Diary of Edward Snow Foster, v. 2: Jan. 12, 1863 (Fort Baker, D.C) - June 13, 1863 (Julians Creek, Va.)
Fort Baker, DC [Fort Baker, District of Columbia]
Monday, Jan. 12 1863
We've got pretty well settled in our new location and everything move on in the same routine that they do in any camp after it has been inhabited a week or so. I like our situation a great deal better than any we have been in.
Our camp is some distance from Fort Baker (Fort Baker, District of Columbia) [Fort Baker, District of Columbia] , on a high hill, the highest in the district it is said, a little back from the East Branch [East Branch] and overlooking Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) [Washington, District of Columbia] .
We are up so high that we can see all of the city from one end to the other; besides most of Georgetown (Georgetown, District of Columbia) [Georgetown, District of Columbia] .
The Capitol Buildings [Capitol Buildings], Smithsonian Institute [Smithsonian Institute], Washington Monument [Washington Monument], Long Bridge [Long Bridge], Navy Yard [Navy Yard], and almost every noted place is distinctly seen.
On a clear sunshiny day the scenes any thing but mean.
For the first two or three days that we were here every body was anxious to see if they could get a sight of the Monitor; and to the imagination of most of them every strange looking object that made it's appearance in the Navy Yard [Navy Yard] boy must certainly be it; and every old [boat] was a Bunion Gunboat.
I believe no one succeeded
The view in the other direction is not very extended as the country is rather rough and pretty well wooded.
Wood and water are not near as plenty as they were at the Forts, but we get along very well.
Our duties are considerably heavier then they were at either of the Camp Marris.
Besides the regular guard around the camp, we send eight men from each company to guard two bridges; the Navy Yard
They remain seven days and then a new detail is sent to relieve them.
On the average we come on guard duty about one in four days; but it is not dreaded as much as it was at the Camp Marris where we came on only once in ten days, for there one had nothing but guard tents and not enough of those to contain all the guard, while here we have a good guard house with
There is some differences between trying to sleep beside a fire in the open air, where one side freezes as fast as the other thaws; and sleeping beside a fire in a tight house.
Besides guard duty we have to detail twenty men from each company to work on the fortifications. Ten of them work till noon and then the others work till night. The work is so far off that we don't more than get there before we have to start back.
We come on the working list about the same as on guard, once in three or four
Besides the diggers we send out ten men every day as wood choppers to cut wood for the use of the regiment. The same ten go out every day and are exempt from guard duty.
The spare time we drill; raising a squad of twenty or twenty five men each day.
When we first came here we were quite sanguine that we shouldn't work at all, as orders were read regulating the hours of drill, etc.
And besides as our Col. was Acty Brig. Len. we thought that if there was any digging
As I haven't been on the working list but one day in all since we have been here I won't complain.
Our quarters are better than every we have had before. They were put up by the 30th N.J. Regt. and after being fixed over by our boys they make nice warm houses.
Everything is as easy and comfortable as any soldier could wish.
I've been established as
On the thirtieth of last month we were mustered for pay again but still without any pay.
It is about all the boys have to grumble about and so they improve the opportunity.
The rumor is now that we shall be paid off on the fifteenth, but as it isn't any thing but a rumor I can't place much reliance on it.
One thing is certain, if we don't get some pretty soon, I shall have to
Del Pardee [Pardee, Del] is very low with the Typhoid fever. I sat up with him part of last night.
He his out of his head most of the time.
Without he has first rate care and ensuring he can't live a great while. He has been sick three or four weeks but not dangerously so till the last few days.
The Capt. telegraphed for his father yesterday.
The boys are getting a little out of patience with the way the war is carried
on, or rather with its progress.
The disasters at Fredericksburg (Fredericksburg, Virginia) and Vicksburg (Vicksburg, Virginia) and the continued little successes of the rebels, together with their bold manner as compared with the tone of our officers make things seem rather dark to the soldiers, of our regiment at least.
They begin to want to see the war ended no matter at what cost.
It seems to be impossible for them to see the use of building forts and rifle pits around Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) .
Are they right?
Fort Baker D.C. (Washington D.C.)
Thursday Jan. 15 1863
Last Tuesday morning I was detailed for work in the forenoon. As the working party was to start precisely at seven o'clock I had to stir around pretty lively to get my breakfast in time. I had just got my first slice of bread ate when I heard "fall in diggers," determined not to be cheated out of my breakfast I matched a piece of "salt junk" and a slice of bread and started eating on the way.
Capt. Myers [Myers (Captain)] went out with us as officer of the party. It took something over an hour to reach our working place
Our work is building a fort a few rods from Fort Meigs.
For the first two or three hours we worked very well but after that, what we done was a poor apology for work.
Sometime between nine and ten o'clock one of the boys in Co. D. was taken sick and the sergeant and I took him down to a Negroes house near by and laid him down on the floor before the fireplace.
From every appearance I should think he had started out with out his breakfast and then stopped to the sutlers and
One of the other boys and I staid with an hour or so and then left him.
When we got back, Capt. Myers [Myers (Captain)] stood with a shovel in his hand throwing shovelfulls occasionally and talking with the boys, every one of which was doing nothing and hadn't done anything for some time and didn't do any thing more that forenoon.
Among the many things that the Capt. said was that we should get our pay this week Thursday or Friday.
In the afternoon I didn't do much of anything.
The Rev. Mr. BotsfordBotsford (Reverend), Pardee [Pardee]'s brother and law, came to see how he was getting along.
With him was Mr. Abram Wakeman [Wakeman, Abram] Postmaster of New York City (New York City, New York) , where Mr. Botsford [Botsford (Mr.)] preaches. I was very much taken up with Mr. Wakeman [Wakeman (Mr.)]. He is about as pleasant a man as you very often see.
He said he had a boy at home and that if he was old enough he should send him right down here to enlist in this regiment,
They found Pardee [Pardee] a considerable better and after getting a promise of a furlough for him as soon as he should be well enough to move, they left for New York City.
Wednesday forenoon we had a great skirmish drill.
After choosing imaginary rebels for a mile or so we at last found them, charged bayonets with a yell, got repulsed, retreated back to camp in good order and got there just in time to hear the recall from drill sounded.
Wednesday afternoon we laid
This forenoon I went out to work again and I got my breakfast ate before we started as they weren't in such a hurry as they were before.
Our Capt. went out with us, and he took things in general and work in particular about as easy as Capt. Myers [Myers (Captain)] did.
This afternoon I haven't done anything except to attend to some things that came from home in Charley PollardPollard, Charley's box.
Fort Baker D.C. (Washington D.C.)
Sunday Jan. 25 1863
To day we had our regular monthly inspection and the little Col. examined us with a pretty sharp eye.
The only things of consequence that have happened since I wrote last are, the visit of Mrs. And Mr. MillerMiller (Mr.) and Helen [Helen] and our being paid off.
We were paid last Monday (Jan. 19th) all that was due us from the time we enlisted till the first of November. My pay amounted to twenty four dollars and seventy cts, twenty of which were allotted.
I don't feel in the spirit of writing and I shan't write.
Fort Baker, D.C. (Washington D.C.)
Last Saturday Del Carver [Carver, Del] and I spoke for a pass to visit Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) .
The Capt. said that we should go Monday. Monday came but the pass had been granted to two other boys for what reason we couldn't make out.
As Del [Del] was on the working party in the forenoon and I in the afternoon we didn't like it first rate but we contented ourselves with the promise of one the next day.
Tuesday morning came and after some delay we procured a pass and handed
After standing around the and hour or so we finally got them and started for Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) at a brisk walk.
All the morning the clouds had threatened rain and it began to be rather misty before we got to the city.
It rained by spells all day, though not a very hard rain, more mist than any thing else.
Our first worriment was whether we could get into the Navy Yard or not.
Quite a number of the boys had been down and
Our only way was to try, so we went there and handed our passes to the Sergeant of the Guard with as bold a face as we could, as much as to say "Of course we are going in here". He looked at it a few moments and said it was all right so in we went.
We went into it and over it and around it and it was a right worth seeing and remembering.
The first thing that attracted one's attention was how neat and clean everything was
The first building we entered was one devoted to pargsing for every part of the works has its particular place, and workers who attend to that part and no other.
On entering the building I was considerably surprised to find so many Negro workmen. They appeared to do their work as well and faithfully as their white companions.
I thought that if some of these Negro haters could see them they would say a little less about the "darned niggers"
There was one thing that I saw them do that was quite interesting. They were trying to of a piece of hot iron. One man held a sharp edged hammer on the iron to be cut, the head of which was about an inch in diameter.
Five others had a sledgehammer with which they were striking the hammer the other man held.
One after the other the blows fell almost as fast as a
It was quite a sight.
Another interesting sight was a large trep hammer that was used to weld anchors.
