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Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1864, by 

in the Clerk s Office of the District Court of Rhode Island. 



A long preface is seldom read, and this shall be brief. It is 
right that the reader should know how the following letters came 
to be in print. The responsibility of the deed is less with the 
author than with many partial friends. They were written amid 
camp scenes and on the march, under circumstances unfavorable to 
literary composition, and were intended for private perusal alone. 
Portions of them appeared in the Providence Journal, and were 
received with a favor alike unexpected and gratifying. Numerous 
requests having been made that they should be gathered up as a 
Rhode Island contribution to the history of the War of the Re 
bellion, the author, with unaffected distrust of himself, has yielded 
to the judgment of others. At first, he designed to recast his 
correspondence, and give it the graver form of historic narrative, 
but time forbidding, he has exscinded unessential portions, added 
to it from parts "contraband" to the public at their date, and in 
notes drawn from official and other reliable sources, has given 
particulars of movements of which he was not an eye-witness. In 
the introduction is noted some points of great importance, viewed 
in their relations to subsequent events. In the Appendix will be 
found sketches of the Rhode Island infantry and cavalry regiments 
and batteries, besides other information that may hereafter be con 
venient for reference. The author has labored under the disad- 



vantage of being unable to examine the sheets of his work until 
after they had passed through the press. Had it been otherwise, 
he might have pruned with more severity. 

To General Edward C. Mauran grateful acknowledgments are 
due, for his courtesy in giving free access to the records of his 
office. Thanks are also tendered to Hon. John R. Bartlett, Rev. 
Dr. Barnas Sears, President of Brown University, Colonel William 
Goddard, Professor William Gammell, Rev. A. H. Clapp, Captain 
William E. Hamlin, United States Provost Marshal for the First 
Rhode Island Congressional District, and to officers of the army, 
for valuable materials furnished. 

While the aim has been to show the honorable position of the 
State in an unhappy war, it has also been the design to present 
a comprehensive view of the consecutive campaigns of the Army 
of the Potomac, with the fortunes of which several of the Rhode 
Island regiments and most of the batteries have, for longer or 
shorter periods, been identified. 

E. W. S. 


R. I. L. Artillery, November, 1863. $ 



Annandale, 37. 

Alexandria, 38. 

Andrew Sharpshooters, 61. 

Army withdrawn from the Penin 
sula, 130. 

Army, strength of, 132. 

Ambulance Corps, 160, 165. 

After the Battle, 153. 

Arnold, Capt. Richard, 83. 

Arnold, Capt. William A. 188, 239. 

Arnold, Col. Job, 322, 330. 

Arnold, Hon. Samuel G, (see Intro 
duction,) 284. 

Acquia Creek, 198. 

Averill, Gen. 213, 240. 

Allotment Commissioner, 226. 

Allen, Lieut. C. wounded, 239; pro 
moted to command of Battery H. 
[See Appendix ] 

Adams, Capt. Geo. W. 239. 

Appendix, containing sketches of 
the Rhode Island Regiments of 
Infantry and Cavalry, and Batte 
ries of Light Artillery; together 
with other matter of interest, 283. 


Battery A, 114, 188, 239, 266. [See 

Battery B, 114, 188, 240, 266. [See 

Battery C, 2, 7, 18, 22, 84, 93, 139, 
159; fires the first gun at York- 
town, 45, 240, 259, 260; marches 
to Gettysburg, 261, 266, 276. 
[See Appendix.] 


Battery D, R. I. L. Art. 17, 188. 
Battery E, 58, 81, 114, 115, 142, 188, 

238, 266. [See Appendix.] 
Battery F, 38. [See Appendix.] 
Battery G, 56, 58. 100, 188, 239,266. 

[See Appendix.] 
Battle of Bull Run, 140. 
Antietam, 146. 
South Mountain, 152. 
Fredericksburg, 183. 
Chancellors vi lie, 228. 
Gettysburg, 264. 
Butterfield, Gen. 268. 
Barnes, Gen. 268. 
Blanding, Colonel Christopher, 297- 


Bucktail Sharpshooters, 12. 
Burnside, Gen. 132,328; expedition, 
27, 149, 152; assumes command 
of Army of the Potomac, 177, 178; 
at Fredericksburg, 183, 197, 198; 
his second plan, 202; is relieved; 
takes a new command, 208. 
Bethel, Great, 45 
Berdan s Sharpshooters, 46, 60. 
Buckley, Lieut. 57, 74, 92. 105, 112, 

113, 188. 

Bartlett, Capt. 56. 
Bloodgood, Lieut. 188. 
Bufford, Gen. 240, 268. 
Bucklyn, Lieut. John K., wounded, 


Battle of Williamsburg, 79. 
" " West Point, 83. 
" " Hanover Court House, 94. 
" " New Bridge, 90. 
" " Fair Oaks, 97. 



Battle of Five Oaks, 110. 
" " Mechanicsville, 111. 
" " Gaines s Mill, 112. 
" " Malvern Hill, 115. 
" " Chantilly, 142. 

Black, Col. 62d Penn. 73; killed, 113. 

Burges, Col. Tristam, wounded, 80. 

Bathing, 90, 101. 

Branch, Gen. 93. 

Bitterness of Rebel Women, 105. 

Boxes accumulated at Washington, 

Bowditch, Dr. Henry I. Plea for 
Ambulance System, 161. 

Brewster, Col. \V. R. 74 

Brown, John, 157, 174. 

Bissell, Col. 66. 

Babbitt, Major, Jacob, wounded, 

Browne, Col. George H. 187. [See 
12th regiment, Appendix.] 

Bayard, Gen. killed, 191 

Bliss, Col. at Fredericksburg, 187; 
commands 7th R. I. 327. 

Birney, Gen. 188, 231. 

Bates, Lieut, wounded, 235, 

Bradford, Lieut. 235. 

Brown, Lieut. T. F. 240. 

Brown, Col. Nathaniel, death of, 300. 

Berry, Gen. Hiram G. killed, 242. 

Balloon excursion, 50, 69. 

Bartlett, Secretary J. R. [See In 


Christmas in Secessia, 14, 193. 

Curtin, Gov. 17. 

Cummings, Rev. Silas S. 304. 

Curtis, Lieut, Colonel, killed, 313. 

Cameron, Secretary, 17. 

Centreville, works at, 33. 

Campaign, original plan of, 39; ap 
proved by the President, ?9. 

Camps, arrangements of, 243. 

Camp Winfield Scott, 51. 

California Joe, 65, 101. 

Contrabands, 69, 101. 

Clark, Lieut. 74, 105, 113, 

Cumberland Landing, 83. 

Colored Population, 87. 

Clay, Henry, birth place of, 95. 

Casey, Gen. 98; his vindication, 101. 

Cass, Col. wounded, 118. 

Camp Randolph, march from, 145. 

Coffin, Mr. diagram prepared by, 
147, 150. 

Curtis, Col. killed, 187. 

Caldwell, Gen. wounded, 191. 

Couch, Gen. succeeds Sumner, 209, 

Contrast between the North and 

South, 237. 
Chittendcn, Mrs. 219. 
Clendenin, Col. 253. 
Clark, Bishop, T, M. Speech of, 284, 


Church, Capt. Bcnj. killed, 298. 
Clapp, Rev. A. H. 297. [See 10th 

Regiment in Appendix.] 
Conclusion, 278-282. 


Drainsville, Battle of, 12, 17. 

Donelson and Fort Henry taken, 23. 

Davis, Jeff, inaugurated, 31, 85. 

" misstatements of, 109, 216. 

Dyer, Ex Gov. Elisha, 337, 341. 

Disappointed feeling, 135. 

Devens, Gen. 80, 135. 

Dana, Gen. wounded, 154. 

Douglass, Rev. Mr. seized, 173. 

Doubleday, Gen. 186, 264, 268. 

Douglas, Capt. William W. 321, 324. 

Duffle, Col. 214. [See 1st R. I. Cav 
alry, Appendix.] 

Delilah, a modern, 214. 

Dennison, Rev. C. [See 1st R. I. 
Cavalry, Appendix.] 


Easton s Battery, 17. 
Embarkation for Peninsula, 40. 
Ellis, Dr. Thomas T. 1 19. 
Embalming House, 128. 
Expedition, Burnside, 307. 


Falls Church, 7. 

Foraging Expedition, 23, 24. 

Faulkner s Opinion, 29. 

Floyd and Pillow, 28. 

Fairfax Court House, 35. 

Fortress Monroe, 42. 

Federal and Rebel losses, 121, 154, 

157, 186, 187, 192. 
Flies, a torment, 129. 
Franklin, Gen. 83. 
Ferris, Capt, Frank, 72. 
Fales, Mrs. J. T. 221, 
Fales, Corporal, H. B. death of, 222. 
Fogliardi, Gen. 226. 
Fiske, Lieut. 231. 
Flyer, Corporal, 236. 
Furloughs, form of, 247. 
French, Gen. sword presented to, 




Funkstown, 276. 

Field, Rev. Samuel W. Sec sketch 

12th regiment. 

Flanders, Rev. A. B. 304, 315. 
Flair presentation at Newborn, 310, 



General Assembly, thanks to Col. 

Sisson, 325; presentation to, 32(3. 
Goddard, Col. William, 288. [See 

Greene, Captain Joe, and his bugle, 

38, 306, 321. 
Guns, Meditations on 18; new do., 

27, 159. 

Griffin s Battery, 28. 
Gove, Col. enters Yorktown, 73; 

killed, 113. 

Griffin, Capt. 3, 46, 94, 116. 
Gaines, Dr. a Secessionist, 105. 
Gibbon, Gen. wounded, 191, 268. 
Greenbacks, 226. 
German Regiments, break of, 231, 


Gettysburg, description of, 264. 
Graham, Gen. 2G8. 
Great Britain, conduct of, 279- 
Goff, jr., Col. Nathan, 289, 292, 293. 
Gould, Rev. J. B. llth R. I. [See 



Hall, Rev. Edward H. 324. 

Health of the Armv, 26, 103, 127. 

Hodges, Lt. G. F. death of, 25. 

Hampton, 44. 

Heintzelman, Gen. opinion of, 53, 

Hooker, Gen. 77; opinion of, 53; 
wounded, 154; at Fredericksburg, 
187, 190, 197,210, 215, 231, 259. 

Hazard, Capt. Jeffrey. [See bat 
teries A and H, in Appendix.] 

Hunt, Sergeant, horse shot, 116, 

Hospital stores, 108, 

Ham, George W. Jr., wounded, 114. 

Harrison s Landing, 127. 

Harrison s, Benjamin, Will, 128. 

Hal leek, Gen. visit of, 131. 

Harper s Ferry, loss of, 157. 

Howard, Gen. 187, 229, 268. 

Humphreys, Gen. 187, 

Hazard, Capt. John G. 188. 232, 
240, 266. [See battery B, App.] 

Hoof rot, 182. 

Hanna, Sergeant, killed, 240. 

Howe, Gen., Festivity at camp of, 

Hunt, Gen. 268. 

Hall, Rev. E. B. speech of, 258. 


Infernal Machines at Yorktown, 75. 

Ives, Lieut. Robert Hale mortally 
wounded. 150. 

Ives, Captain T. P. [See Introduc 

Is that Mother? 211. 

Illinois Cavalry, 253. 

Invasion of Pennsylvania, 2-3G. 


Jameson, Major T. C. 321, 325. 
Johnson, Lieut. D. 324. 
Joinville, Prince opinion of, 52. 
Jackson, Gen. killed, 191 
Jillson Mrs. 219. 
Jenkcus, Charles wounded, 240. 
Jcncks, Major Henry C. 236. 
Jastram, Lieut. Pardon S. 238: 
Jackson, Gen. Stonewall mortally 
wounded, 242. 

Kidd s Mills, 90. 

Kearney, Gen. 79, 99, 140; killed, 


Kane, Col. wounded, 12. 
Keyes, Gen. 79, 82. 
Kimball, Gen. 191. 
Kelley, Lieut. Benjamin E. death 

of, 239. 

Kelly, Corp. 236. 
Kitchen, reform of, 249. 
Kearny Cross, 252. 
Kilpatrick, Gen. 268. 
Kniffht, Paymaster Gen. Jabez C. 


Lander, Gen. death of, 36. 

Letters from Home, 66. 

Lee Gen. 87. 

Lee Gen. Wife of, 91; Invasion of 
Maryland, 15(5; Escapes into Vir 
ginia, 155, 237; Falsehoods, 275. 

Lincoln, President, Visit, 126, 167, 
191, 223. 

Life in Camp, 181, 

Lowe, Prof. 190. 

Leave of absence, 215. 

Lee, Lieut. 231, 


Mauran, Gen. E. C. 310. 
McCali s command, 12, 125. 



McClellan, Gen. 13, 30,32, 33, 36, 50, 
91 ; narrow escape of, 8-1 ; general 
order of, 99 ; his line of moyement, 
171; relieved of his command, 
177; general order of, 121; in 
vested with Pope s command, 143. 

Michigan 4th Vol., 13. 

Mementos from Home, 21. 

Martindale, Gen. 28. 

Manassas evacuated, 33, 30. 

Magruder, Gen. 34. 

Mount Vernon, 41. 

Monitor, The, 42. 

Magruder s evacuation of Yorktown 
not voluntary, 74; Retreat from 
Williamsburg, 81. 

Moies, Frederick T. killed, 240. 

Merrimac, destruction of, 85. 

McQuade, Col. 92, 93, 118. 

Martin, Capt. 94. 

Marshall, Col. and Secesh Sympa 
thizer, 107. 

McDowell, Gen. 132. 

Morell, Gen. 93, 135, 144. 

Mails, 144, 

Meagher, Gen. wounded, 154, 191. 

Mansfield, Gen. killed, 154. 

Munroe, Captain, 3. 

Miles, Col. 155 ; Surrenders Har 
per s Ferry, 175. 

Mcade, Gen. at Antietam, 149, 150 ; 
at Fredericksburg, 186, 197, 229 ; 
succeeds Gen. Hooker, 261 ; at 
Gettysburg, 265. 

Milne, Lieut., 188 ; wounded, 206; 

Mud is King, 209. 

Marye s Heights, storming of, 232. 

May, Patrick J. 240. 

Meridcth, Gen. 268. 

Metcalf, Edwin Major, 298, 299. 

Mason, Lieut. Charles F. [See bat 
teries A and H, in Appendix.] 

Monroe, Lt. Col. J. A. [See sketch 
Battery D, in Appendix.] 


News from England, 11. 
New Year, 22, 194. 
Newell, Dr. taken prisoner, 114. 
Napoleon s method, 106. 
Newton, Gen. 232, 235. 
Nichols Sergt. 235. 

Owen, Capt. Charles D. 56, 58, 100, 


Old Church, 96. 
Officers, how to distinguish, 248. 


Palmer, Gen. 324. 

Pell, Lieut. Duncan C. 317, 320. 

Pierce, Lieut. Henry R. killed, 319. 

Providence Journal, 2. 

Porter, Gen. Fitz John 5, 13. 141 ; 

relieved of his command, 182; 

balloon excursion, 50, 69. 
Pierpont s E. Pluribus Unum, 15. 
Plan of operations, 39. 
Picket duty, 48. 

Picket firing discountenanced, 58. 
Picket anecdote of 59, 196, 224, 252. 
Pensions, 67. 
Paymasters, 66. 
Pope, Gen. 132, 136. 
Pontoon Bridges, 130. 
Prim, General visits the army, 109. 
Pleasanton, Gen, pursues Stuart, 

169, 2C8. 

Patrick, Provost Marshal, Gen. 213. 
Prentiss, Sergt. Edmund F. 236. 
Paul Gen. killed, 268, 

Quinn, Rev. Thomas 296, 297. 


Rodman, William M. 287. [See 

sketch llth Regiment, Appendix.] 
Root, Rev. N. W. T. [See sketch 

9th regiment, Appendix.] 
Rhode Island Troops in Virginia, 3. 
Review at Bailey s Cross Roads, 3. 
Reconnoissance to Hunter s Mill, 10. 
Rebel strength, 25. 

pursued from Yorktown, 75. 

" mementos, 35. 

" falsehoods, 274. 
Regiment,4th R.I.,38; Sketch of,303. 
Regiment, 2d R. I., 61, 75, 82, 89, 

111, 135, 142, 172, 228, 235, 240, 

26 ~>; Sketch of, 288. 
Regiment, Mass. 22d, 67. 

" 1st and llth, 69. 
" 4th Michigan, 90. 
Reynolds, Col, 48. 
Raymond, Hon. Henry R. opinion 

of, 52. 
Randolph, Capt. Geo. E. 58, 81, 114, 

115, 142. 188, 231. 
Randolph, Lieut. Richard K. 72. 
Rebel Sharpshooters, 71; losses, 191. 
Reno, Gen. 137; killed, 152. 
Rodman, Gen. mortally wounded, 


Reflections on the War, 165. 
Read, Capt. Ill; Lieut. Col. 236. 


Rice, Lieut, wounded, 111. 
Rogers, Col. Horatio, 235, 265, 293. 
Reynolds, Gen. taken prisoner, 113; 

at Fredericksburg, 188, 210, 228; 

mortally wounded, 264. 
Rich, Lieut. 276. 
Rectorstown, 277. 
Russell, Lord John, Speech of, 281. 


Stables built, 9. 

Sham Fights, 13. 

Signal Corps, 22. 

Spies, 25 

Stonernan s Reconnoissances, 37, 
75; Drives in Rebel Pickets, 86; 
at Fredericksburg, 186, 240. 

Smith s Division, 44, 186. 

Sprague, Gov. 48; account of pur 
suit of Rebels, 76; congratulates 
Gen. Burnside, 179; [for other 
particulars, see Introduction.] 

Scars, Lieut. Edward, 50. 

Skirmishes, 58, 59. 

Scenery on the Peninsula, 67, 87. 

Secesh News-boys 108; Souvenir. 

Sigel, Gen. 137. 

Stevens, Gen. killed, 142. 

Scenes at Antietam, 152, 155,, 159, 176. 

Sumner, Gen. 77. 147; at Freder 
icksburg, 184, 186; death of 20S. 

Sisson, Col. Henry T. 322, 323. 

Stone, Edwin M. 287. 

Steere, Col. W. H. P. wounded, 150, 

Slocum, Col. John, killed, 288. 

Smith, Gov. James Y. [See Intro 

Soldier s Home. [See Appendix.] 

Sedgwick, Gen. wounded, 154, 228, 

Sanitary Commission, 220, 270. 

Scars, Capt. Wm. B. 62, 111, 237, 

Stanley, Capt. wounded, 111. 

Stuart s Raid, 106, 214. 

Sackett, Lieut. 167, 231, 210. 

Snickersville, 176. 

Sayles, Col. Welcome B. killed, 187 

Soldiers Rest, 217. 

Sanitary condition of the Army, 219. 

St. Patrick s Day, 223. 

Sickles, Gen. 228, 22 , 268. 

Slocum. Gen. 229, 268. 

Shurz, Gen. 231, 268. 

Shaw, Capt. John P. 236. 

Sick and wounded sent to Washing 
ton, 259. 

Schell, Dr. 170 

Shired, Gen. killed, 268. 

Shaw, Col. James, 10th and llth 
R. I. [Appendix.] 


Tents, Sibley, 1, 246; shelter, 246. 

Thanksgiving, 2. 

Tyler, John, 44. 

Tompkins, Col. Charles II. 187, 237, 

Tyler. Gen. wounded, 191. 

Turner, Capt. 236. 

Torslow, Lieut. 0. L. wounded, 239. 

Tew, Lieut. Col. G. W. 315, 322, 325, 

Tillinghast, Capt. Charles, killed, 

Tompkins, Major. [See sketch bat 
tery A, in Apendix.] 


Virginia "Weather, 8. 

" Mud, 23. 
Vermont Regiment. 55. 
Viall, Col. Nelson, 186, 293. UthR.I. 
Vinton, Gen. wounded, 191. 


Wise and Tyler, views of 19. 
Washington s Birthday, 31. 
Winthro"p,Col.Theodore, death of,45. 
Weeden, Capt. Wm. B. 3, 9, 74, 112. 
Waterman, Lieut, and Capt. 57, 71, 

105, 113, 116, 159, 189, 231, 210. 
Wentworth, Capt. Lewis E. 61. 

" Sharpshooters, 60, 71. 
Warwick Court House, 68. 
Wells, Lieut. Col. 73. 
Wheaton, Col. Frank, 80; Genera!, 

185, 186, 235, 292. 
White House. 87; evacuated, 124. 
Woodbury, Col. 90, 91; killed, 118. 
Warren, Col. 91, 92; Gen. wounded, 

Wounded left at Savage s Station, 


Webster, Col. Fletcher, killed, 142. 
Whiting, Lieut. Leonard, wounded, 


Warner, Lieut, wounded, 111. 
Washington, Birth Day of 31. 
Wanderings, ISO. 
Washington, N. C, relieved, 323. 
White, Rev. Henry S. [See sketch 

5th regiment. Appendix.] 



Warrenton, 177. 

Weed, Capt. 232; Gen, killed, 268. 

Wads worth, Gen. 268. 

Way land, Rev. H. L. 300. 

Wobdbury, Rev. A. 283. 


Yorktown, ball opened at, 45; he- 
sieged, 62; evacuated, 73; fortifi 
cations of, 74; letter left at, for 
Gen. McClellan, 75. 

Young, Capt. 235. 


Page 27, for " 12-pounders," read " 10-pounders." 

Page 46, first line, for " right," read " left." 

Page 46, second line, for " execution on our left/ read " still further on 
the left of Griffin s." 

Page 112, sixth line from bottom, for " corps," read " division." 

Page 113, eighth line from bottom, for " Bucklin s," read "Buckley s." 

Page 115, seventh and eighth lines from bottom, omit " under the tem 
porary command of Col. Nelson Viall." Col. V. took temporary com 
mand of the Mass. 10th at a subsequent date. 

Page 116, third line from top, for " Lieut. Waterman/ read " Capt. 
Wceden." Lieut. Waterman had command of battery C. Allen s Mass, 
battery was under the supervision of Capt. Weeden. 

Page 116, fifteenth line from top, for "42-pounder," read "32-pounder." 

Page 159, eleventh line from top, for " Martindale s brigade," read 
" Griffin s brigade." 

Page 159, third line from bottom, for "12-pounder," read "10-pounder." 

Page 166, third line from bottom, for " Martindale s brigade read "Grif 
fin s brigade. 

Page 188. eighth line from bottom, for "18-ponnders," read "12-pound 

Page 297, bottom line, bombardment of Fort Pulaski, should read 
"April 10th and llth." 

Page 295, Major George Metcalf was commissioned in November, 1863. 


The strangest occurrence of the Nineteenth Century is 
the attempt commenced, in 1861, to break up our national 
Union, and to establish, within its limits, a new nation upon 
the basis of Slavery. Without stopping to discuss the con 
stitutional rights of that institution, or the right or the wrong 
of its presence on the North American Continent, it is a 
marvel scarcely less than that excited by the toleration of its 
iniquities for eighty-five years, that those who lived in the 
midst of its immoralities, witnessed daily its inhumanities, and 
saw, as they must, its antagonism to the purity of social life, 
and its dangerous nature as an element of State policy, should 
desire not merely its perpetuation, but its extension over re 
gions still free from its blight. Yet such appears the fact, 
however unaccountable on purely moral grounds. By the 
natural growth of public opinion adverse to the chattel idea, 
and the power imparted to free labor by the agency of educa 
tion, the friends of slavery saw their cherished system losing 
its controlling influence ; and though, as its candid supporters 
frankly confessed, there was no just ground for complaint 
against the Free States on the score of unconstitutional ag 
gression, yet, with suicidal fanaticism, the supporters of slavery 
resorted to every measure short of personal violence, and in 
some instances including that, to regain lost prestige and to 
ensure success to their favorite idea of expansion. 


The framers of the Constitution, representing the South, 
were alive to the evils of slayery, and sincerely wished its 
abolition. The opinions of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, 
and other leading statesmen of the Slave States, are too well 
known to require repetition. They saw the necessity of union 
on some common ground, and if they adopted the National 
Compact with the clause touching involuntary servitude less 
clear, as to its real meaning, than is now seen to have been de 
sirable, they honestly believed that the institution, which was 
an abiding contradiction of the declaration of human rights 
which has so long formed the staple of national boasting, was 
011 the high road to its grave. They believed in the Union as 
an inviolable contract, and never dreamed that it could be 
cancelled except by the consent of every State party to it. 
13 ut it now appears that there were those who privately held 
different views, and though they entered the Union with ap 
parent sincerity, they did so really from considerations of tem 
porary safety, but with the concealed purpose of leaving it, 
whenever, in their judgment, sectional interests could be sub 
served thereby. Of this class was Robert H. Lee, of Virginia, 
grandfather of the present commander-in-chief of the rebel 
army. In a letter written April 5th, 1800, and recently 
brought to light, he develops this design. " I confess," he 
says, " that I feel myself often chagrined by the taunts against 
the ancient dominion, but disunion, at this time, would be the 
worst of calamities. The Southern States are too weak at pres 
ent to stand by themselves, and a general government will cer 
tainly be advantageous to us, as it produces no other effect 
than protection from hostilities and uniform commercial regu 
lations. And when we shall attain our natural degree of pop 
ulation, J flatter myself that we shall have the power to do our 
selves justice with dissolving the bond which hinds us together. 
It is better to put up with these little inconveniences than to 
run the hazard of greater calamities." 

This letter shows the early existence of an intention to se- 


cede, on the part of the slavery propagandists, when the Union 
should no longer serve their exclusive purpose, a fact charged 
upon them by Mr. Benton, in his Thirty Years Recollections. 
It is also a key to the mystery of Nullification, in 1832, and 
of the strange and startling declarations, made in the beginning 
of 1861, that the President elect would never be permitted to 
reach Washington alive, or if he did, would not be suffered to 
be inaugurated. The time had now arrived for decisive meas 
ures on the part of the disunion leaders. By the legislation of 
many years, the Southern harbors had been strongly fortified, 
custom houses and arsenals built, mints established, and other 
advantages obtained, necessary to the strength and convenience 
of a new nation, and it only remained to see that the unreason 
able demands of a disloyal minority were yielded to by a loyal 
majority, or to declare themselves out of the family of States. 
The latter were true to constitutional obligations, and the for 
mer, ill-advisedly for themselves, seized upon the alternative. 
When the threats to do this were first made, the Free States 
were incredulous. The heated declarations, in Congress and 
out of it, were viewed as ebullitions of passion that would soon 
exhaust themselves, and all become quiet again. But in this 
they were mistaken. The mask of a generation was partially 
removed ; and as Mason and Breckenridge boldly talked trea 
son on the floor of the United States Senate, the country, for 
the first time, became seriously alarmed at the threatened rup 
ture. The Free States had cultivated the arts of peace. The 
North loved the Union with a devotion deepened by a remem 
brance of the costly sacrifice at which it had been attained. 
Detesting the spirit that bold and reckless demagogues had 
exhibited, deploring the animosity they were exciting among 
their constituents against a law-abiding people, and shrinking 
from the calamities of civil war, the friends of the Union in the 
Free States readily favored the request of the State of Vir 
ginia, for a Convention of Commissioners " to confer upon the 
best mode of adjusting the unhappy differences then disturbing 


the peace of the country. In the spirit of conciliation, Rhode 
I -land concurred in this request, and on the 30th January, 
1861, the General Assembly, by joint resolution, authorized 
the Governor to appoint Commissioners to represent the State 
in a Convention at Washington. The appointees were Hon. 
Samuel Ames, Alexander Duncan, Esq., and Hon. William 
W. Hoppin, of Providence ; George H. Browne, Esq., of 
Gloucester, and Hon. Samuel G. Arnold, of Middletown. 

The Convention met on the 4th of February. Twenty-one 
States were represented ; John Tyler, of Virginia, presided, 
and the Conference continued until the 27th of February, 
when, after a free and full discussion, a series of peace propo 
sitions were adopted, and referred to Congress for such action, 
as in the premises and under the circumstances, that body 
might deem advisable. The plan was, substantially, to guar 
antee to the Slave States the rights they had always, under the 
Constitution, enjoyed south of 3G 30 of north latitude, but 
prohibiting forever the extension of slavery in territory north 
of that line where it did not then exist. No slave territory 
was to be acquired except by discovery, or for naval and com 
mercial stations, depots and transit routes, without the concur 
rence of a majority of all the Senators from States which nllow 
Involuntary servitude, and a majority of all the Senators from 
States which prohibit the relation. Slavery was to be abol 
ished in the District of Columbia only with the consent of 
Mary land. Congress was to pass laws preventing the impor 
tation of Coolies or persons held to service or labor into the 
-United States and the territories, from places beyond the limits 
thereof; and in all cases where the United States Marshal was 
prevented, by violence or intimidation, returning fugitives from 
labor, the government was to pay their full value to owners 
from whom they had escaped. The slave trade was to be 
abol ished fore v er. 

These propositions, as a peace measure, failed to obtain the 
action of the national legislature. They were finally laid on 


the table, and with the, close of the Thirty-sixth Congress, they 

The position of the Rhode Island delegation was one of 
delicacy and difficulty. Opinions at home were somewhat di 
vided as to what should be done, and in the Convention they 
found extreme views prevailing. The President of the Con 
vention, as afterwards appeared, was secretly committed to 
secession, and indirectly gave the weight of his influence in 
that direction, while Mr. Secldon, a representative from Vir 
ginia, openly avowed the doctrine. But keeping in view the 
declared purpose for which they were assembled, and looking 
at things as they then appeared, rather than as they appeared 
at a subsequent day, they went into the Convention as paciii- 
cators, with minds open to receive whatever light discussion 
might reflect, and resolved, by fair and honorable means, to do 
what could be done to restore the harmony of the States, and 
plant their future upon a basis that faction could never again 
disturb. But this was not easy. The delegates secretly de 
voted to a rupture, were constantly insisting upon what could 
not conscientiously, or upon any ground of justifiable expe 
diency, be granted. The delegates from the bo:der States, 
who knew more of the impending evil than they chose to ro- 
veal, pleaded for something to be done that would save them 
from a yawning gulf. The position finally taken by the Rhode 
Island delegates, received the concurrence of Ohio, Pennsyl 
vania, and nearly one-half of New York, together with New 
Jersey and some others. In their report to the General As 
sembly, of their perplexing labors, they say : " It will be found, 
upon an inspection of the Journal of the late Conference of 
Commissioners, that the undersigned voted against many pro 
positions in themselves just and expressive of their sentiments 
and yours, because inopportune and useless ; and against others 
because introduced for the very purpose of sowing dissention 
among the Commissioners, and to prevent agreement, by ma 
jority, upon anything. In this they must ask your candid con- 


struetion of their conduct, looking to the crisis, the occasion, the 
purpose and effect of the matter upon which they were called 
to act ; and their unwillingness to hazard an agreement upon 
that deemed by them unnecessary, by tacking to it that, which, 
however true, was at least useless, and might in the result be 

It is not the intention here to discuss the merits of the plan 
adopted by the Convention, or to enter upon a critical exami 
nation of the general course of debate. This is the more ap 
propriate province of the historian of that body, and who, with 
full knowledge of the circumstances under which it met, and 
from a careful analysis of the varied measures urged, will be 
enabled to treat the subject impartially. The acts of public 
bodies, like the movements of armies, are to be judged from 
the stand-point of their own time. The popular voice then was 
for conciliation, and the report of the Rhode Island delegates 
shows that, to ensure tranquility to the country, they were wil 
ling to make such concessions as could be made without com 
promising the character of the State. If the Convention failed 
of its declared object, that very failure was useful in preparing 
the public mind for measures that followed. 

The Peace Congress ended, President Lincoln inaugurated, 
and his administration organized, the loaders of a thwarted 
faction applied themselves diligently to their secession schemes. 
While Mr. Buchanan still occupied the Chair of State, the 
Country was painfully excited with rumors of a design to seize 
Washington, and, in view of possibilities, Governor Sprague 
promptly offered him the services of the Rhode Island militia 
for its protection. This offer the President saw fit to decline. 
Assurances of military support were also given to the Sec 
retary of War through Secretary Bartlett, as early as January 
12th, 1861. Thoroughly convinced that an eruption was 
about to take place, and that men for the protection of the 
Capital would be needed, Governor Sprague verbally in 
structed Major William Goddard to proceed to Wash- 


ington, and privately signify to General Scott, the readiness of 
Rhode Island to furnish troops for that purpose. The inc . < 
in the case place the State, through its Executive, in a proud 
position, and the occasion for secrecy having passed, they are 
now, for the iirst time, made public. Major Goddard pro 
ceeded with the utmost dispatch to Washington, on, or abor.t 
January 23d, 1861, and there received the following official 
communication : 


Providence, January 24th, 1861. 


