This week in the Civil War for February 3, 1863
Rebel Torpedo Boat

Camp life humdrum for Civil War soldiers


Waiting for spring

All is quiet on Civil War battlefields in the east as winter drags on. Rivers and streams are too deep to cross. Roads are impassable.

The nearly 7,000 men from Oneida and Herkimer counties serving in seven volunteer infantry regiments are in camps scattered across Virginia. Many complain that camp life is monotonous. The same drills every day, the same inspections every Sunday, guard duty, digging wells, chopping wood, cleaning tents.

One soldier with the 117th New York – the Fourth Oneida regiment – writes: “Our work is digging, we could have done that at home. We came to fight and end the war by extinguishing the rebellion.”

For recreation, the men read, play cards and, when it snows and the snow is just right for “packing,” there are snowball fights.

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