Diary of Edward Snow Foster, v. 3: June 14, 1863 (Julians Creek, Va.) - July 1, 1863 (near White House, Va.)

Diary of Edward Snow Foster, v. 3: June 14, 1863 (Julians Creek, Va.) - July 1, 1863 (near White House, Va.)


Julians Creek V. (Virginia) . [Julians Creek, Virginia]

Sunday June 14th 1863.

Today has been one of unrest to me. I haven't been quiet a moment all day except when I was asleep.

I thought I didn't know any thing and didn't know as I ever should.

I tried to overcome my feelings by forced actions intended to be funny but they were rough and unbecomeing a true smitherman.

Fred Graves [Graves, Fred] was over in our tent and I went over with him to Co. B and had some lemonade and bought a few pickles; I bothered Charles [Charles] in sorithing, I walked out to see the boys pitch quarters, I slept, all to overcome

feeling but it was useless and wrong.

I had ought to have sat down and thought what caused such a state of mind and decided upon some course to overcome it. "That that I would do not, that that i do would not..

It must be different hereafter.

Inspection as usual this morning and dress parade tonight.

No orders of imparture.

I went to church this morning and when I came away I concluded that I wouldn't go again right away.

Seete [Seete] and Del Carver [Carver, Del] went to the hospital tonight. Lieutenant with the fever, and Del [Del] three times with it. War news unimportant though hardly as favorable as yesterday.

Julians creek Va. (Virginia) [Julians Creek, Virginia]

Monday June 15th 1863.

This morning I was detailed for guard.

Before guard mounting I cleaned my brasses, blackened my shoes and brushed my coat thinking that perhaps I might be Col.'s orderly.

In fact I shall have to admit that I worked for it but my hopes as well as work was in vain as far as orderly was concerned. They were not entirely in vain for I looked more as a soldier should look when he goes on guard.

Besides I gratified my pride as far as neatness was concerned. But the great fault was I didn't fix up from

the right notions.

It should have been from a more inward motive than the desire to be orderly or the mere satisfaction of pride.

My very actions showed that I thought of my looks. I must learn to look neat without thinking of it and then I shall be nearer the true state of mind than I now am.

My post is no. 7 at the boats in the day time and I guess it will be at the quartermasters tonight.

I have stood two "tricks" of an hour each.

The first I sat in the boat and watched the birds

as they swam in droves on the surface of the water.

The second hour I read the sunday morning Chronicle. It contained the presidents reply to the resolutions adopted by the Albany Democratic Consentian.

It was worthy of the man and greatly increased my confidence in him which has never been very small. I trust it will stop a few of their traitorous mouthes.

The war news was unimportant.

It has been a very warm day, about the warmest we have had and bodes warmer. Nothing else of importance I believe.

Julians Creek V. (Virginia) [Julians Creek, Virginia]

Tuesday june 16th 1863.

I've had quite a holiday today. I cleaned my gun before guard mount and after that I had a row down the river.

Lieutenant Damn [Damn (Lieutenant)] and Bartholomew the chaplain [Bartholomew (Chaplain)] Ross Riley [Riley, Ross] Francis Rout [Rout, Francis] and i constituted the party.

As the wind appeared to be favorable it was concluded we had better try and sail as being more romantic than using the oar; so we took four pieces of shelter tents and buttoned them together for a sail.

Our mast was a pine pole and our yards of broken oars.

We started with high hopes of a brillant sail but they were destined to be sorely blasted.

Hard winds and the tide were against us before we had gone far and then worked against us all the rest of the way. Oars were the last resort and so we finally hauled in sail and rowed the rest of the way. We went down as far as the Elisabeth River [Elisabeth River] and anchored near the lock of the Dismal Swamp (Dismal Swamp, Virginia) [Dismal Swamp, Virginia].

After a bathe in the river we started back and as the wind appeared to be more favorable we thought we would try the sail again, and sure enough

we had no sooner got it in trim than we started off before the breeze at a rapid rate.

We went along with remarkable good luck till we had nearly reached camp when the tide being so low, we ran aground.