Under the advice of Senator Anthony, put yourself in communi 
cation with Lieutenant General Scott, and say to him that Rhode 
Island has from 1600 to 2000 uniformed, well disciplined troops, hav-- 
ing, as you can inform the General, no superior in those qualifications 
which make good soldiers. Say that GOO to 700 are Riflemen, the bal 
ance Infantry, including 1 Battery Light Artillery, 6 guns, the latter 
in excellent state of equipment and efficiency, and of which you can 
speak more in detail. Say that these troops could be put in almost im 
mediate readiness for service, if intimation was given that all, or any 
part, would be wanted. Rhode Island would deem it a high honor, 
to be called upon to furnish her troops to aid in protecting the Con 
stitution and the laws, and the troops would obey, with alacrity, any 
orders to this end. The troops could also be put in readiness and 
moved, without the fact transpiring. 

Say, in conclusion, that this government would esteem it a great 
favor, if the General would intimate whether or not the services of 
the above would be accepted, and this without fear (that if required) 
it would be known. 

I am, &c., 

(Signed) WM. SPEAGUE. 

To Major Wm. Goddard, 

Willard s Hotel, 


D. C. 

In obedience to this order, Major Goddard, accompanied 
by Senator Anthony, at once waited upon General Scott, and 


was received by the veteran commander with that distinguished 
grace of manner which neither the infirmities of age, nor 
the anxieties of those days of darkness ever diminished. Upon 
reading the brief note, in which Governor Sprague commend 
ed Major Goddard to the General as an officer of the State of 
Rhode Island, possessed of his confidence, and sent to Wash 
ington upon a special mission, General Scott exclaimed, "I 
have no doubt that the patriotic Governor of loyal Rhode 
Island has sent you to me with a tender of troops for the sup 
port of the Government." Major Goddard then explained in 
detail the offer made by Governor Sprague, and commented 
upon the efficiency of the troops. General Scott said, "I wish 
I had those fellows ; I know the stuff they are made of. In the 
war of 181 2 I commanded all the New England troops, and 
I must say that for bravery, for resolute endurance of fatigue 
and privation, for steadiness under trials, for high personal 
character, in fact, for all the qualities which make a good sol 
dier, the soldiers of the regiment, composed chiefly of Rhode 
Island men, were the very best troops I commanded." This 
testimony of the first military commander of the age to the. 
superiority of Rhode Island troops, passed from that moment 
into the history of the State. 

General Scott adverted to the principle of etiquette, which 
demanded that an offer of this kind should be made to the 
Secretary of War rather than to him, and while he carefully 
avoided any expression of distrust in the honor and loyalty of 
his superiors in office, he made it manifest that he compre 
hended the reason why he was selected. Said he, "I have 
urged again and again, and in the most earnest manner, both 
verbally and in writing, upon the President and upon the Sec 
retary of War, that I might be permitted to concentrate here 
troops for the defence of the Capital, but I grieve to say, in 
vain. I have even this morning written to the President, 
that, with 1500 good troops, in addition to those now here, I 
would undertake to hold the Capital against any force that 


could probably be brought against it, at this time ; but, alas, 
I can make no impression upon him. The President, Sir, has 
a natural dread of blood-shed, and so have I. But, Sir, there 
are cases in which a little blood-letting is the best, the only 
remedy, and in my opinion this is one of those cases. I have 
thought that, taking into account the reluctance of the Presi 
dent to consent to the use of the militia of the States, he might 
be willing to accept the services of the New York 7th regi 
ment, which, having performed some services of a National 
character, might in some sense be regarded as a National regi 
ment, which could be used without exciting the prejudices of 
which both he and the Secretary of War seem in apprehen 
sion. But, in spite of all my solicitations, I meet with nothing 
but refusals. And here I am ! God knows how much I should 
desire the aid of your gallant troops, but I am powerless ! The 
inauguration day is fast approaching, and I have but a hand 
ful of troops. I am too old to mount my horse again, but I 
am determined, if God spares my life, to ride in the procession 
with Commodore Stewart ; and I think, Major, our grey hairs 
will be worth a thousand men" ! 

A report of this, and of subsequent interviews with General 
Scott upon this subject, was carefully prepared and forwarded 
to Governor Sprague by Major Goddard. It is worthy of 
note, that, while a traitorous Secretary of War, and a timid, 
indecisive President, forbade General Scott to adopt a sin 
gle extraordinary measure for the protection of the Capi 
tal, the military family of the General himself was com 
posed in part of traitors and spies. Lieutenant Colonel Lay, 
an Aide de Camp to the General, constantly strove to prevent 
Major Goddard from further communication with his Chief, 
and persistently endeavored to dissuade him from further at 
tempts to carry out his patriotic purpose. And when, a few 
weeks later, Major Goddard entered Washington with his 
noble regiment, under the gallant Burnside, and the battery 
attached to it, both of which he had on this occasion tendered 


to the Government, it was to find that Colonel Lay, after 
possessing himself of the plans of his General-in-Chief, had 
basely deserted to the enemy. 9 

The assault upon Fort Snrater, April 12th, 18G1. gave 
assurance that treason had taken an aggressive form, and the 
call of President Lincoln on the lath of April for three months 
troops, to aid in suppressing it, received from Rhode Island a 
cordial response. The alacrity with which the First Regiment 
of Infantry and a battery of Artillery was filled, attested to 
the soundness of the State. Hon. Samuel G. Arnold, Lieu 
tenant Governor elect, tendered his services to Governor 
Sprague as Aid de Camp, and as Lieutenant Colonel, took 
command of the Marine Artillery, Captain Charles II. Tomp- 
kins, (by whom it was organized,) which left Providence on the 
8th of April, and proceeded to Easton, Pa., where he issued a 
spirited order, counseling fidelity to the Constitution and the 
laws, and if need be, "a willing sacrifice upon the altar of our 

The Artillery remained in camp at Easton, ten days, per 
fecting its drill. It there exchanged its smooth bore guns for 
James rifled cannon. On the 2d of May it reached Washing 
ton, the first volunteer battery that entered the field, and the 
first battery of Rifled cannon ever in the service of the United 
States. It was mustered out of service August 6th. 

At a special session of the General Assembly, held in Au 
gust, 18G1, it was unanimously resolved, "That in the present 
crisis of our public affairs, there ought to be a full and sin 
cere union of all political parties in support of the constitu 
tionally elected government of the United States ; and that 
this General Assembly pledges to the President of the United 
States the best exertions of the government and people of 
Rhode Island, and its entire resources for the preservation of 
the Union." This resolution was forwarded to the President, 
and received the following acknowledgment : 



Washington, Sept. 5, 1861. > 

SIR : The government of the United States is indebted to the State 
of Rho:le Island for a very liberal share of the men and material, as 
well as of the skill and valor, which have sustained it thus far suc 
cessfully, against the unnatural and violent assaults of faction, which 
it has been called to encounter. 

The President directs me to express his sincere and profound thanks 
to the Governor, the Legislature, and the people of that patriotic 
State, for the support they have thus already afforded to the cause of 
the Union, and for the assurance of still farther and more effective 
support Avhich is given by the General Assembly, in the resolutions 
passed in August last, of which a copy has been transmitted to this 

The President feels assured that when, in after times, it shall be 
asked which of the thirty- four States was most loyal and most effec 
tive in saving our country from ruin in its present peril, the State of 
Rhode Island will have no fear that her traditional fame will suffer 
in the answer that shall be given. 

I have the honor to be your Excellency s obedient servant, 


To his Excellency WM. SPRAGUE, Governor of the State of Rhode 
Island, Providence. 

When the call for 75,000 men "was made, Ex-Governor 
Banks, afterwards Major General in the volunteer service, 
declared that for a speedy and effectual suppression of the rebel 
uprising, the call should have been for 700,000 ; and the his 
tory of events since show the correctness of his opinion. Scarce 
ly had the first regiment reached Washington, when the need 
of more men was perceived, and a second call was made. It 
was answered by Rhode Island with the spirit and promptitude 
of the first. The State was all astir, and every town wore the 
features of a military camp. In less than two weeks, the 2d regi 
ment was enlisted, organized, and embarked for the Seat of War. 
Then, as the signs of resistance thickened, the gigantic propor 
tions of the Rebellion gradually developed, and other calls for 
forces were from time to time made, the State, still faithful in her 
allegiance, continued her contributions of men. The Third 


regiment was quickly enlisted, and departed. The Fourth as 
quickly followed. Then came the Fifth and the Seventh ; 
then the Ninth and Tenth three months regiment ; then the 
Eleventh and Twelfth for nine months service ; and parallel 
with these came two regiments of cavalry and eight batteries 
of Light Artillery, ; so that at the close of 1863, Rhode Island 
had sent upwards of 1 6,000 men into the field. This is exclu 
sive of the 14th regiment, (colored,) and the 3d regiment of 
cavalry, which would swell the total to upwards of 18,000. 

l>ut to fairly represent the State in this contest with trea 
son, there should be added to the number composing the Rhode 
Island quotas, men equivalent to a maximum regiment of in 
fantry, enlisted in regiments of other States, and not less than 
one hundred officers serving in the regular army, the navy, 
and the volunteer regiments of different States, who are na 
tives of Rhode Island. Generals Casey, Arnold, Sherman, 
Greene, Wheaton, (Burnside a son by adoption,) Captain 
Samuel T. Gushing, of the Signal Corps, Lieutenant G. S. 
Green, identified with the glory of the old Monitor, Lieutenant 
Newcomb, lately deceased, Commander S. F. Hazard, and 
many more distinguished for bravery, are names that belong to 
the military history of the State.* 

In the Adjutant General and Quartermaster General De 
partments, the most unremitting activity was visible. To 
make the necessary arrangements for rapidly organizing and 
sending forward regiments of infantry and batteries of light 
artillery, and to clothe and equip them ready for service, in 
volved an immense amount of labor, as well as the most care 
ful pains-taking to ensure completeness ; and to the able ser 
vices of General Mauran, in the former, and of Generals 
Stead, Frieze and Cooke, successively, in the latter, the State is 
largely indebted for the reputation it has gained for system 
and efficiency. 

*Captain Robert H. I. Goddard, of Providence, was commissioned 
March llth, 1803, and is serving on General Burnside s staff. 


From the beginning of the rebellion to the close of his ad 
ministration, Governor Sprague devoted himself, with untiring 
zeal, to the support of the government and the interests of the 
Rhode Island troops. Nothing escaped his watchful eye, and 
nothing was left undone that could contribute to elevate and 
give power to State example. No Governor was so well 
known by reputation in the army of the Potomac, and the 
superior equipment of our men frequently called forth from the 
western soldiers admiring exclamations.* 

When the Southern Atlantic States, following the lead of 
South Carolina, entered, with others, into a confederacy look 
ing to nationality, it became apparent, that to cripple their 
energies and prevent a foreign recognition which they were 
bending all their efforts to secure, a close blo ckade would be 
absolutely necessary. " Stop the rat-holes," was General 
Scott s comprehensive theory ; but these were numerous on a 
coast stretching from Cape Charles to the Rio Grande, and 
required, at least, five times the naval force that could then be 
commanded. It was vastly easier to bring an army of G00,000 
men into the field than to create a navy of two hundred ves 
sels, for a pressing emergency ; and while the Navy Depart 
ment was exerting itself to the utmost to strengthen the naval 
arm, by purchasing and chartering steamers and sailing vessels, 
and by building at the yards, it gladly availed itself of patriotic 
offers made by wealthy citizens, of such marine aid as would 
hasten the completion of the blockade. 

In this prompt and generous support of the government, 
Rhode Island was handsomely represented in the person of a 
citizen of Providence. When the first call for troops was 
made in April, 1861, Captain Thomas P. Ives, son of the late 

* To meet the needs of the State Treasury in the emergency, and before 
definite arrangements were made with the Federal Government, A. & W. 
Sprague offered the loan of $100,000. The banks also made liberal ten 
ders of money. For these offers, the General Assembly passed votes of 


Moses B. Ives, was confined to his chamber by severe illness ; 
and when the First regiment left for Washington, had not suf 
ficiently recovered to show, by personally volunteering, the 
loyalty he cherished. lie had long cultivated nautical tastes, 
had been much at sea, and had attended to practical navigation. 
In the preceding autumn, he had built for himself a yacht of 
large size and unusual speed, and before he had sufficiently 
recovered to leave his room, he sent for the late General 
James and contracted with him to arm his yacht with the rifle 
cannon of his invention. So soon as he was able to be abroad, 
he offered his vessel and his personal services to the govern 
ment, in any way in which they could be employed. His offer 
was. accepted, and he was temporarily commissioned a Lieu 
tenant in the revenue service, and stationed, during the summer 
of 1861, in the Chesapeake Bay, below Baltimore, where he 
was engaged in repressing the contraband traffic, then very 
largely prosecuted in those waters. He won, during the sea 
son, frequent special approval of the successive commandants 
at Fort McIIenry. 

As the government drew its military lines more exactly, this 
kind of revenue service became unnecessary. Before, how 
ever, it was ended, Mr. Ives was invited by General Burn- 
side to accompany him in his expedition to North Carolina. 
He soon after received the proper commission from the AVar 
Department, and was made Captain of the expeditionary 
steamer Pickett, which bore the General and his staff to Hat- 
teras Inlet. The Pickett took a prominent part, as a gunboat, 
in most of the marine operations of General Burnside, especially 
at Roanoke Island, and in the approaches to Newbern. 

Early in the summer of 1862, the duty for which his boat 
was fitted being all accomplished, Captain Ives resigned his 
commission, and again offered his services to the government, 
still as before, upon the water, his favorite element. In Au 
gust of that year, he received a commission from the Navy 
Department, under the then recent act of Congress for the 


temporary increase of the Navy, and was soon assigned to the 
command of the gunboat Yankee, and attached to what is now 
styled the Potomac Flotilla. The sphere of his service, from 
that time to the present, has been on the waters of the Poto 
mac, Acquia Creek and the other streams tributary to the Po 
tomac. He has, in all stations, been distinguished for his 
nautical skill, his firmness in danger, and his fidelity to duty. 
Although his commission in the Navy is temporary, he has 
received several proofs of the confidence of the Department, 
and has been advanced to the post of fleet captain of the Po 
tomac Flotilla, a post which he filled with great credit to him 
self. In December, 18 63, he was detached from this command 
and assigned to duty in Providence, as Inspector of Ordnance, 
Captain Ives is thirty years of age. He succeeded his father 
as a member of the house of Messrs. Brown & Ives, of Provi 

During the process of organizing the army of the Potomac, 
the commander-in-chief was reported to have said, " This is to 
be largely an artillery war," and it is understood that he gave 
more than ordinary attention to increasing this arm of defence. 
With what rapidity that increase has progressed, few, perhaps, 
have an adequate idea, and it may awaken surprise, as well as 
indicate the strength of this department, to know, that since 
the first battle of Bull Run, the light artillery in the several 
armies has increased from a few batteries to upwards of two 
thousand guns. In this mass of power, Rhode Island is nobly 
represented. On the 1st of August, 1861, Hon. Simon Came 
ron, the then Secretary of War, authorized Governor Sprague 
to raise and equip a battalion of artillery, to consist of three 
batteries, one of which, Captain William II. Reynolds, was then 
in the field. Of this battalion, Captain Charles H. Tompkins 
was appointed Major, and proceeded at once to the work of 
organizing. Battery B, Captain Vaughan, and battery C, 
Captain Weeden, were soon organized under this order, and 
left for Washington. Volunteering for the artillery being so 


brisk, Governor Sprague asked for and obtained, just prior to 
the organization of battery C, an order to raise and equip two 
additional batteries, to be added to the battalion. The head 
quarters of the battalion were established at Camp Sprague, 
Washington ; and as rapidly as the organization of the batteries 
was completed they were sent there. The two batteries D, 
Captain Monroe, and E, Captain Randolph were rapidly or 
ganized ; and on the 13th of September, 1861, authority was 
granted by the War Department to raise three more, the eight 
to constitute a regiment, and be called the 1st Regiment Rhode 
Island Light Artillery. Of this regiment, Major Tompkins 
was appointed Colonel, and Captain Reynolds, Lieutenant 
Colonel. The former spent most of his time at Camp Sprague, 
in disciplining and drilling the batteries. Lieutenant Colonel 
Reynolds most of the time in Rhode Island, superintending the 
organization of new companies, and forwarding each to Wash 
ington as soon as their numbers were full. As rapidly as the 
batteries arrived at a passable state of drill and discipline, they 
were assigned by the military authorities to the different divi 
sions of the army of the Potomac. On the 1st of December, 
the regiment, with the exception of battery H, being all in the 
field, Colonel Tompkins was assigned to the division of Briga 
dier General C. P. Stone, then at Poolsville, and with which 
batteries A, B and G were serving. 

Throughout the Peninsula campaign of 1862, Colonel Tomp 
kins commanded the artillery of the second division, second 
corps, (Sedgwick s,) and was present at the siege of Yorktown, 
the battles of Fair Oaks, Peach Orchard, Golding s Farm, 
Savage s Station, Glendale, and the first and second of Mal- 
vern Hill. Upon the evacuation of Harrison s Landing, he was 
sent home to recruit for his regiment, which had become much 
reduced in numbers. He returned to the army in November, 
1862, and since then has participated, as mentioned in other 
parts of this volume, in the battles of Fredcricksbiirg, Decem 
ber 13th, 1862, and May 3d, 1863, Salem Chapel, Salem 


Heights and Gettysburg, besides several smaller encounters. 
In the " seven days " battles upon the Peninsula, no guns were 
lost from his command, nor a wounded man left behind. The 
wounded of each day were added to those of the day previous, 
and carried from hospital to hospital on the caissons, so that all 
reached Harrison s Landing. Colonel Tompkins has been 
favorably mentioned in the reports of his commanding officers, 
for bravery and efficiency in every action in which he has been 
engaged. He has been strongly recommended for promotion to 
Brigadier, and twice recommended for Brevet for gallant con 
duct in action. 

Lieutenant Colonel Reynolds was appointed to an important 
agency for the government, at Hilton Head, the duties of 
which he successfully and satisfactorily performed. He re 
signed his military commission, June 26th, 1862, and the ser 
vice lost a brave and accomplished officer, 

In December, 1862, Dr. Lloyd Morton, of Pawtucket, and 
Mrs. Charlotte Dailey, of Providence, were appointed a com 
mission to proceed to Washington, on a tour of hospital inspec 
tions, having in view the welfare of sick and wounded Rhode 
Island soldiers. Dr. Morton visited the 2d, 4th, 7th, llth and 
12th regiments of infantry, the 1st regiment of cavalry, a por 
tion of the regiment of light artillery, and twenty-one hospitals, 
besides the convalescent camps and the camps of distribution 
at Alexandria. Mrs. Dailey visited sixty-one hospitals. The 
examinations and inquiries were thorough, and the reports 
made by the commission to the General Assembly presented 
many interesting and important facts. 

But the humanity of the State did not expend itself solely 
through official agents. Individual sympathy found free flow 
through Ladies Relief Associations, organized in every town, 
or through personal communication with hospitals and camps. 
These spontaneous offerings of willing hearts and ready hands 
have already swelled to an aggregate intrinsic value of more 


than $200,000, but estimated by their influence upon the re 
cipients, having a value beyond computation.* 

Early in the rebellion, Executive attention was turned to 
the enlistment of colored troops. Out of New England, the 
employment of colored men as soldiers was an idea in advance 
of popular opinion. Prejudice frowned upon it, and pride de 
nounced it. In Rhode Island a more enlarged view obtained. 
In the war for Independence, the State had sent into the field 
a regiment d Afrique, which proved to be among the most 
efficient soldiers of the revolutionary army ; and if it was right 
to employ blacks in achieving a national existence, no sound 
logical reason could be assigned why their posterity should be 
debarred the privilege of defending the government under 
which they were enjoying freedom. "Whatever hostility might 
have been felt to such a measure, and from whatever cause, the 
free discussion of the subject by the press throughout the coun 
try gradually strengthened popular opinion in its favor. The 
War Department having signified a readiness to accept a col 
ored regiment from Rhode Island, Governor Sprague, on the 
4th of August, 1862, directed an order to be issued for the en 
listing of a sixth regiment, to " consist entirely of colored per 
sons." " Our colored fellow citizens," the order continued, 
" are reminded that the regiment from this State, in the Revo 
lution, consisting entirely of colored persons, was pronounced 
by "Washington equal, if not superior, to any in the service. 
They constitute a part of the quota from this State, and it is 
expected that they will respond with zeal and spirit to this calk 
The commander-in -chief will lead them into the field, and will 
share with them in common with the patriotic soldiers of the 

* From official reports, returns from towns and associations, and ex 
tended inquiry, it appears that the amount expended for the war, by the 
State, towns, relief associations and individuals, from April, 1861, to De 
cember 31, 1863, exceeds $4,000,000. If the free expenditure of money, to 
sustain the Union cause, is an evidence of the loyalty of a people, Rhode 
Island can ask no better record than these figures show. 


army of the republic, their trials and dangers, and will par 
ticipate in the glories of their success." 

This call excited a lively interest among the colored popu 
lation of the State. Public meetings were held in Providence, 
the subject freely discussed, and a general readiness expressed 
to form a colored regiment in Rhode Island. A rendezvous 
was opened, and about one hundred men enrolled ; but owing 
to uncertainty whether they were to be employed as soldiers, 
on equal terms with other volunteers, or to be assigned to labor 
with pick and spade, together with other causes, the enterprise 
for the moment failed. 

Governor Sprague having been elected Senator to the United 
States Congress, resigned the State Executive Chair, March 
3d, 1803, and Hon. William C. Cozzens, of Newport, was 
elected by the General Assembly, then in session, to fill his 
place for the remainder of the year. Resolutions w r ere passed 
by the Senate, thanking the retiring Governor " for the efficient 
and vigorous management of his duties," during the term of his- 
administration, which was appropriately acknowledged in a 
farewell speech. At the succeeding annual election, Hon. 
James Y. Smith was elected Governor, and at the May Session 
of the General Assembly, took the inaugural oath. Governor 
Smith brought to the service of his new and responsible posi 
tion, the energy and practical talent that had distinguished and 
given success to his business pursuits. He had, from the dis 
charge of the first rebel gun at Sumter, given his active sup 
port, as a citizen, to the government, and the spirit with which 
he entered upon the duties of chief magistrate of the State, is 
perhaps best shown in a brief address, extracts from which are 
here quoted: 

" This period in our history is full of interest. The eyes of 
nations are fixed upon us. Our national government has been 
attacked. The responsibility is great upon our people. Let 
us be firm although danger surrounds. Let us stand united 
before Iho world. The obligation of the solemn oath I have 


taken, demands of me to be watchful, and convey unimpaired 
to posterity all the blessings we are enjoying. We are ad 
monished by the events surrounding us, that united action 
should govern. Let every loyal man step forward to the res 
cue, lay aside all partizan feelings, and join in one grand cry, 
4 Our country, the Union it must be preserved. Our country 
is the great object to which our efforts should be directed. 
Let us unite our strength, relying upon the Supreme Ruler to 
direct our steps, and we shall prevail. We have but one al 
ternative war as has been said by an able jurist war 
without remission waged in all lawful modes, and by all classes 
of citizens, without prejudice to caste or color. A frightful 
prospect indeed ! But let him who shudders at it remember 
that the God of love is also the God of battles, and that blood 
is the price of progress. My experience in public life con 
firms the opinion, long since advanced, that the destruction of 
our national government would fasten upon us everlasting rev 
olution. Impressed with these opinions, I shall ever be ready 
to advance such measures as will secure to us our fixed posi 
tion under the national Union, jealously watching every event, 
as without union our liberty can never be preserved. Our 
brave soldiers must share largely in our sympathy. They are 
battling for our existence, and nothing should be left undone 
that will add to their comfort." 

The purpose of raising a colored regiment, though tempora 
rily suspended, was not abandoned. Since the first proposi 
tion, at which the War Department, from prudential considera 
tions, hesitated, public opinion had been rapidly outgrowing its 
prejudice. Circumstances had changed. Things appeared in 
a new aspect, and the clearly revealed popular feeling author 
ized the government to take a more decided step. One of the 
early acts of Governor Smith was to communicate with the 
authorities at Washington on the subject, and obtain permis 
sion to enlist a colored company of heavy artillery. This was 
granted, June 17th. On the 4th of August, the permit was 


extended to a battalion ; and September 3d, again extended to 
a regiment. In accomplishing this work, many and peculiar 
difficulties occurred, but all were successfully overcome. To 
Colonel Nelson Viall, an officer of large experience, was as 
signed the work of organizing and disciplining a body of men 
hitherto not made available for bearing arms. The change in 
public opinion, alluded to, wrought by the events of less than 
three years, is among the remarkable facts of the time, and the 
effect of the early efforts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island to 
put colored troops in the field ; and the success crowning those 
efforts, must be to strengthen a policy that, consistently psrsist- 
ed in, can give to the government a fresh force of two or three 
hundred thousand men, better fitted by nature for southern 
service than whites, and render further draft upon the me 
chanical and agricultural departments of the country unneces 
sary. The successful part taken by Rhode Island in this 
movement will be a conspicuous fact in her military history. 

The exposed condition of the Rhode Island coast, and es 
pecially of Narragansett Bay, in the event of war, had been, 
for many years, the subject of comment, and the importance 
of putting the approaches to Newport and Providence under 
sufficient protection, often urged. General Totten, in 1851, 
made a report bearing favorably upon the matter. In a com 
munication to the Providence Journal, dated January 6th, 1862, 
Hon. William H. Cranston, Mayor of Newport, pointed out 
very clearly this need, and urged such defences as would se 
cure the east and west passages from being successfully pene 
trated by an enemy. On the 14th of the same month, Gov 
ernor Sprague referred to the subject in his address to the 
General Assembly ; but nothing was done that secured the 
object. After the confederate government succeeded in getting 
two or three vessels upon the ocean, it was at once perceived 
how much mischief could be done by coast piratical opera 
tions ; and the bold dash into Portland harbor, in June, 1863, 
together with the hostile attitude of England, awakened much 


alarm along the entire New England coast. An early purpose 
of Governor Smith was to secure this protection, and earnestly 
pursuing this design, he addressed the following telegram to 
the President : 

June 27th, 1803. 
To His Excellency ABRAHAM LINCOLN, 

President of the United States, Washington, D. C. : 
Great anxiety is felt here on account of the unprotected condition 
of Narragansett Bay. There is nothing to prevent a rebel incursion 
through the " West Passage," exposing to destruction this city, Fall 
River and other towns on the Bay. I respectfully request immediate 
authority to construct, arm and man suitable earthworks, at the ex 
pense of the Federal Government, and that the plans understood to 
be in the War Department for such works, be furnished without de 
lay. Also, authority to cause all vessels to be brought to and in 
spected before entering the Bay. 

(Signed,) JAMES Y. SMITH, 

Governor of Rhode Island. 

To this application, the following reply was immediately 
returned : 

WASHINGTON, June 27th, 1863. 
Governor SMITH : 

I am instructed by the President, to inform you that the authority 
asked for in your telegram of this date is granted to you. The Chief 
of the Engineer Bureau is instructed to furnish you the plans, and 
also an engineer officer to assist in laying out the work. 
(Signed,) E. M. STANTON, 

Secretary of War. 

Acting under this authority, Governor Smith at once pro 
ceeded with the work. For temporary defence, a light bat 
tery, under Colonel Edwin C. Gallup, and a company detailed 
from the 1st regiment of Rhode Island militia, composed of 
students in Brown University, under Captain John Tetlow, 
were stationed at the " Bonnet," near the South Ferry, on the 
Narragansett shore, to command the approach to the West 
] > ;i--:iL r < > . Here a breastwork was thrown up, and the encamp- 


ment named " Camp James Y. Smith," in honor of the chief 
magistrate of the State. Major E. B. Hunt, of the Engineer 
department, was sent on by the Engineer Bureau, to lay out 
and superintend the erection of the fortifications. An eight- 
gun battery was immediately laid out on Dutch Island, a little 
south of " Camp Bailey," and as successive companies of the 
colored regiment were sent there to complete its organization 
and for instruction, daily details were made to labor on the 
fort until completed and the guns mounted, saving to the gov 
ernment a heavy expense, and giving to the men a valuable 
experience. The government has a ten-gun battery in pro 
gress in the rear of the light-house, and contemplates another 
of fifteen guns on the north-west side of the island. It was a 
part of Major Hunt s plan, to erect a battery for heavy ord 
nance on the summit of the island.* These works, when com 
pleted and mounted, will command all the approaches, and 
serve alike for offence or defence-t 

It will be seen, by reference to page 2 78, that the narrative 
of the operations of the Army of the Potomac closes with the 
battle of Gettysburg, the political effects of which were soon 
perceptible in England, in the changed tone of the govern 
ment press, and a semi-official avowal of a strictly neutral po 
sition. Similar effects were also made visible in France. 

* Major Hunt was unfortunately killed at New York, in the autumn of 
1863, while testing a shell of his invention. He was an accomplished en 
gineer, and, at the time of his death, was doing government service in 
several places. 

t The government is the entire owner of Dutch Island, having, in 1863, 
purchased that portion not previously in its possession, of Powell H. 
Carpenter, Esq., for $21,000, The island contains eighty acres, of which 
the government, before this purchase, held six acres for light-house pur 
poses. It was originally owned by the Indian sachems, Wequagannett, 
Kaskasabo and Quissurkquautt, who deeded it to Randal Holden and 
" Mr, Brenton," March 28th, 1659. It has one of the best harbors on tho 
coast, is easy of access, and is often sought in stress of thick or tempes 
tuous weather. 


Since the victory of July 4th, ushering in the National Anni 
versary with jubilant shouts from twenty millions of freemen, 
military operations have taken place that may properly be 
noticed in this place. 

The boldness of the rebel commander-in-chief of the Army 
of Virginia, is shown in his invasion of Maryland in 1862, and 
of Pennsylvania in 1863. Though disappointed at Gettys 
burg, and compelled to beat a hasty retreat behind the Rappa- 
hannock, it was not to be expected that he would long be quiet. 
The barb of that Pennsylvania arrow made a ragged and pain 
ful wound, that nothing but the lenitive of a positive success 
could soothe or heal. For two months or more after his es 
cape, his prolific mind was busy in contriving strategetic plans 
for recovering lost prestige, and wounding the Union forces in 
some vital part. To withdraw attention from the disposition 
he designed to make of his forces, and the uses to which they 
were to be put, guerrilla raids were multiplied, skirmishes en 
gaged in, and other methods of annoyance practiced. In Sep 
tember there were indications of mischief on his part, and a 
subsequent change in the position of our army, contracted a 
line too long for easy defence, and placed it on a better field 
for observation. 

On the 9th of October, General Lee s army was in motion 
for a new enterprise. The object, as stated in his subsequent 
report, was to bring on an engagement with the Federal army, 
which was encamped around Culpepper Court House, and 
extending thence to the Rapidan. To avoid observation, and 
ensure success in the choice of position, as well as to come 
suddenly and unexpectedly upon the Union forces, his march 
was by circuitous and concealed roads. His movements, how 
ever, were observed ; and the falling back of our army upon 
Centre ville and Chantilly, where Sedgwick s (6th) Corps occu 
pied the extreme right of the line, with Kilpatrick s Cavalry 
protecting its flank, completely check-mated his purpose. 
Another object, not avowed by Lee in his report, as that would 



have compelled the admission of a failure, but which the Rich 
mond Examiner revealed, was "to interpose a corps of his 
army between a large portion of Meade s force in Culpepper 
and Washington ;" in other words, to turn our right flank, and 
make a push for the Union Capital. Independent of forcing 
a withdrawal of the menace of Richmond, the operation, had 
it succeeded, would have been good for almost any purpose. 
The possession of Washington, in these days of darkness, to the 
rebels, when England, alarmed by her own short-sighted 
statesmanship if that which Talleyrand pronounced worse 
than a crime, a mistake, can be called statesmanship was 
beginning to look coldly on secession, would have been a glo 
rious stroke of *good fortune, and the disappointed rebels could 
have afforded to forgive Lee the false report he made, claim 
ing an overwhelming victory at Gettysburg ! If, on the other 
hand, he had succeeded in simply pushing our army back to 
the line of its old encampments, running north from Fort Lyon, 
along Munson s and Miner s Hills to Lewinsville and Lang- 
ley s, and thus gained time for such complete destruction of 
the Orange and Alexandria railroad, as would have required 
two or three months to renew, he might have felt secure in 
largely depleting his army for the benefit of the hard-pressed 
confederates in the southwest. But he did neither. At Bris- 
tow s Station he lost five pieces of artillery, and a considerable 
number of prisoners. He utterly failed in his flank movement ; 
and though he made very thorough work in destroying the 
railroad as far as time permitted thereby setting the Federals 
a suggestive example in their future raids he was able to 
remove and destroy no more than two weeks could restore a 
time totally insufficient to render any extensive relief to his 
discomfited brethren, without incurring an unwarrantable risk 
of his own safety ; and if the events of the month changed 
somewhat the relations of the two opposing armies, the disad 
vantage evidently enured to Lee and not to Meade. The 
schemes of Lee were well devised, but though his line of march 


was the shortest, Meade had the swiftest feet, and these gained 
the position that frustrated the plans of the former, and com 
pelled him to fall back. 

