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"■Follow the colors of the Nineteenth.'' — General Webb. 






By Capt. JOHN G. B. ADAMS. 





Two Copies Received 
UOV 25 1905 

Ccpyrignt Entry 

Copyright, 1899, 
By John G. B. Adame 


For thirty-four years I have waited patiently for some 
one to write a history of the 19th Kegiment Massachusetts 
Volunteers, but fearing that it may never be accomplished, 
I have concluded to send out this story. I do not dignify 
it by calling it a history. It is simply a soldier's story, 
told by one of the "boys." Most of it is written from 
memory. The account of prison life is taken from an 
imperfect diary, kept by the writer while a prisoner of 

I sincerely hope the publication of this volume will 

inspire other comrades, and that from the memories thus 

evoked some one may gather further material whereby the 

deeds of the men who so bravely followed the flags of 

the State and Nation for four long, weary years may be 



Nineteenth Massachusetts Regiment. 



At the breaking out of the war I was a resident of the 
quiet but patriotic town of Groveland. Sumter had l)een 
fired upon and all was excitement. I could not work, and 
on the 18th of April, 1861, walked to Haverhill with my 
elder brother and Mark Kimball. • We went to the armory 
of the Hale Guards, who were making active preparations to 
march, and I returned home that night resolved to go with 
them if possible. The next day we walked to Haverhill 
again, and I at once interviewed Captain Messer, but was 
informed that the company was more than full, so I could 
not go with it. 

I had said nothing to my brother or Mark of my intention, 
but as we were walking home I found that we all had the 
same desire, — to enlist at once. "We talked the matter over 
and concluded that as Company A of the 1st Battalion of 
Eifles, an old militia company located in West Newbury, and 
then under arms, would soon be ordered away, we would 
join it. That night we walked to West Newbury (five 
miles), found the company at the armory in the town hall 
and enrolled our names. Company A was one of three 
that composed the 1st Battalion of Rifles, commanded by 
Maj. Ben. Perley Poore. They had been organized several 


years and were known as "Poore's Savages." They were 
armed with Winsor rifles and sabre bayonets, the rifle and 
bayonet weighing about fifteen pounds. The uniform was 
dark green, trimmed with light green, and as I donned it for 
the first time it was hard to tell which was the greener, the 
soldier or the uniform. We had a peculiar drill. Most of 
it, as I can remember, consisted of running around the town 
hall in single file, giving an Indian war-whoop and firing into 
the corner of the hall as we ran. 

I was a soldier now. I did not walk the streets as I had 
done, but marched, always turning "a square corner." 
People grasped me by the hand and congratulated me on 
my courage. (I did not see where the courage came in.) 
The Sons of TemperancQ, of which my brother Isaac and 
myself were members, presented us at a public meeting with 
two suits of underclothes and havelocks, housewives, testa- 
ments, etc., so that before we received our army outfit we 
had enough to load a mule. 

We waited for orders to march, but none came, and from 
being heroes we began to be looked upon with disgust, and 
we were the most disgusted of all. As we would meet 
friends on the street they would say, " Is it not a]:)out time 
to have another public meeting to bid you fellows good- by ? " 
or, "You will want some more shirts before you leave." So 
mortified did we become that, instead of marcliing down 
through the village to drill, we sneaked away through a back 

The company began to get demoralized. Men were leav- 
ing every day, going to other States or to regiments that had 
been ordered to the front. At last we rebelled, and sent our 
ofiiccrs to the Governor with a vote passed by the company, 

April, 1861. 


that unless we were ordered into camp at once we would 
disband. After a few days we were furnished with a large 
tent for the men, a wall tent for the officers and a supply of 
rations. Our camp was located on the land of one of our 
members, Private Sylvester, and was named " Camp Sylves- 
ter." We were without arms except three guns for guard 
duty, as our old Winsors had l)een turned in. Company A 
was officered as follows : Captain, Moses P. Stan wood ; First 
Lieutenant, J. Warren Brown ; Second Lieutenant, Ben- 
jamin Wilson ; Third Lieutenant, Isaac H. Boyd ; Fourth 
Lieutenant, Jones Frankle. The third and fourth lieuten- 
ants were soon discharged, as army regulations only provided 
for two. Lieutenant Boyd went into the ranks. Lieutenant 
Frankle was made major of the 17th Massachusetts. 

Our discipline in Camp Sylvester was not as strict as it 
was later in the war. We mounted one guard. After we 
had been once around we concluded that the lieutenants 
ought to stand their share, so we put them on. One night 
we caught a calf and after the officers were asleep we turned 
him into their tent. We did many things that later would 
have sent us to the guard-house. 

About the second week in July we were ordered to Lynn- 
field to join the 19th regiment. We were the second com- 
pany in camp. Company C of Rowley arriving about two 
hours before us. Our tents were a peculiar pattern, neither 
wall nor A, but between the two, having accommodations 
for ten men, and each tent had three windows or ventilators. 
For a time we were under the command of Col. Lyman 
Dyke, who also commanded the 17th regiment, located near us. 

At Lynnfield I was promoted to sixth corporal, and my 
troubles began. I was one day detailed for guard, the 17th 


and 19th regiments doing guard duty together. When I 
posted my relief I had one more man than posts, so I made 
a new post. The officer of the day asked me what I did 
with the supernumerary. I said that I put him on in rear 
of the ice-house. He desired to know who gave me author- 
ity to create new posts, and I replied that I supposed I was 
to use up my men. As soon as the guards were posted 
they began to call "Corporal of the Guard." When I went 
to them they wanted a drink of water. I asked the officer 
of the day if it was my duty to carry water to them. He 
said it was. So I toted the water pail the two hours my 
relief was on. At night the men went to their quarters. I 
found where they slept, and made arrangements to call them. 
I would put my head into a tent and call, " Third relief ! " 
and instead of the men coming out, a boot with an oath came 
at me. As I could not get enough for a relief I turned out 
the drummer and had him beat the long roll. This brought 
out the officer of the day l)ut very few of the men, as they 
did not know what it meant any more than I did. Collect- 
ing what I could we started to relieve the guard, but I soon 
found that I had more than men enough, as at nearly every 
post we found the musket stuck into the ground and the man 
missing. When relieved in the morning I was disgusted 
with being an officer, and longed for the freedom of a private. 
Recruits were fast arriving. Company A went into camp 
with about sixty men, and every day some new man was 
voted in, as we had not given up the old militia method of 
electing our members. Skeleton companies were arriving, 
consisting of an officer and a few men, who were given 
a letter and assigned a place in line. Among the first to 
arrive was Captain Mahoney. His company was given the 


letter E. Captain Mahoney was an energetic officer and 
anxious to drill his men. Long before dayljreak, with his 
first sergeant, McNamara, he would turn out the recruits, 
and as we lay in our tents we could hear him calling, " Left ! 
Left ! McNamara, tread on that man's heels ! " 

It was not very long Ijefore we had the required number 
of companies, the last to arrive being the Boston Tiger Fire 
Zouaves, and my story from this point will include the regi- 
ment as well as Company A. 

One day in August we saw a military man looking over 
the camp. We soon learned that it was Colonel Hincks, 
who had just returned from three months' service with the 
Sth Massachusetts. Li a few days he was assigned to the 
command of the 19th and from that moment what had been a 
uniformed mob became a regiment of soldiers. With him 
came Lieutenant-Colonel Devereaux, who had l)een captain 
of the Salem Zouaves, and soon after Maj. Henry J. How. 
One of the Salem Zouaves was assigned to each company as 
a drill-master, and we soon saw that our three months' drill- 
ing had lieen worse than useless, as we had to l)egin over 
again, and it "was hard to teach old dogs new tricks;" but 
the Zouaves won our respect and every man was anxious to 
do his best. Very soon a change took place in the line 
officers, — a Zouave was commissioned in nearly every com- 
pany. Company A retained Captain Stanwood, ])ut lost 
both lieutenants, C. M. Merritt, who had been an officer in 
the 8th, being made first lieutenant, and Isaac H. Boyd, who 
had enlisted as a private, second lieutenant. 

On August 27 we were ordered to strike tents and prepare 
to march. That night, for the first time, we slept on the 
ground, with only the blue sky for shelter. The next day 


we took cars for Boston. Our knapsacks were slung for the 
first time and loaded with everything that it was possible to 
stow away. 

Being anxious that my " best girl " should see me in the 
full garb of a warrior, I arrayed myself in heavy marching 
order and went to an ambrotype saloon to have my picture 
taken. I have seen that picture since the war. In an am- 
brotype everything is reversed, so my musket is at my left 
shoulder, haversack and canteen on the wrong side, — in fact, 
I was wrong end to in every respect. 

Our wagon train was larger than that of an army corps in 
active service. Each company had a four-horse wagon, head- 
quarters two, quartermaster four ; I think there were twenty 
besides the ambulances. We arrived in Boston in the after- 
noon. It was the second time I had been in the city, and as 
we halted on the Common, and no friend came to bid me 
good-by, the first feeling of homesickness came over me, 
and I began to realize that at last we were real soldiers and 
that the enjoyments of camp life at home were fast falling to 
the rear. We went to New York by the Fall River line. I 
had never been on a steamboat before and was very sick. 
Landing in New York, we marched up Broadway. My 
knapsack weighed a ton and I was so sick that I could not 
hold up my head, yet dared not fall out for fear I should get 
lost. We were marched to a barrack and given some tliin 
soup and a testament. I had already two testaments in my 
knapsack, but I took this, although I wished they had put a 
little more money in the soup and passed the testament. I 
do not remember what route we took from New York, Imt 
we went part of the way by Ijoat and arrived in Philadelphia 
the next morning. 




Upon our arrival in Philadelphia we heard a signal gun 
and learned that it was to inform the people connected with 
the cooper's shop that we were coming. We marched to 
that place and found a nice breakfast served by the first ladies 
of the city. This was the only home-like meal we had re- 
ceived since leaving Massachusetts, and our hearts went out 
to the loyal people, and our thanks were expressed in three 
rousing cheers for them. But we hastened on, and soon 
took the cars for Washington. At Baltimore we left the cars 
and marched across the city. We passed through Pitt Street, 
where the sixth Massachusetts, a few months before, had 
marked the route with their blood. Every throat was 
opened as we sang "John Brown," but our knees were a 
little weak, for we expected a stone would strike us at any 
moment. We found the roof of the depot on the Washing- 
ton side of the city filled with bullet holes, the result of the 
riot of April 19. 

From Baltimore to Washington we passed soldiers doing 
guard duty on the railroad, and for the first time saw men 
being punished at the guard-house. We saw one man with 
his head through a barrel, another carrying a heavy log of 
wood. At night we arrived in Washington and were landed 
at the Soldiers' Rest. A Pennsylvania regiment was ahead 
of us, so we were obliged to wait until they had been to sup- 


per. We marched into the Ijarracks before the tables were 
reset. The waiters removed the tin dishes, then jumped 
on to the tables and with dirty brooms began to sweep as 
they walked along. Tliis was too much for Massachusetts. 
On the tables not cleared were remnants of the meal left by 
the Pennsylvanians. Soon the air was filled with bread, 
pork and tin dippers. The waiters were unable to stand 
the attack and retreated in good order. After quiet was 
restored our men cleared the tables and the rations were 
brought in, consisting of mouldy soft bread, boiled salt pork 
and very poor coffee. Colonel Hincks being informed of 
our treatment found the officer in charge and gave him relig- 
ious instructions. We received nothing better that night, 
but the next morning when the 19th marched in to breakfast 
our colonel's " draft had been honored " and we had a square 

The Pennsylvania regiment occupying the barracks, we 
had to sleep on the ground. The night was warm, and being 
very tired we were soon fast asleep. About four o'clock we 
were awakened by something grunting around us, and found 
that we were in the midst of a drove of hogs. We had never 
seen hogs running at large at home, and believing some 
one's swine had escaped from the pen, we concluded to do a 
neighborly act and catch them. The race began, liut with 
poor success for us, as they could run a mile in 2.40 or less. 

After our sport we found an old pump, where we made 
our morning toilet. We boys did not mind this new mode 
of living much ; we sang, said " it was all in the three 
years," and was nothing after you got used to it. Xot so 
with the older men. I rememl)er one instance : returnino: 
from the pump I saw one of the men leaning against the 


barracks, the tears streaming down Ms cheeks. I said, 
"What is the matter, Peter?" He replied, "I didn't think 
I was coming out here to be rooted over hj d — d hogs." 
"Oh," I said, "if we get nothing worse than this I won't 
complain." "Well," said he, "if we do I won't stay." He 
was discharged soon after. 

After ])reakfast we slung knapsacks and marched down 
Pennsylvania Avenue to our camp ground on Meridian Hill. 
We had brought our tents from Massachusetts and all our 
camp equipage, including bed sacks, but we could find 
nothing to fill them with, so we spread them on the ground 
empty. The ground was filled with gravel stones and was 
not as " soft as downy pillows are," but so hard that I 
believe the imprints of those stones are on me yet. At 
Meridian Hill we l)eo;an active drillinof. The duties of the 
field officers were divided. Colonel Hincks taking charge 
of the battalion drills, Lieutenant-Colonel Devereaux the 
manual, while Major How had the instruction of the guard. 
We were encamped on the side of the hill, and marching 
in Ijattalion drill was very hard, 3'et "from early morn 
till dewy eve " we were executing company or battalion 

Since our arrival in Washino^on all had a fear of beius; 
poisoned ; we hesitated to buy camp pies of any but old 
negro aunties, and a guard was constantlj' posted with loaded 
musket over the spring which supplied us with water. One 
night a nervous comrade was on duty, and thinking that, in 
the darkness, he saw some one approacliing to poison the 
spring, discharged his piece. Immediately the camp was 
alarmed. Without waiting to fall in line the cry went up 
" Row ! Row ! " and without muskets all rushed for the 


spring. The officers cried " Halt ! Halt ! Fall in ! " but you 
might as well have undertaken to stop a Dakota blizzard, 
and not till the men had been to the spring and investigated 
was order restored. The next day a square was formed and 
a short but impressive address was delivered by Colonel 
Hincks which had the desired effect. 

On Sundays at this camp we were marched out by com- 
panies, seated in the shade and the Articles of War were 
read to us by our officers. As I remember them whatever 
you did you were to be shot, " or such other punishment as 
may be inflicted by courts-martial." 

At Meridian Hill we had our first Sunday morning inspec- 
tion ; the order was for all men to be in line. Tliis included 
cooks, teamsters, clerks and all other detailed men. To the 
regular members of the company it was a grand sight to see 
these extra duty men in line. Fowler, the wagoner, had 
not seen his musket since it was given him at Lynnfield and 
knew nothing of the manual, neither did Uncle Burrill, who 
was regimental mail carrier. Lieutenant-Colonel Devereaux 
came down the line and the men threw up their guns for 
inspection. Fowler had watched the men on his right, and 
when his turn came threw his gun up in fair shape. The 
colonel took it, looked at the musket, then at Fowler. 
" What do you mean by bringing such a musket for inspec- 
tion?" "It ought to be all right," said Fowler, "it is bran 
new and I have never used it since it was given to me." 
With a reprimand the colonel, passing on, soon came to 
Uncle Burrill, who was not quite as sharp as Fowler, and 
had not watched the men on his right. When the colonel 
stood before him uncle remained quiet and modestly blushed. 
The colonel surveyed him from head to foot. "Why don't 


you bring up your musket ? " Uncle took it in his right 
hand and pushed it towards him. "Don't you know any 
better than that? " asked the lieutenant-colonel. "No," said 
Uncle B. ; "I wish that I hadn't come out here, I was sure 
that I should get into trouble if I did." With a smile the 
lieutenant-colonel passed on, and after that, extra duty men 
were excused from Sunday morning inspections. 




In a few weeks we broke camp and took up our line of 
march to the front. Our destination was the Potomac, near 
Poolsville. It was our first march and to us "tender feets " 
a hard one. The older men of the company laughed at us 
boys, said we would never ])e alile to march that distance, 
but before night we left those who had laughed l)y the road- 
side. (I think our experience, that the boys fresh from 
school or from indoor life were able to endure more than 
men of mature years, was general.) Just before we arrived 
at Rockville, Md., we received ten rounds of ball cartridges 
and the command was given, "Load at will! Load!" I 
shall never forget the sensation I experienced as my ramrod 
forced home the first Ijall. We were told that at Rockville 
a strong secession sentiment existed, and I expected to 
kill a rebel or be a dead Yankee before night. We marched 
through the town and found it as quiet as a New England 
village. The second night of our march we arrived at 
Poolsville. Here we met the 15th Massachusetts, and 
Company A of the 19th was entertained l)y Company A 
of the 15th. Next morning we marched to Camp Benton, 
which was to be our home for several months. 

We were brigaded with the 20th Massachusetts, 7th 
Michigan, 42d New York (Tammany regiment), Captain 


Saunders's company of sharpshooters and Captain Vaughn's 
Rhode Island battery. Our brigade was commanded by 
Gen. F. W. Lander; the headquarters of the division were 
at Pools ville, called "corps of observation," commanded by 
Gen. Chas. P. Stone. At Camp Benton the discipline was 
brought to the regular army standard ; drills were almost 
constant ; each afternoon we were drilled in battalion move- 
ments, in heavy marching order, and in every possible way 
fitted for active service. Dress coats with brass shoulder 
scales and leather neck stocks were issued, and when not in 
line or on guard our spare moments were spent in cleaning 
brasses. If any men ever earned thirteen dollars a month 
we did. Besides the camp guard we mounted what was 
called grand guard, consisting of a detail from each regiment 
in the brigade posted on the outskirts of the camp, the tour 
of duty being twenty-four hours. Often the long roll would 
beat after we had retired for the night ; we would turn out 
and double quick to Edward's Ferry, march up the tow path 
of the canal, lay on our arms the rest of the night, and the 
next morning march back to camp. At first we expected the 
rebels were crossing the river, but as we saw no movement 
in that direction we looked upon these excursions as a part 
of the drill, the days not being long enough to give us the 
desired instructions. The enlisted men were not the only 
ones who had to work, as the line officers came in for their 
share. Well do I remember day after day marcliing to ex- 
ecute the movement "To the rear by the right flank pass 
the defile." At last Colonel Hincks became discouraged, 
and throwing down his sword said, " Let every officer o-q to 
his tent, take his tactics and study them, and to-morrow if 
any one fails to understand this movement there will be a 


vacancy in this regiment." We came out next day and in 
fair shape executed the movement. 

Many incidents occurred at Camp Benton that are pleasant 
to recall. We were in a country where there were many 
slaves, all anxious to serve our officers, and nearly every 
day some citizen would come into camp hunting for his run- 
away negro. One day a man came to the colonel and was 
sure one of his negroes Avas in our camp. Colonel Hincks 
sent for Sergeant McGinnis of Company K and ordered him 
to assist in the search. By the look the colonel gave 
McGinnis it was understood that the slave was not to be 
found. McGinnis went into the woods with the man. As 
soon as they were out of sight he halted and cut a switch. 
"Look here!" said McGinnis, "do you suppose we left 
Massachusetts and came out here to hunt negroes ? " and 
to add force to his argument he touched the old fellow up 
with the switch. The man was indignant and said he would 
report McGinnis to the colonel. " Go ahead and I will go 
with you." Both went to the colonel, and the citizen told 
his story with tears in his eyes. Colonel Hincks turned to 
McGinnis and said, "Sergeant McGinnis, is this true?" 
" Colonel, do you think I would he seen doing such a thing ? " 
was the reply. "No," said the colonel; "Sergeant McGin- 
nis is a man of truth and I must take his word. You have 
deceived me, sir; leave this camp and never enter it again." 
The man, fearing McGinnis might get another chance at him, 
left as quickly as possible. 

Here is another instance of the ready wit of a soldier. 
We had in Company A an Irishman, who was one day 
detailed for headquarters guard. The night was dark and 
rainy and the morning found Mike, pacing his beat in front 


of the colonel's tent, wet to his skin. Colonel Hincks came 
out and Mike said, " Colonel, will you allow me to speak 
a word with you ? " " What is it ? " said the colonel. 
"Well, colonel, I wish you believed as you did before the 
war. Then you Ijelieved in putting none 1)ut Americans on 
guard and here I am, an Irishman, wet to the skin, having 
been on guard all nio-ht." The colonel lauo-hed and retired. 
(Colonel Hincks had edited a Know-Nothing paper whose 
motto was, "Put none but Americans on guard.") 

Early in October we were ordered to the river and 
picketed it from Edward's Ferry to a point above Harrison's 
Island. By visits of general and field officers we could see 
that a movement against the enemy was intended. On the 
20th, ten of the best shots of the regiment were selected for 
some important service. With our officers they crossed to 
Harrison's Island to reconnoitre. Early the next morning 
the regiments began to arrive. Two small scows were 
brought to a jDoint opposite the island and Company A was 
detailed to ferry the troops across. At first we pushed the 
boats over with long poles, l)ut the current being very 
strong they drifted down the river and it was hard to land. 
After one or two trips a rope was obtained from a passing 
canal l)oat and stretched across the river, making transporta- 
tion much easier. 

In a short time we heard musketry on the other side and 
knew that the ])attle had begun. The 19th regiment was 
the last to cross. As we landed on the island the sound of 
the minie balls greeted us for the first time. We met four 
men bearing a stretcher, on which was the lifeless form of 
Colonel Baker of the 1st California. He was the first man 
we had seen killed in battle. We were marched across the 


island, meeting wounded and half-naked men who swam the 
river. On arriving at the other side we found there was 
work for us to do. The only transportation from the 
island to the Virginia shore was one scow. By this a load 
could be sent over, then marched up a steep bank called 
Ball's Bluff. The rebels, being strongly intrenched at the 
top, could kill or capture our men before another load could 
land. At last a retreat was ordered as our men were stam- 
peded. They rushed down the hill and into the boat. The 
little craft being overloaded was soon swamped, men were 
swimming the river to escape, and many a poor fellow, not 
able to swim, went down before our eyes ; others were shot 
by the rebels when almost within our lines. At night those 
not required at the landing were deployed to the right and 
left. A drenching rain set in and without overcoats or 
blankets we remained shivering until morning. Lieutenant 
Dodge and twelve men, under a flag of truce, were sent over 
to bury the dead. Alex. Short was the volunteer from Com- 
pany A, and he received injuries from which he never fully 
recovered. While the flag of truce was out a rebel horse- 
man was seen pursuing a Union soldier who was running to 
the river. A man in Company H on the island fired and the 
horseman fell. Immediately the rebels closed in on the burial 
party and held them as prisoners. It required all the energy 
and courage that Colonel Hincks possessed to have them re- 
leased. The next day we picketed the island, cared for the 
men we had rescued, and on the morning of the 23d recrossed 
to the Maryland side, wet, cold and disheartened. A few 
shots from our batteries told that Ball's Blufl' battle was over. 
For the number of men engaged this was the most disas- 
trous battle of the war. No man in his right mind would have 


sent out such an expedition. There was no way to retreat 
and no chance to send reinforcements, except a scow load at 
a time. The movement was condemned by every one. It 
was said that General Stone was a traitor, that signal lights 
would be placed at a house on the Virginia side and that he 
would go down to the river and meet men from the rebel 
army. The truth we never knew, but General Stone was 
relieved, and it was late in the war before he was given 
another command. 

While we were engaged at the 1)luff Company K crossed 
at Edward's Ferry with General Lander. They had a sharp 
skirmish with the rebels and our brave brigade commander 
received the wound which resulted in his death soon after. 
We returned to our old camp and were soon busy gettino- 
ready for winter. 

About this time we were called upon to bear our first loss, 
not by death but by the resignation of Captain Stanwood, 
Lieutenant Merritt was promoted to the vacant position. 
Second Lieutenant Boyd to first lieutenant and Quarter- 
master Sergeant O. F. Briggs to second lieutenant. 

We were about to undergo our first winter in camp and 
had not learned to stockade our tents ; we pinned them close 
to the ground, dug a flue for a fireplace, building a chimney 
outside topped with a barrel, and had plenty of smoke but 
little fire. Neither had we yet learned the art of sleeping in 
tents ; we would put on all our clothes, including overcoats, 
bring the capes up over our heads, lie down and shiver. 
Experience soon taught us that to undress and throw our 
clothing over us was much the better way. 

On Thanksgiving the ofiicers of the regiment gave a ball ; 
men were detailed to build a ball-room, and quite a nice 


building was the result of their labors. Ladies came from 
Washington and Baltimore and a good time was enjoyed. 
We enlisted men looked on from a distance and thought of 
the pleasures we had surrendered for a chance to serve our 

After getting snugly fixed for winter an order came to 
move, and soon we were on the march for Muddy Branch, 
to take the place of General Banks's division, which had 
been ordered to Harper's Ferry. Here the regiment was 
assigned various duties. A part of Company A was sent to 
Kockville. First Sergeant Cook, myself as corporal, and 
ten men were ordered to Darnestown. Our quarters at 
Darnestown were in an old barn on the main street, and 
at Rockville in buildings on the fair ground. Our duty 
at Darnestown was to prevent men coming to town from 
camp and to allow none to pass towards Washington, below 
the rank of a brigadier-general, without proper papers. We 
had three posts, each at a store. The citizens of the town 
were in sympathy with the South, but as we behaved like 
gentlemen they were very kind, often sending us biscuits 
for breakfast and at Christmas furnishing a liberal supply of 
egg-nog. We were welcomed at any house, and often when 
off duty spent a pleasant hour by their firesides. Soon 
after we began duty Sergeant Cook received a furlough of 
thirty days and I was commander-in-chief of the Darnes- 
town army. 

I had no trouble with the enlisted men, but the officers 
"kicked" when I asked them to show their leave of absence. 
My duty was to inspect the coach when it arrived on its 
way to Washington, and if any officer or soldier was on 
board to ask him to show his pass. I will relate one 


instance. I opened the coach door one morning and said, 
"I will see your leave of absence, if you please," to an 
officer who wore the strap of a major. He growled out, 
" Call your officer ; I don't show my leave of absence to any 
enlisted man." I replied, "I am the only officer here; I 
have my orders in writing fi-om headquarters and know my 
duty." He put his head out of the coach window and said, 
"Driver, go on." I called to the sentry on duty, "If that 
driver starts, shoot him off the box." The driver did not 
start, and after swearing awhile the major gave in, but 
declared he would report me, — and he did. In a few days 
Major How rode up. I turned out the guard, and after pre- 
senting arms stood at attention. " Corporal, dismiss your 
guard, I want to see you a moment." Taking me one side 
he said, "You have been reported to the headquarters of 
the regiment." I explained the case to him. He patted me 
on the shoulder and said, " Corporal, you are right ; you 
are in command of this post, and if the Apostle Paul under- 
takes to go through this town, unless he wears the uniform 
of a brigadier-general, don't you let him go without showing 
his pass, and if he refuses bring him to camp." No corporal 
in the Union army felt better than I did that day, and I was 
glad that the major had reported me. 

In February we were relieved by another detail from the 
regiment and ordered to Rockville. The night before we 
left, Mrs. Hayes, of one of the first families of the town, 
gave us an oyster supper, and her daughter, who was a 
pleasant young lady but a red-hot "reb," presented me with a 
rebel flag. Thirty-eight years have passed since those days, 
but I shall never forget the kindness of those Darnestown 
people, and trust that to-day they are prosperous and happy. 


After a time we reported to the company at Rockville and 
found the three field officers examining the non-commis- 
sioned officers. Althougli we had been acting as " non-coms " 
since we left Massachusetts, none had received warrants ft'om 
the colonel. First Sergeant Cook and I joined the proces- 
sion. I was never more ft-ightened in my life, as I had never 
spoken to the colonel or lieutenant-colonel, and the examina- 
tion was unexpected. The marks were from one to five. 
In a few days, at dress parade. Captain Merritt read the list. 
He called First Sergeant Adams. I thought he meant my 
brother Isaac, who had been examined as a sergeant, and I 
was pleased with his good fortune, when the captain called 
"First Sergeant J. G. B. Adams," and explained to the 
company that I had passed the best examination and was 
promoted to that position. I did not want the place. First 
Sergeant Cook was a good man and was my friend. I went 
to the captain, told him I would prefer to be second sergeant 
and let First Sergeant Cook remain. This arrangement was 
made and I was happy. 

Our duty at Rockville was very light. The boys had 
made the acquaintance of many agreeal)le people there ; I 
was introduced, and the time passed pleasantly. 

The colored people were holding revival meetings. As 
we had never witnessed anything of the Idnd before we 
all attended, without regard to religious convictions. The 
singing was of that wild, melodious nature that only colored 
people can render. The clapping of hands and stamping of 
feet, all in time, cause a thrill of excitement to run through 
the coldest veins. With the colored people the effect is 
such that they are lost to all else but the emotions of the 
hour. When striving with the spirit it is a strife in reality. 


One night they held a meeting of unusual interest, and Com- 
pany A was represented by a large delegation. Among the 
number was Uncle Ben Falls. Ben had joined the company 
just before we left Lynnfield. He had been a sailor and 
his kind heart and ready wit made him a favorite Avith all. 
That night Ben was deeply interested. He joined in the 
hjonn, and although his voice might not accord with the 
rest there was no doubt but what he sang with the same 
spirit. Soon the excitement reached its height; sobs and 
groans were heard in all parts of the room, shouts of 
" Glory ! " went up from every heart. The spirit took pos- 
session of a girl named Malinda, who was owned at the hotel 
where our officers boarded, and was acquainted with our 
boys. She shrieked and groaned and in her striving fell to 
the floor. The people shouted, " Hold Malinda I Oh, Lord, 
hold Malinda ! The spirit has got jNIalinda ! Oh, Lord, 
hold her ! " but none went near her. This was too much for 
Ben. He rushed to the front, sat on her and held her down. 
This brought Malinda and the rest to their senses and the 
meeting soon closed. 

We enjoyed the pleasures of Rockville but a short time 
after our detail joined the company, as we were ordered back 
to camp. A new company, recruited in Salem and com- 
manded by Capt. Chas. U. Devereaux, a brother of our 
lieutenant-colonel, had joined the regiment. They were 
given the letter H and nicknamed the " Lapstone Light 
Infantry," old Company H being disbanded and the men 
transferred to other companies. 

March 1, by order of Colonel Hincks, I assumed the duties 
of first sergeant, and of all the trying positions I have ever 
filled this was the most so. If any one thinks that the life 


of an orderly sergeant in active service is an amiable one let 
him try it. When the men are not growling about you the 
captain is growling at you, and you are constantly betAveen 
two fires. About one-third of the men in Company A had 
been members of the "Old Battalion," and the town meet- 
ing tactics that prevailed in the militia had not quite died out. 
I was a recruit, and my promotion was not hailed with joy 
by the old men. It was said by them that they were detailed 
for guard rainy days, and that in other ways I favored the 
new men. They drew up a petition asking for a change, 
and some twenty men signed it and, through a committee, 
presented it to Captain Merritt. " What is this ? " said the 
captain. "A petition for a change in first sergeant," was the 
reply. " Petition ! This is mutiny. Go to your quarters, 
and if I hear more of this I will have every man court- 
marshalled and sent to ' Dry Tortugus ! ' " That settled the 
youngsters, and I was ever after obeyed and respected. 




About the middle of March we broke camp and took up 
our line of march for our first campaign. We bade good-by 
to our tents, which had sheltered us since we left Massachu- 
setts, and sent them to Washington with our extra personal 
baggage, where I expect they are to-day, as we never received 
them again. We marched to the river, then up the tow- 
path of the canal to Harper's Ferry, forded the Potomac at 
Point of Rocks, and for the first time our feet pressed the 
sacred soil of Virginia. We saw here the devastations of 
war, — the ruins of the old arsenal that had been burned by 
the reliels, the dilapidated and vacant houses, — but most 
interesting to us was the old engine-house, where John 
Brown made his gallant fight. This we found filled with 
rel)el prisoners. "Truly," we said, "his soul is marching 
on." As soon as arms were stacked we rushed to the arsenal 
ruins for relics. I found an old gun-lock and several other 
parts of muskets. These I packed in my knapsack, — and 
the next day threw them away. With other regiments 
we marched up the valley to join Banks's division, and 
liivouacked at Charlestown in the field where John Brown 
was hanged. 