All hands took hold of the oar and pushed and shoved but all to no purpose for we were fast in the mud and likely to remain there.

The major seeing our distress shoved off to us in a small boat using a spade as a paddle.

After lightening our boat of part of its crew we managed

to shove in within two or three rods of shore when we reached land by means of the majors boat leaving our boat where it was.

It was between one and two o'clock when we reached camp none the worse for the trip besides the benefit of the experience.

This afternoon I have done some working, been over to the hospital to see Del [Del] and Seete [Seete], read the paper, etc.

There has been considerable excitment in camp since last night over the news that Lieutenant Brayton [Brayton (Lieutenant)] had stolen Lieutenant Smith [Smith (Lieutenant)]'s pocket book. It has been pretty well proven that he went into Smith [Smith]'s quarters during his

absence and took his (kuintly) pocket book containing some three or four hundred dollars including notes.

It will probably go pretty hard with him if it is proven before a Court Martial.

And I hope it will an officer that will steal isn't fit to live.

It is reported tonight that we had marching orders yesterday but that they were countermanded before they left brigade headquarters.

It has been a clear warm day not uncomfortable if you didn't do much.

Nothing new from the seat of war.

Julians Creek V. (Virginia) [Julians Creek, Virginia]

Wednesday June 17th 1863.

The great excitement of today has been the news that Gen. Eurell [Eurell (General)] with 18 or 20 thousand was in Pennslyvania [Pennsylvania] and that the president had called for 120 thousand militia to drive back the invaders.

The great rebel raid so long foretold has at last culminated and every body at the naith is all excitement.

If taken advantage of I think it will prove a good thing for our side.

Theres a great dance at the camp of the 88th tonight. Quite a number of our boys have gone over.

Another very warm day.

Julians creek V. (Virginia) [Julians Creek, Virginia]

Thursday June 18th 1863.

Another day of self condennation and partial desponding.

Condennation for want of purpose and consistiony of character; for insincetity of action; for misspent time and for a poor habit of thought.

If I intend ever to be anybody or know anything I have got work whether I feel like it or not. And to work payingly I must put my whole pourer upon the subject at hand and not be thinking of one thing and doing another; reading and article and at the same time wondering what is for dinner.

Such work is useless and not only useless but hurtful

to mental discepline.

A thorough mental discipline so that one can bring his mind to any subject, no matter how he feels, and keep it there, is what is wanted.

And I mean to have it.

The work on the fort goes on very slowly. The boys are getting more and more lazy every day. The 3rd boys work as though they were getting a dollar a day but they will probably get oan it by the time they have worked as long as we have.

Orders have been recieved that all the men in the regt. that could not stand active service in the field must be transfered

into the invalid camps.

A good many think that it means active service for us and I shouldn't wonder much if it did, considering the position of our armies.

Todays papers say that the rebels will be in Harrisburg (Harrisburg, Virginia) [Harrisburg, Virginia] by tonight if troops are not hurried on faster than they have been for the last two days.

I hope the raid will put an inptias into our armies.

Sergt. Munger [Munger (Sergeant)] of Co. R died in the hospital tonightof the fever. Our boys are getting along very well though lete is quite weak.

The adjutant returned from Washington (Washington, District of Columbia) [Washington, District of Columbia] last night.

Some of the boys are comming ad some not.

Julians Creek V. (Virginia) [Julians Creek, Virginia]

Friday june 19th 1863.

I have done somethings today that I musn't do again.

While our relief was off this forenoon I was sitting on a pile of logs with Ed Shery [Shery, Ed] talking of Fortress Monroe (Fortress Monroe, Virginia) [Fortress Monroe, Virginia] . He had been there yesterday and there was a chance of learning something. Just as we had commenced three of the boys called on me to play cards with them as they hadn't enough for a set.

I passed at first but after repeated urgings I consented against my better judgement.

I thought that perhaps if I refused decidedly I might get their ill will; but hereafter if my judgement says

it isn't to be done that must be sufficient.

I always intended to play cards I have learnt some and I mean to learn more but they must keep their place and not crowd out more important things.

