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Full text of "The Army of the Potomac. Behind the scenes. A diary of unwritten history; from the organization of the army to the close of the campaign in Virginia, about the first day of January, 1863"

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G}^ElS'ER,^?LnL. GJ-EORG-E B. ]McCLEni.Il.^N^, 



Surgeon of the Fifth Regiment of Wisconsin Volunteers. 

i"Oh that mine enemy would write a Book. 




1863^ ^\l'^'\A 

1 i 

i 3 

^ay 1913 

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand eight hun- 
dred and sixty-three, by 
In the Clerk's Office of the District of the United States for the District of 



[From the Milwaukee Sentinel, July 27.] 

We have seen and had the chance to peruse the greater 
portion of the work in sheets, and can speak of it nnder- 
standingly. In his preface, the author says : " The record 
having been made for the writer, is, for the most part, con- 
fined to a statement of such things as are not written in his- 
tories;" and also as will be noticed by the title page, it pur- 
ports to be a look "behind the scenes." These statements 
truly indicate its character, and insure its interest to the read- 
er. The current partial history of the war all readers are 
familiar with, and for a perfect accurate history, of course, 
the time has not yet come. This work furnishes what the 
newspapers have never given, and what no history of the 
war will ever pick up. 

It is a dash at all the salient, interesting points of a mili- 
tary life, through the most interesting and eventful period of 
the history of the Potomac army, written in a style, easy, 
flowing, and in itself attractive. And, besides its reference 
to passing events, the opinions of the author, touching the 
men, McClellan among the chief, who have led and figm'ed 
prominently in the Potomac army, given evidently without 
"fear, favor, affection or the hope of reward," are valuable 
as the candid views of an intelligent observing man, with the 
data on which to form an opinion. 

The book, besides its general interest, has a local interest 
to all Wisconsin readers, and especially those particularly in- 
terested in the 5th Wisconsin. We can most cheerfully 
recommend it as a book of much more than ordinary interest 
and value of the present time. 


In offering this journal to the public, my own inclinations 
and my ideas of expediency are overruled by the wishes of 
my friends. It is offered, except the introductory chapter, 
just in the style in which it was written, without correction 
of even its grammatical errors. The charitable reader will 
not lose sight of the fact, tliat it was written, not for the 
public, but for myself, whilst performing the most arduous 
duties — in the confusion of camp life — sometimes amidst the 
depressing scenes of the hospital, sometimes in the tumult of 
battle, and amid the groans of the dying — much of it on 
horseback, whilst witnessing the scenes described, but none 
of it with the slightest idea that it would be subjected to the 
ordeal of public criticism. 

The hyper- critical reader may be disposed to smile some- 
times at my quotations, and to exclaim "with just enough of 
learning to misquote." To this I plead guilty, in advance ; 
and in extenuation offer only the fact, that in every case I 
quoted just as the author should have written to make his 
language accord with my feelings. 


If a pronoun of the first person, singular number, should 
seem obtrusive in the pages, bear in mind Jiat the journal 
was written by it, for it, and that whatever, or whoever else 
appears in the narrative, does so by sufferance of that perpen- 
dicular part of speech. 

The record, having been made for the writer, is for the 
most part confined to a statement of such things as are not 
written in histories. Histories of the war will be always 
accessible. This was intended to perpetuate, in the mind of 
the author, such thoughts and scenes as are not elsewhere 

With this explanation, but without apology, the book is 
offered to the public. 




Camp Curtin, Harrisburg — First Night in Baltimore. 


Regiment Leaves Baltimore for Washington — Sick Left at 
Baltimore — ^Fort McHenry — Hospitality Extraordinary, i'l 

Fort McHenry, Baltimore — Sick Sent Forward — Kindness of Balti- 


At Washington — Across Chain Bridge — Capt, Strong's Ad- 
venture . and Fight with six Rebels — He shoots fom* of 
them and escapes — "Paid Off" — Our First Fight — 
Alone — As it was, and as it is. 

Washington Threatened — Pickets— A Sad Picture— Brigade Moving — 
Captain Strong's Adventure — Pay Day — Ruinous Victories — Alone- 
Camp Advance— What was, and is— Kalorama— Pest House— Tak- 
ing Notes -Foraging Expedition. 


Move Camp — Lewinsville — Commodore Ap' Catsby Jones — 
An Incident — Our Generals — A Review — Arlington — 
^' The Grand Review." 

Commodore Jones' Mansion— No Fight Predicted — In Search of 'Ad- 
ventures— Brigadier's Profanity— Official Interference— Fort Mc- 
Henry, Baltimore — An Army at Drill — Vandalism — A Grand '^Re- 
view— Difficulties Adjusted. 



Canard—" Trash Too Fresh"— My Hospital— From Home- 
Battle of Drainesville — U. S. Sanitary Commission. 

How Camp Life affects Health— A '^ Track" of The Enemy— Tents 
for the Sick — Malicious Representations — Our First Figlit Vic- 
tory — U. S. Sanitary Conimission. 


New Year's Day, its Celebration — Serenade — Foul iVir in 
Hospitals, Ayith Hospital Sores, Etc — Guard Houses — 
Crickets on The Hearth — Sword Presentation — Its Results. 

Excitement about " Piggy'' — Gangrene of The Mind— Outside Pres- 
sure — Official Negligenee — A Sad Case — Leaped before he Looked 
Rumors and Opinions - Petty Tyranny — Vindictivencss— Remon- 
strance— Hunted Out — Disheartened — JNew Nurses — Hands Full — 
On the Move. 


To Fairfax and Alexandria— We Embark. 

Firm Resolves— Forjot them— Social Enjoyments— Contrasts— Moving 
— A Grand Scene— Mistakes— i^isoning-Alexandria— Embarking. 


Hampton — Monitor — Fortress Monroe — The Cumberland and 
the Congress — Warwick Creek, near Yorktown. 

Hampton — Sad Scenes — James River— Newport News — Fortress Mon- 
roe — Frigate Cumberland— Yorktown — Rebel Quarters--No Rations 
— Promises — Starving Animals — Letters from Home — The Monitor 
— Slavery — Sad Effects — Ridiculous Position — Sanitary Commission 
— Its Efficiency. 


Earth Works Thrown Up — Tender Sympathies of a Gen- 

Warwick Creek — Falsifying and Exaggerating — Demoralization of War 
— Prophecy — Evacuation. 


Yorktown Evacuated — Planted Shells under the Eaves — 
Battle of Williamsburg — But we are out of the way. 

Farewell Dear Home Forever — Anxiety — Dispute about Rank— Fifth 
Wisconsin— Noble Stand— Battle of Williamsburg — Official Deception 
— Pursuit. 



Forward— " White House "—Blasting Effects of Slavery— 
Fishy— Disappointed— Ballooning— Dreamland — Liberty 
Hall. -^ 

Injustice— White House— Oaths-Interference— Ballooning Reflections 
—Sick— A Dream— Blunders— Hancock's Brigade— Criminal Neg- 


(Across The Chickahmoiny)— Incident in Hospital— Acknow- 

Threats of Dismissal— Incident -Neglect -Something in the Wind. 


Battle of Mechanics ville— Beginning of The " Seven Days' 
Fight Before Richmond"—'' Stonewall Jackson is Thor- 
oughly Whipped"— Retreat Commenced— Savage Station 
—White Oak Swamp. 

Can't Cheer-Escaped Capture— Trying Day-Toombs' Brigade— 
Grea^ Destruction of Property— Stampedq Among Litter Bearers. 


Night March— Malvern Hills— March to Harrison's Landino- 
— General Smith — Fourth of July. 

Malvern HiU-Confusion^-Fight it Out-Drafting- Conscript Act. 

One Year in The Field— Drunkenness and Good Liquor— Re- 
view of The War— Disappearing— We March— William and 
Mary— Yorktown—" Water, Water," and "Mutiny." 

^wf^M^r'^^'^^'^^"?'' P^^P«^t-A Letter-Liquors-Incompe- 
tence-Mystenous Movements- Want of Confidcnce-Terrib'e 
LossRS-Shiftless-Pontoon Bridges-Near Williamsburg- The Insti 
tution— Tyranny— Bethel— Hampton. 


Farewell to the Peninsula-McClellan and Pope-Republics, 
Can They Stand Pressure?— "Home Again"— One Hour 
loo Late— Our Retreat. 

^T.r^TJ^ f «!;1«1^'^^-Up the Potomac-Acquia Creek-Blunders- 
General Jackson-Significant-Centreville-Fallin-Towards Wash- 
ington— Mails— The Truth must be Told "warus w asa 



"Wonderful Campaign Commenced — " Cock-A-Doodle-Doo" 
— Prospective, Amende Honorable — Cure for Home Sick- 
ness — South Mountain — Crampton's Gap — Harper's Ferry 
— Battle of Antietam — ^Furlough — " I am on my Jour- 
ney Home." 

" Hail to The Chief" — Increasing Confidence — Frederick — Dreams 
Maryland — South Mountain — Harper's Ferry — Treason — Battle of 
Antietam— Chloroform — An Angel of Mercy— Burying the Dead — 
Supplies from Home— General Hancock Removed— Antietam— Ex- 
huming Bodies. 


Into Virginia — Fighting ahead — McClellan Removed and 
Burnside in Command — Church in the Wilderness — "Say 
it to His Face." 

White Plains— Why McClellan is Popular— '• Old Burney"' Begins 
Right — Forty Miles from "Any where' — Predictions- An Od 
Church^ Antiquities— Party Slime— Blunders— Negro Sentiment — 
Letters from Home. 


My Opinion — Advance on Fredericksburg — Crossing Tthe 
Rappahannock — The Battle — We re-cross. 

Individual Opinion — Bombardment of Fredericksburg — South of the 
Rappahannock— Why all the day Idle ?— Surgical Operations— Re- 
treating— Whispers— Personal Inquiries — Cruelties of War — Public 
Opinion —Pressure — Burnside's Manliness— Go forth Little Book. 




1861, Jidy 31.— On the 19th of June, 1861, the 5th Regi- 
ment of Wisconsin Vols., being partially organized, went into 
camp at Madison, "Wis. Here it remained for a time, perfecting 
its organization, drilling and preparing itself for the hard- 
ships, the dangers, and the responsibilities to be encountered 
in the battle-field, against a people warlike and chivalric ; a 
people who are taught to regard physical courage, and reck- 
lessness of physical danger, as the noblest qualities of the 
human race, and a people whose chief pride was to win in 
fight, whether with individuals or in masses ; but a people, 
who, having entrusted their politics to professed politicians, 
were misled to believe that, by their brothers of the Northern 
States of this Union, their rights of property were invaded, 
and their homes were coveted as a prize for distribution 
amongst the overgrown population of the North. But to 
enter into a discussion of the merits of this rebellion, now 
devastating the most beautiful country known to man, carrying 
in its march a passover of beggary, of destitution, and of death, 
is not in accordance with the object of this little book. It is 
therefore passed over, that the reader may at once be permit- 
ted to enter into a detail of the subjects indicated in our 

From the time of the commencement of the rebellion, by 


actual war on Fort Sumter, in April of this year, its settle- 
ment by rapid and decisive victories over the rebels was 
subject of merriment, and looked on as matter of course. 
We were going to war with a people of not half our numbers, 
without money, without munitions of war, without navy, 
without anything in fine of those elements which go to make 
up the ensemble of a people powerful in war, and we were 
entering into the strife as a short interlude to the hum-drum 
vocations of life. " How could a people thus situated hope 
to compete with the parent Government, rich in every element 
which makes a great people f This was the reasoning. In 
vain were our people told of the character of the Southerners. 
In vain were they referred to the results of our own rebelHon 
and successful revolutionary war with England. " Oh !" was 
the reply, " Steamships were not known in those days, and 
England had to cross the ocean to fight us." " But Hungary, 
with its population of only 3,000,000, and without revenue, 
withstood the whole power of Austria, till the hordes of 
Russia had to be called in to aid in their subjugation." "But 
Austria had become a superannuated and feeble people." No 
reasoning would answer. The subjugation of the revolted 
States was to be a pastime, and could be nothing but a pas- 
time. Thus went on matters, drilling as an amusement, 
preparatory to the enjoyment of a war, all the results of which 
were to be on our side, and obtained without sacrifice or 

^ iii ^ ^ ^ ^ 

On the afternoon of the 21st July, 1861, the electric wires 
brought us the intelligence from Bull Run that our army was 
whipped, was routed, was scattered in flight. The heart of 
the w^hole North received a shock of sadnesh and of disap- 
pointment. Soldiers in camp began to reaUze that war meant 


work and danger, and the Regiment of which I was a mem- 
ber at once received orders to be in readiness to march at the 
earhest possible moment, to hmTy to the aid of its companions 
in arms. It was in sad pHght for the exposures of camp life. 
'Twas in the heat of summer, when fevers and diarrhoea 
prevail in their worst forms. The measles had broken out in 
camp, and one-third of the soldiers were suffering from dis- 
ease of some kind. ^Nevertheless, active preparation went on, 
and on the fourth day after the receipt of the sad news the 
Regiment was on its way to battle. 

On the 27th of July we reached Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 
and went into Camp Curtin. For months this had been a 
rendezvous for regiment after regiment. The grounds had 
not been cleaned — the weather was intensely hot, without a 
leaf to intercept the scorching rays of the sun. The stench 
of the camp was intolerable, and the sickness of the troops 
rapidly increased. * 

On the 29th of July, at night, we received orders to bo 
ready to march at 3 o'clock next morning. Our destination 
was supposed to be Harper's Ferry, where we were at once 
to engage the enemy and to " wind up the war." So great 
was the excitement (these things were all new then) that very 
few laid down for rest during the night. At 3 a. m., of the 
30th, all tents were struck and rolled up ; mess chests were 

*I made it my business to visit evei-y tent twice a day, to see that they were 
tlioi-oughly cleaned, and that the sides of the tent were raised so as freely to 
admit a current of air. But here the air without was so foul as to improve 
the condition inside but little. I will here say, however, that the Surgeon of a 
Regiment who does not visit every tent in his encampment at least once a day, to 
satisfy himself by personal inspection that it is thoroughly cleaned and ventila- 
ted, and that at least once a week the tents are all struck, and the sun admitted 
for several hours to the ground on which they stand, is not deserving of the 
position which he holds. 


packed, and everyone ready for the order to move. But sun- 
rise came and found us sitting on our packages. The day 
wore on, I think the hottest I ever experienced. The troops 
remained exposed to the broihng sun till 2 o'clock p. m., when 
we embarked on open platform cars, without seats, and with- 
out covering. We ran doAvn through the city, crossed the 
Susquehannah Bridge, halted, and remained sitting or stand- 
ing in the sun till evening. The heat of the day, determining 
the circulation to the skin, had brought out the eruption in 
many cases of measles, and the poor fellows had to sit and 
suffer, without a place to lie down, or even a back to lean 
against. At dusk we found ourselves again under way ; ran 
doAvn to York, Pa., about forty miles. It had now com- 
menced raining, and the cars were run out from the depot, 
and the suffering men who had been all day washed with 
their own perspiration, were compelled to sit all night in 
the rain. Sick or well, 'twas all the same. None were per- 
mitted to leave the open cars and go back mto the depot. 
Towards morning the rain stopped ; the wind shifted sudden- 
ly to the Northwest, and it was cold as November. After 
the long tedious night of suffering, the morning came, and 
we ran down to Baltimore, arriving there at 8 o'clock on the 
morning of July 3 1st. 

We had anticipated trouble here. We disembarked, 
marched with muskets loaded, and bayonets fixed, from north 
to south through the entire length of the city, without moles- 
tation, oxcept from the scowls of secessionists, and the 
welcoming hurrahs of friends.* At the Camden Street 
depot we remained in the most uncomfortable condition 

*Only two comi:>anies were armed. They Avere placed one in front, the other 
in the rear of the Regiment, and .'■o marched through the city. 


which it is possible to conceive till sunset, when we were 
ordered for the tAventieth time during the day to " fall in." 
We disembarked, marched about two and a half miles, and 
camped on an elevated ground to the north of, and overlook- 
ing a large part of the city and bay. The regiment did not 
get settled till midnight, and many were so exhausted that 
they threw themselves on the ground, with their clothes still 
wet from the previous night's rain. The medical department, 
however, succeeded by 10 o'clock in getting up tents to pro- 
tect the sick, and they were made as comfortable as the cir- 
cumstances would permit. 

Here the regiment remained till the 8th of August, without 
any occurrences worthy of note, except that sickness contin- 
ued to increase, and the knowledge I gained as to how little 
some military commanders cared for the comfort of their sick 
men. After we had been here five or six days, the Colonel 
was positively ignorant of the fact that we had a hospital oa 
the ground, though there were three within fifty feet of his 
quarters, filled to their utmost capacity with the sick and suf- 
fering. I was now receiving but little support in my efforts 
for their health and comfort. 





August, 8th. — "I am monarch of all I survey." Last 
night, mtelligence being received that an attack was expected 
on Washington ; we were ordered to move there instanter, 
and at once the regiment was in motion. It got off in the 
course of the night, leaving me here in charge of about forty- 
men who were too sick to be moved. I am left without pro- 
visions or money, except a few pounds of flour with which to 
feed and care for the sick, and the ten well ones left with me, 
to aid me and to look up deserters who have been left here. 
How am I to do it ? I find a strong secession element here, 
and at times it is very bold. The hurrahs for Jeff. Davis are 
frequent, and all day the children are flaunting secession flags 
in cur faces, and flying secession kites in our cnmp ground 

Qth. — What a v^onderful effect the hardships of camp life, 
with the troubles and cares which they entail on a surgeon, have 
had on my health. For many years I have been dyspeptic. 
Kov^^ I can eat what I please, and go without sleep almost en- 
tirely, and suffer no inconvenience. Last night, at 11 o'clock, 
after having ate a piece of hard salt beef for my supper, I 
" cared for" a pint of rich ice cream, and feel no inconvenience 


from it to-day. This would kill an ordinary civil man. I 
have to work very hard, but feel it a great comfort to work 
amongst the sick without suffering from fatigue, as I have 
been accustomed to. 

Having received an order this morning from Gen. Dix to 
put all my sick into general hospital, and finding them bitterly 
opposed, I visited Fort McHenry, saw Gen. D., and prevailed 
on him to rescind the order. 

I was highly gratified Avith what I saw at Fort McHenry. 
It, being the first equipped fort I ever saw, was an object of 
much interest ; its numerous cannon, large enough for a 
small soldier to sleep in, pointing in all directions overlooking 
Baltimore and guarding all the approaches to it. No matter 
from what direction you come, you find these monster guns 
looking right in your face. Low down behind the walls lie 
almost innumerable ugly bull-dog-looking mortars, not over 
two and a half feet long, loaded with a 20 to 40-23ound shells 
filling them to the very muzzle, and ready to be vomited forth 
at the first ^approach of trouble. There, too, is the great 
Dahlgren, stretching its long black neck away beyond the 
embrasm*es, as^if looking for an object into which to pom' its 
monster shot and shell, or its shower^of grape and cannister. 
Its howitzers are there, and its great Columbiads, into some 
of which I was'strongly^tempted to crawl and take a nap, 
but a sudden recollection of the history of Jonah^ reminded 
me that its stomach, too, might sicken, and that I might 
awake in a trip across the mighty deep on the wings of the 
wind. I didn't go in. The bright little brass 6, 8, and 10- 
pounders, on the greater number of which Napoleon said 
God always smiled in battles, were conspicuous amongst these 
great leviathans, and above all, the newly invented rifle can- 


non, ready to demolish ships or houses at two to five miles 

Have lost no man yet from sickness, but I have one who, I 
fear, will not recover. He is supposed to be poisoned by a 
glass of lemonade, bought of a man suspected of being a 

I have succeeded, by selling a half barrel of flour, and by 
the approval of a small requisition made on the commissary, 
in getting provisions of all kinds to make my little detach- 
ment comfortable. 

10/ A. — The poisoned soldier is very sick to-day, but I have 
hopes of his recovery. In a city where we have received so 
much kindness and attention as in Baltimore, it is painful to 
have to suspect anyone of so devilish an act as that of poison- 
ing a man. 

11^^. — I was sick yesterday. Last night took an opiate. 
This morning, when I awoke, I turned over and looked upon 
a dirty tin cup, and a greasy tin plate, sitting on a chair be- 
side my bed. It required quite a rubbing of the eyes to 
recall my faculties, so as to realize where, and what I was. 
But at last I awoke fairly to the contrast between what I 
looked on, and the little waiter with its spotless napkin, its 
€up of beautiful drab-colored coiFee, and its nicely browned 
toast, presented to me by loving ones who had sometimes 
watched over my restless slumbers in sickness, and waited at 
early morn with these delicious antidotes to the prostrating 
effects of opiates. Had there have been " music in my soul" 
I should have sung, " Carry me back, oh! cany me back." 
But I arose, went to work, and am better to-night. I think, 
however, that it will be some time before I hunger for another 
meal from a tin cup and tin plate. 


Received to-day, from Miss M. H. C, a draft on New York 
for fifty dollars, to be used for the relief of the sick under my 
care. This is a bright spot in the darkness around me. 

•'How far that little cinclle throws its beams!" 
* ^ Hi * jK H: 

\'2fh. — Sixteen of my sick have so for recovered that I sent 
them to-day to join their regiment at Kalorama Heights, 
near Washington. I have quite recovered from my attack, 
which was rubeolous fever. I had been so much mixed up with 
measles that, notwithstanding I had passed through the dis- 
ease in childhood, the system in some degree yielded to its 
contagious influence, and I have had all the symptoms of 
measles, except the eruption. I have termed this rubeoloid, 
or rubeolous fever. It is common in camp. 

loth. — H. S. S. arrived at my hospital to-day, with orders, 
as I was sick, to take charge of and bring forward all the 
men left here. From the tenor of our Colonel's letter of in- 
structions to his messenger, I should take him to be a little 
" miffed " at the men's not being sent forward earlier. What 
in the name of heaven can he wish to do with sick men in camp? 
However, I have no discretion, but shall turn over the men to 
S., and see how he will carry out instructions. I had already 
sent forward to-day, before his an'ival, quite a number, leav- 
ing me only ten here. 

Wth. — I left the camp to-day, and have determined to 
make my headquarters at Barnum's Hotel, for a few days, 
till I recover some of the strength lost by my sickness and 
over-exertion. My ward master, on whom I have mainly to 
rely for assistance as a nurse, has been drunk every night, 
which has made me much extra trouble. Oh the misery re- 
sulting from whisky I 

lotli. — I wish to record, what I have omitted, an acknowl- 


edgment to many of the people of Baltimore during our stay 
here, for such kindness as I never expected to meet with 
amongst strangers. On the morning of our arrival, at the 
depot, in this city, I was detained some time in looking after 
the sick who were brought forward, and in getting them into 
conveyances to the depot where we were to re-embark. The 
regiment marched forward and left me, so that I must pass 
through the city alone. I armed myself well, expecting to 
be insulted at every corner, and, perhaps, to meet with per- 
sonal violence. My dress showed me to be a member of the 
regiment which had just passed. Scarcely a rod did I walk 
without being accosted with kind greetings and " God- 
speeds;" scarcely a corner did I pass without being stopped 
by gentlemen, inviting me to their houses to partake of their 
hospitality, in the shape of a cup of coffee, a breakfast, a lit- 
tle rest. Ladies, as I passed, would come to the door, or 
send out their servants to know if they could do anything for 
the comfort of myself or regiment. 

Since I have been left here with the sick of the regiment, 
their kindness and attention have, if possible, been even more 
marked. The house which I use for both hospital and head- 
quarters, is constantly crowded by ladies, gentlemen, children, 
pressing in to see what they can do for the relief of the suf- 
ferers. The tables groan under the delicacies brought in, and 
citizens beg for permission to take my sick and care for them 
at their houses. Nor is this done from the novelty of seeing 
a regiment pass through. There are always from ten to 
twenty thousand volunteer troops here, and from one to 
twenty new regiments pass through daily. 

I confess to myself that this is a discouraging feature in the 
war. This is a Southern city, and this is a type of Southern 
character. They become interested, and their whole heart is 


wrapped up in the subject. It is a representation of the 
character of the people against whom we fight, and on this 
earnestness for what they believe to be right, is based much 
of their opinion that the Southerner will prove himself so far 
superior to the Northern man in battle. I fear there is more 
truth in it than we of the North are willing to admit. What- 
ever may be the result of the struggle now going on, to the 
people of Baltimore I shall ever remember that I am under 
deep obligations for their kindness to me personally, as well 
as to the sufferers under my care, and for their interest in the 
cause which I believe to be not only right, but sacred. I 
leave Baltimore with much regret, and beg its kind citizens 
to remember that at least one soldier, a recipient of their 
kindness, will ever treasure in his heart a grateful remem- 
brance of them. 

16ih. — I am still at Barnum's, and having transferred my 
sick to the charge of Mr. S., I have a little more time to 
think, and to journalize my thoughts. I have looked around 
a little to-day, and my observations have almost made me 
wish I had no country. When every right which freemen 
hold dear is at stake, to see men calculating the pecuniary 
cost of preserving them, sickens the heart, and shakes our 
confidence in human nature. When the poorer classes are 
laboring day and night, and exposing their lives in the cause 
of that government on which the rich lean for protection in 
the possession of their wealth, to see these loud mouthed 
patriotic capitalists'^cheating them in the very clothes they 
wear to battle, the soul revolts at the idea of human nature 
civilized intp a gi'eat mass of money-makers. May we not 
expect, ere long, that these same patriots will be found oppos- 
ing the war because it will require a tax on the riches which 


they shall have amassed from it, to defray its expenses ? We 
shall see. 

There must be great imbecility too, somewhere, in the 
management of our affairs. We are 20,000,000 of people 
fighting against 6,000,000. * We boast that we are united as 
one man, whilst our enemies are divided. Congress has voted 
men and money ad libitum. We boast of our hundreds of 
thousands of soldiers in the field, whilst the rebel army is 
far inferior. Yet Sumter yielded to the superiority of num- 
bers. Pickens dares not venture out of her gates, on account 
of the hosts surrounding her. At Big Bethel we fought 
ao:ainst srreat odds in numbers. At Martinsbursj we Avere as 
one to three. At Bull Run the united forces of Beauregard 
and Johnston bore down on and almost annihilated our little 
force ; whilst even in the west we see the brave Lyon sacri- 
ficed, and Sigel retreating before superior numbers. And yet 
we seem insecure even in the defences of our great cities. 
We are in daily apprehension of an attack on Washington. 
Baltimore is without an army. St. Louis is in danger, and 
even Cairo defended by a handful of men compared to the 
number threatening to attack her. Surely the god of battles 
cannot have made himself familiar to our leaders. 

*I assume tluit the slaAe population are not of those agjim?t Avhom we fight. 






19/A. — To-day came from Baltimore and joined my regi- 
ment at Meridian Hill, where I find the whole country a vast 
city of camps. 

20th. — Reported to-day (according to requirements of army 
regulations) to the Medical Director for instructions. I was 
astonished and shocked to be met by the reply that "your 
assistant has been here, and reports that you have never been 
commissioned." How pleasant to be associated in business 
with gentlemen. I had no difficulty in removing the com- 
plaint, and think I have lost nothing by the motion. 

21st. — I sit down to-night, journal on my knee, to write 
by the light of a tallow candle, stuck into the mouth of a 
whisky bottle, (whisky all out), that "I have nothing of im- 
portance to note to-day." 

22 nd. — I do not know but that I have the blues to-day. 
However that may be, it is sad to contemplate the selfishness 
of our officers. When I witness the political manoeuvreing 
here, the conducting affah-s for political effect at home, I am 
almost inclined to believe our war a humbug, and our Gov- 


ernment a failure. I must not talk this, but I must not forget 

23(^. — Colonel to-day complains that I have too 

much force employed in the hospital, and says that he will 
cut it down. The regulations allow ten nurses and two cooks 
to the regiment, besides Surgeons, and Hospital Steward. 
All I have, are three nurses and two cooks. Will he dare to 
cut that down? Should he do so I will "try conclusions" as 
to his authority to do it. Three nurses, for one hundred 
sick, and that must be cut doAvn ! Xor is this all. The 
Quartermaster, taking his cue from the Colonel, refuses to 
acknowledge our right to a hospital fund, and I therefore get 
but few comforts for the sick, except through charity or a 
fight for it. It is to be hoped that these officers will, by a 
little more experience, become better posted in their duties, 
and that the sick will not then be considered interlopers, or 
intruders on the comforts of the regiment. I forgot to say, 
in the proper place, that we are brigaded, forming a part of 
Gen. Kufus King's brigade, composed of four regiments. 

I have not yet donned the full uniform of my rank, and 
there is scarcely a day passes that I do not get a reproving 
hint on the subject from our Colonel. A few days ago, 
whilst in Baltimore, he came to me almost railing at certain 
army officers for appearing in citizens' dress. " There," said 
he, "is Major B., Major K., Gen. D., Doct. N. P., all of the 
regular army, and not one of whom can be distinguished 
from a private citizen." "Colonel," I replied, "they proba- 
bly fear being mistaken for volant eer officers. He did not 
feel flattered, but dropped the subject. Since I came here, I 
thmk I can tell a man's calibre by his shoulder-straps. The 
amount of brain is generally in inverse proportion to the size 
of his straps. 


2Qth. I was visited by my Colonel to-day. He introduced 

the subject of reducing my hospital force. I was extra- 
polite, and replied that I had not the slightest objection, pro- 
vided it was done with the understanding that it would shift 
the responsibility of the care of the sick from my shoulders 
to those of others. The subject was dropped, and will hard- 
ly be renewed. The jealousy existing in the military towards 
the medical department of the army astounds me. The mili- 
tary commanders claiming that the medical have no authority 
except thi'ough them, has driven the medical officers to assume 
the other extreme, and claim that they are the only officers in 
the army who are really independent of command. This 
quarrel is often bitter, and makes not only themselves uncom- 
fortably captious, but subjects the sick and wounded to suffer- 
ing whilst these settle their unnecessary quarrels. 

27t7i. — On my arrival here, I found our tents pitched on 
ploughed ground, in a swale. The bottoms of the tents were 
very damp, and the mud in the streets over shoe-top. I at 
once set to work to correct this. I had the streets all ditched 
on either side, the dirt thrown into the middle, and already, 
instead of the mud and water streets and tents, we have them 
so firm, smooth and dry that they are swept every day. I 
hope by this, and by constant care in ventilating the tents, to 
arrest the rapidly increasing sickness. 

Having finished the above note for the day, I have, on the 
point of rething, just received an order from Gen. King to 
be ready to move at a minute's notice. The enemy is proba- 
bly again threatening Washington. I must prepare. 

SO(h. — It is now between two and three months since our 
regiment went into camp. "We have had nearly three hun- 
dred cases of measles, with about as many of diarrhoea, dys- 
entery and fever. Not one quarter of the regiment but has 


been sick in some way, and yet last night every man who left 
home with the regiment slept in camp — not one death by 
sickness or accident, none left behind, not one lost by deser- 
tion ! May we not challenge the armies of the world for a 
parallel ? We are sleeping on our arms every night, in antici- 
pation of an attack on Washington, and it seems to be the 
general belief that we shall be attacked here. I am no mili- 
tary man, and my opinion here is of no account to the world, 
but to me, for whose especial benefit it is written, it is worth 
as much as would be the opinion of a I^apoleon. That opin- 
ion is, that we shall have no fight here — that the enemy is 
out-generaling us by feints to induce us to concentrate our 
forces here, whilst he makes a strike and overpowers us else- 

Sejyfemher, 1st. — I cannot but feel depressed at what seems 
to be great imbecility in the management of our military 
affairs. By whose fault, I know not. Here we are with one 
hundred and fifty thousand troops, and we can stand on our 
National Capitol and see the rebels fortifying on Munson's 
Hill. I wonder if Gen. McClellan does not need a rest to 
hold his glass steady whilst he looks at them. 

We have just received news of Dupont's having got a 
foothold in North Carolina. This places us in rear of the 
enemy, and brightens our prospects wonderfully, if our army 
there will only press their advantage. 

2nd. — The followino- extract from a letter which I have 


just written to a friend, is the sum and substance of my 

thoughts, journalized for to-day. "Major will not 

wi'ite his mother whether an attack on Washington is expect- 
ed. I will tell you what I think : From the dome of the 
Capitol we can see the rebels throwing up works just beyond 
Arlington. Every day or two we have picket skirmishing. 


On Wednesday night we had, within a short distance of 
Washington, seven men set as picket guards. The next day 
I saw one of the seven wounded in the side by a musket balk 
The other six Avere killed. Almost everybody here is looking 
for an attack, but I do not beheve we shall have one. I have 
no doubt that Beauregard would like to draw ks out to attack 
him ; that he would then retreat, with the hope of drawino- 
us into his nets as he did at Bull Run. But he will not at- 
tach us here. 

Qth. — I introduce the following letter to a friend, as suffi- 
ciently explicit as to the occurrences since the last date : 

Chain Bridge, Va., Sept. 6, 18G1. 
I commence this letter with the reiteration, Poor Yiro-inia I 
That State, which for forty years has stood as the guiding 
star of our galaxy of States,— that State, which alone could, 
six months ago, have assumed the position of umpire to the 
belligerents, and which onbj would have been respected in the 
assumption— now stands at the very foot of the list. In the 
commencement of this contest she degraded herself by offer- 
ing to become the cat's paw for South Carolina, and was 
still farther degraded by South CaroUna rejecting the propo- 
sition to become her menial. By her officious subservience, 
however, she got her paw into the fire, and how dreadfully 
it is burned only those who are on her soil can form any idea. 
Everywhere is the destruction going on. Her soil is the bat- 
tle-field, and, so far as the destruction of property is con- 
cerned, it matters but little which party is successful. Armies 
must have room to move and manoeuvre, soldiers wi/l have 
the fruits and vegetables which grow around their encamp- 
ment, and camp life is a poor fertilizei of that moral growth 
which marks the line of " meum et tuum.'' 

This letter is written on sheets taken from the former resi- 


dence of Hon. W. W. Slade, once a member of Congress 
from Virginia. I rode around with a foraging party. We 
entered his fine old mansion, and I could not but weep over 
the sad changes which I could see had taken place within a 
few hours, Within no living soul was left. The soldiers 
entered ; for a time I stood back, but when I did go in what 
a sight presented itself! Already the floors Avere covered 
knee-deep with books and papers, which it must have required 
a long life of toil and trouble to amass, fine swinging-mirrors 
shivered into thousands of pieces — a fit emblem of the condi- 
tion to which efforts are being made to reduce this glorious 
government — each piece reflecting miniature images of what 
the whole had shown, but never again to reflect those pigmy 
images in one vast whole. In the large and spacious draw- 
ing-room stood the ruins of one of those old-fashioned side- 
boards, around which had grown so much of the reputation 
of Southern high life and hospitality ; its doors, wrenched 
from their hinges, lay scattered on the floor ; large mahogany 
sofas, with their covers torn off, marble-top tables, stationery, 
china, stoves and spittoons, were there in one promiscuous 
heap of ruins. I stepped into the library, lioping to bring 
away some relic that had been untouched by the soldiers, but 
I was too late — all here was ruin. In a corner I picked up a 
few yellow pamphlets, and read " Constitution and By-Laws 
of the National Democratic Association." Sadly enough I 
left the house, and seated myself, to rest and think, on the 
spacious verandah. For a moment I looked on the vast or- 
chards, the beautiful flower garden, the long rows of laden 
grape vines, the broad acres of corn and clover, and thought, 
" What a place and what a condition to pass old age in com- 
fort and quiet," and my heart began to lighten. How mo- 
mentary the lightning, for just then company after company 


from the different regiments came up ; gates were thrown 
open, fences thrown down, and horses, cattle and mules were 
destroying all these evidences of prosperity and comfort. 
And this is but one feature in the great haggard countenance 
of war which stares at us whenever we look at Virginia's 
"sacred soil." Alas, poor Virginia! This subject alone 
would give interest to a whole volume, but I must leave it. 

On Tuesday night, at half-past ten o'clock, the "long roll" 
brought our brigade, of five regiments, to their feet, when 
we found ourselves under orders to march at once for the 
Virginia side of the river, where, it was said, a large body of 
rebels had been collecting just at night. We had had slight 
sku'mishing in that neighborhood for several days, and now 
the crisis was expected, and our regiment was to have a 
chance. All was excitement, and in half an hour from the 
alarm we were ready to start. By the time we arrived here 
it had commenced raining — we found no enemy — bivouaced 
for the night, and slept in the rain to the music of the tramp, 
tramp of infantry, and the rattling, roaring tear of artillery 
wagons over the roughly macademized road which passed 
by our encampment. Yesterday it rained all day, as if every 
plug had been pulled out ; still we kept on our arms and 
ready for action — our general and brigade officers dashing 
about all the time, and warning us to be ready for an attack. 
Day before yesterday a scouting party of our brigade went 
in pursuit of a party of cavalry who had been seen hovering 
about us. When they came in sight the cavalry took to their 
heels, leaving to us only three large contrabands, who "tink 
massa oughten to run away from poor nigga so, heah \ heah 1 
They just run and leab us to de mercy of de darn abolishuns, 
heah 1 heah !" They report that around Fairfax and Centre- 
ville there are sixty or seventy regiments, who are well provi- 


sioned, but that there is a great deal of sickness among them, 
measles being the prevailing disease. We had, when we left 
Kalarama, about twenty-five in the hospital, whom we left 

there under the charge of Dr. . There are three or 

four here who have sickened in consequence of exposure to 
the two days and two night's rain, but they will be out in a 
day or two. We have not yet lost a man by disease or acci- 
dent, though I hear that one man yesterday received a musket 
ball through his cap, but as it did not hit his head it is thought 
he will recover. The musket was carelessly fired by some 
soldier in our camp. 

A little occurrence to-day has caused quite a stir in our 
camps, and I deem it worthy to be noted here tor my Temem- 
brance. Capt. Strong, of the Second Regiment of Wisconsin 
Volunteers, was with a small party on picket guard. He 
strolled away from his company, and suddenly found himself 
surrounded by six of the rebel pickets. Being out of reach 
of help from his men, he surrendered himself a prisoner. 
After a short consultation as to whether they should kill the 

"d d Yankee" on the spot, they concluded that they 

would first take him into camp. They demanded his 
pistols, which he took from his belt and presented. 
But at the moment when the rebels were leceiving 
them, they both w^nt off, killing two of his captors on the 
spot. But there were four left, two on foot, two on horse- 
back. He dashed into a pine thicket, they discharging their 
pieces after him and immediately giving chase. He struck 
into a deep hollow or ravine leading down to the Potomac. 
It was so precipitous that the horsemen could not follow. 
But when he emerged from it near the river, he found himself 
confronted by the two horsemen who had ridden around and 
reached the spot in time to head him ofl^. He had received a 

CAPTAIN strong's ADVENTURE. ' 25 

shot through his canteen. Immediately on seeing his pm-su- 
€rs he fired again, killing one more of them, and simultane- 
ously he received another shot through his cheek. He con- 
tinued firing with his revolvers till he had made in all eleven 
shots. By this time the fourth man had been unhorsed. The 
footmen did not pursue, and he made his way into camp. 
This is the story, though some are so uncharitable as to dis- 
credit it, notwithstanding one hole through his canteen and 
another through his cheek. 

7th.— On the high land overlooking the Potomac, about 
six or seven miles above the Navy Yard at Washington, we 
have, since our arrival here, thrown up a small fort, formed 
extensive abattis, and made redoubts and fortifications to 
command the turnpike leading down the river, and the bridge 
over which any enemy must pass from any direction above 
here to reach Washington. This looks like business. The 
earthwork fort is small, but very strong, and its large sieo-e 
guns, from twelve to eighteen feet long, with their sullen faces 
w^atching up and down the road in every direction, give it a 
most formidable appearance. A brigade (I have not learned 
what one) has just advanced beyond us to commence another 
fort, about two miles to the southwest of us. Neither fort 
has yet been officially named, but the one just finished is 
called by the soldiers Fort Mott ; the one about to be built 
they will for the present distinguish by the name of Fort 
Ethan Allen. In this .manner we are closing on the enemy by 
i^low approaches, or parallels. Let Dupont and Butler, from 
North Carolina, advance to meet us, whilst Fremont takes 
care of the Mississippi, and we shall have an early closing up 
of the war. Every day's observation more and more satisfies 
me that the enemy will not fight us here. 

9 p. M.— Our fort is completed, and we have just received 



orders to cook three days rations, and be ready to move at a 
moment's notice. 

I will here note, once for all, the manner of the sol- 
diers taking care of themselves in a storm, when they have 
no tents. They all have "rnbber blankets." Two forks are 
set, and a pole laid from one to the other, some four or five 
feet from the ground. A kind of lean-to roof is made by 
placing brush or poles against this, one end resting on 
the ground, the other end resting on the pole. To make 
this roof water-proof, the rubber blankets are stretched, 
like tiles on a roof, and no water gets through. In moderate 
weather the men cuddle together under this, and are reason- 
ably comfortable. In cold weather they make large log fires 
in front of these '"bivouacs," and pass the nights without 

An order was received to-day from the War Department, 
that in future no labor shall be required of soldiers on the 
Sabbath, except what is absolutely necessary for our defence. 

>}t ;Jt >1< >I; ^ >i; 

10th. — Our regiment has received two months pay 
to-day, and to-night all are boisterously happy. We had 
been notified to have our muster-rolls ready, and Ave should be 
paid oif on the first day of this month. The rolls were ready 
but the pay was not. We had received no pay since we en- 
tered Uncle Sam's service. We had had to use all our little 
private means to buy uniforms and outfit for the war, and 
there was not money enough in the whole regiment to pay 
for washing one shirt. We were all in debt, and momentarily 
expecting orders to march into the deserted parts of Virginia. 
What were we to do ? We could not think of leaving so. 
Day before yesterday we had intimations from our command- 
ing oflicers that we should remain a day or two longer where 

PAY DAY. 27 

we are, and our troops who lieretofore had been constantly 
impatient to advance, were now overjoyed at the delay, not 
doubting but tliat it was to receive our pay, and oh how 
many dreams of little presents to be sent home before we 
should be plunged into the wilderness. Perhaps some thought 
of photographs for sweethearts and wives. But scarcely had 
the joyous echoes from the rocky hills around us died away, 
when we were officially informed that there was no money in 
the treasury. It was a damper. I at once made business to 
the city ; saw the paymaster ; through him and my friends 
got audience of the Secretary of the Treasury ; told a story 
of our penury (and sucli a story). I got the money which 
the paymaster had fjiiled to procure. To-day we have been 
paid off, and to-night I ride a high horse in the affections of 
the regiment. If they do not dismount me before their 
money is all expended, their constancy will be greater than 
my knowledge of human nature generally warrants me in ex- 
pecting. We are all joyous to-night. 

11th. — Had some skirmishing to-day. Took some prison- 
ers, who state that within twelve miles of us is the center of 
operations of about one hundred thousand rebels, who are 
preparing to attack us and march on Washington. This, if 
true, falsifies all the predictions of this journal, that there is 
no considerable force of the enemy in front of us. and that 
we shall have no general engagement here. Nevertheless, 
my opinion is unchanged. 

This morning quite a body of troops, infantry, cavalry and 
artillei-y, passed us, on the road going in the direction of 
where the enemy are supposed to be. By twelve o'clock ar- 
tillery tiring was distinctly heard some four miles in the 
direction whicli they took. In the afternoon we were hur- 
i-iedly called to march to tlie support of our retreaiing men. 


We met them about two miles this side of where the fight 
was. They claim to have gained a great victory, but they 
brought ill no prisoners ; no guns captured. Why was that. 
These reports of victories are very unreliable aftairs. All 
kinds of stories are going through the camp, but I shall re- 
cord none of them till they have assumed a shape worthy to 
be remembered. 

\2tli. — Part of the truth relating to the story of yesterday's 
fight has come to light. The fact is, these "great fights," "great 
victories," "great number of prisoners," " great numbers kill- 
ed," are the greatest humbugs of the times, and as a specimen I 
put on record here the stories with the facts of yesterday. At 8 
o'clock A. M. a body of soldiers passed up the turnpike. 
They Avere followed by batteries of artillery, and a fev^^ com- 
panies of cavalry. What does all this mean ? was asked. 
And everyone wishing to be wise, an answer was soon manu- 
factured satisfactory "to all concerned." " Four thousand 
infantry and artillery had passed (Lie No. 1, there were only 
2,000), to take a fort about seven miles oftV (Lie Xo. 2, 
there was no fort near.) About 12 o'clock we began to hear 
frequent reports of artillery, and by 2 r. m. the firing was 
brisk, and we could see the smoke of the shells exploding in 
the air from four to five miles away. About o o'clock we got 
orders to march on double-quick to the support of our troops, 
who were said to be retreating. (Truth No. 1.) Oif we 
went on a full run, all vieing to see Avho could get there first. 
We had gone about a mile, when we were told to push for- 
ward, that one of our regiments was surrounded and being 
cut to pieces. (Lie No. 3.) On we went for another half 
mile, when "Halt, the rebels are retreating," (he No. 4,) and 
in a few minutes, "' We must change our position, for the 
rebels were flanking us." (Lie No. 5.) A few minutes later, 


our officers ordered us back to camp ; ^ye had gained a great 
victory. (Lie Xo. G.) 

Now these are the generalities of statements of the 
" great victory" of yesterday, which are being proclaimed 
to-day loud-mouthed. Let me put here the particu- 
lars, that in future when I hear of our great victories, I 
may refer to these, and draw some conclusion as to the prob- 
ability of their truth. 

In the morning, about two thousand men from Gen. Smith's 
division, with a few pieces of artillery, passed up the pike to 
reconnoitre, in other words to examine the country and to 
ascertain Avhat they could of the whereabouts of the enemy. 
They made their reconnoissance and started for camp. When 
they had marched about a quarter of a mile on their return, 
the rebels ope^ied fire on them from a masked battery. Our 
artillery replied quickly and with spirit, our shot and shell 
mowing down hazels, oak grubs and saplings. These' were 
all the enemy they saw. But above the heavy brush, in 
which the enemy's batteries were masked, the smoke from 
their guns could be distinctly seen, and into this brush we 
fired without knowing tiie efi:ects of our shot, tliough it is 
said that we silenced their battery. After about an hour thus 
spent our force retired, with the loss of some twenty or thirty 
men m killed and wounded, without capturing the battery 
which they had silenced, or without taking time to bring 
awRj even ou7^ own IHlled and wounded! What a "glori- 
ous victory !" So glorious that we must rush back to camp 
to announce it, leaving the enemy to look after our killed and 
wounded! A few "such victories would ruin us." Gen. 
McClellan visited us to-day •, made a speech, and promised us 
the luxury of a fight soon unless the rebels run. The appre- 


eiatioii of his kind promise was manifested by most unmistak- 
able signs of joy. 

15tJi. — I am alone to-nii^ht, and tired enoug^h to lie and 
sleep for t\yenty-four hours, did not the scenes around call up 
associations which banish repose, and yet inyite it. In the 
deep, deep woods, in a deep, deeper yalley, with a mountain 
rising high on either side of me, and the semi-roaring babble of 
a large mountain brook, leaping oyer stones and precipices just 
in front of my lonely tent ; the night speaks of the wildness 
of nature, and carries back my imagination to the times when 
the red man reyelled here in the luxury of his mountain hunt. 
The song of the catydid talks to me of the rural home of my 
childhood, while the scream of the screech-owl right oyer my 
head awakens mingled feelings of aboriginal wildness, and of 
the ruins of ciyilization. The night is still, and oyer the 
mountain comes the strain of yocal nuisic, with the accompa- 
niment of a martial band, from more than a mile away, where 
T\'ith a regiment of Yermonters our chaplain is holding reli- 
gious exercises, and "Dundee's sacred strain,'* mellowed by 
the distance, is in harmony with all around me. These are 
my nearest settled neighbors to-night, and so far away that I 
am outside of all their guards, yet near enough to hear the 
'* Halt ! who comes there ?" of the picket, as he hails the 
rock, loosened from aboye, as it comes rushing down the 
mountain side. The tattoo of the night drums, too, as it 
comes rumbling oyer the mountains, and calls the soldier to 
his hard, but welcomed bed, awakens in the reflecting mind 
sad stories of the passions of men ; of happy homes, desert- 
ed ; of families, once united, now separated, perhaps forever ; 
of the once freeman, to Ayhom the dungeon now denies all 
hope of liberty again ; of a country-, once a unit, which held 
the world at bay, now an object of the ridicule or pity of na- 


tions which but a few short months before trembled at her 
power ; of reflections which, I fear, must convince that "war 
is the normal condition of man." There were threats of an 
attack on us yesterday and to-day. My hospital was in an 
exposed position, and my sick must be moved. At dark I 
commenced moving to a more secure place ; selected this 
beautiful ravine ; got my tents here, but not deeming it best 
to disturb the sick by moving them in the night, am here 
alone to take care of my tents and stores. And how beau- 
tifully the moon sheds its reflections over this quiet little 
valley, and brightens, as with myriads of diamonds, the rip- 
plings of the little mountain streams ! IIow dehciously sweet 
the fresh odor of the clean grass, untainted by the stench of 
the camp. But hark I I hear at this moment, from Fort 
Corcoran, '• the three guns," a signal of approaching danger, 
and in another moment the " long roll" may summon us to 
scenes of trouble. I am still stubborn in the belief that the 
enemy is only making a feint, and that we shall have no fight 
here. The long roll does not call me. The " three guns'* 
must have made a false alarm, and so I will retire and " bid 
the world good-night." 

23d. — ^As a description of the appearance of the country 
in which we were settled, I here introduce a letter written at 
this date to a friend : 

Camp Advance, Sept. 23, 18G1. 

A short time since I undertook, from a single feature in the 
marred and distorted flice of this country, to give you some 
idea of the efiects of the war on Virginia, and of how dearly 
she is paying for her privilege of being shamefully servile to 
South Carolina. It may not be uninteresting for you, now, 
to know, to know somethmg of its general aj^pearance as it 
is, and as it was ; and yet when I tell you that ray attempt 


to describe one scene fell far short of the reahty, you may 
imagine something of the difficuUy of undertaking, in a sin- 
gle letter, to convey any adequate idea of the whole. When 
Gov. Pickens said last spring to the Carolinians : '•' You 
may plant your seeds in peace, for Virginia will have to bear 
the brunt of the war," he cast a shadow of the events which 
were coming on the head of this superannuated ''mother of 
States and of statesmen." 

Chain Bridge is about seven miles from the Capitol in 
Washington, and crosses the Potomac at the head of all nav- 
igation ; even skiffs and canoes cannot pass for any distance 
above it, though a small steam tug runs up to the bridge, 
towing scows loaded, principally, with stone for the city. 
The river runs through a gorge in a mountainous region, and 
from here to Georgetown, a suburb of Washington, is unap- 
proachable on the Virginia side. There are very few places 
where even a single footman can, with safety, get down the pre- 
cipitous banks to the water. The river then is a perfect barrier 
to any advance by the enemy from this side, except at George- 
town, Chain Bridge, and Long Bridge, at the lower end of 
Washington City. On the Columbia side is a narrow plateau 
of land, along which runs the Ohio and Chesapeake Canal, 
and a public road. These occupy the entire plateau till you 
come near Georgetown, wliere the country opens out, making 
room for fine rolling farms of exceeding fertility, with here 
and there a stately mansion overlooking road, city, canal and 
river, making some of the most beautiful residences I ever 
beheld. On Meridian Hill, a little north of the road from 
Washington to Georgetown, stands the old Porter Mansion, 
fi'om which one of the most aristocratic families in America 
were wont to overlook the social, political, and physical 
movements of our National Capital ; from which, too, they 


habitually dispensed those hospitalities which made it the 
resort, not only of the citizens of ColumVjia and Maryland, 
but also of the F. F. V.'s, for whom it had especial attrac- 
tions. All around it speaks in unmistakable language of the 
social and pecuniary condition of those yfho occupied the 
grounds. Even the evidences of death there speak of the 
wealth of the family. The tombstone which marks the 
place of repose of one of its members, and on which is 
summed up the short historical record of her who sleeps 
within, tells of former affluence and comfort. 

A little further on we pass the Kalorama House — the name 
of the owner or the former occupant I have not learned, but 
it is one of the mcst magnificent places that imagination can 
picture. You enter the large gate, guarded by a beautiful 
white cottage for the the janitor, and ])y a circuitous route 
through a dense grove of deciduous and evergreen forest, you 
rii?e, rise, rise, by easy and gradual ascent, the great swell of 
ground on which stands the beautiful mansion, shut out from 
the view of the visitor till he is almost on the threshold, but 
overlooking even its whole growth of forest, and the whole 
country for miles around. 