The next morning Company A was ordered back to Har- 
per's Ferry for provost duty. The rest of the regiment 


marched on, but in a few days returned and took position 
on Bolivar Heights, occupying deserted houses. Captain 
Merritt was appointed provost marshal at the ferry and 
everything was soon in military order, the company quar- 
tered in houses, the officers boarding in the town. One day 
Captain Merritt, with a detail from the company, made a 
seizure of several barrels of whiskey and a keg of gin, which 
were taken to a vacant store and a guard placed over them. 
Somehow the keg of gin disappeared ; where it had gone 
no one knew. The next day was our last in town, having 
been ordered to join the regiment quite early in the morning.. 
I noticed some of the men were very happy, but as we 
had been called by the other companies '' Merritt's Sabbath 
school children," I thought it possible they were rehearsing 
for a Sabbath school concert. The increase of the spiritual 
manifestations told me that the cause of the inspiration must 
be the gin, and that it was not far away. After searching 
awhile I found the missing keg in the cellar. Unlike many 
of the men, it was nearly empty. In the midst of the seance 
Captain Merritt arrived. He came to order me to have the 
company in line ready to move at once. When he saw the 
condition of some of the men I guess he thought we had 
better move in ambulances. As we were going the rounds 
of the rooms we met Ben Falls, perfectly sober, having just 
been relieved from guard. Captain Merritt (referring to the 
condition of the company) said, "Ben, I am astonished." 
"Well," said Ben, "it is not my fault; I have been on 
guard, but I will get just as full as the rest as soon as I 
find the stuff." When the time came to march all were in 
fair condition, and before we reached Bolivar Heights, as 
good as ever. As it was the first ofience the men were let 


off with a lecture from the captain, and as the opportunity 
was never again presented, the offence was not repeated. 

With Captain Devereaux, who joined us at Muddy Branch, 
came more recruits, and the regiment was now full. Com- 
pany A having had for a few days one hundred and two 
enlisted men, several of the old men were discharged, bring- 
ing us down to the required number. A fine band was 
attached to the regiment, and ha\ang become very well 
drilled in the manual, our dress parades were ahnost perfect, 
and were witnessed by nearly all the soldiers and citizens in 
the town. 

March 24 we received marching orders. Crossing the 
river we took cars at Point of Rocks for Washington, where 
we arrived the next day. We remained in Washington two 
days, then marched to the navy yard and took the old trans- 
port "North America" for Fortress Monroe. 

In no place is the life of a soldier so hard as on a trans- 
port. Crowded between decks like cattle, unable to cook 
or even make coflee, they must subsist on what rations are 
issued and drink the water from the casks. The crews are 
always liberally supplied with miserable whiskey, which 
they sell at a high price to those who will buy, and a few 
men are always found in every regiment who will get drunk 
if they have a chance. On shore the guard-house can be 
resorted to, but on board ship there is no relief from this 
unbearable nuisance. I do not want it understood that 
drunkenness was general in the army, for many men went 
through the war without touching liquor, and in my four 
years' experience I never saw an oflicer or enlisted man 
intoxicated when going into battle. I believe that what was 
true during the war has been true since, and that in no 


organization — not temperance — can be found so many 
total abstainers to the number of men as can be found in the 
ranks of the Grand Army of the Republic. 

Our trip down the Potomac was pleasant, but soon after 
leaving the river a sudden storm struck us ; our old craft 
leaked badly and we feared we should })e swamped. The 
captain dared not continue, and put back to Point Lookout. 
Here we found a deserted hotel and several cottages. We 
did not stop to register, but took possession of the rooms 
and passed a comfortable night. Next morning we re- 
embarked, and reached Fortress Monroe during the night. 
The following day we landed and marched to Hampton, 
where we found the Army of the Potomac awaiting the 
arrival of our division. We encamped here about two 
weeks, quartered in Sibley tents. We were not required 
to drill often, and the time was pleasantly passed in visiting 
the several Massachusetts regiments in the army. 

Early in April the grand Army of the Potomac moved 
towards Yorktown. It ivas a grand army, every regiment 
having its full quota. The experience of the previous 
months had made them reliable as soldiers. Incompetent 
officers and disabled men had been discharged, and those 
now on duty were filled with patriotic enthusiasm. They 
only desired a chance to fight, clear up the war and go 
home. Every man had confidence in General McClellan, 
and almost l^elieved that he was sent l)y the Lord to lead us 
to victory. Whenever he appeared every head was uncov- 
ered and every voice raised in loud hurrahs. 

We marched two days and encamped about two miles 
from the enemy's works before Yorktown. We pitched our 
shelter tents for the first time, and began army life in 


earnest. Our rations were served to us uncooked, and 
company cooks ordered to the ranks. A company cook is 
a peculiar being ; he generally knows less about cooking 
than any man in the company. Not being able to learn the 
drill, and too dirty to appear on inspection, he is sent to 
the cook house to get him out of the ranks. We were not 
sorry when the cook house was abolished. 

The first day after our arrival the 19th and 20th Massa- 
chusetts regiments, under command of General Dana, were 
ordered to reconnoitre the enemy's works. We discovered 
a fortification near Winn's Mill, and the 19th was ordered 
to march through a piece of woods, then along the front, 
and discern its extent. We did this under a sharp fire of 
musketry. It was not our intention to attack, but as Com- 
pany E, commanded by the brave but impulsive Captain 
Mahoney, was fired upon, he ordered the men to charge the 
works, and would have done so had not Colonel Hincks 
recalled him. Like a true Irishman that he was, he did not 
propose to be fired upon and not fight. The regiment 
behaved splendidly under fire ; when the musketry was 
the hottest the clear voice of Colonel Hincks was heard. 
'' Change front, forward on first company ! " was the order, 
and it was executed as correctly as on drill. We lost the 
first man killed in this skirmish. Andrew Fountain of 
Company D, Captain Wass, and several of Company K 
were wounded. 

We went into camp and began to erect fortifications ; for 
nearly a month we were engaged in that work, besides 
building corduroy roads and doing picket duty. While on 
picket Wm. Morgan was badly wounded by a piece of shell. 
He was the first man wounded in Company A. 


Our camp was located in a swamp ; the rain was almost 
constant, and the ground like a sponge. Sickness prevailed 
to an alarming extent; it was not an uncommon thing to 
march half of the company to sick call, but not all who went 
were sick. Active service had tired some who, when we 
were in camp in Maryland, were anxious to fight, and were 
constantly grumbling because we were not ordered in. 
Picket duty under fire had given these few the " shell 
fever." Loss of voice was the trouble with many, caused 
by severe colds. One day I marched my squad of invalids 
to the hospital tent ; with them was one of the loudest 
talking men in the company, but that morning he could 
only whisper. After the doctor had examined them all he 
gave me the list of excused, and my voiceless comrade was 
not down. "Hasn't he excused me?" said B. "No," was 
my reply, in a voice that could be heard a quarter of a mile. 
"D — n him, I am the sickest man in the company," was his 
indignant answer ; but he went on duty just the same, and 
never again answered sick call until wounded. Such cases 
were the exception, however, and every day the number 
grew less, as our men were ordered back to general hospital. 

The works we were erecting were of the strongest kind, 
as it was intended to besiege Yorktown, and the heaviest 
guns were mounted for that purpdse. Sunday morning, 
May 4, found the regiment on picket duty. It had been a 
lively night, as the shelling had been constant. Lieutenant 
Hume, in charge of an outpost, believed that the rebels had 
left the works in his front ; sending his opinion back to the 
commanding officer, he started to cross the field. No gun 
was fired and he continued on. The regiment was then 
ordered forward double quick, as others had seen Lieutenant 


Hume and were anxious to be first in the works, ])ut the 
19th could run either to the front or rear and our flags were 
the first to float from the fortifications. We found the port- 
holes filled with Quaker guns (logs of wood). Men of 
straw were stationed as gunners. Every indication of a 
hasty retreat was shown, as in the camps in the rear of the 
works we found fires and breakfast smoking hot, which we 
eagerly disposed of. We also found letters ready for mail- 
ing, which went by northern mail instead of southern, as we 
sent them home. 

We marched back to our old camp, packed up, and Mon- 
day morning, in a drenching rain, marched from Winn's 
Mill to Yorktown. We were on the road all night and only 
made three miles. The mud was knee deep ; we could not 
go out of line as the ground was full of torpedoes, yet, in 
all our misery. Company A started one of our old camp 
songs, which was taken up by other companies in the regi- 
ment, then by other regiments in the brigade, and soon the 
entire army was singing. This continued nearly all night. 
The next day we took steamers, and at night arrived at 
West Point. We remained on Ijoard until morning, then 
landed, and finding our forces engaged we were ordered 
to support Captain Porter, 1st Massachusetts battery. At 
West Point we saw a feature that we never saw before, or at 
any other time during the war. It was a human telegraph. 
A line of men was deployed some twenty feet apart, and 
extended from the line of battle to headquarters. The men 
at the front would start the message, and it would be 
repeated by each turning the head to the rear as he spoke. 
One message I remember, — " Send a man to take Daniel 
Webster's place." We supposed Daniel had been shot, but 


if a man was wanted to fill the place of our lamented Daniel 
Webster, we did not think Company A could spare the man. 
After a sharp fight the rebels fell back and we began the 
march up the peninsula. The condition of the roads was 
such that we halted more than we marched, but at last we 
reached the banks of the Chickahominy River, and were 
ordered on picket between Bottom and Grape Vine bridges. 

Saturday, May 31, the battle of Fair Oaks began. We 
were not relieved from picket until Sunday morning, when 
we were ordered to the front ; here we were marched from 
right to left and left to right, constantly under fire but not 
really engaged. We were at times passing over portions of 
the field that had been held by the rebels, and the ground 
was strewn with the dead and wounded. When the battle 
ended we were ordered on picket, where we remained ten 
days, having a brush with the rebel pickets every day. We 
were then given a few days' rest and ordered to the front, 
where we threw up a line of works and remained there while 
the army held the advance position. 

On the 25th of June General Hooker asked for one regi- 
ment from Sumner's corps to assist in the attack on the 
rebel lines in our front. The 19th was selected. We 
advanced in front of our intrenchments and were soon hotly 
engaged. Led on by our gallant colonel, we soon had the 
rebels in full retreat, and had the army advanced at that 
time I am confident we could have marched into Richmond 
in five hours, as we were only a few miles from the city. 
Just as we were ready to make the final charge an aid came 
to Colonel Hincks and said, " You are ordered to fall back." 
"What for?" said the colonel. "Don't you see we have got 
them on the run ? " But the order was peremptory and 


back we went. Our loss was very heavy for the short time 
engaged. Lieutenant Warner of Company H and several 
men were killed ; Lieut. J. H. Rice, Sergt. Samuel H. 
Smith, William R. Meldon, Benjamin Jellison and others, 
in all about sixty, badly wounded. 

While we had been under fire nearly all the time since 
arriving at Yorktown, this w^as the first square fight in 
which we had been engaged. We had no chance for the use 
of tactics as the woods were thick and we could see little of 
the enemy ; but the oflScers and men behaved splendidly, 
and our only regret was to lose so many and accomplish 
nothing, an experience that the Army of the Potomac often 
had in the battles that followed. 





Company A had in its ranks men of every trade and pro- 
fession, not excepting the clergy. Our minister might have 
been a good soldier in the army of the Lord, but was not a 
success in the Army of the Potomac. At the lirst fire he 
scattered and could not be rallied. I said to him, "You 
have been telling the Ijoys to get ready to die, but you 
are not in good marching order for the other shore your- 
self." " That is not it," replied Levi; "I should not have 
enlisted ; it always made me nervous to hear a gun fired and 
I don't believe I can get used to it." As will be shown later 
he never did. 

Returning to our works we were ordered to throw up 
traverses between companies. At night cheering began on 
our right. An aid rode down the line and gave orders to 
Colonel Hincks to have the regiment cheer. "What for?" 
said the colonel. "I do not know," was the reply; "it 
is orders from General McClellan to General Dana." " Give 
my compliments to General Dana and say that we did our 
cheering in front of the line yesterday." Soon we were or- 
dered to pack up and leave everything not absolutely nec- 
essary to carry. We were ordered into line and remained 
under arms all night. The next morning we found the 


retreat had begun, and, before we had recovered from our 
surprise, were ordered in to support Tompkins's Rhode 
Island battery, and the enemy was soon upon us. 

At the headquarters of the commissary department all 
was confusion. A pile of hard-tack as large as Faneuil 
Hall was set on fire. Heads of commissary whiskey barrels 
were knocked in and the whiskey ran in streams. This was 
also set on fire and men were burned as they tried to drink 
it. Blankets, clothing, stores of all kinds were destroyed, 
and one would think as an army we were going out of busi- 
ness, but such was not the case, as we had enough on our 
hands to last us the next seven days. 

We made a stand at Peach Orchard and found that our 
corps was to cover the retreat of the army. We were 
slowly driven back to Savage Station, where a battery went 
into position and we lay in the rear as its support. One 
who has never supported a battery can form no idea of this 
duty, which is to lie just as snug to the ground as you can 
and take those shells coming from the enemy that the battery 
does not want. Our position at Savage was a dangerous 
one. Shells were constantly bursting in our ranks and our 
l)attery was being severely tested. It did not seem that 
our lines could be held much longer, yet we knew that our 
wagon train was crossing the bridge and we must stand our 
ground until they were safely over. We heard a cheer, and 
looking to the left saw Meagher's Irish brigade moving for- 
ward on the run. The entire corps, forgetful of danger, 
sprang to their feet and cheered them wildly. On they 
went ; grape and cannister ploughed through their ranks, 
but they closed up the gaps and moved on up to the mouth 
of the rebel batteries, whose guns were captured, and the 


firing that had been so disastrous ceased. The Irish brigade 
held the line until night, when our army was withdrawn. 

It was the hottest day of the year. As we changed front 
many fell from sunstroke. Captain Wass was so badly 
affected that he lost his reason and never fully recovered. 
Lieutenant Hume was left by the roadside and was soon 
captured by the enemy. At night we were stationed at the 
bridge until the last regiment was over, when we crossed 
and destroyed the bridge. 

After we had rested a few hours we were ordered back, 
and sunrise found us engaged with the enemy. In the after- 
noon the terrible battle of Glendale was fought. This was 
June 30. About two o'clock p.m. we were ordered to 
charge the enemy, who were in a belt of woods. To do 
this we must charge over an open field. Faces turned pale 
as we looked over the ground. We grasped our muskets 
firmer and waited for the order. We had kept our knap- 
sacks until this time, — they had become priceless treasures, 
filled as they were with little articles for our comfort made 
by loving hands, and with letters from dear ones at home, — 
but we threw them into a pile, and the voice of Colonel 
Hincks was heard: "Forward, double-quick," and we 
moved across the field and entered the woods. Here we 
met a line clothed in Union ])lue, and thinking it was the 
7th Michigan, of our brigade, — a regiment loved by every 
ofiicer and man of the 19th, — we reserved our fire, and 
cried, "Don't fire, boys, we are the 19th Massachusetts." 
A galling fire in our faces drove us back, but we promptly 
moved forward again, still thinking it was the 7th Michigan 
and that they would see their mistake. Again we were 
repulsed, and l)elieving we were mistaken, and that the line 


was composed of rebels in our uniforms, we charged with a 
will. As they rose to receive us we saw that this time we 
were not mistaken, as they were rebels clothed in part in our 
uniforms. We had a hand-to-hand tight for a few moments, 
when we discovered that we were being flanked and with- 
drew to the edo-e of the woods. 

Under a terrible iire we changed front. Our brave Major 
How fell, never to rise again ; Colonel Hincks was supposed 
to be mortally wounded and was carried from the field ; 
Lieut. David Lee was killed, and the ground was strewn 
with our dead and wounded comrades. For a moment the 
regiment was in confusion, but Captain Weymouth, assisted 
by Sergeant-Major Newcomb and others, rallied the men on 
the colors and the line was at once reformed and our posi- 
tion held. Capt. Edmund Rice was in command of the 
regiment. He was noted for his coolness and bravery, and 
the men had confidence in him. As I looked down the line 
of Company A many places were vacant. Ed. Hale, Volney 
P. Chase, Charles Boynton and several others were killed, 
while the list of wounded could not be ascertained at that 
time. Company A had lost men by death, but this was the 
first time any of our number had been killed in action. 

Charles Boynton was one of my townsmen. He was an 
eccentric man and had troubled Captain Merritt by his 
peculiar ideas of drill, but he was as brave and patriotic 
a man as ever shouldered a musket. He had no patience 
with the slow movements of the army, and I have often 
heard him say that he wanted to fight every day and close 
up the job. When advancing in line he would constantly 
rush ahead of the company, his only desire being to get a 
shot at the rebels. I do not think it would be showinsj dis- 


respect to his memory should I relate one or two of the little 
dialogues between Captain Merritt and Boynton. Our regi- 
ment had a peculiar drill in the manual. It was formulated 
by Colonel Devereaux, and is nearly what is used by the 
army to-day. After loading we stood with our little finger 
on the head of the rammer until the order was given to 
shoulder arms. One day on drill Captain Merritt looked 
down the line and saw Boynton with his hand by his side. 
"Put your little finger on the head of the rammer, Boyn- 
ton," sang out Captain Merritt. "I won't do it," replied 
Boynton. " Won't do it ! AVhy not? " " Because it is all 
nonsense ; my gun is loaded, and do you suppose I would 
stand up in battle like a darned fool with my little finger on 
the head of my rammer? No, sir, I propose to drill just as 
I intend to fight." 

Another day the order was, "Eight shoulder, shift arms." 
The proper way was to make three motions, but Boynton 
did it in one. "Make three motions, Boynton," said Cap- 
tain Merritt. "Didn't I get my gun on my shoulder as 
quick as any man in the company ? " was the reply. Cap- 
tain Merritt was discouraged and ordered me to punish 
Boynton, but I explained his peculiarities, and assured the 
captain that he would earn his thirteen dollars a month when 
fighting began. He let the matter drop. Had the Union 
army been composed entirely of men like Charles Boynton 
the war would have ended long before it did. 

We held our position until midnight. It was the saddest 
night I ever spent. The dead and wounded of l)oth armies 
lay between the lines. The wounded were constantly call- 
ing on their comrades for water, and we could hear calls for 
Mississippi, Georgia and Virginia, mingled with those for 


Michigan, New York and Massachusetts. Brave men from 
our regiment crawled over the field, giving water to friend 
and foe alike. About midnight the order was whispered 
down the line to move. I had l)een from rio;ht to left of the 
company keeping the men awake, as we expected the order. 
As still as possible we crawled over the field. We had gone 
but a short distance when, looking back, I saw one member 
of the company had not started. Thinking he had fallen 
asleep I returned, and shaking him said, " Come, come ! " 
As I drew close to him my eyes rested on the face of Jona- 
than Hudson, cold in death. He had been killed in the early 
evening as we lay in line and his death was not known to 
his comrades near him. It was the saddest sensation I ever 
experienced. When we arrived at the road we found many 
of our wounded. Colonel Hincks was on a stretcher, and 
as the ambulances were full he was carried a long distance 
before one could be found. Captain Devereaux was also 
liadly wounded and had to ])e carried. We started with the 
body of Major How in a blanket as we had no stretchers, 
])ut being so very heavy we were forced to leave him. 

Without any regimental formation we began our weary 
march to Malvern Hill, where we arrived at daylight, were 
at once ordered to support a battery, and witnessed one of 
the most terril^le artillery l^attles of the war. In the after- 
noon our })rigade was ordered to the woods and held the 
right of the army. The next morning, in a drenching rain, 
we started for Harrison's Landing. We marched in three 
lines, but it was not an army, it was a mob. Artillery was 
stuck in the mud, wagons were abandoned and ])urned by 
the roadside. The only thought of every one was to get to 
Harrison's Landing as soon as possible. Some did not stop 


at the landing but took boats for Washington. Among 
these was our minister, Levi. He had managed to keep out 
of every battle, and now deserted, joining the advance 
guard in Canada. 

Harrison's Landing when dry was a sandy plain ; when 
we arrived it was a sea of mud. Without shelter, overcoats 
or blankets we dropped in the mud, and being so exhausted, 
having been mthout sleep, except the little naps caught in 
line of battle, for seven days, we soon forgot our misery. 
It was two days before we could reorganize our companies. 
Men were coming in who we expected were killed or 
captured, but July 4 upon calling the roll, we found that 
more than half of the men who had left Massachusetts with 
us less than a year before had either been killed in battle, 
died of disease or were sick or wounded in general hospital. 
The death-rate at Harrison's Landing was fearful. Men 
who had stood the retreat now broke down and soon died. 
Every hour in the day we could hear the dead march, as 
comrade after comrade was laid at rest. The subject for 
discussion around the camp-fire was the disaster to the 
Union army. Newspapers called it "an important change 
of base." We knew that some one had been outgeneralled, 
and although the men had confidence in General McClellan, 
we believed that while we had been digging and dying before 
Yorktown we should have been advancing and fighting. 

Looking at the campaign in the most charitable light pos- 
sible, the fact remained that on April 4 the finest army ever 
mustered began the advance on Eichmond ; that we had 
been within five miles of that city, and that July 4 found the 
army on the banks of the James River, with less than half 
of the number it had three months before. We were not 


disheartened. Many had expected that 1862 would see the 
end of the war, but it now looked as though those who were 
spared would see the end of their three years' enlistment. 
The losses in officers had been such that many promotions 
were made. Four enlisted men were promoted second 
lieutenants, and I was one of the number. I was assigned 
to Company I, Capt. J. F. PlymjDton. By a misunder- 
standing between Colonel Hincks and Lieutenant-Colonel 
Devereaux, First Sergeant Driver and myself did not receive 
our commissions until August, although we continued as 
acting second lieutenants, the two commissioned by recom- 
mendation of Colonel Hincks not being assigned to duty. 

It was impossible to obtain officers' uniforms, so I bought 
a pair of brass shoulder-straps, sewed them on my well-worn 
blouse, borrowed a sword of Lieutenant Mumford and went 
on duty, as verdant an officer as could be found in the army 
of the Potomac. 

About the middle of August I was ordered to report to 
First Lieut. John P. Eeynolds for special duty. We were 
to take charge of the oruard of the division wao;on train that 
was ordered to Fortress Monroe. Our duty was an impor- 
tant one. We knew we were liable to attack at any time 
by guerillas, and constant vigilance was required. We 
often met small parties of mounted citizens who rode past 
our train. We believed they were "taking us in," but we 
had not arrived at the time when men were arrested on sus- 
picion, so we let them pass but kept our train well covered. 
We arrived at Fortress Monroe in due time, turned over 
the train and reported to the regiment at Newport News, 
they having marched a few days after we were ordered 


While our duty as the advance guard had been arduous, 
we had not suffered as much as those who marched with the 
regiment. They had marched rapidly over dusty roads, 
under a broiling sun, and many had been sunstruck. Among 
the number was Capt. William A. Hill. He was not able to 
speak above a whisper for several days, and his condition was 
serious ; but his courage was good and he remained on duty 
with the regiment. The men having rested a day, and being 
now veteran soldiers, had forgotten their hardships, and 
when we arrived were nearly all in the James River hunting 
for oysters. 

On August 24, the Ijrigade embarked on the steamship 
"Atlantic" for Washington, arriving at Alexandria the 
28th, — just one year from the day we left Massachusetts. 




My position had changed during the past year from 
corporal in Company A to second lieutenant in Company I, 
and it took me some time to get accustomed to the new 
office. Up to the time I left Company A no man had been 
punished ; but the morning that I reported for duty in Com- 
pany I Captain Plympton had one man on a barrel and 
another on knapsack drill, and I thought I had made a mis- 
take in not taking sparring lessons before being promoted. 

I found the men of Company I as good-hearted a lot as 
there was in the regiment, only a little wild. The leader 
of the company was a young boy ; he was aljout seventeen 
years old, and a private soldier, yet he was the one who 
settled all disputes. He was well informed in regard to the 
movements of the army, and had ideas respecting future 
campaigns that he was ready to discuss with officers or men. 
Soon after I joined the company he called on me and made 
a little speech of welcome, saying that the l)oys were glad I 
had been assigned to the company, and assured me they 
would make it pleasant for me. Such a reception was very 
gratifying. I was but twenty years of age and doubted my 
ability to control these men, but I commanded the company 
for nearly two years, and punished but one man during the 


time. That boy has since become known and honored by 
every comrade in Massachusetts. The friendship formed 
that day for George H. Patch continued until his death, and 
the memory of that light-hearted, true soldier will be pre- 
cious to me while life shall last. 

Leaving the transports at Alexandria, we first marched to 
Chain Bridga, then to Tenallytown, Md. No one seemed 
to know where they wanted us. We went into camp and 
waited for orders, which, when received, were to march at 
once for Centre ville, to reinforce General Pope. At day- 
break, August 30, we crossed the bridge at Georgetown, 
and reached Fairfax Court House the next morning, having 
marched sixty- three miles in sixty-four successive hours. 
It was the hardest march we had made, — twenty-four hours 
of the time it rained in torrents. The shoes of the men 
were in bad condition ; many marched bare-footed, and it 
was impossible for them to keep in the ranks. We did 
not have a hundred men in the ranks when we reached the 
line of battle. 

At Fairfax Court House we found everything in confu- 
sion. Pope's army had been defeated at the second Bull 
Run and were in full retreat. Without time to make coffee 
we were ordered in, and deployed as skirmishers to the 
right of the town, as it was expected the rebel cavalry would 
attack the flank. We remained in this position until the 
army had passed, when, with the 1st Minnesota, we were 
selected to cover the retreat. The rebel cavalry came down 
on us, and we had some sharp fighting as we fell back. At 
Flint Hill we made a stand. Night had come on and we 
did not care to be bothered with the rebels any longer. 
The 1st Minnesota formed a V with two sections of Tomp- 


kins's Rhode Island battery at this point, the 19th support- 
ing the battery. On came the rebels, right into the trap we 
had set. The Minnesota boys opened fire, followed by the 
battery. The 19th charged with a yell ; the rout was com- 
plete, as all not killed or wounded turned and fled. We 
had no time to follow them, as we were quite a distance 
from the main army. When we rejoined the column our 
two regiments were mistaken for the enemy, and fired upon 
by our own ranks. Assistant-Surgeon Hill was killed, 
Captain Russell disabled by his horse being shot, and several 
men wounded. 

The next day we again crossed the Potomac to Maryland 
soil. The prospects were not pleasant to contemplate. We 
had done little but march in retreat the past six months. A 
line officer has little chance to see what is going on outside 
his regiment, and his opinion is of little importance, but I 
believed then, and time has only strengthened my belief, 
that the leading officers of the Army of the Potomac were 
perfectly willing General Pope should be whipped. He had 
taken command of the Army of Virginia with a swell order : 
" Headquarters in the saddle, spades to the rear, muskets to 
the front," and they were glad to see the conceit taken out 
of him. There is a great deal of human nature shown in 
the world, — even in army commanders. 

We now took up our line of march through Maryland. 
We were not the only ones who had crossed the Potomac, 
as the rebels had already crossed and were marching north, 
and we must head them off" if possible. It began to look as 
though they would capture Washington before we captured 
Richmond. We marched through Rockville, where we had 
spent our winters so pleasantly, and met many old acquaint- 


ances, but missed several of our gentlemen friends who, we 
learned, had joined the rebel army. 

Some of the ladies, who loved the stars and bars, joked 
us on our " On to Richmond " movement, and were confi- 
dent the war would soon end with the south victorious. 
The events of the past few months had been such that we 
had slio^ht s^round for an aro^ument : l)ut we assured them we 
were satisfied, and all we wanted was to get General Lee on 
this side of the river. Our march through Maryland was 
delightful ; the farther we got into the interior the more 
loyal the people l)ecame, and our welcome was cordial. 

We arrived at South Mountain while the battle was lieing 
fought, but took no part in it. The 16th of September we 
reached Antietam, and formed in line of l^attle. On the 
morning of the 17th, with our brigade in the centre, we 
advanced in three lines of battle, over walls and fences, 
through fields, under a terrible fire of artillery. The 
regiment was growing nervous but did not break. Colonel 
Hincks halted us, put us through the manual of arms, end- 
ing with parade rest. Having become steady, we moved 
forward to a strip of woods, and came upon the enemy 
strongly posted. Grape and canister, shot and shell, vol- 
leys of musketry greeted us, — and our men fell as grain 
before the scythe. 

One-half of our ofiicers and men were either killed or 
wounded. Colonel Hincks was the first to fiill, again ter- 
ribly wounded. Capt. George W. Batchelder was killed, 
and the command of the regiment and companies changed 
fast, as one after another officer went down. At the time 
we were so hotly engaged in the front we began to receive 
a fire from our left and rear, and discovered that we were 


being flanked, and must change front to rear. This was 
done by the 19th Massachusetts and 1st Minnesota. We 
were now under command of Colonel Devereaux, and were 
ordered to take a position near a stone wall. We fired as 
we fell back, holding the enemy until we had reformed our 
lines, when we again went in and continued fighting until 
dark, when we were ordered to support a battery. . We 
then had time to count the cost of the battle. Colonel 
Hincks was reported dying, and we mourned the loss of our 
brave leader. Captain Batchelder was dead. He had been 
my tent-mate since I had been an oflicer, and had rendered 
me valuable assistance. Every one loved him ; he was an 
ideal volunteer soldier. Having graduated at Harvard, he 
entered the army as an enlisted man in the Salem Zouaves 
at the first call for men, and had worked hard to bring the 
regiment to the state of efiiciency which it had reached. 

I had not seen my brother since we had advanced in line. 
He was left general guide of the regiment, and his place was 
on the left. As soon as we halted I went to the company, 
but he was not there. The following day I searched the 
hospitals, but could not find him, and on the morning of the 
lUth, the rebels having left our front, I went where their 
lines had been and found him, with Jacob Hazen of Com- 
pany C and George Carleton of Company B, near an old 
haystack. He had been shot in the right side of the neck, 
the ball passing out of the left shoulder ; it had cut the 
spinal nerve, and he could not move hand or foot. I saw 
at once that he could not live and had him placed in an 
ambulance and carried to our field hospital. It was the 
saddest duty of my life. We had left home together, and 
had often talked of a happy reunion around the old fireside 


when the war should end. Now I must wrfte to my old 
mother that one of the three who had bade her good-by in 
'61 would never return. 

This was war, terril)le war ! As I was kneeling by his 
side, hearing his last words, a woman's voice said, "Is he 
your brother ? " I explained to her the fact that I was in 
command of my company and could not stay with him, but 
could not bear to have him die alone. With tears streaming- 
down her motherly face she promised me she would not 
leave him, but would see him buried and would send me 
word w^here he w^as laid, — which promise she faithfully kept. 
The name of this good w^oman was Mrs. Mary Lee of Phila- 
delphia, Pa. She had a son in Baxter's Fire Zouaves, who 
was with her that day. Several years ago, when Post 2, 
G. A. E., of Philadelphia, was in Boston, I saw that one of 
the old battle-flags Avas the Fire Zouaves, and was carried 
by Sergeant Lee. He proved to be the son I had met that 
sad day at Antietam ; a few months later I visited his 
mother in Philadelphia, who was working just the same for 
the soldiers as she had done during the w^ar. 

While my brother lay wounded on the field inside the 
rebel lines an officer of the 8th South Carolina came along, 
and seeing 19 on his cap asked to what regiment he l^elonged. 
Being informed that it was the 19th Massachusetts, he said 
he had a brother in that regiment named Daniel W. Spof- 
ford. My brother told him that his brother was wounded 
in the battle, and might be on the field. He searched for 
him but did not find him, as he was able to go to the rear 
before we changed front. Eeturning, he had my brother 
carried to the haystack wdiere I found him, and rendered 
all the assistance possible. The name of the South Carolina 


officer was Phineas Spoflbrd. Both brothers survived the 
war. The Union soldier resides in Georgetown, Mass., 
the rebel in South Carolina, but he often visits his native 

I also missed my boy Patch. He was last seen helping a 
sergeant from the field. He turned up in Libljy Prison a 
few days later. My old company had met with other losses 
than death. Four men had deserted on the eve of battle. 
They had taken the canteens of the company to go in search 
of water. No doubt they are searching yet, as they did not 
return. Two were non-commissioned officers, and all were 
intelligent men. 

