Unit: 10th Connecticut
Unit Affiliation: (3), 1, X
Title: History of Co. B. 10th C. V.
Author: Norton, W.L.
Publisher: Connecticut Historical Society
Publication Date: 1884
Download Microsoft Word Document: History of Co. B. 10th C. V.
Written by William L. Norton, of Company B, courtesy of The Connecticut Historical Society
HISTORY of CO. B. 10th C. V.
Soon after the battle of Bull Run, the three months troops returned home and with them came P. W. Hudron fresh from the contest. He at once commenced raising a company for three years: recruiting was immediately begin in the towns of Manchester, Marlborough, Glastenbury, Andover, Columbia, Coventry, Hebrin and Willimantic. There were delegations from Coventry, Glastenbury and Marlborough–headed by Therin Hill and Vander Hodge. The company rendezvoused at the-hotel, and drilled in the dance hall: as soon as the Co. was full the proceeded to choose officers. The election was held in the hall, which resulted in the choice of P. W. Hudson for Captain, Charles Wiley 1st Lieut. and J. L. Otis 2nd Lt. Therin Hill was then appointed Orderly Serg’t, Hodge 2nd Serg’t–Henry Lincoln 3rd Serg’t–Andrew Havey 4th Serg’t–Albert Woodward 5th Serg’t. The company was soon after assigned to the 10th Reg’t, which was then assembling at Hartford, about a mile outside of the city on the New Haven turnpike. On the day of our departure for camp, there was quite a throng of people to see us off, speeches were made, good bye’s exchanged, then we boarded the train for camp at Hartford. Here we spent the time in drill and camp duty–interspersed with stealing apples, robbing hen roosts, and patronizing the pieman.
There was some strife between our company and company A. in drilling for the right flank, which was finally awarded to Comp. A., although not as we thought for superior drill (for good judges said that we were the best drilled) but because that their Captain was appointed Col. of the Reg’t and he gave them the preference. Our company was lettered B. and given the left-flank, the next place of honor. Oct. 31st–we received our arms and equipments–The Enfield Rifle and struck camp, took up the march for the fort of State St. We marched down Main St. amid the applause of thousands. Some of the men tired to carry so much in their knapsacks, that they were forced to fall out and be carrid down to the boat in teams. We reached the foot of State St. at last, and were soon on board of the Granite State–and Mary Burton, sailing down the river. We were fairly off for the war. A salute was fired from Colls Armory, as we sailed past. On the trip down, we amused ourselves with playing cards, singing. The next morning we arrived at Castle Garden and proceeded to land; marched up Broadway to the city-hall, regailed ourselves with soup and coffee and were presented (by the sons of Conn) with the National Colors. The State colors having been presented us just before leaving Hartford.
We were soon on a ferry boat and transported to Amboy; there we boarded the cars in the night and were spinning towards Philadelphia at a fearful rate; arriving there about midnight. We were treated to a fine collation in the old Cooper Shop, then boarded the train again where we stayed until the fornoon of the following day, before we started again. Here the 27th Mass. passed us on their way to Annapolis to join Burnzides expedition.
While waiting here a little girl came out of a house with a little kitten and gave it to Dennis Mahoney. We perched it upon his knapsack and there it would sit and ride very contentedly while we were on the march.
At last we started reaching Perryville in the afternoon, slept in the cars that night. The next morning we went to go aboard of the boat, but it proved to be too small to take all of us, so the right wing went and the left wing remained in the depot until night, when we got a boat and sailed for Annapolis. We were on the water all night, reaching our destination early in the morning and marched into the City, taking possession of the Seminary upon the hill.
Kittie went to Annapolis with us and took her abode at the Col’s head quarters where they had a lady cook, she afterwards went to Newbern with us and was in the hospital there, at last accounts.
Nov. 4th–We stayed here until the night of the 6th when we marched into camp a mile or two out of the city. The 8th Conn. were encamped close beside us, we occupied the same tents that we had at Hartford. Her the time was passed in drill and reviews and the various little things that fill up a soldiers life in camp, the most notable of which were the burning of the guard tents, putting two men upon a barrel placed upon a pyramid of earth placarded Gamblers “for being caught in that business.”
The regiment had to pass an examination by the physician and every man had to be vaccinated. Several of us went down to the City to see the place where Washington resigned his commission. Col. Drake here showed marked ability as a drill master and soon had the regiment under a high state of drill and discipline which showed itself in time of active duty months afterward.
On Jan. 6th we broke up camp and stood around in the snow shivering around the fire ammusing ourselves by throwing loaves of bread at one another that were left lying around the camp. Toward evening we took up the march for the city and arrived at the Navy yard about dusk and waited our turn to go aboard the transports, companies B and G had to wait all night. We shivered around a fire until midnight when Gen. Burnside came along and directed us to take quarters in one of the naval school buildings. We did so and enjoyed a good fire in a fire place and spent the rest of the night very comfortably. Tuesday, Jan. 7th. In the morning companies B & G went down to the wharf and were taken on board of the schooner. E. W. Tarrington (an old coal schooner black and dirty as they make them.) Here the day was spent in loading on wood under provisions.
Wednesday Jan. 8th, 1862–we did little but load wood on to the schooner and at night we hitched on to the New Brunswick where the rest of the regiment were. Then next morning (9th) there were three rockets sent up and shortly after one of the gun boats fired a gun and then the whole fleet-commenced sailing out of the harbor; the New Brunswick took the lead with our schooner in tow. We sailed all day and until about midnight when it became so foggy that our schooner ran into the New Brunswick so we cast loose and the fleet came to anchor. In the morning we set sail again and soon have in sight of Fortress Monroe where the Naval fleet was collected. Three frigates were anchored side by side and the sailors rushed into the rigging and gave us three cheers as we sailed past. We soon dropped anchor between the rip-raps & Fortress Monroe. They say here that we are now within range of the enemys guns. Our accommodations are any thing but pleasant as we are stowed away in the hold of the schooner where it is darker than a dungeon, the only light comming through the hatchway. When we lie down at night we are packed in like sardines in a box when we want to turn over we sing out–“hard-a-lea” and then we all turn over together.
Jan. 22–Aboard Ship–We are now at anchor in Pamlico Sound in sight of forts Clark and Hateras. The first place Gen. Butler took in his first Naval expedition and a hard looking place it is too; no sings of habitation–a mud fort on a long strip of sand. Just before heaving in sight of Hateras a snow squall struck us and the sea was soon in a turbulent state, the waves running as high as the mast. Our schooner was pitching with the waves at a fearful rate and wave after wave dashing over her decks the water rushing across her in perfect torrents. We made seven different tacks before running into the inlet. Once the halyards of the main jib broke, the jib coming down upon the run, hanging over the side of the vessel, the helinsman, they then hitched a tackle to the side of the gunewalls and to the tail of the rudder steering, in that way we finally rani n the seventh tack in that condition, the captain saying that he would run her in that time or he would run her to hell, but we rain in to Hatteras right where we anchored.
The City of New York (a large ocean steamer) tried to come in on our wake, but ran on to the breakers. A steam tug went out and tried to get her off, but did not succeed and there she had to stay all night with the waves dashing over her. in the morning lieutenants Wiley & Camp and some of the boys tired to get to her in boats to take her men off, but the waves ran so high that they could not get near the wreck but some surf boats went out and succeeded in taking some of them off. The next day the steamer was a total wreck: we could see a large gap right amidship where she was broken in two, portions of her wreck floating past us. Several steamers grounded inside of the inlet–sticking out of water and it looks as if the expedition was going to be a failure. Our schooner has been turned over the bar into the vicinity of the gun boats, we being the first of the transports to join them.
We left Fortress Monroe one-o’clock Sunday morning, reaching Hatteras Inlet Monday forenoon. We had a pleasant time until the squall stuck us and have had it rough enough ever since.
Feb. 1st 1862–Its reported that we are to make a move tomorrow and the prevailing opinion is that we are to attack Roanoke Island. We are anxious for the day to come, as we want to get on land once more, having been on this stifling schooner three weeks and such a lousy set was never heard of before. Feb. 11 th–We arrived at the Island on Friday morning. The gun boats commenced bombarding the forts about 11:30 o’clock and in the afternoon the army proceeded to land the boat from our schooner being the first to land. James Sulivan of C. B. getting the first colors ashore in the shape of No. 10 marder. The gun boats kept up their firing until about six o’clock at night. The last boat load from the schooner landed about 12 o’clock in the rain, your humble servant being one of that load. We landed safely at the muddiest place that I ever saw. We had to wade in mud and water knee deep. We stayed in a cornfield that night making some fires and sent out pickets. In the morning the camp were startled by the firing of the pickets some of them running in. Everything was all hurry and excitement–the men falling into line getting ready for the conflict. Soon after falling in one of Gen. Burnsides aids came to our regiment for a detail of sixly men to go aboard the Alice Price to get some axes; the Col. ordered thme to be taken off the left flank of the reg’t which took the most of our company. I among the number.
We went aboard of the boat and there found Gen. Burnside; he showed us where the axes were, axes and helves were in separate boxes, having to hang them ourselves, Gen. Burnside kindly assisted me as I was rather awkward about it. While we were at this work the battle commenced in good earnest. We could hear the rattle of the musketry and the firing of the rebels guns. We heard our men cheer and then we did likewise. After getting our axes hung we slung them upon our backs and started for the scene of conflict.. We soon commenced to see marks of the fight, as men were coming back wounded in all shapes, our poor fellow with his jaw shot away another with his throat cut with a bullet; another with an arm gone and thus we kept meeting the gory procession at every step, some of them telling us to hasten as they were in want of our axes. Just before approaching the opening the 21st Mass. succeeded in flanking the rebels position and the battle was over, so we were prevented from taking any part in the fight. We marched into the Battery with the regiment and formed a line of battle in the other side of the earth works then following up the retreat of the rebs until we reached the fort that the navy had bombarded, here we marched along the parapet — and saw the ruins of the barracks; just then Gen. Foster rode up and said “well boys we have bagged about 3,000 of them”, we then gave three cheers, then bivouacked near the fort for the night finding it hard work to keep warm.
The rebel barracks were set on fire by the shells from the gun boats; we found the blades of huge bowie knives in the ruins, that were made to cut out Yankee hearts undoubtedly. We rose early in morning and soon after Gen. Burnside rode along and said to us “Well boys it would not hurt you if you had a little fresh pork would it?” that was enough in less then five minutes there was the greatest slaughter of hogs that I ever witnessed. We stayed there all day Sunday, and Monday we marched up to the upper fort and then went in board the schooner again. We lost more men in our regiment than any other—–viz 58 killed and wounded including our Col. We have just sailed up the sound and back again and are now lying anchor once more off the island. March 20th–After leaving Roanoke we sailed to Hatteras arriving there at sundown. In the morning we hoisted anchor and started for Newbern. We came to the mouth of the Neuse river about sundown and kept on up the river until about 8 o’clock when we came to anchor about 20 miles below Newbern. While coming up the river, I saw the gun boat Picket make for a row boat with two men in it, who were pulling for the shore just the best that they knew how, buy bang! went one of the Pickets guns and a ball struck just ahead of them to a stop and a boat put out from the Picket and took them aboard. The next morning we commenced to land. I got shore at about 11 o’clock with 18 others and we started through mud and rain for Newbern. After tramping about six miles we overtook the reg’t who were taking a rest, but they started again upon our arrival and we marched until eight or nine o’clock then stopped in the woods to encamp for the night. We had a very uncomfortable night of it as it rained hard all night. The woods were all lit up by fires some of the pitch pine trees burning away up to the tops. In the morning we were up early and getting some breakfast; had hardly finished when a heavy discharge of musketry was heard ahead. Every men went to looking to the priming of his rifle them came the order to fall in and we were soon marching towards the scene of conflict. Now we could hear the heavy roar of cannon and the splatter of musketry and soon cannon balls were tearing over our heads. Now an Aid comes tearing down the road and tells u to hurry up as we are wanted, the order is given to double quick and away we go. We marched to the left from the road and then into the woods where we lay down for a minute and just escaped a shower of grape and canister–and then its forward again and the Reg’t is in action with the long line of rebel earth works right in front of them and now commences the most rapid discharge of musketry of the day which has the effect of silencing the battery in the rebel works. After firing eighteen or twenty rounds the American Flag is seen floating along the parapet of the enemys works and then how the men cheer. We now resume the march towards the City and reach the banks of Trent river to find the bridge burnt and the City on fire. As soon as we could get across we took possession of the City. The colored population making great demonstrations of joy at seeing us. We go into camp on the fair grounds taking possession of the deserted rebel camp. We are now encamped in our own tents a little way from there. We had a sad accident here the other day, Wm. Chadwick was cleaning his gun in our tent and put a cap in to try it and it being loaded (without his knowledge) when it went off and shot Lorenzo House in the opposite tent. The ball entered his side. He died that night. Our reg’t lost in the fight 27 men killed and wounded. Our company lost three killed and three wounded. It is very unhealthy here, we bury a man every day about, out of our reg’t alone.
April 9th—I have been out for the last two weeks with the Pioneer Corps, chopping down trees around the outside of the City, so as to give the gun boats a clean sweep beyond the City. Week before last we went on picket about eight miles out of the city. Some of the pickets had a slight skirmish with the enemy and brought in one prisoner. After staying there three days we marched back to the City., where we are at present. We have a paper printed her, it was formerly a secesh paper but now some of our soldiers print it and you may rest assured that it is strong union. The contrabands came into the city every day. I had a talk with one old Negro, who must have been seventy years old; he said it seemed like Christmas to him it was the most rest that he had seen in all his life.