The Major came around to day burryrily up the boys for the first time in a long while. He told the Capt. that his men must work way or he would report him.

But the boys don't seem inclined to do much.

A load of wheel barrous were brought in today for use in building the magargire.

Orders were read tonight

at undress parade changing the times of work.

After this we are to go out at 6 o'clock and work till 9 A.M. without relief. Go out again at 5P.M. and work till 7P.M.

I like the change though I think it will be pretty hard work to keep the boys at work for three hours steady.

Del Carver [Carver, Del] was taken to the Portsmouth Hosiptal [Portsmouth, Virginia] today. Quite a number of the others have gone there.

There is considerable interest in the invalid corps and who is going in it out of this regiment.

Rumors of the most extravagent kind are in circulation in

regard to it.

Some say that all that are unable to march 30 miles a day have got to be transfered, besides all those that are in any way unsound maimed or sick.

There will probably some enter it but not so excepting as all that comes too.

The papers today report the retreat of the rebels from Penn. (Pennsylvania) [Pennsylvania] but that they are still advancing on maryland [Maryland].

News from Vicksburg (Vicksburg, Virginia) [Vicksburg, Virginia] unimportant.

I had a letter from home tonight saying that our old cat had been taken with the hydroplabia and had been shot.

A melancholy end.

Julians Creek V. (Virginia) [Julians Creek, Virginia]

Sunday June 21st 1863.

Marching orders once more.

We have orders tonight to be ready to march at three o'clock tomorrow morning. We are to carry nothing but wollen and rubber blanket, haversacks with three days rations and canteen.

The Capt. said we would be in Richmond (Richmond, Virginia) [Richmond, Virginia] saturday or bite the dust.

I hope it will be Richmond (Richmond, Virginia) [Richmond, Virginia] of the two. The whole division goes I believe.

Good by to Fort Reno (Fort Reno, District of Columbia) [Fort Reno, District of Columbia] with its spades and shovels and good by to ease and lesiure.

I don't feel as well in body as I might but

my spirits are at the highest point.

Yesterday morning we tried the new system of work for the first time. We hadn't enough tools for all and so we worked by reliefs until 8 and then came in. It wasn't a very hard days work.

This morning I sent in my pass to headquarters to visit Fort Monroe (Fort Monroe, Virginia) [Fort Monroe, Virginia] tomorrow, but I guess I shall see it without a pass.

It has been raining some during the day and it is raining now. It is going to make marching a great deal easier and better if it don't

keep on until we start.

I hear we are going to Portsmouth (Portsmouth, Virginia) [Portsmouth, Virginia] to take the boats and from there to --------.

The sick will be left here, the convalescents doing the guard duty.

Pardee [Pardee], Leecte [Leecte], and Carver [Carver] will all stay. All my old tent mates will then be behind.

The companies are all unusually musical tonight and seem to think the idea of taking Richmond (Richmond, Virginia) [Richmond, Virginia] a good joke.

I think that if Hooker [Hooker] Grant [Grant] and Dix [Dix] are successful we can then safely say that the backbone of the rebellion is broken.

Yorktown, V. (Virginia) [Yorktown, Virginia]

Monday June 22nd 1863.

Promptually at three o'clock this morning the drum sounded and we packed for a march.

We had only time enough to get our things ready and drink a cup of coffee before the order came to "fall in" and we started off just light for Portsmouth (Portsmouth, Virginia) [Portsmouth, Virginia] .

Just this side of Portsmouth (Portsmouth, Virginia) [Portsmouth, Virginia] we passed some rifle pits that were built by the rebels.

We marched through the city by platoon to the wharf and took transport to Yorktown (Yorktown, Virginia) [Yorktown, Virginia] though we didn't know it at the time.

It was about seven when we started and we arrived

here between 12 and 1 o'clock.

We passed all the most notable places, Fortress Monroe (Fortress Monroe, Virginia) [Fortress Monroe, Virginia] , Ganay Island [Craney Island, Virginia], Rep Raps [Rep Raps], Gosfort Navy Yard, Virginia [Gosfort Navy Yard], etc.