As Lee retreated, the Army of the Potomac gradually re 
turned to its old position, the Sixth corps finding itself once 
more in the vicinity of Warrenton, holding Water Mountain 
for a signal station. It now became General Meade s turn to 
assume the positive, and on the 7th November, the army made 
a forward movement. General Sedgwick s corps advanced to 
Rappahannock Station, where it had a fierce encounter with 
the rebels, resulting in their rout. The captures were two re 
doubts, four pieces of artillery, eight battle flags, 2000 stand of 
arms, one bridge train, and 1 600 prisoners. The Federal loss 
was about 300 killed and wounded. The charge was made by 
General Wright s division, and the redoubts carried by the Gth 
Maine and 5th Wisconsin. The 121st New York, 5th Maine, 
49th and 119th Pennsylvania, took the line of rifle pits. The 
third division, with which the 2d Rhode Island was connected, 
was held in reserve. 

General French (third corps) engaged the enemy at Kelly s 
Ford, driving them across the river, seizing their entrench 
ments, and capturing over 400 prisoners. His loss was about 
70 killed and wounded. The Rhode Island batteries engaged 
displayed great spirit and bravery. Among the advantages 
secured by this success was the preservation of twenty-four 
miles of railroad and an equal length of telegraph between the 
Rappahannock and the Rapidan. The captured battle flags 
were formally presented to General Meade, at head-quarters, 
November llth, by Colonel Upton, commanding Russell s 
brigade, by whom they were taken. They bore the inscrip 
tions " Winchester," " Manassas," " Cedar Run," " Second 
Harper s Ferry," " Sharpsburg," " Chancellorsville," " Freder- 
icksburg," " Gettysburg," " Gaines s Farm," " Malvern Hill, 
" Elthain s Landing," indicative of the battles in which the 
troops from which they were captured had been engaged. In 


receiving the trophies, General Meade expressed his gratifica 
tion at the good conduct and gallantry displayed on the 7th, 
and his purpose, in a general order, to do justice to all the troops 
who had distinguished themselves. The scene was impressive 
and inspiriting. 

On the 26th of November, the Army of the Potomac again 
advanced, and crossing the Rapidan, encountered the enemy. 
Sharp fighting followed, resulting on both sides in about an 
equal loss of killed and wounded. A large number of prison 
ers were taken by the Federals. After an absence of eight 
days, the army returned to its old encampments. In this ad 
vance, the Rhode Island batteries and the 2d Rhode Island 
regiment participated. Batteries A, C and E, were hotly en 
gaged, and gave their fire with disastrous effect to the rebels. 
A had one man wounded and another slightly injured ; C, one 
wounded, and E, two. This demonstration in force apparently 
embraced two objects, first, to prevent Lee sending rein 
forcements to Longstreet or Bragg, where they were, greatly 
needed ; and, secondly, if circumstances warranted, to fight a 
general battle. The first object appears to have been success 
fully gained ; the second, the position of the rebel army and 
the unfavorable nature of the ground for the use of artillery, 
did not, to the commanding General, seem to authorize. If 
regrets found expression on the Federal side, that a decisive 
battle was not fought, they were in full measure shared by the 
confederates, who confidently anticipated " a Southern victory," 
and evidently felt that Lee had been put at disadvantage by 
the falling back of Meade. The Richmond Examiner, of De 
cember 4th, said : " Whether to be pleased or sorry at the 
retreat of Meade, without battle, is a doubtful question." 
" Had a pitched battle taken place," it added, resulting in re 
moving the menace of Richmond, it would have been worth 
all the sacrifice of life it must have cost, and " would have 
cheered and inspired the heart of the country." But the cheer 



did not come, and the third year of the war closed with the 
menace in full force. 

In another part of this volume, reference has been made to 
the need of a more complete ambulance system. The subject 
was brought to public attention, by the author, through the 
Providence Journal, immediately after the battle of Games 
Farm on the Peninsula, and the correctness of views then ex 
pressed subsequent- observation has confirmed. After the 
" seven days " battles, so sanguinary in their results, an im 
provement was made in the ambulance arrangements, but in 
no considerable battle fought since has the system been found 
adequate in its operations to immediate necessities. Even at 
Gettysburg, where all was apparently done that could be, 
wounded men lay on the field, as they fell, two or three days 
before they could be gathered up. A reorganization and ex 
pansion of the present system could be made, without arresting 
for a day its active service. The importance of such a change 
has become apparent, and is engaging the earnest interest of 
influential gentlemen of every profession ; and it is gratifying 
to notice, as these pages are passing through the press, that 
petitions are in circulation, asking of Congress the passage of 
a law authorizing the adoption of a system such as the human 
ity due to the volunteer defenders of the Union demands. 

In introducing the following correspondence, it may be pro 
per, in explanation, to say, that battery C took its departure 
for the seat of war August 31st, 18G1, and wintered at Miner s 
Hill, Va. 



Sibley Tents Thanksgiving Providence Journal Rhode Island 
Troops in Virginia Grand Review at Bailey s Cross Roads 
Falls Church Rumors. 

December 1, 1861. j 

Camp life, ordinarily, affords but few incidents for a letter, 
though the facts of its daily routine may serve as contributions 
to one s philosophy of human relations. The " tented field," 
the morning call, the parade, the drill, and other reminders of 
war, aid in keeping up a healthful activity and open to the 
mind a broad field for speculation. The most important break 
in our local affairs is the reception of ten new Sibley tents, 
which were cordially welcomed. They take the place of the 
old wedge or A tent, give great satisfaction, and add much to 
the comfort of the men. A tent of still better construction, I 
am informed, has been for some time on exhibition at the War 
Department, and finds favor with experienced officers. It 
combines roominess with a more approved method, of ven 
tilation, two points of importance to the convenience and health 
of their occupants. The wedge or A tent, so generally in use, 
is deficient in both these particulars ; and when it is considered 
that the accommodations of an army necessarily affect its 


physique and morale.! the motto of the dictionary publishers 
furnishes an excellent and economical rule for the government 
to act upon "get the best." Our own mess arrangement 
works to a charm. "With some of us, Yankee ingenuity has 
worked out additional conveniences. In our own tent we boast 
a very respectable fire-place, and though less elegant in ap 
pearance than is found in finst class dwellings, it has the prime 
merit of " carrying smoke " well. A fire, and bunks of primi 
tive construction, add much to our comfort. A fire at this 
season is no slight inducement for one to anticipate reveille and 
hold communication with distant friends. To this, and the 
thoughtful service of the corporal of the guard, I am indebted 
for an early opportunity to fill a sheet that might otherwise, for 
the present, have remained blank. 

Last Thursday, the Puritan institution of New England was 
duly inaugurated on the " sacred soil " of Virginia. Here, for 
a short season, turkey was the ruling power, and Thanksgiv 
ing the expression of many hearts. To-day, in our mess, 
plum-pudding is in the ascendant, and in trencher service the 
honor of Rhode Island will be becomingly sustained. 

For the last two weeks, the Providence Journal has failed 
to reach me. This is a real privation. I can do without a 
day s rations, if need be, and preserve my equanimity, but I 
cannot so philosophically endure a break in the communication 
of current events at home. I suspect light fingers have 
something to do with the matter. " Who steals my purse, steals 
trash," but he who plunders the mail of my newspaper, robs 
more than one of both patience and enjoyment. We are not 
Berkleyites out here. To us, the Journal is a luxury, of 
which we do not like to be deprived. A woe rests upon the 
offender, if caught, who shall again intercept it in its legitimate 

Our battery, as already mentioned, is attached to Gen. Fitz 
John Porter s division, and there is reason for the belief that 
he regards it with a partial eye. The other batteries of the 


division, Griffin s and Follet s, are distinguished for qualities 
that give efficiency to artillery, and whenever called into ac 
tion, will doubtless make a satisfactory report of their doings. 
Gen. Porter is a graduate of West Point, an accomplished and 
experienced officer, and in every respect calculated to inspire 
with enthusiasm the men under his command. At the close of 
a late division review, Gen. McCiellan pronounced it a model 
for the army. 

Rhode Island is now represented on the Virginia side of the 
-Potomac by a regiment of infantry and four batteries of artil 
lery. The latter are stationed as follows : Capt. Randolph s 
at Artillery Camp, near Fort Lyon, below Alexandria ; Capt. 
Belger s at Camp California, about four miles west of that 
place, under the guns of Fort Worth ; Capt. Munroe s at Camp 
Dupont, near Munson s Hill ; and Capt. Weeden s, at this place. 
It is but little more than three months since the oldest of these 
batteries completed its organization and left Providence for 
the field of action, and scarcely two since the last of the num 
ber referred to temporarily occupied Camp Sprague ; yet, to 
day, as the result of industry and laborious training, they 
occupy no second rank in the volunteer arm of the service ; 
and with the spirit that pervades them all, each month will 
witness a closer approximation in details to the proficiency of 
regulars. Comparisons are neither necessary nor always in 
good taste. To boast of superiority would be folly, as to de 
preciate the truth would be a violation of self-respect. We 
hear of many pleasant things said of us by partial friends, 
which are received as incentives to merit their favorable 

The series of division reviews, by Gen. McClellan, closed on 
the 20th ult., with a grand display at Bailey s Cross Roads, 
when more than seventy (some estimate eighty) thousand in 
fantry, cavalry and artillery covered, in battle array, the plain 
spreading south from the foot of Munson s Hill. It was an 
imposing spectacle, and worth a long journey to witness. 


From an account by another hand, the following details are 
supplied : 

" Bailey s Cross Roads are situated eight miles from Wash 
ington, in the direction of Fairfax Court House, at the junc 
tion of the Columbia turnpike and the Alexandria and Leesburg 
turnpike. Between the Cross Roads and Munson s Hill, a 
mile and a half distant tovifcrds Fall s Church, is a plain two 
miles in length, which was prepared, by clearing off the fences, 
filling up the ditches, &c., for this grand display. 

" During the last two or three days, a rumor circulated 
among the troops that the publication of the purpose to hold a 
grand review was intended to cover the preparations for an 
advance, and when, last evening, the order promulgated for all 
the infantry regiments to provide themselves with forty rounds 
of ball cartridges, and, later, for at least one ambulance, with 
all the surgical appliances, to accompany each regiment, the 
excitement rose to fever heat. It turned out, however, that 
these were but prudent precautionary measures against the 
possible movement of the enemy during the day. 

" At half-past nine o clock, General McClellan, attended by 
all his staff officers, left his head-quarters in Washington, es 
corted by a column of eighteen hundred regular cavalry. The 
array was most imposing as this splendid cortege moved 
through the streets, the cavalry marching by platoons until it 
reached Long Bridge, where it was compelled to march by 
column of fours, and afterwards defiled along the road leading 
by Arlington Heights to the review ground. Gen. McClellan 
was plainly attired. As he rode in advance of his numerous 
staff, he was loudly cheered. 

" All of the seven divisions on the Virginia side of the Po 
tomac were represented in the review, but enough were left in 
each to supply double the usual picket force to guard the camps, 
and a reserve in addition strong enough to repel any attack in 
force the enemy could make. 

" As early as nine o clock, the head of the column of Gen. 


Blenker s division, the head-quarters of which are nearest to 
Bailey s, began to arrive at the grounds from the Washington 
road. Soon after, Gen. McDowell s advance guard appeared. 
Next came Gen. Franklin s column, and soon after, the division 
of Gen. Smith. Gen. Fitz John Porter was next on the 
ground. The troops now poured in from all directions, those 
under Gen. Heintzelman following Gen. Franklin s division, 
and the column of Gen. Me Call succeeding that of Gen. Smith, 
and continued without cessation until half-past eleven o clock. 

" The scene was most exhilarating ; more than twenty Gen 
erals, with their staffs, numbering above 150 horsemen, were 
dashing hither and thither, arranging their divisions, which 
presented a total of above 70,000 men, including seven regi 
ments of cavalry, numbering nearly 8,000 men. 

"At a quarter past eleven o clock, the President of the 
United States entered the grounds, in his carriage, followed by 
the Secretary of State, also in his carriage, and by the Secretary 
of War and Postmaster- General, accompanied by Mrs. Gen 
eral McDowell, and by two daughters of General Taylor, on 
horseback. The party were escorted to a slight elevation near 
the centre of the area, marked by a white flag, where they 
were soon joined by Gen. McClellan and his staff. Every 
thing being now in readiness, a salvo to the President and 
General-in-Chief was fired by four batteries of artillery desig 
nated for that purpose. In the meantime, the President and 
Secretary of State, Secretary of War and Assistant Secretary 
of War, alighted from their carriages, mounted horses and pre 
pared to accompany Gen. McClellan in his review of the lines. 
The divisions then passed in the following order : 

" First Gen. Me Call s division, composed of the brigades 
of Generals Meade, Reynolds and Ord. 

" Second Gen. Heintzelman s division, composed of the 
brigades of Generals Sedgwick, Jamison and Richardson. 

" Third Gen. Smith s division, composed of the brigades 
of Generals Hancock, Brooks and Benham. 


" Fourth Gen. Franklin s division, composed of the brig 
ades of Generals Slocum, Newton and Kearney. 

" Fifth The division of Gen. Blenker, composed of the 
brigade of Gen. Stahl, and two brigades commanded by senior 

" Sixth The division of Gen. Fitz John Porter, composed 
of the brigades of Generals Morell, Martindale and Butterfield. 

" Seventh The division of Gen. McDowell, composed of 
the brigades of Generals King and Wadsworth, and a brigade 
commanded by Col. Frisbie ; making a total of seventy-six 
regiments of infantry, seventeen batteries, and seven regiments 
of cavalry. The time occupied in passing was three hours. 
The enthusiasm of the troops was remarkable. When the 
General passed them in review, their huzzas filled the field. 

" Upon the right of the General commanding, during the 
review, were the President, the Secretary of State, the Secre 
tary and Assistant Secretary of War, Quartermaster-General 
Meigs, and the Prince de Joinville. Upon the ground were 
also all the rest of the Cabinet officers, and a number of Foreign 
Ministers and their families, grouped in carriages and on horse 
back around the carriage of the President, which, containing 
Mrs. Lincoln and some friends, was immediately opposite the 
position of the commanding General. 

"One of the most interesting features of the day, to many, 
was the martial music, played by more than fifty bands, most 
of which were of the first order. In two or three instances the 
bands of the whole brigades were consolidated. The consoli 
dated band in Gen. Bntterfield s brigade numbered 120 pieces, 
and played, with excellent effect, while the brigade was pass 
ing in review, a quickstep, entitled The Standard Bearer 
Quickstep, composed for and dedicated to Gen. Butterfield. 
It was a day of compliments, and none were complimented 
more than Gen. Barry, for the appearance of the artillery, of 
which he is chief. 

; The whole review was most admirably conducted. Infinite 


credit is due to Gen. McDowell, who was the commander of 
the review, for the promptness with which his vast column was 

The grand review was witnessed by, it is supposed, from 
twenty to thirty thousand spectators. As no passes were re 
quired, it was free to every one who could procure a convey 
ance, or who chose to walk. The roads were guarded the 
entire distance, so that civilians without written permission 
could not diverge from the prescribed limits of travel. Three 
Rhode Island batteries on this side of the Potomac, (C, D and 
E,) participated in the event, and, in the judgment of many, 
were not behind those longer in service in the details of their 
movements. We left our camp at an early hour in the morn- 
ing, and returned about dark, very much fatigued, but well 
satisfied with the work of the day. 

Situated, as we are, in a wooded country, and sparsely pop 
ulated, the eye rests upon few objects to excite the imagination. 
Outside of our surrounding encampments we see only Falls 
Church and Lewinsville, with here and there an intervening 
chimney smoke to remind us of the proximity of civilization. 
Both these places obtained some military notoriety in the earlier 
period of the rebellion. The former is a small village, com 
prising two houses of worship, a blacksmith shop, and, I5)e- 
lieve, a tavern. The principal object of interest to the anti 
quarian, is the Episcopal church, built, so tradition says, by 
Washington, of bricks imported from Europe. It is a small, 
plain structure, and belongs to a class to be met with between 
this post and Mount Vernon, said to have had a similar origin. 
Several ancient gravestones are standing in the adjacent burial 
ground, which may, ere long, need the attention of some pious 
Old Mortality. The other house of worship, occupied by a 
Baptist society, is a wooden building with a New England 
steeple, and in its interior was badly mutilated by the secesh 
while the place was in their possession. Lewinsville is a 
smaller collection of houses than Falls Church, and, for some 


time past, has been under the supervision of pickets, though 
this arm of the service has been extended several miles beyond. 
Of late, movements have been made in several divisions of 
the army, and particularly in McCall s, Smith s, (both above 
us,) and Porter s, that indicate a purpose to extend our lines on 
the right and left. Flank movements, should they be made, 
may inconveniently disturb the rebels. Many rumors circulate 
in camp. One is that we shall soon move towards Fairfax. 
Whatever, however, may take place, two facts are clear, the 
men are in excellent heart, and will be prompt to meet the 
demands of duty. 


Virginia weather Stables Reconnoisance News from England 
Battle at Drainsville Bucktail Sharpshooters Lieut. Col. Kane 
wounded Gen. McCall s command Sham Fights Christmas 
Pierpont s " E Pluribus Unum" Foraging Expedition Review. 


December 15, 1861. ) 

Virginia is as extreme in her weather as she has shown her 
self in politics. During the summer and early autumn there 
was an almost daily contest between sunshine and rain, and 
when the Shower king put Sol suddenly under a cloud* an out* 
pouring that would have been creditable to antediluvian times 
was quite sure to follow. Then succeeded warm mid-days and 
chilly evenings, the mercury often taking a downward slide of 
fifteen or twenty degrees, fevering the blood, and touching the 
marrow as with an icicle, and preparing many an incautious 
one for a typhoid delirium, or for the society of shakers. Sub 
sequently, in fitful moods, came a drizzle, reminding one of a 


blue day at Newport or Nahant ; then the " latter rain," pre 
paring for hill-side encampments a soap-like surface, and mak 
ing the thoroughfares to the national capital like so many 
Sloughs of Despond ; then sweeping along from the distant 
Blue Ridge came the piercing blast, challenging the forecasting 
soldier to a rough and tumble struggle for his outer gear, as if 
he had yet to learn that in the uncertainties of a camp " un 
dressing is a woe." And, now, to point a contrast, we have a 
soft and genial atmosphere, with moonlights as brilliant as ever 
illumined Prospect Hill, or scattered gems on the ruffled bosom 
of Narragansett Bay. What will come next, the " clerk of the 
weather " alone can tell ; but with the inspiring news from 
Port Royal, and the successful cruise of the San Jacinto, we 
can very calmly endure the severest frown that winter may 
put on. 

"The merciful man is merciful to his beast," and in the 
spirit of this saying, by the direction of Capt. Weeden, we have 
all been busily engaged, the past week, in erecting a stable for 
our horses. For some time they have needed a better shelter 
than a grove affords, and the beneficial effects of good stabling 
will, no doubt, soon be visible, especially with those that have 
been the most worn. Battery service tries horse flesh severely. 
Activity and precision, whatever may be the ground, are es 
sential to perfection, and as field drills are in some sort mimic 
movements of an engagement, the guns and heavy caissons 
necessarily tax the strength of the horses to the utmost ; and 
now, when they return from the field, heated by the exertions 
of the hour, they will be shielded from the cold winds of winter. 
Our stable is two hundred and twenty feet in length by twenty- 
four feet in width. The sides are closely lined with cedar 
boughs, and the roof is thatched with the same material. The 
architecture is not of the precise style of any found in the books, 
nor is its finish quite equal to some model structures in Provi 
dence ; but it has the merit of harmonizing with its surround 
ings, and altogether is a comfortable and convenient affair. 


Besides, it is economical, and will never come under the ban 
of the Congressional investigating committee. The materials 
of which it is constructed were had for the cutting, and the 
labor cost the government next to nothing. This kind of stabling 
has been provided for many of the cavalry regiments in the 
different divisions on this side of the Potomac, and, as a tem 
porary expedient, will come into general use. Whether the 
work I have described indicates a continuance here through 
the winter, or whether our labors will be entered into by others, 
time only can determine. Milton makes one of his characters 
guess, and to do so is accorded to Yankees as their exclusive 
prerogative ; but with an eye to economy, which is also a Yan 
kee trait, I shall leave events to settle the point, while I attend 
to matters with which I am more familiar. 

Of military affairs, outside of one s encampment, compara 
tively little can be known. What comes to us from head-quar 
ters is borne on the wings of rumor, and is to be received with 
liberal deductions. When you notice how reporters, with the 
full command of their time and the free range of the army, are 
often hard pushed to produce a sensation paragraph, it will not 
be cause of surprise that one whose time and opportunities are 
mcjre circumscribed should not be in a condition to relate all 
that would be interesting to hear. And then, all facts and 
many fictions reach you by the lightning messenger so instantly, 
that, by the time a letter reaches its destination, its contents 
become " stale, flat and unprofitable." Since my last, recon- 
noisances along the entire line of the army have taken place. 
A large body of troops have extended their observations as far 
as Vienna and Hunter s Mill, without meeting any obstruction. 
Reports are that the rebels no longer hold Fairfax Court House 
with any considerable force, their army at that place having 
fallen back to some other position. Vienna, it will be remem 
bered, was, a few months ago, a stronghold of the enemy, and 
Hunter s Mill was in their possession. These places are in a 
direct line west from the encampment of Gen. Smith s division. 


north of us, and the withdrawal of the rebel troops indicates, on 
their part, an apprehension of Smith and McCall. Generals 
McDowell, Blenker, Heintzelman, and others, below us, have 
been feeling their way forward, and, it is believed, have ob 
tained information that will be turned to good account. From 
all that has transpired, it is evident that the rebels are making 
new dispositions of their forces, whether for retreat, assault or 
winter quarters, a few weeks will show. It would seem that 
the series of federal expeditions, inaugurated at Hatteras, and 
followed up at Beaufort, disturb their plans ; and when Butler s 
and Burnside s movements reach a striking point, their leaders 
will doubtless more than ever be troubled. So mote it be. 
There is a wisdom higher than man s that will bring confusion 
to the counsels of the wicked. 

The news from England is variously received in camp, but 
by none, I think, with serious alarm. Common sense teaches 
that our government is in the right, and, with Mr. Bright for 
our advocate, why should we fear ? But will not England side 
with the confederates and declare war against us ? Some pa 
pers, for reasons not distinctly avowed, but which are pretty 
well understood, would have us think so. But her statesmen 
are not madmen, and they know that a move in that direction 
will authorize a counter-movement by powers w r ho owe her no 
large amount of good will. Besides, they have not forgotten 
that Canada once rebelled, and may again ; that Ireland is not 
the safest of her possessions ; and that whatever France may 
do about sponging out the record of St. Helena, Russia would 
not object to an opportunity to pit her bear against the British 
lion. The moment she " lets slip the dogs of war," she will 
have her hands full. Judging from independent ground, she 
will not commit that folly. But this is speculation. 

Pleasant reminders from home give assurance that a Christ 
mas is coming." A Christmas in Secessia will, to most of us, 
be a new thing under the sun. With our faces turned to the 
east, we shall greet the anniversary of His advent whose life 


and death comprehended in their results the welfare of the 
world ; and as we open mysterious looking boxes and packa 
ges, we will bless the loving hearts and ready hands that pre 
pared them. 

December 23. Since my last, several regiments of General 
McCall s division, sustained by a battery of two 24 and two 12 
pounder howitzers, had a battle with the rebels near Drains- 
villc, a post town on the Leesburg turnpike, six or eight miles 
northwest of us. It resulted in the repulse of the enemy, with 
a loss on their part of 150 killed and wounded. A shell from 
a federal battery struck a rebel caisson and exploded with ter 
rific effect. One of the wounded rebels said, as he was dying, 
" We whipped you at Manassas, but you have the. best of us 
to-day." This victory excited great enthusiasm on the field 
and in the camp. The victors returned with fifty wagon loads 
of forage, making a valuable contribution to the subsistence 
department. The fight is represented as very severe, and the 
federal troops stood up under the heavy fire with the coolness 
of veterans. Among the troops conspicuous in battle were the 
Bucktail Sharpshooters, under the command of Lieut. Col. 
Kane, who wear in their hats or caps, as a distinctive badge, 
the brush of a deer. They are a hardy set of men, from the 
mountain regions of Pennsylvania, many of them experienced 
marksmen. They are reported to be as ready for a reconnois- 
ance or conflict as they were at home to pursue their game ; 
and the manner in which they conducted themselves under fire, 
in the recent engagement, is an earnest of their future. Col. 
Kane received a shot in the cheek, which brought him down. 
He instantly arose, bound up the wound, and .continued fight 
ing until the battle terminated. 

General McCall commands the Pennsylvania reserve divi 
sion, and occupies Camp Pierpont, extending beyond Lang- 
ley s church and tavern, and stretching towards Lewinsville. 
It constitutes the right wing of the army of the Potomac, and 


covers Chain Bridge, an important approach to Washington, 
and interposes an effectual obstacle to a flank movement by the 
rebels from Leesburg. 

Last week was diversified by two sham fights, in both of 
which our battery participated. The first comprised Gen. 
Merrill s brigade, consisting of the 9th Massachusetts, 4th 
Michigan, 14th New York and 62d Pennsylvania, all of them, 
to use an emphatic phrase, common here, " bully " regiments. 
A large field in this vicinity was occupied by the troops, who 
went through the various manoeuvres of a battle, with much 
satisfaction, I believe, to a large body of spectators, and cer 
tainly with a corresponding amount of fatigue to themselves. 
The second took place on Saturday, in which the whole of 
Gen. Porter s division engaged. It was a splended and ex 
citing scene, and gave the " boys " an inkling of the mysteries 
of warfare. If they do as well when in the presence of a 
veritalble enemy, their friends will nave no cause for mortifica 
tion, nor the rebels for boasting. The part enacted by our bat 
tery was such as became its position, and if explosive sounds 
are evidence of merit, we had reason to be satisfied with both 
guns and gunnery. Having met the imaginary foe and made 
him ours, we returned to camp without the loss of a man ! 
The interest of this occasion was enhanced to the 62d and 63d 
Pennsylvania regiments by the reception of regimental flags, 
presented to them by Hon. Edward Cowan, in the name of 
the State. The speeches of presentation and acceptance were 
patriotic and appropriate. 

A recent visit of Gen. McClellan to Porter s headquarters 
gave rise to various conjectures. As it was previous to the 
Drainsville affair, it may have been in reference to concerted 
action with other divisions in advancing our lines towards 
Fairfax Court House, or, what is quite as probable, to see the 
men in their encampments when off duty. At all events, noth 
ing perceptible has followed, and the object, if a special one 
was entertained, is still veiled. 


December 29. From my earliest recollection, Christmas 
has been to me a day of joy. I remember with what childish 
faith, on the eve of the Nativity, I hung my stocking in the 
chimney corner, and how, as I extracted its varied contents 
the next morning, I speculated upon the marvellous ubiquity 
of Santa Glaus. Even now, I feel the impressions then re 
ceived ; and while I recognize the higher significance of the 
day, in its relations to Him who manifested the humanity of 
heaven to a needy world, I confess it not easy to blot out, as a 
myth, the queer little old man and his huge pack, whom the 
pictorials represented to my wondering eyes as entering each 
dwelling by the chimney, to bless with his gifts good boys and 
girls. In a spirit becoming the occasion, and with the cordial 
approbation of Capt. Weeden, it was resolved to celebrate 
Christmas in camp. A committee appointed for the purpose 
attended to the preparation of a tent of ample dimensions, 
beneath which the tables \\^re laid. * 

Our chef de cuisine and assistant laid themselves out on the 
occasion, with a success that would have done honor to Provi 
dence Soyers. Here is our bill of fare : Turkeys, rivalling 
the noblest Narragansett goblers that ever graced Market 
Square ; apples, such as the veteran purveyor of South Main 
street would delight to provide for appreciative customers ; 
cranberries, of which Smithfield might be proud ; potatoes, that 
would inspire the enthusiasm of the most stolid son of Erin ; 
turnips, that " beat the Dutch " for obesity ; and onions, that 
would make a son of Weathersfield weep for envy. These, 
with other " fixings," and a sprinkling of good things provided 
by loving and loved friends at home, furnished a banquet fit 
for the President. Such a dinner, seasonably provided, would 
have spared Esau the sale of his birthright. Apicius himself, 
after a treat like this, would have voted nightingale s tongues 
and peacock entrees of little account, and never have com 
mitted suicide to escape starvation. In our table spread, it is 
true, we could not boast the massive plate of Steeple street, 


nor the elegant dinner sets furnished by Hutchins or Whita- 
ker ; but to our utilitarian notion, steel and tin were satisfac 
tory substitutes for silver and stone china, and to good Union 
appetites, the viands were none the less savory. At all events, 
ample justice was done to the repast. Pindar was right when 
he declared that the turnpike to the heart lies through the 
mouth. The difference between a hungry and a well-fed man, 
is the difference that distinguishes civilized and savage races. 
It is surprising how a well-lined epigastrium humanizes one s 
nature, and makes a churl " wondrous kind." 

" All human history attests 
That happiness for man the hungry sinner 
Since Eve ate apples, must depend on dinner." 

Had that irascible old gentleman, Mr. John Bull, been our 
guest, he would have smoothed his gouty visage, and buried 
the Trent affair beneath the delights of the table ; and it may 
be correctly imagined that after such a " dining," a genial 
spirit and healthful hilarity prevailed. Songs and dancing 
followed, and though 

The sparkling eyes, and flashing ornaments 
The white arms, and the raven hair the braids 
And bracelets swan-like bosoms the thin robes, 
Floating like light clouds twixt our gaze and heaven 

so often seen at Howard Hall, did not grace our festive season, 
the " boys " made up for the deficiency by the vigor of their 
pedal gymnastics. That closed the day, and to the latest 
hours of life, we shall retain pleasant memories of our first 
Christmas in Secessia. In other encampments, the day was 
variously observed. Our neighbors, the 22d Massachusetts, 
had a burlesque dress parade, which afforded much amuse 

A friend has sent me a copy of Pierpont s national lyric, 
" E Pluribus Unum," for which my thanks are due. Like 
everything from his pen, it bears the stamp of genius, and 


shows by its brilliant flashes and vigorous expression, that age 
has not abated the force of a cultivated intellect, nor diminished 
the intensity of a fervid patriotism. It admirably blends 
music, science, and the principles upon which our Union is 
based, giving point to the latter, by the apposite illustrations 
drawn from the former. I am reminded by this acceptable 
souvenir, that we have poets in the army. Not long since, 
one of them, " after taking a drink " at a modern Helicon, 
produced the following. If in rhythm it is less accurate than 
more ambitious compositions submitted to the National Hymn 
committee, its sentiment, all will admit, does not lack spirit. 
I am at loss to determine whether the author had in mind 
David s sling or a certain beverage once fashionable, and not 
yet obsolete, and shall leave the question to be settled by 
critics : 

Plea for the Second Kegiment of Sharpshooters. 

[Respectfully proffered to the Head of the Ordnance Department.) 

"While our brothers plead with others, 

We, O Major, turn to you ; 
You have all the guns and rifles, 

And the bows and arrows too. 
Let, Oh, let us not be idle, 

While you have such lots of things, 
If you cannot give us rifles, 

Pray, O Major, give us slings. 

Let our post be one of honor, 

We will prove that "might is right ; 
When ihe first their forces marshal, 

Let the second have a sight. 
Let them take the patent weapons ; 

We ll take yours so much derided ; 
For we know a nation s fortunes 

Once by one was soon decided. 


They may pour their leaden shower, 

We ll stand by to end the fray, 
And when they are driven to cover, 

We ll go in and claim the day. 
Talk of rifles ! we ve decided 

They ll do well enough to play with, 
But before we start for Richmond, 

Give us slings to clear the way with. 

Last Friday, a foraging expedition of five regiments, com 
prising Gen. "VYads worth s brigade, proceeded to the vicinity 
of Fairfax Court House, without meeting obstructions, and 
brought away eighty loads of forage. Yesterday, seventy loads 
more were secured. These operations serve the double pur 
pose of familiarizing the men with road movements and sup 
plying army wants at the expense of the rebels. Such suc 
cesses keep up the spirit of the men. 

