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Wisconsin in the Civil War

Camp Life During Quiet Times

On June 10, 1863, Captain Rufus R. Dawes of the 6th Wisconsin Infantry describes a typical day in camp to his fianceé.

Let me tell you the routine of camp-life. Reveille is the first thing in the morning for the soldier. When it is sounded, the companies are formed in their streets and the roll is called, one commissioned officer to be in attendance. In one hour, comes the breakfast call. Next, the police call, when it is required that the whole camp shall be swept as clean as a floor. Next comes guard mounting at 8:30 am. A critical inspection is made by the adjutant of the men of the guard details, and slovenliness and carelessness is punished. Then comes a company inspection by the captains, and especial attention is paid to the personal cleanliness of the men, which accounts for the exceptional good health of our regiment. Next, I conduct a battalion drill which is over at ten am. I enjoy this drill, as our regiment is not to be surpassed, and I feel very proud of their splendid movements. We rest then during the heat of the day until four pm, when Major Hauser conducts a theoretical drill of the officers of the line. At half-past five, I hold dress parade, and at half-past six, the captains conduct a company drill. At seven o'clock, the Retreat is sounded and guard dismissed. At nine pm, Tattoo is sounded and the evening roll-call is made, and at ten pm, Taps are beaten, all lights are put out and the day is done.

Source: Dawes, Rufus R. "Service With the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers," Chapter 7, Page 150.

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Four Union soldiers with a flag on a postcard of camp life. WHI 33546.
Four Union Soldiers with a Flag.

WHI 33546
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