(Editor's note: The following transcription owes much to a number of people over the years. The initial work by a member of
the Dolbeck family, typing from the original diary. Anita Dolbeck then produced a second transcription, which was copied by
Rose Lausten-Miller. Andrew Lausten (brother of Rose) then produced the copy I am using here, which he put in Word doc format.)
Civil War Diary of Nelson Peter Dolbeck, 62nd New York State Volunteers Anderson Zouaves
Of the enlistment and service experience during the Civil War occurring between 1861-1862
Wednesday May 1, 1861
I started from home to enlist in the United States Army. I had just rafted 1200 logs to the Ticonderoga Rapids. Thinking
my country needed my help, I left my business and all unsettled and enlisted under Capt. Doolittle of Crown Point - and went
there by Steamer America.
Thursday May 2, 1861
I commenced drilling today with the Company. The time for drilling here is three hours in the forenoon and three in the
afternoon, making six hours a day. I like the business well but it is somewhat tiresome.
Friday May 3, 1861
Today our company was measured for coats and pants. There is a sewing committee appointed to make the clothes. At 3pm
the company was dismissed until Monday morning. I accordingly, went home, and with my heart full I bid farewell to my friends
and started back to Crown Point. I arrived there Monday morning.
Monday May 6, 1861
Raining and not on drill.
Tuesday May 7, 1861
Nothing unusual today, but on drill.
Wednesday May 8, 1861
On drill today as usual.
Thursday May 9, 1861
My Mother came to see me today. I was on drill as usual, but had time to visit-with my parent and at night, bade her farewell.
Friday May 10, 1861
Today, there are many anxious hearts among the volunteers. For what are they anxious, they know not. They know not that
they are about to commence their privation. Yes, today, we are to leave our homes and go to Albany. At 12am, we were ordered
to march down to Bowman S. We were received with additional music and firing of guns and got an excellent supper. After the
ordinary exercises after supper, we were marched to the landing, and then awaited the arrival of the Steamer America.
Saturday May 11, 1861
At 2pm, we got aboard all safe for White Hall NY, took the cars there, and arrived in Albany, New York at 10am very tired
and hungry. We were quartered for the present in Green Street and was taken in a saloon for dinner. Our dinner was good and
we did it ample justice. After dinner, we was told that we would be quartered at the Adams House on Broadway. We accordingly
marched to our new quarters, and received one mattress and one blanket apiece. Our room was very filthy. Our supper consisted
of baker's bread, beef, and coffee. We did not eat a very hearty supper. After supper we laid ourselves down to rest but the
noise of the city and five hundred soldiers under the same roof prevented sleep or rest to us, who was entirely unaccustomed
Sunday May 12, 1861
Attended Methodist services today at 10:30am. And at 7:30 our company attended a lecture.
Monday May 13, 1861
The majority of our company did not go to breakfast this morning the food was so filthy. Besides we got nothing but beef
and coffee to eat. After breakfast we was marched to our old quarters at Green St. This place is but a trifle better.
Tuesday May 14, 1861
As it was rainy today, I kept in doors all day. Nothing new to write.
Wednesday May 15, 1861
At 10am, our company was marched up to the Capital, was treated on soda, and returned to our quarters. Our company consists
of eighty five, all uniformed, and quite well drilled. We received the praises of the citizens today through the papers.
Thursday May 16, 1861
This was a warm day. Our company was called out today and placed on the right of Col. Townsby's regiment, that being the
second honorable position, the first being in the center, the third, on the left wing (on the first company on the left of
the reg't, we was marched from the steamer docks on Broadway) to the Capital through State St. and back. The parade was then
dismissed and we returned to our quarters. This evening, our company was removed on Broadway near the Steamboat Landing.
Friday May 17, 1861
Nothing of importance today.
Saturday May 18, 1861
Today, our company elected officers for the company, Liut. Doolittle for Capt., Hiram Buck, 1st Luit., and John Wright,
Sunday May 19, 1861
I went to church at 10:30am. At 7pm, our company was again removed to corner of Canal and Capel St. in an old church.
We got our "grub" at the Adams House on Broadway. The "grub" is better now than it has formerly been.
The word "grub" is a soldier's phrase for victuals.
Monday May 20, 1861
We received orders this morning to be at our quarters at 10am to receive medical inspection; and as the time approached,
the company was all ready and anxiously waiting the process of inspection. Very soon, the surgeon came, and clothes was taken
off and the inspection took place. Two was found deficient and sent home.
Tuesday May 21, 1861
Today our company received (to each man) one cap, one shirt (grey and knit), one pair of shoes and stockings. About 3pm,
one of the boys had a horrible fit, the first I ever saw.
Wednesday May 22, 1861
Nothing of importance today, except there was two men drummed out of the regiment that was quartered in the barracks for
not taking the oath of allegiance.
Thursday May 23, 1861
I had a very unexpected visit today (and it was as welcome as it was unexpected) from Rev. Louis G. Boudrye, who lives
in Troy, NY. The visit was short, but interesting. I learned today that Capt. Doolittle is trying to resign and go in a req.
as Surgeon. We have been promised pay ever since we came here, and have been told so many stories that the company is about
discouraged and several are talking of leaving the company. Several have left already. I do not wish to leave until I see
the company is really broken up. I have made up my mind to join the Andreson Zouaves reg't in case our company is broken up.
Friday May 24, 1861
Captain Doolittle has been gone several days. He left no orders. We learned today that in a day or two, our company must
take the oath of allegiance and be placed in the barracks. The boys say they will not be sworn in under another Capt. And
if they do not, the company must break up. I with several of the boys joined the Anderson Zouave company that was forming
in the city. Companies are designated by letters. Our company is "H". With myself, there was nine that left Company
H. Among them was Moses Boudrye, Henry Ostier, and Robert Hogle. The Company appointed 20 men for guards; (for the Lieutenants
had learned that we was going away) but we skipped from them all, took the cars, with a portion of our new company, for Troy,
and arrived there at about 8pm. At 9:20, we finally started for NY City, by railroad.
Saturday May 25, 1861
After being jolted about all night, I arrived in the great city of NY with my new company at 5am and marched to quarters
at 814 Broadway. Our company was accepted into the 1st Anderson Zouave regiment. We had an election of officers today. Wm.
D. Ross was named unanimously and elected for Capt. of the company; Horace Pratt 1st Liut.; Wm. Pratt 2nd Liut.; Charles A.
Travis, 1st Seargeant. I was elected 1st Corporal. Our boarding place is about five blocks from our quarters on 3rd Avenue.
The "grub" is shocking there. It is so filthy that the only way to partaking of our own meal is to starve ourselves
Sunday May 26, 1861
Moses and myself took a walk today. We went down to the East River, and visited several quays. I saw ships from almost
every country. Our boarding place is changed today to corner of 14th Street 3rd Avenue. We get good "grub" here,
and plenty of it. I do not find the city interesting as I expected. Too much noise for me.
Monday May 27, 1861
We had eggs, bread, and coffee for breakfast. I went to the general P.O. today at Nassau St.
Tuesday May 28, 1861
While I was enjoying myself in the Zouave company, with the boys of my acquaintance, there was ingenious figuring in Co.
H to get us back. Capt. Doolittle sent Liut. Wright, our sargeant and one private down to NY to arrest us. Private came into
our quarters on the sly. We knew not the game. We received him with cordiality. Private said he had left the Co. and wanted
to join us. After chatting a while, private invited P. Blake and myself to take a walk. We walked down a few blocks on Broadway
and to our surprise, met Liut. Wright and sargeant. Liut. Wright told me he had left Co. H and would join any company that
had the most of our boys in it. He wanted to take the names of those that was in our co. And as Blake was giving him the names,
I left and went back to quarters as soon as possible I saw the game, and gave the alarm. We was immediately drawn up in line
to fight for our rights. Co B was drawn in front. In less time than I can write, Liut Wright, with a body of policemen (about
20) came in and demanded of Capt. Ross, the men that ran away. The answer that we gave them was that we would fight before
we would give up. The police finally left, and so did our company, or at least the ones that came out of Co. H. We was marched
through several streets through Washington Park, (which is the finest park I have seen) and quartered on corner of Thompson
and 4th streets in Company G (Capt Dockstader). We are all well satisfied here as this is a beautiful place and our grub is
the best we have had since we left home. Co. G lives on rations which is 45 cents per day.
Wednesday May 29, 1861
A little rainy this fore noon. Nothing of information today. We enjoy ourselves well with Co G. The most of them are small
boys from 13 to 20.
Thursday May 30, 1861
At 9am, our company was ordered to meet at our former quarters on Broadway. Orders was to get ready to march at 4pm 3
companies, ours (included) commenced to march for Saltersville, NJ. Just before leaving, a lady sent us some pies. The first
I have had since I left Crown Point. After regaling ourselves of the pies, we marched down to South Ferry: was ferried across
to Jersey City. Marched through the city, west by south in double file and 4 ranks and after marching about 10 miles, we arrived
at the place of disembarkation. We was very tired and hungry. Quartermaster Yates came on foot from Jersey City with us. After
getting supper, we was quartered in Mr. Salter's ballroom.
Friday May 31, 1861
This was a very fine morning and I could not remain idle. I rambled about all the fore noon. This is a splendid place.
I went down on the dock-;the prospect was fine. I had Newark Bay by me, New York City to my right, and Elizabethtown to my
left. Distance to both cities, from 10 to 15 miles. After enjoying myself in viewing these distant places, I rambled through
the woods and fields and saw many new plants and shrubs. I also found some ripe strawberries, the largest I ever saw. There
are but a very few birds here. The timber is chiefly of white wood, chestnut, Pin oak, and red cedar.
Saturday June 1, 1861
I am well today, as usual, but there are 3 of our company ill and in the hospital. Among them is Henry Ostier, Capt. Dockstater
is appointed officer of the day. I was chosen as guard on the main road, the first guard ever mounted in the AZ Reg. The countersign
was Sumpter, the present name of the camp. The duty of guards is to stand on their post two hours and rest 4 for 24 hours.
Sunday June 2, 1861
I was relieved from guard duty at 7am. After dinner, I got Robert Hogle's pass, and went out of camp. I found Moses Boudrye,
and we had a good time together. Today, soldier received a knife and fork, one plate and cup (tin). Each soldier must wash
and care for his own "kit" (dishes).
Monday June 3, 1861
This was a rainy day. As the number of our men increased it was necessary to make additional room for them. Moses and
myself were detailed to do a little carpenter work, making barracks for soldiers. I worked 1/2 a day.
Tuesday June 4, 1861
In camp all day. I worked yesterday. I worked hard and was quite tired at night. Thus it is, we never know the comfort
of rest till we have experienced labor. The letter for our company is, "H". Since I have been at work, I have the
pleasure of boarding with Mr. Salters' family. I am well satisfied with my fare, and live happy and contented.
Wednesday June 5, 1861
At work today as usual.
Thursday June 6, 1861
Nothing unusual today. Worked hard building barracks.
Friday June 7, 1861
Other companies are coming in and we have commenced another building, 22 ft by 100. A little rainy the fore part of the
Saturday June 8, 1861
Worked all day.
Sunday June 9, 1861
I got a pass and went to Greenville. I had a good time. In the evening I took the first salt water bath I ever had. This
is an excellent place for bathing.
Monday June 10, 1861
I worked hard today. I was told by the Adjutant that our reg't is expected and that we shall remain here 30 days. I went
to Greenville this evening. this is called Camp Lafayette.
Tuesday June 11, 1861
I worked in this forenoon. It rained in the afternoon.
Wednesday June 12, 1861
Worked as usual today.
Thursday June 13, 1861
The weather is now fine, and I am enjoying myself, but I feel concerned about home as I have not received any letters
from there since I left Crown Point.
Friday June 14, 1861
This was another fine day. I received orders to return to drill and duty. This evening, I went to Greenville. This evening
Moses Boudrye went with me. We went to Widow Tomlin's and had a fine visit. It seems to me like a home there, since I get
my washing done and go there so often.
Saturday June 15, 1861
Robert Hogle had a fit this evening, and I volunteered to take care of him through the night. We now drill regular. The
drills are divided into three: morning, forenoon, and afternoon. The morning drill is before breakfast, after reveille, (the
beating of the drum at 5am) which lasts about two hours, afterwhich we get our "grub", (breakfast). The forenoon
drill is from 9am till noon and the afternoon drill is from 3pm until 5pm, making about six hours of drill per day. The advance
guards came here today from Staten Island, accompanied by three other companies. Their officers are all French, and they
all wear the regular Zouave dress. There is about 75 men in the company, mostly large and well drilled. They will have the
right of the right wing of our reg't, the first post of honor. Capt. Ross called out our company this afternoon for the purpose
of obtaining the opinion of his men in regard of turning out our 2nd Liut. and electing another. He called on me to speak
upon the subject. I spoke on the necessity of having good officers and the misfortune of attending strictly to duty. I made
quite a speech and was well cheered, and took my seat. The company came to the conclusion of making a 2nd Liut. of James Poole,
and went back to quarters.
Sunday June 16, 1861
Nothing very strange today. I was on guard. I got a pass and went to Greenville and had an excellent time. After getting
back to camp, I had an invitation from Mr. Rawland to visit his family and take tea.
Monday June 17, 1861
Today our company went into a new place to drill. We asked permission of a farmer to eat strawberries. It was granted
us, and we regaled ourselves with the luxurious of fruit.
Tuesday June 18, 1861
Captain Dockstater was married today. Everything was taken out of our quarters, and the ballroom was finely decked with
garlands and bouquets. Of course only commissioned officers attended it. Liquors were quite plenty on the occasion, and before
9pm, there was about 500 drunken men in camp.
Wednesday June 19, 1861
Today I slipped by the guards and started my course Southward. I saw a great many fine buildings and stopped in several
places to inquire the way to get water. I went as far as Burgas Point, - about three miles. I lived well on my way having
plenty of strawberries and cherries to eat.
Thursday June 20, 1861
Nothing new today. Was in camp all day.
Friday June 21, 1861
I proposed to Moses this morning to take a tramp. He consented, and after breakfast we got passed out and started Northward.
We went through Greenville North and South Bergen and arrived in Hudson City about noon. This is not a large city-the other
places named are villages. After dinner, we started for Newark City. This is a splendid city and we was well treated up there.
We stayed in the city until dark and enjoyed ourselves finely. In the evening we took the cars for Jersey City. Took horse
cars at Jersey City at 10-15 pm and went to Greenville, staid there all night in a barn and got in camp about 10 O'clock in
Saturday June 22, 1861
Nothing unusual today. The weather is very fine.
Sunday June 23, 1861
I went to Greenville today. I also paid Mr. Rawland's invited visit-took tea with him, was presented with a nice haverlock
by his daughter, Lizzie, and on the whole, had an excellent visit.
Monday June 24, 1861
There is nothing going on today.
Tuesday June 25, 1861
There is no drill today. This evening, Moses and myself went to South-Bergen. We had all the rum we could drink, or anything
that we called for in pay for our songs. We had another such a time as only soldiers have. We got back into camp the next
Wednesday June 26, 1861
This morning I asked Henry if he would not go and take a trip for the purpose of begging in some kind of a decent way
some writing paper. He said he would, and we got by the guards and went down to Centerville, which is on the road to Burges
Point. We stopped in to Mr. Garrigan's store and after I had spun several pitiful yarns, he gave me some paper, envelopes,
pens and holder, thread and stamps perhaps the amount of fifty cents. We thanked him kindly and went back to camp. At about
midnight, we had an alarm, Col Riker had arrived and he gave the alarm. In less than 5 minutes every man was out and drawn
up into line of battle; but several was not half dressed. We was paraded around a while and finally came to a halt in front
of the tavern. We was all listening eagerly to the cause of the alarm when the Col told us that he wanted to see how smart
we was. He made quite a speech, called for the blessing of the God upon the Anderson Zouaves, and then all retired.
Thursday June 27, 1861
The men are looking anxious to the time when they will be mustered into the United States service. We have been promised
it for several days, and some are now leaving.
Friday June 28, 1861
Today we expect to be mustered and there are some preparations going on. It is expected by a great many that on being
examined and mustered into service they will get some pay. Accordingly, at 9am, the reg't was called out into line of battle
as usual. About 20 boys was thrown out by our own Surgeon. We was then ordered to quarters. At 2pm, Col Riker came into the
camp and said the inspection would take place immediately. Several companies was inspected in our quarters.
Saturday June 29, 1861
Everything quiet today. There is nothing going on in camp.
Sunday June 30, 1861
Today, all the rest of the companies was inspected and then the whole regiment was mustered into the services of the United
States by taking the oath of allegiance. In order to be mustered, companies must be full, having 101 men rank and file. So
our company was mustered along with Company "C", Capt. Hathaway, with the promise of having our own company by ourselves
the first of Aug. This was what Col Riker promised us. Capt Ross went to the new company as 1st Liut, I was 2nd Cor.
Monday July 1, 1861
I was detailed this morning by Capt Ross along with 4 other men (one was H Ostrier) to recruit. We had another alarm last
night. the french company had burned some rubbish near the dock in the evening, and had not put the fire out before going
to bed, so the fire had kept burning near the dock until that got afire. The alarm was given when the fire had got quite a
hold. After working hard for about an hour we succeeded in putting the fire all out. So I did not feel very well this morning
yet the thought of going to N. Y. City revived me. Capt. Ross went with us and we had a good time. After we got into the city,
we went directly to our recruiting office, which is in the basement of corner of Madison St. And New Bowrey. We sent nine
men into camp today. We have no mattresses to lay on, nothing but a little straw.
Tuesday July 2, 1861
Capt Ross has gone into camp. So have all the rest, but Henry and Gleason. We sent 6 men into camp today.
Wednesday July 3, 1861
Business rather dull. We only sent two men into camp today. The Capt has sent me word that he wanted me in the camp early
in the morning. But what am I to do? He borrowed all the money I had and I cannot get back with some. On coming back from
supper I found Henry quite unwell, to my mortification. I got a light as soon as possible and tried to get him to eat, but
he could not. All at once I happened to put my hand in my pocket and found a ten cent piece. It seemed to me like magic. I
immediately went and got a half pint bottle of brandy, and gave him of that quite freely. I do not expect to sleep much tonight
as the boys have already commenced to celebrate the 4th.
Thursday July 4, 1861
Amid the roaring of cannons-the firing of guns-the cracking, snappings, and whizzing of firecrackers, I arose quite late.
I did not rest much last night as I had anticipated. Henry is worse today. I do not know what to do with him. I have got a
policeman to take him to one of the city hospitals, but he does not want to go. If I had money I would not see him suffer,
but my money is all played out.
Friday July 5, 1861
This morning after I got my breakfast I made up my mind to get Henry into camp someway. Accordingly I went into a store,
put on a sober face, told a pitiful story, and got 25 cents of him. I then went to the office and made the fact known to Henry
and asked him if he was able to walk down to the river. He said he was, and we started. After we had got across, we took the
stage, and soon arrived in camp.
Saturday July 6, 1861
Henry is better today. There was nothing of importance done today.
Sunday July 7, 1861
We had preaching in camp today, and I attended. This place is beginning to look very sad, for the boys have spoiled almost
everything around the premises. They have cut and hacked Mr. Salter's house shamefully, besides, they have broken his chandeliers.
Monday July 8, 1861
Our reg't does not drill now at all. The boys swears by all that's great and good that they will not drill til they get
clothes; and it is nothing out of the way, for many of us are obliged to wrap a blanket around us to cover our nakedness.
Tuesday July 9, 1861
There is nothing to write about today unless it is about poor, filthy "grub". I never had the disposition to
find fault with the "grub" we get here for the reason that it was so much better than the "grub" we have
had before. But still Salter ought to feed us just four times better, for the money he gets. The coffee we get is certainly
not fit to drink.
Wednesday July 10, 1861
Nothing new today
Thursday July 11th, 1861
We got news today that our reg't was to leave for Riker's Island tomorrow. We are all glad to hear that news.
Friday July 12, 1861
We were disappointed today in not leaving. There is a general feeling of dissatisfaction among the boys. As for myself,
I do not feel in such a hurry to go away from this place unless it would be to get away from the innumerable host of lice.
They can be seen crawling on the men's clothes very often. It is almost impossible to sleep nights as the blankets and mattresses
are full of them.
Saturday July 13, 1861
It was announced this morning that two companies should leave for Riker's Island today. Accordingly, at about 2pm the
Major Anderson arrived at the wharf. Co O, (Captain Dunyea) and Co D, (Capt Nevins). Amid firing of guns, and hoorahs, got
aboard and left. The ballroom was immediately cleared out. Our company was transferred to the barracks I helped make.
Sunday July 14, 1861
Today was a very rainy day. We had preaching in the ballroom; and I attended.
Monday July 15, 1861
The time has come at last when the rest of the reg't are to leave for Riker's Island. It seems to me like leaving home,
for I have got a great many friends here. I have had no reason to complain for I have almost always boarded with Salter and
I have had my bitters almost every day. When I had no tobacco, a friend of mine (Warren Barnes) always gave me some. However,
we must leave today. The order is given to pack up. The blankets are to be rolled, tied to our end, and slung across the shoulders
and our "kits"-plates and cups/are to be fastened to our belts around our waists. Our knives and forks, we always
carry in our pockets for fear they get stolen.
Monday July 15, 1861
At 8am, I got a pass and went to Greenville to get my clothes. I had no money to pay my wash bill, so I gave Widow Tomlin
two of my shirts. I took the rest of my clothes to Mr. Rawlands and they said they would take good care of them until I would
call for them. At about 2pm we bade farewell to our friends, and got aboard the Major Anderson. Today was fine, and I enjoyed
the Journey extremely. At about 7pm, we arrived at the island. We got rather a scant supper. The most of us are very hearty,
and we got about half a ration.