The regiment was now commanded by Capt. H. G. O. 
Weymouth. Again we crossed the Potomac, and went to 
camp on Boliver Heights, near Harper's Ferry. We did 
not lose the battle of Antietam because we held the ground, 
but made the mistake of remaining inactive while the rebels 
withdrew to the other side of the river, so we gained 

Soon after the battle we received a large numl)er of 
recruits, — the best class of men that had joined the regi- 
ment. Many of them had waited, hoping that the war 
would be over, and their services would not be required, 
but seeing the disasters that had come to the army, resolved 
to come and help us. Several of them were discharged 
as commissioned officers, and all rendered very valuable 

We remained at Harper's Ferry until October 30, when 
we received marching orders, and the army marched up 
Loudon valley. The nights were cold, and we suffered 
severely. While in l)ivouac near Paris or New Baltimore 


two feet of snow fell, covering us as we slept. Orders 
against foraging were very strict. We were not allowed to 
take hay from tlie stacks for bedding, or in any way molest 
private property. The idea of General McClellan seemed 
to be to carry on the war without hurting any one's feehngs, 
but once in a while we broke over. One night Corjooral 
Phelau and Jack Robinson discovered hens at a neighbor- 
ing farm-house, and finding the house not guarded took 
their muskets and went on duty. The people were much 
pleased to be so well protected. While Phelan entertained 
the family Jack went on duty outside to protect the hens. 
Soon a squawking was heard, and Corporal Phelan grasped 
his musket and rushed to reinforce Jack. They secured three 
good hens, and forgot to go back to the house, but reported 
to camp. When they arrived I discovered that they had 
plunder, and called them before me. With downcast eyes 
they told the story of their shame and begged for mercy. 
As an oflScer I must do my duty, and they must be jiunished. 
I ordered them to cook one of the three hens and deliver it 
to me. With sad hearts they obeyed the order. 




We continued the march through the valley to Warrenton, 
where General McClellan was relieved of the command of 
the army and General Burnside succeeded him. Nearly all 
the men were sad at the loss of McClellan. He was our first 
love, and the men were loyal and devoted to him. I did 
not share in this sorrow. My faith had become shaken 
when we retreated from before Richmond, and when he 
allowed Lee's army to get away from Antietam I was dis- 
gusted, and glad to see a change. Sad as the army felt at 
the loss of McClellan, they were loyal to the cause for wliich 
they had enlisted, and followed their new commander as 
faithfully as they had the old. 

We arrived at Falmouth about the middle of November, 
and went into camp two miles from the town ; here we 
spent our second Thanksgiving. No dance for the oflicers 
this year. We had a dinner of hard tack and salt pork, and 
should have passed a miserable day had not the commissary 
arrived with a supply of "Poland water," and the officers 
were given a canteen each. The men had the pleasure of 
hearing our sAveet voices in songs of praise from the " home 
of the fallen," as our tent was called. 

We remained undisturbed until the morning of December 
1 1 , when we were ordered to the banks of the Rappahannock 
River, opposite Fredericksburg. Here we found a pontoon 


bridge partially laid, and the engineers doing their best to 
complete it. Our batteries were posted on the hills in rear 
of our line, and were vigorously shelling the city, but the 
rebel sharpshooters were posted in cellars and rifle pits on the 
other side, and would pick ofi" the engineers as fast as they 
showed themselves at work. At last volunteers were called 
for by Colonel Hall, commanding the brigade, and the 19th 
Massachusetts and 7th Michigan volunteered. We took the 
pontoon boats from the wagons, carried them to the river, 
and as soon as they touched the water filled them with men. 
Two or three boats started at the same time, and the sharp- 
shooters opened a terrible fire. Men fell in the water and 
in the boats. Lieutenant-Colonel Baxter of the 7th Mich- 
igan was shot when half-way across. Henry E. Palmer of 
Company C was shot in the foot as he was stepping into the 
boat, yet we pressed on, and at last landed on the other 

As soon as the boats touched the shore we formed l)y com- 
panies, and, without waiting for regimental formation, 
charged up the street. On reaching the main street we 
found that the fire came from houses in front and rear. 
Company B lost ten men out of thirty in less than five min- 
utes. Other companies suffered nearly the same. We were 
forced to fall back to the river, deploy as skirmishers, and 
reached the main street through the yards and houses. As 
we fell back we left one of our men wounded in the street ; 
his name was Redding, of Company D, and when we again 
reached the street we found him dead, — the rebels having 
l)ayoneted him in seven places. 

The regiment was commanded hj Capt. H. G. O. Wey- 
mouth, Colonel Devereaux being very sick in camp. Captain 


Weymouth went from right to left of the line, giving instruc- 
tions and urging the men forward. My squad was com- 
posed of men from companies I and A. We had reached a 
gate, and were doing our best to cross the street. I had 
lost three men when Captain Weymouth came up. " Can't 
you go forward, Lieutenant Adams ? " he said. My reply 
was, "It is mighty hot, captain." He said, " I guess you 
can," and started to go through the gate, when as much as a 
barrel of bullets came at him. He turned and said, " It is 
quite warm, lieutenant; go up through the house." We 
then entered the l^ack door and passed upstairs to the front. 
Oilman Nichols of Company A was in advance. He found 
the door locked and burst it open with the butt of his mus- 
ket. The moment it opened he fell dead, shot from a house 
on the other side of the street. Several others were 
wounded, but we held the house until dark, firing at a head 
whenever Ave saw one on the other side. 

As night came on we advanced across the street and the 
rebels retired. We posted our pickets and went into the 
houses for rest and observation. The house my company 
now owned was formerly occupied by a namesake of mine, 
a music teacher. I left the men down stairs while I retired. 
The room I selected was the chamber belonging to a young 
lady. Her garments were in the press, and the little finery 
she possessed was scattered about the room. Fearing she 
might return I did not undress, but went to bed with my 
boots on. I was soon lost in peaceful slumber, when a 
sergeant came and said I was wanted l)elow. Going to the 
Idtchen I found the boys had a banquet spread for me. 
There was roast duck, biscuit, all kinds of preserves, spread 
upon a table set with the best china. We were company, 


and the best was none too good for us. After supper we 
went up stairs, and the men were assigned, or assigned 
themselves, to rooms. 

In our investigation we had found a barrel filled with 
molasses. Every one must fill his canteen, and as he filled 
it from the faucet it ran over, and the house was molasses 
from cellar to attic. I opened a trunk in my room and 
found packages of paper. Thinking they might be bonds 
or stock I put them in my haversack. The next day I found 
they were unpaid bills of the music teacher. Going out on 
the street we found it quite lively. One of the boys would 
come along with a lady on his arm, but upon inspection it 
proved to be another soldier with borrowed clothes. 

Since we left Rockville I have not mentioned Ben Falls, 
He had been on every march and in every battle, and had 
his musket shot from his shoulder at Glendale, but picked 
up another and went in again. While at Falmouth Captain 
Boyd, who was now in command of Company A, made Ben 
a cook, because, as he informed me, he wanted him to live 
to go home. While we were in Fredericksburg Ben and 
another man came over bringing two kettles of coffee on 
poles. Halting before Captain Boyd he said, "Captain, if 
you have no use for Ben Falls, send me home. How nice it 
will look when I write to my wife in Lynn that the regi- 
ment fought nobly, and I carried the kettles. I either want 
a musket or a discharge, — and prefer the musket." Cap- 
tain Boyd granted his request ; and it was the last of Ben as 
a pot-slewer. 

The next day we remained in the city, awaiting orders. 
We buried our dead, sent the wounded back to the hospital, 
and made ready for the battle which we knew must come. 


On the morning of the 13th we received orders to advance, 
and marched up the street towards Marye's Heights by the 
flank. Shot and shell ploughed through our ranks, but we 
filed into a field and were ordered forward to storm the 
heights. It was necessary to move up an embankment, 
then charge over an open field. A rebel battery on our 
right had a raking fire on us, but we must go forward. Led 
by our gallant Captain Weymouth we moved up the bank. 
The two color bearers. Sergeant Creasey and Sergeant 
Rappell, were the first to fall, but the colors did not touch 
the ground before they were up and going forward. Cap- 
tain Weymouth fell, shot in the leg, which was afterwards 
amputated. Captain Malioney took command of the regi- 
ment, and he was also seen to fall, shot in the arm and 
side. Down went the color bearers again. Lieutenant 
Newcomb grasped one, a color corporal another. Newcomb 
fell, shot through both legs, and as he went down he handed 
the color to me. Next fell the color corporal, and the flag 
he held was grasped by Sergeant Merrill, who was soon 
wounded. Another seized the color, but he was shot 
immediately, and as it fell from his hands the ofiicer who 
already had one caught it. 

By obliquing to the left, followed by the regiment, we 
got out of the line of fire for a time, and lay down. I do 
not mention this fact to show that I was braver than other 
men, for every man of the old regiment on the field would 
have done the same had opportunity oflfered, but my services 
were recognized by promotion to first lieutenant, and I was 
afterwards given a Medal of Honor by Congress for the act. 

Looking back over the field we saw the ground covered 
with our dead and wounded. Captain Plympton was now 


in command of the regiment, and we waited for darkness to 
bring in our wounded. 

Late in the evening we withdrew to the city, where we 
remained the next day. At night we were ordered to the 
front. No man was allowed to speak. Dippers must not 
rattle against bayonets, but all must be as still as the dead 
who slept near us. We remained until nearly daylight, 
found the army was being withdrawn to the other side of 
the river, and as usual we were to cover the retreat. We 
recrossed in safety, and waited on the other side until the 
pontoons were withdrawn. About half of those who went 
over never marched back. In the battle of the 13th, out of 
less than three hundred men we lost, in killed and wounded, 
one hundred and four. Of the eleven men who carried the 
colors that day eight were killed. I do not believe we 
killed five of the enemy, if we did one. We found them 
strongly intrenched, charged upon them, and they mowed 
us down. Here the rebels lost an opportunity. Had they 
attacked us wliile we were recrossing the river they could 
have captured a large part of the army ; but they did not 
see the chance, and we escaped. 

Sad and weary we marched back to our old camp. We 
had become accustomed to defeat ; we knew that no braver 
army stood upon the earth than the Army of the Potomac, 
but fate had been against us from the start. We saw our 
numbers growing less, and no real victory to reward us 
for the sacrifice. 

It only required a few days after returning to camp to 
reorganize the regiment ; promotions were made to fill 
the vacant places, and active drill was resumed. We took 
up skirmish drill and bayonet exercise in earnest, and what 


spare time we had stockaded our tents, expecting to remain 
until spring ; but in army life there is no assurance that you 
will find yourself in the morning where you lay down at 
night, and in a few days the army was ordered to pack up. 
As soon as the order was given it began to rain, and con- 
tinued several days. We wallowed around in the mud, 
trying to march, but it was impossible, and all were ordered 
back to camp, after suffering untold misery for two days. 
Our next move was to break camp, and locate nearer the 
town. Here we stockaded our tents, and were comfortable. 
Were it not for the sadness felt by reason of the vacant 
places in our ranks, it would have been the happiest winter 
I had ever passed. Every night the officers would gather 
in the adjutant's tent, — which was a Sibley, stockaded some 
six feet from the ground, — and there hold regular camp- 
fires. Stories would be told, songs sung and recitations 
given. We had our orators and our poets. I remember 
one night, when seated around the camp-fire, the quarter- 
master, Tom Winthrop, who had enlisted as a private with 
me in old Company A, read the following tribute to the boys 
who had gone on : — 



Not in the quiet churchyard, where their fathers' bones repose, 
With loving hands to mark the spot with willow and with rose ; 
Not in the quiet nooks and dells of the old homestead place, 
'Mid scenes of boyhood days time never can efface ; 
But in strange lands we laid them down, in roiigh dug soldiers' 

And far from home and kindred ones they sleep, our fallen braves. 



No mother's wail of sorrow o'er the new sod, fresh and green, 
Where sleeps the boy she nursed and loved, and fondled when a 

No blue-eyed maiden, golden haired, to drop the bitter tear. 
Or mark the spot with loving hands, where sleeps the form so dear; 
But comrades knew their honest worth, the sacrifice they made. 
And they have marked with thoughtful care where sleep our fallen 



We left our heroes at Fair Oakes, we dug their honored graves 

Beside the Chickahominy, with its dull, dreary waves. 

Not alone they fell in battle, not alone by steel and lead, 

The fell malaria swept them oif, as fruits fall, ripe and red. 

And where the southern laurels bloom, and oleanders wave, 

In the swamp lands, drear and deadly, they sleep, our fallen braves. 


And oh, it was a fearful lot we buried at Glendale. 

Our ranks were thinned like standing corn before the sweeping gale. 

And thick their honored graves were strewn, through cornfields, one 

by one. 
They mark the spot where Antietam was bravely fought and won. 
And where the fight raged fiercest, by the Rappahannock's waves. 
There is many a yellow mound to tell where sleep our fallen braves. 


Oh, brave hearts that know no shrinking, oh, strong hands tried and 

You paled to see your country's stars turn from their azured blue ; 
And burned your hearts with patriot fire, nerved your arm to right, 
Ye were foremost when the call came, ye were foremost in the fight. 
And well ye fought and brave ye died, ye were no hireling slaves. 
May earth its richest tribute bring to all our fallen braves. 



What though no marble monument, no towering shaft of stone, 
Is reared above the sacred soil where rest their honored bones ; 
What though no graven tablet shall, through all the coming time, 
Tell to the world heroic deeds of sacrifice sublime. 
But we who know how willingly their noble lives they gave, 
Will treasure in our hearts the worth of all our fallen braves. 

I do not believe there was a regiment in either army 
where the love was so strong between officers and men as in 
the old 19th. "VVe had no little jealousies ; the men obeyed 
the officers because they knew that no unreasonable orders 
would be given All was peace and harmony. Officers and 
men were given furloughs, and boxes were received from 
home. Some of the boxes had been a long time on the 
road, and when they arrived the contents were in an uncer- 
tain condition. It was hard to tell the tobacco from the 
mince pie. William A. Hill, adjutant of the regiment, had 
expected a box for some time, and the officers knew that 
when it came "Billy" would see that all had a share. At 
last it arrived, and we gathered at headquarters to see it 
opened. The cover was removed and the smell was not 
quite equal to the arbutus, but we hoped it was only the top. 
Another box was found inside containing what was once a 
turkey, but was now a large lump of blue mould. Notliing 
in the box was eatable. We held a council and concluded 
that a turkey that had l)een dead so long should have a 
decent burial. The next day the remains lay in state while 
we prepared for the last sad services. We waked the 
corpse until midnight, then the sad procession was formed. 
First came the largest negro, selected from the many ser- 


vants, as drum-major ; then the comb band ; next the 
quartermaster, with the carbine reversed, as a firing party ; 
then the corpse borne on a stretcher l)y four negroes, two 
small and two large ; then the mourners (officers who had 
expected to eat the turkey, and were left) ; all so disguised 
that none could recognize them. We marched down the 
main street of the camp, the comb band playing the dead 
march. Men half dressed came out of their tents to see 
what was the trouble, but we passed beyond the camp lines, 
where a grave had l^een prepared. Here the body was 
lowered, remarks were made by the chaplain (pro tem.), a 
poem was read by the quartermaster, and we returned to 
camp and mourned for the spirits that had departed. 

Another jolly time I recall. One day a light snow had 
fallen, and the men began to snow-ball. Soon companies 
were engaged and then the rio^ht and left wind's of the re<:::i- 
ment were pitted against each other. I was with the left 
w^ing and we were holding our own when the drum corps 
re-enforced the right. Up to this time headquarters had 
been spectators, but they became excited, and joined the 
right wing. With such re-enforcements, the battle would 
soon be lost to us, but I remembered that some twenty of 
our negro servants were in rear of the hospital tent, and I 
went to them and offered bounty if they would enlist. They 
hesitated, but I assured them that I would stand the blame 
if they joined our forces. Having loaded every one with an 
armful of snow balls, I charged over the hill and attacked 
headquarters by the flank. If any one doubts the bravery 
of colored troops he should have seen my army that day. 
They rushed upon the foe, regardless of who it was. Their 
ammunition exhaused, they started on the charge with heads 


down, and butted all before them. Headquarters vanished. 
The right wing gave way, and the left held the field. It 
was the first battle won by colored troops in the war, and 
proved that they could fight if well officered. 

Many of the soldiers quartered near us, and some of our 
own men, had an eye to business, and were going about 
the camp selling pies, cookies and other articles of food. 
The 19th Maine had many men engaged in this business. 
One day a tall, honest-looking fellow w^as going through our 
camp when he passed Sergeant McGinnis. "What do you 
ask for your pies?" said McGinnis. "Twenty-five cents," 
replied the soldier. " I won't give it," said McGinnis. 
"Your colonel was just through here selling them for twenty 

While at this camp Colonel Devereaux was called home, 
and we were without a field officer. Captain Mahoney hear- 
ing of this felt it his duty to return. Although on leave of 
absence fi'om the severe wound received at Fredericksburg 
he reported for duty. As I have before said. Captain 
Mahoney was a true son of Erin, brave and patriotic, yet a 
little peculiar. He brought with him two dozen bottles of 
ginger ale (?) and at night the officers in full uniform called 
to pay their respects. We were royally received. Corks 
were drawn and sociability began. We informed the captain 
that the regiment was delighted to have him return, that we 
had not had a battalion drill for several weeks, and were very 
rusty. He asked what in our opinion we were the most 
deficient in, and we said the charge. He said he had expected 
as much, and that the next day we should have a drill. The 
next day drill call was sounded, and we fell in . All the offi- 
cers' horses were away except an old one that was called 


"Palmer's wood-box." Mounted on this Captain Mahoney 
took command, and we marched to the parade ground near 
the town. As the drill was a new thing, the negro women 
and children assembled to witness it. We started forward in 
line; the order "Double-quick" was given, then "Charge." 
On we went ; the old horse began to wheel and kick and the 
centre of the regiment could not pass. Lieut. Eph. Hall 
was in command of the left company and I the right. Cap- 
tain Mahoney cried " Halt ! halt ! " but we did not hear him, 
and kept on driving the negroes into the town. After we 
had cleared the field we came marching back ; the captain 
had dismounted and was walking up and down the line mad 
way through. " Why didn't you halt, Lieutenant Adams ? " 
"Didn't hear you, sir." "Why didn't you halt. Lieutenant 
Hall? " " Didn't hear you, sir." " D — d lie ! consider your- 
self in arrest. Adjutant, take Lieutenant Hall's sword." 
Eph. was a lieutenant in Captain Mahoney's company, and 
while I got off without a reprimand he must be punished. 
We marched back to quarters and at night called on the cap- 
tain with a petition for Lieutenant Hall's release. We were 
well received. The ginger ale was opened, and after much 
discussion it was thought best to send for Lieutenant Hall 
and have matters explained. Captain Mahoney forgave him 
although I am not quite sure Eph. asked him to do so, but 
the noble old captain's heart was so large that he never treas- 
ured up anything against us. 

While in camp at Falmouth the base ball fever broke out. 
It was the old-fashioned game, where a man running the bases 
must be hit by the ball to be declared out. It started with 
the men, then the officers began to play, and finally the 19th 
challenged the 7th Michigan to play for sixty dollars a side. 


Captain Hume and myself were the committee of our regiment 
with two officers from the 7th Michigan, the four to select 
two from some other regiment in the brio-ade. The Ecame 
was played and witnessed by nearly all of our division, and 
the 19th won. The one hundred and twenty dollars was 
spent for a supper, both clubs being present with our com- 
mittee as guests. It was a grand time, and all agreed that it 
was nicer to play 6«.9e than minie ball. 

What were the rebels doing all tliis time ? Just the same 
as we were. While each army posted a picket along the 
river they never fired a shot. We would sit on the bank 
and watch their games, and the distance was so short we 
could understand every movement and would applaud good 
plays. Our men and theirs met in the river and exchanged 
papers, tobacco and coffee and were on the best of terms. 
As the spring months came they fished the river for shad, 
and as they drew their seines Avould come so near our shore 
that they could and often did throw fish to our boys. This 
truce lasted from January to May, 1863, and to both armies 
was one long, happy holiday. 

In April I received ten days leave of absence, and visited 
my old home. I had been promoted first lieutenant after the 
battle of Fredericksburg, and wore my new uniform for the 
first time. After two days spent on the road I arrived in 
Groveland. As in the field, I found death had been busy. 
My father had been called home, and many others had passed 
away. The second night after my arrival a delegation of cit- 
izens waited upon me and escorted me to the vestry used as 
a town hall, where I was given a public reception. I do not 
know what the feelings of General Grant were when he 
landed at California and was given the grand recej^tion after 


his trip around the world, Ijut if he felt better than I did he 
must have been very happy. I remained at home six days, 
and at the expiration of my leave reported back to the camp. 
I was as pleased to meet the dear old ])oys as I had been to 
meet friends at home. 

How I love to linger, living over in memory those happy 
days. I could fill pages with reminiscences of that winter ; 
the horse show February 22, the grand inaug-uration of Lieu- 
tenant Shackley when he received his commission, the black- 
berry jam at the sutler's tent, the courts-martial in the Sibley 
tent on the hill, and last but not least, the grand joke which 
was enjoyed by all ; but it would be of interest only to the 
comrades of the old 19th and I will pass on to the stern reali- 
ties of war. 






At midnight, May 2, we were ordered to fall iu, and 
marched to the banks of the Rappahannock, where a pontoon 
was again being thrown across. It looked like the 11th of 
December over again. The officers were called together and 
ordered to select twenty-five men from the regiment, who 
would volunteer for whatever duty they might be called upon 
to perform. One officer was to go with them, and before the 
words had fully dropped from the lips of Colonel Devereaux 
Lieut. Johnnie Ferris said, "Please let me be that officer, 
colonel," and he was accepted. We found it hard to get 
twenty-five men because all wanted to go, and while the call 
was for volunteers we had to select them. 

At daylight it was found that the enemy had left the city. 
Our volunteers crossed, and were on the other side to wel- 
come us when we came over. We were the first in the city, 
l)ut soon met General Sedgwick's division marching in from 
the left, having crossed below us. We found that Sedgwick 
was to storm the heights and we were to support him. Gen- 
eral Hooker, with the rest of the Army of the Potomac, had 
marched up the river and engaged the enemy at Chancellors- 
ville, and we were to hold this city. In column by regiments 
General Sedgwick advanced up the hill. We saw the white 


flag of Massachusetts as the 7th, 10th, and, I think, the 37th 
advanced. A rebel battery opened upon them but the line 
did not waver, and on, on, even to the cannon's mouth they 

The battery was silenced, captured, and its support fled. 
We followed close in the rear, and when some two miles from 
the city were ordered back for provost duty. We expected 
a "soft snap." Coats were brushed, brasses brightened, and 
in every respect we " braced up." We turned in early for a 
good night's rest, but at nine p.m. were turned out and double- 
quicked to the left of the city, as our pickets at that point 
had been fired upon. At daylight "Johnnie [reb] came 
marching home again," and filled the earthworks on the left 
and front of the city. Where they came from we could not 
tell, but they were there, and had a battery which was used 
to stir us up with good results. 

From provost soldiers we changed to sappers and miners. 
Dirt flew fast as we dug trenches for our own protection, and 
to obstruct the passage of artillery. We had several men 
slightly wounded but none killed. 

On the morning of the 5th we fell back to our rifle pits in 
the city, recrossed the river, remaining on duty until the 
pontoons were taken up, and then marched back to our old 
camp. We had not slept an hour since May 2, and were 
completely tired out. I slept all night and awoke thinking 
it was time for breakfast and found it was three p.m. 

We moved our camp to a delightful spot on the top of the 
hill, resumed our daily drills, and were once more under 
strict discipline. It was very hard to get leave of absence, 
but Lieutenant Shackley made application, giving as a reason 
that he required an officer's uniform, having just been pro- 


moted, and it was granted. Mose was absent ten days, and 
then returned, having purchased two pairs of stockings, a 
linen duster and a Ijrush ])room, but he had enjoyed his vaca- 
tion, and had two cents left of his two months' pay. 

June 16, marching orders came ; we waited until all had 
moved, then with two pieces of the 1st Rhode Island artillery 
took our place in the rear. Two companies were ordered to 
march half a mile in the rear of the column, and Major Rice 
was placed in conmiand of this detachment. We marched 
over ground which we had travelled before. The roads were 
very dusty and the sun scorching. At times the woods on 
each side were on fire, and our men suffered badly. June 20 
we arrived at Thoroughfare Gap, where we remained three 
days, to repel an advance through the gap. On the 26th we 
reached Edward's Ferry, crossed the Potomac, and at noon 
halted at old Camp Benton, where we had camped in 1861. 
What changes had taken place since we were there before ! 
Then we were light-hearted, happy ))oys, expecting to be at 
home in a year at least. Now those who remained were 
bronzed and war-worn veterans marching back to meet the 
enemy on northern soil. 

Our old camp was a fine wheat field and nearly all traces 
of our former occupancy were removed. We passed through 
Frederick City to Uniontown, Md., where we arrived the 
30th, and were ordered on provost duty. We expected to 
remain here for some time, and on the morning of July 1 
Captain Palmer and myself were ordered to dress in our best 
and make the acquaintance of the families in town, so we 
could understand where the officers would be the most wel- 
come. We had just started on this pleasant duty when the 
-assembly sounded. We returned and found we must march 


at once, and ive did march thirty-five miles, not halting until 
nine o'clock at night, when we bivouacked on the field of 
Gettysburg, two miles from the battle-ground. All day we 
had heard heavy firing and knew that a battle was being 
fought. At daylight on the 2d we were ordered into line 
of battle on the left of Cemetery Hill, where we remained 
under a severe artillery fire until about five p.m. 

We had seen the advance of the 3d corps and the warm 
reception they met ; we saw them falling back and the enemy 
advancing. Lieut. Sherman Robinson and I were lying side 
by side watching the battle. " Some one must go and help 
them, Jack," said Robinson. At that moment a staff* officer 
rode up to Colonel Devereaux, and then we heard the familiar 
command, " Attention, 19th !" " We are in for it," said Rob- 
inson, and with the 42d New York, we double-quicked to a 
point where the line had broken and the rebels were advanc- 
ing on our flank. I was in command of the color company, 
had just removed the covering from the colors when a regi- 
ment on our left broke ; with other officers I rushed to rally 
them, and was returning to my place in line when I went 
down. I heard an officer say, " Jack is down," before I really 
knew that I was shot. I could not rise, and Sergeant Smith 
and Private Collopee came to me. "Put him on my back. 
Smith," said the latter, and under a terrible fire he carried 
me from the field. Our lines fell back as fast as we could 
go, and I expected that Collopee would be obliged to drop 
me, and I should fall into the hands of the rel;)els, but he 
kept on and landed me in the field hospital of the 3d corps. 
Everything indicated that we were again defeated, but when 
our men arrived at the stone wall, by unanimous consent 
they turned about, and with that wild hurrah that only Yankee 


soldiers can give, drove the rebels beyond our former 

I found myself surrounded by men wounded and dying. 
An assistant surgeon was in charge and I asked him to look 
at my wound. He did, and said that I could not live twenty- 
four hours. I suggested that he stop the blood, as he might 
be mistaken, but he had no time to waste on me and went 
along. Upon examination I found that I was wounded in 
three places, and all were bleeding badly, but I could not 
tell where the bullets had entered or come out. 

The battle was yet raging ; men were coming in thick and 
fast, the last arrivals being mostly rebels. Collopee had 
waited until the surgeon said that I should die, when he 
rushed back to the regiment with the information. In a 
short time Lieut. Mose Shackley appeared before me with 
one of his company named Younger. "Jack, old boy, 
they say you are going to die, and I thought you would 
like a canteen of coffee before you passed up your check," 
said Mose. " What are you lying on ? " he asked, as it 
was quite dark. I replied, " Only the ground ; " and going 
to a rebel who was slightly wounded but was comfortable, 
having a rubber blanket under and a woollen blanket over 
him, he said, " There is a darned sight better man than you 
are, with no blanket under or over him," and captured one 
for me. Making me as comfortable as possible, urging me 
to keep a stiff upper lip, he said he would like to remain 
with me, but there was lots of fun at the front, and he must 

I remained in this place until late at night, when a sur- 
geon came with an ambulance, and said I must be moved to 
the 2d corps hospital, as this was too near the line of battle. 


Having no stretchers they placed me on a board, and loaded 
me in. This movement started my wounds bleeding again, 
and I thought that the words of the assistant surgeon would 
prove true, but they drove me a mile I should judge, and 
dumped me by the road side with other wounded. I re- 
mained here until the next noon. The day was fine, only 
very warm. All was still except an occasional picket shot. 
The silence was broken by one heavy gun, and the shell 
went whistling over us, followed by another. Then opened 
the heaviest cannonading ever heard on earth. Shells })urst 
over me, and on all sides. Solid shot ploughed up the 
ground and I expected my time had come. Many of the 
wounded could crawl away, but I could not, and must 
stand it. 

When the shelling opened nearly all of the non-comba- 
tants were at the front, and they now made the best time 
possible to get out of danger. I lay near a gate way, where 
they passed. Down would come a pack mule loaded with 
cooking utensils sufficient to start a stove and tin-ware store ; 
then a lot of colored servants, or a runaway horse. I would 
shout and kick ; was sure that I should be either killed by 
shell or trampled to death. Would beg some skedaddler to 
get another, and take me away. He would stop, look on 
me with pity and say he would, but before he could capture 
another, a shell would come along, and his place be vacant. 
At last I saw a staff officer whom I knew riding to the front, 
and called to him. He heard me, drew his sword, and drove 
a couple of men to me, who, finding a stretcher, had me 
carried to the rear of the barn, where an ambulance was 
found and I was placed in it. My first sergeant, Damon, 
had been lying near, and I urged that he ])e taken with me, 


and my request was granted. Damon was wounded in the 
leg, the bone was shattered, and it was necessary that the 
leg should be amputated as soon as possible. 

We started for the rear. The driver was anxious for our 
safety, and it is possible he might have thought of himself; 
at any rate he drove over a corn-field on the jump. Part of 
the time I was in the top of the ambulance, part on the floor. 
Damon and I would come together hard enough to drive the 
breath out of each other ; but we were only passengers hav- 
ing a free ride, so we could not complain. When at last we 
reached our destination I expected we were both jelly, and 
would have to be taken out in a spoon, but we had held 
together, that is, I had, but Damon's leg was all broken up, 
and was soon amputated. 

They laid us on the ground on the side of the hill, near a 
stream called Cub Run. This was the field hospital of the 
2d corps, Dr. Dyer, my regimental surgeon, in charge. He 
soon visited me, and found that one bullet had entered my 
groin and had not come out, the other had passed through 
my right hip. I asked him what he thought of it and he 
said, "It is a bad wound, John, a very bad wound." Ofiicers 
of the regiment began to come in, and soon there were seven 
of us lying side by side. They told the story of the battle. 
Lieutenants Robinson and Donath had been killed, also many 
of our bravest and best men. My company the day before 
had numbered fifteen, ofiicers and men. Only Lieutenant 
Rice and five men remained. They also told me how well 
our boys had fought ; that at last we had met the rebels 
in an open field and had won a substantial victory. They 
described to me Pickett's charge. How they had come across 
the field in three lines of battle, expecting to sweep every- 


thing before them, but when they arrived at our lines they 
found our boys ready and waiting ; that the result was more 
prisoners than we had men in our line, and our boys had 
captured four rebel flags besides. It was glorious news ; it 
revived me, and my wounds pained me less than before. 

No matter how serious the battle, there is always a humor- 
ous side to it which an old soldier never loses. So it was 
at Gettysburg. When the fire was the hottest on the centre 
the battery that the 19th was supporting lost nearly all its 
men. The captain came to our regiment for volunteers to 
man the guns. Captain Mahoney was the first to hear the 
call. Going to Company E, he said, " Volunteers are wanted 
to man the battery. Every man is to go of his own free will 
and accord. Come out here, John Dougherty, McGiveran 
and you Corrigan, and work those guns." Lieutenant 
Shackley jumped to his feet and said, " Come on, boys, we 
must keep her a-humming," and they stood by the guns until 
the fight was over. 

Ben Falls, who was now a sergeant, had captured a rebel 
color. Coming in with it over his shoulder an officer said, 
" You will have to turn that flag in, sergeant. We must send 
it to the war department at Washington." "Well," said 
Ben, "there are lots of them over behind the wall. Go and 
get one ; I did." (I told this story several years ago at a 
camp-fire. Since then I have heard it told by others, and it 
is located and dressed up in other ways, but it is my story, 
and true, at that. ) 

We lay side by side until the morning of July 4, when the 
ambulance came to take us to the station. One after another 
was loaded in. I said, "Save a good place for me," but was 
informed that the orders of the surofeon were not to take me. 

With flags of I9fh Massachusetts carried at battle of Gettysburg. 


I sent for the surgeon, who came and said that I must not be 
moved for two weeks. I saw the ambulance drive away, 
then buried my face in the ground and cried like a baby. 

Other wounded were brought to fill the vacant places. 
Duncan Sherwood of Company A was one, so I had com- 
pany. Mike Scannell had also remained, being wounded in 
the arm, and rendered valuable service to Sherwood and 
myself. Directly in front of us were two amputating tables 
which were always busy. We saw several men whom we 
knew placed on them and removed, minus a leg or an arm. 
The groans of the wounded were constant, and the dead were 
being carried past us nearly all the time. On my left lay a 
young boy. He suffered much, but did not complain. One 
night, when it was time to go to sleep, he wliispered, " Good 
night, lieutenant, I think that I shall go up before morning." 
I urged him to keep up his courage, but he said it was no use, 
he should die. In the morning I looked and saw that the poor 
boy had answered the last roll-call. He lay by my side until 
afternoon, before they could find time to take him away. I 
had forgotten to ask his name, and no one knew him. His 
grave no doulrt bears the mark "unknown," and the records 
of his regiment say, "missing in action." 