It weighed 11 ,300 pounds and when it struck, it struck with some force. From there we went through the rest of the buildings; the cable room, the wheelwright, the copper rolling mile, the Ordnance rooms, the ship buildings the engine rooms and etc.
Everything was interesting, but most so, was the casting and barring of cannon, the
We had only time to just glance at the different parts and then go on to the next; so that we didn't look at them as we ought too, but what we did see was very interesting.
From the Navy Yard we took the Cars to the Capitol but not finding congress in session we thought we wouldn't visit it till afternoon, but took the cars again for Seventh Street and the Patent Office.
At that place we saw a
Among the most so was the Japanese articles, the cane of Franklin [Franklin], the sword of Washington [Washington] and his camp chest, coat, vest, breeches, chair, table, tent and ten solace.
Also the saddle of Baron De Rolf [De Rolf (Baron)], ancient coins, handwriting of quite a number of the Sovereigns of Europe and Bronze copies of celebrated medals and models of innovations in innumerable numbers.
Here was so many things to be seen that we had to look as we walked.
From the Patent Office we went back to the Capitol paying a passing to the Post Office on the way.
Congress was in session when we arrived and as we hadn't but an hour to stay we went immediately to the Hall of Representatives to see how it was that the war was going to be settled.
There was one speaking when we entered. He appeared to be a Union man though not a republican and he didn't appear to believe in emancipation.
Some of the other representatives were listening to him, some
He spoke his fifteen minutes when down came the gavel and he took his seat.
Another representatives then rose and continued the argument.
After being there half an hour or so we went into the senate chambers where we also found a senator speaking. I rather think it was Mr. Soulsburg [Soulsburg (Mr.)] of Delaware, at any rate it was some one that believed about as he does.
Of the dozen or so senators present not one was listening
We listened to him fifteen or twenty minutes and then left for camp, where we arrived just before roll call.
Yesterday and last night I was on guard and it blowed and snowed nearly all the time.
We were relieved every hour which made it considerably easier. By morning the snow was six or eight inches deep. Today is clear and cold and nothing is done.
I've cleaned my gun washed the dishes and am now writing in my journal.
Fort Baker, D.C. (Washington D.C.)
Sunday Feb. 1st 1863
Last Friday I passed a pleasant day. Jeaste was adjutants orderly George [George] was out chopping and Del [Del] was in Co. C. visiting the boys.
I tried to pass the time to advantage for I don't very often have the tent to myself.
I read several articles in the Jan. Atlantic one of which, Mr. Backle [Backle (Mr.)] as a thinker, I thought was pretty good, admitting my judgment to be good. At all counts I think I learned something from it.
Saturday morning everything was repolished for the inspection.
We waited, expecting to be called on to fall in every minute, till about three o'clock, when we had orders that the inspection wouldn't be held till Sunday morning.
So we put up our things again.
About five o'clock the Capt. came to our tent and said that Del Pardee [Pardee, Del] wanted his lot as his furlough had come and he was starting for home.
Yesterday I went out to see him off and one can guess that he felt pretty well.
This morning we repolished again for inspections and this
The little Col. Felt pretty well but at the same time he examined the guns pretty sharply. He was sure to see the least thing that was out of order; a grease spot on the coat, unpolished plates, unblacked boots or the least thing that didn't come up to his idea of a soldier.
He gave Co. A. the compliment of having the cleanest guns and accouterments of any Co. on the field.
It has been rather warm for two days and the snow has turned to slosh and mud which makes the going extremely disagreeable.
Tonight it rains; a bad time for Del [Del], who is on guard, and a poor prospect for me tomorrow.
Our cooking for the last two or three weeks has been rather slim.
Some of the time it has rained, some of the time snowed, and some of the time there has been no wood.
The cook house that was commenced soon after we came here isn't finished yet and there isn't much prospect that it will be very soon. Somebody is slack, very slack.
But luckily we had a considerable many things from
By the by, having things sent from home is all nonsense, and I should absolutely forbid anything being sent had the other boys had none; but they had so many things and were so free with them that I couldn't do otherwise very well.
I don't think I shall have any more though.
Army rations are sufficient for me and the best for me and on army rations I shall live.
Fort Baker, D.C. (Washington D.C.) 0.
Friday Feb. 6th 1863
Last Monday morning I went on guard, post no. 5 first relief.
It was a warm pleasant day but soon commenced growing colder.
The countersign was Atlanta (Atlanta, Georgia) .
Tuesday morning just before we were relieved it commenced snowing and snowed by spells all day and all night.
It was so stormy that the working party wasn't sent out.
Wednesday morning it was clear and cold, as cold a morning as we have yet had. The working party went out but the engineer sent them in again as the
I copied off my journal into my new diary, read a little, etc.
At retreat we had the regulations read to us, that we should salute all officers that we met.
It rained yesterday most all day and of course there wasn't anything done.
I copied off some more of my journal.
Fort Baker, D.C.
Wed. Feb. 11th 1863
Last Sunday was a warm pleasant day. About noon I was called out for guard; one of our boys being taken sick and I being the next man on the roll call.
The day passed about as all days do on guard.
On Monday, of course, I had nothing to do. I copied of some more of my journal in the forenoon.
In the afternoon took a little nap. Del [Del] and George [George] went down to the bridge to get some meal and molasses.
The first for pudding and the last for a "candy pull."
Most of the company worked on the cookhouse, plastering up, laying the arch etc.
They may finish it by spring if they work at the same rate they have for the last month or two.
Tuesday I was detailed for work the afternoon. We drilled in the forenoon as skirmishes and in the manual of arms.
The officer of work for the afternoon was Lieutenant McGill [McGill (Lieutenant)]; he was neither a hard nor an easy boss.
In the evening we had the afore said "candy pull" but it was rather a sell.
To make up for it we bought
Today I drilled in the afternoon.
This afternoon I haven't done much of anything, nothing that was worth the time spent.
And I am sorry to say it.
Fort Baker, D.C. (Washington D.C.)
Sunday Feb. 15th 1863
I was on the work again last Thursday forenoon.
As soon as I see who the Officer was that was going out with us I knew that the boys would be rushed through all the forenoon with a good deal of scolding and talking back and forth; so I thought I would secure a position that would save words as well as work.
To gain that end, as soon as, I got there I took the water pail and started after water.
It was the first time I ever carried water and so my pailfulls were not as many as they would
It's needless to say that the officer in question was Lieutenant Damn [Damn (Lieutenant)].
He rushed the boys as I expected he would and it had the effect of getting the boys all against him, that is to say all that have not against before, for he is pretty well known through the regiment.
But still the Lieutenant tries to do the best he can.
The trouble is, he doesn't have to do that best.
In the afternoon I didn't do much of anything; except perhaps to "pursue the even tenor of my way."
The cookhouse was finally finished during the day; and it was just that botched piece of work that its slow progress was sure to make it.
Friday morning we were drilled by the Major in rallying on the reserve in skirmishing.
During the drill sergeant Pullman [Pullman (Sergeant)] got his share "following up". The major is a first rate drillmaster.
In the afternoon I went out to work under Lieutenant Kerrvan [Kerrvan (Lieutenant)] and there was very little done.
He is a very different sort of officer from Lieut. Damn [Damn (Lieutenant)].
Yesterday I went on guard, post No. 1 in front of the guardhouse.
The counleasyn was November.
We had a considerable of a time hunting for a deserter from company C. He left in the middle of the afternoon and hadn't been gone more than ten minutes before the patrol was after him.
There was ten or a dozen after him and they found him about nine in the evening. He hadn't been six rods from camp any time.
The shackles were put on him and he was sent to the guardhouse.
To day it's raining and I am writing.
Fort Baker D.C. (Washington D.C.)
Thursday Feb 11th 1863
Last Monday I drilled all day, that is, the usual time, two hours in the forenoon and two in the afternoon. The officers are getting pretty strict about drilling, staying out our full time both forenoon and afternoon.
Until lately we have only been out in the forenoon but rumors say that we are going into the field soon and so I suppose they are getting us ready for it.
Tuesday night it commenced snowing and snowed the rest of that night and
Of course there wasn't anything done except to sit in our tents and pass away time the best way we could.
Some reading some working on laurel root pipes and some playing cards. I plead guilty to latter once in a while and to the former very often.
Wednesday it was some warmer and the snow turned into rain and rained all day.
Nothing done again, of course.
Today, though it hasn't rained or snowed, has been a rather disagreeable day, having been out wet and slushy under foot.
The choppers went out this afternoon but the diggers haven't been out at all.
I have just finished copying of my journal, this being the first day I have written in it.
Besides that I have played one or two games of cards commenced making a set of chess men and read a considerable in the papers.
Fort Baker, D.C. (Washington D.C.)
Sunday Feb. 21st 1863
The Goddess of Haven has finally visited me.
