Camp under Warrenton, Virginia

Colby Bicentennial Seal 1864-1913

Nov. 10, 1862

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“A flying epistle from one bound for Richmond”

To: Charles Emery ’63
Waterville College

My Dear Charles:

I want a more regular correspondence with the boys at Waterville. … I am pressed hard with duty, yet I believe I can find time to answer a reasonable number of letters from Wat. Coll. I say I am pressed hard with duties. Do you realize the force of this sentence? Perhaps you may gain a more full idea when I tell you that I have been quite unwell for the last month and that my 2nd lieut. has resigned while my 1st lieut. is sick in Maryland; thus leaving all the duties of the three to bear down upon one man unnerved by disease and broken down by the hardships and exposure of a very severe campaign. Yet you must not think me broken down in spirit. I am as buoyant as when we used to talk over events of the times around Mrs. Tozer’s table at Wat.

… I have told you that our campaign in Maryland was severe. You will not doubt the assertion when I tell you the 20th marched up from Washington numbering some nine hundred and sixty, and that now we are marching Southward with five hundred and sixty. My company numbered 890 men when we left Portland and now we number for duty, fifty-three. Of course, as a general thing the men who are left are the men of the regt., yet many good, strong and brave men have been broken down.

You will pardon me if I should be brief this afternoon, as I am officer of the day, and cannot write with only one eye turned toward the encampment. Consider it, if you please, a sort of flying epistle from one bound for Richmond, and who would like to hear from you soon and frequently. O! I had forgotten to tell you that we just received the parting review from Gen. McClellan. The scene was delightful. Little “Mac” whom we were accustomed to meet with a cheerful countenance and a light manner, wore a look of mingled sorrow and anger which made an impression upon all, and called forth cheer after cheer from the long lines as he passed from hill to hill through the vast army.

McClellan is everywhere greeting with universal and enthusiastic applause. There goes the bugle for dress parade–Remember me to all the boys, and girls.

Write us often please,

Yours fraternally,

Nathaniel Coleman (1863)
Capt. Co. N, 20th Me. Vols.