I remained here six days, and my wounds received no 
attention only such as my comrades gave. They kept my 
canteen filled with water, which I used freely, to prevent 
inflammation. Do not think that I blame the surgeons. No 
nobler men ever lived than composed the medical staff" of 
the Army of the Potomac ; but there were twenty thousand 
wounded men. Union and rebel, on the field of Gettysburg, 
and the cases requiring amputation must receive attention 


One day I was made happy. Lieutenant Shackley and 
Adjutant Hill came to see me. They had ridden back fif- 
teen miles. Some of the boys had found a chicken, and 
they had made a broth and brought it to me in an old coffee 
pot. It was the first thing that had tasted good, and I shared 
it with Sherwood. Some think soldiers are hard-hearted. 
No hearts more tender can be found than in the breasts of 
brave men. When those officers parted from me that day 
not one of us could speak, and tears ran down our cheeks as 
we pressed each other's hands. 

My mind had been quite active, and I had come to the 
conclusion that I would move my lodging as soon as possible. 
One surgeon had said that I would not live twenty-four hours, 
another that I must remain where I was two weeks. It 
struck me that to die in twenty-four hours or stay where I 
was two weeks would neither be pleasant for myself nor 
those near me. 

I talked the matter over with Sherwood. We counted our 
cash and found we had five dollars each, and we formed a 
syndicate. We made Mike Scannell our agent, with instruc- 
tions to bring some kind of conveyance to take us off the 
field. The next morning he reported with a citizen, a horse 
and side-spring wagon. The whole lot was not worth ten 
dollars, but we paid our money and were loaded and on our 
way to Littletown, where we arrived in due time, and were 
driven to a church which had been converted into a tempo- 
rary hospital. We found it nearly full, but they made room 
for us. I had a nice place on top of the pews in the broad 

There was no organization of the hospital. Two of the 
town doctors were doing all they could, being assisted by 


the women. No doubt our Massachusetts women would do 
the same kind of work should the emergency arise, but I can- 
not speak in too high praise of the women of Littletown. 
They would dress the shattered arm of some poor boy, wash 
the blood from the wounds of another, thinking only of what 
they could do to relieve suffering. It was like getting home. 
My wounds were in a frightful condition. They had not 
been dressed, and the maggots were crawlinej into them. As 
soon as we were settled the ladies came to see what they 
could do. They were anxious to dress our wounds, but it 
required more hospital accommodations than the church 
afforded, so they washed our hands and faces, and made us 
as comfortable as possible. A real motherly woman asked 
what I wanted to eat. I had eaten little except the chicken 
Billy and Mose brought me, and when she said she had 
chicken broth, I said, "Bring me two or three." As soon as 
possible she came with a large pan full of broth, but the 
trouble was I could not sit up to eat it. At my suggestion 
she brought the prettiest girl in the room, who put her left 
arm around me and let me lean my head on her shoulder, 
while she fed me with the broth. Oh, it was nice ! Either 
the broth or the young lady's presence revived me. My new 
friend's name was Lucy. She said, "Don't take breakfast 
until I come, because I will bring yours from home." Bright 
and early Lucy was on hand with a pan of milk toast. She 
had seen me eat the night before and had broui^ht enouo;h for 
six. As she was called away for a few moments, I spoke to 
the boys who were near, and they soon reduced the surplus. 
We remained here two days. While I had the best care 
they could give I was growing worse. I had a high fever, 
and my wounds were getting inflamed. At times I would lie 


in a stupor for hours. One day I rallied and found the 
church deserted except Lucy and myself. Soon two men 
came in. " Are you going?" they asked. Lucy said, "No. 
Mother told me if any were not able to be moved to bring 
them home, and we would care for them ; he is not able, and 
must not go." The temptation was strong to stay, but a 
moment's reflection told me that I required hospital treat- 
ment, and I explained the danger to her. The men then 
carried me to the train and placed me on the floor of a bag- 
gage car. Lucy came with us, fixed my head all right, and, 
as a good sister should, kissed me good-by, and we were off 
for Baltimore. I was so weak that the i^ear name of Lucy 
passed out of my mind, and I have never seen her since, but 
have ever prayed that the blessings of Heaven be showered 
upon her, for her constant care the last day in the old church 
saved me from fever. 

The ride to Baltimore was terrible. The air was bad. 
Groans of the wounded were constant, and could be heard 
above the rattle of the car. I did not believe it was possible 
for me to live to reach the station, but I survived, although 
many of our number did not. 

We arrived in Baltimore about three o'clock in the morn- 
ing, were placed in ambulances and driven over the rough 
pavements to the Newton University Hospital. The next 
day, for the first time, my wounds were dressed ; the sur- 
geon placed a large syringe where the ball had entered and 
forced water through the opening ; maggots, pieces of cloth- 
ing and bone came out ; then they probed for the ball which 
had entered the groin, found it had struck the bone and 
glanced downward, lodging in the leg, where it yet remains. 
We received the best possible care from the surgeons and 


attendants. Ladies ^dsited the hospital every day loaded 
with delicacies for our comfort. 

I did a foolish thing while in the hospital which came near 
ending my earthly experience. One day an officer, slightly 
wounded, came in and said the paymaster was at the Custom 
House and if we could get there we would receive two months' 
pay. On the bed next mine lay Lieut. "Bob" Stewart of 
the 7 2d Pennsylvania, wounded in the leg ; neither of us 
had a dollar, and the thought of two months' pay in our 
pockets was pleasant. We talked it over that night ; Bob 
was sure he could stand it, l)ut thought I had better not try ; 
still I was anxious to go, so we bribed the nurse, and the 
next morning, after the surgeon made his rounds, we took a 
carriage and with the nurse started for the Custom House. 
I fainted before we had gone a block, but kept on and was 
able to sign the roll which a clerk brought to the carriage, 
and received the money. We returned to the hospital and I 
suffered from fever all day, and when the surgeon made his 
rounds the next morning he was alarmed at my condition. 
I dared not tell him what we had done, for the nurse would 
be discharged if I did. In front of me was a man who suf- 
fered from a shell-wound in the back ; he was forced to lie 
on his face and was very restless. I told the surgeon that 
this man suffered so much that it made me nervous, and he 
ordered him changed to another ward. It was several days 
before I regained what I had lost by my foolishness. 

I had been here a little more than a week when one day 
Mr. Robinson, the Massachusetts agent stationed there, came 
in and asked me if I had a brother named Asa Adams ; inform- 
ing him that I had, he asked if I would like to see him. My 
answer can be imagined, and in a short time he came in with 


my brother, who had left home when the news reached him 
that I was wounded. He had been to Gettysburg, searched 
the field hospitals, found where I had been, but no one could 
inform him where I was, as I did not leave my address ; he 
was returning home and stopped in Baltimore, and calling on 
the Massachusetts agent, found where I was located. As 
soon as I saw him my mind was made up to go home ; the 
surgeon said it was impossible, but I begged so hard that he 
consented, and in due time I was placed on my stretcher and 
carried to a hospital car. The cars were so arranged that 
the wounded were hung up by the stretchers, being placed 
on rubber springs. I was hung up in mine, but the motion 
of the car was such that I could not bear it so was taken 
down and placed on the floor. More dead than alive we 
arrived at Jersey City. We found that the mob had posses- 
sion of New York and we could not cross the ferry. After 
being carried from place to place, we were placed on a steamer 
and taken to Bedloe's Island, where we remained several days, 
then to the Fall River boat. We found great excitement at 
the boat ; several negroes were on board who had been driven 
from the city. Others jumped from the wharf and swam out 
to us after we were underway. They reported that the mob 
intended to fire the city that night. 

I received every attention on the boat, was placed in the 
ladies' cabin, and the lady passengers were constant in attend- 
ance, anxious to do something to relieve my sufferings. 
Handkerchiefs were wet with cologne and given me, and 
when the boat reached Fall River I had a large stock, marked 
with nearly every letter in the alphabet. Every few moments 
some good woman would bend over me and say, " Shall I 
turn your pillow?" and wishing to please them I would say, 


^'If you please," although it had been turned two minutes 

We arrived at Fall River in the morning. I was placed 
on my stretcher, carried to the train and taken to Brockton, 
where I was loaded into an express wagon and driven to the 
hotel. Here I was placed under the care of Dr. E. E. Dean, 
and in the afternoon was driven to Sharon, the home of my 
brother, where I remained three months, attended by Dr. 
Dean and nursed by my dear mother and sister. 

From Sharon I was taken home to Groveland, where I 
remained until December, reporting to the department at 
Washington and my regiment, by surgeon's certificate, every 
twenty days. I enjoyed the convalescent period much. 
Colonel Devereaux, Captain Boyd and Adjutant Hill, with 
Mark Kimball and several others, had been ordered to Long 
Island on recruiting service, and I visited them often. I also 
sat on the platform, with my crutches, at war meetings and 
was quite a hero. I found quite a change since 1861 ; then 
men were very anxious to get to the front, now they were 
just as anxious to keep away. We had all learned that war 
was no picnic. 





In December I resolved to return to the regiment. My 
wound was not healed and my surgeon protested, but I was 
anxious to see the boys. Upon my arrival at Washington 
what was my surprise to find that I had been discharged by 
order of the War Department November 5, as being una- 
ble to perform military duty. With Col. Gardiner Tufts, the 
Massachusetts State agent, I visited the War Department 
and was informed that I should receive my discharge through 
my regimental headquarters. If ever a man had the blues I 
had. My sickness had cost me several hundred dollars, I 
was unable to perform any kind of labor, was out of money, 
and could not settle with the government until my papers 
were received ; but Colonel Tufts could always make the 
path of a soldier smooth and he was able to secure me two 
months' pay. From Washington I went to the regiment, 
which was camped near Stevensburg, Va. I waited until 
after January 1 for my discharge, but it did not come, and 
my wound was so bad that the surgeon ordered me home. 
Colonel Rice was in command of the regiment. Colonel Dev- 
ereaux being in command of the Philadelphia brigade. I 
called on Colonel Devereaux, who was very indignant to 
learn that I had been discharged ; he said he would see about 
it, and I knew that meant something. 


One clay the colonel sent for me and said, " Jack, I have 
a letter from Governor Andrew asking that the regiment 
re-enlist for three years more or until the end of the war ; 
do you think they will do it?" My answer was, "I don't 
know; there are not many left to re-enlist." He said, "I 
wish you would go to your old company. A, and talk with 
them," and I consented. The regiment was encamped on a 
side hill in shelter tents, and the weather was cold and rainy. 
I went to Company A ; the mud in the company street was 
ankle deep and everything was as disagreeable as possible. 
Giles Johnson was first sergeant. I talked with him and 
asked him to "fall in" the men. Thirteen responded to the 
call, — all who were on duty of the grand company which 
had left Massachusetts in 1861. I repeated the story the 
colonel had told me, then asked for a response from them; 
for a moment all were silent, then Ben Falls said, " Well, if 
new men won't finish this job, old men must, and as long as 
Uncle Sam wants a man, here is Ben Falls." Then spoke 
Mike Scannell : " It is three years, as you know, since I 
have seen my wife and children. I had expected to go home 
when my time was out and stay there, but we must never 
give up this fight until we win, and I am with you to the 
end." Others expressed themselves in the same way, and 
when I said, "All who will re-enlist step one pace to the 
front," every man in line advanced. 

I then saw men of other companies. Ed. Fletcher of 
Company C said, "They use a man here just the same as 
they do a turkey at a shooting match, fire at it all day, and 
if they don't kill it rafile it off in the evening ; so with us, 
if they can't kill you in three years they want you for three 
more, but I will stay." I next saw Michael O'Leary of 


Company F and asked him if he would re-enlist. Mike threw 
his cap on the ground, struck an attitude and said, " By the 
gods above, by the worth of that cap, I never will re-enlist 
until I can be with Mary Ann without the stars and stripes 
waving over me." But I said, "Mike, they are all going to 
do it." "They are? Then Michael O'Leary must stay." 
A large majority signed the re-enlistment role, and Decem- 
ber 20 they were mustered in for three years more, or until 
the end of the war. In this instance, as in nearly every 
other where the soldiers and the government were concerned, 
the government did not do as they agreed. The conditions 
of the re-enlistment were, that the soldier should at once 
have thirty-five days' furlough and transportation to his 
home. Our men did not receive theirs until Feb. 8, 1864, 
nearly seven weeks after they had re-enlisted. The weather 
was very severe, many were sick and all were unhappy. 

To my mind the re-enlisting of the three years' men in the 
field was the most patriotic event of the war. They knew 
what war was, had seen their regiments and companies swept 
away until only a little remnant remained. They did not 
have the excitement of the war meetings to urge them on, but 
with a full knowledge of the duties required and the prob- 
ability that many would fall before their term expired, with 
uncovered heads and uplifted hands they swore to stand by 
the flao; until the last armed foe surrendered. 

I could not wait until the regiment received orders to come 
home, so came alone, took oft" my uniform, put on citizen's 
clothes, and began to look for employment. About the 12th 
of February I saw by the newspapers that the regiment had 
arrived in Boston. I could not keep away, and went to 
Beach Street Imrracks, where they were quartered. Almost 


the first man I met was Colonel Devereaux, who said, "What 
are you here for?" My answer was, "I wanted to see the 
boys." Drawing a paper from his pocket he said, "Get a 
uniform and equipments, and report for duty in half an hour." 
"But my uniform and equipments are at home," I replied. 
" Can't help it," said Colonel Devereaux, "I propose that you 
command your company in the parade to-day." So I went 
out, bought a cheap uniform, hired a set of equipments and 
reported for duty. I found that the paper read : " So much 
of General Order No. 492 as discharged First Lieut. John 
G. B. Adams, 19th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, is 
hereby revoked, and he is restored to duty without loss of pay, 
provided the vacancy has not lieen filled, evidence of which 
lie must furnish from the governor of his State." We were 
given a reception and dinner in Faneuil Hall; Governor 
Andrew, not being able to attend, was represented by our 
old commander, General Hincks. 

From Boston we went to Salem, where we were royally 
entertained, and then broke ranks with orders to report at 
Wenham in thirty-five days. While our receptions were 
grand, and showed that our hard services were appreciated, 
our joys were mingled with sadness. Everywhere Ave met 
friends of the boys who did not march back with us, and our 
eyes were often filled with tears as we clasped the hand of 
father, mother, sister or wife of some brave boy who had 
marched by our side, but now slept his last sleep in the rude 
gTave where we had tenderly laid him. 

The next day I went to the State House to see Governor 
Andrew. I had never met a live governor before, and as my 
feet reached the executive chamber my heart beat faster than 
It did when advancing at Gettysburg. Meeting the messen- 


ger at the door I was explaining my errand when the door 
opened, and the governor seeing me said, "Come in." On 
entering he said, "Well, my boy, what can I do for you?" 
I began to tell my story, when he interrupted me with, " I 
know all about it, and it is all right." Pointing to a roster 
of our regiment my name was in the list of first lieutenants, 
but it was at the bottom. "There, you see that is all right," 
said the governor. I replied, " Not quite ; I was the third 
in rank when discharged, now I am the tenth." "Oh, we 
will fix that," said he, and taking my name out moved them 
down one and put me in my proper place. All the time 
he was doing this he was talking and laughing, making me 
feel perfectly at home. I was so pleased with the inter- 
view that I would have signed an enlistment roll for thirty 
years if he would have promised to be governor during the 

The orders to the officers were to do all in our power to 
obtain recruits while we were at home, but although we 
worked hard we made little or no progress. Men were enlist- 
ing for coast defence regiments quite fast, but the 19th had 
no attractions, and I only recruited one man while at home. 
The thirty days were like one long holiday ; the towns gave 
receptions to the men, Company A being received by the 
town of West Newbury. The time soon came when we must 
march away, and at the end of thirty days every man reported 
at Wenham. We mustered five more than we brought home, 
— three deserters whom we had captured and two recruits. 
Two boys, Kogers and Fee, who were not old enough, stole 
away with us and were mustered in the field. I carried a new 
sword, presented by the citizens of Groveland, and several 
other officers were remembered in like manner. 


Great injustice was done to fighting regiments in allowing 
them to return without being filled to the maximum. While 
the State was filling its quota it was, as far as active service 
went, nearly all on paper. Every old regiment had many 
brave and well-qualified non-commissioned officers who could 
not be promoted because only two officers were allowed each 
company, and, besides, we were placed in line to do the duty 
of a regiment, when we were no larger than a company of 
heavy artillery. Yet our men did not complain ; with brave 
hearts, but with eyes filled with tears, they again bade good- 
by to loved ones, and marched away to face dangers that 
three years' experience had demonstrated would make vacant 
places in their thinned ranks. 

Colonel Devereaux did not return with us, and the regi- 
ment was in command of Lieutenant-Colonel Rice. We had 
a nice passage to New York, spent St. Patrick's day and 
Eph. Hall's birthday in Philadelphia, and in due time arrived 
in Washington. I was detailed officer of the day. Lieutenant 
Thompson officer of the guard. A little incident occurred 
here which I think is not known to the officers, but it shows 
the honor of the men of the 19th. After I was detailed 
Colonel Eice sent for me and said, "We leave here at six 
o'clock to-morrow morning. The officers vrill stay up in the 
city. I want you to keep every man here to be ready to 
move at the time stated." After the officers had gone I fell 
in the men and informed them that we were to move at six 
A.M. ; that as they were tired I should post no guard, and 
as Lieutenant Thompson and myself had business in the city 
we should not be able to stay with them, but would see them 
all at half-past five the next morning. Thompson and I 
returned about three o'clock, and when the colonel came at 


six every man was in line ready to march. The next night 
we spent at Alexandria. The officer of the day put on a 
strong guard, and half the men got out in some way and 
made things lively. Thompson and I were complimented 
by the colonel for faithful performance of duty when we 
should have been court-martialed. 

In a few days we arrived at our old camp and began anew 
our army life. The first night it snowed quite hard, and 
we who had been sleeping in nice, warm ])eds enjoyed the 
damp, cold ground, with snow for our covering. Active 
drilling began, reviews were frequent, and it was apparent 
we were soon to enter on an active campaign. Lieutenant- 
General Grant took command of the army, and we all felt 
that at last the boss had arrived. Unlike most of his pred- 
ecessors, he came with no flourish of trumpets, but in a 
quiet, business-like way. After a grand review by him we 
were ordered to division headquarters with the 20th Massa- 
chusetts for an exliibition drill. The 19tli drilled in the 
manual of arms, the 20th in ])attalion movements. Both 
regiments were highly complimented for their excellent 

The discipline of the army at this time was very strict. 
So many substitutes were l^eing received that the death 
penalty for desertions was often executed. We were called 
out to witness the first and, so far as I know, the only execu- 
tion by hanging. Thomas R. Dawson had been a member 
of Company A, 19th, 1)ut was transferred to the 20th Massa- 
chusetts when our men re-enlisted. He had been a soldier 
in the English army, and wore medals for l)ravery. One 
night while on picket he left his post, and, l)eing under the 
influence of liquor, went outside the lines and committed an 


assault upon an old lady. Dawson protested his innocence 
of the terrible crime, but acknowledged that he was drunk 
and had left his post. The woman swore against him, and 
the sentence of the court-martial was that he be hanared. 
The officers and men of the 19th did all in their power to 
save him ; we signed a petition to President Lincoln asking 
for his reprieve, and sent it by a Catholic chaplain, Dawson 
])eing a Catholic. The President would have been pleased 
to grant our prayer, but he said the complaint from army 
officers was that he was destrojdng the discipline of the army 
by so often setting aside the findings and sentences of courts- 
martial, and he dare not do it. 

April 14 was the day assigned for the execution. The 2d 
division of the 2d corps was formed in a hollow square, ranks 
opened, facing inward. Dawson was placed in an open 
wagon, seated on his coffin. With him rode the provost 
marshal and his spiritual advisor. The band was in advance, 
playing the dead march. Files of soldiers, with arms re- 
versed, marched on each flank, and in front and rear. As 
they passed our lines Dawson smiled and bowed to those he 
recognized. When he arrived at the scaffold, which had 
been erected in the centre of the square, he ran up the steps, 
and before the black cap was pulled down said, " Good-by, 
comrades, officers and men of the 19th. I thank you for 
what you have done for me. May you live long and die a 
happy death; I die an innocent man." The cap was then 
drawn down, the drop cut, and poor Dawson was launched 
into eternity, but not so soon as was intended ; the rope was 
new and stretched so much that his feet touched the gi'ound, 
and the provost marshal was obliged to take a turn in the 
rope. It was a horrible sight, and set me forever against 


execution by hanging. After he was pronounced dead by 
the surgeon he was taken down, placed in liis coffin, and 
lowered in a gi'ave that had been prepared. The troops 
marched past and looked into the grave. 

I presume that the impressions desired were produced 
upon the minds of the men, ])ut the remarks were that it was 
too bad to hang men when they were so hard to get, and if 
they had let him alone a few weeks Johnnie Reb would have 
saved them the trouble. 

The monotony of camp life was relieved by details for 
three days' picket duty. Our ranks were being increased 
by the return of detailed men and the arrival of recruits. 
Many were ordered to the ranks who had not carried a 
musket since the day they enlisted. The transportation 
beino- reduced to one wagon to a brigade, several who were 
ordered back were drivers of the festive mule. Among this 
number was Will Curtis of Company A. One day in pass- 
ing the wagon train a mule set up one of those unearthly 
snorts. Will looked at him, and said, "You need not laugh 
at me ; you may be in the ranks yourself l^efore Grant 
gets through with the army." 




We had now quite a respectable regiment, numbering two 
field, ten line officers, and about three hundred and fifty men. 
We broke camp the 2d of May, were ordered to move, and 
soon found ourselves crossing the river to engage in the Bat- 
tle of the Wilderness, before W'C realized it being in line of 
battle moving forward. Our first order was to deploy as skir- 
mishers and let the line which was being hotly pressed pass 
in rear to receive a fresh supply of ammunition, while we 
held the line. 

I had al)out twenty men in my command. We advanced 
as ordered, but soon received a fire from our flank and rear, 
and found that the reljels had broken our lines. I gave the 
order "By the right flank, double quick," and we went 
quicker than that. We dodged behind trees as we ran, and 
the rebels were so near that in looking back I saw them cap- 
ture Thompson of Company B ; with the exception of one 
other, wounded, all escaped ; and the boys thought me a 
safe man to follow. We rejoined the regiment, and were 
ordered in again. We fought all day. Sometimes the reb- 
els drove us, sometimes we drove them. The woods were so 
thick it was hard to tell friend from foe. The dead and 
wounded of both armies were strewn all through the woods, 
which caught fire. It was a terril)le sight. We knew M^here 


the poor fellows were, but could not reach them, and the air 
was suffocating with the smell of burning human flesh. 

None knew the result of the battle. We changed front the 
next day, and continued the light. Night came on ; it was 
so dark you could not see a rod before you, but we were 
ordered to hold our position in the advanced line until 
recalled. We remained until midnight, then as it grew a lit- 
tle lighter, the moon having broken through the clouds, 
Colonel Kice went to the right and found we were not con- 
nected with any other regiment. At the left he found the 
same. The officers held a consultation ; all agreed that we 
should obey orders, but should we allow the regiment to be 
captured because some one had made a mistake? We con- 
cluded to fall back until we connected with something, and 
after a while struck a German brigade. The Dutch com- 
mander undertook to drive us back, but w^e knew our busi- 
ness, and when Colonel Rice found our brigade commander, 
he was informed that an aid had been sent to recall us sev- 
eral hours before, and in the darkness must have passed our 
regiment without seeino; us. The conversation was on the 
result of the battle. Most of us thought it was another 
Chancellorsville, and that the next day we should recross the 
river ; but when the order came, " By the left flank, march ! " 
we found that Grant was not made that way, and we must 
continue the fight. 

Our loss was not very heavy in the Wilderness. We had 
several wounded and captured, but only three killed. Among 
the wounded the first day was Color-Sergeant Ben Falls, 
struck in the leg, and being in command of the color com- 
pany I sent him to the rear. The following day he reported 
back, and I asked why he did not stay. "Oh," he said. 


" some fool will get hold of the color and lose it. I guess I 
had better stand by." 

We marched to Williams's Tavern, where we went into 
line of battle and threw up works. From this time on we 
were engaged every day. The 8th, we had a lively brush 
at Todd's Tavern, and drove the rebels a mile ; the 9th, 
crossed Po River ; the 10th, recrossed and engaged the 
enemy at Laurel Hill. We found them strongly intrenched 
and a charge was ordered. The opinion of every officer and 
man was that we could not dislodge them, as we must charge 
a long distance over an open field. General Barlow was to 
lead and the 19th was to be the directino; battalion. The 
order to our division was, "Follow the colors of the 19th." 
With cheers for General Barlow we advanced over the crest 
of the hill, the rebels opening on us with a terrible fire. 
Grape and cannister ploughed through our ranks. Both 
color-bearers were shot down, and for a moment our line 
melted away ; but other hands grasped the colors, and we 
renewed the charge, only to be again repulsed. No army on 
earth could capture the works with such odds against it, but 
we charged once more, then gave it up. 

Among the first to go down was Color-Sergeant Ben Falls. 
He was in advance of me, and as he fell he said, "John, your 
old uncle has got his quietus this time." I could not stop to 
reply then, but in the lull of the battle went to him, and 
found that he was shot through the body ; he was carried to 
the rear, and died the next day. No man in the ranks of 
the Union army rendered better service than Benj. F. Falls. 
Always ready for duty, ever cheerful, his influence for good 
extended through the regiment. Another to fall that day 
was Sergt. William H. Ross. Until this campaign he had 


been detailed at the headquarters of the division quartermas- 
ter, and one would think he was making up for lost time. 
From the day we entered the Wilderness until he gave up 
his life he was conspicuous for his bravery. Corp. George 
E. Breed of Company C, a brave little fellow, not much 
larger than his knapsack, was serving his second enlistment, 
and was not twenty years old when killed. Several others 
were killed, besides many wounded. 

We remained here until the night of the 11th, when men 
were detailed to keep up the skirmish firing while the brigade 
was withdrawn. It was a dark, dreary night, and we fell 
over stumps and fallen trees as we moved to the left. At 
four o'clock on the morning of the 12th we formed in line. 
Our orders were to give commands in whispers, have dippers 
so hung that they would not rattle against bayonets, and 
move forward. We were soon in front of the rebel works, 
which were protected by al)atis. We tore these aside and 
passed on. One regiment, forgetting the orders, gave a 
cheer, and the re])els were aroused, yet over the works we 
went, and the fiercest hand-to-hand fight of the war ensued. 
We captured Gen. Bushrod Johnson and his entire division, 
including twenty-two pieces of artillery and seventeen stands 
of colors. 

The woods were so thick that in advancing our lines 
became broken. When we reached a clearing the only offi- 
cers in sight were Colonel Rice, Lieutenant Thompson and 
myself. "Where are the colors?" said Colonel Rice. We 
could not answer the question. At that moment we saw sev- 
eral hundred rebels running back to their lines. Colonel 
Rice said, " I see a Massachusetts color and will go after it. 
You and Lieutenant Thompson try to capture those rebels." 


Hastily gathering men from nearly every regiment in the 
corps we threw forward a skirmish line and captured nearly 
four hundred prisoners. After turning them over to the 
provost guard we returned to the line, found the colors, but 
the colonel was not there, and the rest of the day we fought 
where we could get a chance. As I was standing behind the 
works, waiting for something to do, Capt. Harry Hale, who 
was serving on General Webb's staff, rode up and said, " We 
want to get two guns that the rebels have abandoned, which 
unless we bring them in, will be retaken. Can't you get 
them ? " Calling to the mob (there was no organization of 
regiments at that moment), " Come on, boys," we rushed out 
and brought them in. Turning them on the rebels, we loaded 
them with everything we could find, — ammunition that did 
not fit, old musket barrels, etc., — ])ut not knowing how to 
work the guns we were in about as much danger as the 

While engaged here the rebels had recaptured a small part 
of their works on our right, and we were ordered to move to 
that point. Collecting as many men of the regiment as we 
could find, we marched by the flank to what has since been 
known as the " Bloody Angle ; " here we found hot work. 
While we were firing the rebels ran up a white flag, and we 
advanced to receive their surrender, but as soon as we were 
over the brow of the little hill that had protected us, they 
fired a volley, killing several of our men. From that time 
until dark the cry was "No quarter." Part of the time we 
were on one side of the works and they on the other, each 
trying to fire over. I saw Ed. Fletcher of Company C shoot 
a man who was trying to get a shot at one of our boys, and 
was so near that Fletcher's musket was covered with l)lood. 


We continued to iire until our ammunition was exhausted, 
then were relieved by men of the 6th corps. Just as long as 
we could see a man the firing continued. We slept on the 
field, ready to renew the battle in the morning, and at day- 
light waited for the rebels to open. Not a shot was fired and 
we advanced. What a sight met our eyes as we went over 
the works ! Rebels lay four and five deep in the trenches. 
Many were alive but unable to move, as the dead were piled 
on top of them. Our better natures were aroused. We laid 
out the dead for burial, cared for the wounded, then with- 
drew to the rear to reorganize our regiments. 

While resting in the rear a man from the 6th corps came 
to me and said, " Is this the 19th Massachusetts ? " I answered, 
" Yes." "Have you a Lieutenant Adams in your regiment?" 
I again made the same reply. " Well, he is dead. He lies 
just over the little hill. Here is his revolver case that I took 
from him." I then understood what he meant. A few days 
before, finding that it was impossible to carry my revolver 
on account of my wounds, I had given it to Lieut. Johnnie 
Ferris, and he must have been the one whom the man had 
found. We had been fighting so hard that we had no time 
to think of each other, and I then remembered that I had not 
seen Ferris since we charged on the morning of the previous 
day. I went with the man and found Johnnie, shot through 
the head, in front of the rebel Avorks. He had fallen over a 
tree that the rebels had cut down, and must have been killed 
as we rushed through the abatis. His death was a se^^ere loss 
to the regiment. He had been promoted from the ranks for 
good conduct ; was loved by the ofiicers and worshipped by 
the men. With sad hearts Ave laid him to rest near where he 
fell. We could not find Colonel Rice and feared he must be 


dead on the field, but after searching and not finding his 
body, concluded he must have been captured with some of 
our men when the rebels made the dash on our right flank. 
This was true. Colonel Rice was captured, but escaped, and 
rejoined the regiment in August. 

One little incident occurring in the fight at the "Bloody 
Angle," although not connected with the regiment, is worthy 
of mention. When we were relieved by the 6tli corps the 
6th Wisconsin was in our front. One of their men was an 
Indian. He would crawl up near the rebel line, wait until 
they fired, then fire and drag himself back. He could hardly 
be seen above the ground. I became much interested in his 
mode of fighting, and his face was impressed upon my mind. 
One day in 1867, while working in a shoe factory at Lynn, 
an Indian came into the place selling l)askets. The moment 
I saw him I thought his countenance was familiar and won- 
dered where I had seen him before. It came to me that he 
was the Spottsylvania Indian. I asked if he was in the 
army, and he replied, "Yes, 6th Wisconsin." Then I was 
sure he was the man. We talked over the battle and became 
good fi'iends. He was a very bright fellow, a member of 
the Masonic brotherhood, but he said, " East no place for 
Indian," and I assisted him to return west. 

We were under fire nearly all the time, marching from 
right to left, and on the 17th occupied the works taken on 
the 12th. While here we learned that Lieut. Moses Shack- 
ley, who was a first sergeant in the 59th Massachusetts, 
had Ijeen killed the day Ijefore. The 18th we fought all 
day, charged twice on the enemies" works, and lost several 
men. On the 21st occurred one of the sad events of the 


John D. Starbird of Company K was one of the three 
deserters who returned with the regiment. The charges 
against him had been placed on file on condition that he 
serve ftiithfully to the end of the war. While he had prom- 
ised to do tliis, he did not intend to, and was only kept in 
battle at the Wilderness by fear of death from the oflicers. 
On the 18th he deserted while under fire, was captured the 
19th, tried by drum-head court-martial the 20th, and ordered 
to be shot at 7 a.m. on the 21st. Early in the morning of 
that day Adjutant Curtis came to me and said, " Jack, you 
are detailed to take charge of the shooting of Starbird." I 
was not pleased with the order, and Captain Mumford, who 
was ever ready to do a kind act for a friend, exchanged duty 
with me, I going on picket for him. The detail consisted 
of eight men from our regiment. Their muskets were loaded 
by Captain Mumford, seven with ball cartridges, one with a 
blank. Starbird was seated on his coffin, blindfolded. The 
order was given to fire. Six shots struck him near the 
heart ; the other musket hung fire, and the ball entered his 
leg. He died at once. 