I was on guard last Friday and the sergeant was from our company. And so, according to custom the patrol and prisoner guard were taken from company.
I was one of the patrols.
Capt. MyersMyers (Captain) was Officer of the Day and he didn't send us out. At night we were allowed to go to our quarters.
During the day, while at the guardhouse, I heard some rumors of marching.
Sergeant Shimmer [Shimmer (Sergeant)] told me that he had heard on good
And he thought that we should be in one place or the other in less than a month.
Most of the boys, though ready to go if called on, had rather go any where than in the Army of the Rappahannock.
I guess that every one of them would be glad to go to Lieas.
Saturday, of course, I was off all duty. In the forenoon I done up my washing, cleaned my gun and cartridge box, belt, etc.
In the afternoon I had my hair cut, studied tactics
It was a warm pleasant day. One of the best days for guard duty that we have had lately. But just night it began to cloud up and grow colder.
Sometime during the night it commenced snowing and when we went out to roll call this morning it was still snowing and blowing and the snow was three or four inches deep.
It has been blowing and snowing steadily ever since.
George [George] thinks it dull, disagreeable day, but I don't think so. I call it quiet
And if prized, of course to be improved. We have tried to improve it. I've done some reading, but mostly I have tried to think, to learn to think. The simple statement is, if I learn to think I may know something before I die, but if I don't I may die a fool.
We've had a change of cooks. The victuals have been so poorly cooked and so dirty that it couldn't be stood any longer and so the Capt. was respectfully informed that we wanted some new cooks, and we
Burdett Johnson [Johnson, Burdett] and Fred Pepper [Pepper, Fred], the old cooks, were turned out, and Rob Beard [Beard, Rob] and Johh Eastham [Eastham, John] were put in their place.
That was Friday. Since then we have had good clean cooking; how long it will last is another thing.
Lieutenant Baker [Baker (Lieutenant)] of Co. C. has resigned and his resignation been accepted.
He was ordered before a military board for something and rather than appear before it he sent in his resignation.
It shows what kind of
An officer that will resign for anything but sickness can't have much patriotism.
By the by, I hear that all our officers have been ordered before a military board and all that don't face examination are to be dismissed and their places fill by officers out of the old regiments.
But in all probability it is nothing but rumors.
Fort Baker D.C. (Washington D.C.) .
Friday Feb. 27th 1863
The three or four days have been rainy, sloppy and disagreeable.
The rain melted the snow and they both together made a considerable mud. It is getting to be considerable drier now.
The working party nor the choppers have been out this week. We have passed away the time as best we could; playing "checkers", dominoes, backgammon and some cards, reading.
A few afternoons we have drilled in the
Wednesday I acted as supernumerary, carrying in the [?] for the cooks.
I saw a plain difference in the way they done things and the way the other cooks done the same things.
Yesterday I mended and oiled my haversack, marked my blanket, etc.
Today we have been drilling some and had a dress parade at half past four. At the last was read the sentence of Herbage [Herbage] and Miller [Miller],
Herbage [Herbage] was sentenced to eighteen months hard labor at the Rip Raps, and Miller [Miller] to three years at the same place.
The rumors of moving have somewhat died down though most every one believes that we shall leave here in a short time.
The great topic of conversation is Senator WilsonWilson (Senator)'s Military Bill and the Negro Soldiers Bill.
In the discussion of the "nigger question" and the niggers, a
I've heard our Orderly, a most professed patriot six months ago; say, that the nigger had ought to fight for his own freedom and not us; that they had out to be put to the front and then after they were killed off, we would fight.
Now any one with the least common sense in the world must know that we didn't come here to fight for the niggers freedom and that we are
And yet certain patriots finding that they must sending hardships, and many and great hardships if they enter the field, whine for someone to fight their battles for them.
I do not mean that the nigger should not be freed, nor shall not be allowed to fight but I hate to see men who said they came to fight for principles try to shove the duty on someone else and es-
I came here to fight for the principle of unions and I am ready to go Fredericksburg (Fredericksburg, Virginia) or any other place and fight whether the nigger does or not.
If it is necessary as a war measure to make the Negro fight then do so, but let us do our part manfully and not depend on the Negro or any one else.
Fort Baker D.C. (Washington D.C.)
Tuesday March 3rd 1863
The inspection and muster for pay last Saturday forenoon passed off about as all such things do. We expected quite a strict inspection and the Orderly was very much engaged in trying to have the boys look their best.
But instead of a strict inspection the Col. merely walked up in front of the company and back behind it, never deigning to touch a gun.
In the afternoon we cleaned up the chips and dirt between the street and the cookhouse, making
Saturday night I sat up with Andrew Harrington [Harrington, Andrew] in the hospital. He is very low with the fever, though when I left him in the morning he appeared a considerably better, at least was a great deal more quiet if that is a good sign.
Sunday morning there was no inspection owing to the rain.
It was misty nearly all day but clearing off toward night, just in time for a dress parade.
Harrington [Harrington]'s wife came
I didn't do much all day as I felt rather dull from sitting up the night before.
Yesterday morning I went out with the working party under Lieutenant Damn [Damn (Lieutenant)].
He done very well beside what he done the other day.
The forenoon passed off about as all forenoons do when we are at work.
In the afternoon I read a little and played a few games of checkers
He beat me every time and rather badly. It never will do I must beat him two games out of three before I give up. The day was clear and pleasant.
Today I am on guard and of course it is quite a slaring time.
Snowing a little while then raining then sunshiny altogether a rather of a mixed sort of day.
George [George] went to the Hospital this morning. He has been feeling quite unwell for more than a week. He has taken
He is threatened pretty hard with the fever but I hope by being well taken care of he will soon get better.
It seems as though all our company were going to be sick. We have already got seven in the hospital and prospect to send another three in a day or two.
I haven't been sick yet and I am going to try the best I can not to be.
The war news is scant and meager. No prospect of an onward movement yet except at Vicksburg (Vicksburg, Virginia) . And even there is exceeding doubtful.
Fort Baker D.C. (Washington D.C.)
Sunday March 8th 1863
Great excitement here last night. Just dark there was call for picket, five from our company.
Of course every one was anxious to know what was up.
It appears that five enemy horsemen had been in the habit of riding up to the artillery picket, stationed some where near Alexandria (Alexandria, Virginia) , and firing on them.
The Col. said the thing must be stopped and so he sent out a body of pickets.
It had been raining and the roads were wet
Besides there was prospect of rain.
How they fared was pretty well shown when they came in the morning.
They were about as muddy a set of men as I ever saw.
They said they went out some six or eight miles and a little below Alexandria (Alexandria, Virginia) .
They stood in mud and water all night and raining most of the time, coming back this morning without ever having been molested in the least.
Clothes and guns and every
I guess they had about as rough a time as we ever have had.
Just dark last night I was called out on guard, Leafe Whitney [Whitney, Leafe] being taken suddenly sick and consequently it is unnecessary to state that it was a rainy night.
However as I had only two tricks to stand I didn't care much.
The countersign was Massachusetts.
Capt. Stone [Stone (Captain)] was Officer of the Day and of course every man had to be on the lookout.
There hasn't been much done for the two or three last days.
Since last Tuesday I haven't done anything except to go out with the working party Thursday forenoon.
On that night I sat up in the hospital with our boys there and of course was excused from duty the next day but it didn't save me anything as it rained nearly all day.
The boys don't seem to be getting along very fast. Harrington [Harrington] is very low though I believe the Doctor says that his fever has minced.
George] is about the same certainly no better.
I guess that he won't have a run of the fever but he probably won't get along any past.
The other boys are about the same those with the fever a little worse if any thing.
Del Carver [Carver, Del] left for home on a furlough of seven days last Thursday.
He applied for one because his father was very sick and not expected to live.
Just before his furlough came he heard that his father was dead. I sent the first
The weather has been very changeable for the last three or four days.
A little while rain then a little while pleasant and then a little while cold.
Most everything indicates that it is almost spring.
I have heard of two or three farmers around here that have saved their peas.
I haven't felt very well for two or three days but am feeling better now.
Fort Baker D.C. (Washington D.C.)
Thursday March 12 1863
Not much that is special or new to write.
The days have passed with all their usual variableness, but still all monotonously alike.
Monday I staid at the hospital, one nurse and the cook having gone to the city.
It was the pleasantest most spring like day we have had.
Tuesday I was on the working detail and it was a cold windy day.
About ten o'clock it commenced snowing
It was somewhat stormy the rest of the day.
I didn't feel very bright and so I lay in my tent most of the time.
In the night it snowed a very little and the next morning the ground being rather sloppy the workers didn't go out nor the Co. drill.
I played five or six games of backgammon with Leecte [Leecte] and washed my clothes in the forenoon.
In the afternoon we drilled an hour.