April 20th–We went down to the City today to attend diving worship but going to meeting here is like going to election. The different regiments marching into the city with flying colors and bands of music playing lively airs.
May 15th 1862–I went out in picket yesterday morning four miles above here, and in the afternoon there came up a terrible thunder storm such as you seldom seen in old Conn. We went into a house and stayed until night, when we fell back to the next post where the road runs through a deep forest. There we stayed through the night it raining in torrents all night. In the morning I advanced the men in my charge a mile further and waited until we were relieved. We have just received our new Libley tents, which are very commodious. We are now encamped in a little opening in the woods about four miles out of the city in the road to Goldsboro. I just went out into the Co. street and found the boys fixing up Capt. Otis tent with a brick wall in front of it and flower beds on either side.
May 28th–1862–Today the reg’t struck tents and moved down to the City again with the exception Co’s B & G which are left up here to do picket duty and that is all we have to do apart Co. I went in today and a part of our Co. will go on tomorrow which will bring us in one day in four. Down to the city they are just finishing a railroad battery mounted on a platform car a kind of railroad iron clad. Henry Gleason has been trans-ferred from the 21st Mass–Reg’t to our company.
Sometime in May I think Co. B. went on an expedition down the Neuse river aboard of the “Pilot Boy” under command of Capt. Hudson. We took some prisoners and captured several bales of cotton and then returned to the city.
June 7th, 1862–We are now on picket along side of the railroad. We expect to go back to camp in two or three days. All of the troops here have gone to Richmond except our division. The 1st. We were expecting to go and may go yet.
June 8th 1862—We have just returned from meeting down town. We cam off from picket on Tuesday and are now in camp. Capt.’s Otis & Hudson have gone up to the rebel pickets with a flag of truce to carry despatches.
June 17th—Last Sunday the regiment went down to the City to hold funeral services in honor of Col Drake—-June 21st–Last Friday there was a great review of the army under Gen. Burnside, when an $800 dollar sword was presented to him. Our Reg’t started about four o’clock and marched across the Trent river to the review, which did not last long after the presentation. We marched by in review by company front. The different Reg’ts giving him three cheers.
June 24th, 1862–The schooner that brought us here is at anchor down at the dock. I went aboard of her today. She looks as natural as ever, but I don’t care to take another voyage in her. The report is that we are going to make a move soon, but I do not take much stock in it, we have had so many such rumours. July 10th 1862–The weather is very warm here. We have got back to Camp again. Gen. Burnside has gone and Gen. Foster is in command here. July 25th, 1862–Capt. Otis is going home tomorrow and I don’t know as he will be back again. He is captain of our company no longer, but hods a commission in Co. G. It came about in this way, Capt Hudson at Annapolis sent in his resignation as he was going in to Gen. Fosters staff. Capt. Otis was appointed to fill the vacancy, but Capt. Hudson goes to Washington and has his papers stopped so he still holds a commission in our Co. and one Co. it not entitled to two captains.
Otis knew nothing of it, until just before the battle of Roanoke, then the Col. told him. Yesterday the 24th Mass. and our Reg’t went out to practise firing. We fired blank cartridge and we took the rag right off the 24th. Aug. 4th, 1862—Several days ago we started on an expedition to the other side of the Neuse river. We took the boats early in the morning and landed about two miles up the river on the other side. Our forces consisted of three regiments of Infantry, five pieces of Artillery and three company’s of Cavalry. We halted after getting about a mile from the river at a plantation house. We stayed there all night. About three o’clock in the morning we were routed out for the march. The rain was pouring down in torrents and so dark that you could not see your hand before you. About day break we came across a deserted earth works. After marching about three miles we came to a creek about a quarter of a mile wide that we had to wade through. It was waist deep. We got through all right and about a half mile farther on we came to a hall and the cavalry went on and soon came back with the report that the bridge at the next creek was gone and it was no where fordable, so we about–face and started for home once more. I fell into the creek all over coming back. We arrived safely at Newbern on Friday evening.
August 13, 1862 — after finishing my last letter we had orders to get ready for a march into the interior so about eight o’clock at night the reg’t started up the Trent road. Co’s B & G were detailed to say here to guard the camp. The reg’t had not been gone more than half an hour when orders came back for twenty-five men out of each Co. to get ready and join the Reg’t. I volunteered for one, and in a little while we were on the road. The reg’t stopped for the night about eight miles from Newbern. We came up with them about 12 o’clock. We lay on the ground that night and rose about three in the morning and started for Trenton. The day was very hot, so hot, that we had covered teams with seats in to ride in when we became exhausted. We reached Trenton about noon, a distance of about twenty miles. Several were sun stricken before we arrived there, the Lieut. Col. among them. He was taken back to Newbern under escort of cavalry. We ran into a rebel cavalry station before reaching Trenton, and drove them in by a charge of cavalry: the artillery giving them a parting salute as they went flying through Trenton. About eight o’clock in the evening we took up the line of march again towards Kingston. We marched about three miles and then bivouacked for the night. Early in the morning we started towards Kingston again. We marched about three miles, then counter marched back about ten miles, then halted and went to killing hogs, cattle, sheep and poultry and burning houses. One of the men while hunting a hog scred up a rebel, who ran like a lamp-lighter and our man after him, but he got away. About four o’clock we took up the line of march again. We encamped for the night about ten miles from Newbern. We arrived in the city the next morning. We captured seven or eight prisoners, several horses, and never lost a man, two were wounded by accident; one was in our company, he shot off his finger (the man who just before scared up the rebel) and one man in Co. G–had his arm shot off. We go on Picket tomorrow to stay for a week. Sept..12th 1862—-There ahs been an attack on Little Washington of this state and it is rumored that they are expecting an attack. in this place. Sept. 25th 1862—We are in picket on the railroad from Newbern to Goldsboro, and have been on a week and have gto to stay a week longer. We have had two visits from a bear since we have been here: the last time he came one of the boys fired at him and he has not been seen since. Capt. Hudson has been returned to his Co. and Capt. Otis has taken command. of Co. G. Oct. 24th 1862—They are building barracks here for the troops. They have about two hundred feet built now. We have had some fifty new recruits, 20 of them came to our Co. Oct. 27th 1862–The 44th Mass has encamped right opposite of us and the 3d Mass. has just marched past. The troops are coming in very fast now. Three regiments have already arrived and there are eight more to come.
Nove. 14th 1862–As I was eating dinner in the cork house (on Wed., Oct. 29th) the orderly brought orders for me to have four days rations cooked, as we were going off in some expedition. I went to work at once and drew the rations and cooked until twelve o’clock at night and then went to bed. In the morning the rations were distributed and at 6 o’clock p. m. we fell in and marched down to the wharf and went on board the “Pilot Boy” with Gen. Foster and was soon sailing down the Neuse. We sailed all night and in the morning hove in sight of Washington N. C. and soon after landed at the wharf. We stayed there two days and on Sunday Nov. 2, the troops started on the march into the interior. Our regt taking the advance. Our force consisted of ten regiments of Infantry, thirty pieces of Artillery and six companies of cavalry. We kept up the march until about 11 A. M. without any interference and then the order came to ‘forward double quick’ we having run on to a picket station. They were soon routed and the artillery sent a shot after them to accelerate their speed. We then continued the march until nooon, when we stopped for a short rest. After resting we resumed the march until nearly sundown when we heared sharp firing ahead. We marched steadily on until we came to a turn in the road when we marched into an open field, in the right-hand side of the road and formed a line of battle. The artillery formed just ahead of us then there were two companies of the 44th Mass. marched down to the creek where the firing was goin on. The rebels were disputing our passage of the creek. The Artillery soon shifted their position to the left side of the road on a little rise of ground nearer the creek and commenced shelling the rebs. We followed to support them. After staying here a short time we had orders to cross the creek to the support of the Mass. boys which we did and were fired into as soon as we got across. Some of the new recruits returned fire without orders–wounding some of the 44th who were right in front of us. It was now quite dark. Wm. Chadwick and myself were ordered by the Lieut. Col. to examine the woods in our right flank which we did and found our flank was well protected by a deep creek. The rebs now tired their hand at artillery, sending a few shots over us. We now had orders to take to the road again. As we filed out into the road a charge of grape came rattling through the ranks, but no one was hurt. We now advanced up the road (darker than pitch). We could not tell where the enemy was nor when they would fire on us again. The firing had ceased now so we moved forward again, about half a mile when we came to another halt, and stepped to one side of the road to allow the artillery and one reg’t of infantry to pass us. Soon after, firing was heard again at the head of the column and we were ordered to move forward again. We soon passed a house where we saw two dead rebels horribly mangled by one of our shells. After passing the house we came to another halt, and the artillery having now got in to a good position commenced a furious cannonade and our reg’t was ordered to support them, which took us off from the road in to a side hill of open ground where we formed a line of battle in their rear and witnessed the grand pyrotechnic display as the shells described fury arcs over towards the rebels position. It was now 11 o’clock P. M. (or later) and the firing kept up until about 12, when we marched into the enemy’s works without opposition, where we stacked arms and lay down to sleep for the rest of the night. The next morning we took up the march again for Williamsberg which we reached about 10:30 A. M. We found the town deserted and Gen. Foster gave orders to help ourselves which we did in a lively manner. Our company going into a grocery and hardware store by bursting in the rear door and helping ourselves to any thing we wanted and destroying a good many things that we did not want. We stayed in town until about 3 P. M. then took up the march towards Hamilton. After marching about 7 miles we halted for the night. In the morning we started on towards Hamilton again. As we were marching down a shady dell, the front reg’t struck up “John Brown’s Body” v.s. and it passed along down the line; making the woods ring. We reached Hamilton about 6 o’clock P. M. where we stayed until about 9 P. M. when we marched out of town because some of the men had fired the place. We marched out about four miles and then bionacked for the night. The next morning we resumed the march towards Yarborough. We marched all day and halted late at night, just out side of the town. We could hear trains running all night and the Gen. Thinking that they were receiving reinforcements did not deem it advisable to make an attack. So we started on the return march reaching Hamilton at night where we took up quarters in a store with a rousing big fire in a fireplace, getting one good nights rest. In the morning we found the ground covered with moss. Here I obtained permission to go on board the gun-boat “Hunchback”. My feet were blistered and shoes played out. We had a very rough ride down the river as the Roanoke is so narrow and crooked that the boat could not make the turns in the river without brushing the trees on either side. All the railing was scraped off; the whell house stove in and otherwise damaged, we pulled up at Williamsburg that night. The next night we anchored in front of Plymouth where I with other comrades rejoined the reg’t. We bivouacked for the night back of the town. We passed the next day (Sunday) in resting. Monday we went aboard of transports and sailed for Newbern, which we reached on Thursday having been gone two weeks and marched some 125 miles.
Dec. 6th 1862 — We have just been on another expedition of two days and three nights to Roanoke Island to hunt down mutineers as we supposed but found it all a hoax when we arrived. Our reg’t and the 5th R. G. battalion was the force that went. We are now quartered in barracks close by our old camp.
Dec. 9th 1862–We received orders to-night at dress parade to have three days rations ready for another expedition; where it is to be I do not know, but I think it is inot the interior somewhere, with a good prospect of fighting before we get back again.
Dec. 22, 1862 — We have just returned from another expedition into the interior of N. C. and had four different engagements. We started on Thursday the 11th of Dec. from Newbern and marched all day and bivonacked within four miles of Trenton that night and the next morning and day took up the march towards Kingston. Towards noon the advance had a slight brush with the enemy but they left in host hast after exchanging shots. Towards night they drew up in line of battle as if to oppose our further progress but shedaddled before we could reach them. The night we encamped in an open field and slept on our arms. The next morning we took up the line of march again. The advance had a fight with the enemy. We were drawn up in line of battle, with orders to prime our pieces, but were not called in. We bivonacked on the same ground. The next morning (Sunday) we started on the march again towards Kingston, foot-sore and weary. We soon passed some dead rebels lying along side of the road and saw two field pieces that our advance (the 9th N. J.) had captured. We had not gone very far before we heard cannonading in the advance. After marching some distance we came in sight of an artillery, throwing shells into the woods ahead. We marched into a field on our right and formed a line of battle and awaited orders. We had not long to wait, before an aid rode up with orders for the 10th C. V. to report to the front. We filed out of our Brigade and down the road passing other regiments. We primed our pieces as we were passing the 27th Mass. We soon reached an open field where was Gen. Foster and staff. He gave some instructions to our officers and then Col. Beggett gave the order “by the left of companies to the front”. We scaled a fence and found ourselves in a swamp over knee deep in black slimy mud but we wallowed through and came up to the 45th Mass. who we found lying down. Just then the Lieut. Col. gave the command “Left front into line march!” which we did, rushing over the 45th Mass. and at it we went; the rebs sending showers of bullets. We returned it with a will (the rapidity could not be exceeded) We fired 12 or 14 rounds and then the order to “Charge” which we did in fine style driving the enemy from their position over across the river. They set fire to the bridge but we put it out with artillery buckets from the 3rd N. J. Battery which came up in fine style and sent shells after the retreating rebs. We captured some 400 prisoners here, then crossed the bridge chasing the enemy through Kingston. We bivouacked that night the other side of K. our reg’t lost 107 men.