Yesterday, another review of Gen. McDowell s division, to 
which Battery D, Capt. Munroe, is attached, took place at 
Ball s cross roads, terminating in a mimic battle. To-day, 
Gen. McCall s division has been reviewed at Langley s, several 
miles north of us, in the presence of Secretary Cameron, Gov. 
Curtain, of Pennsylvania, and other magnates. Gen. Ord s 
brigade, I understand, attracted special attention, and were 
addressed in complimentary terms by Gov. Curtain for their 
bravery in the late battle. The colors of each regiment, and 
also of Capt. Easton s battery, are to be inscribed with the 
word " Drainsville," by the authority of the State, as an hon 
orable recognition of their services. These reviews consume 
considerable time and ammunition, but it is time and expense 
well employed. 



Meditations on guns Former views of Wise and Tyler Mementoes 
from home Rumors New Year in Secessia Signal Corps. 

December 31, 1861. ) 

An old English author wrote "Meditations among the 
Tombs." With concrete materials for thought in abundance 
around him, he must have experienced little difficulty in com 
posing the pages of his volume. As he read the epitaphs 
chiseled on ambitious columns by ostentatious wealth or pre 
tentious meanness, he doubtless could have summed them all 
up as did a Connecticut clergyman when, as I have heard the 
anecdote, he wrote, " here lie the dead, and here the living 
lie ; " or, with the softened expression of sadness, have quoted 
the Man of Wisdom, " Vanity of vanities ; all is vanity." 
But had he selected a quiet, orderly camp, like ours, for intel 
lectual lucubration, he would have found himself as much 
perplexed in meeting the printer s demands for copy, as were 
the brickmakers of Egypt in making out a " full tale " of their 
productions when cut off from the customary allowance of 
straw. The uniformity of its life would have brought him to 
a stand-still after the third or fourth chapter. So friends who 
expect a letter at least once a week, freighted with interesting 
incident, will understand the condition of one whose range of 
observation is necessarily limited, and whose themes a few 
brimming sheets exhaust. As the year approaches a close, 
we instinctively grow thoughtful, and yield to an unseen in 
fluence that moves us to draw lessons from the past and to 
form resolutions for the future. Wise are they who thus com 
pel the hours to serve them. In this frame of mind, while re 
cently looking at our battery, I found myself meditating on 
guns. The topic was not entirely foreign to the prolific one 


chosen by the author referred to, though at this moment more 
abstract. Our park comprises six as fine rifled brass pieces as 
a trained gunner could wish to look upon ; and as they stood 
in majestic silence, overlooking the approaches from the west 
and north, they seemed to me the representatives and ex 
pounders of six vital principles, liberty, law, order, equal 
rights, constitutional nationality, and a perpetuated Union. It 
is for these they may yet speak with more than Websterian 

As I passed in review the events of the year, and recalled 
the instructions of Virginia to her delegates in 1776, and the 
patriotic eloquence of Patrick Henry, the contrast seemed hu 
miliating to a State boasting herself the mother of Presidents. 
Yet not more so, perhaps, than the past and present positions 
of two of her prominent citizens, one a late Governor and 
the other once acting chief magistrate of the Union. In 1844, 
according to a paper from which I quote, John Tyler, in a 
message sent to Congress, uttered these memorable words : 

" I regard the preservation of the Union as the first great American 
interest. I equally disapprove of all threats of its dissolution, 
whether they proceed from the north or the south. The glory of my 
country, its safety and its prosperity, alike depend on union, and he 
who would contemplate its destruction, even for a moment, and form 
plans to accomplish it, deserves the deepest anathemas of the human 

In 1858, on a public occasion, Henry A. Wise, with even 
more earnest emphasis, expressed himself as follows : 

"Listen to me now, and to what I am going to say. I wish that 
there was no noise, and that there were silence in all the earth, and 
that I had the trumpet of the archangel to sound it everywhere. 
When your fathers attempted to form this Union, they did not know 
beforehand what sort of a Union it was to be. They set to work and 
did the best they could under the circumstances. What they would 
accomplish, no man could tell. There was not ahead upon either that 
could foretell what was to be ; but they went in for the Union for 


Union s sake. By all the gods, by all the altars of my country, I go 
for Union for Union s sake. They set to work to make the best Union 
they could, and they did make the best Union and the best govern 
ment that ever was made. Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, all 
combined, in Congress or out of Congress, in convention or out of 
convention, never made that constitution. God Almighty sent it 
down to your fathers. It was a work, too, of glory, and a work of 
inspiration. I believe that as fully as I believe my Bible. No man, 
from Hamilton and Jay and Madison, from Edmund Randolph, who 
had the chief hand in making it, and he was a Virginian, the writers 
of it, the authors of it, and you who have lived under it from 1789 
down to this year of our Lord 1858, none of your fathers, and none 
of your fathers sons, have ever measured the height or the depth, or 
the length or the breadth, of the wisdom of that constitution." 

And now where are these men ? What has moved them to 
contemn a constitution so essentially Virginian as one of them 
boasts ? Why have they so soon falsified their professions of 
attachment to the Union ? Is it not because ambition prompts 
them to rule rather than serve ? and to magnify the importance 
of the State at the expense of the nation ? So it seems to me. 
For the desolation that civil war has caused in this State, they, 
as perverters of the truth and leaders of the misguided masses, 
are largely responsible. Every dilapidated farm, every dese 
crated church, every ruined country seat, and every prostrate 
forest, meeting the eye along the Potomac, are swift and terrible 
witnesses against them. By their aid, the good name of a State 
that stood shoulder to shoulder with the north in the resistance 
of oppression has been destroyed, and her material prosperity 
put back for a quarter of a century. What a history are these 
men making for themselves. One may be known to posterity 
as " great on oysters," and the other as once the commander of 
a corporal s guard ; but when the story of 1861 is written, the 
black lines of treason will wreathe their names, and Wise and 
Tyler will be synonyms for recreancy to principles for which 
Washington hazarded his life, and the plains of Yorktown were 
stained with patriot blood. But enough of guns and their sug- 


gestions. May the year, soon to open, be happier for Virginia 
and the Union than the past, whose last hour is striking. 

Among the pleasing incidents of the camp, next to receiving 
a loEg letter full of neighborhood gossip, or furnishing a synop 
sis of life on Westminster street, is the arrival of boxes or 
packages from home ; and when the quartermaster returns from 
Washington with tokens of maternal thoughtfulness, sisterly 
affection and friendly recognition, which he has disinterred at 
the express office from beneath piles of army merchandise, you 
may be sure he shares the blessings that spring warmly from 
feeling hearts. What pent-up power for good was there in a 
Christmas box, eagerly looked for and exultingly welcomed 
on the eve of Advent-day. Gauntlets, such as mortal eyes 
never before saw in Buckskin land ; socks and mittens, just 
in the nick of time : blankets for our Rosinantes ; (who but a 
provident mother would have thought of them ?) jars of anti 
scorbutic condiments ; delicious condensed Mocha, with lacteal 
accompaniments ; " Kase " that would provoke a German ap 
petite to activity; saponaceous compounds, teaching us how 
near akin is cleanliness to godliness ; and nameless other mat 
ters for present comfort; these all, as remembrances from 
home, carried sunshine to a certain tent, and quickened to full 
flow the emotional nature of its occupant. Had Gulliver s 
philosopher tried this method of filling his bottles with the 
beams of Sol, instead of wasting his genius upon cucumbers, 
his experiments would have been crowned with success, and a 
fortune laid up " where moth and rust doth not corrupt." 
Home is never so dear to a man as when separated from its 
cosy enjoyments, and they are " blessed in the deed " who thus 
keep the line of communication with the camp unbroken. 

Since the Drainesville battle, all sorts of rumors have pre 
vailed in regard to the enemy s forces. One is, that they have 
13,000 men at that place, whereas, it is a well ascertained fact 
that not a rebel is to be found there. Another report was that 
Gen. Me Call s pickets had been driven in. This, like the 


preceding, proves to be a base coin, as no secesh have, of 
late, been within eight miles of his picket lines. The truth is, 
that after the recent acquaintance made with his command, they 
will be slow to thrust themselves upon his military hospitality. 

January 1, 1862. Our first New Year s day in Secessia 
was made genial by a clear, bright sunshine. In most of the 
regiments in this vicinity, the customary drills were omitted, 
and the men were permitted a holiday within division lines? 
according to their fancy. A few voluntary drills conducted by 
privates, trials of skill in musket and rifle shooting, exchange 
of visits, music, dancing, illuminations and serenades, filled the 
hours of day and evening. Battery C spent a portion of the 
day in gunnery. The firing was from Hall s Hill, and the tar 
get a tree twelve hundred yards distant, in the direction of 
Fall s Church. Capt. Griffin s battery engaged in a similar 
recreation. With both batteries the results were satisfactory, 
and showed accurate sighting. 

The army Signal Corps, a new and important feature in the 
army of the Potomac, has been filled up with the prescribed 
complement of officers and men. One hundred and two offi 
cers have been detailed, and are under the command of Major 
Meyers, late Assistant Surgeon General. Their camp is in 
the neighborhood of Georgetown, where they will receive a 
thorough course of signal instruction. When completed, an offi 
cer will be attached to the staff of each Brigadier General.* 

* The code of signals, by flags, lias been brought to remarkable perfec 
tion, and during the different campaigns of the rebellion, has been of 
immense service. In many instances, the firing of artillery has been 
directed by signal officers stationed where they could overlook the fight, 
and observe, with a field glass, the effects of gunnery. By their aid, the 
commanding general is made seasonably acquainted with the movements 
of the enemy in time of battle, spread over a field of s everal miles. The 
signal service is dangerous, and men of bravery and coolness only are 
suited to it. 



Virginia mud Foraging expeditions Spies Health of the army 
New guns Burnside s Expedition C apture of Forts Henry and 
Donelson Faulkner s opinion Washington s Birth-day. 


February 3, 1862. j 

There has been no perceptible change along our lines, since 
the year came in, except the departure of the Fourth Rhode 
Island Regiment and Battery F from Camp California, near 
Alexandria, to join Gen. Burnside s expedition. It would 
have gratified many other Rhode Island boys had they been 
included in the call to that service ; but they must wait their 

For several weeks past, the clerk of the weather has 
been in fitful moods, and, as if to try human patience, has sent 
us a liberal supply of rain, sleet and snow. The result is mud 
of the most unmitigated kind. Its grammatic scale would read, 
muddy, muddier, muddiest ; over shoes, ankle deep, knee deep ; 
or in another form of descending comparison, deep, deeper, 
deepest. The mud of Virginia is a compound unlike any sub 
stance bearing that name seen north of Mason and Dixon s 
line. Take, for example, a quantity of clay thrown out from a 
New England brickyard, mingle with it two parts ferruginous 
earth, a sprinkling of yellow ochre, and soft soap, ad libitum, 
and you will have a tolerable specimen of the soil of the Old 
Dominion in the region about us. At this moment the roads 
are in the worst possible condition, and that the heavy army 
teams succeed in moving back and forth between the encamp 
ments and Washington, is creditable to the perseverance of their 
drivers. Mud is a formidable obstacle to army operations. In 
the present state of the roads, a movement of this division, re 
ported to be in contemplation, is a physical impossibility. The 


regrets occasioned by this temporary embargo are softened by 
the reflection that the secesh troops are in a similar predica 
ment. A few weeks will change the aspect of our surround 
ings, and then, if rumor is reliable, another expedition will be 
set on foot. Who are to compose it, and where its destination ? 
time will reveal. Such a movement will be hailed with satis 
faction by men to whom the monotony of camp routine, to say 
nothing of mud and slosh, has become a bore. " On to Rich 
mond," or anywhere else, would be to them an agreeable change, 
after a four months study of the geological structure of Miner s 
and Hall s Hills. The men, as a body, want a short war, and 
are now becoming anxious to "put it through" at the earliest 
possible day. 

Reconnojssances and foraging expeditions into the rebel lines? 
the present winter, have been successful, the former gaining 
information for use at headquarters, and the latter adding to 
the supplies of the commissary department. A few weeks ago 
scouting parties in the direction of Fairfax Court House re 
ported that the farmers had not then commenced their annual 
hog-killing, for the want of salt, a serious evil to them, but to 
the lovers of spare-ribs and cracklings among the federals, 
a decided advantage. It would not be surprising to learn that 
a respectable number of the swinish multitude, as contraband 
of war, had yielded to the force of circumstances, and been con 
signed to some regimental or brigade commissariat. 

Since all the particulars of the Drainsville battle have been 
ascertained, Gen. McClellan has officially complimented Gen. 
Ord and the men of his brigade for the gallantry displayed on 
that occasion, and the Secretary of War has addressed a letter 
to Gen. Me Call, commending, in warm terms, all the troops of 
his division engaged, for their bravery. Soldiers are not in 
sensible to deserved praise, and while it gratifies a natural feel 
ing, it stimulates an honorable ambition. Col. Kane, of the 
Bucktail Rifles, who was wounded in his cheek, and taken to 
Washington, has recovered and returned to his regiment. 


Lieut. George F. Hodges, Adjutant of 18th Massachusetts 
Volunteers, died of fever, at Hall s Hill, on the 30th ult. He 
was a zealous, conscientious Unionist, a valuable officer, and 
highly esteemed for courteous manners and excellent qualities 
of heart. He was son of Almon D. Hodges, Esq., of Roxbury, 
Mass., formerly of the firm of Stimpson & Hodges, Providence. 

Our line, on this side of the Potomac, has a front of about 
fifteen miles, reaching from the head of McCall s division to 
Fort Lyon. The division encampments, counting from right 
to left, are in the following order : McCall s, Smith s, Porter s, 
McDowell s, Blenker s, Franklin s and Heintzelman s. The 
rebel strength threatening Washington, is estimated at 160,000. 
At Centreville and Manassas they are supposed, from the best 
sources of information, to have from 75,000 to 80,000 men. 
At both places they are strongly fortified. 

Spies are still about, watching opportunities to penetrate the 
Federal lines, for information. Occasionally, one is taken and 
sent to Washington for examination. In that city, it is under 
stood, female spies have been numerous from the beginning of 
the war, and, in various ingenious ways, have succeeded in 
conveying much important information to the rebels. Among 
those who have been placed in confinement for this treasonable 
practice, are Mrs. Greenhow and daughter, Mrs. Phillips, Mrs. 
Levy, Mrs. Hassler, Mrs. Jackson, Miss Markle, Mrs. Onder- 
donk, Mrs. Lowe, Miss Poole and Mrs. Baxley. Some of these 
ladies have been released, and have Left for more congenial 
homes, while others are still " in durance vile." Mrs. Jackson 
is the mother of the assassin of Ellsworth. After a confinement 
of two days and nights, she was permitted to go south. Miss 
Poole, whose alias was Stewart, came from Wheeling to Wash 
ington, last August, and was very successful in obtaining and 
conveying information to the rebel leaders in Kentucky. She 
escaped from prison by t^ing the sheets together and letting 
herself down from the window. It is said that when arrested 
a second time, within ten miles of the enemy s lines in Ken- 


tucky, $7,500 of unexpended money furnished by the rebels 
was found upon her person. She is now tasting the sweets of 
confinement at the Sixteenth street jail, flavored with rumina 
tions upon the uncertainties of secession scheming. It may be 
ungallant to resort to treatment that justice would mete out to 
derelict sons of Adam ; but when crinoline or " a love of a bon 
net " is perverted to the purposes of treason, the distinguished 
consideration of the Provost Marshal becomes an imperative 

Of the health of the army of the Potomac, the hospitals are 
perhaps the best exponents. There are seven hospitals in 
Washington* and Georgetown and one at Alexandria, besides 
regimental or division hospitals in the various encampments. 
In the latter are found, for the most part, men slightly indis 
posed, or whose illness is not of a type to require removal to 
the former. At the last report, 24th ult., the hospitals at 
Washington and Georgetown contained 575 patients ; that at 
Alexandria 537, making a total of 1,112. Considering the 
numerical force around Washington, these reports indicate a 
favorable sanitary condition. Of all in the hospitals, only fif 
teen are Rhode Island soldiers. Ten of these are at Alexan 
dria eight from the 4th battery, and two from the 6th. Of 
the number in the regimental or division hospitals, I have no 
exact knowledge, but presume they do not exceed what are 
usually found in a large army. Deaths occasionally occur, and 
the solemn procession, with arms reversed, the plaintive strains 
of the band, the brief funeral service, and the volley over the 
grave, remind us that the end of man is dust, and that the dark 
ness of the tomb can be enlivened only by the hope of immor 
tality. The exemption of Rhode Island volunteers from fatal 
sickness is quite remarkable, and may be attributed, in part, to 
the judicious selection of encampments, and in no small degree 
to unremitting attentions from honiCj No State has surpassed, 
and few States have equalled, Rhode Island in her care for her 
troops. The government, as well as the soldiers, owe much 
*They have since been increased to eighteen. 


to individuals and associations, from whom have come timely 
supplies of blankets, socks, mittens, &c., comforting the body 
and making glad the heart. Patriotic relief associations, loyal 
workers, and nameless loving friends, will ever be held in grate 
ful remembrance. 

February 17. If the condition of the roads is not soon ma 
terially improved, our speedy departure from this encampment 
is problematical. The weather has been as unsettled as the 
fortunes of this secession-ridden State. Occasionally, we greet 
the face of a pleasant day, but take them as a wholef the past 
two months are to be ranked among the disagreeables of tent 
life. Last Saturday, about four inches of snow fell ; yesterday, 
the heavens were, propitious, and all overhead was fine ; but, 
to-day, " the clouds consign their treasures to the fields " again, 
while men of rueful visage speculate as to what will turn up 

The principal incident of local interest is the exchange of 
our old guns (James s) for a new battery. On Friday last, the 
men went to the "Washington Arsenal to obtain new field pieces, 
with which they returned after a day of fatigue, in braving the 
mud and facing the rain. It was an occasion of agreeable ex 
citement, and all slept the better for the exercise. The guns 
are light 12-pounders, gotten up under the sanction of the 
United States Ordnance Board, and made of wrought iron. 
The cartridge is attached to the shell, thus facilitating loading. 
They are an improvement, I believe, by Shcnkle, and are said 
to be superior to anything in the line of field pieces yet in 
vented. A trial of their merits will determine their value. 

The news of the success of the Burnside expedition and of 
the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson, with 15,006 men 
and large quantities of war stores, was received in camp with 
strong demonstrations of -joy. This afternoon, about two 
o clock, the bugle sounded the assembly, and after the men had 
fallen into line, a dispatch from Gen. Porter, announcing these 


splendid victories, was read to thorn by Capt. Weeden. The 
intelligence was responded to with three cheers and a " tiger " 
that would have put the best specimens of Narragansett de 
monstrations at home quite in the shade. A salute of thirty 
guns was also fired, and as the loud cannon pealed its hoarsest 
strains, hill tops and vallies caught the sounds, and sent them 
echoing the glad tale to the foot of the distant Blue Ridge, 
inspiring the patriotic with noble resolves, and filling the 
" weary and care-haunted bosom" of secession with dismay. 
At Hall s Hill, Gen. Martindale read the official dispatches to 
his brigade, who listened in breathless silence. When he 
closed, four thousand caps were instantly swinging in the air, 
and as many thousand stentorian lungs gave vocal expression 
to the enthusiasm awakened. Similar demonstrations were 
witnessed in the various encampments, furnishing the boys with 
a topic for conversation infinitely more agreeable than Virginia 
mud or the weather. 

But while joy has found this hearty expression, regret is felt 
at the escape of Floyd and Pillow. The latter, it is true, has 
never contributed much to the ease and comfort of the rebels, 
and, as superintendent of their military ditches, may still render 
service to the Federal cause. Let him go. But a general, who? 
yielding to constitutional propensities, steals time and two 
thousand men, as though they were well-filled treasury bags, 
and runs away with them in the dead of night, shows capabili 
ties that deserve suitable recognition. For such preeminent 
merit nothing less exalted than the Cannabis order of Knight 
hood should be thought of ; and this, if his retreating steps stop 
short of Europe, a host of appreciative Kentuckians will, at 
brief notice, cheerfully confer. 

The fall of Forts Henry and Donelson are, it is hoped, but 
precursors of a series of important achievements. A succession 
of such triumphs as have recently been witnessed will not only 
stimulate our troops, now quietly encamped, to deeds of daring 
when called to action, but must prove heavy blows to an 


ephemeral rebellion. A few months ought, and doubtless will, 
make still more encouraging changes in the aspects of this great 
national struggle. Secretary Stanton evidently aims, by a 
wise and prudent exercise of his power, to do whatever lies 
within the line of his duties, to bring the war to an early ter 
mination. In this he has the sympathy of the great body of 
the army. From the beginning they have looked for a short 
war, ftid composed largely of thinking men, they do not see a 
necessity for its long protraction. 

It is evident that the successes of the federal arms have ex 
ercised the rebel leaders with deep concern. It is reported 
that Faulkner, the late Minister to France, declared, at a din 
ner given him at Martinsburg, a few days ago, that it is useless 
for the south to contend any longer that the Southern Con 
federacy could not stand, and the sooner the war was nded 
the better it would be for the people of the south. One swal 
low does not make a summer, nor does a solitary declaration 
like this give full assurance of a speedy return of our southern 
brethren to their senses. But " straws show which way the 
wind blows," and taken in connection with the tone of several 
of the leading southern papers, the statement is of deeper sig 
nificance than would appear, upon a hasty reading. No doubt 
it expresses the real feelings of large numbers at the south ; 
but the leaders are desperate, and such men as Mr. Davis will 
yield only to arguments of iron and lead. That rebellion will 
be crushed out is a fixed fact, but we may not hope to witness 
such a result without the further intervention of villainous salt 
petre. Of this the Federals have enough and to spare. 

With regard to the future movements of the army on this 
side of the Potomac, little reliable is known. Many rumors 
are afloat. But " rumor s a pipe blown by surmises," and sur 
mises often end where they begin. Camp gossip needs careful 
winnowing to obtain the few grains of truth mingled with a 
liberal allowance of chaff. We know that it is said this divis 
ion has been under marching orders for some time, and that 


is about all we do know, or at least all that a soldier would feel 
himself at liberty, without authority, to repeat. 

A forward movement may or may not be made at the earliest 
favorable condition of the roads, as circumstances shall author 
ize. It is possible, also, that no advance will occur until Burn- 
side, Butler, and Commodore Porter have made a few more 
strikes. If this be so, then, when Gen. McClellan moves for 
ward, it will be what certain sharp men call the " clearh% up 
deal " with secession. This, of course, is mere speculation, and 
may prove erroneous ; but it does not look reasonable that an 
army so large as is concentrated along the Potomac should be 
quietly resting on their arms for nothing. Indeed, for the mat 
ter of that, we know they are not. They have already done 
more than the service of a battle by compelling Beauregard to 
keep the strength of his army at Manassas, until embargoed by 
mud for the winter. This silent way of doing things has not 
the charm that fascinates the popular mind and wins the popu 
lar applause ; but when the history of the campaign shall be 
written, this page in the story may be read with quite as much 
satisfaction as though recorded in gore. Strategy has bloodless 
victories, not less to be admired than those won by storm and 
carnage. The story of Capt. Scott and the coon illustrates an 
important phase in the present conflict. If the rebel army is 
not treed at Manassas, it has been effectually cooped for the last 
four months, and is apparently thrown upon the alternatives of 
assaulting the Federal forces on their own ground, retreating, 
or surrendering. The former it will be slow to do, and the 
latter nothing but dire necessity will induce. Retreat is possible. 
Rumor says troops arc already beginning to depart. If true, 
so much the better. When the last regiment? departs, Eastern 
Virginia will undergo a pancake operation.* If they do not 

* This prediction is left as originally written. Appearances then, fa 
vored its early fulfilment. The causes of disappointment, it is needless 
to discuss. 


retreat, surrender in the end must come. A certain chaplain 
may yet have an opportunity to preach from his favorite text.* 
For results, we can afford to wait till the ways are settled. 

February 26. It is an omen for good that the birth-day of 
Washington has been so universally celebrated throughout the 
free States. His farewell address is truly a national sermon, 
and, at this time, most fitting to be repeated. Its warnings and 
counsels, as well as the sound principles of government it un 
folds, need to be uttered in the national ear with all the em 
phasis that the experience of sixty-six years authorize. The 
President showed wisdom and patriotism in recommending this 
becoming tribute to the memory of " the founder of our federate 
republic," and nothing could have been more impressive than 
the scene at the Capitol on the 22d instant. There was some 
thing more than local significance in the reaffirmation of fealty, 
by the chief magistrate of the nation and the legislative bodies, 
to a government based upon human equality and personal 
rights. Such an occurrence, in the presence of the represen 
tatives of foreign nations spoke more loudly of the spirit and 
purpose of those who direct the destinies of this republic than 
any set asseverations could possibly have done, and must largely 
tend to revive and deepen the love of country in the hearts of 
the rising generation. The occasion was celebrated throughout 
this division by national salutes from the different batteries, 
regimental parades, and national airs played by the several 
bands. The day was cold and wet, and perhaps less was made 
of it in the way of show than would have been had the sur 
roundings been more agreeable. It was a brazen-faced imper 
tinence on the part of Mr. Davis to avail himself of the day to 
inaugurate his rebel administration. Could the marble statue, 
beneath whose shadow the outrage was committed, have spo 
ken, it would have said, " shame." 

The weather has been at its old tricks again. "While the 

*"Manasseh is mine." 


clerk was supposed to be at Washington, last Monday, looking 
after demolished church steeples, unroofed houses, dilapidated 
chimneys, and divers other confusions, occasioned by the bois 
terous eccentricities of Boreas, that blustering railer rushed 
with startling violence to our camps, and, on Tuesday, indulged 
in most unbecoming shindies, such as flooring a number of our 
tents, blowing the shanty of the sutler of the 4th Michigan 
regiment, near us, pretty much to pieces, razing the observa 
tory at general head-quarters, and maintaining an uproarious- 
ness in minor ways, to the great annoyance of a quiet and 
order-loving soldiery. Last night, a heavy rain fell. To-day, 
it is clear, cold and windy. Having no Old Farmer s Alma 
nac at hand, it is impossible to predict what the next change 
will be. 

Our new guns, already mentioned, have been tried, and are 
regarded as a complete success. The test firing gave Gen. 
Porter great satisfaction. The men are in excellent heart, and 
would be glad to introduce the entire battery of ordnance to 
the secesh at an early day. 


The army moves on Manassas McClellan s plans revealed to the 
rebels Manassas evacuated Works at Centreville Fairfax Court 
House Address to the army Stoneman s reconnoisance. 

March 12, 1862. j" 

Last Monday was a day of excitement on this side the Po 
tomac. Two weeks ago we had an inkling of coming events. 
After tattoo, on the 25th ult., an order was issued to pack up 
and cook rations in readiness for inarching the next day. To 


what point advance was to be made could only be surmised, 
but the order was obeyed with alacrity, for however strong 
their admiration of Miner s Hill and its surroundings, the men 
were anxious for something more lively than camp life afforded. 
They had become infected with the active spirit of the war 
department, and welcomed a change that gave promise of a 
hand in putting secession hors du combat before hot weather. 
But eager anticipations were not to be immediately gratified, 
and it was not until day before yesterday that the tents of 
Battery C were struck and a formal farewell bidden to its old 
encampment. At 7 o clock the battery was in motion. The 
day was stormy, and the roads muddy as only Virginia clay, 
with due mixture of water, can become ; but by dint of perse 
verance we reached Fairfax Court House, our immediate des 
tination, at half-past twelve o clock, having made about eight 
miles in five and a half hours. It was a fatiguing march to men 
and horses, and that night, " tired nature s sweet restorer" was 
courted with the assiduity of a rural swain. For the present,Gen. 
McClellan s headquarters are fixed here, and an enthusiastic 
army are looking forward to a speedy conflict with the army 
of treason. They had hoped to catch the birds just flown 
from Centreville and Manassas, but must for a time be content 
with hunting them elsewhere. The precipitate retreat of the 
rebels excited general surprise ; but they doubtless were gov 
erned by prudential reasons, and these must have been urgent 
to induce them to abandon a position of so much importance 
without firing a gun.* 

*This supposition subsequent revelations substantiated. It was stated 
by a rebel officer, taken prisoner, that ten days before the army of the 
Potomac moved, Gen. McClellan s plans were revealed to the rebel chiefs, 
through spies or sympathisers at Washington, and ample time was gained 
to shun a battle. At Centreville, the defences, eight in number, and ex 
tending five miles, were left without essential injury " quaker guns " 
being placed in the embrasures to give, at the last moment, appearance 
of strength. At M-anassas Junction, ruin and ravage prevailed. The 
torch had been applied to the machine shop, depot, other buildings 


Yesterday, General McClellan and McDowell made a* cav 
alry reconnoisance, with a view, probably, of determining the 
completeness of the evacuation by the rebels of their late strong 
holds. It is now clear that they have made a successful re 
treat, carrying off with them most of their ordnance, all their 
provisions and munitions, and a large portion of the population, 
slave and free, leaving the countrjr in a measure desolate. 

The evacuation of Manassas is the third alternative pre 
dicted in my last letter, that the rebel forces would take, though 
it was not anticipated at so early a day. It was evident they 
were not disposed to become the attacking party. It was 
equally clear that they would not surrender, if they could pos 
sibly avoid it ; and in view of what they saw foreshadowed by 
the events of the past two months, retreat, as a measure of 
safety, became a necessity. If the comparatively quiet posses 
sion of this stronghold of the rebels has not the prestige of a 
hard fought battle, it secures advantages that may be accepted 
as an equivalent for bloodshed. An important post has been 
gained without loss of life, and the federals hold all the country 

and camps thereabout, and all were leveled to one smoking, flicker 
ing mass. Two camps, however, had been evacuated so hastily that 
arms, hospital stores, tents and baggage were left behind unharmed, but 
strewn in infinite confusion. 

In a recent volume, entitled " War Pictures from the South," written 
by an officer in the Confederate army, the author says : " It was no longer 
a secret to the Confederate Chief that it waa General McClellan s intention 
to transfer his operations to the Peninsula. Large forces were accord 
ingly ordered to proceed there forthwith, and instructions sent at life 
same time to General Magrutlcr to place Yorktown and Williamsburg in 
such a state of defence that, if threatened, both should be able to stand a 
siege. General Magruder, who had for a long time held a command on 
the Peninsula, lost no time, accordingly, in carrying out these instruc 
tions, and he soon fortified Yorktown so strongly that it was in a condi 
tion to stand the siege of a large army No sooner was his 

(McClellan s) intended scheme of operations known at Washington, than 
it was communicated by means of active espionage to the Government at 
Richmond, where the necessary steps were forthwith taken to counteract 
it." p. 209. 


east of a line drawn from Manassas to Leesburg. This will 
soon give us the rebel batteries on the lower Potomac, while 
our advanced troops are fresh for ^h onward movement to 
Richmond or elsewhere. 

Fairfax Court House is twenty-one miles west of Washing 
ton, and until the rebellion broke out was a quiet little com 
munity of some 200 or 300 souls. At present the exact pop 
ulation is unknown. It is a dirty looking village, and bears all 
the marks of having been under the curse of secession. In 
a military point of view, its importance, at this time, arises 
from the fact that it commands the Warrington turnpike, lead 
ing to Centreville, seven miles beyond, and thence across Bull 
Run at Stone Bridge, the Little River turnpike, and the road 
leading to Vienna, on the Loudon and Hampshire railroad. 
But a glance at the map will give a better idea of these rela 
tions than any description. This place was a scene of a Fed 
eral cavalry dash, previous to the battle of Bull Run ; here, 
also, a brave Providence boy* of the Second Rhode Island, 
captured the secession flag that floated in insulting defiance 
from the top of the Court House, while halting on the march 
to that sanguinary conflict. He bears on his person the evi 
dence of his exposure on that memorable day, and deserves 
well of the country he so faithfully served. 

A few rebel mementoes have been picked up in the village- 
The first is a legal paper of a half century gone by, setting 
forth why a suit should be brought against Ralph Lane, who 
" hath hitherto refused and still refuses," to pay Charles J. 
Love " fifty-four pounds which to him he owes, and from him 
unjustly detains." The second is a receipted bill of modern 
date, showing that the " Clerk of the Circuit Court " was suc 
cessful in obtaining fees due for services rendered ; and the 
third, a grocery order, furnishes evidence that as late as 1854 ? 
" good molasses " and " 6 J cents sugar" were among the articles 

* Sergeant James Taggart. 


of household comfort used by the " F. F. Vs." Did time 
permit, an instructive moral discourse might be made from 
these three heads, but that is left to those whose province it is 
to instruct. * 

The good news that comes booming to us from the west, is 
tinged with sadness by the accompanying tidings of Gen. Lan 
der s sudden death. That sad event has cast a shadow upon 
many hearts. His experience on the plains of California, pre 
pared a nature attuned to adventure, for the position to which 
he was called at the opening of our national troubles ; and his 
gallant conduct at Rich Mountain, Edwards Ferry, and in his 
last engagement, fully justified the expectations formed of him 
by a numerous circle of friends and admirers. Brave and re 
liable as Junot, and dashing as Murat, he seemed admirably 
adapted to play the part assigned him. Gen. McClellan, in 
his general order to the army, justly said, " As a man, his de 
votion to his country, his loyalty to affection and friendship, 
his sympathy with suffering, and his indignation at cruelty 
and wrong, constituted him a true representative of chivalry." 
His loss will be severely felt, and few will be competent to fill 
his place. 