Those who read this, and do not understand the situation 
at the time, may think the killing of Starbird unjust and 
cruel, but it was not. At that time there were in the ranks 
of every regiment, men who had no interest in the cause. 
They had enlisted for the bounty, and did not intend to 
render any service. They not only shirked duty, but their 
acts and conversation were demoralizing good men. The 
shooting of Starbird changed all this. Men who had strag- 
gled and kept out of battle now were in the ranks, and the 
result to our corps alone was as good as if we had been 
re-enforced by a full regiment. 




From the 21st to the 24th of May we were engaged in 
skirmishing, picket fighting, with now and then a charge. 
On the morning of the 24th we crossed the North Anna 
River, and about noon advanced in line, our regiment being 
on the left of Smith's division. Finding the rebels strongly 
intrenched on the edge of the woods, we charged across an 
open field and drove them out. It was one of the bravest 
acts of the war, but it counted for nothing. As soon as we 
captured the works we sent word back that we must be rein- 
forced or we could not hold them ; but no one in the rear 
seemed to be in a hurry. We could hear the rebels reorgan- 
izing their men, and knew that we should be unable to resist 
the charge, as we were only a skirmish line. I lay on the 
works by the side of Captain Hincks. Both of us had mus- 
kets, and resolved to make the best fight possible. The 
rebels came in over the works at our left, at the same time 
advancing in front. We waited until the skirmish line came 
so near that we could get a good shot. Captain Hincks said, 
"What is it. Jack; Richmond or legs?" I said, "Legs." 
We covered our man, fired and fell back. The rebels came 
on in force ; we retreated until we came to a brook, and 
standing in the water used the bank for a breast-work, and 
held them until re-enforcements came up. A more angry 
set of men than we were never wore Union blue. We had 


done a ])rilliant thing, had captured and held a line of works 
for two hours against heavy odds, and could have been sup- 
ported in fifteen minutes as well as not. 

As we were falling back after our relief had advanced, and 
were safe in the rear, a staff officer rode up and swinging his 
sword said, "Go back, you cowards, go back." We requested 
him to go where he would require the constant use of a fan, 
— and kept on. We reorganized our companies and were 
ordered on picket for the night. We were so disgusted that 
we paid little attention to duty, but came to our senses the 
next morning upon finding we were all there was between 
our army and the rebels. About day-break I heard the 
picket cry, " Halt ! who comes there ? " and going to his post 
found he had a negro in waiting. The darkey had a letter 
from the rebel commander ; it read : " Send Cora to Richey." 
I did not understand it and sent it to headquarters. 

The boy was very intelligent, l)ut he was a strange-look- 
ing mortal ; had not as much clothing on as the prodigal son 
wore home from his excursion, but he could sing and dance, 
besides knowing all al)out the rebel army. Orders came to 
send him to headquarters of the division, and I reluctantly 
parted with G..AVashington, whom I had intended to keep 
as a servant. I saw him several times in the next few 
weeks, then he went out of my mind. One day soon after 
the close of the war I was standing on the street in Lynn, 
when a negro boy went past whistling. It struck me I had 
heard that whistle before, and I called to him. I asked him 
if he were from the South, and he said he was. "How came 
you here? " was my next question. " Oh, I was captured by 
Lieutenant Adams of the 19th on the North Anna, and came 
home with Colonel Palmer of Salem." "What became of 


Lieutenant Adams?" I asked. "Guess he is dead. The 
rebels done caught him, and we never heard from him 
again." "Look up here," I said. "Did you ever see me 
before?" "Golly, you are Lieutenant Adams," and he 
rushed for me. George Washington remained in Lynn 
several years. When the war ended he could not read or 
write, but he passed through all grades to the high school, 
and after two years there went South ; was a member of the 
Virginia Legislature two terms ; and the last I heard of him, 
he was with an Uncle Tom's Cabin Company whistling in 
the plantation scene, being the best whistler in the country. 
We were constantly moving by the left flank, marching 
every night, fighting every day. On the 30th we were on 
the Washington Jones plantation, near Totopotomoy Creek, 
the rebels advancing at night, but being repulsed. Captain 
Mumford and myself, with our companies G and I, were on 
the outpost all night ; we were very near the rebel lines and 
picket firing was constant. In the morning we advanced 
and they returned to their works. Captain Hume, com- 
manding Company K, was on our right, a swamp being 
between us. Captain Mumford and I had muskets, as it 
was poor fun being fired at with no chance to reply. We 
made up our minds to charge the works, so arranged with 
Captain Hume that he should go to the right around the 
swamp and we would advance and connect with liim on the 
other side. With a yell we started and the rebels retired 
before us, some of them to an old church. When we 
arrived at the crest of the hill we opened on them. Mum- 
ford was behind a tree, and had just fired his piece when he 
fell at my feet, shot through the head. All the fire of the 
rebels was concentrated on this spot. No man could live a 


moment unless he lay close to the ground. Assisted by one 
of my sergeants I placed a rubber blanket under the captain 
and dragged him to the rear. He was nearly gone. The 
surgeon came but could do nothing, and in a short time he 
passed away. As the firing ceased for a time, we made a 
rude coffin and laid him to rest. We nailed a wooden slab 
on the tree, enclosing the grave with a little fence. Then I 
must perform the saddest duty of all, — write to his loved 
ones at home. 

Captain Mumford and I had been warm friends for more 
than two years, had shared the same blanket on the march, 
and while at home had been constantly together. He joined 
the regiment at Lynnfield, a young boy just out of school ; 
had been promoted from second lieutenant to captain, and 
had shared every march and battle in which the regiment had 
been engaged. Kind-hearted, generous and brave, I loved 
him as a brother. In December, 1865, I went to the place 
where we laid him and brought the body to Providence, R. I., 
where it now rests. 

"By the left flank" we marched on, arriving at Cold 
Harbor on the morning of June 2. We were deployed as 
skirmishers and lay in line until three a.m. the 3d, then were 
ordered to advance in three lines of battle, charging the 
enemy, who were intrenched. We stood in line three 
hours, waiting for the order to advance, and when it came 
the rebels were ready and waiting for us, yet over the field 
we went. Men were mowed down by hundreds. Major 
Dunn, who now commanded the regiment, was struck by a 
bullet and fell, but rallied again. The colors of the regi- 
ment were shot down, but Mike Scannell picked them up 
and carried them forward. Mike always had an eye to 


business. When we halted Major Dunn said, " Mike, keep 
the colors." "Not as a corporal," said Mike; "too many 
corporals have been killed already carrying colors." "I 
make you a sergeant on the spot," said the major. "That is 
business," replied Mike ; "I'll carry the colors." 

We changed brigade conmianders several times that fore- 
noon ; first one colonel would fall, then another, until at 
last a lieutenant-colonel commanded. We reached a ravine 
within a few yards of the rebel works and lay down. By 
forming line to the rear, the men lying flat on the ground, 
we were able during the night to get a few rails and before 
morning had quite a good breastwork. Lieutenant Thomp- 
son and many men were killed on the charge. After the 
death of Captain Mumford I had slept with Lieutenant 
Thompson ; only three days and another must share my 
blanket. Like other officers we had lost, Thompson was 
remarkable for his bravery, had been promoted from the 
ranks for good conduct, and had distinguished himself in 
every battle of the campaign. 

We were in a peculiar position, — so near the rebel works 
that we could throw a stone over, and no man on either side 
could show his head without getting a shot. Eations could 
not be brought to us until we dug a trench over the hill to 
the rear, which we did the second night. The second day 
we were in this place we saw a pile of dirt in our front, on a 
little knoll, and once in a while a shot would be fired, fol- 
lowed by a yell. Mark Kimball, Gus Bridges, Frank 
Osborne and Milt Ellsworth dug out and found Alonzo W. 
Bartlett of Andrews, Mass., sharpshooter. Bart, had come 
out after the body of the colonel of the 8th New York, who 
fell at the foot of the rebel works. He had managed to get 


a rope around the body, but the rebels made it so hot that he 
was forced to intrench, which he did with his dipper, and 
was fighting the war on his own hook. His face was cut and 
bleeding from gravel stones which had struck him, l)ut he 
had held his own, and having a good rifle with plenty of 
ammunition thought he could hold out as long as they. 

For four days the little fort kept up a constant musketry 
fire. Every man was a dead shot, and the result must have 
been fearful. The rebels were also doing much damage to 
our side. No man could stand erect without being shot, and 
we lost several as they crossed to the spring for water. 
Among the killed was the boy William Fee, who had followed 
the regiment from Massachusetts. He was a brave little fel- 
low and had done the full duty of a soldier. 

On the 7th a truce was held. A white flag was raised on 
the rel)el works and firing ceased on both sides. General 
officers met between the lines, and it was agreed to suspend 
fiofhtino; until the dead who had lain between the lines for the 
past four days were l)uried. This was welcome news, as the 
stench was terrible. The men of ])oth armies were soon over 
the works and mingled together freely. Had they the power 
to settle the war, not another shot would have been fired. 
By mutual agreement not a shot was fired by either side for 
the next two days. On the morning of the 9tli a rebel stood 
upon the works and in a loud voice said, "Keep down, 
Yanks, we uns are going away ; " and the firing was soon 
resumed as before. 

While bringing in the dead we found one man wounded 
many times, but yet alive. He was first shot in the leg, and 
being unable to move had taken shots from })oth sides ; had 
been without food or water four days, yet he revived in a few 


hours and was able to talk. He had lost all trace of time, 
but said that he had suffered little, being unconscious most 
of the time. During the day Bartlett took the body of the 
colonel to the rear, and was returning to his old place when a 
sharpshooter fired, hitting him over the eye, which placed him 
on the retired list for a time. 

From the 9th to the 12th the firing was constant day and 
night; men were killed every hour in the day. Captain 
Hincks was severely wounded while lying in rear of the 
works. The duty was very hard. One-half the men must 
be on guard during the night, and all in line at three a.m. 
The officer in charge was obliged to go from right to left, as 
the men would drop to sleep as soon as they were posted, 
being exhausted from long hours of duty. The mental strain 
was unspeakable. 

While at Cold Harbor about one hundred recruits joined 
the regiment. They were not brought to the front, but 
placed in the rear line, with Lieutenant McGinnis in charge. 
At nine p.m. on the 12th we quietly moved out of the works 
and marched towards the Chickahominy. This was old 
ground to us. We had been here with McClellan in 1862. 
Lieutenant McGinnis had quite a time with his recruits ; not 
half of them could speak or understand the English language, 
and Bill tauaht them by the kinderofarten method. Stan dins: 
in front he would say, "Look at me. Put on your bayonets, 
put 'em on." He would go through the motions, they fol- 
lowing. After a few days liis " army of all nations '' was 
disbanded, the men being assigned to companies. 

Arriving at the James River we crossed on a steamer and 
halted for rations, but before they could be served were 
ordered forward, and marched twenty-five miles without a 


hard tack. We reached the first line of works before Peters- 
burg, and relieved a division of colored troops commanded 
by our old colonel, now General Hincks, who had been fight- 
ing all day. This was a great day for some of us. It had 
been said that the negro would not fight, but here we found 
them dead on the field side by side with the rebels they had 
killed. The stock of the negro as a soldier was high in the 
market. With no time for rations we went into line and 
waited until nearly morning, when the detail brought us oUr 
hard tack and pork. 

Hard fighting every day since the Battle of the Wilder- 
ness had reduced our officers to major, adjutant and four 
line officers, with the addition of First Sergeant Osborne of 
Company B, who had been promoted on the march. Our 
men had been reduced to one hundred and forty, including 
the recruits who had joined us at Cold Harbor. The morn- 
ing: of June 22 we were ordered to advance through a thicket 
to the edge of an open field. We found the enemy in force, 
several batteries being so posted that they could protect the 
field, while the infantry was well cared for behind works. 
We threw up slight works and both sides were active all 
day. Our regiment was so small that we were in single 
rank and the formation was tw^o companies instead of ten, 
Captain Hume commanding the right and I the left wing. 

At noon the officers withdrew a little to the rear for din- 
ner, and in conversation Major Dunn said, "I fell asleep a 
little while ago, and had a queer dream. We were lying 
just as we are here, and the rebels came in our rear and cap- 
tured the entire regiment." We laughed at his story, said 
we guessed we should not go to Richmond that way, and 
returned to our places in line. The firing in our front 


increased, the batteries doing good service for the rebels. 
About four P.M. we heard loud talking and cheering on our 
left and the firing ceased. The woods were so thick we 
could not see through them, but knowing something was up, 
I went to the right of the line and reported to Major Dunn. 
Returning to my place, I met Billy Smith of Company F, 
who said, " Come with me ; if you go farther you are sure to 
be captured." While I was talking with Smith, Colonel 
Hooper passed us, on the way to the rear. The colonel had 
been there and escaped through the tunnel at Libby. He 
did not propose to go again. I told Smith to go on, but I 
must return to the company. I soon met two rebels who 
ordered me to surrender, but I declined. I saw my men 
standing up and the rebels as thick as mosquitoes. A major 
of a Georgia regiment demanding my sword, I presented it 
to him, omitting the presentation speech. With the rebels 
I went to the right. Captain Hume was standing on the 
works looking to the left. I called to him, '' They have us, 
Hume." Quick as a flash he stamped his sword into the 
dirt, broke the scabbard against a tree, saying, "There is 
the second one the cusses haven't got." In less time than it 
takes to tell the story we were driven to the rebel rear, and 
my story for a time will be my experiences in rebel prisons. 




We were hurried to the rear, the rebels relieving us of 
our hats, belts and other personal property as we went. 
Captain Hume had been a prisoner before and thought he 
understood the rules of civilized warfare. A rebel officer 
demanded my belt. Captain Hume said, " Don't give it to 
him, Jack. Private property is to be respected, and all he 
has a right to claim is your sword." But the rebel was not 
so far advanced as this in his study of the articles of war, and 
turning on Hume, with his revolver and a volley of oaths, 
made him give up his belt. I gave him mine without 
more argument. Sergt. J. E. Hodgkins of Company K 
had received a nice little ounce hat from home. A big 
rebel standing near the battery on the hill saw it and, like a 
hawk after its prey, sailed for it, snatching it from his head and 
throwing him his old one, which would weigh five pounds. 

This treatment was a surprise to us. Few regiments in the 
Army of the Potomac had captured more prisoners than the 
19th, yet I never saw private property of any kind taken 
from a rebel or heard an ungentlemanly word spoken ; on the 
contrary, had often seen the boys share their rations with 
them and in every way make them comfortable. 

When well beyond the lines we were halted and took 
account of stock. We found that we numbered sixteen hun- 
dred men and sixty-seven commissioned ofiicers. 


As we had placed our colors in the rear of the line, — hav- 
ing dug a pit for Mike Scannell and the other sergeant, — we 
trusted they were safe, but soon a rebel horseman rode by with 
them, and trotting in his rear we saw Mike. " How came you 
to lose the colors, Mike? " I asked. "I'll tell you," said he. 
" We lay in the pit dug for us, and the first we knew the rebels 
came rushing over and said, 'You damned Yankee, give me 
that flag.' 'Well,' I said, 'it is twenty years since I came to 
this country, and you are the first man who ever called me 
a Yankee. You can take the flag for the compliment.' " 

We could not understand how the rebels got in our rear, 
but from the l)est information we could obtain, learned that 
the 2d and 5th corps were ordered to advance their lines. 
The 2d did as ordered. By some mistake the 5th did not, 
and there was a large gap between the two corps. The reb- 
els had seen this, and keeping us hotly engaged in the front, 
had sent a division around our left flank, and the result was 
we were "gobbled." 

The officer who had charge of my squad was Lieut. Wm. 
D. McDonald, Company C, 8th Alabama, Wilcox's old 
brigade, Anderson's division, A. N. V. He was disposed to 
be kind to us, as he had formerly resided in New York and 
knew Yankees were human, but he was soon relieved and 
ordered back to the front. The provost guard took charge, 
and we were marched to a field just outside the city of Peters- 
burg and camped for the night. We were visited by squads 
of thieves, each reducing our baggage, which was none too 
large at first. Some of our men had a few hard tack. The 
officers had no rations. 

The next morning we were ordered to a small island in the 
Appomattox River. As we marched over a little bridge 


guards were stationed to take our haversacks, canteens and 
other property yet remaining, but we soon saw the game and 
sent over a few empty lianded, who, coming down the shore, 
took charge of the traps we threw to them. By this flank 
movement we saved our property. We remained on the island 
that day. No rations were issued and we began to realize 
our position. We were among a new race of people and saw 
the beauties of an inflated currency. On our side of the line 
the '' New York Herald " (doul>le sheet) sold for five cents ; 
on this side the "Richmond Examiner," a little, dirty paper, 
was one dollar, — everything in the same proportion. Every 
few minutes a large, lank, lantern-jawed rebel would come 
up, look us over, and ask about the only question they had 
on hand : " What did you uns come down here to fight we uns 
for?" It mattered little what the answer was, he would pass 
on if he did not find any plunder and ask the same question 
of the next group. The captain of our guard was a spruce 
little chap and wanted his boots shined ; but the so-called 
Confederacy was out of boot-blacking, so he sent one of his 
men to us for that article. After asking several and receiv- 
ing various answers he called to his officer, "Captain, they 
all don't tote it." 

About three o'clock on the morning of the 24th we were 
ordered to fall in and were marched through the city to the 
depot, packed in the cars, and were "on to Richmond," 
where we arrived about noon. We were given a rousing 
reception. Men, women and children thronged the streets 
and were sure they had captured the entire Union army. 
They said, "Right smart lot of you all this time, I reckon." 
The men swore, the women spit at us, the children joined in 
the general cry. Just before we turned down Carey Street 


to go to Libby we halted. I was standing a little aside from 
the rest, thinking over the situation and whistling to keep 
together what little courage I had left, when a rebel officer 
rode up and said, " We will take that whistle out of you in a 
little while. Corn bread is gitting pretty mouldy down in 
Libby." I said I guessed not. It was my intention to 
whistle as loud the last day as I did the first. " Oh, I have 
heard lots of you fellows talk, but Dick Turner soon fixes 
them," was his reply. This was the first promise of starvation. 

We moved forward and soon stood in front of Libby prison. 
I could almost read over the door, " He who enters here leaves 
hope behind." We marched in and passed to the rear of the 
room. As I looked out of the window I saw them carry out 
four of our dead boys in blankets, all of them naked, having 
been stripped of their clothing. We hardly knew what was 
to come next but had not long to wait, for Dick Turner, who 
had charge, ordered part of us to fall in. Lieutenant Chub- 
buck had kept a small revolver in his pocket until this time, 
but now threw it out of the window into the canal in rear of 
the prison. We were ordered to stand in line, unbutton 
our clothing, and, as Turner passed down, were made to 
open our mouths that he might see if we had any greenbacks 
in them. He said those who gave up their money should 
have it again, but those who did not would lose it. I had 
sixty-two dollars and had just time to put ten between the 
soles of my shoe. The rest I gave to Turner. After he had 
picked a squad he ordered them to the front of the room, 
away from the rest. 

The front door was guarded by a thing I supposed they 
called a soldier, dressed in a black, swallow-tailed coat, his 
head crowned with a stove-pipe hat and armed with a sport- 


ing rifle. He was so thin that he could never be hit by a 
bullet, as he could hide behind his ramrod in time of danger. 
I called to the boys, " See what they call a soldier," but as 
he brought up his musket to fire I found it was alive and I 
retired in good order. 

Lieut. Thomas J. Hastings of the 15th tore a piece oflF his 
shelter tent to use as a towel and was made to mark time 
while the rest were being searched. After our names, rank, 
regiment, place and date of capture were recorded we were 
marched to a room in the third story. The one next to ours 
was filled with our men. A brick partition wall divided us, 
but some of them made a hole through, and, as they had not 
been searched, passed a few things to us. Mark Kimball 
gave me ten dollars, Mike O'Leary a razor, another gave me 
a spoon. The razor and spoon I carried all through my 
prison life, and have them yet. The money I returned to 
Mark some two weeks later. We were not allowed to rest 
long, as I suppose they thought we required exercise, and 
were marched to another room over the office. The rooms 
were perfectly bare. We had no blankets or dishes, as 
everything had been taken from us. We sat down on the 
floor, about as blue a collection of humanity as was ever 

In a short time Turner came in to look us over. I asked 
him if it was not about time for dinner, as no rations had 
l)een issued since we had been captured, two days before. 
He did not like my question and swore at me for several 
minutes, winding up by saying that no rations would be 

issued until the next day, and I should be lucky if I got 

any then. I replied that as I was not acquainted with the 
other hotels in the city I guessed I would wait. He swore 


some more, said he reckoned I would, — and I did. At 
night we lay down on the hard floor and tried to sleep, but 
were so hungry we could not. Besides our hunger we had 
many other things to contend with. When we entered the 
room we thought it was vacant but were mistaken, for we 
discovered that it was inhabited by "very many curious 
things that crawl about and fly on wings." 

Morning came at last. We got up, washed in an old tank 
in one corner of the room, wiped our faces on our shirts, 
and waited for breakfast. While waiting; I went to the win- 
dow to look out. In a second I found myself on the floor 
and heard the report of a musket. The guard in front had 
iired at me, l)ut a comrade had seen him as he brought up his 
piece and had pulled me down. Had he not done so some 
other fellow would have written this stor3\ 

About ten o'clock rations came in and we eagerly fell in to 
receive them. They consisted of a piece of corn bread as 
large as a quarter of a brick and twice as hard, bean soup, 
and a very small piece of rotten bacon. How to draw the 
bean soup was the question, as we had nothing to draw it in. 
Lieutenant McGinnis was in rear of me. He said he must 
have some soup, and, taking a broken pane of glass, he fell 
in and the line moved on. When it came my turn the negro 
who issued the rations dipped in his gill dipper and I held 
out my hands. He turned it in. The soup ran through my 
fingers, but I secured a few beans. McGinnis held out his 
pane of glass and drew four rations, one on each corner. We 
did not touch the bacon. Hungry as we were the smell sat- 
isfied us. We went upstairs and sat down to dinner. I ate 
half my bread, and thinking it unwise to make a pig of myself 
at my first banquet in Richmond, placed the rest on the win- 


dow sill, sat down and looked at it, then ate a little more and 
a little more, until all was gone, and I was as hungry as 

The next day some negroes came in to swab the floor, and 
among them we of the 19th recognized little Johnnie, Colonel 
Devereaux's servant. We had left him at White House 
Landing, sick with fever, when we started on the retreat 
down the Peninsula in the spring of 1862, and supposed he 
died in the hospital, but he must have been captured, as here 
he was. I was near enough to whisper "Johnnie." He 
recognized me and also saw Lieutenant McGinnis, but said 
nothing. The next day when he came in he dropped some 
soap near where I stood. He looked as though he was hav- 
ing a hard time of it. 

Our enlisted men were not confined in Libby but in an old 
tobacco warehouse across the street. Three days later we 
saw them march past on their way to Belle Isle. We watched 
our chances and exchanged greetings with them. The lines 
between officers and men in the 19th were not closely drawn. 
Most of the officers had come from the ranks and the only 
difference was in the pay. We would have been glad to 
have remained with them, but the rebels ordered otherwise. 

We remained in Libby about a week, receiving re-enforce- 
ments nearly every day, until our squad of officers numbered 
over a hundred. One morning we were ordered to fall in. 
The same old blankets were given us, dirty and torn, but 
better than none. We were told that we were going south. 
A very small loaf of white bread was given each man, but 
having no way to carry it and being very hungry, we ate it 
before we left the prison. We filed out and marched past 
Castle Thunder. This place was used for the confinement of 


political prisoners. We saw several women and one of them 
had a palm-leaf fan. On one side was the stars and stripes. 
As we looked up she turned that side to us and some one 
said, "Boys, see the old flag." Major Turner rode back and 
said, "Break the head of the next man who says 'old flag,'" 
so we did not cheer, but the sight gladdened our hearts. 
We crossed the river to Manchester. A large crowd were 
at the station. They told us that our men were dying fast 
down south and that "you all will get your little piece of 
land down in Georgia," a prophecy which proved true in very 
many instances. 

The train backed into the depot and we were ordered to 
"get aboard the coach." A passenger car was in front, and 
we marched in, thinking that we were to be transported in 
good shape ; but when every seat was taken, they continued 
to come in, and our entire party, numbering more than a 
hundred, packed into this one car. 

We rode all day without food or water, and found our- 
selves the next morning at Lynchburg. We were confined 
in the cars until noon, and it is impossible to express in 
words what we suffered. We could not walk about, the 
car was so crowded ; we would get down on the floor, stand 
up, look out of the window, but nothing could drive away 
the terril^le hunger. Outside the cars were hucksters sellino- 
bread, pies and fruit, and the sight made us wild. Men 
opened the windows, took rings from their fingers, and sold 
them for loaves of bread. I had no rings or anything val- 
uable to sell. I had my ten dollar greenback in my sHoe, 
but the orders were very strict in regard to the people tak- 
ing greenbacks, and I dare not try to pass it for fear the 
guard would see me and confiscate it. 


At noon we were ordered out of the car, and after some 
delay rations were issued, consisting of twenty small hard 
tack and a small piece of bacon not properly cured and cov- 
ered with maggots. This was to last us four days, as we 
were to march from Lyncli])urg to Danville, our cavalry 
having destroyed the railroad between the two places. As I 
had eaten nothing for thirty-six hours I ate twelve of my 
hard tack, leaving eight for the next three days. I did not 
care much for the bacon, but tied it up in an old rag, and, 
finding a stick, carried it over my shoulder. 

They marched us five miles, and camped for the night. 
The sun was so hot that most of my bacon melted and ran 
down my back, but the maggots still lived. We were com- 
manded by a major who had lost an arm in the service, and 
had also l)een a prisoner. He was a first-class man and 
understood how to march men ; would turn us out at day- 
light, march until nine or ten o'clock, then rest until three. 
He always selected our camp near a stream of good water, 
and did everything possible for our comfort. I am sorry I 
cannot recall his name, as he was about the only man I met 
in the south who considered our comfort in any way. 

Our enlisted men joined us here. We were not allowed 
to visit them, but, passing them on the road, had a chance 
to chat a little. 

Our o'uard was not thought sufiicient to take care of us, 
and it was constantly receiving reinforcements from the 
cradle and the grave. At every cross-road we were joined 
by old men on horseback and in carriages, and boys from 
ten to sixteen years of age, armed with shot-guns and pistols. 
We could get along very well with the men, l)ut the boys 
were anxious to shoot a Yankee, and we had to keep our eyes 


open. Lieutenant McGinnis was much interested in the 
boys, and would ask them if their fathers allowed them to 
play with a gun, and if they were not afraid to lie out doors 

Our march was through a splendid country and the days 
were fine. We had many good singers among the officers, 
and as we marched through a village they would strike up 
a song. It would pass down the line and be taken up by 
the men. Passing through Pittsylvania they were singing 
"Home Again." I saw several women who were watching 
us wipe away tears. Whether the tears were of sympathy 
for us, or because the scene recalled loved ones in the rebel 
army, we did not know, but it was the only manifestation 
of anything but hate I ever saw from a rebel woman. 

Just before we went into camp one night a citizen walked 
beside us for a short distance and I saw him exchange glances 
with Captain Hume. After he passed on Captain Hume 
said, " We will have something to eat to-night. That man 
is a mason ; he says we are going into camp soon and he 
will come down and bring me some food." We soon after 
filed out of the road and into a field. The captain's brother- 
mason came and walked around until he saw Hume, then 
passed near and dropped a package containing bread and 
meat. Although not a mason at that time I shared the 
refreshments furnished by the craftsman. 

We continued the march until July 4, when we arrived 
at Danville. Here we were turned over to the provost 
guard and placed in an old warehouse. Our humane com- 
mander left us, and our best wishes followed him. We 
were brought back to the realization that we were prisoners 
by the brute in command. We were very hungiy, but that 


did not trouble them, and we waited until afternoon for 
rations. At night we were taken out and marched to the 
depot. Although it was the anniversary of our nation's birth 
we saw no demonstrations of any kind, and I do not believe 
that a citizen of the town knew it was a national holiday ; 
but we remembered it, and while waiting for the train to be 
made up sung " Star Spangled Banner " and other patriotic 
songs. We collected quite a crowd, but they manifested no 
interest, only stood and looked at us. 

The train ready, we were ordered on l)oard and packed in 
close box cars, — fifty-six in a car. Only one door was 
allowed to be opened, and that was filled with rebel guards. 
We had no room to lie down, ])ut were forced to stand or sit 
cramped up on the floor. We lay our heads on each other's 
shoulders and tried to sleep, but it was too hot. We had 
no water, but one of the oflicers had an old two-quart pail, 
and by coaxing, the guard filled it twice out of the tank of the 
locomotive. I never passed a more uncomfortal)le night, and 
when we arrived at Greensborough, N. C, in the morning, 
and were allowed to get out of the cars, we were happy. 
Here we were re-inforced by some of Wilson's cavalry ofli- 
cers, captured on the raid. They had been shamefully 
treated, — some were bleeding from wounds received from 
the guard. When they loaded us again some were allowed 
on top of the car, and I was one. Our guards were a lot of 
home guards, and, like all such, were making a war record 
by abusing us. 

On our car was a loud-mouthed fellow who was constantly 
insulting us. After a while he became quiet and was nearly 
asleep. One of the oflicers near touched me, and motioning 
to keep still, drew up his feet, straightened out, and the fel- 


low went flying off the top of the car. Turning to me he 
said, "Jack, didn't something drop?" I said I thought so, 
but guessed it wasn't best to stop the train to find out, and 
we never learned whether he landed or not. 

We arrived at Augusta, Ga. , on Sunday, and were marched 
to the park. Here citizens visited us and we had a chance to 
talk with them. The questions were about the same as at 
Petersburg. "What do you uns come down to fight we uns 
for?" etc. Talk about Yankees being anxious to trade! 
There was not a man, woman or child but wanted to barter 
with us. I sold a hat cord to a woman for twenty dollars, 
bought a dozen Qgga for ten dollars, and invested the rest in 
a blackberry pie. I shall never forget that pie. The crust 
was ironclad, and I had to l)ombard it 1)efore I could get at 
the berries. I ate the inside, but left the crust for the woman 
to fill again. 

We took the cars at night, and next morning arrived at 
Macon, where we left the train, and our men went on to 





A stockade had been erected on the fair ground, and four- 
teen hundred oflScers were confined there. This was the first 
stockade we had seen, and while our names were being taken 
and we were being searched I had a chance to examine it. 
It was made of large trees driven in the ground, the inside 
covered with boards, and was about fifteen feet high. A walk 
was built around it for the guard, and at each corner was 
placed a piece of artillery, which commanded the inside of 
the prison. 

The door swung open and we were marched in. Had we 
entered the lower regions we could not have been more hor- 
rified. Nearly all the ofiicers had assembled at the gate, and 
such a looking set, — half naked, unshaven and unshorn, 
some dragging themselves along by the aid of sticks, others 
lying down in the dirt. For the first time my courage failed 
me, and my heart grew faint as I thought that I must pass 
through what they had already seen of prison life. They did 
not look like human beings, and appeared less so as every 
mouth opened and the cry of " Fresh fish " was heard on all 

It is an old saying that misery loves company, and since I 
entered Macon stockade I have never doubted it. They 
would crowd around us, and the gang would howl, "Give 


them air ! Don't steal his blanket. Oh ! don't put that louse 
on them," etc. We made our way through them as best we 
could, and as the place was crowded lay down in the dirt, the 
first vacant spot we found. As soon as we were located, and 
the excitement attending our reception had subsided, we 
])egan to walk about. Our newness was apparent, and we 
would soon be joined by some honest looking prisoners who 
would begin to inquire how we were captured, would ask all 
sorts of questions, and before we were aware of it we would 
be drawing a line of battle in the dirt with a stick and explain- 
ing that " we lay here ; the regiment on our left broke ; the 
rel^els came in there," etc. A little group would gather 
around us, all interest and asking questions. After we had 
satisfied this party they would move on, and soon another 
would come up and we would go over the same ground. 
After we had gone through this performance four or five 
times we began to "catch on," and would show when ques- 
tioned that we were not so very fresh. 

I thought our reception was a little unkind, and resolved 
that I would never be engaged in anything of the kind, but 
when the next batch of prisoners arrived I was in the front 
rank, and howled " Fresh fish " as loudly as the best of them. 