The next morning as we marched back through the town we were cheered quite lustily by the 44th Mass and other regt’s. We recrossed the river and started on the march for White-hall; we marched all of that day and without any fight. The next day we had a brush with them at White-hall but without any loss in our reg’t. We continued our march toward Goldsboro and bionacked for the night about four miles beyond Whitehall. The next morning we started for Goldsboro and soon the burning of the cannon was again heard away to the front. After marching some distance we came into a hill in a turnip patch, where we could overlook a wide expanse of country. The railroad from Charleston to Richmond was in sight and the bridge across the river. We could see men tearing up the track and quite a battle was in progress. The whole panorama spread out to our view; finally the bridge was seen to be in flames and the black smoke rolled up in big clouds, and then we had orders to counter march and start for Newbern but we had not taken the back track far before rapid firing was heard in the rear, and an aid came galloping up with orders for us to turn back. Now it was understood that we were to bvionac that night where we did the night before and a great many of the men of our Co. had asked permission to push on and get there without so much halting. The Capt. gave all leave to do so that wanted to so that when the order came to turn back there were only 14 of us left in our company. Then the Capt. deserted us and we went back under the command of our Orderly Henry Lincoln. We took position in a piece of woods, between two roads with a brass howitzer in either road on each flank and awaited the coming of the rebels, but it was quite dark now and they did not seem to care about following us so we took up the march towards Newbern again. The woods were on fire in both sides of the road and we had to march through flames and smoke which was almost suffocating. We reached our place of bivouac and lay down to sleep the next morning we started for Newbern, reaching there in three days. The last day we made march of 30 miles. It seemed like getting home again after so many hardships. We reached Newbern in Saturday evening at about eigtht o’clock having been gone 10 days.
Jan. 13th 1863—We have received orders today to be ready at 12 hours notice to pack up everything and take with us and that looks as though we were not coming back to this place again. This morning the reg’t went to the funeral of Lieut. Simms, who was wounded at Kingston and since died of his wounds. We have some good times here as well as hard. Last Saturday we had a dance here in the barracks. The music consisted of two violins, one banjo, one tambourine, bones and triangle and they made considerable music and we all enjoyed it.
Jan. 20th 1863—We are still in Newbern though we expect to go every day. Where our destination is not one seems to know, but the prevailing opinion seems to be that Wilmington is the place, some think its Charleston at any rate its in the coast somewhere for we are to take transports from Beaufort N. C. So much is known to be a fact.
Jan. 28th 1863–Schooner Recruit, Beaufort, N. C. We are now on board of the schooner. We took cars on Monday morning and came down to Moorehead City and then came aboard this boat. There is a large fleet of transports here but no gun boats as they have gone in ahead. It is quite pleasant here. We are at anchor between Beaufort and Moorhead City. Fort Macon lies off to the right in the other side of the harbor.
Feb. 20, 1863—We are now anchored off Port Royal, on board of the Schooner Scout. After we went aboard of the Recruit we were towed over towards Fort Macon and there got aground and they could not get us off so they had to put us on to this boat and on Saturday morning last we were towed out of the harbor and then the Steamer Spaulding hitched on to us and towed us down here. We were two days and nights coming and out of sight of land all the time. The 6th & 7th reg’ts are about here somewhere. There is quite a large fleet here. There are two laymen or war vessels anchored off the starboard side of the vessel.
Feb. 7th 1863
We are now anchored off Hilton Head in Port Royal harbor. There are several Monitors here besides a large Iron clad steamer. The report is that Foster and Huner are wrangling about who shall have command and we are waiting to see how it will come out.
Feb. 10th 1863 — We are now encamped on St. Helena Island S. C. in shelter tents. We came ashore yesterday and pitched our tents in a sweet potato patch and cotton field. We are quite pleasantly situated here we can go down to the beach and get oysters any time. The weather is warm here as it would be at the month of May. The news came last night that Stonewall Jackson had attacked Newbern and burnt the left wing of our barracks and all of our things are in that wing but I hope that it is not so. Dr. Newton left here for Newbern yesterday morning to get our things and have thme sent on to us.
Feb. 14th 1863—We are banished on the island of St. Helena or the same thing for we are not allowed to go off from it either officers or privates. What we are kept here for is more than I know. We came down here as I supposed to take Charleston. But we don’t seem to be getting about it very fast.
March 2, 1863—We have four months pay due us but no prospects of getting paid right away. We are still encamped in shelter tents and likely to be for some time. We have had two reviews since we have been here one by Gen. Negley and the other by Gen. Hunter who put or brigade commander Gen. Stephen under arrest for refusing to take a negro reg’t into our brigade and yesterday he was released and he came over on to the island and visited our reg’t. We gave him three cheers and he took off his hat and said “Gentlemen I thank you for the expression of your trust and confidence” and then we gave him three more cheers.
March 10th 1863—The report tonight is that Major Otis is promoted Col. over Leggett. I hope that is true.
March 22, 1863–We are still on the island of St. Helena. The weather is getting to be very warm. Our Co. is doing considerable skirmish drill now and about every time we go out we kill one or two moccasin snakes or horn snakes about four feet long and as large as one’s arm. Lizzards and snakes are plenty here. We are having quite a pleasant time here at playing ball in the parade grounds, the officers playing on one part of the ground and we the other.
March 25th 1863—We are still in the island in the same old camp although there is some talk of moving in to higher ground as the Dr’s say that it is too swampy here, and when we move we are to have larger tents which will make it more comfortable. I don’s see any hopes of a forward movement now but think we should have made a strike some where by this time if Foster had been allowed to stay here.
April 20, 1863—Since I wrote you last we have been put on transports and sent to commence operations on Charleston. We sailed up the coast into Ediston river and landed in Seabrook Island; the Monitors shelling the woods ahead of us. Our reg’t landed first, or Co. taking the lead as skirmisher. We spread out across the island and a tough time we had getting through the brush and so slow was our progress in the left that the reg’t having taken a road in the right got in ahead of us about dusk and I came very near shooting Capt. White in consequence of it, thinking he was a rebel, but he called our Capt by name and that just saved him. We halted that night in front of a farm house on the only open ground we had seen since landing. We had all set down to rest and the pickets had been posted when came rebel cavalry rode in to our lines and firing upon our men wounding two and taking one sergeant–a prisoner all out of our reg’t, riding off without harm to themselves. It was a bold affair and quickly done. The next morning we marched down to the point of landing and pitched our camp. The 24th Mass & the 6 N. J. were already there. We landed Saturday March 28th. Yesterday the rebels came into the island and tried to capture some of us, but they got April fooled; for we were all drawn up in line to receive them and so were the Monitors out in the river, so the Johnnies thought they could get back again. We are putting up breast works across the island. Gen. Hunter expects to make this a kind of depot for military supplies in his operation against Charleston as they say that we are only twelve miles from Fort Sumptet. The Monitors will have leave here to attack Charleston some time this month. There are seven of thme in here now and the rest will probably come in today. There is a pretty village across the creek from us the name of which is Rockvill. There are plenty of oysters here, and quantities of handsome shells upon the beach.
April 11th, 1863—We have been in picket at the upper end of the island and while there we could hear the booming of the heavy guns at Charleston. Our forces commenced operations there on Monday the 6th and kept it up until the 8th and then ceased and we have not heard any more from there since. There were no land forces only the Ironclads. There are various reports in regard to it, but not much truth to any of them I guess. This morning one of the 24th Mass. boys got shot while in my picket. They brought him down to camp and this afternoon they are going to amputate his leg. The gun boats here occasionally drop a shell over into the enemies lines, just to remind them of what they may expect in they come any nearer. We don’t have drill here; picket and fatigue duty only. We are building the breast works out of Palmetto logs and dirt. This is the part where Lord Howe landed his troops to take Charleston in Revolution times. The latest report is that Charleston has moved back fifteen miles into the interior and the Fort Sumpter has hitched on to the Monitors and towed them up stream.
April 21st 1863 — Well Charleston is not taken yet. The Monitors failed in their first trial. But troops are concentrating at this point and others for another trial and this time both navy and army will try a hand at it so you may expect to hear stirring news from this quarter in a few weeks.
April 25th 1863—I am glad to hear that Conn. has come out victorious for the Union in the late election and we will do all we can to be victorious in the field. We are now on picket and day before yesterday the rebs came down and fired in our picket but did no harm. Day before yesterday Gen. Stevens went out with a flag of truce to learn the fate of the sergeant that they took prisoner. The night of our landing upon the island and found out that he was shot in the abdomen and died about a week later.
May 6th 1863—We are still on this island without much prospect of getting off right away. The Iron Clad fleet area anchor in the river some of them pretty well battered up. We came off from picket last week.
May 20th 1863–We are still on the island yet. I went with Capt. Hudson today and a few of the boys in a foraging expedition to get some boards for the tents we went about ten miles up in the rebel country going up the river, we were stopped by a Minitor to show our pass then we went on our way. We landed at a nice house or plantation where there was a long wharf. The house and grounds were grand with its splendid flower gardens, ponds, rustic bridges and shady walks all deserted for the southern confereracy. Tomorrow we go in picket again. We have heard tonight that the flag in Fort Sumpter is at half mast for Stonewall Jackson.
May 23, 1863 —- We are in picket now. I am stationed on one of the out posts with six men. I keep one man up in a maguolia tree where he can see all of the surrounding country for miles around. The tree is in blossom with large white flowers the most fragrant of anything that you ever saw.
May 30th, 1863—We are now off from picket and have been some two or three days. The expedition against Charleston is over for the present; no more attempts this summer probably. I have been in board some of the Monitors since the action and don’t see as they are damaged very much. The Pasaic is the only one that is disabled. That is nothing serious. One shot struck her turret, forcing her armor in so far as to wedge one of the timbers against the track that the rifled gin is mounted on so as to prevent the the guns being run out to fire but that can be easily repaired.
June 20, 1863—We came off from picket last Thursday and on Wednesday evening the rebel cavalry came down to take a look at us but after they had got down to within of us the artillery sent a shell flying over to thme but it went wide of the mark. Th following one I could see drop right over the center of them and burst in the air and they left for their own lines in hot haste. Gen. Ferry of Conn. is in command here now. Last Wednesday night while on picket, Wm. Chadwick killed a large rattle snake 8 ft. long with 13 rattles. One of the boys took his rattles another his fangs and the third took his skin and stuffed it. There was a coach whip snake killed here that measured seven feet long. They are quite common, very bold and will jump upon a man as soon as he comes near them. They are not venomous though I believe. The report in camp now is that we are going to Virginia to join the army of the Potomac. The thermometer stands at 100 in the shade here today.
June 4th 1863 — We are still in Leabrook Island, taking life easy not much sickness. I should think that there could be more fun. The water here is miserable. The prospects now are that we are going to stay in this island all summer allthough we may go back to Newbern or Va. anytime. Time will tell. We have no drill here it is all fatigue and picket duty, building forts and breast works to defend the island.
June 8th 1863—Leabrook Island…Capt Athertin has resigned and gone home and we are all glad of it, that is all of our Co. for he was a perfect tyrant and a sneak. Lieut. Campbell has taken his place not at Capt but we hope he will be for he is a nice man. We shall probably stay here all summer unless something turns up more than we know of now. The first death that has occurred since leaving Newbern was yesterday. We hear that Vicksburg is taken. I hope that is so.
June 11th 1863—The Chaplain arrived yesterday with the mail and brought me a letter from you. The weather is getting to be quite warm here now, but we are getting along as well as could be expected. We have started a bakery here and now we have soft bread, the first that we have had on the island. The horses and goods that were left at Newbern arrived her day before yesterday, but everything I left there was lost. Not anything belonged to me among the boxes that came. It is reported that some of the boxes were lost off the cars coming from Newbern to Beaufort and some were lost over board. I think some were stolen at any rate mine are missing.
June 28th 1863—The first day in picket this last time the rebs came down to the Leabrook house with artillery and opened on us, sending shell flying over us in a way that was not very pleasant but our artillery came up and soon replied to them in a way that soon sent them back to their own lines. Last Tuesday we were paid off again. Since we came off from picket we have had eight new tents so that there is only three men to a tent and each tent is furnished with two mosquito nets to hang over our bunks. We have also been furnished with soft felt hats, high rimed. The other day we went over to the Gen. head quarters to raise a flag pole after getting it planted the Gen. came out of his tent and raised the flag with his own hands and we all gave three cheers for the old flag and three more Gen. Stevens.
July 6th 1863—Our 4th of July celebration consisted of a target shoot in the afternoon for four prizes $12, $8, $6, and $4 respectively. Co. Y won the first, Co. C the second, Co. G the third and Co. A. the fourth. The artillery fired a few shells by way of salute and the Monitors were all decked out in flags and streamers. The news today is that the rebs are within 15 miles of Phildelphia and we have had orders to cook one days rations, but where we are to go I don’t know, some think to Folly Island to commence that attack on Charleston. If our armies let Lee get out of Penn. again soon we ought to swing for it, for there is no reason why they cannot gobble up him and his whole army.