March 14. To-day, Gen. McClellan has issued an address 
to the army iif which he says the period for inaction is past. 
He commends it for its " magnificent material," and admirable 
discipline and instruction. He is soon to bring it face to face 
with the enemy on the decisive battle field. " It is my busi 
ness," he adds, " to bring you there. ... I shall demand 
of you great, heroic exertions, rapid and long marches, des 
perate combats, privations, perhaps. We will share all these 
together ; and when this sad war is over, we will return to our 
homes, and feel that we can ask no higher honor than the 
proud consciousness that we belonged to the army of the Po 
tomac." There is "vim" in this address which tells with 
power upon the men. The army, with the exception of Gen. 


Heintzleman s division, now rests around Fairfax Court House, 
ready for the next movement. Quite a mania has prevailed 
for visiting Bull Run and Manassas, and many officers and 
men have improved the opportunity afforded them to examine 
the field of last year s disaster. 

March 15. Yesterday, Gen. Stoneman made a reconnois- 
ance in force about fourteen miles beyond Manassas toward 
"Warrenton, to which place the rebels had fallen back. He 
found the railroad bridge at Bristow s station, on the Orange 
and Alexandria Railroad, and also Kipp s bridge had been 
destroyed by fire. The roads were strown with military 
equipments and baggage wagons, showing that the retreat had 
partaken of panic. The rebels were several times encountered, 
and shots exchanged. One man and one horse on our side, 
were wounded. On the rebel side, one saddle was emptied. 
After obtaining desired information, Gen. Stoneman returned 
to Manassas in a drenching rain. Report is, that Gen. Banks 
has taken possession of Winchester, much to the joy of its in 
habitants. The night before, Jackson s troops carried off more 
than two hundred of its loyal citizens. 

March 17. Our mission to Fairfax terminated at the ex 
piration of five days, when orders came for another march. 
At three o clock last Saturday morning, reveille was sounded, 
one day s rations delivered to each man, breakfast served, and 
everything packed ready for a start. At half-past six o clock 
the battery was in motion, and taking the Little River Turn 
pike, which passes through Anandale, at one time a rebel post, 
and leads to Alexandria, our faces were set towards the rising 
sun. As usual, when we move, the superintendent of th.e 
weather stepped out, leaving the stop-cocks of the over-head 
reservoirs open, and we arrived at Camp California thoroughly 


drenched. A fire was quickly started and the surplus moist 
ure soon evaporated. We occupy the tents vacated by a 
New York battery, now at Manassas or in that vicinity, and 
are very comfortable. Our camp was the temporary home 
of the Fourth* R. I. regiment, and of battery F, R. I. Ar 
tillery, previously to their joining Burnside s expedition, and 
a little exercise of the imagination almost enabled one to 
catch the inspiring tones of " glorious Joe Greene s bugle," 
as they floated upon the evening air down the valley towards 
the Potomac. Just above us, Fort Worth lifts its stern head ; 
in our front, towards Alexandria, bristles Fort Ellsworth ; and 
from an eminence on the south-east, stands Fort Lyon, frown 
ing defiance upon the enemies of the Republic. These fortifi 
cations effectually guard the approaches to Alexandria. The 
latter commands the river, and could put a permanent embargo 
on all rebel vessels attempting to reach Washington from be 
low. Washington is now protected bv between thirty and 
forty defences, and, in the judgment of intelligent officers, 
30,000 troops can hold it against any force the rebels can at 
present hurl upon it. 

March 20. A brief visit to Alexandria, a few days since, 
was an agreeable break in the routine of the camp ; and a sight 
of the Canonicus, as she lay quietly on the bosom of the Poto 
mac, brought up pleasant visions of Rocky Point, Portsmouth 
Grove and Newport, only, however, to give place to the stern 
realities of war. Steamboats are not permitted at present to 
run to Mount Vernon, and the hope of an excursion to the 
home of the Father of his Country must be for a time deferred, 
falling back for consolation upon the philosophy that " the best 
enjoyment is half disappointment." Whether this be so or not, 
it is a facile method of disposing of " fortune s cheating lot 

Alexandria looks dilapidated. The objects of interest are 
few. The Marshall House, where Ellsworth was murdered, 


has nothing inviting in its external appearance, while its inter 
nal parts are disappearing by piece-meal, through the industry 
of relic gatherers. Many private dwellings belonging to 
absentee secessionists, are closed or occupied as officers quar 
ters. The old church, built at an early day of imported brick, 
and in which Washington worshipped, occupies a somewhat 
retired spot and is surrounded by a high fence. It is said that 
his pew, prayer book, cushions, &c. remain as they were when 
he last attended service there. Last autumn, a large hotel 
was converted into a General Hospital for sick and wounded 
soldiers. The last official report shows 519 inmates. Of these, 
162 belong to New York regiments, 89 to Pennsylvania, 40 
to Maine, and 24 to New Jersey. Only four Rhode Island 
men are on the list, and one Connecticut. In a former letter 
it was predicted that the free passage of the Potomac would 
follow the occupation of Manassas. The prediction has be 
come a verity. 

Our army is gathering in this vicinity, with a view of car 
rying out Gen. McClellan s original plan of reaching Rich 
mond by the way of York and James rivers. The plan, mod 
ified by a contingent clause, has received the unanimous ap 
proval of the Generals commanding corps, present at a Coun 
cil of War on Thursday last.* The Potomac, in front of 
Alexandria, is full of transports, yet not in sufficient numbers 
to embark the entire force. This will occasion some delay 
and subject the troops, deprived of camping accommodations, 
to temporary inconvenience. It may also give the rebels time 

*This plan of operations was submitted to the President on the same 
day, who approved it, but gave directions that such a force should be left 
at Manassas Junction as would make it certain that the enemy could not 
repossess himself of that position and line of communication, and also 
that Washington should be left secure. It is understood, however, that 
the President preferred a movement on Richmond by way of Manassas. 


to prepare for a strong defence, before we can march up the 
peninsula in sufficient numbers to sweep the way clear to our 


Embarkation for the Peninsula Passage to Portress Munroe 
Mount Vernon The Monitor Hampton John Tyler Gen. 
Smith s division. 

March 30, 1862. j 

My last was dated at Camp California. The two weeks 
succeeding were busily occupied in embarking the Army of 
the Potomac for its important campaign on the Peninsula. 
Officers and men were full of agreeable excitement in pros 
pect of the active work before them, and the streets and wharves 
of Alexandria probably never before presented so lively an 

On the morning of the 21st, bowing respectfully to Fort 
Lyon, and touching my cap to Fort Ellsworth, we bade farewell 
to the comfortable quarters we had temporarily occupied, and 
were soon in motion for Alexandria, where we embarked on 
board the propeller A. H. Bowman and two transport schoon 
ers. The embarkation of the artillery of Porter s division was 
followed by the infantry regiments, and occupied nearly the 
entire day. Twenty-five steamers and several steam tugs lay 

*The Prince de Joinville, a member of Gen. McClcllan s staff, speaking 
on this subject, says, " He had been promised transports which could 
convey 50,000 men at a time. He found vessels hardly equal to the con 
veyance of half that number. Instead of moving at once, as McClellan 
intended, a whole army with its equipage, a number of trips had to be 
made." The Army of the Potomac, p. 29. 


in the stream, besides numerous sailing vessels, which were 
crowded to their utmost capacity. The following steamers 
were made headquarters of Generals of Porter s division : 
Daniel Webster, Porter ; State of Maine, Morell ; Elm City, 
Martindale; Knickerbocker, Butterfield. Gen. McClellan 
and staff had their headquarters on board the Commodore, and 
were conveyed by her to Old Point. The chiefs of artillery, 
cavalry, engineers, transportation, and the assistant Adjutant 
General s office were also on board, and until the steamer left, 
business in their several departments was there transacted. 

On the 22d, at 12 o clock we weighed anchor, and with the 
transports in tow steamed down the Potomac. We turned 
our backs upon a city whose flour has a better reputation than 
its loyalty, without regret, and set our faces with unrestrained 
eagerness towards our future field of service. As we passed 
Mount Yernon, the wise counsels of Washington in his fare 
well address were brought impressively to mind, and it re 
quired but a moderate indulgence of the imagination to seem 
to see his venerable shade stretching forth its arms as if be 
stowing a benediction upon our enterprise. Sadly has Vir 
ginia fallen from her first estate, and bitterly will she yet 
mourn the folly into which she has been betrayed by unscru 
pulous and ambitious leaders. 

It would have been a pleasant episode in our experiences 
could we have landed at Mount Vernon for an hour and visited 
the tomb of one " first in war, first in peace, and first in the 
hearts of his countrymen ;" but the demands of duty forbade 
delay, and the privilege must be held in reserve for a more 
propitious season. The mansion, I learn, has been put in good- 
repair, preserving the original style of architecture, and is 
occupied by two of the regents of the Mount Vernon Associa 
tion, who have charge of the premises. Mr. John A. Wash 
ington, the late owner of the estate, has gone to his account, 
with secession heading the catalogue of sins to be answered 
for. Henceforth his name will stand inscribed on the scroll of 


infamy, the companion of other names as infamous as his own. 
Should the " great gulf" that separates him from the Father 
of his Country ever be spanned, and he be permitted to pass 
over, his first interview with the founder of a nation he sought 
to destroy, must present a singular spectacle to the Christian 
patriots of Bunker Hill, Yorktown and Eutaw Springs. Could 
it be permitted a mortal to be present on such an occasion, it 
would be interesting to mark the flashing eye and hear the in 
dignant comment of Patrick Henry, or the emphatic Saxon of 
" Mad Anthony " of Stony Point memory. All this, however, 
is on the supposition that the parties are yet in a " sphere " 
where a little human nature cleaves to the spirit. 

The passage down the Potomac was not distinguished by 
any extraordinary occurrence. The rebel batteries at Ship 
ping Point, Cockpit Point, Acquia Creek and other points, had 
become silent, and we passed them without any sign of recog 
nition. They have been abandoned, and the navigation of the 
river is once more free, one of the fruits of our holding Manas- 
sas. This places the rebels at Fredericksburg in unpleasant 
relations with the Federals, and they will probably soon follow 
the example of their retreating brethren at Manassas and Cen- 
treville, and seek some post of greater security. 

We arrived off Fortress Monroe about 4 o clock, on the 
morning of the 24th. About 8 o clock, w r e reached the wharf, 
and immediately commenced landing our artillery. Owing to 
the delay in getting up one of the schooners having a portion 
of our horses on board, the work was not completed until nearly 
night. Fortress Monroe is a formidable structure, and mounts, 
including casemates, water batteries and barbette guns, some 
thing over four hundred pieces of ordnance. The great Lin 
coln gun, descriptions of which the illustrated papers have 
given, is a Behemoth in this great family of defence, and throws 
a projectile of more than 400 pounds weight. Should it be 
mounted on the side of approach from Norfolk, and the Merri- 
mac come within range, it might send an unacceptable mis- 


sive to that disagreeable neighbor. A large number of United 
States craft lay in the bay, among them the Minnesota, which 
paid its addresses to the Merrimac a few days ago, and which, 
from all accounts, is ready for another trial of strength. The 
Monitor also lies at anchor in the bay. In appearance, she has 
been likened to a Yankee cheese-box mounted on a scow. But 
to my mind, she suggested an image less gustatory. As I 
looked upon her, with her two big eyes, the pupils of which 
were just discernible, I was reminded of a faithful Newfound 
land dog I have often seen on Prospect Hill, guarding his mas 
ter s premises against unwarrantable intrusion. With his nose 
resting lazily between his outstretched feet, and his eyes open 
ing from time to time, to see that all was right, he impressed 
the beholder with the fact that beneath an apparent calmness 
was hidden a power not safe to encounter. Her conflict with 
the Merrimac, when viewed in the light of its consequences, is 
the most remarkable on record. It opens a new era in naval 
warfare, and the time may not be distant, when, for harbor de 
fence, more reliance will be placed upon an iron-clad floating 
battery, like the Monitor, than upon the strongest fortress of 
granite. Capt. Erricson may justly be proud of an achieve 
ment that has proved a national benefaction, and that crowns 
his genius with imperishable renown. Lieutenant Worclen and 
his gallant crew deserve, as they will receive, an honorable 
testimony on the page of history. 

Looking upon this immense fortification as a base of opera 
tions, the force maintained here for a year past, and the naval 
support that could, at any moment, have been concentrated, 
surprise is awakened that the Merrimac should have been left 
undisturbed in dock until transformed into a formidable iron 
clad, or that a rebel battery should have been suffered to bris 
tle on Sewall s Point. To a practical mind, that Point should 
have been early occupied by a Federal force, with defences 
seaward and landward, and an attempt, at least, been made to 
destroy the Merrimac. These two things done, the freedom of 


the James River, which this floating fortress controls, would 
now be ours. Just at this time, no one, except rebels, Dr. 
Russel, or his lordship of that name, would object to a small 
stone fleet finding the bottom of the channel at the entrance of 
Norfolk harbor. 

Immediately on the debarkation of our battery, we took up 
the line of march, and passing through Hampton, encamped 
two miles beyond. This town, until the breaking out of the 
rebellion, a fashionable summer resort, is now a heap of ruins, 
and the numerous stacks of chimneys stand as so many monu 
ments of secesh vandalism, by whose hand the place was fired. 
Here John Tyler, " the Accident Presidential," had a residence, 
to which he gave the romantic name of " Margaritta Cottage." 
But the place had less attractions to an eye for the picturesque 
than, from the name, would be inferred, and a magazine wri 
ter, with as much truth as sarcasm, has said, " a summer in this 
site would make any man a bore." 

Last Thursday, Gen. Smith s division advanced as far as 
Great Bethel, but finding no rebels, several of the regiments 
returned at night. Our battery was hitched up and ready to 
move at a moment s notice, but its services were not then 
needed. As our Sibleys were left at Camp Owen, we have 
extemporized substitutes by setting crotches in the ground to 
sustain poles, over which are stretched rubber blankets, or tar 
paulins. These will serve us a temporary purpose as the sea 
son advances, and the weather becomes milder. 



The advance Great Bethel Col. Winthrop The Ball opened before 
Yorktown The first gun fired by Battery C. 


April 8, 1862. j 

Last Friday, 4th inst., Gen. McClellan and staff arrived at 
Fortress Monroe, and the army commenced its advance. The 
divisions of Generals Porter and Hamilton took the direct 
route to Yorktown. The corps of Gen. Keyes proceeded up 
on the left, by way of Union Mills, and the next day arrived 
at Warwick Court House. At 6 o clock A. M., on the same 
day, our battery broke camp near New Market Bridge, and 
marched with Gen. Martindale s brigade, to Harwood s Mills, 
where we encamped for the night. We passed through Great 
Bethel, made memorable by the fatal conflict with the rebels, 
last June. There, the accomplished Col. Theodore W^nthrop 
fell, a premature sacrifice to patriotic ardor ; and the sound of 
the " long pealing dirges and muffled drums," that honored his 
memory, seemed still to float mournfully on the air. Next 
morning, we resumed our march, and at 10 o clock came in 
view of rebel forts and entrenchments. The rebels observed 
us, and sent their compliments in the form of a shell, which 
burst in the air some distance in advance of us, doing no harm. 
Immediately the order " trot march " was given, and being in 
the lead of the column, we pushed forward. Approaching Fort 
Magruder, mounting a dozen or fifteen guns, we went into bat 
tery in a cornfield, on the right of the road leading to York- 
town, at 1500 or 1800 yards distance, and replied to our 
quondam friends with a twelve-pound Hotchkiss projectile. 
For an hour and a half, we had lively work. It was new to us 
all, but the men took to it with a ready spirit. Presently, 


Griffin s battery came up on our right, and peppered away in 
fine style. Martin s did similar execution on our left. In ad 
vance, and about 750 yards from the nearest rebel entrench 
ment, Berdan s sharpshooters were posted, who, with their 
telescopic rifles, picked off the rebel cannoneers as often as they 
exposed their persons above the ramparts. At 3 o clock P. M., 
Randolph s battery was ordered to relieve Griffin s, and took 
position opposite the works at Whin s Mill, on the left of the 
line occupied by Heintzleman s corps. He was engaged two 
hours. The 3d and 5th Massachusetts batteries took an effic 
ient part in the fight. Butterfield s and Martindale s brigades 
reclined on their arms within range of the enemy s guns during 
the day. The roar of cannon shook the earth like a subter 
ranean convulsion, and the sharp crack of Berdan s rifles told 
how busily they were employed We lost one man, John J. 
Reynolds. At the second fire from the rebels, he was struck 
by a shell, which terribly shattered his leg. It was immediately 
amputated, but he lived only about fifteen minutes after the 
operation. He appeared not to suffer at all. The surgeons 
said tfre shock was sufficient to cause his death. He was 
buried at night. Two men belonging to Martin s battery were 
killed, and five reported wounded. Thus, Rhode Island and 
Massachusetts share the honor of shedding the first blood in 
this preliminary engagement. One of our horses had two of 
his front teeth knocked out. It is remarkable, that with shot 
and shell coming thick and fast from three forts, one in the 
centre, one on the right, and one on the left, (though that on 
the right fired, I believe, but a single shot,) we did not have 
more casualties. Grffin s battery did not lose a man or horse. 
Randolph s lost eight horses, and had a spoke knocked from the 
wheel of a carriage. Martin s had three horses killed and five 
wounded. One of Berdan s sharpshooters was killed, and three 
were wounded. We remained in our position till night, the 
fighting during the day being mostly carried on by artillery 
and sharpshooters. Our battery had been in position but a 


short time, when, hissing with secession spite, came a shell from 
a rebel breastwork, which passed directly over the heads of 
Gen. Porter, Gen. Morell, and several other officers, and struck 
the ground beyond them, without injury to any one. Other 
shells threatened nyich by their erratic movements, but proved 
harmless. In the rear of our caissons, on the brow of a hill, 
were the 62d Pennsylvania volunteers, who had just come from 
our extreme left, and had halted in the form of a square. The 
sharp-eyed rebels, discovering them, let fly a thirty-two-pound 
shell, which went buzzing like a hornet s nest over our heads, 
and struck a rail fence with a furious crash, wounding three of 
their men, one of them so severely that he has since died. 
Fortunately the shell did not explode, or it would have swept 
away an entire company. 

In review of this first experience under fire, truth demands 
no record which a Rhode Island man would be unwilling to 
read. With the conduct of his men, Capt. Weeden was much 
gratified, and Gen. Porter, whose head-quarters are close by, 
spoke of them in high praise a praise deserved by all the bat 

While encamped at Newmarket Bridge, I visited the 2d 
Rhode Island regiment, which had encamped about a mile from 
us, and enjoyed the pleasure of greeting a few old friends whom 
I had not seen since they left Providence. The half-hour 
allotted me passed like a dozen seconds, and left many friends 
to be seen at a more convenient season. The regiment has 
advanced, and is somewhere in our vicinity. They are in ex 
cellent spirits, and eager to pay off an old score. " Slocum " 
and " Ballou " will be terrible battle-cries when the contest 
rages, or the order to charge is given. 

Gen. McClellan was here yesterday, and, I learn, has ex 
amined the rebel lines. They have a long line of defences 
stretching between York and James rivers, and their breast 
works mount many heavy guns. Yorktown is the key to Rich 
mond on the route from Fortress Monroe. If this stronghold 


falls, Richmond and Norfolk will follow, Virginia will be swept 
of secession, and Gov. Wise, if he continues successful in keep 
ing out of harm s way, may have an opportunity to revive his 
famous and once popular sentiment, " The Union for the sake 
of the Union." .>. 

April 14. Last Wednesday, Gov. Sprague and Col. Rey 
nolds visited the 2d Rhode Island, and were greeted with a 
hearty welcome. To-day, the Governor was expected to pay 
us a visit, but did not arrive. The flying visit to our encamp 
ment last December, as well as the substantial tokens of his 
interest in the comfort of the Rhode Island troops, are plea 
santly remembered. His presence again will be the signal for 
three cheers and a Narragansett. 


Picket duty A brush with the rebels Gen. Porter s balloon adven 
ture Rebel works Siege preparations. 

April 16, 1862. j 

Since our engagement with the rebel entrenchments, our 
battery has been chiefly engaged by sections in picket duty, at 
times tedious for want of adventure, but sometimes lively and 
exciting, and always profitable as a practical exercise. 

Last Thursday afternoon, the centre section, under Lieut. 
Clark, while on picket, had a smart brush with the rebels. 
From their works they poured shot and shell, with a profusion 
worthy a better cause. The fire was returned with great spirit, 
and with fatal effect. Forty rounds were bestowed upon them, 
killing and wounding, as is understood, at least twenty of the 


rebels. At one time, the position of the battery was somewhat 
critical. A regiment of the rebel infantry deployed, for the 
purpose of closing round and cutting it off, but a few well- 
directed discharges frustrated their design, and drove them 
back. A body of our infantry who advanced to support the 
battery, encountered the foe, and performed important service. 
Capt. Randolph was also out, and put two of his guns in bat 
tery to cover an exposed point, but necessity for testing their 
power did not occur. During the contest, heavy shells were 
thrown from mortars by the rebels, while Minie bullets from 
their sharpshooters flew like hail. No injury was sustained by 
our men or horses. Two fixed canister lying beside one of the 
guns, had their cartridges ignited and exploded by the bursting 
of one of the enemy s shells, but without harm. A sponge 
bucket was also knocked to pieces. No other casualties oc 
curred. An unexploded shell was brought back to camp. It 
was a percussion 32-pounder, and of good finish, showing that 
the rebels have formidable appurtenances of warfare as well as 
ourselves. Four batteries besides our own Captains Tomp- 
kins , Randolph s, Bartlett s and Owen s are here, and ready 
to do any work in their line. Last Saturday, Gen. Barry and 
Major Webb visited our camp. Both are accomplished artil 
lery officers. Friday, Lieut. Buckley s section was on picket. 
Sunday, the right section, Lieut. Waterman, was out. We had 
a quiet time and saw nothing alarming. No occasion offered 
for firing a gun. We witnessed the ascent of a secesh balloon, 
which came down almost immediately after it went up. Mon 
day night, about 12 o clock, our battery, in conjunction with 
Griffin s, went out again, and addressed our compliments to the 
rebel works, with which we just made acquaintance on the 5th 
instant. Both batteries fired about fifty shells, and retired be 
fore the occupants of the forts were fairly awake, or had op 
portunity to ascertain who had so early disturbed their repose. 
The flashing of the guns in the darkness of the morning was an 
interesting sight, and whatever may have been, the effect of our 


missiles, the unseasonable reveille was doubtless as surprising 
as unwelcome. 

Last Friday, an incident occurred, which, for a moment, ex 
cited amusement, but soon assumed too serious an aspect to be 
classed with jokes. Gen. Porter, who has a habit of knowing 
everything from personal observation, proposed to make a bal 
loon reconnoissance in the usual way. He accordingly stepped 
into the car alone, and was soon mounting into the upper air. 
At an elevation of several hundred feet, and just as he was 
preparing to get a good observation of the rebel entrenchments, 
the guys, by which the balloon was held, parted, and the gaseous 
vehicle sailed away before a wind that drove its passenger to 
wards the enemy s lines. The first impulse was to laugh, as is 
ordinarily the case when an unfortunate slips upon an icy side 
walk and falls, but the next was to shout, " open the valve." 
But the General had too little respect for the secesh to drop 
himself in the midst of their encampments, which he would 
have done had he acted upon such advice, and too much regard 
for the feelings of his division to make a visit to Richmond 
alone ; and so, with the calmness of Capt. Allen or Prof. Lowe, 
let things remain in statu quo till he reached an upper current 
that swept him back over the point from which he started, when 
he let off the gas, and came down in the neighborhood of Gen. 
McClellan s head-quarters, with a velocity that nothing but the 
exigencies of the case would have justified. Fortunately he 
was not injured, and still more fortunate was it that the upper 
current did not hurry him off to the capital of Virginia rebel- 
dom, or force him across the James river to Norfolk. That 
he obtained valuable information during his aerial voyage is 
probable, but none will wish him to increase his knowledge of 
the rebel defences at the price of a similar risk. 

A section of Battery G, under Lieut. Edward Sears, has 
been out on picket the past forty-eight hours. In some artillery 
practice upon the rebels, two of the gun carriages were dis 
abled by recoil. The enemy have three lines of defences in 


rear of each other, on the other side of the Warwick river. 
Opposite, the Federals have three earthworks, behind which 
artillery is posted, having range on their guns. Between the 
first and second earthworks, counting from the left, are two 
chimneys, the remains of a dwelling burned by the rebels. 
Here, two sharpshooters, with telescopic rifles, are stationed, to 
pick off every gunner who may have the temerity to show 

The rebels are busy in building fortifications on the Glou 
cester side of the York river, which are protected by guns of 
long range. To-day, the Federal gunboat Tobago, mounting 
an hundred-pounder rifled Parrott gun, took position and sent 
a number of shells into their works with fatal effect, caus 
ing the men, for a time, to suspend their labor. They were 
seen carrying off their dead and wounded. 

Great strictness is now exercised among the soldiers. No 
one is allowed outside of his camp without a pass signed by a 
general officer. Those who stray beyond their bounds are soon 
escorted back by the provost guard. Sutlers are quite scarce, 
and when one arrives, his stock is soon disposed of at an ex 
orbitant advance. Butter, (a luxury with which a soldier is 
not frequently acquainted,) has been sold as high as sixty cents 
per pound, and other articles in proportion. 

Gen. McClellan has appropriately named his head-quarters, 
Camp "Winfield Scott. He frequently reconnoitres in person, 
and is said to know, from observation, all the rebel positions. 
Some of these positions are strong, and from the wet character 
of the ground around them, are not easy of approach ; others 
are comparatively weak, and, it is believed, can be taken with 
out much difficulty. The preparations for the reduction of this 
rebel stronghold are progressing steadily, and on a formidable 
scale. Rifle pits have been dug, roads and bridges built, earth 
works thrown up, heavy siege guns mounted, and other pre 
paratory labor done, that would surprise the uninitiated. A 
work on our right mounts 100 and 200-pounder rifled ordnance, 


to take care of a strong point in the rebel defence. It is ob 
scured by a forest, that, at the appointed moment, will be in 
stantly prostrated, and leave no obstruction to the transmission 
of deadly missives.* Prisoners report that about tAvo thousand 
negroes have been at work, for two months, on the rebel fortifi 
cations. A supply of shelter tents to the 4th Michigan regi 
ment, has put the men in excellent spirits. They have occu 
pied the advance, in Gen. Howard s brigade, and been much 

* By the following statements, it appears that besieging Yorktown was 
not a positive part of the original plan : 

" In order to gain time, and avoid the tedium of a siege, General Mc- 
Clellan had thought out the means of turning the position. The enemy 
held the James, with the Merrimac and his gunboats; the York was 
closed by the Yorktown and Gloucester Point batteries. Nevertheless, by 
a disembarkation on the Severn, beyond Gloucester, we might carry th^ 
latter position and open the way of the Federal gunboats into the river 
York. A subsequent movement up the left bank, in the direction of West 
Point, would put us so far in the rear of the army charged with the de 
fence of the lines of Yorktown that it would have been in a most perilous 
position. This accomplished, the confederates must have abandoned 
Gloucester, and fallen back hastily upon Richmond. The execution of 
this coup de main had been left to a corps of the. army commanded by 
Gen. McDowell. This corps was to be the last to embark at Washington, 
and it was calculated that it ought to reach Yorktown, in a body, on its 
transports, at the moment when the rest of the army, moving by land, 
should appear before that port from Fortress Munroe. Instead of finding 
it, we received the inexplicable intelligence that this corps of 35,000 strong, 
had been sent to another destination." De Joinville s Army of the Po 
tomac, p 4^ 

" His original plan, as I have already stated, was to send a corps d armee 
to the rear of Gloucester, to reach West Point, twenty-five miles above 
Yorktown, and then, by combined attack in rear, in front and on the flank 
from our gunboats, to compel a surrender. This plan he was under the ne 
cessity of changing when Gen. McDowell s corps was withdrawn and sent 
to the Rappahannock ; because he was then left without a force sufficient 
to warrant the detachment of so large a body as this operation would have 
required. His only resource, therefore, was to make the attack in regular 
form and by a regular siege operation, running no risks of defeat by un 
due haste or inadequate preparation, and making it absolutely certain that 
he could hold every step he might take in advance." Letter of J/Q/J. 
Henry J. Raymond, in N> Y. Times. 


exposed to inclement weather. When all things are ready, 
and the order to open fire passes along the line, there will be a 
thundering of artillery such as America never before dreamed 
of. That Yorktown must fall, is the common sentiment of the 
army. That conviction inspires every heart and nerves every 
arm. In the way of prophecy, an old authority may be cited : 
" The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be ; and that 
which is done is that which shall be done." Nearly eighty-one 
years ago, Rhode Island men led the attack upon the British 
entrenchments at Yorktown, which resulted in the surrender of 
Cornwallis, and ensured to our country an independent nation 
ality. Rhode Island men are again before this same Yorktown. 
Let the record of the next few weeks complete the story of the 
coincidence "in its bearing upon secession. 

[It was the opinion of General Heintzleman, as expressed 
before the Committee on the Conduct of the War, that when our 
army first reached Yorktown, it could have forced the rebel 
lines " at or about Wynn s Mills, isolated Yorktown, so as to 
prevent the enemy from re-enforcing it, when it would have 
fallen in the course of a little while." General Keyes, also, 
gave it as his impression that " if the whole army had been 
pressed forward, we should have found a point to break 
through." lie did not think, however, that Yorktown could 
have been taken by assault, except at great expense of life. 

General Hooker, in his testimony, said, " From my examin 
ation of the works at Yorktown, and reaching away beyqnd 
the position that I occupied, I felt that their [rebel] lines could 
be pierced without any considerable loss, by the corps with 
which I was on duty Heintzleman s corps. We could have 

gone right through, and gone to the rear of the enemy 

I would have marched right through the redoubts which were 
a part of the cordon they had, and got on the road between 
Yorktown and Richmond, and thus compelled the enemy to 
fight me on my ground, and not have fought them on theirs." 


The President was desirous that this breach should be made, 
and telegraphed to the Commander in Chief, April 6th, " I 
think you had better break the enemy s line from Yorktown to 
Warwick river, at once ;" to which Gen. McClellan replied, 
on the 7th, " The whole line of the "Warwick, which really 
heads within a mile of Yorktown, is strongly defended by de 
tached redoubts and other fortifications, armed with heavy and 
light guns. The approaches, except at Yorktown, are covered 
by the Warwick, over which there is but one, or at most two, 
passages, both of which are covered by strong batteries. It will 
be necessary to resort to the use of strong siege guns, and some 
siege operations, before we can assault. Our prisoners state 
that General J. E. Wharton arrived in Yorktown yesterday, 
with strong reinforcements. It seems clear that I shall have 
the whole force of the enemy on my hands, probably not less 
than one hundred thousand men, and possibly more." Before 
the Committee on the Conduct of the War, Gen, McClellan 
gave it as his opinion that Yorktown could not have been cap 
tured by a rapid movement immediately upon landing upon the 
peninsula. " We found," he says, " the enemy intrenched and 
in strong force wherever we approached. The nature and 
extent of his position along the Warwick river was not known 

to us when we left Fort Monroe Movements of 

troops had been going on across the James river to the penin 
sula for some days before my arrival. Immediately upon my 
arrival at Fort Monroe, I was told that quite a large number 
of troops had been crossed over to Yorktown, from the south 
bank of the James. I therefore hurried my own movements, 
and started from Fort Monroe sooner than I would have done. 
From the best information I have been able to get, I think 
that the large masses of the reinforcements arrived at York- 
town from one to two days before I reached its vicinity. 
Johnston himself arrived there the day before I did. . . . 
I resorted to the operations of a siege, after a more careful 
personal examination than a commanding general usually gives 


to such things ; and I was fully satisfied that the course I 
adopted was the best under the circumstances." These dif 
ferent opinions are here cited, to give more completeness to 
the narrative, without design to decide between them.] 


Assault by a Vermont regiment Battery skirmishes Picket firing 
discountenanced Incidents Berdan s, "VVentworth s, and San- 
ders s sharpshooters Battery C on the right of the line Morale 
of the army. 


