Winter Quarters

Captain Samuel Moore, Company F, Fourteenth Connecticut Volunteer Infantry was in Washington on regimental business when the Battle of Fredericksburg took place. When he returned to Falmouth several days later, he was shocked to see how small the regiment now was, how many good soldiers had been killed, and how many lay close to death in hospital tents.

For a few weeks the men of the Fourteenth Connecticut settled into a daily routine of military duties and subsistence living. Log huts were finished, firewood details made regular forays into the woods, fresh water was procured, latrines were dug. Their diet consisted of the usual army issued rations of hard crackers, salt pork, coffee, and sugar, which was occasionally supplemented with rations of fresh meat and a few vegetables such as onions or potatoes.

The men knew they needed more than army rations to avoid diseases such as scurvy and maintain their health overall, so a good portion of their meager pay was often spent on overpriced canned or dried foods offered for sale by the sutler, who was licensed by the army to operate a travelling general store. The soldiers also depended upon food sent by loved ones at home, but sometimes these boxes did not reach their intended recipients or the contents were pilfered. It became a common practice to have care packages such as these addressed to the company commander, because it was much less likely that an officer”s possessions would be tampered with.

Command of the regiment fell upon Captain Bronson, Company I, the most senior officer in the regiment. Some of the less seriously wounded or sick men returned to the ranks, and on January 17, when Gen. Burnside reviewed the regiment, there were about 200 men present, only eight of whom were commissioned officers. (A regiment at full strength would have had about thirty to thirty-five commissioned officers.)

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