Skip to main content

Full text of "Personal reminiscences of the war"

See other formats

'4>. * 


;i 'J 




. 'i J 







k^ <. 




o N V 



^-^ "V% 

yi^: .^ 




Lnte Sergeatit Company /, 141st Pennsylvania Volunteers 


Copyright, 1893, by 

Tioga Centre. N. Y. 

Electrotyped, printed, and I'Ound by 


150 Fifth Avenue, New York. 


THE present volume is the outgrowth of a 
series of articles written by the author 
for publication in the Northern Christian Ad- 
vocate. At the urgent request of many friends 
they are now published in book form, with the 
earnest hope that the story of privation, suf- 
fering, and danger — of valor, heroism, and loy- 
alty — may serve to enkindle in the hearts of 
all who read this record an appreciation of 
these sacrifices and an undying love of our 
great, united, and free country, which is the 
strongest bond of our national unity and exist- 
ence. In preparing these sketches the author 
has freely consulted Chaplain Craft's 'admirable 
history of the One Hundred and Forty-first 
Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, has also 
been greatly aided by his diary, which was 
kept during the entire three years' service, but 
has been obliged to draw from memory for 
the principal details. 

Tioga Center^ N. K,, December 13, i8g2. 


MILITARY, like civil history, must deal 
with men in the aggregate. Individuals 
come into distinctive notice only as they may 
be representative of classes or leaders of 
masses of other individuals. The soldier is 
lost in his company, regiment, brigade, divi- 
sion, army corps, and the historian who writes 
an account of a battle or a campaign concerns 
himself with the body of men who endured 
the march, bivouacked in the storm, made the 
attack, carried the redoubt, stormed the strong- 
hold, resisted the assault, suffered the loss, and 
gained the victory ; possibly may delineate the 
character of the generals, criticise their plans, 
or approve their skill and bravery. But com- 
panies, regiments, and brigades are made up of 
individual soldiers, whose personnel, discipline, 
bravery, intelligence, and courage give charac- 
ter and tone to the organization which they 


form. The deeds of these individuals, the 
personal daring of one, the coolness and in- 
trepidity of another, the clumsiness or skill of 
a third, or the dare-devil recklessness of some 
other, are phases of the personal life of an or- 
ganization as truly as its patience on the march 
or its boldness and courage on the battlefield. 
Then, too, no inconsiderable part of a sol- 
dier's life is spent in camp, during which the 
military organizations, as such, are in compara- 
tive inactivity, but where the energy of the in- 
dividual soldier finds full scope. During these 
periods of military quiet the private soldier 
was accustomed to display the greatest activ- 
ity. Games in camp and tent, jokes, some- 
times of an intensely practical turn, played 
upon a comrade, running of camp guards, 
evading camp law, were frequent sources of 
amusement and pastime. In the hospitals 
were the sick and the dying, in most instances 
away from friends and kindred, the wounded 
and the slain on the battlefields, where were 
displayed heroic fortitude in suffering, patience 
in the solitude of sickness, and faith in the 
hour of death, the patriotism of the soldier, the 
love and loyalty of the man, the kindliness of 


human sympathy, and the fraternity of the 

Nor was soldier Hfe outside the divine influ- 
ences of our holy religion. In many a one 
the hallowed and gracious power of spiritual 
life was conspicuous in camp and field. Loy- 
alty to Christ, resistance to temptation, faith- 
fulness to duty, honesty in purpose, and truth- 
fulness to principle not infrequently shone out 
with more resplendent brightness in the ex- 
igencies and emergencies of military life than 
in the quieter ways of the home life. 

If anyone, therefore, would fully acquaint 
himself with soldier life he must go back of the 
organization, with its marches and battles ; he 
must meet the men off duty. The dress 
parade may exhibit the soldier, the tent and 
camp life show the man. 

It is this inner life of the regiment which is 
faithfully portrayed in this volume. Its ac- 
complished author, now an honored clergyman 
in a great religious body, and a most accept- 
able pastor and preacher, was an enlisted pri- 
vate of Company I, of the One Hundred and 
Forty-first Regiment of Pennsylvania Infantry, 
promoted to a sergeant, wounded at Get- 


tysburg, Pa., July 2, 1863, and mustered out 
of the service at the close of the war with the 
record of being a good soldier, an efficient 
officer, and unswervingly loyal to his country 
and its flag. His rank and official duties 
brought him closer to the daily life of the 
rank and file, and, consequently, afforded him 
better opportunity of gathering the *' personal 
reminiscences " which are here recorded than 
a commissioned officer, who by military disci- 
pline is farther removed from the men he com- 
mands. It delineates soldier life as it was in 
the actual experiences of the men, and not as 
it appears in the movement of his regiment. 
To the surviving comrades, to the children 
and friends of the fallen, to all who desire to 
see the men as they lived day by day, this 
book must have a priceless value, and ought 
to have a place in every soldier's home. 

In some respects the One Hundred and 
Forty-first Pennsylvania Regiment was quite 
remarkable. It was mustered from contiguous 
territory in the northeastern part of the State, 
six and one half companies being from east- 
ern Bradford, a half company from Sullivan, 
two companies from Susquehanna, and one 


from Wayne County. They were mostly young 
men who represented the very best famiHes 
and the best blood of the region whence they 
came, intelHgent, earnest, loyal, and patriotic. 
They went into the service not to have a holi- 
day, but to put down the rebellion and pre- 
serve the integrity of the Union and the gov- 
ernment. The war had been going on for 
more than a year. It had ceased to be a nov- 
elty or an adventure to go soldiering. Their 
officers, from the colonel down, were from the 
same neighborhoods and men of like spirit. 
It is doubtful if any regiment mustered from 
the rural districts entered the service in which 
there was greater homogeneity, so great social 
equality, or bound more closely by personal 
ties than this. And this bond was welded in 
the fires of more than a score of battles, where, 
as might have been expected, the regiment 
was decimated again and again, so that in its 
percentage of losses it ranks third the greatest 
of all those which composed the Federal ar- 
mies. Its colonel and lieutenant colonel were 
prominent members of the Bradford County 
bar, its major a large farmer and business man, 
and the staff officers were holding important 


positions in their respective homes. Two of 
its captains were clergymen, one of whom was 
shot dead while bearing the colors at Chancel- 
lorsville. Others of its commissioned officers 
were lawyers, merchants, school-teachers, and 
farmers, and there were hundreds who were in 
the ranks as competent to command as their 
officers. The lieutenant colonel and major 
were each fatally wounded on battlefields, and 
the colonel carries in his thigh a bullet received 
near Appomattox Court House. Since the war 
he has represented his county in the Legisla- 
ture, has been register and recorder, and is 
now holding the office of prothonotary. The 
adjutant and one of the captains are each the 
president judge of their respective districts, 
Susquehanna and Bradford Counties ; one of its 
noncommissioned officers is cashier of a bank, 
has been commander of the Pennsylvania De- 
partment of the G. A. R., and is now the 
treasurer of the county ; two have been sher- 
iffs, several have been representatives, others 
have held other offices of trust, and still 
others are holding important and responsible 
business positions ; one is in the National 
Museum at Washington, and several others 


are in the pension department of the govern- 

While reminiscences of army life are always 
read with interest, as shown by the large sales 
of books of this character, the recollection, 
incidents, the camp life of such men as made 
up this regiment must have a thrilling interest 
for all who are interested in its history. 

While neither the author nor his book need 
introduction to his readers from me, yet for 
those whom it may concern it may be said 
that the writer hereof knew him while in the 
service, that subsequently for three years they 
wrought together in the holy ministry in the 
same village, that the author of the history of 
the regiment received from him many valuable 
facts, and has read with interest some of the 
sketches from his pen as they have appeared 
in the public press ; and it is more than a 
pleasure, it is an abundant joy, to introduce 
him and his work and most heartily commend 
them to the larger public. David Craft. 

Lawrenceville, Tioga County, Pa., 
November 30, [S92. 



ON the morning of August l8, 1862, the 
writer, then a boy of nineteen, and a dozen 
young companions of about the same age, met 
in a Httle town in northern Pennsylvania, with 
our faces turned steadfastly toward the scenes 
of actual war. The President of the United 
States had recently issued a call for three 
hundred thousand additional troops to serve 
for three years or during the war. There was 
intense excitement all through the North, and 
from the hilltops of Maine to the golden 
slopes of the Pacific men laid aside the imple- 
ments of peace, girded on the sword or shoul- 
dered the musket, bade farewell to weeping- 
wives, mothers, sisters, and friends, determined 
that, come what might, the Union, cemented by 
the blood of patriot sires, should be preserved. 


With sad hearts we bade adieu to our friends, 
who had gathered in large numbers to see us 
off, and were soon on the way to our place of 
rendezvous, the village of Troy, Pa., on the 
Northern Central Railway, where we met the 
balance of the company, which numbered nearly 
a hundred men. 

The only incident worthy of note occurring 
on this preliminary march was the marriage of 
one of our boys, who, passing by the home of 
his best girl that day, halted for a few moments ; 
the services of the writer's father — a local 
preacher, who accompanied us to Harrisburg 
— were called into requisition, and the twain 
were made one. He kissed his weeping 
bride, jumped into the wagon, and was off for 

That night we were quartered in a large 
hall, and although weary and exhausted by 
our long ride in the hot sun we had the priv- 
ilege of sleeping on the softest plank we could 
find, without any other bed or bedding. 

At four o'clock the next morning we were 
served with a small lunch, and then marched to 
the station, where we took the train to Harris- 
burg, reaching that city at 2 o' clock p. M., and 


were immediately marched to Camp Curtin, a 
general place of rendezvous for Pennsylvania 
troops, situated one mile north of this city, 
and consisting of about sixty acres of ground 
inclosed by a high board fence, and as destitute 
of any green thing as the middle of a country 
road in midsummer. I have no pleasant 
memories connected with my stay in Camp 
Curtin, and I have never heard any soldier who 
was there speak well of it. Coming as we did 
from pleasant homes to such a barren, dreary, 
uninviting spot, it is no wonder that the 
change was anything but agreeable. 

Here we found thousands of men from all 
parts of the State waiting to be examined, 
mustered into the United States service, uni- 
formed, armed, equipped, and sent on to the 
seat of war. 

The next day after our arrival, August 20, 
we were taken before the United States exam- 
ining surgeon, who gave us a thorough exam- 
ination, which resulted in sending two of our 
squad back to their homes, but the rest of us 
were accepted. We were then sworn into the 
service of Uncle Sam for three years or during 
the war, and received our uniforms, consisting 


of overcoat, dress coat, pants, cap, two shirts, 
two pair drawers, two pair socks, pair of shoes, 
haversack, canteen, knapsack, and blanket. 
We next received our arms and accouterments, 
consisting of cartridge box, cap box, belts, and 
an Austrian rifled musket. 

These guns were very inferior arms, about 
as dangerous at one end as the other, but per- 
haps the best the government could obtain 
under the circumstances. We each drew a tin 
plate and cup, a knife, fork, and spoon, and 
then were fully equipped for war. The reader 
can form something of an idea of the weight 
of the " mule load," as the boys used to call it, 
which we had to carry. Added to the above 
were always forty and sometimes sixty rounds 
of ammunition, never less than three days' ra- 
tions, often six, a canteen full of water, when 
we could get it, and many other trinkets, odds 
and ends, which new soldiers especially would 
pick up. At a low estimate the total weight 
of the above would reach forty-five pounds, 
and on a long march would get to weigh a ton 
— in the soldier's estimation, at least. 

This, then, was the job we had undertaken, 
at the magnificent price of thirteen dollars a 


month, with an allowance of forty-five dollars 
a year for clothing — rations and rebel bullets 
and shells thrown in. Very few had much re- 
spect for the soldier's recompense of reward, 
though very many had families at home de- 
pendent upon them for support ; it was no 
such motive that led them to take up arms in 
defense of their country, but a high and noble 
patriotism, a burning love of country, a hatred 
for rebellion and treason which transformed so 
many of our peaceful citizens into stern, heroic 

Among the many base epithets applied to 
our soldiers there was none which he repelled 
with such fierce scorn and contempt as that of 
''Lincoln's hirelings." On the morning of 
August 28 we were ordered to get ready to 
start for Washington. Then all was bustle 
and excitement. Our tents were taken down, 
knapsacks packed, and about five o'clock we 
were loaded into common box-cars, two deep, 
and started on our journey toward the sunny 
South. We rode all night, but sleep was out 
of the question. About daylight we reached 
Camden Street station on the outskirts of 

Baltimore, were formed in line and marched 



through the same street where the Baltimore 
mob had fired on the Sixth Massachusetts Regi- 
ment a few months before. All was quiet, how- 
ever, and we soon arrived at the Washington 
depot, got breakfast, and were soon on our 
way to the national capital, which we reached 
about noon. 

As we unloaded from the cars the roar of 
hostile cannon for the first time greeted our 
ears. It came from the historic battlefield of 
Bull Run, where for the second time the two 
opposing armies had met in deadly conflict. 
Although twenty miles away we could dis- 
tinctly hear the heavy thunder of the artillery. 
In Washington all was intense excitement and 
confusion. Officers and orderlies galloped to 
and fro, giving and receiving orders. We be- 
gan to think that Lincoln's story illustrating 
the great number of general officers in Wash- 
ington was literally true. He said that a boy 
threw a club at a dog on Pennsylvania Avenue 
and hit five brigadier generals. 

Before we left Harrisburg a regimental or- 
ganization had been effected by the union of 
seven companies from Bradford County, two 
from Susquehanna, and one from Wayne. This 


regiment became the One Hundred and For- 
ty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, numbering 
nearly one thousand men, rank and file. After 
a short stay in Washington we started for 
Arlington Heights. Arriving at Long Bridge, 
we found an almost endless train of ambu- 
lances on their way to the battlefield after the 
wounded. We were obliged to wait till long 
after dark for them to pass before we could 
take up our line of march. We finally got 
under motion once more, and about ten 
o'clock reached our destination, utterly ex- 
hausted. We threw ourselves upon the ground, 
too tired to be hungry, and were soon lost in 
unconscious slumber. 

But, alas ! our slumbers were soon broken 
by the arrival of a messenger with an order 
from headquarters directing us to proceed 
without delay to Chain Bridge, about ten 
miles farther up the Potomac River. It was 
with great difficulty that the men were aroused 
and formed in line again. But the order was 
imperative. The Union army under General 
Pope had been defeated at Bull Run, and was 
falling back on Washington, closely pressed b}- 
the enemy's forces, and the nation's capital 


was in jeopardy. We hurriedly found our 
places and started off in the pitchy darkness. 
Our guide lost his way, and it seemed as if we 
tramped all over Virginia that night. About 
daylight we found ourselves at our destina- 
tion, but now it began to rain as if the foun- 
tains of the great deep had been broken up. 
We had no tents or shelter of any kind except 
our blankets. Many threw themselves on the 
ground, and lay and slept while the merci- 
less clouds poured forth their contents upon 

It was a severe ordeal for fresh troops to 
undergo, and sufficient to dampen the ardor 
of the most enthusiastic. To add to our dis- 
comfort, our rations had given out and hunger 
of the most positive form was added to other 

The next day the rain ceased to fall, our 
tents arrived and were put up, some wagons 
came up from Washington and brought us 
some supplies, and we began to feel better. 

The Army of the Potomac, lately from the 
peninsular campaign under McClellan, began 
to pass by our camp, crossing the Chain 
Bridge into Maryland, trying to head off the 


rebel invasion in the North. Returning to 
camp one day from an excursion out into reb- 
eldom after supplies, I was most agreeably 
surprised to find an older brother in camp 
who had been in the service over a year in the 
Pennsylvania Reserve Corps. Of course we 
both greatly enjoyed the visit, but it was not 
the last one, for we afterward saw each other 
frequently. One day a few of our squad went 
down to Chain Bridge, which was about a half- 
mile distant from our camp. Our forces had 
planted batteries on each side of the bridge, 
had also placed barrels of gunpowder under 
each end, preparatory to blowing it up if the 
enemy should attempt to cross. On reaching 
camp we found the regiment drawn up in line 
of battle, with loaded muskets, waiting for the 
appearance of the enemy. I imagine, how- 
ever, that we would not have been a very 
dangerous body of warriors, for we had had no 
time to drill, and many of the boys were totally 
ignorant of the use of firearms, and in the ex- 
citement of battle would have been just as 
likely to get the ball down first as otherwise. 
Of course I knew better than that, but never- 
theless I have a distinct recollection of having 


a big time getting that ball out of my gun. 
No enemy came in sight, and after remaining 
here a few days we took up our line of march, 
retraced our steps, and camped opposite Alex- 
andria, where we were assigned to the First 
Brigade, First Division, Third Corps, which 
was commanded by General S. P. Heintzle- 
man. The brigade to which we were assigned 
consisted of the Sixty-third and the One Hun- 
dred and Fifth Pennsylvania and the Twentieth 
Indiana, which were veteran regiments, while 
thc'Sixty-eighth and One Hundred and Four- 
teenth Pennsylvania, both new regiments, were 
assigned to the brigade at the same time we 
were. The old Third Corps, which had passed 
through the whole of the Peninsular campaign, 
as also through the second battle of Bull Run, 
where it had lost heavily, was left in the de- 
fenses of Washington on the reserve, so tliat 
we did not participate in the Maryland cam- 
paign which culminated in the battle of 



AFTER a series of marching and counter- 
marching through mud or dust, as the case 
happened to be, we at length settled down for 
a season of rest and of drill in a camp which in 
honor of our division commander was called 
Whipple. Here we turned in our large A tents, 
and received what was known in army parlance 
as shelter tents, but which we soon designated 
as " dog tents." These consisted of pieces of 
canvas about two yards square, with a row of 
buttons and buttonholes on three edges like 
the side of a double-breasted coat. Two of 
these were buttoned together, and being 
stretched over a pole supported by two up- 
right forked sticks constituted the roof, while 
another piece was buttoned on for a rear gable 
end, while the front side was generally left 
open, especially in warm weather, for a door- 
way, a window, and a ventilator combined. 

In these little huts, covering a space of 
about five by six feet, three men were to eat. 


sleep, live, and store all their arms and equip- 
ments, rations, etc. Then when orders came 
to march these tents were taken down and 
added to the already heavy burden which we 
had to carry. 

The daily routine of army life in camp was 
about as follows : At 5 o'clock A. M., reveille 
was sounded, followed by roll call, at which 
every man on duty must be in line to answer 
to his name. It was amusing to see how 
quickly a silent, slumbering camp would be 
aroused to full life and activity. Often men 
would be seen rushing out of their tents half 
dressed, putting on their clothes on the run, 
anxious to get in line before the band ceased 
to play ; for the penalty for delinquents was a 
trip of extra duty. At 7 o'clock the call for 
breakfast sounded ; at 8 the sick call ; at 9 
guard mount; at 10 drill, which lasted till 12; 
then came dinner. Drill call came again at 2 
P. M., and lasted till 4; then came dress parade 
at 5, supper at 6, tattoo at 9, with roll call and 
taps at a quarter past 9, w^hen all lights must 
be put out and everything quiet. 

A good deal of interest, to the average sol- 
dier, centered in the bill of fare which Uncle 


Samuel provided for his boys. This was 
about as follows: for o*ne day, twelve ounces 
of pork or bacon, or twenty ounces of fresh 
beef or twenty-two ounces of salt beef ; eight- 
een ounces of soft bread or flour, or one pound 
of hard bread (hard-tack), or twenty ounces 
of corn meal. To every one hundred rations 
fifteen pounds of beans or peas, ten pounds of 
rice or hominy, eight pounds of roasted coffee 
or two pounds of tea, fifteen pounds of sugar 
or two gallons of molasses, four quarts of vine- 
gar, twenty-four ounces of candles, four pounds 
of soap, four pounds of salt, and occasionally 
dried vegetables of different kinds. This 
amount of food was sufficient in quantity to 
satisfy any reasonable appetite, and the quality 
was generally good ; and yet there were a 
good many soldiers that had a strange hanker- 
ing, especially when in an enemy's country, for 
chickens, ducks, turkeys, pigs, fresh mutton, 
ham, and other articles of food not prescribed 
in the army regulations as good for soldiers. 

In the creed of the average soldier there 

were two parties from which he never esteemed 

" it any harm to steal, or, to use his own term, 

to " confiscate " or " draw ** from. These were, 


first, the sutler ; second, the rebel citizen. The 
first he looked upon as little better than a rob- 
ber, and the second he knew would use his 
supplies, if opportunity afforded, to feed the 
rebel army ; and he considered it a good deal 
more pleasant to starve his enemy than to 
shoot him, inasmuch as to do the latter he must 
himself get within range of the enemy's mus- 
ket, while the starving process could be done 
at long range and in perfect security to his 
own body, and with great satisfaction to his 

One day while sitting in my tent writing a 
letter one of my messmates came up to the 
opening, or door, with a whole armful of 
Bologna sausage, which he threw down on a 
blanket with the remark, *^ There ! you like 
Bologna sausage; now pitch in." 

*' Where in creation did you get that?" 
said I. 

" I drew it from the sutler," he replied. 

It seems that a large crowd of soldiers was 
gathered in front of the sutler's tent, one end 
of which was open. A board supported at each 
end by a barrel formed a sort of counter over 
which trade was being briskly carried on. 


Some inquisitive veteran had shoved the board 
in at one end and discovered a prize in the 
shape of a barrel of Bologna sausage. Keep- 
ing a close watch on the busv sutler, he thrust 
one hand into the barrel and pulled out a huge 
piece of sausage, which he quickly passed 
around behind him, where it was taken by my 
chum, who happened to be next to the confis- 
cator. This process was repeated until the re- 
ceiver got all he could well carry, when he 
backed out of the crowd and started for camp 
and another took his place. The look of 
astonishment and indignation which over- 
spread that sutler's countenance when he dis- 
covered his loss can better be imagined than 

While the Army of the Potomac, under 
McClellan, was resting on the north side of the 
Potomac, after the battle of Antietam, the Con- 
federate General Stewart, with eighteen hun- 
dred cavalry, started, October lo, on a raid into 
Pennsylvania and pushed up as far as Cham- 
bersburg, twenty miles in the rear of the army, 
spreading destruction and consternation in his 
pathway. General Stoneman was ordered to 
take such portions of the Third Corps as were 


available and hasten up the river and attempt 
to head off the dashing trooper before he could 
recross the Potomac. 

On the evening of the loth, after a hard 
day's drill, we received orders to get ready for 
marching immediately. We tore down our 
tents, packed our knapsacks, and awaited or- 
ders to start. By and by it commenced raining 
and kept it up all night, soaking our clothing, 
arms, and accouterments clear through. The 
best we could do was to patiently endure it 
and hope for daylight and better weather. 
About four o'clock we formed in line, and two 
brigades of infantry, Robinson's and Ward's, 
both of which contained a large number of 
new troops, started on a wild goose chase after 
the flowpr of the Confederate cavalry. Our 
generals, it seemed, had not yet learned, what 
they afterward found out, that infantry had no 
business trying to compete with cavalry on a 
long march. We crossed the Potomac at the 
Georgetown bridge, and leaving Washington 
to the right passed through Darnestown and 
reached Rockville about sundown, having 
marched a distance of twenty-three miles over 
roads made very slippery by the recent rains, 


and carrying loads which grew heavier and 
heavier with every step. 

I never had been so tired in my hfe. Every 
bone, nerve, muscle, and fiber of my body was 
demoralized, lame, aching, and exhausted. 
Only a short rest was allowed. 

At two o'clock the next morning we were 
called up, and after a hasty breakfast we re- 
sumed our march. After covering about ten 
miles we received orders from General Stone- 
man to hurry up, and the last ten miles were 
made without a halt. The advance reached 
the Potomac at White's Ford just as the rear 
of Stewart's force was crossing the river. The 
enemy had escaped after all our efforts to 
head him off. Many of our regiment made 
their last march that day, being completely dis- 
abled by their almost superhuman efforts to 
keep their places in the ranks. Our surgeon 
reported that there were more than one hun- 
dred cases of hernia traceable to that march. 
Of course many were disabled in other ways. 

After resting for a day or two we went on 
picket along the river, guarding the fords and 
keeping a sharp lookout for the enemy. But 
another foe now assailed us. Our supply train 


had not reached us, and our rations were ex- 
hausted. Hunger began to distress us. We 
waded into the Potomac and fished out soft- 
shelled clams or mussels, which we cooked and 
ate. A corn field was near at hand, and we 
parched and roasted the hard, glazed ears, and 
found them much better than nothing. After a 
few days we were relieved and marched back on 
the hill and established our camp near the village 
of Poolesville. Here we remained for some 
days, which were well improved in drilling and 
getting ready for an " advance on Richmond," 
which McClellan again proposed to make. 

On the morning of October 2/ we received 
orders to march. We packed up, and, as 
usual, the rain began to pour down in torrents 
and the wind to blow a hurricane. All day the 
storm continued to rage, and after everybody 
and everything were completely drenched and 
chilled the order was countermanded till the 
next day. At seven o'clock we were in line 
headed for the river, which we soon found we 
must cross by fording. 

The Potomac here was about a half-mile 
wide, very rapid, the bottom covered with 
sharp stones and rocks. It was swollen by 


recent rains ; the water was icy cold and from 
two to three feet deep. I never shall forget 
that experience. I took off my pants, boots, 
and stockings and waded in. The rocks cut 
my feet, the water chilled my blood ; a rheu- 
matic pain seized my knee, and it seemed to me 
I was more than an hour getting across. But 
my troubles were not yet ended. The oppo- 
site bank, clayey and steep, was made slippery 
by the water dripping from the garments of 
hundreds of men, and when I attempted to 
climb it I found it was no easy task. Once, 
twice, thrice I almost reached the top, when, 
losing my foothold, I slid back on my hands 
and feet to the water's edge. But I was not 
alone in this trouble. In fact, the whole river 
bank for rods was scored by the marks of fin- 
gers and toes made by backsliding warriors. 
Finally I reached the bank, where I could put on 
my boots. But such looking feet ! By the aid 
of a stick I got rid of enough of the sacred soil 
to get my boots on, and then went on to where 
the regiment was encamped in a wheat field. 

Two or three large stacks of wheat were 
standing in the field, and in a very brief space 
of time they were dismantled and put to prac- 


tical use, being converted into beds for the 
weary limbs of soldiers. A large stack had 
been threshed, the wheat piled up in a heap, 
and the straw stacked over it. 

After leaving the camp the scattered wheat 
took fire ; the whole wheat field was burned 
over ; the stacks also were consumed, and per- 
haps a thousand bushels of the very finest 
wheat were destroyed. 

The next day we were sent on advance 
picket, and, discovering a couple of Confeder- 
ate cows grazing in a fifty acre lot, I took my 
canteen and carefully approached one of the 
animals with the idea of obtaining some rebel 
milk. The cow seemed to be very suspicious 
of all strangers, but of Yankee soldiers espe- 
cially so. After a good deal of maneuvering 
and following her once or twice across that big 
lot I at length succeeded in convincing her 
that my errand was a peaceful one. I got near 
enough to commence operations, when, to my 
utter and supreme disgust, I found her as dry 
as a contribution box. 

That night we were ordered to sleep on our 
arms and be ready for an attack of the enemy, 
which was hourly expected. 



THE morning came, but no enemy ap- 
peared. Our supply trains were again 
behind time and our three days' rations ex- 
hausted, but we were in the enemy's country, 
and the orders against foraging were not very 
rigidly enforced. A lieutenant of Company A 
called at a farmhouse near where his com- 
pany was stationed and found that the owner 
was engaged in impounding a fine flock of sheep, 
one of which the officer offered to buy. 

*' I have none to sell," was the answer. 

"Yes," said the officer, ''but there are 
crowds of hungry soldiers just over the hill, 
and you had better sell while you can. What 
v/ill you take for the choice of the lot?" 

•' Five dollars," was the answer. 

** All right, go in, boys," said the lieutenant. 

The way that sheep was converted into 
mutton was astonishing. On offering a five- 
dollar greenback in payment the owner ob- 
jected to receiving it. 


" I can't take that," he said ; *' have you 
nothing else ? " 

" Only this," replied the officer, showing him 
a fac-siniile of a Confederate note which was 
freely circulated through the army. 

" That's all right," said he ; and the pay- 
ment was made. 

The boys had a hearty laugh over the stu- 
pidity of the Virginian, while they dined on 
first class mutton-chops. 

On Friday, October 31, on returning with a 
comrade from a fishing tour on the Potomac, 
we found that the regiment had packed up 
and gone on to Leesburg, a distance of some 
ten or twelve miles. My knee was still very 
lame, but there was no help for it ; so we 
shouldered our burdens and followed on. 
After we had gone five or six miles we came 
across an old colored man with an old white 
horse harnessed to a dilapidated cart. 

*' Hold on, captain ! " I said ; "■ we want to 

"'Deed, sir," he replied, " de ole hoss hab 
got all he can draw." 

" Never mind the * ole hoss,* " I said ; " we 
are servants of Uncle Sam, and we take pos- 


session of this establishment in the name and 
by the authority of the United States of 

*' Well, den, I 'spects you'll hab to ride," he 
said ; and without further ceremony we threw 
in our baggage, climbed into the cart, and told 
our driver to push on with all possible speed. 
We had gone but a short distance when we 
overtook some more belated soldiers. These 
also got aboard of " Uncle Sam's Express," as 
we called it, to enjoy a free ride. By this 
time the old horse began to show signs of giv- 
ing out. He could only just stagger along at 
a snail's pace. But we had three years before us, 
and were in no special hurry to take Richmond. 
Besides, riding at ever so slow a pace was 
better than walking and carrying our baggage. 
We were a happy crew just then, but not so 
our driver. He declared that we would kill 
'* de hoss," and then his " ole massa " would 
about kill him. 

After a while we came to a crossroad which 
our colored friend said he must take to get 
home, and as we supposed we were nearly at 
our destination we alighted and let our escort 
depart in peace. Soon after, passing a house 


and seeing a white woman standing in the 
door, I said : 

" Madam, can you tell me how far it is to 
Leesburg? " 

'' Well, sir," she said, " I reckon, sir, it is 
about two long looks, sir, and a right smart 
git, sir." 

Of course we knew about as much about it 
then as we did before, not yet having acquired 
a knowledge of Virginia provincialisms. After- 
ward we learned that a *' long look " was a 
mile, and a '' right smart git " meant any- 
where from a half to three quarters of a mile. 
So we were about two and three quarter miles 
from our stopping place. About sundown we 
found our regiment encamped just on the out- 
skirts of the town. 

Before the war Leesburg was a j^lace of con- 
siderable wealth and refinement, but at this 
time everything bore the appearance of ruin 
and decay. Very few men were at home, 
most of them being in the Confederate army ; 
but the women were not slow in showing their 
hatred and contempt of the "Yankees," as 
they called us. We consoled (?) them by 
singing '' John Brown's body lies moldering in 


the grave," and other patriotic songs, which 
we heartily enjoyed, whether they did or not. 
A number of siclv Confederate soldiers were 
found in a pubHc building, used as a hospital, 
and some of our boys were also left here. 

After remaining here a day or two we took 
up our line of march, about four o'clock Sun- 
day afternoon, taking a southwesterly course, 
on our way to form a junction with McClellan's 
main army, which was advancing from the 
north down the valley betwixt the Catoctin 
mountain range and the Blue Ridge. We 
marched till after midnight, and encamped at 
a place called Mount Gilead. The next morn- 
ing, accompanied by a comrade, I went out on 
a tour of observation. We soon discovered a 
farmhouse not far from camp. The owner 
had gone to headquarters after a guard, while 
a couple of the advanced guard of foragers 
were engaged in a lively chase after a young 
rooster. The owner's dog was standing there 
watching the proceeding, when my comrade 
called him and sent him after the chicken, 
which he succeeded in capturing in short order. 
Then came the tug of war as to who should first 
reach the scene of action. My comrade proved 


to be the best man in the race. He seized the 
prize and handed the chicken to me. We 
passed round the house and found two hives 
of bees standing on a bench. Selecting the 
heavier of the two, my comrade hfted it upon 
his shoulder and we started for a piece of 
woods with bees, honey, and all. 

Finding a secluded place, we proceeded to 
business. We dressed the chicken, and then 
with a stone knocked the hive to pieces, 
scraped off the bees, and filled our pails with 
honey. We concluded that they were Union 
bees, for they did not sting us. Making our 
way back to camp, we divided with our partic- 
ular friends. For some days we lived high, till 
one night the remnant of our honey was stolen, 
pail and all. 

That afternoon we continued our march, and 
just before dark reached a place called Mill- 
ville. Our brigade was then commanded by 
Brigadier General John C. Robinson, since 
Lieutenant Governor of the State of New York, 
and now residing at Binghamton, N. Y. 

Just before reaching Millville we passed by 
a patch of cabbage, and, thinking that the state 
of my system demanded a change to a vegetable 


diet, I jumped over the low fence and captured 
a couple of medium-sized heads. Many other 
soldiers did the same. Soon after the head of 
our column turned out into a field to encamp, 
when, looking ahead, I saw General Robinson 
sitting on his horse by the roadside. Every 
soldier who had a head of cabbage he would 
order to throw it down. Turning to a com- 
rade marching by my side, I handed him one 
of my cabbage heads. 

*' Here, Jim," said I, ''hide this under your 
overcoat, or Robinson will capture the whole 

Jim was not slow in acting on the sugges- 
tion, and doing the same with mine we marched 
by our commanding officer looking as innocent 
as if we hadn't seen a cabbage head in a month. 
That night we had cabbage for supper, and we 
strongly mistrusted that General Robinson did 

We continued on our march, after resting a 
day or two at Millville, taking a southwesterly 
course and following up the enemy, whose 
cavalry continually hovered on our flanks and 
rear, ready to pick up any unfortunate straggler 
that should be caught in the rear. 


November 7 was a cold, raw, disagreeable 
day. The snow fell to a depth of about six 
inches, so that when we went into camp in 
the woods that night we had to scrape it off 
from the frozen ground to get a place to spread 
our blankets. About this time the measles 
broke out in camp and a number of our boys 
died of the disease. I have a distinct recollec- 
tion of seeing soldiers taking their places in 
the ranks whose faces were as speckled as they 
could be. It is a mystery how human beings 
could pass through such hardships and ex- 
posures and live. It is not strange that the 
pension list should have reached the magnitude 
it has assumed. 

We now began to fall in with the main body 
of the army and went into camp near Warren- 
ton, Va. Here McClellan was relieved from 
command of the Army of the Potomac and 
Burnside was placed in his stead. Some of 
the old regiments which had served under 
McClellan during the Peninsular campaign were 
disposed to complain of the change, but new 
troops were not at all particular. We wanted 
some one to lead us on to victory as soon as 
possible, and we didn't care who it was, only 


so that we got there at the earliest practicable 

One night about this time, as we were pass- 
ing a field in which a large number of troops 
were encamped, we discovered a fearful com- 
motion among the soldiers. A young officer 
came running toward our line at the top of his 
speed, followed by a large crowd of angry sol- 
diers who were yelling at a fearful rate. As 
the officer passed through our ranks he cried 
out, *' My God, is there no help for the widow's 
only son?" He didn't stop long to see about 
it, for the infuriated crowd were at his heels. 
On he rushed with the utmost speed, and the 
crowd was soon lost to view in the gathering 
darkness. I knew not at the time what he 
meant by his outcry, but years afterward, in 
some tracts purporting to be exposures of 
Masonry, I found it stated that this was the 
Masonic hailing sign of distress, and it flashed 
across my mind in an instant that this was 
what that officer meant. 

We afterward learned the cause of the trou- 
ble. It seems that soon after these soldiers 
went into camp they found a stack of grain 
near by, and one of them climbed on top of it 


and began to throw down the sheaves to his 
comrades, who bore them away for bedding. 
While thus engaged a young lieutenant, a pro- 
vost marshal on somebody's staff, rode up and 
ordered the soldier to come down and let the 
stack alone. The man didn't pay much atten- 
tion to the officer, who, repeating the order, was 
told by the soldier to ^' go to some warm coun- 
try ; " whereupon the officer drew his revolver 
and shot the soldier. This so enraged the men 
of his regiment that they assaulted the officer, 
threw him off his horse, and would have made 
quick work of him then had not he torn him- 
self away from them and sought safety in 
flight. Whether they caught him or not I 
never learned, but if they did there was one 
*' widow " minus a ^' son." 

Burnside halted the army long enough to 
get the reins firmly in his hands, when the or- 
der to advance was given and we pressed on- 
ward, while Lee's army steadily retired before 
us. When within about twelve miles of 
Fredericksburg we halted in the woods and 
went on picket. Some of our squad went out 
to see what could be found, and came back 
soon after with their arms full of turnips and 


cabbages. About this time a member of an- 
other company reported with a quarter of 
beef on his shoulder. We at once struck up 
a -bargain, trading some vegetables for some 
beef. We had a six-quart tin pail, and we pro- 
posed at once to have an old-fashioned stew. 
So we filled up the pail with alternate layers 
of meat, turnips, and cabbage, and set it over 
the fire. F'or some weeks I had been suffer- 
ing with the jaundice, had had but little appe- 
tite, and army rations had but small attraction 
for me. But those raw turnips seemed to just 
touch the spot. I had eaten several before 
our stew was ready, and then three of us just 
emptied that six-quart pail in short meter. I 
didn't know but it would make me worse than 
before, but it proved to be just the thing, for I 
ate and was cured. 



GENERAL BURNSlDEhavingdecided to 
advance on Richmond via the Fredericks- 
burg route, the main army was headed in that 
direction. On Saturday, November 22, we ar- 
rived at Stafford Heights, on the Rappahannock 
River, opposite the city of Fredericksburg, 
where we went into camp. The Richmond 
and Fredericksburg Railroad runs from Aquia 
Creek Landing on tlie Potomac southwesterly 
about twelve miles, crossing the river at 
Fredericksburg, thence in a southerly direction 
to Richmond. Burnsidehad depended on this 
road as a base of supplies for his army, but the 
enemy had so completely destroyed it that it 
required some days to put it in running order. 
The Rappahannock here was not fordablc, 
and some weeks previous Burnside had ordered 
pontoons sent down from Washington, so that 
the onward march to Richmond might not be 
delayed, and these he expected would be at 
Aquia Creek by the time the army reached 


Fredericksburg. Owing to somebody's blun- 
der, however, the pontoons were delayed and 
did not reach their destination till several days 
after the arrival of the army. 

By the time the army was ready to move 
the Confederate army had so completely forti- 
fied the heights surrounding Fredericksburg 
that any attempt to take them by a direct 
assault was simply madness. Burnside was 
fully aware of this fact, and had he not been 
goaded on by Northern newspapers and by 
the civil warriors at Washington, who could 
fight great battles and win wondrous victories 
by means of orders and dispatches, the battle 
of Fredericksburg would never have been 
fought. But all through the North the cry 
rang out, '' Why don't the army move ? " " On 
to Richmond ! " and " The rebel Congress must 
not be allowed to meet in December," until 
Burnside, yielding to the pressure of public 
opinion, finally gave the order to advance. 

At dress parade on the evening of Decem- 
ber 10 we received orders to be ready to march 
at an hour's notice with six days' cooked ra- 
tions in our haversacks. Instantly all was 
bustle and activity. We were up late that 


night cooking rations, writing letters to our 
friends, and making preparations for the com- 
ing conflict, which, we were well aware, would 
be the closing act in life's drama for many 
of us. 

The next morning about four o'clock we 
were suddenly awakened by the heavy thun- 
der of artillery, Burnside having planted twen- 
ty-nine batteries of one hundred and fort}'- 
seven guns on the heights overlooking the city 
of Fredericksburg and the plains below, and 
had opened on the entire line of the enemy, 
raining a shower of iron hail upon his works, 
under cover of which the engineers were or- 
dered to lay five pontoon bridges across the 

We were soon under arms and on our way 
to the scene of the conflict. About a half- 
mile to the east of us we could see Professor 
Lowe's balloon, at an elevation of two or three 
hundred feet, anchored to the ground with 
ropes, while the professor and his assistants 
were endeavoring to ascertain, w^ith the aid of 
a powerful glass, the number, movements, and 
position of the enemy, while at intervals along 
the crest of the hills were United States Signal 


Corps stations, the men of which were busily 
engaged sending and receiving messages. Our 
division (Birney's) and Sickle's, of the Third 
Corps, were assigned to Franklin's column, to 
take part in the movements on the left, or 
below Fredericksburg. 

