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Full text of "A history of the army experience of William A. Canfield"

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OFFICE OF 8ECItETA.JtY OF STATE, } 

Concord, N.H., March, 1869. f 

This is to certifu that the author has served the country 
faithftilly ; lost Jiis arm at Fetersburg ; and is of good report 
by all tcho Unow him. 



(Signed,) 



J, D, Lyman, 



Secretary of State^ 



A HISTORY 



WILLIAM A. CANFIELD 




.j^}ySa^- ^^'^' 



Sold only by Himself. Price 25 cents. 



MANCHESTER, N. H. : 

PRINTED BY CHARLES F. LIVINGSTON 

1869. 



rf 



A HISTORY 



OF THE 



ARMY EXPERIENCE 



OF 



WILLIAM A. CANFIELD. 



BY HIMSELF. 



TRICE TWENTY - FIVE CENTS. 



MANCHESTER, N. H. : 

C. F. LIVINGSTON, PRINTER. 
18r39. 



PRE FA C E . 

Readers : In writing this little book, I do not claim 
to issue a work of choice language, nor to present 
any new facts or startling developements concerning 
the general history of the vv'ar. My intention is 
simply to write a short narrative of my life as a soldier 
in the Army of the Potomac and South West, and in the 
Hospital. 

Having lost my left arm from a wound received in front 
of Petersburg, I have taken this method of procuring 
sufficient means to enable me to engage in some business 
by which I may gain an honest livelihood for myself and 
family. 

Craving your kind indulgence, I bring my claim before 
you, hoping you will grant it a favorable reception. 

Yours respectfully, 

WM. A. CANFIELD. 



(3) 



HISTORY 



I was bom ou the 10th of June, 1840, in 
Thornton, a small town in the northern part of 
New Hampshire. I was the youngest of six 
children. Our parents were poor in this world's 
goods, but rich in faith and in the knowledge of 
God as it is in Christ Jesus. My early instruc- 
tions were limited to a common school, and I was 
deprived of this at the age of twelve years. Had 
I improved even these few years, I might have 
been much farther advanced than I now find my- 
self. As it is, I have to regret many misspent 
opportunities of my childhood. 

My parents, as I have said before, were rich in 
faith, and it was first in their thoughts to instill 
into the hearts of their children principles of wis- 
dom, virtue and love. Especially did our dear 

(5) 



6 

mother, both by precept and example, endeavor 
to lead us in the right way. 

The summer of 1853 I went to Franklin, N. H., 
to work in a hosiery mill. I liked my work, had 
a good boarding place, and in a short time felt 
quite at home. 

I had been there several weeks, and there had 
been an unusual interest in religious matters for 
some time ; many had already sought and found 
God. One after another of my associates had 
found peace in God through the merits of Christ, 
yet I remained unmoved. 

One evening several of the boarders invited me 
to go to the prayer meeting. I went, little dream- 
ing of the great blessing there was in store for me 
that night. I felt no conviction of sin at this 
time, nor did I until the invitation was given for 
those to arise who desired the prayers of God's 
people. To my surprise the whole party that 
came with me manifested a desire to be prayed 
for. Then for the first time in my life did I feel 
an earnest consciousness of God's presence. My 
friends had left me — God was with me, and I was 
afraid. Oh, how my poor heart shrank to hide 
itself; how gladly would I have hid myself from 
the presence of God, but I could not ; the pure 



light of God's love was shining into my sinful 
heart, making every plague-spot clearly visible to 
my spirit's vision. 

We returned home. My sister, being one of 
Christ's little ones, invited them to go into the 
sitting-room for a season of prayer. Thus was I 
again left alone, but not long ; for very soon I felt 
a gentle touch on my shoulder, and heard sister's 
sweet voice saying: "Come, Will, and pray with 
us." 

I went, and in earnest prayer entreated God for 
Christ's sake to pardon my sins. I did not plead 
long in vain, for Jesus was very near me, and 
when I yielded my will to the Divine, how quickly 
He received me, and lovingly sheltered me in His 
bosom. Thank God, I have found a hiding place 
there ever since. When I came out of that room 
I was clothed and in my right mind — I Avas no 
longer afraid. For was not God my father, Jesus 
my elder Ijrother, and Heaven my home ? 