You next pass Georgetown. The plateau begins to narrow, 
and the dimensions of the houses grow correspondingly less, 
but they are distributed at shorter intervals till you reacli the 

This is Avhat it ivas. What is it ? In passing the Porter 
mansion, the stately building, with its large piazza shaded by 
the badly damaged evergi*eens, and covered more closely by 
the intermingling branches of every variety of climbing rose, 
of the clamatis and the honeysuckle, invite you to enter, but 
the seedy hat and thread-bare coat appearance of the old 
mansion, give notice that the day of its prosperity is passing 


away. You would cool yourself in the shade of its clumps 
of evergreens, but at every tree stands tied a war horse, 
ready caparisoned for the "long roll" to call him into action 
at any moment, and, lest you be trampled, you withdraw, 
and seek shelter in the ai-bor or summer house. Here, too, 
" grim- visaged war presents his wrinkled front," and under 
those beautiful vines where foshion once held her levees, the 
commissary and the soldiers now parley over the distribution 
of pork and beef and beans. In the sadness, inspired by 
scenes like these, you naturally withdraw, to a small enclo- 
sure of white palings, over the top of which is seen rising a 
square marble column. As you approach, large letters tell 
you that Elizabeth Porter lies there, and the same engrav- 
ing also tells you that she is deaf to the surrounding turmoil, 
and has ceased to know of the passions which caused it. 
That marble rises from a broad pedestal, on one side of which 
are two soldiers with a pack of cards, and the little pile-of 
money which they received a few days ago, is rapidly 
changing hands. On the opposite side are two others 
busily engaged in writing, perhaps of the glories and 
laurels they are to win in this war; but I venture the opin- 
ion, never once toexpress an idea of the misery and des- 
pair of the widows and orphans at whose expense their 
glories are to be won ! On the third side of the pedestal 
stand a tin canteen, two tin cups, and a black bottle ! The 
fourth awaits a tenant. Again, for quiet, you approach the 
mansio]!. As you step on the threshold, half lost, no doubt, 
in musing over what you have witnessed, instead of the hos- 
pitable hand extended with a cordial "Walk in, sir," you 
are startled by the presented bayonet, and the stern command 
to " halt ; who are you and your busines ?" A good accounl: 
of yourself will admit you to spacious rooms with black and 


broken walls, soiled floors, window sills, sash and moulding, 
all disfigured or destroyed by the busy knife of the universal 
Yankee. This room is occupied by the staff of some regi- 
ment or brigade. The next is a store room for corn, oats, 
hay, and various kinds of forage. The liouse has been left 
unoccupied by its owners, and is now taken possession of by 
any regiment or detachment which happens to be stationed 

Tired of this desolation in the midst of a crowd, you pass 
through long rows of white tents, across the little valley 
which separates you from the hill of Kalorama. Your stop 
here will be short, for after having climbed the long ascent 
and reached the house, you find the windows all raised, and 
anxious lookers-out at every opening. From the first is pre- 
sented to your view a face of singular appearance, thickly 
studded with large, roundish, ash-colored postules, slightly 
sunken in the center. The next presents one of different 
aspect — a bloody redness, covered here and there with with 
scaly excrescences, ready to be rubbed off, and show the same 
blood redness underneath. In the next, you find another 
change — the redness paling, the scales dropi)ing, and reveal- 
ing deep, dotted pits, and you at once discover that the beau- 
tiful house of Kalorama is converted into a j}(?j/ Jimse for 
soldiers. Shrinking away from this, you pass through a cor- 
ner of Georgetown, and then enter the narrow valley between 
the high blufis and the Potomac. Onward you travel towards 
the bridge, never out of the sight of houses, the fences un- 
broken, the crops but little molested, the country in the peace 
and quietness of death almost : for the houses, farms, crops, 
are all deserted, in consequence of the war which is raging 
on the opposite side of that unapproachable river : and you- 
travel from our National Capital through seven miles of fine 


country, inviting, by its location and surroundings, civilization 
and refinement in the highest tone, without passing a house 
— save in Georgetown — in which the traveler would find it 
safe to pass a night — indeed I can recall but one which is in- 
habited by whites. On all these farms scarcely a living thing 
is to be seen, except the few miserably-ragged and woe- 
begone-looking negroes, or some more miserable-looking white 
dispensers of bad whisky, who seem to have taken possession 
of them because they had been abandoned by their proper 
occupants. Tlie lowing of herds is no longer heard here ; 
the bleating of flocks has ceased, and even Chanticleer has 
yielded his right of morning call to the bugle's reveille. "If 
such things are done in the green tree, what may we expect 
in the dry ?" Cross the bridge into Virginia, and you will 

Gloomy as is the prospect just passed, it saddens immeasu- 
rably from the moment you cross the Virginia line. In addi- 
tion to the abaidonm3nt and desolation of the other side, 
destruction here stares you in the face. Save in the soldier 
and his appendants, no sign of life in animal larger than the 
cricket or katy-did, greets you as you pass. Herds, flocks, 
swine, and e^•eu fowls, both wild and domestic, have aban- 
doned this country, in Avhich scenes of civil life are no longer 
known. Houses are torn down, fences no longer impede the 
progress of the cavalier, and where, two months ago, were 
flourishing growths of grain and grass, the surface is now 
bare and trodden as the highway. Even the fine growths of 
timber do not escape, but are literally mowed down before 
the march of the armies, lest they impede the messengers of 
death from man to man. And this is in the nineteenth cen- 
tury of Christianity — and these the results of the unchristian 
passions of fathers, sons and brothers, striving against the 


lives and happiness of each other. Alas ! Poor Virginia ! 
Your revenues are cut oif, your industry paralysed, your soil 
desecrated, your families in exile, your prestige gone forever. 

But as so many others are writing of exciting scenes, I fear 
you will grow impatient for my description of the last battles — 
for my account of anthropophagi — of men who have their heads 
beneath their shoulders — but I have no tact for describing' 
unfought battles, or for proclaiming imperishable glories won 
to-day, never to be heard of after to-morroAv. When we 
have a fight worth describing, I shall tell you of it. In the 
meantime I am '• taking notes," and "foith I'll print 'em." 
If the rebels will not give us a fight to make a letter of, I 
Avill, at my first leisure, for fear my men forget their Ilardee 
and Scott, have a graphic dress parade, in which our diflerent 
regiments shall contribute at least a battalion, to pass review 
before you. Then let him who loses laugh, for he who wins 
is sure to. Till then c'ood niojht. . 

^oth. — We had a great time to-day, having sent out this 
morning some six thousand troops, with about one hundred 
wagons, on a foraging expedition. This evening they re- 
turned, loaded with hay, oats, corn, cows, sheep, ^ogs, and 
one Irishman — all captured from the enemy. In this deserted 
and desolated country, where we have for weeks been enjoy- 
ing (?) rural life without a sign of pig or poultry, without 
even those indispensable concomitants of civil life — the cries 
of babies, or the flapping in the wind of confidential gar- 
ments from clothes lines in the back yard* — the sight of the 
woolly bleaters called back reminiscences of savory mutton 
and warm under-dresses, with whispered wishes for the time 
when we may return to the pleasures of civil life. 

*A something whispers to me that if this should ever be by housekeep- 
ers, it may call up unpleasant reminiscences of " ironing days." I hope not. 


00 Ti. — (I shall not, in this book, feel obliged to give the 
proceedings and doings of every day. Whilst in camp, 
sometimes for whole weeks, one day was so like the others 
that to state the occurrences of each would be but a repetition 
of words. As most of this fall and winter were spent in one 
place — Camp Griffin — I shall refer only occasionally to occur- 
rences or events, without feeling the necessity of confining 
myself accurately to dates.) 

During the past week I have been much slipcked by the 
growing tendency to drunkenness amongst the officers of the 
army. I do not doubt but that if the soldiers could procure 
sphituous liquors, they would follow the example set them 
by their much loved officers. 

1 have Ijeen somwhat amused for a few days by the 
antics of an officer of high rank, ^\'ho has been shut 
up by sickness in his tent, and under my supervision. He 
entered the army about the time I did, and had for some time 
been a much esteemed member in o-ood standing^ of the Good 
Templars. He had been from camp a few days — I think to 
Washington — and returned sick. He had been with me but 
a short time when his vivid imaoination beo*an to convert the 
stains on his tent into ''all manner of artistic beauties — 
figures of beasts and men, and of Avomen Axalking on the 
walls of his tent, feet upwards." Fie, fie ! Cok^nel ; if I did 
not know that you were a Good Templar and a married man, 
I should think such fancies were unbecomino-. 'Tis a ffood 
thing to be a Templar and a married man, but still " All is 
not p'old that fditters." 




October, \st and 2nd. — During these two days the regi- 
ment has been busily engaged in moving its camp about four 
miles. The new camp is to be called Camp Yanderwerken, 
from the name of a man owning a large property in the imme- 
diate neighborhood. 

Yery shortly after crossing Chain Bridge, our regiment was 
transferred from Gen. King's to Gen. Smith's brigade, to 
which we remained attached till about the 28th of September, 
when Gen. Smith was promoted to the command of a divi- 
sion, and Ave transferred to a new brigade under command of 
Brigadier General Winfield Scott Hancock, an officer of fine 
appearance, but with rather a narrow forehead, and from 
what little I have seen of him, I should presume him to be 
at least excitable, if not irritable. \Ye have been between 
three and fom- months organized, and have not yet lost a man 
by either disease or accident. So after all, the life of a sol- 
dier, if his health is properly looked after, is not more exposed 
to sickness than that of a civilian. I am fast coming to the 
conclusion that the great mortality of camp life is owing 
much more to neglect of the proper means within our reach 


of preserving health, than to any exposures to which the sol- 
dier is peculiarly liable. 

Sth. — To-day our division made a "recognizance in force." 
Marched to Prospect Hill, on the river turnpike, about four 
miles, and after settling into bivouac two or three times dur- 
ing the day, brought up about 11 o'clock at night at Lewins- 
ville. Having crawled into my ambulance to rest, I note this 
before dropping asleep. 

^ih. — We have remained bivouaced all day, and there is 
talk of our moving our camp to this place to-morrow. This 
\f\\\ advance us another three miles in the direction of Rich- 
mond. On the 8th of August we arrived in Washington — 
two months ago yesterday. We are now eight miles nearer 
Richmond than then. At this rate when shall we reach that 
famous city ? If we do not go faster, I fear Mr. President 
Lincoln will never dine there at the head of liis armies. But 
these delays are doubtless necessary on the start. War is 
new to us. Our armies had to be organized and educated to 
war. Munitions had to ])e procured, and as most of those 
belonging to the nation had been appropriated by the South, 
much of them had to be manufactured. Our navy had to be 
called home from the four quarters of the world, and innu- 
merable other preparations had to be made, of which we 
uninitiated are wholly ignorant. Gen. McClellan seems to be 
active, and we doubt not that under the counsels of the vet- 
eran General Scott, matters will be pushed forward as rapidly 
as circumstances will permit. True, many of us think that 
Gen. McClellan' s " Stand by me and I'll stand by you" speech 
was not in refined taste — in about as good taste as Pope's 
proclamation — ^but as we do not expect or desire exhibitions 
of delicate taste on the battle-field with an unscrupulous ene- 
my, we overlook the departure from it in our General, and 


accord to him full confidence, as to both his will and ability 
to lead us to victory. 

We are at present within half a mile of the splendid man- 
sion of the late Commodore Thos. Ap' Catesby Jones. I 
visited that and his sj^lendid grounds, found them deserted 
by the whites ; a few of the old and almost helpless negroes 
being left on the place. The soldiers had entered, and made 
some havoc amongst books and papers. The fine furniture 
stood in every room in the house, and the walls were covered 
by the finest paintings, including the family pictures. But 
the strictest orders, denouncing severe punishment to depre- 
dators, were posted about the house, and a strong guard 
placed to enforce them. I picked np a few articles of little 
value, except as relics from the home of this once happy and 
popular family, now in rebellion against the Government to 
which they were indebted for the favors and protection to 
which they owed their prosperity. I Avas strongly inclined to 
take down the family pictures, and to remove them to where 
they could be taken care of till happier times befall us, that 
they might then be returned to the family, by whom they 
must be held in high estimation, but I feared that the motive 
would be misconstrued, and that it would lead to trouble. 

10th. — We have commenced moving our camp equipage 
from Camp Yanderwerken to this place, to be named Camp 
Griffin — I suppose for Capt. Griffin, of one of the batteries of 
the regular army. Capt. G., with his battery, has been one 
of us and with us since we crossed the Potomac. We have 
had much trouble and vexation to-day in establishing medical 
headquarters for the regiments of our brigade, but after much 
ordering of us and changing of orders, we are at last to take 
charge of the stone house of Mr. Jno. N. Johnson, in which, 


and ill tlie tents we are able to pitch, we hope to make com- 
fortable all the sick of our brigxide. 

li th. — Sent off ambulances to-day to commence bringing 
for\\'ard the sick of my regiment, and whilst they were gone, 
after having put my hospital m good order for their reception, 
I stepped over again to Commodore Jones' house to see hoAV 
the guards stationed there had succeeded in carrying out 
their orders. Till I entered the house, I thought I had seen 
evidences of extreme vandalism, but the wanton destruction 
here beggars everything I have before witnessed. Furniture 
broken -, feather beds opened, and their contents emptied over 
liouse and yard ; even those beautiful family pictures were 
ground to atoms and thrown to the winds. But I need not 
describe here, for the impression is deeply stamped in memo- 
ry, more durable and more accurate than words and letters 
can ever make. Everything destructable was destroyed. * 

In handling over the papers I picked up the Commodore's 
" Journal of a cruise in the U. S. ship Relief — bearing the 
broad pennant of Commodore Jones — Thos. A. Downer, 
Esq., Commander," which I have preserved, and also a letter 
from a son of Commodore Tatnall (late of the rebel Merrimac) 
to Commodore Jones, written from the Meditterranean, asking 
to be relieved from duty there, and to be permitted to return 
to America. f 

*It is worthy of remark here, that thus whilst this wantun destruction was go- 
ing on, a half a mile away, everything on the place of Mr. Johnson, (a loyalist, 
whose house and garden were in the very midst of the encampments,) thougli 
unguarded was unmolested ; every article he had to dispose of was bought and 
paid for, at high prices, by the soldiers. Even thus early could we read the 
soldier's aversion to guarding, or having guarded the propert}^ of rebels. 

tThis letter I handed to a lady connection of the Tatnall family, Avho was 
with me at the time, and she found means of restoring it to them. 


As it will be a matter of interest to me, in future, to stucly 
my predietions as to the course and conduct of this war — to 
rejoice and be vain over those which prove correct, and to 
laugh at or be ashamed of tliose which prove false, I shall 
continue to record them as I have begun ; and here I enter 
one in which I hope to take interest a long time hence. As 
I have constantly predicted, we have had no fight here nor 
shall we have ; and I now very much doubt whether we 
shall have a fight even at Manassas, and for this reason : 
'^ After all the feints of the enemy here to draw Gen. Banks 
from Harper's Ferry had failed, they, seeing that we have got 
foot-hold in North Carolina, will fall back on their fortifica- 
tions at Centerville and Manassas, and then presenting a bold 
front with a small body, will cover the withdrawal of the 
larger part of their force, which they will distribute in Ken- 
tucky, Missouri, Tennessee and Western Virginia, and I very 
much doubt Avhether they will retain enough at Manassas to 
make a respectable fight. Kentucky and Tennessee are to 
become the theatre of war -, Jind if I am not greatly mistaken, 
Kentucky will have trying times between this and the first of 
January. I hope that Gen. McClellan is taking the same view 
of things, and is preparing to meet it." What I have here 
marked as a quotation is a copied from a letter this day writ- 
ten to a friend on the prospects of the Avar. 

12th. — I find vast trouble in doing justice to the sick, in 
consequence of the unwarrantable interference of military 
officers in matters of which they are about as well qualified to 
judge as would be so many of their mules. The two forts 
wliich we built near Chain Dridge, and have left some three 
miles in our rear, have been oflicially named Fort Marcy and 
Fort Ethan Allen. The former encloses about one, the latter 
about five acres of land, and are both very strong. 


Our division now holds the post of honor, the advanced 
center in the Army of the Potomac. Nobody ahead of us, 
but in the rear, and the right and left, for miles it is but a 
city of tents. By night the views over these camps are beau- 
tiful ; by day the stench and noise is abominable. 

Surgeon Owen, of Chester, Penn., to-day ^nters on the 
duties of Surgeon of our brigade, and I entertain strong 
hopes that he will be able to stop the pernicious interference 
of military officers with matters purely medical. 

21st. — Our camp here was made without consulting the 
the Surgeons. It was laid out v/ithout order, and the tents 
are so close together that teams cannot pass through to re- 
move its rubbish, its offal, and its filth. Mj Colonel, too, has 
interfered much w^ith my sanitary orders, particularly those 
in reference to ventilation. The result is the largest sick list 
we have had, I have succeeded, however, in gettmg con- 
sent to move the camp to other ground, high and dry, where 
I am now engaged in ditching the streets, and staking out 
the ground preparatory to a move, where I hope we shall be 
able to reduce the hst of sick. I lielieve I omitted in the 
proper place the record of the first death in our regiment. It 
occurred on the 3 d of this month. The poor fellow died of 
Nostalgia (home-sickness), raving to the last breath about 
wife and children. It seems strange that such an affection of 
the mind should kill strong, healthy men ; but deaths from 
this cause are very frequent in the army ; the sufferer, to- 
Avards the last showing evidences of broken down nervous 
system, accompanied by most of the symptoms of typhoid 

Oct. '2lst. — A little incident to-day. A reconnoitering 
pjvrty went out this morning towards Vienna and Flint Hill. 
At noon, a courier came in with a report that they were fight- 


ing. I was ordered to take an ambulance and join my regi- 
ment '-in the direction of Vienna" immediately. On start- 
ing, I met with Surgeon Thompson, of the 43 d N. York 
Vols., told him I was going in search of an adventure, and 
invited him to go with me. He accepted. We reached our 
outer lines ''in the direction of Vienna," but had not found 
my regiment. To Surgeon T.'s question, " What now !" I re- 
plied that my orders were to "go till I found my regiment." 
"But are you going to cross the lines into the enemy's coun- 
try ?" " My orders are unconditional ; will you go with me 
further?" "Certainly," said the Doctor. Shortly after 
leaving head-quarters, we met the 1st Regt. llegular Caval- 
ry, who .told us they had left one man badly wounded 
between Flint Hill and Vienna. This man we determined to 
rescue, if possible. We found him in a house in Vienna. I 
had now obeyed my order, though I had not found my regi- 
ment, and I determined to take this man back with me, 
though the enemy were all around us. One ball had passed 
between his ear and skull, a second had passed through the 
leg, a third had entered the back, just below the shoulder 
blade, but had made no exit. He was suifering severely from 
pain and difficult respiration. He could not ride in an am- 
bulance, so Doctor T. volunteered to return to our lines for 
litter-bearers and an escort, whilst I should remain with our 
newly made friend. I confess that as I caught the last 
glimpse of the Doctor's fine black horse dashing over the 
hill, there was at the ends of my fingers and toes a sensation 
very much akin to the "oozing out of courage." I was 
alone in the enemy's country. But there was no other way 
now, so I di'essed the wounds, and waited his return, with 
what patience I could. He soon returned. We started the 
man in the direction of our lines, under an escort of eight 


men. We mounted our horses, and paying but little atten- 
tion, got some mile ahead of our escort, when suddenly, eight 
horsemen, well mounted and armed, came bearing down 
on us, evidently intending to surround us. They were about 
a quarter of a mile off when first discovered. " We are in for a 
trip to Richmond," said Doctor T. "Is it not safer," repli- 
ed I, "to fight than to be taken prisoners by these fellows f 
"I'm in," said the Doctor. We drew our revolvers and 
waited, one of us, I am certain, in considerable trepidation. 
By this time they were in hailing distance. We called 
them to halt, when, to our mutual disgust, we found that 
we were friends — they were cheated of the capture of two 
" very fine looking rebel ofiicers," and we of a short road to 
"that borne whence no traveller returns." A little after 
dark we reached camp with our man. In civil life, it will 
liardly be credited that the commanding ofticer of this regi- 
ment, when he found his man so badly wounded, ordered 
him to be taken from his horse and left, whilst the horse was 
to be taken away ; yet the man states tliat such is the fiict, 
and that he saved himself from such a fate by drawing his re- 
volver and threatening to shoot the first man who should ap- 
proach him for that purpose. After the regiment left him, he 
managed to sit on his horse till he reached Vienna, about 
three miles from where he was shot. 

Since last date, we have had an opportunity of learning 
something of the military qualities of our brigade ofiicers. 
We have not been before on ground where we could have 
our brigade drills ; but here we have them. 

General Smith, who commands the Division, is a stout, 
short man, rather under size, from Vermont, I think. He 
is taciturn, but exceedingly courteous and gentlemanly, and 
firm and decided. Of his mental calibre, we have not vet had 


an opportunity to judge. It is a strange paradox of luunan 
nature, that whilst we acknowledge that a vast majority of 
our mentally big men are quiet and reserved, }et when 
we meet a stranger, if he says little, we fall at once 
into the opinion that he knows little. How this is with 
General Smith, I do not know. I am much disposed to con- 
strue his quiet and courteous manner favorably ; but I con- 
fess that whispers from the grove have rather prejudiced me 
against him. 

Brigadier General Winfield Scott Hancock is the very anti- 
pode of General Smith. He is fully as long as his name, with 
title perfixed, and as for quiet and courtesy — Oh, fie ! I saw 
him come on to the field one morning this week, to brigade 
drill. He was perfectly sober. He is one of those paradoxes 
Avho believe that one man, at least, is to be known by his 
much talking. He became excited, or wished to appear so, 
at some little mistake in the manceuvering of his Brigade, 
and the volleys of oaths that rolled and thundered down the 
line, startled the men with suspicion that they were under 
command of some Quarter Master lately made General, Avho 
mistook the men for mules, and their oflicers for drivers. 
He must be a facetious chap, that General, to wish to excite 
such suspicions. I think he hails from Pennsylvania, but 
nobody seems to know much about him, except from his 
statement that he has '-'been seventeen years in the service, 
and knows all about it." Wherever he has been, he has cer- 
tainly acquired a perfect intimacy with the whole gamut of 

2-2d. — Went to Washington to see off a friend who has 
been spending a few weeks with me, as mess-mate. I felt sadly 
at the parting, and being lonely to-night, I cannot help thinking 
of home, of home ! Wliere is it ? One child in Connecti- 


cut, the other in Wisconsin, my wife in New York, and I in 
Virginia. This separation — disintegration of my family sad- 
dens me, and I wish it were otherwise. But the mainten- 
ance of government demands war, and war demands sacri- 
fices, to which all patriots must yield. The Avhisperings of 
yesterday that we were repulsed at Ball's Bluff, or Edward's 
Ferry, are more than confirmed, and another good man is 
sacrificed on the altar of his couutry. General Baker fell in 
the battle. The particulars have not reached us, but I fear 
that we have been sorely defeated, notwithstanding General 
McClellan's promise, a short time since, that Ave should meet 
Avith no more defeats. Shall we have this proclaimed through 
telegraph and press, as another " Great Victory 1" I regret 
that McClellan made that foolish speech. It has lost him 
the confidence of many of his friends. 

24:th. — A little skirmish to-day, amounting to almost noth- 
irio*. A party of four or five hundred went out in the morn- 
ing, came upon the enemy's pickets, and firing on them, 
drove them in. Then, on returning, our four or five hundred 
found five men in the field, drawing manure, and well arnied 
Avith shovels and dung-forks. We took them all prisoners, 
without losing a 7nan ! Wonder, if by to-morroAA', this 
cannot be magnified into another " Great Victory," to offset 
the terrible disaster at Edward's Ferry. This " Grand Army 
of the Potomac" is a great field in Avhich to Avin glory. 
Victories make glory, and victories with us are very cheap. 

25(h. — We have moved our camp about one hundred rods, 
are out of the mud, on high dry ground, Avhere the tents 
can be ventilated and the streets kept clean. I look for a 
great improvement in the health of the vegiment from this. 

2dfh. — A little occurrence of a very unpleasant nature, to- 
day. I have, for a long time, felt that my Colonel Avas inter- 


fering with the Medical Department of the Regiment, to an 
extent not warranted by the rnles of war, and greatly to the 
prejudice of the health of the men. Seeing so many sick 
around me, I became excited, and said to him that his in- 
terference must stop ; that I woukl submit to it no longer. 
He considered this insubordination, or something worse, and 
used language which I construed into a threat of Court- 
Martial. This was not very soothing to my excitement, or 
my excitability, and I wrote him a defiant note, inviting him 
to put his threat in execution. I know it is an oifence against 
military law to use either insulting or disrespectful language 
to superior officers ; and I felt that it was against the law of 
self-respect to submit to be forever trampled on, so as one of 
these laws had to be violated, I took my choice. Perhaps I 
did wrong. The result will show. 

oth. — I have for some time had as mess-mates Surgeon J 

V ■ and his two sons. I find him a most estimable 

Quaker gentleman, and he is by his courteous and aflable 
manner, doing very much to smooth down the asperities of 
the rough road over which I am now traveling. Since the 
removal of camp, the sickness is abating rapidly. The list, 
which two weeks ago numbered over two hundred, is now 
less than sixty, and every day diminishing. I have much 
trouble in getting my assistant to perform his duties, which, 
with the constant interference of military officers, greatly 
embarrasses me in my course. We have to j)^ss some trying 
scenes. Last week a private in our regiment, a lawyer from 

, heard of the sickness of his daughter. He asked a 

furlough of thirty days to visit her. The officers here grant- 
ed it, but when it reached General McClellan he cut it down 
to fifteen days, w^hich would but give him time to go and 
return. He declined to go on it, and yesterday intelligence 


of bis daugliter's death reached him. Oh, how much I 
thought of this, and thought if it were my case ! 'Tis very 
sad to think of. 

Ith. — On the third of September we stopped at Camp 
Advance, near Chain Bridge, on our way to Richmond. 
That was nearly ten weeks ago. We are now about four 
miles nearer to Richmond than we were then. Three weeks 
to a mile I When shall we close this war ? Could we only 
move once a week, even though it were but a mile at a time, 
it would keep up an excitement, and contribute largely to the 
preservation of both health and subordination. There is 
much talk amongst the soldiers of going into winter quarters 
here, but I do not believe it. McClellan will hardly dare 
risk his popularity on such a stake. He must go forward. 

8 /A. — Night before last was made hideous by the yells and 
drunken orgies of officers, who, in obedience to the order 
that no work should be done on the Sabbath, omitted all 
duty, but to make amends, employed the day in getting 
beastly drunk, and the night in howling themselves sober. 
It is with deep regret that I notice the rapid increase of 
drunkenness in the army. 

One day last week Colonel , of the Regi- 
ment Volunteers, appeared on drill, took Hardee's 

tactics from his pocket, and read aloud, in commanding 
voice, his drill orders. I took a little stroll the day after, 
and came upon a squad of the 43d New York Regiment, 
armed with sticks and corn stalks, with a quasi Colonel, read- 
ing orders from an old almanac. To my question what they 
were at, they replied " only playing • ." 

dth. — This morning, as I passed through the camp giving 
directions about cleaninor and ventilatinoj tents, whilst the 
regiment was on parade, my Colonel, seeing me so engaged, 


gave orders that no directions of mine need be obeyed till he 
sanctioned them. A very strange order ; but as it releases 
me from responsibility for the health of the regiment, I shall 
hcncsforward leave the police regulations of the camp to him, 
and stay at the hospital. I think it will take but a short time 
to convince him of his mistake, and that he knows nothing 
of the sanitary wants of a camp. 

ISth. — The Regiment received two months' pay to-day, 
and to-night are all busy as bees making up express pack- 
ages, to be sent to fathers, mothers, sisters, sweethearts and 
wives. To-morrow, all who can get passes to go, will be in 
Washington buying presents and sitting before a camera to 
" stain the glass" with reflections from their faces, all to be sent 
to friends at home. As man, in the mass, can be, in no con- 
dition, however bright, which will exempt him from cares, 
fears and apprehensions, so there is none so dark as to ex- 
clude hopes and anticipations of better things. Even here 
we have our joys and our aspirations, and these are of them. 
We preach that man should study to be contented. What ! 
man in his imperfect condition, contented, that he, as an 
individual, or as a part of a great whole, should remain for- 
ever, as he is ! It is opposed to all God's plans. Discontent 
is the only stairway to progress. Through the discontent of 
Israel, Egyptian bondage was broken. The discontent of 
Russia brought war, which more than compensated for its 
ravages and its horrors, by the introduction of her people to 
a knowledge of liberal ideas. Czarism was shaken, and al- 
ready the Goddess of Liberty waves her cap over the down- 
fall of serfdom. The seceder's discontent in England was 
the Genesis of a mighty nation. Elijah cast off the cloak, 
too small for his growing aspirations, whilst his followers 
eagerly grasped its folds to aid their progression. The dis- 


content of an Almighty God substituted Noah for Adam — 
Christ for Diana — Eternity for Time. And is the discontent 
which occasioned this great war, with all its horrors, its 
butcheries, its temporary demoralization, to have no great 
result "? Is it a bare interlude of the parties engaged, taking 
advantage of the time when " God sleepeth;" or is it a 
spark emitted from the great restless spirit of Jehovah, des- 
tined to ignite into a " pillar of fire," and to light us on in 
the journey of universal progress V 

" Hope springs eternal — "' 

I have to-day seen a " speck of war," with another touch 
of Vandalism. I have, for the first time, seen an army in 
drill. Fifteen to tAventy thousand men, a thousand horses, and 
one hundred artillery wagons, on parade. To me, who had 
never seen anything of the kind, it Avas grand, and looked 
like war. I note here an extract of a letter Avritten to a 
friend to-day, attempting a description of part of it : "It 
was, indeed, a magnificent sight, to see six hundred horses 
harnessed to a hundred wagons, in full run, in line, like a 
regiment of infantry, and at a word of command, to become 
so instantly and inconcievably mixed that you would think a 
universal smash inevitable, appear in another instant dashing 
across the vast plain without a wagon attached. Turn your 
eyes to see the wrecks, and you will be surprised to see the 
carriages in four straight lines, forming a hollow square, 
with the mouth of every gun pointing outwardly, and a 
laughing expression of "Surround me if you dare!" A i - 
other look will show you that the carriages are so close to- 
gether that the horses can not pass between them, yet the 
wagon poles to which the horses had been hitched are all in- 
side of the square. How did the six hundred horses get 


out? The cannon at once open their hundred mouths 
and are enveloped in smoke. The horses return, disappear 
for a moment in tlie dense smoke, and seemingly without 
their stopping long enough to be hitched to, the four lines 
straighten out into column, and the cavalcade is again dash- 
ing across the plain. In less than forty rods, the jumble is re- 
peated, the square formed, the horses gone, and the hundred 
cannons again open. When did they reload ?" The vandalism : 
The finest orchard I have seen in Virginia, was cut down to- 
day, and in one hour converted into a brush-heap ; and for 
no other purpose than to give the infantry a chance to " show 
off" in an hour's parade. The fruit trees were in the way, 
and were cut down ! It will take forty years to replace that 

14/7i.^ — This morning our Brigade Surgeon ordered me to 
leave the hospital for a few days, on account of my fatigue 
and prostration. He said that a regard for my health de- 
manded it, and I must go where I pleased. I rode to Ar- 
lington, the headquarters of General King. The Arlington 
house, I believe, is (unless confiscated) the property of Gen. 
Lee. It is a magnificent mansion, overlooking Georgetown, 
Washington, Alexandria, and miles of the beautiful Potomac. 
In a room of this house, said to have been a favorite room of 

General Washington, I found my old friend Surgeon , 

badly broken by the fatigue and excitement of the 

campaign. I called on him, in company with Doctor A , 

and after talking of his illness for half an hour. Doctor A. pro- 
posed to him to have my advice, to which he replied "Yes ! 
if he will not medicate me too much." I said, "Doctor, I 
will prescribe for you, and with a single dose will medicate 
every fibre of your body, and by a healthy shock, restore 
you to health at once." W^ith a look as if he thought me a 


hyena/ he asked: "What do you mean to do with me f* 
"To take you out of this place and put you for thirty days 
under the care of your wife and family." The poor suffering 
man grasped my hand, burst into tears and sobbed aloud, 
" My Colonel won't consent to it." For a moment, for- 
getting his religion, and not having the fear of military 
commanders before my eyes, " Your Colonel may go to the 
d-vil, and you shall have a furlough." I rode immediately 
to medical headquarters in Washington, procured him the 
promise of a furlough as soon as his papers could be sent in, 
returned, informed him of it, and had the pleasure on my 
long night ride back to camp, of feeling that I had contributed 
something to the happines, and, perhaps, had saved the life 
of a good and worthy man. How easy for any man, how- 
ever humble his position, to find oj)portunities of doing 
good, if he will only wear the " spectacles- of benevolence." 
After the vandalism I have witnessed in the destruction of 
property, in and about the houses of rebels and elsewhere, it 
was a pleasurable relief to find here, that General King, in 
the goodness of his always good heart, had enforced respect 
for the property and furniture. The garden, with its fences, 
is preserved, and the walls of almost every room in this im- 
mense old building, are covered with the rich paintings and 
old family pictures, left hanging when this favorite of rebel- 
dom left his home. The garden is fine, but I think does not 
compare with that of Kalorama. The antique bureaus and 
ide-boards calling up impressions of generations long passed 
away, are still tenants of the building ; and the halls recall 
Scott's fine description of the Halls of the Douglass, where 
the arms of the hunters, and the trophies of the hunt, mingled 
with the trappings of the warrior, constituted the attractive 
features of the chieftain's forest home. Over the halls, and 


at every angle in the stairs, were the antlers of the elk and the 
red-deer fastened to the walls and nearly interlocking their 
branches over my head as I walked through. They were hung, 
too, with the arms of the hunter and the warrior. So perfectly 
does this position command Washington, that had the rebels 
there secretly collected a dozen mortars, they might have fired 
the city before a gun could have been brought to bear on them. 
Everybody is talking of a prospect of a move within three 
days, but the origin of the reports I knoAV not ; perhaps in 
the impatience of the army to be led forward. 

I9'7i. — It is blustering weather, and my cat is beside me, 
l^hig on her h"ad, by the fire in my little tent. Everybody 
says that is "a sign" of cold weather. Let it come, if it 
will only drive us forward. 

The Surgeon General and the Brigade Surgeon have both 
been urging me, to-day, to accept a Brigade Surgeonship. 
I decline, for two reasons: 1st. It would retain me as a 
Surgeon, whilst it Avould exclude me from the immediate 
care of the sick. 'T would be to me like Hamlet, with Hamlet 
left out ; and, 2d. It would greatly add to my responsibili- 
ties, without advance in rank or increase in pay. I shall re- 
main where I am. 

Glorious news just received ; the morning paper is just here. 
Mason and Slidell both prisoners. They should be hung. 

20th. — This morning we received marching orders to 
Bailey's, to have a grand review of the whole army. Very 
few had any confidence in that part of the order announcing 
the purpose — a review. All believed it was to take Fairfax, 
and then perhaps to move forward on Centreville and Manas- 
sas ; but all were disappointed. It was a " Grand review," 
— a very grand one — such as I doubt whether this continent 
ever witnessed before. It may never witness the like again. 


There were about one hundred thousand men in battle array ; 
not in one long line stretching lar beyond the reach of 
vision, and leaving the imagination to picture what we could 
not see, but all in sight at once, on an immense plain, in 
squares and columns, marching and countermarching, charg- 
ing and retreating. The President was there ; General Mc- 
Clellan and the Prince de Joinville were there ; all the elite 
were there. But to the poor soldiers it was a very hard day. 
They marched lieavy, with knapsacks and all the equip- 
ments of a soldier. They started early, marched ten miles, 
were then several hours under review, and then marched 
back to camp. Many gave out, and were left by the way 
side, to come up when they can; the lest of us are back in 
camp to-night, worn out and heartily tired of grand re- 
views. I hope that the crowding of my hospital is not to be 
one of the result of the overwork. 

29/A. — Since the order of the early part of this month, 
that my directions in reference to the sanitary measures 
could be disregarded, I have not ^'isited the camp, or given 
any directions in regard to cleaning, ventilating, c^c, 
and though it is now but three weeks since that order 
was made, the sick list, which had decreased in two weeks 
from about two hundred to thirty-nine, has suddenly run up 
again to one hundred and sixty, and the diseases are assum- 
ing a low typhoid type. So foul are the tents that if a 
soldier, Avith simple intermittent, remains three days in his 
quarters, he is sent to hospital in a condition approximating 
ship-fever. The seeds of disease are now sown in our regi- 
ment, which, in despite of the greatest care, will not f dl to 
yield rich harvests of sickness all winter. Our Governor has 
been in camp to-day. He has no doubt seen the eftect of 
this military interference, for he has called on me to know if 


something cannot be done to arrest the trouble. I have laid 
the whole matter fully before him, and I have no doubt that 
what is in his power to do, will be done to avert the evil. 

oOth — It is a great relief to my feelings that the difficulties 
heretofore existing between the Military and Medical De- 
partments in our Regiment are to-day adjusted, and I hope 
removed by the rescinding the order of the 9th inst., that my 
directions about the sanitary police of the camps need not be 
obeyed, and by a substitution of a public order from which 
this is an extract: " The condition of thejiealth of the regi- 
ment requires more than ordinary care. The sanitary regu- 
lations of the camp must be entrusted to the Surgeon of the 
regiment." I have good reason to hope, too, that all per- 
sonal feelings of an unpleasant character, which have grown 
out of this unhappy difference of opinion as to official rights, 
are removed, and that in future the relations of the two de- 
partments may be pleasant to the parties, and beneficial to the 
sick. I now determined- that more than ever will I devote 
my energies to the removal of the causes of the recent severe 
sickness, and to counteract the'r results. 




Deccmher, oJ. — There is a rumor liere to-day that our 
troops are in possession of both Savannah and Pensacola. I 
do not beUeve it. 

What do our leaders mean to do with us this winter ? Here 
we are, the od December, a cold, freezing, windy day, in our 
open tents, without intimation of what we are going to do — 
with no more preparation for winter quarters than we had a 
month ago. Are we to be kept in this condition all winter? 
We are getting tired of McClellan's want of vim. How long 
is he going to be '' getting ready f ' All is conjecture, except 
that the wind howls dreadfully around our tents this cold 

This morning the three divisions of the army here sent out 
five hundred to a thousand men each, to beat the bush. This 
moment comes the statement that they woke up about four 
hundred rebel cavalry, surrounded them, and that they are 
even now endeavoring to fight their way out ; that they have 
killed about fifteen of our men ; that we have taken about 
two hundred prisoners, and are fishing in the dark for the 
rest. All this may be true, but I am getting to be a great 


doubter of the truth of anything I hear in camp. We shall 
know all about it to-morrow. 

4:th. — The story of yesterday's fight is all hosJi. There 
were no two hundred prisoners taken — no fifteen killed — no 
fight — not a rebel seen I Munchausen must have been the 
legitimate son of a camp, or rather, the camp must be the 
legitimate progenitor of the whole race of Munchausen. 

But it is surprising how camp life enhances the capacities 
of some men. I left home in July a dyspeptic. I came to 
Camp Griffin, in October, weighing one hundred and thirty- 
nine pounds. I record here, as something worth my remem- 
bering, an extract of a letter written to-day to a friend in- 
quiring how camp life affected my health : 

" * * * I weigh now one hundred and fifty 
pounds. I have almost recovered my appetite. With other 
things in proportion, I now take three cups of coffee for 
breakfast, three cups tea at dinner, two cups at tea, and eat 
five meals a day, or suff*er from hunger. jMy last meal is 
usually taken at 11 to 12 o'clock at night, and consists of 
one or two chickens, or a can of oysters, with a pot of Eng- 
lish pickled cauliflower. With that I contrive to get through 
the night. 

"But with the moi-row's rising sun 
The same dull round begins again." 

"Last night, however, I was so unfortunate as to have no 
chickens. My can of oysters was sour, and I had to put up 
with a single head of boiled cabbage, half a dozen cold pota- 
toes, and some cold boiled beef I wonder what I shall do 
when we get away from the neighborhood of Washington to 
where there is no market, no oysters, no chickens, no cab- 
bage, no cauliflower, 'no nothin'.' I shall be compelled to 
settle back to dyspepsia, and have no appetite." 


IStTi. — It is now six days since I resumed the charge of the 
hygiene of the camp. My first work was to have my tent 
struck and removed from the ground, that the spot on which 
it stood might be thoroughly sunned and cleaned. I then 
had the whole sprinkled with disinfectants. Have daily vis- 
ited every tent since, to see that it was ventilated, by having 
the bottoms turned up for an hour or two, and that it was well 
cleaned. The result has been most striking. The sick list 
has already, in only six days, decreased fifty in number, 
though the seeds of typhus, sown some time since, still sprout, 
and occasionally give us serious trouble. Another trouble is 
off of my hands to-day. I have got a settlement with our 
Quartermaster, the first I have been able to get since the or- 
ganization of the regiment. On settlement, I find my hos- 
pital fund to amount to one hundred and forty dollars. This 
sum, above the regular rations, will buy all the comforts my 
sick need, and will relieve the Sanitary Commission and our 
friends at home from the expense and trouble of providing 
those things for us. Nor will this be only temporary, for I 
find that I can, by good economy, after providing well for all 
the wants of the sick, still have a surplus of from fifteen to 
fifty dollars a month, to spare to general hospitals, or to the 
new regiments who ha^e been less fortunate in providing a 
fund for this purpose. 

G/A. — Have received to-day a box of delicacies from the 
good people of Middletown, Connecticut, for my hospital. 

It is a great comfort to us to feel that the Kegiment is 

remembered in so many places and by so many good people. 
The contents are generally in fine order, except that a few of 
the eatables became saturated by some brandy — the corks in 
some manner having got out of place. This, however, has 
not injured them. Indeed, many of the sick boys think that 

A "'track" of the enemy. 61 

the contact of the " spiritual essence" has rather improved 

All the talk now is of moving, and if we should not be 
"put forward" next week, I fear our General will lose pres- 
tige with this part of the army. 

I have had to forbid one of the female nurses admission to 
the hospital on account of her improper interference with 
matters under my supervision. I regret this. She is a 
capable good nurse, but sometimes some things are just as 
<?ontagious as others, and she meddled and made trouble. I 
begin to doubt very much the expediency of having female 
nurses m field hospitals. They are absolutely necessary in 
the general hospital, but in the field they are out of place. 

We have had time to read and deliberate on the President's 
Message. It is not what the soldiers expected, or wished. 
They had prepared their minds for a real sharp-shooter 
message, but they think this is a '•' smooth bore," and carries 
neither powder nor ball. They like Secretary Cameron's 
talk much better, But new beginners are always im- 
patient to be at it. We may become sobered down before 

7/A. — Eight days ago to-day, the sick list was 144. To- 
dav it is 72 I I bes^in to think that a Surgeon mav be as 
indispensable to an army as a Colonel, — that 

'■ A doctor skilled our deadly wounds to heal, 
Is more than armies to the common weal." 

Another " speck of war" yesterday. About ten thousand 
men from the three divisions here having seen a " track" of 
the enemy, started in pursuit. After four or five miles 
march, we came on them in line of battle. Our army looked at 
t'other army and t'other army looked at our army, when our 


army came to the conclusion that the " touch" ' had become 
" too fresh," and so they turned around and came home ! Oh, 
but we are a great people. For four months we have been 
coaxing them to "come out," and when at last they came 
out we ran off and left, and the report to. day is that we shall 
now go into winter quarters here, at a safe distance from the 
enemy we came to whip ! Wonder if we may not soon ex- 
pect a consignment of petticoats. Hope the ladies associa- 
tion will not send any. I have too much respect for the 
garment to see it disgraced by being worn by such officers. 

The honor of the day is divided between Captain •, of 

.'s Battery, and Colonel , of the regi- 
ment of Volunteers.* Yesterday, on the field, they 

disputed, each claiming the honor of command. To-day 
they dispute, each claiming that this honor attaches to the 
other. " Par nobile fratrum." 

llih. — ^I have just received a letter from a lady friend of mine 
aye, and of the soldiers, too, in which she says she " cannot 
bnt think of the suffering patriot-soldier, with nothing but a 
tent above his head, with no covering but a single blanket, 
and but so little care when sick." This induces me to put 
on record here, the following description for reference, a long 
time hence, when, if this war continues, I may wish to read 
it and compare it with the hospitals then existing, with the 
improvements which experience shall have causes to be 
adopted : 

My hospital at prasent consists'of five large tents, fourteen 
feet long by fifteen feet wide. They open into each other at 

*Were I publishing a history of the war, I should feel it my duty to fill 
these blanks; but as it ia only a jouraal or record of events, as they appea::- 
ED, AT THE TiMF, I feel that it is more proper, as a general thing, to turn 
over persons to the care of the historian. 


the ends, so as to make of the whole one contmuous tent, 
seventy feet long. This will accommodate forty patients 
comfortably. On an emergency, I can crowd in fifty-five. 
In the center of the first tent is dug a hole about three feet in 
circumference and two and a half deep. From this hole 
there passes through the middle of the tents a trench or 
ditch two feet wide and of the same depth, which terminates 
in a large chimney just outside of the fifth tent. It is covered 
for ubout ten feet of its length, at the beginning with broad 
stones, the next fifteen feet with sheet iron, thence to the 
chimney with stones and earth. A fire is made in the hole 
at the beginning of this ditch, w^iich, through its large chim- 
neys, has a great draught. The blaze sweeps through its 
whole length, aud by means of this fire, no matter what the 
weather, or how changeable, the temperature in the hospi- 
tals need not vary three degrees in a month, and at all times, 
night and day, have full ventilation without varying the 
temperature. Since the adjustment of the difficulties, I have 
my full quota (10) of nurses, and these are never, night or 
day, less than two on watch. The cots for the sick are 
ranged side by side, with their heads to the wall and feet to 
the center of the tent, leaving just room between their sides 
for the nurses to move freely, and for the patients to get up 
and down, and between their ends for the ditch, on which, 
over the covering already described, is a ladder or rack, w^ith 
slats so close as not to admit the feet between them when the 
nurses and patients are walking on them. 

So long as there is room in the hospital, no patient of my 
regiment is permitted to be confined to his tent by sickness. 
The moment he is sick enough to be confined to bed, he is 
brought to hospital, where he remains constantly under the 
eye of the Surgeon and nurses till he recovers. There are, 


to-day, thirty-six in hospital, each, instead of lying with 
" nothing but a tent above his head, and with no covering 
hut a single blanket," is on a comfortable bed of straw, the 
tick emptied and refilled once in four weeks, with all the 
covering they want. I have plenty of good sheets, and not 
less than two blankets for each, besides what they bring with 
them. They are never without fresh meat, rarely without 
rice, potatoes, jellies in abundance, tea, coffee, sugar, milk, 
and I am now purchasing for them two dozen chickens a 
week ; and I have this day a hospital fund of not less than 
one hundred and seventy-five dollars, which is increasing 
every day, from from which I can replenish or add to the 
comforts now allowed.^ This is a description of my own 
hospital. I regret to learn from the U. S. Medical Inspector 
who has visited me to-day, that other hospitals are not so 
well provided or so comfortable. I regret it, because there is 
no reason why all may not be provided just as well, so long- 
as we remain near a good market ; and if they are not, there 
is blame either in medical or military departments, which 
ought to be corrected. 

From ninth of November to this date, the time I was shut 

*It imj be a matter of some interest to the reader to know how this hospi- 
tal fund is realized. It is thus: The soldier is entitled to certain rations 
every diy, and these continue, whether he is sick or well. When well, they 
are drawn by the captains of companies and distributed to the men. When sick 
and in hospital, the Surgeon notifies the Commissary of the fact, and they are 
not issued to the Captain, but credited to the hospital. The Surgeon draws 
them in whole, in part, or not it all. The days' rations are worth from 17 to 
20 cents per man. Now, any economical and honest Surgeon can feed his 
sick men well when near a market, and save to the hospital fund at least one third 
of this amount, for the purchase of delicacies. Give him thirty in hospital, 
he can realise two dollars per month on each man, ($60 per month.) In a 
neighborhood where markets are very high, this will be proportionally re- 
duced. Where he cannot luy at all, it will be increased. 


out from the medical supervision of the camp, there have 
been more deaths in the regiment than during the whole five 
months before, including the sickly season of August, Sep- 
tember and October. The health of the regiment now, how- 
ever, is good, and I hope it will remain so during the 

11 ill — This is the anniversary of my advent to this noisy, 
scheming world of vanity and trouble. What wonderful 
changes have taken place on this continent, in the life time 
of a little man like me. I will not attempt to write them 
here ; the changes in myself, are sufficient to keep me con- 
stantly in remembrance (without a written journal) of the 
changes going on around me. I liope those of the world are 
more palpably for the better, than those which I experience. 
Some malicious representations have been made in camp, to- 
day, as to the condition of ray hospital, and as to my pro- 
per disposal of its funds. I have written to the Brigade 
Commander, demanding an immediate and thorough investi- 
gation. In consequence of the long time that I could get no 
settlement with the Commissary, I advanced for the sick, 
and the hospital is considerably my debtor. I hope I shall 
succeed in getting a thorough examination. 

18r7i. — I am disappointed to-night, and feel sadly. I had 
almost no letters from home lately. IsTone yesterday, to-day 
none. To-morrow I hope I shall hear from home, and get 
news of the returning liealth of my family, anjd then feel 
better. It is very haid to be shut up here, hundreds of 
miles from those we love most dearly, and during their sick- 
ness, can have no hope of getting to see them. I suppose 
the " necessities of war" demands the sacrifice, and we 
must submit. 


10/A. — To-day I have received the expected letter ; but it 
relieves no part of my sadness. My dear child at home is no 
better. I may never meet her again. This in another of the 
trials of this unholy war ; but I am selfish. How many have 
so much more reason to complain than I ? 

Boxes of luxuries and comforts for the sick received from 
home to-day. Many of the days which we have spent in 
this army have been days of gloom and darkness ; and, oh ! 
liow these stars of kindness do sparkle in the gloom and 
lighten the darkness around us ! The luxuries contained in 
the boxes are a comfort to the sick, but these are not the com- 
forts which we derive from them. TJiei/ come fi om fii<nds 
at home. They tell of the interest felt by them in the cause for 
which Ave suffer, of their interest in us as the defenders of 
that cause, and that we are not forgotten ! Names of many 
of those who are engaged in this vrork of kindness are known 
to us, and whenever heard will call w^ a thrill of grateful af- 
fection so long as memory holds a place among us. 

21s^ — Did ever husband and flither need the comforting 
aid of the help-meets of home as I need them this evening ? 
See my table. Six full foolscap sheets of letters from home 
— read, re-read, studied, spelled, and now to be answered. I 
wonder if any body ever imagines the value of a letter to a 
soldier. His power of estimating must be large indeed, if he 
can appreciate it. Were it not for this value I should never 
have the courage to attempt answering all this pile. But 
then, I ha\*e no i-oom to arrange all these with a view to re- 
plies, for my whole tent is as crowded as my table, full of 
evidences of the kindness — I will dare to say, of the affection 
of so many of my kind lady-friends. The dictates of kind- 
ness and benevolence may crowd upon you articles of comfort 


and utility, but it requires the affections to indicate the nu- 
merous little tokens which peep from the packages of useful 
things now piled around my tent. They strengthen and they 
cheer me. I shall endeavor, right here, to make mysel 
worthy of all this confidence. What a field this is for the 
exercise of the " unseen heroism" of life ! 

But how in the name of Legerdemain do our friends con- 
trive to get so many things into a little box ? Why, my 
10x10 tent is absolutely full. It is well, too, that the box 
was opened just to-day, for things in it were getting con- 
siderably ''mixed." Two or three preserve and jelly jars, 
and a bottle of pickles had been broken. The contents had 
escaped, and to make amends for their long confinement, 
like colts let loose, they ran considerably. The pickles had 
'' pitched into" the sugar. The jelly had made a dash at the 
tea. The nutmegs were luxuriating in a mixture of preserves 
and coffee. There seemed to be an inclination amongst these 
belligerents to get into "a muss" generally; but I " offered 
mediation." After two or three hours of back-ache work, I 
got the conglomerates restored to their original elements, 
and gave the men a look at them. They were gratified and 
thankful. I do not think one man looked on one of these 
evidences of home rememberance but felt strengthened in 
his resolves to perform manfully the duties which he had 

Yesterday we had the first fight worthy the name, since 
we joined the army. General McCall sent out a Brigade 
(about 4,000 men) to reconnoitre. They came upon an 
equal number of the enemy, and after taking a good look at 
each other, concluded to " go in." In this fight we gained a de- 
cided victory. No mistake this time. We fought and won. 


We lost a few men — about ten killed and some thirty 
wounded. Amongst the latter is Lieutenant Colonel Kane 
of the Pennsylvania ''Buck Tails." He is a brother of the 
late Doctor Kane, of the Arctic Expedition. * 

Yesterday a few Surgeons met in my tent and gave ex- 
pressions to their feelings against a self-constituted organiza- 
tion calling itself the " U. S. Sanitary Commission." I have 
had very little acquaintance with its members, or with its 
mode of doing business. From the almost universal preju- 
dice which the Surgeons have against it, I infer that it must 
possess many bad or troublesome traits of character. I have 
naturally enough imbibed impressions which are anything 
but favorable in regard to it. At our little talk, yesterday, it 
was determined amongst us that the Commission must be 
'' written down." I am selected to do the Avriting, my 
professional brothers to furnish the data. This morning I 
commenced my first article, but before it was finished, the 
roar of cannon and the bursting of shells arrested my at- 
tention, and I left my writing to watch the progress of the 
battle of Drainesville. In a little while, the wounded began 
to be brought in, and the whole being new to us, the Sur- 
geons, now, for the first, began to examine their stores 
and appliances for wounded men. We had very few things 
which we needed, and whilst mourning over the delay ne- 
cessary to procure them from Washington (some 9 miles 
distant) the agents of this Commission, having got wind of 
the progressing fight, had loaded up light wagons Avith their 
sanitary stores and rushed to the scene of sufiering with the 
very things most needed. I confess that I feel a little 

*B ittle of Drainesville. 


ashamed to have been caught in the act of writmg such an 
article, under such ciscumstances. Something good may 
come out of Xazareth yet. I think I shall Avait and sec, 
rather than be induced by the prejudices or opinions of 
others, to commit an act, perhaps a wrong, which I may be 
sorry for. 