Tuesday July 16, 1861
This morning, the first I did after getting my "grub", (which was quite good) was to see what kind of a place
we had got into this time. The island has but one dwelling house and that is an old rickety thing, and a little grocery. I
should judge that it contained about two hundred acres of land. It is excellent, good land, but it is not half cultivated.
There is a large apple and pear orchard on this island, and a few other trees. Another thing I found out, is it is impossible
to get away from this place to get our "toddy", or beg tobacco. Col Riker was on hand this morning at dress parade;
or I should say, parade. Each Co got orders to clean their barracks and adorn the yard in front. I was appointed Cor of one
squad. I worked with the men and we got a lot of oyster and clam shell, and got up a very nice yard.
Wednesday July 17, 1861
Our barracks are built in two rows. The street between the rows is about five rods wide. One side the soldiers occupy,
and the other, is used by the quartermaster, and the drummers. The eating room is also on the same side. The Surgeon occupies
the lower end, which is attached to both rows of barracks. The bunks are made four deep, and they are divided so that each
man sleeps alone; and each Co. are by themselves. Our Co. was on guard today, and I was Cor. of the guard. My business is
to relieve the guard when it is my turn. The guard is divided into three reliefs, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, and there must be on
Cor. for each relief. The 1st relief goes on post at 9am and the Cor. of that relief goes around the post with them, and then
the 3rd relief of the old guard is relieved, and so on. Our "grub" seems to be a great deal more satisfactory to
the men here that it was in Saltersville. I think I never ate better bread in my life, than we get here. It is steam bread,
it is made on the corner of 14th St and 3rd Avenue in N.Y. and made by steam. At 3pm all the non-commissioned officers got
shoes. I had much rather get a pair of pants, for I can hardly hold mine on now.
Thursday July 18, 1861
Our company did not drill today so we had a good time doing nothing.
Friday July 19, 1861
After reveille (5 O'clock A.M.) our Co. was called out to drill. I was perfectly disgusted, as the drill showed neither
ambition or order. In fact Capt. Ross does not understand drill thoroughly and Capt. Hathaway is a great deal less proficient.
It is my opinion that Capt. Hathaway was never born for a military man, and that he can never be one. I was rather unwell
this morning and I did not get my ration. There was a vote taken this evening to have each Co. do their own cooking. There
was only six in the Co. that opposed it. I was one of the number. We had some debating on the subject; - but it was decided
to let each Co. do their own cooking. Rations are given to each Co. for 24 hours.
Saturday July 20, 1861
The new mode of cooking has commenced, and everything seems to have a good appearance as yet. Each Co has a good quantity
of thick sheet iron kettles and pans. The kettles are used to boil meat, and make soup and coffee. The pans are used mostly
to get the rations. There is also a large dripping pan to fry meat in. There was a new arrangement made with the Co. today.
The arrangement is to drill by squad of eight men each squad. I have the charge of ours. The business was new to me today,
but I am very much interested, as my men was very attentive.
Sunday July 21, 1861
This was a very fine day. We had camp preaching in the P.M.
Monday July 22, 1861
We had a drill parade today. We also had a little squad drill. The requisitions for rations are now drawn by the orderly
Sergeants for only the number of men that are out in line to answer to their names, at reveille; and there are a great many
who are too lazy to get up at that time. So we all have to suffer alike. We received muskets today and commenced to go through
the manual of arms. Col. Riker was with us this evening. He made a very fine speech. He told us he had just come from Washington-that
he had been very near the battle of the Bulls run-that he had labored very hard for us-that he expected to get $5000, of a
capitalist, for his right-and that we should get our uniforms this week for sure. He also said that he had got marching orders,
but would not take us an inch until we was all uniformed. This was all revelant news to us, and I am afraid that most of the
speech is more to keep the men in good cheer than anything else.
Tuesday July 23, 1861
Nothing unusual today. On drill as usual.
Wednesday July 24, 1861
On drill as usual. Dress parade in the P.M.
Thursday July 25, 1861
Being unwell today I was excused from duty. I went to the hospital and got some medicine of the Surgeon.
Friday July 26, 1861
I am confined to my bunk today. I have taken cold and it has settled in my lungs.
Saturday July 27, 1861
I am no better today.
Sunday July 28, 1861
I am quite smart today and I think I shall get well soon. I was detailed by the Quartermaster today to help give out shirts
and socks-the first U.S. clothing this reg't. has ever received. The amount given out to each man was, one grey shirt, - (knit)
and one pair of socks.
Monday July 29, 1861
Nothing doing today. I do not feel very well.
Tuesday July 30, 1861
I have got a very bad cough. The reg't. commenced to level the ground and pitch tents, today.
Wednesday July 31, 1861
I bought a pistol today. None but Officers, & non-commissioned Officers are allowed to carry them. It cost me fourteen
dollars and Cap. Ross gave his note for it. The pay for the pistol comes out of my second month's pay.
Thursday August 1, 1861
Col. Riker promised four of the sergeants and corporals and myself to make recruiting Sergeants of us, and we could go
home. We said we had better wait and get our uniforms. This was glorious news to us as well as being unexpected.
Friday August 2, 1861
I am worse today. My cough is shocking. the Surgeon says I have got the bronchitis with a bad cold. He blistered my chest,
gave me some medicine, and an excuse from drill for three days.
Saturday August 3, 1861
Our Co. are getting very uneasy about the promise Col Riker made us. Capt. Ross finally called his old Co. out, and told
us that he had the chance of a promotion to Adjutant; and finally to darken our eyes, (as I fear) he said that if the company
said that they wanted no other Capt. he would stay with them. As a matter of course, we all wanted no other leader, and we
wanted to remain unbroken. A committee of six men were appointed to wait on the Col. and let him know our intentions.
Sunday August 4, 1861
We are all very anxious to have the Col. come, that we know how it will turn out with us. The day passed, and we are yet
in the poorest Co in the regiment.
Monday August 5, 1861
The Col came to camp this evening. I am satisfied in my mind, that we never shall be led by Capt. Ross.
Tuesday August 6, 1861
The time has come at last, as I expected-that our Co. should be broken up. Six of the boys and myself went into Co. B,
(Captain Hubble). Among them was Ostryer, and Shaness, and Robert Hogle.
Wednesday August 7, 1861
Nothing of importance today.
Thursday August 8, 1861
Uniforms are being given out today, and men are getting passes.
Friday August 9, 1861
Our Co. got their Uniforms this morning. I was disappointed in not getting leggings. The Uniform we got was a large baggy
pair of light blue trousers with elastics in the bottoms. Our jackets was dark blue, flowered off with red tape. We got two
caps, one, dark blue regulation cap, the other, a red Zouave cap with a blue tassle and we got one shirt, one pair of socks.
My first work after getting dressed was to get a furlough for four of us to go home. I went to Capt. Hubble but he said he
would not give out so many so he wrote me one; but when I told him that I did not want mine alone, he said he would have nothing
to do with it. So the next and only thing I could do was to see the Col. So, the first chance I could get I crept into the
Col.'s quarters and persuaded him after reminding him of the promise he had made me, to give three besides myself each a furlough
to go home. The Col. was in a great hurry to leave, so he only signed his name to the blanks and told his assistant to fill
them out for me. The assistant was also in a great hurry to get his breakfast, it being then after 10am, so, I told him I
could fill them out and he told me to go to work. The work did not last me long, neither did I set down the date the furloughs
should be returned. I wrote one for Henry Ostryer, one for James Shanes, one for Rob't Hogle, and one for myself. We got aboard
the Major Anderson with glad hearts. We landed at Peckslip foot of 10th St, N.Y., then went to our boarding place kept by
Mr. Spiker, and got a good hearty dinner. After dinner went down to East Broadway and tried hard to get tickets on our furloughs,
but failed, and with hearts not so light, we went down to the wharf and tried several other places and still failed in our
endeavors. At last we went down to the foot of Jay St. and succeeded in getting tickets. We was now all happy, and we went
down below took a berth without leave or license, and laid ourselves away for the night on the Hudson River.
Saturday August 10, 1861
At 5am, we landed Albany. I had another trial in securing tickets to White Hall, but after much trouble and parlay, I
again succeeded in my efforts. We arrived in White Hall at about 11am, and took the Steamer America for old Ticonderoga, and
arrived at that port 2pm.
Saturday August 17, 1861
I was well received in my own town, and after staying awhile in the village A. Shanes and myself started for home on foot.
We got there about dark, found the folks all well, but my Mother had gone to Canada on a visit. I stayed home eight days,
during which time I had good times enjoying myself extremely well; and with the help of the boys that went home with me, I
got three recruits. I now began to get lonesome, and hearing that our reg't had gone to Washington, I made up my mind to start
Monday August 19, 1861
It was quite late and very dark when we arrived in Troy, but after traveling around awhile we found a way and got aboard
the Frances Kiddy for N.Y. City. After partaking of the eatables which we had brought from home in a box, I stowed myself
away among some boxes and canvases. Toward morning I awoke and enlisted Jacob Dean and his wife. I arrived in N.Y. City
Tuesday August 20th, 1861 With my squad of men and a woman in the rear. We make a kind of a novel appearance as we marched
up Broadway to Union Square. I met with Capt. Hubble and Liut Bisby at Peckslip, just as we was to take the boat for Riker's
Island (Camp Aster). They were astonished to see me, for they did not expect I would come back again. I received many praises
from them and was detailed immediately by the Capt. to go back to the recruiting Office with my recruits (the woman excepted)
and have them examined and sworn into the service of the U.S. Accordingly we went back to Union Square. The assigned in was
done, and we got dinner at Spiking. And got to Camp Asterabout 6pm.
Wednesday August 21, 1861
Our reg't is doing nothing today, but preparing to leave for the seat of war. At 2pm, a large crowd is gathered around
a large box of overcoats. They are not such coats as was promised us by the Col; and the majority of the boys will not take
them. Rollan M. Taylor orderly, Sig. Co. jumped up on the box-took up a a coat-and said it was better than those that was
promised us, -put it on, and advised his Co. to take them as they would get no better. I was of his opinion, but did not take
a coat as no one else did. Whereupon, a fellow from Co. A charged bayonet on him. With his sword, he passed off the blow,
and with his pistol, fired. He did not hit his antagonist, but the ball took effect in a private's leg from Company H, formerly
Co. I, Capt Duryea. In less time than I can write it, Taylor was in the guard house with several wounds. He came very near
losing his life, and it was a long time before the officers could persuade the crowd outside from tearing down the guard house
and killing at once, the object of their hatred. At 11:30pm our reg't got aboard the Kill-Van-Kull for Elizabethport, NJ.
Thursday August 22, 1861
At about 3am, we arrived at Elizabethport, and soon after, got our rations of bread, meat, and cheese. We then got aboard
the cars. We got to Phillipsburg, NJ about 8am. It's quite a place on the NJ side of the Delaware, Easton on the SW side of
the Delaware is a fine little city in Penn. This is a fine country, and the crops all along the road are good, and show energy
in the farmers, and fertility in their soil. The most of the soil along the trail is of a reddish tinge; and of a sticky nature.
The track is very wide and smooth still we go slow and stop so often that we make but little progress on our way. We stopped
in Reading, Penn at 1:25pm. We arrived in Harrisburg, Penn at 6pm. Here the soldiers came out of the cars like bees on a swarm.
Spring day, and it was a long time before they could be gathered up and then the whole could not be got. In spite of all the
cunning of the officers, some were left. At 11:30pm, we touched at York, Penn.
Friday August 23, 1861
After another night of broken rest, we arrived at last, in Baltimore. It has always been a dread to me to go through the
city; as I had often heard of our troops being attacked while going through the city. But as I talked with several of the
police, (which were all Union men) I found out that but one reg't had been fired at and that was a reg't from Mass. It was
4am when we arrived here, and I soon learned that a part of our reg't was left behind as the cars they were in ran off the
track. We was obliged to wait for the remainder of our reg't; thus giving me a good opportunity to see the place and its customs.
I bought several cantaloupes, (muskmelons). I could buy them from one to four cents apiece. At about 3pm our reg't marched
through the city of Baltimore, MD. After getting to the depot, it took over an hour to get our supper, (which was given us
by the Union Committee) and get the drunken soldiers into the cars. At length the car started for the city of Washington.
We soon arrived at the Capital. For our supper, we had cold pork and bread. After supper, (11-30 P.M.), we was marched out
a short distance from the depot, and in sight of the Capital, and was told that we could lie down for the night. The place
was very rough and stony, but after clearing away the largest stones, I lay myself down to rest.
Saturday August 24, 1861
After breakfast, I got permission from the Capt. to visit the Capital. I visited that splendid building with awe. From
the tower I had a fine view of the city, - the Potomac, and of our troops that were in camp around the city, and for miles
along on either side of the Potomac. At 4pm, our reg't was formed in line of battle in front of the Capital, and shortly after,
commenced our march, fully equipped, for Camp Cameron, distance three miles. Our equipment consisted of muskets, knapsacks,
haversacks, and canteens, - whole weight about 40 pounds. It was late when we got ready to pitch our tents. While I was looking
for some of the boys to help me pitch my tent, I found Franklin Blanchard helping himself to a pound of sugar; and I helped
him fill his haversack, and some of the rest of the boys filled their haversacks, and at a late hour, we returned.
Sunday August 25, 1861
As our tents were irregularly pitched last night, we had to work almost all day striking and pitching our tents. It took
us about all day to get regulated.
Monday August 26, 1861
The rules were laid down to us very strict today. I was on drill today, wrote several letters, and was busy all day. There
was nothing else of importance today. This is a very fine place, and we have got a splendid drill ground, and I am of the
opinion that our officers calculate to take advantage of it.
Tuesday August 27, 1861
I was detailed today by Liut. J.F. Bisbee, 1st Liut of Co. B, to assist him in making the payroll. We did not do much
towards the payroll. I wrote ten letters today. It has been trying to rain all day; and it looks as if we should have a rainy
Wednesday August 28, 1861
I went to the hospital this morning. The doctor said I had the bronchitis. I worked at the payroll all day. this was a
very rainy day. There was a large fire about two miles from camp this morning. It caused some alarm in camp and dispatches
were sent out and formed into line of battle. Officers came into camp with the intelligence that the fire was caused by the
burning of a worthless old building. The reg't was now soon dismantled and I turned into my tent.
Thursday August 29, 1861
This was another very rainy day. I worked at the payroll all day. It is a very hard job to find out the when each man
enlisted, when mustered, his age, and residence which we have to do.
Friday August 30, 1861
The weather has cleared off and it is very warm and pleasant. There is nothing of importance going on today.
Saturday August 31, 1861
Capt Hubbell appointed me commissary. I told him I was unacquainted with the duties connected with the position, and declined
accepting the appointment. He insisted upon it that I should try, and I accepted the appointment on that term.
Sunday September 1, 1861
Our reg't was called out today in the A.M. to answer our names on the payroll to the mustering officers. We expected our
pay soon. In the P.M., I am in company with four boys I got out of camp without passes. We was hotly pursued by the picket
guards; but we got out of their reach, and had a fine time eating apples, and canteloupes. The former are very scarce, but
the latter, are as plenty as potatoes are at home. Every farmer has a patch of from one fourth of an acre to two acres. After
ranging around till night, we came back to camp.
Tuesday September 3, 1861
I feel a little better today. About 11pm, Intelligence came that there was an engagement somewhere in the neighborhood
of chain bridge. Our reg't was called out, but finding that was not armed we was permitted to go back to our tents, with orders
to lay on our arm, which is to sleep dressed, and ready to fall in in a moment's notice. There was a little-circumstance that
happened to me today which I will here relate. During the day the boys put the rest of the sugar which remained in their haversacks
into mine, as the sugar had gathered moisture, and their haversacks being wet, they wanted to dry them. As there was sugar
stolen from the cookhouse last night, the Capt. proposed a search to be made through all the tents. I was not in my tent,
at the time, as I had gone over to the hospital, for some medicine. Sugar was found in one man's haversack. He acknowledged
he stole the sugar, and he was sent to the guardhouse. The search was continued and sugar was found in my haversack. A file
of men was sent for me, but I got to my tent before they arrested me. The boys told different stories about the sugar, which
led the majority of the company to believe that I stole it from the cook house. However, I was under arrest in my tent with
a guard at the door, awaiting the arrival of the Capt. When the Capt. came I told him the truth, and he said he was satisfied.
The company had now gathered around the tent, and the Capt. told my story and asked the Co. if they were satisfied; but a
score of voices asserted in the negative, so to satisfy those men myself and the tentmates, was put under oath, and I was
soon discharged. I had now got enemies in the company, and I gave up the office of Co. Commissary, as there was a great deal
of fault finding. My business was to divide the rations-to cut the meat and bread for each man. I could not please all, neither
did I wish to any longer, so resigned.
Wednesday September 4, 1861
At about sunset, we got further orders to march. I expect to be on a march before morning. At about 10 P.M. our reg't
got orders to turn out and fall in, for arms. Those that had no muskets was soon supplied, from the camp armory. Serg't Collins
Co. B was arrested for getting drunk and drawing weapons on one of the officers, and locked up in a smoke house. For Cor.
Munny, under the influence of rum came into the tent took me by the collar, and in the scuffle I got away but he got hold
of me again, and all that was left me was to fight it out. I was too weak to fight, but I paid him well, and finally knocked
him down, and kicked him as he fell. Several voices cried out foul play, and at the same time I stumbled down, and several
fell to kicking me while down. Henry ran up but got knocked down, but, as he had backed down a few minutes before, I did not
place any confidence in him. A. Shanus had also played coward so I knew that in my state of health I could not compete with
three or four, and I got away by running, which I never did before in my life.
Thursday September 5, 1861
On getting up this morning I find that there are no scars, scratches, or bruises on me, but I feel quite sore. Munny is
well scratched, and the corner of his eyes, blackened.
Friday September 6, 1861
Nothing going on today.
Saturday September 7, 1861
Col. Riker told us today that our reg't should have rifles.
Sunday September 8, 1861
This has been a long day to me as there was nothing going on. The S(u)ttler, (E.T. Issacks) has come, and he has issued
tickets worth from five cents to fifty. The soldiers give their receipts for the tickets, and they are worth their face in
S(u)ttler's goods. About all the men use tickets for playing bluff, instead of money. The game commenced this morning as usual,
but Capt. Hubbell gave orders to have it stopped. He said that their should be no gambling in his Co. on Sundays.
Monday September 9, 1861
At half past seven A.M., four companies, including ours, was called out on the parade ground and received orders to march
to Washington immediately, and get rifles. We was commanded by Major Daton and marched by platoon and four rank, through the
city to the arsenal, and received Belgian rifles. The arsenal is well guarded, and it is a splendid place. In a short time,
orders were given to fall in, and we commenced our march back to camp. The day was very hot and sultry, and as we was marching
through Pennsylvania st. one of the drummers was sun struck. The battalion halted, the drummer was taken care of, and our
march was resumed. It was 3 P.M. when we arrived in camp. Another man in our Co. was sun struck. We was all quite hungry when
we arrived in camp. After satisfying our hunger with cold beef and bread, I felt quite well.
Tuesday September 10, 1861
Franklin Blanchard has taken sick this evening, and taken to the hospital. Nothing of importance today.
Wednesday September 11, 1861
I went to the hospital this morning to see Blanchard, but he said he was no better. He is trying to get his discharge.
Thursday September 12, 1861
Nothing of importance today. I am getting well.
Friday September 13, 1861
Capt. Nevins is now acting Major, and we are going under a course of drill that will be highly beneficial to our reg't.
Saturday September 14, 1861
I was on guard today. "Old Abe" made us a visit today.
Sunday September 15, 1861
Moses and I got out of camp today and went into the country. We had a fine time; and we had all the apples, canteloupes,
and peaches, we could eat, besides our haversacks were full to bring into camp. We visited a rich man's farm, and for the
first time in my life, I saw a man and woman under bondage. They were well dressed, and appeared to be quite contented.
Monday September 16, 1861
Our reg't is now drilling by battalion, and not by company. General Peck visited our camp today. He is a smart looking
man, and our reg't is going into his brigade. The payrolls was returned today and our Co. signed our names opposite the amount
due each man. The amount due was $45.73. I got two letters today, one from Louis N. Boudrye and one from Cliff. I traded my
pistol today for an english Cap lover watch.
Tuesday September 17, 1861
Today, Co. Z and Co. A received their pay. Our Co. will get theirs tomorrow. We had a fine shower today.
Thursday September 19, 1861
I was detailed today to do a little carpenter work. I did not work very hard and was excused from ordinary duty. I sold
my watch today for $20.00, and got $18.00 down and must wait until next pay day for the remaining two dollars.
Friday September 20, 1861
Blanchard told me this morning that his papers were made out for his discharge, and I let him have $60.00 to take home
for me. I worked at the carpenter work today.
Saturday September 21, 1861
Nothing of importance today.
Sunday September 22, 1861
I was on picket guard today. It is very hot by day, and by night, it is very cold.
Monday September 23, 1861
This is another very hot day. By order of Gen. Peck, we must drill by battalions from 9am until 12 noon, then from 3pm
until 5pm, and dress parade, 6-30, which lasts about an hour.
Tuesday September 24, 1861
This is another very hot day. Nothing unusual today.
Wednesday September 25, 1861
Dr. Bidlack told me today that Franklin Blanchard was not sick, that he was playing off sick, and he could not have a
discharge from the reg't, so I got my money from him, and sent it to Cliff. I hear that we are to leave this camp tomorrow,
but I do not know where I shall go.
