ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY
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SLEEPY HOLLOW CEMETERY
EXERCISES AT DEDICATION
JUNE i6, 1909
pribatcl^ printed at tC^lje Hiter0tDe press!
COPYRIGHT, I9IO, BY JAMES C. MELVIN
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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Peaceful he sleeps, with all our rights adorn' d,
Forever honor'd, and forever mourn'd."
Occasionally a dream is realized. That a lad in his
teens, his soul filled with love for his brothers, sorrow for
their untimely deaths, and admiration for their daring
and devotion, should in visions see a fitting monument
to their memory is not so strange, but that he, in his later
manhood, should be able to see his dream take tangible
form is almost marvelous. Then, too, comes another
happy feature in that he is able to summon to the dedi-
cation of his tribute the old companions of the " early
fallen," those who knew his brothers when all were
replete with life and energy, and they alone, with un-
studied word, devote the memorial to its solemn mission.
They are neither great scholars nor writers of note, but
their expressions of memory and love come bright from
their recollections of more than forty years.
It has been said that no equal area in the world con-
tains so many graves of famous people of letters as does
that burial-ground, known as the "Sleepy Hollow " of
Concord. It is a fact that were all the dwellers there
simultaneously to respond to the resurrection -call,
Thoreau would be within easy conversing distance from
Hawthorne and Emerson, and all could readily talk
with the Alcotts, the father and his still more noted
daughters, while a minute's walk would carry the entire
group to the enclosure where now reposes the mortality
of Samuel Hoar and his far wider-known sons, E. Rock-
wood and George Frisbie. Well worn are the paths
leading to the last resting-places of these men and
women of world-wide repute, and worthy, indeed, must
be the memorial which will in any degree divide with
them the interest of visitors. It would seem that an
addition had been made to the shrines of the Cemetery,
and the pilgrims who resort thither already ask for the
"Mourning Victory" who maintains sleepless vigils
over her sacred trust. When the brother sought a sculp-
tor who could embody in marble the thought which had
crowded his brain for many a weary year, fortunate was
he in finding him in the person of his old associate and
friend, Daniel Chester French, himself a Concord boy
and man, whose Minute Man of 1775 had, in one brief
day, written the name of the artist high on the scroll of
fame. Entering into the mind and heart of the loving
kinsman, he gives to the clay and marble an embodi-
ment which even the untaught at once recognize as a
life-like realization of man's love for man and reverence
for his manly virtues. Though the dead do not appear
in solid form, yet every beholder is conscious that Vic-
tory ever sees the *' Embattled Farmer," whether he
stands by the " rude bridge which arched the flood,"
or on hospital cot, in the battle-front or in starving stock-
ade, almost a century later, he gives his life for country.
While a generation intervenes between the figure by the
riverside and that which holds its solemn trust in Sleepy
Hollow, and though the touch of the great artist is seen
in many a labor elsewhere, even he must grant that all
other work, however beautiful, lacks the soul which
home and heart have imparted to his earliest and his
latest. To paint the lily has ever been deemed the sever-
est of tasks, yet even this, our artist, inspired by friend-
ship and appreciation of the true and the beautiful, has
accomplished in that his chisel and genius have added
new interest to the home of the dead in Concord.
Alfred S. Roe, Editor.
The Memorial i
The Dedication of the Memorial ... 4
The Dinner 21
Post-Prandial Speeches, Col. J. Payson Brad-
ley presiding 24
James C. Melvin 26
Sidney Poore 31
Lucius A. Wilder 32
Capt. William H. Merrow . . . -36
E. K. Jenkins 40
Frank E. Farnham 42
Col. John W. Hart 47
S. C. Frost 50
Lewis G. Holt 52
S. B. Dearborn 54
Charles H. Shaw 58
Luther Wait . 59
George S. Gibson 61
Joseph E. Wiley 64
George H. Lewis 65
Henry M. Hawkins 68
George F. Wheeler 69
George B. Clark 70
Diary of Samuel Melvin 77
A. The Names of Those Present at the Exer-
B. A Sketch of the First Massachusetts Heavy
Artillery. By Alfred S. Roe . . . 141
C. The Mortality at Andersonville . . 145
Mourning Victory Frontispiece
From the Melvin Memorial by Daniel Chester French.
Reproduced from the original clay model (reversed).
The Melvin Memorial, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery,
Concord, Mass i
Daniel Chester French, Sculptor ; Henry Bacon, Architect.
From a photograph by Herbert W. Gleason.
Asa Heald Melvin 12
From a photograph by Brady.
John Heald Melvin 14
From a photograph by Brady.
Samuel Melvin 16
From an ambrotype taken during the war.
The Tablets, Melvin Memorial . . . ,18
From a photograph by Herbert W. Gleason.
The Melvin Homestead off the Lowell Road,
Concord, Mass 28
Built during the latter part of eighteenth century.
Burned by vandals in 1903.
From a painting by Stacy Tolman in 1886.
Veterans of First Massachusetts Heavy Artil-
lery AT the Dedication, June i6, 1909 . . 50
From a photograph by Notman.
Facsimile of the last two Pages of the Diary
KEPT BY Samuel Melvin in Andersonville . 78
The Bugle 134
This was used by Bugler J. Payson Bradley, who sounded the charge
June 16, 1864, in the battle before Petersburg, Va., in which Asa H.
Melvin was killed. It was also used by Col. J. Payson Bradley to
sound taps June l6, 1909, at the dedication of the Melvin Memorial.
The same cord is on the bugle now (1910) that was used during the
From a photograph by N. L. Stebbins.
THE "PINE-BEMURMURED RIDGE"
From the poem, read by James Russell Lowell, at the Centennial of the
Fight at Concord Bridge, April 19, 1775. The title refers to that part
of " Sleepy Hollow" where rest Hawthorne, Thoreau, and Emerson.
" Why Cometh she hither to-day
To this low village of the plain
Far from the Present's loud highway,
From Trade's cool heart and seething brain ?
Why Cometh she ? She was not far away.
Since the soul touched it, not in vain.
With pathos of immortal gain,
T is here her fondest memories stay.
She loves yon pine-bemurmured ridge
Where now our broad-browed poet sleeps.
Dear to both Englands ; near him he
Who wore the ring of Canace ;
But most her heart to rapture leaps
Where stood that era-parting bridge.
O'er which, with footfall still as dew,
The Old Time passed into the New;
Where, as your stealthy river creeps.
He whispers to his listening weeds
Tales of sublimest homespun deeds.
Here English law and English thoaght
'Gainst the self-will of England fought;
And here were men (coequal with their fate).
Who did great things, unconscious they were great."
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THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
The Memorial which Mr. James C. Melvin has
caused to be erected in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Con-
cord, Mass., to his three brothers, — Asa Heald Mel-
vin, John Heald Melvin, and Samuel Melvin, sons
of Asa ' and Caroline " (Heald) Melvin — who, en-
listing as private soldiers in the United States service in
the Civil War, had died either in battle, hospital, or
Rebel prison, was dedicated on Wednesday, June i6,
1909, the anniversary of the charge at Petersburg in
which one of the three was killed. Although nearly
forty-five years had elapsed since the close of the war,
eighty-eight members of the First Massachusetts Heavy
Artillery, the regiment of which the three brothers
whose services were commemorated had been members,
responded to Mr. Melvin's invitation to dedicate the
Memorial. They were escorted to and from the ceme-
tery by twenty of the twenty-five surviving members
of Old Concord Post, No. 180, G. A. R.
The Memorial, which is the work of Daniel Chester
French, the sculptor of the Minute Man at the Old
North Bridge, and a life-long friend of Mr. Melvin,
is in the general style of the Italian Renaissance. It
• 1804-1858. ' 1810-1863.
2 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
consists of a central shaft about twenty feet in height
resting on a platform twenty-five feet by eight feet, with
retaining walls on the back and sides. At either end is
a seat, and steps extending entirely across the front
afford access to the platform. The whole is executed in
Knoxville marble. The central shaft, of which the upper
ten or twelve feet form a monolith, has carved upon it,
in relief and intaglio, a female figure seven feet in height,
representing a mourning Victory, enveloped in the
American flag. The right hand lifts the folds of the flag,
revealing the head and the body of the figure, while the
left, outstretched, holds a laurel branch. The head is
inclined somewhat downward, with eyes downcast, as
if watching over the three tablets inserted in the floor
of the monument. The tablets are of dark slate, six feet
by three feet, set side by side, and bear the names, dates,
and places of death, in bronze letters, of the three men
they commemorate. A musket and wreath in bronze are
inlaid in each tablet, occupying the space above the
Upon the central shaft is inscribed the following : —
IN MEMORY OF THREE BROTHERS BORN IN CONCORD WHO AS
PRIVATE SOLDIERS GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE V^^AR TO SAVE THE
COUNTRY THIS MEMORIAL IS PLACED HERE BY THEIR SURVIVING
BROTHER, HIMSELF A PRIVATE SOLDIER IN THE SAME WAR
"l WITH UNCOVERED HEAD
SALUTE THE SACRED DEAD
WHO WENT AND WHO RETURN NOT"
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
And the inscriptions upon the tablets read: —
ASA- HEALD MELVIN JOHN HEALD MELVIN SAMUEL MELVIN
IN BATTLE BEFORE
JUNE l6, 1864
DIED IN A
FORT ALBANY, VA.
taken prisoner at
Harris's farm, va.
MAY 19, 1864
MEMBERS OF COMPANY K, FIRST MASSACHUSETTS HEAVY ARTILLERY
Colonel J. Payson Bradley was in general charge
of the arrangements for the day, and Lieutenant Peter
D. Smith, on behalf of the President of the First Massa-
chusetts Heavy Artillery Association, took charge of the
programme at the Memorial ; both Comrades are vet-
erans of the regiment, and Past Commanders of the De-
partment of Massachusetts, G. A. R. The ceremony of
dedication was performed by the Heavy Artillery, whose
members reached Concord at 9.52 a. m. in two special
cars from Boston, and were taken in barges to the ar-
mory of Company I, Sixth Massachusetts Infantry, the
headquarters of Old Concord Post, on Walden Street.
At the entrance to the armory two members of Com-
pany I, Sixth Infantry, M. V. M., were on guard. As-
sembling by companies in the drill-hall, the visiting
veterans were addressed by Colonel Bradley, who out-
lined the arrangements, and then said : —
'* Comrades, I wish to introduce to you Comrade
James C. Melvin, the remaining one of the four Melvin
brothers who served in the Union army. [Applause.]
I wish to introduce him so that you may know the com-
rade whose invitation we have accepted to-day, and
whose purpose of many years ago is about to be accom-
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 5
plished. He is more than happy, he tells me, to see so
many of the old regiment turn out to honor the memory
of his three brothers, members of Company K of this
regiment, who gave their lives in the service of the
Union, and whose memorial we dedicate this day.'*
After Mr. Melvin had bowed an acknowledgment.
Colonel Bradley continued, "This is one of the most
pleasing and yet sad ceremonies that it has ever been
our duty to perform. Comrade Smith has consented to
take charge of the programme until we return to the
hotel at the close of the exercises at the Memorial. I
now turn you over to his direction."
Cheers for the First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery
were given by the Post, and for the Grand Army of the
Republic by the Veterans of the Association. Then the
Post, George F. Wheeler commanding, escorted the
visiting regiment to the cemetery, where a detail from
Company I of the Sixth, under the command of Ser-
geant Albertus L. Dakin, was guarding the grounds
surrounding the Memorial. Pleasure was added to the
programme of dedication by the presence and singing of
the Grand Army Glee Club, consisting of Colonel Wil-
liam M. Olin, Secretary of the Commonwealth, Past
Department Commander Silas A. Barton, Comrades
John Gardner, Frank B. Perkins, and Isaac F. Kings-
bury. Lieutenant Smith opened the exercises at
II A. M., saying: —
''Comrades and Friends: I stand before you to-day
6 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
representing the First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery,
although not President of the Association. The Presi-
dent, finding his voice unequal to the task, desires me
to take charge of the exercises at the cemetery. We are
standing in this silent camping-ground of the dead,
where many of our comrades who went with us in i86 1
and 1865 are sleeping, resting, waiting for the roll-call
above. A few of us have come here to-day to assist our
Comrade Melvin in dedicating this monument to the
memory of his three brothers who went forthwith us in
the days of '6 1 in the defence of our country, but who
long since passed on to the other shore and are waiting
for us there. We hope there are yet some years for us,
but still we realize that they are telling and the time is
coming soon when we too must enter and be enrolled
with those who have crossed over the river.
"It recalls to us. Comrades and Friends, those days
when these three boys were young, the same as we, and
they went out in Company K of the First Heavy Artil-
lery, which was at first the Fourteenth Infantry, and
gave the best of their years to the service of our country.
We wish they could be with us upon some other occa-
sion than this; but their battle has been fought, their
victory won, and they are now waiting for those of us
who tarry here a little longer, to come and join with
them in the great parade above. Comrade Bradley has
brought that ever-memorable bugle that he used as
a boy in the regiment, sounding the Charge and the
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 7
Assembly, and he will give us the call for the latter
Comrade Bradley then sounded the Assembly, using
for the purpose the bugle with which he, as regimental
bugler, had sounded the charge at Petersburg, June 16,
Next followed Walter Kittredge's famous song,
"Tenting to-night on the Old Camp Ground," as sung
by the Glee Club, after which the Rev. Comrade John
W. Brownville (Co. I) of Gloucester invoked God's
presence and blessing, saying : —
" Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, our ever-
present and personal friend, we thank Thee for what
Thou hast already wrought in our behalf in connection
with this day's proceedings. We thank Thee for the
natural sunshine, and we pray that we may also realize
the sunshine which comes from a consciousness of Thy
divine presence. And before we proceed further, we de-
sire to look into Thy face, we desire to invoke Thy bless-
ing upon all who are immediately interested in this
event, and we pray for a blessing upon all who may read
an account of these proceedings in the press. Help us
to realize Thy presence.
"Thou art here, O God, and we desire to realize Thy
blessing in prompting so many of the comrades of these
brave men, who gave their lives so freely for the Union,
8 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
to come here to-day, and we believe that they must ever
esteem it as one of the greatest privileges of their entire
lives, that they were permitted to bear a part in these
"We invoke Thy blessing, O God, upon this man, our
comrade, who long ago resolved, with a heart full of
fraternal love, to erect that which should be a perpetual
reminder to himself and all beholders of the devotion of
his three brave brothers, of their patriotism, and of the
manner in which they showed their love for their im-
perilled country. We ask, O God, that Thy blessing
may rest upon these friends who are related in any way
to our departed heroes. God help us to keep ever in
memory those who at home performed deeds of valor
and made sacrifices greater in many respects than any
that were made by the boys at the front; and we
further ask that Thy special blessing may rest upon the
immediate representatives of this family, of such un-
faltering patriotism that they were willing to send four
of their boys to fight the battles for the Union. All the
anguish in that home, these friends, this surviving bro-
ther, may remember. We pray that Thou wilt comfort
him as he stands here in the presence of this Memorial,
and as he remembers the circumstances under which
these boys went forth to fight ; and we pray that Thou
wilt wonderfully bless him for this act of love and for his
thoughtful remembrance of the members of the regi-
ment in which his brothers served. We trust, O God,
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 9
that this may be in many respects the most satisfactory
moment that he has ever known, and to his fellow
veterans, the most interesting occasion on which they
have ever gathered to pay loving respect to their fallen
"O Lord, thou knowest just what is fitting. We
need not wait long in Thy presence. Thou knowest our
hearts. We ask that Thy blessing may rest in its richest
form upon all who are concerned in this event. Bless all
of us in such a way that God shall be honored, the rela-
tives of these deceased comrades comforted, and all
heaven made to rejoice over an act at once so gracious
and so full of friendship, love, and loyalty. Let the bless-
ing come, O God, and unto Thy name. Father, Son, and
Spirit, will we give all the praise. Amen."
A poem for the occasion had been hastily written
by Comrade William Sharrock (Co. F.), Lawrence.
Though he was wounded, with so many others of his
regiment, June 18, 1864, in one of the many fights in
front of Petersburg, he came home with all of his
limbs. July 4, 1865, when the City of Lawrence was
celebrating Independence Day and Appomattox, at
one and the same time, while assisting in firing a
cannon, Sharrock had the terrible misfortune to lose
both arms through the premature discharge of the gun.
Acquiring the ability to write with a pen held between
his teeth, for many years he thus wrote his letters, but
10 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
failing eyesight compelled him to use a pen fitted to
an artificial hand. This he says is not so convenient.
The poem was then read by Comrade Wm. J.
Mansfield (Co. L), Wakefield, Secretary of the Asso-
Hush! move softly where you tread.
'T is hallowed by our noble dead.
The clash of battle now is o'er,
They now await the eternal shore.
Nay, not eternal; they rest awhile.
The reveille will form the file.
They'll answer to the Captain's call,
And, "Here!" answer one and all.
The Captain watched the glorious fight
Yes, guided He both day and night,
Permit He could not sin to sway,
And destined it must pass away.
Reign on forever, Peace and Truth,
Contend for this, ye men and youth.
That when the final roll shall call
You'll answer "Here!" one and all.
Hush! move softly where you tread.
They sleep within their narrow bed.
And now await the trumpet's sound
To pace upon celestial ground.
The bugle sounds at Captain's will.
Be fervent all! Be still! Be still!
The reveille will soon be called,
They'll answer "Here!" one and all.
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL ii
Hush ! move softly where you tread.
'T is hallowed by the noble dead —
Not dead! resurgent (to rise again);
To join with Angels' sweet refrain;
They but await the bugle's sound
To pace upon celestial ground,
That when the reveille shall sound its call,
They'll answer "Here!" one and all.
Here, the Glee Club rendered Mrs. Julia Ward Howe's
"Battle Hymn of the Republic."
Comrade J. Payson Bradley (Co. B.), Boston, then
gave the following impromptu address : —
*' Comrades of the old First Massachusetts Heavy
Artillery and good friends assembled here to-day: As
the youngest member of the old regiment present, and
as one who forty-five years ago to-day was in front of
Petersburg, where one of the Melvin boys lost his life,
it has become my sweet, sad duty, by the request of the
surviving brother of that family, to address you on the
occasion of the dedication of this memorial to his three
brothers, members of Company K of our regiment, who
went out but did not return. Our regiment, it seems to
me, always had sudden calls to duty, and I would not be
true to the patriotic tradition of its birthplace, old Essex
County, or to this family whom we honor to-day, or to
my own family, if I did not act the part of the minute
man by responding at almost a moment's notice to a
duty such as we are performing.
"Over one hundred years ago this part of our country
12 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
was stirred by the midnight ride of Paul Revere. From
Boston to Lexington and towards Concord he rode,
giving notice that the Enghsh army was coming out to
this town to destroy mihtary stores which had been here
gathered. This family, which had seen service under the
Provincial Governors at Crown Point, at Louisburg,
and at Quebec, did not forget their duty when that hour
of danger came, and it was a Melvin who rang the bell
at Concord to notify the people of the oncoming of the
invader. As they were represented all through the
Colonial and Indian wars and in the War of the Revo-
lution, you are not surprised, my friends, to know that
they were not wanting when this country which their
forefathers helped to found was in danger, and they
sprang again to arms when our great commander,
Abraham Lincoln, directed the loyal men of the
country to assemble in defence of our national capi-
<* One of the boys from the plough in the field, with
only a few moments' warning, without even going home
to put on different raiment, went to the armory of your
home company of the Fifth Massachusetts militia, en-
rolled himself in it, and went forth to battle for his coun-
try. And as the war progressed, one after another of
these boys entered the army, until, before the close of
the war, the four brothers were serving under the Stars
and Stripes, which you, my comrades, carry in this
solemn yet glad procession to-day. There were other
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 13
families that were represented by the entire male mem-
bership, but there were not many in which four brothers,
leaving behind a widowed mother and two sisters, went
forth with their commendation and blessing and fought
for the Union and the flag, and you will find still less,
that, when the war was over, had only a single mem-
ber to return and keep in lasting memory the pa-
triotic service which three of them sealed with their
"It is certainly very happy, even amid these symbols of
mourning, for the old regiment to assemble here to-day
at the kind invitation of the remaining brother, and with
him dedicate this beautiful memorial to the three bro-
thers, older than himself, who laid down their lives
that the nation might be preserved. We honor not only
the brothers who have passed over, but we would, in
this large assembly of the old regiment to-day, honor
him who remains, who after the war vowed that if pros-
perity came to him he would erect a memorial to those
who were near and dear to him; and to-day we
see before us that vow fulfilled. How appropriately
and how beautifully it has been carried out is shown
by this figure representing * Mourning Victory*; for.
Comrades, you know that all our victories brought
with them the stirring of our hearts' tenderest feeling,
and a tear for those whose death made the victory pos-
"We cannot forget that to-day, the i6th of June, is the
14 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
forty-fifth anniversary of the engagement before Peters-
burg, Virginia, when the Army of the Potomac, having
fought through the Wilderness and at Cold Harbor,
crossed the James River and made that march upon
what proved to be the stronghold of the Confederacy.
It was on that 15th of June, 1864, that we heard early
in the afternoon the firing of Smith's division of the
Army of the James as it made its successful assault on
the extreme outer works of Petersburg, held by a small
force hastily gathered together. That night we arrived
before the city, and the next day, the i6th, just forty-five
years ago, you who were present at that time will
remember that about five o'clock in the afternoon the
Second Army Corps, supported on the left by the Ninth,
made an assault upon the works held then by Hill's
corps of the Army of Northern Virginia. You will
remember, my comrades, how stubbornly the battle
raged from five until ten o'clock. You will remember
we lost one of our color-bearers, and there is a comrade
with us here who the next day took those colors and
carried them to the end of the war. It was on the i6th
that one of these brothers gave up his life on the bat-
tlefield for his country. Asa, a good soldier, spoken
well of by all his comrades and officers, was the one
to answer to the call of duty, following almost eight
months after his brother John, who had died in the
Military Hospital at Fort Albany, Virginia, October
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 15
"One might think that the sacrifice of two of the
brothers was enough. But fate had in store a different
history to send down the ages, for in the battle of the
Wilderness, at the Harris Farm, on the preceding 19th
of May, 1864, Samuel was captured and confined at
Andersonville, Georgia. Comrades, you know what that
meant in 1864. We can believe that the two brothers
who had already passed over to the glorified encamp-
ment above, had received from the Great Commander
the gracious welcome of ' Well done, good and faithful
servants.' But how about the other brother, at Ander-
sonville ? There 's a comrade present, a fellow pris-
oner who was with him through all the months and
weeks of his terrible sickness, suffering, and longing
for home, who will tell you that he was * faithful unto
'< The sacrifice now was complete ; three of the brothers
had gone, one remained. He, a mere youth, could not
allow himself to remain at home, but in the last year of
the war, really too young to enlist, he joined that fa-
mous old Sixth Regiment which marched out at the very
beginning, and in the streets of Baltimore shed the first
blood for the Union. He was spared to come home, and
it is well that we should assemble here to-day and with
him assist in the dedication of this memorial.
