) from Pvt. Charles Zink, Co. B, 16th OVI
Camp Cumberland, Cumberland Ford, Kentucky - April 5, 1862
to the Holmes County Farmer newspaper at Millersburg, Ohio
Published April 24, 1862
Web Author's Notes:
This is a letter from Pvt. Charles M. Zink, Company B, sent to the Holmes County Farmer newspaper in Millersburg, Ohio. Zink is writing from Camp Cumberland, at Cumberland Ford (now Pineville), Kentucky, where the regiment was camped.

In this letter Private Zink talks about the onset and joys of Spring and describes the improving weather. He goes on to tell about a typical soldier's day under their beloved Colonel John F. DeCourcey, including details on keeping the camp clean and daily military drills. He mentions the possible promotion of General Samuel Carter and speculates Colonel DeCourcey may be lost to them through promotion.

newspaper article

Letter from Capt. Edgar's Company.

April 5, 1862.

DEAR FARMER: -- How rapidly time passes away! Six months have gone already since we parted from our dear little Holmes. Winter with her chilling winds and white dress has disappeared, and the balmy breezes of Spring have come back again. Nature is dressing herself in beautiful green, and giving new life to vegetable creation. The birds warble in the morning's early breeze, and praise their Creator in melodious song. Tho' Spring is returning in her usual beauty, yet we cannot enjoy her pleasure, depressed, as we are, by the thoughts of the sad situation in which we are placed. How many brave and noble patriots have gone to yon regions from whence no traveler returns, and where peace and felicity dwell undisturbed.

How many homes are made sad through the loss of its protectors? Many seats around the tables at home are vacated, and the ones which occupied them lie beneath the shades of their country's Banner, and are resting in the silent grave; there to remain until the day shall come when all shall rise again, either to eternal happiness or condemnation. How many more shall fall in the cause they are engaged in, is beyond our wisdom, and we can send only prayers forth, to the all-wise and Almighty, to restore peace and happiness once more to our beloved country!

The weather has been beautiful for the last few days, the sun is shining warm and gives us to understand that we are in a southern climate. Some time ago we removed our camp from the south side of the river, and it is now situated 1 1/2 miles below the Ford, upon a little hill surrounded by the lofty mountains, and the Cumberland River in front of it. Great care is taken by the officers of the Regiment to prevent sickness, which has visited us in various shapes for some time past. It is urged upon the members of the Regiment to keeping the tents and encampment as clean as possible. Reveille is beaten at 5 o'clock A.M., and as soon as we rise, we have to open out our tents to air them, sweep them out and clean our yard. Breakfast is to be over at 7 o'clock. At 7:30 o'clock the bugle sounds for the first drill, which last about 1/2 hour. This is the so called Extension or Set up drill which consists of motions with the arms only. It is similar to gymnastic exercises. After a short time passes, the bugle sounds again at 10 1/2 o'clock for the second drill, which continues until 11 1/2 o'clock A.M., but generally until dinner time. This drill is on the manual of arms. We then take dinner and rest or do something else until the bugle sounds again at 2 1/2 o'clock P.M. for Battalion Drill, which continues until 4 o'clock; this making the third drill in a day, which way it will continue until further orders. We cheerfully and willingly turn out, especially for Battalion Drill, as we are all aware of the fact that our gallant Colonel, John F. DeCourcey is making the best efforts to make us the best drilled Regiment now in the volunteer service. He remarked the other day that he had seen men drill who had been in service for twenty years, but they did not perform any better that we did. We are drilling now on the Light Infantry tactics. Col. DeCourcey intends to make a battalion of light infantry of the 16th Regiment.

Some days ago we had a Battalion drill in the presence of Gen. S. P. Carter and Lady, and as I learned afterward, he expressed himself very much pleased with the performance of the Regiment, and should have remarked that he would have other Regiments of his Brigade come and see our drills. Gen. Carter is an officer and a gentleman in every definition of the words, and his appearance itself leaves a good impression upon the soldier under his command, and his kind behavior toward them gains him the heart of each one, and cheerfully we will follow him to either victory or death.

A report is circulating here that Gen. Carter will be promoted to Major General, in which position he will command a Division, consisting of about 15 Regiments, 10 of which are on their way from Lexington. Our Regiment will have to cover the advance of the Division.

If this report should prove itself true, my opinion is we will lose our Colonel, which would not have a very favorable influence upon the Regiment, for we are all aware that his promotion to some higher position, which he fully deserves can not be far off. We have had the opportunity of noticing his skill and bravery. At the late engagement at the Gap he showed that a secesh ball cannot scare him. As he rode up to the point from which we skirmished, a cannon ball came flying down and passed him pretty closely, but he calmly exclaimed: "There, there it goes, do you see it? Why, they can't shoot at all;" and several other remarks of that kind were made by him during the day. I know that almost every soldier loves him and looks at him as the one who can and will lead them to victory and glory, and wherever he may go, his boys will follow him. Altho' some officers do not exactly agree with him his men do, and repose all confidence in him.

The Regiment is progressing very fast in drilling, and also improving very well in regard to health. The new situation of the camp seems to have a great influence upon it. At our former camp, we had to follow, almost every day, one of our comrades to his grave. A little knoll in a large corn-field, surrounded by peach trees, indicates the place where many rest.

We are encamped on the farm of a widow, who delights in Southern Rights, and does not conceal her hearty wishes for the establishment of a Southern Confederacy. When Zollicoffer passed with his army, she fed over 300 C. S. troops, while a Union soldier can hardly buy anything for double money. But we are making use of a beautiful meadow for drill ground.

The boys of little Holmes are all well, with a few exceptions. Hoping that this will find Holmes County and its inhabitants all well,

I Remain Yours, Truly,


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