Lately we have drilled only an hour at a time. I don't know for what reason but it is a good thing as the boys get rather tired before the two hours are out and don't take as much pains as they should.
The Col. has gone home on a furlough of fifteen days. He feels a considerable pleasant over it.
Gen. Heirstyleman [Heirstyleman (General)] was only going to give him ten days but Cahkling [Cahkling] got it for fifteen.
He left here day before yesterday.
The boys in the hospital are all rather better.
George [George] has considerable appetite and Harrington [Harrington] is a good deal stronger. Miller [Miller] is the worst. Loaing [Loaing] got the pleursy but I believe he is somewhat better today.
Today I am prisoners guard. Three of us to two prisoners so we don't have a very hard time.
We shall probably sleep at our quarters tonight.
There has been considerable wind with some snow squalls but altogether not a very cold day.
There has nothing been heard about picket since they went out the other night.
I guess it was nothing more than a scare or else the Col. jut wanted to try the boys.
I hope it won't commence again till warmer weather at any rate.
Fort Baker D.C. (Washington D.C.)
Sunday Mar. 15th 1863
Col. Piper [Piper (Colonel)] of the Artillery is rather pulling on air time our Col. has gone home.
He thinks he can be a little god because he can act as Brig. Gen. while Col. Pease [Pease (Colonel)] is gone.
The Col. will learn him his mistake when he gets back.
He got a little scared the other night and called out the picket again and has kept them out ever since.
One night however they done something worthwhile. They arrested
Washington, District of Columbia) .
Our regiment has done another big thing.
The guard at the bridge arrested a suspicious looking man and sent him to the Provost Marshal's.
He proved to be a rebel emissary and had a bundle containing one hundred and ten letters directed to southern
Friday night I sat up at the hospital.
The boys are all about the same, none of them any worse and not much better.
The weather has been quite pleasant for the last two or three days.
Considerable wind but still pleasant.
We pass away time about as usual, playing all sorts of games and solving puzzles.
Fort Baker D.C. (Washington D.C.)
Thursday Mar. 19th 1863
Last Monday I was supernumerary?? and carried water for the cooks.
I carried sixteen pails full and that answered for my turn of guard.
Tuesday I was off duty of course and didn't do much as I didn't feel first rate.
I got the promise of a pass for Del Carver [Carver, Del] and I to go to Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) the next day.
Wednesday morning was cold and threatened rain. But we had made up our minds
It was cloudy most of the day but it didn't rain much.
Of course we footed it to the Navy Yard [Navy Yard] it being out of the question for a soldier to ride.
We met the usual amount of Negroes and sharp faced natives looking as meakish as usual.
We saw one man preparing his ground for feas.
We arrived at the Navy Yard [Navy Yard] about half past nine and took the street cars for tenth street and the Smith-
We went over that building and came out convinced that we had seen a great sight.
A museum that contained about everything that the world produced and a library that contained almost every known book was enough to convince any one that they had seen a great sight.
I came away thinking how little I know and what an amount of close application and intense thought it would require
Still I was not entirely discouraged but rather stimulated to make the most of every spare moment.
From the Institute [Institute] we went to the Patent Office [Patent Office] and went over the model rooms.
We had been there before but two of the rooms were used as hospitals and so we saw only one.
There is not much interest in them after you have seen them once without there is something special
We had a few little purchases to make and so those were the only public buildings that we visited.
And for a wonder the whole city of Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) [Washington, District of Columbia] couldn't furnish a stick of chewing gum.
I went into every drug store, funy store, confectionary, grocery or other place that I thought I could find it but none was to be found.
It might have been a good deal as it was with the fellow that went into Arthur Library [Arthur Library] and argued
Hunls, Tom (General)] but still I couldn't get any gum for all that.
Half of them didn't know what it was and the other half didn't have it.
We visited a few book stores and then took the cars for Navy Yard [Navy Yard] again.
We paid it & passing glances and then started for camp where we arrived five minutes before our pass ran out.
Today there hasn't been much of anything done except to drill an hour in the forenoon and an hour in the afternoon.
Fort Baker Washington D.C. [Fort Baker, Washington, District of Columbia]
Wed. March 25th 1863
Everything is still moving on after the manner of soldiers.
There is nothing to excite and hardly anything to keep any life in camp. Just now, however, boxing and quoits are taking up the attention of the boys and though there is no great skill shown in either they serve to "keep things moving."
The army has fashion as well as the people out of the army have.
Smoking caps are
Of course women have something to do with them.
Lieutenant Bartholomew [Bartholomew (Lieutenant)]'s wife was the first to start them. She made one for the Lieutenant and immediately every one that had a wife here had one made.
The boys in the hospital are all getting along first rate except Grit Marris [Marris, Grit], he is rather low.
The weather is growing
I have already heard robins, bluebirds, plebes ground bird and one or two other kinds that I don't know the name of.
I haven't seen any plants that have started to grow yet except the Laurel. That has started a very little.
Picketing is still kept up, sending two from the company every night.
The Col. got back last night and we are in
The long expected promotions have taken place.
Quartermaster Jones [Jones (Quartermaster)] formerly from our Co. is made Lieutenant as well as Commissary Sergeant Miller [Miller (Commissary Sergeant)] and Sergeant Major Braztion [Braztion (Sergeant Major)] some of the second Lt. have been made first and some of the first, Capt.
The promotions of now commissioned officers have not been named.
Fort Baker D.C. (Washington D.C.) [Fort Baker, Washington, District of Columbia]
Friday April 3rd 1863
I've been to the Navy Yard Bridge a week on guard duty. It passed quicker to me then any other week since we have been in this camp. We were on duty only two in sixteen so that we had plenty of time to enjoy ourselves.
Our favorite amusement was to take a row-boat and row up to and around the Navy Yard [Navy Yard] looking at the ships that "come from sea."
The celebrated San Jacinto was there but sailed in a day or two
It was the only three master that came into the Navy Yard while we were there.
They were mostly schooners steamboats and steamings.
In the evenings we generally took a stroll into the city taking care not to come across the patrol.
We only saw what I should think was the worst part of the city, for it was muddy enough and dirty enough and stinking enough
Washington, District of Colubmia) [Washington, District of Columbia] .
We had a considerable fun in searching all boxes and trunks that crossed the bridge for contraband goods.
During the week we seigled about a thousand dollars worth of watches, jewelry and gun caps; two barrels of whiskey some brandy twenty or so pairs of socks and some smaller things.
You could very easily tell who were Union and who not.
A union man was perfectly willing you should search his things and accommodating in every thing he could be; while a rebel always had some fault to find concerning the Yankees and the soldiers every chance he could.
Our detective that stays with us always used to take special delight in searching the trunks of ladies that were evidently secession sympathizers.
He is a man that you would call sharp.
It would take
The weather while we were there was quite pleasant except two days, when it rained and was quite cold.
Today is the warmest day we have had this spring. I went out to work this forenoon.
This afternoon I am doing up a few little chores.
Fort Baker D.C. (Washington D.C.) [Fort Baker, Washington, District of Columbia]
Wednesday April 8th 1863
Last Saturday I was on guard, nothing special happening. I heard I had a barrel coming and that it had been on the way over a week.
Charley P. [P., Charley] spoke for a pass for him and I to go to Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) [Washington, District of Columbia] and see about it.
We hadn't any money to pay the charges on it and so we asked the Capt. for some. He said that he was going down too and if the barrel had come he would advance the
The barrel hadn't got there but the bill of charges had. They said the barrel would probably be there the next day.
After finishing our business we went to the Smithsonian Institute [Smithsonian Institute] and spent two or three hours.
It is the most interesting place there is in Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) [Washington, District of Columbia] .
Procuring a dinner of steamed oysters and baked beans and park in one of the restaurants we then visited the government green houses and experimental gardens near the capitol.
Almost all the plants in the green houses were natives of foreign countries and they were very interesting.
The most so to me were the, Indian Water Pitcher, the Date Palm, the Han Palm, the Dustachiss Bell Flower and a few others of tropical countries.
As our pass was only till five o'clock we hadn't time to visit any other place.
Tuesday 'forenoon I loaded wood into the wagons that were drawing for the companies.
In the afternoon
Of course it was opened and fully appreciated.
It was mostly filled with apples & potatoes with a little dried fruit and cheese.
The weather is growing more and more like spring as every day passes.
Warm pleasant days and when it rains, warm easy rains.
Great excitement just now about Charleston [Charleston] being bombarded.
Fort Baker D.C. (Washington D.C.) [Fort Baker, Washington, District of Columbia]
April 12th 1863
Once more we've got marching orders.
Last night at eleven o'clock they were brought here.
They are that we shall be ready tomorrow morning at eleven o'clock to take the field with forty rounds of cartridges, three days cooked rations in our haversacks and four days uncooked rations in the wagons; every two men to carry a shelter tent between them.