Thursday September 26, 1861
Our regiment is now preparing to leave at 10-30. Our tents were struck and we were ordered to sling knapsacks. At 1-10
PM, the command was at last given to march. I had stood on my feet for about 3 hours, and was tired enough to fall down when
we was ready to start. The place of our destination is Tiddle town, distance about 3 miles. We crossed several creeks, which
we had to fiord. I find that bridges are not made over ordinary streams unless it is impractical to cross them without. Our
road was very good and mostly through woods. We halted three times and finally arrived in camp Holt, about 5PM, quite tired
and hungry. I received two dry crackers for my supper; (five is allowed for one meal) and many of the men got less. After
pitching our tents, I laid myself down to sleep.
Friday September 27, 1861
This was a very cold, rainy day. Nothing of importance today.
Saturday September 28, 1861
I got a pass this morning and visited the new fort that is being erected in this place, (Tinley Town). It is on a hill,
commanding the road from Harper's Ferry to Washington.
Sunday September 29, 1861
Orders was given by Gen. Peck to be in readiness to march at a moments warning, for the enemy was advancing on us. I was
on guard today. The weather growing uniform, being a little colder in the daytime.
Monday September 30, 1861
We have just got orders to strike tents, pack up and march. I know not where to. I got an unexpected letter this morning
from E.T.B. and one from Cliff. "Dear Brother, it is with the greatest haste that I tell you that I expect to be in an
engagement before night. We have got orders to march. We are to leave our tents, so we shall come back to this camp if not
killed, which I do not fear. Tell Mother I want 100 pair of knit gloves as soon as possible. And I want 100 papers of tobacco,
chewing, get them ready, and don't send them until further orders. Uncle Irvin is all right. I got a letter from him Sat.
Ells folks are all well. I will send Mother money for the gloves. Chewing 2cts tobacco is what I want."
Tuesday October 1, 1861
This was a fine day and we was called ...................... general inspection. We expected to march, but now I am allowed
to remain in camp yet another day.
Wednesday October 2, 1861
This was a rainy day, and we was not called out on drill. At guard mounting, a man in Z Company fell upon the ground.
He was taken to the hospital, but expired in a few moments.
Saturday October 5, 1861
I am on guard today as orders are given to pack knapsacks and be ready to march on a moment's notice. The order to march
was misunderstood, for I see tents cleared out, ammo stacked, tents struck, that is that the ground 05/ be cleaned, and the
streets cleaned. I worked very hard today and was taken very ill in the evening.
Sunday October 6, 1861
I am worse today. This evening I was taken to the hospital.
Monday October 7, 1861
I was discharged from the hospital this morning with an excuse from duty for 24 hours. I feel a little better today. A
hail storm at 6pm.
Tuesday October 8, 1861
We had another general inspection today. It was called at 10am, and was not released until 3pm. At these inspections,
we must always fall in fully equipped, which is to each soldier, one rifle weighing 8 pounds, bayonet, haversack, and canteen.
And as much gunk can be carried in the haversack as we please. In our knapsacks, we must carry two blankets, weight about
11 pounds, one shirt, one pair of drawers, and socks, overcoat rolled up on top; the whole weight about 40 pounds.
Wednesday October 9, 1861
At about 3pm, our regiment was ordered to strike tents and then fall in. We were drawn up in line of battle and after
drilling about two hours, we received orders to remain in camp until morning. this news was not very well relished, as our
tents were all loaded. But we laid ourselves down upon the ground. At 8:20pm, we was again roused up in order to fall in and
march in about fifteen minutes. We commenced our march. It was very dark, and in silence, we cropped along through the mud.
At 1:25am, we halted, and laid ourselves down once more to sleep.
Thursday October 10, 1861
On getting up this morning, I find that we have marched (?) and a half miles and we were in Camp Tenly. This is a fine
place. There is a fine fort here and it is called "Fort Pennsylvania". It is a fine specimen of earth work. It was
rainy today and we was in bad condition, as we had neither food nor shelter. Toward night, we pitched out tents. I was soon
comfortably stowed in for the night. My tentmates and myself stole and begged enough for supper.
Friday October 11, 1861
The weather has cleared off and we are west of Washington. We are also in sight of the soldier's house. My tentmates are
Henry Ostrier, Harrison Cheeney, Franklin Blanchard, Albert Shamus, and Jacob Dean. We stole, bought, borrowed, and begged
the materials and cooked our own breakfast this morning. It was the best meal I've had since I left home. We had another heavy
shower in the night.
Saturday October 12, 1861
Our regiment was now ordered to go across Chain Bridge into Virginia on pickets. After breakfast was called out for inspection.
The Colonel told us to be ready for he expected to be called out any moment. He also told us that we was liable to be sent
to Georgia for our bad conduct. There has been a great many complaints against the Anderson Zouaves. Everybody stands greatly
in fear of them, and they are the roughest crowd I ever saw in my life. At about 6pm, we were ordered to fall in to march
and move. The orders were countermanded. We were then informed to be in readiness by early in the morning. At half past nine,
we was again ordered to fall in. News came that the Rebs was coming across the Chain Bridge in a large body. After being drawn
up in line of battle, each soldier received 100 rounds of cartridges, and continued our march. It was 1am Sunday, October
13 when we came to a halt for the remainder of the night. The night was cold and I did not get much sleep.
Sunday October 13, 1861
This is a fine day and I have been down to the Potomac and Chain Bridge. It appeared that the enemy have fallen back for
I hear of no further shelling to the north. At about 10am, we were ordered back to camp, so we get no fight this time.
Monday October 14, 1861
I am on guard today.
Tuesday October 15, 1861
Nothing but drill today.
Wednesday October 16, 1861
News Call, out on picket today. The whole company was up. Our line extended on about (?) miles.
Thursday October 17, 1861
Back in camp today with a severe headache.
Friday October 18, 1861
Worse today. Hardly able to sit up.
Saturday October 19, 1861
Am no better today. I went to the hospital and Surgeon Simpson said nothing ailed me. He would not give me an excuse which
every soldier must have or do duty. So it was a small consolation to me. I happened to be lucky, however, for Captain Hubble
did not call on me. He knew that I was unfit for duty.
Sunday October 20, 1861
I began to think of home. I lay all day in my tent, freezing. I have no taste for any food or tobacco. I have got the
rheumatiz and dysentery, and a bad cold on my lungs. and the whole together works hard on my system.
Monday October 21, 1861
I am no better today.
Tuesday October 22, 1861
No better today. I think I am growing worse, if anything. Time is long to me now.
Wednesday October 23, 1861
Nothing new today.
Thursday October 24, 1861
I think I feel a little better today.
Friday October 25, 1861
I am worse today.
Saturday October 26, 1861
Today the tents were moved nearer to the fort. It was a good plan, for the ground is higher and not so wet and muddy as
it was in the old place. I got by the guard this afternoon and went to a farmer to get a few tomatoes. He asked me to take
tea with him. I drank a cup of tea and ate two biscuits and butter, after which he gave me my cap full of tomatoes. I thanked
the people for their generosity and came back to my tent almost tired out.
Monday October 28, 1861
The hospital steward died today. He was a very delicate boy and well-spoken of by the whole regiment. He died with the
Tuesday October 29, 1861
I heard today that our brigade will soon go into Virginia. I am growing weaker every day. I am not able to walk a hundred
rods without resting.
Wednesday October 30, 1861
Another long day and no better. Today our regiment must answer their names to the muster out role in order to get their
pay. I went to the surgeon tent and Doctor Bidlek gave me some medicine. He also gave me an excuse and told me to report myself
Friday November 1, 1861
I feel some better today. At the surgeon's call, which is at 9am, I went to the surgeon's tent, and Doctor Bidlek gave
me some more medicine for the dysentery. I wrote considerable today more than I have written since I have been sick.
Saturday November 2, 1861
Soon after going to bed last night, it commenced to rain and blow most furiously. There were several tents blown down
during the night, leaving the occupants to put them up during the storm to seek shelter somewhere else. Other tents were so
wet and muddy that the men were obliged to stand up the rest of the night. It stormed all day without ceasing, and many of
the tents was capsized during the day. I have got cured of the dysentery and I feel some better.
Sunday November 3, 1861
On getting up this morning I find that the weather is all cleared off, and it is very pleasant. I am about the same today.
Monday November 4, 1861
I got two letters yesterday; one from Cliff and one from LWB. The one from my brother stated that he had sent me some
medicine and tobacco, which I need very much. but I was very much disappointed in not getting it today when the boxes came
to camp. I think I am getting better and am in hopes that I will soon be so I can do duty.
Tuesday November 5, 1861
I made out to buy a little tobacco today. I feel quite smart today. I went down to Mr. Hundell's, and he gave me a joint
of a stove pipe to make us a fireplace in our tent. He also invited me to dinner, and so did his wife. We talked a short time
of the prospect of the war and I came back to my tent. I tried to get some of the boys to help me dig the fireplace, but I
could not, so I went to work and dug it myself. I made out to get J. Dean to help me place the stovepipe and Chimney to bring
me a few stones. I was very tired when I got through. I ate half a pie for my dinner, and the heartiest meal I have eaten
since I have been sick. We have now got a fire in our tent and it works right well. It smokes a little when it does not blaze.
You can cover our fire at night, but there is very little room in our tent.
Wednesday November 6, 1861
This is another rainy day. It rains very easy and eases up by spells. I went down to the Hundell's and had an excellent
visit with the young folk. And I ate a very hearty dinner.
Thursday November 7, 1861
Captain Hubbell passed me out and I went down to the old Sutler, and I bought two pies. It is impossible for him to sell
inside the camp, for since the boys ripped his wagon over, he has been ordered off the ground by the Colonel. For several
days after, a great many suffered for the hunt of tobacco. It was an unmanly trick to turn his wagon over, and it was mean
of the Colonel to order him off the ground. ... Issacs who was an old Jew, was the first sutler of this regiment, but since
we came from ........................ all the good on his own responsibility, and has been doin well for the boys. There is
now a new sutler, J.H. Hunter, who has just come into camp two days ago with his goods, and he has commenced to issue tickets
and sell goods. I am about the same today.
Friday November 8, 1861
There was another many that died in the hospital last night from Company K. I think I am on the gain. I am taking medicine
regularly every day. there is a general inspection of all the men on the Potomac today, and they meet at Camp Cameron. My
tent-mates are all gone to inspection except Cheeney. He is on picket guard and will be until tomorrow morning. I am all alone
and I am enjoying myself quite well. I wrote two letters today; one to Julia and one to Cliff.
Saturday November 9, 1861
I went into the hospital this morning to see the corpse. I was so surprised, in all my life as I was on beholding Camaden,
who once belonged to the old Company H. He was a real Dutchman from Holland. I enlisted him in New York City the time I was
there recruiting. He was a very stout, healthy man, but too cold; it finally settled in his lungs and it finally took the
old fellow to his grave, thus making five deaths in our regiment since we came to Washington. I shall often regret his loss,
for he was a good soldier and a good man. Boxes came today, but I was very much disappointed and quite vexed for mine was
Sunday November 10, 1861
I got a letter from Cliff today. He wrote that the box that should have was left in Ti. That eased my fears about it being
lost. I wished it were here. This day was long and lonesome to me. I did not feel very well today, not as well as usual. Nothing
else today worthy of note.
Monday November 11, 1861
Today our Company is on picket guard. Al Shamus was on garrison guard yesterday, so he is not obliged to go on picket
today. But he is gone and I am left alone again to enjoy myself. I have been writing all before noon, and will probably write
most of the day. Moses has come over to see me, and he said he would come again.
Tuesday November 12, 1861
Nothing of importance today. The weather is quite warm and pleasant. We are expecting our second pay every day.
Wednesday November 13, 1861
There was nothing unusual going on through the day. Quite late in the evening, a load of boxes came and, with them, there
was one for me from Cliff. It was received with pleasure for it contained medicine for my cough, a pair of gloves, tobacco,
and various other articles which I needed very much. there is always a feeling of gratitude when one receives a letter or
a package from home. So it was with me.
Thursday November 14, 1861
Today I mended my socks and clothes and was quite busy all day. I think I am getting better every day.
Friday November 15, 1861
It clouded up and is raining last night and it rained almost all day. Moses came over to my tent. He wanted my gloves
and some tobacco. I sold him the gloves for 75 cents.
Saturday November 16, 1861
This was the coldest day we have had yet. In fact, it was uncomfortable. I got letter from Charles Elnick today and answered
it. Nothing else of any importance.
Sunday November 17, 1861
This is another very cold day. I got a letter today from Louis.
Monday November 18, 1861
The weather continues to be cold. I hear today that our regiment was to be sent to Point Royal, South Carolina. I hope
this will be true, as I want to see the country; and there may be some chance for action. Times are getting quite dull with
us here as with so many.
Tuesday November 19, 1861
This was a very cold day. I went down to get my likeness taken today, but there was such a crowd, and it was so cold that
it was impossible to have it taken. I was almost frozen when I got back to my tent.
Wednesday November 20, 1861
This is the coldest day we have had yet. I went again today to the dequeriers artist shop, and succeeded in getting four
pictures. I had to leave them until I get my money. Our company was called out this evening to sign our names to the payroll.
We should probably get our pay tomorrow.
Thursday November 21, 1861
Our company got their second pay today, and I sent $20 to Cliff. It is quite warm today as the weather has moderated.
Friday November 22, 1861
This was a very fine day. Business begins to ............ appearance, as there is more going on in camp. Great was my
astonishment this morning on finding that several of my tentmates had deserted. Shammus, ... Blanchard had deserted last night,
me .................., eight. Sometime in the night, they packed up and .....................
Friday December 13, 1861
I was pondering when a southern son came in with some milk. The following conversation took place. He was interested in
getting as much for the milk as he could. And I finally got enough for my coffee and we measured out one quart. I gave more
than the rest. The milk was measured out, but as I saw, was only one quart. I prevailed on having the milk and he gave it
to me for the amount that I had first offered.
Saturday December 14, 1861
The French Co. got new pants to day. They are light pants, and sky blue. I expect to get mine soon.
Sunday December 15, 1861
This was another long Sabbath day to me and I often thought of home and friends through the day. There is some talk of
moving our camp about two miles from here, nearer the river.
Monday December 16, 1861
The weather seems to be a little colder, but very pleasant. There is nothing new going on in camp.
Tuesday December 17, 1861
There was a grand review to day on our parade ground. The day was very warm and pleasant. I was called a-----ze with the
company. This is the first duty I have done for a long time and I was very tired when at last we was dismissed, but I never
enjoyed myself better in my life than I did to day. After marching down to the brigade parade ground the brigade was drawn
up in line of battle at right angles. The 98th and the 13th Pa. forming the base. N.Y.S. M and 62nd, N.Y.S.V. or A.Z. forming
the base of the line and the left flank. The Gov. of Pa. presented two beautiful flags to the Pa. reg'ts and made a speech
suitable for the occasion. One of the Pa. Colonels offered thanks for the generosity of the Gov. in behalf of the regiment.
President Lincoln was on the ground and made an eloquent speech. The band then struck up a solemn air and our noble president
bowed in prayer invoking the God of battles to pour down a shower of blessings upon the many soldiers that were fighting in
a great and glorious cause. The brigade then passed in review, formed squares, marched in four ranks and by divisions on a
double quick sent out skirmishers, &c, and then we were dismissed. I got a letter from Louis this evening.
Wednesday December 18, 1861
Nothing unusual today.
Thursday December 19, 1861
At A.M., our regiment got orders to strike tents and prepare to move. It was nearly 2 P.M. when our camp equipments moved
camp for which is about half a mile from our old grounds. Our new camp is situated in a beautiful of as fine timber as I ever
saw. The timber is chiefly oak, white wood, persimmon, and hickory. The tents were all pitched before dark, but it was late
in the evening before I got my work done. I was very busy all day, and was very tired when at last I lay myself down to rest.
Friday December 20, 1861
I have been very busy all day chopping wood and getting things in order. I got a letter from Chauncy Emerick today.
Saturday December 21, 1861
Nothing unusual today.
Sunday December 22, 1861
Today was spent as usual. News from England today shows a warlike spirit concerning the Mason Slidell affair.
Monday December 23, 1861
It snowed some today. But it melted ... is very muddy in camp, and there is general dissatisfaction with our camp.
Tuesday December 24, 1861
There is great preparation going on in camp today for Christmas. I got my box from home today, and three letters; one
from Cliff, and one from Louis, and one from Frank Revins. Moses got a box also, and I invited my friends into my tent. The
eatables and drinkables which were apples and sweet-cakes and rum were soon dispatched and we had a game of cards and enjoyed
ourselves as well as possible under our circumstances.
Wednesday December 25, 1861
I got permission of the Captain today to go to Mr. Huddle's to take supper. I put on my best and cleanest clothes, blacked
my boots, and started. I got there about 1 P.M. They were just sitting down to dinner and I had to take dinner with them.
I had plenty to eat and drink and enjoyed myself as well as I ever did in my life. I stayed overnight, but did not retire
until very late. I find that the people in the district are very jovial and hospitable. After eating, drinking, smoking, and
dancing; which was about the order for about 12 hours, I was quite tired and sleep soon overcame me. After laying down in
a bed, which I had not done for a long time.
Thursday December 26, 1861
It was late this morning when I arose, and I did not feel very well. However, a good glass of gin brought me around again.
I could not get away again until after breakfast and it was 10 A.M. when I got back to camp.
Friday December 27, 1861
Today I bade farewell to my cook shop and went into the company and reported myself for duty. I was unwilling to take
the rations of the men for the officers, and I often had harsh words with them. I had cooked for them long enough to find
out that the mode of their living and the way they saved their money and spent it. Another object I have in leaving off cooking
in order is no duty to perform but guard duty. I was put on guard today but stopped by being on post only two hours.
Saturday December 28, 1861
Nothing of importance today.
Sunday December 29, 1861
Monday December 30, 1861
The weather is fine and I have not drilled yet. Our brigade will be mustered for pay tomorrow.
Tuesday December 31, 1861
Our regiment was mustered today on our own parade ground at 10 A.M. I got a letter today from Julie.
Wednesday January 1, 1862 - As a new year is present, Colonel Riker gave to each company two kegs of beer and some cheese
and crackers. Each company marched up to the colonel's quarters, gave him three cheers, and after having a few affectionate
remarks from our commander, received our new year's present. After the beer and so forth was distributed among the men, Frank
Nadeau and I went over to Mr. Huddle's. I find that the people about here do not hold new year's. Although most of the people
have watch meetings; which is attended with drinking, dancing, and hilarity, usually. We got our dinner to Mr. Huddle's and
then took French Pass for Camp Easy, which is on the opposite side of the Cameron. Our mission was to find some friends in
the 87th New York State Volunteers. We found our friends, Jack Blanchard and William O'Connor from Ticonderoga. We had fine
times with the boys and stayed all night with them. I find that Colonel S.A. Dodge was very straight with those under his
command. Unlike Colonel Ricker, he allows on one to absent from camp without a pass under the penalty of going into the guard
house. I find that there is better regulations in every department under his command (Dodge's) than ours.
Thursday January 2, 1862 - After dinner, we started back to camp; to find that our company was on picket. We went out
also. There were ten on our post, consisting of one sergeant, one corporal, and eight men.
Saturday January 4, 1862 - I was detailed today to assist in carrying logs to build a chapel for the regiment.
Sunday January 5, 1862 - I was detailed this morning to carry the mail from our camp to Washington. I like the business,
but there are so many aspirants that I will get played out of the job.
Monday January 6, 1862 - After breakfast I started to Washington with the mail. I had the pleasure of visiting the patent
office today. It is a splendid structure of white marble. The basement is built of granite. The sample is on the third floor
and is well furnished. I saw the sword that was welded by the Father of his country. Also, the coat, pants and britches that
he once wore. The coat is an old fashioned waistcoat with brass buttons. I saw the great seals of different nations, and the
old printing press of Doctor Franklin; a beautiful ... that was presented to Jeff Davis by the King of ..., and a thousand
samples ... Treasury, the War Department, the Courthouse, the Capital, and the White House. Those buildings are all built
of granite and white marble, including the Post Office, but the President's home is the White House, and it is the whitest
Tuesday January 7, 1862 - The Chaplain told me this morning that one of the expressmen had made arrangements with Colonel
Riker to bring up the mail and the express baggage to our camp. So I will not go to the Capital today. The weather is mild,
but there is still a little snow on the ground. Our regiment is got orders to make winters more comfortable by raising and
banking the tents This will make it more comfortable, and we will have brigade drills.
Thursday January 9, 1861 - I noticed that some of the men are making their tent more comfortable, but the majority are
too lazy to work, so they remain as they are. I have taken a new cold and have got a severe sore throat. The weather is quite
warm. Our snow has left us with a very muddy camp. I was on guard today, but stopped two relays. I got a letter today from
Thomas, which was received with unusual pleasure.
Saturday January 11, 1862 - Weather very warm and camp very muddy.
Sunday January 12, 1861 - This was a very warm day, in fact, as warm as a northern summer. Our company got new regulation
jackets today. They are dark blue with New York State buttons.
Monday January 13, 1862 - The weather is a little colder today. Our regiment was inspected today, and the inspecting general
commended our new jackets. Harrison Cheeney was taken ill today.
Tuesday January 14, 1862 - On getting up this morning, I was surprised to see the ground covered with snow, to a thickness
of three inches. I was on guard today and got ... only once. The ... was quite cold. I got a letter from Eli Harrison and
I went to the hospital today.
Wednesday January 15, 1862 - After breakfast, I went to ... From there I went to ... dinner with them. This has been a
very stormy day. The wind blew lively from the northwest, and the rain froze as it fell.
Thursday January 16, 1862 - True to the old motto, there is always a calm after the storm, was well developed here today;
for this is a very pleasant one, and our regiment does not drill today. My duty is to stand guard. There are three kinds of
guard: guard, picket guard, and picket.
Friday January 17, 1862
Nothing of importance today. Harrison is no better.
