Editor’s Note: Henry Fitzgerald Charles of the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry (dismounted) wrote a short memoir based on his diary from the Siege of Petersburg in 1864/65. A transcription of this memoir was placed online in 2001 as a part of the web site The Civil War Diary of Henry Fitzgerald Charles, by the web site’s owner and Henry F. Charles descendant John Neitz. Mr. Neitz made the appearance of this memoir at The Siege of Petersburg Online possible, and I thank him greatly for his cooperation. The transcription on this page is copyrighted by John Neitz as a part of his web site and may not be reproduced without his express written consent. All rights reserved.
Globe Tavern and Drill1
(BTC Editor’s Note: The following text briefly describes the Battle of Globe Tavern, fought from August 18-21, 1864.)
In a few days we were in the thick of the fighting again at Yellow House and Weldon Railroad. From here we journeyed for miles and they had to wagon train our provisions and ammunition into us. We laid here for quite awhile – at least long enough to make us restless. So they decided to give us infantry drill, but as we had enlisted for cavalry, we refused to drill, at least nine of us did. It worked very well for four days and then we got s new Lieutenant and then it ended. The next morning the drill sergeant told the nine of us to turn in our rifles and cartridge box and belt and he gave each of us an axe. He took us into a small woods and told us to cut down a sapling and we thought we were going to build a cook shanty. But I smelled mice and I cut down the smallest one I could find and the Lord only knows it was more than heavy enough for the purpose intended. There was one sapling heavier than all the rest and I said, “You had better make two out of it,” but the smallest fellow of all of us wanted to show how strong he was and said, “No, I’ll carry it.” He wanted to show his strength and he had all the opportunity he wanted when he got to camp. Then, since I had such a small sapling, the sergeant told me to get my gun again and I was to take charge and march these fellows back and forth in the company streets carrying their logs. In about an hour the sergeant came along and asked if we were ready to fall in and drill that afternoon. You bet your boots we were and in good faith, too. And then he dismissed us and we went and got our dinner and our mail.