July 16th 1863—We left Leabrook Island on the morning of the 7th and sailed into Port Royal harbor and there we saw the rebel ran Atlanta that our Monitors captured. We stayed there over night and in the afternoon of the 8th we started for Stonno Inlet and reached there about ten o’clock at night but could not get over the bar so we had to sail back to Hilton Head, the next day where coaled up and in the afternoon started again for Storrno Inlet, reaching there after dark and at 12 o’clock sailed over the bar safely and on up the river to James Island where we landed the next day and that is where we are now right in sight of Fort Sumpter. Gen. Gilmore has laid a seige on Morris Island and we can hear the big guns firing away at the rebs and can see the shells bursting in air from both sides. The 7th Conn. have made a charge in Fort Wagner and were repulsed with heavy loss; after driving the enemy from their guns. This is going to be a long seige I think but I am confident that Charleston will fall in the end. We were on picket yesterday and in the afternoon we were having a game of cards on my post in the shade of some bushes when Bill Chadwick (on the next post to the left) sand out to me to look out and as we all looked up there right in front of us not more than a hundred yards from my post was a squad of about 25 rebel cavalry headed by a dashing officer with a panama hat, dark blue dress coat, white shirt with no vest and white pants tucked into high top boots. His coat was unbuttoned and his sword belt strapped around his waist under his coat. We all grabbed our guns and prepared for action at the same time the rebels wheeled into line at right angles to ours the officer at the right of the line nearest to us every reb had his carbine cocked ready at the word. I jumped behind an embankment and drew bead on the officer but could not have the heart to fire as he was such a handsome looking man and rode so fearlessly that it seemed like murder to shoot; besides our men at the right of us were out in an open field without any shelter so they rode up the whole length of our picket line at close range and not a shot was fired. I told the boys that we should hear from them again and we did for this morning after I had put on the last relief and had just lain down to sleep when the man in watch awoke me and said the he could hear loud talking over at a house just outside of the lines. I thought him mistaken but went to listen and heard some one sing out “Why in hell don’t you open fire there?” when bang! bang! bang! went three pieces in quick succession. We thought the shells were fired at us by the sound but soon saw that the gun boat Pawnee, that lay in the river on our left was the object of their attention. We could hear the shot crashing into the sides of the gunboats then there was great commotion on board. We could hear them sing out “turn out the starboard watch” and soon they sent a hundred pount shot at the Johnnies but it went wide of the mark and they were obliged to slip their cable, and drop down the stream so as to get range; meanwhile, we were busy picking up or traps a awaiting orders but no orders came and we could hear their sharp musketry firing on our right, after a while there was a man came to us from our company to tell us to fall back as the rest of the Co. our reg’t had fallen back since time and there we were two posts of our Co. Chadwicks and mine and all of Co. D to the left of us and we formed in line of skirmishing and commenced to fall back. We soon came in sight of the causeway across the marsh and there saw our reg’t double quicking across the other end of the causeway and the rebels on the other side trying to head them off, but they were just a little too late but down came the cavalry on to the causeway and we were cut off for sure so the Capt. commanded “by the right flank march” and we started for a clump of trees nearer the river. At the same time we were commanded to “fire bayonets” we marched down to get under the fire of the gun boats. The rebel cavalry guessed our intentions and just fired a volley at us but no one was hit. Just then the gunboats spied our situation and fired over our heads right into the midst of the cavalry which made a scattering among them. We had a Lieut. in Co. D who had been on the signal corps and he took out his handkerchief and signalled to the gun boats our situation. We staid down there under there guns until the firing ceased when we started back and met the Col. with Co. A. out looking for us. We got back to the reg’t safe and sound and found that the rebs had be repulsed along the whole line. The rebel force that came down consisted of three reg’ts of Infantry, one of Cavalry and two batteries, they had just come down from Richmond to reinforce Charleston. Everything is as quiet now as if there had been no fighting this morning.
July 27th 1863—We are now in Morris Island, busy laying a siege to reduce Fort Sumpter and the other defences of Charleston. The rebels throw shell at us every day but cannot quite reach our camp but when we go in picket to the front, they make it rather lively for us. The last time the reg’t were at the front they were shelled all day and night by the rebs, but there was no one hurt but Lieut. Col. Leggett, he had a leg shot off by a shell. I was not with thme being sick at the general hospital on Folly Island with a fever. While I was there our forces made a charge on Fort Wagner and were repulsed with a loss of 1500 killed and wounded. The next they suspended hostilities and the Maj. & Chaplain were cruising around when they were taken prisoners and are now in Charleston. In my last letter I told you about the fight in James Island. Well! that night we evacuated the Island and our Co. was left behind to watch the movements of the enemy and while there I was taken sick and had to be carried to camp in a stretcher. We proceeded across Cole Island and there took a canal boat in a drenching rain and went up the creek back of Folly Island. The next morning we landed and the Dr. gave me a pass to come along as I could but I did not go far before I had to ly down and there a Major of the 4th N. H. found me and had me taken to his Reg’t Hospital and cared for me through a fever of some kind, I was unconcious for 3 days and from there was removed to the general hospital. They will have the seige ready to open in a few days and then the rebs in Fort Sumpter will get a more peppering than they gave Anderson and his men.
July 29th 1863—The rebs continue to shell our fatigue party’s and pickets but the seige gives steadily on. We lose some men every day but our average loss is far less than at Vicksburg. The gunboats are bombarding Fort Wagner today and they are making The sand and dirt fly around the Fort at a great rate. The report today is that Rosecrans has driven Bragg into Charleston and there seems to be a large force in James Island. The rebs tried to build a battery in our rear but the gunboats opened on them and drove them out. Our reg’t is badly used up. Col. Otis is sick and has gone home. The Lieut Col. has lost his right leg, the Major is sick and over half of the reg’t are in the sick list. The Chaplain & Major are prisoners in Charleston and the reg’t is now under the command of Capt. Goodyear of Co. C. There has been some sergeants sent home to get new recruits for the reg’t. I went over to the 54th Mass. (colored) last evening and heard thme singing some new patriotic songs and one of them was praying in his tent that the sons of Africa might be free and raised upon a level with the other men.
Aug. 4th 1863—On this Island we still remain, carrying in the seige slowly but at great sacrifice of physical endurance. We have not force enough here. Our force is too small that it is wearing the men all out. They can not give the men relief long enough at a time, but there are reinforcements expected soon. The seige will probably be completed in about two weeks and then soon after that you may expect to hear of the fall of Fort Sumpter for we can bore her through and through from where our guns are placed.
We have several 100 pound rifles parrot guns and some 200 pound parrots and one 300 lb. rifle parrot, all mounted besides this, there are several guns of smaller caliber such as 30 lb. rifle parrots and several ten inch mortars and others of different size. Then we have what the boys call a mosquito, battery, that has a gun, that has been exhibited in Hartford that is to repel any charge of the enemy. There are fatigue party’s kept at work on the intrenchments night and day from the different reg’ts and the rebs keep shelling them constantly without doing much damage. The shells in the night make quite a pyrotetchinc display but we are getting so we know how to look out for them now, whenever we see a shell coming from any point, themas on watch sings out “Cover from such a point” if it is Fort Sumpter he sings out “cover vs. then the men dive into bombproofs and behind saved bags or anything that offers protection until the shell has struck or exploded and then we come out and go to work again. We don’t hear any word from the Chaplain and Adjuntant. The navy off the bar captured a steamer that was trying to run the blockade, she had 24 guns (english Whitworth) which the rebs were going to put on Fort Sumpter but now we propose to put them on the seige and let her have the shells from the mouth of them. This island is all sand and it is very hot here, but we have a good beach here for surf bathing and we improve it too. It is surprising to see the change that has come over the feelings of the men towards the colored soldiers since our fight on James Island, they are willing to be brigaded with them now. There has been some of the Lutlets put on the intrenchments at work for charging high prices to the men for their goods.
Aug. 5, 1863—I was over at the 54th Mass. reg’t and heard them sing patriotic and sentimental songs. They have some splendid singers among them. The serg’t Major of that reg’t is the son of Fred Douglass. It is reported that the Col. of the 56th N. Y. with a part of his men were captured last night by the rebs. I don’t know how true it is. We are being reinforced by troops from Va. and up that way. There is a report that Rosecs are coming up in the rear of Charleston, but I cannot swallow that. I think that before they oen the seige that they intend to have mortars and guns enough mounted to them, 10 tons of iron into the rebel forts a minute, which will make them quake some I guess. When the darkies were singing last night some of the white troops were sitting on the sand hills above camp and every-time they sung a song the boys on the hills would clap their hands.
Aug. 21st, 1863—We are in this island yet. battering away at the rebel fortifications. I don’t know as I can write you much news about the doings here as we have been cautioned against sending news worth about the plans here, but I will say that the side of Fort Sumpter facing this way is all battered to pieces. It looks like a heap of ruins from here. Our reg’t has been on picket for the last two weeks out in the marshes between Fort Johnson and our intrenchments. The mosquitoes here are more numerous than the enemy’s shells. We can see the shells in the night from the moment they leave the gun until they strike. The rebs are firing mostly mortar shells and they come along so lazily that I could tell quite a story before they get over here. We have become so used to them now that we can tell very easily where they are going to strike before they get here. The seige was opened on the 17th and is now progressing finely. The rebs are building battery’s on James Island that annoy our pickets a great deal, but no one has been hurt yet. The Col. went North soon after I got here from the Hospital and the general impression is that he will stay there at the Conscript Camp rather than come back here again. They have just buried a Lieut. of Artillery, that was killed by an explosion of a shell from his own gun. Our banner went with the procession. Funerals are an every day occurence here.
Aug. 26th 1863 — We have had several showers during the past two or three days, which have cooled the atmosphere considerably. I’ve been down here in camp sich with fever and ague for a few days, but expect to go up to the front again as soon as they will let me. Our seige is progressing well. We have deserters come in every day. Our approaches are pushed forward into the very ditch of Fort Wagner and last night the 24th Mass. made a charge on the rebs and took 70 or 80 prisoners, all N. C. troops and they all seemed glad to get in too. Fort Sumpter is completely silenced. We have a battery built away out into the marsh towards James Island, which the men have christened the Marsh Hen Battery and they have mounted a 200 lb. Parrot gun in it which they have named the Swamp Angel; they have already fired shells into Charleston from it. The first night they fired in we could hear the city bells ringing the alarm. The solemn dirge can be heard played by some band as they escort some poor soldier to his last resting place and mingled with the sounds of music can be heard the sudden roar of the big guns on our seige and the rebel battery is on James Island. But this is an every day occurrence so we don’t mind it now.
Aug. 30th—We are still on Morris Island and have had considerable rainy weather and somewhat cooler than it was the fore part of the month. Night before last I was on guard at the magazine and there I saw them bring bbl. after bbl. of powder; some of it was some (sixty lbs.) they put into cartridge for the 200 pounders, 16 lbs. to a cartridge. There were some deserters came in from Fort Johnson to where our camp were on picket. Our boys went out in a boat and brought them over the creek. They were darkies. They tell some big stories. They say that some of our shells fired from the swamp battery (called swamp angel) went into the city and went through some of the houses, and one of the shells burst over Beauregards carriage while riding out and the horses ran away but he was not hurt, for the reason I suppose that he was born to be hung. Fort Sumpter is all battered to pieces, but the rebs keep the rebel flag flying on it. But the deserters say that there are only about 30 men in the fort just to fire a gun occasionally and keep the flag flying so that we may know that they are there yet.
We cannot get to it until Fort Wagner & battery B. of this Island are taken, when that will be I cannot tell, but they keep battering away at them all the time, keeping them pretty well silenced. Today is Sunday but that is no different from any other day here, for they have kept up a heavy firing all day and at this moment the loud roar of the heavy guns can be heard from both sides. So much for Sunday here.
Sept. 6th 1863—Fort Sumpter is completely silenced we get no reply from her at all now. When Charleston will fall I cannot say but tis sure to fall some time for we have a position here that nor force that they can bring against us can dislodge us. We are getting our parallells nearer every day to Fort Wagner and they will soon be near enough to make the final assault. Our reg’t or a part of it, has been to the front for a month or more. The other part has been in camp at the lower end of the island. We moved our camp day before yesterday about 10 rods from where it was, but I don’t think that we have bettered it much if any in fact, it is all alike, dry hot white sand.
Sept. 13th–Well, I suppose that you have heard the news about Forts Wagner & Battery Gregg being taken. We took it without losing a man and that is about all there was to it. with our reg’t in the lead in the charge along with the 24th Mass. but when they got there, there was no one at charge upon for the rebels had all fled from the fort to the tune of skedaddle. They made thier escape in boats so that only captured about 80 prisoners, but we are in possession of the whole island. The flag on Fort Sumpter still waves defiantly, they keep about 400 men there to repel any assault which they can easily do as there is no way of approach except by boats. Our reg’t strated for there in boats two or three nights ago, the mariners got there just as we came in to the harbor and were repulsed with heavy loss so we had to turn back. The other day I witnessed a heavy bombardment of Fort Monltrie on Sullivans Island by our Ironclads, they made the dirt fly and set fire to several buildings and so it has been so ever since we came here. I have got so now I think I should be lonesome if I did not hear cannons aroaring once in a while. Our reg’t came off from picket yesterday. Deserters come in about every day from Ga. and N. C. reg’ts and they say half of the army would come in if they could get a chance.
Sept. 15th 1863—We are doing little here now, except fortifying and strengthening the forts that we captured. Fort Sumpter is practically reduced, but they still keep their flag flying. We have considerable fatigue and picket duty to do now.
Sept. 22d 1863—We are not much in the fighting line now, but plenty of fatigue and picket and picket too much for our health, we are out some where most every night on one or the other & the men are getting played out, The other night we went out on picket at our old place in the marsh. I was detailed to go in a boat on picket. We went up the creek and rowed out into the harbor above Fort Sumpter and then landed on Capt. Paynis dock, so called because he was captured there by the rebs about two months ago. We went after dark and stayed until just before day light and then got into the boat and came away. There was very little firing that night. We passed the marsh battery on our return and was challenged by the sentinel there.
Sept. 30 1863—I cannot write much this time as I have got to go to the front on grand guard. Col. Joe Hawley of the 7th Conn. has command of our Brigade now. Stephenson has gone home. We don’t appear to be doing much towards taking Charleston at present but I suppose that there will be lively times before long. We have been in hopes of being sent off somewhere to recruit a little. All the men that we can muster for duty and of the reg’t is 150. There are other reg’ts here who have five times as many men for duty who are being sent off to recruit. The 24th Mass. is going to night but we have got to stay here because we have no one to look after us. I should think that if Col. Otis thought anything of the reg’t that he would come back and use his influence to get us some rest for we are all wornout. The reg’t is now under the command of a Capt. who will do all he can for us but his influence is not great enough.