Everything looks as though we were going to
No one knows where we are going but rumors are current that we shall leave on a southern expedition or go to the front.
I don't care which, but I should rather prefer to go on an expedition.
I guess every one is satisfied with the tum things are taking.
This morning after we came in from parade, where the order was read, every company as it broke ranks gave three rousing hearty cheers for marching orders.
All day every one that I have heard speak has unqualifiedly said that it was just the thing.
Every one has been engaged during the day in disposing of extra baggage.
I sold my two extra blankets for sixty cents. The day hasn't seemed much like Sunday although we had a sermon this afternoon.
It was a short but a very good sermon.
The eatables that we had from home were disposed of in the shortest manner.
I carried what potatoes I had left to the cooks house to be cooked for dinner. Cooked all the dried fruit we could eat for dinner, supper and breakfast and threw the rest away.
Everything else extra will probably be served the same way in the morning.
I kind a hate to throw away my magazines and Latin grammar but I suppose it must be done.
Forty five boxes of "hard tack" were brought up from Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) [Washington, District of Columbia] today for our three days rations.
In all probability we are going to see something of a real soldiers life.
Well, that is what we came for, or rather what we expected to see when we came. We've been out of the field a great deal longer than I expected we should be when I enlisted and so we can't complain of being rushed forward while we were green.
We are going forward in the support of the greatest principles for which man ever fought; principles
They are the principles of the right of freedom and self government to the whole human race without distinction.
If we fail in the attempt let it not be said that it was because the American people failed in their duty, in the brast compiled in them. God save the right.
I shall enter the field ready to do or die and may God help me so to do.
On board steamer "Zey~her"
Potomac River, Apri1 16 1863
For two days we waited anxiously for the order to move. Some of the boys almost gave up the idea of our going at all.
Everyone had sold off all extra blankets and everything that they could not carry so that the last night but one that we were there a good many complained of sleeping cold.
Finally at a quarter past one on Tuesday night April 14th the beat of the drum gave us notice that the time had come to move.
We immediately packed our knapsacks and then fell in, in two ranks, marched to the quartermasters and received our shelter tents, back again and received our three days rations of hard tack and salt junk and then built bonfires till the drum beat to fall in.
We formed on the parade ground about four o'clock and started immediately on our march.
Hinow one of us knew where we were going but it was generally thought that we should take
We are still in the dark as to our destination but shall probably land at Fortress Monroe (Fortress Monroe, Virginia) [Fortress Monroe, Virginia] and from there to some other place.
When we left our camp at Fort Baker (Fort Baker, District of Columbia) [Fort Baker, Washington, District of Columbia] the clouds looked like a rainy day and we were sprinkled a little before we reached Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) [Washington, District of Columbia] , just enough to lay the dirt.
We reached the wharf a little after light and after waiting in the rain a little while we went on board the Steamer Zeypfer and
They arrived in the course of an hour or so and went on board the steamer Enoch Dean. We immediately weighed anchor and started down the river.
It was about eight o'clock and the rain by that time had well set in and it rained steadily all day.
Of course we all staid below most of the time and so didn't see much of the scenery.
At dark we set anchor and remained over night
I was on guard that day and night but didn't have a very bad time.
To day is a warm pleasant day and the deck is covered.
We are now nearly into the bay and expect to reach the Fort by seven this evening.
In front of the enemy 8m, north of Suffolk (Suffolk, Virginia) [Suffolk, Virginia]
Saturday April 18th 1863
Instead of reaching Fort Monroe (Fort Monroe, Virginia) [Fort Monroe, Virginia] at seven in the evening as we expected it was nearly ten when we arrived.
There we received orders to go on to Norfolk (Norfolk, Virginia) [Norfolk, Virginia] .
We didn't see any thing of the fort as it was quite a dark night and besides we were some distance from it.
We reached Norfolk (Norfolk, Virginia) [Norfolk, Virginia] about twelve o'clock and packed everything to go ashore but after waiting a short time we had orders to make ourselves as comfortable
Norfolk (Norfolk, Virginia) [Norfolk, Virginia] was a much nicer and a much larger place than I expected.
I saw the remains of the Navy Yard [Navy Yard] that was burnt by the rebels in the beginning of the war and what some said was the remains of the rebel gunboat Merrimac.
When we left Fort Baker (Fort Baker, District of Columbia) [Fort Baker, District of Columbia] the buds were just beginning to swell on the trees and the
At Norfolk (Norfolk, Virginia) [Norfolk, Virginia] and between there and Suffolk (Suffolk, Virginia) [Suffolk, Virginia] , we found the peach trees, plum tress, etc. in bloom, sweet potatoes and beats up and the grass well started.
After riding for twenty three miles for the most part through the lowest, swampiest, meanest country I ever saw we reached Suffolk (Suffolk, Virginia) [Suffolk, Virginia] . It is a poor comparison as I never saw but very little country of any sort, but suffer it to say that it was a very swampy country.
It was half past nine when
It took us nearly all the afternoon to get the camp in order.
We were directly in front of the rebels separated by a small river, from which our boats were occasionally shelling them.
Just night we had orders to fall in leaving our tents standing and taking nothing but our blanket and overcoat with a days rations.
We marched about two miles farther up the river and lay
We lay there that night and half the next forenoon and then started on another march.
We ended it in this place, about four or five miles farther up the river and in front of the enemy as before.
A detail for sharpshooters and workers was immediately made.
It is just night again and our "shelters" are pitched but I've just heard some one say that we had got to move again.
Our forces in this place are surrounded on three sides by the rebels who are variously estimated from 40 to 100 thousand strong.
Our forces have been arriving for the last two or three days; almost continually and Major Gen. Peak [Peak (Major General)] thinks he can hold the place against any body of rebels.
A party of workers are to go out tonight and it is said that we are to make an attempt to cross the river.
On picket on the bank of the Mansesmond
Wednesday April 22nd 1863
Last Sunday the rebel batteries opened on ours and ours replied until we silenced them.
Sharp shooters were out most of the day and in the afternoon a detail was made to dig rifle pits. I was one of the party. We went out onto a point that ran into the river and worked as the Major said "like bull" all of the afternoon. Just night we shouldered our knapsacks and marched back toward Suffolk (Suffolk, Virginia) [Suffolk, Virginia] about a mile expecting to cross the river but after lying at the wharf an hour or so the order was countermanded.
Meantime the 89th N.Y. had crossed the river, charged and taken the battery with a loss of eleven killed and wounded. They captured five brass pieces and one hundred and twelve prisoners.
From the wharf we went a mile or so farther down the river and lay down for the night.
It was about one o'clock when we lay down but we were destined not to even have that part of the night for sleep.
Between three and four o'clock four of the companies marched back to the wharf and crossed the river leaving their knapsacks behind.
Just before light in the morning the rest of the regiment followed them.
We landed at the battery taken by the agth and went immediately to work on the rifle pits to defend us should we be attacked.
Our knapsacks were all left where we camped, under guard.
Scouts and pickets were sent out to keep an eye on the enemy and warn us of their approach. The gunboats kept shelling the land in front of us to cover our work.
We worked all day and threw up three batteries and two lines of rifle pits.
The weather which had been pleasant ever since we left Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) [Washington, District of Columbia] changed and it threatened rain with cold wind. Just night we prepared to evacuate the place, whether it was because it was thought we could not hold I don't know but at any rate it was to be done.
Our company had been to work in the outer line of rifle pits all the afternoon and when it had got to be dark we lay down in them to cover the retreat.
We lay there a couple of hours or so and then filed in single line down the
Part of the regiments had already gone across in the steamer and she was just going with another load when we got there.
She carried them to the other side and grounded there leaving us rather helpless, but finally three row boats came and carried us across not without some wetting when we got into them and a considerable more when we got out.
The first place I touched land was some two feet underwater but I soon got out of it.
We went back to our old camp where our tents were but our knap-
Fires were the only resort and fires we built; rail fences suffered that night.
It was between ten and eleven when we landed and most of us sat around the fires till morning. A cup of coffee when we first got there helped them a lot.
The next morning the rebels were thicker then ever in their old battery and so a detail of sharp shooters was called for and quickly filled by volunteers.
Nearly the whole regiment
The forenoon passed off quietly the boys cleaning their guns, after their late swim, and getting what rest they could.
Just noon I was detailed as picket and we were sent about a mile up the river to see that nothing out of the way was done in rebellion and if there was to report it immediately at headquarters.
Nothing important has happened yet though everything had to be kept in trim last night, as it was expected the rebels would attempt to cross, but nothing of the kind happened.
Our knapsacks that we left behind were brought to us yesterday.
What the intention of our general was when we took the battery I don't know but from the way things stand now I think result well worth the sacrifice.
The result is one hundred and twelve prisoners, five pieces of cannon, a large amount of ammunition, the burning of over 15 hundred bushels of corn and a house and several burns that served as concealment for the sharp shooters.