*' How well his brothers filled the full measure of a
soldier's duty, this silent memorial and these tablets
in short words proclaim. They have indeed blessed this
i6 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
country, for in the soil of Massachusetts one Hes buried ;
in an unknown grave, in Virginia, he who fell at Peters-
burg sleeps his last sleep; and amidst the mourning
pines at Andersonville in Georgia another awaits the
call of the angel trumpeter. Their blood indeed has
enriched the soil of our common country. From Massa-
chusetts on the north to Georgia on the south they have
enriched it, so that coming generations will say that
not Massachusetts and Georgia alone, but the soil of
the whole Nation has been made sacred by the death of
these three boys. 'Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friend.' What can
we add to these words of Holy Writ ? It was not their
lot to be famous in civil life, but in the common walks,
in which we of the old army had a part, they were doing
their duty when the call came. They obeyed, and, when
put to the test, they made that sacrifice, the greatest that
can be made, their lives for their fellow men, their lives
for this country we all love, their lives for that flag which
came home washed of its one stain and purified not
only in their blood, but in the blood of thousands of
our comrades, who on battlefields, the decks of our men-
of-war, and in prison pens freely died that the Nation
"In coming memorial days, when children of the ris-
ing generation repair to the different cemeteries through-
out our land, and with slow and measured tread, the
few veterans that remain accompany them and place
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THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 17
wreaths upon the graves of their departed comrades, no
more interesting place than this can be found through-
out the country to teach these children the lesson of the
sacrifices that were made in their behalf and in behalf
of this Nation, not only now, but so long as God shall
permit it to exist. May that lesson be taken to heart!
May they, as they look upon this * Mourning Victory,*
which here guards so solemnly these three tablets, re-
member what it cost to preserve our Country's flag and
to give this Nation its present position in the world.
For, my Comrades, as we go out one by one we feel as
if we had done something towards the uplift of human-
ity and the further advancement of our country, which
God has so greatly blessed.
" I feel. Comrades, that no words of mine can add to
those which are on this memorial. We are glad to be
here in such large numbers to-day, — I think the larg-
est assembly of the old regiment we have had for
many a year. We are glad of this beautiful sunshine,
reminding us of this day forty-five years ago. But above
all. Comrades, I know what is in your minds. To have
fought for a country like ours was a great privilege, but
to be permitted to live forty-odd years to enjoy some
of the fruits of that victory is a privilege for which we
thank our Heavenly Father. It was not their privilege
to see in the flesh what their sacrifice had wrought, but
we believe that to-day in spirit our three comrades are
with us. The call of the bugle not only brought nearly
i8 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
a hundred men of the old regiment together, but, Com-
rades, I see again, as I look up and down the line, the
woods in front of Petersburg into which we charged
that afternoon, and I can see the old regiment, every
man, assembled. You who were there remember we went
into a hollow, something like this in front of us, before
we came upon the enemy amongst the log -houses.
That was forty-five years ago to-day, and from that
day to this we have been reaping the benefits which
came from the sacrifices made, not only then, but from
1861 to 1865, by our comrades from Maine to Cali-
fornia and from the Lakes to the Gulf. And so to-day
we go from this place rejoicing to think that we could
be here to assist this brother in this act which is a credit
to his mind and heart. We honor him for the erection
of the Memorial, not only to his own brothers, but also
to our dead comrades of the war.
" Before we close these ceremonies we are to crown
these tablets with laurel wreaths, symbols of victory.
From their own Company K there remain, and are
here to-day, comrades who knew each one of these
brothers well, and it certainly is most fitting that they
should do this part in the dedication of the Memo-
" And now, my Comrades, as we go from this place let
us take with us a determination to live during the re-
maining years of our lives for our Country as they fought
and died for it, let us be as faithful now and in the future
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 19
as we have been in the past, so that when the Great
Commander shall call us to the final roll-call we shall
all be able to answer *Here' until the last man shall
have reported, and the old regiment, with its old lead-
ers, one of whom we wish might have lived to be with
us here to-day, — our dear old Colonel Shatswell, —
will reassemble in the glorified ranks of the Army of the
Redeemed in the Great Encampment above."
Decoration of the tablets followed, accompanied, in
every instance, by the sounding of <*Taps" and the
drooping of the Colors above the tablet, each decorator
being a personal friend of the dead, as well as a member
of Company K : —
Comrade Sylvester C. Frost, Arlington: — My
comrades, in your name I deposit this wreath as a token
of love and respect to the memory of our brave comrade,
Asa H. Melvin, of Company K.
Comrade William H. Merrow, Lawrence : — Com-
rades, to me has been assigned the honor of placing
this wreath to the memory of John H. Melvin, one of
the original members of Company K of our regiment,
and an intimate comrade of mine.
Comrade Lucius A. Wilder, Goshen, Indiana : —
Comrades, as the sole survivor of six members of Com-
pany K who were taken prisoners on the 19th of May
at Harris Farm, I place this wreath in memory of our
comrade, Samuel Melvin. He died in Andersonville
20 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
The singing of "America " by the Glee Club, accom-
panied by the Assembly, led up to Comrade Bradley's
*<As a fitting conclusion to these exercises, I have
been asked to sound * Taps ' for each one of the Melvin
boys ; but, Comrades, *Taps' does not seem as appropri-
ate now as it did years ago. We have gone out so rap-
idly that the past seems far behind us, and the future
appears to be closing in. So many of our comrades are
over on the other shore, it seems that the night must be
nearly ended and the morning dawning, and we listen
intently for that first call of day which. Comrades,
we shall hear, ere long, in Eternity's camping-ground,
where we shall respond to Reveille in the morning."
The Reveille as sounded by Comrade Bradley, the
boy bugler of the regiment, ended the exercises at the
The detail from Company I and the Old Concord
Post escorted the First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery
veterans to the Colonial Inn, where the three organiza-
tions were photographed. Photographs of the veterans
had previously been taken at the Memorial, and of the
veterans and Post at the armory on Walden Street.
At one o'clock the three organizations were the guests
of Comrade Melvin at dinner, the Regiment at the
Colonial Inn, and the Post and Company at the lower
town hall, the separation being necessary in order to
secure adequate accommodations.
At the Colonial Inn the Divine blessing was invoked
before dinner by Comrade George H. Lewis (Co. F.),
Melrose, in the following words : —
Our Heavenly Father, we thank Thee that so many
of us have been permitted to come together to-day on
this solemn occasion. O Lord, we thank Thee for the
services which were held in commemoration of our
comrades. Though we cannot hear their voices, though
we cannot look them in the eye, though we cannot
grasp them by the hand, we remember them in our
hearts. We thank Thee for this beautiful day, which
is typical of that great day for which all days were made.
We pray that Thou wilt bless us as comrades, and may
the fraternal feeling and love in our hearts never cease ;
we know that it will not cease in time, and we trust that
it will be perpetuated in eternity. Help us, as we par-
take of this bounty of Thy love, that we may remember
that Thou art the giver. May we be as thoughtful and
grateful to Thee as we are dependent upon Thee, and
may we all meet in that Grand Army, that grand en-
campment, where the jewels of the Lord shall be gath-
ered together. In Christ's name we ask it. Amen.
22 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
I 86 I 1909
JAMES C. MELVIN
FIRST MASSACHUSETTS HEAVY ARTILLERY
The Colonial Inn
June 1 6th, 1909.
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 23
Iced Olives Radishes Sweet Pickles
Penobscot Salmon Hollandaise
Roast Stuffed Chicken
Mashed Potatoes Boiled Onions Concord Asparagus
Lettuce, Tomato and Cucumber Salad
Vanilla Ice Cream Frozen Pudding
Strawberries and Cream
Assorted Cake Macaroons
Roquefort and Cream Cheese
After dinner, members of the Post joined their com-
rades of the Regiment in the dining-hall of the Colonial
Inn, to listen to speeches by the veterans. Comrade
Bradley presided at the exercises, and began the speech-
making, saying : —
Comrades, give your attention to our host of the
occasion. Comrade James C. Melvin. [Three cheers for
Mr. Melvin, given spontaneously.] Before he speaks,
however, just a word or two. The companies have
sent in the lists of their members present here to-day.
I presume the list is not entirely correct. Company A
reports two men. Company B, twelve. Company C,
six. Company D, eleven. Company E, two. Company
F, eight. Company G, six. Company H, seven, Com-
pany I, six. Company K, eleven. Company L, nine,
Company M, eight, or an aggregate of eighty-eight.
This is the largest number we shall ever have together
on this earth. There is something remarkable about
this attendance, in that the companies that lost the
largest number in killed and wounded during the serv-
ice are most largely represented here, Companies B
and K. This is a rather remarkable fact.
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 25
We are here as guests of our Comrade Melvin, and
he has given us a glorious day. We have had a joyful
meeting, and yet one that is tinged with sadness, for we
cannot help at this time mingling these two emotions.
I learn from our Comrade Melvin that, in erecting this
Memorial to his three brothers, he raised it not only
in honor of them, but also as a memorial and a tribute
to the First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery. So at last,
through Comrade Melvin, we possess a beautiful monu-
ment in the town of Concord, already noted for historical
mementoes, covering not only the last one hundred and
forty years of this country, but all the time from the very
first settlement, from provincial days to the present.
And I wish to say further. Comrades, knowing that you
feel just as I do, that we are under great obligations to
our Comrade for this magnificent Memorial and for
this beautiful ceremony of dedication which he has ar-
ranged for us to-day. All honor to the three boys who
went out from the family and died in defence of the flag,
and all honor to him who still remains to uphold what
they helped establish with their very lives.
I shall not take more of your time, because I have
other duties to attend to in the way of arrangements this
afternoon, and it needs very few words from me to in-
troduce the youngest member of the family, Comrade
James C. Melvin, our host of the day. Now, boys, I
wish you to rise and give three cheers for Comrade Mel-
vin. [The cheers were given vigorously.]
26 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
Comrade James C. Melvin
Comrades: My duty here to-day is very simple. It
is to thank each and all of you for coming from your
homes to dedicate a memorial to three of your comrades
who suffered with you in camp, on the march, and on
the battlefield, and who at last laid their lives on the
altar of their country.
I am deeply touched that so many of you are here.
One' comes a thousand miles to pay a last tribute of
love and affection to his friend and comrade, with whom
he suffered at Andersonville. The face of this comrade
was probably the last friendly one my brother ever
saw, for at that time the mists of death were gathering,
and ten days later he died. I also desire to express my
gratitude to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Committee,
— for every member of that Committee has done all in
his power to cooperate with the sculptor and myself
in every way, — and to the members of the Old Con-
cord Post, some of whom were boyhood friends of my
brothers, for their kindness and courtesy in acting as
escort to their visiting brethren. Also I wish to thank
the Concord Artillery for detailing a guard for this
occasion. This old Concord Company is the one in
which my brother Asa served when it went to the
front early in 1861, and in which I later became a
private and an ofhcer.
' Lucius A. Wilder of Goshen, Indiana.
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 27
It will be but a few years when there will be no old
soldiers of the Civil War left, and as the evening shad-
ows lengthen, each of you will have the consoling re-
flection that when your country was in peril you went to
the rescue. But for you and your comrades, we should
have no united country to-day.
At the close of the war I was a poor lad of seventeen,
with no assets except what nature had given me. At
that time I made a vow that I would some time erect
a fitting memorial to my three brothers. For more than
forty years this has been in my mind, and it is nearly
thirty years since Mr. French, one of the friends of my
youth, was consulted. Five years ago he accepted my
commission; the result is the beautiful and inspiring
monument which you to-day have dedicated. I am
certain you will all agree with me that the youthful
hand which fashioned the Minute Man and in maturer
years created the Milmore Memorial has lost nothing
of its cunning. May it forever stand, a memorial to
these three brave soldiers, and, what is of vastly greater
importance, an inspiration to future generations to
follow the path of duty though it may lead, as it did
with these brothers, to that greatest sacrifice that can
be made by man.
In the spring of 186 1 the three brothers were living,
two of them in Lawrence and one of them on a farm in
Concord. Their ancestors and family had taken prom-
inent parts in the Indian and Colonial wars as well
28 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
as in the War of the Revolution. On the paternal side
one ancestor' commanded a company at Louisburg and
another^ took an active part at Brookfield in King
Philip's War. One of the family ^ commanded a com-
pany at Crown Point, and one "* was the sentinel at the
court-house in this town on the 19th of April, 1775,
and rang the bell that roused the country. On the
maternal side four of their ancestors ^ were officers.
With such antecedents it was only natural that Asa,
as true a Minute Man as the court-house sentinel in
1775, hearing on the 19th of April, a day when the
blood of every true son of Concord thrills with patriot-
ism, the eighty-sixth anniversary of the day when the
*' embattled farmers" fired the first gun for American
independence, that the Concord company had been
called out by Governor Andrew and was to leave that
day for the war, should, although not a member of the
company, drop his work in the field, walk to the centre
of the town, join the company, and leave with it for the
front in less than three hours after hearing the call. He
was in the first battle of Bull Run, and at the expiration
* Captain David Melvin 1690-1745
* Lieutenant Simon Davis 1636-17 13
3 Captain Eleazer Melvin 1 703-1 754
■♦ Private Amos Melvin 1731-1806
5 Sergeant John Heald 2d 1689
Lieutenant John Heald 3d 1666-1721
Lieutenant John Heald 5th 1721-1810
Lieutenant John Heald 6th 1746-1816
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 29
of his term of service returned to Concord and soon
reenlisted in the First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery
for three years, and on the expiration of that term of
service reenlisted again in the same regiment. He was
killed in a charge on the enemy's lines at Petersburg
June 16, 1864, aged twenty-nine. That charge was
sounded forty-five years ago this afternoon by the same
man, on the same bugle, that you have heard to-day.
Asa's body lies in an unknown grave.
John was working in Lawrence at the time. He en-
listed early in 186 1 in the First Massachusetts Heavy
Artillery. The regiment was mustered into the United
States service July 5, 186 1, and soon left for Wash-
ington. He died at Fort Albany, Virginia, October 13,
1863, aged twenty-two years. His body was sent home
by his comrades, and rests in our beautiful Sleepy
Samuel enlisted at the same time as his brother
John, and was taken prisoner at Harris's Farm May 19,
1864, while taking his comrade E. K. Boardman to
the rear. He reached Andersonville June 3, and per-
ished there September 25, 1864, aged twenty years,
five months. I have here the diary' which he kept
while he was in Andersonville, in which he wrote
almost daily up to within ten days of his death. In it
he says that he could not ask to be better treated than
he was by the Confederate soldiers while on his way
' See page 77.
30 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
to Andersonville. There everything was changed and
cruelties unspeakable were suffered. In this diary he
records his hopes and his disappointments, one day
buoyed up by rumors of an exchange, only to be cast
into the depths of despair by their not proving true ;
the death, one after another, of his comrades, taking
down the tender messages of love sent by them to their
kindred at home. He tells of his own and his com-
rades' sickness and sufferings, some days of getting no
rations and on others only a few spoonfuls of uncooked,
unsalted rice or cornmeal. The continual cry is for
food and for home.
For the boys who wore the gray I have no ill feeling.
I have spent the last five winters in the South, and have
met many of them, and it has been a pleasure to me to
help some of them who were needy.
For Andersonville there can be no excuse. The bar-
barity and cruelty there will forever remain a blot upon
The Daughters of the Confederacy may erect a mon-
ument to Wirz as high as the virgin pines which sur-
rounded the stockade, but the little white stones on
the slope at Andersonville, which mark the graves of
the fifteen thousand heroes who perished there, will for-
ever tell the true story. [Applause, and three cheers
for Comrade Melvin.]
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 31
Our Association, as you know, is presided over this
year by Comrade Sidney Poore. His voice is a little out
of tune to-day, but we cannot let our President off with-
out at least a word. We would like to hear from the
President of the Association, Comrade Poore, of Com-
President Sidney Poore
Mr. Toastmaster and Comrades : At the best, I am
a very indifferent speaker, and for the last few days I
have had a very bad voice, and I am troubled with rheu-
matism, too, so that I am under the weather, figuratively
speaking anyway ; but I am very much pleased to meet
so many of you here to-day. I never thought that I
should ever see so many of the First Heavies together
again. I have been used, ever since I came out of the
army, to go to the different reunions that we have
had, and I have seen some pretty large parties assem-
bled, but I must thank Comrade Melvin for making our
getting together to-day possible. I hardly think we ever
should have met in such numbers if it had not been for
his kind invitation. I think I could come down every
week and enjoy this. I am sure I voice the sentiments
of all of you. Comrades, when I thank him very kindly
and heartily for making this day possible.
32 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
We have here a comrade who has come from the state
of Indiana to be present to-day to pay his personal re-
spects to one who was very near and dear to him, one
of the brothers, the one who died at Andersonville. If
Lucius A. Wilder is in the room we want to have him
step right down here and let us hear a word from our
Indiana Comrade of Company K.
Comrade Lucius A. Wilder
I will simply say that I am interested in this dedica-
tion. I have come a thousand miles for this occasion ;
I can think of no other event that would have brought
me here. But Andersonville Prison is an old story. It
is something that I seldom mention unless I am among
those who can appreciate it and who know something
of prison life.
As Comrade Melvin mentions in his diary, we were
treated well until we arrived at Andersonville Prison.
We certainly had good officers. I began to think that
they were not as bad as they were represented. But that
was the last that we ever saw of what we called a good
officer or a good rebel. They could not do enough to
injure the prisoners after that; it was anything to get
one out of the way. I do not believe that consent would
ever have been given to hang six raiders there, if this
had not been the means of destroying six Yanks. When
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 33
we arrived at the prison, fortunately we had a Httle
money, twenty-five dollars, George Handy carrying the
funds. He was very anxious in regard to that money,
for it was well known that every prisoner would be
searched and all his valuables taken from him, —
money, watches, knives, anything of value, even his
coat. As it happened, the Confederates seemed to be
much excited at the time we arrived at the stockade. At
that time the prison contained some thirty thousand
men. The keepers were very anxious to get us inside as
soon as possible, so that no one of the thousand was
searched, and in consequence we carried in considerable
money among us. As we entered the stockade, the old
prisoners, who had been there all the way from two to
eleven or twelve months, were standing in a line, in rags,
some of them almost nude ; some of them had not had
shirts on their backs for three months, — their hides
the color of leather. I looked them over. I saw several
men sitting there, nude apparently, living skeletons.
No skeleton in a dime museum would ever compare
with those men. They were simply skin and bones. At
this time I met an old comrade, a schoolmate, by the
name of Henry Joy of Lawrence. He stepped up and
shook me by the hand. Said I, " Henry, how long have
you been here?" He looked very serious. "Nine
months," he said, " in this and other prisons." I made
the remark that I did not think I would remain there
long. He said, 'T thought so when I entered here, but
34 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
I have about given up hope." Two months later he
died. The prison was so crowded that we could not find
a place that we could call headquarters. We were
anxious to keep together our little band of six. I hap-
pened to see a piece of ground with three or four willow
poles bent over, about six by four. I made the remark,
" Here is a place, boys. Let us quarter here." An old
prisoner stepped up. "Just come in, boys ? " he asked.
*' Yes, just come in. We are looking for a place that we
can fix up for a kind of headquarters." He said, "I'll
sell you my place." I replied, "Do you sell the land
here?" "Well," he said, "there is no rule, but all of
my friends have died and I am heir of the estate" ; and
he smiled. We talked it over. We decided we would
purchase. His price was five dollars. We made our
little shelter. We possessed one blanket. That blanket
we got possession of from a rebel officer just before we
went into prison ; one of the boys having had a fancy
haversack which he traded for it. We took the blanket
and ran it over the poles. I possessed an extra shirt.
My friend Ned Holt, of Company K, had an extra pair
of drawers. We made a shelter enough to keep the sun
off of us, and that is the way we lived for some two
months. Then we commenced to divide up. We could
not all get under the shelter at night. We simply lay
spoon fashion, one turn, all turn. The man that was on
the outside one night would be on the inside the next
night. That is the way we lived.
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL ss
After some five weeks I noticed that the men com-
menced to fail. There seemed to be no disease particu-
larly, but a sort of despondency. A man would lie there,
and would groan and look up to the sky, and think of
home and the old farm. He soon passed away. An
early one to go was George Handy. The next to go was
Asa Rowe, and the next was Ed. Holt. Ed. Holt died
from diphtheria. We were cooking together one day.
I made the remark that my throat was sore. He said,
**So is mine," and added, "You must have taken cold.'*
The next day he asked, ''Wilder, how is your throat ?"
Said I, 'Tt is not any worse. I think I am getting better."
It seems that he had diphtheria, and my trouble was
nothing more than a cold. The third day I walked him
round the prison to see the boys. They spoke to him.
He was like death, and he could hardly speak. He said
he guessed he would go back and lie down. He went
back and lay down. He looked up and said, "Wilder,
I never shall live to see the sun rise." I told him I
thought he might live to see the sun rise on many an
occasion. He spoke to his friend Melvin, who did not
give him much encouragement, and he strangled to
death. I went outside of the tent, and I shed tears, the
only tears that I shed while I was inside that prison,
for it did not do for a man to get despondent.
Comrades, I could go on by the hour and talk of An-
dersonville, but I am simply taking up time ; therefore,
thanking you, I will stop.
36 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
Comrade Bradley : — We would like to listen all
the afternoon to our good Comrade Wilder. This story
of course comes back to us very sharply.
Comrade Wilder : — You have heard me ; I would
like to hear others.
Comrade Bradley : — Of course we wish to hear
from quite a large number. It has been suggested that
we should hear from every comrade present. It is im-
possible to carry out that suggestion ; but a list of those
who knew our comrades in whose honor we are assem-
bled to-day, and who knew them well, has been pre-
pared, and on that list is our good friend Comrade
Merrow, of Company K. Captain Merrow 1
Captain William H. Merrow, Lawrence
Well, Mr. President and Comrades, what I have to
say will be in few words. I am no speaker. I only wish
that there was one here who could voice the sentiments
of Company K, and that one is Charley Burrows, but
he unavoidably is kept away. He has business of such a
nature that he could not possibly be here.
At the breaking out of the Civil War, John and
Samuel Melvin were employed in the mills of Lawrence,
like hundreds of young men who had gone to the new
city, as it was then known, to make their fortune, and
the two Melvin boys, in connection with twelve others,
enlisted in Company K about as soon as it was organ-
ized. Intimacy grew up between John Melvin and me
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL i^-]
that lasted all the rest of his life. He was an intimate
comrade of mine. If we were on the march, it was
John's elbow that touched mine. If we went out of
camp anywhere, John and I were together. If we took
a notion to go to Washington, it was John and I who
John was an exceedingly good soldier. He was a man
who kept his equipments and his clothing in perfect
shape at all times. No sudden call for any inspection
ever found John Melvin unprepared. Samuel Melvin
was more of a sedate, studious nature. He was an inven-
tive genius. I remember at one time his getting up some
sort of a galvanic battery ; he was studying electricity at
as early a day as that. Of course if he had lived, these
times would have been opportune for him to perfect his
study. But that was the different nature of the two men.
While John was all soldier, Samuel enlisted and was
soldier to this extent: he was there to do his duty as he
was told, but he did not enter into it with the same en-
thusiasm as did John. Of Asa Melvin I knew very httle,
because I left the Company soon after his admittance
to it, but his death in the line of battle, the i6th of June,
vouched for his good conduct.
Speaking of Company K, there were borne on its rolls
from first to last somewhere about two hundred and
twelve officers and men. Of those two hundred and
twelve, there were one hundred and forty-nine that
reached the firing fine, or, as we said in those days, that
38 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
went to the front. Of that number fifty-eight were
killed, wounded, or missing, making a httle more than
one third of the whole number of men that were en-
gaged. Of the two hundred odd men of that Company
who followed the old flag into the battle of Spottsyl-
vania on the 19th of May, 1864, there were less than
twenty that stood under its tattered folds at Appomat-
tox. While we do not speak of Company K as having
performed its duty better than any other company, I
think the records will show that it did as well, and I am
sure the comrades who are here to-day will indorse that.