The oflicers of our regiment became divided here. Major 
Dunn was in one part of the stockade, Captain Hume and 
Adjutant Curtis with some of the 71st and 7 2d Pennsylvania 
in another. Lieutenant Chubbuck found a friend from 
Quincy, Mass., and went with him ; Lieutenant Osborne and 
I joined Captain McHugh of the 69th Pennsylvania. 

Inside the stockade were two old buildings, each filled 
with prisoners. Many had dug holes under them, and were 
sheltered in that way, but the last two or three hundred had 


no shelter. Around the place was a low fence, twenty feet 
from the stockade, called the dead line, and it meant all that 
its name implies, for to touch or step over it brought a shot 
from the guard, which was the only warning. Our rations 
were corn-meal, issued uncooked, and as no extra cooking 
utensils were provided for the additional men, we often had 
to wait until midnight for a chance to cook our dinner. If 
we could borrow a kettle we made mush, if a skillet, made 
bread, and if neither, made a cake by making a dough and 
throwing it into the hot ashes ; this was called an ash cake. 
We drew very little salt, so I exchanged my ten dollar green- 
back, receiving five for one. Confederate money, and paid two 
dollars a pound for salt and fifteen for soda. The price of 
everything was so high that my fifty dollars soon vanished. 

The only time I heard music of any kind inside the rebel 
lines was at Macon. Outside the stockade, where the guards 
were quartered, were two negroes who played the fife and 
drum. They could play but one tune, "Bonnie Blue Flag." 
At reveille, guard mounting, dinner call, retreat and tattoo 
the fifer shrieked and the drummer pounded out this same 
old tune. I do not think that the southerners are a musical 
people, for I never heard their soldiers sing around the 
camp-fires, and believe they left this, like everything else, 
to the negroes. There was a chaplain confined with us who 
was a very earnest Christian. Every night he held services 
on the steps of the main buildings, and, with a voice that 
could be heard throughout the prison, would pray for our 
country and flag, and for damnation and disaster to all rebels. 
The commanding officer came in one day and ordered him 
to stop, but he said they put Paul in prison, yet he prayed, 
and while he had a voice he should pray to his God, and use 


language best suited to the occasion. Courage always tells, 
and when they found that they could not frighten him they 
let him pray unmolested. 

We had been at Macon about a week when one of the 
officers came to me and asked me if I would like to escape. 
I answered "Yes." We talked awhile on various subjects, 
and on leaving he said he would call for me that nisfht. At 
midnight he came, and I went with him to one corner of the 
stockade, where we were joined by three more. We formed 
a circle with our hands on each other's shoulders, and I took 
the most solemn obligation ever taken by man. I swore to 
obey in every particular the orders of my superior officers, 
to take life if necessary in order to escape, and to kill any 
one who should betray us. Our organization was called the 
Council of Ten, as it was governed by ten officers selected 
by the captains of the companies. We were divided into 
companies of thirty-two, each commanded by a captain, and 
subdivided into squads of eight, commanded by a sergeant ; 
the privates only knew the sergeants, the sergeant knew his 
captain and the captain the Council of Ten. We had signs, 
passwords, grips and signals, and a grand rallying cry. We 
were ordered to provide ourselves with clubs if they could 
be obtained, or in place of them have a stone located where 
we could easily get it. 

It was strange to me why this organization was required, 
but I was informed that traitors were in the camp, that sev- 
eral tunnels had been started, and when ready to open, 
the rebels would come in, go directly to them, and driving 
down a crowbar would find them the first trial. It was hard 
to believe that any Union officer would betray his comrades, 
and we concluded that the rebels must have some of their 


men in with us, at any rate our leaders thought that a secret 
organization was necessary for our protection. 

A good part of the time was taken by the rebels in find- 
ing out if any had escaped. Every day the commanding 
officers with the guard would come in and drive us to one 
side of the prison, then back in single file ])etween two 
guards, counting us as we passed through. It was not often 
that the first count was right, and we would be driven back 
again. It usually took from one to three hours before they 
were satisfied that "we all were thar." 

The last of July it was rumored that six hundred were to 
leave the prison to be exchanged. The "old fish" took little 
stock in it. The order of the council was for all of our mem- 
l)ers to go who could. The next day all was excitement. 
The rel)el officer in charge came in, said that exchange had 
been agreed upon and that all would soon go, but only six 
hundred would go that day. They liegan to check out the 
first five squads and Captain McHugh, Lieutenant Osborne 
(who joined the council the night after I did) and myself 
flanked out when other names were called. We believed 
that "the last shall be first." As all who went out were not 
members of our own order we were directed to tie a string 
in our button-holes so that we could ])e recognized. "VVe 
were marched to the station and placed in l)ox cars. Our 
sergeant posted two men over each guard in the car, with 
orders to seize and tie them when the signal was given. 
This was to be a red light shown from the forward car. Our 
leaders had maps of the country and had concluded to cap- 
ture the train at Pocotaligo bridge, seven miles from the sea- 
coast, take the muskets from the guard, put the guard in the 
cars, set the train in motion, then make our way to the coast. 


signal our gun-boats, and be saved. Thus far everything had 
worked well. The guards in our car had not a cartridge left 
in their boxes, as we had taken them all out and had been 
able to take some of the caps oif their muskets. We were 
as determined a body of men as ever lived, and it would 
have been liberty or death with most of us. Some in our car 
had been over the road and knew where we were expected to 
begin work. We waited for the signal, but it was not shown, 
and we began to get uneasy as it was evident that we had passed 
the point. Some jumped from the cars, but we were so near 
Charleston they were recaptured and arrived in the city as 
soon as we did. Some one had blundered or we were 
betrayed. We never found out who was responsible, but 
always thought we were betrayed by a regular army officer, 
who was exchanged soon after we arrived in Charleston. I 
do not think he entered the jail with us. 

Disheartened, hungry and tired we arrived in Charleston. 
We did not know why we had ])een sent there but in every 
heart was a hope that it might be an exchange. They marched 
us through the city down into the burned district. As we 
halted on one of the streets a woman on the sidewalk said to 
me, "I don't think they will put you way down under the 
fire." This was the first intimation I had received of what 
they intended to do with us, but it soon became known that 
we were to be placed under the fire of our batteries on Mor- 
ris Island. The noble qualities of the southern chivalry were 
being shown to us every day, yet this was the most cowardly 
act of all, — to place unarmed men under the fire of their own 

We continued the march to the jail and were turned into 
the yard. I was more wealthy than when we left Macon. 


There were several naval officers in our squad and the rebels 
had allowed them to retain their personal property. While 
at Macon they had bought most of their food and saved their 
meal. On the march to Charleston one was directly in front 
of me. He had a heavy load to carry, and not being used to 
marching had a hard time. Among his effects was a bag 
containing about a peck of meal. He would change it from 
one hand to another, and at last set it down, as he could 
carry it no farther. I was in light marching order and as 
soon as it touched the ground I picked it up and carried it 
into our new prison. I also had a broken water pitcher that 
the guard had allowed me to take out of the gutter, so I had 
meal and a dish to mix it in. 

We found the jail yard a filthy place. In the centre was 
an old privy that had not been cleaned for a long time, and 
near it was a garbage pile, where all the garbage of the jail 
was deposited. A gallows occupied a place in the rear of 
the yard. The wall surrounding the yard was twenty feet 
high, so that no air could reach us and the hot sun came 
down on our unprotected heads. 

The only cooking utensils we had were those brought 
fi'om Macon, and were not half enough to supply our wants. 
The jail was filled with all classes of criminals, male and 
female, and, with the exception of the women, all were 
allowed in the yard during some portion of the day. There 
were also several soldiers of the " Maryland line " who had 
refused to do duty longer for the Confederacy, and several 
negroes belonging to the 54th Massachusetts, captured at 
the siege of Fort Wagner. The negroes were not held as 
prisoners of war but rather as slaves. Their captors did not 
know exactly what to do with them. They were brave fel- 


lows, and at night we could hear them singing in their cells. 
I remember a part of one song. It was a parody on " When 
this cruel war is over," and ran as follows : — 

" Weeping, sad and lonely, 
O, how bad I feel, 
Down in Charleston, South Carolina, 
Praying for a good square meal " 

We could hear our batteries on Morris Island, and often 
shells would pass over us. The second night we were there 
two rockets were sent up near the jail, and after that the 
line of fire was changed. The rebels could not account for 
the rockets and all concluded that they were discharged by 
our spies, or Union men in the city. 

Our home was under a window of the jail. Sometimes it 
would rain all nio-ht and we would have to sit crouched 
against the walls. Our rations were mostly rice, and we 
had not half wood enough to cook it properly. Each day a 
four-foot stick of wood was issued to twenty-five men ; we 
would cut it up into twenty-five little piles, one man would 
turn his back and another would call the names of the mess, 
at the same time pointing to a pile of wood. If by a chance 
he or one of his friends received a sliver more than another 
some one would declare that there was an understanding 
between the two. 

We were visited by the rebel generals Johnson and 
Thompson, who had returned from our lines, and after that 
our rations were less than before. One day the rice was so 
poor and so full of bugs that we refused to accept it and held 
an indignation meeting. We drew up a petition to General 
Jones, the rebel officer commanding the department, asking, 


if the rebels could not or would not issue rations enough to 
keep us alive, that our government might l3e allowed to do so. 
The next day they sent in the same rice, and as the petition 
did not satisfy our hunger we ate it, bugs and all, to keep 
from starving. Another day they issued nothing but lard. 
What they thought we could do with that I never learned, 
but I drew two spoonfuls on a chip and let it melt in the 

We had no change of underclothing, no soap to wash 
with and were covered with vermin. We hunted them three 
times each day but could not get the best of them. They 
are very prolific and great-grand-children would be born 
in twenty-four hours after they struck us. We made the 
acquaintance of a new kind here, — those that live in the 
head. We had no comics, and before we knew it our heads 
had more inha1)itants than a New York tenement-house. 
After a hard scratch we obtained an old pair of shears and 
cut each other's hair close to our heads. 

We were growing weaker day by day ; were disposed to 
lie down most of the time, but knew that would not do, so 
resolved to walk as much as possible. We craved vege- 
tables, and scurvy began to appear, sores breaking out on 
our limbs. One day a naval ofiicer bought a watermelon. 
As he devoured it I sat and watched him, the water running 
out of my mouth ; when he had finished he threw the rind 
on the garbage pile, and I was there. I ate it so snug that 
there was not much left for the next. 

Lieutenant Osborne and myself were the only officers of 
the 19th in the jail yard ; the rest we left at Macon. One 
day a detachment came into the workhouse, the next build- 
ing to ours, and I received a note, which was thrown over 


the wall, informing me tliat Captain Hume and Adjutant 
Curtis were with them. Exchange stock was unsteady ; 
several officers were exchanged by special order, some of 
them through the assistance of friends south, others by the 
influence of friends in Wasliington. Often the report would 
come in that a general exchange had been arranged, and the 
cry would go through the yard "Pack up, pack up, all 
exchanged." While it was an old story, and some of our 
comrades had heard it many times, the faintest hearts grew 
stronger and visions of home would come, only to be swept 
away by the fact that the morrow found them starving in 
prison as before. 

The life in the jail yard began to tell on us. At Macon 
groups would get together, sing old army songs, and merry 
laughter would be heard as some wit told his story, but now 
we heard no songs ; the men walked about sullen and silent ; 
it required little provocation to bring on a fight, as all were 
nervous and irritable. Our quarters grew worse each day, 
as nothing was done to change the sanitary condition of the 
yard, and six hundred men, each doing his best, could not 
keep it clean unless assisted from the outside. 

About the middle of August we were told by the rebel 
officer in charge that if we would give our parole not to 
escape they would provide better quarters for us. At first 
the feeling was general that we would not do it ; but after a 
while they began to go out, those who had talked the loudest 
being the first to go. Our little mess reasoned together; 
we feared that we should die here, as we sufiered as much for 
want of shelter as food ; we saw that the chances for escape 
were very poor, and, as all the field officers had signed, con- 
cluded we would. This parole was an agreement that they 


should furnish us good quarters in the old United States 
Marine Hospital and we should have the liberty of the house 
and yard, in consideration of which we were not to escape. 
We were the last squad to leave the yard and as we went 
took an old " A " tent that the rebels had brought in a few 
days before for some sick men. Although we had been in 
prison but eight weeks we had learned the ropes and took 
anything we could lift. 

We found on arriving at the Marine that we had made a 
mistake in not being first ; then we might have had a parlor, 
now we must sleep on the upper balcony, but it was such a 
nice place, dry and clean, that we would have been contented 
to have slept on the roof. We arranged our captured tent 
to sleep on and proposed to cut it up for clothing at some 
future time. We slept soundly that night and were awak- 
ened the next morning by a rebel officer and two guards, 
who were searching for the tent. They took our names, 
saying we had violated our parole and must go back to jail. 
We did not spend a real happy day ; every hour we expected 
the guard would come in and march us out, but night found 
us unmolested and we never heard from it again. 

From our balcony we could look out over a part of the 
city. In our rear were only blackened ruins ; nearly every 
house had been riddled with shot and shell and our own had 
not escaped ; but in front the houses looked clean and each 
was surrounded with flowering trees and shrubs. It must 
have been a fine city before the ravages of war came. Our 
rations were about the same as in the jail yard, but were 
issued more regularly, and we had a better chance to cook. 
When we entered the Marine Hospital I saw an old two- 
gallon can and captured it. It had been used for spirits of 


turpentine. I unsoldered the top, cleaned it by boiling 
ashes, and made a bale out of an old piece of hoop. I now 
had quite an outfit, — my kettle, pitcher, spoon and a rail- 
road spike to split my wood. I was a bloated capitalist. 

In a few days a change could be seen in the appearance of 
the prisoners ; those who had ])een blue and careless of their 
personal appearance began to brace up. We organized by 
electing Captain Belger of the Ehode Island Artillery as 
commander of the prison ; he appointed a good staif and 
issued orders in regard to the cleanliness of the house and 
yard. A daily detail was made for fatigue duty, and any 
violation of the rules promptly reported. Glee clubs began 
to be formed, and we had a fine quartet besides an orchestra 
of four pieces. Lieutenant Rockwell was the owner of a 
flute, and in some way two violins and a double bass were 
procured, which proved of great assistance to all, as it helped 
to keep us from thinking of our condition. 

Lieut. Frank Osborne and I had passed a unanimous vote 
that we would live through our confinement, and in order to 
carry it out must take extra care of ourselves. In the yard 
was a pump and every night we took a ])ath, one of us getting 
under the nose while the other worked the handle. 

The shelling of the city by our batteries was constant. At 
night we could see the flash as the old " swamp angel " on 
Morris Island was discharged, then by the light of the fuse 
we could see the shells sailing through the air ; when over 
the city they would explode and balls of fire would descend on 
the houses. At times four or five houses would be in flames 
at once, then our batteries would pass in the shells at the 
rate of twenty an hour. We could hear the rebels rallyins^ 
their fire department, which was composed of negroes, and 


the engines would go rushing past iho. prison. These events 
were very pleasant to us and the more frequent the shells 
came the louder we would cheer. At times they would 
burst over us and pieces would fall in the yard. The guards 
were nearly frightened to death, as they were "new issue" 
and had never been under fire before ; we would have felt a 
little easier if they had gone farther up town, but acted as 
though we liked it. 

While at the Marine I had a streak of good luck. "We 
were American citizens and believed in the right of petitions. 
One day those who had their money taken from them at Rich- 
mond drew up a petition and forwarded it to the rebel com- 
mander, setting forth the fact that the money had been taken, 
and the promise that it should be returned, and praying him 
to interest himself in our behalf. We expected that we 
should never hear from it again, but in about a week fifteen 
received their money and I was one of the number. The 
rest they said would soon come, but it never did. I exchanged 
twenty dollars, receiving seven and a half confederate for one. 
My first purchase was a fine-tooth comb, — an article that 
could be used to advantage, — which cost me ten dollars, a 
quart of sweet potatoes for two dollars, and ten small onions 
for fifty cents each. We tried hard to be prudent and not 
forget that we had once been poor, but our wants were so 
many that in three days the one hundred and fifty dollars 
were all gone, and all we had to show was our comb and a 
darning needle. But our health was improved ; we had eaten 
some of the potatoes raw, and those with the onions had 
helped our scurvy. 

Prisoners were constantly coming into Charleston from 
various places, and exchange stock was often high. One 


day a squad of officers who had been in Savannah were 
marched into the jail yard. From our quarters on the upper 
balcony we could see them but were not allowed to talk. I 
recognized Lieutenant McGinnis, also Capt. C. W. Hastings 
of the 12th Massachusetts, Capt. G. W. Creasey of the 35th, 
Lieutenants Cross, Moody and Shute of the 59th, besides 
several others who had been comrades at Macon. They 
remained a few days, then were sent to other prisons. I 
wrote a note to McGinnis, tied it to a stone and threw it 
over the wall. This was in violation of my parole, but I 
could not help that. 

One day about a thousand of our men came into the jail 
yard from Anderson ville. It is impossible to describe their 
condition ; they were nearly naked, their skins were as dark 
as Indians and dried to their bones. Serof. Daniel Corrieian 
of Company E was with them. It was a long time before I 
could recognize him ; he had no shirt and I could see that 
he was much emaciated, but he walked about, and I was sure 
that if any one got a ration Corrigan would, as he was the 
best forager in the regiment. I did not close my eyes to 
sleep that night, the coughing of the men in the yard pre- 
venting it. They remained but one day, then were taken to 
the fair ground. 

Negroes passed the prison nearly every day on the way to 
Fort Sumter to restore the works which were being knocked 
to pieces by our batteries and gun-boats. They were col- 
lected from the plantations in the country and were a fright- 
ened looking set. They knew that their chances for life were 
small, and they sang mournful songs as they marched along. 

The greatest trouble I had was cooking. I had no special 
qualification for that work, and could not boil dish-water with- 


out l)urning it on ; but according to our rule, I must cook for 
our mess once in tliree days. My feet were bare, and the 
rice or mush would boil over on them, and as I jumped ])ack 
I was sure to land in some other fellow's fire. Frank was 
one of the best friends a man ever had and would often take 
my place, but McHugh was bound that I should learn the 

October 1 the yellow fever broke out. Our guards were 
the first taken down, the captain and some of his men dying ; 
then it struck the officers in the prison, and it was not 
thought safe to remain longer in Charleston, so Octo])er 5 
we were ordered to pack up and informed that we were to 
be removed to Columbia. Our squad did not go until the 
6th, but they started us so early that we had no time to cook 
our rice. As we left the prison I bought an apple dumpling 
of an old colored woman, and am ashamed to say that in my 
haste I forgot to return the spoon she loaned me to eat it 
with. If she will send me her address I will send her a 
dozen as good as the one she lost. 

We were sorry to leave Charleston. While it was called 
the "hot-bed of secession," we had received the best treat- 
ment there of any place in the south. Our guards were 
kind, and we were seldom taunted by the citizens. We 
marched through the city, taking our baggage, and, as no 
two were dressed alike, were a queer-looking procession. 
There were many Germans in the city, and as we had sev- 
eral officers in our party from that land, they were anxious 
to do them favors. One had a bottle of whiskey and gave 
it to one of his countrpnen when the guard was not looking. 
Our comrade had on a rebel jacket, and as he indulged quite 
freely in the whiskey soon got returns and was fairly full. 


but the guard, thinking that he was a citizen, said, ''You get 
out of the ranks," and he got. Assisted by his friends he 
was soon passed through the lines, and we afterwards heard 
from him with Sheridan in the Shenandoah valley. 

Arriving at the depot, we were placed in box cars, and, as 
usual on the southern railroads, the train ran off the track 
in a half-hour after we started, which delayed us several 
hours. The night was dark and rainy, and several escaped, 
among them Lieutenant Parker of the 1st Vermont heavy 
artillery. He was pursued by bloodhounds, and when we 
arrived at Columbia was brought in so terribly torn and bit- 
ten by them that he died before night. 




We arrived at Columbia in a drenching rain, were taken 
out of the cars, and remained in a field near the depot until 
the next morning. We had no chance to make a fire, and 
were wet, cold and hungry. Along the tracks were cars 
filled with families who had fled from Charleston and Atlanta. 
We saw several very beautiful ladies among them, dressed 
well, and wearing jewelry, but they were silent and sullen. 

We were guarded by the Columbia Cadets, a fine body of 
young men from the military school. The command was 
ffiven to fall in, and we were informed that we must march 
about a mile to a camp ground, and should be made very 
comfortable. On the way we passed the Confederate money 
factory. As the girls employed there came to the windows 
we called to them to throw us out a bushel or two, as they 
could make plenty more. They laughed, threw kisses at us, 
and for a moment we forgot that we were prisoners, and felt 
that we were going out on a picnic. We marched about two 
miles, and arrived at our camp ground. This consisted of 
several acres, covered with a second growth of wood. A 
guard line was made around it, and sentries were posted. 
Twenty feet from the guard line was the dead line. This 
time it was a furrow ploughed around the camp. Our cadet 
guards were relieved by the militia, and we were turned in 
like so many hogs. 


These were the comfortable quarters promised. The wood 
and water were outside the lines, and we had to wait our 
turn to go out. No sinks were provided, and only twelve 
men were allowed out at a time. It was terrible. Nearly 
every man in prison suftered from diarrhoea. It was no 
uncommon sight to see one hundred men standing in line ; 
many were obliged to remain there nearly all the time. 

We were in this condition for more than a week, then eight 
axes and ten shovels were given the fifteen hundred prisoners, 
and the guard line was extended an hour a day, to give us a 
chance to cut wood and gather brush for shelter. Our little 
mess located under a tree, and our rule was that one should 
always be at home ; but for some cause one day all were 
absent for a few moments, and when we returned could not 
find where we lived, as our tree had been cut down. 

We had heard much of the sunny south, and did not 
expect cold weather, but the night of October 9 was so cold 
that we could not sleep, and a white frost covered the ground 
in the morning. Our rations were in keeping with the 
place. A pint of corn-meal, bitter and half bran, a day, 
and a pint of sorghum molasses for five days. We named 
the prison Camp Sorghum. Many could not draw the 
molasses, having nothing to put it in, but my old pitcher 
worked in handy for that purpose. 

As soon as possible we began to build huts. We increased 
our mess to five, one having a blanket. We dug a hole in 
the gTound two feet deep, covered it with poles set up on 
ends, then with brush, and outside a coating of dirt. Tliis 
was first rate when it did not rain, but as soon as the dirt 
])ecame wet it would soak through the brush and drop on us 
as we tried to sleep. At night four would lie down, then 


the fifth would squeeze in, covering us with our only blanket. 
When we wanted to turn over some one would say, " About." 
The odd man would get up, all turn over, then he would jam 
in again. So we lay, packed like sardines in a box, keeping 
alive from the warmth we received from each other. 

After a while sinks were dug, and the lines extended so 
as to take in the brook that ran in the rear of the camp. 
Nearly all the men were barefoot, and it was laughable to 
see us wash. We stood in the water, which was very cold^ 
and danced while we washed our faces and hands. 

Besides our other troubles Ave were in constant fear of 
being shot by the guard. One evening, as we were gathered 
in little groups around the fires, we heard a shot and saw 
Lieutenant Young of the 4th Pennsylvania cavalry throw 
up his hands and fall dead. Upon investigation we learned 
that one of the guards had asked another if he supposed he 
could hit a man at that distance. A doubt being expressed 
he drew up his piece and fired, with the result as stated. 
Another time an officer was waiting with his axe on his 
shoulder to go out for wood. He was standing several feet 
from the dead line when the guard fired, — killing him 
instantly. We made every possible effort to have the rebel 
officers take some action that would prevent our comrades- 
from being murdered. The guard who did the shooting was 
relieved one day, and the next appeared on duty on the front 
line of the camp. As far as we could learn he was never 

The presidential election was drawing near, and was the 
subject for discussion in the prison. The rel)els were much 
interested in it, and their papers were filled with compli- 
mentary words for General McClellan, the Democratic nom- 


inee. They were sure that his election would bring peace, 
and that the south would gain its independence. They tried 
to impress us with the idea that the election of McClellan 
meant liberty for us, but as much as we desired release from 
captivity, we had learned that what the rebels desired was 
just what they ought not to have. 

The election was held October 17. Why that day was 
selected I do not remember, but it is possible because we 
could not wait longer. We were to vote by States, the 
senior officers of each having charge of the poll. It was an 
exciting day. General McClellan had many warm friends, 
who had followed him in l)attle and loved him as their first 
commander, but it was evident by the debates that " honest 
Abe Lincoln " was the favorite with the majority. The polls 
opened at nine a.m. ; the ticket distributors were on hand as 
at home. I think the polls closed at twelve m. Then all 
rushed to the l)ulletin board, where the returns were posted, 
to learn the result. Lincoln received one thousand twenty- 
three, McClellan, one hundred forty-three, and two hundred 
four did not take interest enough to vote. We Republicans 
were delighted, and expressed our joy by giving three hearty 
cheers. It told us that a large majority believed in the wise 
administration of Abraham Lincoln, and although many of 
them had been in prison sixteen months their faith had not 
been shaken. The excitement did us all good. The vote 
of Massachusetts was Lincoln, forty-three ; McClellan, five. 
The only States that went for McClellan were Kentucky and 
Tennessee. Kentucky gave McClellan fifteen, Lincoln, thir- 
teen ; Tennessee, McClellan, thirty-one ; Lincoln, twenty-six. 

We had another pleasant event. One day some boxes 
came in, sent by our sanitary commission. They contained 


drawers, shirts, handkerchiefs and a few dressing gowns. 
There was enough for one article to each officer, and we 
drew them by lots. McGinnis was lucky, as he drew a 
dressing gown, and his clothing l)eing worn out he used it 
for a full suit. He had l)een sick, and his hair had fallen 
from his head ; he looked like the " priest all shaven and 
shorn " as he walked about the prison. I was not so fortu- 
nate, as I drew only a handkerchief. 

The wardrobes of all required replenishing. I wore the 
same shirt I had on when captured, and although it had not 
been washed oftener than was necessary it was too thin for 
comfort. My light blue pants were worn at the knees and 
fringed at the bottoms, so I cut off the skirts of my dark 
blue coat to repair them. My hat was open at the top and 
the rim was nearly separated from the crown. I found an 
old piece of tent and made a new crown, and with the thread 
raveled out of the canvas sewed on the rim. My boots were 
worn out, and my feet were bare. 

No meat of any kind was issued to us at Columbia, but 
we drew some one day quite unexpectedly. A wild boar 
rushed out of the woods. It passed the guard and came into 
camp. Every one was after it, and Captain Brown of a 
Pennsylvania regiment threw liimself on the back of the hog 
and with his knife cut its throat. Without waiting to dress 
it, he began cutting off pieces and throwing them to the 
crowd. The smell of fried pork soon pervaded the camp, 
and in fifteen minutes after the boar passed the guard every 
particle was devoured. 

Once in a while an officer would trade for a little meat, and 
while they did not entertain company frequently they some- 
times gave banquets. Captains Hastings and Creasey and 


Lieutenants Cross, Moody and Chute messed together. One 
day they obtained a shin bone with a little meat on it, and 
were going to have a grand dinner. I was invited as their 
special guest. They had some rice and made dumplings out 
of their corn -meal ration. Captain Hastings was cook, but 
we sat around to rake the fire and make suggestions. We 
would taste of it as it boiled, and could hardl}^ wait for the 
captain to pronounce it cooked. The kettle rested on two 
sticks, and just as we were getting ready to take it from 
the fire the ])ack stick burned in two and overwent the soup. 
We looked at each other for five minutes without speaking, 
then I arose, said I guessed I would not stop to dinner, and 
went back to my quarters a hungry, broken-hearted man. 

The officers were constantly escaping. Every night the 
guard would fire, and while no one was wounded we knew 
some one had passed out. The rebels called the roll or 
counted us every day. This was done by driving all to the 
dead line and counting from right to left. After the right 
had been counted we would skip down through the camp 
and fall in on the left. In that way we made our number 
good, but so many were recaptured and l^rought l)ack that 
they mistrusted what we were doing, and made us stand in 
line until all were counted. 




Frank and I had escape on the brain. We thought of 
nothing else, and were constantly watching our chances. 
One day I passed the guard and went out to the hospital, 
but my feet were bare, and I was advised by a sick man 
who had been out not to try it. I had kept my old boots, 
although they were worn out, so Captain McHugh cut oft' the 
tops, sewed them to the bottoms, making a kind of mocca- 
sins, and I was ready for the road. 

Our old mess of three were to go together. On the after- 
noon of November 23 Frank and I were walking around the 
camp. Directly in front of our hut we saw three prisoners, 
with their guards, come to the guard line and throw over the 
wood they had brought in. The sentinels on the beats had 
been talking together, and, having finished, marched directly 
from each other, leaving a space between them uncovered. 
The prisoners with their guards started to return to the 
woods. "Now is our chance, John," said Frank, and with- 
out waiting for McHugh, with our hearts beating like trip 
hammers, we passed over the dead line, and were outside 
following the others before the sentries faced about. We 
kept with the other prisoners until we reached the woods, 
then pretending that we saw our party over a little hill 
started to join them, and entering a place where the bushes 
were thick, dropped and waited. There were several details 


out for wood, and that was no doubt the reason why the 
guard did not stop us when we went to join our imaginary 
squad. They soon marched in and passed very near us, but 
we were not noticed, and waited for darkness before we 

We had a small map of the country and knew the route 
we wanted to take, but how to strike it was the question, as 
the night was dark and we did not have the stars to guide 
us. We struck out at random and soon came to a road ; 
this we followed until we arrived at a plantation. Frank 
stood guard while I went forward to reconnoitre. I crept 
up to the house and was looking around the corner when a 
negro girl came out, and, in a way peculiar to the race, called, 
" Joe ! Oh, Joe ! " I spoke to her ; she turned her head, 
screamed, and started on the run, but I followed. For about 
five minutes we had as pretty a " go as you please " race as 
one could wish to see. She was soon reinforced by a man 
with a club. I halted and he came to me. He said, " I know 
you ; you are a Yankee, and have escaped from the camp." 
I informed him that he was right, and that I wanted to be 
directed to the main road. " All right," he said, " I will help 
you, but the first thing you want is something to eat," and, 
joining the girl, went into the house and brought out meat, 
bread and a dish of butter-milk. Frank came up, and we 
ate the first square meal we had seen for months. We then 
formed in single file, the negro in the advance, and had gone 
but a short distance when we heard voices, so we went into 
the w^oods while he kept the road. It proved to be some of 
our old guard. They asked the negro who went into the 
woods. He answered, "Only some of the boys." They 
called us to come out, but we did not come, so they came in 


after us. We ran into the woods, but turned and came out 
again into the road. 

We had lost our guide before we had found our road, but 
continued on until we came to a broad avenue, and taking 
that walked as fast as possible for several hours, finally 
coming to a steep bank at the end. We afterwards learned 
that this was an abandoned railroad. We struck across the 
country and near daylight came upon a plantation. The negro 
quarters were some distance from the mansion, were about 
twenty in number and located in a square. We flanked the 
mansion and made our way cautiously to the negro quarters. 
Seeing a light in one of the cabins we crawled up, and look- 
ing through the cracks between the logs saw an old colored 
woman cooking. We rapped on the door and called, 
" Auntie ! " She started, asldng, " Who's thar ? " We answered 
that we were Yankees escaped from the prison. She opened 
the door, looked at us, then to the right and left, and said, 
" Come in." Going back to the fire she gave a bundle of rags 
that was lying before it a kick and out rolled a negro boy. 
She ordered him to tell her brother that two Yankees were at 
the house, and that he must come and take care of them. As 
soon as the boy had gone she invited us to eat. A hot corn 
dodger was on the hearth and she fried us a slice of bacon. 
We were tired and hungry, and appreciated her kindness. 
We must have walked thirty miles since leaving the prison, 
but found we were only five miles away and in the wrong 

Very soon the boy returned with the brother. He was 
pleased to see us, shook hands and requested us to follow 
liim. He took us to his house, which was outside the square 
and better than the rest, but we remained at a safe distance 


until he went in and sent the children away, " because," said 
he, " children got heap of mouths, and would tell that you 
were here." We entered the house, and retired with our 
clothes on, in the bed just vacated by the man and wife. 