I could hardly wait until Saturday night, I de- 
sired so much to tell my dear parents of my new- 
found joy. But the week soon passed away, 
Saturday night came, and I was home again. 

I think my dear mother perceived the change 
almost as soon as she saw me. I would here say 



that my father had for some time neglected family i 
worship, and was not enjoying much of spiritual! 
life ; but when I told them of my new-found joy, i 
father fell upon his knees praying fervently for \ 
pardon for his neglect of duty, renewedly conse-j 
crating himself to the Lord. Truly there was : 
great rejoicing in that little cottage that- night. ; 
The family altar was again established, and wej 
rejoiced greatly in the love of God. I 

The time passed very quickly until the autumn ] 
of 1858, when I went to Manchester to work for' 
my brother in a hosiery mill, and boarded in hisj 
family. j 

I soon connected myself with the M. E. Church | 
in this place, and found many warm friends. '. 
Among others, I became acquainted with MissM.^ 
F. Stewart, of New Hampton, N. H., and in duei 
time married her. We had been married about ; 
one year when the war broke out. ] 

My parents always taught us to reverence thej 
stars and stripes ; I loved my country's banner, ' 
and when rebel hands were raised to hurl it to the \ 
ground, I felt as if I must go and bear a part in 
the great struggle. My ancestors had fought' 
bravely to establish the glorious liberty I had so i 
long enjoyed. It was hard, very hard, for me to; 



leave those whom I loved so dearly, but still 
harder to sit with folded hands here at home, 
while others were dying for the aid I could render. 
Frequently, when about my work, would my eye 
fall upon my hands ( I have often thought it 
strange), and they seemed to reproach me every 
time I looked at them. At last I could bear it no 
longer ; I felt sure it was my duty to go, and go 
I must. 

I enlisted under H. D. Davis, at Manchester, 
N. H., July 12, 1862, in the Ninth Eegiment New 
Hampshire Volunteers. I went directly to North- 
field, to visit my parents and friends before going 
into camp. It is almost useless for me to speak 
of the parting scene. I took leave of all my 
friends except my wife and sister, with fier hus- 
band. My aged parents were bowed down with 
sorrow and grief. They had buried their oldest 
son and two daughters ; there were only three of 
us left — and now to lose me (for they had little 
hope of ever seeing me again) was almost too 
"much for them to bear. 

We went into camp the first of August. Spent 
the first night in the barracks. I did not sleep 
much, I assure you, every thing was so strange — 
so much noise and confusion of tongues. But I 



10 

soon became accustomed to my suiToundings, and 
found real attractions in camp life. 

I had always made it a rule to reprove sin 
whenever an opportunity offered ; but I soon 
found out what it meant to cast pearls before 
swine. 

Then I adopted another plan ; it was this : lirst, 
to watch every opportunity of doing a good turn 
for my comrades. I interested myself in the 
loved ones they had left at home — in a word, I 
tried to make them love me ; and I succeeded far 
beyond what I expected. I do not think there 
was one in our company who would have seen any 
harm come to me if they could have prevented it. 
Then, when occasion required, I could reprove sin 
without being reproached and made to understand 
it was none of my business. 

Our time was mostly occupied in drilling, until 
the 24th of August, when we were mustered into 
the United States' service. On the 29th, we 
struck tents early in the morning and marched to 
the depot, where we took the cars for the seat of 
war. It was a sad time with us that morning, as 
one after another bid farewell to loved ones. Very 
few of those hysLy^ men ever returned. I had 



11 

2)reviously taken leave of my friends and told 
them I should return to them again. 

We started from Concord about seven in the 
morning ; large crowds were gathered at the sta- 
tions all alonof our route to encourao^e and cheer 
us. 

We arrived in Washington on the Urst of Sep- 
tember ; laid in the barracks near the station that 
night. The next morning, I got leave to look 
about the city, and must confess I was sadly dis- 
appointed. I had expected to see something 
grand, and perhaps I should if I had traveled far 
enough. As it was, about all there were to be 
seen were cows and goats, with vast numbers of 
swine running at large in the streets. I went back 
to the barracks not very well pleased with our 
Capital. 