Oct. 4th 1863—Last night I was on picket in the 5th parallell by Fort Wagner and we had not been there long before the rebs commenced shelling us from Fort Johnson and a James Island battery with their large mortar shells. Once I was sitting down out side of the bomb proof when a shell burst over head and a piece of it struck in the sand close beside of me, nearly burying me in sand. I dug the piece up and it weighed about six lbs. I looked out after that to get into the bomb proof in time. They kept shelling us at intervals all night the pieces flying all around and the explosions making the ground shake. We came down to camp early this morning.
Oct. 7th 1863—I came off from grandguard this morning we were on gurad at Fort Gregg close to Fort Sumpter. I could see her walls all battered to pieces. And could also see Forts Moltrie, Ripley and Castle Pinkney and the whole city with its houses, steeples and wharves soon to be lighted up with Greek fire. Fort Gregg is the place where the first gun was fired at our flag. We did not have nay roll call night before last; hence I retired early. I had not been long asleep when one of my tent mates awoke me and said that we were attacked. I can’t see it said I and turned over to go to sleep again when he said don’t you hear those guns? No; I replied, well come out side here and you will said he. I got up went out and as soon as I stepped out of the tent, I could hear small arms popping way over on the beach it it seemed; before I could make up my mind what it was, an officer of the 7th Conn. ran up into one of the sand knolls in front of our camp and shouted out turn out the 10th and then the long roll began to beat in the different reg’ts and the artillery bugles to blow, and all was hurry & excitement. I know then that there was something wrong somewhere, so I rushed into the tent and got my gun and accoutrements and in less time than ten minutes we feel in and out on to the beach, ready for the enemy. After all of the reg’ts. were out we were all marched back to camp everything having become quiet. The next day we found out what it was it was on th the water. The rebs came down in surf boats and surronded the Ironsides and kept up a fire of small arms at her to keep the gunners in and then one of the boats rowed up along side and did no harm to the Ironsides whatever, The rebs then hastened back to Sullivans Island but not without some loss.
Oct. 12th 1863 — There is little going on now. We are still at work on Forts Wagner & Gregg, putting up guns and building bombproofs, meanwhile Forts Moultrie and Johnson keep a continual fire on our works doing some damage but not as much as you would think. There were 19 men killed and wound in Forts Gregg & Wagner the other day but that was the greatest loss that we have had at any one time since the taking of the Forts. Our reg’t has been to the front as often as any other reg’t yet we have nto lost a man since Leiggett was wounded One man in Co. C. had both legs shattered at the ankle so that both had to be amputated. It was caused by the carelessness of a man snapping a cap in his piece in the Co. street. The man has been arrested. I went up to Wager yesterday with a fatigue party to work on the fort and stayed there all day. The rebs kept throwing rifle shot and shell and mortar shell in there all the time we were there, as soon as we left they stopped firing until the night squad got to work them they would commence again. We cared little for the rifle shots but the mortar shells would make a lively shedaddle for the bombproofs. They are going to putt guns on to Gregg to shell the city as it is nearer than the swamp angel. Charleston is a doomed city.
Oct. 1863—We are still on Morris Island and I don’t know as we shall ever get off from it again until Charleston is taken. The 7th Conn. has gone today and we are the only Conn. reg’t left. We had Brigade inspection yesterday and all the men that could turn out for duty was 72 privates and about 20 commissioned officers and 7 or 8 commissioned the rest were all in the sick list.
St. Augustine, Nov. 2d, 1863 — We left Morries island on the 26th of Oct. and are in camp here. The batteries being finished they opened fire on Sumpter, Monltrie and Johnson, the afternoon of the day that we left doing pretty good execution on Sumpter. We sailed away at about five o’clock P. M. arriving at Hiltin Head at ten there we changed boats and stayed there until late in the P. M. of yesterday. We left there at 4 in the P. M. and reached Fernandina staying there two days, we went ashore one day. It is a very pleasant place. We sailed from there and arrived here day before yesterday. Our camp is pitched behind on Old Spanish Fort. There are thousands of oranges growing here and many pretty Spanish girls also.
Nov. 11th 1863—This is a pleasant and very healthy place. It is the oldest Spainish town in the N. S. Day before yesterday I went down to the barracks that Gen. Scott – built in the time of the Seminole war. I than went up to the fort and looked at it. The 24th Mass. occupy the fort and barracks. This fort was commenced in 1690 finished in 1756; here is where the British confined so many American prisoners at the time of the Revolution. They showed me a place were the Indian chief Wild Cat got out.
Nov. 13th 1863—I go on picket tomorrow and expect to have command of an artillery piece that is there as I have every other time that I have been on so that now I am quite and artilleryist. Henry Grey is not expected to live until morning.
Nov. 21st 1863—I went down town last night to the theatre at the barracks. The 24th Mass gave the play. I thought it not worth much. There were several young ladies there which interested me more. I hear that Col. Otis is coming on the next boat and hope that it is so. Henry Grey is dead and buried in the cemetery down town.
Nov. 24th 1863—Today we had a review by Brig. Gen. Seymour and Adj. Gen. Shrague of N. Y. We have dress parade on the Plaza every night in front of the Catholic Church.
Nov. 29th 1863—Our Thanksgiving here was rather slim with less to eat that day than usual. They had a theatre down town in the P. M. and a concert in the evening. They have theatres here twice a week. The boat that came in today brought the news that Burnside was whipped and driven back into Knoxville which looks bad. I saw in a paper of the 7th that our old Gen. Foster is expected to take command of the army of the Potomac. If he does there will be something done.
Dec. 11th 1863—The mail came in today, also Co. Otis but I have not seen him yet.
Dec. 15th 1863—A boat came in yesterday that brought the Chaplain. He came up to camp with the Col. and the boys all turned out and gave hime three cheers. He made a prayer on dress parade last night and is looking as natural as ever. A scouting party went out today after cattle, but returned without very good luck. They have been out at other times and returned with 20, 30, 40, or 50 head of cattle. Deserters come in here nearly every day from Bragg’s army, they say that he is completely demolished and the men are all deserting as fast as they can. We hope to hear good news from Gen. Burnside and our old Gen. Foster before long.
Dec. 17th 1863—The Paymaster has come and I expect that we shall get paid off tomorrow. There are great inducements here for us to reenlish $400 down and 30 days furlough Saturday afternoon the Chaplain is going to relate his adventures in Dixie land to the reg’t. I expect it will be very interesting.
Dec. 29th 1863—Its all excitement here now about reenlisting but I don’t thing that I shall be one of them. I don’t care to go home until I can go a free man at liberty to go and come when I choose.
Jan. 7th 1864 — Mail in last night. The boys are all reenlisting. The greater part of our Co. has making 250 out of the reg’t. Luiet. Col. Leggett came on this boat. He looks as natural as every except being in crutches. When on horse back you cannot tell which his cork leg is. they gave him three cheers when he came up to camp.
Jan. 3d 1864—Last week Wednesday the wood choppers went out side of the lines to get some wood and a guard of armed went with them to protect them against rebel cavalry in case they should come down. As soon as they got to the out posts Corp. Wrisley of our Co. with six men was sent in advance and the rest followed in the rear, with the wagons to bring the wood in. They proceeded in this order until the advance guard had reached the placer where they were to chop the wood when the rear guard was fired upon from an ambush in the rear of the advance guard. The boys tried to rally for defense but the Lieut. from the 24th Mass. who was in command was shot with a man in Co. G. of our reg’t, the first thing so there was no one to command. The cavalry came charging down on them and after firing a few gun shots they broke and every man for himself. Then the rebels picked them up singly and in squads. They were all captured but seven or eight. There was a Corp and three men detailed out of our company. Corp. Edward Risley; private Lanford Darker, F. Wells Post and Geo. Hodge, the last one escaped by hiding in the bushes. There were 21 men taken prisoners our of our reg’t one man killed. A Lieut. severely wounded and three men taken prisoners out of the 24th Mass. Our reg’t and the 24th Mass were on brigade drill down below the N. S. barracks when the army wagon came driving on to the ground in hot haste with the news that put a stop to all drill for that day and our reg’t took up the march for the scene of action. As we marched through the city the band played a lively quick step. The inhabitants rushed to the doors and windows with affrighted faces. Arriving at our camp we stacked arms and awaited orders, none came, hence we took our guns went to our quarters. The names of the men in our Co. taken prisoners were Corp. Edward Wrisley of Glastenbury, F. Wells, Port of Andover and Sanford Parker of Coventry.
Jan. 13th 1864—The barrels of eatables that the ladies of Manchester sent to our Co. arrived today nothing was spoiled everything was in good condition as when it started. The bbs. were opened and divided equally among the Co. There was a loaf of frosted cake to each tent. There six bbs. including the one sent to the hospital. We had just go the camp fixed up with new tents when the bbls. came. I hear by this mail that Wm. Chadwick has died at the New Haven Hospital. He was our Orderly Sargeant.
Jan. 23d 1864—I went into the Cong. church and played on the instrument there. I’ve been invited to play the organ for them Sunday and I think That I shall. The boys that were taken prisoners and say that they have been treated well. Thirty six recruits came on the boat with the mail for our reg’t.
Jan. 31st 1864—Not much news. Deserters are coming in about every day from the rebels and a great many of them are enlisting into a cavalry Co. that is being raised for scouting. Today we had an inspection of guns by one of Gen. Gilmores Staff and there is a rumor about camp that we are going to Hilton head bit I do not accredit it.
Feb. 10th 1864 — The veterans go home tomorrow or the next day. There is an expedition fitting out in this state for some purpose. I don’t know whether we shall be connected with it or not. Deserters are coming in every day in squads of 10 to 20. The last squad that came in had a fight with the rebel cavalry before they got in. They were a hard looking set, por’ tall and thin, straight as a candle and not much larger around. They looked to be about starved.
Feb. 23d 1864—We have just returned from a dangerous march. Came in yesterday. We left here with 40 men on the 19th at 8 o’clock A. M. and marched across the country 18 miles to a place called Picolala, on the St. James River, which we reached about 3 o’clock in the P. M. and took possession of that large place which comprises a hotel built of logs, a Post Office, about the size of a hen coop, a small barn and a rickety old wharf. These were all there was to be seen at Piccolala. We took up our quarters in the hotel. One fellow making his bunk in an old tin bath tub. I was on picket the first night and the next day we went to work building up a block house to defend ourselves in but did not get it under much headway. Sunday we worked on it a little and on Monday the gun boat that lay in the stream to protect us left for Jacksonville. In the P. M. another boat came up the river and landed at our wharf with the news of Gilmore’s defeat at Ohuster and two despatches, one for Col. Otis at St. Augustine and the other for Capt. Quime who had command of us which upon opening was orders for us to leave for St. Augustine as quickly as we could while the gen boats went up the river to keep away any rebel cavalry from crossing and gobbling us up. What to do we did not know! for we had alot of baggage and no teams to draw it, except one small cart, that would not carry one half of them. The Capt. sent some of the boys about a mile from there to get a team of one of the citizens. Two men were pressed into the service with their teams. We loaded them all down and then had to leave some behind meanwhile Lieut. Peck took the Capt’s horseand hurried on to St. Augustine with the despatch for Col. Otis. We got ready about 8 o’clock at night putting on our knapsacks started for St. Aug. with an all night march before us for we knew that if we stayed until morning that we should be liable to be captured until after morning 8 miles we met Lieut. Peck with teams from St. Aug. We put our knapsacks and things into the Court House where we received a ration of whiskey. We are now stopping in the Fort. The 24th Mass. having gone. There are only about 150 available men left here to garrison this place.
March 2d 1864—We are encamped in the outer ditch that surrounds Fort Marion. Our tents are pitched I the shape of a triangel for that is the way the ditch runs. The officers tents forming the bace of the triangle. Since the veterans have gone home our duty has been quite hard. I have to go on guard every other day either on provost or picket. At the west of the city (where I was on picket a week ago today) nine contrabands came in to my post (or as near as they could there being a creek between us and them.) They all took off their hats and made a very low bow to me. I then asked them what was wanting, they replied that they wanted to come in. After inquiring where they came from they said Gainesville. I asked some other questions which one man answered, the rest looking on with fear and trembling, I told them to stay there and I would send for them, the Provost Martial. I then sent one of the men after him and he soon rode up in his horse and told them to wait until after guard mounting, then he would bring them over. I saw them afterward and a happy looking fellows they were. One of them said to me that he felt like a free man now and he was going to try to be worthy of it. He had already enlisted in the S. C. colored reg’t with all the others within an hour after they got in. There is a report that all of the old three years men that did not reenlist would be discharged in June, but I do not accredit it much.
March 7th 1864 — We are now doing Garrison duty in this place (St. Aug.) I am in guard about every other day and we have to drill on heavy artillery every day in Fort Marion. We have practised some on firing the pieces at a target about a mile off on the water and made some pretty good shots and we think now that we could give the rebs a pretty good reception if they should venture down here to try to take the place, Col. Otis’s wife and two boys arrived on this steamer, also Capt. Webbs’ wife and boy. They were all out tonight to see our dress parade.
March 14th 1864 — The mail came in yesterday but no letter for me. We hear that the veterans at home are going to be attached to Gen. Burnside’s expedition and some think we shall stay here until our time is out others think that we shall go and join Burnside. We are on guard every other day either on Fort Provost or Picket and the day that we are off we have to drill on the big guns in the Fort, the last time that I was on picket a deserter came into my post who said that he had got tired of fighting. So I sent him down to the Provost Martial’s office and there he took the oath of allegiance.