I wish to return my thanks for the thought that
brought about this magnificent reunion. To Comrade
Melvin all honor is due. I know it was last winter that
he first conceived the idea of inviting the Company to
these memorial exercises. But he found that its surviv-
ing members were scattered and few, for I wish to say
right here that out of Company K there are at the pre-
sent time one hundred and fifty known to be dead,
forty-two are living, and the rest, some twenty-one or
two, are recorded as missing. As I said before, it was
his idea to have the Company only, but when he found
that there were so few and they so scattered, he then
decided to invite the remainder of the old Regiment,
which I am glad that he did, and postponed the dedi-
cation until this summer.
Comrade Bradley : — Comrade Poore, the Presi-
dent of the Association, has an additional word to say.
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 39
Comrade Poore : — At some time, and I don't know
as there would be any more opportune time than this,
sir, I wish to propose the name of Comrade Melvin for
honorary membership in our Association. [The mo-
tion was seconded by several comrades.]
Comrade Bradley : — You hear that motion. Ev-
erything goes to-day. Comrades. The President makes
the motion that our host of the day, James C. Melvin,
be made an honorary member of the First Massachu-
setts Heavy Artillery Association.
A Comrade : — By a rising vote.
Comrade Bradley : — Are you ready for the ques-
tion? All in favor will say, "Aye."
The motion was adopted unanimously by rising vote,
and Comrade James C. Melvin was made an honorary
member of the First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery
Comrade Bradley: — Comrade Melvin, you are
one of us now. And, by the way, he has been look-
ing over something here, and wants to read just a
word. Comrade Melvin ! Now you are one of us.
Comrade Melvin: — To show you the style of
diary ' that my brother kept, I will read the entries for
two or three days. [He then read the entries for Sep-
tember 12, 14, and 15, 1864.]
Comrade Bradley : — We would like to hear from
Comrade Jenkins of Company H, Andover. Give your
' See page 77.
40 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
attention, Comrades, to Comrade Jenkins of Com-
Comrade E. K. Jenkins, Andover
I wish to say that you and I never met under any
such circumstances as these, from the beginning to the
end, and I predict we never shall again. We meet with
different thoughts. We came here, it might be said, to
bury our comrades. We have laid our last tributes on
their resting place. Then we listen to the brother, and
he reads how one of them died. It brings back to us
the war, with all its deviltry, with everything that should
stamp with that name Andersonville Prison.
I have lived long enough to see the son of General
Grant almost taken from his feet by the Southerners
down in Tennessee, while tears were flowing. The Blue
and the Gray have grasped each other by the hand and
here we stand to-day a better nation than we ever were
before. See what we have done by sending what the
pessimist believed was to be an encouragement for war,
our fleet, all over the world. And what did it meet .? It
met open arms everywhere. But the fiery newspaper
and the sensationalist have tried to get us into a war
with Japan. Japan is one of the best friends we have,
and we are her best friends, and you and I know it.
We have come right in here to-day, and I think it is a
heart to heart occasion. I would not have missed it for
anything. This young boy, as he was, has done more
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 41
than any one of us In the Regiment to bring us together,
to hold us right In brotherly love, and I want to thank
him over and over again. And we are here to make a
day for the beautiful, old historic town that we are In,
where some of the best talent of the world lies burled.
Those men made history, and we are making history
to-day. We have been making It for forty years, and we
look as though we might keep on for another ten years,
though the most of us will be pretty old by that time.
I shall be about ninety, but never mind, I shall be here.
I stand up before you, seventy-eight years old In a few
days, but when a man has courage he can do much.
I have one brother. He went Into the war when I
came out, and he, too, came out, with one leg taken off
at the knee, the other, at the foot. He has the most
cheery nature that I know. He will make you roar with
laughter at the stories he tells. It Is courage ; he never
says die. And that Is why so many of us, I think, stand
here to-day. We have not abused ourselves. We have
tried to live temperate. Industrious, and moral lives.
As the speaker said the other day to the Abbott Acad-
emy girls, "You want to sow morally and reap spirit-
ually. Some men, you know, sow money." Our friend
here sowed money. Did n't he sow It for a good pur-
pose ? He sowed money. He had but a dollar or two,
he says. Think what he has reaped from those dollars,
and think what he has put out here. It will never be
forgotten by this regiment nor by this town. He sowed
42 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
wisely. He has made money where many others did
not; but what a good use he has put that money to. It
has cheered you and has set an example to you and
Comrade Bradley : — I wish now to introduce to
you another Comrade, a former President of the Associ-
ation, whom all will be very glad to hear, and he is
Comrade Farnham of Peabody, Company D.
Comrade Frank E. Farnham
Mr. Toastmaster: I address you and our generous
host and all these dear old comrades, and say that I am
glad to add a word to a spirit which is getting scarce
through the country, but which prevails here to-day,
the old spirit of '6i. In doing so, without any mahce
and without sounding any discordant note, I cannot fall
in with the prevailing sentiment over the country, it
seems to me, of the press, of the pulpit, the lecture room,
the politician, the statesman, and even of some organ-
izations, to obliterate all the difference between the right
and the wrong of that conflict, and to assert that there
were as much virtue and principle in that war on the
other side as upon the side in which the brothers of
our host to-day died. I cannot subscribe to that opin-
ion. Apparently their minds have not changed. JVe
must make all the concessions, and it will end, unless
checked, — and I hope history will check it, — in put-
ting their cause on a higher plane than ours. I never
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 43
can subscribe to that, for theirs was the cause of slavery
and nothing else.
I know it has become the fashion now to say that that
was not the issue, although Alexander Stephens, per-
haps the noblest rebel of them all, said it was, that
slavery was the corner-stone of the Confederacy. I
know it is the fashion now to say secession was the real
issue. There have been plenty of wind and water wasted
on that, have been in the past, and will be in the future ;
but there would never have been a drop of blood shed
in settling that. And by the way, it is a question that
never will be settled, because our forefathers attempted
the mathematical impossibility of making a part equal
the whole, of giving to the states the same rights as
those of the whole nation in some matters, and that will
never settle the question of right to secede. The Su-
preme Court has vacillated all round about it, and it is
not settled yet. We are a failure, if that is all we tried
I, for one, think that this deluge of perverted senti-
ment, for so it looks to me, which crops out everywhere,
can at least be delayed until we have followed these
three departed comrades of ours. We must not give
way to this. We cannot do it without stultifying our-
selves and without decreasing the honor and insulting
the memory of these comrades whom we honor to-day,
and of all the others, for ours was the cause of liberty,
and liberty not alone, as has been said, to the black man
44 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
in this country, but to all men, to all races, for all time,
and the proof of it would have been, Comrades, if it had
gone the other way. Where, then, would Liberty have
found a resting place on this footstool for her feet ? The
progress of the world would have been set back for cen-
turies. Let us live and die in the delusion, if it be one,
that there never was a cause more justifiable than the
one that called us to arms.
How little war has accomplished as a rule, and how
little excuse for it there is! Indeed, it does not settle
anything. It is very rarely war settles what it starts out
for. Why, even our Revolution, which we talk so much
about, was undertaken mostly to settle the question of
taxing colonies without their consent. I think there are
many colonies taxed to-day without their consent. The
War of i8 12 started with the slogan of no impressment
of American seamen, and when they made the peace of
Ghent there was not a word said about it, and there has
not been one said since. The war with Mexico, and I
should include that with Spain if there were not some
Spanish- War fellows here, perhaps, it seems to me had
no great principle behind it, and has no great place in
history. All honor to those who do their duty. But our
war was a war of self-defense, and self-defense is per-
mitted to the nation as it is to the individual, and it is
the only case in which blood can be shed justly. Speed
the time, all men who have seen real fighting will say,
when all these questions will be settled without the shed-
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 45
ding of blood, which really does not settle any question.
When two men who have a joint interest, we will say,
fall out and fight, and one whips the other, the other
man is not convinced; he is mad, and it takes a court
of law to settle it. It will take international courts in
the future to settle questions which have to do with
war. But let us be true to the conviction, and to the de-
lusion, as I said, if it be one, that we fought for one of
the most righteous causes that was ever struggled for,
and be proud, as we have been, to our dying day that
we played at least a humble part in one of the most
glorious war dramas that was ever acted in this world's
Comrade Bradley: — I wish to make a Httle di-
gression here. Some of the comrades have felt that they
have had hard luck in life, that they did not have a
chance, and they are perhaps inclined to envy those who
in a literary way or in a business way or in any line have
succeeded better. There is a great deal of luck in this
world, but if we all had the sand and the endurance
which were spoken of here as having been shown by the
prisoners of war at Andersonville and at Libby, we
would accompHsh a great deal more in this battle of
life. You know you saw in the army that the man who
said he would not die generally lived. Of course there
were exceptions in cases of severe sickness, but, I tell
you, determination went a great way.
I happened to run across a comrade this afternoon,
46 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
Hiram W. Jones, who sits here before me, and he was
the man before the war that hired James C. Melvin,
our host of the afternoon, to work for him at twenty-
five cents a day. ("Well, — he was a good boy to work,"
said Jones.) That is the way that Comrade Melvin
started with his chance in life. Some of you may have
worked for twenty-three and a half cents, but Comrade
Melvin worked for Comrade Jones here at twenty-five
cents a day, and I have no doubt you paid him in good
money, Comrade Jones. I just wanted to make that
statement as it came to me. Of all of our comrades of
late years there has been one who has stood out con-
spicuously for his unselfish devotion to the interests of
this old regiment in season and out of season. He took
us down to Spottsylvania when we dedicated the monu-
ment. And there is one thing peculiar about this regi- .
ment and the friends of the regiment. We put up a
monument at Spottyslvania. We did not ask the State
of Massachusetts to contribute a single cent. Hardly a
regiment in this whole Commonwealth, that has been
under fire, but what has had a monument on some bat-
tlefield put up by the Commonwealth, and that you
might say of every State in the North. Their regimental
monuments on the battlefield have been paid for and
have been put up there by the Commonwealth. I have
no doubt that Massachusetts would have done it for us ;
but there seems to be a comradeship in this regiment
which has pulled us together, and we have there to-day
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 47
a beautiful monument for the three hundred and ninety-
eight men who fell on the Harris Farm, that place
where one of our comrades was captured who afterwards
died in Andersonville Prison. The monument was the
result of the efforts of our good Comrade from Com-
pany L, Colonel John W. Hart of Salem, — who has
been awake twenty-four hours in the day, looking out
for the First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery Associa-
Colonel John W. Hart, Salem
After the most excellent speeches that I have heard
here this afternoon I am surprised to think you should
call on me, because you all know that I am no speech-
maker. If I should get up and say anything at all I
might say, "Not Guilty."
I anticipated with the greatest of pleasure being here
to-day with you, but the chances looked blue for me a
week or two ago, when my friend. Comrade Bradley,
called me up over the telephone and asked me if I was
coming, and I told him it would be pretty hard to get
away from court. He said, " I tell you what you can do.
Shut up the court." And speaking three or four days
ago with the judge about coming out here, away from
court, he said, "Mr. Hart, I guess you can try and get
away." "Well," I said, "one of my comrades in Bos-
ton telephoned me if I could not do any better to shut
up the court." He said, "I don't know but what you
48 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
can do it." So I don't know that there is anything
further I can say.
Comrade Bradley has given me considerable credit
in regard to the monument down South. I would like
to state how that first started in my mind. I was down
there with my wife, and I went out to the front of
Petersburg and found that the First Maine Artillery
had a monument, a good, nice monument, one which,
however, does not compare with ours, nor did it cost
nearly as much as ours did. I said to my wife when I
got back to Salem, "The first thing I am going to do is
to start the log rolling and get money enough to build a
monument in Virginia." She said, " John, you can't do
it." I said, "There is one already for the First Maine
Artillery, and I am bound now that we shall have one
at Harris Farm." I started it. The boys all fell right in,
and the money was raised. We went down there and
dedicated the monument, and had a nice time. Those
who went can testify that the accommodation perhaps
at some of the hotels was not what we would have liked,
nor what we should expect up here. But we had a good
time, everything went off first-rate, and the monument,
if I do say it, is a credit to the regiment and a credit to
the Commonwealth. It was paid for by money raised
from members and friends of the regiment.
Now in regard to the Melvin boys. I knew them very
well, being on guard with them more or less, especially
at Fort Albany. When we first went out Company K
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 49
was at Fort Albany, where Company L was. I became
acquainted with the Melvin boys and knew them well,
and always found them willing to go on guard, or if
asked to fall in or anything like that, I always found
them good soldiers, ready to obey an order at any time.
One of them I served with in the Fifth Massachusetts,
I forget the letter of the company. It went from here,
and was commanded, I think, by Captain Prescott."
I recollect that at one time the regiment was quartered
at the Treasury Building in Washington, and there were
five West Point Cadets assigned to drill it. One of them
lost his head one day, being a little quick tempered.
Somebody in the company made a mistake, and he
swore at him. I remember Prescott going up and call-
ing him down for doing it, giving him a severe lecture
about swearing to his men. He said he did not do it
himself and he did not like any outsider to do it. I was
not personally acquainted with him at that time in that
regiment, although I served in the same company with
him. I remember him very well. I was in the same
regiment, the Fifth, with him.
Gentlemen, I am glad to be with you to-day. It is
not very often I get to Concord. The last time I was
here was when you had the celebration on the 19th of
' George L. Prescott, Concord, Captain of Company G, Fifth M. V. M.
Later he was Captain, Lieutenant-Colonel, and Colonel in the Thirty-
Second Massachusetts Infantry. Severely wounded, June i8, 1864, be-
fore Petersburg, he died the following day. He was brevetted Brigadier-
General from the i8th of June, 1864.
50 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
April, 1875, and I almost froze to death. It was a cold
day, and to top off with we had to march from Lexing-
ton into Boston and arrived there somewhere about
two o'clock in the morning. We got back to Salem
at four. Still, I had a nice time. But I am very
much pleased with our exercises here to-day. Thank
Comrade Bradley : — We would like a word from
Comrade Frost, who I understand was acquainted with
our comrades whose memory we honor to-day, and I
think was a member of Company K. Comrade Frost!
Comrade S. C. Frost, Arlington
I was well acquainted with our Melvin comrades,
because I was a member of Company K. Perhaps some
of you will remember that some of Company K had
tents outside of Fort Albany in 1862, and part of them
were in an old log cabin inside of the fort. These three
Melvin boys were all inside of the fort, and I was also
inside, so I was right intimately connected with them.
They were good boys and good soldiers, always obeyed
orders, and I don't think they ever had any trouble at
all, were always ready for duty. Comrade Jones and I
were detailed to watch with John Melvin the last night
I just want to say a little about the generosity of our
host. I have known him a good many years. When I
was commander of Post 36 of Arlington I induced him
'Cuiy. </f ///e^^^^df:^i./^/fy ^^n^ /6'. /.9d9.
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 51
to Join the Grand Army. He never had joined it before.
I had the pleasure of mustering him into the Post. He
lived in Newton, so that I don't think he ever came to
a Post meeting except on the night he was mustered in.
But he paraded with us at the time of the National En-
campment in Boston in 1890; he went over the whole
route with us. He always paid his dues promptly, and
if we had a fair or an entertainment and wanted to raise
money, if I went to him with tickets and asked him to
give money he would ask me how much I thought he
ought to give. I would tell him what I thought was
about right, and he would hand it out. When we made
one of our excursions South I invited him to go ; he said
he could not go, but he would pay the expense of some
poor comrade who could not afford to go, and he did it.
When we were raising money for a monument I went
to him and asked him to help us on it. He said, *' Yes.'*
He took out his check book. I expected he would hand
me a check for about ten or fifteen dollars, and he sur-
prised me by handing me one for fifty dollars. I think
that made Company K's subscription the leading one
of all the companies in the regiment. And to-day we
have had a sample of his generosity which we never
will forget. I was going to move to make him an hon-
orary member of the regiment, but our President got
ahead of me. I hope we shall see him with us after this,
now that he is an honorary member. I have invited
him several times to attend our reunions, but he never
52 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
has been present. I think we shall always remember
this day's generosity.
Comrade Bradley : — Comrades would like to
hear — I will not take up your time in introduction —
Comrade Holt of Lawrence. He is a quiet, unassuming
fellow, but he cuts lots of ice about this season of the
year, and more in the cold weather.'
Comrade Lewis G. Holt, Lawrence
I am not an orator, I am not a public speaker, but
I am proud to say that I was a soldier in the First
Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, and that I served three
years in the ranks of that regiment. I say without fear
of contradiction by any of my comrades that I was a
good soldier, and that my regiment was never in battle
or skirmish that I was not to be found in the front rank.
I take no special credit to myself for always having
been in the front rank, because that was where I be-
longed. I was the tallest corporal in my company, so
my position was on the right and in the front rank.
After I was placed upon the colors I was also the tallest
corporal, and I was on the right and in the front rank
until I was wounded at Cold Harbor.
I did not expect to be called upon to say anything,
and I have not much to say, but some things that have
been said here have led to some thoughts that I would
like to express, and one is a little matter between the
' Lewis G. Holt has been in the ice business for many years.
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL S3
Rebs and the Yanks. When we went down to dedicate
the monument at Spottsylvania we stopped in Rich-
mond, and I went into the hall of the Camp of Con-
federate Veterans. They had a beautiful hall, a large
one, and on its walls was an oil painting, life-size or
nearly so, of every general in the Confederate army,
and right in the middle of the hall, just even with your
eye, was a picture of General Grant. It brought to my
mind the words of General Grant, and I thought the
Confederate soldiers had accepted it exactly in the same
spirit as the Northern soldiers have. "The war is over.
Let us have peace." So I have nothing to say except
in the words of General Grant, "The war is over. Let
us have peace." We have buried the hatchet. They
are friends, we are friends, and this is a great and glo-
rious united country, thank God for it. ["Amen."]
Comrade Bradley: — I wish to say that on the
i6th of June, if my memory serves me right, when we
made the first assault on Petersburg, Color Sergeant
Clark fell wounded in the assault and Comrade Buck-
ley, — what company was he? [A Comrade: "H."]
I am speaking from memory, — picked the colors up.
If I am not mistaken Comrade Dearborn of Company
L was at that time on the color guard. Now, this is one
of the days we celebrate, and if Comrade Dearborn is
here we would like to hear a little something authentic
in regard to that fight of the i6th, in which one of our
comrades whose memory we honor to-day fell. Comrade
54 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
Comrade S. B. Dearborn, Wakefield
Mr. Toastmaster : I don't know as I can give this
regiment or give you any information, as I understand
it, in regard to the color sergeant business at that time.
Sergeant Lester B. Clark was formerly a sailor, and
he was a sergeant in Company L. He was quite a fleshy
fellow, good natured, a good soldier. When we entered
the fight on the i6th of June I was not a member of the
color guard, but I was next to the color guard. On the
left of Sergeant Clark was Corporal Buckley of Com-
pany H. When Sergeant Clark fell I saw the flag go
down, and Corporal Buckley reached and picked it up.
I thought oftentimes that if anything happened to
Buckley I should have had it then. Although I was
not on the color guard, I should have thrown down my
gun and picked up the flag. I have seen Corporal Buck-
ley since then, — he was down at one of our reunions, —
and I asked him, "Are you the man that picked up
the flag ?'* He said he was. Corporal Buckley was not
promoted to color sergeant, and was not appointed
one after that. Sergeant Mack of Company I was the
Color Sergeant, and Sergeant Mack carried the flag
way through to the 5th of April, 1865, when a shell
burst right over it and split the staff in two pieces. As
it happened, somehow or other, I don't know how, I
was not far from Mack then. I had been on the skir-
mish line all that day. And by the way, to go outside
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 55
a little, we had come up to a house, and Sergeant Per-
cival of Company L was with me then. I was under
his orders, and we were firing from the house on the
skirmish line. I turned and saw the brigade coming
and the colors flying, and then our staff had not been
struck. As they came along we joined in with them,
and when the shell struck that flag of ours, which is in
the State House and shows the staff fastened together,
Mack picked it up under his arm and carried staff and
flag under his arm right along like this. I presume, of
course, we had it repaired in the regiment as best we
could, to cany it after that. I think Sergeant Stoddard
had the state colors, as I remember it. That is a little
history of our color sergeants from the time we went
to the front. Sergeant Clark, for want of proper care,
as I understood, bled to death. There is a drummer
boy here from Company H who was with him when he
died; he spoke to me to-day.
In speaking of the fight of the i6th you referred to
the log shanties. Of course you all remember those,
and then the ravine into which we went and up which
we fired. I seemed to be right along with Sergeant Per-
cival then, for he said, " Dearborn, make for this log."
We got behind that log, and laid our cartridges on it,
and he fired two shots to my one. But he said, ''Keep
on firing." And I remember being on the skirmish line
on the 6th of April.
This was such a large regiment that, although there
56 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
were so many of our men knocked out at Spottsylvania
June i6, i8, and 22, it is surprising how few men there
were at the surrender. You see we lost nearly four
hundred on the first send off, and three hundred were
taken the 22d of June to go to Andersonville and those
places, because our flank was exposed, and besides
there were Cold Harbor and Totopotomy Creek.
There came an order for a detail to go and guard
our train, and "Governor"' [Hazen S.] Pingree of
Company F was detailed as one of the guards. Mosby
captured the whole outfit. I know Captain Littlefield
came and said, 'T will take the man who has the two
sorest feet." I was in hopes he would take me, to be
honest, but he took a man by the name of Alger from
Quincy, from our company, and Coney. Coney died
in Andersonville a raving maniac, and Alger was left
on the field with a charge of buckshot in him. He came
home to Quincy, but afterwards died.
I don't know but I have wandered from my subject.
I like to talk to the regiment. This is the greatest day
I have ever seen in the regiment. As has been said, we
are indebted to Comrade Melvin for all this. I felt like
keeping quiet and thinking it over after I got home,
but I would not have missed it for anything. There
was a comrade coming in on the train this morning who
had been invited to be here to sing with the singers.
' Mayor of Detroit, Michigan, 1889, and Governor of Michigan,
1897-99, better known as "Potato Patch Pingree."
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 57
He said, "I would rather give ten dollars than to be
away from this to-day, but I have got to be at the Cus-
tom House." I thank you for calling upon me.
Comrade Bradley : — Of course it is a delightful
occasion and we could stay here all the afternoon, but
time goes on. It is very strange how these little inci-
dents refresh your memory, and, while not meaning
to be personal, we have to be a little so in our recitals.
I knew we had a color sergeant who fell on the i6th,
and we had one on the 18 th, and I remember now Com-
rade Clark, who was carried behind the O'Hare house
after he was severely wounded. It is just as clear as if
it had happened five minutes ago. About that time
Colonel Tannatt, who commanded the brigade before
he was wounded, sent an order to Major Shatswell for
ammunition, and in my position as bugler with Shats-
well I was sent to order it up. I was mounted on a
little black horse, that one of the aides gave me, and I
rode back to the rear, to the ordnance officer, and de-
livered my order. You would be surprised, Comrades,
to know the amount of ammunition you fired between
half-past five and ten on the i6th of June. If I am not
mistaken, three times that order came to me for am-
munition. The second time, coming back, I came be-
hind the house and heard a voice. I went up, and
Color Sergeant Clark spoke to me and said, "For God's
sake. Bugler, give me a drink of water." I gave him a
drink of water out of a canteen.