Saturday January 18, 1862
I have been up to the hospital to see Harrison and I think that time is short with him. This has been a very rainy day.
I got a letter today from W. Wright.
Sunday January 19, 1862
On getting up this morning, I hear that Harrison is dead. He was a good soldier, and his loss will be greatly appreciated
by his friends. May his soul rest in peace. The rain has taken away all the snow and we are left with a very muddy camp. Our
company got new caps today.
Monday January 20, 1862
After breakfast I went down to Camp Casey, three miles south. William O'Conner and Jay know of Harrison's death. I took
dinner in that camp with them. Then we started back to Camp Tenley. The roads are very muddy and we were very tired. When
we arrived in camp, the funeral procession was full in, about 3 P.M. in the following and the corpse ahead carried by eight
bearers, unarmed. Eight pall bearers with side arms formed each side of the corpse. The band was next in the procession, with
the mourners following in the rear in two ranks. The company then followed in four ranks with the commissioned officers in
the rear of the company. In the little grave in Tenley Town, Harrison was consigned to the grave with all honors due a soldier.
In Tenley Town his body does rest; in heaven may his soul appear. May he take his flight in the land of the blessed where
there is no sorrow or fear. After the funeral, William and Jay went back to their camp. I got a letter today from Bolton.
Wednesday January 22, 1862 - Our company was on picket today. The squad I chanced to be in occupied the old deserted house
on our post, on the eastern end between the camp and Camp Hall. There were 14 men on our post; Sergeant Wheeler, Fifth Sergeant
Byron, Corporal Bollan, Corporal Shields, and ten privates. I got a very welcome letter while on post from Louis, together
with his likeness. There was a little snow on the ground this morning, sufficient to make the ground look white.
Thursday January 23, 1862
There was nothing done today by our company after coming off of picket duty.
Saturday January 25, 1862
Nelson Peter Dolbeck, 62nd New York State Volunteers Anderson Zouaves, It rained and stormed all night. This morning there
was a bit of snow on the ground. There is about two inches of snow. I got a pass this morning and went down to Washington.
I visited the Smithsonian Institute and saw many curiosities there.
Tuesday January 28, 1862
I am now in the guard house, and having borrowed a pen and ink, I've made up my mind to write a letter. I feel somewhat
down in the mouth with myself here, when I know there are so many who have escaped this place who are ten times more guilty
than I am, although I am ashamed to admit the truth. Last Saturday on the way from Washington to my camp, I stopped at the
camp of the 87th New York Volunteers. They had just been paid off, and no one but a soldier knows the consequences of a payday.
I merely say it in a few words; the fun and general sport, and many a soldier gets a black eye or a bloody nose. But as fate
would have it, I got neither. But to come back to my narrative, I was in the 87th and got along so well with my friends that
I completely and easily was persuaded by them to remain longer, my pass being up at 9 P.M. The next morning, Sunday, the 26th,
I found that I was out of camp, over my pass, and as the old saying came into mind, a man may well be hung for stealing a
sheep as a lamb. I once made up my mind not to be in a hurry; so I stayed till after dinner at the request of my friends.
Then taking a good down of whiskey, I started for camp. On the way, I fell in with some soldiers from the 896th. They were
well supplied with what the soldiers call the mail, and as a soldier, I had to drink with them. But unfortunately for me,
I took too much, and could not make my way into camp. However, I got into a small house by the side of the road that was tenanted
by colored people. Some time in the night, I was taken by the patrol, which happened to be squad from Company D, and as the
orderly is advised against me, he readily took this opportunity of having revenge by putting me in the guard house. I was
released yesterday morning by the officers of the guard, but as soon as the orderly came into camp, he immediately sent a
corporal and a file of guards to return me to the guard house again. The company got paid yesterday. I have got $22 left,
having paid the Sutler's $4. I went down to camp this morning to see the Colonel and Captain if there was any charges against
me. They told me not, but I may be in for two months. I am lonesome as I have nothing to do. This P.M., the officer of the
guard asked for three prisoners for police duty to the General's quarters. Being tired of confinement, I was glad to grab
at any chance to exercise, so I volunteered to go for one. The prisoners with myself were conducted to the General's quarters
by a corporal and a file of guards. We worked for about an hour sawing wood, then returned to our quarters, which is in the
old church in Tenleytown.
Wednesday January 29, 1862
This morning before I got up, the corporal of the guard put a pair of handcuffs on one of the prisoners for insulting
him by calling him a son of a bitch. And in less than a minute after he had done so, the handcuffs were broken and thrown
out the window. Since the above occurrence, we have been kept in close quarters, and our privileges taken away from us. The
pulpit and pews of the old church are nearly all destroyed and burned for firewood. In fact, the church is nearly ruined.
Friday January 31, 1862
There is nothing of importance going on in camp for two reasons; first, it is so muddy, raining almost every day; and
second, since payday, the majority of men are out of camp and in the guard house.
Tuesday February 4, 1862
On getting up this morning, I find that the snow is about six inches deep and the weather is quite cold. However, the
sun arose, and the day was quite warm and pleasant. I was on guard today, but we was not called out at night. I got a letter
today from Julia.
Friday February 7, 1862
I got a pass this morning, but the Colonel would not sign it. I was obliged to remain in camp. I was detailed, however,
to shovel snow off the campground. It was a very warm day, and the snow took a good melting, and there is little left. I hear
that we are to move next Monday. Our new camp is on the main road to Mindian Hill. It is to be on a hill and eventually will
be drier than this. I find that the ground is not frozen yet. Poor winter, this.
Sunday February 9, 1862 - This was another pleasant day. I got another excuse from duty. Am very lame in my right hip
with the rheumatism.
Friday February 14, 1862
It was a very little colder today. I am still quite lame. I got a letter from Cliff and was surprised to find out the
last money I sent home was not ever received. I was also surprised to find that I was the subject of so much slander by F.S.
Ostrier who would make rumor that I have tried to desert, was caught, and severely punished. The idea of deserting the service
has never been in my mind for a moment and would look upon a deserter with disgust and contempt.
Monday February 17, 1862
This day was spent as preceding ones in my tent. This has been rainy day and I can now see that our new camp will soon
be a muddy one.
Wednesday February 19, 1862
The frequent rains that seem to favor us instead of snow has taken the contracted element quite away, so that now there
is no snow to be seen. Our camp is now very muddy. It is almost impossible to get along without looking like a wallowing swine.
I feel quite well this evening, and as I write, I see my tentmates around me enjoying themselves. They are all hearty, joyful
lads, and assume the characters of a ship's crew. Don Keller is called Captain, and he is on guard today, has just dispensed
with the corporal of the guard by tying a handkerchief around his head, which is a common practice with the boys. John Dugan,
surname Mutton, is First Sargent. He is a good mail carrier, and well-liked by the crew, but he will not chop wood. Dennis
Lynchon, alias John Johnson, surnamed Brandon-on-the-Moore, is second mate. He is a jovial tar, exhibiting a strong, muscular
frame, and wears large boots. Michael Murphy is the third mate, and is from the Old Bay State, and like the ships company,
likes his toddy. Edward LeFay is the boatswain. He claims to be of French descent, and well imitates that foreign blood. Unlucky
for him, he carried "the mail" the night before last, and the stove went back on him, and met his backside with
a warm reception. He has been taken to the hospital and says he will drink no more whiskey. His surname, Champion, is our
doctor. He says I have got the itch, and if second mate, Brandon-on-the-Moore sleeps with me, that worthy is in no little
suspense, fearing he will catch it. But I have assured him that if he catches it, I will scratch him. The burden of his mind
has been lightened. I am the steward, and as the boys get plenty of hog and squash pie (hard crackers), they never find any
fault if they have good, sound teeth. John ... is our engineer, and his is a corporal of the guard today, is not on board,
and a good joke it is to see him wallowing in the mud. James Carroll is chaplain. He is called a good preacher as he swears
by note. The rest of the crew are able seamen and landlubbers, and they ... of our worth officers on board our ship. The night
is dark and stormy, but as we have got a good fire and shelter, we are quite comfortable tonight. Some of the boys are playing
cards, one are reading, some are singing, and some are discussing the merits of Marble Alley (Washington), and the regulars.
I am writing, but as it is quite late, and my bones begin to want to shift, I will adjourn until another time. I will mention,
however, that I got a very welcome letter today from Julia.
Friday February 21, 1862
The surface is again frozen, and we are once more favored with good, dry footing. At 1 P.M., William Sherwood was buried,
making three out of this company that has come to this district.
Saturday February 22, 1862
Feeling quite well today, I took a walk down to the old camp to see Frank. He is very ill, but conscious of his illness.
I think his chances of recovery are very small. I got a letter today from W. Wright. This has been a very warm day but rather
unpleasant, as it has rained some and the camp is quite muddy. There is nothing of importance going on in camp.
Thursday February 27, 1862
There has nothing of importance happened in camp today, but the unpacking of goods, as the order for marching has been
countermanded. The weather is quite cold. I got three letters today; one from Cliff, one from Chaunce Elrick, and the other
February 28, 1862
This has been a very cool, windy day, and I was on guard. I stood three reliefs. Our regiment was inspected today, and
mustered in for pay. We got new orders to be in readiness to march this evening. But we have been disappointed so many times
that little attention is paid to it.
Saturday March 1, 1862
This has been another very cold day, but pleasant. The ground is frozen quite hard and on camp is quite comfortable.
Sunday March 2, 1862
I was on guard today, but stood only two reliefs. It was rather stormy today, being a combination of snowing and rain.
Tuesday March 4, 1862
I got a letter this morning from Mr. S. Nadeau. There was company and brigade drills today, but I did not go out. There
was a heavy rainstorm last night. But our tents are so old and shabby that they did not protect us much from the storm and
rain. On account of the prospect of marching, our food is very irregular and sometimes very short. Sometimes our only food
for a meal is a cup of coffee, and other times, hard crackers is added to the sumptuous meal.
Wednesday March 5, 1862
My first work this morning was to place some headboards to Harrison Cheeney and Frances Nadeau's grave. I have been sometime
in getting the boards and getting them painted, but I have succeeded in my efforts. This has been a very warm day. New orders
have been read at dress parade this evening to have four days of rations always on hand.
Thursday March 6, 1862
On getting up this morning, I see flags flying all along the lines. And on close examination, I see mottoes on them; Riker
is our Colonel; No Riker, No Regiment; For Riker We'll fight, and others of the same bearing. But there must be cause for
this ado. Yes, here it is. Colonel Riker, like all good men, has enemies. He is under arrest. Speculative officers under him
are anxious to see him cashiered, that they may be promoted. But it is the belief of nearly all that he will soon be released.
I got a letter today from Louis. The weather is quite cool.
Friday March 7, 1862
I am on guard today, and stood every relief, which is four or eight hours.
Saturday March 8, 1862
The weather still continues to be cold, but I have noticed that some of the farmers have commenced to work their gardens.
Our regiment has now a small crest in camp, and today, several copies of the Anderson Zouaves have been struck off. The thing
itself is quite novel in itself. The paper is quite small, but if well-conducted, will be useful and interesting. I was well-favored
today with news that I got three letters and two papers. One of the letters was from P. Blanchard from Virginia, one from
SJE, and the other from ESH.
Sunday March 9, 1862
I was on guard again today, and as we are ordered to march tomorrow morning, I have slipped one relief and intend to slip
the other so that I can get proper rest and sleep before marching. The day is very warm.
Monday March 10, 1862
Being very tired and having nothing to amuse me, I thought I would write. I am now in Virginia soil. At last we have made
an advance. This morning, after receiving rations for four days, and putting on our harnesses to the weight of 40 to 60 pounds,
we commenced our march. The road was quite muddy, and before our halt for the night, many of the men were so tired that they
threw away the contents of their knapsacks. I have just built a fire in a small woods, and I am quite comfortable, together
with them of my comrades who have chosen my company and will probably stay with me throughout the night. The forepart of the
day was rainy, which made our march quite disagreeable. At length, as there was no tents appearing, we stretched ourselves
out on the ground with good fires, awaiting further orders to march.
Tuesday March 11, 1862
I felt well-refreshed this morning and I had a good night's rest. Some of the men are getting short of provisions, as
the commissary stores did not follow our regiment; and it seems instead of getting four days rations, we did not get but two.
This evening, I started in quest of grub. One of the boys went with me and we went toward Chain Bridge. As neither of us had
any money, we had to run the risk as there are no inhabitants about here. It was not long, however, before we overtook two
citizens who looked as though they were without much in this world. But I soon found that they had a spare quarter, and with
it, I bought four loaves of bread from a government baker. Never was bread better relished than that, as we have had none
for two weeks. The grand army of the Potomac is now in motion, and our destination is probably Manassis, or Richmond. There
is one division on our right, and one to our left. We expect further orders to march every moment. We had dress parade this
afternoon, and the orders was to load and stack arms. As we have no tents to shelter us, the men have scattered around the
woods and fields, and made bough houses. And even while I write, the campfires can be seen burning in every direction and
the many laughs and songs of the soldiers can be distinctly heard.
Wednesday March 12, 1862
This morning I got a letter from Julia and it was in haste that I devoured its contents and answered it, as we expect
to advance every moment. The boys are buoyant and in good spirits and anxious to meet the rebels. We are now on rebel soil
and on a battlefield, but there are no rebels to be seen now, save a few prisoners as they go by. There was a knapsack drill
today, but I did not go as I was a little lame, just enough for a poor excuse. I hear today that it is about eleven miles
from Camp Tenely to here. I have been taking in view of this position of Dixie, along the banks of the Potomac, called Prospect
Hill. I find that it is very hilly, well-wooded, and well-watered. The woods is mostly second growth, pine and chestnut with
now and then a few oaks and hemlock. This place looks like a deserted plain for miles around having no fences, no buildings,
no inhabitants, save the troops. At about 4 P.M., a fire broke out in the woods and raged furiously through the old pine tops,
everything being very dry. The weather is very warm and dry.
Thursday March 13, 1862
We are still waiting for marching orders, but our provisions are getting very low, owing to the bad management and neglect
of our officers. All I had for breakfast was dry bread, and some had not as good. I had just been put on guard over the cattle
and beef, and while I watch, I write. There is now hopes of soon getting some fresh beef. There is, I think, thirty heads
of cattle for our brigade. The butchers are busily engaged killing and dressing them. To the relief and joy of myself and
squad, Henry came in camp with a full haversack of crackers and salt jerkies. And I made out a hasty supper. We have just
got orders to march tomorrow. There was beef given out, and it was cooked; but all the men did not get it.
Friday March 14, 1862
At about 9 A.M., We was beaten. The companies fell in and was soon in motion towards Chain Bridge. We are now at a halt
to rest awhile, after marching four or five miles. It is impossible for me to say where our destination is. I am now on a
hill and I can see with pleasure, the whole division. It is a grand sight. The cavalry is on the advance, the artillery on
the right, and the infantry is on the left flank in columns with the division is on a march at four ranks. It stretches for
two or three miles on the road. The mail has just come and I have a letter from Cliff. It was in haste that I answered Cliff's
letter, for we did not know what minute we should be ordered to fall in. We have got orders to stack arms and remain for the
Saturday March 15, 1862
As usual, we struck for the woods. As soon as we broke ranks last night, and throwed up a few boughs to keep the dew off,
and build a fire, ate our suppers of hard crackers and water, and then lay ourselves down to rest. It rained all night, adding
to our discomfort. I made a good breakfast this morning, as I had a slice of pork and some coffee, which I stole last night.
It is now 11 A.M., and the rain still comes gradually down. Our division is abut a mile northwest from the Chain Bridge. Colonel
Nevins told us that we should march to Washington today and go on shipboard for some southern port. As we expect to leave
every minute, time goes heavily by.
Sunday March 16, 1862
The rain poured down in torrents all day yesterday and last night. I was wet to the skin. Our company drew our rations
last night for two days. And a hungry man could easily eat them in two meals; so that I was out before night. The rations
that we drew was nothing but hard crackers. This morning I saw several contrabands on their way to the capital. At about 9
A.M., the assembly was beaten and in a few minutes an army was packing up, falling in, and moving back to the old camp. Our
own march near the Chain Bridge commenced, and several companies got their letters and I got one from Louis. Being wet, together
with our broken rest last night all bore heavily upon our shoulders, and then to add to our discomfort, we had no grub left.
After getting in camp, it was dark before we got our tents pitched and built a fire, and then could we have had dry clothes
to put on, a warm supper to eat, and a good bed to lie on, it would have been comfort. That my pen could not describe. Unwilling
to go without my supper, I got Moses to go with me to Mr. Hurdle's. We got a good horn of whiskey and good, warm supper; which
I would have given ten dollars for if I could not get it without. After supper we went back to camp, and being tired and sleepy,
Monday March 17, 1862
It was about noon today before I got my breakfast. As there was no grub in camp, I, with others was forced to go out of
camp to get something to keep down hunger. We have again got orders to march.
Tuesday March 18, 1862
As we only got a cup of coffee for our supper last night, and for our breakfast, a cup of coffee and four hard crackers,
we was not in fit condition to do duty. And I would not drill today. We got orders to march today, but it was countermanded
in the evening. The Colonel and Quartermaster being under arrest at present, our regiment is like a stray flock of sheep.
To our great relief, the commissary stores came in camp today, and we got two days rations.
Wednesday March 19, 1862
Again the orders have come to be in readiness to march at a moment's notice. I have been cutting hair all day long. This
P.M., I got three pictures taken at Tenleytown.
Thursday March 20, 1862
I went down to Georgetown today; and of course, I had to bring up the mail. Got a letter today from Mr. Nadeau. It is
reported in camp that we are to leave tomorrow. This has been a very rainy day.
Friday March 21, 1862
I got a letter this morning from SJE. This has been another rainy day. We had inoculations today. The orders are to be
still in readiness to march at any time. We had an inspection this afternoon. The weather is very mild, and the grass in the
fields begins to look quite green.
Saturday March 22, 1862
The orders being as usual, I did my own washing today. It was a hard task, as I had neither tub, washboard or fire. Nothing
unusual going on in camp.
Monday March 24, 1862
Everybody in camp are busy today preparing to leave. It is expected to march down to Georgetown tomorrow morning, and
then get on shipboard for some southern port.
Wednesday March 26, 1862
I am now on the lower Potomac on board the steamer William Kent, and opposite Mount Vernon. I have not had time before
now to write since we left Camp Tenley. And it is with the greatest pleasure that I can now avail myself of this privilege.
Last Tuesday, the 25th, at about 9 O'clock, we got orders to fall in fully equipped for a march. We was drawn up in a line
of battle on our parade ground, and soon after, commenced our march. Colonel Riker, being relieved of the charges against
him, was at the head of our column this morning, to the joint satisfaction of all the boys. Soon after leaving our camp, the
order was given to countermarch. The order was obeyed, and we was again disappointed we was left at our old camp ground to
get our dinners as best we could. In about an hour, the order was again given to fall in. The order was quickly obeyed. We
were again on our way to Georgetown. It was impossible to keep our boys together when once in the streets of the city were
there is intoxicating liquors. And for that reason, it was impossible to leave today. Soon after getting on board, I found
Moses, and we got a berth together. I contented myself to remain on board through the night. I got a letter today from Louis,
but could not answer it.
Wednesday March 26, 1862
At an early hour this morning, I was up and after, I got Moses, and an old friend from the 98th, Pennsylvania, to go uptown
with me. The object was to get the mail, which we did. It was not a very easy job now, however, as we had no money. But I
managed the affair, and got some breakfast, and some tobacco, and some apples. At about 9 A.M., our fleet got up steam and
left Georgetown. There was only about 600 of our men aboard, and it was said that out of that number, 599 of them were drunk,
and the remainder of our regiment was straggling over Georgetown, Tenleytown, and Washington. We proceeded down the river
and then cast anchor for the night, as the pilots were not acquainted with the channel.
Thursday March 27, 1862
Our steamer is going at a slow rate, as she is towing two steamers loaded with horses belonging to the artillery attached
to our division. We are now opposite a rebel battery, but it is evacuated now. I succeeded in making a cup of coffee this
morning, but the rest of the day, I was obliged to content myself with hard crackers. The water on board is very bad. I have
got some raw meat, but it is of no service to me, as I have no place to cook it. This evening, a strange woman was found on
board, which caused quite an uproar; as the women was all driven off before we left Georgetown, as was supposed. The captain
of the William Kent says she will not anchor this evening.
Friday March 28, 1862
8 A.M. I find myself on deck with pen in hand to note down a few observations. I find that we are at anchor at Chesapeake
Bay and in the immediate neighborhood of fortress manner. It is impossible to give the reader our latitude as I have no map,
which I oftentimes need. The bay is filled with vessels of every kind, and among them can be seen the Monitor. She is a curious-shaped
craft and looks like a northern raft with a Yankee cheese box on top. She is strongly built, being iron-clad and carrying
six guns. She had an engagement with the Merimack, a rebel gunboat a few days ago. She drove her off Sewell's point, now occupied
by the enemy. It has been very pleasant, under the circumstances, as we have had very fine weather.
3 P.M. I am now on the outskirts of the ruined city of Hampton. Hearing that our regiment are to stay on board another
night, and being very anxious to learn something about the place we were in, I at once made up my mind to get ashore. This
was a hard task, as there was a guard placed to keep the boys on board. I succeeded, however, in getting by the sentinel,
and then on a schooner. The schooner I was now on was about 30 feet from another schooner on shore. I found a rope, then throwing
one end to a man on shore, he made his end fast and after I had made my end fast. I went across amid the applause and cheers
of about 200 lookers on. This must have been once a very fine city, but it is now a desolate place, being only a vast pile
of ruins. It is regularly laid out, and most of it built by brick. The country is very pleasant, as the grass is green and
some of the fruit trees are in blossom. I visited the rebel fortification that is not yet finished. I also visited the cemetery,
and with horror and dismay it presented itself to my view. In one place I saw beautiful marble slabs broken in pieces and
strewn over the ground. Strange to say, but even the dead are not permitted to rest in peace. In one place I saw a coffin
- actually broken, and the putrefied actually exposed. The staunch scent soon drove me from that place, with mixed pity and
anger. I have been talking with a man that is acquainted with this place. He says that Newport News, Virginia is only six
miles south from here. This place was burnt down and deserted by the rebels last August. I now see a picket in the distance,
and must make my way to the shore, and try to get on board again.
