Letter from Orlando Gray to Juliana Smith Reynolds, May 26, 1862
Camp near Bottoms Bridge
ten miles from Richmond
It seems a long time since I heard from you or Emiline. Having wrote two letters at Williamsburgh [Williamsburg] soon after the Battle and have not recivd an answer to either which is some twenty days ago. But I think it must be the fault of the mails. As you will see by the heading of this letter we are gradually approaching the Capitol of rebeldom who we may encounter before we reach that hot bed of Secession I am not able to say. The reports from our Scouts to day are rather favorable to evacuation. But one thing is shur they will either evacuate inside of a week or be a whiped community or else the army of the Potomac is not what I think it is.
Tilton was at my Quarters this morning he says that he has not recivd a letter in answer to any he has wrote since the Battle. He is Stout and hearty. He is attached to the provst Guard and Quarters of Gen Kearney's head Quarters. John is very hearty. We have just partook of a very sumptous dinner consisting of some Cold pork which we have on hand ready for a march, the remnant of a loaf of Bread which I paid twenty cents for yesterday and a cup of Coffe. We also have some very good pepper sauce in a small Bottle which John carries in his pocket consisting of some red peppers and some water. Sometimes we feel rich enough to invest forty Cents in a lb of cheese but very rarely fearing that too many luxuries might be injurious to the health. I forgot to state that the loaf of bread mentioned was the first I had since we left Fortress Monroe. And although our individual health is good I am sorry to say it is not so with our Regiment. Our report this morning shows one hundred and sixty on the sick list and every move decimates our ranks from fifteen to twenty. This mornings papers contains full particulars of the Williamsburgh [Williamsburg] battle and also diagrams of the battlefield but no pen will ever describe the Scene that met the eye on the morning of the fifth of May. The thing is impossible and I hope that our brave soldier[s] will never have to witness it again.