58 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
The next day, if I am not mistaken, we lost another
sergeant, the sergeant who was carrying the state colors.
Is that right. Comrade Dearborn? On the i8th the
state colors went down, and a corporal of the color
guard took them and carried them forward, and I think
carried them to the end; that was Comrade Dame of
Company B. If Comrade Dame is here I want to know
if I am telling the truth in regard to the i8th. Com-
rade Dame, is he here ? He was here a minute ago. I
am sure of it. As the comrade is not present, let us
hear from Comrade Charles H. Shaw of Company E.
Comrade Charles H. Shaw, Cambridge
Mr. Toastmaster : I thank you for calling upon me.
Many things have come back to me during the talks
to-day, especially the conversation that Comrade Wilder
gave us. I was one of those unfortunates that went to
Andersonville. Out of thirty-three taken that day, I
am one of five that are on earth to-day. But what
came back to me very vividly was the death of your
brother. Comrade Melvin, the 25th day of September.
I was in Company E and was watching one of my
boys, James G. West, who enlisted from Bradford,
though he was a Newton, New Hampshire, boy. We
had a little something to do; we helped Company K
and Company D. He knew he could live but a little
while. He called me, and he said, "Charley, if you live
to get out of this Hell on earth I have a few little trin-
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 59
kets here that I want returned to my dear old mother
up there in Newton.'* I took those trinkets, and I gave
them to that dear old mother. I was a Newton boy also,
but when I got there I was in such a condition that I
could not be moved for nineteen days after reaching my
home. She heard that I was there, and she had a car-
riage sent for me to go to her residence. I went on that
errand of mercy, and she wanted me to give her a de-
scription of her son's death. I could not do it all at once.
I gave it to her easy. It was on the 25th day of Septem-
ber, the very day that your brother died. I remember
it very well, and how I stood by West, gazing at him,
because Comrade Wilder and the rest of the old com-
rades will recall that we watched for the boys to die.
We could then go outside to carry out the dead who died
before sunset, and thus get a chance to bring back some
wood to cook our food with, so we laid for chances. I
thank you for calling upon me.
Comrade Bradley : — We would like to hear a word
from Comrade Wait. I think Comrade Wait was ac-
quainted with the boys. If not, we would like to hear
from him anyway.
Comrade Luther Wait, Ipswich
I cannot say that I was individually acquainted with
the boys ; I recollect them, as I do a great many others.
We were never connected with Company K as much as
we were with some other companies. Company F of
6o THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
Lawrence we were quite intimately acquainted with,
because we camped together a great deal. Nevertheless,
they were comrades of our regiment, comrades of mine,
as I wrote our host when I answered his kind invitation,
for which I wish to thank him very kindly.
I was going to say I had enjoyed, and I have enjoyed,
myself on this occasion, although of course there is sad-
ness mixed with it. My visit to this town on this occa-
sion I am glad has happened on such a beautiful day
as this. My former impressions of Concord were not
very pleasant, as I was never here but once before in my
life, and that was on the one hundredth anniversary
of Concord and Lexington, which many of you prob-
ably remember was one of the roughest days that you
ever experienced, nothing but snow squalls all day long.
But this is a fine day, and we have had a fine time.
Comrade Melvin has more than outdone himself in
entertaining the comrades of this regiment, and we are
under great obligations to him for the privilege of meet-
ing in this old historic town, where the shot was fired
that was heard, round the world. Of those who lie
buried in this old historic town, dating back to those
days, none are more deserving of praise for what they
did for this country than are the three brothers whose
death we commemorate to-day, who fell in defence of
what the forefathers established. They lie at rest.
"For them the muffled drum has beat
The soldier's last tattoo;
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 6i
No more on Life's parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On Fame's eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead."
Comrade Bradley : — Is Comrade Gibson here ?
We would like to hear a word from Comrade Gibson of
Comrade George S. Gibson, Clinton
I don't know what I can say, Comrades, of interest
to you, though I might give a Httle description of my
experience in setting that monument on the battlefield
You will remember, when we first marched through
Fredericksburg, and on the march out to Spottsylvania,
the road over which we had to pass in order to reach that
city and reach the battlefield, and our experience there
for a few days. When you come to the project of taking
a monument weighing fifteen tons over those various
creeks, without bridges and without roads, excepting
what were mere apologies for roads, you may know that
a man was up against quite a proposition. On my ar-
riving in Fredericksburg and viewing the monument —
I was sent out, by the way, by Comrade Norcross,' who
built the monument, to set it, — I took into considera-
' Orlando W. Norcross, Company D, Worcester, one of the most dis-
tinguished builders in the United States.
62 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
tion in making the arrangements that the man who had
been on the ground was in the same business in which
I was, building monuments and setting them. We drove
to the ground and made up our minds about how many
teams it would take to get the monument there, and it
took six. We had twenty-four horses. In getting out
there we could pay no attention to the little culverts,
because the load would cut right through them, — they
were built with logs laid across the runs, and a few
bushes and sticks laid over them for ordinary travel, —
so we had to get right outside and find a place at the side
of the crossings. When we crossed those creeks we had
to go down one side and up the other, doubling the
teams in order to pull up the other side. That was our
experience in getting out there. Finally we landed at
the ground about two o'clock in the afternoon, and, by
the way, we had started at daylight.
You will remember that there is one piece of that
monument, the die, which has on it, not all the names
of the comrades, but an inscription which was placed
there by the committee. That piece, to my recollection,
weighs between four and five tons. We had a derrick,
and in raising the derrick of course we had to guy it
back. We had that die strapped and hitched to the
derrick and were ready to raise it, and the man whom
I had employed with his rigging wanted to strip the
boxing from the die before he raised it. I said to him,
** You will find it safer to set that first, and then strip it.'*
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 63
"Well," he said, "how are we going to get those shoes
from underneath it?" I said, "We will get them out,
but we won't take them off till we get it up there." We
set the team to the block, and began to raise. After we
got it up high enough we set the other teams to the other
blocks to straighten up on the derrick, and it brought
that die about two feet above the base upon which it
was to rest. It hung here for a few minutes, and we were
adjusting things so that we could lower it exactly into
place, when one of the guys of the derrick broke and
that piece, weighing four tons, dropped on to the top
of that stone. I had taken the precaution to put two
timbers across the under face to guard against accidents,
and when that came down there was no harm done,
excepting a little shaking of the foundation ; the foun-
dation had been put in so substantially that it did not
settle a particle. We went to work and stripped the
die, and there was not a chip or a crack on it. I had the
satisfaction of knowing when the monument was set
in position that it consisted of four pieces, and that
there was not a corner chipped the size of your thumb
nail on the whole monument. It was as perfect a job
as was ever set on any battlefield or in any cemetery.
I was happy to have the privilege to set up such a beau-
tiful memorial to the memory of the First Massachu-
setts Heavy Artillery.
I won't take up your time any further. We have had
a love feast here which will go with us to the last days
64 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
of our life, and I thank you for the privilege of saying
these few words.
Comrade Bradley: — Sergeant Wiley we would
like to hear a word from.
Comrade Joseph E. Wiley, Company L, Stoneham
Mr. Toastmaster : It is always a regret to me on such
an occasion as this that I am not a born orator to ex-
press what I feel. I have been in Concord several times
before. The first time was when the state mustered
here, the whole state, before the war.^ I have been here
several times since. The last time was the one hun-
dredth anniversary of Concord and Lexington.
Comrade Bradley : — What regiment were you in
before the war ?
Comrade Wiley : — The Fifth. I was in the same
regiment with the Melvin boys. I got Centennial
enough that day to last me one hundred years. I pre-
sume I knew these Melvin boys at Fort Albany. I was
stationed there with Company K, and as I look at the
pictures I think I recognize one of them. But I am
a poor hand for names, and I never got the names. I
don't feel like taking up your time after the eloquent
speakers you have heard. I have had a fine time to-
day. I thought at first I could not come, but I finally
could not resist and I am very glad I did not.
' In the summer of 1858, Governor Nathaniel P. Banks mobilized at
Concord the entire militia of Massachusetts, utilizing for this purpose the
plain where now stands the Reformatory.
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 65
Comrade Bradley : — We would like to hear from
Comrade Lewis of Company F. He is the watchdog
of our treasury.
Comrade George H. Lewis, Melrose
I want to say, in regard to our treasury, that we are
As we are getting along in the day I am reminded
that we have passed the morning and passed the noon
hour, or the zenith, and we are looking toward the
horizon, looking toward the sunset, and so I will not
trespass on your valuable time. I want to say, however,
that this has been a pleasant day to me, that I have en-
joyed every moment of it, and I think that our Com-
rade Melvin has done the right thing, the real thing.
There are many things in this life that are mysteri-
ous to us, things that we cannot comprehend, things
that are problems, and although we may try to solve
them, yet we are in the mist, yet we are unsatisfied with
our endeavors to prove them. Here were three boys,
the Melvin brothers, who were associated with us so
many years ago, grand boys. The name of Melvin is
familiar to my ears. Those boys were left behind. They
did not have the privilege of coming back to their na-
tive state. They did not have the privilege of growing
up into full manhood with us. Why not ? Was it be-
cause they were not as worthy as we ? Probably they
were as good, and perhaps better by nature than we
66 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
were, but they were left behind. We cannot understand
why they should be left behind and we brought back
to our homes. Yet we are satisfied that there is a God,
a Father, infinite in mercy, and in love and wisdom. He
has permitted some to be taken and some to be left. We
are fortunate in being here, not, perhaps, because we
were accounted any more worthy than they, but through
the plenitude of the mercy of God. How is it .? We
cannot tell. Probably had they come home they would
have filled the position that was allotted to them with
the quahty and the quantity that have been allotted to
some of us. They would have filled their position in
life with honor. Yet, as I said before, the infinite Fa-
ther knoweth what is right and doeth all things well.
The great Emancipator, Liberator, the Lord Jesus
Christ, said : "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing,
and not one falleth to the ground without the Father .?
The very hairs of your head are numbered. Are ye not
worth more than many sparrows ? "
When we think of the lives that were sacrificed in
that great war, the blood that was shed, the money ex-
pended, what did it amount to ? We are enjoying to-
day the fruition of our labors, and the generations
which are to come will enjoy the blessings that were
brought about by the efi^orts of the boys of the army
and the navy of the Civil War.
This indeed has been a glorious day. We will remem-
ber it. Comrade Melvin has erected a grand and glori-
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 67
ous memorial for his brothers. It stands there as a
monument denoting the sacrifices that were made by
those boys. As the rising generation shall look upon it
they will admire their valor, and as the coming genera-
tions shall come upon the stage of action and shall see
it, while they may have a tinge of sadness in their hearts
they will be glad that men dared to do and to die and to
stand the brunt of battle.
Comrades, we are under deep obligation to our Com-
rade Melvin for this occasion. I know it will be long
remembered. I know that we shall cherish it, and we
shall think it over, and it is frescoed on our brain and
our mind and our heart. As the days go by, and as we
go down the declivity of life, this will be one bright spot
in our life.
I thank you for calling upon me. I think that we
have all enjoyed ourselves, and to those who have not
been fortunate enough to be with us we must give the
details of this glorious occasion.
Comrade Bradley: — Comrade Hawkins ! I would
like to say, while Comrade Hawkins is turning the mat-
ter over in his mind, that names have been passed in to
me here trying to cover the different companies. Be-
fore the Grand Army goes out I want to thank the Old
Concord Post for the large turnout that it made to-day
to escort us to the Memorial and return. I think there
were twenty members present and parading out of a
membership of something like thirty.
68 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
A Comrade : — Twenty-seven.
Comrade Bradley: — Twenty-seven. That Is doing
better still. It only shows that the old soldier and
sailor are willing and anxious to turn out when occa-
Comrade Hawkins, can you give us a word ? And
if there is any comrade here who was personally ac-
quainted with the comrades whose name we honor to-
day, the three Melvin boys, we would like to hear from
him. Comrade Hawkins, a word!
Comrade Henry M. Hawkins (C), Dorchester
Mr. Toastmaster and Comrades: I am more than
surprised that Comrade Bradley should call upon me,
there is so much better talent and there are so many
better orators than I am here, and I think that you
would be better pleased to hear from them than from
me. I will say, however, that the reception and enter-
tainment that have been given by Comrade Melvin to-
day are beyond anything that I anticipated, and I think
that I can safely say that when I tell the comrades
whom I meet what reception, what entertainment we
have had, what the Memorial is, and how constructed,
they will say that I am drawing the long bow. They
won't begin to believe that we were so royally enter-
tained by one individual as we have been. Therefore,
Comrade Melvin, I heartily thank you for myself, and
I am sure that I express the wishes of the rest of the
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 69
comrades of this regiment, for this memorable enter-
Comrade Bradley: — Is there any comrade here
who was personally acquainted with any one of the
three boys, who can give us a word now that would be
of interest to us ? Comrade Wheeler !
Commander George F. Wheeler of Old Concord
I am of Old Concord Post. I have been asked to give
some personal recollection of these three Melvin boys.
I like to go back, you know, to my early days, — I am
a native of Concord, — and my association with them
as boys is very pleasant to remember. They lived in
one part of the town and I in another, but we went to
the same church together, and as was customary in
those times when we went to church we "carried our
dinners and spent the day there. So there was an early
acquaintance formed between us that was very plea-
sant. John and Sam were in my Sunday-school class,
and that class of seven boys all went to the war ; three
of them did not return. But, as I say, I have a very
pleasant recollection of that early acquaintance with
them as small boys. One of the neighbors, who lived
nearest to Mr. Melvin, spoke of Mr. Melvin's father
in this wise : "If I was owing Mr. Asa Melvin anything
I should as lief he would come to my house and go in,
and get his pay out of my pocket-book. I am sure that
70 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
he would do the correct thing," — showing the integ-
rity of that family. So I think this early recollection
of the Melvin boys is one of the most joyous in my life.
I was well acquainted with others of the family, and it
is pleasant to tell of it to you here.
Comrade Bradley : — Is there any other comrade
here, of the Post or of the Association, who will just
say a word ? We have only a few minutes left. We shall
be very glad to hear from any one.
Comrade George B. Clark (H), Somerville
Mr. Toastmaster and Comrades of the First Massa-
chusetts : I am proud to say that I am a member of the
First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, after what I have
heard to-day. I have attended many reunions of this
regiment in the past, but my voice has never been raised
at any of its meetings. I was one of the youngest mem-
bers of that regiment. I recollect well when the regiment
filed out of Fort Albany that bright Sunday afternoon,
and tookupthe Hne of march for Alexandria; it was one
of the grandest regiments, I believe, I ever saw. They
knew where they were going, at least they were pretty
sure they knew where they were going. When that regi-
ment crossed the Rappahannock on that pontoon
bridge and climbed up over the bricks and the ruins
that were in the pathway, and reached the main street of
the city, they unfurled their colors and marched through
it. Well do I recollect Major Rolfe singing out to un-
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 71
furl the colors. We marched through the city of Fred-
ericksburg and received the plaudits of the wounded
soldiers as they came out of the hospitals, and the women
and the children. Within forty-eight hours we went
into the battle of Spottsylvania and lost two hundred
and ninety-eight men, killed, wounded, and prisoners.
It was my lot to help the wounded. I recollect well
that I helped Captain Davis off the field to an ambu-
lance. He was bright and cheerful. Having been shot
through the leg, he thought that he was only slightly
wounded, but I was surprised to hear of his death
shortly afterwards. Color Sergeant Clark was no rela-
tive of mine, but I was well acquainted with him. He
was a splendid soldier, as brave a soldier as there was
in the regiment. I was with him the day he died. He
was brought to the Bryant Farm field hospital in the
evening, and the next day he got no treatment until
afternoon, there were so many wounded; but he had
lost considerable blood, and when he was put upon the
amputating table he never came out of the effects of the
ether. I was surprised; I was a short distance away
and I heard the report that he had gone. I went fonvard.
A stretcher stood near the table, with a blanket cover-
ing the body. I removed the blanket, and at once recog-
nized the color sergeant. He was buried with about
fifty others on the Bryant Farm.
We do well, Comrades, to come to these reunions and
erect monuments and memorials throughout the length
72 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
and breadth of this land to commemorate heroic deeds,
but let us remember, and I have no doubt we all do
remember, the sacrifices made by those who remained
at home. Who can tell of the sacrifices made by the
mothers ? Mrs. Bixby of Boston gave five sons and re-
ceived a personal letter from the immortal Lincoln, giv-
ing his sympathy and condolence. This family gave
three. When I received a note of invitation from our
host and read it, I said to myself, "That strikes me
in the right spot. I shall be at that reunion if it is
a possible thing for me to be there." And I am here
And those who perished in the prison pens of the
South have been brought vividly to our minds to-day.
The dust of these heroes lies in unknown graves, but
their names are enrolled in the lists of immortal heroes.
Some twenty odd years ago, one bright afternoon, some-
thing similar to this, I stood in the National Cemetery
at Salisbury, North Carolina, where a schoolmate and
classmate of mine before the war was buried. I had al-
ways wished to reach that spot and see if I could find
his grave. I entered that cemetery, and I rejoiced to
see that the government had bought up the land in which
these comrades were buried who had died there during
the war, and put a beautiful face wall about it, with iron
gates. I entered, and found the superintendent, a one-
armed Union soldier. He had me register my name,
took me up to a little knoll in that cemetery, and then he
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 73
turned and said, "There, Comrade, there are the
trenches." I looked and I saw three or four long green
mounds stretching away to the other end of the ceme-
tery, not a headstone, not a stone to mark the name
of one. Standing nearest was a monument buih by the
government, about thirty feet high, and on it was this
simple inscription : *' 1 1,800. Pro patriae." Eleven
thousand and eight hundred died for patriotism. They
died for love of country, for you and for me.
Comrade Bradley : — Comrades, I have no doubt
that we could put another twelve hours on to this after-
noon, but it is getting along about that time of the day
in which you know we formed at Petersburg and had
to go into the fight. The battle of life is not yet over
with us, and we have other fights to engage in before
the end comes, — at least, I hope so. I hope they will
be of such a kind that the victories will be more in the
line of peace and of progress and of all that goes for
good-will than in the line of hatred or temper or strife
on the battlefield.
Comrades, we cannot leave this historic town with-
out saying just a word or two to clinch, as it were, what
has already been said. To those who have been here it
has been a delightful day. We are under deep and great
obligations to Comrade Melvin for inviting this old
regiment up here, and when we leave. Concord will be
more to us than it ever has been before. In our hearts
it has always been the place where liberty was born.
74 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
We shall never forget what is inscribed on the monu-
ment at the Old North Bridge. We shall never forget
that it was here that the determined stand was made
against the British army.' It is not oratory in Faneuil
Hall, it is not speech on the platform, no matter how
eloquent that may be, that brings to birth a nation ; it
requires the will of men facing fire and death. And it
was at Concord that this Nation had its birth in the
beginning of the War of the Revolution, and we hold
the name of Concord very dear to every true American.
But, Comrades, we will go away now feeling that here
is a monument that not only commemorates the three
comrades of our regiment, but that also speaks in most
kindly words the feeling that is in the heart of our com-
rade who remains of that family. Not only does he erect
it to the memory of his three brothers, but he also joins
to-day in the expression he made as we entered the
cemetery to two or three around us, *'It is also to the
First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, of which my
brothers were members." Comrade Melvin, you have
a warm place in all our hearts. We wish we could have
the time and the occasion to show it. But if the Lord
lets us live and we have our reunions, come down and
see us, and you will find the boys that stood shoulder
to shoulder with your brothers under the old colors
of the First Massachusetts are just as true to-day as
' Major Buttrick's command, "Fire, for God's sake, fire!" was the
first time Americans had ever been ordered to fire on British troops.
THE MELVIN MEMORIAL 75
they were then, and you will have a very large place in
all our lives from this day on. God bless the old First
Heavies and bless the man who had the thought to com-
memorate in this marble Memorial the sacrifices, not
only of his own kin, but also the deeds of the regiment
of which they were honored members.
We shall go from this place, Comrades, feeling that
we have spent at least a few hours in something that
will do more for us than pleasure, that has brought to
us more than money can buy: it has brought to us
the memories of the day when together we fought under
the dear old flag. And we are glad to see it adorning
this room. Memories of the past come rushing in on
us here. We can hardly express ourselves as we think
of the boys that were piled up at Spottsylvania and that
fell in the trenches before Petersburg and all down
through the Weldon Road until finally victory crowned
our efforts at Appomattox. The past is gone, but the
memory of it will be joined with the memory of this day
in one of the sweetest recollections of our entire lives.
Comrade Melvin has a word to say before we close
Comrade Melvin : — One or two things I want
to mention. One is that your Chaplain Barker mar-
ried his wife here, and was closely associated with this
town. Your Adjutant, Charles F. Simmons, was a
Concord boy. His name is not on our soldiers* monu-
ment, but he was, none the less, a victim of the war.
76 THE MELVIN MEMORIAL
He died while he was at sea for his health, and techni-
cally, perhaps, he did not die in the war.
I want to thank you each and all. If ever I can do
anything for you in any way, count me one of your num-
Comrade Bradley : — In half an hour the barges
will be here to take you down. I hope you will all have
an opportunity to shake hands with Comrade Melvin
before you go.
This closed the speechmaking at the dinner. Mem-
bers of the regiment were then taken in barges to view
historic spots in Concord, afterwards returning to Bos-
ton in special cars attached to the regular train leaving
shortly after five o'clock. Before leaving Concord each
Comrade was given a framed photograph of the monu-
ment as a souvenir.
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
After the engagement at Harris's Farm, on the road between Spott-
sylvania and Fredericksburg, Va., on the 19th of May, 1864, the name
of Samuel Melvin was among those reported as "missing." Six months
passed before his family received any word from him, or had any definite
knowledge of his fate. Then, on Thanksgiving Day, a returning comrade
brought us his diary. It had come into the hands of the chaplain of the
regiment without explanation, and he was unable afterward to tell even
from whom he had received it.
Recently many friends who knew of the existence of this diary have
urged that it should be printed. So far as I have been able to learn, only
two or three records kept by prisoners at Andersonville have ever been
made public, and it has therefore seemed well to follow the desire of
my friends. In the other cases referred to, the prisoners lived to revise and
explain what they had written; but I have had merely the original entries
(written in pencil and sometimes not entirely legible), and these are here
reproduced almost word for word. It has seemed fitting to include the
greater part of my brother's diary for 1864, both before and after his cap-
ture, and also to take a few extracts from an earlier diary, for the sake of
bringing out the personality of the writer more clearly, and of making the
record cover the entire period of his service in the army, from June, 1861,
till September, 1864.
Five other members of his company were captured with him May 19.
Four of them died in prison before he did, — Nathaniel Brindley, George
Handy, Edward K. Holt, and Asa Rowe. Only one lived to return
home, Lucius A. Wilder, whose name appears in the next to the last entry
in the diary. Comrade Wilder and myself visited Andersonville last
month, and he was able to locate the exact spot where the six friends
passed the greater part of the time they were imprisoned there.
J. C. M.
April, 1 910.
After the engagement at Harris's Farm, on the road between Spott-
sylvania and Fredericksburg, Va., on the 19th of May, 1864, the name
of Samuel Melvin was among those reported as "missing." Six months
passed before his family received any word from him, or had any definite
knowledge of his fate. Then, on Thanksgiving Day, a returning comrade
brought us his diary. It had come into the hands of the chaplain of the
regiment without explanation, and he was unable afterward to tell even
from whom he had received it.