Saturday March 29, 1862
Fortress Manor. I have been visiting the neighborhood on foot and being tired, I sat down to write. As we have gotten
out of grub and water, I have made up my mind to go ashore this morning the first opportunity that presented itself. This
I did this morning at about 6:00. It is now 10 A.M. and our regiment is drawn up in lines expected to march every moment.
Yes, the colonel has just now given the orders and I must stop writing and fall in.
As near as I can find out, it is 4 P.M., and our division together with two other divisions, is at Hall, about one mile
north of Newport News.
After leaving my lonely and secluded spot yesterday in Hampton, I went aboard, but it was with difficulty that I did,
for the William Kent now lays some three or four hundred yards from the shore. But by jumping and climbing from boat to boat,
I at last succeeded in getting on the decks of the William Kent last night as our division was laying at the dock of the Fortress
Manor. The sea was very rough and dashed the boat against the dock so hard that we had to leave the war. It was one A.M. today
that the men began to jump off the dock from fear. In the squabble, one of the men got caught with one of the stem ropes above
his ankle and lost his foot. It was severed completely. He fell overboard and had not been found when we left. The rain has
been now coming down quite hard, but I am quite comfortable in our old tent which was brought here, as I could not find any
commissary on the boat. I did not draw any rations on the voyage. But being unwilling to do without them, and having no money
to buy, I was left to borrow, beg, or steal, or do without. The latter I would not do. Therefore, I, with those of the boys
from company "Z", I managed to break into the stewards room, and I filled my haversack with cheese, dried beef,
and raisins. The cook soon found out about it and had the carpenter sent down to nail up the door. I got some bread at the
fortress so that I have plenty to eat so far, but I expect to be out soon, as our commissary store did not follow us.
Sunday March 30, 1862
We still are in camp and do not know when we shall leave. The Calvary and artillery that belong to our portion of the
army have not yet come up, and we are waiting for them to make an advance. Besides, our ammunition is behind, and for those
reasons, I think we shall be very likely to remain here for two days. It is now 3 P.M., and I have just been to dinner, which
was nothing but beans, boiled in muddy water without meat or salt. I had small pieces of fresh beef left that I got in Camp
Tenley. But it has now been in my haversack so long that it actually stunk. Yet I was so hungry that it was not thrown away,
but on the contrary it relished well. This morning I had a tramp along the river shore. From the places I was in, I could
see the Chesapeake with the many vessels of many kinds lying quietly at anchor, or sailing leisurely around. I also had a
good view of Sewell's Point. Near the shore was what looked to be a beautiful house, but the soldiers have entirely destroyed
it. It stood on a little visa on a large and extensive farm; and by the looks of many outbuildings, now burnt down, showed
the owner was a well-to-do sort of man. I noticed two large wells on the premises, but they were filled with rubbish. They
seemed to be dug quite deep and laid up with brick instead of stone. The buildings were also laid up with brick mostly, which
article I notice is used about here instead of stone. I have seen but two or three houses for miles around. All the rest have
been burned to the ground by their owners. The peach, the blackberry and the raspberry are the principle fruits, although
I saw a few very thrifty apple trees. The peach are now in blossom. There are swarms of crows and quails and very few ground
sparrows here. The land looks good being a sandy loam with a mixture of clay. The timber is principally read or Norway pine,
and it grows very large and tall. There is also a variety of shrubbery unknown to me. There was a few shells fired from the
Merrimack today over to our troops. A piece of one was found about a hundred rods from our camp. No injury was done as I have
Monday March 31, 1862
This morning, Henry and I got a pass to visit the 12 New York State Volunteers, Butterfield's Brigade and Potomac division.
It is about two miles from here. We found Edwin Ostrier, but he was in poor health. After getting in camp, I found that I
was on guard. The guards now mount at 4 P.M. I was very happy to get two letters this evening, one from Louis and the other
from Julia. For my supper I got a small piece of fresh beef without salt. The weather is fair, but we are having cold north
winds, which seem to be a new thing. Today the Merrimack threw a few shells into Smith's division, about half a mile ahead
of ours. It was reported that two men were wounded, but I have been talking with a man from the fourth, and he assured me
that there was no injury done. He also told me that General Smith momentarily expected to be attacked. One of the shells that
did not explode was weighed, and it weighed 57 pounds.
Tuesday April 1, 1862
This morning all I could get for my breakfast was a cup of coffee and a little cracker dust. I saw many that did not have
as much. There is truly some bad management on the part of the officers, or some diabolical scheme of speculation. There is
now within a square mile about 120 thousand men, and within 2 square miles, about 180 thousand. They seem to be in fine condition
for service with the exception of a scarcity of food. I got two letters tonight after coming off guard. One of them was from
Cliff and the other from ESH. The letter from Cliff brought in the news that he had been presented with a fine male heir.
I feel proud of the event as it is the firstborn, and the only heir in the family.
Wednesday April 2, 1862
On getting up this morning, I find myself quite unwell. However, I have been very busy all day writing letters and copying
my journal. I was told today that the most of our brigade was to be transferred into some artillery regiment. And if that
is so, the rest of the men will be discharged. I hope it may be so, for I have been a soldier quite long enough under 4 officers.
I have just now got catched up with my writing, and I am as tired as I ever was in my life. This has been quite a cool day.
This has been quite a warm day after having a heavy thunder shower last night. Last evening, two men from our brigade were
brought into camp after being wounded on some of the outer post. Orders came in our camp this evening to make preparations
to advance on to Yorktown early on the morrow. I have been very unwell today, but hope to be able to go with my regiment.
Thursday April 3, 1862
This has been quite a warm day, after having a heavy thunder storm last night. Last evening, two men from our brigade
were brought into camp, after being wounded on some of the outer posts. Orders came in our camp this evening to make preparations
to advance on to Yorktown early on the morrow. I have been very unwell today but hope to be able to go with the reg. tomorrow.
Friday April 4, 1862
At 4 A.M. reveille was beaten and at 7 A.M. the assembly. In a short time our division commanded by Gen Canch, was on
a march. The day was very warm but as our boys had been in camp long enough to get well rested they felt no dread in leaving.
The roads were very bad, as they led mostly through a low part of country. We halted several times during the day, but at
last about 4 P.M. we halted for the night, and I learned that we had been driving in the rebel picket for about two miles.
I am now in a beautiful pine grove, and after traveling about fifteen miles with the usual baggage of a soldier and having
nothing but muddy swamp water to drink, am feeling as I did this morning (very unwell). I was very much fatigued, and after
supper I soon retired. Then could I have sipped from the pure limbed water of my own fountains in Ticonderoga - then could
I have a seat at my own luxurious table at home among the hills of northern N.Y. and then lay my weary bones down to rest,
it would be comfort and joy undescribable by my pen, and undeserved by me. Altho' I do not feel very well, and feel that our
hardships have been just commenced I will march as long as I can, and endure many inconveniences. I am so anxious to get a
peep at the rebels. On our march today I saw many coats, pants, blankets and clothing of all kinds thrown away and lying along
on both sides of the road. On our march this far I saw no wells, and but one house, which the straggling soldiers ransacked
on their way.
Saturday April 5, 1862
At an early hour we was again on the march. A heavy thunder was detrimental to our comforts, as the roads soon became
very muddy and slippery. After marching about a mile, we halted for a few minutes at Young's mills, where the enemy had been
in comfortable winter quarters. They evacuated this place yesterday as Gen. Smith's forces advanced. They left in such a hurry,
that they left several articles, such as kettles, canteens, axes etc. etc. I had the pleasure of visiting several of the log
houses, and I was surprised to see so much good workmanship in the erection of log houses sufficient to accommodate a full
regiment. As our brigade have been trying to cut off the enemy's retreat all day, we have made only about seven miles towards
Yorktown. We are now halted at Warwick Court House, and it is night. I am very tired, but feel so well that I cannot keep
from writing. Our brigade has already taken three prisoners, and I have had the pleasure of seeing them. They say they belong
to a Georgia regiment and have hard times having no coffee and very little salt and sugar. They are now at the old court house
placed under guard together with several contrabands that were also taken today. Towards night I succeeded in getting ahead
of the reg't, and stopped at a farm house. Several soldiers were halted there to get water and rest and several more stopped
with me. They followed me in the house which was plain and occupied by a man, his wife, and little child. Terror was stricken
on the "physay" of the man, but the wife with her beautiful child reclining on her breast, was calm and composed,
and looked as fresh as the country maid of sweet sixteen. She had not the beauty the grace, the smiling looks so described
sometimes by novelists, but she was too young to marry and too handsome for her ugly looking husband. The man, whose name
I have forgotten, told me that the place did not belong to him, but had charge of it - that the owner was in the confederate
army, and his family in Yorktown. There was an old servant, several pigs and hogs, and a cow or two left on the place. I got
some salt and tobacco from the servant and on looking out I saw our reg't at a halt not far off. Several soldiers were now
in a pig sty and after finding a hatchet I jumped in also, and succeeded in getting a good sized pig, which I dragged up to
where our reg't was resting at the time. The pig was soon skinned and dressed, and after I had distributed it (the greatest
portion in my haversack) we was ordered to fall in, but we did not march far this time, before halting for the night. Smith's
division is now in an engagement about a mile ahead of us, and I know not but we may be called to their support before morning;
as we have just got orders to lay on our arms, and fully equipped. It is now sun set. The lightning is crashing, and the rain
has commenced to pour down in torrents. I expect a tedious, long lonesome night, but I have a great consolation, that I have
got plenty to eat.
Sunday April 6, 1862
The morning was clear and the sun rose in splendor. It was early when the firing commenced, and the firing was kept up
all day. It is reported that two rebel batteries were taken today, and that our troops are gaining ground inch by inch. Getting
short of provisions I proposed to serg't Scott to go foraging. He complied with my plans and accordingly we shouldered our
rifles and set out. We went about four miles on a large and very extensive farm owned by Wm. Young, but as he is an officer
in the rebel army he was not at home. His family has also left. His house is large and very well built, on the banks of the
James River. It must have been once a splendid home, but now it looks desolate and lonely. About a (h)alf dozen cows, one
mule, about fifty sheep, two dogs, one cat, three pigs and two hogs were all the live domestics that remained on the premises.
There were several bushels of corn and wheat in the granary, and some corn meal, and we found half a barrel of cider, and
a bbl. of vinegar. As we found four boys from our company already there, now making our number six; we soon made way with
the cider, and after finding some pans, with the meal by making it into hac cakes. Altho' we had no salt we made out a hearty
dinner with fresh pork, hac cakes, and hard cider. After dinner we had a good visit of the interior part of the house. Mr.
Young must have been a man of extensive business and practice, besides a man of family; for in a part of the second story
I saw several toys for children and two cradles, in another part I saw what seemed to be once a beautiful ornament, but now
broken up, in another small room were drugs of several kinds among them I noticed salts of two kinds, and three kinds of acids.
There were other drugs that were unknown to me and a large quantity of empty bottles, and broken ones, in another room was
a large quantity of garden seeds strewn all over the floor, and a large bag full of red top grass seed. In another room I
found many papers of no value to me, as they were mostly torn in pieces. I also saw several (once beautiful) kerosene lamps
all broken, and about a dozen bedsteads of the old style, and in fact the house itself was built in the old style. I picked
up a few shells that was broken from the ornament and old fashioned house bell, a part of an old family record, and a few
seeds and left the house. I shot a hog, and Serg't Scott shot a pig; and as the boys that were there before us had got a pig
already dressed, they turned in to help us. We soon had the hog skinned and cut up, then getting a couple of bags from the
granary, we stowed away our meal in them filled a jug and our canteens with cider, slung the bags of meal, the rifles, and
the undressed pig over a pole and started for camp. After traveling about two miles our pork became quite heavy and our heads
was about as heavy as the pork after drinking about two gallons of cider apiece; so we at once made up our minds to trade
off the undressed pig for some hac cake with the first colored woman we should meet. Accordingly we stopped in a house where
there was about a dozen, and we soon made a bargain. It was dark before we left that house, but we had a good quantity of
hac cake in our stomachs and haversacks to get into camp with. I had worked hard all day, as I had been down in sight of the
rebel's picket near Warwick Creek about two miles in the fore noon; and while I was there I went in a house and took from
the mantle piece (which I find in every house, as every house about here has got chimneys, and they are built up with brick
from the outside of the house) a secession almanac. Here I found a family far different than the one heretofore described.
The family consisted of a man, his wife, two sons (one in the rebel army) and a daughter of about seventeen or eighteen summers,
also another woman that was there for protection, with two very intelligent girls of about nine and eleven. The family were
all uneducated save the old man who could read a little. The soldiers from other nights had just taken all their hens, and
two or three pigs, and the women were weeping together with the children and the old man was hid in the woods from fear. The
picture before me was now awful, and as hard hearted as I am, I could not look on with indifference. I told one of the women
to go to the first reg't and have the Colonel put on a guard, and then I commenced talking to the rest of the family none
seemed to be in the humor of talking except the oldest girl. It was hard for me to understand her quickly, as she had a very
broad negro slang to her language. I asked her if there was a road that led in a southern direction from the house, to which
she answered "indeed and indeed I dun no, it maught be there is, but I recon not." The word indeed is always used
first in conversation, and when in earnest, and wishing to confirm a thing and be believed, it is usually repeated sometimes
several times, and more especially if they fear they will not be believed. The word recon is also universally used here as
in the D.C. by all the colored people and most of the whites. The sentence of her answer then shows in the first place fear,
which would be natural enough being as she was surrounded by soldiers that had killed as she told me her "only hen".
In the second place it showed a low vulgar bringing up, and in the third place, it showed that she had not went far from home
many times in her life. Soon the Guards came down, and I left for camp. Thus as I said before I had traveled and worked so
hard during the day that I was glad to get into camp to rest.
Monday April 7, 1862
I have been busy all morning distributing my meat and cooking it. I cooked my haversack full and gave the rest of it away
among my friends, which was not a few on such an occasion. Request was brought in this morning by the enemy asking the privilege
to get their women in a safe place, which request was granted. General McClellan has just rode by our line. He is reconnoitering
the position of the enemy, attended by his staff, and a company of Calvary. Hearing that our pickets were engaged with the
rebel pickets on Warwick Creek, which is about two miles from our camp, I thought it would be a funny thing to go down and
look around a while. Accordingly, I set out with my Johnny alone. I soon reached the desired spot, and had the pleasure of
seeing the rebel pickets all along the creek opposite our line of pickets. As there was a sort of a drizzling rain, the pickets
on our side had evidently got tired of firing at each other and had laid down behind the trees and logs. And as I walked along,
the rebels got a good sight of me, a shot was fired, but did no injury. Soon another and another bullet came whizzing by,
and unwilling to be shot at without having fair play, I borrowed one of our men's guns, and the firing commenced quite briskly
on both sides, as some of our boys joined in my sport. At one time two or three shots was evidently directed for me, as I
stood out on one side alone. One of the bullets came within inches of my right side and penetrated the bark behind me about
four inches. I dug the ball out, and then left for camp as it was now about 4 P.M. and I had begun to grow quite hungry and
wet. From the looks of the ball in question, I should judge that it was fired from the old Harper's Ferry Musket, and the
ones that had charge of them seemed to be good marksmen.
Tuesday April 8, 1862
Although it has rained all night, and still raining after raining all day, I was so anxious to extend my fun and satisfy
my curiosity that after eating my breakfast this morning, I shouldered my rifle and directed my steps towards Warwick Creek.
Our pickets were already engaged in shooting and contending with the rebels on the other side of the creek. As the creek was
just wide at the post where I now was, I soon left that place and went up along the line to where we was within talking distance
to the enemy, and then halted. The pickets on both sides were quite still, but soon the firing commenced. I was soon on the
post with two of the Thirty Third New York State Volunteers and a brisk firing was kept up on both sides for about two hours,
in which time I fired 28 rounds. At times the bullets came rattling around us like hail, but we only laughed at the rebels
and kept on our work. At another time, we saw three rebels going along, and a volley of musketry from our boys brought two
of them down. One of them picked himself up, but I did not see the other stir. At another time, the firing ceased and the
following conversation took place between a rebel and myself;
Confederate - What regiment do you belong to?
Federal - 62 New York State SV Anderson Zouaves.
Confederate - I don't know them.
Federal - You'll have a chance to know them in a few days, perhaps to your sorrow. What regiment do you belong to?
Confederate - The 99th Georgia.
Federal - That's a damn lie. There's not so many regiments in the whole confederacy.
Confederate - Have you got any sugar?
Federal - Plenty. Have you?
Confederate - No. Have you got any coffee?
Federal - Yes. Have you?
Confederate - No. We drink whiskey and we're going to give you Yankee sons of bitches hell in a few days.
At the previous period, he fired, and so did I. And my ball took effect in the end of a post that his head was leaning
on. He instantly bawled out, "You have done goddamned well. Try it again". But as he was in a rifle pit, and I had
no chance of hitting him as he would not show or expose no part of him but his hand, I left for another place. I had not been
there long before a bullet struck in the ground between me and the sergeant that was looking at my rifle. I stooped down to
dig it out when another bullet stuck in a small tree about a foot from my face. As it struck on one side of the tree, the
bark flew in my face. I was now about two miles from camp, and as it now was very near sunset, I struck out for camp, tired
and hungry and wet. On getting to my camp, I was detailed with Sergeant Ballon and Private Lewis Wilson of Company B, John
Williken, Company A, and Harding, Company C. Our post is about a mile south from camp, and about 1/8 of a mile from the creek.
Wednesday April 9, 1862
Lieutenant Eddy is on post a few rods below us. And he got orders to build no fires in the night. He gave us the same
order. It has been raining all night and we were left without fire of shelter and drenched to the skin and chilled. Never
did soldiers look more earnestly for daylight than we did. It was early morning when we kindled a fire and commenced to dry
ourselves and prepare our breakfast. Although the rain had not abated, it was late this P.M. when we got the galling news
that the commissary train had got mired between here and Fortress Manor, and that General Peck had issued orders that there
should be no more foraging. We drew no rations today and was obliged to go to bed without our supper.
Thursday April 10, 1862
My first work this morning was to go in search of grub, but found none in camp. If ever poor soldiers were in deplorable
condition, it was us. No grub, no tobacco, no money to buy either, and the rain still coming down. At about 10 A.M., the sun
made its appearance, which was our balm to our many afflictions. This P.M., I again started for camp, and begged of a man
one and a half crackers, which was consumed in a shorter time than ever before. At about 5 O'clock this evening, we drew the
following rations; three crackers, coffee and sugar for two meals, and fresh beef, with no salt for one meal. On the receipt
of the above mentioned grub, new hope and the countenances of all. The greatest portion quickly demolished.
Friday April 11, 1862
This has been a fine day as we have been favored with for a long time. The scent of the many flowers from the shrubbery
and plants, the deep braving of the many miles at the different camps around, the many notes of the wren, the ground sparrow,
the nightingale, and the plainer notes of the whippoorwill, the gruff voice of the chatta clear from the farmhouse in the
distance, together with the mingled musical tones of various other kinds of birds, would not permit me to sleep late this
morning. Having but little to get for my breakfast, it was not long before I was on my way to camp, but found nothing there
in the shape of food. However, I succeeded in buying one pound of crackers and of begging about two pounds. I came back to
post, divided with the boys, and we soon dispatched them being about 2 P.M. This evening we drew rations of crackers, coffee
and sugar for one day.
Saturday April 12, 1862
Still on post and nothing to eat. The train of provisions has not come yet. And it does seem to me at times that starvation
is taking a peek at us. However, it seems that enough is given us to keep body and soul together, as today about 2 P.M., we
received one and a half crackers, a cup full of coffee and sugar for three meals for each man.
Sunday April 13, 1862
It is now nearly 4 P.M., and we have not drawn rations yet. I have just come back from the 61st PA Volunteers. They are
three miles from here, thus making a walk of six miles to get a pungent narcotic, filthy luxury to which I am a slave. I have
often heard it said that tobacco was an Indian weed, and the legend went on to say that it proceeded from the devil. And today
as I was meditating upon our half-starved condition, and the obligation, I was to the ever-ruling monarch, tobacco, I often
wished that Beelzebub had never issued the quid, or that he had the last quid that could be found. I found the tobacco in
question, but had to pay for it four times its value, and 100 percent for the money to buy it with. I also got crackers on
the way, and as dear as the tobacco and crackers cost me I was glad to get them, and would have walked 20 miles to get as
much and pay 10 times for it. On my way to post, I stopped in at camp and got two letters; one from Louis, and one from MH,
Tenleytown, D.C. The mail came last night for the first time since we left camp. Last night the rebels attempted to pass the
picket line, but they were driven back by the fifth. Our pickets moved directly down near the creek. Today, we drew two meals
of fresh beef without salt and coffee and sugar for one day. Save now and then for a few musket shots, it has been quiet along
the line. The weather is warmer, and had we enough to eat, I would be happy as a butterfly drinking the morning dew, or flitting
across the balmy meadow, its beauteous colors to view.
Monday April 14, 1862
This was another beautiful day, but as the long-expected train did not come, a dark gloom of disdain hung heavily upon
our troubled minds. Eight crackers were drawn and dispensed as our appetite had been growing at a fearful rate for several
days. I made up my mind this P.M. to get grub, let it cost what it would. Accordingly, I made my way to a neighboring barn.