In a very short time we had orders to fall in. 
AYe then crossed the long bridge, and marched 
about three miles beyond, and camped for the 
night. About midnight we received orders to 
turn out — the rebels were upon us. We turned 
out in a hurry ; formed a line across the road 
Avith bayonets fixed, for we had as yet received no 
ammunition. We remained in line about twenty 
minutes, and then started off on another road; 



12 



marched about two miles at double quick ; were 
then ordered back to camp, without seeing or 
hearing a single rebel. The next day, we marched 
about six miles up the Potomac. Here we found 
work chopping down trees, and throwing up forti- 
fications. 

On the 4th of September, a part of the army of 
the Peninsula passed us on their way to the second 
Bull Run battle. They were all worn out with 
continual marching and fighting, and many looked 
as if they would fall by the wayside. I said to 
myself as they were passing : Why are worn-out 
men like these pressed to the front, while we are 
held back ! Well, when the order comes, we too 
shall have to go ; until then, we must wait and 
shovel. All I could do for them was to give them 
my ration of soft bread. 

The 8th of September was my first night on 
picket duty in an enemy's country. About nine 
o'clock it commenced raining very hard. I was 
relieved about twelve ; laid down near an old 
stump, and was soon fiist asleep. When I awoke, 
I found myself in a pond of water which nearly 
covered me. I managed to get out of the w^ater 
and back to camp. The result of this ducking 
vas the dysentery in its worst form. I was com- 



Id 

pelled to go directly to the hospital, and receive 
such care as they had to give. 

On the 10th, our regiment received orders to 
move. Tliey joined the Second Brigade, Second 
Division, Ninth Army Corps. Unable to walk 
I was carried in an ambulance, until Ave came up 
with the regiment on the evening of the 11th, 
when I joined my company. jNIy comrades soon 
made a good fire of rails and did every thing the}' 
could for • my comfort. J. W. Lathe got some 
green corn and roasted it for me, and on the morn- 
ing of the 12th, got me aboard an ambulance 
again. I afterwards learned that he was repri- 
manded for taking such an interest in me, and I 
shall ever remember his kindness wdth gratitude. 

On the 13th, we arrived at Frederick City, ^Id. 
During the day it was rumored that an order from 
Gen. Lee had fallen* into Gen. McClellan's hands, 
which had so exposed the position of the enemy, 
that he soon gave orders for the entire army to 
move forward. 

Our column took the main pike road to Middle- 
town. We arrived on the south side of the town 
after dark, and went into a field that had l^een 
recently plowed, where we bivouacked for the 
night. 



14 

0]i the 14tli, ;it the battle of South Mountain, 
the enemy occupied the side and top of the moun- 
tain on both gides of the road. I will not attempt 
to describe the battle, for I did not participate in 
it ; I was left by order of the surgeon in the hos- 
pital just established in the village. It was a 
large two story building, situated on the east side 
of the towai. That night I was put in the second 
story. The room Avas filled with the wounded 
and dying. 

At about three o'clock in the morning, 1 was 
obliged to go down. The moon was still shining 
in all its beauty and loveliness over the western 
hill-tops. As I turned the corner of the building 
a sight met my gaze w^hich baffles description. 

There were about thirty dead bodies, mangled in 
every conceivable shape, covered with blood, with 
eyes wide open glaring at me. My very blood run 
cold with, horror, and it was some minutes before 
I could pass them. Since then, I have become 
accustomed to such scenes, but I can never recall 
that sight without a feeling of dread. 

On the 15th, the battle at South Mountain w^as 
still raging. All was excitement. 1 had no 
thought of self now, but ])ent all my energies to 
the task of caring for the wounded. There were 



15 

two others with me, and wo tried in every pos- 
sible way to alleviate their sufferings. We 
brought them water, washed their wounds, and 
spoke words of comfort. We had no experience 
in such things, but did the best we could. 

The surgeon, who came round about nine o'clock, 
said we had done well. After looking at some of 
the worst cases, he gave us orders, advising us to 
do the best we could. For three days and nights 
I had neither sleep nor rest, when I was com- 
pelled to give up and take my cliance with the 
others . 

The ladies here, I shall ever remember with 
gratitude ; they were very kind to us, bringing us 
many luxuries we should not otherwise have had. 

I was now brought very low by the chronic di- 
arrhea ; I could hardly get up, and still no help 
appeared in my case. True, the surgeon was very 
kind, but I thought it rather hard when he told 
me ''you must let it run. I cannot help you, I 
have nothing to do with." 