I believe our regiment came off all safe except that the first sergeant in Co. D. got shot
Today there is a large detail working on the rifle pits and a few sharp shooters and pickets. The rest are lying in camp.
Confiscation is carried on here on a little larger scale then it was at Fort Baker (Fort Baker, District of Columbia) [Fort Baker, Washington, District of Columbia] .
The other day a dressed heifer was brought into camp; the day we were over the river a hog and three pigs were brought in; and a little while ago a man came and complained that he had had three cows killed today.
A guard has gone out to arrest the ones that done it but in all probability they won't get them.
The weather which for a day and a half has been quite cold and somewhat rainy has changed to be quite pleasant.
I haven't seen a paper since I left Fort Baker (Fort Baker, District of Columbia) [Fort Baker, Washington, District of Columbia] and I don't know anything about how the war stands except what I have by hearsay and that is precious little and very unreliable.
The affairs in the department haven't taken any decided turn yet.
I am in hopes to sleep all night tonight and if I do I shall be ready to be kept on the fun the next three or four.
In camp Calhouns Point Va. (Virginia) [Calhouns Point, Virginia]
Saturday April 25th 1863
Last Saturday was the nastiest most uncomfortable day we have had since we have been here. It rained nearly all day but that made no difference with the working party for there was one hundred fifty men in the rifle pits all day.
The party that came in at noon were about as wet as they very well could be.
Those that were in camp were not much better off as the shelter tents were not much better then out doors in the way they were pitched.
The sheeting was so slack that water came in at the top,
Taking erything together it was rather an uncomfortable forenoon.
In the afternoon I was one of the working party and we worked in the rain most of the afternoon. I came in just as good as wet through and in that condition I staid till my clothes dried on me.
But there was one thing that helped to make the boys feel a great better and that was that as soon as we got to camp we were called on to sign the pay roll and receive our pay. It was nearly all done in a couple of hours and the boys felt as much better as they wou!d have to have gone in a warm house and had a dry suit of clothes to put on.
I didn't sleep very warm that night though I slept sound.
We had to sleep with our overcoats, belts and cartridges boxes on as it was thought we might be called up in the night.
We were called up by half past three and stood in the ranks under arms till light.
There was quite a cold wind blowing and in our damp condition it was any thing but comfortable.
But as uncomfortable as I was, and I was as wet as any of them, it made me mad to hear the most of them swear as the officers for keeping them there when, as they thought, there was no use in it.
I expected such things when I enlisted and I have enough confidence in our officers to believe that they wouldn't keep us there without it was for some purpose.
The day was quite cold and windy and it passed off without anything happening that was very exciting.
The usual details were made though not quite as many as usual for fatigue duty. I was on the detail for night picket. We went out just dark and came in this morning.
Nothing happened of consequence. There is a detail of over a hundred men sent to the rifle pits every night to keep watch of the rebels and see that no attempt is made to cross the river.
We are now under marching orders and have to pack our knapsacks the first thing in
Whiskey rations are dealt out every day to men on duty, at the rate of a gill to a man. A good portion of the boys drink it but some do not. When I absolutely need it I shall drink my ration not before.
Today has been a warm clear day and the boys have been cleaning guns and drying clothes after the storm.
I have slept a good portion of the day to make up for last night on picket.
In Camp Calhouns Point Va. (Virginia) [Calhouns Point, Virginia]
Monday April 2nd 1863
Yesterday morning we had our usual inspections and though the guns were not remarkably clean they looked well considering what they have been through for the past two weeks.
Toward the middle of the forenoon a large working party was sent out and remained all day.
I believe they were at work throwing up a battery.
It was quite a warm day and those that remained in camp, for the most part, lay in their tents getting what rest they could.
Starderant [Starderant] called in during the day to see me.
I sent down to Suffolk (Suffolk, Virginia) [Suffolk, Virginia] by him for a pair of leggings.
Just night I was detailed as night picket though I had been off duty only twenty-four hours.
I came in this morning after a bearable night though I heard considerable firing up the river. News was that morning that there was quite a skirmish near Suffolk (Suffolk, Virginia) [Suffolk, Virginia] though I heard no particulars.
I washed all over and changed my shirt this forenoon for the first time since we left the forts.
It is a very warm day, the usual details are out but nothing exciting in camp.
In camp Calhouns Point Pa. (Pennsylvania) [Calhouns Point, Pennsylvania]
Wednesday April 29th 1863
Yesterday morning we were out as usual by three or four o'clock in the morning and remained under arms till light. The usual amount of cursing was done and its effect was about as much as common, that is, none at all.
Shortly after breakfast we had the order to strike tents and pack knapsacks. It was soon done and we then fell back from the river some distance and pitched our camp in pine woods.
I understand that it was by the advice of Gen. Getty [Getty (General)], who
Our present camp is just the place in warm weather, in fact, is just the place in any weather.
We had only just got our camp pitched when it commenced raining and rained all forenoon.
I was on the detail for twenty four pickets and we started off about eleven o'clock, went about three quarters of a mile onto the point and staid till this morning.
We had a rather wet time but came in all right this morning.
While out there I saw some cactus growing, the first I ever saw except in green houses.
When I came in this morning I felt more tired and worn out than I ever did before when coming off duty.
I've slept a good portion of the afternoon and feel some better now.
A picket of thirteen men has been called for tonight and they have a prospect of another wet time as it has just commenced raining and probably will rain all night.
We had our first mail since we left Fort Baker (Fort Baker, District of Columbia) [Fort Baker, Washington, District of Columbia] last night.
It was a heavy one but as luck would have it there was nothing for me.
Affairs here are still at a stand still, nothing going on except now and then a skirmish or a reconnaissance force but nothing decided.
Almost everyday I hear someone cursing Gen Peck [Peck (General)] or wishing for a forward movement.
I don't know how true it is but I have heard quite a number say that Gen. Peck [Peck (General)] is traitorous.
In Camp Calhoun Point VA. [Calhoun Point, Virginia]
Friday May 1st 1863
The rain that had commenced when I was writing night before last turned into a heavy thunder shower and it had hardly rained fifteen minutes before the water commenced running through the tent in a forcible stream. In the heaviest of the shower the water was full two inches deep in a good portion of the tent.
Our situation can better be imagined than described. I was the most fortunate one in the tent for my rubber blanket was under me and by turning up the edges
As soon as it slacked raining we reditched around the tent, got a lot of rails and put in the tent to sleep on and then rolled ourselves in our blankets and made ourselves as comfortable as
It rained nearly all night but there was not much thunder except in the evening.
We were out in the morning at the usual hour of three, according to orders.
It was muster day and we made ourselves and accruements look as well as possible as we were to have a stranger to muster us.
It was to be done at ten o'clock but he didn't come till after dinner.
He was the Col. of the 103
In the afternoon I was detailed as night picket but happening to come on the reserve I slept all night.
During the day the rebels opened a new battery on us firing some two or three shells in the morning and five or six at night. They struck within a few rods of our camp and the boys appeared to be as much pleased as a boy is with his playthings.
Our gunboats and batteries replied to the compliment and soon silenced them.
Sometime in the forenoon fifteen or twenty of our boys crossed the river as scouts under command of Liet. McGill [McGill (Lieutenant)].
They went to the battery where we were the night we were over the river but did not go to any great distance from the river.
Just at dark a body of rebels came out to take them our boys fired a few rounds and then gradually fell back to the river and recrossed. Four of them proved weak kneed and skedaddled in
They all got back safe but I didn't hear any of them say a great deal of the affair.
To day has been a pleasant, warm, clear day and everyone had their things out drying after the wet spell.
Nothing special going on except a considerable groaning about rations.
All we had yesterday was three crackers a small piece of pork and a cup of soup with our usual coffee.
Today the same with a small piece of beef in place
Tonight, however tomorrow's bread was dealt out and we made out very well.
I've been out today and got some meritable hoe cake for I saw it made and baked. It is worthy of merit for it s rare simplicity.
A little common chicken dough dried over a slow fire constituted those that I got.
A little salt was added to a few of them by special request. I don't think I should starve to death if I had plenty of hoe cakes but then I may be mistaken.
In camp Calhouns Point VA [Calhouns Point, Virginia]
Sunday May 3rd 1863
Yesterday I was picket. Nothing special happened till in the night when there was considerable movement among the troops. Two regiments crossed the river near where I was and there was quite a force of calvery and artillery went up toward Suffolk (Suffolk, Virginia) [Suffolk, Virginia] .
This morning there was some sharp skirmishing by the troops that crossed there but nothing decided.
Toward Suffolk (Suffolk, Virginia) [Suffolk, Virginia] there has been considerable fighting.
Our forces crossed the river
The firing of artillery has been quite heavy and continuous all the afternoon.