A great day of sport to usher in the new year. Amongst 
other amusements in our army, Hancock's Brigade " got up 
a time on its own hook." At twelve o'clock I went into the 
parade ground, and found about 10,000 people, soldiers and 
civilians, collected to witness the sport. Hancock's Brigade 
is composed of the 5th Wisconsin, Gth Maine, 43d New 
York, and 49th Pennsylvania Volunteers. The sport com- 
menced by a foot race of one thousand yards, purse $20 for 
the first out, $10 for second. About twenty started. The 
5th Wisconsin took both prizes. Then jumping three 
jumps, prize $15, won by a member of the 5th Wiscon- 
sin. Next, climbing a greased pole, first prize won 
by a member of 6th Maine. Second, by 5th Wisconsin. 
Next, a greased pig (a two hundred-pounder) with a face 
as long as the moral law, or as a "speech in Congress, 
shorn of his hair, the knot which had been tied in his tail 
to prevent his crawling through fence cracks, was untied, 
and his whole skin thoroughly " greased " with soft soap, 
was turned loose, with the announcement, " get what you 
can, and hold what you get." The holder was to have th^ 


pig and ten dollars. For this prize, there were about four 
thousand competitors. The word was giv en, and the " Grand 
Army of the Potomac " was at last on the move. This chase 
commenced a little before sun-set. Pig had one hundred 
yards the start. One fellow far outran all the rest, and as he. 
drew close on to his game, piggy suddenly turned on him 
with a "booh," and the fellow ran t'other way as if he had 
seen a rebel. The whole crowd came rushing on piggy, 
expecting him to run ; but piggy stood his ground and said 
" booh !" " The front line " suddenly brought a half. But 
the rear, not prepared for so sudden a check, pressed forward, 
and the whole came down in a heap. A scream of "murder." 
Piggy answered "booh." At every "booh" a "line was 
swept away." The pile of humanity became impassable. 
Those in the rear, filed to right and left, and by a "flank 
movement " took piggy in the rear. And now came a hand 
to hand encounter. As the last streak of the expiring day 
shed its light upon the excited combatants, it revealed a living 
mass of four thousand people — and a pig ; the pig crowning 
the heap at the moment when the ray withdrew its light. 
Night was then made hideous by the screams of murder and 
replies of "booh." Neither party could distinguish friend 
from foe ; and as I retire for rest, the combat still rages. I 
I do not permit myself to doubt, however, that the morning 
will bring us the news of "another great victory by the 
grand army of the Potomac."* 

At twelve o'clock last night, just as the old year was being 
crowded out of existence to make room for the new, I was 

* Notice that in this athletic contest for prizes, three Eastern and one 
Northwestern Regiment engaged ; all the prizes save one (climbing the pole, 
which was taken by a Maine sailor) were carried off by the one Western 


awoke by a gentle thumbing of a guitar. 'Tvvas right at the 
door of my tent. In a moment commenced at the other end 
of the tent, the soft, sweet notes of a vioUn ; then, from all 
sides came up, low, soft, sweet sounds, as ever a band of 
synall instruments poured forth. The music stopped for 
awhile, and a voice asked, " Shall we now strike up with 
the band?" "No! no! No drum, nor fife, nor horn; — 
they will disturb the sick, and he will not like that!!" 
Could a more delicate compliment than was conveyed in this 
remark have been devised by a soldiery whose business is 
pomp and noisy war? " ^e woii't like it— it will disturb 
Ms patients y I appreciated this. It struck a cord which 
vibrated in unison with my pride, my vanity, my ambition. 
I of course acknowledged it ; and so deeply felt the compli- 
ment that I record it, as worthy of my remembrance. " The 
hospital boys " got up a handsome supper to-night, at which 
the Surgeons were guests. It was a very pretty supper, and 
to me a pleasant affair. » 

2nc?. — I think my hospital can bojat, just now, the happiest 
set of sick men I ever saw. I iffljre now twenty-seven of 
them. This morning, as I was ])rescribing for them, (all 
sitting up) some reading the morning papers, and talking 
loudly over war news, some playing whist, some checkers, 
some chess, some dominoes — all laughing and merry. Gen. 

H walked in, and, looking for a moment along the line 

of sick, exclaimed, "What the h — 11 have you got here?" 
"My hospital. General." "A Brigade," replied he in his 

roughest manner, "of ad d sight better men than you' 

have left me. Where are your sick, sir ?" " All here, sir." 
" Well, this beats anything I have seen in the army, and if 
you give your men such beds and such comforts as this, you 
will have every man of your regiment in hospital before a 


month." They have had a glorious holiday. The boxes, 
and other presents received within the last eight days, have 
awakened vivid recollections of home, and of "the girls 
they left behind them." They are all the better for these- 
things, and when I return them to their quarters, they take 
hold of their work with a will, and with a feeling that if 
taken sick, they have a pleasant hospital to go to. 

I make here a record of some observations in relation to 
"hospital fevers," "hospital sores," " foul air of hospitals," 
and such clap-trap. I have lately visited many tent hospitals, 
in the open field, where I have witnessed cases of " hospital 
gangrene," low typhoid fevers, with gangrenous toes or 
fingers dropping ofi", and heard scientific men, in scientific 
discussions, attributing it all to the foul air of the hospital ! 
And this, too, in the open field, where not more than thirty 
or forty were together, and where the wind swept past them, 
free as the fresh breezes on the top of the Alleghanies ! ! 
'Twas a gangrene of the mind, for want of free ventilation of 
the brain. There is no disease so contagious, or so depressing 
to vital energy when taken, as inactivity and gloominess of 
mind. Introduce one such temperament into your hospital, 
witliout an accompanying antidote, and the condition will 
be communicated to all others in the hospital, Avith as much 
certainty, and with greater rapidity, than would the infection 
of small-pox or measles. Let the admission of such a patient 
be accompanied by the presence of a long, sour-faced hospital 
steward, who keeps in the hospital tent a table covered with 
cups, and spoons, and vials, and pill-boxes, and syringes, and 
who mingles with every potion he gives a homily on hospital 
sickness, on fatality in the army, on the number of deaths 
from typhoid in the next tent, and my word and obseiwation 
for it, though the breezes of that hospital come fresh "from 


Greenland's icy mountains," they will be freighted with the 
mephitic vapors of hospital fever and gangrene. 

Instead of the above, let the Surgeon pass frequently 
through his hospital, making it a mle never to leave till he 
has elicited a hearty laugh from every one in it. For his 
Steward's table of mirth-repelling instruments, introduce light 
reading, chess-men, checkers, dominoes, cards, puzzles, their 
use to be regulated by a corps of jolly, mirth loving, but 
judicious nurses. Then let him throw up the bottoms of his 
tent walls, giving everything around an air of cheerfulness, 
and if he does not find the diseases of the field hospital 
milder and more tractable than at home, my word for it, it 
will be in consequence of the officious over-dosing by the 
doctor. I do not mean that cleanliness is not an essential ; 
but I must bear in mind that a pile of nasty, out-of-place 
rubbish, is as incompatible with cheerfulness, as it is with 
purity of surrounding air. A clean bed, even, exhilarates the 
mind, as promptly as it corrects the foul odors of a soiled one. 
Since I have been in the army, I have lost all dread of the 
much-talked-of foul aii- of hospitals, only so far as it is diffi- 
cult to correct the mental atmosphere about it. This is in 
reference to its influence on diseases. I have not yet had an 
opportunity of observing the effects of crowds in surgical 
wards — that will come before long, and I shall be greatly 
relieved if I find the same records applicable there. 

€>th. — I am very hard worked just now. The Brigade 
Surgeon is sick, and I be'ng the ranking Surgeon in the 
Brigade, have his duties to perform. In addition, I have 
charge, at present, of a large share of the Hospital of the 
49th Regiment Penn. Vols., the Surgeon being very ill. 
That regiment is in dreadful condition. Very many of them 
are sick, and of very grave diseases. Then, my assistant is 


oif of duty, being suspended on account of charges pending 
against him, in court martial. From altogether I am much 
worn down, and need rest. 

In my own Regiment, I have none who can be properly 
called sich. I excuse 75 to 100 from duty almost every day, 
but it is chiefly on account of bad colds, chaffed feet, or some 
minor troul^le. I have not one man confined to bed, from 

There are many dark clouds hanging over the country now. 
Amongst them, there are evident signs of loss of confidence 
in Gen. McClellan. I hope he will make haste to give good 
account of himself, and thus regain the confidence he has. 

Itlu — This has been a cold, blustry day, and the Regiment 
has been out skirmishing. They found no enemy ; bought a 
little corn, and came home. 

All is conjecture here as to the intention of our leaders. 
My conjecture is that outside pressure will compel us to do 
something within the next fifteen days, or lose still more 
confidence. But what can we do ? Nothing, here. The 
roads are impracticable for artillery — the weather too bad to 
fight. If we do anything we must go south. I am getting 
very tired of this, and wish I could feel that it would be 
proper for me to resign. 

\^th. — I visited Washington to-day, through such rain 

and such mud, as no civilized country, save this, can sustain, 

and preserve its character for pm'ity. Am back to-night. 

On my return, I find on my table the following : 

" General Order No. 11. 

"Headquarters, &c. 

"When the time arrives for the troops of this Brigade to 


move, the following will be the allowance of the means of 
transportation : 

*'Five wagons to the companies of a Regiment (two 
wagons to each company) ; one wagon to the Regimental 

"EachAvagon will carry the forage for its horses. The 
sixty rounds of reserved ammunition will be carried in extra 
wagons. In the company, wagons will be carried rations for 
two or three days, company mess equipage, and officers' 
baggage, which will in no case exceed the amount by regu- 
lations for baggage in the field. The forage for horses of 
regimental and field officers will have to be carried in their 
wagons. This notice is given so that soldiers and officers 
may be aware, that all property not abov^e mentioned, to 
be preserved, had better be removed, for if the troops 
march, it is probable the first notice given will be the 
presence of wagons for loading, 

" By order of Brig. Gen. ." 

Now that begins to look like business, and if our General 
means to put us in the way of doing something — if it Avill 
only not prove another counterfeit cry of "Avolf" — we shall 
be pleased. Gen. McClellan has already grown several 
inches in the estimation of those whose confidence began to 
get shaky. I do not like that expression of " for if the troops 
march." It looks a little wolfy. But I shall try to think it 
means "go in." 

l^th. — I confess to myself to-night, that deeply as I am 
interested in the cause for which we fight — the question 
of government against anarchy — what I have witnessed to- 
day has cooled much of the enthusiasm with which I 
entered the service of this government, which I find so 
tardy in doing justice to those who are fighting for its 


preservation : This is a stormy day in mid- winter. Whilst 
going my rounds of camp to see what was needed for the 
health and comfort of the men, I passed the guard house of 
the regiment, and stepped in to see the condition of things. 
I there found soldiers — formerly my neighbors — sons of my 
friends, imprisoned in a pen where pigs could not have lived 
a fortnight without scalding the hair off them, (this is not 
figurative language) and in which these men had been kept 
for three months, awaiting the decision of a court martial 
which had tried them for some trivial offence, the extremest 
penalty of which would have amounted to some three to six 
days' confinement ! at all events, under the extremest limit 
of the law, its punishment could not have exceeded in 
severity a sentence of three days' imprisonment in this vile 
hole of filth and water ! Yes, they had been tried, and for 
three months had been kept, not only in this vile hole, but 
under indignity and disgrace, awaiting the convenience of 
gentlemanly ofiicers, to send them word whether they were 
honorably acquitted, or that they must be imprisoned for 
two or three days. When these men, who, perhaps, have 
never been guilty of offence besides being suspected of it, 
are released from this disgraceful punishment, will they 
not feel indignant at hearing the justice of their government 
questioned, and be ready to rush to arms again to defend it ? 
If scenes like this are necessary to the preservation of a 
government for my protection, then in God's name let me 
be untrammelled by conventional forms, and left dependent 
on my own powers for my protection. I assumed a preroga- 
tive; I pronounced most of these men sick, and ordered 
them sent to my hospital. They will hardly be pronounced 
well before the gentlemanly members of the court get ready 
to inform them of their sentence. 


From this last scene I passed on to look up a party of our 
Regiment, who had been detailed to guard the General's Head- 
quarters. I found them; and, my God ! what a sight ! — 
Around the house occupied by the General was a large ditch, 
some five feet deep, and some ten or twelve feet wide, dug 
as the commencement of a fort. In this ditch, over which a 
few evergreen boughs had been thrown as a covering, stood 
a well dressed Lieutenant, (from my own county) with a 
squad of soldiers guarding the General's house — the Lieu- 
tenant trying to infuse into the men a little warmth of 
patriotic feeling, whilst the winter torrents poured through 
the evergreen branches, and their whole frames shook with 
cold in this sentry house, charitably built for them by orders 
of the General, who at that moment was being joyful over 
his wine, and with his friends 1 1 And is this the 
REPUBLIC, the government of equality for which I am 
fighting ? If we were men, this would be pitiable, but we 
are only soldiers, volunteer soldiers at that ; and what right 
have we to be cold, when our services are w^anted for the 
comfort of a General ? But these are only thoughts ; should 
I write or speak them, it would amount to shameful insubor- 
dination, and I should be disgracefully dismissed from the 
service of the country which tolerates it. I am too honorable 
a man to permit myself to be disgraced, even for the privilege 
of uttering a truth. I therefore decline to say, or even to 
write, what I have seen. 

This afternoon I received an order to be ready to move at a 
moment's notice, and to give no more certificates for furloughs, 
as the applications would not be entertained. I have lost faith 
in the idea that the authorities have the slightest intention to 
move. They have seen our impatience to do something, and 
this order is a mere dumb-watch thrown us children to amuse 


US with the old promised hope that " when it gets a little 
older it will keep time." 

2ord. — The whole atmosphere to-night vibrates with the 
sounds of preparation to advance. The neAv Secretary of 
War says " advance." We are getting daily dispatches from. 
Gen. McClellan, asking, " Ai-e you ready f I have no faith 
We have received too many dumb- watches, which " will run 
when they get older." 

27 ih. — Expectation is still on the strain. How long it has 
been kept up ! But no order to move, and I doubt whether 
we get any soon. Indeed, I think now that Ave should not 
move. 'Tis too late. The roads are excessively bad, and for 
a long time we have been having an almost continuous 
storm of freezing rain and snow. An army could not lie 
out over night in this terrible weather, and be in condition 
next day to fight against those who had slept in good quarters 
and been well fed. The time has passed to move. But why 
are we not ordered to winter quarters ? There seems to me 
to be great recklessness of the soldiers' health and comfort in 
this army. There is wrong somewhere. 

A sad case has just passed under my notice. Three days 
ago, as I was busily engaged in attending to hospital duties, 
I entrusted, necessarily, the light sickness of quarters to 
others. As I passed out just after morning call, I heard one 
of my nurses say to a man, "You look sick; why do you 
not come to hospital, where we can take care of you ?" — 
"That is what I came for, but the doctor says I am not sick, 
and has returned me to duty.'' I passed on, but notwith- 
standing that there is scarcely a day that some " shhk " who 
is pretending to be sick to avoid duty, is not treated thus, 
that voice rang sadly in my ears. In ten minutes I returned, 
and inquired after the man. The di'ums had beaten to duty, 


and he was on parade. I followed to parade ground, found 
him endeavoring to do his duty, on a " double-quick." I 
took him from the ranks, examined him, and sent him to 
hospital. Before they got him to bed he was delh'ious. He 
has just died. 'Twas a case of typhoid fever, of which he 
had been sick for two days before I saw him. I ask of army 
Surgeons, Had you not better excuse ten " seeds " who are 
worthless, even when in rank, than sacrifice one good man 
like this, who believes he is not sick, because you tell him he 
is not ? 

28^/i. — To-day I was admitted as a witness to the arcana 
of a field Court Martial, and of all the ridiculous farces in 
the name of justice, to excite mirth, indignation, pity, and 
disgust, commend me to a field Court Martial. I will not 
spoil the ludicrous impression left on my mind, by any 
attempt to describe the scenes I witnessed to-day. The grey 
goose has yet to be hatched which can furnish the pen capable 
of even approximating it. Oh, talent of Barnum ! How 
does it happen that in all your searches after the wonderful 
and the curious, you have overlooked that nondescript of won- 
ders, a field Court Martial ? Strike quickly on this hint, and 
there is a fortune ahead. 

31 s^ — As a relief to the dullness induced by bad weather, 
and disappointed hopes that something will turn up to 
awaken the activity of the army, I am constantly amused by 
the merry chirpings of myriads of "crickets on the hearth."* 
Now and then after night-fall a little mouse, nearly white, 
suddenly appears amongst them, and such a scampering, 
'^such a gettin' up stairs I ever didn't see." Mousey looks 
around for a little while as if surprised at their timidity, then 

* My quarters are now, an old farm house with one room, with an immense 
rough stone chimney, and a flag-stone hearth. 


sets up a -beautiful little song of his own, much resembling 
the trilling efforts of the young canary. Yes, I have the 
reality of a singing mouse ; and at all hours of the night, 
either he or the crickets may be heard, in their cheering and 
now familiar singings. A few nights ago I heard a sound as 
of some small animal struggling in the water. I arose 
quickly, and on striking a light, found my little musical 
companion struggling in the water-pail for dear life. He 
had "leaped before he looked." 1 had him. I warmed 
him, and dried him, and, then I let him go. And why 
should I not have let him go ? True, I sometimes see him 
gliding away with stolen portions of my dearly-bought 
cheese. Now and then the print of his little foot, just pulled 
out of Virginia mud, is found on my butter roll. Once, as I 
was preparing for breakfast, I found the little fellow taking 
his morning bath in my cream cup. But what are all these ? 
The cheese I can afford to divide with him. I cut the print 
of his little foot from my butter roll, and enjoy what is left 
all the better. Though I lose the cream from my coffee, I 
become more attached to the cup, because it has afforded 
pleasure to my little friend. Have we any roses without 
thorns, good people without failings, or friends without 
faults ? When I examine the catalogue of my friends, should 
I strike off every one who has a failing, I fear I should have 
very few left. Go on, then, little mousey, this world was 
intended alike for you and me. There is not a night but 
your little song more than pays me for all your depredations 
of the day, and for all my interest in and affections for you. 

February 1th. — Still all is uncertainty here as to what is in 
store for us. Some are of opinion that we are to accompany 
the next squadi'on to the South ; some that we go to Nor- 
folk ; others that we shall next week move on Manassas. My 


own opinion is that we shall remain where we are till about 
the first of April, then advance on Centreville, and if success- 
ful to Manassas, and thus to follow up our victories as long- 
as we can win them. 

To-day our Regiment is scouting. This morning a body 
of Cavalry went out from our Brigade, and returned about 
ten o'clock, bringing in six rebel cavalry men as prisoners. 
But some of our own men are missing. We immediately 
sent out two regiments to reconnoitre. They have returned 
with thirteen prisoners. Two of the Cameron Dragoons are 
wounded, but not badly. 

dth. — The Court of Inquuy to examine into the conduct of 
my hospital affairs yesterday, decided that they would not 
investigate — that the accusations were the result of personal 
ill feelings. At least, so a member of the court informed me. 
I begged him to insist on an inquiry, and the court has re- 
considered its action, and will investigate. I hope there will 
be a full expose of the whole conduct of the hospital. I have 
long desired it. 

loth. — What a week of news, opening on us with intelli- 
gence of the capture of Fort Henry, with its list of high-bred 
prisoners. Scarcely had the sound of the cheers and the 
hmTahs died away, when Burnside startled us with an artil- 
lery discharge of news. To-day, whilst we were brushing 
out our "hollering organs" with alum swabs, when the 
startling intelligence from Fort Donelson, the most glorious 
of which is the capture of the arch-traitor, Floyd ; and what 
a disappointment that not a throat in our whole Division can 
shout "Hang him I" loud enough for Floyd to hear it. Hold 
on for awhile ; send us no more such news at present. As 
this poor old " grand-mother " of armies is to do no fighting, 
wait at least till the throats of our soldiers so far recover that 


they can do the shouting over victories in which they are de- 
nied the privilege of participating. We have lain still here 
till we have grown into old fogyism — gone to seed. So little 
advance, so little progress have we made, within the memory 
of any here, that should Methuselah offer us to-day a shake 
of his hand, we should wonder whether it was yesterday or 
a week ago that we parted from him, so little has been the 
change here since his advent, and so much would he look 
like all around him. 

21st. — Xo grounds yet on which to base an opinion as to 
when or where we shall go. One day brings us assurances 
that our Division will in a few days go to Annapolis to join 
the mortar fleet bound South. The next we hear that we are 
to advance and take Manassas. To-day we hear that we are 
shortly to go to Kentucky, and join the fighting army under 
Buell. There is also a rumor here that the rebels are leavinsc 
Manassas in great numbers. If that be true (the President 
and Gen. McClellan both believe it), we shall probably advance 
on that stronghold and occupy it ourselves until we are ready 
for the " on to Richmond " move. But why, if we have been 
staying here all winter to " bag the enemy" at Manassas, do 
W6 now lie still and permit them to leave ? This " gives me 
pause" in my opinions. I do not like such doings, nor can 
I quite comprehend such Generalship. But it is not for me to 
criticise the plans of educated military leaders. I presume 
they know much better than I, what is best to be done, and 
I shall still confide in then- judgment and wisdom. 

This morning Brigade Surgeon , of ■ Brigade, 

made the foUowinjr statement on the investio:ation of mv 
hospital management and condition: "I was Surgeon of a 
Regiment in the three months service ; since then I have 
been Brigade Surgeon of four Brigades ;" (including 18 


regiments) "I have seen no hospital fund anywhere as large 
as that of this hospital ; I have seen none managed with 
more economy, nor any patients made so comfortable. I 
have seen no Sm-geon anywhere who seemed to feel so lively 
an interest in the hospital and the welfare of his Regiment ; 
I have seen no Surgeon who devoted so many hours in the 
service of the sick, as this Surgeon." 

This statement, coming officially fiom a Surgeon whose 
duty it has been to supervise the care of the hospitals and the 
treatment of the sick ; from an officer Avhose business has for 
the last ten months brought him in contact with half the 
hospitals of the army of the Potomac, and whose head- 
quarters have been for several months within sixty feet of my 
hospital, was gratifying to me, and entirely satisfactory to 
those whose duty it was made to investigate, and they so 
expressed themselves in dismissing the subject. 

26^7i. — A pleasant little interlude to-day, to the troubles 
and hard work through which I have had to pass : At about 
twelve o'clock, a soldier stepped to the door of my quarters, 
and said that some friends wished to see me at the door. I 
stepped out and found my whole corps of hospital attendants, 
and the patients of the hospital who Avere able to be up, in a 
circle. The head nurse stepped forward, and in a very neat 
little speech, presented me, in the name of himself and the 
others, a very pretty regulation di'ess sword and belt. I 
replied to it as well and as appropriately as I could ; the cere- 
mony closed by a vociferous testimonial of kind feelings, and 
we parted. I confess that I have been highly gratified. The 
compliment was appreciated by the fact that it came directly 
from those who most intimately know me, both personally 
and officially. 

'21th. — Three days ago we received orders again to be 


ready to move at a moment's warning. But here we are 
yet. I was in Washington to-day. Went intending ta 
spend two days and witness the "doings of Congress." But, 
on my arrival got intelUgence that Gen. Banks had crossed 
the Potomac at Edward's Ferry; that the Government had 
seized the Railroads here, and was sending off troops to his; 
aid, and not doubting that this would start us also, I immedi- 
ately returned to my post. 

28th. — All the stirring news of yesterday did not uproot 
us. I begin to think that we are so deeply stuck in the mud 
that nothing can get us out, short of the sight of a rebel, 
That might galvanize us into a move. 

This morninsj we received an order countermandinoj the 
last one to be ready, so that we are* again unready. This is 
the last day of winter, and the coldest we have had. It 
snows and blows, and this is probably the reason of the 

It seems to me a great shame that our soldiers have been 
kept here doing nothing all winter, and yet not one in fifty 
of them has been permitted to visit the National Capitol and 
learn something of the modus operandi of the Government 
for which he fights. Very few of them, I fear, will ever 
enjoy another opportunity to do so. 

March od.—ln the way of petty tyranny, it seems another 
Richmond has entered the field. Last week I was presented by 
some of my friends with a very pretty sword, as a testimonial 
of their respect and affection for me. To-day I am informed 

by General that this cannot be tolerated. All the 

persecution which he and his satellites have heaped on me, 
have not been sufficient to alienate the affections of those 
for whom and with whom I have labored for the good of the 
regiment ; but all those who have had any part in the presen- 


tation of that sword are to be punished, and this, too, at a 
time when all ranks, from Corporals to Major Generals, are re- 
ceiving like testimonials ! But (?) the head of this Brigade 
haying failed to crush a Surgeon, aspires to a personal quarrel 
with privates and nurses. Magnanimous General ! I have 
received a positive order, to-day, to ascertain the names of all 
who had any hand in the presentation of the sword, and to 
report them to headquarters, and I have just as positively re- 
fused to stoop to participate in any such dirty work. I leave 
all the honor to the Brigadier General, and after he has vent- 
ed his malice on such of the privates as he can get other tools 
to hunt out for him, he is at liberty to try his hand on me 
again for this disobedience of his dirty order. The work is 
worthy of him, and of the tools he employs. 

4:th. — I returned from Washington to-day, and was met 
by Colonel , who told me that the Brigade Com- 
mander had ordered him to have every hospital nurse who 
had taken any part in the purchase or presentation of the 
sword to me, dismissed from hospital and returned to the 
ranks. Well, now, who is to do that ? I shall not ; and I 
am glad that our Commander of Brigade has had pride 
enough to rise to this trick to find out who they are, rather, 
than (pencil in hand) to go sneaking around, asking " "VYho 
did it ?" But he will miss fire ; I shall dismiss nobody. I 
would rather he would catch himself in the little act of nosing 
around for information. I doubt not he will do it, or even 
dirtier work, rather than let slip any opportunity to gratify 
his vindictiveness. 

After I received this verbal order, I sat down and wrote a 
defiant letter to the General, giving him my estimate of such 
doings, but then, feeling that it might redound to the injury 
of my friends, who were sharing his displeasure with me, I 


suppressed it, and sent a request to the General to be per- 
mitted to see him on the subject. I received the manly re- 
ply: "When the order is carried out!" If we never meet 
till I carry out that order, these eyes will for a long time be 
relieved of performing a most disagreeable duty. He may 
perform the duty ; I shall not. In the hope, however, of re- 
lieving my friends from his further vindictiveness^ I deter- 
mined on another attem}^)t to mollify, and here record the 
attempt, with its result : 

Headquarters Medical Department, 
Ree't Vols 



Permit me, through you, to lay before Brigadier 

General , the following statement of facts : During 

the autumn and early part of the winter, the sickness in our 
regiment was unusually severe. Often, one half of our 
nurses were sick, and the rest worn down by fatigue. Rather 
than draw more strength from the regiment to our aid, I, 
after my official duties of the day were over, did, for weeks 
together, spend the greater part of every night in the un- 
official, and, perhaps, undignified capacity of nurse, sending 
the exhausted nurses to their beds, and ministering to the 
wants of the sick. I rarely retired before two o'clock in the 
morning. During this time I was so fortunate as to gain the 
affection and gratitude of those for whom I labored, whilst 
many of them were still feeble, scarcely able to leave their 
beds, they decided to express their gratitude for my personal 
efforts, by a new year's gift to me. They forgot that in be- 
coming soldiers they ceased to be men, and gave vent to 
their feelings by presenting me a sword. If, in this presen- 
tation, there were " deliberations or discussions having the 


object of conveying praise or censure" for me, officially, as 
stated by the General, I have not been able to discover it. 
The cu'cumstances attending — the spirit of the address — the 
inscription on the scabbard, all point to a different feeUng and 
another object. With feelings of the deepest regret, I learn 
that this act of theirs meets the disapproval of the Brigade 
Commander, and that these men are to become the objects of 
censure and punishment. 

For six months, these soldiers, by the direction of the 
Medical Director of the Army, have been thoroughly trained 
to the performance of those duties which are expected of 
hospital attendants on the field of battle, and I venture 
nothing in saying that the hospital under their care will show 
that they are second to no coi-ps on the Potomac. 

Under this state of facts, I respectfully appeal to the 
Brigade Commander, and beg that he will revoke the 
order dismissing these nurses and filling the hospital with 
inexperienced ones, at the moment when we are expect- 
ing to enter the battle field, and to need all the experience in 
our reach. 

I waive all considerations of my own mortification, and 
will even cheerfully bear a public reprimand for myself I 
put aside the consideration of the inconvenience which then* 
dismissal will bring on me ; I put aside even their mortifica- 
tion and disappointment; but, in behalf of the sick, the 
wounded, the dying of my regiment, I appeal for the revoca- 
tion of this order. 

I beg, Sir, to remain, 

Respectfully, your ob't serv't. 

Surgeon Volunteers. 

To Colonel , Commanding Vols. 


With this last appeal I close the labors of this clay. 

^tJi. — The deed is done. The blood-hounds tracked out at 
least a part of their game. The following will tell its 
own tale : 

Headquarters Reg't Vols,") 

Camp Griffin, Virginia, March oth, 1862. j 

Regbiental Order,") 
No. 72. ]■ 

Privates , , . , . 

i * are detailed for extra duty in the Regimental 

Hospital. They will report to the Surgeon at the hospital 
forthwith, taking with them then- knapsacks, arms,, accoutra- 
ments, but no ammunition. 

Privates , , , ,-(- 

are relieved from extra duty at the Regimental Hospital, and 
will report for duty forthwith, to their company com- 

The above changes in the attaches of the hospital is deem- 
ed necessary, - on account of the late complimentary presenta- 
tion, made by the attendants now relieved to the Surgeon in 
charge of the hospital. This was in violation of the spirit 
of the army regulations, and of the usage of the service. J 
Yet it is believed that in so doing the men were guilty of no 
intentional wrong, and were actuated by the better impulses 
of human nature; and there is, too, much reason to believe 
that they have been misled by the precedents which have 
been but too many in the volunteer service. While it is not 
intended to disgrace the soldiers above named, it is consid- 

* Names of seven privates, 
t Names of the ten of the hunted out. 

X Everybody knows that statement to be false. 'Twas perfectly in accordance 
with the usage at that time and is yet. 


ered that by making this present to their superior in the 
Medical Department, they have so embarrassed their relation- 
ship to that officer as to render the continuance of that rela- 
tionship subversive of military discipline. 

The relationship of officers and soldiers is that of instruc- 
tion and command on the one part, and of respect and 
obedience on the other. All discipline is based upon this 
theory, and while the officer will receive in his own consci- 
ousness of duty discharged, and the disinterested approval of 
his superiors and peers, his sufficient reward, the soldier, 
by doing his duty in the defence of his country, will continu- 
ally pay a greater compliment, and make a more acceptable 
presentation to his officer than handiwork can fashion or 
money buy. 

By order of the Colonel Commanding, 

, Adjutant." 

CorY, Official, ") 
, Adjutant.) 

Well, there is a good deal of rhetorical high-fa-lu-tin in 
all that ; but after it shall have been laughed at, hooted and 
ridiculed by all who see it, I wonder how much comfort the 
poor soldier who has had his hip shattered or his spine dis- 
located by a shell, will derive from the recollection of this 
rhetorical sophistry, whilst he is being handled on the battle 
field as a bear would handle him, instead of by those hands 
which had for months been trained to a knowledge of the 
business, and now withheld for the gratification of a coward- 
ly vindictiveness. 

But take it all in all, the above is a remarkable document 
Nothing recognized but order and obedience. Affection for the 
commander is entirely ignored. It has been my boast and 
pride, that for months, not one of the ten men taken from 


me has been ordered. Their affection for me has anticipated 
my every Avish as Avell as every necessity of the sick, and 
there has been a constant emulation amongst them as to who 
could best please me by contributing to the comforts of the 
sick. This, it seems, is not consistent tcvJi the good of the 
service^ and they are all this day returned to the ranks ! 
Well, if military discipline ignores the impulses of affection, 
and of obedience from kindness, God deliver me fi'om all 
such drill. 

Q>th. — This morning as my newly appointed nurses came 
in, I was utterly disheartened. There is not a man amongst 
them who can make a toast or broil a chicken ; yet the sick 
must depend on them for all their cooking. Half of them 
are applicants for discharge on the ground of disability, yet 
they are sent to me to work over the sick, night and day, and 
to carry the wounded from the battle field. Not one has 
ever dispensed a dose of medicine, and yet I must depend 
on them for this duty. It is a dreadful thought to me that I 
must go to the battle field with the set which is now around 
me. Our sick, our wounded, our dying on the battle field 
will be from amongst my neighbors and my friends. To 
the parents of many I have made a solemn vow that their 
sons shall be properly cared for in times of trouble. Well, I 
will do the best I can, but when I have trained men to all 
the little ofiices of kindness and of care, even to the practice 
of lifting the wounded and carrying them smoothly on litters,* 
it is hard that they should now be taken from me, at the 

*ror months, it has been a daily practice to take the nurses to the field and 
train them to lifting the sick and wounded, and even to the proper step in 
carrying them off the field. None but those who have witnessed it can 
imagine the difference in pain or comfort, which a certain kind of step will 
communicate to those carried on litters. 


very moment of expected battle, and replaced by such 
as these. 

This morning the men dismissed from my service for the 
heinous offence of loving me, came in to bid me good bye. 
When a long time hence, I read this, I find it written that 
we all wept, I may then feel ashamed of the weakness. I 
certainly do not now. 

Itli. — Received orders to-day to draw rations for my hos- 
pital force for five days. This kind of an order is unusual. 
The roads are improving. Perhaps the dumb watch is nearly 
old enough to run. 

9/7i. — All is bustle and confusion. Though there is no 
order to move, we are all packing, and ambulances are run- 
ning with our sick to general hospital. This looks like clear- 
ing the decks for action. We are notified that when we do 
march, we shall do so without baggage or tents. So long have 
we been here that, notwithstanding we have been long impa- 
tient to move, it will be like breaking up our home. My 
home attachments are very strong. I shall feel sadly at 
breaking up, but I shall be glad to be again in active service. 

Since the late ebullition of vindictiveness by Gen. -, 

I have been schooling myself in the hardest lesson of my life 
— that is to sit and wait for orders, regardless of humanity, 
of everything, indeed, except the little eighty-seven dollars 
and fifty cents per month, and my own ease and comfort. 
This is a lofty ambition. A prize worthy a better patriot 
than I have ever claimed to be. Last night and this morning 
I labored in my hospital till three a. m. But that work is 
now over. We leave behind us those to whom my care and 
their suffering had attached me ; and I will see to it that 
neither conscience nor humanity shall again so strongly 


attach me to the sick. It only lays me liable to indignities 
and insults. 

March lOtTi. — Returned eaily last night ; but before mid- 
night received orders to have two days' rations cooked, and 
be ready to move at 4 o'clock this a. m. Before I got dressed 
I found myself not only Regimental Surgeon, but in conse- 
quence of the absence of the Brigade Surgeon, I had charge 
of his duties also. My hands were full. I guess the watch 
is almost old enough. 

We know nothing as to where we go, but a party of scouts 
who were out through the day yesterday, report that Manas- 
sas is evacuated, and that the rebel army of the Potomac has 
all gone South. About ten o'clock to-day we heard a terrible 
explosion, supposed to be the blowing up of some bridge to 
prevent pursuit. And has that army been so disrespectful to 
General McClellan as to go off without going into his bag ? 
Fie on them ! 

And now we are off. The sick whom I have nursed till 
my care grew into affection for them, are sent away. Those 
to come will be new ones. The last few weeks have taught 
me that in the army the Surgeon's duty is to take care of the 
Sm'geon, and to leave conscience and humanity to take care 
of themselves. These, with the affections which are apt to 
accompany them, may be good enough in civil life ; in the 
army they are obsolete, fit only for fogies. True, there are a 
few yet in the Regiment, for whom, should they be suffering, 
I might yield to the sheepish impulse of humanity, and even 

become interested in their comfort. But Surgeon • first, 

is to be my motto now. Hurrah I we are on the move ! 


MAEcn 10, 18G2. — TO Fairfax axd aleXxVndkia — we e3i- 


3farc7i 10 th, 1862.— Well, the Army of the Potomas is at 
last m motion. After having lain still with 150,000 men, 
comparatively idle, for nearly eight months, our National 
Capital besieged, its great thoronghtare blockaded by a foe 
of which we nave habitually spoken with contempt, the Van 
Winkle-ish sleep is apparently broken, and we are at last in 

We left Camp Griffin at -4 o'clock this a. m, and now — 1 p. 
M., are bivouacked in sight of Fairfax Court House. Freedom 
Hill, Vienna, Flint Hill, all passed, and we have met no enemy. 
We are within eight miles of Centreville, and are receiving 
reports that the place is already in our possession. There is 
nothing authentic, but we shall know to-night. We are 
within ten miles of the famous Bull Run battle field, within 
fifteen of Manassas. Ho ! for Richmond ! 

We have had a most unpleasant march to-day. Rain, rain, 
mud, mud. The men have suffered much, and many have 
fallen out of the ranks. I have received another official 
reprimand to-day, and still another. I suppose I deserved 

them. Only last night I wrote a letter to , in which I 

expressed mj joi/ that I had at last come to the determina- 
tion that feelings of humanity should not again enter into 


any of my plans or conduct during the war — that I should 
now take the "Army Regulations" as my guide. They 
recognize no benevolence, no affection. Commands and 
obedience are all they knoAV, and I left camp this morning 
firmly resolved that these alone should govern me in the 
future. Five miles from camp I overtook a poor, weakly 
little fellow who had fallen out of the ranks. He had un- 
packed his knapsack and thrown away his clothes, to enable 
him to keep up. My resolution of three hours' ago was all 
forgotten. I had his knapsack repacked, carried it for him 

till I overtook an ambulance and put it in. Captain , 

one of the General's staff, saw me put it into the ambulance, 
and I " caught it." This reminded me of my resolve, and 
I renewed it. I pushed forward, and overtaking the regi- 
ment I found F. staggering under his load of knapsack, 
arms and accoutrements. Poor F., the pale boy, who had 
been my assistant since I joined the army, but now, through 
the arbitrary vindictiveness of a little miUtary despot, reduc- 
ed to the ranks ; could I leave him stuck in the mud and in 
the enemy's country ? I forgot again ! Shouldered his gun 
and knapsack, took his place in the ranks, and mounted 
him on my horse to rest. I confess it was not very dignified 
to see a Surgeon — a staff ofiicer — and at this time accidentally 
on the General's staff, "^ wading through the mud, with 
knapsack and musket, whilst a soldier was riding. "'Twas 
derogatory to the staff." So to the usual reprimand, the po- 
lite military addendum of " d-mn-d fool" was this time ap- 
pended. Well, a man who will so often /orget his good 
resolutions, deserves it, and I will tri/ not to forget again, so 
far as to permit my kind feelmgs to derogate from the 
dignity of my commander's staff. 

*I was acting as Brigade Surgeon. 


Report of the evacuation of Manassas is confirmed. We 
got news of a terrible naval battle in the James River. Con- 
gress and Cumberland lost ! Memmac disabled ! But to- 
day Tve have Fairfax, Centreville Manassas and Ocoquan ; 
that pays for the work of the Merrimac. 

llth. — Suffered more from cold last night, than on any 
other night in the army. The wind was terrific, and I slept 
out without any way to guard against it. Rode back to 
Camj) Griffin to-day, to see to the sick and the hospital stores 
left there. 

What next 1 No enemy here to fight or to watch. What 
shall we do ? We can form no idea. 

12th- — On examining the fortifications at Manassas to-day, 
we find them mounting ^'^ wooden guna.'" Subordinate offic- 
ers have no right to ask questions, but if I were not a sub- 
ordinate I should be strongly tempted to ask if, in eight to 
twelve months of anxiously watching the enemy, it were not 
possible to find out the nature of his defences? I really 
hope this oversight, or, rather, want of sight, does not 
indicate a ivilful negligence on the part of some of our 

l^th. — A sad day is this. The effects of General 's 

vindictive meddling with the Medical Department are be- 
ginning to manifest themselves. When he took from me my 
well-trained hospital attendants and my experienced druggist, 
on the 5th inst., there were appointed in their places, men, 
worthless in the ranks, and without knowledge of the im- 
portant duties which they were to perform in the hospital. 
The druggist knew not one medicine from another, and to- 
day three men are poisoned by a mistake in dispensing medi- 
cines. One of them is already dead ; the other two suffering 
severely, though I have hopes that they may yet be saved. 


Thank God, I was absent at the time, and had nothing to do 
with either the dispensing or administering ; and yet, should 
I write that the vindictiveness was not yet gratified, would 
the world credit it ? It is even so. I have addressed to the 
General a i^spectful letter, setting forth the facts, and urging 
the restoration of my druggist, but he refuses ! Would he 
decimate his Brigade to gratify his vindictiveness ? 

Well, we have lain still nearly a year, "suiTounding the 
rebel army," and, yesterday, when we went to "bag 'em," 
they were gone I One thing is gained, however, the Capital 
is no longer besieged, and the blockade of the Potomac is 
raised. " Great is Diana." 

I visited some Virginia ladies at their homes to-day, took 
tea with them, and witnessed from their house the most 
beautflil review of about 10,000 troops, that I ever beheld. 
The house is a fine old Virginia mansion, overlooking a large 
plain, where the troops were reviewed by Gen. 3[°CleUan. 
We all enjoyed it greatly. But I enjoyed more the pleasure 
of sittmg down once more to a family table, and exchanging^ 
the boisterous society of the camp, for the quiet conversation 
of refined and civil life. Oh how I longed for a return of 
that peace which would enable the North, the South the 
East, and the West, to feel again the fraternal bonds,' and 
stop the desolations of war. 

March U^A.-Received orders early last night to hold 
ourselves ready to move at a moment's notice. A few 
mmutes after receiving the above notice, I was ordered to 
return mimediately to Camp Griffin, to look after my sick 
there-to send such as could not be moved with the Brigade 
to General Hospital, and the rest to camp, and then to r^oin 
my Regiment. Our destination is still unknown to us, but 
we expect that we go either to Norfolk or to join Burnsid 


ill the Carolinas. We have been outwitted here, and the 
rebel army which should have been captured has escaped us. 

I fear that my mission here is a faihire. My friends ex- 
pected me to be useful to the Regiment, and if I have had 
one predominant wish, it was that the expectation might not 
be disappointed. " The setting of a great hope is Uke the 
setting of the sun." I am in its deep, dark shadows, and 
fear it will be a long night before I can emerge from the 
darkness which envelopes the hope. I shall go on and do 
the best I can in the face of the interference of the military 
department, but must not be held responsible for conse- 
^quences, as I am but a subordinate. 

Vienna, March loth. — Did not lie down last night, but 
worked in separating and disposing of my sick. Most of 
them I have brought to this place to embark such as cannot 
march to Alexandria, by rail. The Brigade did not meet me 
here, as I expected, and I got to it at Flint Hill (where I 
left it) last night. I cannot look upon our possession of this 
place and the railroad without deeply feeling how much we 
have been outwitted. Here we have been held still with 
150,000 to 200,000 men, since July last, by a little village 
mounting wooden guns. Poor McClellan, I fear a wooden 
gun will be the death of him yet, though his failure here 
mai/ he attributable to the interference of others. I will not 
hastily condemn him. 

Alexandria, IQth. — Received orders last night to march 
at 4 this A. M. Simultaneously with the receipt of the order 
came a northeast wind and heavy clouds. The clouding up 
kept pace with our preparations to march, and such a day of 
rain I have not witnessed in Virginia. To-night, after a 
march of twelve miles through mud and rain, the men lie out 
without shelter, except the little tents debris, which in time 


of rain are good for nothing. I shudder when I think of 
them, exposed, after a hard day's march, to the driving 
storm. And whilst they are thus exposed, I feel almost 
guilty that I am in a fine hotel, by a fine coal fire, " comfort- 
able and cozy." But sickness brought me here. For three 
nights I have not slept, and last night I had an attack of 
cholera morbus. This morning, being sick and worn out, I 
asked permission to return to Vienna, (two and a half miles), 
and come in by rail. Permission was denied me. Sick or 
well, I must march, and look after the management of ambu- 
lances, and transportation of hospital stores. Arose at three 
o'clock, working part of time, and the rest cholera-morbus-ing 
till four. Started with the Brigade, but at Fanfax, for the 
first time since I entered the army, had to fall out. Went to 
bed, slept two hours, arose, took a cup of coffee, mounted 
my horse, and pressing my way through dense masses of the 
armj for five or slx miles, overtook the Brigade. When 
within a few miles of this city I was so sick that I insisted on 
being permitted to seek lodgings out of the weather, and 
having received permission, came on here. Have got dry 
and warm, and am now feeling better. I am gratified to 
learn to-night that my two poisoned boys are doing well, 
though it will be a long time before they entirely recover. 

When I left Fairfax this morning the scene was grand 
beyond description. The soldiery, densely filling the road, 
leading from the town, had been pouring steadily forward 
for more than two hours. I looked back, and as far as the eye 
could reach down the two roads coming in, the dense body 
blocked them in both directions. The three roads presenting 
a long blue line rendered more striking by the glare of the 
bayonets, which at a short distance looked like a solid body 
of glittering steel over the blue bulk below. How far back 


the lines extended, I could not see, but I pressed forward for 
six miles, through the dense crowd. Verily, the army is now 
in motion. 

16 th. — ' Tis Sunday morning. Returned to my regiment this 
morning ; found all quiet. No one yet knows our destina- 
tion. But from the fact that some forty river steamers await 
us, we infer that we are not going to sea. A singular fact, 
worthy of note : On our arrival here to embark, not a 
steamer had coaled, and there was no coal to take on ! ! — 
Why is this ? 'Tis terrible to even suspect that treason may 
be at work in the very heads of om* departments. 

March 17th. — To-day our sick, instead of being put into 
General Hospital, are marched from depot to the camp. 
McDowell's Division is ordered back to Arlington Heights. 
We are sending to Washington for our tents. Our General 
Smith is buildmg stables, and it looks as if we were again 
settling doivn. What does it mean ? Is there another 
change of programme I and are we not to embark after all ? 
Have we discovered the muzzle of another wooden gmi, 
which we must besiege for nine months ? Many of the troops 
begin to question McClellan's claim to infalUbility. I have to 
regret that I have again failed to prevail on the Governor 
to interest himself in getting me transferred to another 
Regiment, where I could be much more useful. The opposi- 
tion which I meet here from some of my superior officers, is 
rapidly destroying the interest which I have felt in the Regi- 
ment. (At night) a great hurrah and rejoicing in camp, in 
consequence of an order to prepare, immediateli/, five days' 
rations, and to be ready. This may mean, embark, but our 
Gen. McC. has so often cried "wolf" of late, that when the 
wolf does come, we may not be ready. Shall we embark to- 
morrow ? 


March l^th. — All quiet yet ; no embarkatiou -, no move. 

March 19/7i. — The wolf has not yet come, and two of the 
five days' rations are consumed. 

March 20th. — All quiet. No move. 

March 21st. — Do., do. 

March 22nd. — Ordered this morning to Washington to 
look up hospital stores and boxes, which are scattered " to 
the four winds." This is the first time smce the organization 
of the Regiment that it has moved without my personally 
superintending the packing and forwarding of the hospital 
stores, and the first time they have got scattered. *'What 
you would have well done, do yourself" I fear many of 
them will be lost. 

In passing, I here note two cu-cumstances, that I may not 
forget them. In addition to the poisoning of three men at 
Flint Hill by a mistake in medicine, yesterday I discovered 
that the dispenser, imposed on me by Gen. H , was him- 
self taking pills of Unguentum — blue mercurial ointment — 
instead of blue pill, which had been prescribed for him, and 
was giving another man saltpetre instead of the sulphate of 
cinchona — innocent mistakes, to be sm-e, but indicative of the 
fatherly care which our General is manifesting towards the 
soldiers under his command. He refuses to restore my drug- 
gist, though he is made aware of these repeated and danger- 
ous mistakes. The other circumstance : During all winter, 
when no fighting was to be done, our Brigade held the 
advance of the whole army. All the hard and dkty work fell 
on us — picketing, chopping, ditching ; but we held the ad- 
vance, the post of honor, were to have the first chance in 
the fight, and we grumbled not at the hardship and exposure. 
The time came for attacking Centreville and Manassas. We 
were ordered forward, when, to our exceeding mortificationj 


we found that 40,000 troops had been thrown in advance of 
us. Our Brigade has not been permitted even to see Centre- 
ville and Manassas. They were occupied by our army 
before we were started. What means this? Has our 
Brigade commander lost the confidence of his superior 
officers, and as a consequence been thus disgraced? We 
are now near Alexandria, but not in advance. There are 
from 40,000 to 60,000 troops in advance of us. 

March 2ord. — At one o'clock this morning, met Major M. 
in Washington, who informed me that the absent officers 
of our Brigade had been telegraphed to rejoin their regiments 
immediately, to embark at 8 this a. m. Left on first boat 
for Alexandria, and found the most of my Brigade embarked. 
I had just time, before going on board, to write and 
copy the following note : 

Alexandria, March 23, 1863. 

My Dear : 'Tis Sunday, and here I am surrounded 

by all "the pomj) and circumstance of war;" troops embark- 
ing, flags flying, martial music from a dozen bands all 
around me. My own Regiment is this moment marching 
on board the steamer Canonicus ; and amidst the confusion 
and turmoil of troops marching, almost over me, transporta- 
tion wagons wheeling within a few inches of my feet, and 
amidst every conceivable noise, I sit down in the street, mth 
an old box in front of me, to write these few words, thinking 
that they may interest even you. * * * In a few hours 
the distance between us will begin rapidly to increase. 
How long will the increase continue ? God only knows. I 
hope soon to be turned homeward. 

This is such a time as Alexandria never saw — it is to be 
hoped may never see again. There seems to be but little 
interest or excitement in the city. Scarcely anybody out to 


witness this solemn — ^this imposing pageant. I know not 
what else to call it. Are the people here rebels at heart ? I 
fear as much so as South Carolinians. We are not informed 
of our destination, but I still believe it to be Norfolk, and if 

successful there, then to Richmond. We are now 

Called on board. Farewell . 





March 2Uh. — We have had a very fine run for about thh-ty 
hours, having left Alexandria at 6 p. m., on the 23d, laid too 
over night near Fort Washington, and at 10 p. m., after 
having passed Mount Yernon, Ocoquan, Aquia, and many 
other points noted in this war, have come to anchor off" 
this point. 

25^^. — This A. M., at G, weighed anchor, and dropped 
down to Hampton Roads, and disembarked at what was the 
little town of Hampton. If there be pleasure in the indulg- 
ence of sad reflections, how delightful it Avould be to have 
all my friends here, to enjoy them with me to-day. For a few 
hours, whilst the troops have been disembarking, and trans- 
ferring the baggage and munitions of war from steamer to 
transj)ortation wagons, I have been walking the streets of 
this once beautiful, but now desolate little city. Never be- 
fore had I a conception of the full import of that word — deso- 
late. Shortly after the battle of Bull Run, the rebels, fearing 
that we should occupy the town as our winter quarters, aban- 
doned and burned it. This little city, amongst the oldest in 
America, and now giving evidences of a former beauty, pos- 
sessed by no other I have seen in the South, they burned ! 


Oh, the demoralization, the misery resulting from this 
wicked rebellion. I would like to describe here the scenes I 
have witnessed this morning ; but the sad picture, so strong- 
ly impressed on the mind, would be blurred and rendered in- 
distinct by any attempt to transfer it to language. I have 
already an affection for this little city, and a deep-rooted 
sympathy for its former citizens, now scattered and hunted, 
exiled and homeless. Its population, I should judge, was 
about 2,500. 'Twas compactly built, mostly of brick. 
The yards and gardens even yet, give evidence of great 

The walls of the old Episcopal Church, said to be the old- 
est orthodox church on the continent, stand almost unin- 
jured, but not a particle of combustible matter is left about 
it. In its yard are the tombs and the tomb-stones of a cen- 
tury and a half ago. And what a place to study human na- 
ture, amongst the 50,000 soldiers strolling around. 'Tis 
low tide. All the tiny bays left uncovered by water, are 
crowded by soldiers "on all fours," sunk to knees and el- 
bows in the slimy mud feeling for oysters. The gardens 
are full of soldiers, the church yards are full, each giving an 
index of his character by the object of his search and ad- 
miration. Whilst I have been looking disgusted and indig- 
nant at a squad prying the tomb-stones from the vaults to 
get a look tvithm ; at another squad breaking off pieces of 
the oldest tomb-stones as " trophies,'' my attention is sud- 
denly drawn away from these revolting scenes by the exta- 
cies of a poor, ragged, du'ty fellow, over a little yellow 
violet which he had found. He almost screams with de- 
light. Just beyond him is a better and more intelligent 
looking soldier scratching among the ashes in hope of finding 
a shilling, or something else, which he can turn to some use ; 


a few seems impressed by the solemnity of the scene. 
Such are the varieties of human characters and of human na- 
tures. For myself, I cannot but think how worse, even, 
than Sodom and Gomorrah is the fate of this place. To 
think, whilst looking over the sad ruins, of the young per- 
sons who had grown up here, and whose every hour of hap- 
piness was in some Avay associated w^ith their beautiful 
homes ; of old men who had been born and raised here, and 
who had known no other home; of widowed mothers, 
with dependent families, whose homes here constituted their 
sole wealth on earth. To think of all these clustered together 
on some elevation in that dark and dreary night, turning to 
take the last sad look at their dear old homes ; oh, what ach- 
ing hearts there must have been there that night ! What 
envyings of the ftite of Lot's wife, as they were leaving the 
quiet, happy homes for — God knows vfhere, and God knows 
Avhat ! My heart aches for them, and every feeling of enmity 
is smothered in one of pity. Before disembarking this morn- 
ing, we got a look at the famous little Monitor. A raft — an 
iron raft, about two hundred feet long, lying from eighteen 
to thirty inches above the water, \n itli its great cheese box 
on one end, with holes in it to shoot from. Were I to at- 
tempt a description I should say, it looked for all the world 
just like the sole of an immense stoga boot lying flat on 
the water with the heel sticking up. In the afternoon, left 
Hampton, marched about four miles in the direction of New- 
port News, and encamped. 

2G^7i. — Remained in camp all day, examined my hospital 
stores, and put in order what few I have left. At Alexan- 
dria, in consequence of my being ordered to Washington to 
look after the scattered ones, had to entrust the forwarding 
the few we liad there to mv assistants. On arrival here T 


find that they are nearly all left or lost, except the few I 
picked up in Washington and brought with me. Not a 
tent, not a cooking utensil, and scarcely any medicines. 
Hope that I may be permitted in future to look after my 
own affairs without too much help. 

27th. — A day of excitement. We are near the enemy. 
Brigade left camp at 6 a. m.; marched ten miles along the 
beautiful James River. Almost every building on the route 
burned. Dreadful devastation. At 12 o'clock came upon 
the rebel pickets. They ran, leaving camp fires burning. In 
one tent found a boiler of hot coffee, in another a haversack 
of hot biscuit. Very acceptable, after a long and muddy 

march. Major L , with two companies, was detailed 

on a reconnoisance. They have not returned to-night, and 
we fear they are in danger. 

2Sth. — Slept on the ground last night, my saddle for a pil- 
low. Greatly to the chagrin of all of us, after having driven 
in the enemy's pickets yesterday, we fell back a mile or two, 
and to-day fall back about seven miles. 

" The King of France, with 40,000 men. 
Marched up the hill, and then marched down again.'" 

Major L and party came into camp this morning, un- 

29ih. — We are in camp again, about two miles from New- 
port News. Nothing doing, and this gives me an opportu- 
nity to realize the condition of my hospital. Up to the time 
of our leaving Camp Griffin in the early part of this month, 
we had not in all our moves, lost to the amount of a candle. 
Now, with only two moves since, we are here to-day, in the 
face of the enemy, expecting a battle, without a tent, an 
ambulance, a litter, a blanket, or a comfort for the wounded 


— not even a reliable nurse at my command. Well, I suppose 
all this is a small matter, so long as the commanders who 
brought it about are comfortable. They can be taken care 
of, and why need they trouble themselves about the men ? 