I had heard the ladies telling of one Polly 
Lincoln, who possessed much skill. I thought 
perhaps she might cure me, so I made further in- 
quiries in regard to her, and learned that she 
lived most of the time alone in a hut made of 



16 

logs, not far from the hospital. She gathered her 
own herbs, made her own medicine, and performed 
wonderfnl cnres, — so they told me. 

With the surgeon's permission, I soon found her 
out and told her my complaint. "Oh !" said she, 
"I'll fix you all right in a week or two, only keep 
up good courage." And to Avork she went, 
at once ; made me a nice bed on the fl<*or, and 
fixed me a dose of herb tea in a very short time. 
I felt very comfortable, I can assure you, that 
afternoon, as I lay there on the floor, watching 
that good old Samaritan in her humble home ; my 
heart was filled with gratitude, and I felt safe in 
her hands. 

There was only one room in the house, and that 
very poorly furnished ; still, every thing looked 
neat and home-like. There were two other sol- 
diers there at the same time; one from the 17tli 
Michigan, with his leg oflf, the other from Massa- 
chusetts, with his arm amputated at the shoulder- 
joint. She took care of us all, and often assisted, 
at the hospital. I was with her two weeks, and 
then reported in person to the surgeon in charge. 
He gave me leave to go back another week. At 
the end of that time I was fit for duty. But I 
must not leave this good old mother without saying 



17 

a few more words. She wms, in deed and in truth', 
a good Samaritan to us all ; and there are hund- 
reds who can testify to the same truth ; hundreds 
who will remember her with heart-felt gratitude as 
long as they live. 

The soldier from Massachusetts died in a few 
da^'S ; the other was able to go home in four weeks. 

Some time after this, I received orders to report 
at Camp Convalescent, Alexandria. I stayed 
there two weeks and then started off with a squad 
for the front. We arrived at Aquia Creek, on 
Saturday, October 13. We were put into camp 
there and told to wait until after the battle before 
proceeding further. To wait there within sound 
of that terrible artillery-fire at Fredericksburg, 
did not suit me. I longed to be with my com- 
rades and share their danger. 

With these feelings I went to the Provost Mar- 
shal and stated my case. He gave me a pass to 
report to General Fry, at Falmouth, but instead 
of reporting to him, I found my regiment over in 
the city and took my place in the ranks. The 
boj^s were glad to see me, but said I was a fool 
for coming into that slaughter-yard, as they called 
it. It was my duty, and I was willing to take my 
chances with the rest. 



18 

• We went on picket Sunday night, but Avere 
ordered to fall back across the river about four in 
the morning, and at day-light we were in our old 
quarters, there to do picket duty on the Rappa- 
hannock, as the boys said. This was the most 
discouraging place that I was in during my stay 
in the army. Any soldier who was there conld 
tell some pretty hard stories of that place. Our 
troubles there are too well known to every one 
at all conversant with the history of the war, to 
need any comment. 

A few days after Burnside got stuck in the mud, 
we received orders to pack up ; this was good 
news for us ; we felt sure we could get into no 
worse place than this mnd-hole. 

We got aboard the cars at Falmouth ; arrived 
at Aquia Creek about dark, then took the trans- 
portation boat and landed at Newport News. 
This we found to be a change for the better ; it 
was a very pleasant place. Here they gave us 
tents, and plenty to eat as good as the army could 
afford. There were some who were not satisfied ; 
and if you had found them in private life, you 
woidd have heard them growling continuall}^ 
about something'. 

Our regiment went into camp about one mile 



19 

from the lauding. Here we had a good drill- 
ground ; drilled six hours each day. I enjoyed my 
stay in this place very much. 

Our next move was to take a boat for Baltimore. 
The Boat was an old rickety craft, and came near 
sinking, during a slight gale going up the bay. 
Arriving at Baltimore, we took the cars bound for 
the South- West ; this was a very pleasant ride, 
although we were somewhat crowded. 

When we arrived at Pittsburg, we found a good 
supper awaiting us, and I think those in charge of 
the tables can truly say that we did justice to the 
hot coffee, ham, &c., that was set before us. 