The point where Franklin was instructed to 
make his attack was two or three miles below 
the town, where there is a broad plain at least 
a mile wide on the south side of the river be- 
fore coming; to the ramie of hills where the 
rebel army, under the immediate command of 
" Stonewall " Jackson, was strongly intrenched, 
while at intervals batteries of artillery were sta- 
tioned at prominent points ready to hurl death 
and destruction upon us as we advanced. It 
will be readily seen that it was no easy task 
we had undertaken. To cross a deep and 
rapid river in the face of a vigilant and power- 
ful foe, advance without cover or shelter over 
an open plain under the terrible fire of a hun- 
dred pieces of artillery, and drive the enemy 
from his own chosen position was at most a 
hopeless undertaking. This we all fully realized. 
After a series of marching and countermarch- 
ing on the morning of December 13 we arrived 


on the crest of the liill overlooking nearly the 
entire field of battle. Far away to our right 
we could hear the deep roar of the heavy guns 
and the sharp rattle of musketry, where Sum- 
ner, who commanded our right wing, was vainly 
hurlingf his forces against the fortifications on 
Marye's Heights, while on the extreme left 
Reynolds was endeavoring to gain and hold a 
position by dislodging and turning Jackson's 

General Meade was in command of the Penn- 
sylvania Reserves in our immediate front, and 
about nine o'clock the order was given to ad- 
vance. The scene was one of awful grandeur. 
Long lines of trained, uniformed men stretched 
up and down that immense plain, preceded by 
a cloud of skirmishers, pressing on with firm, 
unfaltering step into the very jaws of death, 
determined to do all that human skill and 
valor could accomplish or endure, to the end 
that the old flag which they now proudly fol- 
lowed might wave over every portion of our 
fair land, over every billow of the sea, com- 
manding the respect of all men at home and 
abroad, with no star erased, no stripe removed. 

Very much has been written in regard to va- 


rious charges made by various bodies of men in 
arms against contending foes ; and especially 
has Pickett's charge at Gettysburg been ex- 
tolled to the very skies ; but to my mind the 
charge of the Pennsylvania Reserves, under 
Meade, on the 13th day of December, 1862, 
stands unrivaled in all the history of military 
renown and valor. Had it been promptly sup- 
ported and followed up the historian might have 
recorded a victory instead of a defeat as the re- 
sult of this encounter. As Meade moved steadily 
onward he was greeted by the concentrated fire 
of all the rebel artillery on that part of their line. 
So severe was this that he was obliged to 
pause for a short time till these batteries could 
be silenced, which was partly accomplished 
when the order was again given to advance. 
But now they were greeted with a deadly vol- 
ley from General A. P. Hill's division of in- 
fantry, but with a ringing cheer they swept 
onward, carrying everything before them, gain- 
ing a position on the railroad and break- 
ing the rebel line in two, capturing a large 
number of prisoners and making the welkin 
ring with their cheers of victory. Their re- 
joicings were of short duration, however, for 


heavy reinforcements were sent in to aid the 
fleeing Confederates and stay the victorious 
advance of Meade, whose gallant veterans, 
bruised and battered, and nearly surrounded by 
the rallying enemy, were compelled to retire. 
This they did slowly and deliberately at first, 
disputing every inch of ground ; but at length, 
under a fierce charge of the enemy, they fell 
back rapidly and with considerable disorder. 

Up to this time our brigade had remained 
on the north side of the river, held in reserve, 
where we had been interested spectators of the 
scenes above described. It was now our turn 
to receive our baptism of fire, and, seeing an 
orderly gallop up to where General Robinson 
sat on his horse awaiting orders, we quickly 
divined the meaning of the movement and 
prepared for the conflict. We had not long to 
wait, for the bugle sounded to " fall in." Pass- 
ing down a ravine to the river's bank, we 
crossed en the pontoon bridge, which swayed 
from side to side under our feet. On reach- 
ing the other side the order came, " Double 
quick, march ! " On we went across the plain, 
while the rebel shot and shell fell all around 
us, plowing up great holes in the earth and 


throwing mud and dirt in all directions. We 
reached the scene of conflict just as the rebels 
were about to capture one of our batteries of 
brass twelve-pounders, which they wanted 
badly, and which they were determined to 
have at all hazards, but which we were equally 
determined that they should not obtain, as we 
had especial use for it just then. The struggle 
was sharp, short, and decisive. The enemy 
yielded their claim upon the prize and sullenly 
retreated. No order being given to advance, 
we held our ground. 

The loss in our regiment was not very se- 
vere, as the brigade was formed in two lines, 
with three regiments in each. Our regiment 
was in the rear line, and did not suffer very 
heavily. We were placed in rear of the bat- 
tery that we had helped save and ordered to 
support it. This is the most trying place in 
which men can be placed. When engaged in 
active loading and firing the attention is largely 
taken up with the business in hand ; but to 
be obliged to lie passive on the ground, with 
shot and shell flying all around, and nothing 
to do but lie still and take it, is exceedingly 
trying to the bravest heart. This was our 


experience for three mortal hours that day. 
Every shell seemed to come right at us. It is 
wonderful how a man will flatten himself out and 
hug his mother earth under such circumstances ! 

About this time General Robinson came up 
to Colonel Madill, our regimental commander, 
with his face all aglow with enthusiasm and 
excitement, and inquired, " Colonel, can you 
hold your men here ? " As the colonel was a 
good, stanch Presbyterian of the old school we 
will give his reply, although perhaps it bor- 
dered a little on profanity : '* Hold them in 
hell, general ! " was the pointed reply. In 
explaining his reply afterward the colonel said 
he did not mean to be understood literally but 
figuratively. However, it was *' hot " enough 
there to suit any man if he was not too par- 

That night we slept on our arms in line of 
battle, not knowing but that it would be our 
last night on earth, as we fully expected an- 
other advance in the morning. The ground 
was low, soft, and muddy, and, finding a few 
Virginia cornstalks, I laid them on the ground, 
spread one edge of my blanket upon them, 
folded the other side over me, and settled 



down for the night. But those cornstalks were 
so coarse and hard that sleep was out of the 
question. So I worked them out from under 
me, and, settling down in the soft mud, went 
to sleep. About midnight I was suddenly 
awakened by the discharge of a rifle near 
where I was lying. 

At the same time a member of our company 
jumped up and in very forcible language de- 
clared that some one had shot him, destroying 
the first two fingers of his right hand. He 
soon started for the rear, and that was the last 
we saw of him. Next morning we discovered 
that his gun had been discharged, the only one 
in the company, and that he had doubtless taken 
that way to muster himself out of the service. 

This day was the Sabbath and was spent in 
comparative quiet by both armies. The suf- 
ferings of the wounded betwixt the lines of 
the two armies were terrible indeed. Their 
cries for water and assistance were most heart- 
rending, but no relief could be given, except 
at the almost absolute certainty of death to 
any one who should show himself. 

At last a flag of truce was accepted by the 
rebel commander, and hostilities ceased for a 


couple of hours, during which time many of the 
wounded were removed. As soon as the flag 
of truce was accepted both armies seemed to 
rise as by magic from the earth. The pickets 
conversed as if they had been old friends. The 
moment the truce terminated every man within 
range on both sides suddenly disappeared. 

Monday morning two hundred men of oui"; 
regiment were detailed for picket duty, and 
before it was yet light they were stationed in 
a ditch within twenty rods of the Confederate 
pickets. This ditch w-as occupied by our 
forces during the fight, and many of the dead 
and wounded remained in it. Our men did all 
they could to give them relief, and Colonel 
Madill, while on a visit to the picket line, 
actually leaped over the ditch, picked up a 
wounded boy, who was piteously calling for 
help, and at the peril of his own life bore him 
to a place of safety. Our men were obliged to 
lie in that ditch, flat on their faces, from Mon- 
day morning till Tuesday morning about three 
o'clock. The weather was cold, the ditch had 
considerable water in it, making the position 
anything but comfortable, and we were sur- 
rounded by numbers of the unburied dead. 



Monday night, the 15th, about ten o'clock, 
we were ordered to prepare to recross the 
river with the least possible noise. We were 
as ready to obey that order, at least, as we 
were the other one when we went over. A 
good deal of confusion resulted from the inter- 
mingling of different columns marching in par- 
allel lines. We at length all got safely over 
except the two hundred who were left on 
picket. We did not know what had become 
of them, so we halted in a ravine near the 
river that night waiting for the balance of our 
regiment to come up. I lay down in the 
bottom of the ravine and went to sleep. 
It always rains after a great battle ; at least 
I never knew any exception to this rule, and 
certainly there was no exception this time, 
for about three o'clock the rain began to fall 
in torrents. None of us had any tents, so we 
had to take it as it came. I lay still a while, 
till the water began to run under me as it came 
down the gully; then I concluded it was time 
to get up. This I did, and, sitting on my 
knapsack, threw my wet blanket over my head 
and longed for daylight. 



THE long, dreary night was ended at last, 
and with daylight came renewed hope 
and courage. Our grand army had been de- 
feated, not for lack of skill or valor, but because 
it could not accomplish the well-nigh impossi- 
ble. We had left thousands of our brave com- 
rades on the battlefield, martyrs to their love 
of country, and the day of final victory seemed 
to be farther in the distance than ever. 

We who had for the first time been under the 
enemy's fire now came to know what it all really 
meant. Many of us had looked upon war more 
as a romance than as a reality. But when 
we came to face the enemy's cannon and witness 
the horrible destruction of human life all the 
poetry and most of its roseate hues faded com- 
pletely away. 

We soon resumed our march in the direc- 
tion of our old camp, and quickly came up 
with the remainder of our regiment, which we 
had almost given up as lost. Of course we 


were glad to see them again, and they were 
glad to have escaped their perilous position. 
They were the last body of troops to leave 
that part of the battlefield, but so quietly 
were they withdrawn that the rebels were not 
aware of the departure of the Union army till 
daylight the next morning. 

The One Hundred and Fourteenth Regiment 
Pennsylvania Volunteers, or '* Collis Zouaves," 
as they were best known, had a very fine brass 
band, which was the pride not only of the 
regiment, but of the whole brigade. This 
band took up quarters in a large brick house 
near the river when we first crossed over, and 
remained there till after the evacuation. The 
first they knew of this was the approach of the 
rebel pickets, by whom the entire band was 
captured. Their instruments were taken from 
them and they were sent to Richmond as 

We marched back past our old camp and 
pitched our tents on a level plain about a mile 
from the village of Falmouth. We now re- 
ceived orders to build winter quarters, and 
we were only too glad to obey. We went to 
a piece of wood near by and cut down trees 


and carried them on our backs and builded 
what we called ** shebangs," which consisted 
of pens about six feet wide and ten feet long, 
varying in height from three to six feet. These 
were covered with our tent cloths for a roof, 
while at one end there was a fireplace built of 
sticks and covered over with Virginia mud, 
and at the other a sort of door. Many of 
these were quite comfortable, although the 
wind, rain, and snow would persist in sifting 
through the crevices. One night we had a 
fearful storm ; the wind blew a hurricane, and 
the snow fell exceedingly lively, and, after we 
had lain down to sleep, kept drifting in our 
faces. We had a quilt which one of the boys 
had brought from home, and this was used 
next to us, it being much softer than a coarse 
woolen blanket. This we drew up over our 
faces, and as it became wet by the snow melted 
by our breath we gave it another hitch upward. 
Just as the bugle sounded the morning call wc 
had reached the last edge of the blanket and 
found it folded up over our heads. Arising, I 
found our fireplace with several inches of snow 
in it, and Jimmy Lunger's boots, which he had 
set near the chimney corner, heaping full of snow. 


It was a cold, chilly morning; we had noth- 
ing to burn but green pine wood, and the situ- 
ation was anything but delightful. We made 
the best of it, however, and by the aid of a big 
piece of pork we got up a pretty good fire and 
felt better. 

One day during our stay in Camp Pitcher, 
which was so named in honor of a brave soldier 
of that name, killed in the recent battle, the 
entire brigade was ordered out to witness the 
execution of a sentence of court-martial upon 
a deserter. The man, it seems, had been re- 
fused a furlough to visit his sick wife ; so he 
started home on his own responsibility, but 
was detected, arrested, tried, and convicted, 
and we were ordered out to see the sentence 
executed. The brigade was formed on three 
sides of a square ; the offender, under guard, 
was brought into the center. The buttons 
were all cut off the clothes, his head was 
shaved, the letter "D" was branded on his 
left hip with a hot iron, and he was marched 
all around the inside of a square — the band 
playing the '* Rogue's March "—and then 
drummed out of camp and dishonorably dis- 
charged from the United States service. 


He was about the most independent-looking 
fellow I ever saw. When he came by our part 
of the line he had both hands full of clothing ; 
his head was erect and he stepped about a 
foot high. Some of his comrades who sym- 
pathized with him met him down under the 
hill, got him a suit of citizen's clothes, gave him 
a purse of money, and he went to selling news- 
papers in the army, which avocation he pur- 
sued till General Burnside ordered all newspa- 
pers kept out of the army. Then he disap- 

Fuel soon began to get scarce, and to supply 
the deficiency the boys would go into the 
woods, or where the woods had been, and cut 
down stumps, pick up chips and brush and any 
other article that would burn. The last days 
of December, 1862, and the first days of Janu- 
ary, 1863. were bright, warm, and beautiful, 
and were well improved in drills, parades, re- 
views, inspections, and the like. The army, 
kept busy by these various exercises, had lit- 
tle time to think of past defeats, but gathered 
inspiration, courage, and hope for future con- 

General Burnside was feeling keenly the dis- 


grace resulting from his defeat at Fredericks- 
burg, and he was most anxious to strike a blow 
which would retrieve his lost prestige. He 
therefore issued orders looking to another ad- 
vance, proposing this time to cross the river 
some miles below Fredericksburg, and by strik- 
ing Lee on his right flank force him out of his 
fortified position. But the authorities at Wash- 
ington shared with the army in its general dis- 
trust of Burnside's ability to command a large 
army, and so President Lincoln sent him a dis- 
patch instructing him not to enter upon active 
operations without first receiving the Presi- 
dent's consent. This put a stop to the pro- 
posed movement, and the usual quiet duties of 
camp life were resumed. 

However, the restless spirit of the com- 
mander in chief could not long allow him to be 
idle. Besides, the Northern newspapers had 
not yet learned that it was folly to engage in 
winter campaigning, and they began to raise 
the old cry, '' On to Richmond!" and "Why 
don't the army move?" McClellan had been 
removed from the chief command because he 
was so slow, and now a similar charge was 
made against Burnside. He determined to 


make another final desperate effort for victory. 
This time he would cross the river above the 
town, and, striking Lee's army on its left flank, 
force him to abandon Fredericksburg. 

For some weeks active preparations were 
being made with as much secrecy as possible, 
the intention being to take the enemy by sur- 
prise. But, notwithstanding all the precaution- 
ary measures that Burnside could adopt, the 
Confederate commander somehow obtained in- 
formation concerning every important move- 
ment the Union forces proposed to make, un- 
til, doubtless, General Burnside thought, as the 
Syrian king did, that there were traitors in 
camp, or that some prophet revealed to Gen- 
eral Lee the words he spake in his bed- 
chamber. The truth was the camps of the 
Union army swarmed with rebel spies, who 
infested all parts of the army even to the head- 
quarters of the commander in chief, and who 
were very quickly able to detect any unusual 
stir in the Union lines. A search among the 
houses in Falmouth resulted in the discovery 
in a cellar of a set of telegraph instruments 
connected with a wire, which was laid across 
the river to Fredericksburg and which was 


used to convey the information gathered by the 
rebel spies to the Confederate commander. 
Of course this arrangement was broken up at 
once, and by the exercise of great dihgence on 
the part of the Union Secret Service agents the 
sources of rebel information were greatly re- 
duced. ' 

On Thursday, January 15, orders were given 
to send all who were not able to perform the 
duty of active service to the hospitals ; all ex- 
tra camp equipments and unnecessary stores 
and unused arms were turned over to the 
proper officers, and everything looked as if 
business was close at hand. Orders were also 
received to be ready for marching early Satur- 
day morning with five days' cooked rations in 
our haversacks. The weather being unfavora- 
ble, the time was postponed from day to day, 
and it was not until Tuesday morning, January 
20, that we were drawn up on the parade 
ground and General Burnside's address to his 
army was read to us by our adjutant. He 
said that the hour had arrived when we were 
about to advance to meet the foe again, and 
relying on the justice of our cause, the help of 
the Supreme Commander, and the courage and 


loyalty of his army he expected to lead us on 
to victory. The command *' Forward " was 
given, and once more we turned our faces 
toward the Confederate capital. Our hopes 
were not very high at the best, for wc knew 
something of the obstacles we had to over- 
come before we could hope to get possession 
of the enemy's stronghold. 

A few days after the battle of Fredericks- 
burg, while a number of us who were on duty 
as cam.p guard were sitting around our camp 
fire, an old colored man, who had escaped 
from Fredericksburg and crossed the river 
when our forces fell back, came alonp^ and 
stopped to warm by our fire. He was quite 
an intelligent man ; had always been a slave, 
but was a Unionist all the way through. He 
had been through the rebel fortifications and 
knew all about them. Speaking of the rebel 
position, he said : " I jist tell you what it is, 
boss, dem rebels are in dar mighty solid, dey 
is. Dey is jist like a snake in de hole. He 
stick his head out an' he strike dis way and 
dat way, and when you go for to hit him on 
de head wid a stick, den he dodge back in de 
hole, and you don't git him, but he's dar all de 


same; but you just git him clar outen de hole 
once, and whar is he?" Yes, that is exactly 
the case, we thought, and we acknowledged 
the soundness of the old darkey's reasoning; 
but what puzzled us most was how to get that 
** snake outen dehole." We had tried him in 
front once, now we would try him on the 

The weather was cool and wintry, the ground 
bare but frozen solid, and as our brigade had 
been designated to take the lead we started off 
in pretty good spirits. In the dusk of the 
evening we reached a point about a half-mile 
from the river and about six miles above 
Fredericksburg. Here we went into camp in 
a wood completely screened from rebel view, 
where we awaited the arrival of our pontoon 
bridges and the artillery, under the fire of 
which the bridges were to be laid. My regi- 
ment, the One Hundred and Forty-first 
Pennsylvania Volunteers, had been detailed 
by the commanding general to cross the 
river the next morning at daylight in boats, 
drive away the rebel pickets, and hold the 
ground till the pontoon bridges could be 

laid. The evening was pleasant, although the 


sky was overcast with clouds., and many of the 
boys, on the suggestion of Lieutenant Brown, 
who said it was needless to pitch our tents, 
slept in the open air. But myself and two 
comrades who tented together concluded we 
would put up our tent, the lieutenant's advice 
to the contrary notwithstanding. So we got 
some sticks for the framework and gathered 
cedar twigs for our bed, and soon had a com- 
fortable place to sleep. No fires were allowed, 
so we had to go without our coffee, but we 
went to bed early and were soon asleep. Be- 
fore midnight it began to rain — at first moder- 
ately, then the drops grew larger, came faster, 
still thicker, until it came down in true Virginia 
style — in torrents. Some one came dripping 
wet to the door of our tent and spoke. It was 
the voice of Lieutenant Brown. '' Boys ! boys ! 
can't you let me in ? It rains like Jehu." 

Of course we spooned up closer and took 
the disgusted weather prophet in, and gave 
him shelter for the remainder of the nig-ht. 
All the rest of the night the rain continued to 
fall, and so on the most of the following fore- 
noon. A considerable rise of ground inter- 
vened betwixt us and the river, and the most 


of this was cleared land. We were soon or- 
dered into line, leaving our arms and baggage 
in camp, and marched up in the field toward 
the river. The scene that met our eyes beg- 
gars description. The whole hillside was cov- 
ered with pontoon w^agons, ammunition w^ag- 
ons, and pieces of artillery — all scattered about 
in hopeless disorder, sunk in a sea of mud up 
to the axletrees, while the horses and mules, 
in mud up to their bodies, floundered about 
vainly attempting to move their loads toward 
the river. Officers were shouting, teamsters 
swearing, but all to no purpose ; the elements 
were against us. The teams were finally un- 
hitched, long ropes w^ere attached to the 
wagons, a hundred or more men were put to 
each rope, and the implements of war were 
again on the move. After dragging a pontoon 
wagon to the top of the hill we would leave 
it, go back and get another one, and this we 
kept up till noon. A company of soldiers was 
sent down to the crossing place at the river to 
guard against being surprised by the enemy, 
and looking across to the other side they saw 
a board nailed to a tree on which was printed 
in large letters, " Burnside is stuck in the 


mud." From all indications there was no 
doubt that the rebel generals knew all about 
our movement, and were in force on the other 
side. They doubtless would have made it ex- 
tremely uncomfortable for our regiment if we 
had gone over in boats, as it was intended we 
should. Probably few of our number would 
have escaped death or capture but for the in- 
terposition of the elements in our favor. Con- 
vinced of the utter futility of any further ad- 
vance under the circumstances, General Burn- 
side gave the order for his army to return to its 
old position opposite Fredericksburg. 



^ I ^HERE would be no great difficulty in 
-^ carrying on a winter's campaign in Virginia 
if it did not persist in raining at the most in- 
convenient times and under the most embar- 
rassing circumstances. The soil of Virginia 
in the Rappahannock and Potomac regions is 
exceedingly porous and light, firm and solid 
when dry, but as soon as it becomes saturated 
with water the bottom falls out, so to speak, 
and it becomes impossible to move heavy 
vehicles, such as pontoon trains, batteries, or 
loaded baggage wagons of any kind. I cannot 
vouch for the following story, related by a 
soldier as having been witnessed by him on 
that muddy occasion when Burnside failed to 
get to Richmond, or, in other words, was 
" stuck in the mud ; " but from what I saw 
myself I should be at least partly disposed to 
believe it. He said he was wading along in 
the sea of mud when he saw something near 
by which resembled two sticks protruding 


from the roadbed, but, strange to say, they 
were moving backward and forward constantly. 
His curiosity was excited, and on investiga- 
tion he found that it was the tips of a mule's 
ears, the owner of which, although completely 
submerged in the sacred soil, was persever- 
ingly pressing his way *' on toward Rich- 

I shall never forget that return march to 
our old camp. All semblance of military or- 
der and discipline was completely ignored. It 
was " every man for himself" on that march, 
and we were all our own generals, colonels, 
and captains. We picked our way through 
the fields and woods in groups of twos, threes, 
or fours, as fancy dictated, and reached our 
old camp at nightfall weary, hungry, and 
thoroughly disgusted. Some stragglers from 
other regiments had visited our camp, and 
much to our disgust had demolished some of 
our '' shebangs," carrying off the material for 
firewood. We soon repaired the damage and 
settled down to our former condition of army 
life in camp. 

January 26 we received notice through a 
general order from the War Department that 


General Burnside had resigned his position as 
commander in chief of the Army of the Poto- 
mac and Major General Hooker was appointed 
his successor. We had a good deal of confidence 
in *' Fighting Joe," as he was familiarly called, 
and very soon the army felt the influence of 
the new commander. Furloughs for short 
periods were issued to a number of officers 
and enlisted men. Additional rations of dried 
fruit and various kinds of vegetables were 
issued, and a good quality of soft bread took 
the place of the indestructible hard-tack. We 
had no company cooks, so every squad occupy- 
ing a tent did their own cooking. Various 
devices were resorted to to produce dishes 
such as we were accustomed to have at home. 
One ingenious corporal, who was a great ad- 
mirer of baked beans, resolved that his taste 
for his favorite dish should be gratified. So 
he dug a hole in the ground in the rear of his 
tent, and, putting in some stones, built a fire 
on them till they were thoroughly heated, 
then the pan of beans was placed in the pit, 
surrounded by hot stones, and all carefully 
covered over to retain the heat. This ar- 
rangement was all completed by bedtime. 


and no doubt the dreams of the ardent cor- 
poral were full of visions of fragrant, crusty 
brown beans for breakfast, fit for a prince's 
table. But alas for the brightest hopes and 
dearest plans of this brave soldier ! for the 
next morning when he uncovered the pit, 
behold his much-prized treasure was gone, 
leaving no track or trace to indicate whither 
it had departed. Wasn't that corporal mad, 
though ? He was going to have the whole 
Army of the Potomac court-martialed for 
stealing his baked beans. But all his wrath 
was to no purpose, for those beans were gone, 
and some other patriot's stomach was com- 
forted by them. 

Every pleasant day was occupied in drill- 
ing, inspections, and reviews until the army 
by constant activity regained much of the 
confidence it had lost by defeat and greatly 
improved in health and real efficiency. General 
Kearney at the battle of Fair Oaks ordered 
his division (the first of the Third Corps) to 
sew a piece of red flannel on their caps so he 
could recognize them wherever he saw them. 
This was the origin of the army corps badges, 
afterward perfected by General Hooker in a 


general order to the army. Our badge was a 
red diamond ; that of the Second Division, a 
white diamond ; that of the Third, blue. So 
every corps in the army had its distinct mark, 
that could be recognized anywhere, which was 
a great convenience to both officers and men. 
Our ranks had been greatly thinned by hard- 
ships and exposures, resulting in diseases of 
various kinds, until our number had been re- 
duced from nearly a thousand effective men in 
August to a little over five hundred in the fol- 
lowing February. During the latter month we 
received our pay for the first time in six 
months. But even then we received pay for 
only two months' service. Money was getting 
very scarce among us, many not having enough 
to pay postage on their letters home. Con- 
gress passed a law allowing soldiers to send 
letters under an officer's frank through the 
mails without prepaying the postage ; the re- 
ceiver, however, was to pay it before it left the 
post office. The following indorsement was 
put on a letter by a soldier and started for its 
destination : 

" Soldier's letter, send it through, 
Nary a red, but six months' due." 


March 21 Brigadier General Charles K. Gra- 
ham was assigned to the command of our 
brigade, and we soon learned to esteem him 
very highly as an officer and a gentleman. He 
was a brave soldier, never flinching under the 
hottest fire, but with a heart as tender as a 

Wood became very scarce in this camp 
about the first of March, and we therefore re- 
ceived orders to select a new camping place. 
We packed our effects, marched about four 
miles north, and encamped on a hillside in a 
beautiful grove of white oaks. Here we erected 
the best quarters we had occupied since leav- 
ing home ; and really we had things quite 
comfortable. There was a good deal of sick- 
ness in camp, mostly real, but some feigned. 
Every man was obliged to perform duty unless 
excused by the surgeon. Of course the surgeon 
came in for a share of censure, especially from 
men who attempted to play off on him. 

One night some boys stuffed an old pair of 
pants, an old coat and hat wilh straw, and, 
propping up this image on crutches and sticks 
before the doctor's tent, with its back to the 
door, put a piece of board on its back with the 


words ''For Duty ! " marked on it in large 
letters. When the doctor came out the next 
morning the first thing he saw was this de- 
moralized, crippled old veteran on his way to 
camp to report " for duty." 

In the early part of April President Lincoln 
visited the army and was received with great 
enthusiasm by the officers and soldiers, a 
grand review being ordered in honor of the 
occasion, which was a very brilliant affair in- 
deed. On Friday, the nth of April, our 
division was ordered out to give the presiden- 
tial party a send-off, for they were to return to 
Washington that day. We were formed in 
two lines, one on each side of the road, and 
after we had waited about an hour the distin- 
guished cavalcade made its appearance. Mr. 
Lincoln's sons, with an attendant, headed the 
procession, followed by the President, General 
Birney, General Hooker, Mrs. Lincoln, and a 
long line of officers of all grades, with a regi- 
ment of cavalry bringing up the rear. It was 
an imposing scene. As the head of the col- 
umn neared the colors of each command three 
rousing cheers were given for the President 
and three for General Hooker, after which the 


parade was dismissed and we returned to 

Abou-t tliis time we received orders to go on 
picket for three days. As it was some distance 
to our picket lines we were to take along with 
us sufficient supplies to last us until we re- 
turned. Leaving a guard to look after our 
camp, on the morning of April 5, in the midst 
of a furious snowstorm, we started for our 
destination, some five or six miles up the Rap- 
pahannock, where we were divided into de- 
tachments, while sentinels were posted all 
along our front, extending from the river quite 
a distance north. Everything remained quiet 
until the morning of the third day, when we 
were informed that, on account of a grand re- 
view of the main army by the President, we 
would be under the necessity of remaining an- 
other day. As a consequence our rations, of 
fresh meat especially, began to grow small. 

Now, a soldier will stand hardship and expo- 
sure of almost any degree without much com- 
plaining when he sees it is actually necessary ; 
but when it comes to hunger, especially when 
in an enemy's country, and there is anything 
within "reach" that he can "draw," that is 


altogether a different thing. So that morning 
a couple of young soldiers made their way 
across the picket line, out into rebeldom, to see 
the country and ascertain if there was anything 
that could be used to advantage in stilling the 
demands of empty stomachs. 

They soon discovered a herd of cattle graz- 
ing in a field at some distance from their 
rebel owner's house. Surrounding the whole 
herd, they quietly drove it down into a valley 
out of sight of the house, and while doing so 
discovered that of the whole herd there was 
but one animal sufficiently fat to satisfy the 
pampered taste of a soldier, and that was a 
muUey bull. They could only guess at his 
age, as he had no horns, and, whether tough or 
tender, they concluded that they could only 
tell by an actual test. So, singling out their 
victim, they drove him along toward camp 
till, reaching a secluded spot near a little 
brook, one stayed to guard the prisoner while 
the other went up to camp to give the alarm. 
It is astonishing how brave many soldiers are 
in the presence of such a foe, and it was but a 
few moments before a dozen veterans, armed 
with clubs and an ax, were on the spot deter- 


mined to do their whole duty in the impend- 
ing conflict. They could not shoot him, as 
it was unlawful to use firearms on the picket 
lines ; consequently they surrounded him on 
all sides, while a little fellow from Company 
C took the ax and, bravely advancing, made 
a direct attack in front and dealt Mr. Bull a 
smart rap in the forehead, to which the said 
gentleman responded by making a direct 
charge on his tormentor's position. The 
result was that the soldier beat a hasty retreat 
with the infuriated beast close at his heels. 
The lack of horns on the part of the enemy 
and the activity of the soldier's heels were all 
that saved the Union army from serious loss. 
A council of war was held, and it was resolved 
to change the plan of attack and try the 
effects of strategy upon the determined foe. 
They drove him down into a little run, and 
while some of the boys menaced him in front 
the others assailed him on the flank, and very 
soon the enemy made an unconditional sur- 
render. The principle in American politics, 
that '' to the victors belong the spoils," was 
strictly carried out in this case. In the short- 
est time imaginable this victim was disrobed 



and divided, and an abundance reigned in 

Soon after this General Graham with some 


of his staff came riding along the line and, ap- 
proaching the scene of conflict, discovered the 
remnants of the slaughter. Turning to a sen- 
tinel who was innocently pacing his beat near 
by, he inquired what all this meant. 

" These, general," replied the soldier, " are the 
mortal remains of a secesh bull, who made a 
raid on our camp, and the boys waylaid him." 

"Yes, I see," replied the general, *' but they 
ought to have covered them up." 

Having taken cognizance of the affair, it 
would not do to let it pass without further in- 
vestigation. He therefore sent an order to 
all the officers of the regiment asking for a 
full report concerning the matter. This was 
duly made out and sent in with the signatures 
of all of the officers appended. We called 
this engagement " The third battle of Bull 

But now I imagine I hear some reader inquire, 
" But wasn't that beef tough ? " Well, you 
ask General Graham ; he lives down in New 
York, and I think he knows. 



THE latter part of April, 1863, was a pe- 
riod of great activity on the part of the 
Army of the Potomac. There was a succes- 
sion of reviews, inspections, battalion and 
brigade drills ; new clothing was drawn ; all 
superfluous baggage and camp equipage was 
turned in ; many of the incurably sick were dis- 
charged and others sent to the hospitals ; and 
finally, on the 27th, we received orders to be 
ready to march at an hour's notice, with five 
days' rations in our knapsacks and three days* 
cooked rations in our haversacks. We took 
off the canvas covering from our " shebangs," 
packed up our effects, and were ready to fol- 
low our gallant leader to victory. 

In brief. Hooker's plan was to send a strong 
detachment of his army to threaten Lee's 
right, some four or five miles below Freder- 
icksburg, and thus engage the enemy's atten- 
tion, while with the main body of his army he 
desia;ned to cross at the various fords above 


the town and thus gain a firm footing before 
his adversary was aware of his real intentions. 
In case Lee drew his army from Marye's 
Heights, General Sedgwick with the Sixth 
Corps was to lay a pontoon bridge, cross at the 
city, and by a direct advance take possession 
of the enemy's fortified position. General 
Stoneman, in command of the cavalry corps, 
was to cross at some distance above and, mak- 
ing a wide detour, get between the Confeder- 
ate army and Richmond, destroy Lee's com- 
munications, cut off his supplies, and thus 
co-operate with the main army in the general 
advance. Our corps was placed under the 
command of General Sedgwick, and with the 
First Corps, under Reynolds, and the Sixth, was 
to conduct operations in front of and below 
the city. 

We therefore again turned our faces in that 
direction, and at some distance below the town 
we found, on arriving upon the overlooking 
heights, that the bridges had already been laid 
without any opposition from the enemy, and 
large bodies of our men had crossed the river 
and were drawn up in solid ranks on the 
other side. The enemy was also present in 


full force, while their advanced line of skir- 
mishers was but a few rods distant from ours. 
Lee was evidently deceived by this show of 
force, and led to believe that the main body of 
the army was present and that the battle. would 
be fought on the same ground as that of De- 
cember 13. 

The weather had taken an unfavorable turn 
and was a mixture of fog, rain, clouds, and 
sunshine, the rain being sufficient to keep us 
wet and uncomfortable and the sunshine suffi- 
cient to give us hopes of better weather in the 
immediate future. 

For a day or two we were kept in suspense, 
for none of us knew what Hooker's plan was 
at that time, expecting hourly to be called 
on to cross the river and engage the enemy. 
Thursday, April 30, we were mustered by 
Colonel Madill for the purpose of having the 
pay rolls made out ; while we were in line the 
adjutant read an order from General Hooker 
stating that the movement on the right had 
been entirely successful, that the enemy must 
either evacuate his stronghold and retreat or 
else come out and for the first time meet us on 
ground of our own choosing, in which case we 



should not fail to completely pulverize him. 
We shouted and cheered over this news, and 
in a few moments we were in full marching 
order with our faces turned westward. We 
marched all that afternoon and till twelve 
o'clock that night, when we arrived in the 
vicinity of the United States ford, about eight 
or ten miles above Fredericksburg, where we 
encamped for the remainder of the night. It 
had been a long and severe march, and most of 
us were too nearly exhausted to care for 
anything but rest. So we flung ourselves on 
the ground in our vv^et clothing and were soon 
lost in profound slumber. 

At four o'clock the next morning we were 
aroused from sleep by the shrill notes of the 
bugle sounding the reveille^ and after a hasty 
breakfast we resumed our march, and on reach- 
ing the river found a bridge already laid, upon 
which we crossed over and were once more in 
the immediate presence of the enemy. Hooker 
had secured a position of great natural advan- 
tage, with both flanks of his army resting on 
the river, while the general outline was that of 
a semicircle, the center of which extended two 
or three miles south of the Rappahannock and 


included the Chancellor House, which gave its 
name to the fierce and bloody battle which fol- 

We arrived at Chancellor House about eight 
o'clock in the morning, where we halted for a 
short time, when our brigade was ordered to 
march down the plank road to Dowdall's 
Tavern and reinforce the Eleventh Corps, 
which held our right flank and was commanded 
by General O. O. Howard. General Graham 
was ordered to report to General Howard, 
which he did ; but that officer seemed to con- 
sider it a reflection on him and his corps that 
he should be tendered assistance. He there- 
fore expressed his entire confidence in his 
ability to hold his position, and declined to ac- 
cept the services of our brigade. Consequently 
we retraced our steps and resumed our posi- 
tion with the division which was commanded 
by General D. B. Birney, and were placed in 
position a short distance from the Chancellor 
House. The picket lines in our front soon 
became engaged, and a rebel battery soon be- 
gan to fire salutes for our especial benefit. One 
of our batteries was brought forward and soon 
began to return the compliment. We were 


placed behind this battery as a support, and 
here we were obliged to he for two or three 
hours, while the enemy's shells seemed to rake 
the very earth itself. We then received orders 
to retire behind a rise of ground to a less ex- 
posed position, and were not slow in preparing 
to obey this order. Lieutenant Colonel Wat- 
kins, of our regiment, who had dismounted, 
had just placed his foot in the stirrup prepara- 
tory to remounting when a solid twelve-pound 
shot struck his horse on the opposite shoulder, 
passing clear through him, killing him instantly, 
but not injuring his rider in the least. The 
colonel stood there for a moment fairly dazed 
as his horse dropped suddenly to the ground, 
seemingly unable to comprehend what had 
happened. But soon he began to realize 
that he was destined to take it on foot for 
a while. 

As it began to grow dark the firing gradu- 
ally ceased on both sides, and both armies 
subsided into quietness and rested on their 
arms. Very early in the morning we were 
aroused from our slumbers, and after a hasty 
breakfast were once more on the move. Pass- 
ing westerly along the plank road to a point 


about a mile west of the Chancellor House, we 
turned southward, and, reaching a grove of 
very thick pines, we went into camp. During 
the afternoon, while looking up a cousin who 
was in the Third Wisconsin Regiment, I passed 
by General Birney's headquarters and discov- 
ered a number of officers, among whom was 
General Sickles, who commanded our corps, 
with field glasses looking across the valley in 
our front to a wagon road on the opposite 
ridge, along which a long train of wagons was 
making its way. Our officers felt sure that 
General Lee was sending his trains on to 
Lynchburg preparatory to a retreat on Rich- 
mond. General Birney ordered up a battery, 
which got into position in a few minutes and 
began to shell the wagon train. The facts were 
reported to General Hooker, and he ordered 
General Birney to advance with his division, 
and, striking the enemy on his flank and rear, 
prevent his escape. We were soon in motion, 
and passing down the valley, through which 
flowed a small stream, we were deployed in 
line of battle on the opposite slope and began 
to advance. We were a little too late, for the 
main column of the enemy had passed by; 



but our advance line struck their rear guard, 
the Twenty-third Georgia, and drove them into 
a railroad cut, where they were so effectually 
cooped up that they soon threw up the white 
flag, and every man was captured except their 
colonel, who, after the surrender, mounted his 
horse and, making a dash, succeeded in escap- 
ing before our men fairly understood his pur- 

Pressing on, we gained the summit of the 
hill along which the highway ran upon which 
the rebel column had passed and were now 
about two or three miles in advance of our 
main line. Near this place was the Welford 
mansion, and also extensive mines of gold 
which had been formerly worked to a consider- 
able extent but were now abandoned. In a 
field on this plantation the entire division was 
massed, and, having no orders to make any 
farther advance, we waited for developments. 