Recently many friends who knew of the existence of this diary have
urged that it should be printed. So far as I have been able to learn, only
two or three records kept by prisoners at Andersonville have ever been
made public, and it has therefore seemed well to follow the desire of
my friends. In the other cases referred to, the prisoners lived to revise and
explain what they had written; but I have had merely the original entries
(written in pencil and sometimes not entirely legible), and these are here
reproduced almost word for word. It has seemed fitting to include the
greater part of my brother's diary for 1864, both before and after his cap-
ture, and also to take a few extracts from an earlier diary, for the sake of
bringing out the personality of the writer more clearly, and of making the
record cover the entire period of his service in the army, from June, 1861,
till September, 1864.
Five other members of his company were captured with him May 19.
Four of them died in prison before he did, — Nathaniel Brindley, George
Handy, Edward K. Holt, and Asa Rowe. Only one Hved to return
home, Lucius A. Wilder, whose name appears in the next to the last entry
in the diary. Comrade Wilder and myself visited Andersonville last
month, and he was able to locate the exact spot where the six friends
passed the greater part of the time they were imprisoned there.
J. C. M.
April, 1 910.
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DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
Came to Fort Warren Monday the last of June (1861).
Left Fort Warren Aug. 7, Wednesday night, at 9 o'clock.
Co. left Boston and got to Providence at 4, took the "Com-
modore" for New York at 12, & arrived there at 12. Went
to barracks & took breakfast, then went on a tour over the
city. Got a revolver at 277 Broadway and gave $g-°° boot.
Went over the ferry to Jersey, then to Philadelphia. Got
there at 4 & went to the saloon for breakfast. Started for
Baltimore at 6, got there at 12. Started for Washington at
4, got here at 9. Stopped in the building side of the railroad.
Started for Camp Kalorama in a shower and got there in
about 4 hours. Went up on a hill and lay in the rain all
night. Pitched our tents and stayed one week, then went
to Fort Albany. I was sick — lay on the ground just a
week & am getting better.
Oct. 3. — Went to Washington with John. Visited the
Capitol, Patent Office, Smithsonian Institution, Navy
and War Depts, Treasury, Post Office, and the White
Oct. 16. — A visit from Gov. Andrew.
Nov. 15. — A review by Gov. Berry of N. H.
Nov. 20. — Went to a grand review at Kelly's Cross
Roads. It was a splendid sight of Gen. McClellan, Presi-
dent & Staff. There were 90 regts. of infantry, 9 of cavalry,
& 20 batteries, amounting to about 75,000.
8o DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
Jan. I, 1862. — Went to Washington & shook hands
with the President at his reception.
Mar. 13. — Went to the city & got things for my electrical
Mar. 27. — Got marching orders, struck our tents and tore
everything to pieces. Fell in line at 9. The orders were
countermanded, then we went as orders said to Ft. Barnard,
pitched tents, & got orders to come back to Ft. Albany.
Such a blessing as Col. gave us I never heard.' Then we
fixed the barracks & pitched tents over [near] the quar-
termaster's, & then got orders to go in Co. H. barracks.
The Col. took our colors away from us and gave them to
April 17. — Got paid $2\'°°. Went to Arlington House
and got an old battery.
April 19. — Went to Washington with G. D. Hayes &
stopped over night. Bought an old battery from a dealer.
June 5. — Sent to Thomas Hall $22.09 for
Spring Register 15.00
2 Main Batteries 3.24
/^ lb. mercury .35
Hall's book on Telegraphy .50
Received the above all safe June 16 with the present of a
nice book from Hall. Also [received] the express bill, $1-^^
which I sent the iS''^.
' The colonel was a West Point graduate, and very strict. He was angry
with the men for destroying the barracks, and took away their colors as
a punishment, till they entirely repaired the damage.
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 8i
Aug. 5. — Four years today since my father died. . . .
We were visited by President Lincoln at Fort Albany. The
boys were reviewed by him at Ft. Ward. Very hot, and
many boys gave out.
On the night of the 10''' some rascal stole from my
pocket everything but my knife. I was very thankful for
him to leave me that. The pocket book contained one ten
dollar Treasury note, three dollar bills on the Bull Head
bank, & 200 in change besides the quarter Caroline gave
me in 1857, 2 rings & postage. They reached in the
implement room window & took it. . . . Never mind, it
is all for the country. But if I get hold of the man he will
suffer 13 dollar's worth with good interest.
Aug. 26. — Got marching orders. Started at 9 o'clock
and marched some 5 miles, and lay on the ground.
Aug. 27. — Page has the chills and I am afraid he can't
march. I told him so, but he does n't mind. We marched
about one mile into a fine grove where we rested. Learned
that they are fighting at Manassas, & we started off. Page
had gone off to lie down & I looked for him a long while.
At last I found him very sick. I told Lt. Davis, & he sent
the doctor. The doctor says Page must stay where [he] is,
on the ground. I thought it very hard, but I put the blanket
over him & with great sadness bade him good-bye. We
marched a little beyond Fairfax C. H., halted, & flung all
our knapsacks in a pile. We were all every way, bayonets
unfixed & guns not loaded when over a hill we saw a part of
a battery coming like with the guerrillas behind them.
We all ran in the field in great confusion, loaded, fixed
bayonets, & ran & formed in line of battle in the woods
82 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
where we now are, all on the ground. I must say I was
sorry to leave Page behind. Stayed in line of battle all
night & in the morning (aS''^) found they had got in our
rear & taken Drs. Mason & Dana & three teams. The
doctors were released. We found they were all around us
& we must fight, so we prepared for the best. All the
teamsters got on the horses to disguise [simulate .?] cavalry
& they dare not attack us. Finally our company went on
picket. We got two companies of cavalry. We found there
was a large force around us & we prepared to fight our
way back in the evening. Our company was rear guard.
We got through all safe and reached Clouds Mills late at
night & took our old tents. We lost H. Folsom. Riley
prisoner also. McClellan's headquarters are within a few
rods of us. He has gone and we have orders to march, no
one knows where. We marched by Ft. Albany, over in the
woods, & lay on the ground beyond Ft. Tillinghast.
Sunday y Aug. 31. — It rains and here we are at Fort
Albany, home again & settled down.
Sept. I. — Things are very lively here. It looks like
Bull Run. The valley is full of teams, etc.
Sept. 4. — All of Banks's division passed by on the way to
Harper's Ferry. There is a string of them as far as the eye
can see in every direction. The road is full of troops and
Dec. 10. — Page promoted a corporal. . . .
March 23, 1863. — Sent to T. B. Peterson & Bro., Phila-
delphia, for " French without a Master."
Apr. 22. — Sent to Parsells for a Craig Microscope.
May 30. — Sent to Thomas Hall $18.70 for
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN S3
6 Groves Batteries ;^ 12.00
Silliman's Chemistry 2.00
2 lbs. copper wire 2.50
I lb. mercury .70
July 3. — Went to Ft. Whipple to see Lt. Dow. Was
15 minutes late for drill and was incarcerated and kept
until the next morning, when I was released from durance.
Sept. 19. — Visited Dow and received a nice present
from him — a large dictionary — which I shall always
prize very much.
Sent a communication to the Chronicle.
Went in the Hospital Sept. 30 and came out Oct. 10.
Tues. Oct. 9th, Bro. John went in the hospital sick with
the dysentery. I was in the hospital at the time. I left the
hospital the next morning. He was very sick. Doctor gave
himopium — didnogood. I was in to see him Sunday. He
was asleep. Did not wake him. In to see him next morning,
he was no better. I saw he was very sick. Went in at noon
& he was no better. W^ith the doctor's permission I gave
him a recipe of Hunters, Took it all the afternoon and
night every }4 hour. Did no good. Next morning, Oct. 13,
saw he could not live long. I was on guard, but got excused
to take care of him. In the afternoon saw there was no
chance for him to get well. Spoke about sending for Caro-
line. He said he did not think it would pay under the cir-
cumstances. He told me the last letter Mother ever wrote
him was in his box. He wished me to burn the rest of his
letters. The doctor spoke to him about dying, but he did
84 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
not say much, he was so weak. He said he thought there
was a chance for him to get well. He asked for the Chap-
lain, who came and prayed. Asa was present. He said he
wanted me to stay with him and he thought I ought to have
the privilege. The doctor said he should [have me with
him]. The doctor told me he could not live until noon. I
was with him all the time. Asa Rowe and C. B. Foster sat
up with him. He failed very fast from the middle of the
afternoon and died very easy at last at ii o'clock at night.
Friday, Oct. i6, 1863. — ... Got John's box & packed his
things, burned his letters, put his blanket, dishes, overcoat,
etc. in his box to wait until I hear from the folks. . . .
Gave Asa one of John's rubber blankets. Went to see Capt.
Preston. He sent ^70 by me yesterday to settle John's
Wed., Oct. 28, 1863. — . . . Received a very nice diary
from Dow, the best one I have ever seen. Went to Reg't'l
drill. It is a grand and subUme scene to see a good regi-
ment well dressed march along and keep perfectly in line
with a good band, and Old Va. doth fairly tremble at the
solid and firm tread of citizen soldiery.
Sat., Oct. 31. — Mustered by Colonel Tannatt for 2
months' pay. I noticed there was no John H. Melvin as
PFed., Nov. 4, 1863. — Great excitement over re-enlist-
ment. I did not [re-enlist] nor did Page. No drill. Page & I
went to see Dow in the evening. . . . Rec'd letter from
James with sprigs from Mother's & Father's graves.
Wed.,Nov. II, 1863. — George Cummings went home,
also some others. . . .
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 85
Tuesday, Nov. 17. — Packed up my things, big book and
all, put John's things in Hospital tent. Going to have a ^50
Thanksgiving Dinner. Rec'd letter from Dow offering me
a College Education.
fFed., Nov. 18. — . . . Moved in afternoon to Ft. Craig.
I was left for guard.
Friday, Nov. 20. — ... Lt. Hart, adjt., detailed me in
the magazine. Excused from all duty but Sunday inspec-
tion. . . .
Thursday, Nov. 26. — This is Thanksgiving, and my
principal enjoyment is in thinking it is the last one I shall
have to pass in the Army.
Tuesday, Dec. I. — Sent letter to James. ... I got no
sleep. Went to bed, but could not sleep in Hell. Got a
table, just what I wanted. Have got my library out on it.
Saturday, Dec. 5. — Man is a social being, and rather than
be alone he sometimes chooses [for friends] those he would
not in social life at home. Yet I never have formed friend-
ships that I should reject at home. ... I was in a contem-
plative mood, and how sweet it was to see two intimate
friends make up their beds, and lie down in close and sym-
pathetic communion there. I refer to S. Holt and C. Bur-
Sat., Dec. 12. — Went to City with Dow; had a good time.
Bought Pope's Works, $1.25, & he got a book on Mytho-
logy. . . . Filled out the blank application & G. S. C. con-
gratulated me as a F. & A. M. . . .
Thursday, Dec. 17. — Rained all day, did nothing. Wrote
an essay on Home. Page on guard. How dreary such
weather is ! This is emblematic of the cloudy days of life.
86 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
Friday, Dec. i8. — Sent essay on Home to Caroline.
Sunday, Dec. 20. — Studied Masonry. . . . &
played cards. I thought it rather rough for civilized folks
in this Age of Light.
Friday, Dec. 25. — Today is Christmas. Today do we
commemorate the birth of our Saviour. Today is the day
for presents, but I have none, neither do I give any. Dow
said he gave me my diary for a Christmas present, so 1 have
one after all. . . .
Monday, Dec. 28. — Rained all day. Went to a dance, but
did not dance. It made me homesick to see a dance going
on. Never mind, next year at this time, if nothing happens,
I will have a soft time then. Rec'd a letter from James.
Made apple sauce.
Tuesday, Dec. 29. — Wrote a letter to James, & had a long
talk with Charles Burrows on various topics. Charles and
Sam are two good boys, and I hope will succeed well in life.
Wednesday, Dec. 30. — Asa went to city and got his pay as
a Veteran Vol. — ^^103. . . . John came home inebri-
ated. Oh what demoralization in the Army !
The Old Year
Today is the end of another year. The trials and troubles
of another year are over, and we soon emerge on another
time. With what emotions and impressions does the old
year leave us! Here is a fit time to take a retrospective
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 87
view of the old year and see if we are living as we should,
and to decide how to improve our time, and how to better
live in the future.
The past year has brought to our hallowed circle of the
family a serious change. The old year of '63 has borne
along with its tide two of our beloved family. Soon after it
came in, Feb. 7, it took into the spirit world our beloved
Mother, and Bro. John, who was in good health at that
time, did sorely lament her. Alas ! the Archangel came with
the old year and summoned him, Oct. 13, to a higher sphere
of action. They have expired as regards this mortal exist-
ence, and now the old year is trembling on the verge of time
before taking that leap in the dreamy future of which we
know so little. With it has gone Bro. Berry, one who was
a good old man to me, and one [with] whom I have spent
many hours of pleasant and instructive conversation. But
he has been permitted to go a little in advance of us all. In
conclusion let us say that with the end of the old year, when
it ceases, we will cease to do evil and learn to do well. . . .
Dance in our ambient-room, facetiously called a New
Year's Ball. I witnessed it, but did not shake the hoof.
Such is this world, — one man finds amusement in one
thing, and another in something else. I am fond of dancing,
think it is a very pretty amusement when it is conducted on
the right principles.
Tonight I must close this book, which I bought in Wal-
tham in 1859. I have not put many things down, but next
year I shall be very punctilious and note [everything] in
my new diary, which was a Christmas present from Dow.
It is a good idea, and I cannot express the joy it afforded
88 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
me In looking over John's [diary] when he had passed to the
Summer Land. Perhaps in some future day, after I shall
have passed to the spirit life, some one may take as much
pleasure in looking over this. Who can tell .? But if 1 shall
pass away ere another year, 't is all for the best. With this
little remark I close my diary for 1863, leaving it to the fate
Co. "K" i^t. Mass. H. A.
Fort Craig, Va.
Friday, January i, 1864. — Today we emerge on another
New Year. The Old Year has departed, it has gone into
eternity, and with it have vanished many pleasant reminis-
cences and many fond hopes. Many changes has it wrought
— and sad ones, too. . . . What changes the year will
make none but the Omniscient can tell. Where will I be
next New Year's Day .? With Dow in London, I hope.
Saturday, January 2, 1864. — Today is very cold indeed,
but fair. Yesterday fifteen recruits came for Co. K. & 300
for the First Mass. Some of them look like fine young men,
but I am very much afraid some of them will not be when
they have been soldiers three years. Asa's furlough came
and he starts for Concord with Mason. . . .
Sunday, January 3, 1864. — Went on inspection — my
fingers almost froze. . . . Jan. ist Col. Tannatt's H. Q.
Monday, January 4, 1864. — Big snow storm, the first of
the season. Received letters from , James, & Caro-
line. Caroline wants me to write something to be read at
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 89
her close of school after keeping 7 years, and Aunt Wheeler
wants me to write for the Boston Journal. I guess they
think me quite a literary character.
Tuesday, January 5, 1864. — Wrote a long letter to Caro-
line ; sent her Bro. Berry's acrostic on my name. . . . Page
is sick with the plaguy shakes again. I think it is a pity
to see such virtuous men suffer so much. I spilt a dipper of
coffee on Sergt. Wallace's head tonight. . . .
Thursday,January'j, 1^64.. — . . . Page still in hospital.
I am quite lonely without him to eat with me. Rather poor
boarding now, bread and coffee; still it is all nature re-
fFednesd ay, January 13, 1864. — ... Asa got home last
Thursday. Sergt. went to Div. H. Q.
Thursday, January 14, 1864. — Worked all day packing
up ammunition — pretty tired. . . . The Major came in
here tonight — I entertained him as well as a private
could. Received from Mrs. Emery one half of the biggest
mince pie I ever saw.
Monday, January 18, 1864. — . . . Worked all the after-
noon on Pat's pistol ; put in a new spring. He gave me 50
cents & I believe that this is the first money, other than
my pay, that I have earned since I came for a soldier.
Tuesday, January ig, iS6^. — . . . Very bleak and cold.
How glad I am to be so finely situated beside a snug fire,
while I hear the wind whistle about the old bomb-proof. . . .
Pat C. took my watch to sell — I am surely too honest to
make a speculator. What an appalling catastrophe in Chili
— 2000 human souls sent to the other world in 1 1 minutes.
Friday, January 22, 1 864. — A corporal in Co. G. stripped
90 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
at dress parade for not answering Maj. Rolfe right. Orders
read as regards boxes, &c. Every man is allowed a box in
the army. Got some things for electroplating, and if I could
get enough work I could make money like smoke. Set my
battery up & gave the Sergt a shock. Went to bid Gould
good-bye, his discharge came to-day. I am glad. Studied
Elect., Metallurgy, Science.
Monday^ January 25, 1864. — Plated a chain for John
Welsh, put on a good plate. I am going to send for a quart
of gold solution to T. Hall, 13 Bromfield St. My battery
works first rate. Plated a hook for P. Connors.
Wednesday, January 27, 1864. — . . . Sent by Handy to
T. Hall for one quart gold solution. Handy went home on a
furlough of 30 days. S. B. fixed my axe on for me. Bully
for him !
Thursday, January 28, 1864. — . . . Nothing to eat but
bread. Rather rough living, but guess I can stand it.
Friday, January 29, 1864. — Plated Page's belt. Corp.
McKay arrived home from Lawrence. . . . Orders read on
Parade that Sunday morning Inspection will be Saturday
at 10 o'clock. That is the most sensible order I ever knew
Tannatt to issue.
Monday, February i, 1864. — Received a letter from Dow
telling me to look with good cheer 5 months ahead to the
Metropolitan Chambers [London]. First plated a chain for
Wheeler, and then the butt of a pistol for the sutler. Am
going to plate the barrel, too. Asa came back from his fur-
Tuesday, February 2, 1 864. — Order read on Parade
relieving all of Tannatt's staff ofiicers, and appointing
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN qi
John M. Dow to act as Regt. Adjutant. Worked all day
trying to plate a pistol for the sutler; got all discouraged.
Tried more than forty times, could not get it to go.
Wednesday, February 3, 1864. — Fussed all day with the
sutler's pistol. It won't plate a bit. I never saw such a trial
in my life.
Thursday, February 4, 1 864. — Page gone to the city. Got
Milton's Paradise Lost for 20 0. ... I worked all day on
the pistol; no success. I am about distracted. Made two
new solutions; no success. Broke the jar of one of my bat-
teries, and thus things go. Hobbs can't make my things
Friday, February ^, 1864. — Received from Mr. Newman
a recommendation for almost anything. I am very much
pleased with it. Worked all day on the pistol, but it is no
go yet. Don't know what I shall do with the plaguy thing.
Saturday, February 6, 1864. — Fussed with the pistol.
Came to the sublime conclusion that the battery is not
strong enough, so I will get some more acid and try that.
Sunday, February 7, 1864. — Put on citizen's clothes to
see how I would look. Did not know myself. Last night a
train ran off the draw at Long Bridge ; killed several and
wounded several. ... I wish I was a citizen and could
wear the clothes.
Monday, February 8, 1864. — Sent to the city for one lb.
of nitric acid. Worked on the old pistol. Great signs of
success. Set up three of my batteries and I guess it will go
now. I never had such a torment in my life, and hope I never
shall again. . . . Asa and the veterans went to the city for
their ration money ; got ^^5.
Q2 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
Tuesday, February g, 1864. — Finished the sutler's pistol.
He paid me 75 cts. I had a heap of trouble with it, and
poisoned my hand. It is pretty sore, but I am glad to get the
job off my hands. Think I almost prefer the poison.
Wednesday, February 10, 1864. — I am thinking of the
short duration of army life. I wish it was all over now, and I
with Dow at the M. C. enjoying ourselves as it was intended
we should. But I am of good cheer. All's for the best, I
guess. I am trying to think so anyway.
Thursday, February 11,1^6^. — . . . Ate for the first time
in our mess house. Did not like it very much. . . . Looked
over the cartridges, aired the primer & fuses. Page on
guard, S. B. ill, and so things go.
Saturday, February 13, 1864. — Visit from Mr. Emery,
quite a social talk with him. . . . Did not do much today.
Had quite a discussion about the Blarney Stone. I said there
was such a stone, they said there was not, but I think I will
go and see for myself soon.
Wednesday, February 17, 1864. — . . . It is mighty cold,
coldest weather of the winter. The guard house got on fire.
. . . Page on guard. I must sleep alone. Am afraid I will
Thursday, February iS, 1S64.. — . . . Bomb-Proof got on
fire last night. The men got up in the middle of the night
to extinguish it, which they did at last. It is awful cold.
Friday, February 19, 1864. — . . . Inspection by Maj.
Rolfe. He took a great shine to my library. Told Shatswell
I was a well versed fellow. Shatswell says, "Yes, he is a
good boy." Bully for him !
Saturday, February 20, 1S64.. — . . . Went to Handy's &
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 93
got a bottle of gold solution. It is mighty small. Charles
spent the evening in here, and S. B. & Page. Tried some
gold leaf with my acid ; no effect. Put a shelf up for my
apparatus. It looks much better.
Sunday, February 21, 1864. — Tried my gold solution.
Did not dilute it and it did not go at all. Wrote to Hall to
know about it, but found my mistake through Handy, so
guess I am all right. Heard good words from Thomas Hall.
I am pretty tired, but there is rest for the weary.
Monday, February 22, 1864. — Pay Rolls came, signed
them. Plated a watch for Pat. Solution worked first rate.
Mixed my gold solution and tried it. It does not work very
well, but guess it will after a while.
Monday, February 2()y 1864. — . . . Today is the last of
the old winter, and one more muster will muster us where
we wish to be — in civil life. The Co. received marching
orders. No one knows where they are going.
Tuesday, March I, 1864. — . . . Got a letter from
Thomas Hall giving me advice on plating. Tried it and it
goes first rate. How glad I am !
Thursday, March lo, 1864. — Rained all day. Plated
three or four chains, etc., which took first rate. Tried my
gold again, but it is no go, it is very dark.
Monday, March 14, 1864. — Took an account of all the
stuff here. Last night orders read on parade that we are
to be frequently called up in the night. I am glad they can't
call me up but three months longer.
Tuesday, March 15, 1864. — Greased all the heavy guns.
A detail of 40 men went to Ft. Strong to work on a road.
Orders came for us to go to Ft. Tillinghast tomorrow morn-
94 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
ing. I asked them if I should go. They say not until the
Sergt. comes back. ... I am very sorry our Co. is going.
Wednesday y March i6, 1864. — ... The Co. went to
Tillinghast today. I stay here until the Sergt. gets back,
and am assigned to Co. F. Today we made a splendid
raid and got three full barrels of wood. It was very suc-
cessful, considering the blood that was spilt. I don't like
to go to Tillinghast very much.
Saturday, March 19, 1864. — Great excitement, the Rebs
expected. I got three extra men and everything ready.
Co. F. came in the fort and stopped all night. All lay on
Tuesday, March 22, 1864. — Great snow storm for this
time of year. ... So avd"ul cold we did not do much, but
kept a good fire.
Wednesday, March 23, 1864. — . . . Had 4 Corps., i Sergt.,
& 25 men report to me to shovel snow. One in Co. F. felt
grieved, but I could not help his case any.
Thursday, March 24, 1864. — . . . They shoveled snow
out of the fort all day. Worked on the two Parrott guns.
Friday, March 25, 1864. — O it is an awful rainy night!