Thanks to those true and noble hearts that were 
so mindful of their country's defenders. All 
along the route from Pittsburg to Cincinnati the 
inhabitants threw into our cars baskets, boxes and 
pails, filled with good things. This was a pleasant 
route, the scenery in some places being very beau- 
tiful. I should like to go over it again, only un- 
der different circumstances. I should be very 
glad to make the acquaintance of the generous- 
hearted people of Ohio. 

Leaving Cincinnati, we crossed the Ohio river 
into Covington, Kentucky. Here we again got 
aboard of the cars, and arrived at Lexincrton. We 



20 j 

Avent into camp about one mile from the city, in a i 
beautiful grove ; the fair-ground was only a short i 
distance from us. I think I never saw a fence ! 
come down more quickly, and, as if by magic, a | 
village sprung up, with its streets running north ■ 
and south beneath those beautiful shade-trees. A • 
crystal stream of pure water ran along in the val- i 
ley below, which supplied us with water for every j 
purpose. We stayed here two weeks. j 

On the 15th of April we packed up, and for I 
nearly two months were marching about from j 
place to place. The people treated us kindly, but | 
we could easily discern where their sympathies I 
were strongest. Now and then a slave would ; 
come to us for protection. I remember, one ; 
Sabbath morning, a very smart colored boy came | 
to us, and about noon a constable came after him. i 
The colonel told him if "he could find him, to ; 
take him back to his mistress ;" this word was < 
passed round in double-quick time. The boy was : 
in the first tent they came to, but as they were 
coming in he darted out past them . Then a race : 
commenced worth seeing ; round and round the ; 
camp they went ; at last, the boy started for the i 
woods, and the constable after him, with four or 
five boys in blue following close upon the pursuer. , 



21 

Seeing the boy was likely to escape, the constable 
drew a revolver and levelled it at him, but before 
he could fire he was knocked down without cere- 
mony, and I think got the worst of that hunt. 
This hai^pened near Lancaster, Kentucky. 

In a few days we recrossed the Ohio river, went 
aboard of the cars at Cincinnati and in due time 
arrived at Cairo, Illinois, where there were boats 
waiting for us ; went on board at once ; laid at 
the wharf that night, and started down the Mis- 
sissippi river early in the morning on our way to 
Vicksburg. Our company had the upper deck, 
therefore we had a fine opportunity to view the 
surrounding country. The rebels fired into us 
once, but did no damage. We landed on the west 
shore, near Yicksburg, on the 15th of June. We 
saw Grant's fireworks on that doomed city for two 
nights. 

On the 17th we took the boat and ran up the 
Yazoo river about twelve miles, and landen again. 
We went into camp on the east shore, about two 
miles from the landing ; made our beds of cane- 
brake, which was very nice. Here we found an 
abundance of blackberries. While we were await- 
ing the appearance of Johnston, we saw a great 
many things of interest; ])ut we were annoyed 



22 



greatly by snakes and lizards. Let us make our 
bed where we would, they were sure to find us, 
and claim a part of our blankets for a resting 
place. They were harmless, however, and we 
soon became accustomed to them. The lizards 
varied in length from three to eight inches, and 
were of various colors, gray, green, red, etc. 1 

The morning of the 4th of July dawned on us 
with all its beauty and loveliness, and the birds 
seemed to be giving praise to God in commemora-i 
tion of our National Independence ; with it camd 
the surrender of Vicksburg. In the midst of ouri 
joy, and throwing up of hats, we received orders' 
to fall in, and were soon on our way after John-i 
ston. He fell back as far as Jackson, and made a- 
stand ; we soon came upon him and the battle 
commenced. For eight days we had more or less, 
skirmishing, but it was not such fighting as we| 
had been accustomed to having while with the; 
Army of the Potomac. 

At last we made preparation for a general 
charge, but when we made it, we found empty: 
works. The bird had flown, and had set the; 
business part of the place on fire. | 

The second day after we entered the city we| 
turned back again ; this was a very hard march 



23 

we started at the quickstep, and kept it up all day. 
Two men fell dead by the roadside, while many 
others fell by the way ; it was very warm, and 
we could get no good water, but wxre obliged to 
drink red mud as we passed through the low 
grounds and ravines along our route. 