Reports are that we are losing men very fast but we dreaming then at every point.
Three or four companies of our regiment crossed here to day and the prospect is that we shall cross tonight.
News from Hooker [Hooker]'s army says that he has crossed the Puppahannock with his whole army and destroyed the bridge behind him to prevent retreat.
Everything seems to indicate that the "grand movement" so many times spoken of is being made. If so God help the right.
It has been very warm all day one almost sweating when lying in his tent.
The boys are beginning to feel the effects of climate water & food. Diarrhea is very common and the fever is beginning to appear.
Del Carver [Carver, Del] is quite sick with cramps in the stomach and is threatened with fever. I hope he won't be sick here for it is a decidedly bad place.
In camp Calhouns Point VA [Calhouns Point, Virginia]
Thursday May 8th 1863
Since Monday the excitement has all died away and everything is as dull here as it very well can be. To swelter here in these marshy hole all summer, as they say we are, is awful to think of and more awful to realize.
The fight on last Sunday ended in the complete defeat of the rebels and their precipitate retreat across the black water with considerable loss.
Our loss was not heavy.
Wednesday I went to Suffolk (Suffolk, Virginia) [Suffolk, Virginia] to do a few errands for myself and the boys.
It was about as nasty a tramp
Today I have laid pretty still for I was nearly tired out.
The war news is of the best kind from all quarters. Hooker [Hooker] is driving them from the Rappahannock Banks (Rappahannock Banks, Virginia) [Rappahannock Banks, Virginia] defeating them in Louisiana [Louisiana] and our forces driving them successfully at every part of the country.
The only thing that troubles our boys is the fear that we shall have to stay here all summer.
Any thing but that.
In camp Calhoun Point VA [Calhoun Point, Virginia]
Saturday May 10th 1863
Yesterday was a dull dreary musty day. No excitement, no news, nothing stirring.
There was some rumors of mov1ng but it was postponed on account of the weather.
Just dark it was whispered around that Hooker [Hooker] had been overwhelmingly defeated and been obliged to retreat across the river.
This morning it cleared off and has been clear and warm all day.
The company has been out part of the day fixing our new camp ground.
The Capt. says that we are going to have wedge tents and stay here all summer doing no duty except guard our camp and keep the bridges and roads in repair.
I really hope it isn't so for I do hate to stay here above all things.
I am on guard, the first time since we left the boats.
No news from Hooker [Hooker] yet. Everybody is anxious to hear.
If he is defeated as bad as it is said I believe it will prolong the war full a year.
In Camp near Port Marris [Port Marris]
Thursday May 14th
Since last Sunday we have moved twice; the first time the whole regt. went the second only three companies.
On Monday a detail of 20 & 25 men from a Co. was made part to go over the river and the rest to finish some batteries. I was one of the detail.
While we were gone the rest of the regt. struck tents and moved to the new camp about a mile farther back from the river.
We got back just before
We staid in the new camp (Camp Haskin [Camp Haskin]) the next day and laid out the streets and made ourselves comfortable for a long stay.
But yesterday morning Co.'s J, G &A struck tents and marched to this place. It is the very best one we have been in yet and our quarters are more
Almost every tent is floored with boards and a great many have board sides. Shade is quite plenty, evergreens by the hundreds being set in the street.
Guard duty is very light as by a order only two or three guards remain on during the and a very few number at night.
In addition those found out without passes are made to do the guard duty, so that taking every thing together we have pretty easy times.
But we are just beginning to think that we have got work to do for this afternoon all three Co.'s were out making baskets to put in the embrasures of batteries and this evening a detail of eight or nine men from a Co. have gone out I don't know what for but it looks suspicious.
The weather has been very hot and sultry for more than a week.
I don't know what one shall do if it keeps on at this rate till august. One result will be sweat.
In camp Marjobans Rock VA [Marjobans Rock, Virginia]
Sunday May 17th 1863
Another move. We were routed out last Friday morning before light and ordered to pack knapsacks, strike tents and be ready to march at the first beat of the drum.
Some said the Blackwater (Blackwater, Virginia) [Blackwater, Virginia] , some that Portsmouth (Portsmouth, Virginia) [Portsmouth, Virginia] some that Yorktown (Yorktown, Virginia) [Yorktown, Virginia] was our destination but I guess that no one knew.
I shouldered my things early in the morning and went over to the hospital to get Charley [Charley] and from there went to the other part of the regiment and waited for our company.
They soon came when the regt. was formed and after waiting a while we started off.
We marched four or five miles, part of the way on the Portsmouth (Portsmouth, Virginia) [Portsmouth, Virginia] road and part of the way on a railroad and then took the cars for Suffolk (Suffolk, Virginia) [Suffolk, Virginia] . It was just noon when we got aboard and we were soon at the city.
We branched off on to the Norfolk (Norfolk, Virginia) [Norfolk, Virginia] railroad and went to within some earlo miles of that place then left the cars and marched three or four miles north of the railroad and about
Portsmouth, Virginia) [Portsmouth, Virginia] .
The boys stood the march very well though some threw away their blanket and overcoat and a considerable many fell out.
The Col. is in command of a brigade here and we are to build certain fortifications and then man them.
At least such is the report, and I guess there is some truth in it for yesterday between two and three hundred men were sent out chopping beside a heavy detail from the 25 N.J. that boys besides us, for
When we left Camp Haskins [Camp Haskins] Del Carver [Carver, Del] and Gerte [Gerte] were not well enough to come with us and so they had to stay behind.
All the boys that I tent with have been sick, so sick that they have staid in the hospital some time and now I suppose it is my turn, but I done concluded that nothing but a rebel bullet is going to hurt me and not even that till after four or five rebels have fallen by my gun, at least.
In camp near Julians Creek VA [Julians Creek, Virginia]
Sunday May 24th 1863
A week has passed and we are here yet, the longest we have remained in any one camp before.
Of course the first thing to be done was, to fix up the camp; that is done the first thing whether there is prospect of moving the next day or the next month, it matters not.
This time it is done up in about as good style as it ever has been and I think a little better.
The streets are all turn piped with a sidewalk on both sides next the
Some have their tents fixed up in the best of style with sides and brick Iaibie, slelaed and the whole almost entirely covered in evergreen trees forming as cool and comfortable a retreat as any one could desire; while others are content to pitch their tent on the ground and without
At the head of the streets huge arches are erected of red cedar. From the center of the arches hangs a circlet of evergreens & in the center of the cirdet the letter of the company.
Our company has a huge letter A of red cedar in place of the arches.
The captain's quarters differ in their decorations as much as the privates.
Some have zurd and larwers; others simply shade trees.
Altogether we have a
We can't complain of heavy duty certainly. Guard or picket once in eight or ten days and 3% hours work during the day.
We go out in the morning at seven o'clock and work in two reliefs until eleven o'clock making two hours work in the forenoon, then came in and all those that want it have their nip of whiskey.
From eleven to three we read, write, swim or sleep just as we see fit.
We then go out to work again and work in two reliefs as before until half past six then come in & have another nip of whiskey and the days work is done.
So far we have mostly worked on the fortifications and easier digging I never saw I my life but yesterday our company had to cut a road through a piece of woods that was all brier shrubs and vines in a complete tangle and it wasn't quite so pleasant
What the fortifications are for I don't know though I've heard said it was looking to the evacuation of Suffolk (Suffolk, Virginia) [Suffolk, Virginia] .
Swimming in Julian's Creek is a favorite amusement with most of the boys.
It is a tide water stream and when the tide is in is a very good place to bathe though rather black and dirty, but you have the satisfaction of knowing that it is fresh salt water.
When the tide is out there is scarcely any water in it.
I've been out on picket once
Everyone has to have a pass; citizen or Negro as well as soldier. That is all the pickets are for, to see that no one travels around the country but who has a right to.
I bought a few eggs of a citizen that day paying the moderate sum of fifty cts a dozen for them.
They are now brought into camp for 20cts. Oysters sell for 25cts a quart but are not allowed to be sold now on account of their not being healthy. Strawberries were brought into camp yesterday
The weather is getting pretty warm nearly as warm as it is in the summer at the north. Crops are all farmed and considering the state of the country quite plenty.
The Col. commands the First Brigade 3rd Division gth Army Corp.
How long we shall stay here is uncertain, not long probably, if, as reported, the rebels are threatening Suffolk (Suffolk, Virginia) [Suffolk, Virginia] again. I don't care but little how soon we move.
In camp near Julians Creek VA [Julians Creek, Virginia]
Thursday May 28th 1863
For the past three days we have been kept pretty steady at work on the fortifications, etc, whether in apprehension of an attack or the evacuation of Suffolk (Suffolk, Virginia) [Suffolk, Virginia] I am unable to say; I think though that the Col. wants his little commission as Brigade General and consequently he wants the regiment to do as much work as any other.