All I can say is I do thank my stars that I am not on guard.
Tried my revolving magnet. Had a discussion on things
in general & got pretty rily. Don't think much of the feel-
ing any way.
Wednesday, March 30, 1 864. — Rained and snowed all day.
Went to see Page in evening. Things go very well indeed.
I wish we could have better weather, it is so much more
pleasant, and I want to get things looking well before the
Sergt. gets back.
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 95
Saturday y April 2, 1864. — Sergt. came home about i
o'clock all right. Came in very sudden, we did not expect
him quite so soon. He is not very well. . . . Sergt. gave me
a nice hat, which I will keep very choice. Mr. Emery gave
me a mammoth half of one of Mrs. Emery's pies. Thank
Mrs. Emery for it. Hope I will see her some time, then I
can thank her myself.
Sunday, April 3, 1864. — Sergt. went to the Maj. to get
me to stay with him, but could not get me, so at night S. &
C. B. came with me and I came and reported to our Co.
Left most of my things with the Sergt. . . . Don't like
this place much, but with Page guess I can get along. 93
Monday, April 4, 1864. — Slept last night with Page.
Got up in the morning and washed in a mud puddle.
Don't think much of this fort or anything around it.
Tuesday, April 5, 1864. — On picket last night and I came
near freezing. Sergt. Boardman with us, and we came in at
2 o'clock. I did enjoy turning in, I tell you.
Friday, April 8, 1864. — . . . Order for 60 men from each
Co. on fatigue; good for the veterans, but not for me. Had
an infantry drill in the afternoon, the first I have drilled
in 6 months. I did not see as I was any greener than the
rest of them.
Saturday, April 9, 1864. — On guard, and it is a very
wet, stormy day, and I do not feel well at all. Think I
should not stand it had I not been out of the Co. so much.
Today is my birthday, 20 years today. When I am 20 more
I will be quite old, will I not ?
Tuesday, April 12, 1864. — On fatigue as usual, on the
96 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
roads today. Old guard fired in the afternoon. Had a
chat with Maj. Holt. He gave me quite a compliment;
said he would rather have me for an Ord. Sergt. than a cer-
tain one at TiUinghast. So far, so good.
Thursday, April 14, 1864. — The sentence of some of the
prisoners read. One fellow got 8 years in the penitentiary;
quite a sentence.
Monday, April 18, 1864. — Studied Natural Philosophy
as usual. Asked for a pass to Washington.
Tuesday, April 19, 1864. — On fatigue as usual. . . .
George Davis said he would like to go to England with
me. If I were not engaged I think I might like to go with
him. Studied Philosophy with Hills.
Wednesday, April 20, 1864. — Read the Encyclopaedia,
learned some new facts about Philosophy which I was glad
to learn. Butter has gone up to 60 cts. That is rough, I
think, for a soldier to pay. . . .
Wednesday, April 27, 1864. — Very sudden change in the
weather, cold towards morning. Asa is sick, excused by
the surgeon, post parade. S put in the guard house
for making a mistake on parade.
Thursday, April 28, 1864. — E ran away from the
guard. They started for him & some of Shepard's cavalry
caught him and brought him back and made a spread
eagle of him. Orders came for us to draw our camp and
garrison equipage. This looks like moving, sure.
Saturday, April 30, 1 864. — Inspection and muster by
Col. Tannatt. Rec'd Silliman's Philosophy. It is first rate.
I am much pleased with it.
Wednesday, May 4, 1864. — Came off guard this morn-
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 97
ing& slept most all of the forenoon after washing and shav-
ing. Went on fatigue at 2 P. m. . . . Wrote to Prof. Benj.
Silliman, Yale College, New Haven, Conn. ... I like that
kind of correspondence better than the silly newspaper gush.
Friday, May 6, 1864. — Battalion drill in the afternoon,
2 J^ hrs. Pretty hard for the first time. . . . Order from Gen.
Meade to his army preparatory to a general movement.
Saturday, May 7, 1864. — News of the terrible battle that
is going on in the Army of the Union [Potomac]. How
earnestly the eyes of a gratified country are looking to the
Army for a good victory, and how sure the soldiers are of
doing them justice.
Sunday, May 8, 1864. — Inspected as usual. I am on
the tables. Beans poor. . . . Good news from the Army
of the Potomac. , . .
Tuesday, May 10, 1864. — Got excused at 6 from guard
and went to Ft. Craig for Emery and we went over to the
city. Had a very good time. I shall not go again until I
am discharged. Sent in my card to Sen. Wilson, asking
him for a McClellan report. He sent out one all done up.
Wednesday, May II, 1864. — Rec'd letters from Caro-
line and Angie. James is sick with the scarlet fever.
Thursday, May 12, 1864. — Rained, not much fatigue in
the forenoon. Drilled in the p. m. in a heavy rain. It is
great, I think. Got our guns as wet as can be. . . . Page
is on picket. I am sorry, but suppose he is good for it.
Studied surveying with Hills. Like it first rate. Good news
from the Army.
Friday, May 13, 1864. — Rained all day. No drill nor
fatigue, only I got detailed in the fort to cap the ammuni-
98 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
tion. Got through after dark. . . . Good news from the
Army. . . .
Saturday, May 14, 1864. — Orders for us to move. I am
on guard as usual. Everybody is packed up. I got excused
and went down to Ft. Craig and packed up my things,
marked them for James and left them in charge of Sergt.
Hayes. Wrote to Caroline. . . . We are going now into
rough usage, I guess, but let it come. But if we go, I
should like to return.
Sunday, May 15, 1864. — We left the fort at 12, took the
boat at A[lexandria] at 4, ran down to the mouth of the
creek and anchored until morning. It rained as hard as it
could until we got to Aj and we got as wet as we could.
Monday, May 16, 1 864. — Landed at Potomac Creek,
marched up on a high hill and pitched our tents. I slept
first rate with Page. We got some potatoes and pork and
made quite a good supper. . . . Dow is A. A. G. and I am
a high private. Some of the boys wrote home. Ain't this
a gay romantic life ^
Tuesday, May 17, 1864. — Started from Belle Plain
about 7 o'clock, marched through Fredericksburg to the
Army of the Potomac. It was an awful march, but we stood
it first rate. It was rough at first. Slept near the front all
alone. Page & Hills are on the color guard. Heard firing,
and it looks like hot work. Some of the boys wrote home,
but I did not. This is a rough life, and one that I do not
like, but I shall stand it like a man.
Wednesday, May 18, 1864. — Slept on the ground, don't
know where it was. Did not sleep with Page and felt very
cold. Started early in the morning for Hancock's right.
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 99
Stopped in the valley until about 10. Two shells came over
among us and we started for the left. Saw lots of wounded,
and saw the Drs. cutting them up. Saw one corpse lying in
the road. It looks mighty rough. Rained in the P. m.
Pitched camp & stopped all night. Slept well. Rained all
night; kept dry. I expect an awful battle [was fought.?]
today. We were in hearing of it all day.
Thursday y May 19, 1864. — Struck our tents about noon,
marched on quick time down a hill, then countermarched,
lay on a hill, then went down and our battalion went after
the Rebs. The fire was awful. I was taking Boardman
to the rear. I had to leave him, and I saw the Rebs be-
hind me. I surrendered. They did not fire, after. I got a
horse to ride, and the provost guard took me. I could not
wish to be better treated. I slept rough, but was truly
thankful for my treatment. Sold my coffee for Conf. scrip.
Friday, May 20, 1864. — Slept on some rails, tough. The
guard took me to the prisoners' camp. Slept all day. At
night I was very much gratified upon the arrival of Rowe
& Handy, and we staid up most all night. Rather small
rations, but the Rebs give us as good as they can. I will
be glad when this cruel war is over, but it must be fought
to the bitter end. Saw Gen'l Lee. We are treated with
great kindness by our captors. I am glad if our time is well
spent, both to ourselves, our country, and our God.
Saturday, May 21, 1864. — No rations all day. Marched
all day, started early, did not rest nor have anything to
eat. It was indeed truly painful. Got to a little brook,
piled down on the ground for the night. It was 7 miles
from Beaver Dam, and such is the life of a prisoner in
100 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
the hands of the Rebels, but "while there is Hfe there is
hope." Here we are, Sunday morning, & how good some
beans would go, such as we had last Sunday. But the time
is not far distant, I hope & trust, when we can reap the
rewards of life.
Sunday, May 22, 1864. — Started on our journey early in
the morning without anything to eat. They did not march
us very hard. Got down to the railroad about 3 o'clock,
there we waited a long time. The guards were everlast-
ingly kind to me. The station was on the V. C. R. R., 45
miles from R. Went to Gordonsville, got here about 11
o'clock. Turned in an old barn, got i pint of meal and 2
oz. of pork, all we have had since Friday morning, and
after marching 35 and riding 40 miles.
Monday, May 23, 1864. — Left Gordonsville about noon.
Rode on a platform car to Lynchburg, 90 miles. It was
tough, but we stood it. The most we had to eat was cinders
from the engine. We got in Lynchburg about 9 o'clock,
marched about i mile to camp, & turned in with the blue
canopy of Heaven for our shelter, as usual. We passed the
Blue Ridge. It is a beautiful country, but not well culti-
vated. I shall be glad when we get to our journey's end,
where we can get something to eat.
Tuesday, May 24, 1864. — Stopped at the camp all day.
Had a smart shower, which wet us some. Got some rations.
I ate quite hearty for a prisoner, and I felt like a new
man altogether. I never knew what it was to be hungry
before. I was so weak I could hardly stand. Oh how good
a good meal would taste, such as I could get at home,
but I must not dote on such things now. Some bread for
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN loi
sale in camp for $i a very small loaf. Very high. 1 did
not buy any. Asa Rowe was sick, but is some better.
Wednesday, May 25, 1864. — Stopped as usual at the
prisoners' camp. This is surely mighty dull. I sleep all
day. The boys wrote home by flag of truce. They bring
bread down to sell for ;^i an ounce; rather tough. Some
more prisoners arrived. I hope they will start us for Ga.
today. Don't I wish I could see Page & Dow .? Don't I
wish I could stop in some of our New England farmhouses
and get a cup of milk ? But never mind, I am looking forth
with strong anticipations for our time of exchange; then
it will be like a new Heaven for me and my comrades.
Thursday, May 26, 1864. — Just one week today since I
was taken prisoner. A strange, eventful week it has been,
too. I stayed around camp all day, nothing of importance
transpiring. Had a smart shower towards night; wet us
some, but we got through it. . . . How strange a position
we are in here. We are deprived of every solitary comfort of
life, excepting thinking. That, no man can deprive us of.
How glad [we will be] when we are released.
Friday, May 21, 1864. — Slept, or lay, very cold last night.
Got up very early & cooked our rice. Just got it done when
orders came to pack up and be off. Started about 6 o'clock
from Lynchburg for Danville, packed in some box cars.
It is about 150 miles and it took us 24 hours. Got to Dan-
ville Sat. morning. What a painful night we passed ! No
sleep, no place to lie down, nor scarcely to stand. No ra-
tions, and I think that Jordan is a hard road to travel.
Saturday, May 28, 1864. — Arrived in Danville, went to
the prison (a tobacco warehouse). There I slept until most
102 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
night, then I went and washed, and about 5 o'clock we got
a splendid ration of boiled ham and corn cake just from
the oven. It was beautiful, and I ate very heartily, and
felt like a new man altogether. Got another ration at night,
of corn cake, and started in the cars for Georgia. Danville
is quite a town for the sweet sunny South. I wish we could
have stayed there one night, and got rested.
Sunday, May 29, 1 864. — After riding all night and until
10 o'clock the next day, in a little box car, with 66 of us
in it, with no sleep nor chance to sleep, we got to Greens-
boro, N. C, a distance of 48 miles. We came over a new
military road. Then we got packed as thick as ever, in a
hog car, all manure. Where they will take us to I do not
know, but they say "It is good enough for the Yanks!"
Rode over the N. C. R. until eight the next morning, when
we arrived at Charlotte. We rode at a very swift pace, but
not too fast to suit me, for I want to get to my place of des-
Mondayy May 30, 1864. — Arrived at Charlotte, N. C,
about daybreak, where we got 2 days' rations, consisting
of 7 hardtack and a small lot of bacon. We stopped until
the next morning, then we started on the box cars for Au-
gusta. We slept quite well, got some leaves and put our
blankets over us. Such is the life of a prisoner of war. How
I wish I was in Boston with Dow, both free men! But
never mind, we shall enjoy ourselves so much the better
when we do get home. I do think that we shall get
exchanged by the 4^^^ of July. If not, may the Powers
Tuesday, May 31, 1864. — After riding all day and
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 103
until II at night we arrived at Columbia, S. C, where we
were kept in the cars until morning. Got mighty hungry
this time, and we went mighty slow from 6 in the morning
until 1 1 at night, going 98 miles. Today is the last day of
May, making our time of enlistment very short, but I am
very much afraid that our time will not expire then. But
how I do long for the time to come when we can be once
more men and not beasts. But it is for our Country, and we
must be willing to sacrifice the personal for the general
Wednesday^June i, 1864. — Got some rations about noon
and we were hungry enough to have them taste good.
Started about i o'clock for Augusta. Met with an accident,
two cars ran off the track. The men jumped off, and one
of our men was killed, one had both legs broken, and many
others were wounded. This is the first railroad accident I
was ever in. One of our men was shot through both feet
by the accidental discharge of a musket. How sad to think
of the poor fellows so far away from home and kindred,
to be so suddenly killed or severely wounded ! We got to
Augusta about daybreak, where we crossed, I expect, the
Thursday^ June 2, 1864. — After staying in Augusta until
about 3P.M. and drawing rations, off we went for Ameri-
cus, our destination. We were almost starved when I got
6 good loaves of soft bread for a silver half. Gave one to
each of us and it tasted good indeed. Then we ate our
ration of corn cake, for it was growing stale fast. After
getting all of that in us we felt once more something like
ourselves. We had a good car and a good place in it and
104 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
rode very well. I should like to hear from Dow and be re-
leased from durance.
Friday, June 3, 1864. — Arrived at Macon in the morning.
It was quite a place. After travelling until noon we ar-
rived at our camp Winder, Andersonville, Ga., where we
were driven in next to the swamp. But Asa [Rowe] &
[George] Handy bought a little lot on the hill for ^4.50.
I was very much pleased, for it is so much healthier. The
camp contains about 6 acres. Capt. Wirz commands.
Wrote to Caroline ^ for a box, as did the most of our boys.
Wrote to Dow also. I hope the letters will go through, but
I am afraid it will be a long time ere we get an answer.
O dear me!
Saturday, June /\., 1864. — It rained most all day & we
fared rather tough. Still we managed to live through it.
Drew our rations late at night, some peas. Handy bought
a rubber blanket for $5, which added much to our com-
fort. It is sad to see them carry the dead by into the dead
house, a continual train of them all the time. How I hope
that I shall live through it and be permitted to enjoy the
true fruition of my life, which I have put so much confi-
dence in and placed such bright anticipations upon ! Still,
if I die here I am sure that we shall die in a good cause,
although in a brutal way.
Sunday, June 5, 1864. — Here we are in the same old pen.
We fixed our habitation some and made it somewhat better.
But then, O Lord! Hasten our release! Only think, if we
' This letter evidently came into our lines without unnecessary delay,
as it was postmarked at City Point early in July, but for some unknown
reason was not delivered until January, 1865.
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 105
were at the forts just one short month from today we should
be honorably discharged. But how I regret, how I sigh to
think of our deplorable condition. Still men have lived
through rougher scenes than this, and if I take good care of
myself, am very hopeful. But 't is sad to see the dead go
out, 100 per day. I have been a Httle ill, the beans gave
me a very bad state of the stomach, but I think I shall be
better tomorrow. We look to our condition at the forts with
as much joy as when there we did for a discharge, and
Monday, June 6, 1864. — The same as usual. Staid in our
humble dwelling most of the time. It is such. It is life,
and that is all. My stomach felt very much better, and I
am very thankful indeed. Asa Rowe is in a bad state,
and we are all in a deplorable condition, still I guess that
by being very prudent we will all get through it. There are
millions of reports in camp relative to parole & exchange.
I have come to the conclusion that we will be exchanged
when the summer campaign is over, which I hope and
trust will be in about three months after my time is out.
Tuesday, June 7, 1864. — Awful hot in the A. M. but we
had a very cool shower in the P. m., which would have been
very desirable had we had a good shelter. We managed to
get a pint of rice for my 40 cts. and it went first rate and
made me feel better. We are having good reports from our
Army but can't believe any of them. There seem to be
no signs for an exchange at all until the summer cam-
paign is over, and I hope that will end with the downfall
of Richmond. My stomach has got regulated once more
& I feel encouraged. My whole thoughts are on the joy
io6 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
we will have when we get in sight of our little starry ban-
ner. O how I would like to see it once more !
Wednesday, June 8, 1864. — Stopped as usual in our old
shanty. The day was quite oppressive, but toward night it
was more salubrious. We drew raw rations and no wood,
but by the kindness of Handy we had a little wood. Sold
our rations of meat for a pint of rice, which Asa and I ate
to grand advantage because it is so easily digested. I made
a grand raid and got a big plate of cooked rice which did
us "roots." While trying to make the first one we were
fired upon by the quartermaster; no one hurt. A new squad
of recruits came from Charleston. I am feeling first rate
today and begin to feel quite encouraged. All of us are
convalescent, I believe.
Thursday, June 9, 1864. — The first sound of humanity
reached our ears this morning in an order allowing us to
go for wood if we take our oath not to escape. The pre-
lude was, "Wishing to do all in our power to alleviate the
sufi'erings of prisoner's life." Asa & I ate our rice and as
usual it was good. We talked of getting our ration of meat
turned into molasses, which we can do by giving $2 a quart
for the latter. Drew cooked rations. Learned from a re-
liable prisoner that Butler is relieved from the exchange
commission & Smith is in his place. That is good, the first
bright star that we have seen since our imprisonment.
Feel first rate but weak.
Friday, June 10, 1864. — Things go on about the same
way. Had a small bannock for breakfast. At night we got
a little molasses and made some mush. It went first rate
and set well. Our squad got raw rations and no wood. We
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 107
sold our meat and got quite a fund. Molasses is ^8 a gallon
& butter ^4 per pound. Little did I ever think I would
pay such prices. Handy, Asa, & I entered partnership.
Handy is Treasurer. My principal thoughts and hopes
and fears are that my friend Dow will get killed or not be
able to fulfill his promises with me.
Saturday, June ii, 1864. — Had quite a rain and with our
humble shelter it was no desirable thing. We got ^3 worth
of molasses in a quart cup and had some bread and mo-
lasses. Handy dealt it out by the spoonful, and Asa took
four, so he owes us a spoonful of molasses. Now we see
what makes a thing good. We think as much of a spoonful
of molasses here as we would of a gallon at home, and it
costs about as much. O how I would like to see some pris-
oners go home ! It would bring such joy to us. Tongue nor
pen can never describe our privations here, nor our joy
when we arrive in Wash, free from our enemies. O how bad
it seems to be kept here after our time expires !
Sunday, June 12, 1864. — With Nat's shirt made quite
a good addition to our shanty, but there was need enough
of it, for we had an awful night of rain. Handy had a rough
time. It stormed all night. Had a ration of hot corn bread
and we finished our molasses, 8 spoonfuls apiece for ^^3.
We can't stand that. Got ^i worth of butter, i^ of a
pound. It went first rate, but at home we would not have
looked at it. Great rumors in camp about our parole. O
Lord, if they were only true, how joyful we would have
been ! But still we know that the time must come some time.
How true, if not for hope the heart would break !
Monday^ June 13, 1864. — Came on cold and rainy today.
io8 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
"When the birds cannot show a dry feather,
Bring Aunt with her cans & Marm with her pans
And we'll all be unhappy together."
This is very applicable to our situation, for it rained all day,
and cold it was indeed. At night we almost froze. I never
saw such cold weather in the North. You can see our breath
as though it was frosty. Had some mush for breakfast, and
bread for supper, and crouched down in our old blanket.
It is very painful. Still all our happiness in this and in the
other world also, is comparative. We see those around
wounded & without any shelter, & compared with them
we are well off. Rumor says Gen. Winder took command
here. Rumor afloat of exchange.
Tuesday, June 14, 1864. — Another very wet day for us.
Handy had the shakes. He bought a blanket for ^5 and
slept quite warm. Got our rations very late. Sold our ham
as usual. One of our mess "passed to the Summer Land"
last night. They are dying very fast. Grand reports about
exchange and parole. Would to God they were true! I do
think that we will not have to stay in here long, it is not
just treatment from our Gov. Since this cold weather I
feel much better. Corn meal gives me the diarrhoea again.
O how glad I shall be when I see the little starry flag
Wednesday, June 15, 1864. — Took off the ring S. B. gave
me, put it on again, iioo prisoners arrived. Joe Learned
and Sam Morrison from our Co. O how sad are the re-
ports from our regt! 53 from Co. K. killed, wounded, and
missing, in the battle of the 19^^, when we were taken;
II killed, and 814 out of the regt. Gen'l Meade issued a
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 109
congratulatory order to the artillery brigade on the fight of
the ig'^i of May. O how glad I was to learn that Dow and
Page were all right up to the 2^ of June. I was painfully
grieved when they told me that Dow felt very badly when
he learned my fate. He came to the Co. and enquired for
me of Joe. There is a true friend, & if he will go home
in July and wait until I come, it will be the happiest mo-
ment of my life, and I pray to God that such may be the
case. How I hope Dow will get my letter, but I am afraid
he will not. [Lucius A.] Wilder went to stop with Learned
& M. Got the diarrhoea.
Thursday, 'June 16, 1864. — Another large squad of Yanks
came in. Did not see any from our Regt., but learned that
ours had been badly cut up while charging the enemy's
works on the 3^^ of June. I feel for the Regt., and very spe-
cially for the old members. My stomach is not right yet.
Did not eat anything but rice, and had a severe day. Ru-
mors that 28 transports are on the way for us from Ft.
Monroe to Savannah. Felt quite encouraged, but can't quite
give it credence. Rained in the afternoon and night. Drew
some wood. Handy had his salt and spoon stolen. He has
the shakes. O I sigh for liberty!
Friday, June 17, 1864. — The immortal 17^ has arrived,
memorable for the battle of Bunker Hill, but it brings no
joy for me. All is sadness and sorrow, but I live in hopes
of better things, and when they come. Glory ! Rained all
day as it has for the past week. My diarrhoea is no better,
but it is not very bad, so I am not alarmed about it yet.
Lived on rice. How I do want to see and hear from my
friends. . . . My thoughts in the day and my dreams in
no DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
the night are nothing but my Hberty, my liberty. Ten
thousand times a day do I think of my engagement to go
to England. If I can't enjoy life after this, I am not sentient.
Saturday, June i8, 1864. — Another stormy day. Nothing
of importance going on. My diarrhoea is some better, Joe
L. went to the doctor. The doctor said it was a shame to
keep us here so, and so it is truly. Pen nor tongue can never
tell the agony of mind that I and some of my party endure.
Here we are with no alternative but to crouch under a low
blanket and think from morn till night of our deplorable
condition, & from night till morn it occupies our dreaming
hours. What a recreation any employment for the mind
even would be, but all I can think of is, "Fly swifter round,
ye wheels of time, & bring the welcome day."