The marching was a great deal pleasanter than I expected.

It has been cloudy nearly all day and it had rained just enough to keep the dust from flying.

The whole brigade came with us, the 3rd on the lead then our regiment, then the 103rd and then the 88th.

We are camped just outside the city and near some notable battle fields.

There is five or six regiments here besides ours and a good many more further on.

Yorktown Va. (Virginia) [Yorktown, Virginia]

Tuesday June 23rd 1863.

After retreat roll call last night Thayer [Thayer] and I strolled around to see some of the historic spots.

We went first to the place where Comwallis [Comwallis] surrendered his sword to Washington [Washington]. It had been marked by a monument but there isn't any thing there now but a few tiricks and shells with a few very small pieces of the base of the monument.

Relic seekers have taken andcarried it all away.

They say that a large piece of the base was taken into the fort before it was quite all gone.

I took a small piece though

I thought at the time that it was rather foolish.

From there we went to the graves of one of Washington [Washington]'s Aids and two of Cornwallises [Cornwallis].

All that mark the spot now are two small, quite pretty populars and another small tree but they are so mared and cut up by the ever present curiousity seekers that they will probably die. It is strange that they couldn't content themselves with a leaf without spoiling the tree.

There had been a fence around the grove once but it all gone now, posts and all. Near by is a burial place called Union Cemetery [Union Cemetery],

where soldiers are burried.

By its side is the city ingrbue yard and hardly a grave in it has a headboard.

We strolled on through the numberless camps to the big tree, where "Colofarmie Joe" ["Colofarmie Joe"] not the rebel sharpshooter that picked of our gunmen so fast when "Gullte Moe" ["Gullte Moe"] was here.

Its most inbrest to me was its size it being the largest tree that I had ever seen in my limited experience.

By the time we had got back to camp it was tallow and we crept into our shelters and slept for the night.

This morning we

were up by light and after drinking our cup of coffee we went down to the river and went in bathing.

Before we came back we colllected a few sea shells as momentos of the place.

During the forenoon we got a pass to go to Yorktown (Yorktown, Virginia) [Yorktown, Virginia].

It was a short one but it was plenty long enough to visit such a place as that.

To principal buildings were three sutters shops, called by the citizens stores, and a few eating stands with a conglomerate mass of negro houses mixed with about half their number of white in whole town. The whole place is surrounded by a wall on part mounted

with canon.

After getting a few things we came back and haven't done much since.

The report is tonight that we are to take the transports in the morning for West Point (West Point, Virginia) [West Point, Virginia] and Wlile House [Wlile House]. If we do, how are you reb? Now that there is a pretty good chance to see some fighting almost every one went to see our little, butalmighty smart Col. Back [Back (Colonel)].

Even those that are most down on him are anxious to see him in command again before we go into action.

Our regiment is considerably smaller than it was at

Fort Franklin [Fort Franklin]. There we had oner 1000 men, now we have about 560 and that with out seeing the enemy.

Troops have been passing up the river all day to West Point (West Point, Virginia) [West Point, Virginia] .

The report is that our men have occupied Molvern Hill [Molvern Hill] and will be in Richmond (Richmond, Virginia) [Richmond, Virginia] in less than a week if they ever are.

Yorktown V. (Virginia) [Yorktown, Virginia]

Wednesday June 24th 1863.

No move yet. We got up this morning expecting to move as much as could be but we are still here though other troops have been going up the river with arush.

I heard someone say that thirteen transports went up at once loaded with infantry artillery and cavalry.

This morning at eight o'clock we had a battallion drill the first one we have had in six months I guess.

It went off first rate considering that Col. White [White (Colonel)] was in command.

The rest of the day we haven't done much except to draw rations.

They are distributing rations to us as though they were going to send us on a long march.

I believe we have four or five days rations on hand now.

The weather is quite pleasant though it looks like rain tonight.

I find that there is still room for improvement in charcter. Today i've been rather rough under the idea of its being good natured pumliarity, but it is forced and distictive of a noble charcter. I dislike to see it in other folks and I must stop it myself.

