Letter from Nathaniel S. Falconer, Co. H, from Camp Tenally, dated September 6, 1861

Nathaniel S. Falconer,
Warren Guards, Co. H, 10th Pa. Reserves.
Sept. 6th, 1861 [Warren Ledger: 9-18-1861].

Camp Tenally, D.C. –

Editors Ledger: Feeling it my duty, as well as the duty of every one of us to keep our friends at home posted as to our whereabouts, health, &c., but having no time in which to write, I find it very difficult to do so. I will, however, employ part of the time which I should devote to dreaming of home and friends, in giving you a short account of how we are getting along.

The company are all well with the exception of four. They are Chas Burnham, N.P. Curtis, James Morton and J. Tomes. I have no doubt but what they will recover. As a general thing our troops are very healthy. I have heard of but two cases of death by sickness since leaving Camp Wright. Our rations are good, both in quality and quantity. I sometimes think they are too good in quantity, for not a day passes but what we draw more than we can possibly eat. Whatever we have left, we trade off either for vegetables or groceries that we do not get from the Government. Our clothing is certainly good and plenty of it. Each man is provided with an army overcoat, one dark blouse, one pair light blue kersey pants, two pair duck ditto, one blanket, one pair of shoes, two pair socks, one cap, and a change of shirts and drawers; these, with a knapsack, haversack, canteen, gun and accoutrements, make load sufficient for the strongest of us, especially for a __ mile march. The privations we undergo are all in the imagination. Our Government is able and does support its soldiers as well as any under the sun.

The only thing I have seen a scarcity of is tents. This I suppose is owing to the great demand for them which will be remedied in time. On the first of Aug. we received pay up to the 21st of July. Since then we have wanted for nothing, unless it was a fight with the rebels, in which we could show that the Wild Cats of Warren County are equal to any and excelled by none. Our next pay day is the 10th of the present month.

Our camp is at Tenally, a small place about 7 miles from Washington, and three from the chain bridge. It is what might be called the suburbs of Georgetown. We will probably remain here, doing duty as picket guard whenever called on, and filling the intermediate time with drilling until we are called either to defend the city of Washington or fight the rebels on their own soil. Our regiment has assisted in erecting a battery and magazine about a half-mile east of where we are now encamped. The battery mounts some 12 or 14 guns and is said to be of superior construction.

We have been waiting nearly a week with our haversacks filled with provisions, our cartridge boxes with ammunition and our guns in order, ready and expecting marching orders every day. Every evening we see signals thrown up at different points, but as they are greek and latin to us, we make very little progress in reading them. All we know of the war which is going on around us is from the newspaper reports. We had news this morning from Great Falls, which says that a skirmish took place at that point on the 4th inst. between a considerable number of rebel infantry and our forces on the Maryland shore. The fire, which was across the river is said to have been kept up briskly by both parties for two hours and to have resulted in the killing of two of our men, and the wounding of several others. While the enemy are reported to have had three killed and seven wounded.

We also had a report of the death of Jeff. Davis. But this also has proved to be false.

I wish it were possible for me to give you an account of my own personal experience in battle, but as I was too late for the battle at Bull Run and having no chance to distinguish myself since, I must content myself with the reflection that should I live through a battle, I will tell the truth with regard to my adventures, should I be so fortunate as to have any. Hoping that our forces may always be as successful as at Hatteras Inlet.

Yours Truly,
N.S. Falconer.