It was now nearly dark, and we were antici- 
pating a night of rest, for no enemy seemed 
to be left in our immediate vicinity. Sud- 
denly, however, the stillness was broken, first 
by the sharp, irregular rattle of musketry, 
which we knew to be the work of skirmishers, 


and then by fearful volleys, mingled with the 
awful roar of scores of pieces of artillery. All 
this came directly from our rear, and, although 
we were not able to understand what it all 
meant, we were very certain that something 
was wrong. Clouds of smoke and dust arose 
above the tree tops, while the flashes of light 
from the heavy guns could be plainly seen. 
While we waited, wondering what it all could 
mean, an orderly came galloping up to where 
General Birney sat on his horse and handed 
him a paper. Suddenly the bugle sounded ; 
we took our places and were on our way to- 
ward the scene of conflict. We reached the 
valley we had passed in the afternoon without 
meeting any enemy, but on ascending the 
slope our advance was suddenly confronted by 
the. rebel pickets. The firing had ceased by 
this time, but we soon came to understand that 
we, a division numbering six or seven thou- 
sand men, were entirely surrounded by the 
enemy's forces. Fully realizing our perilous 
position, pickets were thrown out on all sides 
and every precaution taken to insure our 
safety. Not being on special duty just then, I 
spread my blanket on the ground. Weariness 



overcame the sense of danger ; I was soon fast 
asleep. About midnight 1 was suddenly awak- 
ened by an awful crash of artillery, mingled 
with the sharper rattle of musketry, coming 
from the exact point where our friends ought 
to be, provided we had any, and not more 
than twenty or thirty rods distant. The din 
was perfectly awful, but, so far as the noise 
was concerned, we soon got accustomed to 
that; but when the bullets and shells began 
to fall among us that was another thing. For- 
tunately, none of us were struck, and after an 
hour or so had passed the firing suddenly 
ceased and all was quiet. We then learned 
that the firing was caused by Ward's brigade 
of our division making a night attack upon the 
enemy's line which intervened betwixt us and 
our main line, for the purpose of relieving us 
from our unpleasant position and opening to 
us a communication with our army. This they 
successfully accomplished, and the lively visions 
we had had of Libby Prison and Belle Isle 
faded from our view. It was during this mid- 
night assault that the Confederate chief, 
" Stonewall " Jackson, was mortally wounded. 
Nearly every regiment engaged in the battle 


of Chancellorsville has claimed the credit of 
kilHng the rebel chief, but there is no doubt in 
my mind but that it was done by some man or 
men in Ward's brigade of the First Division of 
the Third Corps, for there were no other troops 
engaged at that time. Certain, however, it is 
that the Confederate army met with an irrep- 
arable loss in his death, and whatever advan- 
tage they gained was dearly purchased. 

We afterward learned the meaning of the 
fierce encounter of the evening before. It was 
caused by a fierce attack by Jackson's division 
on the Eleventh Corps, resulting in its utter de- 
feat and rout. Instead of making a retreat he 
had simply passed across our front, and, having 
discovered that Howard in his fancied security 
had neglected all precautions looking toward 
an attack on his part of the line, he had massed 
his army, and all unexpectedly had fallen upon 
the Eleventh Corps and driven it back with 
terrible slaughter. Those frightened Dutch- 
men came rushing to the rear, many of them 
not having fired a shot, shouting, " I fights 
mit Sigel, but runs mit Howard." In this 
case, however, the soldiers were not to blame 
for the defeat, for very few men of any nation- 


ality will stand and fight when suddenly and 
unexpectedly assaulted by a determined foe. 
Two great mistakes had been made up to this 
time. One was in placing General Howard in 
such a responsible position, the other in send- 
ing our division on a wild goose chase after 
Jackson's baggage train. If that day, Satur- 
day, the 2d of May, 1863, had been spent by 
our whole army in building breastworks and 
intrenchments, and had a competent officer 
been assigned to the defense of our right flank, 
the results of Jackson's attack would have 
been a most disastrous repulse, which, followed 
by the throwing forward of a heavy column 
betwixt Lee and Jackson, would have ended 
in a glorious victory for the Union army. 



I J^ARLY Sabbath morning, May 3, we were 
-■ — ^ aroused from sleep, but had no time for 
preparing any breakfast except eating a shce 
of raw salt pork and a cracker or two, for im- 
portant business awaited our attention. The 
pickets were called in and we were formed in 
line on the side of the hill fronting to the west. 
Hardly had our formation been completed be- 
fore a rebel column struck us on the left flank, 
and there were only two things we could do, 
namely, stay there and be slaughtered or run 
for a better position. We soon got ordered to 
fall back, double quick, and we were not slow in 
obeying the order. I never made better time 
in my life than on that occasion, and I dis- 
tinctly remember seeing one of the boys who 
was ahead of me tumble over a pile of rails in 
his hasty flight. He went end over end in one 
direction while his gun did the same in another. 
He paid no attention to his gun, however, per- 
haps thinking that he had no use for it just then, 


but continued his speed until, having reached a 
favorable position, we halted, reformed, faced 
about, and confronted the determined foe. 

We soon reached a piece of woods in which 
the rebels were swarming in full force. We did 
not wait for orders to open fire, but let drive at 
them to the very best of our ability. Soldiers 
seldom, if ever, in action wait to fire by vol- 
leys, but each man just loads and fires as fast 
as he can. An officer mounted upon a mag- 
nificent white horse, riding up and down be- 
hind the rebel line, which was fighting behind 
a breastwork of old logs, rails, etc., became a 
conspicuous target for our rifles, and perhaps 
hundreds of bullets were fired at him, till at. 
last he disappeared. 

Our ranks were being fearfully thinned out, 
men were falling all around ; yet we held our 
position. Looking to my left, I saw our flag 
go down. Our color sergeant was mortally 
wounded, but in an instant the flag is raised 
again by one of the color guard. He falls, and 
then Captain Swart, commanding Company 
C, the color company, a noble man, a min- 
ister of the Gospel, seizes the staff and raises 
it again ; but he too falls, and for a moment 


the old flag lies in the dust. I sprang toward 
it, but Colonel Madill was riding close behind, 
and seeing the colors fall the third time he 
leaped from his horse, and, seizing the flag be- 
fore I could reach it, he remounted and in 
very positive language, not all of which is found 
in the Presbyterian creed, he declared that if 
that flag went down again he would go with it. 
Now the conflict waxes hotter and hotter. 
We now discover that the rebels are being re- 
inforced, for a new line of battle is filing in to 
take the places of those who have fought so 
long and so well. Our ranks are soon thinning 
out faster than ever under the fire of these 
fresh troops, and we glanced around anxiously 
looking for reinforcements. " Why don't they 
come ? " we asked each other again and again. 
But no help appears. We seem to be aban- 
doned to our fate. Suddenly we are aware 
that we are being flanked, that the enemy is 
endeavoring to gain our rear, and there is but 
one alternative — we must fall back or be cap- 
tured. Slowly, sullenly we begin to retire, 
rallying occasionally and giving the advancing 
foe a volley and then continuing to fall back. 
While thus engaged I came upon a soldier 


who had been shot through the body, and my- 
self and a comrade undertook to carry him off 
the field. While thus engaged we looked up 
and saw that we were about midway betwixt 
our lines and the enemy's. The wounded 
soldier also discovered our perilous position, 
and told us we had better lay him down and 
escape or the rebels would capture the whole 
of us. This we did, but we had not a mo- 
ment to spare, as the enemy was close upon us. 

Upon reaching the vicinity of the Chancellor 
House we found a new line had been formed, 
passing which we reached a place of safety. 
We were taken back into the woods to rest 
a while and get some water, and were then 
taken back, and, having been assigned a posi- 
tion in this new line, we were ordered to throw 
up breastworks. 

While in camp on Arlington Heights we 
used to go out on detail to work on the de- 
fenses of Washington. We had but little 
heart in this work, and it was a kind of un- 
written law that any man raising a sweat must 
go into the guardhouse. But in our present 
condition we had all the stimulus we needed, 
and it was astonishing how quickly we had 



erected a fine line of breastworks, although we 
had little to dig with except tin plates, half 
canteens, bayonets, tin cups, and our hands. 
If we had only had such a line of defense in 
the morning we could have held it against any 
force the enemy could have brought against 
us, and many hundreds of valuable lives might 
have been saved. 

While we were occupying our new position 
a battery in our front became engaged in an 
artillery duel with a rebel battery some half 
a mile distant. We received orders to 
" cover," that is, to lie down so the bullets and 
shells might go over our heads instead of 
through our bodies. While lying on the 
ground with my face turned toward our rear 
a soldier's cap flew over my body and fell on 
the ground beyond me. The previous instant 
a shell had come over and burst in the air 
just over us, but as the air was full of them we 
lay still until the firing had ceased. Then upon 
looking around I discovered that the cap had be- 
longed to a young man named Robert McKin- 
ney, who was lying with his head about a foot 
from my body with both hands over his face, 
which was turned to the ground. A large 


piece of the shell had struck him in the back 
of the head, and my clothes were bespattered 
with his brains. He and I had come out of 
the morning's fight together, and had con- 
gratulated ourselves in passing through the 
fearful slaughter unscathed. He was a most 
exemplary young man, a graduate of Wyoming 
Seminary ; was fitting himself for professional 
life, and, best of all, was a most sincere and 
devoted Christian, who carried his religion 
even into the demoralizing tendencies of army 
life. A grave was dug near where he fell, at 
the root of a white oak tree, and, wrapped in 
his blanket, he was laid down to his long sleep, 
to be awakened only by the voice of Him who 
is the resurrection and the life. 

While occupying our fortified position the 
Confederate sharpshooters occasionally paid 
us their respects. General Berry, who com- 
manded one of the brigades in our division, 
while engaged in conversation with some of his 
staff, all unconscious of danger, was struck by a 
bullet from a sharpshooter's rifle and instantly 
killed, although the rebel was perhaps nearly a 
mile away. 

Monday the two armies occupied their re- 



spectlve positions, and all was quiet except 
the occasional fire of a sharpshooter and some 
artillery engagements. Tuesday was spent in 
strengthening our defenses till just night, when 
the inevitable rain began to fall. We had 
packed up our effects under orders to be ready 
to march, and there we waited through the 
long, dreary, dark night, with the ceaseless 
rain pouring down upon us, without shelter, 
soaked to the skin, disheartened, wearied, and 
exhausted by the terrible strain that had been 
upon us for several days past, and many of 
our comrades, whom we honored and loved, 
silent in death or terribly wounded and in the 
hands of the enemy. All of these circum- 
stances combined to make it one of the most 
terrible nights I ever experienced. Toward 
morning I gathered a half-dozen bean poles 
together, and, placing them side by side to 
keep me out of the mud, I laid down upon 
them, and, with the pitiless rain still pouring 
down, was soon lost in a profound slumber. 
About daylight we received orders to start. 
We made our way out of the woods into the 
road leading to the ford. The first step I took 
into the road I went into the mud ankle deep. 


I thought I had seen mud before, but this 
beat the whole previous catalogue. The 
homeward march from Burnside's ** Mud 
March *' was boys' play compared to this. We 
lost all semblance of order as soon as we 
passed over the river, and picked our way 
back to camp by twos and threes as best we 
could. The bottoms of my pants becoming 
overloaded with the sacred soil, I out with my 
pocketknife and amputated about six inches 
of the lower extremities, greatly to my relief. 

It was nearly dark when we arrived at our 
old camp, and the rain, which had stopped 
falling for a few hours, came down again in 
torrents. We made ourselves as comfortable 
as possible, and the dark, stormy night was 
followed by a bright, sunshiny morning. I 
went out and looked over our half-deserted 
camp, for more than half of the tents were 
now deserted, the bare framework remaining. 
Too well I knew where their former occupants 
were, and that very many of them had spread 
their tents on 

"Fame's eternal camping ground." 

A feeling of inexpressible sadness came over 
me. Although I had been brought up in a 


Christian home, surrounded by religious influ- 
ences, I had hitherto neglected the claims of 
the Lord Jesus upon me. I walked out of the 
camp, and, kneeling down by the roadside, prom- 
ised God that if he would spare my life and 
give us victory in the great contest henceforth 
my life should be consecrated to his service ; 
and although it was many months afterward 
that I sought and found the *' Pearl of greatest 
price," yet that promise was never wholly for- 

Sunday morning, when we went into the 
fight, our regiment numbered four hundred 
and seventeen men, rank and file. Of this 
number we had lost, in killed, wounded, and 
missing, two hundred and twenty men, more 
than one half of the whole number engaged. 
The severely wounded had fallen into the 
'eneniiy's hands, and when we fell back across 
the river were left to their tender mercies, 
which were often cruel indeed. 

Arrangements were finally made between 
the two commanders by which many of our 
wounded were paroled. Our ambulance train 
visited the battlefield on the 13th and brought 
over all the survivors. They were a woe- 



begone-looking lot of men — haggard, dirty, 
smoke-begrimed. They had been robbed of 
their blankets and much of their clothing by 
their captors : their wounds undressed. They 
had lain without care or shelter, exposed to 
sunshine and rain, for a whole week or more, 
with only the coarsest food scantily supplied. 
Many died for want of care. The intense joy 
felt by the survivors on reaching our lines can 
better be imagined than described. 

One man in Company K became somewhat 
excited during the fight on Sunday morning. 
He loaded his gun and fired in front, then 
loaded again and fired to the right, then 
again to the left, then to the rear, and then 
cried out, " Get up here, boys ; there is good 
fighting all around here ! '* About this time 
he was struck in the head by a minie ball, fell 
senseless to the "earth, and was left for dead 
upon the field. Great, therefore, was the sur- 
prise and joy of his comrades, when the ambu- 
lance train returned from the battlefield, to 
find this zealous fighter among the other 
wounded still alive. He was sent to the hos- 
pital, and so far recovered that he returned to 
the regiment and did excellent service afterward. 


May 24 I was detailed to take charge of an 
escort to attend the funeral of Sergeant B. F. 
Beardsley, our color-bearer, who fell mortally 
wounded during the terrific battle of Sunday 
morning. With a detail of twelve men we 
marched to the hospital where he died, and a 
procession was formed, headed by a brass band, 
followed by the guard of honor. Then came 
the chaplain, then an ambulance containing the 
body incased in a coffin made of cracker boxes 
(which was the best that could be done); this 
completed the line, as there were no relatives 
present. We proceeded to the brigade burial 
ground, where the grave was ready to receive 
its trust ; a dirge was played by the band, the 
coffin was lowered, the chaplain read the serv- 
ice for the dead, and then the guard of honor 
fired three volleys over the grave. Then this 
dead hero was left to his long repose. 



IT was many weeks before we fully recovered 
from the moral effects of the disastrous de- 
feat at Chancellorsville. The conception of 
the plan was almost faultless, and up to Satur- 
day night, May 2, every prospect was to all 
appearance favorable. Had Howard but spent 
the two days he occupied the position on our 
right flank in fortifying his position, and kept 
pickets well out in front, supported by a heavy 
skirmish line, the fierce attack of Stonewall 
Jackson would no doubt have been repulsed, 
and his command, separated from Lee's main 
army, might by judicious generalship have 
been completely annihilated, while Lee's army, 
hemmed in by Sedgwick, who had already 
captured Fredericksburg and scaled Marye's 
Heights on the east, and by Hooker's main 
army on the west, must either have been surely 
defeated or have fallen back on Richmond. 
To my mind one thing is certain : if General 
Grant or Sheridan had been in command of 


the Army of the Potomac at that time General 
O. O. Howard would never have commanded any 
part of our army again while the war lasted. 

Activity is a great antidote for despondency, 
and nowhere is this more true than in an army. 
No sooner had we got fairly settled in our old 
camp than our attention was taken up by a 
series of parades, reviews, drills, inspections, 
and such like performances, which tended to 
inspire us with new courage and gave us but 
little time to brood over our defeat. 

General D. B. Birney, our division com- 
mander, conceived the idea of rewarding per- 
sonal exhibitions of bravery on the part of the 
soldiers of his command by preparing and pre- 
senting a medal called the *' Kearney Cross " 
to two or three of the survivors of each com- 
pany, upon the recommendation of the com- 
pany commander. Consequently an order was 
issued that the names of such as had distin- 
guished themselves in an especial manner 
should be sent into division headquarters. 
This was quickly attended to, and on Tuesday, 
the 26th, the whole division was called out, 
formed in a hollow square, the order of Gen- 
eral Birney read, and then General Sickles made 


a short patriotic speech, at the close of which 
the names of the fortunate recipients were 
read and the badges presented to them. Of 
course they were highly gratified, but not so 
the great majority who stood looking on, and 
many of whom had displayed bravery equal or 
superior to that of those who received the 
badges, but who happened to stand in the 
good graces of their company commanders. 
General Birney proposed in his order to make 
the practice a permanent one ; but we never 
heard any more about it after that. It did 
not work as he anticipated, but was treated 
with ridicule by most of those who did not get 
them. Some of the boys in our brigade whit- 
tled crosses out of hard-tack, tied a string to 
them, pinned them to their breasts, and went 
strutting about the camp as big as life. One 
sergeant wrote in large letters on his tent, 
"Three brave men and sixty cowards." 

About this time we received orders to move 
camp, and on the early morning of the 29th 
we packed up, left our comfortable quarters, 
and marched down to the flats bordering on 
Potomac Creek Bay and established a new 
camp. This was a most unwise measure, as the 


sanitary arrangements in our old camp were all 
that were needed to insure good health, the 
water was pure and plenty, our quarters large 
and room}^ while the spot selected for our new 
camp was a sandy plain where every gust of 
wind brought a shower of sand and dust, which 
penetrated everything, filling our eyes, hair, 
food, and clothing. Besides, there was no shade, 
and only a thin canvas covering to protect us 
from the scalding rays of the sun. The only 
redeemincf feature about it was that we were 
in close proximity to the water of the bay, 
where we could bathe and fish. 

There was no help for it, however, and so 
we went to work to make our new abode as 
comfortable as possible. Tuesday, June 2, I 
was sent in charge of a detail of men to guard 
one of the large bakeries which had been built 
to supply our army with soft bread. Here 
bread was manufactured on a large scale ; 
several thousand loaves were baked daily, and 
were distributed while warm and fresh to the 
army. A very good quality of bread was 
furnished by these bakeries, and each man re- 
ceived one loaf a day, which weighed about 
twenty ounces. We could get butter of the 


sutlers for from forty to fifty cents per pound. 
Some of it, to be sure, was old enough to veter- 
anize. Of course we could use less, but it was 
butter all the same, and was a great improve- 
ment on dry bread or salt pork and hard-tack 

About four o'clock Friday morning we were 
awakened by heavy cannonading in the direc- 
tion of Fredericksburg. We discovered a good 
deal of activity prevailing all through the army. 
The seriously wounded were granted furloughs 
as soon as they were able to travel, while many 
less disabled were sent to the general hospitals 
at Washington and other large cities. The 
entire army was put under marching orders, 
and active preparations for another campaign 
were being made. 

Of course we didn't know at the time what all 
this meant, as all such movements are only 
known to the commander in chief and his ad- 
visers ; but we afterward learned that our lead- 
ers had discovered that Lee's army had grown 
restive and was making preparations for an ex- 
cursion in some direction, and it was correctly 
surmised that the granaries of the North were 
the objective point. 


One of our heavy batteries, therefore, was 
trained on the enemy's position, and sent over 
a few messengers with a view to waking him up. 
No reply was received, however, and finally 
a pontoon bridge was thrown across the river 
and a large force was sent over, but no especial 
advance was made. It was soon learned that 
the Confederate army had vacated the posi- 
tion it had fought so hard to hold, and was 
moving up the right bank of the Rappahan- 

We remained at the bakery till Monday, the 
8th, when we returned to camp, where to our 
great surprise and joy we found the paymaster, 
whose visits seemed to us like those of angels, 
few and far between. For the second time in 
nearly a year we received two months' pay, 
though in many instances the sutler received 
the most of it. Whenever we were called up 
for pay we always found the sutler at the pay- 
master's elbow, and as each man's name was 
called the sutler would give the amount of his 
claim against the man, and this amount would 
be paid directly to the trader and be deducted 
from the soldier's pay. 

Thursday, June ii, we were called out for 


brigade inspection at seven o'clock in the 
morning, and at its close we received orders 
to be ready to march at a moment's notice. 
Some of us went down to the river to bathe, 
and while thus engaged the bugle sounded 
"pack up." We got out of the water, put on 
our clothes, and were soon in camp. Our tents 
had already been struck, and in less than an 
hour we were on our way to — we did not know 
where. One unpleasant feature about those 
long m.arches was that we seldom, if ever, 
knew where we were going, and consequently 
had no idea when we should get there. When 
a traveler has his journey's end before him, 
however weary or footsore he may be, he can 
make some calculation as to the time when he 
will be permitted to rest. But there is no such 
inspiration for the soldier. He is under the 
control of another mind, which controls his 
downsittings and his uprisings, his marches 
and his countermarches, and so he blindly 
seeks his destiny, like Abraham, not knowing 
whither he goeth. 

All that long, hot, dry, dusty summer after- 
noon we pursued our way up the north side of 
the Rappahannock, till about dark we arrived 


in the vicinity of the Orange and Alexandria 
Railroad, having marched about twenty miles. 
Not much over half of the regiment reached 
our camping place together, as many with feet 
blistered, or exhausted by the heat, dropped 
out by the way, and it was several hours before 
they all came up. This march was especially 
severe, as the men had done but little of such 
service during the winter, and therefore were 
not hardened to it ; and many, supposing it 
was only a temporary movement, retained all 
their winter clothing, blankets, etc., which 
proved a heavy load for a hot day's march. 
As soon as we began to find that a long job 
was ahead of us the overcoats and extra blan- 
kets were dispensed with, and all other super- 
fluous articles Avere scattered by the wayside. 
I threw away everything but a blanket, my 
haversack and canteen, and the clothes I had 
on. When my shirt got too lively for comfort, 
or too dirty for health, if a chance was offered 
I went to a brook, took it off, skirmished it 
over to reduce the army of graybacks to a 
minimum, washed it in the creek, and put it on 
to dry. It was a very primitive sort of a laun- 
dry, but it was a good deal better than none. 



The next morning we were on the road by 
seven o'clock, headed northward — a direction 
we were not much accustomed to travel in. 
The day was intensely hot and the dust so 
thick that objects ahead could be seen but a 
few feet away. About half past three o'clock 
we arrived in the vicinity of Bealton Station, 
and went into camp in a beautiful green, grassy 
grove of oaks, having marched about fifteen 
miles. There were few men who closed that 
day's march without blistered feet. Several 
cases of sunstroke were reported and some 
deaths. We remained in this grove till the 
next morning, when we took up our line of 
march, now bearing to the eastward in the di- 
rection of Washington. 

Up to this day's march I had stood it re- 
markably well, having kept my place in the 
company every day and been among the first 
to reach camp at night. But this 15th day 
of June, 1863, will be indelibly engraven on 
my memory. We started on our march at 
6 A. M., and following the line of the railroad 
nearly due east we were urged on to the utmost 
limit of human endurance, endeavoring, as we 
afterward learned, to head off Lee and get in 


between him and Washington before he should 
get in between Washington and us. About 
3 P. M., when within about a mile of Bull Run, 
covered with sw'eat and dust, straining every 
nerve to keep my place, I suddenly began to 
get dizzy; I ceased perspiring; cold chills be- 
gan to creep over me ; everything turned dark 
before my eyes ; a deathly, fainting sensation 
came over me. I just remember seeing the 
outlines of a bush by the wayside, and drop- 
ping behind it, and then — a blank. 

When I recovered consciousness the sun 
was low down ; it had grown cooler, and I found 
that some of my comrades who had fallen be- 
hind had come up, and finding me there had 
done what they could to restore me. After 
a while, with their assistance, I managed to get 
along to where the regiment was encamped, 
about a mile ahead. I then began to realize 
that I had suffered a sunstroke, from which I 
have never fully recovered. As good fortune 
would have it, we remained on the banks of the 
famous Bull Run for two or three days, and, the 
Aveather growing cooler, I began to feel much 
better. I was not the only one who suffered ; 
and many fared much worse than I did. 


The forced march was altogether unneces- 
sary, as Lee and his army were many miles 
away beyond the Blue Ridge, headed not for 
Washington, but for the more promising terri- 
tory of southern Pennsylvania. Hooker's fa- 
cilities seemed very imperfect for obtaining 
information concerning the plans, purposes, and 
whereabouts of his wily antagonist. It was a 
blind game on both sides, and caused much un- 
necessary suffering. 

The battlefield of Bull Run, although twice 
the scene of terrific conflicts, bore but few 
signs of the great struggle. Occasionally a 
marked tree, a mound of earth, or pile of stones 
showed traces of the deadly collision. While 
here some of us went up the railroad about a 
mile to the little village of Centerville, made 
memorable by being the place upon which our 
forces retired after the first battle. Here we 
found quite a large number of rebel prisoners, 
taken in some of the recent movements, who 
were awaiting transportation to a place of 
greater security. They didn't seem to feel 
very badly over their misfortune, but joked and 
laughed as merrily as if they were on a picnic, 
realizing that they had gotten rid of a serious job. 



ON our arrival in the vicinity of Bull Run 
we received through the Northern news- 
papers brought into camp the startling informa- 
tion that Lee had invaded Pennsylvania, and that 
his advance was already threatening the capital 
of the State. This information enabled us to 
account for the unceremonious way in which 
we had left the Rappahannock a week before 
and the various movements we had made since. 
One thing, however, puzzled us very much, and 
that was why we were marched nearly to death 
for a few days and then permitted to lie still 
for nearly as long a time. The reason for all 
this appeared afterward to be the great skill 
with which Lee masked his movements, so as 
to keep Hooker in complete ignorance of his 
design. While Lee had crossed over into the 
Shenandoah valley with his main army he had 
seized and occupied the principal gaps through 
the Blue Ridge with his cavalry, and thus 
made it very difficult for Hooker to gain defi- 



nite information concerning his enemy's move- 

About three o'clock in the afternoon of June 
19 we were once more in hne, and after some de- 
lay, waiting for a wagon train, we were put in 
motion with our column headed for the north. 
The forenoon had been very hot and sultry, 
and just as we had fairly got underway masses 
of dark clouds began to loom above the western 
horizon, while the distant rumbling of thunder 
came echoing over the Blue Mountain range, 
increasing every moment in volume as it came 
nearer and nearer, until it seemed as if all the 
artillery of heaven had been unlimbered and 
trained upon us. Old Virginia may be famous 
as being the mother of presidents, but she can 
also get up some of the biggest thunderstorms 
it was ever my lot to witness, and this was a 
little ahead of anything yet on the calendar. 
The rain began to pour down in blinding tor- 
rents, the wind dashing it in our faces till we 
could hardly see to march. After the first 
fierce dash it sobered down a little, and then 
the clouds settled right down to solid business. 
We continued on our way in spite of the 
storm, and after a while it began to grow dark, 


the rain continuing to fall till it actually grew 
so dark that it became impossible for a man t(> 
see his file leader, who was supposed to be less 
than three feet before him. The only way we 
could direct our course wasby the sound of the 
rattling accouterments of our comrades ahead 
of us, or occasionally by their voices, as but 
little was said by anyone, and that little was 
generally expressive of supreme disgust, 
couched in language strongly savoring of pro- 
fanity, and generally aimed at the man who 
was supposed to be directly responsible for all 
this discomfort. 

Suddenly we came to a halt, not in obe- 
dience to any order, but because the head of 
our part of the column had stopped, the first 
intimation of which we had was by coming 
in collision with those ahead of us, a proceed- 
ing not altogether agreeable, as occasionally 
the protruding butt of a musket would come 
in contact with a veteran's head. It made me 
think of the sudden stopping of the forward 
end of a long railway train and the chucking 
together of the cars as they came up in suc- 

Well, we were walking by faith just then, 


and not by sight, for word was passed down 
the h'ne that we were on the wrong road, or 
rather the wrong course, as I had failed to de- 
tect any resemblance to a road for miles past ; 
or, in other words, we were lost, or the brigade 
was lost, and we didn't know which. All this 
time the rain was pouring down, and the 
ground, trodden by hundreds of feet, had be- 
come a veritable bed of mortar. After a while 
our regimental leaders found the right track 
and we resumed our march. O, those weary, 
interminable miles ! Will they never come 
to an end "^ Shall we never reach our destina- 
tion ? 

These thoughts and many others passed 
through our minds as we wearily trudged on, 
on, on, soaked to the skin, hungry, tired, and 
exhausted in body and in mind. 

At last, about midnight, the order was 
given to halt, and in a few moments we began 
to file out in a field to camp for the remainder 
of the night. The ground was soaking wet, al- 
though the rain had nearly ceased, and was 
anything but an inviting couch for wet, weary 
bodies to repose upon. Discovering a small 
barn near by, I decided to establish my head- 


quarters in it, and, climbing up into the loft, 
I dug a hole in a pile of hay, crawled into it, 
and drew over myself a piece of tent canvas 
which was full of water. I was speedily lost 
in profound slumber. 

When I awoke the sun was shining brightly 
in the east. I threw off my covering, and the 
steam rolled up in quite a v^olume. I got up, 
stretched the kinks out of my legs, crawled 
down from my roosting-place, went out into 
a field near by, where the regiment had lain 
in the mud and slept since midnight. We had 
a good deal of trouble in getting anything dry 
enough to burn so we could cook some break- 
fast, of which we stood sadly in need, for we 
had all gone supperless to bed. After a while 
we succeeded in making some coffee and fry- 
ing fat pork. With these and some crackers 
— no longer " hard-tack," for seven hours of a 
Virginia deluge had taken the hardness all out 
of them — we succeeded in making out a break- 
fast. Upon investigation w^e found that we 
had reached a small town nearly north of Cen- j 
terville. It .was called Gum Springs, taking 
its name from some mineral springs in the 


The warm sunshine soon dried the water 
and mud on our clothing, and, moving on 
through the village, we pitched our tents on a 
hillside and went into camp. We were now 
about four miles from Aldie, near one of the 
principal gaps in the Blue Ridge, and which 
was held by the rebel cavalry under Stuart. 

On the morning of the 21st we were startled 
by the sound of heavy cannonading only a few 
miles distant. We were drawn up in line of 
battle, and expected every moment orders to 
advance. The cannonading continued, but 
ceased about noon, and everything became 
quiet. We learned afterward that General 
Pleasanton, in command of our cavalry, had 
made a vigorous attack upon the rebel forces 
holding Snicker's Gap, in order to drive him 
from the position so as to unveil Lee's move- 
ments, and that was the cause of the commo- 
tion we had heard. 

On the 25th of June Lee had moved his 
whole army across the Potomac, and, as soon 
as it became evident that he intended his 
northern movement to be something more 
than a mere raid, we were once more in line 
and headed toward the north star. Wc had 


lain at Gum Springs for five days and had a 
good chance to rest, get our clothes washed, 
and our haversacks replenished with fresh 
rations, and so were in pretty good trim for 
marching. Besides, we were now headed to- 
ward our own homes, and were also fully aware 
that our own State had been invaded and our 
own homes exposed to danger. These to- 
gether supplied an incentive sufficient to keep 
every man in his place to the utmost extent 
of human endurance. We made good time 
that forenoon, and about twelve o'clock halted 
for dinner on a large plantation not far from 
the Potomac. The planter's house was near 
by, and quite a number of the boys made the 
old gentleman a friendly call to inquire con- 
cerning the condition of his flocks and herds. 

Among the other callers was a colored man, 
one of the officers' servants, who, seeing the 
boys in pursuit of some chickens, joined in the 
chase; for didn't his master have a weakness 
for chickens? The Negro succeeded in captur- 
ing a fowl, and on his way to camp he passed 
by the rebel owner's house with his prize 
under his arm. The old man discovered the 
condition of his property, and as the darky 


passed by him he picked up a large stone and 
hurled it with unerring aim at the unsuspect- 
ing fellow, striking him squarely betwixt the 
shoulders, nearly knocking the breath out of 
his body. The Negro gave a jump and uttered 
a big '' O ! " glanced around to see what the 
trouble was, dropped that chicken in short 
meter, and started on a run for camp, making 
such good time that about all that could be 
seen was a black streak, although he was so 
terribly frightened that he actually turned 
pale, at least as pale as he could be. 

After dinner we resumed our march, and 
about two o'clock we reached Edward's Ferry, 
where we found a pontoon bridge laid across 
the Potomac ready for us to cross over into 

Few of my readers ever saw a pontoon 
bridge, or perhaps have much of an idea how 
one is constructed ; therefore I will give a 
short description. First, boats are built with 
flat bottoms, about twenty feet long and three 
to four feet w' ide. These are loaded on wagons 
and are transported wherever needed. When 
it is desired to lay a bridge these boats are 
brought to the water's edge, unloaded, and 


placed in the water about six to eight feet 
apart, with the ends up and down stream, 
where they are securely anchored from both 
ends. Then timbers already fitted are laid 
across these boats from shore to shore, furnish- 
ing stringers upon which the planks are laid, just 
as in any bridge. The ends of the bridge are 
securely fastened to the shore, and then it is 
all ready for business. When crossing these 
bridges an army generally takes what is called 
the route step; that is, they step just as they 
please, without keeping step together, and then 
they will quiver and sway from side to side so 
they appear half drunk. Light artillery and 
baggage and ammunition wagons can safely 
cross them, but they will not support very heavy 
guns. They are in charge of the Engineer 
Corps, who will lay them down and take them 
'up in an incredibly short space of time when 
unmolested by the fire of an enemy. We 
passed on across the river, and were once more 
in the State of Maryland. We continued our 
march, taking a northeasterly direction, keep- 
ing well between the rebel army and Washing- 
ton, and just before dark we reached the vicin- 
ity of Monocacy Creek, where we camped in 


a large wheat field for the night, having 
marched about thirty miles that day. 

The wheat was just turned yellow and was 
about breast high, but was trampled down and 
completely ruined by men and beasts. The 
fields were surrounded by high rail fences, but 
although no soldier took anything but the top 
rail it wasn't an hour before there wasn't a 
vestige of a fence in sight. Rails seemed to be 
perfectly adapted to the wants of soldiers on 
the march. They were always ready cut, were 
generally dry, handy to get at, would make a 
long fire, so that quite a number of men could 
cook coffee or make bean soup over one fire, 
and so far as we were concerned we had no 
other uL'e for them. 

The next morning we were in line at six 
o'clock and resumed our northward journey. 
That day we covered about fifteen miles, and 
about the middle of the afternoon we reached 
what was called the Point of Rocks, on the Bal- 
timore and Ohio Railroad. There was but lit- 
tle straggling, for by this time we had got hard- 
ened to marching, and instead of rushing us 
to death one day and then holding still two 
or three, they kept us steadily at it, and we 


made excellent progress without overtaxing- 
our powers of endurance. 

The next day we took up our line of march 
in good season, and at night encamped near 
Middletown, a small village a few miles south- 
west of Frederick City. Here we first began 
to see evidences of loyalty on the part of the 
inhabitants. That night some young ladies 
came to camp, and one of them sang *' Rally 
Round the Flag, Boys," and other patriotic 
songs. Really it seemed to me that we were 
in another world entirely, as heretofore we had 
invariably been greeted with frowns and in- 
sults by the people with whom we had come 
in contact. The Marylanders were mostly 
glad to see us, for they knew that their prop- 
erty would be safer under our care than if Lee 
got his hands upon it. Their generosity didn't 
extend very deep, however, so far as I could 
see; for the only thing I got on the march 
without paying a good price for it was a cup 
of sour milk which a woman gave me, and it 
had been skimmed at that. 



A GOOD deal has been written as to the 
generous treatment of our army in the 
States of Maryland and Pennsylvania by the 
inhabitants during the Gettysburg campaign. 
Well, I only speak concerning my own per- 
sonal knowledge, and cannot say as to the 
experiences of others in this line ; but, as I 
stated in a former chapter, the only thing I re- 
ceived on the way was a cup of sour milk from 
a woman who stood by the roadside with a 
pailful of that commodity, giving each one a 
cupful as long as it lasted, and, as I said, 
though it was skimmed, it did taste wonder- 
fully good. In nearly every place we passed 
through stands were erected where we could 
buy weak lemonade for ten cents a glass, ginger- 
snaps, pies, cakes, bread, etc., at corresponding 
rates. I paid a woman, after the battle of 
Gettysburg, forty cents for a moderate-sized 
loaf of bread, and another one a half-dollar for 
a loaf of cake that made me so sick I certainly 


thought I should die. The truth is those Penn- 
sylvania Dutch people love money about as 
well as they do beer and whisky, as evidenced 
by the late vote on the constitutional amend- 
ment ; and though they were glad to see us 
it was more on account of what they wanted 
us to do than for any great affection for us, 

Sunday morning, June 28, we reached and 
passed through Frederick City, marching in 
column by companies with bands playing and 
colors flying. The city came out en masse to 
see us, and many of the buildings had been 
decorated with the national colors. Here we 
were joined by our colonel, who had been 
home on a leave of absence and had been look- 
ing for us for several days. General Sickles, 
who had been absent for some weeks, also 
came up with us and resumed command of the 
Third Corps, while General Birney, who had 
commanded the corps in his absence, resumed 
his place at the head of our division. 

Some of our boys who were in the hospital 
at Frederick City when the regiment passed 
through asked permission of the surgeons to 
rejoin the regiment. If there was to be a fight 
in Pennsylvania, they said, they wanted to 


have a hand in it. The surgeons refused to 
give their consent, on the ground that the 
boys were not well enough to endure the hard- 
ships of active campaigning. They therefore 
deserted from the hospital and reported to 
Colonel Madill for duty. As they had no 
guns and equipments they were told to go to 
the hospital and assist the surgeons. No ; 
they did not want to do anything of the kind. 
They had not run away from one hospital to 
go to another, they said ; it would be a strange 
battle if they couldn't get all the arms they 
wanted very soon after it commenced. They 
were therefore allowed to remain with the 
regiment, and were very quickly supplied with 
arms after the battle began. Their names were 
sent to the regiment as deserters afterward, but 
the colonel sent back word that he would get 
along with a whole regiment of such deserters. 
About this time the Army of the Potomac 
had another change of commanding officers. 
General Joe Hooker being relieved of the com- 
mand and General George G. Meade appointed 
in his place. The most of us were not very 
greatly concerned in the change, for changes 
had occurred so often that we had hardly had 


time to become very much attached to any one 
of them. Besides, Hooker had failed at Chan- 
cellorsville, not through any fault of his, only 
that he had placed an incompetent officer in 
charge of a most important point, and he had 
brought disaster upon the whole army. Never- 
theless, Hooker was held responsible for the fail- 
ure, and having been tied down and hampered 
by General H. W. Hallock, commander in 
chief, at Washington, he asked to be relieved, 
and the next day, the 28th, a messenger ar- 
rived from Washington with an order appoint- 
ing General Meade to take the command of 
the army. We didn't know much about Gen- 
eral Meade, and didn't spend anytime in look- 
ing up his history. All we wanted was a fair 
chance at Lee's army, and we felt confident 
that we could demolish it. General Meade^ 
has been greatly applauded and has received 
unstinted praise for winning the battle of Get- 
tysburg, when the truth is he had but little to 
do with it. He did not choose either the time 
or the place of the battle, and all the disposi- 
tions made after it began could have been made 
by multitudes of private soldiers in the ranks. 
Monday morning, the 29th, we were in mo- 


tioii at 5:30, and that day we were detailed as 

rear guard, a most difficult post to fill, as it was 

our business to pick up all stragglers and send 

them on to their regiments. Previous to this 

day's march there had been but little straggling, 

especially since crossing the Potomac, but by 

some means a considerable number of the boys 

in the corps had procured whisky, and instead 

of its being a help to them on the march it 

proved to be a hindrance, for they grew very 

tired before they had gone a half-dozen miles. 

Some of them were too drunk to travel, and 

had to be left behind. That day we marched 

about twenty miles, and at night we encamped 

near Taneytown, in northern Maryland, and 

near the spot where Meade intended to fight 

the coming battle. That night our camp was 

thronged with citizens — largely ladies — and 

they gave us a most cordial reception. Two 

little girls sang*' Maryland, My Maryland," and 

other patriotic songs, which greatly cheered and 

encouraged us. The next morning, owing to 

some change in Meade's plans, we got orders 

to retrace our steps, and passing back through 

Taneytown we started off in a westerly course 

toward Emmitsburg. 


A day or two before this some of our scouts 
had captured a rebel spy. He was tried by 
drumhead court martial, the most positive 
evidence was found upon him, and he was sen- 
tenced to be hung forthwith. This sentence 
was immediately carried out, and he was sus- 
pended from a tree a little way off from the 
road between Frederick City and Taneytown. 
We saw his body still hanging to the tree as 
we passed by. 

We reached Emmitsburg about dark, where 
Sickles had been ordered to concentrate his 
corps, occupying the town. It was Meade's 
plan to fight in this vicinity. We remained 
here till noon of July i, when we received a 
dispatch from General Howard from Gettys- 
burg calling loudly for assistance. Sickles's 
last orders were to occupy Emmitsburg, but 
he was not the man to stand on technicalities 
when he was needed for solid business. We 
therefore were soon set in motion, with our 
faces turned toward Gettysburg. We had gone 
but a few miles before the thunder of heavy 
artillery fell upon our ears. Our progress was 
necessarily slow, as it had been raining more 
or less for two days past, and two army corps 



had already passed over the same road with 
artillery and wagon trains, making the roads 
fearfully muddy and soft. But we knew there 
were important matters ahead demanding our 
immediate presence, and so we struggled on- 
ward, passing the boundary line in the after- 
noon, and were once more on the free soil of our 
own Pennsylvania. The sound of battle gradu- 
ally died away, and when we reached the vicin- 
ity of Gettysburg, about dark, the first day's 
fight was over, with the advantage largely in 
favor of the Confederate army. All was quiet 
that night, and, wearied and exhausted by our 
long and hard march, we ate a few cracker and 
pork sandwiches, drank a cup of coffee, and lay 
down to sleep, not knowing what the morrow 
would bring forth. Alas ! before the setting 
of another sun many of our number were 
sleeping the long last sleep, only to be broken 
by the sound of the archangel's trumpet. 