Yorktown V. (Virginia) [Yorktown, Virginia]

Thursday June 25th 1863.

One more day here, but the longer we stay the more it looks like going.

The wagon train has gone on this afternoon taking all our baggage and in all probability we shall follow in the morning.

Till today we haven't had any camp guard since we have been here. But to day the boys have been raising the very drill.

Some boys from some of the other regiments stole a barrel of beer from a saloon and rolled it out into the lot. A crowd was there in no time from all the regimentd in the vicinity,

ours furnishing its full share.

There was no limit to noise and yelling of all kinds. Guards went out to arrest some of them and then stoned and clabed them and shackled over the officer.

Finally the drum of the varied regiments beat and they thinking that it was marching orders disperesed.

The result was a guard of twelve men around camp and a pass to go after water.

It has been a wet misty day and is raining now with a prospect of a wet night.

The guards have just been called in.

On picket 1 mile south of White House V. (Virginia) [White House, Virginia]

Friday June 26th 1863.

The drum sounded at two o'clock this morning and I for one welcomed it for I was in a most disagreeable position.

It was raining and the wind blew it into the tent wetting the blankets and finally wetting me.

We packed our things immediately after roll call and then made a cup of coffee for breakfast.

We had hardly got it down when the drum sounded to fall in. The brigade was soon in line and we marched down to the wharf.

After laying there an hour or so we went on board the transport " John Brooks" [Brooks, John] and

started up the York river [York River, Virginia] for White House [White House].

We started of about seven o'clock and reached West Point (West Point, New York) [West Point, New York] about ten o'clock and landing at White House [White House] about half past twelve.

Nothing very notable occured while coming up river exceot at one point where quite a little flock of contrabands neleamed us with every demonstration of joy.

The Pamanky branch of the York [Pamanky branch, York River, Virginia] is nothing but brands and trees all the way up.

Along the shore we could see occassionaly a battery but whether built by our forces or rebels I don't know.

After landing at White [White]

a regiment was formed in line and marched a little way from the river and wentto pitching their tents.

Charley [Charley] and I however thought that we would have some coffee first and so we made a fire and boiled some.

We were lucky for we had only just got it drank when we were ordered out on picket; and here we are 18 miles from Richmond (Richmond, Virginia) [Richmond, Virginia].

They say that we are the first infantry that has landed here since McClellan [McClellan] was here and that we shall probably see some pretty heavy fighting before we get through with it.

Our whole brigade is here and we have about wo hundred

and fifty men out of it on picket.

The whole division is coming as fast as they can be transported.

There is nothing here to make the place interesting except its celebrity.

All that remains of the White House [White House] is the chimney and base with a few out buildings beside a number of negro huts.

Some marines that were here when we landed said that the rebel cavlery were here yesterday but that a force of our cavlery landed and drove them off.

Very likely we shall see a fight soon and if we do I hope our honor will be sustained.

In camp near White House V. (Virginia) [White House, Virginia]

Saturday June 27th 1863.

Last night on picket was rather disabreeable. Shortly after dark it commmenced raining and rained by spells all night.

My blanket was somewhat wet to start with but before morning it was a good deal more wet.

There was five on the post besides a corparal and Officer of the Picket. The orders were that we should all keep awake and we did most of the time but there was nothing to disturb us.

The most interesting thing was the way the Officers of the Picket, Field Officer etc. took down the whickey.

This morning before we

were relieved a long train of infantry, artillery and cavlery under Gen. Theyes [Theyes (General)] came from down the river and joined our command near White House [White House].

Quite a number of the regiments had been here under McClellan [McClellan] and as they came in view of the old spot the first exclaimation was "How are you White House [White House]?.

We were relieved about noon, came in and pitched our tent made some coffee and then went out on brigade inspection.

We got in from that about five o'clock. The report is now that we are going to march in the morning.

There is to be a dress parade as seven o'cock when we shall probably know ???.

Troops are arriving here almost every hour in the day.