As we retraced our steps, I noticed an aged lad}' 
sitting where I had seen her two weeks before, at 
her cottage door, smoking her pipe of cob with a 
stem two feet long, as unconcerned and contented, 
apparently, as if the rude htind of war had not 
laid its devastating touch upon the country about 
her. I do not know but what she is there yet ; 
she seemed to enjoy her jDipe very much. 

In due time we reached our old camp-ground. 
After staying in camp about one week, we again 
got aboard of the boat and started down the river. 
We had not gone far before we run aground, and 
in backing off, broke the rudder, and were obliged 
to lay there all night. In the morning a tug came 
up and helped us off; they took on board a part 
of the Sixth New Hampshire Volunteers, giving 
us more room. We were eleven days going up 
the Mississippi river. I took up my quarters on 
the pilot deck, and enjoyed myself much in look- 
ing at the scenery along the route ; it was grand. 



24 

In due time we arrived at Cairo, Illinois ; got { 
aboard of the cattle train, and were rolled away \ 
at railroad speed , till at length we arrived at Cin- ; 
cinnati, and recrossed the river to Covington. I 
Here we again got aboard the cars, stopping next ; 
at or near Camp Nelson, Kentucky, where we had \ 
a good camp -ground, and plenty of good water, j 
The following day we were ordered out for dress- | 
parade ; there were but twenty -five officers and 
men, all told ; the remainder had been excused by 
the surgeon in the morning, or were sick with the 
" shakes ;" so it will be seen that our regiment was 
very badly used up. 

We remained here about a week, and then our 
regiment was distributed along the Kentucky 
Central railroad, a company or two at each bridge, | 
with headquarters at Paris. Companies A and F 
were stationed at Kimbrae's bridge, so called, 
about one mile south of a pretty little village 
called Cynthiana. There was a block -house on 1 
each side of the bridge, which made us very good ; 
quarters. Our duty, which was to guard the I 
bridge nights, was very light, and gave us plenty ; 
of time to visit our neighbors. : 

The people here were very kind and generous, i 
Avith the exception of a man by the name of Smith, \ 



25 

a union man, and because he was such he thought 
the boys ought to work for him : cut up his to- 
bacco, pick his apples, etc., and take their pay in 
promises ; but this soon played out, and I have no 
doubt but what he lost ten times as much as it 
would have taken to fulfill all his promises. 

In October, I was detailed acting Sergeant of 
the provost guard at Cynthiana. Here I had a 
chance to become more acquainted with the inhabi- 
tants, and learn their views in regard to the war. 
It was a nigger war to most of them ; but for all 
that, they treated us well with but few exceptidns. 

There were four churches in the place ; two 
black and two white, so called. I attended them 
all, but I liked best at one of the colored churches, 
as they had the smartest preacher. 

In December, 1863, the State of New Hamp- 
shire sent us about four hundred substitutes gath- 
ered from all parts of the country. About one- 
half of them deserted. 

In January, 1864, we were ordered to Camp 
Nelson ; went into camp on the south-east side, 
near Daniel Boone's cave. On the 25th, we broke 
up camp, and passed through the following places : 
Camp Dick Robertson, Lancaster, Stanford, Hall's 
Gap, Cuba, Somerset, and arrived at Point Burn- 



26 i 

side on the 30th, a distance of eighty-four miles 
February 1st, we were )ccupied in fixing up' 
our camp ; while we remained here we drilled^ 
four hours per day. On the 23d, we had orders 
to be in readiness to march. On the mornino: of 
the 27th, struck tents, and took up our line of 
march; passed through Somerset and Grundy,, 
and forded Buck Creek, Church Valley. I 

It rained very hard the second day and snowed' 
and rained the third day, so there were three; 
inches of snow on the ground that night, and ^Y& 
were wet and cold and covered with mud ; but on; 
the 4th of March, we arrived near an ancient vil-i 
lage called London ; a distance of sixty miles. i 
We remained here till the 6th, when we started; 
on our journey again, passed through London, and,] 
tired and footsore, arrived on the north side! 
of Cumberland Gap, a distance of fifty-six miles,] 
on the 10th, just as the sun was setting behind thej 
western hills; having for supper only the crumbs' 
of our morning meal. i 

On the 14, we again set out, passed throughj 
the Gap, Tazewell, Tennessee, crossed Clinch river,; 
Leonard's Village, and arrived near Knoxville, on! 
the 17th, a distance of sixty-five miles. Here we 
joined the Brigade again, and on the 21st took; 



• 27 

the road that led us across the Wildcat Mountain 
to Burnside Point; a distance of one hundred 
miles. We arrived there on the 27th about noon, 
drew rations, and continued our march. We 
arrived at Camp Nelson on the 31st; a distance 
of seventy-six miles. 