BO/h. — Slept in the open air again last night; it rained, 
and I awoke in a pool of water. Strange that we do not 
take cold from such exposure. I never felt better, and I 
notice that very few of the soldiers take cold from any 
amount of exposure at this season of the year. 

31 St. — To-day, whilst all were expecting orders to move 
forward, I received orders to build a log hospital. What 
can this mean ? The weather is beautiful, roads good, troops 
in fine condition, warm weather coming on, and here we are 
preparing as for a summer's stay. God help us and our little 
General, but put it into his heart not to remain here till the 
enemy, whom we have found, has time to fortify against our 
approach. We have been a long time accomplishing nothing. 
Although the weather is fine, and it is now first of April, 
not a forest tree has started its buds. I am disappointed, for 
I expected by this time, in this climate, to be as in mid- 
summer. But even the trees, and nature, seem to linger, 
and we should not blame our General. 

I visited Fortress Monroe to-day. This is a great Fort, 
almost surrounded by natural water, besides being entirely 
enclosed within its own moat. The two walls which sur- 
round it are together from thirty to sixty feet thick, of solid 
granite masonry, and the two together are about three miles 
long, enclosing by a double wall about eighty acres. It 
mounts 480 guns, commanding the approaches in every 
direction. The transports are landing here from 15,000 to 
20,000 troops daily. This is no doubt one of the causes of 
the delay of our army. We wait for the arrival of the 


remainder, that when we do move, we may march steadily 
forward without fear of repulse. Start us, and twelve to 
fifteen days should place us in Richmond, only about seventy- 
five miles distant. Whilst sitting on the parapet of the Fort, 
I had a good view of the Rip-Raps, an artificial island, 
built up in the sea, of huge stones shipped there, and on 
which is built Fort Wool. These Forts are the key to the 
great, strong door between the Federal and the Confederate 

April 1st. — An opportunity ofiers to-day to send letters to 
the dear ones at home. This privilege is becoming less 
frequent, and we fear that when we move from here, it will 
be even more so than now. Visited Newport News to-day. 
This, though a sad, was a pleasant visit. There, within a 
stone's throw of our Fort and guns, stood, a hundred feet 
above the briny water, the graceful spars of the ill-fated 
frigate Cumberland, sunk by the iron-clad Merrimac. It 
seems impossible that this monster ship, yet untried, should 
venture on her first voyage out, not only in presence of our 
armed fleet, but under the very port-holes of one of our 
most powerful land batteries. I listened to many interest- 
ing anecdotes of this naval fight, or rather destruction, but 
I cannot record them now. I could not withstand the 
temptation to visit what there was of the Cumberland above 
water. Climbed into the rigging, and discovered at the very 
peak of the foremast, about one square yard of the American 
flag, still flying. I determined, if possible, to have a piece 
of it, and started on the arduous task of climbing a hundred 
feet to get it. By the aid of ropes, and spars, and rigging, 
reached the top-gallant. The flag was still fifty feet above 
me, and there was no way of my reaching it but by climbing 
that slender, smooth top-mast. I looked at the coveted relic 


with longing eyes — thought what a treasure it would be — 
looked into the ocean fifty feet beneath me — looked at a rebel 
gunboat which was hovering near, as a shark follows and 
hovers around a vessel with a cadaver ready to be thrown 
overboard ; then I looked at myself, and came to the sage 
conclusion that there was another relic which wife and chil- 
children might value even more than they would that flag, 
though tattered in so noble a cause, and waving still an unim- 
peachable witness to the bravery and patriotism of the noble 
crew who went down with it, still floating aloft, they never 
ceasing to cheer that loved emblem, till choked by the 
gurgling of the water in their throats, when they sank, to 
cheer no more forever. 

About half a mile below the Cumberland, the wreck of the 
Congress is just visible above the water. For want of time I 
did not visit it. 

We have no fm*ther revelations as to the programme of the 
war. It looks to me, however, that the plan is, to conquer 
the banks of the James River, making use of it as the base of 
om* operations till we reach Richmond. 

Shall we have a fight at Richmond % I very much doubt 
it. If we press rapidly forward, we must reach there before 
the enemy can concentrate any large body of troops or make 
any formidable defences. They will then, I think, fall back 
on the Cotton States, luring us on to an enemy more formi- 
dable than then- guns — rice swamps, hot weather, and yellow 
fever. If we delay, however, giving them time to reinforce 
and fortify, it may be otherwise. So much for a guess. 

My Hospital Steward has been for a month under arrest, 
and though I have constantly applied for the appointment of 
one to temporarily fill his place, it has been refused me. This 
has caused me much extra labor. In consequence of this I 


have to-day disbanded my whole hospital force, sent my sick 
to quarters, and refused longer to perform the duties of Hos- 
pital Steward. Shall I be arrested for insubordination ? We 
shall see. 

2nd. Camp No. 4, in the field. — Our Brigade was re- 
viewed to-day by Gen. Keyes, to ascertain if it was in order 
to fight. Verily, it seemeth to me that our Generals have 
reviewed us enough to know whether we are in fighting 
condition. All are anxious to be reviewed on the battle 
field, and to lay aside this silk glove war. 

^rd. — To Newport News again to-day, to take some of my 
sick to General Hospital. For the first time during this war 
met Gen. Mansfield. Rode about three miles into the beau- 
tiful country with Brigade Surgeon Curtis. Picked up on 
the beach some relics from the wreck of the Congress, which 
I shall value highly. On return to camp found that my 
insubordination tm*ned to good account. My old dispenser, 
who had been taken from me, is made Hospital Steward, and 
I shall agam open my hospital and bring back my scattered 
family of sick. Found also an order to move to-morrow at 

six A. M. Our Brigade Surgeon O relieved to-day, and 

I, being next in rank, succeed him. I should have preferred 
to remain with my Regiment, but cannot. 

Uh. — Moved at G a. m. — After a march of tAvelve miles in 
direction of Yorktown, (at about 3 p. m.) came upon the 
enemy's entrenchments at Young's Mills. They fired a few 
rshots, wounding one man of 5th Vermont in the shoulder. 
They then retked, giving us possession. Their barracks 
here were Iniilt of logs with good fire places and chimneys, 
and were very comfortable — far superior to any which om- 
troops had had during the winter. We encamped for the 
night in sight of the deserted fortifications. 


Sth. — A day of cooling rain, and warming excitement. 
Marched three miles, and found the enemy strongly entrench- 
ed behind a line of fortifications, on a narrow neck of land 
between the York and the James Rivers. Artillery duel at 
long range began about 12 o'clock, in which we had quite a 
number killed and wounded. 

Q>th. — Accompanied the Brigade to-day on a reconnoisance. 
Frequent skirmishes with small bodies of the enemy. One 
man in Company F received a slight flesh Avound in the thigh 
— the first blood spilt by our Regiment in the cause. We 
encamped to-day near "Lee's Mill," on the narrow neck of land 
spoken of yesterday, and about four miles from Yorktown. 
The whole distance between the James and York Rivers here 
is only about seven miles. Warwick Creek, emptying into 
the James, rises about two miles from YorktoAvn, and a 
small creek emptying into the York River takes its rise 
amongst the sources of Warwick Creek, so that the two 
rivers are here nearly connected by these two creeks. These 
creeks have wide, marshy bottoms, now deeply overflowed 
by means of dams thrown across at short distances apart by 
the enemy. And the whole western border of these marshes, 
now lakes, are strongly protected by earthworks, mounting- 
heavy guns. This lake, or marsh, we must now cross before 
we can advance on Richmond. The enemy's force here we 
do not know, but suppose it to be inconsiderable. This is a 
very strong point, and if well manned it is almost impregna- 
ble. My opinion is, that they have but a small force here. 
This, however, is a matter of conjecture. All are expecting 
a big battle at this point. 

lih. — Some fighting to-day, by small bodies, with slight 
loss on either side. In the afternoon, finding our camps 
commanded by the enemy's guns, we started suddenly on a 


move of what we were told was to be a mile or two. The 
rain poured in torrents, and, instead of marching a mile or 
two, we kept on the move until late in the night. Many of 
the officers made the soldiers carry their (the officer's) tents 
on their shoulders, and this, in addition to gun and knap - 
sacks, and whilst the officers rode unincumbered. In the 
organization of an army under a republican government, was 
such a distance between officer and soldier ever contemplat- 
ed ? We halted about ten o'clock, drenched with the still 
pouring rain. The men are almost starved, having been for 
nearly two days entirely without rations, and lie to-night in 
pools of water. 

8f.h, — There is almost a mutiny this morning. No rations, 
and unless there should be better things before night, I shall 
not be sm-prised at any violence. Before leaving Newport 
News I laid in a supply for myself and servant for two 
weeks, but for two days I have been dividing with my hospi- 
tal attendants, and my supply is about exhausted. When I 
awoke this morning, my fire Avas suiTounded by men and 
officers clamoring for something to eat. They had some 
how got it into their heads that the hospital should be able 
to remove all the ills that flesh is heir to. I cooked what I 
had, and distributed till all was gone. Although hungry, I 
think I feel better to-night, than if I had permitted my mess 
chest to have remained locked by the key of selfishness. At 
night — a feAV boxes of hard bread have partially calmed the 
angry storm which has been rising. But two or three hard 
crackers to a man who has not had a meal for three days, is 
but small satisfaction. We are promised, however, beef, 
pork, bread, sugar and coffee in the morning, and how many 
hungry men are hopefully looking for the morning, that the 
cravings of exhausted nature may be gratified.. The rain 


Still pours, and if it continues another day the roads will 
be impassable for teams, and we shall be compelled to fall 
back to some point where we can be provisioned by water. 
We are within four miles of two of the finest navigable 
rivers in the world. The mouths of both of them are held 
by us, and that of neither is twenty miles away -, and here 
we are, almost starving for want of transportation. This all 
seems to me an indication of an unaccountable oversight 
somewhere — "shiftless!" If we had, before coming here, 
on our way, conquered twelve miles of one of these rivers, 
we should have had good water transportation for all our ra- 
tions. But holding the mouths, we have advanced, satisfied 
to permit the enemy to hold the rest. What a climate for 
mud and rain ; and what a country and people for poverty 
and indolence. Though we are almost in sight of the histori- 
cal cities of Yorktown and Jamestown, the country is not 
half so far advanced in improvements and culture as the 
new State of Wisconsin, or even the still newer and wilder 
Minnesota. What a curse is slavery ! I do not like the 
brigadeship. It places too great a distance between the sick 
and the Surgeon. 

Qth. — Rained hard all day. But little done to-day. 6th 
Maine regiment went out in afternoon, got one man mortal- 
ly wounded in a little skirmish. Koads so bad that I fear 
we shall have to fall back to-morrow. 

10th. — Fell back to-day about a mile and a half out of 
reach of enemy's shells. Patience and endurance of every- 
thing, without expression of thought, can scarcely be con- 
sidered a vhtue, even in a military subordinate. The West- 
ern Army is all activity and execution. No. 10 taken, Beau- 
regard whipped on his own ground, all our armies accom- 
plishing glorious deeds, except this poor old thing of the 


Potomac, called an army. Nearly a year has been spent by 
us in squatting around in sight of the enemy, rushing for- 
ward to-day, till within fighting distance, to-morrow falhng 
back, as if afraid that some one might get shot. Here we 
have been for five days in sight of the enemy we came to 
capture or destroy, and this morning, because they threw a 
few shells into our camp, we are falling back ! We are with- 
in twenty miles of one of our principal military stores and 
depots, with our men and animals starving. My ambulance 
horses -have not had a mouthful of any thing to eat for near- 
ly three days, and to-day they are expected to draw the 
heavy ambulances over the worst roads I ever saw. Yes, 
here we are, in a " cul de sac," the rivers on either side of 
us held by the enemy, the ground in front blockaded by 
them, and their pickets jeeringly calling across the little creek 
to know whether we are not most ready to fight. Who 
is to blame ? Many of us begin to question the ability of 
General McClellan. 

If we can get forage and rations here, I think we must 
make some kind of a fight before we get away. How 
much of a fight, I cannot tell. It is surprising how man is 
modified by habit. During the late skirmishes, we who 
are not engaged, sat in our tents, smoking, singing, jesting 
with as much indifference as we would sit by our fires 
at home and listen to the falling of the axeman's blows. 
True, we sometimes notice the sounds of a report heavier 
than usual, and "wonder how many that shell did for." 
Would such indifference have overtaken us, if we had been 
kept engaged in the ordinary duties of an army ? I verily 
believe not. It is the offspring of a kind of desperation. We 
came to effect something. We have been disappointed, and 
are growing careless of consequences. Nor are the moral 


habits of the men less changed. Stealing is becoming 
a pastime with them, and is scarcely looked on as a crime. 

General McClellan's command has dwindled down to three 
corps d'armee, and I regret to say that the opinion is begin- 
ning to be held by many, that he is not competent to the 
command of even this force. 

No mail now for ten days. This is veiy hard ; harder 
even than to sleep out and go hungry. Even now our 
families may be suffering, dying, and we have no means of 
knowing it. Well, in time of war this is necessary, and 
perhaps it is all for the best. God controls and directs. 

11th. — A mail to-day. One, only one little letter from my 
home, and that thirteen days old ! The bearing of General 

• towards me for a few days has been greatly changed? 

What is it to mean. * '"^ - 

Last night Prof Lowe, the aeronaut, staid with us. He 
went up in his balloon, and took drawings of the enemy's 
fortifications. Says they are the most formidable he has seen 
during the war. Nothing doing by the army to-day. Gen'l. 
McC. visits us. He has had a council of war. Result of it 
of course not known. 

12 th. — Am not well to-day. Have diarrhoea, and at mid- 
day had high fever. How much I miss the tender care of 
my family in sickness. Am much better to-night, but feel 
sad. Have been reading Ernest Linwood, and, by contrast, 
it has recalled pleasant family scenes, which I miss in my 
sickness. I wish I had not written my last letter to my 
famiiy. I felt badly when I wrote it, and spoke harshly of 
ofiicers. 'Twas wrong, but I cannot recall it. Oh, if every 
thought is a material thing, an entity, and goes forth to 
make a part of the great mental and moral atmosphere, how 
is it possible that, with the great preponderance of evil 


imaginations there can be moral or mental advance- 
ment ? We should be as careful of our thoughts as of 
our acts. 

loth. — I have been made very glad by the receipt of a 

letter this morning from my dear M . It is older than 

her letters used to be when they reached me ; but whether 
old or new, her letters never lose their freshness. They are 
like the beautiful evergreens, standing in mid-winter amid 
the bare and ragged oaks. When I cannot get a new one I 
often go back to one of the old, and always read it with 
pleasure and instruction. But she does ask so many questions 
for me to answer. "^ * '■' '^ 

At Fortress Monroe and at Norfolk lie the Merrimac and the 
Monitor, in sight of and watching each other, like two dogs 
with a bone between them, each wanting and neither daring 
to take it. By the side of the Monitor lies the Mystic, (now 
named the Galena,) and the little model of Stevens' battery 
— all iron-clad. By the side of the Menimac lie four iron- 
clad gun boats. Either of these miniatm'e fleets, unwatched 
by the other, could in a few days destroy the whole wooden 
fleet of the other party, and burn its principal cities. Either 
one, unwatched by the other, could change the whole aspect 
of the war, and work a revolution which would shake the 
world and indehbly stamp its future. For these reasons they 
do not fight. There is too much at stake for either to ven- 
tm'e. Suppose a fight in which the Merrimac should prove 
successful ; the mouth of the James and the York Rivers 
would be efiectually closed to us, our supplies entkely cut off", 
this army starved out in a week, captured or destroyed, the 
iron fleet of the enemy free to go where it pleased, and, in 
twenty days, the destruction of Washington, Philadelphia, 
New York, Baltimore and Boston, would be as certain as 


that the enemy should wish to destroy them. The stakes 
are too large. We dare not risk the wager. 

1-ith. — Have just received an order from Division Com- 
mander S , to see that every regiment in my Brigade 

has a wagon set aside for the exclusive use of the hospital, 
to take steps at once to see that all of my regiments are amply 
supplied with every thing necessary for the comfort of the 
sick and wounded, and to report the sanitary condition of 
my Brigade early in the morning. This indicates a forward 
movement, and although a change of weather, or a variety 
of other circumstances may alter the plans, I doubt not the 
present intention is to go forward during the week. I am 
quite recovered from my sickness, and although I sleep in the 
hot and in the open air, generally, I never enjoyed better 
health. Visited Warwick Court House to-day, and spent 
much of the afternoon in musing over the musty records of 
two hundred years ago. Jamestown must have been a small 
affah' then, and it has wonderfully "held its own." The 
date of these records runs back to within a very few years 
of the organization of the first government in Virginia, when 
the blue laws of Connecticut were recognized as patterns of 
wisdom, even here, and tobacco was a legal lender. Brought 
away a few sheets, over which I expect to while away many 
otherwise lonely hours. This country presents subjects of 
study and reflection, as well foi the moral as for the physical 
historian. Compare its age with its progress, its appearance 
with that of other districts differently conditioned. The face 
of the country presents large tracts of low, wet land, inter- 
sected by extensive ridges of rich rolling timber — if in a 
proper state of cultivation, a beautiful farming country. It 
is surrounded on all sides by the finest navigable waters, 
with one of the finest climates in the world; nearer to 


markets, both foreign and domestic, than any country of 
the same extent on the continent, and though it has been 
settled for two hundred and fifty years, we may travel for 
miles through an almost unbroken forest ; or, if we chance 
to find an opening made by the work of man, it is some 
insignificant field worn out by the culture of tobacco till it 
would produce no more ; then, like an old horse, turned 
over to fate. This little field perhaps will have in its midst 
an old house, after the fashion of the peasantry of George 
the Second, which will exhibit to the eye the same broken 
panes which disfigured it a hundred years ago, and grate 
upon the ear the same harsh sound of rusty, broken hinges, 
which answered on the swinging of the door to admit the 
tax-gatherer of England's king, two centuries before. Oh, 
Slavery ! if these be thy doings, and thou art doomed now, 
all the sufferings of widows and orphans, all the sins of this 
wicked world will be atoned in thy crucifiction. Aye, this 
war is but one of the links in the great chain of events 
wrought by Providence countless centuries ago, to draw for- 
ward the car of progress to its final goal. 

lofh. — Another fine day spent in camp waiting for better 
roads. I am getting out of patience with red tape. Since 
our arrival at Fort Monroe, we have been without many hos- 
pital stores absolutely necessary to the comfort of sick and 
wounded. Three weeks ago, drew for articles to make up 
our loss. jSTotwithstanding that we have been almost con- 
stantly since in face of the enemy, frequently fighting and 
constantly expecting a general engagement, the supplies are 
not furnished, but all this time spent in enquiring "how 
were they lost," as if that would comfort the suffering army. 
At night received orders to be ready to move at 7 a. m. to- 
morrow, and yet without hospital supplies. Poor men ! 


Wth. — ^Left camp at 8 this a. m., Gen. Brooks' Brigade 
having the advance, with Gen. Hancock's at a respectful dis- 
tance in the rear. Then came the third, under General 
Davidson, and so on. Marched one and a half miles, and 
halted in line of battle. At the same time, 10 a. m., our 
artillery (Mott's Battery) opened fire about a mile in advance 
of us. This is the first time we have had a near prospect of 
a general battle, and the effect on the bearing and conduct of 
our men surprised me. Were they burning with impatience 
to join their friends in the fight ? In trepidation lest the 
danger approach nearer ? AYeeping to think how many of 
us before night must bite the dust ? Rejoicing that this 
fight may terminate the war, and with it our privations, 
hardships, toils and dangers? "Weeping over the fate of 
friends now falling in the fight ? Not a bit of these. For 
myself, so soon as the firing commenced I rode up to Major 

, and we exchanged an expression of our wishes in case 

of serious accident to either of us. That arranged, he 
remarked, ''Well, Surgeon, sliould you be killed it will be 
only for an hour or two. You will then wake up, (the Major 
is a Spiritualist) rub your eyes, look around you for the boys, 
but soon realize your new position." We parted. I rode 
along the line of Hancock's Brigade to see the effect on them. 
I first came on a group of men talking "horse talk," and 
playing with then- horses. Whilst I was listening, Generaj 
H- rode up, gave some general direction about ambu- 
lances, and casually remarked that Mott was having a hard 
time. I asked. What? He replied hiuyliinQly, that his 
"big French artillerist" had ])een killed, and that he had 
several others badly wounded. This Frenchman is said to 
be the best artillery officer in the service, and thus is his death 
announced to those for whom he has fouo^ht and died. Who 


knows how many ties of home, of country, of family, he has 
severed in om* cause ? I felt hurt, made no reply, but passed 
on to the 49th Penn. Regiment. Their band were lounging 
on their drums and horns as listless as personifications of 
ennui. Along the regimental line were quartettes interestedly 
engaged in the melancholy occupation of " old sledge." At 
the other end of the line the staff officers, including the 
Chaplain, were lounging around, and seemed to be digging 
into their brains for something to think about. The Sixth 
Maine exhibited about the same degree of interest ; whilst 
the 43d New York were amusing their Irish fancies by 
counting the reports, and now and then exclaiming, '' By 
Jabers, but that shot tould some of your last stories," and 
other similar remarks, showing that they had not become 
quite as much hardened as those around them. Rode back 
to the head of the line to see if the Brigade Staff realized any 
more fully the importance of our situation. I, of course, 

expected to find in Gen. II about two hundred and fifty 

pounds of animated and dignified humanity, surrounded by 
his staff of well dressed, well mounted ofiicers, dashing from 
point to point on the field, holding everybody and everything 
in readiness for the conflict. What an illusion ! I found 
the General stretched upon the dried grass, his elbow on tlie 
ground, his head in his hand — that laugh I Why the General 
nodded so low that a stub of old grass has run into his nose, 
set it a bleeding, and he sprang up with such an oath as none 
but he could utter. The scene was so ridiculous that even 
the common soldiers could not restrain a "guffaw." Major 

L , a few feet beyond, lies on his stomach so fast asleep 

as not to be disturbed by the loud guffaw of the soldiers. To 
such a state of hardened carelessness have we been brought 
by a few months of constantly disappointed expectations. 


In the afternoonr moved down into tlie open field where 
the artillery fight was going on. Brooks' Vermont Brigade 
engaged the enemy, keeping up a sharp fire across the creek, 
(Warwick). The artillery firing became still more constant. 
Our shaii:>shooters picked off their gunners, our batteries dis- 
mounted several of then- guns, and three Vermont companies 
dashed across the creek in the face of the enemy's infantry 
fire, drove a body of them from their rifle-pits, but were com. 
pelled to fall back (not being supported), leaving about 
twenty of their number dead on the field. We have no better 
fighting men than this Vermont Brigade, composed of the 
2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and Gth Regiments. For the small 
number engaged this has been one of the most fiercely con- 
tested battles of the war. The engagements of artUlery and 
musketry have been terrific. 

10 o'clock, p. M. — The warring of the passions, the physi- 
cal struggles and strifes of the day, are hushed in darkness. 
Oh, to how many, hushed forever ! In the last half hour the 
firing has ceased. I have walked the round of my regiment, 
lying on their arms in the open field, to see if any were sick 
after the fatigues of the day ; and having retired into the 
deep Avoods alone, and ate a little cold supper, now sit on a 
litter, bloody, dyed Avith the blood of the dead, whom it has 
been all day carrying, (my lantern between my knees) to 
make this note of the sad occurrences of the day. We 
attacked the enemy, and have been repulsed. 

I have not had time to finish my article, commenced weeks 
ago, which was to write down the U. S. Sanitary Commis- 
sion, and I am glad of it, for here again we have been 
made to feel that the Commission is a power for good. 
Whilst the officials have been wranghng over the question 
as to how the hospital stores of the army got lost in the 


move from the Potomac to the Peninsula, and whilst the 
soldiers have been suffering for want of them, this Commis- 
sion has been actively devising means to supply the much 
needed articles, and, behold ! right in the midst of the bat- 
tle to-day, whilst Generals were inquiring of Surgeons : 
" Have you the necessary comforts for the wounded ^" and 
whilst Surgeons were anxiously enquiring w^hat they were to 
do in the absence of them, this Commission drops down 
amongst us — from some where — their wagons are unloaded, 
and the wounded made comfortable. That " writing down" 
article will not* spoil by a little more keeping. 




17th. — ^When I dropped down last night on my bloody- 
litter, new thoughts overwhelmned me, and I could not sleep. 
It was our first battle, and we had been repulsed. I never 
saw the stars shine so brightly through the leafless trees, and 
the scene was calculated to excite the active workings of the 
mind on the occurrences of the day. I wrapped my head in 
my blanket to shut out the view. When I uncovered it this 
morning, I looked around on new scenes. The beautiful 
level field between m? nnd the enemy, which yesterday pre- 
sented a surface even as a floor, was now thrown into great 
ridges, a quarter of a mile long, mounted with cannon, 
bristling with bayonets, and covered with men ready lo 
renew the contest. Om* army had thrown them up in the 
night, as n. protection against the enemy's fire. Shortly aftc 
sunrise the troops v»"ere seen mar&lialling for the contest. The 
cannonading recommenced, but in a short time began to 
slacken. By eleven o'ciock a. m. all was quiet, save the tram^> 
of men and horses, and an occasional .oath from the con 
mandiug officers, and a little later we were all on our marcx. 
hack to the very ground we left yesterday. Why we have 
abandoned the contest I do not know. 

I had a skh^mish with my General .^-™~ to-day. He ques- 

^^^ARWICI^: creek. 125 

tioned my motives. I replied tartly. We quarrelled, and 
to-morrow I shall ask to be relieved from serving longer on 
his staff. 

18^7*. — Severe picket firing occasionally through the night, 
by which the army was twice called out. No fighting to-day, 
but our troops are still throwing up earthworks on the battle 
field of the 16th. Wrote General H. to-day, asking to be 
relieved from serving longer on his staff. 

19th. — A flag of truce on the enemy's parapet. A propo- 
sition to suspend hostilities and bmy the dead. We crossed 
the creek and brought over the bodies of 35 (instead of 20, 
4IS previously stated) Vermonters, kiUed in the fight on the 
-%ther side of the creek. Nothing of importance to-day. All 
quiet, remaining in camp. 

21 St — Occasional firing between the batteries on Warwick 
Creek to-day, without results worth notmg. Sickness among 
the troops rapidly increasing. Remittent fever, diarrhoea, 
and dysentery prevail. We are encamped in low, wet 
ground, and the heavy rains keep much of it overflowed. I 
fear that if we remain here long we shall lose many men by 

This neck of land, between Yorktown and Jamestown, it 
seems now is to be made the point d'appui of the armies in 
Virginia. If we can, and will hreak up this army, it will 
put an end to the war, and until this army is overcome o^* 
dispersed, be it a month or a year, there will be no progress 
in the direction of a satisfactory peace. We are getting for- 
ward our siege guns, concentrating forces, in a word, pre- 
.parifig for battle. My request to be relieved of the Brigade 
Surgeonship is to-day granted, and I return to the charge of 
my regiment. 

22nd. — Nothing of general importance to day. There was 


an alarm, and in anticipation of an attack we were held in 
line of battle for about half an hour in a driving rain, then 
dismissed to quarters. 

23rc?. — A week ago to-day was the battle at Lee's Mill, 
and though there has been daily fighting ever since, and calls 
to arms almost every night, sometimes two or three times a 
night, there has been no battle worthy of the name. The 
artillery have been firing at long range, with occasional 
infantry firing. Two Federal officers, Col. Cassiday and 
Major Crocker, deserted to the enemy to-day. Charles F., 
of Company K, had his leg shattered by a musket ball — the 
first man of our Regiment seriously hurt by the enemy, 
although we have now been in the field nearly eight months. 
Whilst I was di-essing his wound a little circumstance 
occuiTed illustrative of the tender sympathies which some 

military officers feel for their men. Gen. H was passing 

and looked in. " How are you, my man ?" asked the General. 
" Oh, General, I am suffisring terribly ; but just set me up 
before the damned rebels, and I'll fight whilst I breathe." 
"I am sorry to see you wounded my man. We need 7/our 
services in these times." That's it ; not a word of sympathy 
for his «' suffering terribly;" not a word of approbation for 
his bravery ; no thanks for his having done his duty like a 
man. All sorrow for loss of service. He has fought his 
fight, and henceforth is a useless appendage to the army. 
"Poor old horse, let him die !" 

The newspapers, containing accounts of last Wednesday's 
fight are now being received by us. They state our loss at 
thirty-two killed, and speak of our artillery as " mowing 
down the enemy by acres." Now, this is all stuff. We 
might as well tell the truth. Our cause does not need the 
bolstering aid of falsehood. I have myself seen over 


fifty of the killed. And, then, I was by the side of our bat- 
teries during the hottest of the fight, within five hundred 
yards of the enemy's fort, not a twig intervening, and at 
no time could there be seen an average of fifteen men to "the 
acre." What ever others there might have been there were 
so concealed in rifle pits and behind parapets as to be entirely 
secured against the "mowing down" process of our artil- 
leiy. This system of falsifying and exaggerating is a posi- 
tive injury to our cause. The soldiers are losing confidence 
in reports, and even in official statements. Even the news- 
boys are being infected, though I heard one this morning, 
wittily burlesquing the reporters by crying " Morning Re- 
pubUca-a-n. Great battle in Missouri. Federals victorious. 
Theh' troops retreating in good order ! Wonder if it 
will not awaken the reporters to a sense of their ridiculous 

If we have another battle here, it will be a desperate one. 
No stronger position could have been selected by the enemy, 
and they are well fortified. Jeff. Davis is here, and in the 
field. Magruder is here, and they are being rapidly reinforc- 
ed. I do not like this way of marching up to an enemy, 
and then sitting down quietly and waiting for him to get 
ready before we attack him. 'Tis not the Napoleonic style. 
But there may be good reasons for it which I do not com- 
prehend. I am not a military man, and shall be careful hoAV 
I condemn the plans of my superiors ; but I do not like that 
style of fighting. Would it not be singular if Yorktown 
should decide the fate of this revolution, as it did that of 
"our revolution ?" 

24:th. — Comparatively quiet to-day, with only occasional 
sku-mishing along the lines. Sickness rapidly increasing; 


yet government furnishes no medicines, no appliances for 
comfort of sick and wounded ! 

25/A. — Still men are occasionally shooting each other along 
the picket lines, but nothing of general importance. 

26 /A. — News reaches us to-night of a pretty severe skirmish 
two or three miles off, in which it is said about fifty of the 
enemy were killed. I have very little confidence in these 
"it is saids." We lost four men killed. I went to Ship 
Point to-day, and made the acquaintance of Doctor Mc- 
Clellan, (brother to General,) and Surgeon General Smith, 
of Pennsylvania — both agreeable men. Our army have done 
a wonderful work here, in the last few days. They have 
built a " corduroy road" all the way to Ship Point, eight 
miles, through a most dismal swamp. Over this road we 
are now transporting all our supplies and munitions (having 
got possession of York River, up to the neighborhood of 

27th. — We hear very heavy firing to-day, in the direction 
of Yorktown, but at night, have not learned the purport of 
it ; though there is a rumor that several of our gun boats ar- 
rived there this morning, and that the enemy's batteries open- 
ed on them. Our whole Division is ordered out at 6 a. m. to- 
morrow. What means it ? 

28th. — Marched out this morning, to support our pioneers, 
who are cutting out a brushy ravine, which has afforded 
cover to the enemy's pickets, from which to inflict much 
damage to ours. We met with resistance, and have had 
quite a brush of a fight over it, but succeeded in driving the 
enemy out. Here, again, I am astonished at our men's in- 
difference to danger, and their apparent insensibility to the 
suffering of their comrades. During the fight, our whole 



regiment were lying on the ground, laughing, talking, whit- 
tling and cracking jokes, as unconcernedly as if they were 
preparing for a frolic ; and, yet we were constantly receiving 
intelligence of comrades falling within a few rods of us. So 
near were we to the fight that we could occasionally hear the 
rebels calling to the " danin-d Yankees to come on." Some- 
times when a wounded or dead soldier was brought by on a lit- 
ter, the soldiers would discuss the question whether they would 
rather be litter-bearers or litter-borne, and would even get one of 
their number on a litter, with litter-bearers, and "play 
wounded." Such is the demoralization of war, and it is one 
of the least of its evils. War may be necessary, but — 

" Och ! it hardens a' -withir), 
An' petrifies the feeling." 

29th. — ^A quiet day. Men seem cheerful and happy, but 
sickness increases. No medicines nor hospital stores, except 
those furnished by Sanitary Commission. I must take the 
liberty of thinking our Medical Director deficient in — some- 
thing. What should we do now without the Sanitary Com- 
mission ? 

30th. — Still quiet to-day, with exception of an occasional 
report of artillery along the line, and some picket firing. A. 
B. Millard, Co. G, 5th Wisconsin, brought in to-day, 
badly wounded in the shoulder. He lived about four hours 
after being shot. He is the first man killed from that regi- 
ment, though it has been eight months in the field. 
Am not well to-day. Have diarrhoea, and threat of 

General Washington's rifle pits extend for miles in front 
of our camps. The state of perfection in which they now 
are, after the lapse of eighty years, is surprising. A road 


runs by the side of the ditches, and were it not for the im- 
mense pine trees growing on the embankments, they would 
be taken for modern works to drain the road. These rifle 
pits surrounded Cornwallis at Yorktown, and from them 
was fought the closing battle of the revolution. May they 
serve the same good purpose for us now ! 

3Iay Int. — Awoke this morning, feeling very badly — 
sich. How I wish I could now be nursed a little by my 
family. Heard yesterday of the capture of New Orleans. 
This ought to have made me well, but it has not. Attended 
to a little business in the afternoon, but was very feeble. 
Hope to be able to work to-morrow. My wounded men are 
taken from my immediate control, and placed in what is called 
a brigade hospital. This is an outrage, and if we were not 
in expectation of a fight, I should resign at once. If it were 
found necessary to send the wounded away from the field to 
a general hospital, we would not complain. But they are 
simply transferred from one tent, under charge of then* own 
Surgeon, sent here by the State to look after them, to an- 
other tent alongside, under charge of some other Surgeon, 
whom they know nothing about. It is an outrage on the 
men, simply to raise the importance of " red tape." 

2nd. — Firing to-day in the direction of Yorktown. A re- 
port says that a geneial battle has commenced there. 
I think not, as we are moving our camp. If there were a 
fight we should have been ordered to hold ourselves in readi- 
ness, (which we have not.) Great rejoicing in camp at the 
report that Stevens' battery and the Vanderbilt have captured 
the Merrimac. But these camp reports are very unreliable, 
and have to be repeated many times before they are beheved. 
We have increasing indications of a fight soon. I this mo- 
ment hear a man inquiring after my health. He is sorry 


^^ the old gentleman'' is not well. "Fine old gentleman." 
Am I really growing old ? I am not well, but better. 

3 re?. — Considerable firing, all day, towards Yorktown. 
Increases towards night. I learn that the heavy firing is 
mostly by the enemy. Can it be possible that they contem- 
plate an evacuation, and that this firing is to cover their in- 
tention ? The camp ground we left yesterday is being shell- 
ed to-day. 





May itJi. — Sun-rise brought us the intelligence that during 
the night the enemy had evacuated Yorktown, and their 
Warwick Creek fortifications. Now for a chase. Immedi- 
ately started — whole army in pursuit — and on overtaking the 
rear guard had considerable fighting through the day, in 
which, though we get reports of our victories, I am inclined 
to the opinion that we came off " second best." We have 
had a veiy hard march, many of the men being compelled to 
fall out. But we have Yorktown, without a fight. As the 
telegraph speeds this over the country, what relief it will 
bring to thousands of anxious, aching hearts ! If the relieved 
feeUngs of anxious fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, friends, 
lovers, could be told on paper and started to the loved ones 
so long exposed to danger here, what a burden of mail matter 
our good uncle Samuel would have on his shoulders ! 

A few incidents of the chase are worth remembering. Our 
cavalry started at a dash past the nearest abandoned fort, but 
suddenly under then- feet burst a shell in the road, killing two 
horses and one rider. The savages had planted the shell in 
the road, and when struck by the horse's foot it exploded. 
There was an immediate halt, the road was examined, quite 
a number of shells exhumed, and the chase resumed. The 


infantiy, after bridging the creek near Lee's Mill, pushed 
forward. A march of three miles brought us to the handsome 
neio brick mansion of Captain Dick Lee, nephew to the 
General, and a large property holder here. I did not with- 
stand the temptation to leave the ranks and take a look at the 
house. Our Vandals had been there, and all was chaos ; 
furniture broken to pieces, books and papers scattered to the 
winds. At a short distance from this new building, into 
which the family had but lately moved, stood an old, weather- 
beaten, moss-covered wooden building, till recently their 
residence. I there found one relic which even Vandalism 
had respected — the leaf of a diary dated "May 3rd, 1862." 
" Oh, my dear, dear home, the home of my childhood — my 
life! Oh the old time-beaten, moss-covered house where 
my eyes first saw the light, and my "tongue was taught to 
lisp its first prayer ; how I have watched your decay, and my 
proud heart has been ashamed of your age. My own wicked 
spirit is now humbled, and I come to you to-day where my 
first prayer was uttered, to ofier up the last in the home of my 
former happiness. Farewell, dear home, forever." This 
was written in a lady's hand. So the people here were happy 
once; but I suppose they did not know it, else why this 
wanton, wicked war, carrying misery into so many homes ? 
Captain Dick Lee and all his family had left. Capt. Lee was 
only an hour ahead of us, and is, I hear, a prisoner to-night. 
His family were in WiUiamsburg yesterday. To-day they 
are doubtless flying in a pitiless storm before a pursuing army, 
homeless and houseless. Oh, Capt. Lee, think of that happy 
family one year ago, and now ! We had two running fights, 
in one we were repulsed ; in the other we drove the enemy, 
killing and wounding many of them. Our loss is stated at 
40 to 50 in killed and wounded. But I am learning to put 


but little reliance on the reported results of a battle. We 
always exaggerate the loss of the enemy, whilst we lessen 
our own. 

At sun-down we arrived at Mill Quarters, the residence of 
a Mr. Whittaker, about three miles from Williamsburg, formed 
Hancock's Brigade into line of battle, and skirmished till 
night. Then we laid on our arms in front of the first line of 
the defences of Williamsburg. 

^th. — At 10 o'clock last night, I left the front line of 
battle, withdrew about half a mile, laid down on the ground 
by the side of a negro house, and about 2 this a. m., was 
made amusingly conscious of the fact, that underneath the 
eve of a roof is not a pleasant place to pillow one's head 
during a heavy rain. I was not in the least thirst?/. I crawl- 
ed into a cellar near by, laid upon the damp brick floor, 
with my wet blanket over me, fell asleep and dreamed I was 
a "toad and fed upon the vapors of a dungeon." But I 
was not a toad, though I own up to the vapors a little in the 

Detached from my regiment this morning to establish and 
organize a large army hospital at Whittaker' s. * * * * 

It has been a bloody day. A battle has been fought and 
our enemy driven ; but we have suffered terribly. About 7 
A. M., Generals Hooker and Heintzleman came upon Fort 
Magruder, with our left wing. The enemy came out and 
met us. He seemed eager for the fray, which we had sup- 
posed he was running to avoid. He seemed determined 
and confident in his strength and position. Falling on 
Sickles' Brigade, he decimated it at once. By noon, the 
battle on our left wing became general. General Hooker 
lost twelve guns, and by three o'clock our left wing was 
whipped and retreating in confusion. 


At this time General McClellaii, who, for some reason un- 
known to me, had been in the rear, was coming up, and met 
our flying battahons. By the active aid of his staff and a 
large escort, he succeeded in rallying our defeated army. 
He ordered up reinforcements, and sent them back to the 
field, where, though they could not drive the enemy, they 
maintained their ground. They retook Hooker's lost guns, 
and captured one from the enemy. General Peck's Brigade 
suffered severely, but he held them to the fight. The head- 
quarters of the army and the large hospital of which I had 
control, were about two miles from Fort Magruder, around 
which the hottest of the fight raged. Shells were frequent- 
ly falling and exploding in uncomfortable proximity to us, 
and by 3 o'clock could be heard ominous whispers about the 
necessity of abandoning our quarters, preparatory to a gener- 
al retreat. The greatest anxiety now prevailed as to the fate 
of our army. The left could not hold out much longer with- 
out further reinforcements. The center had not been en- 
gaged. I hear that a dispute arose between Generals Sumner 
and Heintzleman, as to their rank, and that in the confusion 
resulting therefrom, the centre was not brought forward, nor 
were any of them sent to reinforce other parts of the line. 
(Strange that the Commander in Chief should not be with 
his army in a time like this !) The enemy were sending off 
forces to flank our right, and should they succeed in this 
movement and get into our rear, our whole army must in- 
evitably be destroyed. The right wing was weak, consisting 
of only two brigades of General Smith's Di\dsion — the first 
composed of 5th Wisconsin, 49th Pennsylvania, 6th Maine 
and 43rd New York, and the third composed of the 7th 
Maine, 33rd, 49th and 77th New York, all volunteers, with 
two batteries. General Davidson, who usually commanded 


this third brigade, being absent, the whole was under com- 
mand of General W. S. Hancock. For some reason, the 
third brigade had not come up, and when the enemy's de- 
tachments of six regiments, supported by a well mounted 
fort, the guns of which were in easy range of our lines, at- 
tacked our right, we had only the first brigade and the two 
batteries to contend against them. This was the position of 
affairs when, at half-past three o'clock, I left the large hospi- 
tal crowded full of the wounded, to go to the right wing. 
Up to this time I had supposed our army invincible, at least 
by an enemy fleeing from us, and now I was utterly astound- 
ed to find our officers clearing the roads of teams, men and 
everything which could impede the retreat of our army, and 
bodies of our artillery collecting in front of all the gorges, to 
check the speed of a pursuing enemy. I dashed past all 
these, crossed Queen's Creek, when a short ride brought me 
out into a large plain, in full view of our right wmg, in line 
of battle, just as four regiments of the enemy emerged from 
the woods to the extreme right of our Hue of skirmishers. 
We to ere outflanked ! 

This was the most exciting moment of my life. Our left 
had been whipped, our centre had been passed, the Com- 
mander in Chief not on the field, the officers in command, 
instead of concentrating all their energies, were quarreling 
about their respective ranks, and had failed to reinforce the 
right, which had again and again sent for support, the enemy 
on the point of outflanking us here, and getting in our 
rear, in which, if successful, our army must be cut to pieces. 
At this moment, five companies of the 5th Wisconsin were 
skirmishing in the advance. Two of these companies on 
the right had just opened fire on the four regiments advanc- 
ing. General Hancock had just given an order to fall back ; 


the batteries, which were in advance of all, instead of faUing 
back, leism-ely and in order, were whipping their horses, 
whooping, hollering, running from the field as if chased by a 
thousand devils ; three of the four regiments of Hancock's 
brigade were falling back in obedience to the order ; whilst 
the Fifth Wisconsin, not hearing the order, or determined 
not to abandon their skirmishing on the field, was continu- 
ing the fight against the immense odds of four to one. 
Nobly did it fight, every shot seeming to tell on the advanc- 
ing foe. But just then, as if to add to the certainty of our 
destruction, two other regiments of the enemy emerged from 
the abattis on the left of this wing, and were bearing du-ectly 
down on the little band so nobly fighting under such disad- 
vantage. Between these two regiments and the fight- 
ing columns was one company of the Fifth Wisconsin, 
skirmishing under command of Lieutenant Walker. 
His quick eye told him that the only hope of salvation for 
our army was to prevent the uniting of these forces with those 
now fighting, and with his little band of sixty brave men, he 
boldly confronted the advancing fifteen hundred, supported 
by then* fort, not six hundred yards ofi". At this critical 
juncture, there is a moment's relief Our third brigade is 
seen in the distance — but it is too far away to afibrd effective 
aid. Again the eye reverts, as the only hope, to the fighting 
battalions. Lieut. Walker is manoeuvring his handful of 
men into fighting positionjmder cover of a fence, from which 
they delivered then- shot into the approaching mass with 
wonderful effect ; but still the mass advanced, and he was 
seen passing along his line amid the rain and the lightning of 
the battle, whilst his voice was heard above its roar. Sud- 
denly a flash along the whole fort's front, a roar of cannon, 
and the shrieks of shot and shell, made my blood run cold as 


I saw the Lieutenant whirled into the air and disappear among 
the rails and rubbish. The little band fell back ; the cheering 
voice was hushed — but for a moment. Instantly he was seen 
emerging from the rubbish — the voice was again heard — 
back rushed the little band to the fight — the two bodies of the 
rebel army failed to connect — the battle of Queen's Creek 
was won — and the army of the Potomac was saved. But in 
recording the part taken by Lieutenant Walker and his brave 
band, I must not omit to fix ^permanently the heroism dis- 
played by the main body of this regiment, who carried on 
the fight with the four flanking regiments of the enemy. 
Every man seemed most of the time to be fighting after his 
own plan, and on his own responsibility. The five companies 
skirmishing were under the general command of Lieutenant 
Colonel Emery, to whose firmness and coolness much of our 
success is to be attributed. The remaining five companies 
were in line under Colonel Amasa Cobb. The fight was 
commenced on our skirmishers,* who slowly fell back, con- 
testing every inch of ground till they reached their supports, 
who now joined in the fight, slowly falling back to the main 
line. The relative positions of the 5th Wisconsin, the enemy's 
advancing line, and our regiments which had fallen back on 
the order of Gen. Hancock, were such as to prevent the rear 
regiments from aiding the 5th Wisconsin. It was precisely 
between them and the enemy, and a fire from them would 
have been destructive to our own men. Why Gen. Hancock 
did not change then* position, I cannot imagine, unless under 
the excitement, lie forgot if. To me his sole object seemed 

* In this skirmishing, the companies of Captains Wheeler, Evans, Bugh, and 
Catlin, were engaged. Every officer, as well as every soldier, proved himself a 


to be to get the Wisconsin regiment out of danger. The 
enemy were pressing it. It was sending its vollies with the 
dehberation and precision of marksmen at a shooting match, 
and at every one, the ranks of the enemy were hterally mowed 
aown. It still fell back towards the main line, firing and 
fighting. By the time that it reached this line the enemy's 
ranks were so thinned that our success was now certain. It 
reached the main body, and one volley from our entire 
brigade ended the fight. At this moment, an order to 
" charge " was given, but simultaneously with the order, the 
enemy displayed a white flag, and the order was counter- 
manded. No charge was made, the firing instantly ceased, 
the battle was won. In twenty -one minutes from the time 
that the firing commenced, these four regiments were so 
utterly destroyed that the two regiments which Lieutenant 
Walker had held in check, saw the futility of a further 
endeavor to reach them in time, and they, too, fell back. 
They left in dead and wounded about seven hundred on the 
field. The main body of the enemy, which had been so 
severely punishing our left, seeing our right driving their 
friends, fell back on Williamsburg, leaving their dead and 
wounded, their fortifications, and the field in our possession. 
Thus ended the great battle of Williamsburg, including the 
battle of Queen's Creek. The loss has been heavy on both 
sides, but the extent of it has not yet been ascertained. 

After the battle closed, I spent the evening and night in 
caring for the wounded of my regiment, for whom I organ- 
ized a separate hospital, keeping charge of them myself I 
had seen so much indiscriminate amputating of limbs, that 
I determined it should not be so in my regiment, so long as 
it could be avoided by any efiforts of mine. 

(jth. — It is ascertained to-day that although we were 


entirely successful yesterday in driving the enemy from the 
field, and from his entrenchments, we did it at great cost* 
The aggregate loss to both armies cannot be less than 15,000 
in killed and wounded. As far as we can now judge, this 
loss is about equally divided. Reports are rife to-day that 
Gen. Mugruder has surrendered with 12,000 men. At this 
report their is great rejoicing in camp, but it is not authenti- 
cated. * 

I have spent this day at hard work amongst the wounded, 
not only of my own regiment, but of the army generally. 
Am very much now out to-night, f Was visited to-day by 
Medical Director Tripler, with whom, after inspecting my 
own hospital, I went to General Hospital, at Whittaker's. 

1th. — Magruder has not surrendered. This day has been 
spent by the Surgeons in care of the wounded, and by the 
troops in rest and rejoicing, at the favorable result of the 
battle of the 5th, which for a good part of the day threatened 
us with disaster. The enemy has evacuated Williamsburg, 
and we are in possession. Gen. Franklin, with his corps 
d'armee, yesterday left Yorktown on transports, for West 
Point, to get in advance of the enemy and cut off his retreat 
to Richmond. If he will be prompt, and accomplish this, it 
will end the war by mid-summer. We are now receiving 
Gen. McClellan's telegraphic reports of the late battle. He 
exaggerates. Amongst other things he says that "Han- 
cock's success was gained with a loss of less than twenty in 

* Since writing the above, I have heard it stated that Major Larrabee was 
not at his post during the fight. It is due to Major Larrabee to state em- 
phatically that he was not only in the fight, but actively engaged wherever 
there were symptoms of wavering, and where duty called him. 

t Early in the fight the gallant Captain Bugh, of Co. K, 5th Wisconsin, fell, 
badly wounded by a musket ball through the upper end of the thigh, shatter- 
ing the bone badly. A braver or a better man never went to battle. 


killed and wounded !" Why will Gen. McClellan undertake 
thus to deceive the country ? Is it to elevate some favorite 
General ? He cannot do that without, by comparison, depre- 
ciating other?. Gen. Hancock had eight regiments under 
hj.s command on that day. In one of those regiments alone 
I counted seventy-nine killed and wounded. Tiue, the 
whole eight regiments were not actively engaged in the fight. 
True, too, that the regiment referred to suffered more than 
all the rest, but there were others killed and wounded ; and 
even if there were not, the loss to this regiment alone quad- 
ruples the number reported by Gen. McClellan. I wish he 
would not so. 

8th. — I spent this day chiefly with other Surgeons and As- 
sistants in getting the wounded to the river and on trans- 
ports. My former estimate of the casualties was certainly 
not an exaggeration, and I now think the loss to the two 
armies is not much short of 18,000. We hear that General 
Franklin had a fight with the enemy near West Point this 
afternoon, and was repulsed. The hope that he Avould inter- 
cept and. destroy the army is blasted. 

9 th. — We started at i this a. m., in pursuit of the retreat- 
ing army. Found the road lined with fragments of wagons, 
gun caiTiages3 and baggage of the retreating army, showing 
great haste. At night we are fifteen miles farther on the way 
to Richmond. I to-day had my knee-pan dislocated by the 
bite of a horse, and am suffering great pain to-night. 

loth. — Another m^.rch of fifteen miles to-day. Have seen 
nothing of the enemy. We hear that General Franklin re- 
mained twenty-four hours at West Point before disembark- 
ing his troops, permitting the enemy to pcvss, and then at- 
tacking them in the rear I Has delay and procrastination be- 
come a chronic disease with our Generals ] I hope he will 


be able to give a satisfoctory reason for his course. It begins 
to look as if, when this Army of the Potomac can find 
no apology for digging, it will hunt up other excuses for 

I have had to ride in an ambulance to-day, in consequence 
of lameness from the bite of the horse yesterday. 

11th. — Xo move to-day. Nothing of importance trans- 
piring. iVtmosphere filled with all kinds of rumors of bat- 
tles, but nothing authentic. We are in a beautiful country, 
and about thirty miles from Richmond. I am not surprised 
at the enemy having made a point at Warwick Creek. It 
separates the most God-forsaken, from the most Godly favor- 
ed country. From Newport News to Warwick is truly for- 
bidding ; but on crossing that stream we strike into a coun- 
try the natural advantages of which are extremely inviting ; 
but still the same antiquated appearance of the improvements 
prevails, and there are no evidences of thrift or economy. 
We are having warm days, but the nights are cool and in- 

12th. — No move to-day. Still encamped near West Point. 
Selected out our men disabled by sickness, and sent them ofif 
to general hospital. This is usually the precurser of active 
work. The crisis approaches. Let it come. 





ISfh. — Again pulled up stakes and moved five or six miles, 
and brought up at Cumberland Landing, on the Pamunkey 
River. Here, on a large plain, surrounded by an amphi- 
theatre of bluffs, were collected about 70,000 of our troops> 
presenting from the high ground a most magnificent sight. 
Spent the afternoon and night here. 

14cth. — At White House. Marched here to-day. It is 
known as the " Custis Estate," and is now owned by the 
rebel General Lee, nephew of the wife of General Wash- 
ton, and has on it a large family of negroes, about 300. 
'Twas here that General Washington overstaid his leave, the 
only time during his eventful life that he was known to be 
guilty of a breach of military discipline. Here he courted 
and married his wife. It is a most beautiful place on the 
banks of the Pamunkey river. It consists of about 5,000 acres 
and we now pasture our horses in a field of 1,000 acres of 
the prettiest wheat I ever saw. 'Tis waist high, thick on 
the ground, just heading out, and stretches away down the 
river as far as the sight can reach. By the side of it is an 
immense plain of rich and luxuriant clover, on which is en- 
camped our army of about 80,000, with all the concomitants 
of horses, mules, ambulances, transportation wagons, &c. 


Close by our encampment runs the Pamunkey River, up and 
down which a crowd of transports, gun boats, steamers, 
schooners, and all manner of water craft, are constantly 
passing. And here again we get another view of the blast- 
ing influence of the institution of Slavery — the most beautiful 
country on earth, with a fine navigable stream opening to it 
the markets of the world, and yet in its whole course of 100 
miles, it has not, in two'hundred _ and fifty years, built up 
a town of one thousand inhabitants. 

We found and captured on this farm five thousand bushels 
of corn and seven thousand bushels of wheat. On this 
place, too, crosses the railroad from Richmond to West Point, 
making it a strong strategic point. 

