The following letter was written by Pvt. Manly N. Hoyt (1831-1862) of Co. G, 6th Vermont Infantry. Manley was born in Bolton, Vermont. He enlisted in October 1861 and died of chronic diarrhea on 18 July 1862.
The 6th Regiment, recruited from the state at large, was mustered into the U. S. service for three years at Montpelier, Oct. 15, 1861, and immediately ordered to Washington, where it arrived on the 22nd. It proceeded at once to Camp Griffin, where it was attached to the Vermont Brigade. The command remained at this post during the winter and broke camp on March 10, 1862, for the Peninsula Campaign. On April 6, 1862, at Warwick creek, Va., the regiment was first in action, fortunately without loss. The brigade was first a part of the 4th and later of the 6th Corps, with which it was generally known. In the battle of Golding’s farm the 6th won complimentary mention from Gen. Hancock. The loss at Savage Station was severe.
Fairfax county, Virginia
February 13, 1862
I embrace this opportunity to drop you a few lines to let you know that I am well and wish those few lines will find you all the same.
9 February, the rebels come in sight of our pickets. Our cavalry give chase [and ] captured 15 of them.
The 12th, 26 negro slaves come into camp. It would have done you good to seen those animal kept people free [?] We have not been out on any scout lately.
It is warm here today as June. Our marching tents come today. They are made small. Just large enough for two. It divides into [two halves] and each man carries his part of the tent. The gons gos [?] for the straining sticks so we can take out tents and march and stop under cover. If it rains, we shall be under cover.
The uproar last night was the news came in that of several victories and that we shall advance on the enemy.
February 14. It rains here now though it is quite warm. We shot at a mark 50 rods. The man that hit the bullseye is excused from duty two weeks. Captain [William Henry Harrison] Hall has a furlough. He starts today or tomorrow.
I am just informed that 6 batteries come into camp last night (36 pieces). Capt. has started. He come to every tent and shake hands with everyone of us and bid us all goodbye for a few days. We was very sorry to part with him but I hope he will return before we are called into action. Some of our soldiers even shed tears. You may think this foolish but if you go into battle, you would like to know who led you—one that you can put full trust in lest they might be led right in front of a battery where the whole company would be cut to pieces in a minute.
Tell Eddy that I was very glad to get a letter from him. Hope he will be a good boy. Those pictures I sent home in my last cost me 10 cents only. The Presidents I send to Eddy. They are all through daguerreotype. Tell him to see if he can keep them nice till I return from the war.
Those rings are some I whittled out when I han’t nothing to do. So I thought I would send them to you. It has stopped raining. Write often. Don’t be discouraged. write how times is and all the news you can.
Yours truly, — Manly M. Hoyt