April 5th 1864 — We are all doing well here with the exception of having a great deal of Military duty to do. We heard today that we were to join the veterans at Washington or Annapolis to go in Burnsides expedition. Also that there was fighting going on up the St. Johns river. We had guessed as much for we could hear the heavy guns here. The Steam Transport “Maple Leaf” was blown up by a rebel torpedo. They are making preparations for a big fight, up at Jacksonville. They expect an attack every day. The Orange trees are in full bloom here and they fill the whole atmosphere with their fragrance.
April 15th 1864 — A boat come in today but it brought no mail it is now two weeks since we have had one. Eighty-five cavalry men came in yesterday with about 200 horses to make a stop here. (They came from Palatka on the St. John River). They have evacuated that place, the infantry all going to Jacksonville. The Chaplain has been giving us a sermon on our duty, which he says is to go to the front and join our brethren in Va. We don’t quite see the point. We have had glory enough without begging the privilege for more. His text was “Shall ye sit here while your brethren go to war?” we rather think we shall, unless we get orders to go from higher authority than himself. The band is playing in the parapet of the fort and I shall have to go out and listen.
Gloucester Point—Va. April 27th 1864—We left St. Augustine on Monday the 18th on board of the Rappahannock and reached Hilton Head on Tuesday and sailed up to Beaufort S. C. The next day we went on board of the Mary A. Boardman and sailed down to H. H. again. The following day, left for Fortress Monroe and reached there on Monday the 24th. On the 25th we sailed up Yourk since this is the place we landed. Yesterday the veterans joined us we had quite a happy meeting. There is an army here of some forty or fifty thousand men. we are going up the peninsula and shall probably see some hard fighting.
April 29th 1864—On guard today. The recruits here are deserting at a great rate two of our reg’t last night and four of the 7th Conn. They are searching the woods for them now. The report is that two deserters are to be shot here today.
April 30th 1864—We have just got in from a great review by Gen. Butler. We formed the line at 12:30 o’clock and reached camp at 6:30. Gen Butler rode down the line, then we all passed in review each reg’t marching by divisions down in front of the stand where the Gen. and his staff stood. It was a grand sight to see them passing with marital music, Brigade after brigade passing by the artillery coming last. It was quite late when the last had passed the stand. We had to go without our dinner and that wasn’t grand. It was so dusty that every one looked like a chacoal peddler when we arrived in camp.
May 1st 1864—It has been raining all day, no drills review or inspection. The picket that went out yesterday have just returned looking like drowned rats. The camp around here looks funny now, none of the tents over three feet high and just the length of our bodies. We have to crawl in on our hands and knees when we back out and stand up we are looking down and over the dwelling places of thousands of men.
Deep Bottom Va. May 11th 1864 — We left Gloucester Point on the 4th. We went aboard transports there and sailed up the river quietly for half a mile or so and then came to an anchor and there remained until after dark, when I turned in and went to sleep and when I got up in the morning I found that we had come down the river in the night instead of going up as we expected for we supposed that West Point was our destination. We were all ready past Fortress Monroe and sailing up the James river, and kept sailing until night when we reached a point about 15 miles below Richmond and then commenced to land. We got ashore about one o’clock in the morning and at 9 o’clock we started in the march, keeping it up until sundown, when we reached this point and stopped that night and dug intrenchments. The next day (the 7th) we had orders to march again so we strapped on our things except knapsacks, (we were ordered to leave those) We had not gone far before we heard the sounds of strife. We were deployed into the woods and form there we marched down to a road in the right flank of the enemy, the sound of strife growing louder and louder all the time. We followed this road down a steep hill and came on to the main road to Richmond. Here the bullets began to fly and the shell to scram over our heads. We tore down a telegraph wire runing along the road to Richmond, also the railroad running parellel to the road; this we tore up for a long distance and destroyed other things. We did this while the other brigades drove the enemy across the railroad and up the hill on the other side. After doing the work assigned to us we started on the march back. passed a saw mill in flames. After getting to the top of the thill we formed a line of battle in an open field where we could look across the valley and soon saw a sight that was quite interesting to us and that was other than some rebels with brass guns running out of the woods, on to the opposite hill and an officer mounted pointed his sword in our direction, but before they fired one of our batteries down in the valley by the railroad sighted them and sent a shot that went ploughing the dirt right under the gun; the rebs limbered up their pride and got back into the woods, as quickly as they could. We then marched back to camp which we moved to the other side of the road from where it was. The next morning we moved again to a place near the banks of the James river where our camp is now. The night that we went on picket the post next to me fired at something twice. The next morning we were attacked by the enemy, but a brigade of our men passed out through the picket line and engaged the enemy. Our men got the best of the fight, through the day. Once we were ordered to leave the picket line and go down on the right to where there was a road running through a deep ravine, close to James river to prevent a threatened flank movement form the enemy. We concealed ourselves on either side on the rivine close to James river to prevent any force coming up the road would find themselves attacked in both the front and rear by an unseen foe. But they never came, and its lucky for them that they did not. The next morning the fight commenced again fresh, the rebs having received reinforcements but they got handled worse than the day before we sent them back into their intrenchments and there they stayed. Both armies are now facing each other neither in possession of the field. We came off from picket last night and today are in camp, but no telling how long we shall be. Reports are numerous. One that Gen. Grant has telegraphed that if we will hold out today he will send us 20,000 reinforcements another that the force we were fighting yesterday was the advance of Lee’s retreating colums. Grant is after him.
May 17th 1864—Last Thursday we were ordered out and took up the line of march for the front. We soon came into the vicinity of the sound of booming cannon and rattling musketry, when we halted and stayed there all night without coming under fire. In the morning we started on the march again through woods and swamps, piloted on by a rebel citizen until sometime in the P. M. when he brought us up in the rear of the rebel line of earth works which we immediately charged and took in less than 20 minutes. Our reg’t rushed up the road in cloumn of fours to support our battery. The rebs fired shot-shell into our ranks pretty lively, but hurt only two or three and those slightly, most if not all being hurt by one shell, that burst on the parapet, just as we were coming up the brow of the hill. The pieces came flying through the ranks one piece hitting a fellow in ths stomack in front of me. Another piece struck a fellow in his gun named Shields behind me as he carried it to the right shoulder shift. It tore the barrel out of the stock. The stock came around against his chin with such force as to make it black and blue. The barrel went whizzing over the heads of our Co. hitting another mans gun name Folley; bending the end of that barrel and finally sending by doubling itself around Derning Shermans’ neck turning him a complete summersault into the ditch. Our battery then opened and pid them off with interest. We then went inside of the works and there I saw our Chaplain go down on his hands and knees before a cannon ball that came bounding over the works. We went on picket that night and the next morning the fight commenced again in earnest. We were ordered down to the support of the 24th Mass; which we did staying there the most of the day, the bullets flying over our heads all the time. In the afternoon we were ordered over on to the left to support two pieces of the Conn. Battery and keep the guns silenced on a rebel earth work. We marched across the Railroad into a piece of woods and there we lay down sending two or three company’s forward as sharp shooters at a time. It soon came our turn to go out The boys had silenced the enemy’s gun when we arrived. We took their places and managed to keep the gunners down as soon as one got up in the parapet to load his piece, we would let him have and could see him drop his rammer throw up his hands and fall over into the fort. We stayed there until dark and then withdrew. I fired 7 rounds. We were not disturbed that night much. The next day there was some skirmishing but no general engagement. Our reg’t lay still that day and night. In the morning we were attacked along the whole line. Our reg’t was ordered first here and then there. We had the task of supporting the whole line all at once. There was a heavy fog under cover of which the rebs made repeated charges but were as often repulsed with great slaughter. The 18th army corps had been flanked and their center pierced so we had orders from Gen. Butler to fall back. Soon our reg’t was ordered in to cover the retreat of the division in our front. The Col. says “forward” and up on to a rise of ground in the cornfield we marched and there saw the rebs charging out of the woods in close pursuit of our men. We opened fire on them at once with such effect as to drive them back. We then sent one Co. out in advance and they picked up a lot of prisoners. Then we were ordered back and just as we had taken up the line of march to the rear our Adj. now joined us back from a rebel prison being hailed with three cheers. We made a stan here and then all they way back to where we started from on Friday morning and there we made a halt. But we did not stay there long before we were ordered forward to cover the retreat of the remmant of the 18th army corps. We took up a position to the left of a road when a rebel battery opened on us and sent the shell flying about us in a lively manner wounding two. We stayed there until our men were al lin then we fell back gradually. We were the last reg’t to come in. It was 8 o’clock at night when we got into camp. I don’t know what our loss was we lost some artillery and about the whole of Heckmans brigade was gobbled up. We only lost one man killed out of our Co. and that was John Loveland. He has his head taken off with a cannon ball, the same ball took another mans gun out of his hand bruising his hand some. A piece of the stock to the gun, hit another fellow in another Co. in the back.
May 21st 1864—I received a letter form you yesterday while we were standing behind the breast works to repel the attack of the rebs if they came on to us. There was a battle going on at the front, where the pickets were. We expected to see them coming in every minute followed by the rebs, but they did not as they managed to hold their own against every effort of the enemy for a number of charges but our boys were finally driven out of their rifle pits, but some reinforcements were sent out from out intrenchments and charged them in turn and drove them back again with great loss. They captured one brigadier, Gen. Walker who was brought into our intrenchments in a rubber blanket, he was badly wounded in the thigh. He was a handsome looking man. At night we went on picket. Our Co. and Co. G. went out in advance of the reg’t into the rifle pits here and the reb’s will have to do tall fighting to get us out of them and if they do they will find a still stronger line of works behind us of forts, ditches, stockades and all kinds of obstacles know to military science. Here we could defy the whole southern Confederacy. Our line of fortifications extend from the James to the Appomattoe river and gun boats are in both flanks. Our Camp is on the extreme right of the line.
May 23rd 1863—We are lying in camp today. Night before last the rebs attacked our lines about 12 o’clock at night. We were routed out and took our stations behind the breast works. We could hear the musketry rattling at a great rate in the woods beyond. The roar of the cannon and the scream of the shell and distant yell of the rebs made night hideous. The rebs were repulsed and we slep behind the breast works that night. Yesterday we worked on the intrenchments all day and last night we rested all night without being routed out once, which was something unusual. Col. Otis had command of the picket line yesterday. He found the stench from the dead rebels was so offensive that the men could not stay there. He reported it to Gen. Ferry who had a flag of truce sent out for the rebs to bury their dead. I suppose that they have done it by this time. Today everything is quiet. We hear that Grant has made another move and driven Lee. The monitors gave the rebs a good shelling yesterday.
May 26th 1864 — I still live but have had a pretty narrow escape since I last worte to you which was int the following way. Last Monday night we went out on the Picket line into the rifle pits (Sherman Alger) as videttes to relieve a corporal and one man already there. About 11 o’clock the captain came out with two other men (Denis Mahoney and Tom Neugent) and said that there were orders from head quarter, to send scouts out along the whole line to ascertain what was going on as there was a good deal of moving in the rebel camp and the belief was that the rebs were evacuating their lines and he wanted me to take the three men there and reconnoitre the enemys works. I said that I would. The captain then said push on through until you come to their works and then examine them carefully and come back and report. “If you are fired upon. I will reserve our fire until you get in.” He then went back to the Co. and we advanced in skirmish line into the woods. We moved from one tree to another, stopping every little while to listen. At last Dennis Mahoney said that he could hear someone ahead. I told him that I thought it were men from the other company’s. As the rest objected to going any further, I said we would try and draw fire from the rebs and then that would prove whether they were our not and it would give us an excuse for returning. So Dennis threw a club through the trees in the direction of the rebs and made a rustling of the brush but no response, so I determined to advance again. After going some distance on our hand and knees, through the brush, Dennis stopped and said that he heard someone stepping on the twigs; a little to my right, so I hurried back to Dennis and just as I got there a rebel picked who was within a few feet of us fired at me as I stood there. Dennis was lying down behind me. I dropped down beside of him when a picket to the left fired. I saw that we were discovered, so I knew our only chance was to run for it, so I jumped up and ran all the pickets firing at me. I made the best time I knew how in the dark, I fell twice getting tripped up by the under brush. When I picked myself up the second time all of our own pickets were blazing into us. There I was between two fires and what to do I did not know. I threw myself down behind a tree from our boys and sang out “cease firing” but there was such a fusilade now that I could not make myself heard. I just then saw Sherman Alger and Tom Nugent run across the road and jump into the vidette jut. so I followed in short order and there we lay the bullets zipping across the top of the pit until about 3 o’clock when the firing ceased. I then told the boys that we would try and get inside of the rifle pits. I went first and it somewhat surprised the boys to see me as they supposed that we were shot or taken prisoners. Dennis was already there, he never stopped any where until he got inside. The captain told me that he had given me up, when Dennis came in without me. During the fusilade the artillery on both sides joined in the rumpus. Day light was now breaking so I lay down and went to sleep. We stayed there that day and at night we were relieved and came back to camp.
May 31st 1864 — We are still here behind the breast works. We have a large number of guns mounted now; the works about 7 or 8 miles long and once in about a hundred yards there is a fort of from 2 to 8 guns with deep ditches in front while beyond that is tress fell in every direction. I have been on picket once since I worte you last but we never had and disturbance. The rebs were quite communincative, some wanted to exchange tobbacco for coffee, but their officers would not let them. We managed to exchange papers. Yesterday about 5 P. M. the rebel batterys all at once opened on us in full blast. We rushed for the breast works expecting an attack. Our battery’s replied and so did the gun boats in the James river so that taking them all together there was quite a roar of artillery. There were no infantry engaged. It was only an artillery duel which lasted about on to an hour, then ceased and we went back to our quarters. There was rapid and heavy firing heard to the north of yesterday some think that it is Grant some another army going up the peninsula and some the gun boats but whatever it is they have kept it up pretty well into the night and have commenced again this morning.