One circumstance occurred on our arrival here this morning, 
showing the distance betv :: . officers and men, and so 
characteristic is it of the man, that I cannot refrain from 
recording it in my journal, as " food for thoughts" hereafter. 
We found some negroes drawing a seine in the river here. 
Some soldiers made a barg;iin to make^a draw for them, fix- 
ing price and paying ior :^. The men had been on short 
rations of hard bread and salt meat for several days. Be- 
ing compelled to carry their provisions in their haversacks, 
they can carry nothing but this simple food, whilst the 
officers, havmg transportation at command, take with them 
all the comforts of the country. Well, the net was cast, and 

whilst the drawing was going on, General H • rode 

down to the beach and watched the operation with much ap- 
parent interest. The draught was nearly at shore; the 
hungry mouths, and watching eyes of the soldiers were be- 
ing gratified by the anticipations of a joyous feast, for it 
was now beyond doubt that the net was cast at a propitious 
moment, and was coming in loaded with herring, shad and 


eels. But what right had common soldiers to indulgences 
like these? The General's mouth watered too. The instant 
the draught was brought to land, the bayonets of the Gener- 
al's guard bristled all around, and the GeneraVs capacious 
hags received every fsh. OiT they were carried for himself 
and friends, without even a nod in acknowledgement. How 
ungrateful common soldiers must be not to love their com- 
manders ! HoAV abject common soldiers are when compelled 
to submit to indignities like this, and dare not murmur ! 
Now there was scarcely a soldier on that beach who Avould 
not have deemed it a pleasure to relinquish his right to what 
he so much coveted, at the request of his General, but to be 
driven from his rights by the bayonets of his legitimate 
protector ! 

Rains hard this p. m. 

loth. — A raw unpleasant day. Hard rain, with east 
wind. We do not march, and in consequence of the heavy 
rain we may be compelled to remain here several days. The 
enemy is in force on the Chickahominy, and the two armies 
are gathering their hosts within ten or fifteen miles of each 
other, probably for a final struggle. The crisis approaches, 
and how the army pants for the time when they are to try con- 
clusions ! It was much worn out by the long delay at Camp 
Griffin. The detention at Warwick Creek was by no means 
refreshing, and now they naturally feel that every day's delay 
is irksome. 

IQth. — Quiet at White House. Nothing worthy of 

17^ A. — But little worthy of note to-day, except the increas- 
ing impatience of the army. They begin to complain of 
the Commander in Chief, and, I feai', with some ground of 
justice. This morning the whole plain of 80,000 men, with 


its five hundred wagons, ambulances and carts, its five 
thousand horses, and all the paraphenalia of the army, was or- 
dered to be ready to move at 12 m., precisely. At 1 1 we ate 
our dinners; then came the details of men for loading the heavy 
boxes and chests, striking, rolling and loading tents, which, 
by hard work, was accomplished by the hour fixed, and noon 
found us all in column ; the word ''march" was given, and 
off we started ; moved about fifteen rods, wheeled (teams 
and all) out of the road into a beautiful field of wheat ; 
wheeled again, and in a few minutes found ourselves right 
where we started from, with orders to unload and pitch tents. 
A few regimental groans went up as complimentary of the 
movement, and in two hours we were again settled. The 
ohject of ^this movement is now known to me, and so small 
and contemptible was it, so mixed up with the gratifica- 
tion of a petty vindictiveness, that, for the honor of the 
army, and some of its sub-commanders, I leave it unrecord- 
ed, hoping to forget it. 

18^/i. — Last night, after we had retired, the aids-de-camp 
of the several brigades, rode through the camp, and calling 
up the company commanders, read aloud : " Orders from 
Headquarters. Roll will beat at o in the morning. Army 
will move at half-past six, precisely." All was bustle. The 
chests and boxes which had yesterday been packed for a 
move, in the morning, unpacked in the afternoon, were 
again packed at night, which showed how eager our soldiers 
are to get to work. The roll, at 5 this morning, instead of 
calling them from their beds, summoned them to breakfast. 
They were ready, but had not finished their hurriedly pre- 
pared meal, when it was announced through the camp, "Order 
of last night, to move this morning, is countermanded." 
If the oaths then perpetrated were recorded in heaven, the 


recording angel would certainly have been justified had he 
have " dropped a tear upon the page and blotted them out 
forever." Our army swore terribly, but their ruffled feelings 
are now being calmed by the beautiful notes of Old Hundred, 
exquisitely performed by our band, and recalling, oh ! how 
many sweet recollections of homes where many of us have, 
for the last time, had the warring elements of our souls 
soothed into quiet submission by the "peace, be still," of 
this master piece of sacred music. 

We are now in an intensely malarious region, with the 
sun's scorching rays pouring on us, and our men coming 
down by scores daily. We have been nearly twelve months 
in the field, have fought but one battle, and I fear that 
General McClellan's plan, to win by delay, without a fight, 
is poor economy of human life, to say nothing of the minor 
subject of wear and tear of patience ; of the immense debt 
accumulating for somebody to pay, or of the major 
one of the effects of a protracted war on the morals of 
a nation. 

19th. — Marched to-day about eight miles, but by a road 
so indirect, that we are only five miles nearer to Richmond. 
I am to-night again detailed from my regiment, with orders 
to report for duty at the general hospital at White 

20th. — Army moves at 7 this a. m. In the p. m., in obedi- 
ence to the order of yesterday, I returned to White House, 
where I was received with the gratifying remark of the 
Medical Director, that when he needed the interference of 
my General in his hospital, he would let him know it. To- 
mon-ow I shall return to my regiment, and hope to be per- 
mitted to remain with it. 


21s^ — From White House, returned to camp to-day. I 
really believe I am becoming attached to this kind of life, 
though I did not feel it till to-day. When I reached the spot 
where I left the army encamped yesterday, and found it de- 
serted, with the camp poles still standing, (although I had 
staid there but one night,) the desolateness of feeling was 
strongly akin to that experienced on returning to an old and 
loved home, and finding it emptied of all that had made it 
dear. The army had left, I followed, and am now with it, 
encamped within ten miles of Richmond, near the Chicka- 
hominy. We have had some firing in the distance, towards 
Richmond, this p. m. 

'22nd. — A quiet day in military matters. No movement of 
the army. Ballooning all day ; discovered large force in 
front of us. Unless the fear of McDowell or Banks, in the 
rear, should induce an evacuation, we must expect hard 
fighting here. Heavy thunder storm this p. m. 

2ord. — ^No movement. Should this journal, after I am 
gone, fall into the hands of persons, who shall undertake to 
read it, and shall complain that these everlasting records of 
'' no movement," " all quiet," and " thunder storms," are 
dry food for the mind, I answer them now : That the hard- 
ships which we suffer in this world, instead of awakening a 
sympathy for others in the same condition, are more apt to 
call up unworthy comparisons, with a remark, that " they 
need not complain; they are no worse off than we are." 
And just so at this moment, I find the physical man of the 
army answering the complaints of mental man in civil life, 
finding fault with the dullness of these records. Try, says 
he, long camping and disappointed expectations, amid the 
swamps of the Chickahominy, living on half rations of hard 


crackers and salt beef, and you will then be able to appreci- 
ate the hardships of dry food, and the difficulty of assimulat- 
ing from it moist ideas. 

But, at 5 p. M., — an event. Our Balloon is up, with Pro- 
fesser Lowe and General McClellan, taking observations of 
the enemy and his movements. Boom — speaks a big gun 
from away beyond the Chickahominy. Bang — a Httle cloud 
of smoke just over the balloon, and the fragments of a shell 
hiss and screech in all directions around it ! Ah, General, 
are yon thinking. Eight hundred feet above the earth, how 
quickly that shell, or the one this moment coming in search 
of you, by a passing touch with the gossamar web which 
holds you suspended above your fellow men, would ex- 
tinguish all the hopes and bright visions of pohtical or mili- 
tary gloiy, which sometimes form the brightest jewel in the 
crown of patriotism ? Or are you reflecting on the solici- 
tude with which you are now watched by the tens of thou- 
sands of humble but anxious men, praying, without one self- 
ish feeling, to the God of the patriot, to protect and pre- 
serve you, on whom they feel now rests the solution of the 
greatest problem, in the moral as well as the political history 
of the world ? I wish I knew your thoughts just now. I 
wish I could hnoio that they are as far above the grovelling, 
selfish ambition of some of those now watching you, as you 
this moment swing higher than they. 

And now, oh General ! look down, I beseech you, from 
your any height, on your little army below, and devise 
means to preserve it from the temptations of the world, the 
flesh and the devil. Particularly gutird from those evils, 
your officers ; and most particularly your journeyman 
Generals. Teach them that it requu-es more than 
accidental promotion, or even accidental success without 


merit, to make great men of little ones. Teach them, I 
beseech you, the folly of vanity ; whilst you inculcate the 
fact that many of your officers are doubly blessed with per- 
mission to carry all their brains in their shoulder straps, 
leaving their heads unincumbered, and to be used for 
substantial purposes. 

Teach your men to be not only obedient and respectful, but 
submissive to the whims of their superiors ; that they have 
no right to any of the comforts to be gathered by the way- 
side ; that should they find the fishes,* the fruits, the poultry 
and other delicacies of the country guarded against then* 
approach, for the comfort of then- Generals, to remember 
that these Generals were never confined to hard bread and 
dried beef, on long marches, and can therefore never appre- 
ciate the wants and the sufferings of the common soldiers, 
who are -, and that their might gives right to appropriate all 
these to themselves. Teach them that when, at the close of 
a hard day's march, through mud and rain, should a " double 
quick" be requu'ed of them, their commander, being well 
mounted, can know nothing of the impossibility of obedience, 
and that terribly profane oaths are at such times the only 
gentlemanly invigorators known to Generals. Teach them 
that obedience from submission, and not from principle or 
affection, is the only rule to be recognized in your army ; 
that in becoming soldiers they ceased to be men ; and all 
for thy glory and thine honor. 

24:th. — Another day of inaction near Gaine's Mill, on the 
Chickahominy. An instance of petty despotism occurred 
to-day. I was sick, confined to my bed. We were 
approaching Richmond, with prospect of a fight. The 

* See record of May. 


Division Surgeon procured an order from General Smith, 
detailing me to organize and take charge of a hospital at 
Liberty Hall. I reported sick. The order was repeated; 
the report was repeated. The order came the third time, 

with the same result. General took the matter in 

hand, and ordered me from my quarters, as a non-effective, 
to this hospital, or house, unorganized, without any provi- 
visions for the sick, now packed full of soldiers, suffering 
with infectious diseases of the worst kind. From this order 
I had to app eal to the Division Commander, who at once 

had it rescinded, and the "amiable General H " was 

cheated of his victim. 

25 /A. — I had a dream last night. There is nothing being 
done to-day, and as Dr. Franklin, when he gave as one of 
his rules of conduct, "Never tell your dreams," did not add, 
never write them, I here record mine. "Like master, like 
man." Master McClellan had his dream published for the 
the world ; I see no good reason why I may not record 
mine for my humble self It was part vision, part dream — 
part retrospective, part prospective: I saw Buell, and 
Halleck, and Grant, and Pope, and Foote, battling suc- 
cessfully. I saw some slight eiTors in their conduct. I 
saw Grant resting securely at Shiloh, made careless by his 
former successes, and I saw the terrible consequences of his 
self-reliant carelessness, and yet with all the draw-backs, and 
the terrible responsibility, the aggregate of all the efforts in 
the West and Southwest, had resulted in a great progress of 
our cause. I saw some of the gigantic projects of Fremont, 
at first sneered at and ridiculed ; afterwards adopted, and 
become the most powerful agents of our success. 

" A change came o'er the spirit of my dream," and I saw 
the Army of the Potomac at Bull Run scattered in flight 


— routed, massacred — when it should have been successful. 
I saw the terrible slaughter at Big Bethel — so great that the 
Government never dared to tell it — greater than any of us had 
ever imagined. I saw thousands of our best men driven to 
the slaughter at Ball's Bluff without the possibility of either 
success or escape. I saw in my vision what I had witnessed 
in reality, our fight at Lee's Mill, when about two hundred of 
our brave men were sacrificed by being led against an enemy 
of the strength and position of whom our leaders were 
ignorant, I saw the army fall back, and die by hundreds in 
the swamps and ditches, waiting for the enemy to leave. I 
saw the pursuit from Warwick to Williamsburg, in which we 
rushed upon a body of the retreating army, and were repulsed 
with the loss of fifty men. I saw again Hancock's little 
Brigade drawn up in line of battle, about sun-set of the 
same day, under command of Col. Cobb, in sight of Fort 

Magruder, and distinctly heard the voice of General 

ask the Colonel if he would take that fort with his Httle 
Brigade "now, or wait till your men have had their sup- 
pers?" I saw the men, tired and hungry (for they had not 
ate a mouthful all day) throw off their knapsacks right in the 
field where they stood, and go forward to " take that fort 
before they had then- suppers." And then I saw what had 
not been visible to my eyes awake, 15,000 of the best troops 
of the Confederate army lying in and around that fort, the 
strongest I had ever seen, and our little, jaded, worn-out 
brigade of three thousand on their way to take it. And how 
clearly then did the dream show me the incompetency of the 
leaders on whom these devoted men were pouring out their 
whole confidence. I saw a Providence lead the brigade 
astray into the enemy's abattis, entangle and detain it there 
till after dark, then lead it across an open field into another 


abattis, impassable even by daylight, and there compel it to 
remain till morning, complaining of the very fate which 
was preserving it from entire destruction. I saw the im- 
possibility of escape for a single man, had they passed the 
abattis and attacked the fort. I saw Gen. Hooker next 
morning, groping about, ignorant of the position of the rest 
of our army, and of the strength and position of the enemy, 
until he stumbled on them, and found himself unexpectedly 
engaged with a force Avhich he was unable to withstand. I 
saw him with his corps fight as rarely ever man fought before 
— his brave men and officers falling around him, unflinching and 
unaided, calling in vain for succor on whole divisions of the 
army, who were looking on as idle spectators, lut Hooked 
in vain for the commander-in-chief, or some one with 
authority to order up these idle but anxious brigades. I saw 
Hancock's Brigade engaged without plan, and without order, 
the General, secure behind the walls of the fort, ordering his 
regiments to fall back from before the advancing foe, and 
that same Providence inspiring one regiment to stand fast, 
despite that order, to fight the battle to the death, to save 
the army, and to win for their General a reputation which 
he had not courage to risk in the unequal combat. So much 
in retrospect. My dream reached ahead, and I saw Gen. 
McClellan at the head of a large army marching into Rich- 
mond. Suddenly we came upon a fort thrown up by the 
enemy. I got upon an elevation, and saw a few thousand 
troops there. A balloon was in the air ; my dream trans- 
ported me to this balloon ; I looked into Richmond ; there 
was a small army there preparing to evacuate ; the citizens 
were hurrying to and fro, packing up and leaving the city ; 
some were already crossing the river. The few troops who 
were there, marched out, presenting a bold front, as if to 


delay our advance till the citizens could have time to escape. 
The aeronaut dropped a note to the commander to hurry 
forward, and he would not only take the city but capture an 
immense spoil. My eye followed the fall of the note, and 
what was my surprise to see breastworks had sprung up for 
miles in length, in front of our army; men, dead and 
dying, were lying in the ditches, and thousands of spades 
and shovels w#i'e burying them there without winding sheets 
or coflSns, whilst the Commander-in-Chief, with folded arms, 
stood looking on. A shout arose, "Hurrah for McClellan!" 
and a response, so deep and sudden that it shook the very 
ground ! " What has he accomplished." I awoke, startled 
more by the idea conveyed in question, than by its noise. I 
immediately arose, and having thought for a few minutes 
over the retrospection of my vision, caught up my diary and 
wrote it down with this addendum : " Now here we are in 
the sight of Richmond, preparing for the great battle which 
is perhaps to decide the fate of free institutions for ages, 
without any more idea of what we have to contend against 
than we had at Lee's Mill or Fort Magruder. Have we no 
way to discover the enemy's strength and position as he does 
ours ? If after all I have witnessed I have misgivings as to 
the result, it should not be wondered at, nor should I be 
blamed for my want of confidence. Whilst I liope for the 
best, I keep prepared for the worst ; only whatever is in re- 
serve for us, let it come and reUeve this suspense." 

2Qth. — To-day, was so far recovered that I reported myself 
for duty at the Liberty Hall Hospital. * I found there about 
four hundred sick, about one hundred of whom were crowd- 
ed into the house. The rest were lying about in stables, 

* Liberty Hall is a large dwelling, the birth place and home, during his 
life, of Patrick Henry. It is about eight mile? from Richmond. 


alive with vermin — chicken houses, the stench of which 
would sicken a well man, on the ground, exposed alternate- 
ly to beating rain and the rays of the scorching sun. There 
were no beds, no blankets, no straw, no cooking utensils 
and nothing to cook. The sick were lying on the bare floor, 
or on the bare ground, without covering, and this was the 
third day they had been in this situation without food, or 
without any one to look after them, except as they could 
mutually aid each other. All kinds of diseases prevail, from 
simple intermittent to the lowest camp typhus, complicated with 
scurvey ; from simple diarrhoea to the severest of dysentery. 
My first effort has been to separate the simple from the in- 
fectious diseases. To pitch what few tents I have, and to 
get as many as I can under shelter, I have before me, in the 
organization of this hospital, a Herculean task for a man not 
quite recovered from a spell of sickness. But what I can, I 
will do. 

21th. — Resumed my labors in the hospital this morning 
making requisitions for provisions and cooking utensils. 
Some of the men have now been without food, and are in a 
state of starvation. I have not had to-day half the help I 
need, and in consequence of my over-work, am sick again 
to-night, and have been compelled, so to report. Surgeon 
Jayne, of one of the Vermont regiments, is 'detailed to take 
my place. 

29^A, 30/A and olst. — I am still too unwell to resume 
charge of this hospital, and as I hear of no action in the 
army, I have nothing to record. 

June 1st — Am so much better, to-day, that I have to re- 
port for duty. Am instructed to remain at my quarters near 
the hospital till further orders. I think I can foresee a plan 
in this to keep me at this hospital during the fights before 


Richmond. It is a dangerous thing in this army for a sub- 
ordinate officer to think. 

2d, 3d, 4:th. — ^Taking my ease and riding about the 
camps, not having received any further orders as to duty. 
The army remains in "statu quo," the large hospital, or 
rather its patients, in suffering state, though Surgeon Jayne 
seems to be using every effort to improve the condition of 



5?A. — This day Franklin's Corps crossed from the left to 
the right bank of the Chickahominy, and encamped near 
Goldon's farm. I was again ordered to the charge of Lib- 
erty Hall, Surgeon Jayne and most of my assistants with- 

This is as I expected. Our wing of the army has crossed, 
no doubt in 'anticipation of a battle soon, and I am again 
detached from my regiment in the horn- of its trial. I called 
on the Medical Director this morning, and stated in the 
strongest language I could command, my wishes to be with 
my regiment when it went to battle. The reply was that it 
would not be consistent with the good of the service to have 
me withdrawn from the large hospital at this time. I then 
asked to be permitted, in case of a battle, to ride to my 
regiment, after I had seen and cared for all the patients in 
hospital, to remain with it what time I could, and return to 
hospital in time to again see all the patients, during the 
afternoon and evening. The Dkector hesitated. I urged, 
stating that, in consequence of my having been so much 
separated from my regiment by orders, the friends of the 
regiment at home were complaining of me for it ; that it 
was being noticed even in the public papers, to my preju- 


dice. Besides, I had many intimate personal friends in the 
regiment, the sons, too, of my neighbors and friends, who look- 
ed to me for aid and comfort in the time of trial, and I would 
like to be present, even^'if only long . enough to receive their 
dying messages. 1 did not get the permission. I have re- 
turned to my hospital sad and discom-aged, but with the de- 
termination that, if I am denied the privilege of caring for 
those under my especial supervision, I will do the best I can 
for the poor fellows here who are accidentally or rather arbi- 
trarily under my charge. 

Qtli. — Yesterday I resumed my duties in hospital actively. 
On examining the Steward's Department, I found almost 
nothing to feed the starving five hundred men on my' hands 
— ahsulutely nothing suitable to feed them on ; that for days 
there had not been a cooking utensil belonging to the hospi- 
tal, for these five hundred sick, larger than a soldiers tin 
cup. To-day, I have set myself actively at work. I have 
called on Quartermasters, Commissary, Medical Dii-ectors, 
and Generals, for the proper authority to procure the neces- 
sary supplies ; the promises are profuse, but the intermin- 
able "red tape" must be followed out, even though the 
men starve. Plenty of supplies in sight belonging to the 
government, and soldiers dying of starvation ! I have not 
half nurses enough to care for the sick and dying. To-day I 
asked for a detail of half a dozen men, as cooks and nurses. 
" They could not be spared from the lines." I immediately 
went to the top of the hospital, from w^hich I counted over 
fifty muskets in the hands of our able bodied soldiers, guard- 
ing the vegetables, the fruits, the flour, the pork, the beef of 
rebels, (now in line of battle, in sight of where I stood) 
whilst our poor men were dying for the want of these very 
things. I came down and asked for a detail from these 


guards who were not " in the lines" to assist in nursing the 
sick and burying the dead. I could not have them ! Verily, 
the unfortunate sick of an army must be interlopers -, they 
can have no business there. I close this writing, and retire 
with loathing and disgust of >vhat I must see here ; but not 
till after I have written a letter to the Medical Director, set- 
ting forth the occurrences of this day in language as strong as 
I am master of, and asking to be either sustained in my ef- 
forts here, or returned to my regiment. 

Sth. — I am threatened this morning with dismissal from 
the service, and my letter of yesterday is held up as a piece 
of intolerable insolence, and as one good ground for my be- 
ing dishonorably relieved. Well, I am a Surgeon of a large 
hospital, in which are about five hundred brave but unfortu- 
nate men, w^ho, under their almost superhuman eiforts to 
sustain and defend a government have broken down and 
sickened. They are from home, from family, from friends ; 
they are suffering for want of the commonest attention ; the 
dead and the dying are lying together for w^ant of proper 
and sufficient aid to dispose of them otherwise. The living 
are dying for the want of the necessaries of life, which, in 
great abundance, are in sight, part owned by the govern- 
ment, part by the rebels ; that owned by the latter carefully 
guarded by men withrawn from our Hues, lest some of these 
suffering sick should, in desperation, crawl from their beds, 
get in reach of, and take enough to snatch their languishing 
bodies from suffering, and, perhaps, from death. But worst 
of all, I have taken the liberty of stating these things plain- 
ly, and, as a penalty for my insolence in holding up a mirror 
to the eyes of a superior officer, I am to be relieved ! By 
me, *« this is a consummation devoutly to be wished." Will 
they dare to tiy it ? We shall see. (I have a mirror which 


will reflect other sights not less hideous than this. Perhaps 
they would like to look at it ?) 

(This month was the one in which commenced the retreat, 
or "change of base,") from before Richmond. The constant 
call on my time, from the last date to the 25th, prevented 
my keeping a full journal of events, and I therefore state, 
generally, that after having been compelled, for three weeks, 
to witness an amount of unnecessary suffering, which I can- 
not now contemplate vvdthout a shudder, I at last succeeded, 
by the efficient and cordial aid of my Assistant Surgeons, 
Dickinson, Tuttle, Freeman and Brett, (the last two named 
coming in at a late date) and by my " insufferably insolent 
demands" on my superior officers, in getting the hospital wel 
supplied with provisions, stores, bedding, &c. The Assist- 
ant Surgeons named above, have my acknowledgements and 
my grateful thanks for their ever willing and well-timed sup- 
port of me in my efforts to relieve the sufferiugs of brave 
men under our care. I wish, too, to make my acknowledge- 
ment to Medical Director Brown, for his courteous and cor- 
dial support of my efforts. Nor can I pass here without 
bearing testimony to the ever-ready and humane efforts of the 
Sanitary Commission to aid, by every means in its power, in 
the proper distribution of comforts for the sick and wounded. 
On arriving at Washington, shortly after entering the service 
of the United States, I became much prejudiced by state- 
ments made to me against this organization, but it required 
but a short time to satisfy me that my prejudices were 
groundless. I have uniformly found the members both cour- 
teous and humane, and am satisfied that the privations of the 
soldiers would have been incomparably greater but for the aid 
received through them. From this Commission we received, 
about the 15th June, amongst other things, a generous sup- 


ply of bed sacks. These, by the aid of the convalescents in 
hospital, were filled with the fine boughs of the cedar, pine 
and other evergreens, which made very comfortable beds, and 
in a few days after this every man was comfortably bedded* 
and between clean, white sheets. * About the time of this 
change in the condition of the hospital, patients unable to be 
moved to the rear began to be sent in here from other hos- 
pitals. The removing of convalescents to the rear, and the 
breaking up numbers of hospitals and massing their very sick 
in one general field hospital, always indicates some active 
army operations. 'Twas so in this case. But the condition 
of the patients sent in was shocking in the extreme, and a 
disgrace to the officers by whom such things are permitted. 
Poor fellows, wounded in battle, had been neglected till their 
wounded limbs or bodies had become a living mass of mag- 
gots. Legs were dropping off from rottenness, and yet these 
poor men were alive. Yet if the Surgeons had have protest- 
ed against these things, perhaps they would have been threat- 

*A little incident here. Amongst the loads of hospital supplies furnished 
by the U. S, Sanitary Commission, were many articles of clothing and bedding 
marked with the names of the persons by whom they were donated. After 
the new beds were all made and severally assigned to those who were to occupy 
them, I was supporting a poor, feeble Pennsylvanian to his bed. As he was in 
the act of getting in. he started back Avith a shriek and a shudder, accompa- 
nied by convulsive sobs so heart-rending that there was scarcely a dry eye in 
the ward. He stood fixed, staring and pointing at the bed, as if some monster 
was there concealed. As soon as he became sufi&ciently calm to speak, I asked 
what was the matter ? With a half-maniacal screech he exclaimed — his finger 
still pointing — " My mother !" Her name was marked upon the sheet. Three 
days after the poor fellow died with that name firmly grasped in his hand. 
The sheet was rolled around him, the name still grasped, and this loved testi- 
monial of the mother's affection was committed with him to his last resting 
place. This circumstance was published at the time, in a letter from myself' 
and I have seen it also stated in several papers, extracted from letters written 
to friends by soldiers in the hospital. 


ened, as I was, with dismissal, and have been told that it was 
" bad enough that this should be, without having it told to 
discourage the army." There is no necessity for it, and the 
Surgeon who will submit to being made the instrument of such 
imposition on the soldiers, without a protest, deserves dismissal 
and dishonor. I must be permitted to insert here my most sol- 
emn protest against the action of any Governor, in promoting, 
at the request of (7x9) party politicians, (and in defiance of the 
remonstrance of those acquainted with the facts,) officers, and 
particularly surgeons, whose only notoriety consists in their 
ability to stand up under the greatest amount of whisky; and 
also against their re-appointing surgeons under the same in- 
fluence who, after examination, have been mustered out of 
the service for incompetency. Under such appointments hu- 
manity is shocked, and a true and zealous army of patriots 
dwindle rapidly into a mass of mal-contents. 

1\tli. — To-day General Hooker advanced his picket lines 
about one mile nearer to Richmond, and the incessant roar 
of artillery, with the constant volleys of musketry and the 
cheers of fighting men, wafted to us from beyond the Chicka- 
hominy, tell that it is being done, not without cost of the 
blood and suflfering of brave and good men. At night we 
hear that Hooker's movement has been a success, crowned 
with a victory. General Hooker rarely undertakes a thing 
which he does not accomplish ; but I fear our loss has been 
heavier than is now admitted. These frequent reports from 
our Commander-in-Chief, of great victories with little loss, 
subsequently contradicted by the real facts, begin to shake 
the confidence of a large portion of the army in his in- 

25 f A. — All in the hospital having been made comfortable, 
we set to work yesterday to take care of ourselves. Arrang- 


ed our tents, and to-day find ourselves a band of contented 
Surgeons, assistants and nurses, willing now to remain 
where we are. The above lines were written at noon, and 
before the ink dried, an orderly rode up with a note, the 
first line of which read : " Surgeon, you will report for 
duty with your regiment, without delay.'' So the fat of my 
content is all in the fire. I suppose there is another hospital 
to be organized. This constant change from newly estab- 
lished order and organization, to unorganized, chaotic con- 
fusion, is very trying. To establish a large field hospital, 
provision it and put it in good condition for the comfort of 
sick and wounded, in the short time allowed and with the dis- 
entangling of the red tape, is a big work, which I have been 
so frequently called on to perform, that I am heartily sick 
of it. No sooner do I get all comfortable, and become in- 
terested in the men under my care, than we must separate, 
perhaps, never to meet again. 

On receipt of order to join my regiment, immediately 
mounted my horse in obedience, leaving behind me my tent, 
trunk, books, mess chest — everything but a case of surgical 
instruments, and reported at headquarters on the Richmond 
side of the Chickahominy. Found all quiet on the surface, 
but there was underneath a strange working of the war 
elements, which I could not comprehend. Officers spoke to 
each other in whispers — there was a trepidation in every- 
thing. There was " something in the wind." But it blew 
no definite intelUgence to me. I received no order for duty ; 
only to hold myself in readiness for whatever might be as- 
signed me. 






26/A. — The forenoon of to-day passed something as did the 
afternoon of yesterday. Asked for transportation to bring 
my tents and baggage from Liberty Hall. Cannot have it 
till to-morrow ; so, having nothing to eat, nor any place to 
shelter, have lived on the kindness of my friends. 

About 2 o'clock p. m., "Stonewall Jackson" and General 
Ewell, from the North, and Generals Lee, Longstreet and 
Hill, from Richmond, having united then* forces to the 
number (reported) of about one hundred thousand, made an 
attack on General McCall's division, which was strongly 
posted and fortified about a mile and a half east of Mecban- 
icsville, on the left bank of the Chickahominy. This is about 
four miles from where we are encamped on the right of the 
river. The fight was severe, every musket and artillery shot 
being distinctly heard at our quarters. Our excitement, dur- 
ing the whole of the afternoon, has been intense. The fir- 
ing ceased at about 9 o'clock in the evening. A few minutes 
later, orderlies and aids-de-camp were dashing from regi- 
ment to regiment, reading a dispatch from General Mc- 
Clellan, that " Stonewall Jackson is thoroughly whipped." 
Great rejoicing and cheering in camps. But, strange— one 

can't cheer ESCAPE CAPTURE. 165 

regiment to whom it was read, never, dming the whole ex- 
citement, raised a cheer or manifested one symptom of ela- 
tion. That regiment is the Fifth Wisconsin Yolunteers. It 
has been under General McClellan's personal friend and 
relative. Brigadier General Winfield Scott Hancock, for 
whom it has won whatever of reputation that Brigadier 
General claims to have. Can it be possible that this favorite 
regiment has so far lost its confidence in the Brigadier as to 
distrust the statement of his friend, the Commander-in- 
Chief? However this may be, I have heard several of them 
remark that " it will be time for us to cheer when we hnoiu 
it is true." Significant. 

21 th. — There has been great rejoicing in camp all night — 
no sleep for the troops. But one regiment, seeming to be 
caUous to the good news reported last evening, by General 
McClellan. At 8 this a. m., I started with wagon to Liber- 
ty Hall, for my tents and other baggage. The fight on the 
other side had commenced two hours before. I learn that in 
the reports to me of yesterday, the rebel forces had been 
greatly oven-ated ; that they had only about twenty-five 
thousand men in the fight, on McCall's single division, of 
perhaps eight thousand. But both parties were strongly re- 
inforced last night, Lee having swelled his army to about 
seventy-five thousand, whilst General Porter had come to the 
aid of McCall, with about thirty thousand. After fighting 
for about an hour and a half on the ground of yesterday's 
battle. Porter and McCall commenced falling back, and when 
I crossed the Chickahomiuy, between 8 and 9, this morning, I 
passed squads, batallions, regiments, brigades of our soldiers, 
apparently in disorder ; but as I had heard nothing of Por- 
ter's falling back, I paid but little attention to them. I 
passed on without discovering what was the matter till I 


came so near to the advancing enemy as to barely escape 
capture. Riding back to the groups and brigades which I 
had passed, I learned that they were our scattered army, re- 
treating before the advancing enemy. They had already 
fallen back about thiee miles, were rallying near Emerson's 
Bridge, and were preparing to give battle and to prevent 
the farther advance of the enemy. Should we be defeated 
here, the railroad from Richmond to West Point, now held 
by us, must fall into the hands of the enemy. White 
House, (our base of operations), with its immense supplies 
and munitions, must also be lost. General Porter was pre- 
paring for a desperate struggle, which, at farthest, could not 
be many hours off. General McClellan, / hear, telegraphed 
to General Porter, now in command on that side of the 
river, to know whether he needed reinforcements, to which 
he replied that he did not ; that he could hold the enemy 
where he was. For this, whether true or not General Porter is 
to-night being highly censured. He felt that it was his fight, 
and was unwilling that a ranking officer should be sent to him 
to take or share the credit. Six times the hosts of the enemy 
came down upon him like an avalanche, and six times were 
repulsed. The seventh assault has been successful, and the 
army has passed our lines and has proceeded in the direction 
of White House. As Liberty Hall was in the line of our re- 
treat and the enemy's pursuit, it was captured, and I of 
course lost everything, except the clothes I wore. 

About 1 o'clock p. M. the fight commenced on our side of 
the Chickahominy (the right bank) at Golden' s farm, between 
the batteries, at long range. I had just returned from my 
attempted trip to Liberty Hall. Our infantry was in line of 
battle between the opposing batteries, all the shot and shell 
from both sides having to pass over it. In passing from our 


artillery to our infantry, it was necessary to face the enemy's 
shells, which were exploding with almost continuous roar. 
These flashes, as they burst around me, reminded me of the 
wonderful '*' shower of falling stars" which occurred in 1850. 
Many of our own shells exploded as they passed over our infant- 
ry, killing a number of our men. Through this shower I had to 
ride, and it now seems that nothing but an interposition of 
Providence has saved me uninjured. About 7 p. m. the ar- 
tillery ceased firing, and in a few minutes commenced an in- 
fantry fight, by the enemy's opening fire on about one mile 
of our line of battle. This has been a trying day — the fight 
on the left bank of the river under Gen. Porter, on the result 
of which depended our holding or losing our base of supplies, 
with immense stores. That on the right bank, directed by 
Gen. McClellan, in which it was thought, if we succeeded, 
we should march unimpeded into Richmond, only six miles 
ofi". We are repulsed on the left bank ; we have driven the 
enemy on the right bank. Shall we lose White House and 
the Railroad as a consequence of our defeat on the left ? 
Shall we march into Richmond as the result of our success on 
the right ? To-morrow will tell. 

May God preserve me from another battle in the dark. 
The sight is grand, but terrible, beyond my wish to witness 

28 th. — ^This morning opened brightly and beautifully ; the 
elements calm and peaceful — not so the passions of the par- 
ties, for we on the right bank, where the enemy attacked us 
and were repulsed last night, were again attacked in our little 
fort by Toombs' Brigade — Toombs in person leading it on. 
He was repulsed with considerable loss, whilst we suffered 
but little. 

Our army had now abandoned the field on the left bank, 


leaving the enemy free access to our base, and we were mass- 
ing our forces on the Richmond side of the river. But 
whilst our defeat on the left admitted our enemy to our sup- 
plies, their repulse on the right did not, as we had hoped, 
admit us to Richmond. The necessity of a general retreat is 
now becoming evident to the men, though nothing is heard 
on the subject from our officers. At 10 a. m. our right (Han- 
cock's Brigade) moved its quarters about a mile and a half 
professedly to get out of the reach of the enemy's shells, 
which were falling and exploding in the midst of our camp. 
My opinion is that the real object of the move is the mass- 
ing of our men preparatory to a general retreat. Our troops 
to-night are very much worn out. The rejoicing all night of 
the 26th, at the report of the "thorough whipping" of Stone- 
wall Jackson, repulse on the north side, and the night fight 
of the south side on the 27th, the morning fight of this day, 
with the subsequent marching and moving of camps, being 
all the time on short allowance, is telling sorely on the ener- 
gies of the men. The losses of yesterday to the two parties 
cannot have been less than 25,000 to 30,000 men. 

2dth. — 'Tis the Sabbath — the appointed day of rest. To 
us how little of rest, of quiet, either to mind or body, it has 
brought ! After the fatigues of the last three days and 
nights, our army lay last night on its arms, and this morning, 
at 3 o'clock, without breakfast, we were on the march, and 
as the first light of day revealed to us the immense heaps of 
commissary stores abandoned by the road, the truth that we 
were stealing away could no longer be concealed. The burn- 
ing of these stores would disclose the fact to the enemy, and 
they were therefore left to fall into their hands. Are we then 
to give up all the anticipated pride of a triumphal march into 
Richmond ? Must we hang our harps upon the willows, and 


forego the paeans which we were to sing here on the down- 
fall of the RebeUion ? Must we abandon the remains of the 
thousands on thousands of our comrades, who have perished 
here in the ditches, unhonored and unknown, without having 
been permitted to strike a soldier's blow for government 
against anarchy ? There is a retribution for some one. Till 
now this want of efficiency has been attributed to the powers 
at "Washington. At present much of the blame is being laid 
at the door of our Commander-in-Chief, and I fear he de- 
serves it. He has certainly committed many errors. His 
vast army, the best of modern times, has accomplished noth- 
ing. Early in the day it became evident to us that the watch- 
ful enemy was aware of our movements and was on our track, 
and everything of value was now destroyed. Runners were 
sent ahead to dam up the little streams near ammunition de- 
pots, to wet the powder and to dro^\Ti the thousands of boxes 
of cartridges there deposited. Thousand on thousands of 
new muskets, of Springfield and of Sharp's rifles, were bent 
and broken over logs and stones. Barrels containing whisky, 
molasses, sugar, were broken in, bridges destroyed, and loco- 
motives blown up. Delayed by work like this, by marching 
and by countermarching to protect our long transportation 
trains, 4 o'clock p. m. found us only about four miles from 
where we had started. For thirteen hom's we had marched, 
after a night of watching, and the men had not yet had their 
breakfasts. On our arrival at Savage's Station we found the 
large building crowded with the wounded of the battles of 
the two days previous. Hundreds of tents were pitched 
around, from all of which came the groans of the sufferers, 
and the yard was filled with our poor mutilated men, with an 
army of surgeons and nurses moving amongst them. As we 
left this Station the booming of cannon in our rear told us 



that this day, too, must have its fight. In the terrible heat 
of the day we moved on. We had not, however, proceeded 
more than a mile when we were ovei taken by couriers calHng 
us back to reinforce the rear, which was now preparing to 
engage the pursuing enemy. Back we marched. On again 
reaching Savage Station we found two immense lines of bat- 
tle nearing for the conflict. We had a long line of batteries 
in position just in the edge of a wood fronting an extended 
plain over which the enemy was advancing. In rear of ar- 
tillery our infantry lay in ambush. Our artillery was the 
coveted prize, and over the level plain came rushing on the 
long lines of the enemy at a full charge of bayonets. Our 
batteries had anticipated this, and were charged with grape 
and cannister, which they withheld till the mass came within 
easy range, then belching forth v their iron hail, the whole 
front was absolutely shot away. For a moment the enemy 
recoiled, but it was momentary as the recoil of the ocean's 
wave as it breaks on the impending rock, then down they 
came again, but again belched forth the angry cannon, and 
again a line was swept away. But to this immense host of 
enthusiastic pursuers numbers were nothing, and a third time 
it came rushing on. They were now too near for our artilleiy 
to be effective, but at the moment up rose in its rear our long 
line of ambushed infantry, and the setting sun was saluted 
by the roar of a hundred thousand muskets. Again reeled 
the staggering foe, and '•'^ forward, charge /" and the battle 
of the 29th — the battle of Savage Station — was ended. The 
enemy were repulsed with immense loss, and we resumed the 
march, leaving the dead and wounded and our large hospital 
filled to overflowing in the hands of the enemy. All night 
we marched, stopping at 2 in the morning, and after a march 


of twenty-three hours, ahiiost without food, rested for about 
three hours. 

SOth. — ^The night's inarch had placed a considerable distance 
between us and our pursuers. The morning opened bright 
and balmy. Again our division had to be brought to the 
rear, and we continued to march and to countermarch for 
position till about noon, when we halted in line of battle, and 
waited till our troops and transportation had all passed up. 
We had thrown out our videttes and pickets, and had lain 
down to keep out of sight. We began to stretch out our 
limbs for a little rest, when instantly, and almost simultane- 
ously, fifty-three of the enemy's shells burst upon us. I 
doubt whether the Malakoft', in the "infernal fire" which re- 
duced it, witnessed such an opening of a cannonade. Mott's 
battery was almost instantly demolished ; most of his horses 
and some of his men killed by their first fire. J.i ^t here a 
little incident occurred, and which was rather amusing, if 
anything can amuse in such circumstances. I had taken my 
hospital corps and litter bearers some distance in the rear, 
in a deep gorge, where they could be out of danger, and 
where we could have plenty of water for the convenience of 
our wounded. I had left them and gone to the line. The 
burst of artillery came. I ran back to see that litter bearers 
were ready, but arrived just in time to see their backs as with 
the litters they passed over the hill on a full run. I ran to 
the top of the hill, ordered them to halt, but on they 
went. I ran on calling to them, and sent three pis- 
tol balls whistling after them. On they went. At a 
moment's reflection, I raised my voice, and uttered a 
great mouthful of oaths — not natural, but got up for the oc- 
casion. They stopped as if an iron wall had dropped before 
fore them. They returned, and were surprised to find me 
alone. 'Twas difficult to convince them that it was I who 


swore. They did not believe "that any man in tlie army, 
save om* Brigadier, could utter any such oaths as that." I 
felt flattered, and thought that I had earned promotion. 
Immediately on the opening, our whole line was on its 
feet. We were ordered to change our position. We 
started on the double quick, directly aw nj from the enemy. 
The order as to the position we should take was misunder- 
stood, and we moved rapidly for about a mile. The day was 
intensely hot, but the men marched well and vigorously. 
Suddenly an order brought us to a halt, made us aware of 
our mistake, wheeled us to march back towards the enemy, 
and it is surprising what a difference was made in the vigor 
of the men, by marching west instead of east. Directly on 
their being faced to march towards the enemy, the sun's rays 
pierced so violently that they commenced falling from sun- 
stroke. The effects, however, were not serious, for as soon 
as the column had marched by, the faUen men arose and 
starting again away from the enemy found themselves so well 
that most of them ran from ten to eighteen miles before 

We got back into line, flicing the enemy ; but from some 
cause unknown to me, they commenced withdrawing their 
forces from our wing, and swung them over to our left, on 
White Oak Swamp, about two miles to the southwest of us, 
where McCall, Porter, Sedgwick, Hooker, and a host of 
others were battling for life. McCall's Division is badly cut 
to pieces. We learn to-night that he is himself a prisoner, 
and that of all his staff, but one is left to tell the story. Our 
troops held their position, and after night had drawn a cur- 
tain betwixt us and our pursuers, with whisperings and hints 
of the necessity of capitulation, we resumed our march, nor 
halted till the sun was lighting up for the resumption of our 
perilous task of defence. 




July 1st. — The march of last night was full of temble 
anxiety and danger. We marched through an enemy's coun- 
try, pressed by them on all sides, and momentarily expected 
when passing through some dense pine forest, to be attacked 
from ambush and cut to pieces, without the chance of a 
chivalrous fight. This would be murder of the worst kind, 
and we feared it. 

We reached the James River this morning, at Carters' 
Neck, just below Malvern Hills, where the army expected 
to cioss at once, and be again on ground of rest and safety. 
We were allowed three hours to cook, eat and sleep, and 
again we moved. But instead of crossing, we found our- 
selves marching directly away from the river, and the roar of 
artillery ahead told us of more work yet to be done. Our 
men, who had now for five days been limited to an average 
of two hours' rest a day, pressed forward with an alacrity 
truly astonishing. After a march of about two miles, we 
halted on the slope of a hill which concealed us from an im- 
mense open plain stretching out in our front to Malvern Hills. 
Here was progressing a battle which will be famed in history, 
so long as battles are fought on earth. I doubt whether one 
so bloody, in proportion to numbers, or so obstinately con- 


tested, has been fought since the invention of gunpowder. 
Here Hooker, and Kearney, and Heintzleman, and, I hope, 
Porter, (though I have heard hints of his misbehaving) and 
Stevens, with others, have gained imperishable renown. 
Our Division was drawn up in Une on the slope of the hill 
referred to, just so as to be concealed by its brow from the 
plain in front, yet so near as to perceive the advance of an 
enemy approaching over it, and here we lay all day in re- 
serve, expecting our main body to be driven back on us, as 
their supports, and the eagerness w^ith which our jaded and 
worn out troops now watched with a welcome for the foe 
from Avhich we had been so long flying, is to me as astonish- 
ing as it is unaccountable. Here we felt secure, and here we 
have remained all day, chafing for a part in the deadly con- 
flict going on so near us, 

G i\ M. — The battle of Malvern Hill still rages, and what 
carnage. Hand to hand the fight goes on. The dead and 
the dying lie heaped together. Charge after charge is made 
on our artillery, with a demoniac will to take it, if it costs 
them half their army. Down it mows their charging 
ranks, till they lie in heaps and rows, from behind which 
our men fight as securely as if in rifle pits. Nearer and 
nearer approach their batteries, till the two lines of artillery 
are mingled into one, but pointing in difierent directions. In 
places the wheels of gun carriages of the opposing armies be- 
come nearly locked together, and the cannoniers leave their 
guns and sabre each other in a hand to hand fight. The 
slaughter is terrible, and to add to the carnage, our gun 
boats are throwing then* murderous missiles with furious ef- 
fect into the ranks of our enemy. By their shots huge trees 
are uprooted or torn into shreds, which whip the combatants 
to death. The combatants seem infatuated with excitement, 


and the very terror of the scene lashes them into a love of the 

** As twilight approaches, the noisy eloquence of battle be- 
comes subdued ; at 8 o'clock 'tis hushed, and the enemy is 
driven and routed. We are too much exhausted to pur- 
sue ; and, relying on the assurance of our leaders that we are 
here secure, we at 9 o'clock stretch ourselves at length to 
take the full enjoyment of a long night's rest, which our con- 
dition so pressingly demands. 

2d. — "What relief it was, last night, at half-past 9, after the 
six day's of excitement, fatigue, fighting and famine, to lie 
down once more, secure of a good long night's rest ! What 
a surprise, the whispered call, in just three hours, to rise 
quietly and resume the march ! And what was our aston- 
ishment, when daylight revealed to us the fact that we were 
now retracing the very road by which we had been trying to 
escape. On discovering this the men began to waver in their 
confidence. But soon we left this road and bore oif " down 
the river," and of the scene which now followed, neither 
Hogarth's pencil nor Hall's pen could render the faintest idea. 
The rain was pom-ing in such torrents as I never saw the 
clouds give down. The men at every step, sank nearly to 
their knees in mud. The officers, either sulky or excited, 
were driving them to a double-quick, which it was impossi- 
ble for them to maintain for more than a few rods. They be- 
gan to fall out, and, in half an hour, every field, and all the 
open country, as far as the eye could reach, presented the 
appearance of a moving, huriying moh. I was here strong- 
ly reminded of my school boy imaginations of the Gulf 
Stream. This swaying, surging mass presenting the idea of 
the ocean lashed into irregular fury by driving storms, whilst 
a part of General Smith's division, moving in unbroken 


column through the mass, could uot but recall the picture of 
that little stream as from the beginning of time it has pre- 
served its quiet course, in despite of all the convulsions and 
conflicts of the warring elements. So great vras the demor- 
alization at this time, that I have not a doubt that an unex- 
pected volley of either musketry or artillery would have pro- 
duced a stampede which would have shamed Manassas. I 
saw no officer so calm, so collected, so perfectly himself as 
Our Division Commander, General Smith. By the teachings 
which I had received at Camp Griffin, I had been made to be- 
lieve that he could never be a man for an emergency. At 
the most trying moment of the day, I bore him a hurried 
message from two miles away. He saw me coming on the 
full run, through the heavy rain and mud, and as I rode up 
he received me with a quiet, pleasant bow of inquiry. I de- 
livered my message, which was important, and involved the 
fate of his Division, without the least hurry or the slightest 
hesitation, and in the very fewest words which could make 
it forcible, as if he had known the object of my coming, and 
had his answer prepared, he gave me his orders, and calmly 
resumed his other duties. The prejudices planted and cul- 
tured at Camp Griffin were all dissipated. 

I did see him, however, once during the day, a little exci- 
ted. We were hard pressed by the enemy on all sides of us . 
We had repulsed him in every fight, protecting our immense 
train of wagons, now siventy miles long. But so critical had 
become our situation that it was decided that to save the ar- 
my it was necessaiy to abandon the transportation; Gen. 
Smith rode along the line of his own transportation, clearing 
the road of the wagons that the rear guard of infantry and 
artillery might pass. He once or twice ordered a teamster 
out of the road. The man did not obey. 'Twas no time to 


arrest him ; he grappled him by the neck, and for half a min- 
ute kept him in that peculiar state of gyration which a hun- 
gry soldier often communicates to the body of a rebel rooster 
about midnight. He had no more trouble with that teamster. 
But the confusion of those teams ! I thought Mons. Violet 
in his stampede of buffaloes had got up a description of con- 
fusion which no reality could ever approach. I had formed 
vague ideas of Bedlam, of Pandemonium ; but a million of 
buflaloes on a stampede, Bedlam turned loose, and Pandemo- 
nium "on a bust," all mixed and mingled, could form no 
approximation to a train of teams, seventy miles long, on a 

But all day the rain poured in torrents ; men dropped by 
the wayside and were left. Some died from exposure ; some 
dragged themselves into camp, and many were captured by 
the enemy. The night of the seventh day has come. The 
question of capitulation has been heaid in whispers all day. 
But now that we are once more in camp, and in a position to 
offer or accept battle, most of the men scoff at the idea of 
capitulation, and say " fight it out." ISTearly all the men, in 
the retreat, have thrown away their knapsacks and blankets, 
and have thrown themselves down in their wet clothes, and 
in mud and Avater which nearly covers them, hoping to get a 
little rest after the incessant fatigues of the week. The wind 
blows damp and chilly, and I fear the poor fellows are to have 
a hard night of it. 

3rd. — This morning the men looked haggard and worn. 
Some slept ; more shivered with cold the night through, and 
in my morning round to look after the health of the regi- 
ment, I found men standing upright, without any support, 
and fast asleep. There was no wood within half a mile of 
us to make fires. Not a step could be taken without sinking 


to the ankles in mud and water ; and thus opened the day of 
the 3d of July. All felt depressed, but there was little or no 
murmuring. What a wonderful army I And yet it has been a 
whole year in the field and has accomplished nothing. Who is 
to blame ? We are in a bow of the James River, with the ene- 
my in our front. We can retreat no further, and when, early 
in the morning, a few vollies of musketry were heard, all felt 
that the trying time had come, and that the death struggle 
must be had to-day. We were mistaken. After the few 
vollies, the firing ceased, and all has been comparatively 
quiet. The thirst had been quenched, and the flow of blood, 
at least for the day, is checked. To-mnrrow will he the 
Fourth of July, and the calm of the 3d portends that this 
Fourth is to be a day of travail, and, perhaps, the birth-day 
of another nation. 

4^^.__The fourth has come and gone, but brought no 
fight, and our great Republic has passed another anniversary, 
if^'not in safety, in integrity, for its flag yet floats over the 
loyal men of every State, and the sunset salute of thirty-four 
guns, proclaims that we are yet an integral. But for the 
bombast of General McClellan's proclamation of to-day, we 
should feel sad. That makes us laugh. Shut up in a little 
bend of the James River, not daring to venture a single mile 
from his encampment, he commences digging and peeping 
from his ditch to see that Lee is not in sight, he cries thus : 
" On this, our Nation's birthday, we declare to our foes, who 
are rebels against the best interests of Mankind, that this 
army shall enter the Capital of their so-called Confederacy." 
Stuff! Has he forgotten that last winter he promised that 
under him we should have no more defeats 1 

4<A.— The President, I see, has made another call for three 
hundred thousand men. Before this war is over, we shaU have 


to resort to drafting. I regret that it was not done in the first 
place. Then the vast majority of the able bodied men will- 
ing to go, would have shamed down the unwilling ones from 
complaining. As it is, now that most of the willing ones are 
in the field, I fear that a draft will cause trouble. I should 
much have prefeiTed, as it is put off to this time, a conscript 
act, requiring all able-bodied men to organize and hold them- 
selves ready to act when called on. This would have given 
us an irresistable army, and all would have been treated 

Our regiment, which has heretofore borne^ more than any 
other, suffered terribly in the late retreat. I am vain enough 
to attribute this to the change of sanitary measures adopted 
during my month's absence. General — — 's pride could 
never brook the small show of my regiment on his " dress 
parades." My plan was, that when a man began to sicken I 
took him at once from all duty, and had him nursed and 
cared for till well. Hence, in time of quiet, I always had a 
large number excused, but when we came to action, or to a 
hard march, there were few regiments in the army which 
could compare with us, either in numbers or endurance. 
During my absence of a month, this thing was reversed. 
Men were kept on show as long as their legs would bear 
them up, the General's vanity was gratified, but when we 
came to a forced march, we were found to be in most miser- 
able plight. 






12th. — This night closes tlie period of one year's service in 
the United States. One year ago to-morrow, our regiment 
changed its situation from State to United States, and when 
I review that period, and recall the sufferings I have witness- 
ed, the treason and incompetency which have thwarted the 
well laid plans of the government, the repeated failures of our 
leaders to embrace most favorable opportunities to crush the 
rebel armies and to arrest the war, I despair of accomplish- 
ing decisive results till we have a change of leaders. But I 
have a gratifying consciousness of having, up to the ability 
which God has given me, performed every duty to my coun- 
try with as little selfishness as man's frailty will permit. I 
cannot recall an instance where fatigue, the fear of danger, 
or even sickness, has been permitted to interpose between 
my comfort and my efforts to relieve the sufferings of the 
soldier in whatever form presented. I have had much rea- 
son to regret that my efforts were not more effective, but 
never that I have neglected their performance ; nor has it 
been a source of less thankfulness to me that I have been so 
small a portion of time unable to labor. 