April 18, 1862. j 

Besides the ordinary picket duties, in which both artillery 
and infantry have been engaged the past week, pretty active 
attention has been addressed to the rebels employed in throw 
ing up outer works in their line of fortifications, very much to 
their disgust. By day, and sometimes under cover of night, 
they have been visited by batteries and other respectable 
bodies of Federals, and though proffered the most substantial 
articles of our military commissariat, they have, for the most 
part, tartly declined them, and precipitately retired. In several 
instances their work has been effectually stopped. Generally, 
these neighborly movements have been satisfactory to our men, 
giving them exciting exercise, as well as familiarizing them 
with the practical movements of the field. In some instances, 
however, they have led to sharp encounters, in which the 
prowess of our troops has been placed beyond question. A 
case of this kind occurred day before yesterday, at a point be 
tween Lee s and Winn s Mills, on a tributary of Warwick river. 
Here the rebels had been at work for several days, in making 
secure an important pass, which being discovered, two Ver- 


mont regiments and four batteries of artillery were sent out to 
dislodge them. A severe engagement followed. 

In this assault, the Vermonters displayed the energy of 
their mountain sires. The free air of their native State had 
quickened the blood-flow of their hearts, and imparted force to 
a determined will. Before them, to impede their advance, 
was a stream that had been dammed ; and on the opposite 
bank an entrenchment, protected by cannon and a thousand 
rifles. But to water and fire they were alike indifferent. Into 
the first, several companies rushed with alacrity, and were 
soon wading waist deep, and some even to the arm-pits. The 
second, they faced with the coolness of veterans, and under a 
perfect storm of lead and iron, and amid deafening explosions, 
that seemed as though Jupiter was " cleaving the clouds with 
flashing lightning," and driving his " thundering horses and 
swift chariot through the sky," they pushed steadily on, as if 
moved by the spirit of Ethan Allen. Bennington and Platts- 
burg were never represented by truer men. Sustained by 
several batteries, they stormed the enemy s works, which they 
held for a short time, but upon the approach of heavy rebel 
reinforcements, it was deemed prudent to recross the stream, 
which they did without confusion. Loss reported is, 32 killed 
and 132 wounded. The color-bearer was shot, but by the 
bravery of Sergeant Holton the colors were secured and 
brought off. Mott s battery, which was prominent in the fight, 
suffered a loss of 17 men killed and wounded, and seven 
horses. The other batteries, Capts. Ayers, Kennedy and 
Wheeler, conducted themselves with great bravery, and fortu 
nately escaped with few casualties. 

The skirmishes of the day brought out the Rhode Island 
batteries B, E and G Capts. Bartlett, Randolph and Owen 
who spoke to the rebels in very decided tones. Of the latter, 
two or three men are reported wounded by the explosion of a 
rebel shell. Beam s New Jersey battery was also in position, 
and took part in the work. 


During the day more than 1700 projectiles were fired. 
The Vermont troops engaged have been complimented in a 
general order for " the invincibility of spirit " shown by them 
while exposed to a terrific fire, and Gen. McClellan spoke in 
warm praise of the manner in which the artillery performed 
their part. It appears that our recent night reconnoissance 
produced great consternation in the rebel camp. I hear that 
they formed in battle array and remained so for several hours. 
Had we been on the ground an hour and a half earlier, the 
annoyance could have been made still more disagreeable, as 
their camp fires were then brightly burning, which would have 
proved of service in more accurately sighting the guns. But 
perhaps the scare we gave them was enough for a first expe 

Wednesday, Lieut. Buckley s section went out on picket. 
There was some firing from the gunboats, and in Gen. Sedg- 
wick s division. On our left, the cannonading was incessant all 
day, and, towards night, rapid discharges of musketry were 
heard. Several casualties occurred, and among the killed were 
an orderly sergeant and a lieutenant of infantry. The former 
was shot through the body by a cannon ball. The batteries 
reported engaged were Randolph s, Mott s, Carlyle s and Gib 
bon s. They battered away at a secesh fort, and, it is said, with 
famous execution. About four o clock, a light battery was seen 
to leave a fort and move off to the left, probably to assist or 
relieve the one assailed, and our right section, Lieut. Water 
man, was ordered out to take care of it. At five o clock, the 
two sections united. We took post just under the brow of a 
hill, and waited the appearance of the foe ; but the rebels smelt 
a rat, and the first thing we knew, three regiments of infantry 
and a light battery were coming down on our right, to flank us. 
We were not to be caught, however, in that manner, and quietly 
limbering up, moved to the rear, where we halted for a 
short time, and, as the enemy did not choose to favor us with 


another manoeuvre, we returned to camp about half-past seven, 
without damage. 

Yesterday, Capt. Owen s battery threw some two hundred 
rounds at the rebel works. While firing, Gov. Sprague rode 
up. He dismounted and sighted one or two guns, making very 
good shots. He remarked, with a smile, that he had " wasted 
ammunition enough," and then mounting, rode off. 

To-day, we have had no call from camp. Griffin s battery 
has been out, and expended a little ammunition. The gunboats 
in the river have thrown several shells at the rebel fortifica 
tions, to which they responded from their heavy guns, but 
without effect. There was cannonading at intervals, all last 
night, and towards morning musketry was heard on our left. 
We had orders to hitch up, which were soon countermanded. 
To-day, the firing has been irregular. What will be on the 
morrow, the morrow alone can declare. It may be, we shall 
again hear 

"The rattling musketry, the clashing blades, 
And ever and anon, in tones of thunder, 
The diapason of the cannonade ;" 

or, before many weeks, we may be called 

"To sit and muse, like other conquerors, 
Upon the fearful ruin " 

secession hath wrought, in this once powerful Old Dominion. 
I will here correct an error into which I notice several report 
ers of our fight, of the 5th instant, have inadvertently fallen. 
In that attack upon the rebel fort, the first gun was fired by 
Battery C, Rhode Island artillery. So please stick a pin 
there, that in after years history may give credit to whom credit 
shall be due. ^ 

Gen. McClellan is discountenancing the firing of pickets upon 
each other, when posted on extreme lines, and engaged in or 
dinary duties, as barbarous. The rebels show less inclination 


to adopt a pacific practice than our own men, though they are 
gradually coming to a comprehension of its correctness. Oc 
casionally, the pickets on both sides hold conversations in which 
the jokes are more frank than elegantly expressed. A short 
time since, the following colloquy across Warwick river oc 
curred : 

"What regiment do you belong to?" shouts Union. 
" Seventh Georgia," responds secesh. " What regiment do 
you belong to ? " " The 102d Rhode Island, and we are going 

10 whip you like " was the reply. The conversation 

dropped. Another specimen runs thus : ft What regiment do 
you belong to ?" is the rebel question. " Massachusetts," is the 

" How about sugar ; have you got any ?" this intended as 
a thrust. 

" Yes, plenty," answered Massachusetts. 

" That s an infernal yankee lie," responded the nettled ques 
tioner. " We know better. Raise the blockade, and we ll let 
you have sugar." 

" How about salt ? " retorted Massachusetts. 

" Go to ," was the blunt response, and expressive silence 


A vein of humor sometimes shows itself even in the midst 
of deadly strife. The other day, so the story goes, during a 
skirmish, a Maine and a Georgia soldier posted themselves 
each behind a tree, and indulged in sundry shots, without effect 
on either side, at the same time keeping up a lively chat. 
Finally, that becoming a little tedious, Georgia calls out to 
Maine, " Give me a show," meaning step out and give an op 
portunity to hit. Maine, in response, pokes out his head a few 
inches, and Georgia cracks away and misses. " Too high," 
says Maine. " Now give me a show." Georgia puts out his 
head, and Maine blazes away. " Too low," says Georgia. In 
this way the two alternated several times without hitting. 
Finally, Maine sends a ball so as to graze the tree within an 


inch or two of Georgia s ear. " Cease firing," shouts Georgia. 
" Cease it is," responds Maine. " Look here," says one, " we 
have carried on this business long enough for one day. Spose 
we adjourn for rations ?" " Agreed," says the other. And so 
the two marched away in different directions, one whistling 
Yankee Doodle, and the other, Dixie. 

April 21. Since I last wrote, the weather has alternated 
with sunsjiine and storm. Saturday night, considerable rain 
fell. Wrapped in a poncho, I slept very comfortable, how 
ever, though my cover was not entirely impervious to water. 
Yesterday forenoon was cold and stormy. To-day, at intervals, 
it has rained again, with the prospect of another wet night. 

In military matters, things, for the last three days, have not 
materially changed. More or less, every day, the rebels try 
the range of their guns, and get, in return, specimens of our 
shot and shell. A few shells from one of their large guns have 
exploded in the vicinity of a steam saw mill, which they forgot 
to destroy, and which the Federals have converted to constitu 
tional uses. Their range being short, no damage was done. 
The mill is a very handy contraband. Firing by night and 
by day is quite frequent ; and while I am writing, a large secesh 
gun has belched forth at some of our boats in the river. But 
all this is the pastime of war, though it may be regarded as a 
motion towards something more serious. 

Berdan s Sharpshooters are still troublesome to the rebels, 
picking them off whenever they come in range. One of them 
told me a few days ago, that while on duty that morning, he 
brought down his man. The telescopic rifle brings the object 
so near as to render the aim, within a given distance, almost 
certain. So shy have the rebels become, that in repelling as 
saults upon their earthworks, they often employ negroes to load 
their cannon. The Massachus etts 22d has a company attached, 
under the command of Capt. AVentworth, highly skilled in the 
use of the rifle, and who are constantly engaged in hard duty 


on the outposts.* The first company of Andrew Sharpshooters, 
Capt. John Saunders, attached to the 15th Massachusetts, are 
also a terror to rebel gunners, and highly effective in their line 
of service. The 2d Rhgde Island regiment has men who draw 
a bead with great accuracy. One of them, I am informed, 
rivals the California prodigy of Berdan s corps, and woe betide 
the secesh who shows his head within three hundred yards. 
The regiment, after moving from Newmarket Bridge, was 
posted, for a short time, near Warwick Court House, where a 
post hospital has been established ; but since I last wrote, it has 
advanced several miles to a position nearer the rebel lines, and 
is ready for the work to which it may soon be called. Judging 
from the spirit of the men, they will be found busy in the 
thickest of the fight. They have several times been under 
arms for a brush, but as yet, have not had an opportunity to 
meet the enemy. 

The rebels have lately taken quite a dislike to a large Par- 
rott gun mounted in our lines, and with whose conversation 
they have been considerably annoyed. Last week, under cover 
of night, they resolved to obtain possession of it, and put a stop 
to its insolence. They "plotted brave schemes," but were 
doomed to disappointment. War sharpens wits, and anticipat- 

* Captain Lewis E. Wentworth is a native of New Hampshire, and at the 
breaking out of the rebellion, was doing business in Salem, Mass. He 
marched to Washington for the protection of the Capital, as lieutenant of 
infantry, and participated in the battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861, where 
he exhibited great bravery, and rendered important service. On his re 
turn home, he was authorized to raise a company (the Second ; of Sharp 
shooters, which he did in brief time. The company broke camp at Lynn- 
field, October 8, 1861, and reached Hall s Hill, Va., on the 13th, where it 
remained till the following March. Its position before Yorktown was one 
of great danger and of severe labor. .It was at Gaines s Farm, Malvern 
Hill, the second Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg, and has obtained 
an honorable reputation for efficiency. Capt. Wentworth is a skilful 
officer, a thorough disciplinarian, courteous in manners, and is held in 
universal esteem. He has suffered much from sickness induced by ex 



ing some such movement, an entire brigade of ours was ordered 
to receive them. Lying flat upon the ground in the form of a 
harrow, (thus> ,) with the coveted gun in the centre, they waited 
the arrival of their expected visitors. On approaching within 
speaking distance of the Federal guns, they rose and gave them 
a leaden welcome, for which they were not grateful, and from 
which they retired with " curses not loud, but deep." The loss 
on the rebel side is reported considerable. Of ours, if any, I 
Lave not yet ascertained. 

The rebel entrenchments extend across the peninsula, from 
York to James river. Some of them are heavily mounted, 
and strongly manned with infantry. Many others are not com 
pleted, and are defended only by infantry and sharpshooters, 
who cover the workmen while throwing up embankments. 
What is doing in the rear of these visible defiances we shall 
soon learn. At present, all knowledge of rebel doings in that 
direction is confined to those who best know what use to make 
of it. Day before yesterday, Capt. Sears, Co. F. 2d Rhode 
Island, with two hundred men, went out to assist in strengthen 
ing our earthworks. Platforms are now laying for fifteen 100- 
pounder guns. The infantry deserve great praise, not only for 
the spirit with which they engage in picket and skirmishing 
duties, but for the hearty will with which they handle the pick 
and spade. 

Our battery is on the right of the line, and it is expected will 
hold that position during the campaign. Gen. McClellan has 
been pleased to speak of it in very complimentary terms. I 
believe he appreciates the reliability of the other batteries 
Rhode Island has given him. Here or elsewhere, they have 
been under fire, and shown a steadiness reputable to the State 
they represent. 

The morale of the army before Yorktown is good. The men 
composing it who are here from a conscientious sense of duty, 
may be reckoned by thousands. They are thinking men, and 
understand the interests at stake. They are men who have 


much to live for, to whom life is sweet, and yet who know that 
some must fall. But they are ready to sacrifice everything 
earthly for the sake of this glorious Union. Such men will 
stand firm in the hour of conflict. As well might it be hoped 
to " entice the sun from his ecliptic line " as to turn them back 
from the work to which they have put their hand. 

Yesterday, Isaac B. Cowdrey, a member of Wentworth s 
Sharpshooters, died after a few days confinement in the hospi 
tal. He was a favorite with the company. He was buried 
near night, and his mortal remains rest, as will thousands, in a 
strange soil, far from the home of kindred and friends. 

O ? 


Rebels attack the 7th Maine Rebel deserters California Joe News 
from home Col. Bissell Topography of the country Rebel de 
serters Contrabands. 


April 24, 1862. } 

The rain, for a week past, has, at times, been copious, and 
rendered active operations less agreeable, though the military 
work has gone steadily on. Reconnoissances, picket service, 
and an exchange of shots, along the line, have been continued, 
as mentioned in former letters. Occasionally, a shot conies 
from the rebel fort on the right, termed, by us, the hospital fort, 
but as yet its missiles have proved harmless. Monday night, 
the Federal gunboats tried their range upon the rebel fortifica 
tions, with what effect, I have not learned. Tuesday afternoon, 
the rebels expended a quantity of powder and shells upoh a 
party of our troops at work in front of the entrenchments on 
their left. Their shells fell short, and the attempt resulted 


simply in noise and smoke. In the evening, there was an inter 
change of shots between our gunboats and the rebel works on 
our right. The enemy s shot failed of effect, while a number 
of the Federal shells fell within their forts, and exploded, it is 
reported, disastrously. Yesterday, a brisk encounter took place 
above Lee s Mills. An attack was made, by two hundred 
rebels, on the pickets of the 7th Maine regiment. The assail 
ants were driven back at the point of the bayonet, having had 
several fatally wounded. One prisoner was taken, and sent, 
for examination, to Gen. Sumner. To-day, the weather is 
charming, and our battery have drilled at the manual. The 
gunboats htve fired several shots, to which the rebel forts have 
a few times responded. As I am writing, a shell has just burst 
over in the woods, doing no damage. 

Deserters are frequently coming into our lines, who bring 
reports of disaffection among the Irish in the rebel army. It 
is said they have refused to fight. How much truth there is 
in the statement, we shall shortly learn. From all accounts, 
Gen. Magruder has his hands full. Six weeks ago, he issued 
a vaporing address to his soldiers, to encourage those to reenlist 
whose term of service was about to expire, and to soothe the 
disappointment of the men from whom furloughs to visit their 
homes had been withdrawn. He admits that " disasters and 
reverses have recently befallen " the rebel arms, and boasts 
loudly of what he is going to do. He uses as grandiloquent 
invectives as he perhaps ever indulged in when in peaceful 
command at Fort Adams ; but when the hour for closer inti 
macy arrives, he will probably find the sons of Bellona before 
his entrenchments less agreeable than the company of the 
Naiads of Newport Beach, or the daughters of Terpsichore at 
the Ocean House. 

After the disasters that have followed the rebel arms else 
where, it is evident the leaders look with great anxiety to the 
approaching struggle before Yorktown. One of their papers, 
in speaking of the troops under Gen. McClellan } says, " If we 


decline to fight them, we must yield Richmond, and that is giv 
ing up Virginia. If we fight them, and are signally defeated, 
Richmond and Virginia are lost. Let us be assured," the wri 
ter continues, " that McClellan does not take the field and risk 
his fame, without the means to back up his ambition. This is 
the army we have got to whip, or Virginia is lost," The se 
quence of the failure we readily accept. 

Last Monday, a Federal sharpshooter shot a rebel picket, 
while the latter was attempting to surprise him. He was 
brought into the hospital, and died in the night. 

In previous letters, I have spoken of Berdan s Sharpshooters, 
as an important feature of our advance. They comprise two 
regiments, and are held to be among the best, if not the very 
best, marksmen in the world. Some of them are armed with 
Colt s revolving seven-shooter rifle, and others with rifles of 
heavier calibre. Every day they send unwelcome messages 
into the rebel lines, and cause a vacancy in some mess. 
Among them is one, to whom I referred in my last, bearing the 
sobriquet of California Joe, who is something of a character, 
and bids fair to become " famous throughout the world for war 
like praise." In manners, Joe is not a Chesterfield. Grace is 
not in his steps, and no rebel, confronting him, would discover 
heaven in his eye ; but beneath a rough exterior beats a warm, 
patriotic heart ; and, after disabling a foe, he would readily 
share with him the contents of his canteen and haversack. 
Joe carries a rifle weighing thirty-two pounds, and may be 
regarded as a movable fortification. He takes pride in the 
reputation of a crack shot, and holds himself good for anything 
covered by his telescopic sight at a thousand yards. Every 
success he marks upon his ramrod, and it is said the tally is 
nearly full. Joe greatly restricts the freedom with which the 
enemy would be pleased to use the guns mounted upon some 
of their works, and with the sharp vision of the backwoodsman, 
should he escape the casualties of his hazardous vocation, will 



doubtless prove to many of them a deadly northern hornet. 
If he falls, it will be 

"With his face to the foe, 
Cheering his comrades on." 

Tuesday was a red letter day in camp. Providence smiled 
as Providence alone can smile. The welcome post courier 
brought up a generous number of letters and papers that had 
accumulated at Washington, waiting the convenience of ar 
rangements for conveyance to their destination. How eagerly 
seals were broken, and contents devoured, can easily be 
imagined by one who has long been separated from loved ones 
at home. And then, what glorious stories the Journal told us 
about Island No. 10, Pea Ridge and Newbern, old at this time 
to those who have the news fresh from the bulletin three times 
a day, but, in their details, new to us who enjoy no such advan 
tages. The tale of Island No. 10 is a marvel of the age, and 
will suggest new modes of operation elsewhere. That aquatic 
saw was worth half a dozen gunboats, even though clad in 
armor, and Col. Bissell will rank in history with the genius that 
conceived and perfected the Monitor. The doings at Newbern, 
following closely upon the capture of Roanoke, are what might 
have been expected of one who conquered the storm, in spite 
of rotten hulks, at Hatteras. Men taking their inspiration from 
the face of such a leader, are bound to conquer. So much for 
letters and papers the former warm with heart sympathies at 
home, and the latter talking to us of local occurrences, as we 
intensely listen, and passing, as a panorama, the bustle of Mar 
ket square, and the show windows of "Westminster street, fresh 
before us. The Egyptian who originated the power to do this 
deserved a temple to his honor. He little thought that at the 
end of four thousand years, more or less, his invention would 
be sunlight to the thousands before Yorktown to-day. 

The next visitors that would, at this moment, meet the 
warmest welcome, are the paymasters. "With empty purses 


and four months arrearages due, the men naturally look with 
special interest for the advent of these important personages. 
It is understood they are on their way, and may have already 
reached some portions of the army. The more promptly the 
men are paid, the better will it be for those who have families 
at home. And that consideration leads to another topic, 
which it is hoped the press will agitate until the object is gained, 
viz., pensions for soldiers widows. In the army, this is a sub 
ject of universal interest. I do not know of a married soldier 
who did not understand, when he enlisted, that if he fell, his 
wife would receive a pension ; but it is now understood that no 
such provision exists, and the fact has awakened feelings of 
disappointment. Every man here, having a dependent family, 
would fight better and lay down his life more cheerfully, could 
he but be assured that his wife and children would not be left 
wholly destitute when deprived of their natural guardian. A 
matter involving so many interests should not be hidden from 
view, nor passed lightly by. It certainly deserves a place in 
the sympathies of Congress alongside of the contraband confis 
cation question.* 

This morning, six companies of the 22d Massachusetts and 
a small detachment of sharpshooters^ were sent on a reconnois- 
sance. Having accomplished their object, they returned about 

April 28. The peninsula between Fortress Monroe and 
Yorktown is diversified in its topographical features, as well 
as in its soil and culture. The soil is generally light and easy 
to work, and well adapted to the production of turnips, beets, 

* Soon after this letter was written, the attention of the government, as 
well as of influential members of Congress, was drawn to the neglect here 
spoken of. It has since been remedied, and the widows of Rhode Island 
soldiers, by a noble provision of the public authorities, can have all the 
necessary papers for obtaining a pension, and the pension itself secured, 
free of cost. 


carrots, and other vegetables ; but the prospects for farming 
in this region, the present year, are not encouraging. The se 
cession owners of farms, together with their slaves, have, in 
many instances departed, leaving the estates to take care of 
themselves, or what amounts to about the same thing, consign 
ing them to the care of a few worn out inefficient negroes. 
This is the case with a large landholder by the name of 
Young, the owner of mills bearing his name, who has aban 
doned a beautiful home to unite his fortunes with rebellion. 
There are many fine localities along the route of our march, 
which eastern enterprise and taste would soon convert into 
Edens ; but the general appearance of the country betrays the 
sad effects of civil war. Hampton, which was burned last year 
by the rebels, to prevent it falling into Federal hands, presents 
only a collection of chimney stacks, to mark the spot where it 
once was. The Bethels, big and little, look forsaken of the 
Lord. Warwick Court House is a small dilapidated place, 
appearing as though it fell into syncope about the time Rip 
Van Winkle took his long repose in Sleepy Hollow, and 
the worn out lands of the county bear evidence of the ex 
haustive tendencies of the " peculiar institution." 

The swamps and low grounds of this vicinity are thickly 
inhabited by the posterity of the ancient Rana family, and 
though less obtrusive than their Egyptian kindred, have quite 
as strong musical propensities. As their concert season has 
arrived, we may count on nightly treats, vieing in sounds with 

"The brazen trump, the spirit stirring drum, 
That bid the foe defiance e re they come." 

The rebels on our left have lately been disposed to be 
troublesome, but have been admonished of their folly by the 2d 
Rhode Island and some otKer troops. Deserters are continually 
coming within the Federal lines, and prisoners are frequently 
taken. One fellow had his fears of abuse allayed by a cup 
of coffee, which he said was the first he had tasted in four 


months. He had been informed by his officers that the 
"Yankees" tortured their prisoners, and said that were it 
known by the rebel soldiers that it was not so, many would 
desert. Day before yesterday, companies I, H and A, of the 
1st Massachusetts, under Lieut. George D. Wells ; two com 
panies of the llth Massachusetts, under Major Porter D. 
Tripp, and two pieces of artillery, under Lieut. Butler ; all 
led by Gen. Grover, made an early morning advance upon a 
rebel lunette, which had been a cover to their sharpshooters. 
The contest was brief and sharp, and the work taken at the 
point of bayonet. The Federal loss was three killed and fif 
teen wounded, one mortally. Thirteen rebels gave themselves 
up coming in under a white flag. The main body fled. 
After getting possession, the work was partially levelled by 
pick and spade, under a constant fire from the enemy. Ber- 
dan s sharpshooters continue their daily avocation of picking 
off the enemy who may have the temerity to expose their per 
sons to view. Sunday, four were victims to a single rifle. 

It is now understood that to Gen. Porter is assigned the 
work of beseiging Yorktown proper. In this work, battery C 
will have a share. How soon the attack will be made, no one 
can tell. But begin when it may, one of two things is certain : 
the rebel army will be captured, or they will evacuate. 

Contrabands began to come into our lines soon after our 
army reached the peninsula, but not in great numbers into 
camp. The rebels took the precaution to carry them off, and 
use them in erecting their defences. Of the colored popula 
tion, who have not seen the advantage of hunting up their 
fleeing masters, and who exhibit the characteristics of their 
race, a writer relates the following : 

" One, any day, may gather up a great deal of wit, folly, -wisdom 
and such like intellectual coruscations that furnish food for the meta 
physically inclined, by going among them and talking with them. I 
met one, the other day, of Jim Crow expression of face and hair, who 
says he was in Yorktown at the time of the Revolutionary seige. I 


left him, profoundly impressed with his Gulliverian aptitude at story 
telling, and I doubt not the reader will be so impressed on reading the 
following portion of my confab with him : 

" Did you see the shooting," I inquired. 

" Yes, indeedee, Massa ; I seed it all." 

" How did you like it ? " 

"The musketry wasn t nuffin, but seein the big cannon balls 
skeered me some." 

" How did you escape getting killed ? " 

"I stayed hid in a deep, big cellar all de hole time, massa," re 
sponded the catechised Ethiopian representative, with a breadth of 
grin and compass of guffaw that showed very clearly that, in his own 
estimation, he had done one smart thing in his life, if he had never 
done another. 

A second colored brother I have met in my wanderings, whose 
notions of personal smartness do not reach the altitude of the one 
mentioned. His modesty, what is more, takes a direction many white 
folks would do well to imitate. He said he had been a slave all his 
life, and his last owner was Mr. Clark, who owns a large amount of 
property, and who, by the way, is a corporal in the Peninsula Guard, 
a rebel regiment. 

"Do you think slavery right or wrong? " I asked him. 

" Wrong, of course, Massa." 

"How so ?" 

" I know it be wrong, massa, but I can t arger." 

Here is a portion of a conversation with a third negro, and with it, 
I will wind up the negro question. He had insisted that the negroes 
were as well off slaves as they were free. 

"They orter have themselves," remarked the argumentative indi 
vidual referred to, putting himself in an oratorical attitude, "and get 
good massas, like me, and they will be well taken care of." 

" And you have always been well taken care of ? " I remarked, in a 
congratulatory tone ; " you are one of the lucky ones." 

"It is not ebery one hab the same luck as me." 

" In what regard ? " 

"Why, my massa was my own fadder." 

Mrs. Stowe has not written any thing that has opened more 
clearly to view the domestic life of the South, than this last 
sentence " my massa was my own fadder." 


May 2. For a week past we have kept up a daily familiar 
ity with the booming of cannon, the whiz of solid shot, and the 
bursting of shells. Our great battery, No. 1, near the river, 
has made a number of splendid shots, and given the enemy 
trouble. At times they have responded with spirit. To-day 
they have tried some of their heavier guns in the direction of 
General McClellan s head quarters, several of their shells 
passing directly over. Last night, the right section of our bat 
tery, under Lieut. Waterman, was ordered out, and took posi 
tion under the edge of an embankment, to look after the 
enemy, who it was supposed designed to stampede us. The 
left and centre sections were hitched up and held in readiness 
to go out at a moment s warning, should they be needed. The 
rebels, however, did not appear, and about seven o clock, we 
returned to camp, without having had occasion to unlimber the 
pieces. Griffin s battery was likewise out all night. Day be 
fore yesterday, the rebel gun boats Teazer, (rightly named,) 
and Yorktown, appeared up James River, off our left, and sent 
in a number of shells, which did no damage. The former 
carried the black flag at her mast head. 

This morning, Capt. Wentworth s sharp-shooters marched 
up to General Porter s head quarters, where they were pro 
vided with shovels, and then proceeded to the bank of the 
river, to open a new intrenchment. The task allotted to each 
man for the day, was to dig a space six feet square by four 
deep. The rebels discovered them from the opposite side, and 
opened a fire, which was continued at intervals, until the work 
was completed. One hundred and seventy shells were thrown, 
some of which burst near the working party ; but the attempt 
to drive them from their labor failed. 

The rebels have for sometime employed a negro rifleman, 
and skillful marksman, to ascend a tree within range of our rifle 
pits, and pick off our sharp shooters, as opportunity offered. In 
this work he had considerable success, and it was determined 
to terminate his operations. Last Tuesday he smuggled him- 


self into position, as he thought, unseen. But sharp eyes were 
upon him, and the following brief conversation opened : 

" I say," called out one of our men, " you had better come 
down from there." 

" What for ? " responded the colored confederate. 

" I want you as prisoner." 

" Not as this chile knows of," replied the concealed Ethiop. 

" Just as you say," replied our sharpshooter. 

In about an hour he peered his head out. Our man was on 
the look out for him ; he had his rifle on the bead line ready 
pulled the trigger whiz went the bullet, and down came 
the negro. He was shot through the head. 

"While rejoicing over the inspiring news from New Orleans^ 
the papers brought intelligence of the death of Capt. Frank 
Ferris, of the 12th Illinois, who fell mortally wounded in the 
terrible carnage at Pittsburg Landing. So, clouds obscure the 
sunlight of earthly friendships, and " that same day that high 
est glory brings," comes full freighted with sorrow. Capt. 
Ferris was a native of Providence, and several years since 
emigrated to Princeton, Illinois. He was a man of generous 
nature, and among his numerous circle of acquaintances in the 
West, bore an honored name. " They never fail who die in a 
great cause," and a life like his has not been laid down in vain. 
Lieut. Richard K. Randolph was taken prisoner while minis 
tering to Capt. Ferris, on the battle field, a noble sacrifice of 
personal safety at the shrine of humanity. 



Yorktown evacuated Union flag planted on the rebel defences 
Strength of the place Secesh letter Concealed torpedoes Pur 
suit of the enemy Governor Sprague s account Battle of "Wil- 
liamsburg Federal Success Second Rhode Island regiment 
Randolph s battery Rebels retreat. 


May 6, 1863. j 

To the surprise of the entire army, Gen. Magruder has 
withdrawn his forces from Yorktown and from his long line of 
defences in our front, and fallen back to Williamsburg. Sat 
urday and Sunday he kept up a brisk fire on our intrench- 
ments from his heavy guns, and to the last hour maintained 
an appearance of a determined resistance. But it was under 
the cover of this, that he beat a retreat. It seems that the 
withdrawal of his army commenced on "Wednesday, and when 
the last brigade was ready to depart, the torch was applied to 
the barracks and a store house, which accounts for the brilliant 
illumination seen Sunday night. On our side, preparations 
for a general assault had been completed, and yesterday a fire 
was to have been opened from all our batteries. But it proved 
too late, and our monster Parrotts stand silent as moocly 
mastiffs. The elaborate work of nearly a month, as the eye 
now rests upon it, tells of what would have been had the 
enemy risked a decisive engagement. 

The first intelligence of the evacuation was brought into the 
camp of Col. Black, of the 62d Pennsylvania, by deserters, 
and immediately communicated to General Jameson, who tel 
egraphed the same to Gen. Porter, director of the siege. To 
determine the accuracy of the report, he ordered the advance 
of a small force. This comprised detachments of the 22d 
Massachusetts, Col. Gove, and 62d Pennsylvania, Col. Black, 
supported by two companies of the 1st Massachusetts, under 
Lieut. Col. Wells. These advanced without apposition to the 


rebel entrenchments, and finding the way clear, entered the 
works with great enthusiasm. General Jameson and Col. 
Black first mounted the parapets. Col. Gove, Capt. Hassler 
and Lieut. Crawford followed. The 22d Massachusetts were 
first to enter the deserted defences and plant the national 
standard, which they did amidst deep and heartfelt cheers.* 1 
The town was also visited by Capt. Weeden and lieutenants 
Buckley and Clark. 

The fortifications, for strength, are all that engineering skill 
and the labor of a large working force for nearly a year could 
make them. The ditches are unusually broad and deep, the 
embankments ten to twelve feet thick, and the embrasures 
thoroughly constructed of sand bags, sods or gabions. With 
75,000 men behind his line of works, wonder is increased that 
the rebel commander should have abandoned them without a 
hard struggle. It is an inconsistent commentary upon his em 
phatic declaration that every man should die in the entrench 
ments before the army should fall back. But the army 
did not die in the entrenchments, and did fall back, to be 
fought, if it makes a stand, elsewhere.f In the haste of the 

* Col. W. R. Brewster, of the 73d N. Y. Vol., Hooker s division, claims 
for his regiment, " the honor of first planting the stars and stripes upon 
the rebel fortifications in the town of Yorktown." His dispatch, making 
this claim, is dated " Yorktown, Sunday, May 45 A. M." There is no 
necessary conflict with the statement above made. He may have entered 
Yorktown at a different point, unaware, at the hour designated, that 
the TJnion flag had been planted elsewhere. 

t It now appears that the abandonment of Yorktown was not voluntary 
on the part of Gen. Magruder. The author of " War Pictures from the 
Soutji," says, he " had assembled a force at Yorktown strong enough to 
enable him, if necessary, to take the open field and give battle to the 
enemy. While thus actively at work and animated by a feeling of con 
fidence, Magruder received an order from the Secretary of War to evac 
uate Yorktown as quietly as possible leaving all his guns in position 
and fall back upon the second line of defence at Williamsburg. This un 
expected order gave, as may be supposed, the greatest annoyance to Ma 
gruder, who, most reluctantly, issued directions for the retirement of his 
troops. To conceal his movement from the enemy, he ordered all the guns 
to open a heavy fire upon the besiegers, and at the same time sent two 
or three regiments to make a demonstration by way of feint. p. 276. 


rebels to quit, they left tents standing, with their interior fix 
tures untouched, and in private houses occupied by officers, 
books, papers, correspondence, and other personal effects. 
Upon a table in one house, several letters were found. One of 
them, addressed to Gen. McClellan, makes a lame attempt at 
wit. It reads thus : 

GENERAL MCCLELLAN You will be surprised to hear of our de 
parture at this stage of the game, leaving you in possession of this 
worthless town ; but the fact is, McClellan, we have other engage 
ments to attend to, and we can t wait any longer. Our boys are get 
ting sick of this damned place, and the hospital likewise ; so, good 
bye for a little while. Adjutant TERRY, C. S. A. M. 