It would seem to those engaged in the 
peaceful affairs of life that it would be impossi- 
ble for men to lie down and sleep soundly and 
quietly on the eve of a great battle in which 
they -were certain of being engaged, and where 
they stood at least one chance out of two of 


being killed or terribly wounded. My own ex- 
perience was that I slept as profoundly under 
such circumstances as I ever did in my life, 
and I do not suppose that, with the exception 
of those high in authority, upon whom devolved 
the responsibility of making the necessary dis- 
positions of the different parts of the army, a 
dozen men in the whole army lay awake that 
night considering their chances in the coming 

Thursday morning, the 2d, we were awake 
in good season, but it was not till about nine 
o'clock that we had orders to change our posi- 
tion. In the meantime we had plenty of time 
to get our breakfasts, and while waiting for 
future developments we three who messed to- 
gether, namely, Jimmy Lunger, Oliver Morse, 
and myself, concluded we would have some- 
thing extra in honor of our first breakfast in 
the old Keystone State. So Oliver went to a 
farmhouse near by and bought some wheat 
flour, and Jim, having a small tin pail, mixed 
up some flour and water with a little salt, pro- 
posing to have some wheat pancakes. A tin 
plate with a split stick stuck on the edge for a 
handle answered for a griddle. The cakes were 


pretty heavy and decidedly thick, and Jim put 
them on the full size of the plate, so that one 
apiece was all that we needed. Jim said that 
they would go better while warm (and they did), 
so that we had better forego all attention to 
table etiquette and eat ours while fresh from 
the griddle. We followed out the suggestion 
of our chief cook, but just as Jim was getting 
ready to bake his cake the bugle sounded the 
call to fall in, and Jim, determined not to be 
cheated out of his cake, left it in his pail. Tak- 
ing our places, we advanced some hundred 
yards to the front. Here we waited for some 
time and then made another advance and 
stacked arms in a corn field. By and by the 
skirmishers got to work in our front, and the 
rebel shells began to come over, paying us their 
respects. The regiment stood in line behind 
their guns, which were stacked, but my posi- 
tion (I was a sergeant) was directly in the rear 
of the ranks. By this time Jim began to con- 
clude that his cake was all dough, so he, also 
being in the rear of the line, scraped away the 
dirt with his foot, and, pouring out his batter 
into the hollow, covered it up again. It was 
a veritable masked battery, and Jim little 


dreamed of the mischief it was destined to 

Soon afterward the command came to *' cov- 
er," and down we all got, flat on our faces, so 
as to give the rebel shells plenty of room to 
operate over our heads. Now it so happened 
that a certain corporal of our company, when 
he threw himself down on the bosom of his 
mother earth, landed his stomach directly in 
the midst of Jim's masked battery, which was 
speedily uncovered. The corporal was so 
busily engaged in dodging the rebel shells 
that he didn't take any particular notice of the 
moisture in the region of his stomach and legs, 
but lay there for some time wallowing around 
in the poultice till nearly his whole anterior 
surface was overspread with a mixture of flour, 
water, and dirt. Suddenly the order came, 
** Attention ! " and every man sprang to his 
feet. It was then the luckless corporal first 
discovered the plight he was in. No one but 
myself had seen Jim plant his battery, so no 
one else knew where the corporal had got his 
extra rations. But wasn't he mad, though? 
He wasn't given to profanity, as many soldiers 
were, or he would have made the atmosphere 


blue around there. He finally took his knife 
and scraped off as much of the corn field as he 
could, and the order to advance being given 
he waited for the balance to get dry before 
rubbing it off. Just then a battery of twelve- 
pounders went past us on a gallop and were 
unlimbered and planted along the crossroad 
leading from Little Round Top and inter- 
secting the Emmitsburg pike at the Peach 

Behind this battery we were placed as in- 
fantry supports, and the contest was fairly 
opened. Our guns opened fire upon the ene- 
my, and at once drew the fire of several rebel 
batteries upon us. The shells came from three 
different directions, converging at the point 
where we lay. They seemed to rake the very 
earth itself, threatening to sweep us all to utter 
destruction. Volunteers were called for to 
carry shells from the ammunition chests to the 
guns, as several artillerymen had been disabled, 
and that left them short of help. As many 
as could help responded, and so the furious 
conflict raged on with unabated fury. 



OIT was perfectly awful to lie there pas- 
' sively and helplessly exposed to that 
fearful vortex of fire ! It seemed to me that 
every shell was intended for me personally, 
and was coming straight at me ; and so it 
seemed to all the other soldiers. However, as 
the shells traveled faster than the sound, by 
the time they got where we could hear them 
they were so far past us as to be harmless so 
far as we w^ere concerned. Many burst in the 
air and scattered fragments in every direction ; 
others struck the ground, throwing a shower 
of mud and stones high in the air. For more 
than an hour we remained in this position, un- 
der the concentrated fire of several rebel bat- 
teries, coming from different directions. We 
were then in line facing the south, with the 
Emmitsburg road on our right flank, while our 
left extended in the direction of Little Round 
Top. That morning, when General Sickles 
reported at headquarters for orders, General 


Meade directed him to occupy the position 
which had been held by General Geary, but 
who had withdrawn his command to another 
part of the field. This officer had already va- 
cated his position, and, there being no one to 
give Sickles the necessary directions, he was 
obliged to use his own judgment in choosing a 
line which he could hold to the best advantage. 
He therefore formed his line, commencing on 
the right along the Emmitsburg road, the 
point held by the left of the Second Corps, 
thence south along the above named road, to 
the Peach Orchard, where this road was inter- 
sected at right angles by a crossroad coming 
from the direction of the Little Round Top. 
Here our line turned a square corner, extend- 
ing along this crossroad and reaching the 
vicinity of what is known as the Devil's Den. 
The angle formed by this disposition extended 
more than half a mile in advance of our main 
line, and it was the apex of this angle which 
we occupied during the time we were sup- 
porting this battery and also in the subsequent 
fight. Longstreet was not slow in discover- 
ing the weak point in our position, and 
during the afternoon he massed his whole 


corps for a sudden onslaught on our part of 
the line. 

About four o'clock the battery in our front, 
having exhausted its ammunition, was with- 
drawn and the command *' Attention ! " rang 
out along the line. Nearly every man sprang 
to his feet. There was one soldier I distinctly 
remember who got up on all fours, but who 
was so badly frightened he couldn't stand up 
straight. '' Get up there," I shouted to him. 
*' I can't do it," he replied, and it was really 
ludicrous to see him in that position, ducking 
his head every time a shell came over. Just 
then the order rang out sharp and clear above 
the tumult of battle : *' Charge ! Forward, 
guide center, charge ! " And on we went, 
rushing on through the Peach Orchard, where 
we struck a rebel column on its flank as it was 
pushing on toward Round Top in hot haste 
to get possession of that key of the whole 
Union line. We immediately opened fire 
upon the enemy, and poured out a tempest 
of leaden hail upon them. So deadly and un- 
expected was our assault that the enemy 
halted, reeled, and staggered like drunken men, 
then scattered and ran in every direction like 



a flock of frightened sheep. We gave several 
rousing cheers and felt decidedly good. As 
we afterward found, we had delayed the re- 
inforcements sent to assist the rebel troops, 
which were making desperate efforts to drive our 
forces from Little Round Top, a result which 
would have been most disastrous to our army, 
as it would have rendered our whole line un- 
tenable, as batteries upon that eminence com- 
manded nearly the whole Federal line. As it 
was, we delayed the rebel column until our 
forces had gained a firm footing upon the sum- 
n]it of Little Round Top, and thus contributed 
largely to the great victory which followed. 

But our rejoicing was of short duration. 
Longstreet was now ready to strike our already 
decimated and exposed column. The first we 
knew the enemy appeared upon our right flank 
in three solid lines of fresh veteran soldiers. 
Before they opened fire upon us we made a 
right face, filed to the right, and changed our 
regimental line from facing to the south to fac- 
ing to the west. The Third Maine Regiment, 
which had been on our right, and the Third 
Michigan, on our left, had both retired, as had 
also every regiment in the brigade, and there 


we stood, a little handful of one hundred and 
eighty men arrayed against two full rebel 
brigades. The rebel column came in full view 
along the Emmitsburg road, where there was 
a board fence. 

*' Hadn't we better get out of this ?" anx- 
iously inquired one of our captains of Colonel 

*' I have no orders to leave here," was the 
reply. *' If I had my full regiment here we 
could whip the whole crew," he added. 

Now some of our boys open fire upon the 
enemy, when Major Spaulding shouts, *' Cease 
firing, boys ; those are our own men." At that 
moment a little breeze unfolded the flag in our 
front, and George Forbes, of our company, 
shouted out, *' They are rebels, major; I see 
their flag." And raising his gun he took de- 
liberate aim and fired. The firing now became 
general all along our lines on both sides. At 
the first rebel volley thirty of our little band 
fell to the ground either dead or wounded. 
Nothing daunted, we continued to pour into 
their solid ranks the death-dealing missiles, 
while the rebel bullets cut the air around us 
like hail. Our colors went down, but were again 


raised to the breeze. Again they fell, when 
they were seized by the firm hand of Colonel 
Madill and again they floated in the air. They 
were riddled by rebel bullets and torn by rebel 
shells, but they did not fall again. 

General Sickles received a wound which 
shattered his leg, and he was carried bleeding 
from the field, the command devolving upon 
General Birney. General Graham fell severely 
wounded and was a prisoner in the hands of 
the enemy. Our gallant Major Spaulding re- 
ceived a severe wound, and while being carried 
off the field was struck again by a ball which 
shattered his thigh. The enemy was pressing 
closely, and he was left under a tree, where he 
was made a prisoner and taken to the rebel 
field hospital, where his leg was amputated. 
He lingered in great agony till the 27th of 
July, when he died. 

Our ranks were growing fearfully thin, and 
no help appeared. The word was passed along 
to fall back slowly ; which we did, rallying oc- 
casionally to give the advancing foe another 
volley. After falling back a few rods I looked 
up, and a little to my left and front I saw two 
rebels kneeling on the ground, either taking 


that position to get better aim or, as I thought 
at the time, engaged in robbing our dead. I 
raised my gun, and just as I was drawing a bead 
on them, zip ! went a bullet through the leg of 
my pants so close to my ankle as to singe and 
burn it, but it did no serious damage. I low- 
ered my gun a moment to ascertain the amount 
of damage done, and then raised it again, took 
deliberate aim, and fired. When the smoke 
disappeared they had both disappeared also, 
but of course I could not tell whether I hit 
them or not. 

Wc continued to retire slowly, keeping up 
a constant fire upon the enemy till w^e reached 
the point we had started from in the morning, 
where we were met by a division of the Sixth 
Corps, which took our place in the line and 
succeeded in staying the rebel advance. 

While supporting the battery one of the boys 
not on duty took several of our canteens and 
went for water, but did not get back till after 
the fight. Biting off cartridges and inhaling 
so much gunpowder smoke created a fearful 
thirst, so it seemed as if I could scarcely en- 
dure it. On our line of retreat I passed 
by a mud-puddle by the wayside. I took my 



tin cup and, dipping it full of water and mud, 
drank it down without stopping. Water never 
tasted better anywhere than that did. When 
we reached a stopping place there were to- 
gether just nineteen men, including three com- 
missioned officers besides the colonel. 

The reinforcements promised us at first had 
been sent to save Round Top from falling into 
the hands of the enemy. We could distinctly 
hear the tumult of battle raging fiercely in 
that direction. Gradually the firing slackened, 
and as the shades of night settled around us 
it ceased altogether, and both armies, seem- 
ingly exhausted by the fierce struggle, reposed 
upon the battlefield. We had left upon the 
field twenty- seven men dead ; five officers were 
severely wounded, and one hundred and twenty- 
one men were wounded or missing. Most of 
the latter were killed, as none of our men were 
taken prisoners unless wounded, and many 
of the wounded afterward died. Total killed, 
wounded, and missing, one hundred and fifty- 
three, out of a total for duty of two hundred 
men. That night we remained upon the field, 
and after dark a wagon loaded with supplies 
reached us. The several companies were called 


in order by their respective letters. Some 
companies drew for four men, some for five, 
some for six, till Company K was called. A 
man jumped up and said, '' I'm Company K." 
And sure enough, he was the only man present 
to represent that company. He was captain, 
lieutenant, noncommissioned officer, and pri- 
vate all by himself. By the next day several 
who had become separated from the regiment 
in the tumult and confusion came up, but then 
we had less than half a company all told. 

The Third Corps, having suffered so severely, 
was held in reserve during the third day's fight, 
but our position was anything but a pleasant 
one, as we were still under fire and were kept 
running back and forth, strengthening weak 
points wherever needed. Shortly after noon 
we were posted near the cemetery, when the 
most terrible artillery battle that ever shook 
this continent occurred, the number of guns 
engaged on both sides being more than three 
hundred. For about three hours this terrific 
storm of iron hail continued, but this was only 
the prelude to a still more desperate struggle 
which was to come. Suddenly the rebel guns 
became silent, as if totally exhausted by their 


mighty effort ; then the Union guns gradually 
slackened their fire, when from the woods, 
three quarters of a mile away, in front of the 
Second Corps, long lines of Confederate soldiers 
were seen emerging. Dressing up their lines 
as deliberately as if on dress parade, they made 
their preparations for the struggle, which was 
to be one of life or death to the Confederacy. 
When all was ready for the advance the order 
was given, and twelve thousand men, the flower 
of the rebel army, under the command of Gen- 
eral Pickett, with glistening bayonets started on 
the march of final destiny. Mighty issues for 
the weal or woe of the human race hung on the 
results of the coming encounter. Every Union 
soldier seemed to understand the mighty re- 
sponsibility resting upon him. He grasped his 
musket with firmer grip, set his teeth, and 
watched the advance of his enemies sweeping 
in long lines, like the undulating waves of the 
sea across the wide space of meadow-land be- 
fore him. Not a musket was fired ; but now 
the Union artillery posted on the prominent 
points along Cemetery Ridge opened fire, 
throwing their shells with deadly precision into 

the enemy's ranks, making huge gaps which 


were immediately closed up, but not causing a 
moment's hesitation in the onward movement. 
On, on they came, like a huge tidal wave, heed- 
less of the mighty storm of deadly missiles 
sweeping through their ranks from our bat- 
teries, till they had reached a point fairly 
within range of the Union rifles. Now the 
order comes ringing down our lines, ^' Ready, 
aim, fire ! " and from the throats of thousands 
of loyal muskets there leap crimson tongues of 
fire, and thousands of bullets are sent on their 
deadly errands. The smoke cleared away in a 
moment, but lo ! the ground was thickly strewn 
with writhing and bleeding forms. For a mo- 
ment the rebel lines halted, wavered, trembled ; 
then, closing up on the center, with tremendous 
strides they rushed for the Union lines. And 
now the struggle is hand to hand, musket 
to musket, till friends and foes are mingled 
together in undistinguishable confusion. Again 
the old Third Corps came to the rescue, striking 
the charging column on its left, while the First 
Corps assailed the enemy on his right, the rebel 
supports having already given way. 

When General Pickett saw hundreds of his 
men throwing down their arms and surren- 


dering to the Union forces, which nearly sur- 
rounded them, with a sad, heavy heart he 
ordered a retreat. 

More than two thousand prisoners were cap- 
tured, besides the thousands who were killed 
and wounded. 

As the shattered rebel columns retreated 
across that open space they were greeted with 
a farewell salute from our lines, and hundreds 
fell on the retreat. Then there arose from the 
Union lines a mighty shout of victory, fol- 
lowed by another and another, till from hilltop 
to hilltop the notes of triumph rolled along, 
strangely mingling with the roar of the huge 
guns which were still dealing death and de- 
struction to the retreating foe. 



WHEN the sun of that long hot July day 
had retired behind the western hills, 
and the shades of coming darkness had spread 
themselves over those blood-red fields of car- 
nage, the great struggle had come to an end 
and a great victory, decisive and complete, had 
been won by the hosts of freedom. But O, at 
what a fearful cost ! While the glorious news 
went flashing over the electric wires to every 
city and hamlet throughout the entire North, 
the evening stars were looking peacefully down 
upon scenes of utmost horror and indescrib- 
able suffering. All along that battle line, ex- 
tending at least ten miles, were scattered the 
forms of human beings, lately in the full bloom 
of youthful and manly vigor, but now multi- 
tudes were utterly silent and totally uncon- 
scious to all earthly surroundings, " resting 
where they wearied and lying where they 
fell ; " while greater numbers, with bodies torn 
and rent, were lying there mangled, bleed- 



inor, burnincr with thirst and weak with loss 
of blood, thinkin-g of peaceful homes, wives, 
children, parents, brothers, and sisters, and 
wondering if help would ever come. 

All that night relief parties were* searching 
every part of that field where it could be done 
without drawing the enemy's fire, and by morn- 
ing a large portion of our wounded were gath- 
ered into the field hospitals, where the surgeons 
were busily engaged in repairing, as far as they 
could, the deadly work of the previous day. 

Morning came, ushering in the anniversary 
of our national independence and bringing 
good cheer and renewed hopes into the hearts 
of many stricken heroes who had not yet been 
gathered in from the harvest fields of death. 
Burial parties were sent out who dug shallow 
trenches in the most convenient places, and in 
these the slain of both armies were laid in long 
rows, and then covered over with the same 
earth they had moistened with their warm, 
generous life-blood. 

I walked over a part of the battlefield and 
watched the burial parties at their work. One 
thing peculiar struck me, and that was the dif- 
ference in appearance of the dead soldiers 


of the two armies. The rebel dead retained 
nearly their natural appearance, while our dead 
had almost invariably turned a very dark pur- 
ple in the face. Why it was so I could not 
even guess. I came to the body of a Confed- 
erate soldier, and seeing a tin cup fastened to 
his haversack I unbuttoned it and kept it as 
a relic of the war. On the outside it was 
stained with his blood and bore the marks of 
hard service. I looked across what is now 
called the Valley of Death and saw many hun- 
dreds of horses which had also fallen in the 
terrific struggle. These were bloated and 
swollen as large as the skin could hold and 
were already creating a fearful stench. I next 
went to our Third Corps hospital to see some 
of our boys who had been wounded. Just as 
1 arrived an attendant was carrying out a 
wheelbarrow load of bare arms and legs which 
the surgeons had just been amputating. It 
was the most horrid sight I had yet witnessed, 
and I involuntarily turned away from it. I 
found several of our company here more or 
less severely wounded. One young man, 
William Chamberlain, lay on a stretcher to- 
tally unconscious, his life rapidly ebbing away. 


I wrote a note to his father, who resided at 
Wysox, Pa., informing him of his son's con- 
dition. The poor fellow lingered till Tuesday, 
the 7th, when he quietly breathed his last. 
His remains were taken home by some of his 
neighbors who were visiting the battlefield, 
and were committed to rest amid the green 
hills of his own native State. 

My tentmate, Oliver Morse, whom I have 
previously mentioned, was first reported miss- 
ing, but there is no doubt that he fell dead at 
the first volley we received from Longstreet's 
men. We had been schoolmates and play- 
mates together from boyhood, had enlisted at 
the same time, and so far had been together 
all through our army life. He had gone out 
as a musician, and had he remained in the 
band would not necessarily have been exposed 
to much danger, as it was the musician's duty 
in time of action to help take care of the 
wounded ; but after our ranks had become so 
thinned out he voluntarily took a gun, and for 
several months had served in the ranks, doing 
his duty faithfully and cheerfully, till he fell 
upon the soil of his native State, a martyr to 
the cause of human freedom. 


Had Pickett's bold charge and disas- 
trous defeat been promptly followed up by 
an immediate countercharge by all the Union 
forces available there is little doubt that 
Lee's army would have been entirely annihi- 
lated. But General Meade was a little inclined 
to be overcautious in the presence of an 
enemy, a fact which Sickles was very sus- 
picious of when he placed our line so far in 
advance as to almost certainly insure an attack 
from the enemy. Sickles was full of fight, and 
nothing pleased him better than to stir up a 
muss with the rebels. He knew that if the 
battle once commenced Meade would have to 
fight whether he wanted to or not. But he 
got all he wanted that time, and has gone on 
crutches for the past thirty years as the result 
of getting into that fight. 

After the battle was over we came across 
some of the Pennsylvania militia, who had been 
called out for thirty days by Governor Curtin 
to assist in repelling the great invasion. They 
were the sickest, sorriest, most forlorn set of 
fellows I ever saw. They had just got a little 
taste of soldiering, just enough to make them 
thoroughly disgusted with the whole business. 


and they were every one of them heartily tired 
of war, and having been away from home two 
whole weeks they were anxiously longing for 
the time to come when they would be per- 
mitted to return to the peaceful shades of 
home life and once more greet and embrace 
their wives, children, parents, and sweethearts. 
One young man whom I knew hardly stopped 
to doff his uniform after getting home before 
he packed his grip and left for more peaceful 
climes, beyond the reach of Uncle Abe's proc- 
lamations or of cruel drafts. To this day if 
you want to hear a big war story just stir up 
some thirty days' militiamen from the old 
Keystone State. 

During our first winter in camp the writer's 
father paid us a visit, and of course we were 
very glad to see him, and the next day we 
thought we would observe the occasion by 
giving a grand banquet in his honor. 

So we had hard-tack on toast, or toasted 
hard-tack, and a fine lot of fricasseed pork and 
some Old Government Java coffee, without 
milk, and a good big pailful of cooked rice for 
the first course ; and for the second course we 
had just the same, only in reversed order, and 


so on through the whole six courses. And we 
supposed, of course, that our honored guest 
would feel highly complimented by the atten- 
tion we had bestowed upon him, but before he 
had got halfway through the first course he 
laid down his tin spoon, and with a look of un- 
utterable disgust remarked, '' O, if I could only 
sit down to mother's table once more I would 
be so thankful ! " 

Of course we felt sorry for him, and expressed 
our sympathy by a hearty laugh at his expense, 
then told him that we thought he ought to stand 
such fare two or three days if we could as 
many years. 

On the afternoon of July 4, while waiting 
for Lee to get his army out of our way, we 
received news of the capture of Vicksburg 
by General Grant. It would be impossible to 
give even a faint description of the enthusiasm 
with which this news was received by our brave 
boys. We swung our hats and cheered our- 
selves hoarse. It really seemed as if the tide 
was actually turning in our favor, and that the 
beginning of the end had at last appeared. I 
really believe that if Grant had been at Gettys- 
burg that Fourth of July, to have led our army, 


under the inspiration of the two great victories 
we could have pulverized Lee's whole force in 
short order. 

Shortly after noon the usual Fourth of July 
thunder shower came up, and for more than two 
hours the rain poured down in torrents. This 
shower was only the prelude to several others 
which came up in quick succession. All that 
afternoon and part of the succeeding night the 
rain continued. We concluded that it was a 
providential dispensation to raise the Potomac 
so high that Lee could not get back into Vir- 
ginia until we had had time to finish him up. 
Lee's army continued to show a bold front, 
and spent the entire day in fortifying its posi- 
tion on Seminary Ridge. During this interval 
our army was furnished with much-needed sup- 
plies. Many of the boys who had become 
separated from their regiments came up, until 
our regiment numbered about fifty men. Our 
officers sent in their official reports of the part 
their commands took in the battle, and I here 
copy a portion of Colonel Madill's report con- 
cerning the work we had done. He says : 
" Of the conduct of the officers and men I am 
happy to say that they are all entitled to great 


credit. Not one of my men failed me under 
the trying circumstances, and to my officers I 
am under great obligations for their coolness 
and efficiency under the terrible ordeal of bat- 
tle. . . . The history of this regiment is a short, 
sad, eventful, yet a glorious one. No regiment 
in the army has done so much and sacrificed 
so much as this. In a less period than ten 
months it has lost nearly seven hundred men, 
who have sacrificed their lives, shed their blood, 
and ruined their health in the service of their 

On the morning of July 5 it became evident 
that Lee's army was falling back, although the 
fortifications on Seminary Ridge were still 
occupied. Consequently we received orders 
to be ready to march at a moment's notice. 
We did not move, however, till Tuesday morn- 
ing, the 7th, when we were called in line at 
four o'clock, and taking the back track we 
were again following Lee's army, although in 
a different direction and under different cir- 
cumstances. It had been raining nearly every 
day since the battle, and consequently the 
roads were exceedingly slippery and heavy, 
making our progress necessarily slow and la- 


borious. We passed through Frederick City 
on the 8th, and reached Middletown that 
night. The next morning we pressed on in a 
westerly course. At Frederick City our corps 
had been reinforced by about four thousand 
men under Major General French, and this 
additional force formed the Third Division of 
our corps. We pushed on, marching nearly 
every day, till we crossed the Antietam Creek 
and reached the famous battlefield of that 
name. Soon after this we were drawn up in 
line facing the enemy, who had made a stand, 
occupying a strong defensive position. We 
maneuvered here a while, and then found that 
the enemy had vacated his position and fallen 
back. We kept following on, generally keep- 
ing at a respectful distance, until we finally 
learned that Lee had succeeded in getting 
nearly the whole of the remnant of his army 
back into Virginia. 



IT was my privilege to revisit the battlefield 
of Gettysburg during the great reunion of 
the Blue and the Gray in the first days of 
July, 1888. My route lay from New Milford, 
Pa., via Scranton, thence to Northumberland, 
where we took the Northern Central Road to 
Harrisburg. From the latter place we took 
the Cumberland Valley Railroad to Gettys- 
burg. The Cumberland Valley is by far the 
finest part of the old Keystone State I have 
seen. Broad, well-cultivated fields stretched 
out on either side as far as the eye could reach, 
interspersed with fine groves and orchards and 
dotted with large, commodious farmhouses, 
many of them being of brick, with large, com- 
fortable barns, while in the broad green pas- 
tures hundreds of highly bred horses, cattle, 
and sheep grazed in contentment and peace. 
No wonder, I thought, that this rich and fer- 
tile valley should furnish a strong temptation 
to Lee's impoverished and hungry army to 


leave their own desolated and ravaged coun- 
try and seek to replenish their stores from 
these abundant sources. 

As we n eared Gettysburg the country be- 
came more broken and hilly, very much of the 
land becoming untillable and the soil appear- 
ing to be much less fertile. 

We arrived in Gettysburg about seven 
o'clock in the evening of the 2d of July, and, 
having secured quarters in a private family at 
one dollar and a quarter per day, after a good 
supper we strolled out to take a view of the 
town which has given its name to one of the 
world's greatest and most decisive battles. 

Gettysburg is a dull, sleepy old town of four 
thousand or five thousand inhabitants, the 
most of whom seem to get their living from 
visitors who come from all quarters to look 
over the battlefield, either by furnishing them 
board or conveyances, or selling relics, badges, 

The dwelling-houses are nearly all built on 
a line with the sidewalks, which are paved 
with brick ; consequently they have no front 
yards, but the doors open directly into the 
street. The people all have a peculiar brogue, 


which gives a Northerner the impression that 
they are foreigners, while in fact many of them 
are descendants of American born parentage 
for several generations. 

Gettysburg is situated on the north slope of 
what has become widely known as Cemetery 
Ridge, but it extends across the valley toward 
another range of low hills lying southwest of 
the town, and known as Seminary Ridge, from 
the fact that a Lutheran seminary occupies a 
commanding site on the ridge. General Lee 
occupied this building as his headquarters dur- 
ing the battle, and from the observatory on 
the top he watched through his field glass the 
charge of Pickett on the last day, and when he 
saw him hurled back, crushed and defeated, he 
is said to have remarked to an English officer 
at his side, " All is lost ! " and with a heavy 
heart gave the order for retreat. 

The town and surrounding country fairly 
thronged with people, a majority being Union 
veterans, but there were immense numbers of 
citizens, and especially ladies, from all parts of 
the country. As far as the reunion of the 
Gray was concerned it was almost a failure, as 
I do not believe there were over five hundred 


ex-Confederate soldiers on the ground all told. 
The truth is that the rebel soldiers have no 
great desire to visit the place where they got 
so thoroughly whipped : besides, if they had 
such a desire, the great majority of the rank 
and file are poor, and being widely scattered 
over the South it is very difficult for them to 
come so far. The Cumberland Valley Rail- 
road Company has built a road from their 
depot in Gettysburg to the foot of Little 
Round Top, a distance of about three miles, 
and during the excursion season trains are run 
at frequent intervals to accommodate the thou- 
sands who visit the battlefield. 

Early on the morning of July 3 I was on 
board the train and on my way to Little 
Round Top, which is a bare, rocky, sugar- 
loaf-shaped elevation, rising a few hundred feet 
above the surrounding country and overlook- 
ing a large part of the line of battle. About 
a half-mile to the south and west is what was 
known as the Devil's Den, a rough, rocky ridge 
where huge bowlders are piled one upon an- 
other and forming an admirable position for 
offensive or defensive warfare. At one point 

two huge rocks are lying side by side with a 


space of a few feet betwixt them, while on top 
of these and overlapping them both is another 
huge rock which projects some feet over the 
other two on the front side. In front of the 
crevice is a smaller rock extending nearly up 
to the large one overhead. This rocky fortress 
formed an admirable position for the rebel 
sharpshooters to operate, and during the after- 
noon of the second day's fight they amused 
themselves by picking off our artillerymen on 
Little Round Top. One fellow especially got 
in between those large rocks and played the 
very mischief with our men, till one of our 
twelve-pounders sent a shell directly into his 
place of retreat, which, exploding, made the 
fellow think that the end of the world had 
come, as indeed it had to him and two or 
three others, who were found dead in there 
after the fight was over. 

Around the brow of Round Top our men 
threw up a line or two of stone breastworks 
for defense, and these are still preserv^ed in as 
nearly the original position as possible. Sev- 
eral cannon are also in position here, and on 
the very summit some artillery company has 
erected a very fine monument. Between the 



Round Top and the Devil's Den is a wide, 
open valley through which runs a small stream 
called Plum Run. This region is known by 
the suggestive name of the Valley of Death. 
It was the scene of a most terrific struggle, 
having been fought over several times during 
the fight. Across this valley our soldiers 
charged in an unsuccessful attempt to dislodge 
the rebels from Devil's Den, and in return 
they charged across the same space in^ at- 
tempting to get possession of Little Round 
Top. When the fight was over the Valley of 
Death was strewn with the dead of both ar- 
mies, almost as thick as autumn leaves. 

But the principal point of interest to me was 
the Peach Orchard. I wanted to visit that 
bloody angle again where so many of my 
brave comrades fell and with their best blood 
forever consecrated that soil to freedom. I 
also wanted to visit the spot in the corn field 
where Jimmy Lunger planted his battery to 
see if any young batteries had come up. So 
leaving Little Round Top I passed down 
across the Valley of Death in a westerly direc- 
tion to the place known as the Wheat Field, 
where the Second Division of our corps had a 


most bloody fight at the same time we were 
engaged in the Peach Orchard. 

I found a large encampment of New Jersey 
troops, whose transportation had been furnished 
by the State, and many of whom had dedicated 
monuments, which had also been provided by 
the State. At length, after half an hour's walk 
through the dust, I arrived at the historic spot. 
The old peach orchard had disappeared long 
ago, and a new one, now loaded with half- 
grown fruit, had taken its place. The corn 
field had disappeared, had given place to a 
meadow. The house which had stood in the 
angle was gone, and a larger one had been 
erected on the spot. Many local features had 
changed, but the general topography of the 
place appeared the same as when twenty-five 
years ago two mighty armies had met in deadly 
hostility. A wonderful contrast existed be- 
tween those two visits. Now all was quiet 
and peaceful. The broad green fields were 
smiling under the gentle reign of peace, while 
the birds warbled their sweetest notes and 
everything seemed glad and happy. Then 
the very earth trembled and shook beneath 
the tread of contending hosts ; the fruits of 


industry were trodden under foot ; the af- 
frighted birds flew away in terror, while the 
air vibrated with the mighty thunders of war. 
After wandering over the ground for some 
time and cutting a memento in the shape of a 
cane from a peach tree, and finding the markers 
which had been placed to designate the places 
where we fought, I took the Emmitsburg pike 
and started on my return to town. It was 
getting near noon, and, to tell the truth, I was 
getting hungry, and as Jim was not there to 
bake some of his wheat pancakes my only 
chance seemed to be to get back to my head- 
quarters as soon as possible. Passing on to- 
ward Gettysburg, I soon reached the house 
where General Sickles had his headquarters 
during the first part of the fight. Passing 
around to the east side, \o ! from the same 
window from which it was suspended twenty- 
five years before hung the old corps battle 
flag. In a few moments a carriage drove up, 
and among the occupants were Generals Long- 
street and Sickles sitting side by side chatting 
as pleasantly and friendly as if they had been 
brothers. Alighting from the carriage, they 
were immediately surrounded by a group of 


soldiers anxious to shake hands with the dis- 
tinguished chieftains. Taking General Long- 
street's hand, I said, "General, you made it de- 
cidedly hot for us here twenty-five years ago." 
^' Yes," he replied, " and we had no cause to 
complain of you on that score." After a few 
moments of general conversation some of Gen- 
eral Sickles's aids came out of the house with 
several suspicious-looking bottles and some 
glasses in their hands, which they placed on 
the table in the yard. They said they con- 
tained ////z^//, and General Sickles invited Long- 
street in with the remark, " Twenty-five years 
ago, general, we were punching each other 
back and forth over this ground ; now come in 
and let xne punch you again." 

I had no sympathy with that part of the 
program, and turning on my heel I left in 
supreme disgust, actually ashamed that two 
opposing generals could not meet in reunion 
without indulging in the accursed cup in order 
to heighten the tone of their fraternal feelings. 

And by the way, I have no doubt that 
whisky constituted an important element in 
originating and carrying on the war. In nearly 
every Southern convention the delegates, under 


the maddening influence of rum, passed the 
ordinances of secession and performed many 
other mad acts which they would not have 
done while sober. 

That afternoon I attended the great mass 
meeting which was held in the National Ceme- 
tery and addressed by George William Curtis, 
the rebel General Gordon, and some others. 
There was such a crowd that I could not get 
near enough to hear much, so I took a stroll 
around the cemetery. It is a beautiful place, 
and shows the tender interest which our 
government feels in the last resting places of 
multitudes of our country's defenders. Near 
the middle of the grounds, on a commanding 
elevation, stands the monument, sixty feet 
high, erected to the memory of that brave and 
gifted soldier, General John F. Reynolds, who 
was killed in the first day's fight by a sharp- 
shooter. The graves are arranged in groups 
of semicircles, each one marked by a neat 
stone giving, when known, the name, company, 
and regiment of the soldier, but a large num- 
ber are simply marked " unknown." I sought 
out the plot where the dead of my own regi- 
ment were lying and found some of my own 


company. I looked especially for the grave 
of my boyhood friend and playmate, Oliver 
Morse, but having nothing upon him to iden- 
tify him he was buried among the unknown, 
so I was denied the privilege of dropping a 
tear to his memory upon his grave. But, 
thank God, the great Victor over the grave's 
cruel dominion knows where he sleeps, and 
when eternity's bugle note shall sound he will 
come forth from the dwelling place of the dead 
to the abode of the immortals. 

Adjoining the National Cemetery is the Get- 
tysburg Cemetery, which, as it contains several 
places of interest, I visited. Here is the grave 
of the " hero of Gettysburg," John Burns, who, 
taking down his old-fashioned long-barreled 
rifle, went out upon the battlefield and fought 
valiantly for the Union till, disabled by a 
wound, he was carried bleeding from the field. 
Here is also the grave of Jennie Wade, a beau- 
tiful young lady, and the only woman killed 
during the battle. She was engaged during 
the first day's fight in baking bread at her 
home on Baltimore Street, when a stray bullet 
from a rebel musket passed through two doors, 
struck her in the breast, and killed her in- 



stantly. The house still stands opposite the 
Battlefield Hotel, and visitors may see the 
bullet holes through the doors and the spot 
where she fell. A writer has recently said : 
** Everyone has read of the sweet and comely 
Jennie Wade, who was the only woman killed at 
Gettysburg. It is not so well known that she 
was engaged to and corresponded with Corporal 
Skelley, for whom Gettysburg G. A. R. Post 
No. 9 was named. He fell at Winchester; this 
she had not yet learned. Was it not poetic 
justice, if yet unkind fate, which led that stray 
bullet to snap the golden cord ere the news of 
her lover's death had broken her heart } " 

While at the cemetery I met a lady who 
was living in Gettysburg at the time of the 
battle. She said that for three days they lived 
in the cellar, which was full of women and 
children. Some one asked her what they 
were doing. She said that some were trem- 
bling, some were crying, and some were pray- 
ing. She said that she did more praying dur- 
ing those three days than she ever had before 
or since. 

The next day I visited Gulp's Hill, lying to 
the east and south of the town. The earth- 


works are still there, although grown over with 
sod, and the trees still bear the marks of bat- 
tle, the scars being plainly visible. Still further 
to the east is Wolfs Hill, which marked the 
extreme right of our infantry line. Here 
amono^ a larq-e number of beautiful monu- 
ments, marking the places where Union regi- 
ments fought, is one erected to the memory 
of a rebel officer who fell at this point. Per- 
haps I was wrong in feeling as I did, but I 
could not suppress a feeling of disgust min- 
gled with indignation that a monument should 
be erected on the free soil of the old Keystone 
State in memory of a man who fell in endeav- 
oring to perpetuate the vilest system of human 
slavery which ever cursed our earth, and who 
only met a traitor's doom while leading for- 
ward men to destroy the lives of brave and 
loyal citizens of the North. It may be argued, 
on the other hand, that it was not the principle 
which was designed to be honored, but the 
personal bravery of the man. Well, courage 
without principle is mere brute instinct, and is 
totally unworthy either of honor or perpetuity. 
If they must build monuments in honor of 
the dead let them be placed on the soil moist- 


ened by the sweat and blood of the me 
whom they enslaved, but not on the soil for- 
ever consecrated to freedom. 

Cemetery Ridge is also a very interesting 
point, especially the part where Pickett made 
his famous charge. Here is the clump of oak 
trees which was the objective point to the 
enemy, and which formed their guide in the 
advance. These trees are now surrounded by 
a high iron picket fence in order to preserve 
them from the ravages of the relic hunter. 
Just below is another monument erected to 
the memory of the rebel General Barksdale, 
who was killed at that point in the charge, 
which was the most advanced point gained by 
the rebels, and marks what is called the high- 
tide watermark of the rebellion. Just beyond 
is a monument which shows where General 
Hancock was severely wounded during the 
same charge. 



T^VER since the 15th day of June, when I 
-■— ' was overcome and prostrated by the heat 
on the march near Bull Run, I had had des- 
perately hard work to keep my place in line of 
duty. The day previous to the battle of Get- 
tysburg I had been obliged to take passage in 
an ambulance, and was unfit for duty the 
morning we went into the fight ; but the ex- 
citement of battle furnished a stimulus which 
kept me up while it lasted, and by almost 
superhuman efforts I kept along with the regi- 
ment till Lee's army was safely across the 
Potomac and there was no prospect of an im- 
mediate battle ; then the reaction came on 
and I was completely prostrated. After a 
few days, with a large number of others more 
or less disabled, I was sent to a hospital in 
Frederick City. While here the people showed 
a greater interest in us than in any other place 
I had yet found. The colored people espe- 
cially were very kind, and I distinctly remem- 


ber one good old motherly lady, who, though 
her skin was as black as ebony, had a great 
big white soul inside, and who came through 
the old church, in which we were temporarily 
quartered, every day with a big pail of soup 
which she dealt out with no stinted measure 
to those who were not too sick to eat it. I 
shall never forget the expression of sympathy 
and interest which the old lady wore upon her 
black face as with tearful eyes she glided from 
cot to cot like an angel of mercy, ministering 
to the wants of the men who had come to 
strike off the fetters of bondage from her race. 
After remaining here about a week quite a 
number of those able to travel were loaded on 
the cars and sent to Baltimore, where we re- 
mained overnight, and in the morning were 
sent up to a sort of hospital camp in the sub- 
urbs of the city. We didn't fare so well here 
as at Frederick City, for we soon learned that 
a majority of the people of Baltimore had no 
great love or even respect for Union soldiers. 