A slight change has been made in the time of our working.
We now go out in the morning at half past
So far this week I have been pretty lucky in not having a very hard situation at work.
Monday morning I with 3 others, instead of going out with the working party, were detailed to raise a flag on the top of a large cypress at Brigade Hdqrt to run a signal road by.
In the afternoon we were out with the rest.
Tuesday ten of our Co. of which I was one, with ten from the other Co.'s,
Skinner (Sergeant)] were all detailed to cut a signal road from Brigade Hdqt to the Eliyolute River.
We had got about two thirds of the way there when we found that we had gone in the wrong direction and we had to come back a start over again.
We got through to the river about two o'clock.
It is a large tide water stream running into the Chesapeake near the mouth of the James river.
We had a good bathe and then came back to
It was not hard work any of the way as most of the woods we cut were young pines.
Yesterday Carp Shovey [Shovey, Carp] and I with two from each of the other companies went into the woods cutting stockades.
In the forenoon we worked pretty well as there was two trains to carry them to the fort as fast as we could cut and load them but in the afternoon the trains went to the railroad to carry baggage for two
Suffolk, Virginia) [Suffolk, Virginia] and so we didn't do but very little.
The two regiments were the sgth N.Y. & 103 N.Y. They with the 25th N.J. and our regiment compose our brigade. I don't know whether there is any others or not.
The news from Grant [Grant]'s army is encouraging and if true will help our side immensely.
There was a rumor last night that he was retreating but was afterward contradicted.
In camp near Julians Creek VA [Julians Creek, Virginia]
Monday June 1st 1863
I was fortunate enough last Friday to be detailed for picket instead of guard. Ever since we have been down here I have been very lucky in that respect not having been on guard but once since we left the boats.
We went out on the Portsmouth (Portsmouth, Virginia) [Portsmouth, Virginia] road, only a little farther down, and under the same orders, namely; to let no one pass without they had a pass; neither officers privates citizens or negros.
But the orders were not very skiethy carried out.
An officer would come along without any pass; well he had come through all the other picket posts and they hadn't stayed him and he should think if one post was going to enforce it the rest ought to.
The end of it would be that the sergeant would pass him through.
The citizens and Negroes are nearly all supplied with passes and we had but very little trouble with them.
The day passed off without anything special happening and as we didn't have a very hard duty we could lie
Saturday was devoted to cleaning up for monthly yesterday. Just night we spent in swimming in the creek as we do most every night when the tide is in.
At dress parade an order was read that the working party should be out a six in the morning and come in at eleven, this giving us an hour longer in the forenoon.
The afternoon hours were the same as before.
Yesterday was inspection and after inspection writing
The weather is still growing warmer and dustier. I don't think we have had any rain in nearly a month.
Quite a number of the boys have been sick with the merle but they are all getting better now. The weather has been very favorable for the disease.
The news from Gen Grant [Grant (General)]'s army i~ titill favorable, but Vicksburg (Vicksburg, Virginia) [Vicksburg, Virginia] is still in the hands of the rebels. The latest reports are that Grant has driven them to the river fortifications, and prospect of an early capture.
Quartermaster Richards [Richards (Quartermaster)] had his leg broke the other day by
Lieutenant E.G. Jones [Jones, E.G. (Lieutenant)] is Acting Brigade Quartermaster.
Such is the reward of merit. A private when he enlisted and now brigade quartermaster.
Today we are at work as usual on the fort.
It is a hot day and would be almost unbearable were it not for a slight breeze that is stirring.
In camp near Julians Creek VA [Julians Creek, Virginia]
Friday June 5th 1863
Since I wrote last there has not much occurred of consequence except our getting paid. Day before yesterday we signed the pay rolls and expected to get our pay the same day, but the paymaster did not come and so we had to go without it.
It gave us a holiday however and that was worth something.
Yesterday we went out to work in the forenoon but just after dinner they commenced paying us and kept at it until dark.
We were paid up to the first of May.
Today peddlers are as thick as bees bringing cakes, cookies, strawberries, cherries, onions, lemonade, ice cream, green peas, milk, apples, tobacco and almost every conceivable thing that can be eaten, drank or chewn. '
Money flies like thistle down in a strong summer breeze. Not nearly for something to things to eat or drink but "fluff'' has again received and money passes from hand to hand without its remunerative value.
Day before yesterday we had a little rain in the
The Orderly of Co. D and A A Barrington [Barrington, A.A.] of our Co. came back late last night.
The adjutant and four privates left for Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) [Washington, District of Columbia] Wednesday after the sick we left there.
The Col. left for Souneybidy [Souneybidy] on a furlough for today.
He has been quite unwell.
He has lost his position as Brigade General, Col. Faireluly [Faireluly (Colonel)] having been released from arrest.
In camp near Julians Creek VA [Julians Creek, Virginia]
Wednesday June 1oth 1863
The 28th N.J.V.C. having gone home their tents were given to us. Saturday we were to put them up. There was not enough of them to give every four boys one and so part of us have to stay in our shelters yet.
There was considerable trouble in arranging who should go in them but they finally concluded to commence at the head of the roll and give the first four a tent and so on till the tents were all gone and then those that were left would have to stay
One of the wedge tents came to me but I traded of my share in it for a shelter. Charley [Charley] and I concluded that we had rather live in a shelter tent together than in a wedge tent with some one we didn't like very well.
Besides the tents naturally belonging to us we had an extra one that belonged to the boys in the wedge tents as it was not thought more than fair that they
We worked all day Saturday putting them up. They were all put in one row on one side of the street, probably from sanitary purposes.
The wedge tents were put up first and then the shelters.
Sunday I was on guard and was detailed for headquarters. It was not very hard duty as half of each relief went on in the forenoon and the other half in the afternoon so that after I had been on once
Monday forenoon I finished up our tent stockading the back and arranging table shelves etc and getting things in comfortable living order.
Orders were read Sunday night a dress parade that no one should go in swimming except in the morning before the working party went out. As a consequence there hasn't been much bathing done lately.
Charley [Charley] is over to the hospital taking care of some of our boys. He went there last Saturday and well probably
The boys all seem to like him as a nurse about as well as they do anyone.
Ross [Ross] went to the Portsmouth (Portsmouth, Virginia) [Portsmouth, Virginia] hospital a day or two ago. He was up here yesterday feeling pretty well though not entirely over his sickness.
Eve Jones [Jones, Eve] is there very sick with he fever. It isn't expected that he will live.
Tuesday we were out to work as usual.
In the morning three men from our company with a proportional number from the rest of the Co.'s
They haven't got back yet.
The weather is hot and dusty but still not up to the climax as we have a considerable many cool breezes.
The war news from the west is still encouraging though nothing decisive is heard.
I hope that in a day or two we shall have some thing to rejoice over in earnest.
The 3rd N.Y.V.C. arrived here today from Fortress Monroe (Fortress Monroe, Virginia) [Fortress Monroe, Virginia].
In camp near Julians Creek VA [Julians Creek, Virginia]
Saturday June 13th 1863
I've just got back from a bathe in the creek and as it is just dark it of course violates orders but to an old soldier that is nothing very strong.
For the last two or three days Lieutenant James [James (Lieutenant)] has been a regt. adjutant, Millard [Millard] having gone to Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) [Washington, District of Columbia] to see about our sick there and other business.
Darmn [Darmn] was on dress parade tonight and though he hesitated some he done very well.
The orders read were from
Alford (Colonel)] assuming command of this brigade, composed of the 3rd, 23rd, sgth and 11 ih New York Vol.
Charley [Charley] came back from the hospitCJ! to day.
The boys are all getting better but there is one or two others that look as though they might go there soon.
Thursday and Friday we worked on the fort as usual without anything very important happening.
The "Nigger Colehess" ["Nigger Colehess"] got back Thursday night after having been gone two days
Suffolk, Virginia) [Suffolk, Virginia] and back by a different route.
They say that they got about one hundred but it is generally thought that they got about six.
The weather is still fine. It threatened rain last night and this morning but has cleared off and there is now prospect of dry weather.
As Sergeants Skinner [Skinner (Sergeant)] and Emary [Emary] are on special duty corporals Shovy [Shovy] and Brown [Brown] are acting sergeants and Charley Jaw [Jaw, Charley] and Johnson [Johnson] are acting corporals. Charley [Charley] is one of the best steadiest fellows in the
Burdett] is a good fellow though rather more stylish and rather rougher then Charley [Charley].
Connery [Connery] and Owens [Owens] arrived today from Washington [Washington, District of Columbia] both looking healthy and fleshy though a great deal lighter complexioned than the rest of us. Connery [Connery] brought back five dollars I sent to George [George] for a diary etc. He was unable to get those.
The war news brings nothing exciting or decisive.
Everything however is "still favorable to our side"
Jeinus Vol 2nd