Sunday, June 19, 1864, — June 16''^ some more of the i^^
Mass. came in & report that C. Berry was severely wounded,
Joe & Sam are quite sick with the diarrhoea, and thus
things go. Handy had his salt and bag taken from him by
force by the raiders. There is the greatest set of robbers
in here I ever imagined could be got together in one place.
Another lot of Yanks came in from the Western Army.
Handy is quite ill, and we all feel very weak and bad. Still
we must try to keep up good spunk. I think one month
more will take us to the land of the free. Had quite a fair
day, heavy shower in the p. m. Our men divided into squads
of 16 [or 10 .?] — much better way.
Monday, June 20, 1 864. — ... The best report yet in the
N. Y, Herald that we are to be paroled between the 'j^'^ &
17^ of July, I place the most confidence in it of any, I felt
the best of any yet, — all of us are better. Rained p. m.
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN in
Tuesday, June 2 1 , 1 864. — Felt quite smart, stirred around
some. The sun was very scorching. . *. . I took charge of
our squad. Sold 15 cts. worth of rations. Apples, plums,
cucumbers, etc., have been in camp for several days. One
man shot because he accidentally got over the dead-line.
Nat is quite sick, the rest of us are getting along well. Re-
port says that the Negro question is settled. Small squad
of Yanks came in from the Occidental Army, Gen'l Sturgis.
He is the one that had command of us on the Fairfax trot.
Every nap we all dream of home.
Wednesday, June 22, 1864. — Strange to say we did not
have any rain. The weather is very hot and oppressive. All
we got to eat was a pint of unsalted, uncooked mush. O it
does seem rough, inhuman, and unjust to keep us here ! If
they would only take us back to the place where I first saw
the light, the happiest souls on earth we would be ! . . .
Dreamed last night that James was dead, & I put some
confidence in it, but hope it is not so. I can't write more,
for I am thinking of things far away.
Thursday, June 27^, 1864. — No rain today. A small squad
of recruits came, a lot of H. A. Saw two of our regt's
knapsacks, one of Co. K., No. 26. It looked natural enough.
Some of the squads got fresh beef, but it was rough stuff.
Had some soup for supper, did not like it. Sold one ration
of bread and got some meal. More rumors of an exchange.
Wish they were true & think some of them must be. How
I would prize life if only once more set free or back at the
old fort! O how good those blackberries and sugar, and
nice soft bread and butter would go ! How often we think
of such things when once deprived of them. When we
112 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
are men once more, we can then appreciate life. Here we
are deprived of almost life itself.
Friday, June 24, 1864. — Today my mind wanders back 3
years, when at 12 o'clock I left Lawrence for Fort Warren.
3 years ago today the immortal 14*'' went into camp. 3 years
ago today I left my friends and kindred, mother and James,
& more especially my L. friends. My mind still clings to
the shady streets of L., and the many fine times I have had
there. But now all is different, no joy nor gladness is left.
Perhaps too I might refer to my soldier comrades who now
lie buried in the cold ground, some even without a covering.
How many, alas, have perished since 6 weeks next Sun-
day. Awful hot. Nothing of importance is going on, the
same dull deplorable Hfe. Diarrhoea again. How good a
word from friends would be !
Saturday, June 25, 1864. — Very hot, no rain, rations very
late. I lived on bread, could not sell my meat. Put some
meal to soak for beer. Joe sold his pailful quick. Sam is
in poor spirits, but I am getting as well as could be expected.
But then, I am almost distracted, for things are dubious
here indeed, and all we have to console us is to hope for bet-
ter things. The seeming joy is great, that I have in thinking
of the joy that I will have when I see the Stars & Stripes, for
then I soon will see my friends. Orders came to give back
the money taken from old prisoners. That is [a] good in-
dication, but money nor anything can ever compensate us
for one week's stop here.
Sunday, June 26, 1864. — The best move yet. Joe Lear-
ned came up here, making it much more pleasant for us
all. A very small lot of Yanks came in from Sherman's
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 113
Army. The weather is very hot, & were it not for the
hopes of the future our hearts would break. Got mush and
meal, very good for this accursed land. The letters stopped
going, for what reason we know not. No arrivals from
Grant's Army for a long time, hope there will be no more
from any army. Such living as we get here is heart rend-
ing. How we would like to step into the Pearl eating-
house, cor. Milk St., or Marston's, Brattle St.
Monday^ June 27, 1864. — Saw a little of a piece entitled
"The Goal of Thought," by Joseph E. Peck, in the Re-
pository. Thought die little I saw was beautiful. Nothing
of importance going on. Some 1000 Yanks came in. Some
brought good news, and some bad. Rumors still fly as
regards our exchange. We met with a great loss, it was
our knife, & it is very inconvenient to get along cook-
ing and cutting wood with our fingers. As for eating,
we can eat with our fingers first rate now. Joe is quite
ague-y. ... I have made my mind up on going home
next month, so sure that I feel quite easy, but if next
month does not release us, O God, I would I never had
been born !
Tuesday, June 28,1 864. — Had a good shower which made
it quite comfortable for a season. A large lot of Yanks
came in, about 1000. I am about discouraged. Only think,
if we only had staid at the forts, only one short week from
today our time would be out, and that long wished for
period would have come, and I should have been the hap-
piest of men. Now I might say I am quite the reverse.
Only one week more, oh how good it sounds ! But now the
future looks gloomy. Otherwise Dow and I would have
114 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
been going home together. Now it will be otherwise, and
perhaps one of us never will go home. But we will look as
well as we can on the dark and gloomy picture.
Wednesday, June 29, 1864. — Quite an excitement about
raiders. Took 14 of them out, and the Capt. [Wirz] says he
will do what we say with them. But one thing is bad for us
— we got no rations, and on as small rations as we get, it
is no fun. A great squad of Yanks came in, bringing all
sorts of news. I wish some of it was true. Had a good
shower. Drew 4 spoonfuls of salt for 15 men ; that 's great !
Handy and I got caught in a shower and enjoyed a stranger's
hospitality. Was thinking all day, if we were only at the
forts, the order would be read today for the inspection and
muster tomorrow. How I looked [forward] last muster, to
tomorrow's. Oh ! How I doted upon it ! But my hopes are
vanished, & I am sad. If I were only out of this I would
give all the money I ever saw.
Thursday, June 30, 1864. — Not as hot as usual, cloudy,
no rain. Did not get anything but a little mush and meal for
2 days. It is rough, it is bad, and to me it is almost unsup-
portable. How rough it is to serve our Country through so
many privations for 3 long years, then, instead of going to
that longed-for home of joy & happiness, be put in this pen
of insatiate misery, without one consoling thought even. If
anybody was ever miserable, I am since coming here. Only
5 days more, then I was expecting to enjoy life as hugely as
any man could. Got out lots of raiders and tried them by
Friday, July i, 1864. — O dear! Ain't this a tough life .f*
July has come, & instead of bringing its anticipated joys,
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 115
woes as intense have followed it. But why keep sighing ?
Because I can't help it.
Moved in the new stockade, and are some better situated
because the pen is a little larger. From 49 to 98 detach-
ments moved. I made some mush for supper, put the meal
in before the water boiled & it raised fits with me. Had
some fresh made for tomorrow's breakfast. Bought a
spoonful of w. sugar for 25 0. Lost the comb that belonged
to John. Was very sorry indeed.
Saturday, July 2, 1 864. — Here we are at this late day still
living on corn meal and water. Handy had a chill again.
. . . H., L., & I have got a bad diarrhoea again, making
us feel quite blue. Made a broth out of a bone, & had some
fresh meat, but I, nor any one else, could live on the rations,
& in the pen. More rumors of an exchange. O dear, O
dear, were they only true ! I am thinking of the time I
would be now having on my way home, were I in the forts
where I expected to be. How true — we know not what an
hour may bring forth ! But one thing [is certain], this can't
always last, and when it ends I'll make it up.
Sunday, July 3, 1864. — Only think, tomorrow is the im-
mortal 4*. If I were only in Boston my joy would be un-
speakable. I can't imagine the joy if Dow and I were there,
free and accepted, in all things as well as Masonry. There is
no difference here, one day from another, and I played a
game of cards, not thinking it was the day it is. My bowels
are bad yet. The guard killed a crazy man for getting over
the dead-line. Had two roll-calls and no rations at all.
My stars, what a fuss there would have been at the forts,
if we had gone day after day with no rations ! But here
ii6 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
we stand anything. What shall I write tomorrow, and
the 5th ?
Mondayyjuly /\.yiS6^. — This has been a curious 4*1^ to me,
and it has to us all, I guess. Not a sign of any celebration,
but no rations. They took the detachments off and changed
ours to the 51'*. More rumors of an exchange. Would to
God they were true! Had a smart shower, got all wet.
Got cold in the night and had a touch of ague. This is my
41'! Fourth of July in the Army. 3 years ago today I was
on guard for the first time at Fort Warren & saw the fire-
works at Boston. One year [ago] today we had a good din-
ner and time in the tent at Fort Albany. I came out of the
G. H. for seeing Dow 2 yrs (ago) today. I was with Dow
at Albany, went off berrying with him. Thus time has
passed with me. O dear, I am discouraged!
Tuesday^July 5, 1864. — O for the Promethean eloquence
of Demosthenes or Cicero ! Today is the day longed for by
me so ardently for the two long years that 's past, and in-
deed it would have been to me a second Advent. But now
it brings us no consolation or joy, for it does not send us to
our friends at home. How long must we stay here } None
but the functionaries at Washington can tell. But why be
forever sorrowing because I cannot find joy ? My faith in
rumors is played out, for they say that Richmond is taken.
I felt very badly with the headache and diarrhoea, but
think I am better. Rowe is very sick with it. I went to
see the doctor, but there was none. Fixed the tent, so it
goes very well. O the friends I love !
Wednesdayyjuly 6, 1864. — Here I am a citizen, & a sad
position it is for me ; but I must cheer up or the despond-
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 117
ency will bring disease. Joe went after the rations & was
taken very sick, but got better before night. This is the
roughest pen that ever civilized man was put in. Here all
is bestial, just like a hog pen, & hogs we must be, for like
hogs we live, like hogs we act. Once in a while a good
soul shines like a beacon-light ahead. Would not I Hke to
be on my way home now with Dow ? I guess yes. It would
be the most intense joy I can think of or imagine. But I
will be with him soon, I hope.
Thursday,Julyyy 1864. — Today is the day for us to start
for home, & it was as I feared, no go. Can't place one bit
of confidence in rumors & never shall again while in here.
I have now made up my mind to stop until Richmond is
captured, & then I think something will be done for us.
I have got a very bad cold and a touch of the dumb ague,
making this prison life not very pleasant. I dreamed last
night of being paroled and seeing Dow, and the disap-
pointment when I awoke & found myself still in Hell ! —
I have given up all hopes of hearing from home, likewise of
their hearing from me. But while there is life there is hope,
and that consoles me.
Friday yjuly 8, 1864. — One year ago we were in first rate
quarters in the tents at Albany, and we had as good living
as we cared about. The blackberries and sugar never gave
out, and we used to eat about a quart apiece. Morning,
night, & at dinner we had a good meal from the cook
house. Three times a week we had plum-duff. My tent
had a nice cool cellar, & we had a large stone jar which we
kept full of good butter. Then we had a pint of milk morn-
ing and evening in our coffee, making it like home, it seems
ii8 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
now. H. had a shake, got over it well. I was quite sick
with the cold I have. A few prisoners came, no signs of any
going out. I think now of staying until cool weather.
Saturday i July 9, 1864. — Sad, sad news from our Co. &
Regt. A lot of prisoners came in, & with them that good
man, Mr. M. Emery of Co. F. He is not well. I am glad
and sorry to see him. He is the most congenial friend I
have in here yet. I learn that Page is slightly wounded, but
all right and safe. Bro. Dow slightly [wounded] in the foot.
Dow still keeps in the field. I wish he would go home!
Some of our Co. are on the way here. McKay is Ord. of
our Co., & there are but 12 or 15 for duty. Cop. Collins
is dead, and one of the Hunters, & O, I sadly deplore the
surviving one's fate ! I will not write much until our boys
come in. 30 of F. were captured. After hearing of the Co.'s
fate I don't know but I am in luck. I am glad to hear that
Page is safe, & I think Dow will now be out of danger.
Sunday, July ID, 1864. — Today, sad news indeed I must
record. I learn by Bridges that Bro. Asa was shot through
the heart while charging the breastworks at Petersburg,
June 16, 1864. B. got to him just in season to stop some
officers robbing his pockets. B. took his pocket-book con-
taining $14.62 & a few stamps, and his Bible, and gave
them to the Chaplain. That is consoling. Copl. Wm. Hills
died with the diarrhoea. He was a good boy, and a friend
to me. It is sad, it is sad, but I still have faith in my belief,
& find relief therein. ... I am mighty glad to learn that
Dow has gone home & knows where J am.
Monday, July 11, 1864. — Today I saw six victims hung
for murdering their fellow-prisoners. They are the first ones
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 119
I ever saw hung. They call them raiders. One rope broke.
Mr. Emery stayed here in the daytime, & picked up where
he could at night. Fry, the two Sheehans, Wiggin, Bridges,
Voigt & Jackson from our regt. came in yesterday. More
rumors of an exchange on the 16*^1 inst. O if it were true!
A man said he saw it in the Wash. Chronicle. How I want
to get home and see my folks while I have some to see!
Now Asa is gone, if James has not survived, I am left alone.
But I think James lived if he had care.
Tuesday^ July 12, 1864. — One day more has passed,
thank God, and it must bring us nearer the Welcome Day.
More of our reg't. came in ; lots from Co. F. Emery got in
with a stranger. I am very glad of it. Well, if things go right,
& I don't fear much but they will, I shall consider myself
very lucky. To have things go right, I shall get out of here
this, or early next month, find Dow all right waiting for me,
& then, after settling the things at home, I will start on our
Hfe's journey. How I long for liberty! How sick I am of
corn meal ! O ! how good it would seem even now to go to
some good swill-pail and fill ourselves! I wait in hopes.
Wednesday, July 13, 1864. — One more day has gone &
brings us no relief. Still, if we live, Time must bring the
welcome day. It will bring us out of the miry pit & set
our feet upon a rock, & then what happy mortals we will
be! But we are waiting, patiently waiting, waiting for the
prison gates to be opened & for Abraham to say, "Come."
Then will we bless our stars and return to our beloved
friends at home. What a glorious meeting it will be ! How
I would like to meet Dow in the Astor House or in Boston !
God grant that things will work for our good & that we
120 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
may be permitted to spend the life of pleasure and enjoy-
ment together that we have doted on so much !
Thursday, July 14, 1864. — Not so hot as usual, butthings
go bad. As for exchange or parole, I am about played out
hoping for such a thing. The Sergt's went to see the Capt.
[Wirz], and he told them he would shell us till not a man was
left if any attempt was made to break out. O dear, has Dow
patience to wait for me } If I have patience to wait in this
pen, I think he ought to have. But I am waiting, waiting,
waiting, with patience. Emery is better. I am glad of it.
I am not very sick, nor very well yet. I have continually
had the diarrhoea, & for the last few weeks I have had a
bad cold, making me not very chipper. O God ! Deliver us
from this prison!
Friday, July 1 5, 1 864. — Saw a petition they are getting up
to send to our Gov. I hope they will send it, for it cannot do
harm, & if it will do good, for the sake of humanity send it
along. I am not very well and never shall be while they
keep me in here. I do think that this is not fair for us to be
kept here. It is unjust, for the sake of humanity, or Chris-
tianity, or anything that pretends to be civilized and much
more Enlightened. O do not boast of your enlightened age !
Away, away, while such suffering and misery are going on !
This, this is shameful — it is disgraceful — & here let it
rest. — The weather is quite cool & all goes wrong, but
Time must release us, and that is all I look for to do any-
thing for us.
Saturday, July 16, 1864. — Did not write till near night,
for I felt very badly. Went to the Dr. & he did not see me,
for Joe could not wait for me. I am about discouraged. O
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 121
dear, I am so sick of this corn meal ! The sight of it makes
me sick. O how I would prize some good bread and milk!
What a thrill of feeling it would send through my whole
[Note. — Up to this time, every page of the diary has been
filled to the last line. Nearly half of the page devoted to
July 16 has been left unwritten upon, and very little ap-
pears upon the pages for the seven days next following.]
Sunday, July 17, 1864. — Went to the Doctor. He pre-
scribed some diarrhoea & cough medicine, but the cough
medicine got spilled, so it did me no good, no good. I am in
a bad condition, nothing but water passes me, & no appetite
for anything we see here at all. This corn meal is awful
sickening. It is too bad, too bad, but such is the case. O
God ! The man that will take me out of this I will call him
" Prince of Kings & Lord of Lords." He to me will be a
true Redeemer, I think, in every sense of the word.
Monday, July 18, 1864. — Lay on my back in the tent in
the dirt all day, pretty sick. This is hard, indeed, but
I don't see but what we must stand it. How I wish Dow
would come down to see me as he did at Albany when he
heard I was sick. But if I only live to see it through, I think
it will be all right. The weather is quite cool today, with
Tuesday,July 19, 1864. — Felt quite blue. My stomach is
no better, but I got a biscuit for breakfast, and some flour
gruel for breakfast and supper. It did no good, only tempo-
rarily. Mr. Emery sold my meat for 200. Good news from
Sherman, & I am satisfied that Kilpatrick is on a raid for
us & I put a great deal of confidence [Here a wavering
122 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
mark indicates that the writer's hand lost control of his
Wednesday.July 20, 1864. — I felt some better, but not
quite well. The rebels are throwing up breast-works as
fast as they —
Thursday, July 21, 1864. — Felt some better, but nothing
but water passes me yet.
Friday,July 22, 1864. — Here we are, still in the same
place. . . . Did not eat much.
Saturday, July 23, 1864. — Lay very cold. The weather
looks like the melancholy days, & it puts me in mind of Fall,
& that it was time something was done for us. A man in
Co. F. died today. Drew 4 spoonfuls of rice.
Sunday, July 24, 1864. — Well, here we are, but I am feel-
ing better and am therefore in some better spirits. It is ru-
mored that Atlanta is taken, and I guess it is. Grant seems
not to be doing much & we are still here. The weather is so
cold that we come near freezing, but it makes us feel better.
It gives me an appetite for a good hot breakfast. But every
day brings us one day nearer our release. I do hope we will
not be forgotten, for our Gov., I think, after this campaign
is over, will turn an eye towards us. Joe Hayden, Co. M., is
sick, Emery is worse, and thus things go, but I am sure that
the best of all is to keep a stiff upper lip.
Monday, July 2^, 1864. — Felt better and am encouraged.
Think I shall stand it, but it is rough indeed. Emery is get-
ting worse, and Handy too. The weather is some warmer
and we did not freeze at night. A fellow in Co. G. died at 8
this evening through mere discouragement. That heart-
sickness, only known to the young men like us, can never
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 123
be imagined until it has been endured. I am afraid there
is a long stop for us in here, too. I see no signs of getting
out of it, & it is heart-rending indeed, but here I am. I
got my turn for water today for the first time. We have
drawn [no] rice for two days, & no salt. That is tough.
Tuesday, July 26^ 1864. — Emery sent in an application
for himself to go out shoemaking, and also for me. I do hope
we shall both be successful and get where we can enjoy life a
little. Another fellow in our detachment died, and thus
things go. I consider [that] as my time is out and my con-
tract fulfilled, it is the duty of the Gov. to release me, and if
they don't do something for me, I must try and do some-
thing for myself. If I can get out on parole of honor, I shall
do it, & shall think it no harm. I wish I could ask Dow's
opinion on it. I would abide by that.
Wednesdayyjuly 27, 1864. — Ate some fried doughnuts for
breakfast, & it made me sick enough. In the afternoon I
had an old visitor in the shape of a chill. How I thought of
Page, for I have seen him the sickest with the shakes of any
man I ever saw. This is a rough place for such things, &
they are bad enough anywhere. Emery & I had a wash all
over, and it did feel good and do us good. I hope we will be
fortunate enough to get up to Macon. O how glorious it
would seem, and how glorious it would be ! ... A man
[was] shot dead for stepping over the dead-line. I call
Thursday, July 28, 1864. — I felt very well indeed, but a
little weak. Nothing of importance has transpired. Joe is
a little ailing, but guess [it is] nothing serious. Emery is the
same. I am very sorry he does not gain. Hope he will get
124 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
out to work on shoes, and do something for himself, for I do
consider it his duty to. I wish I could do something outside.
How quick I would go, and should do it conscientiously too,
for I have fulfilled my contract with the government by
serving them faithfully for three years.
Friday, July 29, 1864. — Today instead of having a chill,
I had a very curious disease. I was paralyzed and could not
move, & in great agony for a while. I think it is very strange,
. . . but it prevented a chill. I got a little salt for Emery.
Neeley cut my hair, & I washed all over. I traded four
rations of pork for molasses and got quite a supper.
Saturday, July 30, 1864. — I felt first-rate in the morning,
but in the afternoon I got down flat again, and no one to get
the water. Handy went after some and got down too. I
traded Holt's canteen for a bucket that holds four quarts.
I hope that we can manage not to suffer now, but suppose
that it will be as hard as ever. Good stories about a parole,
and I think some of them are true. I sadly regret that I did
not join the F. & A. M. when I thought of it.
Sunday, July 31, 1864. — I am sorry to find Emery in so
bad a condition. If he does not get better soon he never
will. Good news about an exchange — I am putting some
confidence in it, too. I felt well in the morning, but in the
afternoon I had another of those cursed shakes. How painful
it must be, those can imagine that have had them. I thought
of Dow, I can assure you, and Page and every friend I ever
had. Can't get any medicine, & I must stand and bear it.
I am in hopes of a speedy release now.
Monday, Aug. I, 1864. — Did not feel very well in the
morning, & was favored with a good shake in the afternoon.
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 125
Went down and washed in the morning, & got my water.
A rebel minister was preaching & said we would be
Tuesday y Aug. 2, 1864. — Had another chill as usual, but
it was not so hard as usual, but hard enough to make me
think of my friends if I ever had any. ... I often think
of what I now call the friends of Co. K., and I now look
back to those happy times of social talk &c. Our quarters
were good, and food, with what we could buy, was good.
The stories say we are not to stay here long, & if the Devil
will get me out of this I will worship him, for I am discour-
aged. . . .
Wednesday, Aug. 3, 1864. — Did not have a chill or shake
this afternoon and felt quite encouraged. I am afraid that
I am ill with the scurvy. Went to see the doctors, but did
not [see them.] What a crowd of sick! They take them to
the depot, and where they take them is a mystery. They
say they take them to Hilton Head, S. C. I am glad if it is
so, but I [distrust] such good news. Emery is very ill. I
cooked him some rice, but he could not use it. He has not
eaten anything to-day. I long to see my folks.
Thursday, Aug. 4, 1864. — Made some [An illegible word
or part of a word follows, — perhaps " rice," — and the
rest of the page is blank. The pages for Friday and Sat-
urday are wholly blank,]
Sunday, Aug. 7, 1864. — I have been very sick with the
diarrhoea again, all of a sudden. I was called up 30 times
in 24 hours. Rather tough, that, but I am glad to say that
I ate some corn-bread and it went very well, & 1 think the
change was good. Have not seen Emery for a day or two.
126 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
No sick went out today. Gen. W. had telegraphic orders
for an exchange of us. Only think, three years ago today
at 9 o'clock we left Fort Warren. Uncle John followed us
to the depot, and at twelve we started. Then we (John & I)
were in good spirits. Now he has gone, and I am about as
Monday, August 8, 1864. — Felt bad in the morning.