Connected with this hospital there was a 
camp containing several hundred convalescent 
soldiers, many of them ready for duty and 
waiting for transportation to their regiments. 


There was a sutler connected with this camp 
who by some means had incurred the enmity of 
the boys, and they determined to get even with 
him. He occupied a board shanty near the cen- 
ter of the grounds, which was all inclosed ex- 
cept a section in front, which, being let down to 
a horizontal position, formed a counter over 
which business was carried on. One night 
about the first of September, soon after dark, 
about fifty or seventy-five soldiers gathered in 
the woods behind the sutler's shanty and be- 
gan to throw stones and clubs at it and to 
yell, ** Charge on the sutler ! " This was kept 
up for about a half-hour, when a grand charge 
was made, the boys rushing pellmell toward 
the building ; but just as they reached the rear 
side the sutler, who was just about frightened 
out of his wits, went tumbling head first out of 
the opening in front, landing upon all fours. 
Gathering himself up, he started on a keen run 
for his home in the city, and probably never 
stopped till the door closed behind him. The 
boys tore the shanty all to pieces and carried 
off everything that they could make use of, 
and then set fire to the remainder. The sutler 
never came back to look after his property, 


but doubtless charged it up to Uncle Sam as 
his contribution toward carrying on the war. 

One day a soldier sat in his tent cleaning his 
gun, which he supposed was not loaded. He 
put a cap on the tube to clear the dirt out of 
it, and, pulling the trigger, the gun was dis- 
charged and the ball passed through several 
tents and finally struck a young soldier in the 
side of the neck just above the shoulders, go- 
ing clear through his neck and killing him in- 
stantly. He was sitting in his tent and was 
playing on a fife when he was so suddenly 
mustered out (jf time into eternity. 

About this time I was taken much worse, 
so I was confined to my bed a good share of 
the time. One afternoon — I think it was the 
lOth of September — while dozing on my bed I 
heard a little unusual noise and opened my 
eyes. Who should stand by my bedside but 
my father and a young man of our company 
who had been home on a furlough and was on 
his way back to the front. Of course I was 
glad to see them, especially under such cir- 
cumstances. Father said he had come to take 
me home, but I told him it took more than 
two to make such a bargain as that. The 


next morning he went down to General Robert 
Schenck's headquarters, who was in command 
of that department, and told him he would 
like a thirty days' furlough for his sick 
boy. The general forthwith sent an order to 
the surgeon in charge to make me out a fur- 
lough and return to him for approval. The 
surgeon was one of those wonderfully impor- 
tant, high-toned, overbearing fellows who car- 
ried the United States government on his 
shoulders. When my father reached his office 
he made known his errand before he showed 
the doctor his order. The surgeon elevated 
his nose and for a moment eyed the gentle- 
man with silent indignation and contempt, as 
though any mortal man should have the au- 
dacity to ask such a thing of him, and then in 
iceberg tones informed the petitioner that his 
request could not be granted. Then father 
took General Schenck's order out of his pocket 
and handed it to the chief quinine dispenser. 
That gentleman glanced at the order, and then 
his plumage dropped mighty suddenly. He 
was immediately transformed into a polite 
gentleman, and, turning to his clerk, ordered 
the papers made out instantly, which was 


done, and in a few minutes father was on his 

way back to headquarters, where the papers 

were approved, and at nine o'clock that night 

we boarded the Northern Central Railway train 

and were on our way home. We took a berth 

in a sleeping-car, both occupying one berth, 

but my father, who was quite a portly man, 

insisted on taking his half of the berth right 

square in the middle, so after a while I got up 

and left him in his glory. Besides, I 

wanted to see what was the matter with 

the cars, for really they didn't seem to move 

any faster than a snail's trot, and to stop 

every five minutes. We arrived home the 

next day, but it was some time before I could 

fully realize that for a little while I was free 

again. My health improved somewhat, but at 

the end of the thirty days I was not well enough 

for duty, so I had my furlough extended for 

thirty days more, at the end of which time I 

reported back to the camp, and soon after was 

sent on to Washington, and from there to 

Convalescent Camp, near Alexandria, Va. 

We had good, comfortable quarters here, and 

as the winter was close at hand I concluded 

that I would remain here if I could till toward 


spring, as our government had come to the 
conclusion that winter campaigning in Virginia 
was a failure, and nothing would be done in 
that line before spring. 

Some evangelists from the North visited the 
camp, and a very interesting revival took place, 
in which a large number of soldiers were con- 
verted. John B. Gough, the great temperance 
orator, also visited us, and delivered a number 
of free lectures for the benefit of the soldiers. 
We had a large library well supplied with good 
books, and during the time I remained there I 
read a number of works on different subjects, 
which was a great benefit to me. 

One day an order came that every man in 
our barrack must present himself with exami- 
nation before the surgeon in charge. The re- 
sult of my first examination was a recommen- 
dation that I be discharged as being incapaci- 
tated for active service, but another one follow- 
ing soon after resulted in an order that I be de- 
tached from my regiment and placed on light 
duty in and around Washington. From this 
order I appealed to the Hon. E. M. Stanton, 
Secretary of War. I either wanted to return 
to my old regiment or to be discharged and 


go home. The secretary sent an order direct- 
ing me to go before a board of surgeons for 
another examination, which resulted the same 
as before. There being no further appeal, the 
only thing to do was to submit to the powers 
that be. After remaining at Camp Convales- 
cent till the 17th of February, 1864, quite a 
large detachment of us was sent over to Gies- 
boro Point, where we were assigned to duty as 
guard for the government corral, which was a 
sort of hospital for horses, where all the broken- 
down horses were sent to be doctored up. 
Those which were pronounced incurable were 
shot and their bodies sold to a contractor for 
two dollars and a half apiece. What became 
of them afterward I do not know, but while at 
the front we used to draw some meat occasion- 
ally which we called *' salt horse," and which 
was lean and tough enough to have belonged 
to a mule. One day while I was watching the 
process of shooting a lot of condemned horses 
one was brought out which succeeded in get- 
ting loose from the man who held it. Of all 
the running I ever saw a horse do that fellow 
took the lead. It took about forty men a 
full hour to catch him. I could not discover 



any great disability about him, but some igno- 
ramus had condemned him and he had to be 
shot with the rest. 

The omnipresent sutler followed us over 
here and had his tent pitched about as soon as 
we got settled. One afternoon he came over 
from Washington with a load of goods, and 
among the rest was a barrel of sweet cider. 
It being late, and the tent being crowded full 
of other things, he innocently left the cider 
outside, behind the tent. That night I was 
officer of the guard, and about ten o'clock one 
of the boys came running up to our quarters 
with the report that some of the boys had 
captured a prize and wanted help to get it into 
port. So as many as could be spared went 
down and found the cider barrel on the march ; 
but by some means they had lost the bung out, 
and as it was too heavy to carry, and the only 
way to get it to a place where we could safely 
draw it off was by rolling it on the ground, it 
will readily be seen that whenever the barrel 
came over to a certain point there was a con- 
siderable leakage. The result was that by the 
time we reached the rear of an old log house 
about ten rods distant more than half of our 


apple-juice had disappeared. Going down to 
our large tent, I awoke the boys (there were 
about a dozen of them), and taking a big jug 
and some pails we repaired to the place where 
we left the barrel, and secured about three 
gallons of good cider. We couldn't strike a 
light safely, nor keep it till morning without 
running considerable risk, so we proceeded at 
once to get outside of the entire lot, which 
took a good share of the night. Nobody got 
intoxicated, as it was hardly strong enough for 
that, but we all felt decidedly well. The next 
morning, when Mr. Sutler went outside he 
found to his utter dismay that his barrel of 
cider had received marching orders during the 
night and had wholly taken its departure. He 
went and reported his loss to the commander 
of the detachment, and they came around and 
searched our tents. They looked everywhere 
for it except where it was, but finally gave it 
up as a bad job and went off. They didn't 
leave any more cider around loose where it 
could be a source of temptation to Uncle 
Sam's veterans. 

We had some- very severe weather for that 
latitude during the winter. One morning the 


snow was plump eight inches deep, and it 
seemed to me that the mercury must have 
been down to zero. Our duties here were quite 
severe, as most of us were on guard every 
third day and night, and often every second 
day and night. To stand out of doors in a 
blinding rain or snowstorm for two hours at a 
time in the dead of night is not a very com- 
fortable experience, and was altogether un- 
necessary in this place. 

On the 1 8th of June we received orders to 
leave Giesboro Point, which we did without 
any kind of regret, and taking a steamboat we 
crossed the east branch of the Potomac and 
landed in Washington. We marched through 
the city to the upper end of Seventh Street, 
and were quartered in some very comfortable 
barracks. This was a great improvement over 
the former location. Our duties were lighter 
than formerly, and consisted in guarding our 
camp, in furnishing a squad of men for daily 
service at the Central Guard House, where 
numerous deserters, spies, and evildoers were 
generally kept, and in patrolling the streets of 
Washington and picking up soldiers who were 
absent without leave. When not on duty we 


could visit the various places of interest in the 
city, such as the Patent Office, the Smithsonian 
Institution, the Capitol buildings, the White 
House, and other places of interest. Con- 
gress was in session a good deal of the time, 
and I used frequently to spend an afternoon 
in listening to the speeches of the great 
men of the nation. The Smithsonian Insti- 
tution offered very many attractions to any 
lover of nature or art. Here were gathered 
the accumulated treasures and curiosities of 
all nations and climes under the sun. All 
kinds of birds, beasts, insects, and fishes were 
here represented, besides works of art, paint- 
. ings, statuary, and all this absolutely free to 
everybody, and all through the generosity of 
an Englishman named Smithson, who gave an 
immense sum of money to found and perpetu- 
ate such an institution at the capital of our 

Soon after reaching Washington a large 
number of us were detailed to go down to 
Seventh Street wharf and unload several boat- 
loads of wounded soldiers who had been sent 
in from the front. This was a very disagree- 
able duty, for nearly all of them were helpless, 


and it having been several days since they 
were wounded their wounds were very sore, 
and it was almost impossible to move them 
from the boats to the ambulance without 
causing them severe pain. They bore their 
sufferings with all possible fortitude, and we 
were very glad to get them all transferred as 
soon as possible. 





MONG the officers connected with our 

detachment was a certain Captain W , 

a very fine man, and, with one or two excep- 
tions, the only decent one among the lot. This 
officer was all right when sober, but the trouble 
was that such a state of affairs only happened 
at rare intervals, and finally ceased to occur 
altogether. He kept getting worse and worse, 
till one morning he was found dead in his bed, 
a victim to the fearful curse of rum. We were 
all sorry to lose him, but would have gladly 
spared some of the others if we could have 
made the change. There was an old German 
captain named Erickson, who had the best fac- 
ulty of making himself disliked of any officer 
I ever knew. One day he went down to 
Washington, and, calling on a colored woman 
who did his washing, made insulting proposals 
to her. The woman reported him, and he was 
dishonorably dismissed from the United States 
service. But weren't w^e glad, though? We 


felt as the little girl did who upon the depart- 
ure of a very disagreeable guest said, " Ma, 
let's sing the benediction." 

The old captain was gone some two or three 
weeks, when, to our utter and supreme disgust, 
he came back again, and, assuming command 
of the detachment, he was meaner than ever. 
He had managed by some red-tape process to 
get an order issued from the War Department 
reinstating him in his position, and knowing 
that we were all glad to have him go he took 
vengeance on us afterward by every possible 
means he could devise. 

About the first of July, 1864, we received 
intelligence that a corps of the Confederate 
army, under the command of General Early, 
had again crossed the Potomac, and was al- 
ready threatening Washington. This news 
created the greatest consternation in the city. 
We were ordered to turn in all our extra bag- 
gage and equipments and get ready for field 
service. We drew sixty rounds of ammunition, 
also shelter tents, and were already for busi- 
ness. Saturday night, July 1 1, we were ordered 
into line at ten o'clock, and remained all night 
on the parade ground. Washington was actu- 


ally in danger at the time, as nearly all the 
defensive works had been built on the west 
side of the city on Arlington Heights, while 
the east side had been almost wholly neg- 
lected. Only two or three small forts had 
been built commanding the principal roads 
leading to the city. I haven't any doubt that 
Early could have capturedand burned the whole 
city if he had made an energetic assault when 
he first came before it. There were then but 
very few soldiers in and around Washington, 
as Grant, who was thundering away at Peters- 
burg and Richmond, had withdrawn nearly 
every able-bodied man to assist him in his un- 
dertaking, leaving the capital practically de- 

Sunday morning I was sent in charge of 
forty men to the Central Guard House, where 
we remained on constant duty night and day 
for nearly two weeks. The clerks in the various 
departments were armed, and every man who 
could carry a musket was sent to the front. 
Early's forces came within three or four miles 
of the city and could have shelled the capital 
with guns of modern range if they had had 
them. Great was the joy of the beleaguered 


city when on the morning of the I2th the 
Sixth Corps from Petersburg arrived and com- 
menced passing through the city to the east- 
ward. Lee's design in sending Early off on 
this raid was doubtless to oblige Grant to 
loosen his grip on Petersburg and Richmond, 
which was becoming altogether too tight for 
comfort. In this idea, however, Lee was 
doomed to disappointment ; for Grant wasn't 
built that way, and evidently thought too 
much of his gallant antagonist to let him slip 
out of his grasp. The little provincial army 
which had stood face to face with Early's 
veterans for several days gathered new courage 
and hope when they saw the veterans of 
Wright's Sixth Corps coming to their aid, and 
now felt confident that the nation's capital 
would not fall into the enemy's hands. 

For two or three days the two armies re- 
mained facing each other, with scarcely a shot 
being fired on either side, when suddenly the 
rebel army was withdrawn, and after ravaging 
portions of Maryland and Pennsylvania crossed 
the Potomac and soon afterward rejoined Lee's 
army at Richmond. On Friday, July 22, we 
were relieved from duty and made our way 


back to our quarters on Seventh Street. Dur- 
inc: our absence some lawless fellows had ran- 
sacked our quarters and had carried off every- 
thing they could get hold of, including my 
knapsack containing all my clothing, portfolio, 
and many other things which were valuable to 
me only. I never saw any of them again. 

About the first of September I was sent 
with a detail of men to the south end of Long 
Bridge. We were to remain here for ten days, 
and it was our business to guard the approach 
to the bridge and not allow anyone to cross 
without a pass from competent authority. 
The weather was warm and sultry, and the 
country all along the Potomac was low and 
swampy, and consequently the air was full of 
malaria. The doctor sent down a gallon or 
two of whisky mixed with a liberal portion of 
quinine, which we were obliged to take in reg- 
ular doses three times a day. Of all the horrid 
stuff I ever took that mixture beat all previous 
records. Either of them was bad enough 
alone, but the two mixed formed the most 
villainous compound I ever tried to swallow. 
The object of the medicine, they said, was to 
keep off fever and ague, which was quite prev- 


alent on the south side of the river, but never 
troubled people on the north side. 

Another terrible pest was the mosquitoes, 
which flourished here in all their glory. They 
were the largest, hungriest, leanest, most per- 
severing and meanest lot of cannibals I ever 
had anything to do with. They seemed to 
think that Yankees were made on purpose for 
them to feast upon, an idea that I had not the 
least sympathy with. We had to fight them 
by night and by day, and really there was a 
good deal of blood shed on both sides. We 
were very glad when on the morning of the 
tenth day we were relieved by another detach- 
ment and sent back to our quarters in Wash- 
ington. In about a week from the time we 
left Long Bridge every man who had been 
there was taken down with the fever and ague. 
The whisky and quinine had failed to do its 
work, while the malaria had done a thorough 
job for every one of us. 

I was taken to a hospital near by and dosed 
with quinine until I was nearly deaf, dumb, 
and blind. My head roared like a young 
Niagara, till I finally told the doctor that I 
wouldn't take any more of the stuff on any 


account, as I might as well die one way as 
another, and better too. So after that he 
changed the prescription, but I didn't get 
much better till about the last of October, 
when I told the doctor I wanted a thirty days' 
furlough to go home and get rid of my trouble. 
He gave me no encouragement, and I went 
back to my quarters thoroughly disgusted, 
as the following extract from my diary will 
show : " Went up to the apothecary shop 
again this morning, faint and sick, weak and 
weary. Am excused from duty to-day. Qui- 
nine pills and potash, carbonate of soda and 
other horrible things, with fever and headache, 
tribulation and anguish, all seem to be my 
portion. If that old Long Bridge was sunk 
in the depths of the sea it would be a blessing 
to the whole army." 

About six o'clock on the evening of Novem- 
ber I, while I was lying on my bed, an orderly 
came in and handed me a thirty days' fur- 
lough. Of course I felt better right away, and 
in less than an hour was on the train headed 
for Baltimore. I never saw such a crowd as 
thronged those cars. It was just before the 
November election for President and Vice 


President, when McClellan ran against Presi- 
dent Lincoln, and every man who could be 
spared from any place in Washington was al- 
lowed to go home to vote. I got a place to 
stand up in a little corner, but didn't get a seat 
till two o'clock the next morning, when, on ar- 
riving at Harrisburg, there was a thinning out. 
I arrived home the next night about midnight 
and took them all by surprise, as my visit was 
entirely unexpected. My health rapidly im- 
proved, and when my time expired I was al- 
most entirely free from the fever and ague. 
Returning to Washington, I resumed my du- 
ties as usual, and during the winter very little 
occurred which would be of interest to the 
general reader. 

About New Year's I attended a public re- 
ception given by President Lincoln at the 
White House. A long line was formed be- 
twixt two rows of policemen, and we passed 
through the hallway into the reception room, 
where Mr. Lincoln stood, and as we passed by 
we had the pleasure of shaking hands with 
him and inquiring after his health. Mrs. 
Lincoln stood near by, and a little in the 
rear was a large crowd of cabinet officers, 


major generals, and other men high in au- 

About the middle of February I got orders 
to report for duty at Long Bridge. I thought 
I had had all of that institution I needed, and 
consequently I called on the officer in charge 
of the whole detachment and explained to 
him the result of my previous sojourn at that 
place. It did no good, for, as I then sus- 
pected, the old Dutch captain, who disliked 
me as much as I did him, had secured my as- 
signment to that place as a means of venting 
his spite upon me. I knew that there was no 
danger of fever and ague till late in the sum- 
mer, and as my time expired in August I 
hoped to escape the dreadful scourge alto- 
gether. So I packed up my dry goods, and to 
Long Bridge I went, and was assigned to duty 
on the north end, which was the foot of Four- 
teenth Street. I had about a dozen men un- 
der my charge, and was on duty every other 
day and night. Our business was to allow no 
person to pass over without a pass, nor to 
allow any whisky taken over without a written 
permission from the provost marshal. We 

were quartered in a large brick house at the 


south end of the bridge, which was a mile 
long, so we had to march across it the morn- 
ing we went on duty and back the next. Just 
above our quarters was a shad fishery, where 
thousands of all kinds of fish were caught, 
which we could buy very reasonably, while on 
the other side boat loads of oysters were 
brought up which we could buy at the rate of 
fifty cents per bushel ; consequently we lived 
high as long as our money lasted. 

Over on Arlington Heights were established 
various camps of soldiers. Among them was 
one called Freedmen's Camp, where all the 
Negro refugees were sent, and those who were 
able to work were employed as teamsters and 
laborers ; besides, several regiments of colored 
troops were organized at this place. 

A large number of Irish women used to go 
over to those camps to sell pies, cakes, cigars, 
etc., to the soldiers. Some of them also un- 
dertook to carry whisky across, and it was 
really amusing to see the devices to which 
they would resort to get it across the river. 
A woman came along one day with five large 
flat bottles full of whisk}/ concealed under her 
skirts; but as it was not fashionable for ladies 


to wear their bustles all around them we 
readily detected the scheme, and she had to 
leave her whisky behind. Standing in front 
of our quarters one day, I noticed a woman 
coming down the street in a great hurry. Just 
before reaching the place where I stood she 
crossed over on the other side of the street, 
and as no passes were then required of citi- 
zens she was going right along over the bridge. 
Just as she got opposite me I said, " Hold on, 
madam ! I want to see you a moment." 

" Indade, sur," she replied, " I haven't got a 
drap of the dhirty stuff about me, sur. I 
would be the last woman to touch it, indade, 
sur, the miserable stuff! " 

" Well, never mind," I said, " I'll only detain 
you a moment. Just come over a little while." 

She continued to declare her innocence, but 
after considerable more argument she very re- 
luctantly came across, and from the dispropor- 
tionate drapery of her dress-skirt I detected a 
canteen of whisky. *' Madam," I said, " you 
just step into that closet and remove that 
whisky, which will save me from the disagree- 
able duty of doing it myself." 

" Och, you mean spalpeen," she said; " I've 


jist got a little cirap of whisky for my poor 
seek baby, and now ye're afther taking it away 
from me, bad luck to ye." 

I ventured to remark that it must be a huge 
sort of a baby, and must be desperately sick 
to want three pints of forty-rod whisky. She 
didn't appreciate my logic in the least, but 
that " poor seek baby " didn't get the whisky. 





NE day a large, stout, good-natured ap- 
pearing colored man came up to the 
bridge with a sack of corn meal on his shoul- 
der, which he set down on the ground, pleas- 
antly remaiking, " Dar, boss, if yer thinks I'se 
got any whisky you're welcome to luk fo' it." 
Of course we were completely thrown off our 
guard by his frank, open manner, and more 
from habit than from suspicion one of the 
boys commenced poking his fingers into the 
outside of the sack, when, his suspicions being 
aroused, he remarked, " It seems to me that 
that meal is packed awfully solid in that sack." 
This led to the opening of the sack, when, be- 
hold ! a good-sized jug of whisky was brought 
to light snugly covered up on all sides by the 
darky's hoe-cake timber. But wasn't that 
dusky Hamite sadly demoralized, though? He 
stood there in speechless amazement, and would 
actually have turned pale if he could. He 
trembled like a leaf, and finally stammered 


out, " Well, boss, what's yer gwine to do wid 
me?" Some one suggested hanging. "Now, 
boss, I 'clare to goodness I'se nebber dun sich a 
thing afore, and Meed, massa, if yer let me off 
dis time dis nigger will nebber do it again!" 
After tormenting him a while we concluded to 
let him go his way in peace, but minus his 
whisky. His sack of meal dwindled down 
wonderfully after the jug was removed. It 
made me think of the old colored man who 
went fishing, and succeeded in catching a good- 
sized sucker, after which he laid down on the 
bank of the creek and fell asleep. Soon after 
another darky came along w'ho had caught a 
small fish, and, spying the large fish on the 
ground, concluded to trade the small fish for 
the large one. After a while darky Number i 
woke up, looked at the fish, rubbed his eyes, 
looked again, and then remarked, *' Golly, how 
dat fish am svvunked ! " 

One day a soldier belonging to the Tenth 
Regulars, who had been over to Washington 
on a pass, and who had also been on a spree, 
came down to the bridge on his way back to 
his camp. He was still conftderably under the 
influence of liquor, and after getting about 


halfway across the bridge he became exceed- 
ingly tired and lay down by the side of the 
bridge and went to sleep. There was a railing 
along the outside of the bridge, but the lowest 
strip was over a foot from the bridge floor. 

Mr. Soldier lay there sleeping very soundly 
till near midnight, when he must have been 
visited by some unpleasant dream, for he began 
rolling and tumbling around, and finally slipped 
under the railing, and down he went, end over 
end, some twenty-five feet, into the river. 
This involuntary bath must have waked him 
up, for as soon as he could get the water out 
of his mouth he commenced yelling at a tre- 
mendous rate. The sentinel, posted about ten 
rods out on the bridge, gave the alarm, and, pro- 
curing a rope, several of the boys went to the 
rescue. He floundered around till he had got 
down under the railroad bridge, which was a 
few rods below the old bridge and which was 
built on piles, and when the boys got to the 
place he was trying to climb a pile. The tide 
was out, and, the pile being under water the 
most of the time, was very slippery, conse- 
quently the climber made very slow progress at 
getting up to a place of safety. The boys let 


down a rope, and after a while he succeeded in 
getting it under his arms, and then they drew 
him up and brought him out to our quarters. 
He said he had swum all around Long Island, 
and didn't want to be disgraced in getting 
drowned in such a mudhole as the Potomac. 
If he was going to be drowned he wanted a 
place at least where there was water enough to 
do it decently. He stayed till morning, dried 
his clothes and his money (he had about forty 
dollars left), and then started back into the 
city to finish up his spree. That was the last 
we saw of him. 

The 4th of March, 1865, was a very busy day 
for us, the reinauguration of Mr. Lincoln as 
President of the United States taking place 
that day. There was a great rush of people 
from the Virginia side across the Long Bridge 
to witness the imposing ceremonies. The 
colored people especially turned out en masse, 
and the streets of the great city were lined with 
dusky faces, all looking on with eager interest, 
for to them the name of '* Massa Linkum " 
was what the name of Moses was to the en- 
slaved Israelites. They looked upon him as 
their especial champion and their great de- 


liverer, and upon themselves as his especial 

The morning was dark, rainy, and unpleas- 
ant, but about noon the clouds broke away, 
the sun burst through and shone out in his 
full glory, and in a little while not a cloud was 
in view. About two o'clock a very bright star 
appeared a few degrees south of the zenith 
and shone for two or three hours with won- 
derful brilliancy. Thousands in and around 
Washington saw it, and various were the opin- 
ions expressed as to what it meant. Some 
thought it portended good and some evil. It 
was, indeed, a strange sight, occurring, as it did, 
on the day and at the very hour when the 
great champion of human liberty was for the 
second time taking a solemn oath to defend 
the Constitution of the United States and to 
execute its laws. 

The following extract is from my diary of 
that date, and it expresses the hopes at least 
we entertained : 

" To-day Abraham Lincoln is reinaugurated 
as chief magistrate of the United States of 
America for four more years. * The Star of 
Peace,' the planet Venus, makes its appear- 


ance at about 2 P. M. and sheds its glorious 
light on our earth. God grant that, like the 
star of Bethlehem, it may bring * peace on 
earth, and glad tidings of great joy to all the 
people I ' " 

That evening two pious old colored men 
who were returning from the city sat down 
on our front porch to rest a while. They were 
engaged in earnest conversation in regard to 
the relative importance of watching and pray- 
ing. Number i thought that praying was a 
little more important than watching. Number 
2 thought that it was fully as necessary to watch 
as to pray. The discussion had run along for 
some time with no perceptible advantage on 
either side. Then Number I commenced tell- 
ing about a little experience he had up in the 
city that day. He said that, about noon he be- 
came very hungry, and, seeing another darky 
with a loaf of bread, he inquired where he got 
it. The other one said if he would let him 
have the money he would go and get him a 
loaf. So he gave him some money and he dis- 
appeared in the crowd, and, said the old man, 
" I'se jist bin prayin' and prayin' and prayin' 
ever since for dat darky to fetch back my 


money or de bread ; but Tore de Lawd, I jist 
believe dat dat miserable nigger has dun gone 
and stole my money and abscondulated wid 
it." "Yah! yah! yah! Brudder Jones," cried 
Number 2, "if you dun watch dat nigger a 
Httle mo' you wouldn't hev lost yer money, 
but now I s'pects ye'll hab to pray a heap, an' 
den ye won't git yer money back." That 
seemed to be a clincher, for Number I gave 
up the question at once, and having got suffi- 
ciently rested they went on their way. 

About the middle of March our whisky cap- 
tures began to run pretty light. We had dis- 
covered nearly all the tricks the smugglers had 
resorted to, and it was almost certain of being 
captured when any one attempted to get it 

There was a certain lieutenant who had his 
quarters on Fourteenth Street who had general 
oversight over our end of the bridge, and to 
whom we turned over all contraband whisky, 
and he in turn was supposed to turn it over to 
the provost marshal of the department. We 
suspected, however, that a good deal of it never 
got any farther tlian his office, and subsequent 
events proved our suspicions to be correct. 


One day he came down to our quarters as 
cross as a bear. Wc hadn't captured any 
whisky for a few days, and he was suffering 
from the effects of the dry spell. He stormed 
away lively for a while and said he didn't be- 
lieve we half searched for it, and we must look 
closer. I ventured to suggest that we had got 
altogether too sharp for them ; that they h:id 
got tired of buying whisky to be captured, and 
so had given it up. He knew better than all 
that, and finally v/ent away. 

Pretty soon along came a soldier with a 
long-necked bottle full of whisky sticking out 
of his side pocket in plain view. I told him 
he could not take that over the bridge. With- 
out a word of remonstrance he took it out and 
handed it over to me and went on. I took it 
up to the lieutenant, who seemed very much 
pleased at our success. Then I went back to 
my post. When the soldier who had given 
up the bottle came to where our sentinel was 
posted out some ways on the bridge he stopped 
and talked with him some little time. Finally 
he said, "I've got even with them fellers" 
(meaning us, for it seems we had taken some 
whisky away from him or some of his friends 


before, and he thought we drank it up). 
** There is croton oil in that whisky, and they'U 
hear from it mighty quick after they drink it." 
Then he passed on. When the sentinel came 
off duty at the end of two hours he reported 
what the soldier had said, but we didn't put 
much confidence in it; in fact, we suspected he 
had been lying. However, 1 suppose it would 
have been kind in me to have reported the 
situation to the officer, but for two or three 
reasons I decided not to do so. In the first 
place, he had no business to touch the liquor 
at all, in which case it certainly would not 
hurt him ; in the second place, it would be in- 
timating that I thought he was in the habit of 
using it, which would be an insult to him as 
an officer in the United States service sworn 
to faithfully discharge his duty to the country, 
and, in the third place, I wanted to get even 
with him for treating me so shabbily by inti- 
mating that I had been neglecting my duty ; 
and finally, it was very evident that after a 
week's fast there wouldn't be much of that 
bottle's contents left by the time I could get 
up to the lieutenant's quarters. I decided, 
therefore, to keep my own counsel and await 


events. However, events were not slow in 
making their appearance, for the next thing 
we heard was that the Heutenant was very sick 
and under the surgeon's care. Then we knew 
that it was no false alarm, that the whisky was 
loaded for big game, and that the croton oil 
had got in its work. If any of my readers 
would care to know the effect of croton oil 
upon the human system let them ask any phy- 
sician or druggist, and then they will be able 
to sympathize with the poor lieutenant who 
unaided and alone took a dose that had been 
prepared for a dozen men. 

It was more than a week before we saw any- 
thing more of our superior officer. One day 
he came down to the bridge looking just 
about as plump as a hoe handle, but he had 
no more complaints to make about the whisky 



/'^N the 5th day of April we received the 
^^-^ glad news that the Union army had cap- 
tured Petersburg and Richmond. This was 
followed on the 9th by the tidings that Lee's 
whole army had surrendered at Appomattox. 
Everybody was almost delirious with joy. The 
authorities at Washington ordered the illumi- 
nation of all the public buildings in honor of 
the great victory, and nearly all the loyal peo- 
ple in the city illuminated their dwellings, and 
the capital city was literally a blaze of light. 
The Capitol building presented a most gor- 
geous appearance, looking like a mighty p}Ta- 
mid of fire through which glistened the white 
polished walls of marble of which the building 
is composed. 

On the afternoon of April 14 Sergeant Finch, 
of our detachment, and myself, having secured 
a pass, went over to Washington to spend the 
afternoon and evening. After visiting various 
places of interest during the afternoon, in the 


evening we went to the Canterbury Theater, on 
Louisiana Avenue, to see the play called " The 
Persecuted Clown." The play had proceeded 
till nearly nine o'clock, when the manager, sud- 
denly coining out on the stage, announced that 
they had just received tidings that President 
Lincoln had been assassinated at Ford's Thea- 
ter, and in consequence thereof the perform- 
ance would now end. The curtain dropped, 
but the audience sat looking at one another 
for a full minute without moving. My own 
impression was that it was a hoax perpetrated 
by the managers for some purpose, I couldn't 
imagine what. However, as the curtain did 
not rise again we all made our way out to the 
street. The scene which there met our gaze 
beggars description. The streets, especially 
Pennsylvania Avenue and Tenth Street, were 
literally packed with human beings surging to 
and fro, some swearing, some talking in a high 
tone, some threatening dire vengeance upon the 
murderers, and some crying like children. We 
came across a man who was in Ford's Theater 
and saw the whole transaction. He told us all 
he could about it. His impression was that 
the President was dead. We made our way 


through the crowd to the house where they 
had taken him. Just then a carriage came 
up, escorted by a single soldier in the 
rear, containing Secretaries Stanton, of the 
War Department, and Wells, of the Navy De- 
partment. They alighted and were admitted 
to the house. I never saw such an excited 
multitude in my life. Near midnight we 
started for our quarters across the Potomac. 
The news had spread like wildfire, and the 
whole city seemed to be out on the streets. 
A line of guards had been thrown around the 
entire city with orders to let no living man 
out. The assassin, however, had a horse tied 
in the rear of the theater, and as soon as the 
fiendish deed was finished he fled to the rear 
of the building, and, mounting his horse, started 
at full speed for the East Branch Bridge, which 
he crossed in safety, notwithstanding the pres- 
ence of a guard at the end of the bridge. How 
he got across without the countersign I have 
never learned. He certainly could not have 
crossed the Long Bridge without having been 
halted, dismounted, and giving the countersign. 
When we reached the north end of the Long 

Bridge orders had been received to let no one 


pass, but being acquainted with us the guards 
waived the letter of the order and we pro- 
ceeded on our way. We had reached about 
the middle of the bridge when we heard a 
sound like some one rowing a boat up the 
river perhaps forty or fifty rods. We imme- 
diately hailed the boat's crew, and in answer 
to our inquiry they stated that they were on 
their way from Georgetown to Alexandria to 
get a steam tug to tow some barges down the 
river. We ordered them to come down to the 
bridge, which they didn't want to do. We 
gave them to understand that we would make 
it exceedingly uncomfortable for them if they 
didn't come, though we were entirely unarmed : 
but this they did not know. After parley- 
ing a while they came down to the bridge — 
there were two of them — and then we ordered 
them to row across to the Virginia side. They 
protested strongly against this, but we insisted 
upon it, and at length we succeeded in getting 
them started. They acted very suspiciously — 
so we thought, at least — and we were quite sure 
we had the guilty parties in our hands. Fifty 
thousand dollars apiece would pay us pretty 
well for one night's work. We met them at. 


the farther end, and forthwith took them into 
custody. They were considerably disgusted 
with themselves .when they found that we had 
no arms, for they could have escaped in any 
direction in spite of us if they had only known 
it. We put them under guard till morning, 
and then sent word over to Washington, re- 
porting what we had done. The provost mar- 
shal sent back word to have them sent over to 
his office under heavy guard. This was ac- 
cordingly done, but they succeeded in proving 
their innocence and were released. So we 
lost our hundred thousand dollars. Shortly 
after this it became known who the assassin 
was, and every effort was made to secure his 

The assassination of President Lincoln and 
the attempt on the life of Secretary Seward 
produced the most intense excitement all 
through the North. The whole nation was in 
mourning except a few who were really rebels 
at heart, but the feeling was so intense that 
this class kept their own counsels as a means 
of personal safety. Very little disloyalty was 
allowed to show itself in those stirring times. 

The body of the murdered President was 


embalmed, and was then taken to the rotunda 
of the Capitol, where it hiy in state for a few- 
days, where it was viewed by hundreds of 
thousands of the people. The funeral services 
were held on the i8th in the Capitol, and were 
most touching and impressive. I find the fol- 
lowing reference in my diary: "Abraham Lin- 
coln, the patriot and statesman, is no more. 
His funeral took place to-day with all the 
greatness and grandeur of a monarch, together 
with the most sincere grief. Never did a 
people meet a greater loss — one so loved and 
honored. Alternate joy and grief have rushed 
so suddenly upon us that it is almost impos- 
sible to believe that our loved ruler is really 
dead. * O God, that deeds so foul should go 
unpunished!' but 'Vengeance is mine; I will 
repay, saith the Lord." " 

Friday, April 21, the funeral cortege \^{l 
Washington, thence to Baltimore, Harrisburg, 
Philadelphia, New York, Albany, Chicago, and 
thence to Springfield, 111., where all that was 
mortal of the martyred President was con- 
signed to common dust. 

Vice President Johnson was immediately 
sworn in as President, and the old ship of State 


continued on her way. One day, shortly after 
the President's death, a bright little boy of 
about thirteen years came down to our quar- 
ters, and we soon engaged in conversation 
with him. He was a messenger in the War 
Department, and told me that Mr. Stanton 
was arranging to send him as a spy down into 
eastern Virginia to see if he could get any 
trace of the whereabouts of the assassin 
Booth. On the morning of April 27 the boy 
came down again and told me he expected to 
start on his mission the next day. Over on 
Arlington Heights was built a series of forts, 
and in the largest of these were stationed 
squads of the Signal Corps, and from where we 
stood we could plainly see the signal flags en- 
gaged in sending some message. The mes- 
senger boy stood watching one of the signal 
flags with a good deal of interest, when sud- 
denly he jumped, it seemed to me two feet 
high, and exclaimed, "They have captured 
Booth, and I sha'n't have to go." I asked him 
how he knew. He replied, " I just read it from 
that signal flag." Sure enough, the boy was 
right. On the evening before a detachment 
of cavalry had discovered his hiding place 


down near Port Royal, in eastern Virginia, and 
had been obliged to set fire to the barn in 
which he was concealed before they could get 
him out, as he refused to surrender. The or- 
ders were to take him alive if possible, but a 
half-crazy sergeant, named Boston Corbett, 
got sight of him through a crevice and fired at 
him with his carbine, the ball striking him in 
the base of the skull near the neck, in almost 
the identical spot where his bullet had struck 
his unsuspecting victim twelve days be- 
fore. He was unconscious when the soldiers 
reached him, but he lived till the next morn- 
ing at ten minutes past seven, when he breathed 
his last. 

While these tragic events were being enacted 
continued tidings of victor}^ were being re- 
ceived from the Union armies, until, with the 
surrender of Johnson's army to the gallant 
Sherman, the whole framework of the great re- 
bellion caved in. About this time the Army of 
the Potomac began to make its appearance on 
Arlington Heights, and by the middle of May 
nearly the entire army was encamped near 
Washington preparatory to the grand review 
of all the Union armies which had been ordered 


by the commander in chief. There was a grand 
rush of officers and soldiers for Washington, 
and we had our hands more than full. It re- 
quired a pass from a major general to get over 
the bridge, and we began to think the woods 
were full of them by the way the passes came 
pouring in. The guard on the south end, how- 
ever, had much the worst of it, for they soon 
found out that many of the passes presented 
were forged, and it required considerable skill 
to discriminate betwixt the spurious and the 
genuine, for the *Wets" of the old Potomac 
army could write passes and sign major gen- 
erals' names to them as well as fight. One 
day a soldier of the Fortieth New York Regi- 
ment undertook to run by the guard without 
a pass. The sentinel ordered him to halt, but 
he paid no attention to the order, but kept 
right on. The guard raised his musket and 
fired, the ball striking him in the thigh and 
inflicting quite a severe flesh wound, but it 
brousfht the soldier to a standstill at once. 
An ambulance was called, and the wounded 
man then got not only a pass across thebridge 
but a free ride to a hospital in Washington. The 
boys of his regiment were exceedingly angered 


over the affair, and strongly threatened to come 
down and "clean us all out," but they finally 
concluded that discretion was the better part 
of valor. 