It was locked up and there was a guard at the house inside of the barn. It was impossible to pick the lock, as it was in sight
of the guard, so my only way to get in was to climb a shed, tear a hole in the roof, and go get on the floor; which I did,
in a much shorter time than it takes to illustrate with my pen, and as noiseless as if my life depended upon caution. I found
nothing but corn on the floor, and filling my haversack as soon as possible, I took my exit, came back to post and commenced
shelling and cooking the corn, and from it, made a good chowder.
Tuesday April 15, 1862
Being a degree or two bolder on account of getting my corn last evening, I made up my mind on coming off guard at 2 A.M.,
to make a reconnoiter. Accordingly, armed with my rifle and shells, I started out. I had not traveled far when I discovered
tracks I knew the architect of. Within a deserted barn, I found a cow fastened. I released her, then drove her down toward
the woods. I could not shoot her there, as it would alert the division. Therefore, I was obliged to walk her until morning.
It was in the grey morning light when I informed Lieutenant Eddy of the above facts. At my request, he detailed half a dozen
men to assist me in killing my then valuable prize. The boys were all anxious to shoot at the cow, and it was with the greatest
difficulty that I got a shot at her myself, which brought her down to terra firma. She fell near the creek within a stone's
throw of the rebel pickets. The boys now went to work with a will, skinning and dressing her; for we expected to be fired
upon every moment. It was the work of only a few minutes to dress, cut up, and carry the carcass up to the post, and for the
first time in several days, I ate my fill of corn and fresh beef without salt. Last night, our regiment worked all night throwing
up fortifications on the banks of the creek, and tonight, the 13th Pennsylvania Volunteers are throwing up a burst-work a
little below to make four burst-work within the mile. This has been another beautiful day, and I am enjoying myself as I never
thought to while I was a soldier. Time flies rapidly on like flowers in the setting sun.
Wednesday April 16, 1862
I enjoyed the best breakfast this morning that I have eaten in a long time, as we had rations of crackers last night,
and one of the boys brought in some meat. I have no reason to find fault now with this duty, plenty to eat, little to do,
and fine weather; the type of duty a soldier likes. This evening, the Colonel came into camp and spoke that the prospects
We have again been blessed with another fine day, and while I write, my mind is wandering around me. It is hard for me
to get my mind composed long enough to write a few sentences; when I think of the great folly of our Southern brothers in
waging a war so detrimental to their country, to their institutions, and to their families. In conversation with a citizen
today (now under guard), I learned from him that many who were now in the rebel army, had confiscated their all, including
their land, their money and their sons. He said that when our division came here, he had thirty head of cattle, forty of sheep,
one hundred and fifty hogs, seventy fowls, and five mules. He said also that he had a well-furnished house, and although had
two sons in the rebel army, he was neutral himself. It was with deep emotions of sorrow, that he told me that he had now nothing
left save his children. His house and outbuildings were burned or torn down, his cattle, sheep, hogs and fowls fell prey to
the soldiers, his wife buried, his two sons fighting in an ungodly and accursed, useless and terrible war, and himself a prisoner
to the enemy of the moment. Although he told a hard and sad tale, he swore it to be true, and I believed it was so on further
inquiry. My spare time is now occupied mostly in writing, and I have found an unusual thing; that a quantity of sassafras
bark, which when mixed with coffee, makes a very palatable drink.
Friday, April 18, 1862
I am enjoying myself finally, as the weather continues to be warm and pleasant. This is also a pretty camp as it is on
the border of a very fine second or third growth of pine, chestnut, whitewood, beach, oak, sassafras and other shrubbery unknown
to me, being no botanist. The fruit shrubbery is the blackberry and the raspberry. The latter seems to cultivated by every
family, and the latter grows in abundance in the woods. The hawks here are of a very large species. The crow, the whippoorwill,
the duck, the nightingale, the ground sparrow, the robin, (not numerous) the wren, are among the fowls of this place. The
reptile kingdom seems to be subdued, or at least in entire subjugation, as I have seen no snakes, no toads, and but few frogs.
There is, however, a specie of lizard that are quite numerous. They are a curious reptile running around the woods, and climbing
the trees, with almost the agility of a squirrel. They seem to be perfectly harmless. The P.M. I borrowed Liut. Eddy's spy
glass and went down towards the creek. After climbing to the top of a high pine tree, I had a good view of the rebel encampment,
their picket, and fortifications which seem to be not very well mounted.
Saturday April 19, 1862
The weather has a rainy appearance, and we stand in dread of another shower. I find that there are several species of
snakes here, such as the racer, or black snake, the chunkhead, or something similar to the adders. There is also another kind
that is speckled white and black. A large black snake was killed today near our post and he measured four feet and six inches
Sunday April 20, 1862
This has been a rainy day, however, my love of rambling would not let me stay all day on post. I first went in camp and
persuaded Henry to go with me. We went about two miles into KC division. We found no one there that we knew, but learned that
the 96th New York State Volunteers were down at Young's Mill. The Ti company were in that regiment, and they are about three
miles from camp. We are now getting rations quite regular, but do not get enough to satisfy our long starved appetites.
Monday April 21, 1862
As General Peck considers our post of little or no importance, he has ordered us to report to camp for duty. It was about
1 P.M. when we got in camp, and as we had no tents and I had lost my rubber blanket, I had to find shelter with someone else,
as the rain was coming down in torrents. I soon found friends that took me in, and I was comfortable for the night.
Tuesday April 22, 1862
After cooking and eating my breakfast, I again started out of camp in company with David Wakefield. We started for Young's
Mills, and soon got there in a few minutes. We found company G, and in found many of our old friends, Silas Nadeau, Owen Walker,
John Miller, Robert Braisted, Albert Hayford, Mr. William Garfield, and several others were among those that I knew. The boys
were all well but rather downhearted, as they have not received any pay, and they had just begun to experience a camp life.
We remained in the 96th with the boys until almost night, and then came back into camp. Our company was on guard tonight.
The weather has cleared off cold. Our new camp is in the woods, and the ground is quite low.
Wednesday April 23, 1862
Our post is in the open, and about a half a mile from the creek. No fires are allowed, although the enemy fires can be
seen distinctly across the creek. On our post are Corporal Casfranny, William Murphy the fourth, George H. Clarkson, and myself.
We were relieved this evening.
Thursday April 24, 1862 - I was detailed this morning to work on the road, that leads from Warwick Courthouse to Shippoint.
This road is used primarily for the conveyance of provisions for our brigade. And the land about here is so low that it became
necessary to make a corduroy road. I worked hard today and returned to camp tonight quite lame and tired. About half of our
regiment went out to work.
Friday April 25, 1862 - I was again detailed this morning to work on the road. I had charge of a squad. I, for good conduct,
was promoted this evening. I was happy to find a letter in camp for me from Cliff.
Saturday April 26, 1862
I got a letter this morning from Leonard Boudreau, and one from MH, and was again detailed to work on the road. Today
I had charge of a squad and the tools under Lieutenant Bisby. I received the praise of Lieutenant Colonel Nevins, and was
urged to accept a corporals warrant. It rained all day, but this work went on in good shape.
Sunday April 27, 1862
As I have not yet accepted my warrant, I was put on garrison guard this morning at 8 A.M. Three shells went over in the
little fortification that was built by our reg't, now occupied by company A. They did no injury and was not responded to by
our boys. The enemy are almost constantly firing over the creek, but as yet they have not killed but three of our division,
as I hear, and they have not wounded over a dozen.
Monday April 28, 1862
All seems to be quiet along our lines. The weather is warm and fine.
Tuesday April 29, 1862
There is nothing of importance occurred in camp to day. I got two letters to day which was gladly received and read. One
was from Louis and the other from ESH. The weather still continues to be warm and pleasant.
Wednesday April 30, 1862
This has been a rainy day, but quite warm. Our regiment was again ------ for two months' pay, but at this time the money
would be most acceptable. Our pickets have been fired at several times of late, and several have been killed. By the aid of
a glass, it has been discovered that the enemy has with them, a colored man who seems to be an Indian or quadroon. He is a
dead shot, but to day I hear that he will kill no more of our pickets, as Lieutenant shot him. I was on picket tonight, and
it was quite rainy. I had four men on my post. For names, see relief book, number 1, page 40.
Thursday May 1, 1862
When I stop to think and consider that just one year ago today I left home, friends and sacrificed my health, life, my
all for my country, I think that 26 years ago today, I was kindly passed to my Mothers' bosom, and fondled. I am entirely
lost, and the whole of my life and history now comes up before me, and I am lost in wonder. Did I know that I should live
26 years more, the same as the past 26, I would be discouraged and tired of life. Then would I truly curse the day that I
was born unwilling to remain quiet as my nature prompts me. I started out of camp this morning to visit the old Crown Point
Company in the 34th regiment, New York State Volunteers. I found them about four miles on the advance, and had a good time
with the boys. After dinner, I left the camp and stopped to see the 96th on the way back to camp. It was almost night when
I got back, and I was very tired as the roads are bad.
Friday May 2, 1862
This has been a lovely day. The birds are singing their many songs, and nature seems ------. I have enjoyed myself finally
today. As the warm sunny weather approaches I find that it brings with it a hundred species of the fledge grey, such as I
have seen in the northern states. I notice that there is an abundance of garlic here, but they resemble the common onion,
and are called by some of the soldiers so. I was on picket again tonight. I had three men on my post. For names, see page
40, number 1 relief book.
Saturday May 3, 1862
This morning, after borrowing a dollar from an old friend, William Lindman in the 98th PVI, I started for the second RIV
to buy some tobacco. William Murphy III went with me. The sutler could not change my bill and I could not get my tobacco.
We then went to the 10th Massachusetts V, but found none there, and went to the 7th Massachusetts V, and finding nothing there
but pens and paper. I bought 50 cents worth, which was 5 steel pens, and 26 sheets of notepaper, and I started back into camp.
On our way back we found part of a barrel of beef by the road, and being true to a soldier's religion, we nailed a good piece
and promptly marched back to camp. This has been another very pleasant day. Every reg't in our brigade has been paid save
ours. It is reported that General Peck had prevented it for fear of desertions.
Sunday May 4, 1862
I am now about one mile north of Lee's mills, quite lame, but comfortably stowed in a deserted house. It is about 11 P.M.
and it is raining quite hard. This morning our reg't got orders to prepare a new campground, and a squad from each company
was detailed to prepare and clean the ground near the 5th N.Y.S.M. It was about 1-P.M. and we got orders to march, but instead
of marching on a new camp ground, the order was onward to Yorktown. Accordingly, dinner was soon dispensed with our knapsacks
packed, and ourselves harnessed and fell in, and in the road. It was 4-P.M. when our pickets and detailments were all drawn
in, and we was tired before we started. It was sunset when we passed Lee's mills, and it had been deserted. The place was
very strongly fortified and a wonder to our troops that such a place should be deserted, and in such a hurry as it evidently
showed. My right shoulder was now so lame that I was unable to carry my knapsack, and I was obliged to fall out, and as it
was dark, I made up my mind to remain here through the night. I was not long here before about thirty stragglers fell in with
me. They represented every reg't in the brigade, and I had plenty of company. This was the head quarters of some rebel Gen.
besides being a camp ground, and the enemy has left in such a hurry that they left about all their camp equipment and utensils.
There was also several barrels of flour left with their heads knocked in and the contents lying scattered on the ground. There
was also lard and bacon left with a great quantity of other articles. Finding some pieces of candles in the crowd and being
anxious to reconnoiter the rebel camp, I set out with a man from the 65th N.Y.S.M. We found a great many useful articles among
which was flour and lard, blankets, cups and various kinds of dishes. We soon picked up a load and started back for our abode
and went to work cooking doughnuts, as I had seen them cooked at home. We soon satisfied our appetites, besides having enough
left for breakfast. It was now very late and I went to bed well fitted for rest and sleep.
Monday May 5, 1862
It was quite rainy this morning when I arose, and I now find myself in different circumstances than on getting up, for
it is about 9-P.M., and I am ready to retire, on the floor of a slave log cabin. After getting up this morning, my first work
was to cook up my haversack full of doughnuts. While I was at work, a great many soldiers stopped in as they passed by; and
all of them tried to buy my nutritious "grub."; I refused to sell at first, as I wanted it myself, but as it was
now raining quite hard, I was not at all disposed to start out, and leave my comfortable floor so as a soldier of the 102nd
N.Y.S.V. urged me to stay awhile and cook for sale, I accepted the proposition and went to work, and they were bought and
paid for faster than we could get them ready. Had a northern Yankee cook now entered my kitchen and looked on a while, the
novelty and manner would have brought a smile on her countenance, and would have left (at least) a little wiser. However,
things went on well, and the hard cash came rattling in quite fast, until about 11-A.M., when we dissolved partnership mutually,
divided our profits, and although still raining quite hard, started on. My share of the cash was about four dollars, and I
now feel quite well. And after throwing away my blanket, and my overcoat, I was in pretty good condition to march. But the
road had become very muddy, and hard to travel. I had not gone more than two or three miles before I met some of the boys
coming back. They told me that Company B was detailed to go back to camp to come up with our train of provisions and not liking
to travel in the mud, and hearing that our regiment was going to be in a fight, I made up my mind at once to go on. Accordingly,
to avoid being seen by our company, I filed right through a large field of winter wheat, now about knee high, and struck for
the woods. I did not know exactly the destination of our brigade, as I had just heard that Yorktown was evacuated, and I knew
that we must follow the enemy, wherever it was. However, I now left the road to Yorktown, and turned to the left for Williamsburg.
I was going along quite fast through a small woods. All of a sudden I heard footsteps to my right, and, unwilling to go on
without knowing the cause of my alarm, I crept softly toward the spot. I soon saw the figure of a man through the brush in
the act of leaving. He had a knapsack and haversack, and he looked to me as a rebel. I cried out, "halt";. He obeyed,
and I came up. He exhibited much fear as I asked him a few questions. He belonged to the 33rd Virginia Dam. Said he was pressed
into the rebel army and was ----- fared hard. He gave me a confederate ten dollar note, which he said that he considered worthless.
He showed me a letter from his wife ---- the day before, and a more affecting one I never read. His name was Todd and lived
in this neighborhood and had deserted thrown away his gun, and was now on his way home. As he showed no malicious conduct,
and as his papers and letters showed that he did not intend to fight the Yankees, I let him go, after getting him some dinner
at a little house not far off. The rain was coming down in earnest, but I set out again. It was now in the P.M. quite late,
and I began to think of finding a berth for the night. I traveled about two miles and in a small wood was two soldiers trying
to shoot some hogs. They could not succeed in killing enough as they had shot away all their cartridges, and I came up, took
aim, fired, and brought down a small hog. I took a quarter along with me. A Michigan straggler now came along, and I accepted
his company. We traveled together, and the rain had, having made us both very uncomfortable, we at once made up our minds
to stop at the first place we could get a shelter. Accordingly, coming to Geo. Washington Bryant, where I now am, we turned
in for the night. Rounds of heavy artillery and musketry now came upon our ears, together with cheer after cheer told us plainly
that our men were at it hand and hand, and if my partner would have followed me I would have been glad to have participated
in the fun, although I was wet, hungry, tired and lame, and the rain was coming down in torrents. Finally I made up my mind
to not leave my comfortable place. It is here I see slaves of a superior intellect than any I have seen before. Mr. Bryant
owns twenty slaves, and they told me that he used them well yet they would prefer their liberty and when I looked upon them
as mere cattle, and some of them nearly as white as myself, I pitied their doleful condition and told them to not call me
master, but their custom of obedience and submission, did not stop them. Here the slaves lived in families as they do generally
elsewhere and will describe the family I am with at present. It consisted of five persons; and old man, Lewis Mason, who told
me that he was 70 years old and was in-----ctanous. He was perfectly white with dark bown hair and dark hazel eyes. He was
an intelligent man, and I enjoyed a conversation with him. His daughter was living with him with her husband, who was owned
by another man, but while he was retreating with the enemy, the slave came back to his wife and children. The children were
good looking and displayed that intelligence that would do pride to a Yankee father or mother.
Tuesday May 6, 1862
It was quite late this morning when we arose, but it was not long before the servant, Mary, got our breakfast ready, and
after satisfying our hunger, paying Mary a dollar, taking a lock of hair from Lewis Mason, & bidding our colored friends
good morning, we set out for Wm'burg. The roads were very muddy on account of heavy rains. This part of York County is very
level and seems to be fertile. My Michigan companion soon left me as he came up to his reg't, and coming up with John Keller,
co. B, took him with me as traveling companion. On we came meeting now and then a wounded man, until we were within a half
a mile of the battle field, where we halted to get our appetite lessened. I soon shot a pig, and we went to work as fast as
possible, skinning, dressing, cooking and eating, until we were filled, and then started on. We soon came up to the battlefield,
and such a sight I have never looked upon in my life before. The dead and wounded were strewn all through the wood for a mile.
In one place was a rebel soldier with his hand in a N.J.V. pocket, and both of them in mortal slumber. In another place was
a Zouave and a rebel lying by each other, with knives still in their hands, both dead, and in their final sleep seemed to
be still attempting to fight and struggle for liberty. In another place was five dead rebels, and in their midst was a poor
federal, who had been shot and stabbed at least twenty times. I looked on with a curious feeling of pride, wonder, hatred,
and pity. We soon left this doleful looking place for the reg't. The enemy were totally defeated, and routed, after losing
(as near as I can tell) 1000 men, killed, wounded, or prisoners. After talking a while with the boys, and learning that our
reg't lost only three killed, and ten wounded (one of them mortally) we went to find a place for the night, where I now am,
in a log cabin, once occupied by servants. It is now quite late in the evening; we have had our supper and by the light of
the fire, I am writing.
Wednesday May 7, 1862
After getting up and cooking our breakfast, we went into camp and found that our company had come up with the provisions;
after getting our rations, we was detailed to bury the dead. I had charge of a squad of 7 men and we buried nineteen rebels.
They were very good looking men, and very large. To all appearances, they seemed to be well clothed and fed. This was a disagreeable
work to do, for two reasons. 1st it was impossible to bury them decently as they lay scattered all over the woods. We was
obliged to bury them with their clothes on as we found them; and only a foot or two deep. 2nd the hot sun coming down on their
exposed forms for the two days had commenced to putrefy those who were most mangled. Some squad in the company buried a Liut.
Col. and Major. The whole company buried forty eight. We got orders to night to remain here through the night. All that we
buried to day were rebels, as our own men had had the first care.
Thursday May 8, 1862
Our company was relieved this morning and we went back into camp. At about 2 P.M. our reg't was called upon to fall in,
and after forming a square, we were presented, by the people of N.Y. through General Peck, a splendid silk flag. After prayer
by Reverend John Harvey the Gen. made a short but decisive speech. He said it was now no time to talk, but the word was "onward
to Richmond." Col. Riker answered his remarks eloquently, and then after the usual ceremonies on such occasions we were
dismissed. To all appearances thus far, Gen. Peck has not shown himself an eloquent speaker, or very social man but a patriotic,
military man, or in his own words, "a worker." At 8-P.M. our mail came in camp, and happy to get a letter from Cliff
and one from Julia. I answered --- of the letters, and at 9-P.M. retired, but to be called up again at 10-P.M. The Col. had
worked hard until that hour, filling out the non commissioned officers warrants, and now he was ready to give them out. There
was two in our company, Edward Lefay and myself, that did not get them. Our names were not given in by the orderly. The Col.
now bade us good night and get as much sleep and rest as possible, for he had got orders to march on the morrow at an early
Friday May 9, 1862
It was 4-A.M. when we was ordered to turn out, and two hours was given us to get our grub, cook our breakfast, pack knapsacks
and leave. Two hours after, and I might have been seen traveling through the streets of the little ancient city of Williamsburg;
and our reg't, being at a halt on one of the many routes to Richmond. I have saw hundreds of prisoners that were taken in
or after the battle on the 5th inst. There are a few very good looking buildings in this place, but I have not time to visit
any but the asylum. I bought some tobacco and sugar, but could not pay for them in "shin plasters" as the people
begin to loose confidence in Jeff's government. I paid fifty cents per pound for the sugar, but the tobacco was cheaper than
I could get it at home. It was now about 11-A.M. the sun was sultry--the order came to move on, and in a few moments we was
again in the harness and on the road; which was a good one leading to Chiswell. It is now sunset, and I have had my supper,
which consisted of part of a large chicken I killed on our way. Henry has got our bed made of rails, and, being very tired,
after walking about 11 miles, I shall soon lay my stiff body to rest.
Saturday May 10, 1862
It was with reluctance that I started with the reg't this morning, as I was quite sick and lame yet to stay behind with
grub or attendance would do me no good. I packed up and followed after the reg't. As usual, we halted at sunset, and it was
well for me, for it would have been impossible for me to have gone any further as I had only eaten 3 dry crackers in all day.
I had not now courage to get supper, but Henry built a fire and cooked the rest of my chicken, which at this time tasted very
well. I hear that we are to stay hear for fresh supplies of provisions.
Sunday May 11, 1862
I was on guard to day on the springs, and enjoyed myself well, as the men that I had charge of were jolly fellows. I had
two letters today one from Julia and the other from M.H.
Monday May 12, 1862
I was relieved this morning and after writing two letters, Moses and myself went over to the 96th N.Y.S.V. to see the
Ti boys. We found them about half a mile off, all well, Rob't Braistad and Silas Neddo. I feel quite well to day, but yet
a little lame. The weather continues to be fair and hot.