The plantation was owned by A. R. Taylor, and our good 
friend was the driver. He was very intelligent, having 
travelled all over the country with his master. He fully 
understood the danger he was in, and that if we were found 
in his house he would hang to the nearest tree, but he laughed 
at it and said, "Negroes were cheap now, and one would not 
be missed." We remained in bed all day, locked in our 
room, the man and his wife going away to work. We had a 
cold lunch, and before starting at night they made us a nice 

We began our journey soon after sunset. The night was 
clear, the moon shining brightly. Our friend went with us 
to the Lexington turnpike, and giving us directions left us 
with many good wishes for our success. We tramped along 
without speaking, and made very good time. Our road lay 
through the town of Lexington, and we intended to go 
around it, but, like all other southern towns, it has no out- 
skirts, and before we knew it we were in its centre. Lights 
were burning in several houses, and we could hear talking, 
but pushed on and were safely through. On the other side 
we met a negro, who gave us valuable information. We 
walked all night. The country was so open that when day- 
light came we could find no place to hide, and as a last resort 
went into a barn, and covering ourselves with hay, were soon 
fast asleep ; but our slumbers were disturbed by an old man 
who came in to feed the cattle, and for their fodder took our 
covering. He had two dogs that jumped upon us. 


It looked as though our march to freedom was ended, but 
we drove away the dogs and Ijegan to talk with the old man. 
One of the many resolutions we had made at the beginning 
of our journey was that we would not ])e recaptured by any 
one man. We had seen two persons brought back by one 
man and did not think it appropriate. We had provided 
ourselves with stout clubs, and it looked as though we should 
have a chance to use them. Our friend said, " I can't hear a 
word," and thinking that he meant he would hear no expla- 
nation, we got in position to use our clubs. 

Frank said, "I guess he is deaf." Then we asked him by 
signs if he was; he answered, "Yes." We then told him 
that we were conscripts going to join General Bragg's army 
at Augusta, and had lost our way. Frank wore an old rebel 
jacket, and it would have been hard to tell by our clothing 
what we were. He appeared satisfied, however, and put us 
on the road. We had gone but a short distance when we 
heard the barking of dogs, and knowing if the bloodhounds 
were on our track it was good-by liberty, we entered a brook 
and travelled up stream several miles to throw them off the 
scent, then came out and lay in the woods until night. 

When it came time to resume our journey we could not 
move, as we were exhausted with our long tramp of the night 
before. We had eaten nothing since we left our colored 
friend at Taylor's plantation. We crawled out of the woods, 
and seeing a house, dragged ourselves to it. After waiting 
a while a negro came out, and we attracted his attention. 
He saw our helpless condition, and taking us to an old shed, 
made a bed on some husks and brought a quilt fi'om his house 
to cover us. He then went for our supper, l)ut returned in 
haste with a piece of corn-])read and the information that 


we must leave at once, as the rebel patrol was at the house 
looking for us, having learned from the old man that we were 
in the woods. Tired and sore, we returned to the woods 
and remained until morning. 

Our plan was not to travel by day, but hunger drove us. 
We moved along cautiously, and suddenly came upon the 
cabins of "white trash." Dogs of all shapes and sizes wel- 
comed us, and a white woman came out with several children 
clinging to her dress. It was hard to tell which was the most 
afraid, the woman or we poor wanderers. We asked her if 
she could direct us to Boatride's plantation, one of the places 
Ben, the colored man whom we had met near Lexington, had 
mentioned. She "reckoned not," but we reckoned that we 
could find it and moved along. 

This danger proved to us that it was not safe to be seen 
by dajdight, and we returned to the shelter of the woods. 
While there a negro boy came along a path, and when oppo- 
site to us we spoke to him. At first he was frightened, but 
as we stood up he came to us and said, "You are Yankees." 
We asked him how he knew. He said, " I can tell hj the 
blue pants ; " some rebel soldiers had told him that Yankees 
wore blue clothes. We soon became well acquainted, and he 
promised to bring us food. He kept his word, and said 
at night he would come and take us to his mother's house. 
Just after dark he came with another Ijoy, and we were 
soon made welcome at his home. They were expecting 
us, and the table was set. Roast pork, sweet potatoes, hot 
biscuits, butter and plenty of new milk were on the bill of 
fare. What a feast I To sit in a chair at a table, and eat 
with a knife and fork like a human being ; we could hardly 
believe it was real. 


The family consisted of the mother, two daughters and this 
boy, besides a baby. The daughters were delighted with us 
and the mother named the baby for me, so (if he is alive) 
there is to-day in South Carolina a young man thirty-five 
years old bearing the name of John Gregory Bishop Adams, 
besides several others belonging to the boy's family. They 
also said we were the handsomest men they ever saw. Well, 
we must have been. I had on the clothes described in a 
previous chapter, was twenty-three years old, and, having 
never shaved, my face was covered with white hairs an inch 
long. Frank looked better, but did not wear his party 
clothes on this occasion. The old lady said master told 
them not to go out after dark because the Yankees would 
catch them, but wondered what he would say to see them 
now. They were owned by a Dr. Vose, and I should judge 
he was a kind master. We were not anxious to leave our 
good friends, but felt that we must be on our way, so we 
bade them good-by, and, guided by the boy, began our 
night's march. He went with us about two miles and gave 
us in charge of a man who travelled with us until nearly 
morning, then hid us in a barn on the plantation of a Mr. 

The next day was Sunday, and we were on exhibition from 
morning until night. We were stowed away in the loft, 
and our first visitor was a man with our breakfast. After 
that a constant line of white eyes could be seen in the dark- 
ness as the procession filed past. The usual salutation was, 
" Hello, boss ! how has you been ? " Then followed all sorts 
of questions. One asked if we toted ambitions (meaning 
arms) . We told him that we had some ambitions left. He 
said that was good, because we might have to use it. They 


asked if we belonged to Mr. Grant's or Mr. Sherman's com- 
pany ; but while they were ignorant of many things, they 
were all loyal and ready to do anything for us. 

We left the barn at night and ate supper in the field. A 
negro guided us several miles, then gave us in charge of two 
others, who promised to remain with us until morning. 
With the negroes as guides we seldom travelled in the road, 
for they knew all the short cuts. Our new acquaintances 
were not very sharp, as they had had a hard master, but 
they rejoiced that the Yankees had killed him. The face of 
one looked like a skimmer, for his master had fired a charo;e 
of shot into it. They were very superstitious. Coming to 
a fence, Frank and I were getting over in diflerent places, 
when they pulled us down, and said all must get over in one 
place, because there was luck in it. Here we saw a man 
crossing a field with a lantern. Calling their attention to it 
they said it was not a man, but a Jack-o-lantern going to the 
graveyard. When we arrived at the main road our guides 
left us, as they had never been so far from home before. We 
were glad to part with them, yet they did the best they could. 

Following the Pike road until daybreak, we came to a 
plantation that answered the description Ben had given us of 
Boatride's. He said that his brother Dick lived there and 
would help us. We made our way to a cabin, called up a 
colored man, and asked him if his name was Dick. He didn't 
know, didn't know Ben, didn't know anything that he pro- 
posed to tell, but at last light broke through the clouds. We 
found he knew enough, only feared to trust us. He said that 
colored people had to be very careful, as all kinds of ways 
were used to trap them. He hid us in the barn. The col- 
ored women came in, and although they did not speak to us, 


left food in abundance where we could get it. The old mas- 
ter came in twice, but not having been introduced we held 
our peace. 

At night Dick came for us and took us to his house. He 
had invited his friends, and the house was full. They sang to 
us, and, besides giving us a nice supper, they packed a hav- 
ersack with bread and meat for us to take. Beino; on the 
main road, we thought it best not to take a guide, but found 
travelling quite difficult, as the road was lined with refugees 
fleeing from Augusta, and we often had to flank them, which 
made our progress slow. 

Morning found us about fifteen miles from Augusta. We 
hunted up a negro, and using Dick's name for reference, he 
put us into the second story of a barn. We climl)ed up on 
a plank which he removed so no one could get at us, neither 
could we get out. Through the cracks of the barn we could 
see men, single and in companies, going to join General 
Bragg's army at Augusta. The negro said that Sherman was 
expected there, and our plan was to get as near as possible, . 
wait until the city was taken, then enter. One night more 
and we would be within a few miles of our destination. 

When it became dark our man put up the plank and we 
came down. We made about ten miles that night. The set- 
tlements were growing thicker and the roads and woods were 
full of refugees. We halted at a cabin where they were hav- 
ing a first-class minstrel show. The negroes were seated in 
a circle around the fireplace and the old banjo was a-ringing. 
We walked into the room. The music ceased, and they 
thought the d — 1 had come. We explained our position 
and asked them to care for us. While they were anxious to 
do so, they could not make up their minds where would be a 


safe place. It was suggested that they hide us in the cabin. 
This had two rooms, but the master had locked the door of 
one and taken the key. The partitions did not run to the 
roof. One of the boys climbed up and pulled up a board so 
that we could drop down into the other room. Making a lad- 
der out of stools and negroes, we ascended, then dropped. 
We found a bed in the room, and a hole in the bottom of the 
door, made for cats to pass in and out ; this was used as a 
dinner hole, the negroes passing rations through it. We 
awoke in the morning much refreshed, but when I looked at 
Frank I was startled. He was as black as a negro, and he 
broke out laughing when he saw me. In reaching our room 
we had passed through several years' collection of soo't and 
had taken some with us, and, not having a key to the bath- 
room, were forced to keep darh all day. 

The negro came at night and unlocked the door, having 
obtained the key through the house servant. They said, 
"We are going to take you to see a white man." We 
answered, "Oh, no ! we take no stock in white men." But 
they replied, "He is one of you'ns. We talked with him 
to-day, asked him if he w^ould like to see a Yankee, and he 
said he reckoned he would. Then we told him we had two 
hid, and he asked us to bring you to his house." We had 
the most perfect confidence in the negroes, and followed them 
to a house where we found a true Union man. His name was 
L. H. Packard, from Kent's Hill, Maine. He prepared sup- 
per and made us feel at home. Mr. Packard had lived in 
the south eight years, had been married, but his wife was 
dead, leaving two little girls, one five, the other seven years 
of age. His life had not been a happy one since the war, as 
he was resolved not to enter the rebel army. He had worked 


in a flour-mill and in several other industries, and was now 
making shoes for the rebels. He gave me the address of his 
sister in Maine, and I promised to write to her if I lived to 
return home. 

He could give us no information in regard to Sherman's 
army. Like ourselves, he had expected they would come to 
Augusta, but they had not, and he feared they had gone 
toward the sea. We remained with him several hours, and 
made his heart glad by the news we brought from God's 
country. When we parted he gave us forty dollars in con- 
federate money, and I gave him a little badge of the 2d corps. 
He took us to the trundle-bed where his little girls were sleep- 
ing. They awoke and kissed us good-by. The name of the 
sister in Maine was Mrs. H. H. Bulen. As soon as I reached 
home I wrote to her, sending my photograph. 

In the month of October, 1889, two ladies called on me at 
the State House ; one was Mrs. Bulen, the other her brother's 
child, the younger of the two whom I saw twenty-five years 
before in a trundle-bed in South Carolina. My good friend 
Packard died a few years ago in this State, having returned 
north soon after the war. His daughter remembered seeing 
us that night, and also remembered the corps badge which 
her sister, who resides in Philadelphia, had. 

Our friend Packard sent one of the negroes with us as 
guide, armed with an old-fashioned horse pistol. He was 
apparently very brave, would march in advance of us, and 
say, " I'd like to see anybody take you'ns now ; " but hearing 
the least noise, would forget that he was our protector and 
fall back in our rear. He was the only armed guide we had 
on our journey, and our experience with him was such that 
we did not care for more. 


We were in doubt what to do, as Sherman, not coming to 
Augusta, had forced us to change our plans, but conckided 
we had better cross the Savannah River and try to strike 
him in Georgia. Our guide turned us over to another, who 
advised us to remain with him until the next night, which 
we did. 

After supper, in company with the negro, we started for 
the river. He knew all the short cuts through the swamps, 
also the location of creeks, and coming to one he would 
cross on a log, but we, not knowing in the darkness where 
to step next, would walk in. Then he would turn around 
and say "Creek thar, boss," a fact we had already learned. 
In the distance we heard a strange noise, which grew louder 
as we walked along. We asked what it was, and were 
informed that it was the shouters ; that they were having a 
shouting meeting on the plantation where we were going. 
Arriving at the plantation, we found it a singular village. 
The houses were set on posts some eight feet from the 
ground, as the river overflows in some seasons of the year. 
No white people were there, as it was owned by the man 
who owned and lived at the place where we found Mr. 
Packard, and this swamp plantation was in charge of the 
driver named Isaac. Our friend called him out, told him 
who we were, and what we wanted ; he said, " Come right 
in," and turning to the meeting, of which he was in charge, 
said, "Meeting dismissed without prayer." All gathered 
around us. We sat up until morning, talking of the north 
and of freedom, — subjects they were anxious to hear about, 
— and they asked many intelligent questions. 

The past few days my feet had been bare, — my old boots 
not being able to stand the rough service required of them. 


An old colored woman kept her eyes on my feet, and Ijegan 
to untie her shoes ; taking them oft', she came to me and 
said, "Honey, take these shoes." "Oh, no," I replied, 
" you will not get another pair, and a cold winter is coming." 
"No matter if I don't," she said, "ain't you suff*ering all this 
for me, and hadn't I ought to go without shoes if they will 
help you get home ? " and she forced me to take them. They 
were rudely made, the uppers being untanned and sewed 
with rawhide, while the bottoms were pegged on with home- 
made pegs, but they did me good service, and I wore them 
inside the Union lines three months later. Another gave me 
a pair of socks, and, washing my bleeding feet, I was once 
more comfortable. 

We could find no trace of Sherman's army, and remained 
with Isaac two days. We slept in the barn, and were well 
supplied with food ; we also had plenty of peanuts, as they 
grew on this plantation, and were called "ground peas." At 
night the negroes held another meeting, and at their request I 
read the Bible to them. My scripture lesson was the third 
chapter of John. They asked me to pray, but I excused 
myself. I never attended a meeting where all were so ear- 
nest. The singing was grand. They sang one song where 
all shake hands, and the words were, "My brother, ain't you 
mighty glad you're going to leave this sinful army," etc. They 
kept time with their feet and hands, closed their eyes, and 
swayed from side to side as they sang. 

The next day we decided that it was ]:»est to cross the 
river. The rebels had cut holes in all the boats, and sunk 
them ; but the negroes were sharp, and had taken them up, 
repaired them and sunk them again, so all they had to do was 
turn the water out and they were as good as new. 


"VYe enibarked just as night was closing in, a negro taking 
the paddle. The entire inhabitants followed us to the shore 
and knelt in prayer for our success ; no cheers were given, 
]:)ut with hats, aprons and bandannas, they waved their fare- 
wells. They remained until they saw us safely landed on the 
Georgia shore, and we felt that we had parted with dear 
friends. Our boatman secreted his boat and guided us to the 

We travelled without interruption for al)out two hours. 
The moon was very bright, and all was quiet save the sound 
of our own footsteps. We had just crossed a bridge when 
we heard horsemen approaching, so dropped by the roadside, 
under the shadow of a tree. We did not dare breathe as the 
five rebel cavalrymen rode past. Eenewing our journey, we 
soon saw a fire by the roadside, and creeping up to it saw a 
rebel picket on duty, his three comrades sleeping by the fire. 

Thinking it dangerous to go on, we turned up a lane and 
found a negro, who secreted us. From him we learned that 
the roads were all picketed, and that the mounted patrols 
were constantly riding up and down. Danger was on every 
hand, but we still had faith. We remained with the neg-ro 
through the day, and at night started again ; we could not 
travel in the road, as the pickets were very thick, but made 
our way slowly through the w^oods. Arriving at a planta- 
tion, we found the negroes much excited. One of the girls 
started for the mansion, saying she was going to tell master. 
We caught her and told her she must take care of us, but she 
would not talk, and turned back to the house, where all the 
colored people were gathered. We followed and walked in. 
I was the spokesman and told our story. They asked if we 
came through the yard. We said we did ; they could not 


see how we got through, as ten rebel cavahymen were sleep- 
ing on the piazza. l\^ile we were talking a white woman 
appeared. She was quite good-looking, had long, curly hair, 
and her dress was clean and becoming. She said, "I will 
take care of you ; " we thanked her, but said we didn't care 
to trust a white woman. This pleased the negroes, as she 
was a slave and a field-hand besides. 

The story she told us the next day was a sad one. The 
overseer of the plantation was a brute, but had charge of all 
the slaves. She was employed in the house and he desired 
to make her his mistress, but she repelled his advances and 
was severely whipped ; again he urged her, with no better 
results. He then drove her to the swamps to work, and she 
was employed carrying heavy logs on her shoulders. This 
was one of the damnable features of slavery. Her brother, 
named Pat, was the driver. (I have several times used the 
word driver^ and some may not understand its meaning. The 
driver is an intelligent, faithful slave, selected by the over- 
seer as foreman. He turns out the slaves in the morning by 
blowing a horn, gives them their tasks, and has charge of 
them in the field.) She took us to his house, which was 
better than the rest, and we slept in the room with Pat and 
his wife. 

We were awakened in the morning by the firing of cannon, 
and the negroes came rushing in with the news that Sherman 
was coming. The firing grew nearer and nearer, musketry 
could be plainly heard, and through the cracks in the logs of 
the house we could see smoke where barns were burning. 
The negroes grew more and more excited and reported often. 
" They are coming, boss, they are coming. Massa Sherman's 
company will soon be here ! They done burn old Sam Jones's 


barn, and they are fighting down l)y the creek ; fo' night you 
will be with them." 

Our hearts beat hard and fast. Wheeler's rebel cavalry 
were forming, and after advancing, fell back. We were sure 
that night would find us safe under the old flag. We con- 
gratulated ourselves on our good judgment, talked of the 
foolishness of those who had tried to escape through the 
mountains, when our plan was so much easier, and concluded 
that of all the men who had escaped we were a little the 

Night came on. The negroes said they would not cross 
the creek until after dark, and we waited. All night these 
faithful negroes kept watch for us, and in the morning, with 
long, sad faces, reported that "Massa Sherman had done 
gone down the river." We could not follow by day, but 
started quite early in the evening. We had gone but a short 
distance when we struck a company of cavalry camped on 
the roadside. We entered the swamp to flank them, but it 
was so dark that we lost our way, and after travelling all 
night, tearing our clothes and scratching our faces and hands, 
we came out where we entered, and again passed the day at 
Pat's house. We were rather discouraged, and the colored 
people felt about as badly as we did, yet did all they could 
to cheer us up. Our friend, the white slave, made us gin- 
gerbread and biscuit to take with us, and said many com- 
forting words. 

With a firm resolution to get through the lines we began 
our journey. It was a dark, rainy night, and we had to 
guess our route. We came to a place where the road 
forked. Frank was sure he knew the road we ought to take, 
and I was just as confident that he was wrong. We scolded 


each other for an hour, not daring to speak above a whisper. 
These cat-fights occurred nearly every night, and we made 
up in the daytime. One not in our place might think it 
strange that we should lose our temper, but we were strained 
up to the highest point, and were nervous and irritable. It 
was the same with nearly all who escajoed. I have known 
two men who were fast friends who were never the same 
after they were recaptured. Not so with Frank and I. He 
was such a dear, good fellow that he gave in to me nearly 
every time. 

Finding we were on the wrong road we struck across the 
country and came upon a nice cabin near a large house. 
"We were listening under the window, and could hear the 
hum of a spinning-wheel. As we stood there a woman 
opened the shutter and, as the day was just breaking, she 
saw us. We entered the house and found a yellow man in 
bed. He said, "Go away from here." We told him who 
we were, but he would do nothing for us. We had our 
clubs, were in good fighting condition and holding them 
over him made him swear that he would not tell he had seen 
us. The woman was friendly and gave us directions how to 
reach the creek, but we dare not take the road, fearing the 
yellow fellow would forget his promise. This was the first 
instance where a man with a drop of negro blood in his 
veins had refused to help us. We turned into the woods, 
but they were so thin that we were forced to cut down small 
pine trees and stick them in the ground where we lay down. 
It was so cold we could not sleep, and as we dare not travel 
through this open country, we kept alive by rolling over and 
over on the oround. Besides beino; cold we suflered for 
food, as we had eaten nothing since the previous day. We 


could endure it no longer, and late in the afternoon resumed 
our tramp. Calling at a cabin, a negro baked the last morsel 
of meal he had in the house for us, and after we had eaten it, 
directed us to the creek. Here we found a new trouble. 
Kilpatrick's cavalry had burned the bridge, and we had " one 
wide river to cross." 

We made a raft out of pieces of plank, and went over all 
right. Frank was on the forward end of the raft ; as we 
reached the opposite bank he caught a grape-vine and swung 
himself on shore. He left the raft and so did I, the only 
difference being that he was safe on land while I went into 
the water and came up under the raft. He fished me out, 
and with my clothes nearly frozen on me we continued our 
journey. Arriving at an old mill we called up the miUer. 
He let us in, but was afraid to keep us, as the rebel pickets 
were very near, and liable to come there at any time, so we 
must keep in the woods. I was too wet to lie down, so we 
ran along in the edge of the woods. We saw places where 
Sherman's army had camped only the day before, and the 
fires were still smokino;. 

As we were running along we saw a negro coming towards 
us on horseback. Driven by hunger, we hailed him and 
asked for food. He said he was going to mill, but would 
return in aljout an hour and would take us to a place where 
he could feed us. 

We waited until he returned, when he told us to keep him 
in sight and follow along in the woods ; we had gone only a 
short distance when he ])egan to whoop and put his horse into 
a gallop. What was up we could not make out until, look- 
ing towards a shanty, we saw a rebel soldier walking towards 
us on crutches. He came near and said, "Come out, boys. 


and have a talk." We looked at each other, then at the 
Johnnie Reb. There were two of us with two clubs, and, so 
far as we could see, only one rebel, and he a cripple ; so we 
came out. The negro came riding back, and we asked Mm 
what it meant. He looked frightened, but said, " I know this 
man ; his father raised me. He fought, but he never wanted 
to fought." The rebel said it was not safe to stay there, but 
designated a place where he could meet us ; he mounted the 
horse behind the negro, and we went through the woods. 

Arriving at the place designated, we saw our Johnnie 
jumping and coming all sorts of gymnastic performances. 
We demanded an explanation ; he said, " I am as sound a 
man as there is in the Confederacy. I was slightly wounded 
at Atlanta, and was sent to guard your boys at Anderson- 
ville. I saw them starved to death and swore that if ever 
I could help one get away I would. Now is my chance, 
and I'll be dog-goned if I don't do it." He was a typical 
rebel in every respect, a regular Georgia cracker ; hair long, 
high cheek bones, tall and slim, but he talked well and 
appeared earnest. After the negro had turned out the horse 
he came to us and he and the rebel talked over the situation. 
The trouble was what to do with us now we were with them. 
Johnnie suggested taking us home ; the negro said it would 
not do, as his wife's sister would betray us ; but Enos (his 
name was Enos Sapp) said the Yankees had her husband a 
prisoner and he reckoned she would be mighty glad if some 
one would help him. They talked over all the chances of 
the rebels finding us. We listened with much interest. 

At last Enos said, " Gentlemen, I am going to take you to 
my house ; it may make a row, but I am boss of my own 
ranch." Being in his hands, we could do nothing but go 


with liirn. The house was only a short distance off. Enos 
walked on his crutches. He said if the war lasted thirtj^ 
years he should use them until the end. When we arrived 
we found two log houses ; in one were two women and five 
children ; the other was the servants' quarters. Poor as our 
friend was he owned slaves ; one, the man we had seen in 
the woods; the other, the man's mother, a poor broken- 
down old woman. He introduced us to the women as two 
friends of his. They sat in the corner of the fire-place smok- 
ing corn-cob pipes, and said very little to us, not because 
they were displeased \mi because it would require an effort 
to talk. We made ourselves at home. One of the women 
asked me if I would have a smoke. As I had little chance 
to indulge in my favorite hal)it I gladly accepted her offer. 
She took the pipe out of her mouth and handed it to me. 
That broke the ice ; we talked upon various subjects, mostly 
of war. Enos's \diQ said the Yanks used them better than 
their own men, as the rebels took her best horse and the 
Yanks left the old one. They didn't seem to know or care 
what army we belonged to. Supper was announced and we 
went outside to the other house. I suppose this was the 
dining hall. The table was set, but there was not a whole 
plate on it or two pieces alike. The old colored woman 
waited on the table, poured the tea and passed the food. 

Our host was a religious man and asked a blessing at the 
table, but he had a hard time carving the pork and remarked 
that it was tough as h— . After the vesper meal we returned 
to the mansion. The pipes were the first thing, and as they 
all wanted to smoke, they fixed up a new one for me. Enos 
then told them who we were, and we saw indications of fear 
on their faces. The sister, whose husband was in a Yankee 


prison, asked if we knew Sam. We could not recall him, 
but without doubt had met him, and assured her that wher- 
ever Sam was, if in a Union prison he had enough to eat, a 
good bed and all the comforts of life, more than he would 
have at home. They questioned us about our Yankee 
women. They said they had heard that they wore good 
clothes and had jewelry ; we told them they had been rightly 
informed, and they said, "Why, you all have no slaves ; where 
do they get them ? " Our answer was that our women 
worked. We told them of the mills in Lowell and Law- 
rence, of the shoe shops in Lynn, and other places where 
women were employed. "Well," they said, "we would like 
nice dresses and jewelry, but we could not work ; no woman 
could be a lady and work." So those poor deluded creatures 
were happy in thinking they were ladies, while they wore 
dirty homespun dresses, ate hog and corn-bread, and smoked 
pipes in the chimney corner. 

When it came Ijedtime Frank and I were puzzled what 
to do. The rain came down in torrents and we had been so 
wet and cold, besides being very tired, we thought it best 
to remain over night, but there were only two beds in 
the room and eight people for them ; where did we come 
in? One of the women got up and from under one of 
the beds brought out an old quilt and a blanket ; she said 
we could make a " shake-down " before the fire. We were 
glad of that, for we had had no chance to skirmish since 
we started, and there 7vere too many of us for a bed. The 
women went behind a curtain that was let down in front 
of the beds, undressed the children, tucked two in one 
bed and three in the other ; the man and ^vdfe slept with 
two, the sister with three. 


Both of us could not sleep at once, so we divided the watch ; 
neither slept much. After they thought we were asleep the 
wife said to Enos, "I don't like this ; I feels sort of jubus. 
If my uncle knew these men were here they would hang you 
before morning." "Don't care a d — n," said Enos ; "I said 
that I would help them and I shall do it ; what did they all 
do for you when I was fighting? Not a thing; I tell you 
this is a rich man's war and a poor man's fight. I have got 
my eyes open." After that we felt safe and went to sleep. 
We turned out the next morning feeling much refreshed, 
but the rain continued to fall and we could not travel, 
although every hour was precious to us. 

Frank made the women happy. They had some old shoes 
that were ripped, and being a good cobbler, he repaired 
them. We said if we had some stock we would make them 
new ones, and they wanted us to wait until they got the 
stock. It rained hard when night came, but we must l)e on 
the road, and the negro was sent with us. We clasped the 
hand of Enos, gave him our address, and told him if we could 
ever be of service to him not to fail to call. I have never 
heard from him since, but remember him kindly as one of 
the few rebels who gave me a kind word and treated me like 
a human being. 

We travelled all night. Everything indicated that the 
army had just passed over the ground, — fences were gone, 
barns had been burned, there was no crowing of the cock in 
the morning and the grunting hog was a thing of the past. 
At daylight, wet to the skin, we halted at a negro cabin. He 
welcomed us, but, like everything else, had been "cleaned 
out." He was old and the only one left on the plantation, 
all the rest having gone with "Massa Sherman." Our army 


had passed the day before, and he was delighted with them ; 
said they had bands just like the circuses and guns that they 
loaded in the morning and fired all day. 

After drying our clothes l^efore the fire and cooking an 
ash-cake he took us to a Imrn across the road and covered us 
with husks. Sherman was but ten miles away, and we felt 
confident that this was our last day in the rebel lines. We 
planned to leave the road and travel through the fields. If 
the pickets halted us, we were to run and let them fire. We 
believed that they could not hit us in the darkness, and that 
the firing would alarm our pickets, who would protect us. 




About four in the afternoon we sat up in the husks, ate 
the last of the cornbread the negro had given us, then cov- 
ered ourselves over to wait for darkness. While we were 
hidden from view we did not entirely cover our haversack. 
In a short time we heard voices, and a man said, " There is a 
haversack : I am going to get it." As he walked over the 
husks he stepped on me, but I did not squeal. As he picked 
up the haversack, he saw Frank's arm and cried, " The barn 
is full of d — d Yankees." We heard the click as they 
cocked their pieces, and thinking it about time to stop further 
proceedings, we lifted up our heads. "Throw down your 
arms," was the next order. We explained that we had per- 
formed that sad duty several months before. 

After much talk they let us come out. Our captors were 
Texas rangers, the hardest looking set of men I ever met ; 
dressed more like cowboys than soldiers, armed with sabres, 
two revolvers each, carbines, besides a lariat hung to the 
saddle. There were but three of them, and we resolved to 
make an appeal for one more chance. In the most earnest 
manner possible we told the story of our long service in the 
field, our starvation in prison, our long tramp for liberty 
and our near approach to our lines, and begged them to let 
us go. I think we made an impression on them, but after 


conferring they said, " You are loyal to your side and we 
must be to ours, but we will use you well while we have you 
in charge." 

The rest of the company came up while we were talking. 
They had thirty-six prisoners, captured from Sherman's 
army. These were known as "Sherman's bummers." My 
experience with the Army of the Potomac had been such 
that I looked with little fiivor on the bummers. Had they 
been with their comrades they would not have been capt- 
ured, but they were, like a large part of that army, scattered 
over the country, not foraging for the army but for them- 
selves, and the loyal negro was "cleaned out" the same as 
the "reb." It was demoralizing, and had the re]jels been in 
force on this flank or rear, disasters instead of success would 
have overtaken that grand army before it reached the sea. 
With the bummers we were turned into the corn and slept 
in the husks that night. 

Bright and early the next morning we were turned out 
and were soon on our way back to Augusta. The old negro 
came to see us oif ; as his eyes fell on Frank and me a look 
of sadness came over his face. Our guards were well 
mounted and they made us "hiper." We marched several 
miles without a halt, when we came to a brook, where all 
were given a chance to quench our thirst. As we had no 
cups we lay down and drank. One l)y one the l)oys got up 
and started on, I alone remaining. I was sure that the 
guards were gone and was ready to run for the woods, 
when, looking over my shoulder, I saw one with his revol- 
ver pointed at my head. "Thought you had got away, 
didn't you?" "Oh, no!" I replied. "I was very thirsty 
and it took me a long time to drink." "Well, I am looking 


after you," and he made me "double quick" until I caught 
up with the rest. 

We halted at night in a grove near a large mansion. We 
were hungry and footsore, having eaten nothing that day, and 
having marched thirty miles. The lieutenant commanding 
tlie guard went to the house and demanded supper for sev- 
enty men. The old man said he had nothing, that Sher- 
man's army had stripped liim of all he had. " Never mind 
the story," said tlie guard, "bring out the grub." After 
declaring over and over again that he had nothing, the officer 
said, "we will see," and sent a sergeant and some men into 
tlie house. The old man changed his tune a little, said he 
would try to find something, and after a short time brought 
out a bag of meal, some sweet potatoes and a side of bacon. 
All shared alike, the prisoners receiving the same as the 
guard. The night was as cold as any December night in the 
north, and the guard drew on the old man for a good supply 
of wood. Unlike our army, they did not go after it but 
ordered it brought to them. They built several large fires, 
and then posted guards for the night. 

We were in a small space and there were only seven men 
on posts. I believed there was a chance to make a break if 
we could only make the men understand it. Frank and I 
formed our plans and began to work them. I had lain down 
by the side of two prisoners and got them interested, then 
stood up, warmed myself, and was sauntering over to the 
third, when one of the guards cocked his piece, and said, 
" Yank, you get up on that stump ; I don't like to see you 
moving about so much." I tried to explain that I was so 
cold that I could not sleep and must move to keep warm, but 
he replied, "I think I shall feel better to see you on that 


stump." So I took the stump and held it until daylight. 
Another draft was made upon the old man for breakfast, and 
we continued the march. 

The citizens along the route were very bitter, and at times 
the guards had hard work to protect us. Women came out 
with revolvers, looking for the Yanks who had broken open 
their trunks. Although our guards were very kind to us 
they did not take so kindly to Sherman's men. While in a 
ravine they halted us, and proposed to strip us. Frank and 
I protested. They said, " These men have robbed our people 
and ought to be punished." We told them they would get 
enough when they arrived at the prison, and that it was too 
cheap business for gentlemen, as they had proved themselves 
to be. This aroused their pride, and they let the boys 
march on. 