Hearing that my regiment, the One Hundred 
and Forty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, was 
encamped over on Arlington Heights, I con- 
cluded to take a trip up and see the boys. So 
I issued marching orders to myself and started. 
After traveling three or four miles I found 
them encamped in a piece of woods. I en- 
joyed my visit very much. Two of my partic- 
ular chums, namely, John McKinney and Jim 
Lunger, had been trying to get a pass over to 
Washington, but had failed. I told them that 
I could fix things so that they could get over 
any time they liked, that my name was as 
good as a major general's. So I wrote them a 
pass, and when I got back to camp I explained 
matters to the sergeant who was to be in 
charge next day, and when they came down 
he let them over, and of course I let them 

About this time the Army of the Potomac 
began to cross over into Washington, prepara- 
tory to the grand review which had been 


ordered on the 23d of May. Being on duty 
that day, I was not permitted to view the 
grand procession, which was much more enjoy- 
able for the reviewers than for the reviewed, 
as they had to march a long distance in the 
heat and dust. 



ON May 24 the Army of the Tennessee and 
Sherman's army passed over the bridge 
preparatory to the review of the whole West- 
ern army, which took place in the afternoon. 
They were a free-and-easy lot of men, and it 
was really amusing to see the various means 
of transportation and the different things they 
had picked up on their march through the 
Southern States. Old mules and horses, oxen 
and donkeys, hitched to wagons, carts, and 
vehicles of every description, and loaded with 
every conceivable object that soldiers could 
use in camp or on the march, formed a part of 
the procession. On one mule's back I saw a 
live coon riding along as contentedly as if he 
had been an equestrian all his days, while upon 
another mule was a rooster which crowed as 
cheerfully as he would have done surrounded 
by his own flock of biddies. The infantry col- 
umns were followed by a wagon train fully 
twenty miles long. The horses and mules all 


looked thrifty and prosperous, as well they 
might, for they had been living on the best 
the Southern Confederacy could afford for 
several months past, and were as free and easy 
in their habits as were the men who drove 

The final grand review in Washington was 
an occasion long to be remembered. The 
battle-scarred veterans of scores of conflicts 
marched with proud steps that day as they 
followed the old flag, rent and torn and soiled, 
but with no stain of dishonor upon it, along 
the streets of the capital city, past the grand 
reviewing stand occupied by Generals Grant, 
Meade, and Sherman, by President Johnson 
and his cabinet and other distinguished men, 
while the streets on either side, the doors, 
windows, and house-tops, were thronged by 
immense numbers of men, women, and chil- 
dren. It was a fitting close to the drama that 
had for four long years been enacting upon the 
stage of this young republic, and to which the 
eyes of the whole civilized world had been 
turned with eager interest. There was not a 
crowned head in the Old World but rested more 
uneasily upon its pillow when the word came 


to it that the American republic had emerged 
from its fearful baptism of blood with no stripe 
removed and not a star less upon its beautiful 
emblem of liberty ; while downtrodden mil- 
lions saw in our victory a glorious presage of 
the dawn of freedom over the whole earth. 

After the grand review was over the various 
army corps settled down in their camps around 
Washington awaiting the final muster-out. 
Tuesday morning, May 30, we were relieved 
from duty as usual, and on our way over to 
our quarters at the south end of the bridge we 
met my old regiment on the way home. As 
soon as I could wash and get my breakfast I 
obtained a pass and started for the Baltimore 
depot, where they had gone to take the train 
for home. I found them ready to start. How 
I did want to go with them ! But it was no 
use. I had to see them start off with rousing 
cheers while I was left behind. With a feeling 
of utter disgust I turned around and made my 
way back to the Long Bridge. There was one 
consolation, however — my time of service 
would expire on the 12th of the coming Au- 
gust ; so I bided my time and resumed my 
duties with as much cheerfulness as possible. 


At the annual reunion of the One Hundred 
and Forty-first Regiment at Athens, Pa., on 
August 21, 1889, 1 learned that quite a large 
number of my old comrades had been reading 
these series of sketches in the Northern, and 
as the paper has many readers in the counties 
of Bradford, Susquehanna, and Wayne, where 
the regiment was raised, who are deeply inter- 
ested in anything concerning the history of 
this gallant regiment, I will trace the history 
of the regiment from the time I left it in July, 
1863, till the end of the war. 

On Friday, July 15, the regiment crossed 
the Potomac at Harper's Ferry and were once 
more on the soil of old Virginia. Lee's army 
kept falling back gradually, followed at a re- 
spectful distance by Meade's army. At length 
the Confederate army reached and took up a 
position on the head waters of the Rappahan- 
nock River, which is formed by the addition 
of the Rapidan to the north branch of the 
above-named stream. 

Here the two armies remained for some 
months watching each other's movements and 
waiting for future developments. About the 
9th of October Lee made a sudden northward 


movement, and before Meade was fairly aware 
of it the rebel chief had completely turned his 
right wing and was actually threatening his 
communication with Washington. The Union 
army at once commenced a rapid retrograde 
movement in order to checkmate Lee's move- 
ments, and after a series of marching and coun- 
termarching our brigade, then commanded by 
Colonel Collis, of the One Hundred and Four- 
teenth Pennsylvania, came in contact with a 
detachment of rebel cavalry under Lomax, 
which was dismounted and concealed in a; 
thicket near a little hamlet called Auburn. 
The first intimation our boys had of the ene- 
my's presence was a volley from this concealed 
enemy. Our brigade was quickly deployed 
and ordered to charge the enemy. The spot 
occupied b)^ the One Hundred and Forty-first 
was exceedingly warm, but with a ringing 
cheer the boys rushed on the enemy, driving 
him from his stronghold and putting him to 

In this engagement the One Hundred and 
Forty-first lost three men killed, eight wounded, 
and three missing. Among the wounded was 
George Morse, one of the boys from our place. 


who lost his right arm. After being shot he 
made his way to the rear, where his wound was 
examined by the surgeons, who decided that it 
must be amputated. George pleaded with them 
to save it, and they finally told him that they 
would not take it off then, but would give him 
chloroform and probe the wound, and then they 
could tell more about it. So he took the 
chloroform, but when he came to his arm was 
gone. He was a good musician, and he told 
me afterward that the first thing he thought 
of after coming to and finding his arm gone 
was that he could never play any more on an 

Among the mortally wounded in this fight 
was a young man who was much given to com- 
plaining and finding fault. The boys used to 
tell him that if he ever was shot it would 
be in the mouth, as that organ was nearly 
always open and was very prominent. Well, 
sure enough, in the skirmish at Auburn he was 
struck in the mouth with a ball and so severely 
wounded that he died soon after. After all, he 
was a true patriot and a good soldier, only he 
would occasionally give way to his bad temper. 
He fills a martyr's grave. 


The Third Corps continued to fall back till 
it reached the vicinity of Fairfax Court House, 
where it went into camp. About this time 
General Sickles, scarcely restored in health, 
and mutilated, having lost a leg at Gettysburg, 
came back to the army and requested to be 
placed again in command of his old Third 
Corps. This request was refused, for, alas I he 
was only a volunteer officer, and had nearly 
sacrificed his men at Gettysburg to order to 
save the day for the Union cause. For this 
he was never really forgiven. 

The rebel army now began to retire, and as 
soon as Meade thought it safe to do so he 
began to follow on. After a long series of 
maneuvers Lee retired finally behind the Rap- 
pahannock, and thus ended a campaign void 
of any decisive results on either side. The 
One Hundred and Forty-first bad a skirmish 
with the enemy at Mine Run, in which the loss 
was three killed and ten wounded. About the 
first of December the regiment went into win- 
ter quarters near Brandy Station, on the Orange 
and Alexandria Railroad. The regiment then 
numbered about two hundred and fifty men 
and officers present for duty. During the 


winter a large number of the regiment were 
allowed to go home on furlough, while those 
who remained in camp had little to do save 
guard and picket duty. About the first of 
February, 1864, General Butler, then in com- 
mand of the Department of Virginia and North 
Carolina, concluded he could take Richmond 
with a cavalry force by making a sudden rush 
upon it while the enemy's attention should be 
drawn in the direction of the upper Rappa- 
hannock by some unusual demonstration by 
the Army of the Potomac. Consequently, 
General Sedgwick, who was temporarily in 
command of the army, ordered an advance of 
part of the Second Corps, the balance of the 
army to be held in supporting distance. The 
One Hundred and Forty-first, which had just 
got fairly settled in their new camp, were 
obliged to tear down their tents and pack up 
preparatory to joining in the movement. All 
that afternoon and far into the night they kept 
on the march in a cold, pitiless rain. 

The next morning the march was resumed, 
and very soon the sound of artillery firing 
could be heard in front. The firing grew more 

rapid and distinct, and the regiment was 


drawn up in line of battle. The Second Corps 
had stirred up the enemy and were engaged in 
a brisk encounter. Soon the firing slackened 
up, and after a time ceased altogether. After 
remaining near the Rapidan till the evening of 
the 7th of February the order came to return 
to camp. So far as our boys could see it was 
a fruitless movement, resulting in no advan- 
tage to the Union cause, for " Ben" failed to 
get Richmond, as he generally did in every 
move he undertook. The Second Corps lost 
about two hundred men. 



/^N March g, 1864, Major General U. S. 

^^ Grant received his commission as Lieu- 
tenant General of the armies of the United 
States. He immediately announced his inten- 
tion of making his headquarters with the Army 
of the Potomac. He retained General Meade, 
and issued orders for the complete reorganiza- 
tion of the Potomac army. The five army 
corps were consolidated into three, retaining 
the Second to be commanded by Hancock, the 
Fifth by General Warren, and the Sixth by Gen- 
eral Sedgwick, while the First and Third were 
broken up and divided between the other 
three. Perhaps there was wisdom in this new 
arrangement, but it created great dissatisfac- 
tion in the ranks of the dismembered corps. 
Nowhere are local associations and ties so 
strong as in an army of American freemen, 
and any attempt to disrupt those ties, often 
welded and rewelded in the fires of battle, is 
sure to be resented, and proved so in this case. 


But there was no help for it, and all that could 
be done was to tamely submit. The men of 
the First and Third Corps were allowed to re- 
tain their respective badges ; and to this day 
you ask any member of either of these corps 
to what army corps they belonged, and the 
reply will invariably be, '' To the First " or 
" Third Corps," as the case may be. The old 
Third Corps was attached to the Second Corps, 
becoming the Third Division thereof, command- 
ed by General D. B. Birney. The One Hun- 
dred and Forty-first Regiment was attached to 
the First Brigade of this division, which was, 
with the exception of one regiment, the Twen- 
tieth Indiana, which had formerly been in the 
same brigade, composed of an entirely different 
set of men. This change necessitated a change 
of camps on the 29th, and our old regiment 
found itself among entire strangers. 

Up to this time the regiment had had no 
chaplain since the resignation of the Rev. 
David Craft, of Wyalusing, Pa., who was com- 
missioned chaplain at the organization of the 
regiment, but who on account of continued 
ill health had been discharged on surgeon's 
certificate of disability, February 11, 1863. 


In March, 1864, Colonel Madill had invited 
Rev. Andrew Barr, pastor of the Wysox, Pa., 
Presbyterian Church, to become chaplain of 
the regiment. Mr. Barr assented to the prop- 
osition, and on the 24th left his home to join 
the regiment then encamped near Brandy 
Station, Va. In endeavoring to find the regi- 
ment he missed his way, walked about a dozen 
miles, forded a large stream, carrying a heavy 
valise, and finally reached the regiment utterly 
prostrated. He was immediately taken sick 
and sent to the hospital, where he died April 
II, just a week after his arrival. His body 
was embalmed and sent home to Danville, Pa., 
where it was buried. 

All through the month of April there had 
been great activity prevailing in all parts of 
the great Potomac army. Reviews and inspec- 
tions and drills had followed each other in 
rapid succession. Those absent in hospitals 
who had become sufficiently recovered to be 
able to do service in the field were sent on 
to their various regiments. The One Hundred 
and Forty-first had been recruited in this way 
till on April 30 the adjutant reported fifteen 
officers and three hundred and nine enlisted 


men present for duty. Tuesday morning, May 
3, a large detachment of our regiment was sent 
some miles from the carnp on picket. Unusual 
activity had prevailed in the army for a few 
days, and every indication pointed to an im- 
mediate advance. Early in the evening an 
officer came out and ordered our line taken in, 
and that the men should immediately return 
to camp. On arriving at their quarters they 
found their tents torn down and active prepa- 
rations going on for a move. Each man was 
supplied with sixty rounds of ammunition and 
six days' rations, which, added to the winter's 
clothing — overcoats, blankets, and various 
other articles — formed a heavy load for men 
to carry whose muscles had become softened 
by a winter's inactivity. It was near mid- 
night when everything was in readiness 
and the order to march was given. Once 
more the Union army was headed toward 
Richmond, and notwithstanding the fact that 
so many failures had been made in the 
past, and our boys knew that every inch of 
their way would be hotly contested by a 
determined foe, and that many of them would 
fall in the attempt, yet on they went with 


high hopes and joyous anticipations of com- 
ing victory. 

About eight o'clock the next morning Ely's 
Ford on the Rappahannock was reached, where 
pontoons had already been laid, on which a 
crossing was effected, and a halt made for 
breakfast. After an hour's rest the line pushed 
on, and by noon had reached the battleground 
at Chancellorsville, upon which they encamped 
till the next day. Very few changes had taken 
place since, just a year before, they had met 
the enemy in desperate conflict on this bloody 
field. The rains in some places had washed 
the scanty coverings of earth from the graves 
of those who had been buried the year before, 
exposing to view some parts of the remains. 
These were carefully covered up. Some of the 
boys also found the remains of some who had 
not been buried at all. These were also in- 
terred as well as it was possible to do so. 
Since then these remains have all been re* 
moved to the national cemetery at Fredericks- 
burg, where they have been buried and their 
graves properly cared for. Some of the boys 
visited the earthworks we built in the rear of 
the Chancellor House the year before and 


found them almost unchanged. They also 
found the grave of Robert McKinney, the par- 
ticulars of whose death I have before given. 

The entire battlefield was covered with frag- 
ments of shot and shell, half-decayed knap- 
sacks, clothing, etc., while the trees were cov- 
ered with scars showing where the conflict had 
raged the fiercest. But, alas ! all this carnage 
was about to be repeated, only on a much 
larger scale. Many of the boys who walked 
over those battle-rent fields, and who shuddered 
at the sight of the unburied bones of former 
comrades bleaching under the storms, dews, 
and sunshine of old Virginia, in a very few 
days, pierced and torn, laid themselves down 
beneath the scrubby oak, the weeping willow, 
or the sighing pines, where they moldered back 
to dust, without even a covering of that soil 
for whose perpetual freedom they had laid 
down their lives. The few hours of rest which 
succeeded this march were sorely needed by 
the men, as they had traveled about thirty 
miles since the night before. The road all the 
way to Brandy Station was strewn with over- 
coats, blankets, knapsacks, and many other 
articles, which had grown heavier with every 


advancing step. The weather began to grow 
warm during the day, but the nights were cool 
and often chilly, so that after becoming heated 
by the hard marching of the day those who 
had thrown away their blankets sorely felt the 
need of them through the long chilly nights. 
Many as a consequence contracted colds, 
fevers, rheumatism, and other diseases, which 
terminated their usefulness as soldiers. 

Early in the morning of May 4 the bugle 
sounded the assembly, and at five o'clock the 
regiment was on the march still headed south- 
ward, and by ten o'clock had reached the Fur- 
nace, the spot to which we had advanced in 
our pursuit of Stonewall Jackson's wagon train 
the year before, and where we were halting 
when Jackson made the fierce onslaught on 
the Eleventh Corps. Here three companies 
were detailed to guard a crossroad while our 
division was passing. We were passing around 
the flank of Lee's army toward Spottsylvania 
Court House, and were very certain to come 
in contact with the enemy in the near future. 
The country all through this region is covered 
with a dense undergrowth of scrub-oak, witch- 
hazel, dwarf-chestnut, pitch-pine, and laurel. 


General Grant would very much have preferred 
waiting for more open ground before grapphng 
with his wily antagonist, but Lee did not pro- 
pose to confer any such favor upon him. 

In the early forenoon of May 5 the Battle 
of the Wilderness began. Birney's division was 
then at Todd's Tavern, and was ordered at 
once to support General Getty's division of 
the Sixth Corps, which had struck the enemy 
at Parker's Store, on the Orange Plank road. 
Birney immediately moved his two divisions 
(his own and Mott's), Mott's on Getty's right 
and his own on his left, and the fight became 
at once exceedingly fierce and obstinate. 

Comparatively little artillery could be used, 
owing to the wooded condition of the ground, 
but the minie balls got in their deadly work. 
The First Brigade was formed in two lines, 
and while one line was in advance, engaging 
the enemy, the other threw up breastworks. 
Then the rear line took the advance and the 
first line retired behind the fortifications. The 
battle raged furiously all that afternoon and 
till darkness put an end to the day's struggle, 
with little perceptible advantage to either side. 
The One Hundred and Forty-first had, as usual, 


borne a prominent part in the fight, and had 
sustained a loss of one killed and eighteen 
wounded, with one missing. At dark Lieu- 
tenant Gerould and fifty men were placed on 
picket in front of the regiment. 

The ground was covered with the dead and 
wounded, the night was pitchy dark, especially 
in the wood, and in passing from post to post 
the men were sure to stumble over dead bodies, 
while the cries for help from the wounded were 
most heartrending. It was a terrible experi- 
ence, never to be blotted from the memory of 
those who passed through it. All that night 
the two armies rested upon their arms, face to 
face, waiting for the coming morning to furnish 
the light to direct their aim to the more sure 
destruction of each other. 

It was during this night that General Grant 
is said to have had his wonderful vision. He 
had summoned his several corps commanders, 
Hancock, Warren, and Sedgwick, to his tent 
for consultation. The question was whether 
there should be an advance on the morrow or 
a retreat. Without expressing his own opinion 
the commanding general asked for the opin- 
ions of his subordinates. It is said that they 


unanimously advised a falling back from that 
fearful wilderness of death. Without giving 
them any orders for the morrow Grant dis- 
missed them from his presence. After they 
were gone he walked out alone behind his tent 
to meditate. He was suddenly aroused from 
his reverie by the appearance of a most bright 
and beautiful personage, a shining angel, clad 
in robes of dazzling whiteness, and girt about 
with a golden girdle frosted with diamond 
dust. In one hand was a burnished shield 
and in the other a drawn sword which glit- 
tered with unearthly radiance. With the 
sword the angel smote toward the east, and 
suddenly vast streams of gold and silver frorh 
ten thousand vaults flowed in and were piled 
in huge glittering pyramids at the angel's feet. 
Following this came vast quantities of arms, 
with all the implements and munitions of war; 
all came rolling in as far as the eye could reach. 
Then the angel smote toward the west, and, 
behold, oceans of wheat and corn and horses 
and cattle came surging in, all rushing toward 
the spot where the angel stood. Then he 
turned and smote toward the north, and from 
every hill-top and valley, from a thousand vil- 


lages, cities, towns, and hamlets sprang tens 
of thousands of armed warriors, who immedi- 
ately turned their steps toward the angel and 
in solid ranks came marching on, keeping step 
with the beating of the angel's heart. Then 
for the first time the angel spoke. Turning 
his keen gaze upon the astonished chieftain, he 
said : " Behold all this treasure, and all of 
these resources, and all these armed warriors 
are at thy disposal. Go forth and fear not." 
Then the vision faded and was gone, and the 
great chieftain, returning to his tent, sat down 
and wrote an order to each of his corps com- 
manders, " Be ready to move upon the ene- 
my's position at daybreak." 



THE night of May 5, 1864, was one of 
great anxiety to each of the great armies 
which were lying confronting each other in the 
shades of that Virginia wilderness. There had 
only been a preliminary test of strength the 
day before, and they now were only waiting for 
morning light to renew the terrible struggle. 
All night long our pickets could hear the en- 
emy busily engaged in fortifying their position. 
The One Hundred and Forty-first was holding 
the extreme right of our line, its right resting 
on the Orange Plank road. At daylight our 
boys were aroused from slumber, and after a 
hasty breakfast were formed in line prepara- 
tory to making a general assault on the en- 
emy's lines. 

In front of the position held by our regiment 
was a line of breastworks held by the Thir- 
teenth North Carolina Regiment, and on the 
crest of their works was their flag floating in 
plain view. While waiting for the order to 


advance Sergeant Rought, of Company A, 
discovered the flag, and in very forcible lan- 
guage declared that he would have it or die in 
the attempt. Soon the order to charge was 
given, and with a ringing cheer our boys 
rushed for the enemy's works. As they 
emerged into the open space they were 
greeted with a shower of bullets, but on they 
sped through the stifling smoke, and, reaching 
the enemy's works, they scaled them without a 
moment's hesitation. Sergeant Rought went 
straight for the flag and demanded its surren- 
der. This being refused, Rought felled the 
colorbearer with his clubbed musket and 
wrested the flagstaff from his hand. A rebel 
soldier leveled his musket at Rought, but be- 
fore he could fire Captain Warner, of Company 
D, shot the assailant with his revolver. A 
large number of the enemy threw down their 
arms and surrendered, while those who could 
get away precipitately fled. Then a mighty 
cheer arose from the victors, while the sergeant 
leaped upon the rebel works, waved the cap- 
tured flag, and shouted with the rest. He was 
ordered to report with his flag to General 
Ward, commanding the brigade, who received 


him with many flattering compHments for his 
bravery, and then sent him to General Birney, 
who commanded the division. In the uiele'e 
Rought was quite severely wounded, and was 
sent with the flag to Philadelphia to the 
hospital. The flag was on exhibition at the 
great Sanitary Fair held there, and attracted a 
good deal of attention. It is now in a room 
of the War Department at Washington, and 
bears the following label: 

'' Captured by Sergeant Stephen Rought, 
Company A, One Hundred and Forty-first 
Pennsylvania Volunteers, May 6, 1864, at the 
Battle of the Wilderness, Virginia." 

The next day General Birney issued an order 
congratulating our regiment on its bravery and 
on the taking of the first rebel flag that had 
been captured by the Army of the Potomac 
since it had been under the command of Gen- 
eral Grant. 

Halting at the first line of works long 
enough to dispose of their prisoners, about 
forty in number, and for reforming their line, 
the victorious troops pushed on in hot haste 
after their fleeing enemy. Reaching the 
second line, they swept over it in an instant 


and for more than a mile kept up their victo- 
rious pursuit, until their ammunition was ex- 
hausted and they were confronted by a heavy 
force of fresh soldiers under Longstreet. They 
halted and waited for a fresh supply of ammu- 
nition and for reinforcements. Neither came, 
and at length they were forced to retire, which 
they did slowly and in good order till they 
reached the line they had taken in the morn- 
ing. Then there was a short lull in the con- 
test. Fresh supplies of ammunition were 
brought up, fresh troops were ordered forward, 
and every effort made to meet the desperate 
charges of the enemy which our officers were 
confident would be made. They had not long 
to wait. In a short time the enemy was seen 
approaching in solid lines, and again the strife 
raged furiously. While the right of Hancock's 
corps was engaged in a desperate grapple with 
the enemy Longstreet sent a strong detach 
ment of his corps to gain the flank and rear of 
Birney, whose division was now holding the 
left of the Second Corps line. Shielded by 
the impenetrable thickets, the enemy suc- 
ceeded in getting in upon our left and rear 

before being discovered. They succeeded in 


rolling up our line in much confusion, which 
necessitated its withdrawal to the intrench- 
ments held in the morning. These the rebels 
did not deem advisable to assault, and General 
Longstreet at about this time receiving a se- 
vere wound there was another brief lull in the 

General Lee now took command in person 
of this part of the line, and began making 
active preparations for a general assault on 
our whole line. General Hancock was equally 
active in making preparations to defend his 
position, and when at four o'clock the rebel 
forces advanced to the attack he was ready to 
receive them. The battle opened furiously. 
In spite of the fierce assault of the rebels our 
boys were easily holding their position, when 
by some accident the long breastworks behind 
which they were fighting took fire and the 
wind blew the smoke and flames directly in 
their faces. They were obliged to fall back. 
The rebels took advantage of this circumstance 
and, advancing in a tremendous charge, tem- 
porarily threw our line into confusion. The 
Twentieth Indiana, however, held their posi- 
tion, and when the rebels advanced sufficiently 


to expose their flank the Indiana boys poured 
into them such a volley as caused them to halt 
and stagger. Just then the Sixth Maine Bat- 
tery gained an enfilading position and opened 
a deadly fire upon the Confederate ranks. Our 
boys who had fallen back had again rallied, 
advanced, and opened a galling fire upon the 
enemy. By five o'clock the Confederate forces 
had been completely repulsed and had fallen 
back with heavy losses. At 6 o'clock P. M. 
Meade ordered another attack by our forces, 
but as there had been continuous fighting all 
day, and our troops were much exhausted and 
nearly out of ammunition, the order was coun- 
termanded and the two armies remained 
quietly holding about the same respective po- 
sitions they had held in the morning. Our 
regiment had been in three desperate engage- 
ments during the day, and had expended nearly 
two hundred rounds of ammunition per man. 

That night and the next day were spent in 
comparative quiet, each army improving the 
intermission in caring for and removing the 
wounded and burying the dead. Late in the 
day an advance was ordered, and our bo}-s 
with little opposition gained the next line of 


breastworks in advance. This line was held 
till it was withdrawn to take part in the move- 
ment to get around Lee's flank toward Rich- 
mond. The losses of the One Hundred and 
Forty-first, considering the numbers engaged, 
had been quite severe. Out of about two 
hundred and eighty men who participated in 
the battle thirteen were killed or died of 
wounds and fifty-nine wounded, while three 
were reported captured or missing, making an 
aggregate of seventy-five. General Grant, find- 
ing it impracticable to drive the rebel army 
out of its stronghold by a direct attack, deter- 
mined to move around Lee's right flank, get 
possession of Spottsylvania Court House, and, 
securing a position, throw down the gauge of 
battle where the conditions would be more 
nearly equal. Lee very quickly divined the 
intention of Gr^nt, and sent Longstreet's corps 
to seize Spottsylvania Court House and plant a 
line of battle directly across the Union line of 
march. This was easily accomplished, and 
when the advance of the Fifth Corps, which 
led the way — Robinson's division in the ad- 
vance — struck the Spottsylvania ridge it was 
most unexpectedly assailed by a volley of 


musketry from the enemy concealed on the 
opposite side of the ridge. General Robinson 
fell, severely wounded, and the column was 
thrown into considerable confusion. It was 
evident that more fighting must be done on 
this line, and the balance of the army was hur- 
ried up. The One Hundred and Forty-first 
left its position on Sunday morning, May 8, in 
the Wilderness, and set out on its march for 
this new line of battle. The day was intensely 
hot, the dust almost suffocating, and many of 
the boys were overcome and prostrated by the 
heat. About noon it reached a point on the 
Cathurpin road and immediately began throw- 
ing up intrenchments, and by dark had com- 
pleted a strong line of defense. 

On Monday Meade was all ready for an ad- 
vance, but the rebels held a naturally strong 
position, which had been further strengthened 
by fortifications until it was evident that it 
could only be carried by an immense sacrifice 
of men by direct assault. Therefore the Union 
commander concluded to postpone a direct 
general assault until he had so far investigated 
the enemy's position as to be sure that there 
was no better line of attack. In the meantime 


there was almost constant skirmishing going 
on but no general engagement. In front of 
the Second Corps was a small stream, narrow, 
but deep and unfordable, called the Po River. 
Hancock was ordered to cross this stream and 
make a reconnoissance in force on the enemy's 
left. Accordingly, pontoons were laid down, 
and after considerable delay he succeeded in 
getting his forces safely across. The next 
morning he ordered an advance, and the One 
Hundred and Forty-first was deployed as skir- 
mishers and were pushed ahead some two 
miles, constantly pressing back the rebel line 
and finally encamping on a height of ground 
for the night. They had captured four pieces 
of artillery, a number of baggage wagons, and 
a considerable number of prisoners since cross- 
ing the river, and Hancock was making ar- 
rangements for further aggressive movements 
when he received orders to send two of his 
divisions to the support of Warren's Fifth 
Corps ; for Meade had decided to make a gen- 
eral assault on the rebel lines in front of War- 
ren's position. While the column was re- 
crossing the Po River the One Hundred and 
Forty- first was in the rear and was sharply 


assailed by a body of rebel troops and quite a 
spirited engagement followed. Finally, the 
Union forces all succeeded in getting across 
without much loss, and then the bridge was 
taken up and another covered bridge was de- 
stroyed. This movement was known as the 
Po River Expedition. Although the regiment 
had been under fire nearly all day, and had in- 
flicted considerable damage on the enemy, it 
suffered no loss either in killed or wounded. 

The point where Meade had determined to 
make an assault on the enemy's position was a 
high elevation known as Laurel Hill, which 
fairly bristled with cannon and swarmed with 
infantry. About three o'clock Warren's men 
were ordered to charge the position. The 
troops advanced bravely, but were driven 
back with heavy loss. Again an advance was 
ordered, and some of Warren's men succeeded 
in reaching the parapet, but were unable to 
hold it. General Hancock was then ordered 
to bring up his two divisions and let the '* Dia- 
mond Clover" Corps attempt what the Fifth 
Corps had not been able to accomplish. About 
sundown all was ready, and Birney's and Gib- 
bon's divisions moved forward to the assault. 


The troops had witnessed the failure of Warren's 
men to take the ridge and the terrible slaugh- 
ter which resulted, and moved forward with a 
good deal of reluctance, for they all felt it to 
be a hopeless undertaking and that they were 
like sheep being led to the slaughter. The 
word of command, however, had gone forth, 
and they must obey, even to death. In solid 
lines onward they sweep toward that fatal 
crest, when suddenly from the dusky muzzles 
of thousands of rebel muskets leap crimson 
tongues of fire, and the deadly bullets come 
crashing through our ranks, covering the 
earth with uniformed bodies. But still those 
lines move on with unfaltering step till those 
huge guns, shotted to the very muzzle with 
grape and canister and trained with deadly 
precision upon the advancing columns, belch 
forth their death-dealing contents into the very 
faces of our boys, mowing great gaps in those 
already decimated lines. Then our columns 
halt, waver, advance, halt again, then waver as 
if in uncertain balance, then break into a wild, 
disorderly retreat, and rush for a place of 
safety, continuing their flight till they are 
safely behind their line of works. 



r~^ ENERAL GRANT decided to makean- 
^^^ other attempt to drive tlie Confederate 
forces from their stronghold. A certain angle 
in the rebel line had been fixed upon as the 
place of assault, and the old Second Corps was 
selected as the assaulting column. Wednesday 
evening, May 11, camp fires were lighted all 
along the front of the Second Corps, and after 
they had got to burning brightly the troops 
were formed in line and ordered to make the 
least possible noise. The roads were very 
muddy and soft on account of recent rains, and 
the night was pitchy dark, making the march a 
most uncomfortable one. The line of march 
was nearly due east and in rear of the Fifth and 
Sixth Corps, across fields and through woods 
and swamps, by the m.ost direct route to the 
point of attack. About three o'clock on the 
morning of the nth the regiment reached 
its destination, and after being deployed and 
placed in position the boys were allowed a short 


rest, though no fires were allowed to be built. 
In silence the boys in blue waited for the break 
of day, which was the time appointed for the 
attack. Afewhundred yards in front were the 
sleeping lines of the enemy, resting secureh , 
as they supposed, behind their fortifications, 
which were very strong of themselves. They 
were also surrounded by an abatis, which is 
made by felling trees with the limbs outward, 
the tops being cut off and the ends sharpened. 
The works, which were in front of our brigade, 
were manned by Terry and Walker's brigade 
of Johnson's division of Ewell's corps. 

About half past four, in the deep gray of 
the morning, the Second Corps was massed for 
the assault. It was a moment of intense and 
thrilling interest. There was an awful sus- 
pense in the hearts of those gallant veterans as 
they stood there with beating hearts and 
quickened respiration, firmly grasping their 
trusty rifles, with bayonets already fixed, wait- 
ing for the word of command. It was now a full 
week since they left their camps on the north 
side of the Rappahannock. They had met the 
foe on many a hard-contested field, but neither 
side had gained any perceptible advantage 


over the other. In the last assault upon the 
enemy our boys had suffered a decided re- 
pulse. Before them frowned those formida- 
ble lines of intrenchments, behind which were 
long lines of vigilant, brave, and determined 
soldiers, whose prowess and skill they had 
learned to respect. Much depended on the 
result of the coming struggle. Almost every- 
thing was to be gained by victory, while defeat 
might prove terribly disastrous to the Union 
cause. And then it was almost or quite cer- 
tain that the price of either victory or defeat 
would be the lives of many of that heroic 
band and the maiming of many others, or 
what might be even worse, captivity, starvation, 
and death in Southern prisons. And then 
those loved ones at home! But hark! Out 
ring the bugle notes clear and sharp, cutting 
short all such thoughts and reveries. It is 
sounding the charge. Then comes the com- 
mand, '^ Attention, column! Forward, guide 
center, march ! " And suddenly those long 
lines move forward. No gun is fired, no 
word spoken ; but in terrible silence those 
gallant lines press onward until the enemy's 
picket line is encountered. This is brushed 


aside or captured with scarcely a moment's 
liesitation as being hardly worthy of notice. 
As the breastworks were neared our boys with 
a ringing cheer broke into a run and made a 
grand rush for the enemy's intrench ments. 
As they come near tlie rebel works a terrific 
volley of musketry is poured into their faces, 
but though the ground is dotted with bleeding 
forms they heed not the carnage ; seizing the 
abatis with their hands, they tear it aside, and 
in an instant more our brave boys are scaling 
the breastworks and are in the enemy's line. 
Then the struggle became hand to hand, 
ket to musket. Those of the enemy who were 
nearest the front threw down their arms and 
surrendered. Then our lines, which had be- 
come completely mixed up and disorganized, 
made another grand rush for the second Con- 
federate line, which they carried instantly, 
sweeping everything before them and pushing 
on for nearly a mile. The trophies of this 
splendid achievement were about four thou- 
sand prisoners captured, twenty pieces of artil- 
lery with their caissons (ammunition chests on 
wheels) and horses, many thousand stands of 
small arms, and more than thirty stands of 


colors. Major General Edward Johnson, Brig- 
adier General G. H. Stuart, and many officers of 
less note were among the prisoners. Captain 
Peck, of Company B, captured a rebel colonel. 
During the charge and in the subsequent move- 
ments many of the One Hundred and Forty- 
first became separated, and the rebels, throwing 
in a line of reinforcements on their flank, took 
several of our boys prisoners. Our colors nar- 
rowly escaped the same fate. 

It was only for a very short time, however, 
that our men were allowed to enjoy peaceably 
the fruits of their well-earned victory. Lee 
seemed to be determined to regain the ground 
he had lost, and, massing a heavy force of 
men, he made five successive and desperate at- 
tempts to drive our men from their advanced 
position. The attempt was in vain, however, 
for our boys, reinforced by the veterans of the 
Fifth and Sixth Corps, successfully resisted 
every assault and manfully maintained their 
ground till midnight, when Lee withdrew his 
torn and bleeding forces to his inner line of 
works. The fight around that bloody apex 
has passed into history as among the bloodiest 
of the war. An oak tree twenty-two inches in 


diameter, in rear of Wilcox's rebel division, 
was literally cut down with bullets, and at 
about midnight fell with a tremendous crash, 
injuring quite a number of the First South Car- 
olina Regiment. The ground was completely 
covered with the dead and wounded, and the 
ditches had to be cleared of the enemy's dead 
more than once to make room for the living. 
For several hours the two lines fought on 
opposite sides of the same breastwork. Men 
were bayoneted and shot through the crevices 
betwixt the logs, and it was as much as a man's 
life was worth to show his head on either side. 

The One Hundred and Forty-first w^as in 
the thickest of the fight. The oak tree above 
mentioned, a section of which isnow on exhi- 
bition at the United States Museum at Wash- 
ington, stood directly in front of our regiment. 
The following extract is from a letter written 
by Lieutenant Colonel Watkins, of the One 
Hundred and Forty-first. He says, under date 
of Friday, May 13 : 

*' We are lying in the mud. We have been 
fighting incessantly since the 5th. Yesterday 
we charged very heavy breastworks and car- 
ried them after some loss. The slaughter on 


both sides passes description. We marched 
all night, night before last, attacked the rebel 
works at daylight in three lines with fixed bay- 
onets, fought over the works all day and all 
night in the rain and mud. Our men are wet 
to the skin, and are now eating their first meal 
since night before last. My heart bleeds wdien 
I think of our sufferings and losses. I am un- 
hurt, but exhausted with fatigue and anxiety. 
'* Our losses in the regiment have been mi- 
raculously small for the number and obstinacy 
of the fights in which we have been, and can 
only be attributed to the fact that we fought 
much of the time behind breastworks and 
were guarded by a kind Providence. The day 
we took the enemy's works was one of contin- 
ual musketry, such as has not been seen before 
in this war. You will not believe me when I 
tell you that I saw large trees, one eighteen 
inches through, of white, oak, literally cut down 
by musket balls, but such is the truth. Just at 
this point our own and the rebel dead lay in 
heaps, pierced, some of them, with hundreds of 
balls. So horrid and sickening a sight I never 
saw before. Here we fought nearly twenty- 
four long hours, almost hand to hand, in a 


heavy rain. Our regiment has behaved nobly 
and taken more prisoners than it numbers." 

The remainder of the night succeeding Lee's 
withdrawal was one of exceeding discomfort. 
The dead were strewn so thickly that there 
was scarcely room for the living to lie down. 
The incessant rain had filled the ditches with 
water and transferred the soft fresh dirt into 
beds of mud. These beds were certainly soft 
enough to suit anybody, but were also decidedly 
moist. But when human nature is completely 
exhausted it is not so particular where it finds 
rest. So our boys lay down in the ditches or 
on the muddy slopes, surrounded by the dying 
and the dead, and, forgetful of the recent terri- 
ble strife and the horrible surroundings, re- 
lapsed into sound slumber. The morning of 
the 13th was gloomy, cloudy, and rainy. No 
general engagement took place, but almost 
continuous picket firing was kept up, varied 
occasionally by an artillery duel, which served 
to keep the soldiers of both sides on the alert. 

Our boys improved their time in strengthen- 
ing their works, burying their dead, cooking 
rations, and in preparing for future develop- 
ments. Many of the enemy's dead lay in the 


ditch which they had dug. They were left 
just as they fell, except that they were covered 
over with dirt shoveled from the top of the 
mounds they had thrown up. They had lit- 
erally dug their own graves. Our own dead 
were buried in rear of our line, with no coffin 
or shroud ; they were simply wrapped in their 
blankets, if they had any, and were buried 
wherever it was most convenient. 

Saturday, the 15th, our men held the same 
position, and the rain continuing to fall they 
pitched their shelter tents, in many instances 
for want of room, directly upon the graves of 
their dead comrades. The rebel sharpshooters 
kept up a continuous and murderous fire, which 
rendered it exceedingly dangerous to get away 
from the shelter of the earthworks. 

Saturday evening a detail of men under Cap- 
tain Peck, of Company B, was sent out in our 
front on picket. Such service in the immedi- 
ate presence of a vigilant enemy is not only 
fraught with great responsibility and discom- 
fort, but is also extremely hazardous. Senti- 
nels are posted one or two in a place along the 
entire line, sometimes but a few feet apart, 

behind trees, logs, rocks, or anything that can 



afford shelter, where they are often obh'ged to 
remain for hours at a time, often in intense 
darkness and, as in this case, surrounded with 
dead men, watching with the utmost vigilance 
for any movement or approach of the enemy. 
Soldiers on picket are often obliged to remain 
in positions so cramped — sometimes lying on 
the cold, wet ground behind logs or curled up 
in holes dug in the ground — that when relieved 
they are scarcely able to walk. When it can be 
done with safety sentinels on picket are relieved 
every two hours and remain off duty for four 
hours; but in many instances pickets can only 
be changed in the dark, when the enemy cannot 
see. to fire, and therefore they must remain all 
day and part of the night on this perilous duty. 
It is often the case that, where two picket 
lines remain for any length of time near each 
other, by mutual agreement they refrain from 
firing upon each other. Often during the war 
the pickets of the two armies became very 
friendly, visiting each other's posts and ex- 
changing newspapers and other articles. Our 
boys traded coffee and other articles of food 
with the Confederates for tobacco, which was 
about all the article for barter they possessed. 