Bridges made me a lot of rice soup and of course ate what
I left. Had rain in the afternoon and we got pretty wet.
I sold 2 rations of pork to a F. & A. M. for 20 0. Was glad
to get the chance. I wish I was an honorable member of that
F., but such is not the case. O how I want to get out from
here ! Here I lie and wallow in the dirt from morning till
night. O God, if I could only get inside our lines how happy
I should be! We drew wood. I gave up my mess when I
was sick. Rumors of an exchange. Am afraid it [will be]
long ere I see my home.
Tuesday y August 9, 1864. — Had an awful shower in the
afternoon and we all got very wet, and a rough night we
had too, in the mud and dirt. O dear, if such is life, I wish
for it no more ! Emery is very badly off and will not live
but a short time, I am afraid. I do wish I could do some-
thing for him, but can't. My feet and face swell some, and
what in the world is going to become of us is more than I
know. Did not draw any ration. Some of the stockade
fell in. How are you, Dow, Page, sisters, and my only
Wednesday, August 10, 1864. — Asa Rowe died this after-
noon, and was carried out and buried with the rest of the
poor prisoners. I am sorry that he must so end his life, but
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 127
it was so ordered to be. ... I heard that Emery is dead,
and am sorry if such is the case. I shall go in the morning
to see him, and as I am feeling better I will try to take care
of him some. We have had showers every day for three
days, & awful bad it is too, but such is the prisoner's Hfe.
O I heard from the W. Chronicle that we are go —
Thursday, August 1 1, 1864. — Felt quite well for me here.
Went after water in the morning and was most exhausted.
Found Emery quite smart to what I expected, for I heard
that he was dead. I concluded to try and take care of him.
Cooked him some rice and it tasted good to him. In the
afternoon a shower was coming on, & up he came and
asked for shelter, which we gave him. He was in good cheer
and I felt encouraged. He stayed here all the time, but did
not sleep much. The weather was very hot and op-
pressive. I felt very well for me. O when will we get out
of this .f' I want to see my friends.
Friday, August 12, 1864. — Made some rice soup for
Emery, which he ate and liked, but he seemed to be worse
after it, and he lay quiet until afternoon, when he was taken
worse and was pressed for breath. He ate no supper, and
continued to fail. I was very sick all night, vomiting. 1
asked him towards morning if he felt as though he could
stand it long. He said "No." I asked him if he had any
word to send to his folks. He said "No," and I left him.
Things go the same as ever, no parole yet, and all our
comfort is in Hope. How I long, long, long to see our
Saturday, August 13, 1864. — Found Emery worse. Laid
him on his coat and saw he was dying. He passed to the
128 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
Higher Life about seven o'clock and was carried out and
buried with the rest of the Union prisoners. I was very
sorry to see so good a man die in here. He was a firm friend,
and would do anything for me, and I look for him in the
bright Summer Land. I shall go to see his folks when I get
home, and tell them the story. I am better, but God send
us out of this Hell !
Sunday, August 14, 1864. — Things are very quiet. They
say we are going out of this tomorrow. I can't see it. 1
made an agreement with Charles Mills, Co. C, that if we
can get to the American House next month I will pay for
the dinner, and if any time after, he will pay for it. How I
long for that American House dinner ! I will have it right
straight through in style. Had some beans with no salt,
rather rough. How I long for something but corn meal to
MondayyAugust 15, 1864. — Today is the day for us to be
paroled, but no signs of it yet, & -my faith is growing less.
It does seem as though we could not stand it much longer,
but I am bound to try my best to live until I can get out of
this bull-pen, for I want to see my folks at home, I have
set out so much joy for me that I am sorry to die here, or
stay here longer. — Fairman died this morning. Last even-
ing he was quite smart. I never saw men slip off so easy as
they do here. They die as easy as, as can be.
[Note. — Eleven pages of the diary, devoted to as many
days, are now left wholly unwritten upon.]
Saturday, August 27, 1864. — This is a cool, beautiful
morning. As Handy is very sick and probably won't sur-
vive long, there is another good man going to die in this
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 129
horrid place. He says he would like to live and go home to
his family, and who would not ? August has almost passed
and not released us, still I am confident that next month
must do something for us, for I am satisfied that the officers
are paroled, & lots of the privates. ... I long to see my
Sunday, August 28, 1864. — [Blank.]
Monday, August 29, 1864. — Today at half past seven in
the evening, passed George Handy to the Spirit Life. He was
another one of my true friends, and always stood up for me.
He, like Mr. Emery, leaves a wife and four children. He
owned two blankets in the shanty. He was one of Dow's
men, whose word was a bond. I don't write now, for this
bull pen tells its own story.
[The pages for the next three days are blank.]
Friday, Sept. 2, 1864. — Today I have another sad duty
to perform, and that is to record the death of Friend Jonas
Learned. He was sick only since last Wednesday with the
sore throat, but they say it is not diphtheria, and for the life
of me I do not know what it was. He died very easy, said
nothing of his friends, and was but a little out of his head
during his whole sickness. I took his things, and will see
them safe with his folks, in Oxford, N. Y. Perhaps I would
not like to see my folks!
Saturday, Sept. 3, 1864. — Today passed another friend,
(I speak as an acquaintance) Charles H. Parrish, Co. C,
died this morning at four o'clock. He is from Lynn. We
fixed our tent all over and it is much better. I think we are
going out this month sure, and joy to the world when we
are released ! How I would like to see Dow and my folks. If
130 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
they get us out of this this month I am good for them, but
if they keep us longer, I fear for myself. Joe L. died about
Sunday, Sept. 4, 1864. — Today I did more trading than
I have since I have been in the stockade. After all the morn-
ing, I sold Emery's shoes for $1, then travelled all day &
at last got hold of a very cheap one [?] & got it for 65 cts;
it was worth $1. Got some vinegar and a pepper & made
me what 1 have always craved. Got our beans in the
morning and I ate hearty. Nat Brindley went to the hos-
pital with the shakes, etc.
Monday, Sept. 5, 1864. — I have not been so hungry since
1 have been in the bull pen. Nothing for breakfast but a
paltry plate of beans, & rations very late. I was so hungry
as to be faint and weak. I went down to the ration team
and got a handful of rice, and blistered my finger. We got a
good ration of molasses, 15 spoonfuls. I ate all my rations
for supper & have not a thing for breakfast tomorrow. I
think this is big, not half enough to eat. When I get to
London with Dow I guess we won't starve like this !
Tuesday, Sept. 6, 1864. — [Blank.]
Wednesday, Sept. 7, 1 864. — Today I have felt quite elated,
for 16 detachments have left this bull pen, & everybody
says, & I expect, they are going for an exchange. But still
I can't realize [it], until I see the little starry banner once
more. Today I met with an accident that I was awful sorry
for. I never felt so bad about anything. I lost my pocket
book with my gold pen in it, that I prized, for Dow, Page, &
I had used it for two years, a lock of John's hair, and some
pretty pictures that Dow made. I want Dow to make me a
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 131
present of one when I see him, which I hope will be in two
Thursday, Sept. 8, 1864.— [Blank.]
Friday, Sept, 9, 1864. — Not a great many detachments
went out today, yet they are taking them just as fast as they
can find cars. It does look good, and still I can't fully
realize it. No, I can't, when I get to our Hnes. It will be
such a transition from Hell to Heaven that it will take a
long time to realize our situation. I have not felt very well
for a day. O dear, I would not be left here for ;^5oo. Money
could never tempt me ; no, not at all. In one week I hope
to see the Stars & Stripes.
Saturday, Sept. 10, 1864. — Things are still very lively at
night; they took out lots of Yanks. How I like to hear the
old cars roll, for it portends a great deal. Holt has got a
sore throat. I am afraid it may be bad. How I long for the
Stars & Stripes ! How I long to meet Dow ! How I have
missed him since I lost him, & how I will appreciate him
when I find him ! I shall abide by his wise counsel. My
sisters and friends will not be forgotten either. I long for
sister Mary's, for the fruit, and wholesome living.
Sunday, Sept. II, 1864. — Things went about so-so. Holt's
throat is worse. I am sorry for him. We are going to move
down on the brow of the hill tomorrow; it will be much
better for us. Lots of Yanks are still going out. Good ! I
like to see them go. How I want to see the old transports &
Uncle Sam's hard-tack ! I think the show is good for us to
go soon. How encouraged I am to think the time is so near!
If I ever get on free soil, I bet I will keep there forever !
Monday, Sept. 12, 1864. — Today I have the saddest to
132 DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN
record. Poor E. K. Holt's throat grew worse, and he could
not eat anything, and towards night he was sensible that
he could not live. He died about dusk, very hard indeed,
choked to death. About an hour before he died he told me,
if he did not live till morning, to carry his Bible to his father
& tell him that he had read it through once, the New
[Testament] twice, and the whole most through again,
and give his love to his sisters and mother. — Got orders
to be over to the gate immediately, for an exchange. Went
over double-quick, forgot all my things, and lay there till
Tuesday, Sept. 13, 1864. — Lay all day in the bull pen, &
at night the Serg't. got us off in the first squad. He took
me & Wilder & Nat, went to the depot, got two days
[rations] of corn & pork, & started for, I suppose, our
lines. Got about 4 miles when the train ran off and we had
a bad smash-up. My car was badly broken, but the Powers
that Be saved me. We stopped till morn on the bank,
when after much fuss, we were taken to the bull pen. In
the night I was taken very sick with the diarrhoea, &
weakened down to nothing so that —
Wednesday, Sept. 14, 1864. — This morn I could hardly
stand. Wilder carried my things for me, and by the help of a
cane I got along a few rods. Got down to the depot, and
could not walk. Got an ambulance and took me to the hos-
pital. It is an awful nasty, lousy place, and I am disgusted.
My diar. is very bad and will soon carry me off, if it is not
checked, I am afraid. It is too bad, for I should hate to have
my anticipations fail now, for they are so near their termi-
nation or beginning.
DIARY OF SAMUEL MELVIN 133
Thursday^ Sept. 1 5, 1 864. — Lay on my back all day. Eat
not much, can't eat much; the corn bread I hate, & the
rice I can't, for it goes directly through me. I have seen no
doctors yet. The steward is a good fellow. I am lying in a
tent on my rubber blanket, with an old Irishman nextto me.
Can't make him hear anything. He is most dead with the
diar. The next is a Dutchman, most dead with scurvy. And
then the tent and blankets are just as full of lice and fleas
as ever can be. As things look now, I stand a good chance
to lay my bones in old Ga., but I 'd hate to as bad as one
can, for I want to go home.
[This is the last entry in the diary, though the writer's
strong vitality endured until September 25. He is buried
at Andersonville in grave number 9735.]
THE NAMES OF THOSE PRESENT AT THE
EXERCISES OF DEDICATION AND REMINIS-
CENCE ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY BY
George H. Boyd, Holden; Luther Wait, Ipswich.
William Allen, Methuen; Joseph Arnold, Boston;
J. Payson Bradley, Boston; Joseph E. Buswell,
Methuen; Albert L. Dame, South Hanson; William
R. Griffin, Brockton; John Lahey, Stoneham; Sidney
Poore, Methuen; J. Henry Reynolds, Lawrence;
Henry C. Richardson, Woburn; Charles M. Sawyer,
Methuen; Rufus M. Turple, East Weymouth.
Joseph W. Bray, Gloucester; Henry R. Dalton,
Boston; Howard P. Gardner, Marblehead; Henry
M. Hawkins, Dorchester; Horace Parker, Lynn;
Marcus M. Pool, Randolph.
Wm. H. Burchstead, Beverly; Samuel M. Dalton,
Peabody; Frank E. Farnham, Peabody; George P.
Ferguson, Salem; John C. Foote, Peabody; Isaac
E. Frye, Danvers; Charles H. Masury, Danvers;
George P. Melcher, Salem; Benjamin C. Nichols,
Salem; George F. Perkins, Salem; Charles A. Potter,
William E. W. Hamilton, Marlborough; Charles H.
George S. Gibson, Clinton; Edson F. Hodge, Mil-
ford; George W. Lewis, Melrose Highlands; Wil-
liam M. LuNT, Groton; William Sharrock, Law-
rence; Henry Smith, Portsmouth, N. H.; John Smith,
Lawrence; Thomas V. Thornton, Riverside, R. I.
Alonzo D. Buxton, Salem; Nathan B. M. Ingalls,
Lynn; Frank McGee, Marblehead; John H. Pur-
beck, Salem; Peter D. Smith, Andover; John I.
George B. Clark, Somerville; Albert Goldsmith,
Lawrence; Lewis G. Holt, Lawrence; Wyman D.
HussEY, Lowell; E. Kendall Jenkins, Andover;
Charles H. Poor, North Andover; Ziba M. Saun-
George H. Abbott, Peabody; John W. Brownville,
Gloucester; John F. Dudley, Beverly; John Metz-
GER, Danvers; Ira F. Trask, Danvers; Sylvanus F.
John Chard, Brookline; Sylvester C. Frost, Arling-
ton; Charles W. Hunter, Peterboro, N. H.; Hiram
W. Jones, Concord; James N. Learned, Rumney
Depot, N. H.; Henry C. McDuffie, Bellows Falls,
Vt. ; William H. Merrow, Lawrence; Judson Riley,
Merrimac; John E. Sheehan, Lawrence; George F.
Tibbets, Arlington; Lucius A. Wilder, Goshen, Ind.
William A. Croak, Randolph; Stanley B. Dearborn,
Wakefield; John W. Hart, Salem; William H. Lord,
Hingham; William J. Mansfield, Wakefield; Edwin
F. Spofford, Malden; John F. Whipple, Salem; Ira
P. Willard, Ipswich; Joseph E. Wiley, Stoneham.
Richard Alley, Lynn; James P. Bachelder, Lynn;
James C. Collins, Skowhegan, Me.; William Har-
RiNGTON, East Weymouth ; Joseph W. Hayden, Quincy;
Charles H. Newhall, Lynn; Patrick O'Malley,
Somerville; Herbert W. Parrott, Lynn.
NAMES OF MEMBERS OF OLD CONCORD POST,
NO. 1 80, G. A. R.
Who formed the Escort, June 16, 1909.
George F. Wheeler, Commander.
Edward J. Bartlett; Frank E. Bemis; Cyrus W.
Benjamin; George W. Berry; G. M. Bowker; John
Brown; James W. Carter; John Clarity; George B.
Cunningham; Joseph Derby; Louis H. George
George F. Hall; Myrick L. Hatch ; William H. Hunt
Asa Jacobs; Charles H. Johnson; Patrick Keefe
Charles D. Litchfield; John H. Loring; Andrew
R. Maker; Edward H. Maker; Joseph H. Oren-
dorff; Edward W. Reynolds; JohnTasker; Hiram P.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN POST, NO. 11, CHARLES-
G. B. PATTEN POST, NO. 81, WATERTOWN
William H. Benjamin.
A SKETCH OF THE
FIRST MASSACHUSETTS HEAVY ARTILLERY
In the early summer of 1861, there was raised in Essex
County an organization which, after reporting at Fort
Warren, June 25, was designated as the Fourteenth Regi-
ment of Infantry, and as such was mustered into the United
States service, July 5. The first Colonel was William B.
Greene, who had been educated at West Point, though he
was not a graduate. Under his direction a high degree of
efficiency in drill was attained, so that on leaving Boston,
August 7, 1 86 1, the regiment was far better prepared than
the majority of volunteer organizations when departing
for the theatre of war.
Its orders on leaving Massachusetts were to report at
Harper's Ferry, but in Baltimore these were counter-
manded, and the regiment proceeded to Washington. Its
first camp was at Kalorama, on Meridian Heights, but it
was soon ordered to Fort Albany, on the Virginia side of
the Potomac. Proving exceedingly efficient in garrison
duty, the Fourteenth continued in the forts and batteries
near and to the southward of the western terminal of the
Long Bridge through the remainder of the year. January
I, 1862, a reorganization was effected, the regiment was
recruited up to the Heavy Artillery standard, and two new
companies were added.
Under a new designation, viz., the First Heavy Artillery,
it continued in garrison duty until August 25, 1862, when it
moved to the front and was present, though it did not
participate, in the Second Bull Run fight. However, in its
reserve position, it was attacked by the hostile cavalry, and
the surgical staff with certain wagoners was captured,
though the officers and men were soon released or paroled.
Subsequently, garrison service was performed, either oppo-
site Washington or by a detachment at Maryland Heights,
across the Potomac from Harper's Ferry, there putting in
order the guns dismounted by order of Colonel Dixon S.
Miles at the time of the famous surrender just before
During the year. Colonel Greene resigned and was suc-
ceeded by Colonel Thomas R. Tannatt, who was trans-
ferred from the command of the Sixteenth Massachusetts
Infantry, December 28, 1862. Colonel Tannatt was a West
Pointer, having been graduated in 1854, number 7 in a
class of twenty-seven members, no one of whom attained
great distinction during the war, though of the first seven
all, save numbers i and 7, went into the Confederate
service. During much of the time that the regiment re-
mained in the Defenses, Colonel Tannatt was in com-
mand of the brigade which included his own regiment.
When General Grant assumed command in the East,
he proceeded to utilize the well-drilled troops thus far
remaining near Washington, in this way reinforcing the
Army of the Potomac with forty thousand extremely well-
drilled soldiers. It was May 15, 1864, that the First Heavy
Artillery, acting as Infantry, moved out of the intrench-
ments so long occupied and reported in Alexandria, going
thence in transports to Belle Plain Landing on Potomac
Creek and joining the Army on the 17th. Assigned to the
Second Brigade, Third Division of the Second Corps, it
soon was introduced to all the exactions of active cam-
Its baptism of blood was received on the 19th at Harris's
Farm or Fredericksburg Pike, Fox making the loss of killed
and mortally wounded one hundred and twenty men and
officers. It was in the foremost of all subsequent engage-
ments of its Corps and Division, bearing on its battle flag
the names of Winchester, Spottsylvania, North Anna,
Totopotomy, Cold Harbor, Deep Bottom, Poplar Spring
Church, Boydton Road, Petersburg (three engagements),
Jerusalem Road, Vaughn Road, the Final Assault on
Petersburg, besides being present at Maryland Heights,
Strawberry Plain, Hatcher's Run, Sailor's Creek, Farm-
ville, and Appomattox.
The regimental loss in battle was such that the name
of the First Heavy is found no less than seven times in
Fox's famous compilation of regimental records during the
Rebellion. There we find that there were nine officers and
232 men killed or mortally wounded, while 243 more died
of disease or in rebel prisons, no less than 102 men thus
perishing miserably yet gloriously in the hands of the enemy.
Nowhere did this Massachusetts organization give other
than a good account of itself, fully sustaining the reputation
that the Bay State long ago established.
Having largely reenlisted, the First retained its organ-
ization (though reduced to a battalion of four companies),
and after Appomattox resumed garrison duty in the De-
fenses, remaining there until mustered out. Colonel Tan-
natt having resigned July 15, 1864, he v^as succeeded by
Lieutenant-Colonel Levi P= Wright, who was in turn fol-
lowed by Lieutenant-Colonel Nathaniel Shatswell, who
came home with the regiment. The command was ordered
to Massachusetts on the 17th of August, 1865, for muster
out. Reporting in Boston on the 20th, it encamped on
Gallop's Island until the 25th, when after four years and
two months of service it was mustered out. From first to
last, there were borne on the rolls of the regiment 3439
names. To-day, the records of the veteran organization
show only about five hundred men known to be alive.
THE MORTALITY AT ANDERSONVILLE
It chanced that James C. Melvin was one of the Union sol-
diers guarding the Confederate prisoners at Fort Delaware
during part of the time that his brother Samuel was a pris-
oner at Andersonville. This coincidence has suggested a
comparison of the mortality rates in the two prisons at
that time, and the striking results are worth setting down
In the months of June, July, August, and September,
1864, there were on an average 9224 Confederate prisoners
confined at Fort Delaware, and during that time there were
313 deaths, or 3.39 per cent. In the same months there
were on an average 25,241 Union prisoners at Anderson-
ville, and there were during that time 8636 deaths, or 34.21
A report for the month of August, 1864, signed by Henry
Wirz, shows that on August i the number of prisoners
was 31,678. In the course of the month 2993 died. "Per-
haps 25 escaped during the month," the report adds, "but
were taken up by the dogs."
It is a melancholy fact that more Union soldiers perished
at Andersonville than were killed on the six most bloody
battlefields of the war. The total deaths at Andersonville
are reported as 13,714. The numbers of Union men killed
in the six battles referred to were as follows : —
The Wilderness 2246
Stone's River 1730
A great deal has been said and written about the condi-
tions that prevailed at Andersonville, and that led to the
awful loss of life there. In view of some of the almost in-
credible entries in Samuel Melvin's diary, it seems well to
add here a few statements from Confederate sources. It
will be noted that the first quotation relates to the prison,
the second to the hospital.
The following is taken from the Official Report of Lieu-
tenant-Colonel D. T. Chandler to the Richmond authorities,
dated August 5, 1864. "... The sanitary condition of the
prisoners is as wretched as can be, the principal causes
of mortality being scurvy and chronic diarrhoea. Nothing
seems to have been done, and but little if any effort made
to arrest it by procuring proper food. . . . Raw rations
are issued to a very large proportion. . . . No soap or
clothing has ever been issued. . . . My duty requires me
respectfully to recommend a change in the officer in com-
mand of the post, Brigadier-General J. H. Winder, and
the substitution in his place of some one who unites both
energy and good judgment with some feeling of humanity
and consideration for the welfare and comfort (so far as is
consistent with their safe-keeping) of the vast number of
unfortunates placed under his control; some one who at
least will not advocate deliberately and in cold blood the
propriety of leaving them in their present condition until
their number has been sufficiently reduced by death to
make the present arrangement suffice for their accommo-
dation; who will not consider it a matter of self-laudation
and boasting that he has never been inside of the stockade,
a place the horrors of which it is difficult to describe, and
which is a disgrace to civilization ; ^ the condition of which
he might, by the exercise of a little energy and judgment,
even with the limited means at his command, have con-
siderably improved. . . ."
A month later, September 5, J. Crews Pelot, Assistant Sur-
geon, C. S. A., reported thus on the condition of the hos-
pital :"...! would earnestly call attention to the article
of diet. The corn-bread received from the bakery, being
made up without sifting, is wholly unfit for the use of the
sick ; and often (in the last twenty-four hours) upon exami-
nation, the inner portion is found to be perfectly raw. The
meat (beef) received by the patients does not amount to
over two ounces a day, and for the past three or four days no
flour has been issued. The corn-bread cannot be eaten by
many, for to do so would be to increase the diseases of the
bowels, from which a large majority are suffering, and it is
therefore thrown away. All their rations received by way
of sustenance is two ounces of boiled beef and half pint of
rice soup per day. Under these circumstances, all the skill
that can be brought to bear upon their cases by the medical
'The italics are not in the original.
officer will avail nothing. Another point to which I feel it
my duty to call your attention is the deficiency of medicines.
We have but little more than indigenous barks and roots
with which to treat the numerous forms of disease to which
our attention is daily called. For the treatment of wounds,
ulcers, etc., we have literally nothing except water. Our
wards — some of them — are filled with gangrene, and we are
compelled to fold our arms and look quietly upon its rav-
ages, not even having stimulants to support the system
under its depressing influences, this article being so limited
in supply that it can only be issued for cases under the knife.
I would respectfully call your attention to the above facts,
in the hope that something may be done to alleviate the
sufferings of the sick. . . ."