Parades and reviews offered units a formal opportunity to display their abilities, and they usually engendered patriotism and pride. A sergeant in the 105th Illinois wrote his sister of a recent parade.
“It was a fine sight to see them all dressed in clean uniforms and bright arms marching to the music of four splendid brass bands . . . Oh! who would not be a soldier. I would sell a small farm to become a soldier if I could not be one any other way.”
Cited in Soldiers Blue and Gray, Robertson: p. 52.
Details from authentic soldier’s letter:
Camp griffin Virginia Oct 26th 1861
Dear Parents tis sum cold hear now but it aint so cold as it has ben. Night before last there was the largest frost that I ever see in Brandon at this time of the year. It rains here every other day about and then it is cold .
Today is a division Review of 30 thousand men and yestaday was a Breagod ( Brigade) Drill and the day before was a General review but today I got out of it for I am on Picket Guard three miles from camp, and I can hear this very minute the Rebels Drums and guns too… they don’t say eney mor about the war hear than they do up there. If they say eney thing it is how long is it before I can fight the dam Rebbels and that is my mind to. But we will give them fights bfore long to and you will hear the guns roar up there to and they will be another Bulls run but the Bulls will run the other way… Tell mother not to fret about me for I am as safe as a mouse in the mill. Take all the comfort she can to… to have a dance this winter for Abe to and dance like the devil..
No more at present,
Yours John W Pitridge
Note: John W. Pitridge, U.S. Army Co. H. 5th Regiment Vermont Volunteer Infantry