13th. — One year ago this day, the Regiment of 

Volunteers entered the service of the United States. It 
then numbered between ten and eleven hundred of the finest 
troops that ever went to battle. Its history in that brief 
period, though sad, is briefly summed up. On the 19th of 
June, 1861, the regiment was organized. On the 24th of 
July following, it took up its hm-ried march, to aid in arrest- 
ing the tide of retreat which was rushing from Bull Run on 
Washington, and was, I am told, the first Western regi- 
ment which passed through Pennsylvania to support our 
beaten friends. Early in August it reached Washington, 

was shortly after brigaded under command of General R 

K , a Commander in all respects worthy of the posi- 
tion he held. The measles, in its veiy worst form, had 
broken out in camp, before the regiment left the State of 

, and from severe exposure on a most hurried journey, 

much sickness prevailed for a time after its arrival at Wash- 
ington. General K , being endowed with feelings which 

could never witness sufiering without sympathy, fully reaHz- 
ed the fact that sick and feeble men were an encumbrance 
to the army. He was constantly on the watch, and every 
means in his power was employed to preserve the health and 
energy of his men ; nor did he permit either vanity or 
vindictiveness to interpose between his Surgeons and their 
proper duties. The restored health and vigor of his men re- 
sponded beautifully to his care and his eflTorts. 

Some time in September the regiment was transferred to 

the brigade of Gen. S^ , and although after this transfer 

their position subjected them to more labor and exposure, 
their health and comfort whilst under his command were 
looked after with such care and solicitude that their efficiency 
continued to improve, and on the 1st of October, not a man 


had died in camp, or had been killed or wounded in hattle. 
About that time they were transferred to the brigade of Gen. 
. This General showed liimself possessed of one very- 
Napoleonic trait of character, that when an object is to be 
attained the lives of men are not to be estimated. The men 
were exposed and hard worked. The efforts of the surgeons 
were not seconded. Their advice was disregarded. Sickness 
increased. The men became jaded and dejected, and the 
frequent passing of a squad to the solemn tread of the dead 
march, and with arms reversed, told sadly that another foe 
was at work. The cool days of November brought hopes of 
restored health and vigor, but continued severity of discipline 
and disregard of sanitary demands, blasted the hopes and 
brought even more frequent processions to the grave. 

The New Year came without a death on the battle-field, 
but with greatly thinned ranks. The winter passed with 
constant work and constant exposure, without an enemy 
in our field. The men sickened of the work of the 
menial, and panted for that of the soldier. The battle 
of Drainesville was fought in our hearing, but we were 
not permitted to participate. Their spirits were buoyed 
up by promises that soon we should have the enemy at Ma- 
nassas " in a bag," and then we should have only to go for- 
ward and capture them. But notwithstanding these promi- 
ses we were compelled to chop, to dig, to do picket duty, 
and to see them going away before our very faces without 
being permitted to prevent it. So great had been our losses 
that recruiting officers had been sent off, and men were added 
to the regiment sufficient to swell its original number to be- 
tween eleven and twelve hundred. 

On the 23d March, 1863, the regiment (in the same bri- 
gade) embarked at Alexandria, for the Peninsula between the 

m'clellak's report. 183 

James and York Rivers. On its arrival, hard work, hard 
marches and exposure seemed the order of every day. Num- 
bers were discharged from service daily, on account of con- 
stitutions broken by excessive demands on the nervous energy 
of the men. They were anxious, whilst able, to be led to 
battle, but for them only drudgery was reserved ; and although 
for weeks our regiment has been within sight of the enemy, 
or within hearing of his guns, never to this day has it been 
permitted to attack. 

At WiUiamsburg it fought on the defensive, and scarcely 
had it engaged till it was ordered to fall back. By declining 
to obey that order it at last found an opportunity of its long 
wished for ambition, to distinguish itself in fight. In that 
fight, despite the order of its General, it saved the battle of 
Williamsburg — the Army of the Potomac. The legiment 
lost in the fight nine killed, and seventy-one wounded. It 
fought that day under Gen. Hancock, and this is the battle in 
which Gen. McClellan telegraphed that " Hancock's success 
was won with a loss of less than twenty in killed and wound- 
ed!" Was the Commander-in-Chief ignorant of the facts 
about which he telegraphed ? Or did Gen. Hancock need 
some " setting up 1" However this may be, the Command- 
er-in-Chief publicly declared to this regiment that to it he 
owed the victory, and promised that it should have " Willi- 
amsburg inscribed on its banner." Notwithstanding this 
promise, "Williamsburg" got on to other banners, but never 
found its place on that to which it was promised. Why ? 

Experience seemed to have taught no good lessons. Large 
demands continued to be made on the energies of the men. 
They sank under the efforts, and on the retreat before Rich- 
mond, when at the battle of White Oak Swamp, and Mal- 
Y^ern Hills, all the force of active and robust men were need- 



ed. This regiment which had brought to the field elevei^ 
hundred of as good men as ever went to war, * which had 
not lost thirty men in battle, now tottered feebly into line 
with only two hundred and twenty-seven muskets, borne by 
men feeble, emaciated, and as nearly spiritless as it is possible 
for ambitious and energetic men to be. 

I omitted to record, in the proper place, that though the 
regiment was in the fight on the night of the 27th of June, 
doing great execution, not a man was killed, and only 
twelve wounded. 

This is an epitomized history of one regiment for a 

The signs of the times portend that we have done " play- 
ing war." Our Generals have now been taught a lesson of 
realities, which it is to be hoped will be heeded. Our musk- 
ets will hardly be seen guarding the property of rebels, whilst 
these are shooting down oixr men in the battle. Contra- 
trabands are being taken into the employment of the govern- 
ment, and are relieving the soldiers of much hard and de- 
pressing labor. As matter of economy, the regimental brass 
bands are being discharged. This is pretty hard, but as 
economy is necessaiy to a proper and successful prosecution 
of the war, we submit cheerfully. Our good band then will 
no more carry us forward in pleasing imagination to the 
land of " Dixie," nor backward to the melancholy " days 
of Auld Lang Syne," the "Star Spangled Banner," will not 
again wake our drowsy energies " At the Twilight's Last 
Gleaming ;" nor shall we be awoke in the " Stilly Night," 
by the romping, rolicking music of " The Girl I Left Behind 

* The physical superiority of the Western over the Eastern regiments was 
illustrated in the athletic exercises on first of January, at Camp Griffin. 
[See journal of that date.] 


Me." We shall part with regret, not only the band, but 
with particular members, whose conduct has on all occasions 
been courteous and gentlemanly. Their leader has also made 
himself useful by his peculiar talent for scouting, often learn- 
ing almost instinctively the position and strength of the 

18th. — I regret exceedingly to feel that there may be too 
much truth in the following extract of a letter received to- 
day : I would not libel my fellow officers, but I have no 
hesitation in declaring that, notwithstanding I have spent 
fifty years of a life of excitement in this little world, I have 
witnessed more drunkenness amongst officers of the army 
within one year, than I have seen in the same class of men 
in all my fifty years of civil life. The letter says : " After 
you left me I was lonely, rarely having any of the officers 
call at my tent. I spent my time, when not engaged in 
official duties, in reading and in writing. This was rather 
agreeable, notwithstanding I could hear in all the tents 
around me the social hiliarity of officers visiting each other. 
It seemed pleasant to me, and I sometimes almost envied 
them. One morning there could be seen in my tent three 
boxes. On the end of one, in large print : " Prime Bour- 
bon;" on another, " 1 Doz. each Old Q and Cogniac;" the 
third, " Fine Sherry." On top of the boxes sat three bottles, 
each marked correspondingly with the box from which it was 
taken ; and by side of the bottles, glasses, and a bucket of 
ice water. It soon began to be found out that I had . the 
shadiest, airyest tent, and that I was one of the most jovial 
fellows on the ground. Privates, who had previously fre- 
quented my tent for instruction and advice, disappeared, 
cocked hats and shoulder straps crowded about me ; I had a 
good cook, and occasionally my friends dined with me. * * 


* * * Can you imagine how, after my long seclusion, I 
enjoyed this change of socialty ? Let me tell you : I have 
become most supremely disgusted with myself, my liquors, 
my comrades, and almost feel that the world, or at least the 
militaiy portion of it, is a failure. Thank God my liquors 
are gone; my friends and I now knoic each other, and those 
who loved me for my good liquors will love me no more for- 
ever. A few with whom I was thus brought into contact, 
are fine fellows, and our intimacy will continue." 

The enemy are attempting to blockade the river below us, 
and thus cut oif our supplies. Should they succeed, we must 
capitulate, or fight our way to Fortress Monroe, a distance of 
seventy or eighty miles, without provisions. 

In the year that we have been in the field our fine army 
has been frittered away, without having accomplished any- 
thing. I fear General McClellan is a failure. I would not 
be an alarmist, but I fear that without a change of leaders our 
cause must be abandoned. The ring of General Pope's pro- 
clamation is right, just right •, I cannot take one exception. 
But the expediency of its coming from General Pope is ques- 
tionable. I have not too much confidence in the disinterest- 
edness of our Potomac officers, and this proclamation may 
be applied by some of them personally, and make trouble. 
Nevertheless, the tone of it is right. I hope he will be able 
to come up to " the sounding tenor of themunifesto." 

2'2nd. — I have received letters from my family to-day. One 
of them says, " We are not feeling well this morning." 
" Who is not, and what is the matter ? It is a dreadful 
thought that we must be thus separated from family without 
the slightest prospect of being able to see them when we 
know they are suffering. 

24:th. — No active work to-day, save of my mind. The 


condition of the country and of the army, past, present, and 
prospective, is the material on which it has worked. Not- 
withstanding that one year ago our little army had been re- 
pulsed at Bull Run, and the heart of the nation was sorrow- 
ful, yet the " whole broad continent was ours." And with 
our little army in spirits, though momentarily baffled, we 
were almost unembarrassed to go where we pleased. The 
country, confident in its leaders, had risen as one man to 
sustain the best Government the world ever saw. Three 
hundred thousand troops were called for, and the question 
was not who shall be obliged to go, but who shall have the 
privilege of going. A few weeks later, this "Grand Army 
of the Potomac," two hundred and twenty thousand strong, 
had, like the spirited steed, to be restrained by the strong 
arm of power from rushing forward to the contest. Summer 
passed, amidst impatient appeals of the men to be led against 
the enemy. Winter came, with joyful assurance that we 
were not to go into quarters, because they were soon to ad- 
vance upon the enemy and to end the war. Bnt spring found 
them still in canvas tents, impatient for the word to move. 
At length, with 130,000, shortly afterwards swelled to nearly 
160,000 men, such as no General ever led to battle, we sailed 
and marched till me met the enemy, about three thousand 
strong, entrenched at Young's Mill, when we turned around 
and marched back. After waiting till they had left, we again 
took up our march, and overhauled them at Yorktown, now 
increased to seven or eight thousand strong. Instead of 
crushing them at once, we settled down and digged, lest 
they should crush us. After they had tii'ed of waiting for 
us, they quietly packed up and left our General, with his one 
hundred and forty thousand men, to enjoy his diggings in 
the swamps of Warwick. They went to Williamsburg, and 


having had plenty of time, they had swelled their force to 
about thu'ty thousand men. They gave us no time to dig 
here, but came out to meet us. They punished us severely, 
but were driven, and instead of following actively in pursuit, 
we settled down and cried for help ! The patience of the 
soldiers was exhausted ; their patriotism was worn out. The 
malaria of the marshes, and the fatigues of digging, pro- 
duced low grades of fever which began to carry off the men. 
And on the 25th of June, although the muskets and the bay- 
onets and the artillery of the enemy had scarcely marked our 
army, we brought out to meet the opposing foe, which had 
now swelled to a monster army, less than eighty thousand of 
the one hundred and sixty thousand men. One half of this 
eighty thousand dragged themselves to battle, but yet fought 
like heroes. And now that noble army, instead of moving 
where it pleased, as it could a year ago, is shut up in a little 
circuit, with a radius of less than a mile and a half, and can- 
not leave it. I am induced to hope that in all this there is 
nothing worse than incompetency. But I doubt the ability 
of any other set of honest men to use up such an army with 
so little fighting. There is another call for three hundred 
thousand men, but before it is filled I fear the hydra-head of 
party will rear itself and give us trouble. But in what- 
ever manner raised, here this remnant of a great army must 
remain besieged until a new one is drafted, drilled, and 
brought to relieve us. Somebody has failed. The men have 

29 ^A. — It is a source of unspeakable gratification to me 
that after my long fights, the comforts of the suffering sol- 
diers are being heeded ; whether on account of my much 
importunity, or from the fact that the necessity of this course 
has become apparent to the Military Department, or that the 


new Surgeon General has directed his attention more particu- 
larly to it, it matters not. When I call for aid for the hos- 
pitals under my care I get it. All the surgeons in this de- 
partment now have only to call for help to procure enough to 
clean, drain, and sweep camp grounds every day, to ask for 
the necessary food, medicine and furniture, and if tliey will 
then give their personal attention to it, they can have it. 
The scurvy has been rapidly increasing with us, but we have 
now the means of arresting it. Thanks to U. S. Sanitary 
Commission for the larger share of them. 

Some mysterious movements are going on in this army. 
At night we look over a large flat covered with tents, lighted 
by camp fires, resonant with the sounds of hving soldiers. 
In the morning that same flat is deserted and still, as if the 
angel of death had enjoyed a passover. What has become 
of the busy actors of the night, none who dare speak of it 
can conjecture. In fact, in the present perilous condition of 
the army all purposes are necessarily secret. Some think the 
troops thus disappearing are crossing the river and marching 
on Fort Darling. Some think they are moving down the 
river to possess ourselves of a fort which is being built to 
blockade the river and cut ojf our supplies. Others think 
Washington is again in danger, and that a part of this army 
is being shipped thither, whilst many others are of opinion 
that we are slowly and secretly withdrawing our forces, and 
that Gen. Smith's division is to be left here as a blind and 
sacraficed to save the balance of the army. This would seem 
hard ; yet when it becomes necessaiy. Gen. Smith will be 
found to be the very man, and his the very army to submit 
to the necessity without a murmur. 

I am, however, of the opinion that the bulk of the rebel 
army has withdrawn from about us, and is after General 


Pope, and that we are taking advantage of their absence 
to escape from our present perilous position. General Pope's 
antecedents warrant the belief that a\ hatever is in his power 
to do for our relief will be accomplished to the utmost of his 

30th. — Rumors of battle have to-day, waked up our drowsy 
energies, and put all on the qui vive. Orders at noon to 
" be ready for action at any moment." The enemy's gun 
boats are coming down the river, and a land attack is an- 
ticipated. Humiliated as we feel at being shut up here on 
the defence, there is a kind of "let 'em come" defiance in 
every heart and on every tace. My own opinion is that it is 
a feint, and that we shall not be attacked. My experience 
in the late retreat, has fully gratifie<l all my curiosity to see a 
great fight. For five days and nights I was not out of sight 
of our lines -, in fact, never left the field of battle. It will 
require more than idle curiosity to induce me to undergo the 
same again. 

August 1st. — The month was ushered in by the opening of 
a cannonade, precisely as the clock struck twelve, on our 
shipping, from the south side of the river. For a short time 
the firing was very brisk. It was from some batteries of fly- 
ing artillery which had taken position during the night. 
They were soon silenced, but not till after they had killed 
and wounded a number of our sailors, and done some dam- 
age to our shipping. 

'2nd. — What numbers of letters, and from home, are lost 
en route ! Can it be possible that the private letters of sol- 
diers and officers to their families and friends are "vised?" 
Many suspect it ; and should it prove true, woe betide the 
authorities which should attempt to justify it. West Point 
wields a mighty influence in this army. But this would be a 


dangerous assumption, even though the attempt might be 
made to justify it under the plea of the " necessity of war." 
There are whispers in camp that we are to commence another 
retrograde movement. Should we attempt it, and an attack 
made on us in retreat, I should fear a total route without even 
resistance. Since our Generals showed such want of confi- 
dence in the soldiery as was hidden under terms " change of 
base," " change of front by a flank movement," the soldiers 
are correspondingly distrusting their commanders, and I veri- 
ly believe would not again fight under them on a retreat. 
Should they be brought by an advance to the battle, it would 
be a difierent thing. I think they would fight as they ever 
have fouo-ht, like heroes. I have heard hundreds sav that if 
we are to retreat again, they would prefer to be captured as 
prisoners, than disgraced as fugitives. 

(Sth, — I am just in receipt of the following letter, and lest 
I may some day be disposed to charge the friends of those 
for whom I labor with want of appreciation of my eflbrts, I 
record it in my journal, Avith the hope that my eyes may 
often fall on it. I am almost daily receiving similar letters, 
and how they brace me in my efforts to do my duty, despite 
of the embarrassments which are unnecessarily thrown 
around me ! 

[Letter omitted in the publication of this journal.] 
Do surgeons in the army ever realize that often friends of 
the soldier, at home, are as great sufferers from this war as the 
soldier himself? Do they ever think of the comfort, of the 
happiness they may with a little effort, impart to those w^hom 
they never saw, but are perhaps as active participants in the 
war as those actually in the lines ! and do they begrudge the 
little time and labor required to impart this comfort or conso- 
lation ? 


IBth. We are now all packed ready for a move, awaiting 
only the final order to march. Where or how we go, we do 
not yet know. We learn, however, beyond a doubt, that the 
regiments which disappeared [so mysteriously a few nights 
since, embarked on transports under cover of the darkness, 
and have gone down the river. Their destination is not cer- 
tainly known to us. From present appearances the plan 
seems to be, that the army, with the exception of Smith's 
Division, or perhaps Franklin's Corps, are to embark on trans- 
ports, leaving us to escort and protect our immense transport- 
ation train overland to Fortress Monroe. Should this conjec- 
ture be true, we shall have a hazardous time, unless General 
Pope shall succeed in keeping the enemy so busily engaged as 
to relieve us. I have full confidence that he will exert himself 
to the utmost to relieve us in this manner. 

Our leaders here are rapidly losing the confidence of the 
army and becoming objects of ridicule to the enemy. At 
White Oak Bridge, when we retreated, we left our pickets 
at their posts, without notifying them of our movements. 
They were of course taken prisoners. They have been parol- 
ed and are returning to camp. They say that immediately 
on being captured, they were being examined by a rebel 
Colonel, when Stonewall Jackson came up and upbraided 
the Colonel for spending time with the prisoners. "Let the 
prisoners go," said he, and "press on after the enemy. So 
accustomed have they become to digging that if you give 
them twelve hours' rest, they will dig themselves clear 
under ground." Flattering, truly! I hope General Mc- 
Clellan will note it. But these things must not be talked 
about. Oh, no ! We must see army after army sacrificed, 
the bones of hundreds of thousands of our bravest men 
bleaching on the plains, the nation draped in mourning, and 


not Speak of it lest we shake conjSdence in our Generals, 
who through selfishness or incompetency, I will not yet say- 
treason, are so frequently subjecting us to such contumely 
and sacrifices. History will make sad revelations of this war. 
I verily believe that, could its abuses be fully told, it would 
arouse the people to an enthusiasm which no acts of the 
enemy can excite. Under our present leaders, God knows 
what is to become of us. I have lost all confidence in them. 
In only four months from the time we landed on the Penin- 
sula we had lost nearly two-thirds of the vast army brought 
with us, without one decisive battle ! Since the 20th March 
we have landed here about 160,000 men. I doubt whether 
we could to-day bring 45,000 into action ! At any time be- 
tween October and June last, it has been in the power of this 
army to crush out this rebellion in a month ; and yet the 
rebellion is more formidable to-day than at any previous 
time. Even now we are receiving reports of the discomfi- 
ture of Pope's army, and, notwithstanding that its struggles 
are for our relief, it is unmistakeably evident that the re- 
port gives pleasure to the staffs of McClellan and Hancock. 
It may be so with other staffs ; these are the only ones I have 
seen. Jealousy, jealousy — what will be the end of this ? 
God preserve us. 

Whilst I am noting down these abuses, a strange feeling 
possesses me -, I lose all sense of my determination to aban- 
don this rotten thing, and I resolve here to fight to the 
bitter end. Oh, if we had a Wellington, a Napoleon, a 
Scott, or even a Jackson, to do — something — anything, but 
dig and watch and — ! falsely report ! 

Just as I close this journal of the day, a man rides up 
and tells me that General Pope has had a fight, and " holds 
his own." I hope this is true, but I cannot forget that on 

194 tmp: army of tiik totOxMac. 

the 2()th of June, General McClellan made the army boister- 
ously joyful by his assertion that McCall had thoroughly 
whipped Stonewall Jackton. On the next morning at day- 
light, it was claimed that McCall had only "held his own." 
Two hours later we find that instead of even holding his 
own, he had retreated four miles, but it was only a " strate- 
gic movement," and next day it became necessary for the 
whole army to — not retreat — but — " change its base." All 
this it required to tell the simple truth that w^e were over- 
powered, whipped, and on the retreat. I hope it may not 
now be the beginning of a like history of General Pope's 

14:ih. — At 9 p. M., received orders to be ready to move at 
daylight to-morrow morning, with two days' rations in 
haversacks. The crisis approaches, and wiiilst the men 
are cooking their rations, I note this, and then go to 

15 /A. — Called up at 2 a. m., to be ready to move at day- 
light. Eight o'clock comes, but no order for us to march ; 
10, 12, 2, 4, 8, 10 o'clock at night, and still here. One 
day's rations consumed, men wearied with watching and im- 
patient expectation ; no tents, no comforts, men dropped on 
the ground to rest, whilst other regiments, brigades, divisions, 
are marching by. Many fires kept brightly burning through 
the night, and many soldiers would not lie down, but kept 
watch, momentarily expecting a call to march. This excite- 
ment and waiting, I find, is more wearing to the soldier 
than active duty. 

IQth. — Morning came^ and found us still waiting orders, 
whilst immense trains of teams and masses of soldiery, sick 
and well, are pushing past us. Our division are again to 
bring up the rear, and receive the attack, if one is made. 



This is said to be the post of honor ; but we are beginning to 
feel that we may be "honored over-much." 

At 5 p. M. came the expected and anxiously looked-for 
order, and we are on the road down James River. Not be- 
ing a military man, I may be hypercritical, but it does seem 
to me that it should not require the forty-eight hours which 
we have taken for that purpose, to get out of camp with an 
army no larger than ours ; or, that if so much time is requir- 
ed, the leaders should adopt some system in leaving, so as 
to call the divisions successively to get ready ; not to call 
all at once, and wear out the rear guard with watching and 
with expectation, whilst the advance is passing. Two days 
ago our division was ordered to be ready to march at an hour 
fixed, and to have two days' rations to march on. The two 
days expired without further order to prepare rations, and 
the hour of starting found our rear guard, which is to stand 
the brunt of battle, worn out, and without rations to march 
on! "Shiftless." 

At 11 p. M. we reached Charles City, an extensive capital 
of one of the oldest and richest counties in Virginia. This 
Charles City contains one dwelling house, with three or four 
buildings for "negro quarters," and a court house of about 
20x35 feet, and one story high. In Virginia, they must have 
very little legal justice or very little need of it. From the di- 
rection of our march so far, I judge we go to Fort Monroe, 
and that we shall cross the Chickahominy at its main junc- 
tion with the James. 

17^^. — ^Left Charles City at 5 1-2 o'clock this a. m. 
Beautiful day; clear, windy and cool, but terribly dusty. 
At 3 p. M., crossed the Chickahominy near the mouth, on a 
pontoon bridge. * Pontoon bridges are a success. To-night 

* A pontoon bridge is thus built : Narrow, flat-bottomed boats, about 


we lie at the mouth of the Chickahominy, under protec- 
tion of our gun boats. What a commercial world this State 
of Virginia should be. Its navigable waters are nearly equal 
to that of all the Free States combined ; yet there are single 
cities in the North which have a larger commerce than the 
whole of the Slave States. Why is this 1 Has the peculiar 
institution any thing to do with it ? If so, God, nature — 
everything speaks aloud against it as a curse. The ground 
which we now occupy is one of the most beautiful, as well 
as one of the most desirable sites for a city in America, high 
and dry, with an easy ascent from the water, presenting three 
fronts to the navigable rivers, with fine water views in all 
directions, as extensive as the range of vision, with business 
amounting to one house and a few cords of dry pine wood, 
which seems to be the article of export fi'om this part of the 

There is no longer a doubt that we are leaving the Penin- 
sula. What now becomes of the statement that our retreat 
was only " a change of base ?" 

18/^. — Left camp this morning at 6 o'clock, on the Wil- 
liamsburg road, and at 12 to 1, passed in retreat over the 
scenes of our first hard fight, where my regiment, by its firm 
and unyielding bravery, won the promise that it " should 
have Williamsburg inscribed on its banner ;" a promise rich- 
ly merited but never fulfilled. 

When passing through Williamsburg I, in company with 
Surgeon Frank H. Hamilton, stepped aside to take a stroll 

twenty-five feet long, are anchored in the stream. They lie side by side, from 
ten to fifteen feet apart, so as to make a row of boats from one bank to the 
other. From one to the other, clear across the stream are tied stringers, on 
which are laid down heavy planks, about sixteen feet long, which makes the 
bridge, and which is sufiicient to bear up any number of teams which can be 
crowded on it. 


through the halls and rooms of old William and Mary, the 
oldest college, I believe, except Yale, on this continent. 
There still stood the students' desks and seats, at which Vir- 
gil and Ovid and Horace had kindled whatever spark they 
possessed of poetic fire, and Livy had evoked many a curse 
at his dry detail. There were the black-boards on which the 
mysteries of Euclid were solved into the unwavering language 
of distance and of measure, and there was the old chapel, with 
the benches still in situ, from which for more than a centmy, 
hopeful youths had sat and listened to prayers for their use- 
fulness and prosperity, whilst they laid plans of mischief 
against the supplicators for their good. But the places of the 
Professors were now filled with the inevitable Commissary 
and his aids, with their barrels and then* boxes, whilst the 
benches of the students were crowded with clamors for their 
bacon, beef and beans. I mused for awhile over thoughts 
of the learned men who had passed forever from these 
ancient halls, and of the influences they have left behind 

" Theii- heads may sodden in the sun, 
Their limbs be strung to city gates and walls ; 
Bnt still their spirits walk abroad." 

They certainly do not walk here. The sight would be too 
painful for sensitive and sensible spuits to bear. But these 
thoughts were dissipated as I looked again on the places 
where for the first time any number of our regiment had met 
death on the battle field, and on which it won laurels which 
shall be green forever ! 

At 2 o'clock we encamped on the east bank of Bang's 
Creek, a small stream about three miles from Williamsburg, 
on the banks of which repose the bodies of thousands of the 


Federal army — of those brave men, who, flushed with hope 
and patriotic enthusiasm, rushed boldly to the contest, and 
were permitted to be swept away by hundreds, unsupported 
by commanders, who, with their hosts unengaged, stood calm- 
ly watching the slaughter. 

19/^. — Moved at 7 this morning. Marched to-day over 
much of the same ground which we travelled over on our 
way to Richmond. But strange I There was scarcely a spot 
which I could recognize. Heretofore my memory of places 
has been almost wonderful. Why could I not now recog- 
nize ? Has age impaired my memory, or was my mind af 
the time of passing so occupied with weightier matters that 
ordinary scenes and circumstances made no impression ? 

At 12 M. to-day we reached Yorktown. How wonderfully 
our minds deceive us in estimates of places and things asso- 
ciated with great events! Whoever heard of Yorktown, 
that city on the banks of the noble York River, on the sacred 
soil of the great State of Virginia ? The famous city where 
Lord Cornwallis took his stand to crush out the American 
rebellion — the city in which was fought the last great battle 
for American independence — the mother of a nation, and 
which lives to have witnessed the growth of that nation 
through youth to maturity, from the feeble efforts of infancy 
to the power of a giant, and still lives to look on her offspring 
sent by the convulsive struggles of its own strength, perhaps 
to final dissolution. I ask what mind can contemplate a city 
associated with all these events and recollections, without 
being possessed of ideas of its vastness and its splendor ? 
But what the reality ? Yorktown is a little dilapidated old 
village, which never contained a population of over 200 or 
300, and at the commencement of this war not over 150. 
When I look on its insignificance, or rather on its significant 


littleness, I find it difficult not to detract from the ideas of 
greatness, associated with the great men who figured there. 
How wonderfully have the great advantages which nature 
has lavished on this State been prostituted to the one great 
idea of maintaining her peculiar institution, which she has 
nursed and defended against the approaches of the world, as 
she would protect and encourage the whims and weakness of 
a sickly girl. * 

A circumstance occurred to-day so painful that I should 
like to forget it, yet so suggestive of the trials of this army 
and of the discouragements which has occasioned much of 
their indifierence to events, that I feel it a duty to record it, 
that it may not be forgotten. On the late retreat from Rich- 
mond, most of the men found it necessary to throw away 
everything which impeded their progress, even their canteens. 
During our stay at Harrison's Point they had not been fully 
replaced. This morning we started early. The day has been 

intensely hot, the du.t almost insufferable. Gen. H 

was in command of his brigade. We had made a rapid 
march of about ten miles. The men were fatigued, foot-sore 
and thirsty. In many instances, two or three having to de- 
pend on one canteen, it was soon emptied, and when we 
stopped to rest after the ten mile march, we were in sight of 
a large spring of beautiful cold water. But the General or- 
dered that not a man should leave the ranks to fill his canteen. 
It was hard to bear, but the men submitted in patience till 
they saw the soldiers from other brigades passing from the 

*I think that all the towns on this noble river, from it< joxirce to its mouth, 
will not amount in the aggregate to a population of 2,000 souls ! And the 
)«ame may be said of the James River, from Eichmond to its outlet ; and yet 
these rivers pass through one of the finest agricultural regions in the world. 
There is not a spot of earth, the wheat from which can compete in market with 
that of the James River. 


spring with their canteens filled. This was too much, and 
they commenced crying out "Water, water." Immediately 
the General dashed amongst them, proclaiming "mutiny," 
and demanding the offenders. Of course no one could tell 
who tliey were. He then turned upon the Kegimental and 
Company officers, " damned them to hell," and spent some 
time in consigning the soldiers to the same comfortable quar- 
ters. After he had got them all labeled for that kingdom, 
he told them that their officers were "not worth a G — d 
d n," and having exhausted his vocabulary of gentleman- 
ly expletives, calculated to encourage subordination, he called 
the men into line and put them through the evolutions of a 
brigade drill for about half an hour, and thus were they 
rested to resume the march. These men — this remnant of a 
fine army, who had been dragged through the putrid swamps 
of the Chickahominy till they were more like ghosts than 
men, were thus rested, thus drilled, thus marched, thus 
abused. Surely the end is not yet. 

20^A. — These men, who were yesterday worn out and abus- 
ed, who needed all the rest they could get, were ordered up 
this morning at half-past 2, to march at 4, and then, after be- 
ing formed into line, were kept waiting till 6. The Surgeons 
dare not say, " General, permit me to suggest that this is 
rapidly exhausting the nervous energies of the men, and that 
last night, we had to leave over sixty, overcome by the 
fatigue of the day." It would have been deemed insolent 
and insubordinate in a Surgeon to have suggested that the 
two hours which the soldiers spent on their feet, waiting for 
their officers to get ready, might have been spent with great 
benefit to their health and energies, in bed, and the Surgeons 
must be dumb and the men sick. 

We are to-day passing over some of the places of our former 


defeats — Big and Little Bethel, and the localities of some of 
our unsuccessful skirmishes. 

21st. — Camped last night in sight of Big Bethel, and left 
this morning at 5 o'clock. After a brisk march of four hours, 
we reached Hampton, (12 miles.) As we reached the summit 
of a ridge and the Roads, and the shipping two miles off 
suddenly burst upon the view, how intensely did I realize 
the feeling of a scarred leader in a ten year's war, when, on 
his return he caught the first glimpse of his native land — 

" Italiam, primus conclamat Achates." 

chaptp:r XVI. 


and pope republics, can they stand pressure? "home 

again," one hour too late 01 u retreat. 

On Bbard Oce.'vN Steamer Arago,] 
In Chesapeake Bay. j 

August 'lord. — We have now, at least for the present, bid 
farewell to "the Peninsula," the land of blasted hopes, the 
place of oiu- disappointments, the hot-bed of disgrace to the 
finest army of modern times. General Pope having drawn 
off the rebel army to give us an opportunity to escape from 
our perilous position, we passed from Harrison's Point to 
Hampton without a fight or without a hostile gun be- 
ing fired. Never since the retreat of Napoleon from 
Moscow, has there been so disgraceful a failure as this 
Peninsula campaign ; indeed, not then. For, although 
Napoleon failed in the object of his enterprise, before he re- 
treated he saw the Russian Capital in flames and his enemy 
abandon his stronghold, whilst we witnessed the daily 
strengthening of the enemy's capital, and were driven out of 
the country we went to chastise, without having accomplish- 
ed a single object of our visit. 

Our destination is not yet revealed to us. We suppose it 
to be Aquia Creek, thence to reinforce General Pope, but I 
fear it will be such a reinforcement as will not benefit the 
country or raise the reputation of our already disgraced army. 


The jealousy of our commanders towards General Pope is so 
intense, that if I mistake not, it will, on the first occasion, 
" crop out" in such form as shall damage our cause more 
than all the cowardice, incompetency and drunkenness which 
have so far disgraced our campaigns. General Pope's ad- 
vance proclamation was construed into a strike at McClel- 
lan's manner of warfare, and, notwithstanding that the 
former has publicly disclaimed any such intention, there has ex- 
isted an intense bitterness between the friends of the two ever 
since, nor is it lessened by the subsequent failures of McClellan 
and the reported successes of Pope. It is interesting, but sad- 
dening, to witness the brightening of countenances among 
some of the staffs of the army of the Potomac, whilst listen- 
ing to or reading the reports of the repulses of General Pope. 
Stonewall Jackson's official report of his " splendid victory" 
over our army of Virginia, has caused more joy amongst 
them than would the winn'ng of a splendid success by Mc- 
Clellan himself Our Generals seem to have forgotten that 
this is the people's war, not their' s; that it is waged at the 
cost of the treasure and of the best blood of the nation, not 
to promote the ambitious views of individuals or parties but 
to protect the people's right to Government. I begin to 
fear that patriotism as an element of this army is the excep- 
tion, not a rule. Many years ago Pelham said to an 
officer during a European war, " If you would succeed, con- 
duct yourself as if your own personal ambition was the end 
and aim of the nation. Let others take care of themselves." 
Bulwer was a judge of human nature. 

The more I witness of the workings of this government, 
and of its influences on men and on their aspirations, the 
more do I become satisfied that time and increase of popula- 
tion must ultimately bring a separation of the States. There 


is more territoiy than can be satisfactorily governed in re- 
publican form. This State of Virginia alone possesses all the 
requisites of a great nation. Its navigable fronts communi- 
cating with the ocean, exclusive of its sea coast, equals that 
of almost any nation on the globe. No one, who has not 
actually traversed its great Chesapeake, its Rappahannock, 
York, James, Elizabeth, Potomac, Ohio, and other rivers, 
can form the least idea of the vast commercial resources and 
advantages of this great State. Add what might be, must 
be, will be, its agricultural and mineral wealth, and it be- 
comes a mighty nation of itself Look again at the vast 
Northwest, at the immense region south of Mason and 
Dixon's Line, at the great Pacific slope, and we see a terri- 
tory capable of sustaining its hundreds of millions. With all 
this vast population, under a republican government, each in- 
dividual eligible to and struggling for power, not limited in 
numbers by a circle of nobility, and no power on earth can 
hold together, in brotherly love, so vast a crowd of strugglers 
for place. Separation of the States or formation of a stronger 
government, is, to my mind, but a question of time and of 
denseness of population, and I cannot but look on the present 
struggle more as a war for the maintenance of government 
against anarchy than as a determination to hold in one 
Union, and under one Government, sister States, which can 
never live together in amity. Let this war be prosecuted and 
fought to the bitter end, let us establish beyond all contro- 
versy, the now questioned fact, that man is capable of self- 
government, under a republican form, and then, if a part of 
the States are dissatisfied with a government which they 
cannot control, call a convention of the States or of the peo- 
ple, and let the " wayward sisters depart in peace." Dur- 
ing the contest for the annexation of Texas, I opposed it on 


the ground that we had already more territory than republi- 
canism could govern. For the same reason, the present se- 
cessionists advocated the measure. The Mexican war was 
brought about for the same purpose, and as a link in the' 
great chain, the annexation of Cuba was eagerly sought 

We are feeling sadly anxious for our little army on the 
Mississippi. We seldom hear from them directly, and scarce- 
ly know what credit to give the newspaper accounts. Even 
official reports can no longer be relied on. Pope and Jackson 
have just fought a battle at Cedar Mountain. Each, in his 
official statement of it, has caused great rejoicing amongst 
his friends. Do they both tell the truth when both claim a 
" decisive victory ?" 

2^tJi. — The great size and di'aft of our ocean steamer made 
it necessary for us to lie by last night, and we are this morn- 
ing running into Aquia Creek. 

When we arrived we found no orders awaiting us. Im- 
mediately dispatched the steamer Montreal to Washington 
for instructions. Whilst waiting for dispatches from Wash- 
ington, we have listened to a good sermon on deck, from our 
Chaplain. At half-past 12 o'clock the dispatch boat returned 
from Washington with orders to proceed immediately to 
Alexandria, and disembark. 

Five months ago yesterday, we embarked at the very 
dock at which we now lie, to take Richmond. Now, at the 
end of the five months, we have arrived at the same spot, 
with nearly a hundred thousand less men than we took away, 
having expended $70,000,000, and accomplished nothing 
else which we undertook. It is vain to deny that our cam- 
paign has heen a monstrous failure, that the men have lost 
confidence in their leaders, and that they are feeling, in a 


great measure, indifferent to the result. At 8 p. m. , we are 
again ashore at Alexandria, and the scream of the locomotive, 
the rattling of the cars, the voices of women and children, 
with other signs of civil life, break so strangely on our ears. 
I feel deeply anxious as to the result of General Pope's fight 
yesterday. The enemy have got between him and Washing- 
ton. We can hear nothing from him. and all is uncertainty 
in regard to his little army. God help him ! 

25/^. — At 1 o'clock this morning we stopped two miles 
from Alexandria, on the Fairfax Pike, and bivouaced. I 
threw myself on the ground and slept an hour or two ; woke 
up shivering with cold. I arose, walked a mile to start the 
circulation, then found a large gutta percha bed cover, 
wrapped myself in it, and contrived to sleep warmly till the 
bright rays of the sun in my face called me to consciousness 
again. Our regiment is very much dispirited, and almost 

26 th. — I have been to Washington and Georgetown to- 
day, and really enjoyed the scenes of civil life. There is a 
rumor to-day that our worn-out legiment is to go to Balti- 
more to guard the Fort there. To the regiment generally 
this would be a god-send, but I confess that for myself I 
prefer the active duties of the field. 

'2'Jth. — One year ago to-day I received notice to be ready 
to march with three days rations, at a moment's notice ; and 
three days less than a year ago we settled down near this 
place to bag the army of rebels at Manassas and to close the 
war. We then stayed settled till they left us. We followed 
to take them wherever found ; overtook them at Young's 
Mills, on the Peninsula. After a while we followed them to 
Yorktown. Again sat down and dug holes to bag 'em. 
They went away, and we followed to take them at Richmond^ 


but they getting out of patience at our tardiness, stopped, and 
we blundered on them at Williamsburg, where they saved us 
the trouble and mortification of digging, dying and waiting, by 
coming out and attacking us. Having blundered into this 
fight, we followed on to Richmond. For weeks and weeks 
we digged and died again, giving the enemy time to collect 
his forces from all parts of the country, when he came out, 
and instead of being quietly bagged, drove such of us as 
were living from our pits, and now here we are back again 
with our National Capitol in sight on one side, and the guns 
of the pursuing rebels in hearing on the other. Last night 
he burned one of our bridges between here and Manassa.^, 
and this morning it is said and believed he capture^! . within 
our hearing, a brigade sent out to aid Gen. Pope, whilst here 
sit we idle all the day. Have the people yet begun to ques- 
tion the infallibility of Gen. McClellan ? If ever there was 
an abused army on the face of the earth, this is one, and it 
will yet pass into a by-word that McClellan holds the army, 
whilst his Generals abuse it or use it for their own ambitious 
or mercenary purposes. 

It now looks as if we need not leave this ground to fight, 
])ut that the enemy will advance and give fight on this very 
spot. Even now, whilst I write this sentence, five of the 
12th Pennsylvania Cavalry, of a company left at Manassas, 
ride into camp. They say they were surprised this morning, 
(the old story,) and that these five are all that escaped. Pope 
they say is surrounded by Jackson. I admire this man Jack- 
son. He has snap in him, and deserves to succeed. Admi- 
ration of him, and of his energy, are unmistakable all through 
om- lines. Our men are discouraged, disheartened, and con- 
stantly express the wish that they had such a General to lead 
them to honorable battle. 


Lnte at Niyht. — Oh ! could I have been proved a croaker, 
an alarmist, an anything rather than witness what I have 
seen to-day. Another Bull Run. My writing has been ar- 
rested by the noise of teams on the road. What a sight ! 
The road for miles crowded with straggling cavalrymen, in- 
fantry, and hundreds of contrabands with their packs and 
babies, all fleeing from the fight begun last night at Manas- 
sas. Miles of teams, batteries of artillery, retreating here in 
sight of our Capitol, before an enemy whose Capitol we were 
to have danced in a year ago ! Have I misjudged our lead- 
ers in my frequent bewailings? Have I croaked without 
reason ? Would to God I had, instead of having to witness 
the scenes of this day. I am impatient for the advance of 
the enemy, and hope he will be at us by the next rising of 
the sun. After the late disgraceful scenes, my mortification 
prompts me to wish that we may settle this matter now and 
here. What has this Army of the Potomac done ? What 
attempted ? But hold ! A rumor is just here that Gen. Mc- 
Clellan has stopped the running of the ferry boats between 
Washington and Alexandria, and that he has ordered all the 
water conveyances now in the river to lay alongside of the 
docks at Alexandria. What does it mean? Is it only a 
camp rumor 1 I hope so, for if true it can mean nothing 
short of a preparation to embark the retreating masses. I 
will not believe this, for it would imply that we mean to 
yield our defences here — our strong forts — without any at- 
tempt at defence. I will not credit it, for give the enemy 
possession of Arlington Heights, and Washington cannot 
hold out a day. Eight months ago we boasted an army 700,- 
000 strong. Where are they, and what doing? We are 
driven back here. Buell is in danger at the South. Forts 
Henry and Donelson surrounded for want of troops to defend 


them. Morgan unsupported in Kentucky. At this rate 
what will be worth that political advancement for which our 
Generals plan and sacrifice each other ? What place will the 
nation have worthy a man's ambition? If it be through 
tribulation that a nation is perfected, what a perfect nation 
we soon shall be. I have for a long time wished to resign, 
but I cannot now ; my regiment is in danger, and I must see 
it through. Then for home. 

28t7i. — The news of the morning confirm the rumors of 
yesterday in reference to our disgrace at Manassas. The 
enemy caught the garrison there asleep, took eight guns, and 
captured or routed our force there almost without a fight. 
The Jersey Brigade, which left here yesterday morning, hav- 
ing no knowledge of the taking of the place, weiit up and 
were captured. Pope's communication with AYashington is 
entirely cut off. If I am not mistaken in the character of 
Gen. Pope and his army, Jackson and Longstreet will have a 
lively dance before they succeed in capturing him. McClel- 
lan, they say, is in high glee. Significant ! 

29th. — Struck tents near Alexandria, at 10 a. m., and have 
marched in direction of Fairfax Court House, I suppose to go 
to Bull Run, to reinforce General Pope, who with fifty thou- 
sand men is now engaged with Jackson and Longstreet' s 
army, over one hndred thousand strong. I hope to God that 
may by our destination, and that we may be in time. We 
have marched to-day only about six miles. The day is beauti- 
ful and cool, the roads fine. Why do we not go further. 
Is it because we have other destination than what I 
hoped ? 

SOtk. — We can distinctly hear the fighting beyond Centre- 
ville ; yet we move slowly, and in that direction. This 
fight has been going on for two days, with great advantage 


of numbers and position on the side of the enemy, and yet 
we stop to rest every half hour, when no one is tired. The 
troops have had no marching for a week. What can our 
delay mean ! God send it may not be the jealousy fore- 
shadowed in a letter written to my wife a week ago. Go 
on ! go on ! for God's sake, go on. The whole army says 
go on, and yet we linger here. We stop an hour in the 
suburb of Fairfax, whilst the sound of the fight is terrible to 
our impatience, and we tarry here. 

5 r. M. — ^We have just reached Centreville. The battle 
rages in sight, yet we stop again to rest when no one is 
tired, but all anxious to rush on. After having " rested" for 
two hours, we moved slowly forward for two miles, when 
we met a courier, who exclaimed : " Oh, why not one hour 
earlier !" Close on his heels followed the flying crowd, again 
overpowered, beaten and whipped at Bull Run, the disastrous 
battle field of last year, and we too late to save it. 

Alas, my poor country ! and must you at last be sacrificed 
to the jealousies, the selfishness, the ambition, the treachery 
or the incompetency of those to whom you have entrusted 
your treasure, life, honor, every thing ? Grouchy failed to 
come. So did Hancock, Franklin and McClellan. There 
may be good reasons for our delay, and we not be 
permitted to know v/hat they are. The subordinate is for- 
bidden to discuss the merits or the n^otives of his superior, 
but we must not be blamed for thinking. Pope was whipped. 
Thousands of our neighbors and our friends died on that 
bloody field, whilst struggling to hold it till we could reach 
and save them, and the joyous faces of many ofiicers of our 
Army of the Potomac mii^e us think that the whipping of 
Pope and the slaughter of his men, liad something to do with 


their joy. We could not help thinking, and the army regu- 
lations will be lenient with us, if we will only not tell our 
thoughts. But there is one subject connected with this, on 
which I am inclined to think that, if spirits ever talk, those 
of the slaughtered there will cry aloud, in spite of the army 
regulations. Whilst we rested for hours in sight of the battle 
field, couriers came to us from the Medical Director of 
General Pope's army, asking that our Surgeons might be 
sent forward to the aid of the wounded, as they were suffer- 
ing dreadfully and falling faster than their Surgeons could 
take care of them. On receipt of this message, I saw a 
Surgeon ride up to General Hancock (who was lying on the 
ground) and asked permission to go to their aid; the 
General abruptly ordered him back to his regiment ! I could 
not learn that a single Surgeon tous permitted to go 
forward ! 

Having met the retreating crowd, and night having come 
on, we fell back about two miles, now tired and dispirited, 
and threw ourselves on the ground in and around the fortifi- 
cations at Centreville, and by 12 o'clock we were all resting, 
preparatory to another fight to-morrow. 

31s^. — We were awoke this morning at daylight, by the 
pattering of rain on our faces, and at once went to work pre- 
paring to meet the foe, and perhaps to fight the battle 
decisive of the war and the fate of our poor " friend -ridden" 
country. Oh, my country ; both you and your friends are 
making a history, and when it is written, may I be there to 
help. =^- * * But we are preparing for fight. Must all 
of our great battles be fought on Sundays ? 

10 1-2 A. M.-— " Fall in, fall in." The rain pours whilst 
we march and counter march for an hour, forming into line 


of battle. Why spend so much time at what could have been 
done in twenty minutes. No need of delay, now that Pope 
is ichipped. 

We have remained all day at Centreville. No advance by 
either party. I have a bad cold to night, and lie down with 
wet feet, and between wet blankets, and yet with this dis- 
comfort, how enviable my condition compared with that of 
thousands whom, and whose families our tardiness has 
doomed to a life long intensity of pain or misery. 

Monday, Sept. 1st. — ^The defeat which we met with on 
Saturday, seems to have been a very decisive as well as a very 
destructive one. Our loss is heavy, though I am not without 
hopes that the official report will restore many of our lost men, 
and even place us in possession of the battle field. These 
official statements are powerful weapons, when well wielded. 

We are under a flag of truce all day, removing the dead 
and wounded from the battle field. I have listened to more 
than a hundred funeral sermons to-day, each preached in a sin- 
gle second. A dozen muskets at a single volley, tell most im- 
pressively and laconically the last sad story, and the spirit of 
the departed soldier looks down with sad interest on the 
country which his body can no longer defend. 

The enemy can be seen on the move, some eight miles 
away, and no doubt we shall soon be called to arms. 

At 4 p. M. I went down to aid in the hospitals, worked for 
a short time, and was just prepared, with sleeves rolled up 
and knife in hand, to excise the shoulder of a poor fellow 
whose joint had been shattered, when a call to arms arrested 
further proceedings, and I returned to my regiment. Now, 
as I write, all is packed and ready, and we are ready to fight 
or run. The Lord knows which we shall be ordered to do, 
but presume we shall make another " strategic movement," 


and " change our base of operations," by falling back in the 
night on Washington. I was so severely reprimanded for 
saying that we were whipped at the battle of Mechanicsville 
and Gaines' Mill, that I shall not venture to write that we are 
whipped now, but only think we are. 

A tremendously heavy shower and hard wind set in about 
5 o'clock, and continued till nearly dark, the men sitting in 
line and taking it as they best could. * * * At about 8 
o'clock we took uj) our line of march towards Washington. 
The roads were terrible, the night very dark, yet it was a 
subject of frequent remark that, notwithstanding these em- 
barrassments, we are led much faster from the enemy than 
towards him. After travelling about five miles, we found 
ourselves on the ground where a battle had been fought in 
the afternoon (Chantilly) between Gen. Stevens and the rebels 
who had got in our rear and were trying to cut off our re- 
treat. The enemy was repulsed, but Gen. Stevens was 
killed, and his son wounded 

We marched through the rain dm-ing the night, and at 2 
o'clock A. M. (when I dropped down and slept between my 
wet blankets for about three hours,) we had reached to 
within one and a half miles of Fairfax Court House. I now 
get no letters from home. This being deprived of regular 
mail matter from their homes, is one of the most cruel of all 
the impositions inflicted by government officials on the soldi- 
ers. If these office-holders could but know the deep interest 
with which the most illiterate soldier watches for the mails to 
hear something, anything from the dear home which he des- 
pairs of seeing again, it would move his heart, if he has one, 
not to throw out the soldiers mail to make room for the 

12 o'clock. — More bad news. The dead body of General 


Philip Kearney has just been sent in by the enemy. He was 
killed yesterday, in the fight at Chantilly. This is a great 
loss. " He was the noblest Roman of them all." If Mc- 
Clellan only possessed his dash, this war would not now be 
on our hands. Not an hour before his death, I saw him 
dashing along his lines, then quiet at Centreville, whilst his 
soldiers rent the air with shouts of gladness at the sight of 
him 1 How proud and happy he seemed at the huzzas of his 
" fighting division." He little realized how short-lived the 
pleasure. He started for this place, (Fairfax,) fell in with 
the enemy, who had got in our rear, engaged and repulsed 
him, and lost his own life, and never fell a braver man or 
better fighter. 

Our brigade is here, as on the Chickahominy, the rear 
guard of the army, to protect the rest from a pursuing foe. 
It seems strange that we should so long be exposed in this 
perilous position. After this defeat, I fear General Pope's 
army will be demoralized. 'Tis very sad to listen to the tales 
of bravery and destruction of his devoted troops at Bull Run, 
on Saturday. Again and again, whilst being borne down 
and pressed back by superior numbers, on being told that 
McClellan's army was in sight and hurrying to their support, 
would they rally, cheer, and dash themselves against over- 
powering numbers, and struggle with almost superhuman 
efibrt, to hold the field till we could come up ; and all this 
while we, the " Great Army of the Potomac," were looking 
on, dallying with time, many, no doubt, praying for the 
very disaster which happened. Am I prejudiced that I 
think thus ? Had I not written it in this journal, a week 
before it occurred, I might have hoped so. 

10 p. M. — Again in the camp which we left to go to the res- 
cue of General Pope. 'Tis hard to write of what seems to me 


the infamous closing up of this short campaign ; but it must 
be done. At 4 o'clock p. m., we left our camp, a mile below 
Fairfax, and before 10 o'clock; had accomplished a march 
which had occupied over a day and a half in our hurried 
march to save Pope's army from destruction, our country 
from disgrace, our fellow-soldiers from slaughter! A day^ 
and a half towards the enemy, five hours to get back! 
There, it is written ; it must tell its own story. I have no 
reflections to journalize. We are in camp, and the leading 
officers of our army are preparingybr a good night's rest. I do 
not think many of them will be disturbed by thinking of the 
groans of the wounded and dying whom they saw butcher- 
ed, and reached forth no hand to save. God grant them 
sweet repose and clear consciences. 

3rd. — Moved our camp this morning, to Fort Worth, 
about two miles from Alexandria, a beautiful locality, over- 
looking city and river ; and here, report says, we go into 
garrison for the winter. I would much rather be in the 
field, and now that my regiment is not likely to be exposed 
to active danger, I think longingly of home. 

4/A. — " All quiet on the Potomac." 

5th. — 10 o'clock r. m. Have just received an order to 
cook three days' rations, and be prepared to move at a 
moment's notice. I do not know where we go, but presume 
into Maryland, to resist the advance of Lee and Jackson, 
who we hear are crossing at Harper's Ferry and pushing 
towards Frederick, and perhaps towards Harrisburg, Penn- 
sylvania. If they have crossed with their hundred thousand 
men, and we cannot now, with our large force, hem them 
in and capture them, we deserve to be beaten. Will General 
McClellan let us take them, if we can ! 







Qth. — ^We cooked our rations yesterday, as ordered, but are 
being still to-day. I this afternoon rode down to Alexandi'ia, 
(2 1-2 miles,) remained a short time, and when I returned at 
4 o'clock p. M., found the army in line, ready to march. 
About dark, we started, no one seeming to know whither we 
were going, but at 10 o'clock at night, found ourselves on 
the south end of Long Bridge, opposite Washington. Hav- 
ing crossed the river, we marched with the pomp and bold- 
ness of a victorious army up to the house of the Commander- 
in-Chief, (General McClellan) and inflicted many long, loud 
cheers ; and what an infliction it must have been ! Just one 
year before, he had in a speech to the soldiers, promised them 
that if " you will stand by me, I'll stand by you, and there 
shall be no more Bull Run defeats." And here Ave are, on 
a skedaddle of a most shameful *' Bull Run defeat," cele- 
brating the anniversary of the bomastic, yet puerile speech. 
We are eight miles farther from Richmond than Avhen the 
promise was made, and worse still. Generals Lee and Jack- 
son have pushed us aside at the Bull Run defeat, gone past 

•• n\U. TO THE CHIEF." 217 

as into Marylaud, and threaten Baltimore and Harrisburg. 
Yet, amidst all my mortification, I have been unable to re- 
strain a laugh at the ridiculousness of our position, as we 
pass through Washington. For weeks, we have, by night, 
been stealing away from the enemy in such trepidation that 
the breaking of a trampled stick would startle us, lest the 
noise might discover our position to the pursuers. Whilst 
crossing Long Bridge to-night. General Hancock ordered all 
the music to the front, and as we marched through the 
streets to the tune of " Hail to the Chief who in Triumph 
Advances," I could not for the life of me, restrain a laugh at 
the thought of some poor old dung-hill cock, whipped till 
feathers were all plucked and rufHed, running away from his 
victorious antagonist, then perched on his own ground, and 
peeping from behind a bush to see that no little chanticleer 
was in hearing, would raise himself up and perj e rate his 
biggest " cock-a-doodle-doo." 