This practice of intercommunication was for- 
bidden by the commanders on both sides, but 
under such circumstances men make their own 
rules and regulations, their chief concern be- 
ing that they are not detected in their irregu- 
lar practices. It is much more comfortable to 
perform duty when one can stand up, move 
around, keep a fire, and keep up the circula- 
tion, without the constant expectation of be- 
coming a target for somebody's rifle, than to 
remain for hours hidden behind a log, tree, 
rock, or stump, where the slightest exposure 
of one's person will be followed by the '' zip " 
of a minie ball coming altogether too near for 
comfort. Our boys would often place an old 
hat on a ramrod or stick and slowly and cau- 
tiously raise it above the breastworks in front 
of them. This would be followed by the si- 
multaneous crack of perhaps a score of rebel 
muskets, when the old hat would be jerked 
down perforated with bullet-holes, while our 
rifle-pits would ring with peals of laughter at 
the joke upon the Johnnies. Then some joker 
would shout: *' O, you get out, you reb! You 
couldn't hit the broadside of a barn. What is the 
use of wasting your ammunition in that way?" 



THE losses of the One Hundred and Forty- 
first from May 8 to 20 were as fol- 
lows : Killed or died of wounds, thirteen ; 
wounded, twenty-five ; captured and missing, 
seven ; making an aggregate of forty-five. For 
the week succeeding the terrible fighting at 
Spottsylvania Ridge, on the 1 2th, our regiment 
remained for most of the time in the line of 
works it had captured from the enemy. On 
Tuesday, the 17th, a part of Ewell's corps 
made a charge on our lines, driving in our 
picket, and advanced within short range of our 
line, but a single volley sent them rushing 
back to their works with considerable loss. 
Then General Hancock ordered a counter- 
charge, and our division made a short advance, 
which accomplished nothing, and our troops 
soon retired behind their works. The follow- 
ing extract from a letter of Lieutenant Colonel 
Watkins will explain the situation. Under 
date of May 18 he writes: 


" I am now sitting behind the very same 
breastworks and upon the very same ground 
we fought so long and obstinately over on the 
1 2th inst. I have just eaten a supper from an 
old oilcloth spread over the buried remains of 
brave soldiers, amid the most noisome smell 
one can imagine. I do wish we could get away 
from here. Six days ago we took this place, 
and have not gained any ground since. As I 
write I keep my head low to avoid the deadly 
missiles of the enemy's sharpshooters. We 
had a hard fight to-day in attempting to take 
one of the enemy's lines in front, but failed. 
We are expecting an attack to-night in return. 
We are in front, where we have been most of 
the time. It does seem that they ought to 
take us out and give us a little rest. The days 
are very warm, but the nights are cool and 
^^ggy- ^^ ^^^ ^^^ so worn out and exhausted 
that when we once get to sleep it is almost 
impossible to get awake again. I hope we will 
move from this spot soon. The stench is in- 
tolerable and the associations by no means 

In the evening of the iSthour men received 
the welcome order to leave their position be- 


hind the intrenchments. They speedily packed 
up their effects and were soon on the march 
eastward. They encamped near the Freder- 
icksburg road, some three miles from their 
former position. Here for the first time in 
two weeks they were not under fire, but could 
breathe the pure air, wash their clothes, and 
cook their food without danger of being 
stricken down by bullets or shells. General 
Grant had by this time begun to despair of 
driving the rebels from their position by 
direct assault ; he therefore determined to 
resort to his former plan of turning the 
enemy's flank, and, by threatening his com- 
munications with Richmond, force him to re- 
lease his grip on Spottsylvania Ridge. He 
therefore issued his orders to that effect, and it 
was in accord with this plan that our regiment 
moved to the eastward. Lee, however, had 
already anticipated this design, and, detaching, 
sent Ewell's corps around the Union right 
flank with orders to seize our line of communi- 
cations with Washington, which was by way 
of Fredericksburg and Aquia Creek, and cap- 
ture our trains if possible. Fredericksburg was 
then held by Tyler's division of heavy artillery 


serving as infantry, which was also holding 
the Fredericksburg road in the rear of our 
army. Ewell's men struck this road near where 
our brigade was encamped, and made a desper- 
ate attempt to capture our ammunition train, 
which was just passing. Tyler's men, however, 
gallantly met the rebel charge and succeeded 
in holding them in check till Birney's division 
could come to the rescue. Our regiment had 
no idea that its services would so soon be 
called into requisition again ; consequently they 
had improved the opportunity to wash their 
clothing, change their garments, and repair the 
ravages made by the two weeks' campaigning. 
About five o'clock the order came to fall in 
at once, and many of the boys had to dry their 
shirts on their backs or go into the fight with- 
out any. Hurriedly the line was formed and 
the column headed for the spot where Tyler's 
men were hotly engaged with the rebels. They 
found the enemy posted on a hillside in the 
woods and quickly made preparations for driv- 
ing him out. When all was ready the order was 
given, "Forward! Double quick, march!" 
Rushing through the line of artillerists, our 
bovs made straight for the wooded hillside, 


where the battle raged furiously till darkness 
put an end to the conflict. The next morning 
when our troops advanced the enemy was 
gone, excepting the dead and wounded, of 
which there were quite a large number. Our 
loss was very light. We occupied much lower 
ground than the rebels, and their bullets mostly 
passed over our heads. Our brigade in this 
action captured six or seven hundred prison- 
ers, besides driving the Confederates from their 
chosen position and defeating their well-laid 
plans. Our men were soon relieved by a bri- 
gade of the Sixth Corps, and they immediately 
returned to their former position near the 
Fredericksburg road, where they were at lib- 
erty to finish their semi-monthly washing. 

A sad accident happened on the morning of 
the 20th, by which Sergeant John Allen, of 
Company A, lost his life. He was lying on the 
ground with his head upon his knapsack, when 
a gun in the hands of one of his company was 
accidentally discharged, inflicting a wound from 
which he soon after died. He was a gallant 
and faithful soldier ; had been in every battle so 
far in which the regiment had participated, and 
passed through the recent struggle unharmed. 


Evvell's movement had caused a delay of 
some hours in the flank movement of the Union 
army, and it was not till the evening of the 
20th that the army resumed its march in that 
direction. About midnight the One Hundred 
and Forty-first was aroused from slumber and 
joined the Second Corps in taking the advance 
in the movement. The head of the column 
was turned to the southeast, and about daylight 
this regiment arrived at Guinea Station, on the 
Fredericksburg and Richmond Railroad. Here 
a halt was made for breakfast, after which the 
march was resumed, the column heading south- 
ward along the railroad, in the direction of 
Richmond. About sunset the column reached 
and crossed the Mattapony River at Milford 
Station, and encamped for the night on the 
south side of the river, having marched some 
twenty miles that day. The contrast betwixt 
the country our troops had left the night be- 
fore and that which they had now reached was 
marked indeed. Here were broad, cultivated 
fields, fine farmhouses, beautiful groves, and 
well-built roads, all contrasting with the gloomy 
wilderness, the very shadow of death, within 
the deep recesses of which the men had been 


engaged in a mortal struggle for so many days 
and nights. Add to the change in scenery the 
absence of immediate danger from a hostile 
foe, and the change was still more marked. 

The following morning, May 22, the brigade 
advanced about two miles. Orders were re- 
ceived about noon for our regiment to go out 
as a support for a brigade of cavalry which 
had been sent on a scouting expedition. A 
march of four or five miles to the south and 
west failed to discover any signs of armed foes, 
but our boys made numerous captures in the 
shape of chickens, turkeys, pigs, and geese, 
with whicli the country abounded, and for 
which they had especially keen appetites, as it 
had been a long time since they had drawn 
any such rations. That night nearly every 
man slept on feathers, which were scattered 
promiscuously about the camp to which they 
returned in the evening. 

Monday morning found us very mucli re- 
freshed and reinvigorated by the rest obtained 
and the extra rations we had enjoyed, and 
when at daylight we again received orders to 
march every man was ready for business. At 
6 A. M. the column was in motion and still 


headed to the south, the objective point being 
the North Anna River. 

It soon became evident that Lee was not to 
be caught napping, for when the Second Corps 
reached the vicinity of the North Anna it be- 
came aware that the enemy was in force in its 
immediate front. Strong hues of earthworks 
had ah-eady been constructed on both sides of 
the river, which here was spanned by a high- 
way bridge, while numerous batteries had been 
planted by the rebels on the south side, com- 
manding the approaches to the bridge on both 
sides, as well as the open space on the north 
side. General Birney was ordered to charge 
the works on the north side and take them. 
The First and Second Brigades were detailed 
for this business, and the One Hundred and 
Forty-first was ordered to take the advance as 
skirmishers. Crossing a small stream running 
parallel with the river, the regiment emerged 
into open ground, where it met such a wither- 
ing fire from the rebels that the men were 
forced to retire behind the bank and wait for 
the general charge. In a {g\v minutes all was 
ready, and with steady steps the main columns 
advanced. Passing the little stream, where 


our boys joined the assaulting line, with a ring- 
ing cheer they rushed for the Confederate 
works. In front of the rebel line was a deep 
ditch several feet wide, from the bottom of 
which to the parapet was ten or twelve feet. 
Into this ditch the boys leaped, and, thrusting 
their bayonets into the bank, made scaling lad- 
ders, by which they climbed to the top, when 
they drove the rebels out with the exception 
of about fifty, who were captured. The rest 
fled precipitately across the river. Sergeant 
Seagraves, who carried one of our regimental 
flacks, on reachincr the ditch had no means of 
scaling the parapet, so Sergeant Lobb placed 
his head and arms against the bank, and the 
color-bearer made a ladder of him, and soon 
the flag of the old One Hundred and Forty- 
first was waving from the top of the works, 
being the first flag planted there. The retreat- 
ing rebels attempted to burn the bridge, but 
whenever a man approached the bridge for 
that purpose he was sure to get a dose of cold 
lead. Our loss in this encounter was remark- 
ably light, only one being killed and one 
wounded. Nearly all that night our men were 
engaged in throwing up works, but in the 


morning it was discovered that the rebels had 
abandoned their Hne along the south side of 
the river, and some of our forces crossed over 
and took possession of their works without 
opposition. The enemy had several large bat- 
teries planted some distance back from the 
river, and they kept up a raking fire upon the 
approaches to the bridge, which made crossing 
it anything but pleasant. About noon the 
One Hundred and Forty -first was ordered 
across, and under a galling fire was deployed 
in an open field, where the men at once set 
about building a line of earthworks, using bay- 
onets, tin plates and half canteens instead of 
shovels and picks. In very short order they 
had completed a formidable line, in which they 
passed the night. 




FOR two days the belligerent armies lay 
facing each other on the south side of the 
North Anna. The pickets were pushed up 
close together, and as soon as active opera- 
tions had ceased they at once laid aside the 
restraints imposed by the rigid law of war and 
became quite friendly. The rebel soldiers 
were always plentifully supplied with a fine 
quality of tobacco, and it was in great demand 
among our boys, who eagerly traded off their 
rations of sugar and coffee, almost unknown 
luxuries in the Southern army, for great plugs 
of the Virginia leaf, and both parties thought 
they were gainers by the exchange. 

About eleven o'clock Thursday evening or- 
ders were received to recross the river. Since 
leaving Fredericksburg our army had been 
without a regular base of supplies; conse- 
quently the stock of provisions, ammunition, 
etc., was running pretty low. As Lee occu- 
pied a position altogether too strong to be 


carried by direct assault the Union com- 
mander decided to make another wide detour 
to the east, which, while it would bring his 
army much nearer Richmond, would also se- 
cure an excellent base of supplies and force 
Lee to loosen his hold upon the North and 
South Anna. The North and South Anna 
unite and form the Pamunkey; this unites 
wath the Mattapony, and they form the York 
River, which empties into the Chesapeake Bay. 
White House is the head of navigation on the 
York River. If, therefore, the Pamunkey could 
be successfully crossed and the head waters of 
the York River be secured it would furnish an 
excellent water base of supply from which di- 
rect operations could be resumed against Rich- 
mond. In pursuance of this plan General 
Grant, on the evening of May 26, put his army 
in motion, the Sixth Corps, preceded by a 
brigade of cavalry, taking the initiative, fol- 
lowed by the Fifth and Ninth Corps, the 
Second Corps bringing up the rear. 

About noon of the 27th our regiment left its 
camp on the North Anna to take part in this 
new flanking movement. The march was con- 
tinued through the afternoon and late in the 


evening, it being nearly or quite midnight 
when the wearied troops halted for the night 
near Hanovertown, a small village on the 
Pamunkey, and went into camp in a field of 
corn. Early the next morning the march was 
resumed, the Pamunkey River was crossed, 
and a commanding position was secured on a 
ridge a short distance south of the river, where 
the boys soon threw up a strong line of earth- 

By this time the supply of rations had 
nearly given out, and the prospect of getting a 
fresh supply was not very favorable. Nomi- 
nally orders against foraging were very strict ; 
but they were not very strictly obeyed, espe- 
cially when rations were getting scarce. Of 
course it would not do for officers to encourage 
plunder, but many of them were perfectly will- 
ing to accept a share of the spoils which had 
been captured by their men, provided they 
were not detected in it. One afternoon some 
drummer-boys went out of camp to practice, 
and while thus engaged they discovered a 
good-sized pig wandering in the woods hunt- 
ing for acorns. They got some clubs, and by 
using a little strategy succeeded in capturing 


the young porker, which they proceeded to 
dress in regular army style — this was always 
done by skinning, as they had no means of 
scalding. The next thing was to get their 
prize into camp in broad daylight without de- 
tection. A happy thought struck the bass 
drummer. He took out one of the drum 
heads, and the pig was snugly stowed away in 
the inside. The head was loosely replaced, 
and, taking the drum between two of them, 
they started for camp. The butchering proc- 
ess had taken up considerable time, and when 
the boys arrived in camp they found their 
regiment in line for dress parade and impa- 
tiently waiting for the band. As soon as the 
colonel in command discovered the tardy mu- 
sicians, in no very gentle tones he ordered 
them to take their places in the parade. Here 
was a very embarrassing state of things in- 
deed. Even though the drummer had been 
able to carry forty or fifty pounds of pork in 
his drum, by a single strap around the back 
of his neck, this would not have helped 
him out of his trouble, for there was abso- 
lutely no music in that drum. The vibrations 

of the air would have been arrested by the 


pig, and the results would have been a dull 
thud. For a moment the drummer hesitated ; 
then laying his drum down upon the ground 
he went up close to the officer and whispered 
something in his ear. '' Sick, eh ? " shouted 
the colonel, "why didn't you say so before? 
Go to your quarters ! Adjutant, dismiss the 
parade ! The field and staff will take supper 
with me to-night at half past six." The cen- 
ter of attraction at the colonel's supper table 
that evening was a huge tin plate heaped full 
of Virginia porksteak. 

Toward evening Barlow's brigade of Han- 
cock's corps pushed southward a few miles, 
till, on reaching the crossing of the Totopoto- 
moy, which is an affluent of the Pamunkey, he 
found the enemy in considerable force, ready 
to resist his further advance. Barlow imme- 
diately called for assistance, and the whole 
Second Corps moved forward. The One Hun- 
dred and Forty-first advanced some two miles 
and encamped in Barlow's rear, in a pine 
grove, where the night was spent. The next 
day Colonel Madill, who had been absent for 
a few weeks, reached the regiment, greatly to 
the joy of all, but especially of Lieutenant 




Colonel Watkins, who had had command of 
the regiment during the colonel's absence. 
The boys had again thrown up intrenchments 
on the high banks on the north side of the 
stream, and were then waiting further develop- 

During the afternoon of the 30th our regi- 
ment was thrown forward to within a few rods 
of the rebel line, where it again built a strong 
line of earthworks. This evening the long- 
expected supplies reached the boys, and their 
fasting was immediately turned into feasting, 
if such a thing could be done on army rations. 
The next day orders were received for the 
One Hundred and Forty-first to cross the To- 
topotomoy Creek in its front, and take posses- 
sion of a line already occupied by our advance 
pickets. This was done under a severe ar- 
tillery fire, in which the regiment had two 
wounded. Holding this line till dark, the 
boys advanced fifty or sixty rods and con- 
structed a new line of works. It was soon 
discovered, however, that the rebels occupied 
a position enfilading our advanced line, and 
before daylight of June I the regiment was 
sent back to a less exposed position. After 


a careful examination of the rebel position 
on the Totopotomoy, General Grant decided 
that it was altogether too strong to be car- 
ried by direct assault ; he therefore resolved 
to again move around the rebel flank. He 
desired especially to secure a position on 
the Chickahominy River; consequently he 
dispatched a body of cavalry to seize and 
hold Cold Harbor. This place was neither a 
harbor of water nor a town, but simply an 
inland point where several roads diverged, the 
most important of which to the Union army 
was the one leading to White House, where 
General Grant had established his base of sup- 
plies. Grant had previously ordered General 
B. F. Butler, commanding the Army of the 
James, to forward to him all the forces he 
could spare, and twelve thousand five hun- 
dred men were dispatched by way of White 
House, where they arrived on the 30th and 
were united to the Army of the Potomac. 
The Sixth Corps took the advance, and when 
near Cold Harbor struck a fortified position 
held by the enemy in force. This the corps 
immediately assaulted, but accomplished little. 
On June I Hancock was ordered to withdraw 


from his position on the Totopotomoy, and 
make all haste to reach Cold Harbor and rein- 
force General Wright's Sixth Corps. About 
dark our regiment received orders to march, 
and taking its place in line was again headed 

Early on the morning of the 3d arrange- 
ments were made for storming the rebel works. 
Hancock's corps occupied the extreme left of 
the Union line. General Barlow's division 
made a furious charge upon a salient of the 
Confederate works, and carried the first line, 
but was unable to retain its advantage and 
was forced to retire. Barlow was succeeded 
by General Gibbon's division, which with great 
gallantry charged the rebel line, only to be re- 
pulsed with heavy loss. After various maneu- 
vering our division was relieved by the Ninth 
Corps and returned to its position in the rear 
of the other two divisions. During the day 
General Grant issued an order to the effect 
that assaults should cease; that Richmond 
was besieged, and that the approaches should 
be made in regular order. The troops re- 
ceived this order with gladness, for it had now 
been a full month since they left Culpeper, 


and they had marched and fought and dug 
and chopped nearly every day. Sunday, June 
5, all was quiet along our part of the line. 
Late in the day the brigade was advanced to 
the front, and immediately began constructing 
a strong line of works which were finished by 
the next morning, although the whole regi- 
ment had only a few axes and shovels with 
which to work. Supplies of provisions and 
clothing were now plenty, and vegetables were 
issued to the men, and their rations, added to 
their forage, fully satisfied every reasonable 



UNDER date of June 9 Captain Atkinson, 
of the One Hundred and Forty-first, 

*' On Monday evening, June 6, I was sent 
with a detail of fifty men to strengthen the 
picket line, as a deserter had come in and re- 
ported that the rebs were intending to gob- 
ble up our pickets that night. I was posted 
on the extreme left and placed in command of 
General Mott's brigade picket line. Every- 
thing passed off quietly, the rebels not even 
firing a shot at us. I was left out for two 
days, returning to the regiment last evening. 
South Carolina troops were picketing in our 
front and were very friendly, talking and trad- 
ing with our men as if they had never been 
enemies. At a point between our lines I found 
five of them and five of our men sitting to- 
gether and talking in a very friendly manner, 
a thing positively forbidden. I got right upon 
them before they saw me, and the rebs looked 


quite surprised to see me there. They saluted 
me with ' Good-morning, captain ! ' I ordered 
my men back to their posts and the Confeder- 
ates to theirs. All immediately obeyed but 
one. I asked him if he was not going. ' No,' 
he said, ' I am posted here,' and showed me 
his gun ; so I concluded to let him alone, and 
went back to my own lines. We are having 
quite peaceable times and are living very well. 
We get potatoes, dried apples, and pickled 
cabbage, all of which are great luxuries for 

Hitherto every effort made by General Grant 
to throw his army between Lee's army and 
Richmond had proved futile, as the rebel gen- 
eral had held the inside track. The two armies 
were so near together that Grant was unable 
to make a single move of any magnitude with- 
out Lee's becoming aware of it immediately, 
and the Union army in every southward move- 
ment was sure to find at the most favorable 
points for defense the rebel army planted 
squarely across its pathway with formidable 
lines of works. After passing a week in the 
defenses of Cold Harbor, Grant determined to 
make another movement to the south and east. 


and in conjunction with General B. F. Butler's 
Army of the James to seize Petersburg, which 
was a great railroad center and a strong strate- 
gic point. Then, with the lower Chesapeake 
as a supply base, he would approach Rich- 
mond from the southeast. Accordingly, Gen- 
eral Butler was ordered to advance and make 
a vigorous assault on the defenses of Peters- 
burg, while they were comparatively unde- 
fended, as every man who could be spared 
had been sent to reinforce Lee's struggling 
army. The Union commander confidently be- 
lieved that under the circumstances a well- 
directed assault would be successful. In this, 
however, Grant was doomed to disappoint- 
ment. A feeble attack was made, but was 
easily repulsed, Butler falling back and send- 
ing to General Grant for help. 

In the evening of June 12 we got orders to 
pack up and be ready to march at a moment's 
notice. In a few moments we were in line 
and headed for the southeast. We passed 
down the north side of the Chickahominy to 
Dispatch Station, on the York Railroad, thence 
directly south to Long Bridge, where we 
crossed the Chickahominy, and on Monday 


evening had reached Charles City Court House, 
within three miles of the Jannes River. The 
march had been a very severe one, but was 
much preferable to scaling rebel fortifications 
or lying in front of the rebel line on picket. 
Hjre the regiment remained until Tuesday 
morning, when we started for the James River. 
A steamer was found in readiness to ferry us 
over to Windmill Point. Here we expected 
to find a fresh supply of provisions, as Butler 
had been ordered to forward sixty thousand 
rations from City Point; but he failed to come 
to time, and after waiting in vain till the next 
day General Hancock proceeded with his 
corps toward Petersburg. At five o'clock on 
the afternoon of the 15th, while on the march 
toward Petersburg, General Hancock received 
word from General Smith, who was in charge 
of the immediate operations against Peters- 
burg, that he was in great need of help. Our 
division was, therefore, immediately turned in 
the direction of Smith's position, where we ar- 
rived about nine o'clock and went into camp 
in front of the rebel works. 

Our brigade was now in command of Colonel 
Egan. Early in the morning the rebels, hav- 


ing been greatly reinforced during the night, 
opened a fearful cannonade upon us, where- 
upon we were ordered to charge a small re- 
doubt on the extreme left of the corps line. 
This was done with great enthusiasm, and the 
position was quickly carried and held. Our 
regiment lost three men wounded in this action 
by the bursting of a single shell. Colonel 
Egan was also wounded, and Colonel Madill 
assumed command of the brigade and Lieuten- 
ant Colonel Watkins of the regiment. Dur- 
ing the day several redoubts were carried by 
our men, until our line had reached a point 
within a mile and a half of Petersburg. 

Several assaults were made during the 17th 
on different parts of the line, with no very de- 
cisive results. Finally General Meade ordered 
a general advance all along our line to be made 
at daybreak on the morning of the i8th. At 
four o'clock Captain Peck was ordered to take 
our company (I), with Companies B and F, 
and advance as skirmishers. We were de- 
ployed, and advancing to the first line of the 
enemy's works found it abandoned. We kept 
on, and reaching the second line found that 
also unoccupied, but here confronted a strong 


line of rebel skirmishers. They were driven 
back till the main line occupied by the enemy 
in force was reached. Here we were obliged 
to remain till the next morning close to the 
rebel line. The advance of the main army 
was delayed till about four o'clock in the after- 
noon, when, everything being in readiness, the 
word was given. The enemy's abandoned 
lines were soon reached and occupied, and 
then our gallant boys stood to face with 
those formidable intrenchments, which fairly 
bristled with rebel bayonets and frowned with 
rebel cannon. It is a stern law of military ne- 
cessity that requires men to march up to such 
appliances for destruction and face what seems 
to be almost inevitable death. And yet hope 
whispers to the gallant warrior that perhaps he 
will escape the enemy's missile, and though 
others will certainly fall the result of victory 
will largely recompense the sacrifice made. 
Our brigade was now massed for the desperate 
struggle, but, occupying a sheltered position 
behind a hill, was enabled to complete its for- 
mation without drawing the enemy's fire. Be- 
tween our position and the enemy's works was 
a commandine knoll over which our lines must 


necessarily pass to reach the rebel works. 
Colonel .Madill rode forward to examine this 
eminence, and as it was exposed to the sweep- 
ing fire of both the enemy's artillery and 
musketry he was well aware that by the time 
we passed that spot comparatively few would 
be left to scale the rebel works. The order to 
advance with fixed bayonets was now given, 
and onward swept our lines, althougli with lit- 
tle hope of success. 

As our advance line emerged from behind the 
crest of the hill and came in full view of the 
Confederates' stronghold it seemed that all 
the reserve and concentrated fire of the entire 
rebel army was let loose upon it. A horrid 
tempest of iron and lead swept across that 
spot, laying low hundreds of brave men and 
making huge gaps in that living wall. It was 
more than flesh and blood could endure, and 
the officers saw the utter hopelessness of the 
attempt. Colonel Madill says : *' I saw that the 
attack was a failure, and that to compel men to 
remain there and sacrifice their lives unneces- 
sarily would be criminal ; therefore I ordered 
them back behind the crest of the hill, the 
place from which they started in the charge." 


On the summit of the hill, while bravely 
cheering on his men, Lieutenant Colonel G. H. 
Watkins, then commanding the regiment, fell 
mortally wounded. He was carried back behind 
the crest of the hill, and at his request one of 
the officers, in the midst of the storm of battle, 
read to him the fourteenth chapter of St. John. 
He lived two hours after being wounded, and 
expressed his full confidence in a glorious sal- 
vation through Jesus Christ his Saviour. Then, 
after sending messages of affection to his 
friends, he calmly breathed his last, reclining 
in the arms of a comrade. He was a brave, 
true man, and was sorely missed and deeply 
mourned by all the members of the regiment. 

The losses of the One Hundred and Forty- 
first in this engagement, including one killed 
and one missing on the skirmish line under 
Captain Peck, were as follows: Killed or died 
of wounds, five ; wounded, fifteen ; missing, 
two ; making a total of twenty-two. Other 
regiments suffered correspondingly, so that 
the aggregate losses were very heavy, while 
the advantages were very slight. 

Our brigade remained in the position to 
which it had fallen back till the morning of 


June 21, when it accompanied the rest of the 
corps, as also the Sixth Corps, in a movement 
to the south and west, and after some skir- 
mishing took up a position nearly midway be- 
tween the Norfolk and Weldon railroads. In 
the evening after reaching this position Birney, 
then commanding the Second Corps, in the ab- 
sence of Hancock, who had become disabled 
by the breaking out of an old wound, was or- 
dered to extend his line to the Weldon Rail- 
road. This movement resulted in creating a 
gap between our corps and the Sixth, which 
occupied a position on our right. Discovering 
this gap, the enemy threw in a strong force, 
which created great disorder and confusion in 
our lines and resulted in the capture of over 
twenty-five hundred Union troops and many 
stands of colors. Being in the rear line, our 
regiment Avas not actively engaged in this 
affair, but lost one man killed and one cap- 
tured on the picket line. Our line was soon 
restored to order and the rebels driven back 
until our troops occupied the position originally 
marked out. Here they proceeded to build a 
strong line of works, which were held until 
Petersburg was evacuated. 


The weather became intensely hot, the mer- 
cury some days running up to io8° in the 
shade. Our regiment for some days occupied 
a sheltered position in a piece of pine woods, 
resting in the heat of the day and working at 
the fortifications mornings and evenings. The 
First Brigade had suffered so much by losses 
that it was here reinforced by the addition of 
the Seventy-third New York, whose colonel, 
Butler, being the ranking officer, took com- 
mand of the brigade. Captain Atkinson wrote 
July 23 : " General Birney has been relieved 
of the command of this division and assigned 
to the command of the Tenth Army Corps. 
General Mott now commands the division. We 
are not sorry for the change, as we think it will 
make less fighting for us. General Birney has 
in several instances in this campaign asked for 
the privilege of putting his division into diffi- 
cult positions for the sake of gaining a reputa- 
tion for himself. General Mott is not so anx- 
ious for military glory, and will do only what 
he is ordered to." 

The feeling expressed by Captain Atkinson 
was shared by nearly all of the officers and men 
in the division. One officer wrote, " The old 


division is now principally in heaven and in 
hospitals." The One Hundred and Forty-first 
had been reduced to one hundred and seventy 
men, and of thirty-nine officers only seven were 

General Burnside had about the last of July 
completed his celebrated mine under a portion 
of the rebel works, and was nearly ready to blow 
the enemy sky-high when it was thought best 
to divert the enemy's attention from the front 
of Petersburg by a demonstration north of the 
James River around the left flank of the Con- 
federates toward Richmond. Consequently, on 
the afternoon of the 26th of July the Second 
Corps, accompanied by two divisions of Sheri- 
dan's cavalry, took up a line of march down 
toward City Point, then eastward across the 
Appomattox, then northward, reaching the 
James about daylight of the 27th. At Jones 
Neck a pontoon bridge had been laid, and 
over this we crossed about sunrise. Near the 
crossing on the north side was a rebel battery 
of Parrott guns, which was charged and taken 
by a portion of Barlow's brigade. Our forces 
remained here until the evening of the 28th, 

when they were withdrawn to take part in the 


battle that was likely to result upon the spring- 
ing of the Burnside mine. July 30 an officer 
writes: '* Last night our division relieved a 
part of the Eighteenth Corps in the front line 
of works, and to-day a terrible battle has been 
going on. Just at daybreak one of the forts 
which had been mined was blown up, and the 
artillery opened along the whole line. It was 
the most terrific firing I ever heard. Nearly 
all the rebels who were in the fort when it was 
blown up were killed or buried in the earth. 
We are to occupy the front line of works two 
days out of every six ; the other four we will 
be encamped in the rear. We are very close 
to the enemy, and a constant fire is kept up by 
the pickets on both sides, but it amounts to 
nothing, as we keep down behind the works. 
Occasionally a man will become careless and 
get hit." 

On the 1st day of August the brigade re- 
turned to its former position near the Jerusa- 
lem Plank Road. 



'' I ^HE next important operation in which 
-*- our regiment participated was a second 
demonstration against the rebel left wing 
north of the James River. On Friday, August 
12, orders were received to be ready for march- 
ing at a moment's notice, with four days' ra- 
tions, and it was given out that our destination 
was the defenses of Washington. City Point 
was reached that night, and the next afternoon 
the whole division embarked in transports, 
whicli moved down the river, then turned back 
and moved up the James at Deep Bottom, 
where the troops disembarked. Then we knew 
that our destination was Richmond instead of 
Washington. The Tenth Corps, under Birney, 
was ah'eady on the ground, and our brigade 
had orders to cooperate with it in the pending 
attack. The rebels had intrenched a strong 
line here, so that they had great advantage 
over us. At eight o'clock on the morning of 
the 1 6th Birney's men advanced to the attack, 


supported by our brigade. The advance rebel 
line was driven in by noon, when Terry's divi- 
sion of the Tenth Corps made a grand charge, 
capturing the Confederate works, but losing 
heavily. Our brigade was formed in column of 
regiments, and so arranged as to strike the reb- 
els in flank as soon as the Tenth Corps should 
succeed in driving them back. This we did, 
and captured about a hundred prisoners; but 
the rebels, being reinforced, made a desperate 
effort to recapture their lost ground, and suc- 
ceeded in driving Birney's men back to the 
first line captured, which was held by our 

While the enemy's attention was taken up 
with these demonstrations north of the James, 
General Grant determined to improve the op- 
portunity to get possession of the Weldon 
Railroad, on the left of the Union line, over 
which a large share of the rebel supplies was 
transported. He ordered General Warren, with 
his corps, to take the advance in the movement, 
the Ninth Corps following within supporting 
distance. On the i8th our division, now com- 
manded by General Mott, was withdrawn from 
the north of the James and sent back to take 


the place of the Ninth Corps in the intrench- 
ments. Our losses in this movement amounted 
to fifteen killed, wounded, and missing. Gen- 
eral Warren had succeeded in getting a firm 
hold on the Weldon Railroad at Globe Tavern, 
but the Confederates could still bring their 
supplies within a few miles of their army, 
whence they could be hauled with teams. It 
was decided, therefore, to destroy the road for 
some distance further south, and General Han- 
cock was charged with this duty. Leaving 
our division in the intrenchments, he, on the 
22d, with his remaining two divisions, Miles's 
and Gibbon's, set out to accomplish the work 
assigned him. He reached the railroad near 
Ream 's Station, and for several miles effectually 
demolished it, so that by the 24th he was ready 
to return to his former position. The rebels 
did not propose to give up possession of so 
important a road so easily. They massed a 
strong force and made a furious attack on our 
forces and succeeded in inflicting serious dam- 
age, especially in the Second Division, which 
contained a considerable number of raw troops. 
July 28 the One Hundred and Forty-first had 
been transferred from the First Bri^-ade of the 


Third Division, Second Corps, to the Second 
Brigade of the same division and corps. Au- 
gust 29 General Byron Pierce was assigned to 
the command of our brigade. It was largely 
composed of regiments with which we had 
formerly been brigaded in the old Third Corps, 
and the boys felt very much at home in the 
new arrangement. The brigade remained in 
position near Fort Sedgwick until October i, 
doing alternately picket and fatigue duty. 
This kept the men almost constantly em- 
ployed, but the officers had a very easy time. 

On September 11 Sergeant A. J. Roper, of 
Company F, was instantly killed, while on 
picket, by a rebel sharpshooter. He was a 
little past twenty-one years of age, a resident 
of Gibson, Susquehanna County, Pa. ; a very 
exemplary young man, a brave and faithful 
soldier, and his loss was severely felt by the 
whole regiment. His body was sent home 
and buried in the Union Hill Cemetery in Gib- 
son township. April 3, 1887, the writer, then 
pastor at Gibson, officiated at the funeral o( 
young Roper's father, who died in his eightieth 
year and was laid to rest by the side of his hero 
soldier boy. 


October i our regiment participated in a 
movement on the left of the Union Hne, made 
principally by Warren's corps, to get posses- 
sion of an important point at the junction of 
the Squirrel Level and Poplar Springs Church 
roads, some three miles to the west of War- 
ren's position. A railroad had been con- 
structed in the rear of our lines, extending east 
and west, and it was very useful in conveying 
troops and supplies at short notice from one 
point to another. Taking the cars at Hancock 
Station, our boys proceeded to the west ter- 
minus of the road, whence they marched to 
Warren's headquarters. The battle had al- 
ready begun, and the next morning, taking a 
position on the extreme left, our division 
joined in the fray. The One Hundred and 
Forty-first, being thrown forward as skirmishers, 
succeeded in taking the first line of the enemy's 
works and advanced nearly a mile. Here the 
regiment encountered a much stronger line 
and was repulsed, with three other regiments. 
After spending two days in fortifying the ad- 
vanced line our division returned to its old 
position in front of Petersburg, where, on the 
8th, the men received six months' pay. 


Tuesday, October 1 1, being the day on which 
the Pennsylvania State election was held, and 
provisions having been made allowing all sol- 
diers from that State to vote, polls were opened 
at regimental headquarters and an election 
held, resulting in the casting of one hundred 
and ninety-six votes, all of which, excepting 
two, were for the Republican candidate. 

On the 25th Grant made another attempt 
to extend his lines to the left far enough to 
include at least the Boydton Plank Road, and if 
possible the South Side Railroad also, as these 
were now the principal Confederate lines of 
communication with the South since the loss 
of the Weldon Road. The possession of these 
by the Union forces would greatly weaken the 
rebel hold on Petersburg, and perhaps force its 
evacuation entirely. 

On the morning of the 27th our division ad- 
vanced from the Weldon Railroad, which had 
been reached the night before, to the west as 
far as Hatcher's Run. The ford was ob- 
structed by fallen trees, but, nothing daunted, 
the boys waded across the stream waist deep, 
and, gallantly attacking the enemy on the 
south side, carried the first line of works with 


little loss. General Hancock then pushed his 
line on toward the White Oak Road until he 
received instructions to halt. In the meantime 
the Confederates were concentrating their 
forces in our immediate front. Mahone's di- 
vision, having pushed in through an obscure 
road till a flanking position was gained, opened 
a furious storm of musketry on our unsuspect- 
ing brigade, which temporarily threw it into 
confusion and forced it to retire to gain a more 
favorable position. The One Hundred and 
Forty-first was the last of the brigade to leave 
its position, and then it was nearly surrounded. 
Mahone's men captured our brigade battery 
during the melee. The rebel triumph, how- 
ever, was of short duration, for Gibbon's di- 
vision of our corps, now commanded by Eagan, 
made a furious countercharge and completely 
swept the enemy from the field, recaptured 
our battery, and held the ground till orders 
were received to abandon it, which was done 
on the evening of the same day. We remained 
in the vicinity until Sunday, the 30th, when 
orders were received to return to our old camp. 
Our losses in this engagement were four killed, 
five wounded, and one captured. 


On the 8th of November the regiment held 
its presidential election, in which two hundred 
votes were cast. Of these one hundred and 
ninety-five were for Abraham Lincoln and five 
for George B. McClellan. There was no con- 
straint put upon any man as to how he should 

About the 1st of December the brigade 
moved about a mile to the rear for the pur- 
pose of changing camps, and immediately set 
about building winter quarters, as the season 
was so far advanced that we did not anticipate 
much more active work before spring. In this, 
however, we were disappointed, for on the even- 
ing of December 6 we got orders to be ready 
to march at eight o'clock the next morning. 
We were in line at the appointed time and 
were again headed toward the west, and soon 
found that the further destruction of the Weldon 
Railroad was the object of our new movement. 
The rebels still used this road to transport 
their supplies as far as Ream's Station, whence 
they were brought to Petersburg on wagons. 
Our march was westward to the Jerusalem 
Plank Road, where the column was turned to 
the south and followed that road to the Not- 


away River, which was here spanned by a 
pontoon bridore. Over this we crossed, and 
encamped on the south side for the night. 
The weather, which had been mild and rainy, 
had now become bitterly cold and caused a 
great deal of suffering and inconvenience. The 
next morning early the march was resumed, 
and that night the regiment encamped within 
three miles of the railroad. So far there had 
not been seen any indications of the foe. 

On the morning of the 9th the railroad was 
reached at Janett's Station; the various regi- 
ments were deployed along the road in each 
direction, and the work of destruction began. 
The rails were torn up from the ties, the ties 
piled in heaps and set on fire, and then the 
rails were piled on top of the fires till they be- 
came red hot, which so warped and crooked 
them as to render them unfit for use. Many 
of the rails while hot were twisted around tele- 
graph poles and ties, and were left to grow 
cold in that shape. This work was continued 
until about twenty-five miles of railroad had 
been destroyed, involving an immense loss to 
the Confederacy, as nearly all their rails had 
to be imported from England at great cost 


and risk. On Saturday the return march was 
begun. On Tuesday, the 13th, the division 
went into camp near Poplar Spring Church, in 
a fine grove where water was good and wood 
plenty, and once more began to construct 
winter quarters. On December 26 the regi- 
ment held its first dress parade since the open- 
ing of the spring campaign. 

On the 7th of December Colonel H. J. 
Madill received his commission as brigadier 
general, but he remained with the regiment 
till the middle of January, when he was as- 
signed to the command of the First brigade of 
the First Division. We were all very sorry to 
part with the gallant colonel, but rejoiced in 
his well-earned promotion. He was fearless 
and impetuous in battle, but with a heart as 
tender as a woman's. He never needlessly 
exposed his men to danger for the sake of pro- 
motion, as was sometimes the case, but seemed 
to res^ard the men of his regiment as children, 
and certainly the boys learned to love and re- 
gard him as a father. To this day they affec- 
tionately speak of him as the " Old Colonel." 
In the following April he was commissioned 
major general by brevet. Captain Tyler, of 


Company H, was promoted to be lieutenant 
colonel, after the promotion of General Madill, 
and took command of the regiment. Many 
other changes and promotions were made, and 
the beginning of the year 1865 found the One 
Hundred and Forty-first almost entirely re- 



'THHE year 1865 opened with the most 
-^ favorable prospects for the Union cause. 
Sherman had completed his famous march to 
the sea, thereby dividing the Confederacy into 
two parts, had captured the rebel stronghold 
of Savannah, and was preparing to march his 
victorious army northward through the Caro- 
linas to Virginia, where, forming a junction 
with Grant's army, they would very soon be 
able to use up Lee's army so completely as to 
bring the rebellion to a speedy conclusion. 