Gen. Booster [Booster (General)] is reported on the way and will probably join us in a day or so.

Gen. Dix [Dix (General)] was here to day and I believe takes command in person.

I have quite sangaine hope that we shall reach Richmond (Richmond, Virginia) [Richmond, Virginia] this time if we ever do.

We shall probably have from 40-50 thousand men and if our Generals are let alone I see no very great obstacles except rebels to stop us.

In camp near White House V. (Virginia) [White House, Virginia]

Sunday June 28th 1863.

Nothing of great importance has taken place today.

The cavlery scout that was sent out the other day has returned bringing with them Gen Hity Hugh Lee [Lee, Hity Hugh (General)] and one hundred other prisoners besides destroying upwards of sixty wagons.

They crisscrossed the country from here to Hanom Court House [Hanom Court House] and from there clear around to Harrisons Landing [Harrisons Landing].

They entered the first line of imbenchments at Richmond (Richmond, Virginia) [Richmond, Virginia] and part of their force entered the third line and all without meeting any heavy force of the enemy.

There was great rejoicing

here when they arrived.

Reinforcements continue to arrive. I heard tonight that Gen Fosti [Fosti (General)], Gen Theyes [Theyes (General)] and Gen Dix [Dix (General)] were here with their respective commands.

The advance will probably be made soon though its not known at what precise time.

The landing presents quite a buzy spectacle today.

Fourteen or fifteen transports half a dozen lionus and as many steam tugs are lying afloat the wharf nearly all the time.

I noticed on board one of them a steam engine calculated I suppose to put on the railroad here and run to Richmond (Richmond, Virginia) [Richmond, Virginia] when we get there.

At dress parade tonight we had the brass band played for us. After parade a square was formed and the Chaplain made a few remarks and a prayer when the Col. Told us that we should probably see the enemy in a few days and he would us to show ourselves men and not cowards.

He felt confident that we shouldn't prove the latter.

Rations are still pouring in on to us at the rate of two or three days rations every day. We shall considerably need them in a few days.

I got a daily today paying ten cts for it. Gen Lee [Lee (General)] seems to be still moving towards Harrisburg (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) [Harrisburg, Pennsylvania].

In camp near White House V. (Virginia) [White House, Virginia]

Monday June 29th 1863.

"All quiet along the Pasmanky [Pamanky branch, York River, Virginia].

The continued arrival of troops drills, parades inspections etc is all that is going on.

Of course there is the usual amount of rumors and about as near the truth as they generally are.

I went in bathing in the Pasmanky [Pamanky branch, York River, Virginia] this forenoon and washed my shirt in it, going without one till it was dry. It seemed a little more like soldiering than any i had seen before.

One of the boys of the 103rd was killed on picket last night. Papers today bring the news of our repulse at Port Hudson [Port Hudson].

In camp near White House V. (Virginia) [White House, Virginia]

Tuesday June 30th 1863.

The camp equipage is loaded and the wagon train gone on.

We follow in the morning. Probably for Richmond (Richmond, Virginia) [Richmond, Virginia].

It has been a rainy day and nothing much stirring.

We were mustered this forenoon for two months pay. I wonder how many will answer to their names the next muster day.

If we meet the rebels, and in all probablity we shall, I fear there will be a good many missing.

Reports bring the good news that Vicksburg (Vicksburg, Virginia) [Vicksburg, Virginia] and Fort Darling (Fort Darling, Virginia) [Fort Darling, Virginia] are ours.

Good if true.

William Coast V. (Virginia) [William Coast, Virginia]

In bivouac 1 mile west of Kin. [Kin.]

Wednesday July 1st 1863.

We started on our march this morning at daylight, the whole division moving with us.

We reached here between four and five in the afternoon. We rested two or three times once at Jirnsalan Church [Jirnsalan Church] where we ate our dinner.

The distance from White [White] to here is probably 12 or 13 miles.

It has been a very hot day and the boys were pretty well used up when we got here.

A good many of them fell out on the way.

I made out to keep up all the way and without double pacing.

I feel to tired to write any more.