June 20, 1864—Night before last and yesterday we were on picket again. There was no disturbance durning the night. but yesterday morning about 3 o’clock the rebs opened their artillery and tried to shell us out of our rifle pits but they could not budge us an inch. The shell screamed and burst all around us. They had a regular cross fire on us. They came in all directions but we had good cover, so that not a man was hurt. We are 10 miles south of Richmond and Grant is so near on the north-side that we can hear his guns and have heard them for the three days and nights. Last night at about 9 p. m. we had quite an artillery duel. The rebs opened the ball and we all turned out to see it, expecting to have to fall in but we did not so we stood there in front of the camp and looked at the flashes of the guns and the firey streaks of the shells going through the air. This morning the rebs charge on our rifle pits. We were in camp having been relieved last night. I Was getting my coffee when I heard a yell towards our picket lines, then the rifles began to crack along the whole line. I sat down my coffee put on my equipments and we all fell in, in a hurry and went to the breast works remaining there all day some of the company’s going on fatigue. The rebs drove our boys out of the rifle pits and then our boys charge on them and took a part of them back again. The report tonight is that the rebs have evacuated the rest. The 7th Conn. lost 150 men taken prisoners along with their major. Our side took some 50 to 60 prisoners the most of them deserters though. We came back to camp tonight, but how long we shall stay there is no telling.
June 4th 1864—We are to go on picket again tonight. Night before last we were put on watch, down in the bottom of a deep wooded ravine darder than pitch, it rained all night we could see only the sky above us. The rebs have been quiet since there last charge. We have retaken the most of the line that they captured, we don’t care for the rest, because we were intending to move on back at that point as soon as we had fixed our works up a little more. Last night we could hear Grants guns firing rapidly.
June 8th 1864—We are going on picket again to-night to stay twenty four hours. In case we are attacked, while in camp our company has been assigned to an important position which is a Redan in front of our works and we are to hold it at all hazards. We shall do our best, but hardly think that we shall ever be put to the test.
June 11th 1864—When I last wrote you we were about going on picket, well we went on further to the left then usual the reason of this was because there were two brigades went out that night to make a raid in the Petersburg and Richmond railroad. They have returned successfully. Everything was all quiet that night on picket. At about 3 o’clock we could hear very rapid and heavy firing away on the left supposed to be the gun boats in the Appomattoe river. At about 9 o’clock A. M. the batteries in our rear began to throw shot and shell over our heads into the the rebel works. They kept it up for about half an hour before the rebs made any reply then the rebs opend making the rattling of the artillery from both sides deafening. The shells from both sides flew harmlessly over our heads, the firing lasted about two hours and then stopped and the Johnnies were communicative after that. They wrote on a piece of paper wound in around a bullet and threw it over to us informing us what reg’t they were, viz, the 22d S. C. They told us to hold fire and they would do the same. At night we were relieved and returned to camp.
June 14th 1864—The last time that we were in picket was Sunday and it was the stillest on that we have had since we have been here hardly a sound to be heard.
June 16th 1864 — Gen. Grant has crossed the river below here and is now in the rear of Petersburg and we expect to hear of it capture at any moment. Last night there was a good deal of commotion hear in the rebel lines in front of us and this morning is was found that they were evacuating their works in our front. The videttes advanced followed by the piches and they were soon inside of the rebel works taking some prisoners without scarcely a gun being fired. Our reg’t took about 30 prisoners. I was on the sick list and did not go, am feeling better now. We have had orders to have two days rations cooked up so it looks like an advance right off. The report here this morning is that Grant has taken Petersburg. There are several one hundred days reg’ts here from Ohio, that arrived the other day.
June 19th 1864—Everything is quiet today with the exception of two or three guns fired by the Monitors on the river Grant is banging away at Petersburg, its reported that he has taken it, but I don’t think that he wants to take it a present. I think that he wants to keep them in there and let them come out and attack him. The rebels are threatening our front all the time, but they can never break through here. The 6th corps. is with us now.
June 21st 1864—-Yesterday the reg’t had orders to cook two days rations and at 5 o’clock they fell in light marching order & started to the rear. They are going down the river some where. I did not feel well enough to go so I stayed in camp. We heard this morning that they closed the James river and that is all that we know about it but think that they are going to guard some supplies. Everything is quiet here with the exception of now and then a discharge from one of the guns on the gun boats.
June 22d 1864 — President Lincoln was here today. He rode along the lines here withing a short distance of our camp but I did not get a glimpse of him. There is not much talk here about the President, but most of the soldiers are of the opinion that Lincoln is the man.
Jones Neck — June 26th 1864 — I received a letter the other night while lying in the trench behind the breast work. The next morning we struck camp and loaded up the things on army wagons and started for the reg’t getting there in the afternoon and found them on the othere side of the James river opposite jones landing in a very nice place. We crossed over on a pontoon bridge. There is only our brigade here. We are near Malvern Hill & we find the rebs in front of us here as we did where we were last night, in fact we find them at the front of us go where we will. We are fortifying ourselves here and staking out our camps & shall probably make a long stay here. I hope so at least for there is a splendid spring of water here and we can go bathing in the river.
June 29th 1864—I received a letter yesterday while on picket today we are in camp. The rebs opened an artillery fire on the gunboats in the river. The Hunchback (the one that was with us in the Burnside expedition) was lying in the river opposite our camp. She opened fire on the rebs and soon silenced them It is all quiet now. The weather is quite warm here although the rain night before last has cooled the air some, it was the first rain that we have had for a month.
July 7th 1864—Last night the reg’t went on picket. I was on camp guard so did not have to go, but stayed in camp and had a good night rest. There was some firing up the river in the fore past evening. There are large fields of grain up and down the valley of this river and we have destroyed a great many acres of it. the other day there were three companies that went down the river and set fire to some large fields of wheat and brough back about seven hundred bushels of green corn. The report is that we are to be relieved by the 8th army corps. and report that we are going to Washington to garrison that place and do guard duty along the Baltimore & Ohio R.R. but I don’t believe it though.
July 15th 1864—There are a great many flying rumors about camp today; both good and bad. One is that Atlanta is takne and another that the rebs have taken the forts around Washington & captured two trains of cars. from Baltimore ladden with passengers & mail, also that there is a large riot in N. Y. City and that 1500 have been killed and wound.
July 17th 1964—We are still at Deep Bottom with some prospects of staying here. Yesterday Gen. Grant was here to look at our works. We have then nearly finished, I was on picket and did not see Gen. Grant. While we were on picket this morning the rebs opened two or three pieces of artillery on the gunboats and pontoon bridge several shots passing over my head into camp thru Lieut.’s tent and on through the cooks tent of Co. D. The cook was inside pairing potatoes but it did him no harm, but frightened him some. He came out of the tent as if he had been shot out. One shell burst on the deck of a gun boat, killing tow men and wounding seven others. After firing a few shots in return she put off down the river out of range. We still hear a great many rumors about the Maryland invasion. The report today is that the rebs have run 3,000 head of cattle across the Potomac. Today we have allowed to stay in camp on account of its being Sunday. This morning we were called out on parade to witness the drumming out of camp of 3 men in the 100th N. Y. for cowardice in the face of the enemy.
July 19th 1864—The reg’t is on picket today but I am in camp guard. Night before last we had a dispatch from Gen. Grant to be on the lookout as he expected the rebs would attack our position. We were up night before last and last night most of the night. Teams were carrying ammunition in the middle of the night up to the guns in the Redan. The rebs have not come yet but have moved their pickets nearer ours. We expect to move camp tomorrow to a place about 200 yards from here. They want to build a fort where we are not I believe. It is so warm here, that nice cold water right from the spring will be warm in less than 5 minutes after we have filled our canteens.
July 23rd 1864—Night before last we went out to advance our picket line nearer to the rebs. We advanced it about 500 yards nearer the enemy. The skirmishers had quite a lively exchange of shots for a few minutes but the enemy fell back in the end and we posted our pickets. The Chaplain and Adj. were going up the road at the same time and came very near getting shot for some of the Johnnie’s saw them and fired at them but them made good their retreat. We were relieved last night. Yesterday the 11th Maine went across the 4 mile creek and drove 600 rebs out of a battery that they were making there to shell our camp. The Maine boys hold it today, but the rebs sharp shooters are annoying them considerably. There are two gun boats and one Monitor shelling them all day. Some of the prisoners seem surprised to hear that we are going to have 500,000 more men this fall. One of them wanted to know if we had not got all our men into the field and some of the boys told him, that we had not begun to get them in yet, he seemed somewhat astonished at that.
July 27th 1864—I rec’d a letter from you this morning while on picket. I had it opened and was about to read it when the rebs opened fire on us and the bullets flew around in a way that was not at all agreeable, but as soon as I saw it was not advance, I sat behind a tree and read it thru. Night before last a reg’t of Zouares of the 19th corps were put on to a picket line on the other side of 4 mile creek, that the 11th Maine had established. They had only been on until about 10 O’clock P. m. when the rebs fired afew shots at them and the Zonares skedaddled and left there posts and the rebs after them capturing two comanies of them. Our reg’t and the 11th Me. had to go over in the morning and take it back again. We took a part of the line back and held it all night. In the morning their sharp shooters commenced picking at us again and it was at this time that I rec’d your letter. Soon after we were behind and relieved by the Zounares and then we found out that the 22d Corps, had come over during the nightand Sheiridans cavalry also. & soon after the 2d army corps came skirmishing thru the woods. During the night the rebs had brought down four 20 lbs, Armstrong guns and erected some earth works & just before we were relieved they opened on our men but they did not get a chance to give more than a dozen shots before two reg’ts of the 2d corps charge upon them making them leave their works in a hurry, leaving the Armstrong guns in our possession. Then our forces advanced & the cavalry went out on a raid I suppose. We were put on picket again until some time in the P. M. when we were relieved & went back to our camp where we are now. For the last 72 hours we have had very little sleep having been on the move all the time. Last Sunday we were in camp all day and the Chaplain held services in the forenoon, and preached a very good sermon.
Aug. 5th 1864—I received a letter from you yesterday while on picket. Everything has been passably quiet for the last two or three days. On August 1st we were on picket and just before we were relieved the rebs attacked our picket line in front of Co. K. of our reg’t but they were suprized to find our boys wide awake for them and as soon as the Johnnies showed themselves they commenced firing at them from behind trees and rebel officers urged their men to charge but no sooner did they try than they would receive a volley from our boys in all directions and it would pussle the rebs so that they broke and got behind cover and then our boys hallooed at them and asked them to try it over again, then called them cowards and everything else. One of our fellows crowed like a rooster, then the rebs would let a volley fly at them by this time the reserve picket had got up there and got into position and the rebs started on another charge and our boys gave them a volley this time that sent them to cover in a hurry amid the cheer and crowing of our boys. The rebs fired a few more shots and then got out of sight as fast as they could not caring to stand before the nutmeg boys. Three of our boys were wounded one in the side severely. In about 15 minutes after we were relieved by the 100th N. Y. and returned to our camp. We heard that the force that attacked us was 200 picked men out of a S. C. Brigade.
Aug. 8th 1864—This afternoon at 4 o’clock we are to witness the execution of a deserter from the 24th Mass. He is to be shot in the presence of the whole brigade by 12 men from his own Co. He was put in confinement at Fort Clinch about two years ago for strikeing his commanding officer. He was to be kept there in ball and chain but he made escape and went over to the revs and enlisted in their army and has been fighting with them ever since until the other week when he had that fight on the other side of the creek the 24th Mass. was on picket on this side and this fellow thought that he was going to play smart game by deserting the rebs and came in to our lines as a rebel deserter and get sent to his home and he would have down so easy only as fate would have it, he happened to come into that part of the line where his own company were on picket and they recognized him calling him by name and of course he was arrested tried and sentenced to be shot.
Aug. 9th 1864—We were marched out into a field outside of the entrenchments to see the execution of that deserter. We marched out with our band at the head of us playing “When this cruel war is over” Wehn we got there the brigade formed three sides of a square. The forth side was left opened against the side of a hill for the prisoner to stand. After our getting in to position he was brought from camp in an army wagon seated on his coffin beside a Catholic priest the wagon was surrounded by a guard and the 24th Mass. band in advance playing a mournful dige. The procession marched into the square and stopped by the side of the grave. His sentence was then read to him then the Priest went through a short ceremony with him, the prisoner kneeling beside his coffin. Meanwhile his executioners 24 in number took their places 12 of them standing 15 paces in front and the others 15 paces in rear of the first to finish the work in case the first failed to kill him. The prisoners hands were then tied behind him and a bandage put over his eyes & he knelt down upon his coffin the coolest man on the ground. The officer then gave the command and the first 12 fired the prisoner fell over his coffin, to all appearance dead but the doctor examined him and said he was not dead so the other 12 came up and fired at him as he lay in the ground at the edge of his grave and put an end to his existence. Then the brigade passed around in front of him then back to camp and this ended one of the saddest sights I have witnessed in the camp.
Aug. 13½–We came off fron picket to night and we have received marching orders. I have just drawn my 3 days rations and as soon as I finish this letter I shall ly down to get a little sleep before starting. I don’t know when or where we shall go we may not start until tomorrow. Some think we are going to Pertersburg some to S. C. others to Washington or Mobile. There has been considerable firing today up and down the river. The rebs opened tow Mortars on our position this P. M. but have done no damage as yet.