General Grant's chief concern now was that 
Lee might loosen his hold on Petersburg, and 
by means of the South Side Railroad and 
Boydton Plank Road escape to the southward, 
and, forming a junction with the rebel army 
under Johnston, indefinitely prolong the war. 
He determined, therefore, to send a strong 
force around the rebel right flank, seize the 
South Side Railroad, the Boydton Plank Road, 
and thus cut off every avenue of escape in that 


direction. During the early winter our regi- 
ment had been reinforced by recruits and re- 
turning convalescents, until on the 31st of 
January there were reported by the adjutant 
eighteen commissioned officers and two hun- 
dred and sixty enlisted men present for duty. 
The regiment was now commanded by Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Tyler, the brigade by General 
Byron Pierce, the division by General Mott, 
and the Second Corps by General A. A. 
Humphreys. The enemy continued to bring 
in supplies with wagon trains via Dinwiddle 
Court House, on the Boydton Plank Road, to 
Petersburg, and was thus able to maintain his 
hold on that city. General Grant determined 
if possible to seize these lines of communica- 
tion, and not only cut off Lee's source of sup- 
plies, but also prevent his escaping in that 
direction. To accomplish this end he, on the 
5th of February, detached the Second and 
Fifth Corps, with Gregg's division of cavalry, 
with orders to proceed to Hatcher's Run, from 
whence a strong column was to be thrown as 
far westward as possible. At three o'clock in 
the morning we received orders to be ready to 
march at daylight. The order was a most un- 


welcome one, as we had about completed our 
winter quarters, and the weather was bitterly 
cold. At the time appointed we were in line 
and started on another midwinter campaign. 
Reaching the crossing at Hatcher's Run, a 
small force of rebels was encountered. Our 
regiment was sent forward and deployed as. 
skirmishers, and drove back the enemy's picket 
line for some distance. The main part of our 
forces then crossed and began to throw up 

It soon became evident that the rebels were 
massing their forces to oppose our further 
progress and drive us from our position. 
About five o'clock four divisions of Hill's and 
Ewell's corps made a sudden attack upon our 
advanced line. The battle raged with tre- 
mendous fury, and for some time the issue was 
extremely doubtful, but finally the enemy 
relinquished the attempt and retired behind 
his fortified line. Our regiment lost in this 
encounter one killed and three wounded. The 
one killed was Albert Phelps, of Company K, 
who resided in Smithfield, Bradford County, 
Pa. 'He haH lately returned from home, where 
he had been on a furlough for thirty days, 


which had been granted by an express order 
from President Lincoln, at the solicitation of 
young Phelps's mother, who had written to the 
President stating that she had six sons in the 
country's service, and greatly desired to see 
this one, and the President had granted her 
request. But, alas ! it was the last time she 
was to look upon the face of her noble boy. 
He was instantly killed by a rebel bullet, being 
struck in the forehead and killed so suddenly 
that he did not fall for a short time, as he re- 
mained leaning against a tree. That night a 
part of the regiment went on picket, a most 
arduous duty, as it was midwinter, and no fires 
could be built ; neither could the sentinels 
walk their beats and keep the blood circulating 
in that way ; but all that long cold winter 
night the boys were obliged to crouch behind 
a tree, rock, or log, and lay there shivering 
until daylight brought release. 

The next day part of the Fifth Corps was 
sent out on a reconnoissance in force and ad- 
vanced as far as Dabney's Mill, where a strong 
force of the enemy was encountered, and quite 
a severe engagement followed, resulting in the 

withdrawal of our forces. Our brigade was 


ordered up to support the troops engaged, but 
the engagement was over before the brigade 
reached the scene of conflict, and was there- 
fore ordered to return to its former position. 
That night a terrible storm of snow, rain, and 
sleet set in ; the weather was intensely cold, 
and many of the boys almost perished from 
exposure. A line of intrenchments was laid 
out, the troops were moved to the respective 
positions assigned them, and began to throw 
up breastworks, and had soon completed a 
strong line of works. On Saturday, February 
1 1, the boys went into regularly laid out camps 
and began for the fourth time to build winter 
quarters. Although all had not been gained 
that was desired in this movement, still our 
line had been pushed forward so near the 
South Side Railroad that any unusual move- 
ment in that direction on the part of the rebels 
would soon be detected by our forces. Here 
the regiment remained doing various kinds of 
duty until the latter part of March. Lieuten- 
ant Colonel Tyler, on account of failing health, 
resigned his commission and was honorably 
discharged March i, and Major J. H. Horton 
was promoted to fill the vacancy, while Captain 


Mercur, of Company K, was commissioned 

Various other changes and promotions took 
place preparatory to the opening of the spring 
campaign, which, it was earnestly hoped, would 
result in the overthrow of the rebellion and in 
ending the war. Every day saw our army 
stiengthened and made more efficient, while 
the rebel army was as steadily diminished and 
disheartened, and as spring drew near General 
Lee became fully aware that something des- 
perate must be done to retrieve the waning 
fortunes of the Confederacy, or the struggle 
must be given up. His decision was that 
Richmond and Petersburg must be evacuated, 
and an attempt made to form a junction with 
Johnston's army in the Carolinas. 

To cover the contemplated retreat he ordered 
a fierce attack to be made on Fort Stead- 
man, further toward our right, thinking that 
Grant would Aveaken his left wing to defend 
this fort, and then he would improve the op- 
portunity to pass around our left and thus 
escape. On the morning of March 25 a furious 
attack was made on Fort Steadman, so des- 
perate and sudden that the rebels succeeded in 


getting temporary possession of it, turning the 
guns upon our retreating forces. Their triumph 
was of short duration, however, for our boys 
rallying, and assisted by other troops sent in to 
reinforce them, made a countercharge, retaking 
the fort and capturing a large number of pris- 
oners. As soon as the attack on Fort Stead- 
man began General Humphreys, commanding 
the Second Corps, ordered his troops under 
arms, being convinced that Lee had weakened 
his line in our front to furnish men to attack 
the fort. Our regiment the evening before 
had been detailed for picket duty, and as soon 
as Fort Steadman had been retaken we got 
orders to make a charge on the rebel picket 
line. This was quickly done ; their line was 
captured, with quite a number of prisoners; 
then our boys pushed forward until they were 
assailed by such a tempest of fire from the rebel 
artillery, which completely enfiladed them, 
that they were forced to seek shelter in a piece 
of woods. In a few moments the whole bri- 
gade came to their assistance, and a deter- 
mined charge upon the advancing columns of 
the foe was made, driving them back till our 
forces had advanced nearly a mile, where they 


immediately began to throw up intrenchments. 
This advance, secured largely through the gal- 
lantry of the old One Hundred and Forty-first, 
was of great advantage to our army, especially 
in the general assault made by our army a few 
days later, which resulted in the evacuation of 
Petersburg. One man, George Stage, of Com- 
pany C, was reported missing in this engage- 
ment, but was probably killed, as nothing was 
ever heard of him afterward. About the last 
of March General Grant made preparations for 
a general advance all along our lines, which, it 
was fully hoped, would finish up the business 
and bring the war to a close. 

Accordingly, he issued orders to that effect, 
and on the morning of the 29th our entire left 
wing, composed of the Second and Fifth Corps, 
preceded by Sheridan's cavalry, were put in 
motion, advancing northward, and by after- 
noon our brigade had reached the vicinity of 
Dabney's steam saw mill, occupying the same 
ground over which they had advanced the 
previous October. 

Here they went into camp for the night. 
It had been a very pleasant day, arid as our 
boys gathered in groups around their camp- 


fires in the evening their conversation was of 
a most cheerful character, as they felt conscious 
that their present movement would culminate 
in the complete overthrow of the rebellion, 
when, with peace fully restored, they would be 
permitted to return to the homes and friends 
from which they had so long been separated. 
The campaign had opened auspiciously, and 
the results of the day's advance had been satis- 

The evening was mild and pleasant, and 
many of the boys spread their blankets on 
the ground, not thinking it necessary to pitch 
their shelter tents, as they anticipated an early 
advance in the morning. 

Before morning, however, their dreams of 
victory and home were ruthlessly disturbed and 
broken up by a torrent of rain, which came 
dashing into their faces, arousing them from 
slumber with a most imperative argument, 
which none sought to question. It is no desir- 
able job to hunt around in a dark night after 
tent poles and pitch a tent with the rain com- 
ing down in perfect torrents ; but that was just 
what a good many of our boys did that dark, 
stormy night, and when the task was finished 


they very thankfully crawled under their rude 
shelter and relapsed into profound slumber, 
while the dripping rain beat a ceaseless tattoo 
upon the canvas roof. Morning came at last, 
but the heavens were still overspread with dark, 
heavy clouds, and the rain still came down in 
copious torrents, penetrating into every nook 
and corner, while the greedy earth opened 
wide her porous mouth and had soon swallowed 
up so much moisture as to render it a question 
whether the mixture contained more of earth 
or water. 

All that day and night, and all the succeed- 
ing day and night the rain continued to pour 
down, while the army shivered and crouched 
beneath such shelter as could be improvised, 
and when at length the clouds grew thin and 
the rain god ceased his weeping the whole sur- 
face of the earth was one sea of miry clay. 
As soon as possible, however, the advance 
movement was resumed, and on the 31st the 
enemy made a tremendous attack on Warren's 
Fifth Corps, on our left, but was finally re- 
pulsed with heavy loss. 

Sheridan's cavalry also engaged the enemy 
on our extreme left, and the tide of battle raged 


furiously in that direction, but all was compara- 
tively quiet in our immediate front. 

April 2, the Sixth Corps, on our right, made 
a successful attack on the enemy in front of 
Fort Fisher, driving him from his intrench- 
ments with heavy losses. This was followed 
up with a general advance all along the line, in 
which our regiment participated. 

Our line of advance was along the Boydton 
Plank Road to a point where it intersects 
the South Side Railroad, which was reached 
about noon. The enemy's works here were 
completely abandoned, evidently in great 
haste, as they left everything behind them — ■ 
tents standing, knapsacks, haversacks, and lots 
of camp fixtures all just as they had been 

Concerning this movement Captain Lobb, 
of Company G, writes: "About five o'clock 
we had orders to march. We struck the 
Boydton Plank Road a little nearer the Run 
than we were last October. The troops in 
advance cleared away all opposition, and the 
order was passed down the line, ' Onward to 
Petersburg.* We went up the Boydton road 
three miles to the railroad, then swung around 


behind Petersburg Heights, the route of the 
regiment fronn its starting-point, near Ward's 
Station, resembhng a semicircle. Thus far the 
regiment had not fired a shot. In passing 
where the rebel General A. P. Hill's head- 
quarters had been we found two or three 
colored servants ; one said he belonged to 
General Hill, and that his master was killed ; 
another that he was General Lee's boy, and that 
his master stayed at General Hill's quarters the 
night before and felt very badly over it. Our 
regiment was now placed in support of a bat- 
tery playing on a fort, which, I think, was 
Fort Gregg. I never saw guns so well worked 
as they were by the men of this battery. We 
camped here for the night." 

Early on the morning of April 3 a rumor 
came floating through our camp that Peters- 
burg and Richmond had both been evacuated, 
and that the rebel army was in full retreat 
for Amelia Court House. Only a short time 
elapsed before the rumor was verified, and 
then the scene which ensued in our army is 
altogether beyond description. Those bristling 
heights swarmed with immense crowds of 
Union soldiers, who laughed and shouted and 


cheered till the very welkin rang again with 
their tokens of almost delirious joy. It was 
the presage of complete victory which they felt 
would soon crown their heroic efforts and save 
the Union for which they had sacrificed so 
much. However, there was still hard work to 
be done. It was not the mere possession of 
the rebel stronghold which was the object in 
view, but the entire destruction of the rebel 
army. Although the monster Treason was in 
his death throes, he was liable to do some lively 
kicking yet. 

There was no time to be lost, and therefore 
the order for immediate pursuit was received 
while the hills and valleys were still echoing 
with the triumphant notes of victory. 

The irrepressible Sheridan, with his gallant 
''critter" boys, as cavalrymen were called by 
the Southern people, and also in command of 
the Fifth Corps, after he had displaced Warren, 
led the advance, followed closely by the Second 
and the Sixth Corps. 

Our regiment was on the march at eight 
o'clock in the morning, and, taking a westerly 
route, that evening reached the west side of 
Namozine Creek, having marched some twenty 


miles, and was sent on picket on the Burkeville 
road. Early on the morning of the 4th the 
march was resumed, and w^e soon struck the 
trail of the rebel army. We had some light 
skirmishing with the enemy's rear guard, but 
no general engagement. Both arm.ies were 
doing their best to reach Burkeville, but as 
Grant had the inside track he came out ahead 
in the race, notwithstanding the rebels de- 
stroyed all the bridges they could and placed 
every possible obstruction in our way. 

Sheridan, with his usual energy, had pushed 
forward his forces to Jettersville, more than 
halfway from Burkeville to Amelia Court 
House, where Lee's army had been concen- 
trated, and Ord soon had seized the former 
place, thus cutting off every means of transpor- 
tation by rail which remained to Lee. The 
situation of the rebel army was becoming most 
desperate and critical. Lee's only hope was to 
push on to Farmville, where he would again 
strike the railroad. Our corps and the Fifth 
were pressing Lee's rear so closely that he was 
obliged to abandon many w^agons and much of 
his artillery. To add to the enemy's troubles, a 
force of two regiments of infantry and a squad- 


ron of cavalry in the lightest possible marching 
order was pushed forward to Farmville, where 
they encountered the head of Lee's main army. 
This little force, under General Read, boldly 
attacked the enemy and held him in check un- 
til it was nearly annihilated and was forced to 
give way. In the meantime General Ord, with 
the rest of his corps, arrived, and then the en- 
emy began to intrench himself. The night of 
the 4th our brigade halted at Deep Run. The 
rebels had destroyed the bridge over this 
stream and we were obliged to repair it before 
we could proceed. At two o'clock the next 
morning the way was clear and the pursuit re- 

Very slow progress was made, as we often 
had to halt to give the cavalry and artillery 
the right of way, and then we had frequently 
to form in line of battle and skirmish with the 
enemy's rear guard. We also met great num- 
bers of rebel prisoners, and secured wagon 
trains and artillery which Sheridan, assisted by 
the advance of our corps, had captured that 
morning. Among the prisoners were Generals 
Ewell and Custis. Evidently the rebel army 
was becoming badly demoralized, and had 


about given up all hopes of success. The 
prisoners taken were a ragged, dirty, and de- 
jected-looking set, very few of whom had on 
any semblance of a uniform, but were mostly 
clad in homespun butternut-colored cotton 
cloth. It was hard to distinguish betwixt the 
officers and the privates, as they were about 
all dressed alike. The evening of April 5 
found us at the Danville Railroad, near Amelia 
Court House, where the night was passed. 
Next morning it began to rain, but fortunately 
cleared up about noon. 

But no rain, mud, swamp, or other obstruc- 
tion could stay the onward victorious march 
of the old Potomac army. We were fully 
aware that Lee was making a desperate at- 
tempt to escape the encircling folds of our 
army, and we were equally as desperate, if pos- 
sible, that he should not be allowed to do so. 
General Humphreys soon had the old Second 
Corps in line, and, throwing out a strong line 
of skirmishers in advance, the whole corps, in 
line of battle, started forward in the direction 
of Deatonsville. The enemy, under Gordon, 
was encountered while crossing Flat Creek, 
and a running fight ensued, which was kept up 


for several miles, the enemy steadily falling 
back but occasionally making a stand behind 
some lines of works which abounded all 
through that region. No sooner did the rebels 
make a stand than a charging column swept 
down upon them, carrying everything before 
it and covering the ground with dead and 
wounded men, while many threw down their 
arms and surrendered. 

About three miles west of Deatonsville there 
are two branches of the main road, one taking 
a northerly direction toward Rice's Station, the 
other leading off south toward Sailor's Creek. 

On arriving at the forks of the road General 
Humphreys found Ewell's rebel corps in line 
of battle on the north side of Sailor's Creek. 
Brushing past this force, he continued in pur- 
suit of Gordon's corps, until, arriving at Perkin- 
son's Mills, the rebels made a final stand, but 
were vigorously attacked by the First and 
Second Divisions of our corps and routed with 
great loss. Several hundred prisoners, thirteen 
flags, three guns, and a large share of Lee's 
wagon train were among the fruits of this vic- 
tory. Darkness soon coming on, and the coun- 
try being unknown to our forces, a halt was 


ordered for the night, and our boys went into 
camp pretty well satisfied with the work of the 
day. General Mott had been wounded during 
the day, and General De Trobriand took com- 
mand of the division. 

Captain Lobb relates the following concern- 
ing this day's movement : " When we came out 
of a piece of woods near the road and looked 
down the hill we saw the road and both sides 
of it blocked with wagons. After leaving the 
top of the hill to the right and left was cleared 
land. The One Hundred and Forty-first was 
ordered forward on the skirmish line, our right 
being along the road blocked with the train. 
The enemy had also an infantry skirmish 
line, along the creek, and their battery from 
the opposite hill was shelling us severely. At 
the creek most of the enemy's skirmish line 
was captured. Captain Gyle captured a Con- 
federate captain, and when he handed over his 
sword Captain Gyle asked him where he got 
that Yankee sword. He replied, ' From a 
Yankee ofificer at Chancellorsville.' From the 
description he gave we were satisfied that it 
was Captain Mumford's. The Confederate 
captain said he found the Yankee officer badly 


wounded in the edge of the woods near the 
plank road, not far from where Jackson fell, and 
took his sword, together with what greenbacks 
he had in his pockets, and the wounded cap- 
tain was taken to their field hospital. We 
were ordered to burn the wagons, and as we 
received no orders to take care of the plunder, 
each one appropriated what he wanted." 

Only two of our regiment were slightly 
wounded during the day. 

At about five o'clock on the morning of 
April 7 we were again in pursuit of the flee- 
ing rebels, following down along the river road, 
and at about eight o'clock we reached High 
Bridge, where the South Side Railroad crosses 
the Appomattox River. This was a very long 
bridge, over fifty feet high, and was on fire 
when we arrived ; but by dint of hard work it 
was all saved except two or three spans, and 
the wagon bridge was all saved. Our brigade 
continued the pursuit in the direction of Appo- 
mattox Court House, and soon encountered the 
enemy's rear guard, when we deployed in line 
of battle, whereupon the rebels retired ; but a 
running skirmish fire was kept up for some 


Finally, a few miles from Farmville we found 
the rebel line, consisting of the remnant of 
Lee's army, holding an intrenched position. 
Several attempts were made to carry this posi- 
tion, but failed with considerable loss, one of 
our regiment being reported captured. 

During this afternoon Grant sent his first 
proposition, through General Humphreys, for 
the surrender of Lee's army. That night the 
rebel army continued its hopeless retreat, and 
early the next morning we were in hot pursuit, 
taking the Lynchburg road, and before long 
had overtaken the enemy's rear guard, which 
we continued to press nearly all day, arriving 
at a little place called New Store in the early 
evening. At one o'clock the next morning 
the march was resumed, and by four o'clock 
we had passed around the rebel flank, and 
planted ourselves squarely across the rebel 
line of retreat, where we were drawn up in 
line of battle, waiting for future developments. 
About noon a flag of truce appeared, coming 
from the rebel lines, with the glad news that the 
rebel army was about to surrender, which in- 
deed was done at about four o'clock that after- 
noon. The scene that ensued beggars all at- 


tempts at description. The wildest excitement 
prevailed. Men shouted and cheered over and 
over again, until they actually became hoarse. 
Tears of joy ran down many a weather-beaten 
veteran's cheek. All feelings of revenge or of 
animosity seemed to vanish like magic. The 
captured army presented a most forlorn spec- 
tacle. Ragged, dirty, hungry, and completely 
demoralized, they were really objects of pity, 
and our boys, who but a few moments before 
were arrayed in ranks ready to shoot down 
their foes, now cheerfully shared their last 
cracker with those same men. Such generosity, 
although entirely unexpected, had a visible 
effect upon those late foes, and many of them 
seemed heartily sorry that they had ever been 
induced to take up arms against the defenders 
of the old flag. At least they were all heartily 
tired of the war, for they had marched and 
suffered and fought even against hope, only to 
lay down their arms at last at the feet of the 
defenders of the old Union. 



'^ I ^HERE was a great contrast presented in 
-■- the appearance of the two armies at the 
time of Lee's surrender. Perhaps no army had 
ever been better fed, clothed, and equipped 
than ours since it had been under the command 
of General Meade. 

We had no very exalted opinion of General 
Meade's abilities to handle an army, and, in- 
deed, he had had but little opportunity to dis- 
play generalship since Grant had taken com- 
mand, as he was only the medium through 
which Grant issued his orders. But of one 
thing we soon became well aware, and that was 
that no army contractor had any business try- 
ing to turn off a lot of damaged supplies for 
the army to subsist upon so long as General 
Meade was at the helm, and it was decidedly 
unhealthy for any quartermaster- under his 
supervision to attempt to speculate and make 
money at the expense either of the government 
or of the soldiers. He kept a keen eye on the 


commissary department, and if he discovered 
anything wrong he immediately called the 
officer in command to an account for it. As a 
consequence, when our army started on the 
last campaign in the spring of 1865 it was in 
a splendid condition, and had succeeded in 
closing up the business in such short order 
that our uniforms had hardly had time to get 
soiled or our muscles to become hardened 
when the surrender took place. 

On the other hand, no further evidence of 
the impoverished condition of the South was 
needed than the appearance of the rebel sol- 
diers at that time. The wonder was that men 
with no higher object in view than they had 
could be kept together so long. The rank and 
file of the rebel army had but very little personal 
interest in the struggle. They were persuaded 
by their leaders that their rights had been in- 
terfered with, but in what particular respects 
they could not tell. Their principal idea was 
that the Union soldiers were invaders, that 
they had come South to trample upon and 
tyrannize over the Southern people. A com- 
mon question for them to ask our boys who 
had been taken prisoners by them was, " What 


did you 'uns come down here to fight we 'uns 

After the surrender the soldiers of the two 
armies mingled together as freely as though 
they had always been friends instead of having 
for a long time been deadly enemies and using 
every means in their power to kill each other. 
In fact, we waged no war against the South 
as such. Our fight was against treason, and 
when these traitors laid down their arms and 
became subject to the Constitution and laws 
of our country, then our occupation as soldiers 
was gone. 

Our regiment remained in the vicinity of 
Appomattox until the 12th of April, when 
with glad hearts and ready steps our boys took 
up the line of march on the return to Rich- 
mond. There was no straggling from the 
ranks then, for our faces were turned toward 
home. The familiar sounds of artillery and 
musketry firing, to which our ears had been so 
long accustomed, had entirely ceased, and a 
strange stillness brooded over hilltop and val- 
ley. Toward evening w^e passed through Farm- 
ville, and camped for the night about a mile 
beyond the village. The next day the march 


was resumed, and that night we reached the 
vicinity of Burkeville. Here we remained till 
the end of the month, awaiting developments 
betwixt Sherman's and Johnston's armies. 
Johnston having surrendered his army, and all 
armed resistance having ceased, orders were 
issued for mustering out the troops as fast as 
the rolls could be made out. Several of our 
boys who had been captured by the enemy 
and liberated by the terms of surrender here 
rejoined the regiment. May I the march was 
resumed and continued, till on the 4th we 
arrived in the vicinity of Richmond. On the 
6th the whole division marched through the 
city of Richmond, bearing aloft their battered 
and battle-rent flags, the emblems and tokens 
of valor unsurpassed by any body of men ever 
marshaled in defense of human liberty. Many 
visited Belle Isle, Libby Prison, and Castle 
Thunder, those places which had been the 
scenes of indescribable suffering on the part 
of our brave boys who were incarcerated in 
those abodes of torture and misery. Continu- 
ing the homeward journey, the Chickahominy 
was crossed, and, taking a northerly direction, 
we reached Fredericksburg on Wednesday, the 


lOth, and, crossing the Rappahannock, were 
once more on famihar ground. Here we had 
spent the winter of 1862-63, and, although there 
had been some local changes, in general things 
were about as we had left them two years be- 
fore, when starting on the Gettysburg cam- 
paign. The northward march was continued, 
till on the 15th the regiment went into camp 
in a pleasant grove near Bailey's Cross Roads. 

Orders were received on the 1 8th directing 
the commanding officers of companies to make 
out the necessary rolls preparatory to muster- 
ing out the regiment. Our camp was near the 
place where, two years and nine months before, 
we had broken camp to start on a hopeless 
chase after Stewart's cavalry. On the 23d our 
whole corps crossed the Potomac and took 
part in the grand review. It was a hard day's 
march, but was cheerfully endured, knowing, as 
we did, that these long, wearisome marches 
were coming to a close and would never again 
be resumed. Crossing the aqueduct bridge at 
Georgetovvn,our boys returned to their old camp, 
awaiting the completion of the muster-out rolls, 
which were finished by the 26th of May. 

Quite a number of men who had left the 


regiment at different times without permission 
were transferred to a veteran regiment, as were 
also a number of recruits whose terms of serv- 
ice had not expired. 

All the preliminary arrangements having 
been concluded early on the morning of June 
30, the bugle sounded the " pack up " call, and 
never before in the history of the regiment 
was the call responded to with greater alacrity 
and promptness. 

In a' short time the old veterans of the regi- 
ment, to the number of about two hundred 
and sixty, were in line and on their way to 
Washington, where they got breakfast at the 
" Soldiers' Retreat," a large government eating 
house, established for the purpose of furnishing 
transient soldiers with food and lodgings when 
passing through the city. Nearly three years 
before we had taken dinner at this same place, 
but under far different circumstances than the 
present. Then our faces were turned toward 
the stirring scenes of war, now toward peace 
and home. 

At ten o'clock the cars were boarded, box 
cars, to be sure; but what was the difference? 
If they only carried us safely home it was in- 


finitely better than marching with heavy loads 
through storm or mud, heat or dust, chasing 
or being chased by a deadly enemy. Harris- 
burg was reached early the next morning, and 
from there to Camp Curtin, where our arms 
and equipments were turned over to the proper 
officers, and the boys received their pay in full ; 
and, taking such routes as they pleased, this 
grand old regiment disbanded, and the men 
returned to their several homes. Under date 
of June 8 the Bradford Reporter, published at 
Towanda, Pa., said : 

" The One Hundred and Forty-first Regi- 
ment was mustered out of service at Harris- 
burg last week. On Sunday last about one 
hundred men of the regiment arrived at this 
place on their way to their homes. The boys 
came home browned by exposure and hard- 
ened by the toils they had undergone. It is 
now nearly three years since this regiment left 
this county forCamp Curtin nearly one thousand 
strong, composed of the very best blood and 
muscle of the country. They mustered when 
discharged but a few over two hundred men. 

" Of the officers first commissioned but few 
remiain. Of the line officers and privates many 


a gallant soul has been yielded up on the field 
of battle. The history of the One Hundred 
and Forty-first Regiment is a glorious one. It 
has suffered on many a hard-fought battlefield, 
and its battered colors have been riven in 
many a desperate conflict. At Chancellorsville, 
at Gettysburg, at the Wilderness, and in the 
recent battles before Richmond, it has been 
conspicuous for its gallantry and heavy losses. 
The returning members deserve to be honored 
and remembered for their bravery and the gal- 
lantry with which they have upheld the cause 
of their country. We bespeak for them the 
respect and attention of our people. Their 
proudest boast in after times will be that they 
followed the flag of the One Hundred and 
Forty-first Regiment through the battles of 
the great rebellion." 

On the 4th of July, 1866, accompanied with 
a grand display, the adjutant general of the 
State of Pennsylvania, representing the mili- 
tary authorities, transferred the colors of the 
Pennsylvania regiments to the custody of the 
State, and a large room, called the Flag Room, 
was prepared in the capitol at Harrisburg, in 
which, inclosed in glass cases, were deposited 


these symbols of our country's honor. Con- 
spicuous among them at the apex of an angle 
are the remnants of our old regimental flags. 
The regiment had two stands of the national 
colors and one State banner. In July last, on 
returning from a trip to Gettysburg, and while 
waiting for the train, I visited the capitol at 
Harrisburg, and, making my way to the Flag 
Room, I sought and found the place where our 
colors were placed. There they stood, mute 
witnesses of untold privations, toils, sufferings, 
and death, all to the end that those flags 
might wave everywhere, over hill and valley, 
land and sea, the emblem of our nation's glory 
and greatness. I instinctively took off my hat 
and stood uncovered, as it seemed almost sacri- 
lege to remain covered in such a presence. My 
thoughts reverted to the stormy scenes of the 
past, when I had seen those flags unfurled in 
the storm of battle. Yes, I had seen them fall 
to the earth under the fierce, deadly fire of the 
enemy as one after another the color bearers 
were shot down, but only to rise again as an- 
other strong arm bore them upward. And 
then as I glanced around and saw myself sur- 
rounded by hundreds of similar flags, nearly all 


torn and rent by the storms of war, I thought 
of the following beautiful lines by Owens: 

" Nothing but flags — but simple flags 

Tattered and torn, and hanging in rags ; 

And we walk beneath them with careless tread, 

Nor think of the hosts of the mighty dead 

Who have marched beneath them in days gone by, 

With a burning cheek and a kindling eye, 

And have bathed their folds in their young life's tide 

And, dying, blessed them, and, blessing, died. 

" Nothing but flags ; yet methinks at night 
They tell each other their tales of fright. 
And dim specters come and their thin arms twine 
Round each standard torn as they stand in line. 
And the word is given — they charge, they form, 
And the dim hall rings with the battle's storm ; 
And once again through smoke and strife 
Those colors lead to a nation's life. 

" Nothing but flags; yet they're bathed in tears, 
They tell of triumphs, of hopes and fears ; 
Of a mother's prayers, of a boy away. 
Of a serpent crushed, of the coming day. 
Silent they speak, yet the tears will start 
As we stand beneath them with throbbing heart 
And think of those who are ne'er forgot ; 
Their flags come home ; why come they not ? 

" Nothing but flags ; yet we hold our breath 
And gaze with awe at those types of death. 
Nothing but flags ; yet the thought will come. 
The heart must pray though the lips be dumb. 
They are sacred, pure, and we see no stain 
On those dear loved flags come home again 
Baptized in blood, our purest, best ; 
Tattered and torn, they're now at rest." 


A large number of veterans had gathered in 
the hall, and their eyes sparkled with new luster 
as they looked upon those flags, which, though 
many of them hung in tatters and shreds, were 
more beautiful to them even now than when, in 
shining, unstained luster, they were first com- 
mitted by the nation to their care. 



Fredericksburg, Dec. 13,1862 

Chancellorsville, May 1-3, 1863 

Gettysburg, July 2, 1863 

Auburn, Oct. 17, 1863 

Mine Run, Nov. 27, 1863 

Wilderness, May 5, 6, 1864 

Laurel Hill, May 11, 1864 

Spottsylvania Court House, May 12, 1864 
Fredericksburg Railroad, May 19, 1864... 

North Anna, May 23, 1864 

Totopotomoy, May 31, 1864 

Cold Harbor, June 3, 1864 

Petersburg, June 16-18, 1864 

Deep Bottom, Aug. 13, 1864 

Poplar Spring Church, Oct. 2, 1864 

Boydton Plank Road, Oct. 27, 1864 

On the line, Aug. 20 to Nov. i, 1864 

Dabney's Mills, Feb. 7, 1865 

Fort Fisher, March 25, 1865 

Sailor's Creek, April 6. 1865 

Farmville, April 7, 1865 


i5^ i 




It will be noticed in the above table that 
our greatest losses were in the battles at Chan- 


cellorsville and Gettysburg, where we suffered 
a total loss of four hundred and two, nearly 
twice as nnany as were lost during the whole 
of the last two years of the war. This was due 
partly to the fact that at first we had more 
men to lose than after our ranks had become 
thinned out, but mainly because we were 
never placed in such desperately hot positions 
afterward as we occupied on those two bloody 

The reports also show that during the three 
years' service of the regiment seventy-five are 
reported as captured and missing. Not all of 
these fell into the rebels' hands as prisoners, 
for some got separated from the regiment 
and afterward rejoined it, and some were re- 
ported as missing who were undoubtedly 
killed; and yet the One Hundred and Forty- 
first was fairly represented in those Southern 
prison hells, where cruelty unspeakable and 
outrage infinite were heaped without measure 
upon our brave boys for no other cause than 
that they were captured by the minions of 
treason while defending the honor and integ- 
rity of the nation. The treatment of our sol- 
diers as prisoners by the Confederate authori- 


ties will forever be an indelible stain upon 
Southern chivalry and honor. It is in vain 
for them to plead ignorance of the terrible 
sufferings of our boys or of inability to prevent 
them. There has abundance of evidence come 
to light to prove that it was simply a deep- 
laid scheme among the Southern leaders, 
with the arch traitor Jeff Davis at the head, 
to deliberately murder and starve our boys, 
in order to deplete the Union army and 
thereby secure the success of the Confederate 

General J. H. Winder, in command of all 
the Confederate rebel military prisons, exult- 
antly declared that he was killing off more 
Yankees than any twenty regiments in Lee's 
army. When remonstrated with by a rebel 
inspecting officer, that the prisoners in Ander- 
sonville were fearfully crowded and that they 
be given more room, he replied that he in- 
tended to leave things just as they were, that 
their numbers would soon be so reduced by 
death that there would be plenty of room. He 
it was who issued the following order upon the 
approach of General Stoneman, who was en- 
gaged in making a cavalry raid through the 


South and was supposed to be approaching 
Andersonville : 

' Headquarters Military Prison. ) 
Andersonville, Ga., yu/y 27, 1864, \ 

*' The officers on duty and in charge of the 
battery of Florida Artillery at the time will, 
upon receiving notice that the enemy has ap- 
proached within seveh miles of this post, open 
upon the stockade with grape shot, without 
reference to the situation beyond these lines 
of defense. JOHN H. WINDER, 

** Brigadier General, commanding." 

Such was the character of the man who was 
placed in command of our brave boys who had 
been taken prisoners, by the direct order of 
the Confederate President, Jeff Davis. This 
man not only went unpunished, but to this 
day his children are being supported in luxury 
by the United States government, which pays 
a large rent for the use of the Winder building 
in Washington, which is occupied by one of 
the departments for offices. 

As soon as captured our boys were, as a gen- 
eral thing, stripped of their clothing, blankets, 
shoes, etc., or whatever their captors could 


make use of, and then sent on to these bar- 
barous prison pens, where they were again 
searched, and money, knives, combs, and 
everything of the kind taken away, when they 
were turned into those reeking, filthy abodes 
of death, with no shelter of any kind, without 
cooking utensils or fuel, to starve, rot, and die, 
devoured by vermin or eaten up by gangrene, 
with half a pint of raw corn meal, coarsely 
ground with cobs and all, per man, for a day's 
rations, where at least thirty-five thousand of 
as true, brave men as were ever marshaled for 
war laid down their lives on the altar of their 
country. Several of the One Hundred and 
Forty-first were so unfortunate as to fall in the 
hands of these heartless demons, and after a 
brave struggle for life were finally obliged to 
yield to the combined influence of disease, 
starvation, and exposure, and their dust now 
sleeps far away from home, beneath that soil 
which of all Southern objects alone showed 
them any token of kindness. 

Of all the Southern leaders who were the 
authors of these untold miseries only one, and 
he an insignificant, cowardly tool or underling. 

Captain Wirtz, suffered the penalty which they 



all SO richly deserved — death, which should in 
justice have been meted out for such whole- 
sale, cold-blooded, premeditated murder. But 
" Vengeance is mine ; I will repay, saith the 
Lord ; " and a fearful reckoning indeed will 
those authors of so much of human misery 
be obliged to give in the day of final adjudi- 

During the winter of 1889 the Legislature 
of the State of Pennsylvania passed an act pro- 
viding for the payment of the transportation 
of all Pennsylvania soldiers then residing in 
the State who participated in the battle of 
Gettysburg to that place and return, the occa- 
sion being the dedication of a large number 
of monuments in September, 1889, erected to 
commemorate the valor and services of the 
men who fought and gained the victory in that 
great conflict. 

The State had previously appropriated fif- 
teen hundred dollars for each regiment en- 
gaged in the battle, to which many of the 
regiments added a greater or less amount by 
private subscriptions. Availing myself of this 
liberal provision, I reached Gettysburg on the 
evening of September 12, so as to be ready for 


the dedication on the 13th at 2 o'clock P. M. 
About noon, however, the rain began to fall, 
first slowly and deliberately, then faster and 
faster, until it seemed like a veritable old- 
fashioned Virginia campaign flood. 

The site selected for the monument was on 
the south side of the crossroad leading from 
Little Round Top and intersecting the Em- 
mittsburg road at the Peach Orchard, and 
about, twenty rods from the junction to the 
east. On reaching the spot at the hour ap- 
pointed, I found two sections of the monument 
still lying on the ground and a group of twenty 
or more of the boys leaning against the shel- 
tered side of a barn, waiting for something to 
turn up. The meeting was finally adjourned 
till the next morning, when, the rain having 
ceased, the contractor had succeeded in getting 
the monument in position. The members of 
the regiment to the number of one hundred 
and forty-one then gathered around the monu- 
ment, a patriotic song was sung, prayer offered 
by Chaplain Craft, and an address by General 
H. J. Madill followed, and the monument was 
formally transferred to the care of the Gettys- 
burg Monumental Association. An artist was 


on hand and took a photograph of the regiment 
gathered around their monument, and then 
the boys scattered here and there to look over 
the ground where more than a quarter of a 
century before they had performed deeds of 
valor worthy to be perpetuated to the latest 
generations of men. 

As the years pass by it all seems more and 
more like a dream. Can it be that only a quar- 
ter of a century ago this great country, now 
enjoying the blessings of profound peace and 
unexampled prosperity, was torn, rent, and 
convulsed in all the horrors of civil war? Can 
it be possible that those gaping wounds which 
so nearly cost this nation its life have healed so 
rapidly? Can it be that that mighty host of 
armed warriors have really laid down their 
weapons of warfare and become quiet, indus- 
trious, and peaceful citizens — their swords 
beaten into plowshares and their spears into 
pruning hooks? The men who called us 
" Lincoln hirelings " said that we would be- 
come so brutalized and hardened by army life 
that when turned loose upon society neither 
life nor property would be safe. Their fears, 
however, proved groundless, for so quietly did 


the boys in blue enter into and become ab- 
sorbed in the body politic that scarcely a 
ripple was observed upon its surface. No 
more honorable or more loyal body of men in 
general can be found anywhere in all this 
nation than our ex-soldier citizens ; and should 
any foe, domestic or foreign, dare again to 
raise his hand against the old flag multitudes 
of the old veterans of 1861-65 would spring 
to the rescue. Men who fought, suffered, and 
bled in her defense have more than a common 
interest in the country their courage and hero- 
ism saved from dismemberment and ruin. 
These men deserve well at the hands of this 
nation. No man who left the comforts of a 
good home and imperiled his life and sacri- 
ficed his health in his country's service should 
ever be allowed either to suffer for bread or to 
receive it at the hand of charity. A portion 
of that troublesome surplus should be poured 
into the homes of needy veterans, to make 
glad their hearts, as well as those of their wives 
and children. 

It will not be long at the longest that these 
men will need any assistance at the hands of 
the nation. Their ranks are being rapidly 


thinned out. Exposure and hardships have 
done their work well, the seeds have already 
been planted, and the reaper is rapidly gather- 
ing a harvest of mortality. 

Although its defenders will surely pass away, 
this nation will stand. Patriotism will keep 
pace with the progress of Christianity and 
education, the corner stones upon which rests 
our national superstructure, and this country 
will never lack for martyrs or defenders so 
long as its people are virtuous, intelligent, and 



■'^^^^': ^^ ^"^ : ^^^^ 



""^ FLA. - ^ "^ - ■■■^' '■' 


^/" ^M^ %-^^ 




V ..#3t# 


Hill llMIII 
013 763 684 

.% r 

. ► 

. ^ \ : 


> >> 

» "''»; 



'', ' . 

. ' ^'' 




''"' 's\'