At Waynesboro the citizens were determined to kill us. 
One old man struck a boy over the head with a hickory cane, 
breaking the cane in two. It looked as though we should 
have a hard time, but the guards stood by us, and declared 
they would shoot the next one who struck us. The women 
were worse than the men, and could hardly keep from 
scratching our eyes out. All were going to die in the last 
ditch, live in the mountains, walk to Europe, or do any tiling 
except live in the same country with Yankees. We were 
called every name that was bad. One woman said the 
Yankees were so mean that when they went through the 
town they stole a woman's false teeth. It was suggested that 
if she had kept her mouth shut they would not have known 
she had false teeth. The guards laughed, and the woman 
jumped up and down, mad way through. She was about as 
angry with the guards as with us. 


We took cars here for Augusta ; the Texans said Georgi- 
ans were mighty mean people, and they reckoned we had 
better 2:et to Augusta Ijefore we had trouble. We arrived 
at Augusta late in the afternoon. The people expected us 
and were in line on each side of the street to welcome us. 
Old men called us " Yankee-doodles ; " boys called us " Blue 
bellies;" the women yelled all sorts of vile words. We 
marched up the main street into an old stock yard ; an officer, 
dressed in the uniform of a captain of our army, stood at the 
gate, and the first words we heard were, "Halt, d — n you, 
halt ! Would you go to h — 11 in a moment ? " Our Texas 
guards left us here ; they shook hands with Frank and me, 
wished us good luck, but reckoned we would have a right 
hard time with tliis fellow. The " imp of darkness " who 
commanded the place was a Tennesseean, named Moore. 
He was surrounded by a gang of cut-throats, mostly desert- 
ers from our army, who, having jumped all the Ijounties pos- 
sible, had joined his gang ; nearly all were dressed in uniforms 
of blue. 

We were turned into a mule pen, and while resting there 
a boy about seventeen years old, dressed in rebel gray, came 
to me and said, " They are going to search you ; if you have 
anything you want to save, give it to me." "But you are a 
rebel," I said, "and I can't trust you." He answered that he 
was not, only galvanized (had taken the oath) ; that he had 
been a prisoner at Andersonville and had not courage to hold 
out, so he had gone over to the other side, but assured me 
that if I would trust him he would be time. While I hated 
the sight of him for his treason, he was better than the rest. 
All I had was my diary ; it was very imperfect and of no real 
value ; but in it I had noted the places where we had stopped 


while out, and I felt if Moore got it the negroes who had 
assisted us would suffer, so I gave it to him. 

Soon after Moore came in. He swore at us collectively, 
by detachments and individually. Looking at me he said, 
"I swear you look like the breaking up of a hard winter." 
He drew us into line and the picking began. Frank had 
a corps badge that he had made while at Charleston ; it wa& 
cut out of bone, and was the work of days, but it had to go. 
As the Tennesseean came to me he said, "That cuss isn't 
worth picking," and passed me by. From the men they took 
everything ; pictures of friends at home, and when it was a 
picture of a lady, coarse remarks would be made. After all 
the articles had been taken from their pockets, the order 
was given to take off pants, blouses and shoes, and when we 
were turned back into the pen they were nearly naked. 

The pen was very filthy ; the mules had recently vacated, 
and it had not been cleaned. Moore said, " Make yourselves 
as miserable as possible, and I hope to God not one of you 
will be alive in the morning." Gangs of the roughs came 
in and tried to trade. One of the boys came to me, saying, 
" I have a watch that they did not find ; one of these men 
says he will give four blankets for a watch, and I think I 
had better let him have it, as we shall freeze to death here." 
I assured him that he would lose his watch and get no 
blankets, but he was so cold he could not resist the tempta- 
tion, and gave the fellow the watch. When he came in again 
he asked for the blankets. The wretch knocked him down 
and kicked him ; that was all he received for the watch. 

My galvanized friend turned up again and said they were 
coming after my jacket, — that they wanted the buttons. 
I took it off and laid it under another man. Soon they came 


in and asked for the officer with the jacket, a friend outside 
wanted to talk with him. They shook me and asked where 
he was. I repHed, "He lay down over the other side." 
They carried pitch-pine torches and looked at every man, 
but failed to find the jacket. We managed to live through 
the night, and in the morning my boy returned the diary, 
and Frank, two other officers who had been recaptured, and 
myself were taken out to be sent to Columbia. As we 
passed out I heard one of the gang say, " There is the cuss 
with the jacket," but he did not take it, and we marched to 
the depot. 

The rebels must have entertained an idea that Yankees 
could live without food, for they issued no rations to us either 
at night or in the morning, and we were hungry enough to 
eat a raw dog. Our train was one of those southern tri- 
weeklies which went from Augusta to Columbia one week 
and tried to get back the next, and stopped at every cross- 
road. At one place an old negro woman was selling sweet 
potato pies. I had a Byam's match paper and bought one 
with it. She asked, " Is it good, boss ? " I replied that it 
was worth five dollars in Confederate, and she was satisfied. 
I think she got the best of it, for the thing she sold me for 
a pie was a worse imitation of that article than the match 
paper was of Confederate money. At another place I bought 
a two-quart pail two-thirds full of ham fat, paying for it with 
one of the five dollar bills Packard gave us. 

We spent the entire day on the road, arriving at Colum- 
bia at seven o'clock in the evening, and were put in jail. 
We were not confined in a cell, but in a small room with a 
fireplace ; we found a fire burning on the hearth, and went 
to work. As we had had no opportunity to examine our 


clothes since we escaped, their condition can ])e imagined. 
We took bricks out of the hearth and spent an hour reduc- 
ing the inhabitants. It sounded like the discharge of mus- 
ketry, and the list of Idlled was larger than in any battle of 
the war. 

In the morning we were ordered out and marched through 
the city. We learned that Camp Sorghum had been broken 
up and our officers moved to the lunatic asylum. The gate 
of the new prison swung open, the crowd gathered, expect- 
ing to see "fresh fish," but instead saw four ragged, dirty, old 
tramps. We were received with a grand hurrah, and they 
gathered around to hear our story. We had been out just 
four weeks, and had travelled more than three hundred miles. 
While we were much disappointed we were not discouraged. 
Our trip had done us good ; we had gained in flesh, had 
thrown oft' the stagnation of prison life and were ready to try 
again. We found many changes inside. Major Dunn and 
Captain Hume had received special exchange ; others had 
escaped, and the squads were broken. We were assigned to 
squad fifteen, composed of men who had escaped, and we 
were a fine collection of innocents. 

Before we escaped fror^ Camp Sorghum an order had been 
issued by the rebel commander that if any more escaped they 
would put us in a pen, and the removal to Asylum Prison 
was the result. 

There were about two acres enclosed. On three sides were 
brick walks ; on the fourth a high board fence which sepa- 
rated us from the insane. Sentry boxes were built around 
the place and two pieces of artillery were pointed at us 
through the fence. Inside was a wooden building used for a 
hospital. The frames of alwut thirty small buildings were 


up and eleven were covered. The work had been done by 
our officers, and the rebels promised to send in lumber to 
cover the rest, but it never came. The eleven would accom- 
modate about three hundred, the rest l^eing quartered in a few 
old tents. Our squad had neither buildings nor tents, and 
we huddled together on the bare ground. It was so cold that 
we walked most of the night to keep from freezing. 

I received eight letters upon my return. They had lieen 
written at various times, but all came in one mail. My 
friends had heard from me but once, and that was a letter 
written and sent out hj an officer who was exchanged at 
Charleston. I had written several letters, but suppose they 
were never sent north. 

Frank was taken sick and sent to the hospital. I visited 
him every day. The only advantages he received from being 
in the hospital were a roof to shelter him and his mush made 
thinner, called gruel. He only remained a week, as he 
chose to be with us. 

Christmas day came and we were anxious to celebrate in 
some way. I had held on to ten dollars that Packard gave 
me, as I feared we should require it for salt, but concluded 
to have a nice dinner, so I bought a squash and we feasted 
on boiled squash and salt. 

Soon after January 1 a chance was opened to get a little 
money. A man named Potter, claiming to belong to Rhode 
Island and to be a Union man, made arrangements with the 
rebel officers to let us have six for one in gold or two for one 
in greenbacks. At that time outside the walls gold was fifty 
for one confederate, and greenbacks, twenty-five. We gave 
this noble-hearted (?) man bills of exchange on friends at 
home, and were obliged to endorse them as follows : '' This 


money was loaned me while a prisoner of war, and I desire 
it paid." 

The arrangements were made through a rebel officer and 
done on the sly. We did not get the money, but an order 
on the rebel sutlers, who put up a tent inside and did a 
thriving business. The bills of exchange were sent north — 
how, we never knew — and in nearly every instance paid by 
our friends, who believed they were repaying a friend for 
kindness to us. We were obliged to obtain the money to keep 
from starving, and our necessities were such that we would 
have given twice the amount charged, l)ut it was a grand 
swindle nevertheless, and persons both north and south were 
engaged in it. I managed to get into the ring and gave a 
draft of fifty dollars, receiving three hundred dollars in Con- 
federate money. One not acquainted with the prices and 
value of the money would think that I was quite well off, 
but in two weeks it was all gone, and yet we were as prudent 
as possible. We first purchased some coarse cloth, paying 
fifteen dollars per yard. Then bought some cotton and made 
a quilt ; we paid at the rate of a dollar and a half per pound 
for the thread to make it with. Pork was seven dollars per 
pound, tea one hundred and twenty dollars per pound, shoes 
one hundred dollars per pair, lead pencils three dollars each, 
fools-cap paper two hundred and twenty-five dollars per ream, 
envelopes twenty-five cents each, other things in the same 
proportion ; but the money put new life into the prisoners, 
and many a man came home who would have died without it. 

I was always blessed with friends, and am indebted to many 
old comrades for favors. Frank and I had slept (or tried to) 
on the ground, without shelter, for two weeks. One day 
Capt. Louis R. Fortescue of the signal corps said, " Jack, I 


believe we can make room for you and Frank in our shebang.' 
He was with a party of officers of the 18th Pennsylvania 
cavalry, and they said by packing snugly we could come in. 
It was snug quarters, but neither they nor we growled. My 
ham fat was a fortune ; our new mess owned a piece of iron 
— I think it was the side of an old stove — and it was used 
to cook cornmeal cakes on. If any one outside the mess 
wanted to cook on it they paid one cake in ten for the privi- 
lege, but it was a hard job unless it was well greased, as the 
cakes would stick. It was soon known that I had the fat, 
because when we cooked we greased the griddle with a rag- 
soaked in ham fat. Outsiders would say, "Jack, lend me 
your grease," but I had an eye to business, and would ask, 
" How many cakes will you give me ? " We fixed the tarifi* 
at one cake in ten, so that when we had plenty of business 
for the griddle and o-reaser our mess fared well. 

We were very discontented and were bound to escape the 
first possible chance ; many tunnels were planned and one 
nearly completed when the rebels came in and, driving the 
prisoners out of the tent where the shaft was sunk, with lit- 
tle trouble discovered it. We were confident we had been 
betrayed, and suspicion fell on a lieutenant who was quite 
intimate with the rebel officers. A committee was appointed 
to investigate. Before night a notice was posted on the bul- 
letin board that " General Winder has ordered that unless 
tunnelling is stopped all buildings, tents, lumber and shelter 
of any kind will be removed from the yard, and that he will 
use force for force if any attempt is made to punish prison- 
ers who report tunnelling to these headquarters," signed by 
Major Griswold, commanding prison. I will not give the 
name of the lieutenant, because I may do him injustice, but, 


while our committee could not obtain information enough to 
try him, all l)elieved that he was the man, and we did not 
see him after we left Columbia. 

February 8 was a day of thanksgiving. News was received 
that General Winder was dead. He was commander of all the 
prisoners and largely responsible for our treatment. Before 
the war he was a citizen of Baltimore, and was selected for 
the position he held by Jeff. Davis because no suffering could 
touch his heart. 

The information was given us in this way. The i)rison 
was calm and still, when the voice of Lieut. David Garbett 
was heard : " Hell has received reinforcements ; Winder is 
dead." A cheer went up from every man in the prison. If 
the guards knew the cause of our joy they made no effort to 
stop it. 

Feljruary 13 a meeting was held to organize the National 
Legion. It was proposed to have it take the form that was 
afterward adopted by the Grand Army of the Republic, and 
I have always believed that the men who organized the Grand 
Army were some of them members of our prison association, 
for when I joined the order in 1867 the grip was the same as 
our old Council of Ten. 

Tunnelling ])egan in earnest, and several tunnels were well 
under way. The plan of operation was to sink a shaft from 
four to five feet deep, then dig from that. The digging was 
done with a knife, spoon or half of a canteen. Our squad 
began one from house No. 1. We were more fortunate than 
some, for we had secured a shovel, cut it down with a rail- 
road spike and sawed off" the handle. With this we could 
lie on our bellies and work with both hands. The diffsrer 
had a bag, — usually made out of an old coat sleeve — and 


when he had filled it he pulled a string and it was withdrawn 
by comrades at the opening. They would empty it into 
their coat sleeves, and with their coats thrown over their 
shoulders would walk about the prison, dropping the dirt 
wherever they could. Usually when digging a tunnel we 
made holes in various places during the day, so that new dirt 
would not attract attention. The man inside had to be 
relieved often, as the air was so bad one could not remain 
over fifteen minutes. 

We were obliged to dig fifty-six feet before Ave were out- 
side of the wall. As work could only be done at night, our 
progress was very slow. Fifty feet had been excavated, and it 
began to look as though we should be free again, but on Feb- 
ruary 14 the order came to move, and half the ofiicers were 
taken out, marched to the depot, fooled around nearly all 
night in a drenching rain, then marched back to prison again, 
as they had no cars to take us out of the city. We renewed 
our work in the tunnel, continuing all night and the next day, 
but before we could get it beyond the wall they moved us. 
We covered up three of the officers in the dirt at the mouth 
of the tunnel, but when the rebels were making their last 
round through the prison to see if all were out they were 




We left Columbia, but no one knew where we were going. 
After a slow run of three hours the engine struck a cow ; as 
the cow would not get otf the track the engine did, and we 
were delayed several hours, but we did not mind that. 
Having no destination, we might as well be in one place as 
another. After being two days on the cars we arrived at 
Charlotte, N. C. 

It was quite evident that the rebels were near the last 
ditch. Our South Carolina guard would not go into North 
Carolina, and we had a new guard from the latter State. We 
left the cars and marched to camp, where an order was read, 
sio-ned by Adjutant-General Cooper, that a general exchange 
of prisoners would begin at once. Many took no stock in 
the order and escaped, but the guard did little or nothing to 
prevent them, and the next day the officers commanding in 
the city requested us to remain in camp, as they had a strong 
police guard in the city and we might get into trouble. 

We had had some fun mixed with our misery. Our band 
had retained their instruments, and while they had not played 
at Camp Sorghum for want of strings, with the money we 
received they bought new ones, and our glee club was as 
o-ood as ever. The citizens often came from the city to hear 
them sins;. 

July, 1865. 


One day we had a rich treat. The adjutant of an Ohio 
regiment T\Tote a song called " Sherman's March to the Sea," 
Major Isitt and Lieutenant Rockwell arranged the music, 
and one night the glee club sang it from the steps of the 
hospital. The boys went wild over it, and even the rebels 
could not fail to appreciate it. We also organized the I. O. 
of M. E. (Independent Order of Mush Eaters), and met in 
house No. 9. It was not a charitable organization, as we 
had no charity for any one. Our meetings were opened by 
the prisoners forming a circle, one man in the centre with a 
stick. He must do something for the entertainment of the 
brothers, then give the stick to another, who must do the 
same, and so on, until all had done their part. 

We brought out some fine talent, and were the liveliest 
crowd in prison. Often we would go out and catch some 
fellow, who was despondent and nearly dead with the blues, 
bring him before the Grand Mogul and try him for some 
offence by court-martial. While he would get mad, kick 
and swear, it revived him, gave us lots of fun, and as we 
elected him a Mush Eater, it gave him a chance to enjoy the 
meetings. I rememl^er one lieutenant of an Illinois regi- 
ment who had dug a hole in the ground and declared that he 
would not come out, but would die there. One night he 
came out, was tried and sentenced to be marched around the 
eamp. The sentence was duly executed, the comb band 
playing the "Rogue's March." He began to improve after 
that, attended the meetings regularly, and, I believe, was 
elected to the ofl3ce of Deputy High Grand M. E. We 
undertook to capture a captain of a Tennessee regiment, 
called "Puddinghead Hayes," but, as he could whip any two 
of us, we let him alone. 


One afternoon at three o'clock the order was given to "fall 
in." It was an uncommon call at this hour, and "exchange" 
thoughts came to all. Soon the adjutant introduced us to a 
new commander, a Dutchman who had just come from the 
north, having been captured at Gettysburg. Said he : 
" Ghentlemens, I comes to take command of you. I have 
been in Fort Delaware fifteen months. You peoples teach 
me how to behave myself. I does for you all I can. You 
treats me like ghentleman, I treats you like ghentlemen. 
This place not fit for hogs. I sends in one hundred load of 
straw, right away, quick. Break ranks, march ! " He went 
through our quarters and swore worse than we could at our 
treatment. He then went to the hospital, had a row with 
the surgeon because he had done nothing to make us comfort- 
able, and kicked up a row generally in our behalf. We felt 
that "the morning light was breaking" for us, and that we 
should now be made comfortable. The major came in the 
next day with more suggestions, but in a day or two we saw 
him no more. He was not the man the rebels wanted, as 
they were not anxious for our comfort, and his ofiicial head 
was removed as soon as he made requisition for the straw. 

On the 20th, two hundred of us left to be exchanged. 
We had quite a pleasant ride to Salisbury. Here I saw some 
of my men, the first I had seen since we left them at Macon, 
in July. I remember two, my first sergeant, James Smith, 
and Private Jerry Kelly. I dare not undertake to describe 
their condition ; they were nearly starved to death and could 
only walk by the aid of sticks. They told me of the other 
boys captured, — that Lubin, a young recruit, had died three 
days after entering Andersonville ; that Sergt. Geo. E. 
Morse and Levi Wooffindale of Company G, and many 


others, had died at Andersonville, Florence and other pris- 
ons ; for, like us, they had been carted from one place to 
another, but their faces brightened as they said, " Not one of 
the boys went back on the old flag." I had been proud of the 
19th regiment from the first day I joined it, but never did I 
see the time when I loved and respected those boys more 
than that day. 

More than thirty thousand were crowded into the pen at 
Andersonville. They had seen their comrades die at the rate 
of two hundred a day ; they had been ofiered plenty of food 
and clothing, and no fighting, if they would renounce their 
allegiance to the old flag and join the southern Confederacy, 
but they said, "JVof JSTof Death before dishonor!" and 
waited to join their comrades beneath the starry flag if they 
lived to be free, if not to join those who had been loyal and 
true in the camp on the other shore. 

We went from Charlotte to Goldsboro, where we arrived 
the next morning. Here we saw the worst sight that the 
eyes of mortal ever gazed upon. Two long trains of plat- 
form cars, loaded with our men, came in. They had been 
three days on the road, expecting to be exchanged at Wil- 
mington, but as the city was being bombarded, were turned 
back. As they were unloaded not one in fifty was able to 
stand. Many were left dead on the cars, the guards rolling 
them oft' as they would logs of wood ; most of them were 
nearly naked, and their feet and hands were frozen ; they had 
lost their reason ; could not tell the State they came from, 
their regiment or company. We threw them what rations 
we had, and they would fight for them like dogs, rolling 
over each other in their eagerness to get the least morsel. I 
remember one poor fellow who had lost his teeth by scurvy ; 


he would pick raw corn out of the dirt by the railroad track 
and try to eat it. We gave them everything we had. I took 
my only shirt from my back and threw it to them ; others 
did the same. The rebels allowed us to mingle with them, 
and with tears streaming down our cheeks we did what we 

Lieutenant McGinnis and I were looking for our men, 
when we found one named Thompson, of his company. He 
was a noble fellow, one of the largest men in the regiment ; 
the only clothing he had on was part of a shirt and that was 
covered with vermin ; he had lost his sight and was almost 
gone ; he died while we were with him. I took a little fel- 
low in my arms and carried him across the street ; he could 
not have been over sixteen years old, and did not weigh 
more than fifty pounds ; he died just as I laid liim down. 

The men were marched to a camp, and the route was strewn 
with dead and dying. The citizens gathered around, but I 
saw or heard no expressions of sympathy. One of our offi- 
cers said, " My time is out, but all I ask is a chance to once 
more take the field; I would try and get square." A rebel 
officer heard him, and replied, "You are just the man I would 
like to meet." Our officer stepped out and said, "Here I 
am, I have been more than a year in prison, but I will whip 
you or any other rebel you can furnish." The rebel sneaked 
away, and said he would not disgrace himself by fighting a 
Yankee except in battle. We wished he had given our man 
a chance. 

We were again ordered on board the cars, and it was reported 
that we were going to Richmond for exchange. We went as 
far as Raleigh, where we halted, left the train and marched 
to an old camp. There were a few houses standing, but not 


enough to hold one-fourth of our number. The rain came 
down in torrents and we stood all night under the trees. I 
never passed a more uncomfortable night, for besides being 
wet and cold, I suffered with hunger. 

On the 23d they loaded us on the cars again, and had just 
started, when the engine ran off the track. This time the 
cause was an open switch. We believed that the switch was 
intentionally left open, but the train ran so slowly that we 
were off the cars as soon as the engine left the track, and no 
one was hurt. We were then taken to Camp Holmes, some 
three miles out of the city, and paroles were made out and 
signed. This settled the question of escape and we began 
to feel happy. We remained here until the 26th, and began 
to think that the parole was another trap to keep us with a 
small guard. All were excited, and had they not moved 
three hundred at noon I don't believe a man able to travel 
would have remained in camp that night. 

On the morning of the 27th we found ourselves in Golds- 
boro again, and were marched to camp. Here we had to 
sign another parole, as the first was not made out properly. 
All these delays were terrible ; our nervous condition was 
such that we could not sleep, and days were as long as weeks. 
We received very little food, and here I sold the last thing 
that would bring a dollar, — the buttons on my jacket. These 
brought me eio:hteen dollars, — two dollars each. It would 
buy just food enough to sustain life. At night the rebels 
gave us some rations, but, hungry as we were, we sent all to 
the enlisted men. 

The 28th, at five p.m., we again went on board the train, 
and at daylight, March 1, were at Rocky Point, three miles 
from our lines. Here we left the cars, the rebel guard formed 


in line and we were counted through. As soon as we passed 
the rebel lines we ran down the road, cheering and singing. 
About a quarter of a mile further on the guard stopped us 
and formed us in some kind of order. Although we were 
with the boys in blue we did not fully realize that we were 
free, and clung to all our prison outfit. We marched about 
a mile to the northeast bridge on the Cape Fear River, and on 
the other side saw an arch covered with the stars and stripes. 
In the centre of the arch, surrounded by a wreath of ever- 
green, were the words, "Welcome, Brothers ! " I have no 
idea what the joy will be when I pass through the pearly 
gates and march up the golden streets of the New Jerusalem, 
but if it is half as great as it was the morning of March 1, 
1865, when for the first time for nearly nine months I saw 
the old flag, I shall be satisfied. 

One who did not understand the situation would have 
thought that an insane asylum had been turned loose. We 
hugged each other, laughed, cried, prayed, rolled over in the 
dirt, and expressed our joy, each in his own way. Those 
who had clung to their meal threw it high in air, and for 
once meal was plenty. 

The 6th Connecticut were encamped near, and their band 
played national airs as we marched over the bridge. We 
also found our true friend, the colored man, not as a slave, 
but as a man and a comrade, clothed in loyal blue and fight- 
ing for a flag that never, until President Lincoln signed the 
Emancipation Proclamation, had protected him. As soon 
as we were over the bridge they began to provide for our 
wants. Hard-tack boxes were burst open, coff*ee and meat 
were furnished in abundance ; but we had been starving so 
Ions: that we did not think it would last, and I remember 


that I packed my old jacket — now fastened together with 
wooden pins — full, and as it settled down crowded in more. 
We drank so much coffee that we were nearly intoxicated. 

We cheered the boys who had provided so well for us, 
and started for Wilmington. We did not march, but hob- 
bled along as best we could, anxious to get as far as possible 
from the rebels. We clung to our instruments, and carried 
the big base viol by turns. It was my turn to carry it, and 
McGinnis and I started down the railroad. We had gone 
but a short distance when we met an officer, who asked me 
where I got the big fiddle. I told him I had played it in 
church before I enlisted ; that I carried it with me when I 
left home and had it on picket ; was in the middle of a tune 
when the rebels came on me, and as I could not stop playing 
was captured. The man looked at me and said, " I believe 
that's a d — d lie." "Well," I said, "you have a right to 
think so," and we moved along. I do not remember what 
became of the instrument. 

Arriving at Wilmington, we were collected together and 
rations were served. Here we were placed under guard to 
prevent our eating too much, but we would capture the 
rations each side of us and fill our pockets. As soon as we 
had eaten all we could, we would pass out, and in half an 
hour try to flank in again. The sanitary commission were 
on hand with barrels of weak milk punch and gave us all we 
wanted ; as we wanted everything to eat or drink that we 
saw we destroyed large quantities of it. While standing 
on the street an officer rode up whom I recognized as Col. 
Henry A. Hale, formerly a captain in my regiment. He 
was serving on the staff" of the general commanding the 
department. He took me to a gunboat in the river and 


bought me a suit of sailor's clothes. After a good bath I 
was transformed from a dirty prisoner into a respectable 
Jack Tar. I threw my old clothes overboard, and they 
floated down the stream freighted with a crew which had 
clung to me closer than a brother for the past nine months, 
and whose united voices I thought I heard singing " A life 
on the ocean wave " as they passed out to sea. 

I returned to the city and walked about, often meeting 
some of the men of my regiment, among them Michael 
O'Leary of Company F, who looked as though he had just 
come off dress parade, having a new uniform and his shoes 
nicely polished. He was delighted to see me, said that the 
rebels had urged him to take the oath of allegiance, but he 
had told them he could never look Mary Ann in the face if 
he went back on the old flag. He told me of a number of 
the men who had died, among them my old friend Mike 
Scannell. That night I stood in front of the theatre, my 
hands in my empty pockets, wondering if I should ever have 
money enough to purchase a ticket. 

March 3, Ave went on board the transport "General Sedg- 
wick," bound for Annapolis. We pulled out near Fort 
Fisher and lay over night. Some of us went on shore at 
Smithfield and had a nice time. On the 4th we got under 
way. It was the second inauguration of President Lincoln, 
and all the ships were gaily decked with flags. We passed 
out over the bar. The ship was crowded ; my berth was on 
the floor between decks. I find the last entry in my diary 
is, " Oh, how sick I am ! " I did not come on deck for four 
days, and suffered more than I can tell. The sea broke over 
the ship, and the water came down the hatchway. A west- 
ern officer, suflering near, aroused me by exclaiming, " My 


God ! Jack, there is a board off somewhere ; don't you see 
the water coming in ? " I didn't care if they were all off. 

We arrived at Annapolis and quartered in the several 
hotels. The following day we received two months' pay. I 
bought a good uniform of a Jew for seventy-five dollars. It 
was a nice blue when I first put it on, but before I arrived 
home it was as brown as a butternut. We ate from six to ten 
meals a day for a week, then received thirty days' furlough 
and came home to friends who had almost given us up for 

I never looked better than when I arrived home. I had 
bloated so that I was the picture of health, and no matter 
what account I gave of prison life my face contradicted it, so 
I said little. After thirty days at home I did not feel able 
to return, and received an extension. The war was nearly 
over, Richmond had fallen, and I was miles away, a paroled 
prisoner, not allowed to bear arms until exchanged. 

While at home I had the pleasure of meeting my old com- 
rade, Isaac H. Boyd. He had started as a private in Com- 
pany A, and was now major of the regiment. I left him 
one Saturday at the Providence depot in Boston, he return- 
ing to the front. In two weeks I received his body at the 
same depot. He was killed in the last battle of the war, the 
day before Lee surrendered, — one of the bravest officers 
who ever drew a sword. 

Early in May I returned to Annapolis, and was pleasantly 
quartered in the house of a Mr. Harper, the only man in the 
city who voted for President Lincoln in 1860. While stand- 
ing on the street one day a small squad of prisoners passed. 
This was an unusual sight, as all had come through the lines 
weeks before. I heard a voice say, " How are you, captain ? " 


and looking up saw a white head sticking out of a bundle of 
rags, and recognized Sergt. Mike Scannell. I said, "Mike, 
you are dead." " Not yet," was the reply ; " but I have been 
mighty near it. I was sent out to die at Andersonville, from 
there was taken to Blackshire, Fla., kept until the war was 
over, then taken within several miles of our lines and turned 
loose." With him was Mike O'Brien of my company, — hard 
looking, but full of courage. 

On the 15th of May I was discharged ])y general order, 
went to Washington, received my full pay, with transportation 
to West Newbury, Mass. I waited to see the grand review 
of the armies before returning home. The first day the 
Army of the Potomac passed. As the 2d corps drew near I 
became anxious, and walked towards the Capitol. The white 
trefoil came in sight, and at the head of the dear old regiment 
rode Colonel Rice. He saw me and turned out of the line 
to shake hands. Next came Captain Hume, — the only line 
officer commissioned when we were captured. He stopped, 
and the boys came from every company ; for a few moments 
I held a reception. Colonel Rice urged me to come to the 
regiment, saying he had found a place for me. I informed 
him that I was discharged, and was going home, but he said, 
"Come and see me day after to-morrow." In compliance 
with his request I went out to Munson's Hill to visit the regi- 
ment, and before night was mustered as captain, and assigned 
to the command of Company B. 

The duty was very pleasant. I was in command of the 
regiment a few days during the absence of Colonel Rice and 
Captain Hume, and was two weeks on courts-martial detail. 
June 30 the regiment was mustered out of service, and left 
for Massachusetts, arriving at Readville July 3. We were 


invited to take part in the parade in Boston July 4, and 
Colonel Rice was quite anxious that we should. After we 
went to our quarters for dinner Colonel Rice was called to 
Boston. Nearly all the officers had business there, and when 
we boarded the train found the men taken the same way. 
The colonel did not blame them, and said it was all right if 
we would report at 9 a.m. the next day at the Providence 
depot. All promised. I did not expect they would come 
but went to the station at the hour named. I found Colonel 
Rice and one private. We waited a while, but no more 
reported, and as we three would not make much of a show, 
concluded to give it up. 

July 20 we assembled at Readville for final pay. The men 
returned to their homes and took up the duties of citizens 
which they had laid down to become soldiers, — and the 19th 
Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers became a thing of the 

The regiment had been frequently complimented by its 
superior officers for soldierly conduct, and the following 
General Orders will show the opinion in which we were 
held : — 

Headquarters 2d Army Corps, July 23, 1862. 
General Order No. 21. 

The general commanding would hereby announce to this corps d'armee 
the fjne appearance on the review to-day of the 19th Massachusetts and 
1st Minnesota regiments. The condition of these regiments is an honor 
to their States, and reflects great credit upon their commanders. 

By command of 

Major-General Sumner, 
Official. L, Kip, A. D. C. and A. A. O. 

W. D. Sedgwick, A. A O. 


Headquarters 2d Division, 2d Corps, 

Edward's Ferry, Va., June 26, 1863. 
General Order No. 105. 

The 15th and 19th Massachusetts Volunteers, for marching to-day in 
the best and most compact order, and with the least straggling from 
their ranks, are excused from all picket duty and outside details for four 

By command of 

Brigadier General Gibbons. 

Of the thirty-seven commissioned officers who left Massa- 
chusetts with the regiment in 1861 only one returned, — 
Col. Edmund Rice, who went out as captain and came home 
colonel commanding the regiment. 

Fourteen officers and two hundred fifty men were either 
killed or died of wounds received in action, and four hun- 
dred forty-nine were discharged for disability, occasioned by 
wounds or disease contracted in the service. 

In no better way can I close my story than by quoting 
from the 1865 report of Adjutant-General Schouler : — 

" No regiment has had a more eventful history, or has fought more, 
fought better, or performed its duties with more promptitude and alacrity. 
During its existence the regiment has been engaged in forty-five battles 
and skirmishes, in six of which it has lost from one-third to five-sixths 
of its men. It has captured and turned over to the War Department 
seven stands of colors (1st Texas, 14th, 19th, 53d, and 57th Virginia, 
12th South Carolina and 47th North Carolina) and six pieces of artillery. 
When it is said that the regiment has been characterized by the most 
kindly and brotherly feeling, the best discipline and alacrious obedience 
in all ranks, that it has been frequently commended and never censured 
by its superior commanders — the story is done." 

n^t 178 


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