" Hail to the Chief who in triumph iidvanccs." 

Having crowed this big crow on the threshhold of General 
McClellan's house, we passed on through Washington and 
Georgetown, and as no army was endangered by our delay, 
we have marched all night, stopping at daylight near Tennal- 
ly Town, Maryland. 

1th. — Having marched all night, I slept until awakened by 
the city bells, the first I had heard for nearly eight months. 
How forcibly I felt the application to the wilderness in which 
we had been, of Selkirk's soliloquy: 

" The sound of the church-going bells 

These valleys and rocks never heard, — 

Never pighed at the sound of a knell, 

Nor smiled when a Sabbath appeared." 


It lias been a beautiful Sunday, and we have been 
all day "lying around loose," (no tents pitched) awaiting 

Had it not been for tliis move, I should now ha\ e been 
packing up for home. We supposed that we were to remain 
idle in garrison this winter, and my Colonel promised that he 
would approve and aid me in getting the acceptance of my res- 
ignation. On appearing at his tent four days ago, with my res- 
ignation, I received orders for this march. I did not present 
it, and do not know now when I shall ; but not on the eve of 

Yesterday, (I learn,) General McCiellan Avas made Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the combined armies of Virginia and the 
Potomac. This looks very much as if there was some truth 
in the statements of his friends, that he had been held back 
and controlled in his movements by the President and 
General Halleck : very much, in fact, as if it were an ac- 
knowledgment that General McCiellan had had but 
little voice in the management of the war, and that his 
superior officers were in the wrong. Should this prove true, 
I shall have much to atone for in the wrong I have done 
him in this journal. How gladly will I make all the amends 
in my power, should he only now prove to be the man for 
the occasion, and close up this war, as he has promised to 
do. This prompt and sudden move, too ; this all night 
march in pursuit of the enemy, on the very first day of his 
accession to the command, gives additional ground for a be- 
lief in the hypothesis. God grant that it may be true, and 
that our General may by saving the country, retrieve his own 
waning popularity. 

Sth. — Marched again last night. Started at dark, and 
moved till about midnight. Were called before daylight this 


morning, started early, passed through Rockville. Stopped 
to rest for two or three hours, left knapsacks and baggage, 
and pushed forward. Verily, there may be mettle in General 
McClellan, after all. This is so different from our wont, 
that w^e appear to be under another dynasty. The army is 
elated. Let us hurrah for McClellan! But we must 
do it cautiously ; we are not quite out of the woods. 

Having lightened ourselves of our baggage, we mov- 
ed on, our transportation wagons keeping up with us. 

9th. — ^At midnight last night, we had but just got to rest, 
when we were called up to unload our wagons, taking out 
only such baggage as would be absolutely necessary on a 
forced march. The rest was sent back by teams. This les- 
sening of transportation of leaving of packs, looks as if our 
leaders expected work to-day or to-morrow. I think we 
shall not have it so soon ; but our leaders are at least on the 
alert. May this energetic stir be continued to a decisive 
result ! Many think that we shall have no fight here at all, 
that the rebels have crossed in considerable numbers, with 
the view of drawing us away, but that their chief army is at 
Alexandria, ready to attack it so soon as we are enticed far 
enough away. 

Six weeks ago we held almost the whole of Eastern Vu*- 
ginia •, now, not a spot of it securely, unless it be a little piece 
around Alexandria. But with a continuance of the en- 
ergy manifested for the last few days, we can soon re- 
take it. 

At present, the darkest shade cast upon the country is by 
our currency. These five cent shin-plasters I do not like, and 
I like less the false pretence under which they are issued. 
Why call them "postal currency?" What have they to do 


with "■ postal" affairs ? 'Tis time the government had quit 
cheating the people by disguising facts. If five cent issues 
are necessary, say so frankly, and make them, but let us 
have no more of this miserable deceit, with the more miser- 
able looking rags. 

We marched this morning through Darnestown, and there 
turning from the main road to the left, proceeded towards a 
ford in the Potomac, expecting to meet the enemy there and 
dispute his passage. Finding no enemy, we bivouaced for 
the night on Seneca Creek, a beautiful stream, at this point 
about two miles from the river. Crouch's division lay in 
front of us. Much diarrhsea amongst the troops. In conse- 
quence of a scorbutic tendency in the whole army, the free 
indulgence in the green fruits found by the way side seems 
i-ather to alleviate than to increase the diarrhsea. 

lOth. — Returned to the main road this morning, followed 
it for a short distance, then, turned to the right, towards 
Frederick, by the way of Sugar Loaf Mountain. For two 
days we have been marching in full view of the Alleghany 
spurs, and to-night sleep within three miles of the foot of the 
Sugar Loaf These mountains present a spectacle both grand 
and sublime, when viewed at a distance. 'Tis worth a half a 
life of travel to see them. The men, to-day, have been forced 
beyond their power to endure, and very many of them have 
fallen out. Indeed, some regiments are reduced, to-night, to 
less than half the numbers with which they started in the 
morning. Rumors vague as vast, in reference to the strength 
of the enemy in Maryland, meet us to-day. They are vari- 
ously estimated by those who have seen them, at from 
thirty thousand to two hundred and fifty thousand — a great 
margin, truly. We meet to-day, occasionally, our wounded 


cavalry men, coming in from successful skirmishing with the 
enemy's outposts about Poolesville and Sugar Loaf; but they 
have fallen in with no large body of troops. 

11th. — Generals Hancock's and Brook's brigades started 
this morning, on a reconnoisance towards Sugar Loaf 
Mountain. There is no longer a doubt that the enemy is in 
possession of Frederick, and has been for some days. Recon- 
noitering party discovered no enemy in force. It has rained 
to-day, and I now prepare to lie down, sick and tired at the 
foot of the mountain. 

12th. — Dreamed last night of social scenes and comforts, 
and woke up a little home sick. I was not made better by 
the appearance of a cup of wishy-washy coffee which was set 
before me; but, observing my old man carefully washing 
himself, after he had served my breakfast, I enquired of him, 
why so particular to wash after cooking. He replied that he 
had not water enough at first to wash and get breakfast, too, 
so he concluded to use what he had for cooking, and to get 
some to wash him afterwards. This, of course, settled all 
daintiness in regard to the poor coffee, and I took my break- 
fast with a relish, thinking no more of home and its comforts. 
My home sickness was cured. 

At 12 o'clock to-day, we moved again, starting in the di- 
rection of Frederick, but after a short march we bore away to 
the left. This, in connection with the fact that General 
Burnside, with his corps, is ahead of us, and that we have 
heard heavy firing in that direction, induces me to believe 
that the enemy are leaving, and swinging around in the 
direction of Middletown, to take the valley between the Blue 
and Elk Ridges, and to recross the river above Hai-per's 
Ferry. At dark we encamped to the northwest of the Loaf, 
near its base, with our backs towards Frederick. It is sur- 


prising what a change has taken place in the feehngs and ap- 
pearance of the men. The sallowness of face has given place 
to flush, the grumbling of dissatisfaction to joyous hilarity, 
the camp at night, even after our long marches, resounds 
with mirth and music. 

The boys feel that we are now in active earnest, and Mc- 
Clellan stock is rapidly rising. 

Saturday, loth. — Moved this morning at 7, leaving Fred- 
crick behind us. At 8, crossed the Monocacy, (a beautiful 
stream,) at BuckeytoAvn, Maryland. Here heavy firing in 
the du-ection of Frederick, but as the day advances, swinging 
around towards Harper's Ferry, from which we infer that 
Burnside is driving the enemy. Burnside is one of our reli- 
able men, and rarely fails in what he undertakes. The 
enemy has been promised that if he will come in force into 
Maryland, he will get fifty thousand recruits from the State. 
He has come. Will the promise be met ? A few days will 
tell. We too bear more towards the Ferry ; I hope to inter- 
cept the retreat. But we move more slowly. Why ? God 
forbid that our General, so rapidly rising, should, as he ap- 
proaches danger, fall into his old habit, and disappoint all of 
our new born hopes. We laid still a long time at Buckey- 
town, then moved slowly forward for two miles, having made 
only four miles march to-day. At 9 p. m., as I wiite this, we 
are called to move, and the journal of to-morrow must tell the 
events of the night. 

14:th. — At 9 o'clock last night we took up our march 
across Catochtin Mountain. At 9 1-2, as we climbed the 
mountain side, the moon rose beautifully lighting up hill and 
valley, and shrub, and tree. 'Twas all beautiful. The 
mountain air was brisk and cool. A march of four miles 
carried us over the mountain, and we bivouaced in Middle- 


town Valley, one of the prettiest countries I ever saw, in the 
suburbs of the pleasant and flourishing little village of Jef- 
ferson. Here we got varied and various estimates of the 
strength of the enemy, who had passed through. We found 
here much evidence of loyalty, and were confirmed in the be- 
lief that Lee would be disappointed in his expectation of re- 
ceiving fifty thousand recruits by his raid into Mary- 

Of all the States I have yet seen, Maryland bears ofi:' the 
palm. Its people, its hills, its valleys, its soil, its climate — 
all bespeak it one of the most favored States of tlie Union. 
The loyalty of its people, too, is intense, for whilst the sym- 
pathies of nine-tenths of them are with the people of the 
South, and opposed to our Administration, they positively 
refuse to join the insurgents in any illegal step. They would 
like to go out legally, but will fight for execution of the laws 
which confine them to the Union. The very limited success 
of Lee, in adding to his already large army in Maryland, is 
the strongest evidence of their sincerity. May God preserve 
this beautiful and loyal State from the ravages of actual 
war, and its people in their horror of treason and rebellion. 

'Tis again Sunday, and again vre are fighting all around. 
How strange that so many of our big fights should occur on 
Sunday. Six miles to our right, and in full view, Generals 
Burnside and Sumner are fighting, in an attempt to force a 
strongly defended mountain pass, one mile and a half in our 
front, the advance of our own corps are trying to force an- 
other pass, (Crampton's,) whilst seven miles to our left, the 
fight at Harper's Ferry is raging. How much hangs on 
this day. 

•4 p. M. — Hurrah ! Burnside has forced the pass at South 
Mountain, has crossed and is following up the retreating 


enemy. He has had a severe figh^, with heavy loss on both 
sides. General Reno, I hear, is killed •, another of our best 
men gone. Some are so uncharitable as to accuse General 
McClellan of wilfully and unnecessarily ordering him to a po- 
sition from which escape from death was almost impossible. I 
will not believe it. 

7 p. M. — Hurrah again ! General Slocum, from our corps, 
has forced Crampton's pass in our front, and is in pursuit. 
The enemy's loss is heavy ; ours comparatively slight. This 
is a terrible pass, and it seems wonderful that any army 
could force it against an opposing foe. It is in the shape of 
a triangle, the base being at the top of the mountain, the 
apex at the bottom. Into this narrow point our army had 
to crowd its way, up a mountain almost perpendicular, 
whilst musketry and artillery enfiladed our advancing lines 
at every point. Yet our men, with the cool determination 
of veterans, forced their way steadily through the Gap, up 
the precipitous sides of the mountain, and drove the enemy 
from his stronghold. 

Again am I separated from my regiment. Sent for at 8 
o'clock, to organize and take charge of another hospital for 
the wounded ; but this time I do not complain. My regi- 
ment was not in the fight, and will not sufier by my absence, 
although I leave it without an Assistant Surgeon. How 
strange, that in no instance, since the battle of Williams- 
burg, have I had an assistant in the tiiiie of battle. Always 
sick or out of the way. Could I thus be absent without re- 
proach ? Not without self-reproach, at least. 

loth. — 1 o'clock A. M. — I am now through dressing the 
wounds of those in my hospital. The next house to me is 
also an hospital, (a large church in the village of Burketts- 
ville. ) In it I hear the cries and moans of distress. To me, 

harper's ferry TREASON. 225 

the sounds seem at this distance to be those of men neglect- 
ed. God forbid that it be so, for they liave plenty of Sur- 
geons there. 

Having, by the kind assistance of Doctor Garrett, a good 
and excellent physician of the village, got through with my 
dressings and seen my patients all asleep. I, in company 
with Doctor G., visited the other hospitals to offer our servi- 
ces to the Surgeons there, but we found the Surgeons had 
gone to bed, leaving the wounded to be cared for in the 
morning I I then returned to my hospital, and to my great 
gratification, found nearly every wounded man asleep, and 
this, notwithstanding they were wounded in all parts of 
the body — broken thighs, legs, feet, shot through the lungs, 
back, bowels. After they were dressed, the free use of ano- 
dynes and anasthsectics had relieved the pain, and after a 
day of fotigue, danger and suffering, they were resting 
quietly. * * * * >i' * 

At 9 1-2 this morning, I was, at my earnest request, re- 
lieved from the care of hospital and permitted to return to 
my regiment. 

A little circumstance occurred last night, Avhich, as it may 
be important, I here journalize. A rebel Lieutenant was 
brought into my hospital to take care of his Captain, who 
was severely wounded. After I had got through my dress- 
ing, I fell into a conversation with him on the subject of 
the war and its probable results. He was well informed, in- 
telligent, and communicative. During the conversation he 
quizzically asked me what I thought of the surrender of Har- 
per's Ferry ? I replied, laughingly, that it would be time for 
me to think of it when it should take place. " But," said 
he, "it has already taken place!" "When?" "About 
sun-down." " How do you know V " No matter ; it is 


sufficient for us that it took place about sun-down." His 
manner was assured and confident. What does it mean ? 
Is there treason there, and has he had an inkling of it ? This 
is a strange war, and a strange world. This noon we hear 
whispers that Harper's Ferry is surrendered. At 9 o'clock 
this A. M., the firing there ceased. It could not have been 
surrendered at sun-down last night, as the Lieutenant stated ; 
but has it been this morning ? And if yes, had he any know- 
ledge that it was to be, and some circumstances have 
occurred to delay the act ? We must wait and learn. 

But why did we not go yesterday to the relief of Harper's 
Ferry, if it were in danger ? We had whole divisions of 
men idle all day, and were within two hour's march of the 
place ? Had we another rival there to kill oJff? Why did we 
|)ermit a whole transportation train to pass under easy rraige 
of our batteries, and escape without a shot ? God forgive 
my suspicions as to our leaders, but preserve the country from 
their machinations — if they liave any. 

Idth. — The mystery is solved. At 8 o'clock yesterday morn- 
ing. Harper's Ferry capitulated, (report says, with eight 
thousand men, forty cannon, and one thousand two hundred 
horses,) and we have been for two days in sight, and march- 
ing less than five miles a day, by a circuitous route. It looks 
as if the old game is to be re-enacted. Who is there at 
Harper's Ferry to be jealous of? 

2 r. M. — Tremendous firing along the mountains to our 
right, some five miles distant. A rider has just arrived from 
that direction, and reports that Reno's forces, to the number 
of ten thousand or fifteen thousand, has surrendered. I 
do not credit it, but if true, it would indicate a larger force 
in our front than I supposed, and will explain the necessity 
of our lying here idle, instead of going to Harper's Ferry. 


But it seems impossible that we could permit two surrend- 
ers in one day, in sight of us, and we lie all the while 
idle. Well, well ; we are engaged with the enemy, and 
shall soon know the worst. Another arrival from Harper's 
Ferry. He confirms the story of the surrender there, and 
says that Colonel Miles capitulated, almost without a fight, 
and that he was instantly shot by one of his own men. This 
last story I doubt, though he is certainly shot and mortally 
wounded. At night, Colonel Miles is dead. 

Wednesday^ Vith. — A day of momentous events. The 
battle of Antietam is fought. I had before been near bat- 
tles, at battles, in battles; but never till to-day was I 
throujh a battle. For miles around me, it has been one 
continuous battle field. Look where I would, and when I 
would, the battle was all around me. Since Friday last, this 
series of battles has been growing harder and harder. To- 
day, both parties were reinforced to about one hundred 
thousand men each, and the battle has been terrible, but 
there is nothing decisive. AYe hold most of the ground 
held by the enemy in the morning, but the parties lie on their 
arms in sight of each other, ready to renew the slaughter 
with the coming of light. So terrible has been the day ; so 
rapid and confused the events, that I find it impossible to 
separate them, so as to give, or even to form for myself any 
clear idea of what I have seen. I hope it will be different 
when the mind has accustomed itself a little to thinking over 
the events and the horrors of the scene. Many illustrious 
dead will be counted to-night, and, oh ! how many sad 
hearts to-morrow, and how many to-morrows of sadness. 
Amongst the sufferers, I hear that Generals Mansfield and 
Richardson are mortally wounded. Surgeon White, Medi- 
cal Director of General Franklin's Corps, is killed. Poor 


fellow, the excitement of the battle upset his intellect. He 
applied to the General for a regiment to dislodge the rebels 
from a wood in our front. The General replied that his whole 
corps could not do it. Then said the Surgeon, " I must do 
it myself," and putting spurs to his horse, dashed off for 
the woods. Before reaching it, he of course was shot and 

As for myself, I feel that I have relieved much suffering 
to-day. I have shed many tears, too, over the distresses of 
both loyal and rebel men. As I approached one poor fellow, 
a Georgia rebel, lying wounded on the field, he was hiding 
something from me. I took it from him, and on unfolding 
it, found it to be a potograph of wife and children. I raised 
him U]) to look at it, and our tears mingled over the shadows 
of his loved ones, whose substance neither of us is ever like- 
ly to see. How easy the gradation from sympathy to affec- 
tion. I am getting to love these suffering rebels. ^ * j 
wish I could describe something of the scenes of to-day, but 
cannot. They are all indistinct to me. Perhaps some day 
I shall be able, from these notes, to give them shape in 
my journal. 

At 9 o'clock to-night, an officer, a confidential friend of 
General McClellan, rode along the lines, and said that the 
General promises us an infantry fight to-morrow. This 
means a hand to hand fight, when the best army must pre- 
vail and a deceive result occur. There is great rejoicing 
thereat amongst our troops. They say, here we are, both 
armies in force. Let us now come together and settle this 
war. If they can whip us, why not let us die like soldiers, 
and end the war. If we are the stronger party, why delay ? 
Let us destroy them, close the strife, and return to our 
homes. Loud huzzas and hosannas for McClellan resound 


along the lines to-night. Should he destroy this army to- 
morrowa he will be the biggest man in America, and will 
have merited the title of the Young Napoleon. How re- 
joiced I shall be to find that all my censures of him are un- 
founded I 

Our wounded have suffered much to-day for want of chlo- 
roform. I think that not over three or four surgeons on the 
field had a supply. I saw but two who had. Why will sur- 
geons permit themselves on a campaign like this to be with- 
out the necessary articles of comfort for the wounded ? The 
few pounds on hand were exhausted in less than three hours. 
The men lay suffering from their v>'ounds, and in many in- 
stances surgeons were operating without it. Government 
teams had not come up. What could we do ? In this di- 
lemna, at the very right moment, in stepped Mrs. Harris, of 
Philadelphia, with the announcement that she had just ar- 
rived with twenty pounds of chloroform from the U. S. San- 
itary Commission. What an angel of mercy is this Mrs. 
Harris! What a source of ever present comfoit and well 
directed effort is that Sanitary Commission ! The soldiers of 
this army will have cause of prayer for it in their living and 
in their dying hours. 

18th — 7 A. M. — All night the litter-bearers were passing by 
and over me where I lay on the ground They were bearing 
off the wounded. I had worked from daylight till 1 1 at 
night, and was exhausted. Yet I could not but reproach 
myself for resting whilst these men were at work among the 
sufferers. I could not help it. My Assistant Surgeon left 
me on our arrival at the battle-field. I worked without his 
aid, and was worn out. From the General's promise last 
night, we expect to-day the great fight of the war. 

9 o'clock. — No fighting yet. I have ridden over the battle- 


field of yesterday, and what a scene ! The dead in rows — in 
in piles — in heaps — the dead of the brute and of the human race 
mingled in mass. Here lies the boy of fifteen years, hugged in 
the death embrace of the veteran of fifty — the greasy blouse 
of the common soldier here pressing the starred shoulder of 
the Brigadier. The moans of the wounded draw me further 
on, and whilst I administered to their wants, the bullets of the 
enemy's sharpshooters passing in unpleasant proximity ad- 
monished me that I was too far in advance. I returned, and 
what a comfort to be again amongst the dead / With the 
wounded I must speak consolation, but could feel none, at 
least in many instances ; and whilst I was leaving dying 
trtrangers with their kisses on my hands, and their last 
prayers for me (because of the hopes I had revived) on their 
lips, I felt that I had deceived them. But I am again 
amongst the dead, where no moans, no death struggles, no 
last prayers excite in me the painful consciousness of impo- 
tence to relieve, and with a deep feeling of relief I can say of 
those around me, that 

" After life's fitful fever they sleep well." 

At 10 A. :m. the battle is not renewed. My regiment, 
though in line all yesterday and till now, has taken no part in 
the battle. It will probably open the fight to-day, for which 
we are all growing impatient. I have scarcely a hope that 
one half of it will ever return from the attack for which it is 
so impatient. God preserve it. I love this regiment, and I 
have now good reason to believe that all my affection is re- 
ciprocated. For its sake I' am willing to bear much — ^risk 
much. I just learn that we had five Generals badly wounded 
in the fight yesterday — Mansfield and Richardson, mortally ; 
Hook, Max Weber, (the other I have not. learned.) 


No tight yet. Little flags of trace, which none acknowl- 
edge, but all respect, are on all parts of the field to-day, and 
the ^lay is being spent in caring for the wounded, and in 
burying the dead. 

Night has come, but the day brought no fight. The army 
is disappointed and impatient, and here and there can be 
heard a complaint at the returning tardiness of McClellan. 
The universal prayer of the army is that we may be permit- 
ted to end this war, now and here. At 10 o'clock at night 
the flags of truce still Avave,-and are seen by the bright twink- 
ling of the lanterns over the battle-field. The voice of war is 
still hushed in the solemnities of burying the dead. 

10th. — At daylight this morning I was called \^\^ by aii 
orderly with an order to repair to the battle-field at once and 
organize another hospital, and with the intelligence that dur- 
ing the night the enemy had been permitted to escape across 
the river, and had left some three hundred of our wounded, 
who had fallen into their hands, on the field. At the mo- 
ment of my entering the building intended for the hospital, 
letters dated 6th, 7tli and 9th inst., from wife and children, 
were put into my hands, but though I had so seldom heard 
from the loved ones at home, the scenes of suffering about 
me forbade the indulgence of a selfish inclination to read the 
highly prized missives, and I put them aside till the business 
of the day was over. '>' * * Oh the 

demoralization of an army. But I will not write a descrip- 
tion of what I have witnessed of this, as I hope to forget 
this trait in human nature, as developed by this war. 

Our army have given chase to the enemy, and the organi- 
zation of my hospital being completed, I left it in other 
hands, and have followed on and overtaken our corps on the 
Potomac river, about two miles above Sharpsburg. The 


feeling against Gen. McClellan to-day is no longei* exuressed 
in muttered disaffection, but in loud and angry execration. 
The soldiers cannot be reconciled to their disappointment, 
and to our having permitted Gen. Lee to escape with his 
army. My own hopes that he would retrieve his lost charac- 
ter are all gone. I have lost all confidence in him. lie can 
be nothing short of an imbecile, a coward, or a traitor. 

The battle field this morning presented scenes, Avhich, 
though horrible, were of deep interest to the physiologist. 
On a part of the field the dead hud lain for forty-eight hours, 
the Northern and the Southern soldier side by side. Whilst 
the body of the Southern soldier was black and putrid, w^hol- 
ly decomposed, in the Northern decomposition had scarcely 
commenced. Why this difference ? 

A fight at Shepardstown took place this afternoon. The 
enemy were posted on the mountain, on the opposite side 
of the river. A division (Butterfi eld's, I think,) was sent 
over to reconnoitre. They encountered a murderous fire, and 
enough got back to tell the tale. Yet, we get despatches 
telling us of our victory there, and of the large amount of 
transportation Ave have captured. The old story over 

I omitted to say in the proper place, that the report of the 
surrender of General Reno's command, last week, was 
a canard. I regret that of his death was too true. 

20th. — 11 o'clock A. M. — I worked too hard yesterday, and 
was so tu-ed that I could not sleep last night. Fortunate for 
me that we have not moved to-day ; I must have been left. 
I am feeling better now, however, and if we rest till evening 
I shall be able to go on. Terrible fighting ahead, within 
three or four miles, and in hearing of us. I do not know 
where, nor by what forces. I was stopped writing here by — 


^'ho comes to me, loaded with packages from home I How 
appropriate the contents, and what a reUef. This morning, 
put on my last pair of socks, having worn ragged ones for a 
week, fearing to use the only ones left. The package con- 
tains some beautiful ones sent me by good friends, who seem 
never to forget my needs. I ought to be grateful and I am. 
A box of cigars, too, very fine ones, from my good friend 

B . I fully appreciate the kindness which dictated this 

attention, and shall not forget it. 

p. M. — I have kept my bed — no, my lie-down on the 
broad surface of mother earth, with her clean and fragrant 
spreads and quilts and counterpanes of clover, and now feel 
rested and refreshed. Was called an hour since, to have all 
ready for a move. I am packed, and hear that we are to 
march to-night. 

lip. M. — Called into line from our earthy beds and under 
the cover of the dark black night, through which peeps a few 
bright stars we take up our march. Passing Sharpsburg, 
and one or two log cabin villages, we halted at daylight 
about two miles southeast of Williamsport, a village on the 
Maryland side of the Potomac, with a population, I should 
judge, of five or six hundred. 

Sunday, 2\st. — The rebel army, reported at eighty thou- 
sand, but probably a small portion of it, numbering less than 
one quarter of that estimate, was encamped last night, with- 
in two miles of where we halted this morning. They left, 
however, on our approach, and we did not get sight of them. 
We moved again at 9 o'clock this morning, and having 
wandered through the fields for two hours, apparently with- 
out a definite object, we have again bivouaced almost in sight 
of WilUamsport. We are in a beautiful grove, and here I 
hope we shall be permitted to spend the Sabbath in quiet. 


The enemy has escaped our "bag," and why sp hitter on now, 
as if we meant to do something. / am now satisfied that 
this armi/ loill win no decisive battle whilst under command 
of General George B. McGlellan. It is not apart of his 

Monday, 22 nd. — A beautiful morning and all quiet, except 
that the officers are pitching tents and fixing up tables, as if 
for a stay. But that is no indication of what is in store for 
us ; even before night we may be ordered to pull up and move 
again. But this would be very cruel. Our poor, worn out 
enemy, having fought and been driven for seven days, and 
now being entirely without provisions, must be exhausted and 
need rest. How cruel it would be to pursue him, under 
these circumstances. The kind heart of our Commander can 
entertain no such idea. 

In the afternoon, I rode up to Williamsport and found the 
town full of soldiers. A little incident occurred, which I 
shall notice. Walking through the streets I encountered a 
young lady, fresh, rosy, plump and pretty. Her look told 
me that she would like to speak to me, but she was hesitating 
as to the propriety of doing so. I spoke, and she at one 
commenced a conversation on the war. She said that last 
night there were three thousand rebels encamped near by, 
and that we might easily have captured them. She pointed 
out to me with much military tact, how they might have 
been sm-rounded, and then said she could not get any one to 
come in the night and inform us, though only two miles 
away ; that she got ready to come herself, but (with tears 
and sobs) that her father would not let her, and only 
becanse it was night. Poor child, I did want to kiss her. 

Not for the sake of the kiss. Oh, no ! 

But only foi- sympathy, you know — you know. 


I have suffered some to-day, from a most singular pain in 
my finger. It is peculiar, and runs up the lymphatics 
to the arm and shoulder. Ordered to move at 7 to- 
morrow morning. 

2Sd. — Hung around, and did not get into motion till to 2 
p. M. Marched four or five miles down the river and bivou- 
aced. The pain in my finger grows more severe and ex- 
tends to the scapula. It is a sickening pain and proves to be 
the result of a scratch by a spiculum of bone, whilst I was 
examining a gangrenous wound at Antietam (dissecting 
wound). I cannot say that I apprehend danger from it, but I 
wish it were well. 

General Hancock has been removed from the command of 
our Brigadcj and we have had a whole week of quiet, with- 
out the startling profanity to which we were becoming ac- 
customed. For a whole week, I am not aware that a single 
officer of our Brigade has been ': d — m-d to h-11." 

24cth. — All quiet this morning. The day is beautiful and 
bright. I am feeling badly, but as my wound has began to 
superate, I think I shall be better shortly. I have great con- 
fidence in the recuperative power of my constitution, and trust 
it will be sufficient to eliminate this poison. 

We have now had time to look over the late battles and to 
reflect on the results. We have successfully fought the 
whole force of the enemy for five days. We drove them at 
every place, and on the sixth day we permitted them, worn 
out, discouraged, and out of rations, to depart unmolested. 
They admitted to our wounded, whose haversacks they 
robbed, that all they had to eat was Avhat they had taken 
from our wounded. Gen. McClellan's aims were satisfied 
Avith clearing Maryland of the enemy, when destruction or 
capitulation should have been demanded. This I do not 


doubt will be the verdict of history. But how terrible wa8 
our loss ! Nine Generals fell, killed or wounded, in their 
determined efforts to vindicate McClellan. All in vain. 

We are again on the sea of uncertainty, in relation both 
to the character of our leaders, and the prospects of the 

'2Sth — Well, Gen. Lee is, safely to himself, out of Mary- 
land, into which he came in the confident expectation of ad- 
ding at least fifty thousand men to his army, but which he 
left with fifteen thousand less than he brought in. 

My hand is excessively painful, though all constitutional 
symptoms have left. Suppuration has fairly set in, and I no 
longer feel any uneasiness as to results. 

26? A. — Another quiet day in camp. I applied to-day for a 
furlough, which I doubt not will be granted. I have worked 
hard and constantly for sixteen mouths, and as I am now for 
a time disabled, I can conceive of no reason why I may not 
be relieved for a few weeks. No attempted solution yet of 
the question ^' Why did not McClellan crush or capture the 
rebel army after the battle of Antietam ?" This question is 
made peculiarly pertinent by the fact, now ascertained, that 
we had on the ground the morning after the battle, a force of 
men (not one of whom had been in the battle of the day be- 
fore) nearly if not quite equal to Lee's entire army. 

21th. — " All quiet on the Potomac," and no movement of 
troops to-day." 

28?A. — Rode to Sharpsburg to-day to procure some medi- 
cines, of which we are sadly deficient. Found a purveyor 
there, but he had no medicines except morphine and brandy. 
I passed over Antietam battle-field. The smell was horrible. 
The road was lined with carriages and wagons conveying 
coffins and boxes for the removal of dead bodies, and the 


whole battle-field was crowded with people from distant 
States exhuming and removing the bodies of their friends. 
'Twas a sad, sad sight, and whilst the world is calculating 
the chances of war, and estimating its cost in dollars, I am 
dotting down in my memory the sad scenes I witness as 
small items in the long account of heart-aches. 

29th. — To-day received the anxiously expected furlough, 
and now for my dear, dear home, from which I have been 
absent for nearly a year and a half Now for a visit to my 
dear wife and children I I have ridden since night to Ha- 
gerstown, where I shall stop till morning, then hie me onward. 
My hand is very painful and much swollen, but I anticipate 
no results from it more serious than severe pain. 

30lh. — Left Hagerstown at 8 this forenoon. Stopped five 
hours at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and now again am on 
the way to , and I hope to meet with no more de- 

31st. — Reached home a little after midnight, found my 
family/ all weU, and / verify believe are glad to see me. 

[The month of October was spent away from camp, and 
I omit my private journal during the time.] 





November \st. — At 12 o'elock, niglit, I reached camp, two 
miles north of BerUn, Maryland. Again I have left the 
pleasures of a cheerful, happy home, to encounter the hard- 
ships of camp life and to engage in the turmoil, the trials and 
the dangers of a war in which it is difficult to tell whether 
the hope of manufacturing political capital or of sustaining 
a government is the dominant motive. 

Sunday, 2d. — All quiet to-day, preparatory to moving. 
Spent most of the day in calling on and receiving calls from 
the officers and soldiers of the regiment. All seemed glad 
to welcome me back. I hope and believe they were sincere 
Went to church in the afternoon, but heard no sermon. 

3c?. — ^Division left camp at 7 this a. m., crossed the Poto- 
mac at Berlin, on a pontoon bridge, and march in a 
southwestern direction through Lovettsville. The Blue 
Ridge loomed up all day, to our right, and separated us from 
the Shenandoah Valley. All day we hear heavy firing be- 
yond the Ridge, at Snicker's Gap, through which the 
enemy was driven yesterday. General Pleasanton is after 

A:th. — We have marched about ten miles, and are encamp- 


ed at Union, a dirty little worn out village. It looks as if it 
was dying of dry gangrene, and was too weak to wash its 
face. Cannonading heard all day, and although we are 
marching from ten to fourteen miles a day, we do not seem 
to get nearer to it. We are now again over twenty miles 
into Virginia, and everything looks like a general movement 
which is "to be continued." 

oth. — Broke camp at 2 in the afternoon ; moved four or 
five miles in a southerly direction, still keeping a few miles 
to the east of the Blue Ridge. No enemy encountered, and 
none found to-day by our advanced guard. Troops in^^fine 
health and spirits. 

Q>th. — Marched ten or twelve miles to-day. Crossed rail- 
road below Manassas Gap, and encamped near the village 
of White Plains. There has been no firing in hearing yes- 
terday or to-day. 

lih — Cold and blustery last night. Ice half an inch 
thick, with driving snow storm this morning ; very uncom- 
fortable. Xo move to-day. 

8 /A. — More pleasant than yesterday. In camp all day. 
There is a rumor that the enemy have taken one hundred 
and fifty of our teams in the Shenandoah Valley, and that 
they are again at Harper's Ferry. The report is not credit- 
ed here,* but it is certain that they have cut the railroad four 
milest east of us, stopping our supplies from Washington. 
Hard times ahead. 

Sunday^ 9ih. — How little like Sunday the day has been ; 
marching, whooping, hollering. Few even know it is Sun- 
day. From present appearances, one would judge that — 

" The sound of the church going bells, 
These valleys and rocks never heard." 

* Proved to be false. 


March to-diiy with all teams in advance. What does it 
mean ? Are we again retreating witli our two hundred 
thousand of tlie best troops the world ever saw^ ? I Avill not 
beUeve it yet, though McClellan's friends claim that he is 
the best retreater known in modern warfare. We are en- 
camped to-night near New Baltimore, a Virginia town, 
which once boasted a blacksmith shop and two houses. 

llth. — Reconnoisance by our Brigade to-day. Marched 
over precisely the same road we came yesterday, to the same 
place, and returned to-night to the place whence we started 
the morning ; distance going and returning, sixteen miles, 
over a tremendous mountain : 

■ The King of Eranee, with forty thousand mcu, 
Marched up tlic hill, and then liiarched down again !" 

We have done that twice to-day. AYhy should we not 
figure in history as well as he ? We discovered nothing. 
But there has been heavy firing again to-day, beyond the 
Ridge, in the direction of Waterloo. 

llih — In camp all day. Beautiful and clear but windy. 
Heavy firing towards night some twelve or twenty miles to 
the southwest. 

McClellan relieved, and to-day Burnside succeeds. Surely, 

" De kingdom's comiu', 
And de day ob jubelo." 

Some of the army depressed to-night in consequence of the 
change. Natural enough, but it will be all right in a fen 
days, or I am no prophet. 

To all the claims to greatness for Gen. McClellan, the 
question will obtrude : With the best army on the conti- 
nent, of two hundred thousand men, what has he accom- 
plished in the fifteen months during which he has been in 


command? Whilst on the other hand, another question 
comes up: Why, if he has accomplished nothing, and is 
not a great man, is he the most popular man, with his army, 
in the United States ? My own solution is this : There is a 
tendency in armies, to love and venerate then- Commander. 
General McClellan has been at the head of the armies. In 
addition, his friends hold him up as a political aspu-ant. He, 
then, who shall accomplish most for McClellan's popularity, 
stands jirst in the list ^of promotions: Every Major and 
Brigadier General feels it to be his own personal interest to 
eulogise McClellan, and the struggle amongst his followers, 
is not for who shall distinguish himself most in the service 
of his country, but who shall stand highest on the list of 
friends to him who is soon to wield both the civil and mili- 
tary power of the country. The soldiers know nothing 
against him, because they know nothing of him. He is rare- 
ly seen by them, and the encomiums of his sycophantic eulo- 
gists, such as Porter, Franklin, Hancock, -et id omne genus 
conspiratorum," is taken as true, whilst such men as Kear- 
ney, Reno, Couch and Burnside, must be sacrificed for 
being in the way of others, who substitute intrigue for 

12^^.— Quiet in camp aU day. It seems hard that we 
must lose this beautiful weather, when winter is so near at 
hand; but I suppose it is necessary to aUow the new Com- 
mander-in-Chief to perfect his plans. General Fitz-John 
Porter re-arrested to-day, and taken to Washington, on 
charge of disobedience of General Pope's orders, at the bat- 
tle of Bull Run, on the 29th of August. That the defeat of 
Pope's army there, the slaughter of thousands of our true 
and loyal men, the escape of Lee's and Jackson's commands 


from capture or destruction, was the result of treason, 
there is not a shadow of doubt. If Porter is proven to be the 
traitor-hang him, hang him; for God's sake hang him; 
and if a traitor at the instigation of a higher m command, 
hang him too. We have had enough of this thing of stak- 
ing the lives of our men, by whole brigades, on political chess 
games. Hang a few of the traitors to save the sacrifice of 

true and honest men. ^ 

13f^.-Beautifulday; and all quiet. What a pity that we 
must lose this fine weather. Already, as I predicted, I can 
hear many of McClellan's friends, who were depressed yes- 
terday, admitting that he had failed, and expressing then- 
gratification at the change of Commanders. It will go hard 
only with the aspirants in high places, who have spent so 
much time and breath in inflating McClellan, that he became 
an unmanageable baUoon, broke from his fastenings, and has 
'c gone up." Can we trust that they will not betray Burn- 
side, as some of them did Pope. I confess that I am ap- 
prehensive on this point. 

14^^.— Another day of sunshine and quiet. I rode to 
Warrenton to-day, a pretty little town five miles from us •, 
but, oh, how desolate to those whose home it has been-, 
every house and church a hospital or a barrack ; dirty, 
squalid soldiers crowd the streets 5 the sick and wounded of 
both armies hang on every door step, whilst hundreds of 
mules, with their braying, and then- drivers swearing, vie 
with each other in then- efforts to Babelize the scene. 
All this, if not a necessity, is a concomitant of war. 

I mixed freely with the prisoners, hoping to find some from 
Texas or from Georgia, who could tell me of my friends in 
those States, but without success. 

"OLD DURNEY" begins RIGHT. 243 

loth. — Another beautiful day ; no move. Heavy cannonr 
adins this forenoon, in the direction of Warrenton. At 2 p. 
M. received orders to march to-morrow. Where to ? 

SunJaij, \Q>th. — What a Sunday I What a day of rest! 
Troops were called at 5 a. m. Carried heavy knapsacks, 
guns and ammunition, and march till 9 1-2 p. m. ; sixteen and 
a half hours, and no enemy near! Truly, " Old Burney" 
begins vigorously; but, if this is an earnest that he 
means business, let him push on. His men will not 

This morning I got up sick, with a painful diarrhoea. Have 
been feeble all day, and as o'clock came, with its cold 
and piercing winds sighing through the pines and over the 
hills, how longingly I looked for that "little candle," which 
in times of peace was wont to "throw its beams so far ' to 
greet me on my return to home, after a long night' .3 ride ! 
How I yearned, in lonely thoughts, amidst this crowd, for 
the cheerful scenes and comforts which had often welcomed 
me on such a night. When shall I enjoy them again ? 
When will this thirst for blood, and unholy Suiniggle for 
power, yield to the love of peace and happ:ness at home ? 
We passed Cattlett's Station in our march to-day, and en- 
camped for the night near Weaversville, with orders to con- 
tinue our march at 6 o'clock to-morrow morning. 

VJth. — I am feeble to-day, from my indisposition of yes- 
terday. Army was astir at 4 a. m. Have had a fine day, 
marched fifteen miles, towards Stafibrd Court House. 
Men in fine spirits. The prospect of work has reanimated 
them, and they are perfectly satisfied with the exchange of 
Commanders. At 8 p. m. it is raining hard, and I fear the 
good weathei is over. Hard as we have worked for the last 
two days, and unfavorable as is the prospect of the weather, 


when the order came, a few minutes since, to continue the 
march at 6 a. m., to-morrow, there went up a long, loud 
" Hurrah for Old Burney I" The men want business. They 
wish to close this war ; and, if the officers only pro ve it ue to the 
country and to their Commander-in-Chie/y I predict for 
him, (based on the energy of his troops,) a brilliant 

18th. — Nothing of moment to-day. We started early ; it 
rained a little, and to-night we are encamped within three 
miles of Stafford Court House, six miles from the mouth of 
Acquia Creek, on one of its tributaries, and about twelve 
miles from Fredeiicksburg. 

19 th. — The army is reorganized. Instead of the former 
divisions of only brigades, divisions and corps, it is now 
brigades, divisions, corps, and grand divisions, of which 
last there are three, General Sumner, at present, commanding 
the right, General Hooker the centre, and General Franklin 
the left. I wish I had more confidence in General Franklin, 
but I cannot forget his conduct at West Point, Vir- 
ginia, nor at Centreville, where he failed to reinforce 
General Pope. 

This is a dark and rainy night ; and a little sad, and a 
good deal home-sick ; I sit unattended, (except by my faith^ 
ful " General,"*) reflecting, over my log fire, on the beauty 
of the opening stanza of the sixth canto of the " Lay of 
the Last Minstrel;" (what an expletive of possessives.) In 
my home-sickness, I have called up all my bachelor acquaint- 
ances, and even above the patriotic reflections stands forth 
each one — 

" The wretch concentered in himself." 
* A black servant. 


How intensely this stanza reflects my feelings to-night. I 
have not only a countiy but a home, and, oh, how often, and 
how deeply have I prayed for the preservation of integrity to 
each — 

"' Breathes there a man with soul so dead. 
That never to himself hath said — 
This is my home, my native land." 

20th — A hard, cold rain all day. The regiment is out on 
picket. I wish those comfortably housed at home could 
realize what picket duty is, in such weather as this. To-day 
they stand from morning till night, on guard. Night comes, 
but with it no relief from the exposures of the day. In his 
thoroughly soaked clothes, with the snow flying and the 
wind whistling about him, without fire and without tents, 
he must stand ; he must still stand and guard the lines till 
the coming of another day. However much nature may 
give way under the trial, however exhausted the man, should 
he be caught slumbering a single moment on his post — the 
penalty is death. The soldiers bear all this cheerfully, to the 
shame and disgrace of those disaffected, cowardly cavillers 
at home, who would sacrifice together these noble, self-deny- 
ing men and the Government for which they fight. 'Tis 
said that we go into winder quarters here. I cannot believe 
it. General Burnside has not been pushing us forward at 
such a rate for a week past, to winter us in this most gloomy 
and desolate country. We are forty miles from ''•'any 
where," in the midst of a pine forest, the roads in winter im- 
passable, the people semi-civUized. Whugh ! I shudder to 
think of it. 

23r6Z. — ^'Tis too bad! For eight days, Ave have been with- 
out a mail, and to-day, when the big bag was opened, not 


a scratch for me ! I feel shut out from home ; but this is 
only one of the discomforts of a soldier's life. The soldier, 
when he enters the field, is presumed to sever all ties of 
home. What an imagination it must require to presume 
that he can do any such thing ! However, that is the rule, 
and the theory. But is it not bad, both as rule and theory ? 
True, a man cannot have a home without a country ; but 
what is country without a home, that centre of all his hopes 
and his afiections ! The soldier who enlists with the feeling 
that because he has a family, he has so much the more to fight 
for, is but poorly paid, when you remind him, that in entering 
the army he gave up his home and family for the good of his 
country. Strike from his affections that of home and family, 
and how much of country will be left ? When I get back I'll 
ask some old bachelor to tell me. 

Through this journal I have freely expressed opinions as to 
our leading men. When I now look back at my entries, at 
and after the battle of Williamsburg, on my return from the 
Peninsula, on leaving Fort Monroe, and in reference to our 
trip to and from Centreville, in the latter part of August, 
relative to Generals McClellan, Franklin, Pope and Hancock, 
and of my fear of the jealousies amongst Generals, and 
when I compare these entries with revelations on investiga- 
tion of the Harper's Ferry surrender, I think my friends must 
be willing to recall much of the harsh judgment they 
passed on me for entertaining such opinions '• of these great 
and good men." 

What are we going to do ? I am of opinion that w^e are 
waiting here for the repair of docks and bridges at Acquia 
Creek, so that we can land our rolling stock for railroad. I 
hear some whispers that Bumside cannot advance, because 
of some disappointment in the arrival of pontoons. Can it 


be that there are parties already playing false to him. I 
confess to fears. It will do no harm to venture a prediction 
as to our course. So soon as we get the railroad repaired, 
and are running on it, with our bridges across the Rappa- 
hannock, we shall take Fredericksburg, at all hazajds, 
then push forward to Saxton's Junction, cutting off Rich- 
mond from all its northern connections, then rest for the 
winter. This can be done ; and if treason can only be kept 
out of our ranks, I verily believe it will be done, and that 
before the 20th of December, we shall be in winter quarters, 
around Saxton's. 

Isi^. — To day I rode over a mile from camp, to see — right 
in the woods, with but a little settlement surrounding it — 
the most aristocratic pile I have yet seen in Virginia. 'Tis a 
large brick church, built in the form of a cross. As I ap- 
proached it the first thing which attracted my attention, after 
I had wondered what it was doing there, was a black panel 
over the main entrance door, with this inscription : 

"Built A. D., 1751; destroyed by fire, 1754, 

and rebuilt 

A. D., 1757, by Mourning Richards. 

William Copen, Mason." 

I entered, and found two broad aisles crossing each other 
at right angles. The pulpit is built after the fashion of 
Trinity Church, ISTew York, or somewhat in the style of 
that in the large Cathedral in Milwaukee, Wisconsin ; but the 
the work is more elaborate than either of them, the minister 
having to pass into the third story of his pulpit before he has 
approached near enough to the Divine presence to catch his 
insph'ation. The two lower stories are occupied severally by 
the Register and the Parish Clerk. The floor is of fine 


marble ; the pews are square, with seats on all sides, and 
large enough to have seated, before the advent of crinoline, 
about twenty persons to each pew. At the end of one of the 
main aisles is a semi-ch'cular enclosure, a resting place for the 
dead. On the beautiful marble floor which covers the mortal 
relics is deeply inscribed, and inlaid with gold : 


Of the race of the House 

Ah ! and must the " memory of the race of the House of 
Monclure" be preserved only in gold ? Could not he, the 
Vice-gerent of God — have written on hearts stony 
enough to retain the impression, the memory which he would 
have to live forever ? Could he not have inscribed on tab- 
lets of memoiy, to pass as an heir-loom from generation to 
generation, an appreciation of that great precept which he 
professed — '' Peace on Earth, and good will to man ?" Then 
he might have gone, triumphantly exclaiming — 

" Exegi momimentum perennius auro." 

But having entrusted the preservation of his memory more 
to gold than to Godliness, he is likely to be remembered 
in a manner v/hich he little expected, for our soldiers have 
broken in, have torn up this marble floor, and are carrying 
away this golden momento " of the race of the house of 
Monclure," as trophies of this unholy war. "The house," 
at least, will be remembered. I have asked permission to- 
night, to occupy this church as a hospital, my chief object 
being to protect it from further vandalism. 


In the wall, over this little enclosure which I have des- 
cribed, are four large black panels, the first and second con- 
taining part of the XXth Chap, of Exodus, the third, the 
Creed of the Church of England, and the fourth, the Lord's 
Prayer, all hi silvered letters — bright silvered letters on a 
black ground I How fitly emblematic of the spirit of the 
inscriptions to the darkness of the minds on which the living 
principles were to be impressed. 

At the other end of this aisle is a high gallery, Another 
large black panel in this gallery bears the names of the 
ng actors here, more than a hundred years ago. Let 
me help to imortalize those names : 

••lolm Monclure, Minister; 
Peter Hageman, Benjamin Strother, 

lohn Mercer, Thomas Fitzhugh, 

lohn Lee, Peter Daniel, ) Church 

William Mountjoy. Francis Cook, ) Wardens, 

lohn Fitzhugh, lohn Peyton, 


May their names be recorded as plainly, and more dur- 
ably, in a house not built with hands, as in the ephemeral 
pile now threatened with destruction. 

2nd. — I have just written a long letter to my wife, and as 
this has been a day without incidents, I insert a copy of the 
letter as my '•journal of to-day" : 

Ca^ip in the Woods, near Stafford C. H., Va.*) 

December 2, 1862. J 

Here we still lie in the woods, four miles from Stafford 

Court House, about ten from the mouth of Acquia Creek, and 


fifteen from Fredericksburg, and here we have lain for the 
last ten days, and for all we can now see, like old Massa- 
chusetts, here we shall lie forever. But why we lie here, the 
Lord and the General only know, and as neither think it . 
good policy to be communicative on military matters, we 
poor subordinates must be content with the knowledge that 

'' great is the mystery of '' Generalship. This much, 

however, we do know: — that we are on a hill "Among the 
PineSj" surrounded by mud and amidst a net- work of 
roads, almost impassable, since the late heavy rains, — that 
we are drawing our rations from Acquia Creek, when there is 
a good railroad, with cars running to within about one- 
third of the distance from us ; that we every night send out 
a heavy picket guard to o ur rear, perhaps, on the principle 
of a certain railroad company in our State, which attaches its 
cow-catcher to the rear of its train, "for reasons perfectly 
satisfactory to themselves." 

When our new Commander started oif, the wind whistled 
about our ears, under the great impetus which he gave his 
army, and so rapid was our progress that many expressed the 
hope that he would not prove only a quarter horse, instead of 
a thorough bred turfster, with wind and bottom. The first 
heat was certainly run with great speed, but the length of 
rest between heats is out of all proportion to the length 
of the race. The army, however, has great faith in the 
mettle of " Old Burney," and express no fears that, when 
the tap of the drum calls him again to the stand, he will 
be found either to have " let down," or be broken- 

Amidst all the gloom which our partial want of success has 
cast around us, amidst the tiying and discouraging circum- 
stances in which our lot is cast, a bright star shines forth 


from the darkness and gives warrant of redemption from the 
errors of the past. The evil spirit of party, which like the 
wily snake had inserted itself amongst the flowers and fruits 
of true loyalty — which was mingling its slimy poisons in 
every dish of the patriot, has been detected and cast from 
the garden. The army feels that it was being seduced by 
the charms of the serpent, and now rises above the tempta- 
tions. When McClellan was removed, much feeling of bit- 
terness and disapproval was manifested, but since we have had 
time for reflection, and asked ourselves, why did not Mc- 
Clellan surround and destroy the rebel army at Manassas 
last winter, as he weekly promised us ? "Why did he not 
destroy him when he found him weak and divided at York- 
town ? Why he staid ten miles behind the army and was 
not in time to support the gallant Hooker at Williamsburg? 
Why he waited on the Chickahominy till he buried in the 
ditches more faithful men than there were in Richmond, to 
oppose his entry at the time of his arrival there ? Why in 
his statements of the results of battles he either ignor 
antly or perversely mis-stated the facts ? Why, when the 
rebel army at the battle of Malvern Hills, was utterly routed 
and demoralized, when one-third of our army had not fired 
a gun, but had been at rest all day, was our Commander, 
instead of following that routed army into Richmond, like 
Pompey, dallying away his time on one of his galleys, if 
not with a Cleopatra, with a charmer not less seductive % 
Why on our march from Alexandria to Manassas to succor 
Pope, did he compel us to lie by the road side for hours, in 
sight of the battle's smoke, where we knew that our brave 
fellow men were strugglmg and sinking by thousands before 
a superior enemy ; aye, struggling against every hope of suc- 
cess, except the coming of McClellan ? Why did his para- 


sites, refuse even the aid_ofhis Surgeons to the wounded and 
dying of that noble army, when they sent imploring mes- 
sages for aid ? Why did he lie still and permit a retreating 
enemy, penned in betwixt the river and the mountains at 
Antietam, to move quietly off, when he himself says official- 
ly, that over that enemy he had just gained a great victory ? 
Why, under those circumstances, and Avith all these faults, 
we loved him still ? We discover that the poisons of party 
had so perverted our vision, that we could not see things in 
their true light, and almost every m.-ui when lie looks back 
on what he has been made to suffer hj McClellan for Mc- 
Clellan, restrains his curses, simply because of his sense of 
inability " to do the subject justice." We liave gloriously 
exchanged the army of partisans, for that of patriots, and a 
bright star beckons us '^ onica>'d /" 

\th. — Tliis afternoon I procured signatures of Surgeons to 
certificates, that in consequence of my long continued labors, 
I was breaking down. I immediately drew up my letter of 
resignation and started to present it in person, and to ask 
the approval of the Colonel. Before reaching his quarters I 
was met by a courier with an order to march at daylight to- 
morrow morning. I, of course, witliheld tlie paper till the 
march, perhaps to battle, was over. 

5//i. — Broke camp this morning, marched soutlierly through 
the village of Stafford, the most miserable and dilapidated 
looking place the imagination can picture, unless it should 
take for its pattern some other Virginia village. About a 
mile and a half south of Stafford Court House we crossed, at 
Brooks' Station, the railroad leading from Fredericksburg to 
the mouth of Acquia Creek, and, after marching about one 
mile further, in the night, we bivouaced in a most woe-be- 
gone, hilly, pine-covered, tobacco-eaten country. 


