The First North Carolina Volunteers. 241
This was all wrong, for if we did not trust in Him who does all things well, bravery and daring would avail but little. It was true we had bad news from North Carolina; but this must not discourage us, for we must learn to expect and endure reverses. We had been too prone to underrate the courage of our enemies. Their cause was bad; that alone made them cowards, and in such a cause we, too, would be cowards. He knew the commander at Newport News, and a braver man he never knew. After a few other well-timed remarks, he closed by thanking us for the honor we had done him. Three cheers for Lieutenant Colonel Lee were then given, and he, too, favored us with a few remarks, saying that he had been with us every day, and that we had done our duty while under his command. He was glad to be an officer of the North Carolina First ; and if in the future we did as well as we had done in the past, he would always be proud of us. Had Major Lane been here, he, too, would have been called out, for everybody likes Lane. Like General Marion, he is a little man, but he has a big soul.
We are much tickled to see how certain newspapers in North Carolina represent us as in a destitute and starving condition. You ought to be here to see how fast we are starving, with plenty of flour, meal, rice and bacon, to say nothing of potatoes and fish of all kinds, both plenty and cheap. The truth is, I have just eaten so heartily of fine large sheep-head (equal to our finest shad) that I am almost too lazy to finish this letter.
The sick of our regiment are surprised to find the papers place them in such a destitute condition ; neglected by their officers and uncared for by the physicians. This is news to them, for no man who has ever seen service can say that the sick of this regiment have not fared as well and better than is usual in the army. Since we have been here, every two companies have a physician specially detailed for service in those companies alone, and this, too, in addi- tion to the regular physicians of the regiment. They have all done their duty nobly, and deserve and will receive the lasting thanks of the men. Another item of news is, we have been over-worked and compelled to endure long marches. Like the rest, I have only to say our friends in North Carolina found this out before we did. Since the battle of Bethel we don't mind a little dirt digging. It is a good sauce for our rations, and besides, too, these embankments are sometimes very convenient, and we dig at them with a hearty good will, for we did not come to Virginia to keep our hands in our pockets.