Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by researcher and author Kathryn Lerch, who generously donated a large collection of material on the 8th New York Heavy Artillery for use at The Siege of Petersburg Online.
Lt. Joseph Willett’s (Co. L) report about July 26th trek can be found in the (Batavia, New York) Republican Advocate (published Aug. 16, 1864).1:
Notwithstanding our heavy load of rations, we made a most rapid march, and before daylight we crossed the Appomatox and James rivers near Point of Rocks and Broadway Landing. It was by far the hardest march we ever had, hard as some of our previous marches had been. From the time we left Petersburg until daylight the next morning we had no regular rest – marching all night, and halting for the first time on the other side of the James, about four miles from “Malvern Hill.”
The boys, willing as they always have been to do their best, could not endure this trial. – Their previous laborious duties had in a measure rendered them unfit for hard marching. – Many of them fell out. My Co. (L) had eight men and two Commissioned Officers, out of sixty-two when we completed the march. The other Companies of the Regiment in proportion2