Tuesday May 13, 1862
After a march of about seven miles, I find that we are at a halt near New Kent Courthouse; and while Henry is building
a fire, I am writing. It was early this morning when we was turned out, and after getting rations of coffee, sugar, bacon,
and hard crackers for three days, we was again ordered to fall in fully equipped for a march. Our army is now closing in Richmond
from every way, and the time must soon come now when it will be decided whether we shall occupy that city or Jeff Davis. Our
march was slow all day, and it was necessary to throw out skirmishers at short intervals. I noticed that the farmers seem
to be more unconcerned as we get nearer Richmond, for on our road to day, we passed by extensive fields of wheat and corn.
The former being winter wheat, principally, and headed out. The latter was fine and large enough to hoe; and in one field
I saw the slaves at work pulling the corn. I have often heard of the hard work and labor of the southern slaves, but hard
work will never kill them.
Wednesday May 14, 1862
As I was writing this morning, I was very much surprised on looking up and seeing by my side David H. Decker and Rollin
Balcome of Hague. They told me they belonged to the 93rd N.Y.S.V. 3rd brig., Casey's div'n. I had a short, but welcomed visit
from the boys, and they told me that they had taken a great deal of pains to find me out. I got a letter to day from Cliff.
Thursday May 15, 1862
The rain has been pouring down all day, notwithstanding we got orders to move up near our brigade, and rain or shine the
order must be obeyed to the letter, accordingly we were soon harnessed and padding through the woods and muck. By some mismanagement
of our Col. we was obliged to travel about four miles instead of one, and be about three hours in doing that, so that we were
as tired, hungry, and wet as any body need be, and felt worse than we usually do on any ordinary day's march. At last we halted,
and Henry, myself, Moses, and Dean made a tent together, got some supper, and stretched ourselves on the cold damp ground
once more for a little rest and sleep.
Friday May 16, 1862
I was glad to see daylight once more, and with it fair weather, for my bones ached all night, and I did not get much rest.
We now draw our rations regularly, which adds greatly to our comfort. Contrabands are continually coming in our camps, both
whites and blacks, and our scouts are taking many prisoners which seem to be very timid and affable.
Saturday May 17, 1862
I am now on the road between New Kent Court House and New Baltimore. I am hardly able to stir, or go another step, but
as there is no such thing as can't with a soldier, I must go soon now, as soon as Dean finds some water. Henry is with me,
and full worse than myself. Yesterday, sometime in the P.M. our reg't was ordered to pack up and fall in. The order was obeyed,
but we were obliged to stand in the harness about two hours before the order forward was given, thus getting tired out before
starting. It is much harder to stand one hour, fully equipped, than to march three. Finally when at last our reg't did move,
it was on a half double quick, and as Henry and myself were not well, it was not long when we were obliged to fall out, and
follow on after the reg't as best we could. At last, we got played out entirely, and stretched ourselves down by the road
side for the night. It was now very dark, and must have been after 11-P.M. or more. I am seated to write, it is night, and
we are in a fairly comfortable place, being in a deserted house. We have not been able to come up with the reg't, being too
sick and weak. I shot a pig this morning, which has well supplied our haversacks, yet neither Henry or myself can take comfort
eating it, as we have no appetite. Jacob Dean and Geo. Middleton is with us, besides stragglers from other regiments and brigades.
A Surgeon from other reg't stopped in this evening and left us some medicine.
Sunday May 18, 1862
I felt very weak and sore this morning and tried to send Dean and Middleton on to let Liut Bisbee know of our situation,
as he is in command of our co; but as they did not seem to like the idea, and as I was unwilling to remain behind any longer
in such a way, I started on alone, leaving Dean & Middleton to take care of Henry. I now made very slow progress, I was
so weak. On the road, I found some of the Ti boys and I stopped in their reg't a few minutes, and then went on. It was nearly
night when I at last came up to the reg't, and found that I had travelled only about two miles. I found the Surgeon as soon
as possible, got some medicine, got a letter from Leonard, and soon retired under an apple tree for a house.
Monday May 19, 1862
This morning at about 3-A.M., our reg't was turned out, fell in line of battle, and ordered to stack arms, after standing
almost two hours. This is now ordered to be done every morning. At about 12-P.M. we was again ordered to pack up and fall
in. It rained to add to our discomfort, but we soon made our tents when we halted after marching about two miles nearer bottoms
bridge. We had scarcely got our houses built before we was ordered to take them down again as our co. was ordered to move
on. The rain did not continue long, and it became pleasant time on post. I am on the reserve ---- main road to bottom bridge,
and about four miles from that place.
Tuesday May 20, 1862
The weather has cleared up fine, and I enjoyed myself to day. I am beginning to love Va, and if there was a little more
yankee husbandry and industry on it, this would be one of the finest places in the world. The land is smooth, easy to cultivate,
dry, yet moist, but poorly managed, and on a farm that is carried on by from 10 to 20 slaves, no more is done than on an northeastern
farm taken care of by two or three men. Our co. was relieved this evening, and on getting into camp, I got a letter from E.S.H.
Wednesday May 21, 1862
By orders of Gen. McClellan, the army of the Potomack, shall receive two gills of whiskey per day as a ration and this
morning, at about 9-A.M., we received our first ration. There was no one missing when the names were called by the orderly,
& our gill was quite palatable after an absence from any sort of liquor for over six weeks. At about 12-N as we were all
busy cooking our "grub" orders came to pack up for a march. Our dinners were left uncooked, and we were soon on
the road again. The roads were fair as well as the weather and we was not long in making two miles, when we halted for the
Thursday May 22, 1862
This has been a fair day, and very hot, until about 8-P.M. when a heavy thunderstorm accompanied with hail from a size
of a beans to that of English walnut, broke in from our head like a mighty torrent. The storm lasted about two hours, during
which time, the most -------- took another bleaching as our houses are not waterproof. Greatly to the disappointment of the
boys, we have not got our whiskey to day, and it is reported that the bridges across the Chicaharmony ---------.
Friday May 23, 1862
It was about 1-P.M. to day when we got orders again to pack up. In a short time after the different companies were fell
in to their places, except company A who was ordered to take ours, as they were ready to fall in first. Our position in the
battalion being the right of the right flank. It was our intention to maintain our position, consequently, 2nd Liut Hanson
gave us the order to take our position which was soon obeyed, and two companies marched side by side until Liut. Hanson was
placed under arrest. We soon crossed the Chicaharmony, had a rest, and 1st Liut Bisbee coming up took command of our company,
followed Liut Hanson's example, and his sword was taken from him, leaving our company with no officers, as the Capt is sick.
We are now at a halt for the night, in a small wood. I have no idea how far we have marched to day, but we are twelve miles
from Richmond. While I write I cannot help looking up, and laugh at the boys as they are chasing the pigs through the brush,
and now and then catch hold of one and have a good tumble.
Saturday May 24, 1862
This has been a rainy day, and altho we have had orders to pack up, we have not started yet.
Sunday May 25, 1862
At about 10-A.M. we again got orders to march, and halted within a mile of the rebel pickets. Our course to day was along
side the Richmond and York river railroad, and the distance we marched was about four miles. Our troops are continually gaining
ground, but slowly. This part of Va. (don't know the Co.) is generally an even, sandy soil, and a great portion of it seems
to be exhausted, though the timber is very fine, being principally oak and pine. Good water, is much scarcer there than it
has been here to fore. We got our whiskey twice to day, being a gill each time.
Monday May 26, 1862
Searj't Charles Scott, gave me some tobacco seed this morning, and I sent it home to Father. The weather has been quite
cool to day, it being cloudy. This P.M. we got orders to pack up, and fall in. The order was obeyed, but we did not get further
orders to march; and after standing in the harness for about an hour, arms were stacked, & we built our houses.
Tuesday May 27, 1862
We had scarcely got our tents up last night when the rain began to come down. It was a slow, steady, warm rain, and "although"
our houses are comical enough in appearance, as scarcely no three men in the reg't build alike, yet I have not yet learned
to make them so that they are water proof. The rain continued during the night, and plenty of it found its way on the many
slumberers of our camp; and it was with joy to us all that daylight made his appearance once more, and the sun burst out in
splendor from the oriental skies. There is great preparations being made in the neighborhood for a battle. Our brigade now
left here alone as a reserve. And the men are digging rifle pits, entrenchments and throwing up breastworks. Our company was
ordered on fatigue duty.
Wednesday May 28, 1862
For some reason unknown to me (but supposed to be the fault of the staff officers) our whiskey has been stopped. Still
in camp. Our company was on fatigue duty again to day. Nothing of importance going on in camp.
Thursday May 29, 1862
Again in the woods and in camp. This morning at about 6-A.M. our knapsacks were packed and soon after, we got orders to
march. Our course is still towards Richmond, and the boys are all anxious to get there. We passed through an immense wheat
field containing about 100 acres. It was in the blow, but some of the blows being from the tramp of the troops over it, will
not help it for a large yield. Our brigade halted here for a rest, and then we was ordered here, making a march of about one
and a half miles. Our camp is in a pine wood and might be the tenth or twelfth growth, as all the woods I have seen in here
show a minority of years though, there is a large quantity of large timber in many places. Our division is now the second
in the advance, and is about a half a mile on the advance.
Friday May 30, 1862
It is now about 1-P.M. I must stop writing as our company is detailed to chop logs for another piece of corduroy road.
I have seen the Ti boys: in the 96th N.Y.V. and was told by them that their Major was shot this morning by the rebels. His
loss was greatly deplored by them.
Saturday, May 31, 1862
As I am now once more quite comfortable, that is for a soldier, and seated on my carpet of cedar boughs, I will endeavor
to state a few facts of our adventures yesterday. As I said before, our company was detailed for fatigue duty, and our work
was chopping. For about half an hour the trees were slain in a manner, that would do honor, to a northern back woods man,
and just as we were getting in our work properly, the order came to fall in double quick, and join our reg't. The order double
quick might as well not been given, for the moment the boys heard the order fall in axes, brush and logs flew in every direction
and although we were about a quarter of a mile off yet I think that it would be doing Co. B injustice to say they were over
five minutes falling in -; getting ready for a march. Either through excitement, or orders misunderstood, our Captain took
the wrong road to where our reg't had been ordered, and it was lucky for us that within a matter of minutes we had travelled
about a mile, our pickets Liut Soder (aid de camp for General Peck) rode up to our rear, and informed us that we were on the
wrong road. Had we went half a mile farther, our company would to all probabilities, be prisoners now. However as it was we
have no reason to complain, for we soon found the reg't and the smiling countenance of "tall son of York"(Col Riker)
plainly told us that we were welcomed. Although but a part of our company was on fatigue duty, we found the balance with the
reg't, fully equipped, with a look of sternness on their manly frames, and a will, a courage, that the Col might well be proud
of, beaming from their countenances. A place was soon made us in the line and the order given to load. The enemy did not trouble
us, and soon our reg't was ordered back to camp. Just then a heavy thunder storm broke in upon us, and we were drenched to
the skin, before getting into camp. The rain now poured down in torrents, and it rained as it always does in Va, so says the
Virginians, as they are generally cheerful amid many privations. To add to our discomfort, we had no means of drying ourselves,
or cooking our suppers, but we got our whiskey, which warmed us up, partially, ate our suppers of dry crackers raw bacon and
cold water, and then stretched ourselves down on the ground as usual, to get a little sleep and rest. Now on the battlefield
and after a hard afternoon's work, I sit my self down, and by the light of the fire, I feel it is my duty to write a little.
It was about 12-M when the orders came to our camp to move up towards Casey's divis. Our reg't was drawn up in line, and just
then the enemy had drawn in our pickets, and were opening fire on Casey's divis. We were ordered down about half a mile, our
knapsacks were unslung, and we were awaiting our turn. Casey's men defended their position well, but were terribly cut to
pieces. The 55th N.Y.S.M. now made a charge and a gallant one it was. They, too, were cut up badly and repulsed, and it was
evident the enemy was gaining ground. Our reg't was ordered to the right on a double quick, and the good conduct of our boys
attracted the attention of Gen Conch Keyse and Peck, and we were ordered further on the right to cut off the enemy that were
trying to outflank us. This movement was done admirably and to the letter, and thus we were engaged all the P.M. until about
4 P.M. when our reg't was cut off by the enemy and being now in the woods, it was impossible to get out in time to gain a
good position. The enemy now opened fire on us from our rear, and our orders were to fall back to our reinforcements, the
31st PVI and they supposing that we were the enemy, returned the fire. Our battery to our right was playing in the woods at
the same time, and under the galling fire of the enemy and our own men, (though strange as it may appear) we retreated out
of the woods, planted our colors, made a determined stand, and only lost one man killed. Our noble Col. Now rode along our
lines, with cheering words, and he was shot. The 2nd N.Y.S.M. was on our front and fought bravely until the 34th N.Y.S.V.
and our reg't relieved them. Our men were cool through the action and soon the enemy were driven back with a terrible loss.
It was now dark, and we were glad to lay ourselves down on a few rails without food, shelter, or covering, and wet and muddy
from top to bottom, yet how thankful I am that when thousands were hurled into eternity to day, my unprofitable life was spared.
My first work after the battle was to find Moses who I found unhurt.
Sunday June 1, 1862 - At about 7 this morning the fight was again renewed, and kept up with unabating fury until about
1-P.M. Our reg't supported Rickets Battery, but were not call in to action, and I was as well satisfied for I was completely
tired out. It was yet early morn when I arose and made up my mind to reconnoiter the woods which was close at hand. I found
many of the enemy dead and several yet alive. The scene before me was one that might have stricken terror to most hearts,
but I must confess that I felt entirely unconcerned as I searched from one pocket to another. I found plenty of tobacco and
now and then a j. knife or a pocketbook, or postage stamps. I till went on and Collins from Co. B joined me. We found a private
wounded in the legs; he had a knife and a revolver attached to his belt. Collins took the revolver from him in defiance of
the entreaties of the poor wounded man and my own advises. I went on little further and found a 1st Liut. While Collins was
busy getting off his shoulder straps I found a valuable gold stud on his shirt (the only one remaining). I tried to get off
his boots but did not succeed. Being still anxious to see what we could see we went still farther in the wood; I was ahead,
and in a few moments my eye caught the sight of another officer. We now both ran up, and shure enough he was a Colonel - which
I found by his papers that he was acting Brig. Gen. but to come back to my story Collins seized on the sash around his body
and I seized on a silken cord around his neck. There was a watch attached to it and on pulling it out and displaying its rich
colors Collins got a glymps of it and made a grab for it also he succeeded in severing the gold fob chain that was attached
to the watch and cried out halves! This did not suit me very well, but he had a loaded pistol, - we were in the woods alone
and I knew his character, and I made the thing appear as easy on his side as possible. I wanted the chain badly however, and
made him agree to keep all a profound secret. An officer and two men now came up, and we left as soon as possible for camp.
Having now a good rebel prize, I contented myself the rest of the day visiting the wounded and giving out water. The troops
engaged this evening were Gen Carney's division on our left, and Gen Thomas Francis Monahan's brigade to our front. They drove
the rebels about two miles and slaughtered a great many. This evening a flag of truce came for the body of Col. Davis. He
is nephew to the President. To the great mortification of all our boys, we got the news to night that the rebels occupied
our old camp, and our knapsacks were all lost.
Monday June 2, 1862
All is quiet this morning save the groans of the suffering or the screech of some that are dying. I was detailed to take
charge of a squad to bury horses but did not bury but one, and I discharged the men and started for the old camp. I found
the 96 N.Y.V. I found that several of the boys from Ti had got the cannon fever, and the rest were not so "plucky".
It was a hard manner for me to get to where our knapsacks were left. The guards were so strong, but my former ability in running
guards was not yet lost to me and I now put it in full practice and got through. I soon reach the spot of my desire and found
my knapsack with nearly all its contents emptied out on the ground. I picked up its contents as soon as possible for I was
not now in a very safe spot as I was between our pickets and the rebel pickets, and much closer to the latter than the former.
On my way back to camp, I happened to cross a part of the battle field. I saw several rebels lying around but they commenced
to stink quite bad and I did not search many of them. I ripped open a couple of pockets however and found a valuable farrier's
pocket knife. I then sped on my way unmolested until I reached camp. Our boys are in a hard condition just now, having no
"grub". All seems to be very quiet along our lines, though we were alarmed last night and was obliged to turn out
all hands and stand in line for about an hour.
Tuesday June 3, 1862 - We had a very fine rain last night which to some degree purified the air but it is yet very putrid,
there is so many dead unburied. Some time in the forenoon we got orders from Gen Peck to join our brigade but Gen Sumner countermanded
the order, and said he wanted us to support his battery; but in the afternoon we got orders to move up to the right we now
marched about one and a half mile and halted in a large wheat field. The field contains about two hundred acres of as fine
wheat as can be seen anywhere. Moses and myself built ourselves a house and the rain soon began to descend. I was corporal
of the guard and for names of guards, see relief book no 1st page 3. I got a letter this evening from S.J.E. I am very much
surprised at not getting any letters from Cliff.
Wednesday June 4, 1862
The rain poured down and never was poor mortals in a worse predicament than we was. The ground in this field is of such
a nature that when you would think yourself on terra firma, perhaps the first step you took, you would go in the mire up to
your knees. Besides, we are wet to the skin, and yet no grub to relieve our hunger; however, to growl won't fill or dry us,
therefore, I took it as coolly as possible. To our joy, however, the rain stopped at about noon and we got orders to move
up a little further to the right, on a rise of the field. We here built a good tent and took Corporal Clark with us. Soon
after we drew full rations, which I drew and gave out to the boys. Our clothes had now commenced to dry, and we were enjoying
ourselves. There is a fine house on this farm, which I am told is owned and left by the rebel General Lee. I got a letter
today from Julia, and I am surprised at not hearing from home. If my brother could only realize my anxiety, he would not make
Thursday June 5, 1862
Porters divisions are making a bridge across the Chicaharmony River, on our right, in preparation for an advance. He has
been throwing a few shells across and they have been promptly responded to by a rebel battery about a mile on our right. It
is truly amazing to watch the rebel shells as they burst in the Chicaharmony, and send the water and the mud in every direction.
They all seem to fall short of the working party, which is about half a mile from our reg't. For the first time in a long
time, we got our whiskey today. Though strange as it may seem, our reg't is always called on to move either in a rain or soon
after, when the roads are so muddy that it is almost impossible to get along. Not allowed to have our proper rest when we
are again summoned to march. Accordingly, we picked up our availables, which was not superfluous, and started. We plodded
and trudged along through the woods in mud about a mile, and stopped on our old battle field to encamp. Moses and myself and
Corporal Sam Clark soon got ourselves up a comfortable house, and had we but a single woolen blanket between us, we might
have been quite comfortable. Yet we was very thankful for the rubbers, for there are some in the reg't that have none. That
which distresses us most is that we do not draw our rations regularly. That alone causes more sickness in our reg't than anything
Friday June 6, 1862
This day has been somewhat rainy, yet I have been busy all the A.M. looking for blankets and cups to cook in. I found
one woolen blanket and two cups and a plate; also, a knapsack for Moses. In my tramp in the woods, I met with another of those
unholy sights that would melt an iron heart to compassion. A dead rebel all alone in the woods, and almost entirely devoured
by worms. No visage of his countenance was discernible, as nothing but the bones of his head were left. And were it not for
his uniform, I could not have told that he was a rebel. Being only about 50 yards from the main road, it was a wonder to me
that he was not buried long before this. This P.M., we drew rations and got orders to join our brigade. It does not seem we
can get any rest. We now marched through the mud three miles, and camped before the rifle pits that we had made before the
battle. Just as we had got ready to pitch our tents, Colonel Nevins gave us an order to fall in again. The ground was too
damp. With much reluctance, we packed up again and fell in, and after marching us about 50 yards below on the left, the order
was given to break ranks and pitch our tents, in a much worse place. All this maneuvering, together with a three mile march
in the mud, all the way when we could have come on a much better road, and saved us just half the distance, did not make the
Colonel very popular with the most of us. This evening I got a letter from Leonard Boudreau, and was pained to learn that
my poor Mother was ill and could not get any tea. I have given up all hopes of hearing from Cliff.
Sunday June 8, 1862
The weather today has been quite cool, but pleasant. There was a heavy cannonading on our right this morning. Save that,
all seems to be quiet. Gen. Porter is probably crossing the Chicaharmony. We had service at 1-P.M., but our Chaplain, Rev.
John Harvey. I got a letter today from E.S.H.
Monday June 9, 1862
Never was the hearts of the Anderson Zouaves more gladdened than they were to day on getting their treasure notes. Our
company was paid first to day in order that we relieve some other company on picket. My pay came to $52.00, which is the pay
for four months. I do not feel well to day, having rheumatic pains in my bones and back.
Tuesday June 10, 1862
I am on post yet and feel no better. I am posted about a mile and a half near Hoyoke Swamp. We had quite a storm during
the night, which left me in bad conditions, as I had no blankets.
Wednesday June 11, 1862
We are still on post and no chances or prospects of being relieved. There is nothing of importance going on. This is a
very pleasant place, and I get out and get some milk, by paying 25 cents per quart for it, and now and then, a few biscuits,
which cost 5 cents apiece. I am no better today.
Thursday June 12, 1862
Weather fair and warm. Some pickets firing on our front. Liut. Hansen and myself and Sergeant Barnes, sent for the depot
to day for some provisions. We got some ham, sugar, tea, and cheese. The tea cost a dollar a pound, and the cheese, 50 cents
per pound. We bought some butter also, which cost 75 cents per pound. We enjoyed a good supper as I had just got some milk
to put in our tea. After supper, I got a letter from Cliff, which took me by surprise, as I had given up the idea of hearing
from him again.
Friday June 13, 1862
There has been heavy firing along our lines this A.M. The weather was very hot today.