This was a very hard march ; .1 wore out three 
pair of army shoes, on this tramp. We did not 
see an armed rebel on the Avhole route. 

April 2d, marched to Nicholasville, and again 
took the cars, reaching Annapolis, Maryland, on 
the 7th. General Grant reviewed us at this place. 
We remained here until the 23d, drilling, &c., 
when we took up our line of march, passed 
through Washington, D. C, crossed the Potomac, 
and went into camp on the other side, on the 
25th; a distance of forty-six miles. 

On the 27th, we again started out and arrived 
on the plains of Manassas, on the 28th ; a distance 
of thirty-four miles. Here we remained till the 
4th of May, Avhen we again set out and arrived on 
the line of battle in the Wilderness, on the 6th, 

Our Brigade had been in all day, and at night 
were scattered all through the woods. Colonel 
Walter Harriman, of the Eleventh New Hamp- 
shire Volunteers, was taken prisoner* 



28 

The morning of the 7 th, bemg the third day of 
the battle, was opened with a terrible roar of mus- 
ketry all along the line of seven miles. It was 
impossible for our Commanding Chief to see but 
a small portion of the army, so a great deal 
depended on the Corps Commanders. I cannot 
describe the dreadful carnage of the Wilderness. 

The killed and wounded were scattered through 
that vast forest of underbrush, which, dry as 
tinder, and set on fire by the shells of the enemy, 
was burning fiercely. The tAvo lines charged 
back and forward ; we would gain a little ground 
in one place and lose in another. Just at dark, 
we were ordered to the rear, and lay down to rest. 
But the next morning we found ourselves on the 
old Chancelorsville battle-ground . Here we found 
human bones strewn all over the ground. 

On the 9th, we moved about ^ve miles to the 
left, and in rear of Fredericksburg. A battle 
raged at Spottsylvania. On the 10th, we went 
on to the line on the left ; hard fighting all along 
the line. On the 11th, we were ordered to the 
rear to another part of the line ; it rained hard 
all night. About five o'clock on the morning of 
the 12th, we received orders to advance. 

On we went driving the rebel skirmishers before 



29 



us. Now you might have seen the gallant Han- 
cock leading the second corps to victory ; they 
came u23on the enemy unawares, and took two 
lines of works and seven thousand prisoners. 

We being the right of the Nighth Corps, formed 
on the left of the second. We got in advance of 
the rest of the line while comin^: throuo-h the 
woods, and formed on the left of the second just 
in season to receive the return charge of the rebels. 
We opened on them as they came up in solid 
column in front and on our left flank, and gave us 
a volley lengthwise which sent us staggering back 
to the woods. 

We lost two hundred and twelve men out of 
five hundred, in less than five minutes. I received 
a slight wound in the leg, but I assure you, it did 
not hinder me from making good time for the 
woods. We soon rallied, and went back to the 
line with only one hundred men to guard the 
colors ; the rest were scattered but came up dur- 
ing the day and night. Hard fighting every day 
till the 21st. Then Grant made one of his mas- 
terly movements round their right flank. Our 
Brigade started direct for their extreme right, 
struck them about five o'clock, and made prepa 
rations for a charge, but darkness set in, and about 

2* 



30 

ten o^clock we started for the rear ; marched all 
night, and took our breakfast on the bank of the 
Pamunkey river ; continued our march, and on 
the 24th crossed the North Anna river, under a 
severe storm of shell bursting over our heads ; 
we then entered the line. On the 25th, advanced 
our line about five hundred yards ; 26th, hard 
fighting, but nothing gained. During the night 
we fell' back across the river and burned the 
bridge. 