Shortly after passing Stafford Court House, I rode up to 
•some " negro quarters," to see if I could get a canteen of 
milk, or something "fresh" for my supper. An old black 
woman came to the door, expressed gratification at our ar- 
rival, and fears that we should not be able to retain our hold 
in the country. She seemed about seventy years old. I ask- 
ed her if she cared anything for her freedom, or whether she 
would rather continue a slave, and be taken care of by her 

'^ Ah, massa, my freedom ain't wuf much to me now, but 
if it please de Laud, I would love to live to see dis a Free 
State; seem Hke 't would be so good to die in a free country, 
and den when I sings praises in hebben, it would bo so nice 
to tell de Laud to his face, how I lub him for dat good- 

The slave may be "satisfied with his condition,"' but it 
strikes me that this expresses a strange yearning for change 
in a mind already satisfied. 

GtJi. — ^This morning, during a rain, we moved our bivouac 
about a quarter of a mile, and encamped. To get settled, we 
have Avorked most of the day in the rain, and to-night I feel 
about as miserably as the most miserable wife on earth could 
wish a more miserable husband, and this, I presume, is as 
miserable a condition as a miserable nostalgia can well 

Letters from home to-day, but they are from twelve to 
twenty days old. The comfort of a regular mail, the Gov- 
ernment, with a very little well directed effort, might easily 
afford to the soldier, and it would be, even as a sanitary 
measure, a great stroke of economy. How many a poor fel- 
low would be saved by regular cheering letters from home, 
from a depressing nostalgia, lapsing rapidly into typhoid 


fever, and death. But it is folly to think of a reform in this, 
when the families of so many of our soldiers are in a state of 
destitution, simply because the pay due to them is withheld 
for five, six, and even, in some instances, for eight or nine 
months. One of my hospital nurses has just come to me, 
with tears on his face, showing me a letter from his wife, in 
which she says that her little home has been sold under the 
hammer, because she could not pay a debt of fifty dollars ! 
and this when the government is in arrears to them over a 
hundred dollars. This seems unjust, and ought to be 




The following letter, though not a part of my journal, is 
occasionally referred to in it, and I therefore have it in- 
serted here : — 

Camp near Belle Plaines, Virginia,*) 
December, 10, 1862. j 

My Dear C : 

* '^ * * Our whereabouts is four miles from Fal' 
mouth, three and a half from the mouth of the Potomac 
Creek, and about three to the nearest point of the Rappahan- 
nock River. As we may be ordered to leave here within an 
hour, that is sufficiently explicit. Although I have not hesi- 
tated at times to express my opinion, confidentially, of the 
conduct and merits of men, I rarely venture one prospective- 
ly, of military matters and strategy. As, however, you ex- 
press so great a wish for my opinion on the prospects and 
plans of the war, I will tell you what I know of the present, 
and guess of the future state of things, reminding you that 
I am not a military man, and give but little of my attention 
to military affairs. The Medical Department occupies al 
my time. 

One month ago to-day, our forward movements were ar- 
rested by General Burnside superceding McClellan, in the 


command of the army. We supposed that it would requu-e 
at least a week or two for him to mature a plan of operations, 
and have the army mobilized ; we were mistaken. Five days 
safficedj and we were off like a quarter horse ; but just as 
we arrived at the seat of operations, Ave were suddenly 
brought to a stand by the failure of somebody to furnish the 
supplies to enable us safely to cross the Rappahannock, and 
to take possession of the heights before the arrival of the 
enemy. We were consequently stationary, and he got pos- 
session of the ground we meant to occupy. Did we do 
right to stop ? My partiality for and confidence in the opin- 
ions of General Burnside strongly incline me to think we 
did, whilst my own reasoning questions it. It seems to me, that 
we had at Falmouth, before the arrival of the enemy, a force 
sufiicient to liave taken the ground and held it till we should 
get the railroad from Acquia Creek, in order to transport sup- 
plies for the whole army, and then, for an object so import- 
ant, Ave might have put our men on half rations, for a fcAV 
days. The enemy, in all his campaigns, runs a heavier risk 
than that. Indeed, in one of his reports he speaks sneering- 
ly of " the immense transportation trains, Avithout Avhich it 
seems impossible for the Yankees to move." But tliere are 
doubtless many reasons Avhich I cannot see. But the posi- 
tion is lost. What next ? 

We must advance. — Public pressure Avill compel us to, 
against any odds. Yet Ave cannot advance without cross- 
ing the river. The enemy occupies all the heights, both 
front and enfilading, and Avith a force at least equal to our 
OAvn, commands the crossings. Shall Ave risk it against such 
odds ? In my opinion we must. But is this the only place 
to cross ? Our pontoons are already in the river, some above, 
some below. An hour's time will sufllice to throw them into 


bridges, where we choose. Have we not ingenuity enough 
to draw attention by a feint at one point, Avhilst we bridge 
and cross at another. Should we cross either above or be- 
low, we shall occupy a flanking position with decided ad- 
vantage. I think we shall cross, and I shall not be surprised 
if even before this letter is finished, we are summoned to at- 
tempt it. I think, too, that we shall cross without much re- 
sistance. What then ? Will the enemy withdi-aw ? J^ot an 
inch. He cannot fall back without disaster, and every foot 
of ground hence to Richmond, will be contested. For, give 
us Saxton's Junction, twenty-five miles south of us, and 
Petersburg, which we can take when we want it, and Rich- 
mond is cut off from supplies, and must fall. I stop here to 
say that my prediction is already verified. Major B. has 
this moment left me an order to move at 2 in the morning. 
He says that in a council of war just held, it is decided to 
cross at three points at daylight. Shall we do this ? I 
doubt it; and simpliy because it is the result of a council. 
It is too public. Bumside is not the man to send word to the 
enemy when he is coming. This, however, is all conjecture. 
The morning will tell how well grounded. 

Yours, &c. 
11th. — ^At 5 o'clock, A. M., as clear and calm a morning as 
ever a bright and beautiful moon shone on. We struck tents 
and took up oui* line of march in the direction of Fredericks- 
burg, only five miles distant. At a quarter before 6, precise- 
ly, the heavy reports of two large guns came booming 
through the woods, telling us that the ball was opened. 
The sound came from Falmouth. Frequent and more fre- 
quent came the peals, and in half an hour, so constant was 
the roar that the inteiwals between the reports was undis- 


tinguishable. At 11 o'clock, a. m., we are in line of battle 
along the north bank of the Rappahannock, about two 
miles below Fredericksburg. A pontoon bridge is nearly- 
completed just in front of us. The artillery fight at Fal- 
mouth continues; our troops are pouring into the plain 
along the river. Will the enemy contest our passage ? 

At 11 1-2 o'clock, I sit on my horse, on a high ridge 
overlooking Fredericksbm-g, Falmouth, the river, and the 
vast plains on either side, where the hosts of both armies are 
marshalling for the great trial. How beautiful the plains, the 
cities, the river ! How grand the tout ensemble ! How 
different may be the scene on which the rising moon of to- 
morrow morning may shed her silver light. 

" On Liuden, when tlie sun was low, 
All bloodless lay the untrodden snow, 

But Linden saw another sight 

When the drums beat at dead of night, 

Commanding fires of death to light 

The darkness of her scenery." 

Oh, beautiful Rappahannock j are you on this most beauti- 
ful day to take the dark rolling Yser for your type ? And 
must this bloodless and untrodden snow, e'er another rising- 
sun, be stained by the blood of valiant hearts, struggling in 
the cause of government and humanity, against anarchy and 
oppression ? I am at this moment notified of my appoint- 
ment as a " Chief operator" for General Howe's division, 
during the approaching battle, and am ordered to duty. 
This is a most flattering distinction, but I rather re- 
gret it, as it takes me from the scenes of the field. 

3 p. M. — Having prepared my hospital, and the fight not 


having commenced in our division, I have ridden to Fred- 
ericksburg, two and a half miles, and, for the first time, 
witnessing the bombarding of a city. Rebel sharpshooters 
are concealed in the houses, and have been shooting om* 
pontooniers. The city is already on fire, and thus ends this 
ancient town, where children, and childien's children, have 
lived and died in the same house, for generations. Alas ! 
their homes are destroyed and they homeless. To them the 
seat of their acutest joys and sorrows, of their hopes and 
their fears, their histories, and their traditions will be known 
no more forever.. But how strange that I should sit here 
writing on horseback, almost in the midst of their sharp- 
shooters, without being able to reason myself into a sense of 
my danger ! Have I a life charmed against such exposure, 
that I should be thus insensible to it 1 However, if some 
were here, who have an interest in this matter, co-ordinate 
with myself, they would say " Go !" and I will do it. Come, 
Joseph, '<" yours is not a charmed life, and you at least must 
be taken away. 

Night has come, and we have not crossed the river. Ru- 
mors are rife, that the enemy has evacuated. I do not 
credit them. 

I'2t7i — At 9 o'clock, a. m., troops are crossing, and again 
lias commenced our cannonading, but there is no response. 
I sit in the building prepared for hospital, out of sight and 
out of danger. Are we to have a fight to-day ? Doubtful. 
I find myself indulging in some feelings of pride on the dis- 
tinction which was conferred on me, unasked, yesterday, 
though I do not doubt it will excite some of my brother 
Surgeons to jealousy against me. I almost wish it were 
otherwise ; for, after the long personal battles I have had to 

* My fait'iful and aflfectionate horse. 


fight, to maintain my proper position in the regiment, I was 
getting at peace with all, and I should have liked a little quiet. 
God grant that I may prove adequate to the responsible duties 
imposed by my new position. I deeply realize the fact that 
it places in my hands the limbs and lives of many poor 
fellows who are to be brought under my care. Ambulances 
and litter-bearers are passing to the expected battle field, 
and I too, must prepare, though I much doubt our having a 
fight to-day. 

11 o'clock. — We have " crossed tha^Kubicon," and I now 
sit on the south bank of the Rappahannock, watching the 
crossing of our left wing, about, fifty thousand strong. I 
hear that our centre and right wing are crossing on bridges 
from two to four miles above us. Not a shot of resistance 
yet this morning, except from a few sharpshooters, and they 
are now silenced. The smoke of the burning city, and of 
the heavy cannonading of yesterday, have settled, casting a 
thick pall over all the country, and we cannot see more than 
r. few rods around us. We know not, therefore, whether 
the enemy is before us, but the general impression is, that he 
has fallen back, to draw us on. I am of the opinion that it 
will require but little suction to draw our Commander on to 
destruction or to victory. He evidently means business ; 
But will McClellan's friends, who now hold most important 
commands under General Burnside, betray him as they did 
Pope ! or will they prove true to the country in this hour of 
its greatest trial. When I see General Franklin in charge of 
the most important position, my recollection will revert to his 
conduct at West Point and at Centreville, and whilst I hope, 
I fear. From what I have seen of that man, I have lost all 
confidence in him. How I hope that he may now retrieve 
imself in the estimation of those who feel towards him as I 


do. The developments being made in the trial of Porter 
may make some Generals cautious. God grant it may. 

It has been a matter of wonder to me, how the rebel 
army lives in its marches through this country, without 
transportation. We have now marched over one hundred 
miles in this State, and on the line of our march for a width of 
six miles, (making an area of six hundred square miles.) I 
am satisfied that there are not provisions enough, if all were 
taken, to subsist Lee's army one day. 

At 1 o'clock I take possession, for a hospital, of the house 
of Arthur Bernard, on the south bank of the river, two miles 
below Fredericksburg. This is one of the most magnificent 
places I ever saw. I shall not undertake to journalize a des- 
cription of it. It is owned by one of the old bachelor F. F. 
V's. He is now trying to compromise with us, so as to be 
permitted to retain a part of it. He is very ridiculous in his 
demands, and it will not surprise me if it results in his ar- 
rest. Weather still beautiful, but I fear that the great 
smoke hanging over us will bring heavy rains, and embar- 
rass our locomotion. Night has come, but brings no fight. 
There has been an exchange of a few random shots, killing 
and wounding some twenty or thirty. 

13th. — At a quarter past 9 o'clock, picket firing commenc- 
ed, and at 9 1-2 o'clock the enemy opened with artillery, on 
our left wing. In a few minutes the engagement was gen- 
eral. The smoke hangs thick and heavy, making it impos- 
sible to tell, this morning, whether the enemy is in force here, 
or whether his opening the fight is a ruse to cover his falling 
back. My own opinion is, that he means fight. If he 
had intended to fall back, he would have taken advantage of 
our crossing, then have opened on us and have fallen back 
under the fire. Large fires were seen all night in the rear of 


his lines, which many inferred were from the burning of his 
stores, preparatory to a retreat. I entertain no such thought. 
His position is too strong, and should there fall a heavy rain 
during the battle, it would, by inundating the large flats on 
which we are posted, render the situation of our army an 
exceedingly perilous one. I have not a doubt that the 
enemy has seen this, and permitted us to cross. I saw 
some very bad surgery yesterday, and I here enter the re- 
mark, that I have witnessed but four amputations by other 
surgeons since I came to the army, and two of those liad to 
he amputated a second time, before they could be dressed. 
This speaks very badly for our Surgeons. 

Night has come, and the firing has ceased. It has been a 
terrible day. The wounded have been sent in to us in great 
numbers. I have been amputating and otherwise operating- 
all day. The result of the battle I do not know. It certain- 
ly has not been decisive on either side, and although the 
wounded brought to us talk freely of "our victory," I am 
strongly inclined to the opinion that we have had the worst 
of it. Gen. Vinton is wounded, and now lies in the hospital. 
Gen. Bayard, Chief of our artillery, and Gen. Campbell, also 
lie near me, the former mortally, the latter badly wounded. 

The enemy is very strongly posted, and I exceedingly 
doubt our ability to dislodge him. I hear hints of the want 
of hearty co-operation of our subordinate Generals. I have 
feared this from the start, but I will not yet credit it. 

Whatever is the result it has been a terrible day, and I 
now write amidst the groans of the wounded, just dressed, 
but not yet had time to be relieved of pain. 

In my letter of the 10th inst, to C , I prophesied 

that we should cross without much fighting ; that when we 
should cross, the enemy would contest every inch of ground, 


but that if Burnside was heartily sustained by his officers he 
would drive the enemy. The two first have been fulfilled to 
the letter. He has not yet driven the enemy, but the fight is 
not over, and has he had hearty co-operation ? On this last 
point we are not informed. I hope he has, for I would 
rather suffer defeat honorably, than gain success amidst the 
treachery of our trusted officers. 

14:th. — Sunday is again ushered in with a fight. At 7 this 
morning our batteries opened with a few guns, but the firing 
is not active. Our long line of battle extends across the vast 
plain, and is now (8 a. m.) rapidly advancing, apparently to 
renew the combat in earnest. The enemy is posted in a 
wood, on a chain of high hills, each one of which is a Gib- 
raltar. Our Generals seem determined to take the position 
at whatever cost. God send them success, but I have mis- 
givings. With an army of as good fighting men as are in 
the world opposed to us, with numbers greater than our own, 
and in much stronger position, my misgivings are not culpable. 

9 J. — All has been quiet for an hour — probably the lull be- 
fore a storm. I have just left, lying in one room. Generals 
Bayard, Campbell and Vinton — the two first mortally, the 
last severely wounded. Gen. Gibbons is, I hear, in another 
part of the house, and I am told must lose an arm. 

1 p. M. — ^The battle is not renewed. What does it mean? 
A telegram is said to have been just received, stating that 
our gunboats have taken Fort Darling, and are at Richmond. 
This may, if true, account for our not renewing the attack. 
In that event the capture or dispersing of Lee's army here 
will be only a question of time, and a short time at that, for 
if Richmond is taken they are cut off from their supplies, 
and must give way. But suppose it is not true, what then? 
And why stand we here all the day idle ? My construction 


of the whole matter is simply this : that yesterday's experi- 
ence taught us the impracticabiUty of dislodgiug the enemy 
by direct force, or that there is a want of co-operation amongst 
our officers, and that they are in council, devising some strate- 
gic plan, to either advance or get back. 

5 o'clock. — A rumor is afloat, seeming authentic, (a General 
has just told me that it is positively so,) that Gen. Sigel has 
crossed the river with his corps some miles above, and will 
to-night be in position in rear of the enemy. If true, we 
shall have lively times to-morrow. 

The estimated loss of our left wing in yesterday's fight is 
3,500 in killed and wounded. From the center T have not 
heard. The loss on the right is said to have been some- 
where from twelve hundred to three thousand. I am inclined 
to believe that the largest figure is much nearest the truth. 

The day has closed without a renewal of the fight, and 
now everything looks as if the morrow was to be the day of 
days in the attempt to take the Heights. There is only one 
thing which leads me to doubt it, and that is the publicity 
which is given to the statements to that efiect. In my letter 
of the 10th in St. I stated my disbelief of the statement that 
we should cross the river next morning at 2 o'clock, because oi 
the publicity given to the decision of the council of war which 
decided that we should. We did not cross. I now doubt the 
statement that we are to renew the fight in the morning, only 
because everybody knows it. Even Major-Generals have been 
here and said that our wounded Generals must be taken from 
the hospital, " because they will be too much exposed in the 
fight to take place to-morrow." When an army is to make 
an important move its Generals do not publish it the day be- 
fore. Yet our troops are buoyant in the expectation of driv- 
ing the enemy to-morrow. They love Gen. Burnside, and 


their confidence in him is already more uniform than it ever 
was in McClellan, and it is of a different kind — no party feel- 
ing mingled with it. It is a confidence in him as a man and 
a General. Much sth- and activity of some kind is discovera- 
ble in the enemy's camp to-night, and a report has just come 
in that they are retreating. I do not believe it. The record 
of the hospital for the last two days is just made up. Two 
hundred and four operated on, amputated, and dressed in the 
two wards of this hospital yesterday after 12 o'clock, and all 
laid away comfortably before 10 at night — a pretty good 
half day's work. Seventy have been operated on and dressed 

IS til. — "How brightly breaks the morning!" clear and 
beautiful. What of the passions and ambitions of the host? 
marshalled in hostile array to each other % Oh that they 
were calm and unspotted as the bright sun which shines on 
them and lights their way to this wholesale and legitimate 
murder. I have been a backwoodsman ; have lain concealed, 
and by false calls have lured the wary turkey within range of 
the deadly rifle. I have climbed the forest tree, and from 
this ambush have watched the cautious deer as he came at 
hot summer eve to lave his sides and slake his thirst at the 
bubbling spring, and have slaughtered him in the midst of 
his enjoyment. I have lain behind the precipice to surprise 
the wily wolf, as in hot pursuit of his intended victim he be- 
came rash and incautious, and by a shot I have arrested his 
life current and his chase. But never have I planned with 
half the care with which man here decoys and plans against 
the life of his fellow man, or felt half the pleasure at my suc- 
cess as do our men of God, when, at their nightly prayers, they 
in the same breath thank that God for the murders we have 


been i^ermitted to perpetrate — the misery to inflict — and ask 
for peace on earth, and good will to man. 

'Tis 10 o'clock, and no action has commenced. Has there 
been some change in the rebel positions since yesterday to 
delay ns, or did I judge rightly when I supposed that the 
public promises of a fight to-day were made to deceive the 
enemy, not doubting that some traitor or deserter would 
manage to get the word into their lines ? 

Orders have come to send our wounded to the other side 
of the river, and now at 12 o'clock a city of hospital tents is 
being built up on the plain about a mile further back, but in 
full view, because we are too near to the expected scene of 
action. But why, if we expected a fight to-day, was this 
not done yesterday ? It looks very like a ruse of some kind. 
I do not quite understand it, but something's in the wind. 
I have been gratified to find, in my rounds to-day, that my 
patients seem to be doing so well. 

Having sent all the wounded to the rear, at half-past 2 
o'clock the surgeons received orders to evacuate immediately 
the premises we had so busily and so bloodily occupied, and 
to "re-cross the river." This order being rather indefinite, I 
took occasion when across to select ray whereabouts, so I 
rode up to a point opposite to Fredericksburg, which I found 
that our troops had saved from entire destruction by extin- 
guishing the fire when the enemy evacuated it. I there 
found General Sumner's troops in full possession, and heard 
that General Lee had this morning given us notice to leave it 
in six hours, (improbable.) Whether true or not, he had just 
commenced shelling the city, but, during the half hour that 
I watched proceedings, with very little effect. I then hunt- 
ed up the new locality of our hospital, where I now sit, and 


where I wait for ••'oui- misguided brothers" on the other 
side to send me worlc to do. 

9 p. isL — Niglit htis come, Avitliout any important action 
during the day. I liave just received intelligence that our 
troops are recrossing the river in force ! Can it be that we 
are retreating ? Is this the key to the apparent indiseretion 
of our Commanders, in prockiiming from the house tops, 
[)reparations for a battle ? If so, it is a shrewd move. I 
do not like the idea of falling back. However, if Ave have 
become satisfied that we cannot force the enemy's position, 
nor draw them on to the plain, 'tis better to withdraw and 
try some other plan, than to sacrifice our men in a struggle 
where it is evident we must lose. The whispers of two days 
ago, that there is disaffection, or defection amongst the 
officers, is swelling into murmurs, and I confess my fear that 
it is not without reason. At two points, to my knowledge, 
during the hard day's fight, the enemy was dislodged from his 
entrenchments, yet we almost immediately withdrew and per- 
mitted him to repossess them. Why ? But there is a story 
current, that General Jackson (Stonewall) made an attempt to 
cross to our side to-day, and that it is only General Smith's 
corps of our army that is recrossing, to guard against 
any possibility of his success, should he attempt it again. 

IQth. — I am too stupid, to-night, to write intelligibly even 
a journal of the day. After we had shaken the broken and 
grating bones of our wounded, by moving them in ambu- 
lances, yesterday, we had scarcely got the poor fellows lifted 
out and placed quietly on a coating of straw on the ground, 
when we received orders to reload them for a move farther 
to the rear •, so we worked nearly all night, and by daylight, 
were thoroughly rain-soaked. This morning, having reload- 
ed them all, we moved about two miles further to the rear, 


repitched our tents, clumped the men into them, atid, for 
the first time since Friday morning, commenced dressing 
their wounds. But wliat was my surprise, on rising the hill 
on this side of the river, to find all of our great army en- 
camped as quietly as if they had been settled there for a 
month, and that our pontoonlers had taken up the bridges ? 
We are all back ! What next ? I am hardly in condition 
to reason much about it to-night, but, taking it all together, 
and admitting the necessity of a withdrawal, from whatever 
cause, I must think it one of the most brilliant achievements 
of the war. The great preparatians of two days in the face of the 
enemy, as if for a decisive battle, the giving out, on the au- 
thority of the Generals themselves, that it would certainly 
be fought, the mannei of moving the wounded, and the pitch- 
ing of the hospital tents, and filling them with patients, in 
full view of the enemy; the story got up of Jackson's at- 
tempting to cross, and the necessity of one corps of our 
army recrossing to prevent him, thus so thoroughly de- 
ceiving our own troops, that each corps supposed that it 
was the only one recrossing ; and the strengthening of our 
pickets and videttes that night, all so completely deceived 
the enemy, as well as our own army, that not a gun was fired 
or a suspicion entertained of our retreat. 

11th, — To this day I have lived fifty four years — cui 
bono ? With all my defects in moral, mental and physical 
organization, I believe that in the aggregate of these powers, 
God has favored me, up to the average of men. Have I 
used those capabilities up to their power, for good? If 
asked positively, I do not hesitate to say, No ! There have 
been many opportunities for me to do good, which I have 
not embraced -, but if asked comparatively, I as unhesitat- 
ingly answer, Yes ? No man is perfect, and few, I think. 


have struggled harder or more unselfishly to be useful and to 
alleviate the sufferings of others than I have. As, then, I 
have failed, by my own admission, to do all I could, but 
have satisfied my conscience, by striving to do better than 
others, shall I continue to be satisfied with this measure of 
my efforts ? Can any man, with that alone as his guide, say 
and feel that he wholly divests himself of the motives of pub- 
lic approbation, and that there is not, after all, something of 
selfishness in his^ efforts. I fear that a close examination of 
this question, would, to my conscience, be less pleasant than 
profitable. Rivalry is a motive necessary to advancement, 
but unsupported, it is a weak staff on a long journey through 
a life of temptations. Support it, however, by a desire to 
live for other's good, and the lame and the halt may lean on 
it with confidence and with comfort. God grant that for 
the short time remaining to me, I may have all these for my 
support, and that I may live more usefully than I have 

" Teach mo to feel another's woo, 
To hide the faults I see." 

Vv^ell, I am at a loss to judge wdiat will be the next move 
in the great game now being played. I am two to three 
miles from the army, and being shut up in my hospital, I 
have less means of judging than if I were in Washington or 
Wisconsin. But how little, oh, how little, do our people at 
a distance from the seat of war realize of the sufferings it 
inflicts, say nothing of the abandonment of homes, where 
only the joys of childhood can be recalled in all their fresh- 
ness, where the whole history of the family is written on the 
very walls and trees, to which we bid farewell forever, where 
little "tracks in the sand" constantly remind us of our 


deep but joyous responsibilities of directing little footsteps to 
good, to high, to holy walks, or where the little empty arm- 
chair chains us, through sad memories by a tie stronger even 
than that of our joys. Say nothing of the thousands of 
larger chairs made vacant, and the deep heart aches which 
they cause, still the sufferings, little, when compared with 
these, would strike terror to the minds of those who have not 
witnessed these scenes of distress. 

At a farm house, in the yard of which we* have our medi- 
cal headquarters, I met this morning a young lady of gen- 
teel appearance. I soon learned that she was from Freder- 
icksburg. It was a cold morning. Rude soldiers, and 
officers not much more polite, regardless of the comforts of 
the household, had filled every space and had crowded her, 
with the rest, into the open air. Her teeth chattered from 
the cold. I invited her to my tent, in w^hich was a good, 
warm stove. With a look of surprise, a little hesitation and a 
pleasant laugh at the novelty of the situation, she accepted 
my invitation. Having remained with her a few minutes, 
and obtained her promise to dine with me, I left her in the 
enjoyment of the warm stove. I found her highly educated, 
and a lady. Her father had died, leaving a handsome pro- 
perty in the city of Fredericksburg, the rents of which sup- 
])orted the fiimily aristocratically. During the dinner, I 
made a laughing apology for offering her some sweet meats 
on a tin plate, with an iron spoon. The cord which she had 
held tense and tightly, now gave way. Dropping knife and 
lork, she exclaimed : " Oh, sir ! excuse me. Two days 
ago this would have been palatable, though eaten on the 
trodden road, but now I cannot eat ; five days of fasting 
and anxiety have destroyed even my power to hunger, and 
here I am a starving beggar, dependent even for shelter on 


the charity of the poor paralytic owner of this house, who 
has not a mouthful to feed liimself, his wife and children. 
Oh! my poor, poor mother!" '-May I know what of your 

mother, Miss G f " Four days ago I stood near you, 

as you watched from the river bank the shelling of our city, 
I witnessed the pleasure with which you noted the precision 
of the shot which fired the veranda of my mother's house.* 
In that house I last saw her, ten days ago. Oh, my God, 
where is she to-day ? Old and feeble, she could not get 
away !" 

'' But did you abandon her there?" 

" "When you ordered the evacuation of the city, within six 
hours, I was from home. I did not hear of it till the time 
had expired, and since I have been denied admittance to the 
city, and have had no means of learning how or where she 
is. Can not you, sir, procure me a pass through your 
lines ?" 

She told me, too, of her sister, whose husband, a Colonel 
in the rebel army, was killed in battle two months ago. 
Three days after, her sister died of a broken heart, leaving in 
her charge an orphan child of two years ; and this child, too, 
w^as left in the city, with its grandmother. How many 
years of civil life would it require to accumulate the misery 
historied in these dozen lines, intended only as an apology 
for a lady's want of appetite? The misery of herself, the 
starvation of the paralytic and his large family, the deaths 
of the heart-broken sister and her husband, the orphanage of 
the child, and the destitution of the poor decriped mother I 
and not a tear did I shed at her distress. Did my benevol- 
ence owe a single tear to each case as bad as this, my whole 

* I remember it well, and a beautiful house it was. 


life-current converted into tears, would never pay the debt ; 
yet it is well to record a case, occasionally, that when I feel 
inclined to complain of my lot, it may serve to remind me of 
how much worse it might be. 

After dinner. Surgeons and attendants were collected to 
dress the wounded, who were operated on four days ago. 
As I halted at the door of the tents containing the two hun- 
dred mangled men, I thought of the three-fifths of the 
amputations which had proved fatal, after the battle of Han- 
over. I pictured to my mind the two-fifths who had died 
within five days after the battle of Antietam, and I rallied 
all my fortitude to meet with composure the anxious dying 
looks of the poor fellows who had been jostled and dragged 
from place to place, for four days, and whose dependence on 
me had won for them my affections. Oh ! who would be a 
Surgeon ?, 

Before sun-down, all were dressed, and every man deposit- 
ed in ambulances for general hospital, and except some 
four or five, wounded in organs which rendered them neces- 
sarily mortal, to our surprise, we found every wound doing 
well, every patient apparently recovering, and as we left 
them with a farewell, and heard the muttered prayers and 
benedictions of the poor sufferers, I found a tear to spare. 
Who would not be a Surgeon ? 

IStTi. — To-day has been spent in clearing up, as if in pre- 
paration for a move or a battle. We have given our surplus 
" hard talk," with some tea, coffee, sugar and other neces- 
saries of life to the poor, paralytic old man, whose premises 
we have occupied. He is an uncompromising rebel, but 
humanity forbids that we should permit him to starve. 

What will be the effect of this repulse on the spu'its of the 
army ? I shall watch with much solicitude. For the Com- 


mander-in-Chief, it has happened at a most inauspicious mo- 
ment. He had just superceded General McClellau, who had 
many warm friends, who stood ready to take advantage of 
every misstep, or misfortune of the new Commander, 
and to turn it to the credit of their friend, now in disgrace. 
Though the army was rapidly growing into an affection for 
General Burnside, the feeling was of new growth, and not 
yet confirmed by long acquaintance, by trials, or by suc- 
cesses. The friends of McClellan, true to the instincts of 
human nature, will magnify the reverses, whilst they will 
withhold credit for the merits of the manoeuvre. Already 
General Burnside' s friends are finding it necessary to defend 
him against the attacks of the croakers, by following the ex- 
ample set by the friends of McClellan on the Peninsula, in at- 
tributing the failures to the interference of the President, to 
General Halleck, or to Mr. Secretary Stanton. For my own 
part, I feel that defence is unnecessary, for when I consider 
the fact, that public opinion compelled the crossing and the 
attack on Fredericksburg ; that no commander could have 
withstood the outside pressure, however great the danger of ad- 
vance ; when I recollect the successful crossing in the face of 
so large a force, the successful attack and capture of part 
of the heights, the falling back, made necessary by the 
tardiness of some of his Generals to support him, the ruse 
of clearing the decks for action, the removal of the hospitals 
and wounded to a point out of reach of fire, yet in full 
view of the enemy, the withdrawal of the army so quietly and 
so adroitly that even his own divisions were deceived into the 
belief by each, that it was the only division recrossing, alto- 
gether mark it as one of the most adroitly managed military 
manceuvres since the crossing of the Delaware by General 


Idth. — To-day we have fallen back on to the same camping 
ground which we left on the 11th to advance to the capture 
of Fredericksburg. How diiferent the feelings of the sol- 
diery on that beautiful moonlight morning, whilst they struck 
and loaded their tents amid their cheering huzzas, and bid- 
ding farcAvell to the ground which they supposed they were 
placing in their rear forever, from what they are to-night. 
Whilst beaten and repulsed, they are this moment re-pitching 
their tents on the identical spot where they cherished such 
bright visions of glory. 'Tis unfortunate that we did not find 
some other place to fall back on. 

20th. — A deep gloom hangs over the army to-day. I have 
at no time seen it so depressed — depressed not only at its new 
defeat, but at its own halting between opinions. Though 
the affection of the soldiers for Gen. Burnside was warm and 
active, it had not been confirmed by trials and experience, 
and the " expectant friends of Gen. McClellan" are still busy 
in taking advantage of this defeat to depreciate Gen. Burn- 
side in the confidence of the army. This causes halting in 
opinions, and fears that our new Commander-in-Chief may 
not prove competent to the charge entrusted to him. It is of 
a piece with the McClellan tactics. Rule or ruin has been the 
motto of many of his friends. 

21 £f. — Oh the glorious letter of Gen. Burnside ! He asks 
no subterfuge to hide him from what others might deem the 
disgrace of defeat. His honor overrules his reticence, and 
he comes nobly to the rescue of his commander, of the Sec- 
retary of War, of the President, of the Government. Right 
or wrong, he assumes the responsibility of the late battle, 
with all the odium. I feel that he may safely do so, and 
await the verdict of history, which in my opinion will place 
this in the list of the most brilliant military manoeuvres. But 

burnside's manliness. 275 

how diifereiit liis course from that of some others whose reti- 
cence prevailed, and whose high sense of honor could permit 
them to listen to abuses heaped on the Government for their 
acts, without the manliness to come boldly to the rescue. 
How plain the line between the patriot and the partisan ! 
We feel joyous to-night. This letter is a strike. We have 
an honest man to lead us, and we will follow his lead. 

22 nd. — This morning I tendered my resignation ; it is ap- 
proved by the Colonel, and has gone forward. I am worn 
out by the labor of the last year and a half, and feel the ne- 
cessity of withdrawing from the army. I trust that it w^ill 
be accepted, and that I may be permitted to retire and rest 
for a time. I shall leave the regiment with regret, for I have 
grown to love it, both individually and in mass. But it is 

We probably go into winter quarters now. 

2dd. — "More trouble in the wigwam." Charges are pre- 
ferred against the Colonel of the regiment with view to a 
court martial and dismissal from the service. 'Twill amount 
to nothing more than to hurry his resignation, which he has 
for some time had in contemplation. 

24:th. — My resignation is accepted. I am no longer a sur- 
geon in the army, and to-morrow I leave the camp for a 

Go now, little book, and tell the world you have a mission. 
Tell it you have been entrusted with secret thoughts which 
to divulge would be dishonorable, but for the hope that they 
may assist in rescuing from disgrace or from opprobrium an 
army of as noble patriots as ever went to battle ; that the 
half a million of their sons, sent to Maryland and Virginia 


by Kew England and New York, by Pennsylvania, Ohio, In- 
diana, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin, were not their 
effete children, but their very bone and sinew — their pride 
and their hope. If the world reply that your secrets are sad 
ones, ask it to lay aside all prejudices and prepossessions, and 
to answer frankly if the scenes of wrong and abuse of that 
noble army in which you have had your existence, are not 
enough to preclude from the head or heart of the philanthro- 
pist all ideas or feelings other than sad ones. Whilst the 
world claims that the army of the Potomac, during the dates 
of this diary, was a failure, does it, or even the party politi- 
cian, claim that its material was of either cowards or effemi- 
nates ? Let its quiet submission and discipline, under eight 
months of inaction, at Washington, or its unHinching gal- 
lantry and endurance, under the seven days fight before 
Richmond, shame the traducer. Come Maine and Massa- 
chusetts, Connecticut and Phode Island, New Hampshire and 
Vermont, say Western and Middle States, did you send 
cowards to the army of the Potomac ? Why then has it 
been a failure ? 

Go, little book, and if the world charge that you are effemi- 
nate or puerile, tell it that you, no more than it, were the 
artificer of your own power or weakness. Tell it of the ad- 
verse circumstances through which you have struggled, and 
challenge its wonder that you even exist. Tell it that whilst 
you struggled through eight months of inlancy, in an atmos- 
phere stagnant of all but political breezes, your lot might 
have been cast in the invigorating blasts of Donelson or Pea 
Ridge ; that whilst you struggled under the crushing misfor- 
tune of Bali's Bluff, you might have been expanding in the 
successes of Springfield, or of Romney; that whilst you 
waited and watched the stove pipes at Munson's Hill, and 

€0>sTRASTS. 277 

the wooden guns at Manassas, you might have been cheered 
by the tonic thunders of cohimbiads and howitzers at Win- 
chester and Shiloh ; that you were dwarfed in witnessing the 
tremendous antics of poor Hancock playing ''hide and go 
seek" behind the walls of Williamsburg, Avhilst fate might 
have changed the whole curient of your existence by casting 
your lot in the midst of foray with the gallant and daring 
Garfield ; that in depressing shame you were gallopading' 
with a handful of horsemen around the entire army under 
McClellan asleep, whilst you might have proudly witnessed 
the capture of a whole rebel fleet on the Mississippi, or by 
waiting a little might have made a daring dash into the pure 
mountain air of Tennessee, with the bold and gallan"^ Carter, 
always awake; that whilst you languished under the apathy and 
"starvation policy" which buried so many thousands in the 
sickly swamps of Warwick and Chickahominy, you might have 
been winning vitality under Foote and Grant in active cam- 
paigns among the sicklier bayous and lagoons of the Missis- 
sippi ; that whilst you might have been with Pope, as like 
the lofy spire he invited the lightning's stroke, and led away 
the destroying bolt, you Avere cooped and confined in the en- 
dangered edifice till after the storm had passed, when the 
structure fell on the rod which saved, twisting, warping, 
bendhig, but not destroying it ; but tell it boldly, and draw 
vigor from your boldness, that time and history will straighten 
every angle in that rod, will brighten every point, and raise 
it, that like Israel's emblem in the wilderness, it may carry 
encouragement to good works for all who look upon it ; tell 
the censorious world that you sickened in sympathy with that 
noble army at Antietam, baptised in its own tears of disap- 
pointment and chagrin when it was denied the golden oppor- 
tunity to retrieve its honor which had been sacrificed, or to 


win the glory for which it jiiiied, and this at the moment 
when yon might have been buoyed and toned np by taking 
part in the inspiring chase at luka ; tell it that that army, 
which it has called a failure, and lof^ded with degrading epi- 
thets, though it was never irJiipjjed in battle, loas nccr per- 
mitted to linn a victory /'^ that even in its retreats, in obedi- 
ence to orders, no enemy, however large, ever trod upon its 
heels without paying dearly for its rashness. But " thus far 
shalt thou go and no forther." 'Twas never permitted to win 
a victory. Why ? I do not believe that '-'the incompetency 
of the Commanding General" is so great as to disqualify him 
from answering this question, nor that " his reticence" should 
forbid his telling why this army, which could never be 
whipped, became imder his command a by-word and a re- 
proach ? AVhy during the year and a quarter it gained no 
honors, won no glory, suffered no defeats, and achieved no 
victory ? If he will not answer, then go on little book, and 
be in turn the catechist ; ask if these results may not have 
been in some measure dependant on the commander's great 
faculty of " destroying his enemies by making them his 
friends'?" Ask how it is that, all rebeldom having been his 
enemy, not a rebel throat can now be found, from the Aros- 
took to the Gulf of Mexico, which is not always ready to en- 
large and elongate to sing hosannas to McClellan — but not 

*jS' ever whipped after its reorganization in the fall of 1861. The cavilling 
reader may claim that this army was whipped on the 27th June, at the Chicka- 
hominy. He would make a mistake, the whole force of Lee was precipitated 
on its right wing under Porter, and after a day of as severe fighting as any of 
the war, stopped only by the darkness. Porter being flanked, crossed the river 
in order, and formed on the center. Early in the morning the enemy renewed 
the attack, and was repulsed with severe loss. As well might the enemy claim 
that he whipped Gen. Roseci-ans at Stone River, because for a time his right 
wing was driven back, and he had to change his order of battle. 


always '- for the Union." He left his army in disgrace. It 
had never won a victory, whilst he had "destroyed most of 
his enemies by making them iils friends. Ask if his semi- 
Warwickian faculty had anything to do with the disgrace 
w^iicli hovered over his noble army ? Did ever rocket rush 
up from signal hands vvdth such rapidity as Lee and Long- 
street, Jackson, Hill and Ewell, mounted from obscurity to 
greatness in the presence of McClellan ? What a pity it 
would be if some successor should prick the bubble of this 
semi-dc^emvirate, and bring it down to the same plane on 
which Beauregard, Pemberton, Price, Magruder and Bragg, 
are now made to dance to the fiddling of Grant, and Foote, 
and Rosecrans, and teach it how easy for men of ordinary 
stature to become giants amongst Lilliputians I Ask if the 
waning of the phosphoric lights received from contact with 
their great prototype by Porter and Franklin, is in conse- 
quence of the rising sun of Burnside, and of the true fire 
which Hamilton has lighted at luka ? '^' 

Go forth, little book, fearless of critics; you Will never 
suffer from their censoriousness, and should now and then a 
"galled jade wince," dodge the heels, and be sure you have 
" touched the raw." Tell all the world that for the suffering's 
which your author shared with the army of the Potomac, he 
loves it and its reputation with a deep affection, and that if 

*It may uot be generally known that whilst the army of the Potomac was 
waiting before Yorktown, and sickening by hundreds daily, Gen. Hamilton, of 
Wisconsin, having acquainted himself with the strength of the enemy, begged 
of the Commander-in-Chief permission to take the town with his brigade 
alone, giving his opinion that he could do it, or at least that he could open the 
enemy's lines, so as to permit our army to pass, with less loss of life than he 
was now suffering in the ditches. For this he was arrested and disgraced. He 
appealed to Congress, was reinstated, ordered to the Mississippi, and distin- 
guished himself in the several battles iu which he fought there. 


your advent shall relieve that army of one undeserved re- 
proach, and lay the blame where it properly belongs, he will 
excuse you for this betrayal of his secret thoughts, and feel 
more than doubly paid for all the labor he has bestowed 
on you. 

June, 1863. 


As an appropriate Appendix to this book, I feel it incumb- 
bent on me, as a Surgeon in the army, to make full ack- 
nowledgment to the United States Sanitary Commission for 
the immense benefit it has conferred on the sick and wound- 
ed soldiers under my care, and for the consolations it has 
afforded, through me, to anxious and enquiring friends. I 
know of no manner in whicfl I can better perform this duty 
than in giving a simple epitomised history of the acts of that 
Commission. Should it speak in terms of commendation of 
the institution, I beg the reader to bear in mind that he Is 
reading, not my eulogy, but its history. 

The immense benefits resulting to the armies of the Crimea, 
from the organization of a Sanitary Commission, early sug- 
gested to benevolent men in this country, the advantages to 
be derived from a similar organization for our armies, and at 
their suggestion, the President, the Secretary of War, and 
the Surgeon General of the United States, granted to them, 
as a United States Sanitary Commission, certain privileges, 
and required of tliem the performance of certain duties. At 
the same time Congress appointed a Committee to confer 
with them, and to tender them not only the facilities for car- 
rying relief to the soldiers, but money for its expenses and 


authority to carry out its designs. Tlie Commission declined 
all pecuniary aid from the Government, preferring to be un- 
trammelled by those forms characterized as "red tape," 
which cause so much vexatious delay at the very times when 
promptness of relief is imperatively demanded, and threw 
itself confidingly on the humanity, the liberality and the 
patriotism of the people, asking that the suffering soldier 
should receive aid through the voluntary contributions of 
friends at home, rather than by compulsory taxation. How 
nobly that confidence has been met, let the following state- 
ments attest : 

It declined, also, all authority to eufoice its designs, con- 
fiding rather in the soldier's sense of appreciation of the kind- 
ness to be tendered, and in the interest of commanding offi- 
cers in the health and efficiency of their men, for that wel- 
come to the army which would enable it to carry to the bat- 
tle fields and hospitals the thousands of supplementary 
comforts which the heavy machinery of Government could 
never furnish ; and thus it stepped boldly into the strife 
with no authority but its reliance on the respect of the soldier, 
with no means save its trust in Providence, and its depend- 
ence on the broad benevolence of a mighty people, battling 
for a mighty cause. 

The Commission, ohus organized, started on its mission of 
mercy, proposing but few methods of carrying relief to the 
army, but so liberal have been the contributions, that it 
has been enabled greatly to multiply those methods. It now 
supports — 

1st. — Its system of General Inspectors. These are medi- 
cal men, who constantly accompany the army, pointing out 
and superintending the removal of all the exciting causes of 
sickness about camps and hospitals, suggesting improve- 


merits for the health and comfort of the troops, investigating 
the wants of the sick and wounded, and keeping the Gov- 
ernment and the heads of the Commission advised of the 
needed supplementary supplies. The immense labor of these 
inspectors in the armies of the Mississippi are of such world- 
wide notoriety as to need no proof here, that their duties 
have been well and faithfully performed. Those in the army 
of the Potomac have been so immediately imder the eye of the 
Government, and of the head of the Commission, that neglect 
of duty there would be almost impossible. Of the army of 
the Cumberland, Professor Frank H. Hamilton, a United 
States Government Inspector, and a gentleman of extensive 
information in such matters, in writing officially of its police, 
says : " It is better than 1 have ever sen in anij volunteer 
army /" The testimonials of Generals Rosecrans, Sheridan 
and Negley, on this subject, have been so extensively pub- 
lished, that it is necessary only to refer to them in this Ap- 
pendix, to prove how highly they prize the labors of this 
branch of the Sanitary Commission. 

That the contributors to this Commission may form some 
idea of the value of their contributions, I offer a few statis- 
tics. The British Sanita-y Commission, which suggested 
this branch of duties to the United States Commission, was 
organized under these circumstances: "In the Crimea, 
during the two years ending with March. 185G, 10,224: died 
of diseases of which 14,470 were of the zymotic or preven- 
table class," that is, more than four-fifths of all who died 
might have been saved by proper Sanitary Inspections, and 
the British Commission was organized to arrest such seem- 
ingly unnecessary loss of life. Did it succeed ? 

Mr. Elliott, in his report on the mortality and sickness of 
the United States Volunteer forces says : " During the win- 


ter of 1854-5, embracing seven mon Jis, from September to 
March, inclusive, the annual death rate from diseases (in the 
army of the Crimea,) was GG5 per 1,000. During the cor- 
responding seven monthi of 1855-6, the rate tvas reduced to 
48 per 1,000 (l)"^ For January, 1855, the annual death rate 
was 1,174 per 1,000. For the same month in 185G, it was 
but twenty-five per 1,000. For February, 1855, the rate was 
979 per 1,000; whilst for February, 185G, the annual rate 
in the same army was but 12 per 1,000. Now, these changes 
as resulting from the system of inspections and removal of 
the causes of disease, by the British Commission, are most 
wonderful, nor is it less surprising, that under the supervis- 
ion and inspection of the United States Commission, the 
death rates in our army have been constantly kept to about 
the lowest figures gained in the Crimean army, under the in- 
spection of the British Commission. It is fair to infer then, 
that had the British Commission been organized at the com- 
mencement of the Crimean war, ninety per cent of the deaths 
occurring during the first year, would have been prevented, 
or, that had not the United States Commission been organ- 
ized, the death rate would have been multiplied in this, in 
about the same pioportion that it was decreased in that army, 
and the friends of the soldier then would have had more 
cause for anxiety at the close of each day of quiet in the 
army, than they now need have during the most destructive 
battles of the war. How well have their contributions to 
sustain this system of general inspections been repaid 1 

2nd. — A system of Special Inspectors of Hospitals : " Emi- 
nent medical men, temporarily employed to make rounds of 
inspection of the military hospitals." Amongst those who 
have been employed for this purpose, I mention the names 

* Between the.'^c two periods, the Britirh Sauitaiy Commksion was instituted. 


of Professors Alfred Post, of Kew York, Gunn, of Ann 
Arbor, Goldsmith, of Louisville, Bigelow, of Boston, as suf- 
ficient guarantees that in this department of the Commission 
the contributions have been judiciously applied. 

ord. — A system of General Relief : " For the production, 
transmission and distribution of needed supplies not fur- 
nished by the Government." When I consider the vastness 
of the work being performed under this department, and the 
good resulting from it, I painfully realize my inability to pre- 
sent the subject in a manner to give the reader the least idea 
of it. The little child who has but strength to tear a band- 
age, the Octogenarian who totters up with his bundle of dress- 
ing rags, the poverty-stricken patriot who must deny his 
comfort to contribute even a quart of beans, the millionare 
who gives by thousands, the seamstress, the tailor, the mer- 
chant, the manufacturer, the chemist, the farmer — all pay 
tribute through this department to the demands of their own 
hearts, in the name of humanity, and of their own heads, in 
the cause of loyalty. The highways, the railroads, the rivers 
and the oceans are pressed into the service of transport- 
ing their contributions. For nearly two years this depart- 
ment has been in o])eration, during which time it has paid 
out in cash, over half a milion of dollars, and in different 
articles of produce, an average of over twenty thousand dol- 
lars a day. Yet, for all this, there is no taxation. It is 
the result solely of the offerings of generous hearts. So ex- 
tensive and varied has been the relief afforded by this de- 
partment, that I can barely more than allude to it, and make 
one instance suffice as an illustration of the good it is accom- 
plishing : Early in April, 1863, the Inspectors discovered 
that the scurvey was rapidly on the increase in the army of 
the Cumberland. By the middle of the same month one half 


of tlie army was afflicted Avith scorbutic symptoms. Even 
slight wounds would have proved fat il to the men in this 
condition. The army had no issues oi:' vegetables for eight 
months. Tlie Government could not supply them. The 
Commission came promptly to its relief, and from its abund- 
ance sent forward large quantities of potatoes, onions, pick- 
les and vegetable acids. During the succeeding weeks, one 
little store house at Murfreesboro, issued to the army, sick 
and well, three hundred and sixty thousand rations of those 
articles. The scourge was arrested, and at the end of the 
three weeks, scarcely a scorbutic taint could be found in the 
army of the Cumberland. Shortly after the army went to 
battle, many were wounded, and in all my experience, I never 
saw the wounded do better, if as well as at this time. 

■ilh. — A system of Soldiers' Homes : In this I include 
Special Relief Agents engaged "in the distribution of stores, in 
procuring discharges, pay transportation and pensions for 
the disabled." 

It is unnecessary to remind tlie reader that around the pay 
offices there has always hovered a flock of harpies, watching 
for opportunities to fatten on the misfortunes of even the 
crippled soldiers. The soldier, disabled in battle, procures 
his discharge and starts for his home, without money or a 
knowledge of the liberal means provided by Government 
for his transportation. He reaches the first Paymaster on 
the route, twenty, or, perhaps one hundred miles from his 
regiment. He presents his discharge papers to collect his 
pay. An error is discovered in them. By the carelessness 
or ignorance of some one of the many officers under whose 
pens they had to pass, a word is omitted, or the form not 
exactly complied with, and he cannot collect his pay till hin 
papers go back to the regiment for correction. He has no 


money, either to go forward or to return. He is perfectly at 
the mercy of the harpies. The whole flock light on him ; 
omnibus, boarding house harpies, the lawyer, the broker — 
each sends his harpy, till, in despair he assigns his papers to 
any one who will have them corrected, and when they get 
back, Avill pay him over the money. But before that is done, 
not a cent is left to help him on his way. Mother, your 
son lies crippled and in want, robbed of the little means he 
had. He is dying in despair in the street, among strangers. 
He finds — 

■' No heart to pity, uor a hand to r^ave." 

Such was the case. But now, on all the routes travelled by 
soldiers, wherever you find a stationed paymaster, beside him 
is '^a soldier s home." On the stopping of a train or a boat, 
the kind voice of the sanitary agent cheers your crippled 
boy. "Will you let me see your papers? Ah! here is a 
mistake in them, you cannot get your pay till they are re- 
turned and corrected." But before he has time to be de- 
pressed by this sad statement, he is ushered into a cheerful, 
comfortable " home," ^Aliere, without money and without 
price, he is taken care of till the papers can be returned and 
the error corrected. They are sent back Avhere agents of the 

commission receive them, and as soon as steam and rail can 
return them, your boy is again on his homeward Avay. Per- 
haps, kind mother, when the error in the papers is discovered, 
the disappointment of your boy may reveal the sad fact that 
time is an essential with him ; that the oil in his lamp may be 
nearly exhausted, and that he may by the delay be shut out 
from the sweet privilege of dying at his home, or perhaps he 
may be hurrying on in the hope of receiving the last caresses 
of a dying mother. He is not allowed to wait. The Sani- 
tary Commission becomes his paymaster, breaks the barriers 
of " red tape," advances him his pay, and hurries him on to 
family and friends. But who does this charity ? The Gov- 


ernment? The Commission? Neither, madam. 'Twas 
yom-self. Oh could every woman, as she spends an hour in 
lively talk over her sewing, in her own little meetings for the 
benefit of the soldiers, could each hale and happy farmer, as 
he sends forward his barrel of potatoes, or each millionaire, 
as he empties his purse at the call of the little committees at 
home, realize — fully realize — the misery he relieves — the 
power for good which he or she is creating, what a source of 
home happiness it would add to the great relief it affords 

Over eighty thousand disabled soldiers have been thus 
taken care of since the organization of this commission. liow 
many hours of pain and anxiety have been relieved ! How 
few are made poorer by what they have done ! 

5 /A. — Closely allied to this last is the establishment of hos- 
pital cars and boats, on all important routes connected with 
the army. An average of one hundred soldiers, unable to 
travel without help, is daily transported in beds on railroads 
or boats, through the aid of this system of relief The cars 
and boats are furnished with physicians, nurses, agents, and 
all things needed to insure the comfort of the soldier. 

Q>th. — Hospital Directories — The soldier is often in hospital 
too sick to write home ; often moved from one hospital to 
another so frequently that friends cannot find him. The Com- 
mission keeps a directory, in which is recorded from day to 
day the names of all soldiers admitted to or removed from 
the general hospitals, in all parts of the United States. 
Through this system any one can, by Maiting or telegraphing 
to the Commission, ascertain the situation of his friend, also 
his condition, whether sick, wounded, discharged or dead. . 

The above are but a small part of the duties of the Com- 
mission, but a desire to do it justice has induced me *to ex- 
tend this appendix fiir beyond my original design. I close it 
with the remark that in all my experience with the army of 
the Potomac, the Commission was an inestimable power in 
the relief of the sick and wounded, and that in my observa- 
tions with the army of the Cumberland, its beneficence has 
been even more marked than on the Potomac. If this state- 
ment of the object and of the workings of the Commission 
will not suggest a duty to every patriot, my own suggestions 
would fall on them, as they would on those who refuse to 
hear Moses and the Prophets. 


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now printing, will be ready in August, 18G3. The price of 
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We cannot interest the curious, inventive, and knowledge- 
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" This beautiful and useful instrument was patented on the 
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" There are two kinds of microscopes, denominated simple 
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" There is no end to the objects suitable for a microscopic 
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place a wdiole fly in the focus of a microscope which magni- 
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