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1861 July 31: “Our Boys” at Camp Randall and Their Thanks to the “Trimbelle Girls”

August 6, 2011

The July 31, 1861, issue of The Prescott Journal, was full of material for many postings. Here are two more articles related to the Prescott Guards.

 Our Boys.—Last week we spent some time with “Our Boys” at Camp Randall, and received a hearty greeting from all and felt at home immediately. The Prescott Guards though ranked as company B, are admitted to be A, No. 1.  The soldierly bearing of the officers and the respectful conduct of the men have given the company a proud pre-eminence. It was a matter of pride with all of the company that not a man of their number has been put in the guard house since they were in camp. The boys have a fine uniform, are all well, and anxious to set foot on the soil of Secession. They are proud of their officers, as they have reason to be. At the invitation of Capt. DILL [Daniel J. Dill] and Lieut. [John F.] MARSH, we attended the officer’s drill one day, and it was not certainly entirely owing to local pride that made us think that Company B had the finest appearing officers in the regiment.

We found M. H. FITCH [Michael H. Fitch], hard at work in the Adjutant’s office, jolly and enthusiastic. After parade for the day was over, the camp presented a lively scene. As the regiment was to leave so soon, the grounds were thronged with the friends of the soldiers, come to say “Good bye.” Everywhere, sitting by the tents, or walking slowly over the grounds, you could see manly forms, while close beside them was the one “dearer than all other.” We never saw more beautiful faces than some which here peeped out from beneath jaunty hats, their beauty subdued and hallowed by the dread anticipation of coming ill. How will the remembrance of those anxious faces, those loving words and the last tearful embrace nerve the soldier to meet peril and suffering, and hold him by tender memories from the vices and dissipations, of the camp. As evening came on, the tents were lit up, and the boys indulged in “their evening whist or euchre.”—The evening we were there the Prescott Boys gave a free concert. Rollin Converse was Musical Director, and the performance was loudly applauded. Many members of the other companies and ladies assembled to hear the boys sing “Dixie” “Jordan” and other favorite pieces.

On Saturday the boys were all busy packing their knapsacks and preparing to start on the next morning. It was amusing to see their enthusiasm and listen to the jokes and bandinage as one would strap on this Knapsack and start off in “double quick time” to see if it would fit. Well, loaded down with messages to friends and many little keepsakes for the loved ones at home, we bid the boys “good bye.” We known [sic] that they will never tarnish a soldier’s honor nor bring a blush to the cheeks of those who will affectionately watch their career.

The Trimbelle Girls.—We are in a fix—stumped, worse than Wisconsin currency—at a loss, like a Norwegian emigrant in a big union depot—feel that like Gen. Patterson we are hardly “equal to the occasion.” The fact is we have to write a note, epistle, missive or letter to the Trimbelle girls. We have promised to do it, and the thing’s got to be done, and published in the JOURNAL. Now we can write a letter to a girl in five minutes. We done the thing and are no tyro at the business. But the little epistles we have been accustomed to indite, we never used for “copy.” We have a notion they wouldn’t look well among the “local items,” and this letter must be printed. Then again, this letter must be to no single one, or to speak more exactly, no individual, unitary one, (for we are writing to single ones in the matrimonial sense) but to the “Trimbelle Girls”—the whole mass of muslin—firmament of shining eyes: there’s the trouble—its like courting the whole family or going home with an entire singing school. Well, we shall use the plural, but think of one, so here goes:—

DEAR GIRLS:—I write these few lines to inform you that being in Madison last week the Prescott Guards told me to tell you that they told me to tell you that—thunder! that won’t do—well the fact is, you know you sent down eatables to the Guards by Charley Boughton, and the Guards were mighty glad of it and came near busting their uniforms by their fullness of cakes and gratitude. That’s the gist of it. The boys said it was a feast. Cakes and conserves were converted into patriotic muscle at an astonishing rate, and with a pleasure in the process to be imagined not expressed. All ate and we were assured that twelve baskets of fragments were taken up.—One large cake was sent to the Colonel and another to the Major, and each relaxing his soldierly sterness [sic] complimented the Trimbelle girls. Each soldier earnestly entreated us to “puff” the Trimbelle girls. Girls, the thing’s did. Nuff sed. Your kindness was appreciated by the brave boys now speeding far away to meet the uncertain issues of life or death. Good bye. I shall not be a regular correspondent.

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