The possession of Yorktown has added fifty-one guns and a 
mortar, left in position, to our ordnance, besides placing in our 
hands a large quantity of military appliances. One of the 
guns is a 10-inch columbiad, and upwards of twenty are thirty- 
two and forty-two pounders. The largest gun in the fortifica 
tion was burst, in firing, last Friday. 

In abandoning their works, the rebels left behind them 
abundant evidence of a barbarous spirit. They buried in the 
ground, hid in barrels and boxes, and laid around elsewhere, 
large numbers of infernal machines in the shape of torpedoes 
and bombs. These were connected with coffee pots, pincush 
ions, officers chests, and such other articles as it was supposed 
our men would seize as trophies,- when an explosion, blowing 
them "sky high," would follow. All this preparation for 
wholesale destruction was in keeping with shooting pickets, 
poisoning water and food, bayoneting the helpless wounded, 
violating graves, and other infamies practiced elsewhere. Men 
were detailed to search for these concealed missiles, to mark 
their localities or remove them ; but with all the care taken, 
explosions occurred, and several men were killed and wounded. 

As soon as it was known that the rebels had fled, Gen. 
Stoneman, with two regiments of cavalry, the 2d Rhode Island, 
8th Illinois, 6th Regulars, 98th Pennsylvania, and a battery 


of Regular artillery, was sent in pursuit. The enemy had 
the advantage in the start. At 9 o clock, as discovered by a 
balloon ascension, his rear had placed four miles between it 
and the deserted works. The pursuit was hot. To the infan 
try and artillery, the rain and mud rendered inarching very 
fatiguing. In the mean time, the divisions of Generals Kear 
ney and Hooker, and the balance of Gen. Keyes corps, were 
put in motion. The two former moved by the direct road to 
Williamsburg, while the latter took the road from Warwick 
Court House. Scdgwick s, Porter s, and Richardson s divis- 
"ions were held back, to support our advance, or to move up to 
West Point by water, as exigencies should require. 

[ In March, after the army had entered upon the Peninsula 
campaign, Governor Sprague joined the head-quarters of Gen 
eral McClellan on the staff of General Barry, Chief of Artil 
lery. He came to look after the Rhode Island troops, and by 
the invitation and request of the Secretary of War, connected 
himself with the movements of the army until the latter part 
of May. He was present at the preparations for besieging 
Yorktown, and joined General Stoneman in his pursuit of Ma- 
gruder. The following account of it was given by him before 
the Committee on the Conduct of the War : 

" About 1 1 o clock or thereabouts, the cavalry started in 
pursuit, the enemy having been gone some six or seven hours. 
We moved through Yorktown on the heels of the retreating 
enemy. The arrangement was that this cavalry force, with 
some light batteries, should move rapidly forward, being sup 
ported by General Hooker s division. There was some diffi 
culty after we got through Yorktown, because the enemy had 
placed explosive shells in the roads where our troops had to 
move, which exploded when trod upon. We lost several men 
and horses in that way. That delayed the progress of the 
column through the intrenchments and along the roads. Other 
wise, however, the roads were very good, At, perhaps, one 


o clock, General Stoneman received a communication from 
General McClellan to push on with all speed, and to follow 
closely upon the enemy, and that he would be supported by 
General Hooker s division ; that had been ordered to move on 
immediately. General Stoneman had, up to that time, been 
pushing forward, halting occasionally to remove the torpedoes 
from the road. The column moved with such rapidity that 
General Stoneman, after stopping to write a despatch to be sent 
back, would be obliged to trot briskly to resume his place in 
the column. When we had come to within about four or five 
miles of Williamsburg, we came up with the Hamilton Legion, 
of the enemy s forces. We had at first only cavalry there, the 
artillery not having come up. We were received by an artil 
lery fire from the enemy. As soon as our light artillery came 
up, we pressed the enemy closely. They would retreat for a 
time, then come to a stand as we pressed upon them ; then ? 
after a short resistance, retreat again, and so on. In that way 
we kept up a running fire, I should think, fur about three miles. 
When the rear of the enemy made its first stand, General 
Stoneman sent me back to hurry up the infantry. About six 
miles from Yorktown are two roads one the regular road 
that General Stoneman took ; the other a road diverging 
towards the position General Sumner afterwards occupied. 
General Hooker s division, w r hich had left Yorktown about one 
o clock, and which was the one assigned to our support, when 
it got up to those two roads, found General Sumner s troops 
occupying the road before him, and was delayed for some time. 
I found General Negley s brigade in the advance of General 
Sumner s column, and had about got him moving.up to support 
us, when General Sumner countermanded it, saying that he 
had had no directions to move on. I requested General Neg- 
ley to report to General Sumner the fact that General Stone 
man was on the heels of the enemy without an infantry support 
and that it was important that the enemy should find some in 
fantry there with us. There was a delay of nearly two hours, 


until finally, after solicitation, General Sumner concluded to 
move up his troops. I returned and reported to General Stone- 
man, and remained with him until we had been driven back 
from immediately under the fortifications of Williamsburg, the 
rear guard of the enemy occupying the works. It was then 
late in the afternoon, perhaps five or six o clock. It had com 
menced raining. The troops came all mixed up together 
those of General Sumner, General Heintzelman, and General 
Keyes, all together, without any order or preparation. In fall 
ing back, having no infantry support, in going through the 
woods, some o our guns got stuck in the* mud, and the enemy 
captured some three of them. We fell back to a clearing, a 
mile and a half or two miles from the works occupied by the 
enemy. The road divided some distance back from Williams - 
burg. General Stoneman divided his cavalry force, and sent 
a portion of it on the road leading off to the left of the fortifi 
cations at Williamsburgh, and the other portion he sent off to 
the right. When General Hooker came up with his division, 
he was sent to the left to support the cavalry there, and it was 
there that the main contest took place the next day. The 
cavalry to the right was supported by General Sumner s troops. 
As the infantry came up they were moved forward ; but night 
came on while they were in the woods, and, with the rain and 
mud, it was impossible to extricate them that night. The 
whole army lay there that night upon their arms, within a mile 
of the enemy s works. The pickets were within half a pistol 
shot of each other. Many of our men straggled off in the 
woods, not being able to extricate themselves in the darkness, 
and were captured by the enemy. As soon as General Sum 
ner arrived on the ground, he took command. The cavalry, of 
course, had done all that could be expected of it. During the 
night, General Sumner himself became lost in the woods, and 
there was no one there exercising supreme command. I speak 
minutely of these things, because it was a very anxious period 
for us. I had been with the advance, and was in a situation 


to know the position of the enemy, and could give information 
to the general in command, which would enable him to deter 
mine the best course to be pursued in attacking the enemy s 
works. But this information, which had been gathered by 
General Stoneman s advance, and which I was anxious to com 
municate to General Surnner, could not be communicated all 
that nighf, because there was no one exercising command there. 
General Sumner and his staff, in going too far down, had got 
into the woods, and almost surrounded by the enemy, and the 
only way they could get off safely was by remaining still, all 
the night, in the woods. We slept there in the mud and rain, 
that night, without cover. We had started off from Yorktown 
so hurriedly that no preparations for rations had been made, 
and many of the regiments had nothing to eat." 

To the foregoing, a few particulars are added. The follow 
ing morning, May 5th, the battle before Williamsburg com 
menced in earnest. It was begun by Gen. Hooker, with two 
regiments of skirmishers 1st Massachusetts and 2d New 
Hampshire, who drove the enemy in the rifle pits into Fort 
Magruder. The batteries of Webber, Osborne and Bramhall, 
were then brought into position, and opened upon the fort. 
Their fire was very accurate, and with the sharpshooters 
silenced that of the enemy until afternoon. A pouring rain, 
and the tramp of infantry,<!ivalry and artillery, put the roads 
in a terrible condition, which greatly impeded the operations. 
For this cause, and from the nature of the ground, it was diffi 
cult for artillery to act. The rebels were strong in earthworks 
thirteen in number rifle pits and men. They fought as 
though intending to redeem themselves from the shame of their 
recent evacuation ; but they were met with an invincible de 
termination. Sumner, who commanded the centre and right, 
Hooker, Heintzelman, Kearny, Keyes, Hancock and other 
generals, were seen in every part of the field, directing the 
conflict, Jameson, Berry, Birney and Peck handled their men 
with vigor. Casey dicftot reach the front until the battle was 


nearly over, but was in season to render important service to 
Hancock, who took two redoubts, repulsed Early s brigade by 
a bayonet charge, and captured 150 prisoners. 

At one time, Heintzelman was sorely galled, by an im 
mensely superior force, when, opportunely, Berry s brigade 
rushed through the mud to his support. It was welcomed by 
shouts of gladness, the bands playing Yankee DoodFe and the 
Star Spangled Banner. Towards the middle of the day, things 
looked uncertain, and at 12 o clock, Governor Sprague rode to 
Yorktown, and communicated the condition of affairs to Gen. 
McClellan. Late in the afternoon, he arrived, and took com 
mand of all the troops. At dark, the fighting ceased the 
enemy beaten in the field, but still in possession of Fort Ma- 

Gen. Heintzelman estimated the men on the Federal side, 
actually engaged, at less than 17,000. The rebel forces were 
rated at 30,000 to 40,000. In the heaviest of the fight by 
Hooker, he was hard pressed by a force three or four times his 
numbers, led by Johnston, Longstreet, Pryor, Gholson and 
Pickett. Between four and five o clock P. M., Kearney, with 
great effort, came to his assistance, and relieving his worn men, 
held the positions in front until the battle ended. About five 
o clock, Randolph s battery arrived on the ground, but was not 
ordered into action. The fightin,at some points, was terrific. 
Men, on both sides, went down in heaps. The rebel loss was 
reported at upwards of 3,000. )n the Federal side, it was 
about 2,000, in killed, wounded and missing. Of this number, 
Hooker s division lost 1,700. 

In this hard-fought battle, the 2d Rhode Island bore a part. 
They were ordered to relieve a regiment engaged in front. 
They moved promptly forward, and remained under fire several 
hours. Gen. Devens, commanding the brigade, complimented 
the men for their coolness and fidelity. Col. Wheaton had a 
narrow escape from a shell, which cut away a portion of a tree 
near him. Col. Tristam Burges, son ofche distinguished Rhode 


Island lawyer and orator, was wounded in the leg. He was 
acting, at the time, as volunteer aid to Gen. Stoneman. As 
the night shut down, the Federal army bivouacked. It was a 
sad night for the wounded and the dying. Let the curtain drop 
before the scene. 

During the night, the rebels commenced a retreat, leaving 
their works and the ancient seat of learning they were designed 
to protect, in Federal hands.* A section of Randolph s bat 
tery, and one* of Thompson s (G, 2d United States,) under him, 
were the first to enter the town the next day. The generals 
all rode in together. The rebels, in their escape, as one writes 
who was an eye witness, " left one large gun in their works, 
abandoned a splendid brass piece on the road, with two cais 
sons ; strewed every rod of their path with muskets, bayonets, 
knapsacks, blankets and overcoats ; littered the way with all 
the wreck and ruin of a beaten and demoralized army in full 
flight from imaginary as well as real terrors. There was a 
harvest for the blacks who had not been driven in coffles, by 
their owners, to Richmond. From all parts they alighted upon 
this abandoned property, much of it new and valuable, fresh 
from the commissary^ stores, and left upon the roadside in 
wagons, only because it impeded flight." A force of cavalry 
and infantry pursued the rebels a few miles, but owing to the 

*This retreat was also involuntary, and much against the will of Gen. 
Magruder, who had great confidence in the strength of the fortifications, 
erected under his own inspection. The rebel author of the War Pictures, 
already cited, says : " General Johnston having now arrived, he was in 
trusted by the Confederate government with the chief command of the 
army. He at once ordered the retreat to commence, although Magruder 
insisted that he could still hold Williamsburg against the enemy. But 
the Federal General Keyes had already taken up a position between Wil 
liamsburg and Richmond, a manoeuvre which allowed us no time to hesi 
tate, as he not only menaced the retreating troops from Williamsburg, but 
threatened the safety of Richmond itself. General Magruder consequently 
made the necessary dispositions to rejoin the main body of the army at 
Richmond." p. 280. 


state of the roads and other causes, were not followed up. 
Taken in battle and captured as stragglers, the prisoners 
amounted to 2,000. The hospitals were crowded with their 

On the 10th May, Gen. Keyes marched his corps to Burnt 
Ordinary, and thence to Bottom s Bridge. The roads were 
heavy, and the marching necessarily slow. Stoneman s cav 
alry, the 2d Rhode Island and a Pennsylvania regiment were 
then in advance, harassing the rebel rear. On the 23d, the 
divisions of Casey and Couch crossed the Chickahominy. On 
the 25th, Heintzelman, with Hooker s and Kearney s divisions, 
crossed at the same place, in preparation for coming events.] 


Battery C embarks for West Point March to Cumberland Landing 
General Franklin s division goes up to Wes4Point Battle at West 
Point Narrow escape of General McClellan. 

May 14, 1862. ) 

From Sunday morning, the 4th inst, when the flag of our 
Union was unfurled upon the ramparts of Yorktown, and the 
shout of exultation ran along our line from river to river, 
" mightier than the voice of many waters," until Friday, the 
9th, we remained in our encampment with little to disturb its 
quietness. On that day the order was given to embark for 
"West Point. To get our battery and its appurtenances aboard 
the transports was the work of an entire day. We lay off in 
the stream all night, and Saturday morning bade farewell to a 
spot which the capture of 1781 consecrated to civil liberty, 
and the occupation by the Federal army in 18G2, has forever 


linked with the triumph of constitutional law, in which this 
war is to issue. As we lost view of the frowning fortifications, 
and thought of the traps left by the rebels for the destruction 
of life, and the hidden missiles of death scattered along the 
road to Williamsburg, Byron s words came fresh to inind, 

"All the devil would do, if run stark mad, 
Was here let loose." 

We reached West Point at night. Sunday we debarked 
and went into camp, where we remained till yesterday morn 
ing, when we moved forward to this place, a distance of about 
thirteen miles. The day was warm, the roads dusty, and rest 
refreshing. We are about thirty miles from Richmond. 

About the middle of last month, General Franklin, with his 
division, arrived below Yorktown in transports, and anchored 
in the Poquosin river. On the morning of the evacuation, he 
was ordered round to Yorktown, to proceed up to West Point, 
but owing to bad weather did not start until the morning after 
the battle of Williamsburg. The object of this movement was 
to cut off the retreat of Johnston and Magruder, who were mak 
ing their way back TO Richmond ; but in this he was disap 
pointed. The rebels were too fleet, and found safety beyond the 
Chickahominy. To gain time for the escape of their main body, 
the rebel generals commenced an attack on General Franklin 
the morning after he landed. The fight was severe and con 
tinued most of the day, when the enemy were driven back 
with heavy loss. The Federal loss in killed, wounded and 
missing, was about 300. In this affair, the 1st New Jersey, 
31st and 32d New York, 95th Pennsylvania and 5th Maine 
regiments were engaged. The 1st New Jersey artillery did 
great execution. The 95th Pennsylvania suffered severely in 
officers and men. Capt. Richard Arnold, Gen. Franklin s 
chief of artillery, is spoken of as having contributed essentially 
to the success of the day. 

Cumberland is a little hamlet on the bank of the Pamunky 



river, which at West Point unites with the Matapony, and 
forms the York. It now, for the first time, becomes a historic 
spot, as a depot of supplies for the army of the Potomac. 
Gen. McClellan has temporarily established his headquarters 
here. Yesterday, an unsuccessful attempt was made by the 
enemy to capture a wagon train on the road between this place 
and Buck House Point, and it is reported that the General in 
Chief, while making a reconnoisance with his staff, had a nar 
row escape from the rebel cavalry. Troops are rapidly con 
centrating here, and the advance upon Richmond may now be 
considered as fairly in progress. 


Battery C moves to White House Norfolk surrendered and the 
Merrimac destroyed Stoneman drives in the rebel pickets White 
House estate Encampment. 

May 20, 1862. j 

My last letter was dated at Cumberland Landing. On the 
morning of the 15th, the men turned out at four o clock, and 
packed up for a march. At ten o clock we moved forward. 
The night previous had been stormy, and the rain continuing, 
rendered the roads almost impassable ; but perseverance sur 
mounted the obstacles that strewed the way, and with much 
weariness of the flesh, drenched with rain, and covered with 
mud, the battery encamped seven mites nearer Richmond. 
The team containing our tents not arriving in season, we ex 
temporized temporary habitations with the tarpaulins, and laid 
ourselves down to rest. I never slept better. Army life has 
its amusing side, as well as its serious aspects. In camp and 


on the march, one having a keen sense of the ludicrous, can 
always find something to excite his mirthfulness. Laughter is 
healthful, and amazingly promotes digestion. The buoyant 
Winthrop once wrote of his army life, " I have fun I get ex 
perience I see much it pays ;" and the soldier has yet much 
to learn who does not understand how to turn the experiences 
of the day and the annoyances of the night, including spiders, 
wood-ticks and gnats, to profitable account. 

The news of the evacuation of Norfolk and the blowing up 
of the Merrimac, was received with lively demonstrations of 
joy, and operated like electricity upon the physique of the men.* 
For more than two months the Merrimac has been the terror 
of the whole country. Imagination, taking counsel of fear, con 
jured up a multitude of disasters she was destined to inflict. 
Excited vision saw the commerce of New York and our entire 
navy, sinking beneath the heavy blows of her iron beak. But 
these apprehensions were, in a measure, dispelled by the provi 
dential advent of the spunky little Monitor ; and now that this 
ogre has received death at the hands of its friends, the timid 
will once more breathe freely. This information, following 
close upon the rebel discomfitures at Williamsburg and West 
Point, it is said, caused great consternation at Richmond. 

[The author of " War Pictures " says : " The dread . that 
then prevailed at Richmond, must be ascribed chiefly to the 
conduct of President Davis and his wife, who, as soon as in- 

* These events occurred on the 10th and llth of May. On the 10th, 
General Wool landed 5,000 men at Willoughby Point, Va., and marched 
upon Norfolk. Slight skirmishing ensued, .without hindering the move 
ments. At five o clock P. M., a deputation of citizens of Norfolk met the 
United States troops, and the town was formally surrendered and occu 
pied, General Viele being appointed Military Governor. The same night, 
the rebels set fire to the buildings of the navy yard at Gosport, and at 
tempted to blow up the dry dock, in which they partially succeeded. The 
next morning the Merrimac, or Virginia, as she had been, newly chris 
tened, was blown up by her officers, and destroyed. 



telligence of the advance of the enemy reached them, not only 
took every precaution to place their family in safety, but des 
patched to North Carolina all the valuable property at Rich 
mond which had been placed at the President s disposal, such 

as plate, pictures, works of art, jewels, &c This was not 

considered a becoming example of the firmness and magna 
nimity expected from the elected head of the Confederacy for 
the purpose of encouraging the citizens. The effect was, as 
may be supposed, to bring about a general removal from the 
town. Great confusion also prevailed at the various public 
offices. The government property was removed to North Car 
olina, and all the bank-note presses to Columbus. The Secre 
taries of War and Navy, Randolph and Mallory, proceeded to 
Norfolk and Portsmouth ; not, as might have been supposed, 
to take measures for saving what could be preserved at those 
important naval stations, but to destroy everything. A humil 
iating day for the cause of the Confederacy was now at hand. 
Gen. Huger was entrusted with the disgraceful task of des 
troying the valuable docks and government stores at Ports 
mouth. Although there were no less than 30,000 excellent 
troops in and around Norfolk, the order he received was fully 
carried out, and thus the docks and building yards became a 

prey to the flames Property to the value of millions, 

much of which might have been saved, was destroyed in the 
most reckless manner."] 

Yesterday, General Stoneman marched to Coal Harbor, on 
the road leading to Richmond, and drove the rebel pickets in 
to within two miles of their main force. The enemy have des 
troyed the bridges over the Chickahominy, and in strong num 
bers are encamped on the other side. Our army is spread 
along their front, with suitable supports, and every day making 
changes that are bringing on the crisis of deadly conflict. 

The general deportment of our army towards the people of 
the country through which it has passed, and the tender care 


bestowed upon the rebel sick and wounded, who have been 
taken prisoners, is in striking contrast with the atrocities com 
mitted upon the wounded and dead Union soldiers that have 
fallen into rebel hands, the account of which the papers have 
not exaggerated. But a day of retribution draws nigh, and 
those monsters in human form will yet learn that 

" Cruelty s a prodigal, that heaps 
A suicidal burthen on itself." 

From Old Point Comfort to Richmond the country is full 
of interest, and at this season of the year, in a time of quiet, 
would afford delightful rambles to an excursionist. A trip up 
the York river to West Point, and thence up the Pamunkey 
to some twenty miles above White House farm, where the 
navigation has been impeded by the rebels, would be scarcely 
less attractive than an excursion from Providence round Point 
Judith to New Haven, or up the Hudson from New York to 
Albany. The shores on either side of the York and Pamunkey 
are quite as picturesque as those of the Narragansett, and it 
will not be strange, when rebellion is crushed out and Virginia 
restored to her right mind, to find some enterprising Perliam 
introducing northern lovers of " spontaneous joys where nature 
has its play," to scenes of quiet beauty but little known. 

A horseback ride up the peninsula would prove equally 
pleasant. Yorktown, Warwick Court House, Williamsburg, 
New Kent Court House, and White House farm, on the Pa 
munkey river, nearly midway between West Point and Rich 
mond, all have attractions for the student of American history. 
The latter place is one of the largest plantations in this part of 
the country, and is in a fine state of cultivation. On the arri 
val of our troops here, a large quantity of wheat and corn was 
found on the premises, which was very properly appropriated 
to army use. At this place, it is said, Washington first saw, 
wooed and won the Martha whose name crowns the list of pa 
triotic women of the revolution. The present owner, Gen. Lee 


of the rebel army, became possessor of the estate through his 
wife, to whom it was bequeathed by the late George Washing 
ton Parke Custis, the adopted son of the Father of his Country. 
If Shakespeare tells the truth of Hamlet s father, surely the 
recusancy of one whose ancestral name stands among the hon 
ored of Virginia patriots, is enough to disturb the grave-sleep 
of the venerable patroon of Arlington House to the end of time. 

The colored population along the route of our army is less 
numerous than it was a few months ago, large numbers of 
sla\ es having been sent towards Richmond, or in other direc 
tions, as the Federal forces advanced. Some extensive plan 
tations are left in charge of a few venerable sons of Ham, while 
on others considerable gangs remain under the charge of over 
seers. It is understood that the house servants belonging to 
the White House estate, (which, by the way, takes its name 
from fhe color of the mansion,) were recently removed to 
Richmond. The field hands continue on the place, and show 
a readiness to supply the Yankees with such camp dainties as 
are at their control. 

Though good authority tells us that " our stomachs will make 
what s homely, savoury," yet we do not object occasionally to 
sandwich our goverment rations with such delicacies as the 
sutler s wagon can furnish ; but just now this class of purveyors 
are scarce, and the nearer we approach Richmond, the more 
costly this sort of cheer becomes. With his list of prices star 
ing me in the face, I was prepared to give a hearty welcome 
to an iron bound box which arrived this morning, and whose 
judiciously assorted contents, reminding the receiver of warm 
hearts at home, were all right. 

We are now encamped on one of the most beautiful spots I 
have seen in Virginia. Berdan s Sharpshooters are encamped 
on the right of us, and on the extreme right, on the summit of 
a high hill, Gen. McClellan has his head-quarters. The nu 
merous camps around us, dotted with tents, wagons, and parks 
of artillery, interspersed with patches of green, impart a beau- 


tiful effect to the scene, while the national airs played by the 
bands, fall upon the ear with inspiring power. We, of course, 
shall remain here but a short time, and then " on to Richmond." 
That the rebels intend to stand there " the hazard of a die," is 
probable, unless the last ditch, so long sought, lies somewhere 


Battery advances to Kidd s mills A bath Fight near New 
Bridge, by the 4th Michigan Old Church New arrangements 
Reconnoissance to Hanover town Battle of Hanover Court 
House Battles of Fair Oaks and Seven Pines Old California 
Slave population, 


Eight miles from Richmond, June 2, 1862. ) 

For the last two weeks, our army, with its six miles of front, 
has been making steady progress towards Richmond. Almost 
every mile of the march has been resisted by rebel pickets and 
skirmishers, or by larger bodies of their troops, but Gen. 
Stoneman s advance corps, including the 2d Rhode Island reg 
iment, has been uniformly successful in opening the way, and 
as the main body has come up it has been enabled to hold 
every point gained in its forward movements. Since the bat 
tle of West Point, our right has gradually stretched itself north, 
beyond Hanover Court House, which looks like a flank move 
ment. What it really means, a few days will show. 

My last letter left our battery near White House. Since 
then, little opportunity has occurred for deliberate writing, and 
as a substitute for a letter, I send a few rough field notes, 
hastily jotted down. On Monday, 19th May, we marched to 
TunstalFs station, on the railroad line from White House 


to Richmond. "Wednesday morning, 21st, at 3 o clock, the 
reveille was sounded, and at about six we left camp. The day 
opened warm and muggy, and topped off hot. We marched 
four or five miles, and at half-past ten o clock went into camp. 
We should have gone further, but the roads were so blocked 
up with teams and baggage wagons as to render it impossible 
to move fast enough to make it an object to keep up the march. 
We passed through a fine country, and the fields in which no 
encampments had been made looked promising. The wheat 
fields in which batteries of artillery had been parked, were, of 
course, destroyed. The people along the route complained of 
the scarcity of provisions, and doubtless with good reasons. 
This is an effect of rebellion they did not anticipate, but 
which, like other foul birds, has " come home to roost." Thurs 
day morning, 22d, we advanced to Kidd s Mills, a place boast 
ing a saw and gristmill. Our camp ground was in a pleasant 
locality, with a pond in the rear, which was soon filled with 
bathers. More than one Providence boy was reminded of the 
aquatic pleasures of " Sandy Bottom," now no more. The 
discomforts of a severe thunder shower in the afternoon were 
more than offset by the report that Halleck had defeated 
Bcauregard at Corinth. On the supposition of proximity to 
the enemy, bugles were not allowed to be sounded, drums to 
beat, or bands to play. 

May 25. Yesterday the rain fell copiously, from 7 o clock 
A. M., till afternoon. The battery was hitched up, and at a 
quarter before twelve we moved from camp, leaving behind 
blankets and equipage of every sort, as though we were going 
out merely on picket, or to have a skirmish. We proceeded 
about two miles, and halted near Gen. Porter s headquarters, 
where we learned that the 4th Michigan regiment, under Col. 
Woodbury, had successfully measured strength with a rebel 
brigade in the neighborhood of New Bridge. It was a sharp 
contest of two hours, terminating in a bayonet charge. The 


enemy fled, leaving upwards of one hundred killed and wounded 
on the field. Thirty-seven prisoners were taken, twenty-two 
of them belonging to the Louisiana Tigers, whom I saw as 
they came in. The Federal loss was three killed and seven 

[General McClellan, having received intelligence of this 
affair, rode towards the river and met the regiment on its re 
turn. He grasped Col. Woodbury warmly by the hand and 
said, " Colonel, I am happy to congratulate you again on your 
success. I have had occasion to do so before, and I do so 
again with pleasure." He also shook hands with Captain 
Rose, of the first company, which was deployed as skirmishers, 
and discharged the first volley on our side, and said, " I thank 
you, Captain ; your men have done well." To some of the 
men he said, " How do you feel, boys ? " They exclaimed, 
General, we feel bully."] 

Turning from the General s quarters, we proceeded to a 
post town consisting of several private dwellings and a tavern, 
and known as Old Church, so a member of the " peculiar in 
stitution " informed me. "We are here to protect this point to 
prevent the enemy from turning our flank. The 5th regiment 
New York volunteers, (Zouaves) are encamped just in front 
of us. Their colonel, Warren, is acting Brigadier. The 1st 
Connecticut, heavy artillery, and the 13th New York, are in 
our rear. The Connecticut regiment is the same that manned 
and were to work the siege guns at Yorktown. They are now 
acting as infantry, their siege train being left behind. A reg 
iment of cavalry, the Gth Pennsylvania Lancers, are also here. 
Mrs. Col. Lee and daughters are under Federal guardianship 
about a mile above us, very much to their chagrin ; but such 18 
the fortune of war, and secesh officers who permit their families 
to wander about like so many " unprotected females," may be 
thankful when they fall into Union hands. Some have sur- 


mised that this capture was sought by the parties interested 
to insure to them a safety they could not hope for in the 
rebel capital. 

This morning, Col. Warren rode up to Capt. Weeden s 
quarters and requested him to hitch up as quickly as possible, 
information having been received that the enemy were ad 
vancing. This was done, but the enemy did not appear, and 
the battery moved to the rear of the camp and went into park, 
to be called out at any moment. A portion of our blankets were 
brought up last night, and the residue to-day. To add to our 
comfort, the negroes come into camp with hoe cake and milk 
to. sellj-ran agreeable episode in gustatory experiences. 

May 27. New arrangements have been made^in the com 
mands of General Porter s division. Gen. P. is now commander 
of the 5th provisional corps. Gen. Morell commands his old 
division, and Colonel McQuade, of the the New York 14th, 
is acting Brigadier of Morell s brigade. Yesterday, three guns 
of the battery, under the command of Lieut. Buckley, went out 
to Hanover town, on a reconnoissance, accompanied by the 1st 
Connecticut and 5th New York infantry, and a company of 
cavalry. One gun went with the cavalry, in advance. The 
rebel pickets were driven in, one prisoner taken, and a bridge 
crossing the Pamunkey destroyed. About 6 o clock they re 
turned to camp. 

Last night about 10 o clock rain commenced, and continued 
falling without intermission till to-day noon. If, after the co 
pious outpourings of " watery treasures " for the last two 
weeks, any " thirsty ridges " are still to be found, they will 
have ample opportunity to " drink their fill." Judging from 
past experiences and present appearances, the weather, so far 
as human agency is concerned, has been left to indulge its 
humor without stint, and generally it has given its services to 
the rebels between the Chickahominy and Richmond. A Vir 
ginia rain of ten hours is about equal to a picket force of 


twenty-five thousand men in retarding the rapid advance of 
the grand army ; and if there is any virtue in the supervision 
of " wandering cisterns in the sky " by a loyalist, a spare as 
sistant from College Hill would prove a valuable accession to 
our numbers about these days. 

This morning, at 4 o clock, reveille sounded, and at 6, much 
to general satisfaction, we were on the march for Hanover 
Court House, where the rebels were understood to be in force, 
ready to accept battle should it be offered. The gaining of so 
important a position, and the destruction of certain bridges that 
connect rebel approaches to Richmond, were sufficient stimu 
lants to the men, and they pushed forward to the encounter 
with a will. Gen. MorelPs division, consisting of three 
brigades, commanded by Generals Martindale, Butterfield, and 
Col. McQuade, and Berdan s regiment of sharpshooters, moved 
briskly from their camps for the field of action, fifteen miles dis 
tant. Gen. Porter was with the advance of the column. Gen. 
Martindale had only the 22d Massachusetts, 25th New York 
and the 2d Maine with him, the 18th Massachusetts and 13th 
New York being detached on duty elsewhere. The artillery 
led the van. Then came Berdan s telescopic men. Martin- 
dale s diminished brigade marched next. Butterfield, who left 
a sick bed to be in the fight, followed, while McQuade brought 
up the rear. The 25th New York was sent forward to act as 
skirmishers, and received the first fire of the enemy. Berdan s 
men early found employment. 

