June 4, 1861
A visit to Camp Moore being now the prevailing novelty, we went, remained forty-eight hours, and saw more of camp life than we had ever seen before. To the denizens of the pent-up city there is something truly refreshing in the primitive manner in which "roughing it in the bush" is generally conducted. All the formalities of fashionable life are laid aside, and enjoyment, rough and ready, is the highest object aimed at. But the strict discipline of a military camp's new features are imparted to "a life in the woods," and this discipline, we find, only adds to the zest of unrestrained enjoyment when the duties of the day, with their "pomp and circumstance," are, for the time being, over, and the Richards of the ranks are themselves again. Our soldiers are no puritans. Though enlisted chiefly for the performance of tragic duties, they are ever ready to take a part in comedy or farce, and the skill they display in those lighter entertainment, will never be found to serve as a drawback on the graver qualities which must mark a soldier's bearing. In the camp there are many excellent musicians, and the nightly serenade comes as a pleasant relief when the day's deverish excitements are over. The sounds of voice and instrument appear to be wider in compass and richer in volume, when borne away amid the murmurs of the pines, than if uttered in most stately of man-made structures. The giant oak and the mountain pine served as the colonnades of God's first temples, and still they reach upward to the skies, with their coronals of green, as if instinct with high aspirations and cheering benedictions.
Among the most satisfactory features of Camp Moore are the excellence and abundance of its waters. The bathing is not to be surpassed anywhere, and the boys enjoy it as their dearest and at the same time cheapest luxury. This, in part, accounts for the fine health which prevails throughout the camp, and the rest may be accounted for by the substantials of life, which they obtain without stint, and the lofty purpose by which they are animated.
The visitors to Camp Moore, and they are legion, are greatly amused by the fancy means with which most of the tents are inscribed. "Our Woodland Home" is found in close proximity with "The Lion's Den," and "Happy Retreat" with "Blood and Thunder."
Being acquainted with most of the officers and many of the privates, we had a good opportunity of seeing and hearing all that was to be seen and heard. Of course there is more or less dissatisfaction, for in the intercourse of thousands all are not likely to be pleased, but there is a more general feeling of good will than usually obtains among congregated hosts, and the desire most frequently expressed is to be up and at the enemy.
In consequence of the dry weather which we have had of late the parade ground is unpleasantly dusty, and during the middle of the day the pines serve as but a very imperfect shelter. These are the chief disadvantages of the location, but they are counterbalanced by advantages so manifest that but few complaints are made, though the chaplains are constantly petitioned to pray for refreshing showers and the shelter of overhanging clouds. Almost every day there is an increase of one or more companies to the numbers in the camp, and when the day of trial comes the regiments trained at Camp Moore are certain to make a bloody mark on the army roll of the enemy.
For many favors received during our sojourn in camp we are indebted to the officers of every regiment. They have our thanks, individually and collectively, and our prayers of the future well-being and success.