Aug. 19. 1864 — I wrote you in my last that I would inform you when we arrived at our destination. Well, we were called out the next morning (Sun.) and went double quick up to the picket line and there threw out skirmishers and advanced on to the rebels. The skirmishers got in side about a 100 yds. of them. The pickets fired three shots wounding one man. The skirmishers commenced firing and our men got behind trees and replied s hot for shot we (the rest of the reg’t) were marched up close to them and then hallied & had to stand there for a long time as targets for the enemy’s sharp shooters without the privilege of replying as our own skirmishers were in the way. There were two men in our com. Hit while we stood there. Geo. Lconis was wounded in the breast a ball striking his breast plate which just saved him a man named Shields stepped up into his place and was shot dead through the right eye. After a while the 24th Mass. came up and formed in close column by division and we formed in line of battle behind them. We all started on the charge yelling at the extent of our lungs. Through the woods we went and over the rebel works in less time than it has taken to tell it. The rebs scattered in all directions. We picked up several prisoners kept on across a ploughed field until we came to the edge of a ravine when we halted and remained until about noon than we went down into a hollow across the 4 mile creek to Strawberry plains bivouacking for the night there in the rain without as much as a blanket to shelter us having left them at our camp. The next morning we started again, and marched to where they were having a slight engagement with the enemy and there we halted and remained that day and night. I went on picket that night we were relieved in the morning and started on the march again to the right. After reaching what appeared to be the extreme right we halted and our Co. & Co G. were sent out in advance as skirmishers. We proceeded through the woods for more distance without coming up on the the line with the rest of the skirmishers and the gap between us and those on the left becoming greater every step we took in the direction we were going. The Capt. became anxious ordered a halt and sent me back to report to Col. Otis the direction that we were taking. I did so and found the regemiment in line of battle moving forward at nearly a right angle from what the skirmishers were. As soon as I reported the Col. halted the reg’t. and ordered us to go back and report the same to Gen. Foster, which I did and found him and his staff in a little opening in the woods. After reporting the direction of the skirmishers to him he told me to go back and report to the Col. that he was moving in the right direction and that he had sent an aid out to recitify the alligiment by swinging the skirmishers around to the right and as soon as that was accomplished he could move forward again. In a few minutes they ran on to the enemy and the firing commenced sharp we moved forward. I was in the rear of the reg’t until passing over a hill to get around to the left of the reg’t when I was hit with a spent ball in the hand. I then passed down the othere side of the hill and was gobbled up by the 100th N.Y. who would not let me go any farther, but the minute that they moved, I slipped back to the rear not liking their company. I went back to the sergeant quarters and there saw Ross of our company wound I the leg also Geo. Emily, slightly wounded & Wesley Brown in the breast and abdomen. Silas Green & Dennis Mahoney were carried back both mortally wounded. Brown Emily, my-self went back to camp where we are now. The reg’t is still at the front. Last night the rebs made a charge on our lines and were repulsed with heavy loss.
Aug. 24th 1864 — We are all in camp now having returned one week from the day that we left camp. The same day (at night) that the reg’t returned we had orders to take one day rations and at night we started for the Bermuda Hundred front to charge a rebel battery called the Hewlet House battery but before we arriver there the orders were countermanded and we countermarched back to camp. In the two engagements that we have had our Co. lost 12 men killed and wound, the whole regiment lost over 70. We have just had heavy marching orders but where we are going is more than any one here seems to know but I hope its out of the department for we have been dragged about to death here. I am on camp guard today.
Aug. 26th 1864 — We are under heavy marching orders and are to be relieved today or night. Our reg’t is on picket now waiting for the brigade that is coming to relieve us. Our destination is in all probability Petersburg. It seems as if they were trying to crowd all the duty on to us that they have possibly can, what little time that we have to stay. It is going to be a severe march to go over today with our knapsacks for the sun is shining hot. Petersburg will be another Morris Island to us. I hope that we shall be as fortunate there, for a great many died of disease at that place.
Petersburg Sept. 1st 1864—When I last wrote you we were on the right of the line in front of Petersburg. We stayed there over night and the next night we marched further to the left and went on picket the next morning on the Suffoth R. R. and stayed there two days and came off yesterday morning. The last day that we were on I saw a strange sight. About 4 o’clock P. M. the firing gradually ceased and some of the Johnnies jumped upon their works and shook papers at us. Our boys returned the salute and soon the field between our works and the rebs were full of Johnnies and Yanks exchanging papers, coffee, sugar for tobacco and some of our boys sat down with the rebs and had a game of cards, talked & chatted just as though there was no war raging. Our company was stationed in the line of works, next to the pickets in a hill, over looking both picket lines, I sat upon the parapet where I could see everything that was going on and occasionally I could see a reb skulking along down through a cornfield that was in our front until he reached the edge of it when he would make a run for it jump into our pits and give himself up as a deserter. I saw 4 do that while the truce lasted. They say, that there are a great many more that will come in as soon as they get a chance. They were mostly from the 2d Md. Rebel and the 1st Md. Union was on picket in front of them. The rebel officers saw this (I don’t think) and sent a cannon shot down through there and then there was a skedaddling on both sides for their pits and soon both sides were firing at one another agian. When we arrived in camp we went a work building barricade against flying bullets in the night. A fellow was wounded in the hand last night while he was asleep. The bullet passed through one of our Co. tents and struck a man in Co. D. We can see the city of Petersburg fron our camp. looks to be quite a pretty place. They are shelling some now but no shots have come in this direction as yet.
Sept. 2d 1864—I rec’d a letter from you last night you say that you saw by the paper that I had been wounded in two fights. I saw the same account but it is a mistake for tthe 10th reg’t has not been in any fight in the Weldon road and we have been no nearer there than we are now 4 or 5 miles. I saw by the papers the Emily was severely wounded in our last fight & Ross slightly. It is the reverse of that for Emiley is with us now & Ross is in the Portsmouth hospital. We are now lying in the entrance trenches. We can see the Johnnies in front of us being not over a hundred yds. apart. They got their mail this morning and asked us if we had rec’d ours. We are quite friendly here. There is no firing at our co. although as I write a bullet has just whistled over my head that was fired by a sharp shooter at a squad of our officers who are standing on the paraper. They have got down not out of sight. We are in front of the place where the Fort was blown up. There was terrible slaughter here then, and their graves are staring at us in every direction. We have had seven or eight wounded in camp yesterday and the day before. Only one man wounded while on picket. So it would seem as though the safest place was out on the picket line. A rebel deserter came in yesterday and said that he had three days rations dealt out to him but sat down eat it all at one meal and then deserted.
Sept. 7th 1864—Yesterday I went on fatigue duty with a detailed squad building a bomb proof in a six gun battery at the front. Soon after we went to work one of our squad was shot dead by a rebel sharp shooter but he was the only one hurt during the day although they sent a great many bullets at us. Today we are in camp but there is about as much danger here as any where for last night while we were asleep the bullets were flying through the camp at a great rate so said some of the boys that were awake I was asleep at the time so knew nothing about it. The batteries have just commenced shelling, but none of the rebs shells have come in this direction, although I expect some every minute. When we heard the news of the capture of Atlanta it was about 12 o’clock at night. We were on picket on the advance line and the batteries all fired a shot salute the bands all played National Airs the rebs replied with shot & shell & the shells flew over our heads from both sides pretty lively. As soon as the firing was over, our boys commenced to shout at the rebs who were only from 50 to 100 yds. distance)How are you Johnnie? How are you Atlanta & Mobile?” and the rebs would shout back “Why don’t you bring on your black brethren and take Petersburg?” and so they had it back & forth until they became so insulting that the officers had to stop them. The next morning we came to camp.
Sept. 11th 1864 — Today is Sunday and everything is quiet except a little picket firing. We came off from picket last night so today we are in camp. Yesterday the rebs shelled us considerably. One shell burst close to Lieut. Lincoln the concussion knocking him over backwards into the ditch, but without doing him any harm injury. Night before last some of the 2d corps, charge on to some rebel rifle pits and took them and they are still holding them. There has been sharp fighting going on there most of the time since. That same night we had more good news from Sherman and we cheered along the whole line and woke up the rebels so that they commenced firing as if they thought that we were right upon them. There the rebs have just burst a mortar shell close to our camp. I was hoping for a quiet day but I don’t think I will get one. they will get at it again before night.
Sept 18th 1864—The other day all of the batteries opened on the city with all the guns that could reach it and the rest opened in the rebel batteries which lasted for about 2 hours. Day before yesterday the rebs opened on us and threw several in and around our camp. One shell bounded into a fellows bunk in Co. C. but the fuse had gone out, it did not harm. One struck into the cooks fire (of one Co.) and upset a kettle of beans on to him. The last time that we were on picket there was a man in Co. K shot thru the head by a sharp shooter and two or three others wounded by stray bullets and fragments of shell. There is more talk of Col. Otis going home with us when our time is out. I don’t know the truth of it.
Sept. 26th 1864 — I read a letter from you last night also one I rec’d last Thursday night while I was on the advance vidette line. The rebs kept up a musket fire on us all that night but we kept down in our pits consequently no one was hurt. We did not fire as there was not much use in it. In the morning we got up and commenced to look around a little and soon there were some rebs off to the left of my post that commenced across fire on our post so as soon as we had cooked our coffee and eaten breakfast we commenced returning the fire. Our pit was at the extreme left of that line of videttes and completely isolated from the rest of the reg’t as far as we were concerned, for we could not join our comrades while day light lasted no could we see them either for it would have been sure death to under take either. I fired the first shot in the morning from our pit out of a Coop hole, that was made in the breast work that was thrown up around the pit and the other three fellows followed and we kept it up for a few minutes until the rebs stopped then we ceased firing for we had orders not to fire unless that we were fired upon answering shot for shot thru the day which amounted to about 30 shots apiece. We occasionally tempted them to fire by holding up our cap on the end of a ramrod but none of them shot straight enough to hit the cap but came so close to it that I should not have wanted my head under it. This is the same place where the fellow in Co. K was shot thru the head the other night. At night we were relieved and went back into the main line of trenches and staid all night. The following day and night (Sat.) we were relieved by the 2d corps and we broke up camp and went to the rear our whole corps going the next day (Sunday) we pitched our camp about half way between the Petersburg line and City Point where we are now Sunday night our Chaplain preached a sermon to those expecting to go home soon it was a fine discourse and every one liked it. Where we are going from here is more than I can tell but the prevailing opinion is that we are going to Wilmington N. C. to take that place as soon as we can get read. We have only stopped here to reorganize and get paid off then we are going leave the dep’t for N. C. or S. C. I don’t know which.
Sept. 28th 1864—We have rec’d marching orders to start at 3 p. m. on an expedition some where but where I cannot tell but hope that it will be out of the department for we have all seen enough of Va. and its getting to be quite cold here at night. We begin to find it uncomfortably cool sleeping nights. I hope that they will send us home soon. Our papers are all made out ready to go but they do not seem inclined to send us.
Concluding remarks from memory. We finally started on the march and continued it through the night many falling out from exhaustion. In the morning we found ourselves on our old company ground at Deep Bottom, but not to stop for we kept on up the New Market road and were soon in action. Our forces succeeded in gaining advantage ground that day. The three years mens time was now out and preparations were made to go home. We started (Oct. 3d) on the march for Bermuda Hundred landing. Previous to starting we were deprived of gun knapsack, haversack & canteen which we though very unjust for nearly every man was willing to pay the Gov. their price for his gun especially that he had carried all those three long years. We started on the march in the afternoon and got about half the way then bivouacked for the night. In the morning we started bright and early reaching the landing some time before the boat was ready to start. We have prepared our breakfast. A 100 days reg’t which had just landed fresh from Penn. looked on with a great deal of interest. We were soon allowed to go aboard the boat. The officers were stationed on either side of the gang plank watching every man as he went on board. We were all soon safely aboard and then commenced our pleasant trip down the river to Fortress Monroe, which we reached without any special event. There we changed boats, going on board of a Baltimore boat. We resumed our journey up the Chespeake Bay. On the way up we had a little fracas with the baggage master. Whiskey was with us and the man having hime in charge was met with a demand to pay a dollar for his transportation or he would have to go overboard. Well the man had us money and he made his troubles known to the rest of his comrades when immediately from all parts of the baot came an angry demand to see that baggage master but that individual found it expedient to make himself scarce and did not show himself again for there were loud threats to throw him over board if he did and Whiskey went home with us. Arriving at Baltimore the next mroning we marched through the city to the depot & then took the cars for Philadelphia where we were feasted in the old Cooper shop and then resumed our journey to Amboy where we went on board of a ferry boat, slept for the night. In the morning we landed at Castle Garden where we had breakfast then went up Broadway and took the cars for Hartford. As soon as we got into Conn. we saw the people waving flags at us and when we reached Hartford there was a great crowd to receive us. We marched up into the City to American Hall where we were received by the Major. And had a fine collation. That night we were allowed to go to our homes and the next morning we were discharged and rec’d our pay and after saying “good bye” we all dispersed to our homes many of us never to meet again.
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Whiskey was a dog that was captured by the 7th Conn. in Florida but on Morris Island he took to a soldier name Geo. Girad of Co. B. of the 10th & when the 7th left the Island, Whiskey remained with us and staid with us up to the time of the going home of the three years men. After we were discharged, Whiskey went with one of the New London men to that city and that was the last that I ever heard of him.
Finished Sept. 2d. 1884