Letter from Alonzo P. Barnes, Co. H, from Camp Tenally, dated September 20, 1861

Alonzo P. Barnes, Warren Guards, Co. H, 10th Pa. Reserves.
September 20, 1861 [Warren Mail: 10-5-1861]

Camp Tenally, D.C. –

Editor Mail: It is unusually quiet here to-day on account of five companies going out on picket duty last night. Our Regiment has to take its turn about once a week; they are stationed about four miles from here.

The Warren boys are all well excepting two or three who have been sick but are getting better. With these exceptions they are all in excellent spirits and anxious to meet the rebels.

There is nothing of much importance here to-day in the way of news. Every hour we expect an engagement to take place. Pickets are constantly firing at each other and it some times ends in a smart little brush. There have been several of late, but our men have come off victorious every time.

We have erected a battery in sight of our camp. It commands a range of country for five miles around; it is mounted with fifteen pieces of cannon and three mortars, and woe to them it opens fire upon. They are also throwing up another about a quarter of a mile from camp, between us and the Chain Bridge. There is a very large force here composed of Cavalry and Artillery included. It is a splendid body of men, and commanded by Brig. Gen. McCall of Pennsylvania. They are well supplied with Cavalry and Artillery and all we want is a chance to make our mark and you may be assured they will leave one.

The Division was inspected by the President and Secretary of War, Secretary of State, Generals McClellan, McCall and staff, Butler, Banks and several other distinguished men, and last but not least Gov. Curtin of Penna., who presented to us our colors. There were about 12,ooo troops on the ground, besides Cavalry and Artillery. The latter was drawn up on our right as we stood in line of battle. Taking it all in all, it was a grand sight to witness.

There was one of our men shot while on guard last week. He belonged to Co. K, his name was Robert Perry. There have been several shot lately around here which has been the result of carelessness.

I understand there have been rather hard stories told in regard to our rations and usage here in camp. If any person has been writing or circulating a report of that nature, allow me to say the complaints are utterly false and without foundation and nothing but a coward and traitor would tell such yarns. We have plenty to eat and drink and of good quality. Of course it is not cooked as good as it might be but it is as good as we can expect under the circumstances. The boys all appear to be satisfied with what they get and are ready to face danger and death at any moment in their country’s cause.

Yours with respect,
A.P. Barnes, Corporal.