May 27th, we took up our line of march, crossed 
the Pamunkey river, and went into camp ; a dis- 
tance of thirty-five miles. On the 30th, we 
started out as rear guard for the brigade teams. 
May 51st, General Griffin ordered our regiment 
alone into the woods to try the enemy's strength ; 
we passed down into the ravine and up a steep 
blufi" under a galling fire, but at last we reached 
the top and held our position till the reserves 
were sent to support both of our flanks ; hard 
fighting all day. 

June 1st, 1864. All quiet till about ten o'clock ; 
then the enemy charged on our left and were 
driven back with heavy loss. They also charged 
on our right in plain sight. Two lines came up 
on the double-quick till within two hundred yards. 



31 

Then you might have seen a line of dusty forms 
spring up as if by magic, and a sheet of fire l^urst 
forth which sent them reeling back to their cover 
in the woods. They soon rallied again and came 
on with double the force that had first assailed us. 
Just then, one of our light batteries, of six guns, 
was placed in position in the woods, and gave 
them grape and canister. 

On they came regardless of life and fearless as 
demons ; but soon they met a sheet of fire v/hich 
seemed to consume them ; they retreated to the 
woods for the second time, and made no further 
attack on that part of our line. 

On the 2d, we fell back and moved about five 
miles to the left. At four o'clock, they came down 
on us and tried to get in our rear ; but all to no 
purpose. We fought hard during the following 
day, but rested that night. On the 4th, we moved 
about four miles, and formed on the right of the 
line at Coal Harbor. Every one knows about this 
place. It will be sufficient to say that we had 
work to do, and I think all were glad when the 
order came to fall back. 

Just after dark, on the 11th, we started back 
and took our breakfast near Whitehouse landing, 
and continued our march. Our next rest was near 



32 

the James river, where we remained until the 15th, 
when we took up our line of march just at dusk, 
and marched all night and till four o'clock of the 
following day. Forming on the line of battle near 
the Wei don railroad, we went in on a charge, and 
fought more or less all night. 

On the morning of the 17th, we charged all 
along the line, drove the enemy back, took several 
pieces of artillery, and more or less prisoners. 
Advanced about one mile on the 18th, and during 
the night threw up earth works in an old oat field 
near a peach orchard. On the 19th, we dug our 
pit eight feet wide and three deep, throwing all 
the earth in front. Hard fighting on the left. 
On the 20th, hard fighting all along the line. 
I received a slight wound across my left temple. 

June 21st ended my term in the field. I was 
wounded in the left arm, and had it amputated 
just above the elbow. Now for the hospital. I 
was carried to City Point on the 23d. Thanks 
to the Christian and Sanitary Commissions, which 
greatly relieved us, not only in furnishing so many 
good things, but in sending to us those who alwaj^s 
had a kind word for us all. 

On the 30th, I was carried on board the hos- 
pital boat, and arrived at Washington, D. C, on 



33 

the 1st of July, and was carried to Finley Hos- 
pital. I was well cared for here, aud my arm 
healed rapidly, while many others sickened and 
died. 

On the 22d of August, I received a furlough for 
sixty days. I arrived home on the 24th. I can- 
not attempt to describe my feelings as I crossed 
the threshold, and placed this good right arm 
around the aged form of my beloved mother, who 
tottered to meet me, and throwing her arms 
around my neck, kissed me again and again. Not 
less welcome was the fervent "God bless you, my 
son," from father. My wife was absent at this 
time, at the bedside^ of a sick sister, who died in 
about two weeks after I got home. Then she re- 
turned to me, and entered into the general rejoic- 
ing at my safe arrival. 

Soon after I came home the stump of my arm 
began to trouble me very much. Gangj'cne set in, 
the stump swelled up and turned black. They 
carried me to my sister's, Mrs. Smith Hancock, 
in Franklin, where I was attended by Dr. Knights 
of that town. For about three weeks my life was 
despaired of; then I began to gain. Through the 
kind care of all and the skill of Dr. Knights, — 
but more through the providence of God, — I was 



34 



spared ; for what, I do not know. God knows, 
and he doeth all things well. 

December 2d, I reported at Concord, and went 
into the Hospital there. On the 8th, I was sent 
forward to Washington. Arrived there on the 
11th, and went into Finley Hospital. I was trans- 
ferred to Manchester, N. H., on the 10th of Jan- 
uary, 1865, and remained there till I received my 
discharge, on the 29th of May. 

My story is told. 



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