Saturday June 14, 1862
By orders of the Major of the 23rd PV, I was set out with a squad of men to scout the swamp, and find if possible, a ----
leading across it. In my squad was Newman Ketchum, and Middleton. Our first course was a near as I could judge, without a
compass, southwest by west to the swamp. We then went nearly due west until we came to a creek, which runs through the swamp
a distance of about five miles. Our course now lay in a southerly course along the creek. But it is the worst hole to travel
in that I ever saw in my life, and I have seen and travelled in a few. It is full of small brush and briars, besides being
so mirey that it is impossible to go through it without getting into the mud up to your knees. We travelled down the creek
about a mile and came to the 13th PV pickets. Here was a ford, and we crossed over and travelled westward --------- gone about
another mile. We was in hearing distance of the rebel pickets, and we turned back for the swamp. We now took a southern course
in the west side of the swamp, and travelled about a half a mile, and came to a house. We asked for some water, which was
readily given us, and noticing a difference between the women I had seen in Virginia, and was now talking with, my curiosity
led me to ask the following questions:
" ----- lived long in this place?"
"No sir nor have been here but six months."
"You are not a native of Virginia?"
"No sir, I am a native of Connecticut."
"Have you a husband?"
"Yes, but he is under arrest by the federals."
"How long is it since the confederate pickets visited you?"
"Last Wednesday was the last time, sir."
------- very much depicted on her countenance, and I asked her no more questions. We proceeded on towards the south, and
just as we approached in sight of a house, three or four rebel soldiers came out of the house and skedaddled into the woods.
In a little more than a double quick, we now made our way back to the swamp, but before reaching it, we found a large mulberry
tree full of ripe fruit. After satisfying our appetites, we crossed the swamp, and returned to post.
Sunday June 15, 1862
Having some kind of unknown affection for the yankee woman, I made up my mind to visit her to day. Accordingly, I started
on alone. I had no trouble in passing the pickets. In due time, I arrived safely to Mr. Ambler's house for this is the yankee
family's name. I was seated in the parlor which was carpeted. In it was a large piano forte, a center table well laden with
books and likenesses, and two marble top side tables, a large looking glass, and six cane bottom chairs. This I believe was
all the furniture. There was also a dining room and the kitchen was built outside, as is the prevailing custom in Va. Mrs.
Ambler was quite talkative, said her husband was a neutral man and couldn't see why her husband should be detained. I told
her he would, to all probabilities, be back in a few days. Mr. Ambler occupies four slaves, but he hid them;--- two men, a
woman, and a servant girl. I proposed to take a letter to her husband, should I be able to find him. She thanked me very kindly
and with tears trinkling down her cheeks she called for Emma to bring her the materials for the work of writing to her husband.
Emma soon appeared. She was a young lady of about seventeen. She was a plain, good looking dark complexion, --but with that
mild look that one would almost fall in love with her at first sight. She did not seem to be very sociable, --perhaps because
I was a soldier. However the letter was written and I took my leave with it. I soon reached my post and was detailed to go
into camp for the whiskey which we have been getting quite regularly for a few days. However it was not for us to day, and
I waited in camp for the mail until nearly sunset. When I started for post, on my way, I was seized with a headache and dizziness;
and supposing I had taken the wrong road I struck to the right and travelled until I came to a swamp. I was lost! I could
see picket fires on the other side of the swamp, (which was quite narrow here), and I at once made up my mind to ascertain
if they were our pickets or the enemy's. I now advance as cautiously as possible until I was sufficiently near to hear their
conversation. I got behind a large pine tree, and strained every nerve of my eyes and my ears thinking I might see the uniform,
or hear some words that would lead me to a knowledge of what kind of men I had so near me. They talked so low that I could
not understand a word, but a bright blaze blew up and I saw one man in full uniform; --he was a federal, --I was satisfied,
I advanced. Halt! Who goes there? Friend without the countersign. The corporal of the guard came. I had orders to advance
and after telling the above story I was shown into camp. This is the first time I was ever lost to my remembrance. I now made
up my mind to stay in camp with Moses and try the roads by day light. This has been a very pleasant day, but quite warm.
Monday June 16, 1862
This morning, Liut Hansen took the letter to Mr. Ambler, and this P.M. detailed me to take the answer to his wife and
daughter. This was a pleasant errand for me, and Liut Hansen furnished me with a file of men (Dennis Linahen and Patrick McLaughlin)
to escort me thither. "Big thing", thought I, and on we started. I had another very pleasant visit, though it was
short. She wrote another letter to her husband and we departed all safe though not without seeing two rebels with guns and
dogs prowling about the woods. On seeing us however, they made themselves scarce in a very few minutes. All seems to be quiet
along our lines, save the booming of the gun boats on the James.
Tuesday June 17, 1862
There nothing of importance going on. The weather fair and hot. Time passes off quite "smartly" as this is a
beautiful place with good water.
Wednesday June 18, 1862
To day Liu't Hansen gave me permission to carry the letter I got yesterday to Mr. Miles Ambler. I had no difficulty in
finding him, though it was about four miles away; and the most of the way was through the woods. I found Mr. Ambler in good
cheer, though under guard. I had a very pleasant conversation with him. He too is from Conn.
Thursday June 19, 1862
The weather still continues to be very hot and dry. I got a letter to day from Chauncey Elrick.
Friday June 20, 1862
All seems quiet along our lines. My back is getting very weak and lame, and my appetite is very poor.
Saturday June 21, 1862
The weather is still very hot. All is quiet along our lines. I got a letter from Louis and sent him $20 dollars. I am
still quite lame and feel quite unwell generally.
Sunday June 22, 1862
Last night about 9-P.M. the monotony and stillness of the night was broken by the sudden reports of several rifles to
our front. We were soon turned out and equipped, ready for further emergencies. The firing became general, and we got no rest
therefore I have felt quite dull all day; yet my depressed spirits was very much relieved on getting three letters, one from
Cliff, and Henry Ostrier, (who is at home), and the other from Julia.
Monday June 23, 1862
Our company was relieved to day by the 93rd reg. P.V. It was quite late when we got in to camp, but we soon built a house
Serg't Wheeler, myself, Serg't Byrne and Michael Farrell. As soon as our house was up it commenced to rain and it rained until
very late in the evening. Our camp has been cleaned up, and it looks very well, though water is quite scarce here, and not
very good, after we get it.
Tuesday June 24, 1862
Every thing has a sloppy appearance. Our camp looks like a puddle of water this morning after the heavy fall of rain through
the night, which does not soak readily into the ground it being of a clayey nature. Our reg't was call in line to receive
the orders to be ready at a moments notice to fall in and receive Brig. Gen Howe, who is to command our brigade now. Brig.
Gen. Peck has been promoted, and is to take command of Maj Gen. Casey's division. This P.M. our reg't being drawn up in line
of battle in proper shape and time. Gen Howe rode along our lines.
Wednesday June 25, 1862
It was quite cool this morning after a heavy thunder storm during the past night. Our reg't got orders to move to the
left alongside the White Oak Swamp. The distance being only about three miles, we soon reached the spot of our destination;
which was a brisk walk shaded with apple and pine trees; and the very best of water to cool our thirsty throats. The "ball"
has evidently opened in good earnest. While I am writing (7-P.M.) the cannonading and musketry almost deafens my ears, and
it has been so the greatest portion of the day.
Thursday June 26, 1862
This has been a very hot day, but we are in the greatest enjoyments, as our camp is dry, and pleasant, and we have an
abundance of excellent water. There must have been a heavy engagement on our front and right. I got a letter from Louis and
was glad he had received the twenty dollars I had sent him to have put in the bank.
Friday June 27, 1862
Our reg't got new uniforms, and tents to day. The tents are to be occupied by two men each man carrying one half. The
pieces are thin put together with buttons and are six ft. square.
Saturday, June 28, 1862
It was about half past two this morning when we were turned out, and it was evident that we had something to do. The battle
was raging on our right, and we soon got orders to pack up, and burn our old clothes, "was this to be a retreat?"
was inquired of almost every body. However, as soon as the pickets were in and we were packed up, we started. I was quite
lame having stuck a nail in my foot the night before, but I started on with the reg't, with a heavy knapsack. Our rout was
a circuitous one to the left of White Oak Swamp, & though night found us only about three miles from our last camp, we
had marched over eight miles. We had but few men left when we halted; the remainder straggling along behind as is always the
case on a long march and which must attributed to the heavy loads that is imposed on us. ----- was only about a mile to the
point, but I don't know the name of the point, and was advised to make that point as soon as possible. ----- out of immediate
danger, we accordingly started out and reached that desired spot as the sun was setting. ------ actions and appearances, I
hear the transports are coming up to take all the sick and wounded down the river. This news is too good to be true. As Uncle
Sam does not provide for the suffering unless it is in a brutal manner through his officers, and then, unless a poor, suffering
soldier is a commissioned officer, he can never have a hearing, and if he does, he is told that he is playing off. So, in
the consideration of this, there is no need of grumbling, but bearing with patience. Water is very scarce here, and quite
poor. There are no provisions to buy here, so crackers and coffee constitute our diet. On our way yesterday, we found a small
potato patch. But they had been rooted all over by passing soldiers. Yet we found about a dozen, the largest, about the size
of a hen's egg. Having a little salt left, we roasted our precious pomdeteres in the ashes, and with a little salt on them,
they afforded us a great luxury. Colonel Wyman of the 16th Mass had just been brought in. He was killed yesterday, only about
a hundred rods from the place that I was stationed last. It is now 9-A.M., and many of our friends have called to see us.
I now find that Sergeant Byrne is unable to help himself or go on any further. I am thankful that I got up a good tent, and
that I am able to manage it. The orderly left us last night to find provisions. But not finding them, he came back to us this
P.M. and soon left us again. This is a fine point, containing a large stream flouring mill, and about 20 houses. There is
also a good dock for steamers. I think this must be Charles City, or some other noted city, but it is impossible to find out,
as nearly all the white people have deserted the place. Our troops took a great many prisoners yesterday, but will probably
lose a greater number, as our forces are much smaller than the enemy, besides, I can plainly see that our troops are retreating
all the time, while the enemy is following us up close by as possible. The regiment was in the play today and lost about 20
killed and wounded. Among the wounded is Moses, in an injury to the head or neck, and quite severely. This I have been told.
There is now about a thousand men who call themselves sick or wounded, but in my opinion, there are a great many more who
have go what I call, powder fever. ------ our weakness, after we had made a hole in the straw and got in from the clemency
of the weather, we got orders to march on. Almost sinking under my load, and the rain pouring down furiously, we started again
through the mud. This was a hard stroke for us, yet orders have to be obeyed, as a heavy battle was expected on that large
field. On we went, through the mud and rain, almost giving up the hopes of ever reaching the landing. But at last, about 6
P.M., found us in a deplorable state landing in the mud up to our knees, and sometimes deeper. Finding no chance of getting
on board any of the transport, we went back to the hospital, but I left my equipment, being unable to carry it any further.
We now pitched our tent, got out a little wet straw to put our on the muddy ground, and though wet to the skin, we slept a
little. I ate plenty of blackberries on the way to day but they are much inferior to the northern blackberries. They grow
on creeping vines some times to the length of thirty ft.
Sunday, June 29, 1862
It was quite cool this morning, after another shower through the night. I am so lame I can hardly walk. A skirmish occurred
to day about half a mile from our camp, between rebel and confederate calvary, in which several rebels were killed, wounded
and taken prisoners. One of our brave fellows were killed and two wounded. Our position was now moved towards the place of
action. Gen. McClellan rode along our lines to day and told the boys "it was all right" and at another place he
said "the enemy is just where I want them to be." This shows as least a confidence, if we are on a retreat. The
Gen. looked perfectly cool as he rode along, and also very cheerful. Cheer after cheer rent the air, as the "American
Napoleon" rode by. It is now night and our reg't has gone on. I am left behind as I am too lame to keep up. The orderly,
Serg't Byrne and Jacob Dean is with me and we have pitched our tents for the night.
Monday June 30, 1862
At an early hour ----- great many troops passed by and several thousand head of cattle. To me this looked like a retreat,
yet all the movements was formed with the greatest order. I proposed to the boys that we had better start on. Accordingly
we were soon on the Charles City road. The country all along our road seemed to be very fertile, and large fields of wheat
and corn could be seen as far as the eye could reach. The former was being harvested, the latter being about knee high. Soon
we came up to about five hundred stragglers, on a beautiful hill containing about five hundred acres of corn. This hill was
in sight of the James River, and part of the James ---------. Our gun boats were running up and down those streams, and we
felt safe; at least for the present. Charles City was now in sight, containing, as near as I can recollect four houses including
the court house and jail, which were two superior houses. A queer city this I thought as I passed through it. The land around
it is quite fertile. Having occasion to stop for food and water, I struck for a good-looking cottage, built of brick, some
distance in the field. The family had deserted it and had left a few worthless slaves to take care of what they left, which
was apparently little. I got some good spring water and as many blackberries as I could possibly eat, which was not a few.
I find that when houses are deserted, the poorest servants are always left behind, and with but a very little to sustain themselves
with. We now started on again, & many reg'ts passed us, as Serg't Byrne was getting weaker and I was getting lame with
the rheumatism in my back and legs. However, we travelled on as fast as possible and finally stopped along the road for the
night, almost tired out. This was, as I was told, in the neighborhood of turkey creek. The cannonading and musketry now commenced
quite briskly to our rear, and rather near than was desirable in our state of feelings. We were now told it was only about
a mile to the point, but I don't know the name of it and was advised to make that point as quickly as possible, as we wanted
be out of immediate danger, accordingly we started and reached that desired spot as the sun set.
Thursday July 3, 1862 - This morning orders came, that all the tents in front of the hospital should be struck, and being
obliged to comply with the order, Byrne and myself made up our minds to go to the reg't which we was told was about half a
mile distant. It had rained through the night but the weather had now the appearance of clearing off, yet the mud was dreadful.
However, we started and as soon as we got there the rebels commenced shelling us, the shells bursting but a few yards from
us. The reg't now got orders to get ready. Byrne turned back and was getting away as fast as he could, and finding myself
soon alone I followed him. We now went to rear of hospital, near Harrison's Landing. It was now near night and very cloudy,
but thank God it had stopped raining. With assistance we pitched our tents, on the dryest ground we could find, and stretched
ourselves down on the damp ground, thankful to be able to get a little rest once more. We could get nothing for supper, as
there were so many soldiers crowding around for their "grub" which was two crackers, and a half a cup of coffee.
Saturday July 5, 1862
Suffered to day as usual. Got but a little coffee and four crackers through the day There is now about 1000 men around
this Hospital who pretend to be sick & wounded. Out of every 25 that are slightly wounded, 20 are perfectly well and would
be able to do duty in two or three days; though there are a great many in the hospital that lost an arm or a leg. Out of every
50 who pretend to be sick, 45 are now able to go to their regiments and report for duty; so that the majority that hang around
here are either cowards or have got the gun powder fever. The Provost marshal are driving away all those that are able to
do duty that he can find but there are a great many that play their points so well that they are still allowed to hang around.
Sunday July 6, 1862
This A.M., Patrick McLaughlin came down to the hospital and he told us the reg't w(a)s only a mile from the river. This
news revived us, and as Mac told me that he would carry my knapsack, I again made up my mind to go to the reg't where I could
get medical assistance. Accordingly we all started for camp, and got there in about three hours. I was so weak I could now
stand no longer. "Jake" pitched a tent for Byrnes and myself, got a bundle of straw to put in it, and though weak
and sick, we did enjoy a good rest and sleep. I got a letter this P.M. from E.S.H. which revived me some.
Monday July 7, 1862
I was very quiet all day, being very weak. Byrne left me to day and went in with Liut. Bisbee, and old "Promptly"
who is now Maj. Jacob Dean now moved in the tent with me and he cooks my "grub" but it is very little I eat. -----
was our Chaplain, a Surgeon who was called in. David Henry Decker and Rolland Balcomb, both of Hague, Warren Co. N.Y. They
would all have gladly helped us, but they could not being destitute of means. Their encouraging words and news they could
give us gave us new hopes and better spirits. Thus the day passed away. The battle raged and raged furiously, and night found
new and better quarters. Our transports that was so much looked for all day by the poor sick and wounded soldiers did not
come and that class got orders after dark to march! How far, or where to no body knew. So Byrne and myself made up our mind
to stay and travel by the light of day if need be. There were a great many who remained but the majority left as soon as possible
showing a fear of the rebels.
Tuesday July 8, 1862
Feeling somewhat better to day, and not having been able to write during a period of several days I feel very anxious
to commence again, so I have made up my mind to make that commencement this P.M. To write of the many suffering of our poor
soldiers, since the first incident, in detail would take me too long and the many ungodly sufferings as well as unnecessary
ones, would fill a volume, and having neither time or paper enough, I shall be obliged to satisfy and be satisfied of writing
as short as possible, and confirm my notes to Byrnes and my own experience and leave hundreds of worse cases for others to
write about. The second incident (Wednesday) Byrnes and myself started from the unknown point. Byrnes left all his equipment,
but I still clung to mine though most crushed by its weight; but before starting, I went into a house to buy a little bacon,
(for this is all the kind of hog meat that can be had in this country, unless you get chops or ham) but the man who had just
got up had not got his eyes fairly opened yet, he said that all the bacon he got cost him a dollar per pound, and it was a
hard matter to get what he wanted even at that price. But when I told him that our brigade commissary sold the best cured
hams for twelve cents per pound his eyes were opened to their extent, and I left him pondering and dressing himself, no richer
but a little wiser. The rain now commenced to pour down steadily but increased as we increased. I was not so lame to day as
usual but quite weak yet we made steady progress, as we did not stop long in a place. It was 8-A.M. when we got started and
to encourage us we were told that we had to march eight miles. The roads soon began to grow muddy and our progress was getting
slower. Many troops had evidently passed along the road, and many passed us; and we passed many squads that was either worse
that we was or was playing sick in good earnest and there are surely many of that class. We were now wet to the skin and coming
up to two large straw stacks along side each other, we at once made up our minds to stay here for the night, and dug a hole
to get in. This morning I got a letter from Cliff and was extremely happy to hear from him once more. I answered the letter
and wrote in my journal, though I was very weak and had to rest many times. The day was very hot and sultry. Gen McClellan
accompanied by Mr. Lincoln reviewed all the army of Gen McClellan's command this P.M. I could not see him. I am no better
Wednesday July 9, 1862
I have been worse to day. My strength and appetite is comparatively nothing. A watchmaker looked at my watch & chain
to day, and said it was worth $300.00. How many times I think of home, and wish I was there when I see myself prostrate with
little or no care, and but little money left to buy such things as I can eat, though I ate nothing to day.
Thursday July 10, 1862
I felt a little better this morning, and ate a little cheese and cakes that "Jack" got for me to a sutler. I
got eight cakes for twenty five cents, which I could get in N.Y. for four cents! The cheese cost at the rate of about one
dollar per pound! Wm. Lindner came to see me to day, and I was very glad to see him once more. The day was very hot until
quite late in the P.M. when we had a lively thunder storm, after which it was quite cool.
Friday July 11, 1862
I was little better this morning, though very weak, and unable to walk, on account of a large boil on my ankle. A cup
of chocolate, two cakes and a small bit of cheese revived me very much. It has been raining pretty much all day. Our company
went out on picket to day, so I was left alone, but "Billy" came over to see me.
Saturday July 12, 1862
I was alone to day, and I had no one to supply my wants. The day was a long lonesome one to me. The boil on my ankle gives
me severe pain and I cannot walk. Billy came to see me to day as usual. Our company was relieved late in the P.M. and I was
glad to have "Jack" back with me. Very hot.
Sunday July 13, 1862
I felt quite smart to day, and had it not been for the boil, which is growing worse I would have enjoyed myself quite
well. The weather is cooler. Billy came again to day.
Monday July 14, 1862
This has been a very hot day, and I am worse. The Doctor says I am used up. This is not very encouraging, but I may get
Tuesday July 15, 1862
This has been another very hot day until about 5-P.M. when a heavy thunder storm blew up. It did not last long but the
wind blew and the storm raged as though we was in great need of it. I felt a little better to day. The rain beat through our
tents and our protection from the storm was comparatively none. Our reg't moved to the rear to day about noon, on a dry ridge.
We get a plenty of water but it has an irony taste and I can hardly drink it.
Wednesday July 16, 1862
On getting up this morning I find that the rain had settled in our tent, and it was hard to find a place to sit on and
not get wet. The shower did not last long last evening, and it was very cool, and pleasant this A.M. The other part of the
day was very hot, and it was inevitable that we should soon have another shower, and sure enough, we did have it; and a hard
one too. It came just about the time we laid ourselves down for the night. The water soon gathered in our tent so that it
was impossible for us to lie or sit on a dry place; besides the rain beat through the canvass, and our case was a deplorable
one; yet we must put up with it, as Jake was too lazy and I too weak and sick to dig a trench around it. I feel a little better
to day. I sent four letters to Cliff, (being a part of my journal) and requesting him to send me a box.
Thursday July 17, 1862
I felt quite smart this morning; and being determined to lay in the water no longer, I packed up to move our tent on a
dryer piece of ground. "Jake" now took hold, though not without heaving many sighs, and assisted me and we soon
had a comfortable tent up. I sent my watch to Louis to day by the Chaplain as he was going that way home on a furlough. I
feel very weak, after our tent was finally up; but we got it ready just in time for another rain, and this time we was dry
on our straw floor, though the rain beat through the tent as usual.
Friday July 18, 1862
This day has been very cool and cloudy. Billy came to see me, but imagine my joy when I heard he had come back. I gave
him an invitation to stay with me as usual, and he accepted. We talked until after midnight.
Saturday July 19, 1862
I felt quite well this morning and ate quite a breakfast. The day has been very cold. I think that the arrival of Henry
has taken a good effect on me, as I seem to be on the gain.