Our battery, the 5th New York regiment (Zouaves), the 1st 
Connecticut, 13th New York and 6th Pennsylvania cavalry, 
were to take the road on the right, while other regiments and 
batteries were to come up more on the left. We were on the 
extreme right, and the rebel Gen. Branch, who by some means 
had, as early as 10 o clock, learned we were approaching, pre 
pared to give us a warm reception. Battery C appears to have 
been an object of special interest to him, and he made liberal 


arrangements to escort it within liis lines. At a narrow part 
of the road, which he supposed we should pass, he stationed 
for this purpose a brigade of cavalry and artillery ; but he was 
doomed to disappointment by our taking another road, which 
brought us on to the field about 3 o clock. The rebels had prom 
ised us " fits," but as they were not so great in that line of the 
the profession as they pretended, the effort proved a failure. 
They received what they proposed to give, for while bestow 
ing their courtesies upon us, and before they knew it, other 
troops were upon them with a peppering of Minie balls and 
artillery " fixings," for which they had little relish. A body 
of the Federal advance encountered a rebel regiment, about 
two miles from the Court House, which they drove back, and 
when we arrived on the ground we could see them about a 
mile distant, drawn up in line of battle. We cut round to the 
right to follow them up, but after going about two miles we 
received intelligence that they were coming down upon our 
rear, when our pieces were immediately reversed and we re 
turned to our position. 

The principal artillery work on our side was done by Grif 
fin s and Martin s batteries. The former fought his Parrotts 
with galling and fatal effect. Capt. Martin was in the thickest 
of the danger, and at one time during the day came near losing 
two of his pieces, but by the timely support of infantry, they 
were saved. Although, to the regret of officers and men, it was 
not permitted us to take further active part in the contest, we 
were witnesses of all that could be seen on so large a field, and 
of the bravery of those engaged. The roar of artillery and the 
rattling of musketry was terrific ; yet, as we listened to their 
thunder and marked the flashes of fire, the effect was like the 
sound of the trumpet to the war horse. Every man s blood 
was stirred for the fray. Such is human nature. 

The fight of to-day was in the highest degree sanguinary, 
and will be conspicuous among the battles of the peninsula. 
On both sides the utmost determination was displayed. " Twas 


blow for blow, disputing inch by inch." *[n numbers, the rebel 
force greatly exceeded the Federals, but they could not stand 
before bayonets pressed forward by principle. At every point 
they yielded and fell back, leaving between 600 and 800 pris 
oners in our hands. Their killed and wounded swell their loss 
to 1,500. Several cannon and 500 or 600 rifles and muskets 
were also captured. The Federal loss, in killed, wounded and 
prisoners, amounts to between 300 and 400 men. Among the 
regiments engaged that suffered most, were the Maine 2d and 
the 25th New York, the latter under the command of Col. 
Johnston. The 44th New York regiment, Col. Stryker, lost 
27 killed and 50 wounded. They behaved with great gallantry. 
Berdan s Sharpshooters had several wounded. The Massa 
chusetts 9th and the New York 14th were also engaged; the 
loss of the former, one killed, nine wounded, and one missing. 
The rebel troops are largely North Carolinians. They are a 
hardy looking set of men, but miserably clad and poorly armed. 
As one result of this battle, the Virginia Central Railroad has 
been cut, by the removal of several hundred feet of rails, and 
the large bridge on the Fredericksburg Railroad completely de 
stroyed. A large quantity of army stores has also been destroyed. 
The appearance of the field after the battle, as described by 
those who passed over it, was sickening. Youth arid mature 
age, dead and wounded, lay thickly mingled, and many a poor 
fellow breathed out the little remnant of life there, before the 
hand of humanity could be stretched out to seal his glazed eyes, 
or the voice of sympathy inquire his last wishes. 

May 28. After the fatigues of yesterday, the battery has 
remained in park all day. Hanover Court House, the scene 
of our recent action, is a small post town of Hanover county, 
and is distinguished as the birth-place of Henry Clay. It was 
in the slashes of the Chickahominy, that the mill boy received 
the inspirations of freedom, and became imbued with a love of 
country that so conspicuously displayed itself in after years. 


In the defeat of yestarday, the rebel General Branch must have 
felt the presence of the spirit of the great statesman, rebuking 
the treasonable resistance of a government, to the support of 
which, during a long life, he had devoted his transcendent tal 
ents. A great many prisoners have passed to-day. The cav 
alry brought in one company of upwards of ninety men, includ 
ing the captain. I went down to the woods this morning, and 
counted twenty-five North Carolinians, who lay 

"In the deep stillness of that dreamless state 
Of sleep, that knows no waking joys again." 

They were all shot either in the head or breast, none lower, 
showing with what accuracy our men sighted their guns. It 
was a horrible sight, and the deluded victims of secession were 
buried by our troops. To-day, General McClellan has visited 
the division, and expressed his warm commendation of the good 
conduct of the men yesterday. 

May 30. Yesterday, we started on a reconnoitering expedi 
tion, but went only two or three miles, when several of our 
pieces were put in battery. We remained till afternoon, and 
returned without having discovered any rebels. In some of the 
houses on the road, wounded secesh were found by the Fede 
rals, whose wounds had not been dressed. They were sent to 
our hospitals to be cared for. At seven o clock, we left for 
Old Church, and arrived at our camp about ten o clock. To 
day, we left camp at half past two, and proceeded to near Gen. 
Porter s head-quarters. A severe shower set in while on the 
march. " The clouds their thunder anthems sang," the rain 
descended in torrents, and soon we were in the condition of the 
man whom a joker boasted he could throw across the North 
River, but who, in the experiment, was dropped in the stream. 
The lightning was very sharp, and struck the camp of the 44th 
New York volunteers, killing one man and wounding four or 


June 1. The rebel commanders, alarmed at the steady ad 
vance of our army upon Richmond, appear to have resolved to 
concentrate their strength upon our left wing, and, if possible, 
break our line and gain our flank. Yesterday, they made a 
spirited assault upon Gen. Casey s division, which, after a short 
struggle, was forced back. Some of the regiments, it is said, 
fought well; but a considerable portion of the men had never 
been under fire, and broke, causing great confusion. 

[This is known as the battle of Fair Oaks, taking its name 
from a grove of oak trees near the field of action. It is some 
times called the battle of Seven Pines, from seven pine trees, 
near which General Casey established his lines, on crossing the 
Chickahominy. In describing his position before the Committee 
on the Conduct of the War, he says, " My division, composed of 
raw troops, with no support on their right or left, were pushed 
like a wedge up into the presence of a strong force of the ene 
my, my troops having suffered severely in coming up the pe 
ninsula. However, that was the order, and I obeyed and went 
to work with all my energy, to dig rifle pits, make abatis, &c. 
For two nights, the enemy attacked my pickets in force, but 
were repulsed with loss. I kept my line in position. My 
pickets frequently killed the enemy 700 or 800 yards from my 
line. That was our situation. 

"About 11 o clock, the pickets reported, by a mounted vi- 
dette, that the enemy were approaching, evidently in force. I 
immediately called in all the men I had working in the rifle 
pits, &c., called out the division, and got them into line. I 
foyght the battle in two Unes, by which means I think I saved 
an hour ; that is, I kept the enemy back an hour by fighting 
them in two lines. I put a force in the rifle pits, and then went 
out and established a line about one-third of a mile in advance, 

five or six regiments and four pieces of artillery The 

enemy crowded upon me, and attacked me in front and on both 
wings, in force, I suppose of about 35,000." 


Gen. Casey s division consisted of only 4,380 men. The 
enemy pressed upon him so hard, that, to save his artil 
lery, he ordered a charge of four regiments of infantry, which 
was handsomely executed, and the enemy driven back ; but to 
hold his ground against such an immensely superior force was 
impossible. He, in turn, was driven back, and night saw the 
enemy in possession of his camp, and several pieces of artil 
lery. The loss in his division was 1,433, killed, wounded and 
missing. General Casey had a horse shot under him, and was 
wounded in the leg. 

When the battle commenced, General Sumner, with his com 
mand, was on the east bank of the Chickahominy. He imme 
diately crossed over and advanced rapidly to Fair Oaks, with 
Sedgwick s division. In his testimony, he says : " On reaching 
Fair Oaks, I was met by General Couch, who told me that he 
had been separated by the enemy from the rest of the army, 
and was expecting an attack every moment. I formed this 
division of Sedgwick s together with Couch s troops assuming 
the command of the whole as quickly as possible, with a bat 
tery of artillery between the two divisions. Before the forma 
tion was completed, the enemy made a ferocious attack upon 
my centre, evidently with the expectation of getting possession 
of my battery. I had six regiments in hand on the left of the 
battery. After sustaining a severe fire for some time, these 
six regiments charged directly into the woods, crossing a bro 
ken fence in so doing ; the enemy then fled, and the action was 
over for that day.* During that night, I succeeded in getting 

#"Pickett s brigade now turned and hastily retired. This necessarily 
led to the retreat of the divisions of Anderson and Hill. Johnston vainly 
put himself at the head of his best troops in order to reopen the action. 
All his efforts were useless. The victorious enemy pressed on with loud 
cheers. The generals halted to make a last effort; but it was of no avail. 
Sumner rushed on our troops who had lost all self-possession, and drove 
them back to Fair Oaks, until night put an end to the struggle." War 
Pictures, p. 287. 



up Richardson s division, and formed it parallel with the rail 
road. About 7 1 o clock on Sunday morning, the troops be 
came engaged on the railroad. A very severe fight continued 
there for the space of three or four hours, in which I lost many 
valuable men and officers. The enemy were then entirely 
routed and fled." 

In this engagement, Generals Kearny, Sedgwick, Franklin, 
Sickles, Keyes, Heintzelman, Couch, Hooker, French, How 
ard, and others, acted a conspicuous part. Randolph s battery 
was stationed in two small redans, on either side of a line of 
rifle pits held by Kearny s division as a second line ready for 
action, but did not engage. Of Heintzelman, at a critical pe 
riod of the battle, a rebel officer bears the following testimony : 
" At this moment, Heintzelman rapidly brought up his divi 
sion to stem the pursuit of the Confederate troops, and planted 
himself like a rock between the pursued and their pursuers. 
His men, Irish and Germans, fought and died like heroes in 
this work of salvation. All Hill s and Anderson s attempts to 
repulse them were futile ; the Germans and Irish kept their 
ground, and succeeded in covering the flight of their vanquished 
comrades. They steadily opposed every fierce onset of our 
elated troops, and stood like a wall between them and their own 
defeated forces, in order that some of the fugitives might be 
enabled to reform their ranks, and thus, in their turn, try to 
assist those who had come to their rescue." 

Two days after the battle, General McClellan issued a spir 
ited commendatory order, which was read at the head of every 
regiment. General Kearny, proud of the bravery of his divi 
sion, did the same to the men under his command. The rebel 
force engaged was estimated at 75,000. The Federal loss, in 
killed, wounded and missing, formed a grand total of 5,739, 
including many valuable officers. The rebel loss must have 
greatly exceeded this, though their generals reported it less. 
General Johnston was wounded, and General Lee took the 
command. About 1,000 rebel prisoners were taken, among 


whom were General Pettigrew, Colonel Loring and Lieutenant 
Washington, an aid to General Johnston. Rhode Island bat 
tery G, Capt. Owen, arrived at the scene of action on Sunday 
morning, but owing to the nature of the ground and the posi 
tion of our troops formed in front, did not take an active part 
in the battle. 

At the moment, under misapprehension of facts, the conduct 
of General Casey s division on this occasion, met with severe 
reproach ; but subsequent developments showed that it did as 
well, under the circumstances, as was possible. The General, 
in his official report, gives instances of great bravery, and says : 
" From what I witnessed on the olst, I am convinced that the 
stubborn and desperate resistance of my division saved the 
army on the right bank of the Chickahominy from a severe 
repulse, which might have resulted in a disastrous defeat. The 
blood of the gallant dead would cry to me from the ground on 
which they fell lighting for their country, had I not said what 
I have to vindicate them from the unmerited aspersions which 
have been cast upon them." 

The scene on the field, after the battle, gave appalling evi 
dence of its desperate character. Within the square of a mile, 
lay more than seven thousand dead and wounded of both sides, 
the first to be buried as quickly as possible, and the latter to 
be gathered up and sent to the Savage Station Hospital the 
work of more than a day. The sight was too ghastly to dwell 

From the commencement to the termination of the firing,, 
yesterday, the booming of cannon and the rattling of musketry, 
told us of what was going on, and towards night we could see 
the flashing of shells as they burst in the air. 

Reveille sounded, this morning, at half-past two o clock, and 
having no part in the contest going on within our hearing, we 
left camp about 5 o clock, in a misty, muggy atmosphere, for 
picket duty, all day, on the banks of the Chickahominy, together 


with seven or eight other batteries stationed at different points. 
Our business was to protect a pontoon corps, who were throw 
ing a bridge across the river. The rebels let a dam loose 
above, flooding the land on either side so as to render the 
swampy passage impassable to artillery. We could distinguish 
the rebel pickets on the other side of the river, and also a bat 
tery on the top of a hill, maneuvering. They fired no shots 
at us, and their attention was not courted. Some of the other 
batteries, however, fired at intervals during the day, but with 
what effect is unknown. To-day, I saw our quondam York- 
town friend, Old California, of Berdan s Sharpshooters. He 
looks much as usual, and in personal appearance is a fair rep 
resentation of some of our scouts of the revolution. He made 
a pile in California, and is reputed to be worth $100,000. He 
heartily hates secession, and engaged in the war from purely 
patriotic motives. 

June 2. The day is warm and pleasant, and I have indulged 
in the luxury of a bath. As we approach Richmond, the slave 
population appears in greater numbers. They visit the camps 
with freedom, but do not find the Yankees to be the barbarians 
they have been represented. All with whom I have conversed 
repeat substantially the same story : " Massa told em dat der 
Yankees would cut off their ears, and sell dem into Cuba." 
From personal experience, they have learned the falsity of such 
statements, and compliment us for our politeness compared with 
the white secesh. Some of them are intelligent and shrewd, 
and seem well to understand the difference between " de norf " 
and " de souf " side of Mason and Dixon s line. 

At White House are a couple of negroes, Robert Meekum, 
and Diana his wife, the chattels of Colonel Lee. Diana was 
born on the plantation eighty -three years ago, and had never 
fteen beyond its boundaries. Both were leading characters 
among the colored population, and both devout Though not 
well informed in regard to political and social changes outside 


their limited world, they appeared to have a dim perception of 
the " good time coming," when eVery yoke should be broken. 
In relating her experience to one conversing with her, Diana 
said, " We hab seen a heap ob ups and downs, crosses and come" 
backs, but my desire is unto de end." When told that the 
Yankees would be very likely to kill Massa Lee, she replied, 
very complacently, " De Lord s will must be done unto him." 
She knew that a man had been hung for fighting for the slaves, 
and that his name was John Brown. To the enquiry, if the 
colored folks ever entertained a hope of being freed, she an 
swered, " Well, I hab hear some say so ; but others said it 
would neber be. A good many years ago, de vessels used to 
come up dis yere ribbcr and get a great deal ob timber, and 
tie cap n ob one ob dem vessels tole me when I was mournin* 
cause my daughter was sold away, dat I should lib to see de 
day when all would be free, but it nebber come/ 

A few days ago, Colonel Ingalls, who has charge of the 
quartermaster s department at this point, went to Diana s cabin 
and directed that her husband should assemble all the able- 
bodied negroes on the place, and he would set them to work for 
the United States. The old woman was much excited, and 
exclaimed, repeatedly, after the Colonel was gone, " Dear 
Lamb ob God ! I know d it would come. Now I know I 
hab got a Lord and Saviour, and I tank him." 

Many of the slaves, alarmed by the frightful stories told 
them of Yankee ferocity, will probably remain docile in their 
master s families ; but that some of them estimate the worth 
of freedom, and will improve the providential opportunity for 
self-emancipation now offered, the following extract from a 
letter of a wife to her husband, a rebel officer, captured by our 
cavalry and found on his person, is one of a multitude of testi 
monies that might be given. After relating, in no amiable 
mood, her experience with the " vile Yankees," and uttering 
the wish that a clover field in which she saw two cavalry squads 
of "these horrid devils," had been " the crater of the infernal 


regions and every man and horse swallowed up in it," she adds : 
" Most of our servants have proved themselves our most de 
voted friends, standing by me in all my trials and dangers, and 
protecting, as far as lay in their power, our interests. But I 
regret to say that Sally Gary, Edmond and Sam have gone to 
the Yankees. Sam went the first day they came to this part 
of the country, four weeks ago. S. C. went this day week. 
She and Phillis, after having matured all their plans, started off 
last Sunday, but were captured and brought to us by one of 
the pickets in two hours after they left. They fastened Phillis 
up in one of the closets in her room, and I put my prisoner, 
with some exultation, in the smoke-house. Next morning, 
when I went to bring my captive forth, to my surprise, I found 
she had been gone since the night before. Her bed had not 
been touched. How the girl opened the door, I have never 
been able to ascertain. * 

June 6. Yesterday, Davidson s and Hancock s brigades 
crossed over to the other side of the Chickahominy. As they 
were crossing the bridge, they were fired upon by some of the 
rebel batteries on the other side. To these attentions the 
Federal batteries on this side soon returned their compliments, 
and for a short time there was quite a lively artillery fight. 
Tuesday we were out on picket, but since then have been oc 
cupied only with camp duties. The weather is fluctuating. 
A great deal of rain has fallen, rendering movements very 
disagreeable. A recent storm probably postponed a battle, 
which must be near at hand. Hereafter, the bayonet will be 
largely used. The rebels have never stood a bayonet charge, 
and that made by our troops on Sunday was terrifically de 
structive. In the use of this weapon our infantry maintain 

The health of the army is occupying the attention of the 
commander-in-chief. As a preventive of fever and ague, 
which the miasma of this region produces, half-rations of 


whisky, medicated with quinine, have been ordered to be dealt 
out morning and evening.* In matters of the cuisine, sweet 
potatoes have recently given variety to ordinary camp fare. 
These, and other vegetables, when they can be obtained in 
sufficient quantities, will prove a valuable counteractant of 
scurvy, induced by salt diet. 


The weather Bridge-making and picket duties Secessionists Rebel 
raid Army supplies and foraging Hospital stores Newsboys 
Mis statements of Davis. 

June 18th, 1862. j 

The past two weeks, in their general features, have not been 
unlike their predecessors since we moved forward from West 
Point, or rather from Cumberland Landing. The weather 
has continued fitful, bestowing upon us a mingling of sunshine 
and cloud, hot days and cool nights, (the right hand powers of 
typhoids and "chills"), rain and mud, with a superabundance 
of the latter, much to the inconvenience of artillery move 
ments, the annoyance of army teamsters, and the discomfort of 
infantry. There has been more activity, however, than may 
have appeared to those at a distance. Bridge-making, picket 
duties, reconnoissances, skirmishing, with an occasional brush 
of a more serious character, have filled up the time, and though 
our entire line occupies mainly the ground it held at the battle 
of Fair Oaks, in preparation and renewed energy it possesses 
advantages that promise well for the future. On our left, 
picket duty has been engaged in on a somewhat extensive 
scale. I understand that Sedgwick s entire division, including 
batteries, has been thrown forward, probably to see that all is 

*This order was soon after rescinded, and hot coffee substituted. 


clear in front, or to remove whatever impediments may be 
found. To this kind of service Battery C has devoted a due 
share of time. It has been out frequently by sections, under 
Lieuts. Waterman, Buckley and Clark, and though the duty is 
monotonous and dull, except when enlivened by an opportu 
nity to send a few shell compliments to our secesh neighbors, 
the work has not been without important uses. Our pickets 
and those of the rebels are in some places stationed not more 
than ten rods apart. They often exchange papers and enter 
into friendly conversation. Generally, the persons of pickets 
are held sacred, though occasionally an ugly secesh disregards 
the rules of honorable warfare. Officers and sharpshooters, 
however, are held as exceptions to the law of custom, and 
those who wish to escape the risk or consequences of a shot 
do well to shun exposure. 

The number all through the peninsula, who are decided in 
their hostility to the Union, though they are careful not to ex 
hibit it offensively, is very considerable. The minister of the 
Episcopal church at Old Church, mentioned in a previous let 
ter, believes in rebellion, and lends his influence to the cause. 
Dr. Gaines, who lives near by our camp, and over some part 
of whose farm I daily go, is a rank secessionist, and so are 
scores of others between White House and this place, who are 
ready to avail themselves of Federal guards to protect their 
property, and quite as ready to give intelligence of our move 
ments to the rebels. Such persons ought to be consigned to 
the care of Gen. Stoneman, who understands how to deal with 
them. The bitterest spirit is often manifested by women. I 
was informed, a few days ago, that the grand-daughters of a 
late ex-public functionary, on hearing that our wounded had, 
in some instances, been tied up by their heels, and had their 
throats cut by the rebel soldiery, clapped their hands and ex 
claimed, " good, good." These young ladies, it will be remem 
bered, are not of the vulgar herd, but educated, and what is 
termed refined ! At the north, in the same position in society, 


where would the parallel of this spirit be found ? Yet we can 
hardly be surprised when it is recollected that these cultivated 
feminines are the descendants of a man, who, while acting on 
a commission for the preservation of the Union, was secretly in 
league, and afterwards openly acted, with those who were plot 
ting its destruction ! But this betrayer of his country has gone 
to his account, and " his name remains to the ensuing age, 

Last Friday, 13th, a body of rebel cavalry, infantry and a 
section of artillery, made a sudden dash into Old Church, caus 
ing the Federal cavalry there to retire. They then pushed on 
to Garlick s Landing, on the Pamunkey river, a few miles 
above White House, where they burnt two schooners and sev 
eral wagons, and drove off a number of mules. From thence, 
they proceeded to Tunstall s Station, where they fired into a 
train, as it came in from Fair Oaks, with several hundred sick 
and wounded men, destined to the hospitals at White House. 
One man was killed and several wounded. The engineer, see 
ing his danger, put on a full head of steam, and escaped. 
After cutting the telegraphic wires and tearing up the railroad, 
they pursued their way to New Baltimore, and crossed the 
Chickahominy in the neighborhood of Bottom s Bridge. The 
raid was led by General Stuart. It was a daring affair, and 
created a good deal of excitement. Stuart s movements were 
so rapid, that before troops could be put in motion to pursue 
him, he was beyond harm. 

It is said to have been the practice of the First Napoleon, to 
quarter his army upon the inhabitants of cities and parts of the 
country through which he passed, and to that end, sent officers 
in advance to notify them to have the necessary provisions in 
readiness. This reduced the supply train, relieved quarter 
masters of much vexation and labor in getting up forage and 
rations, and ensured the prompt feeding of both men and horses. 
The levy may have been onerous to those upon whom it was 
made, an 1 often inconvenient ; but it facilitated the movements 


of the army, and that, with the great captain, was a prime con 
sideration. The example of the French Emperor is not, in 
this respect, followed in providing for the army of the Penin 
sula. To supply its daily needs, a fleet of vessels larger than 
the entire navy of some European powers, and thousands of 
teams, are kept constantly employed ; and at tflis time, in bustle 
and activity, White House landing resembles a quay in Lon 
don, and the Pamunkey, another Thames. 

We marvel at the capability of " mine host," who can daily 
dine his three or four hundred guests upon the abundance of 
the land, or of the purveyor, who, under a mammoth tent, pro 
vides satisfactorily for twelve or fifteen hundred hungry mor 
tals. What, then, must be the brain-work and administrative 
power of the man who, for an entire campaign, calculates, to a 
ration, and provides, seasonably, for an army of one hundred 
thousand men ? To the unseen power, giving motion to the 
complicated machinery producing this wonderful result, no 
small praise is due. But with all the liberality of provision 
indicated by the immense operations here mentioned, there are 
times when it is needful to increase supplies by availing of 
local resources, and foraging becomes an important feature of 
a day. Our government, however, respects private rights, and 
generously compensates loyal citizens from whom articles for 
the use of the army are of necessity taken. Such seldom have 
cause for serious complaint. Occasionally, a professedly Union 
man, but secretly a rebel sympathizer, reveals his interior na 
ture, and has to abide the pecuniary consequences. The fol 
lowing incident, related of Colonel E. G. Marshall, of the 13th 
New York volunteers, illustrates the statement. The Colonel, 
on one occasion, not long since, had been reconnoitering, and 
encamped in a clover field. As was natural under the circum 
stances, the horses, being in clover, lost no time in taking ad 
vantage of it The proprietor of the field, having made re 
monstrance without effect, demanded payment for his loss, when 
the following brief conversation ensued : 


Proprietor. Col. Marshall, I believe ? 

Col. M. You believe right, sir. 

P. Well, Colonel, you have trampled down my clover field, 
and completely destroyed it. Do you intend paying for it ? 

Col. Well, sir, are you loyal ? 

f. Yes, sir f 

Col. Are you willing to take the oath of allegiance to the 
United States ? 

P. No, sir. 

Col. Then get Jeff Davis to pay you, and get out of my 
tent, you infamous traitor. 

And so the parties separated. 

A few days since, acceptable hospital stores, for the battery, 
were received from Rhode Island friends, through the Sanitary 
Commission. A good deal of sickness has prevailed in the 
army for some weeks past, though, perhaps, not more than is 
to be expected among so large a body of men subjected to the 
hard labor and exposures they have seen. One of the best 
auxiliaries to health in the army that could be supplied, is good 
cooks men who have been educated to the profession. The 
advantage of such an arrangement was seen at Camp Sprague, 
near Washington, last year, while occupied by the first regi 
ment of Rhode Island volunteers. The subject involves in 
terests that render it worthy the attention of the Sanitary 

Day before yesterday, a novelty was seen in the Federal 
lines, in the form of a secesh newsboy, fresh from Richmond, 
with a supply of papers. He was taken to Gen. Franklin s 
head-quarters, where he will probably be detained until his 
real character is made clear. He stated, among other things, 
that there had been a fight between a North Carolina regiment 
and other rebel regiments, on account of the former having 
refused to serve longer. Whether this statement is true or 
not, a similar report has been current in camp for some time. 
Upwards of thirty contrabands, escaped from Richmond, were 


taken to head-quarters on the same day, who reported that an 
alarmed state of feeling existed in the city, and that the sol 
diers received only half rations of pork and bread. 

Among noticeable events of less importance than fighting, 
yet pleasantly exciting, that have recently occurred, was a re 
view of Porter s corps, on the 10th inst., apparently for the 
gratification of the Spanish General Prim, who is now on a 
visit to the army of the Potomac. The day, fortunately, was 
propitious, and the display brilliant and satisfactory. The dis 
tinguished stranger expressed himself highly gratified with the 
appearance of our troops. He is apparently about forty years 
of age, and has an eminent military reputation. After the re 
view, he visited our outposts, and took a distant view of the 

Mr. Jefferson Davis, it appears, has found it necessary to 
show himself at Richmond. His recent address to the rebel 
army, as published in the papers of that city, is characteristic, 
and may properly be assigned a place in the next edition of 
the " curiosities of literature." He claims for the south a mar 
vellous victory at Fair Oaks, precisely as a victory at Pitts- 
burg Landing was claimed, and without half the grounds of 
plausibility. As to victory, another such an one, following im 
mediately upon the fight at Fair Oaks, would have proved the y 
utter ruin of the rebels. The most that in truth can be said, is 
that they gained an advantage on our left on the first day, 
which they not only lost on the second, but were compelled to 
fly precipitately from the camp they occupied, leaving things 
essentially as found, to safe distance towards Richmond. I 
give them credit for fighting desperately in a bad cause ; but 
when Mr. Davis claims a victory, he must count largely upon 
the credulity of men who " will believe, because they love the 
lie." But what can exceed the effrontery that charges the Union 
troops with a disregard of " many of the usages of civilized 
war," and claims for the confederates a " humanity to the wound 
ed prisoners " who fell into their haixck v that " becomes a fit and 


crowning glory " to their valor ! With ill grace is this ac 
cusation made by one whose army has been noted for the 
deeds it charges upon the Federals, and who, within a few 
weeks, have illustrated their ideas of the " usages of civilized 
war " by shooting down men decoyed into their power by a 
flag of truce and a request of humanity ! But " treason and 
murder ever keep together as two yoke devils sworn to cither s 
purpose," and the " fit and crowning glory " of such conduct is 
what God awarded to the first secessionist and the perverted 
spirits he drew after him.* 

The recent visit of Gen. Burnside to Gen. McClellan s 
headquarters, has naturally awakened speculation as to its 
cause, without leading to any definite conclusion. 


Battle of Five Oaks Battles at Mechanicsville and Gaines s Mill- 
Battle of Malvern Hill Batteries A, C and E Casualties Sick 
and wounded left at White House and Savage s sta ion Federal 
losses in various battles General order on 4th July. 


July 2, 1862. j 

The details of the movements of the army of the Potomac 
for the last ten days would fill a volume more stirring than the 
most exciting romance. Seven of the ten have been days of bat 
tle excitement, such as was never before witnessed in our land, 

* In manly contrast with the unfounded charges of Mr. Davis, is the 
following testimony of a rebel officer who fought at Fair Oaks: "The 
humanity displayed by the general commanding the enemy s forces, 
created a feeling of warm admiration among our troops, great numbers of 
whom had near relations among the wounded we had been compelled to 
leave behind in the dense woods and sickly swamps, and who were out 
of the reach of any succor from us." War Pictures, p. 283. 


and finding few parallels in modern story. On the morning of 
the 25th June, the curtain rose and disclosed preparations for 
a mighty struggle. At an early hour, Generals Hooker and 
Kearny commenced advancing their divisions with a view of 
occupying a new position, which brought on a severe engage 
ment in front of Seven Pines, lasting until a late hour in the 
afternoon. It was the precursor of more bloody battles yet to 
come. In this conflict, the 2d Rhode Island, which had re 
turned to its old position in Couch s division, participated, and 
stood a galling fire of shot and shell. It lost five men killed, 
and twenty wounded ; among the latter, Captain Stanley, who 
was slightly injured by a fragment of a shell. Capt. Sears 
was struck by a splinter, but not hurt. The companies of 
Captains Read and Dyer, while acting as pickets, were much 
exposed. The latter had two men killed and two badly 
wounded. Lieutenant Whiting, an aid of General Palmer 
who commands the brigade, had an arm taken off by a shot.* 
The 2d New Hampshire regiment suffered heavily, as did 
Sickles brigade. The 1st Massachusetts, Colonel Cowdin, 
lost 6 men killed and 55 wounded. Lieutenant Charles B. 
Warner, of the 19th Massachusets, was killed, and Lieut. 
James II. Rice, of the same regiment, wounded. Lieutenant 
Warner belonged to South Danvers, Mass. The enemy were 
repulsed, the position sought .gained, and " The Battle of the 
Five Oaks," as it is called, closed. The Federal loss in killed, 
wounded and missing, is set down at 600. 

The next day, June 26th, the grand ball opened near Me- 
chanicsville, and McCall s division, which had recently arrived 
to strengthen our right wing, led the " dance of death." He 
occupied a defensive position along the line of Beaver Dam 
Creek. Griffin s and Martindale s brigades were in position 

* Lieutenant Leonard Whiting is the son of Colonel Whiting, of the 
5th New York Cavalry, and a grandson of the late Nathan Waterman, of 


for supports on his right and left. On the afternoon of that 
clay, our battery hitched up and proceeded to near Median ics- 
ville, and in proximity to the enemy, where it stood under fire, 
but did not engage. When we approached the fighting ground, 
the roar of musketry and the thunder of artillery on both sides, 
told of the sharp practice going on. A rebel battery to our 
left and front, and not more than 700 or 800 yards distant, 
was blazing away constantly, and occasionally a secesh shell 
or solid shot would come screeching over us, and tearing 
through the trees, burst in the distance without serious damage. 
As we stood in the road, I saw several poor wounded fellows 
pass by to the rear, and also five prisoners, one of them a 
young lieutenant of the 3d Louisiana regiment. The action 
continued until night, and the enemy were repulsed with se 
vere loss. About 9 o clock P. M., we went into a field on our 
right and bivouacked. 

The following day, June 27th, the fighting was renewed at 
Gaines s mill. Porter s corps took position behind a deep 
ravine. On the right was Griffin s "brigade, on the left But- 
terfield s, while Martindale s held the centre. Gen. Reynold s 
brigade, of McCall s division, was called from the reserve, and 
was engaged for the greater part of the afternoon. Most of 
the artillery was formed in line about one-fourth of a mile in 
rear of the infantry, in the second line of defence. Porter s 
line extended about two miles, the left resting on the Chicka- 
hominy and the right on Coal harbor. The face of the coun 
try was broken by hill, vale and meadow. 

At daybreak, battery C advanced to its position. Captain 
Weeden having been appointed Chief of Artillery for the 
corps, the immediate command devolved on Lieutenant Water 
man. At 2 o clock, Lieut. Buckley was ordered to take his 
section to the front line, and support or assist General Martin- 
dale s brigade. He took position on a slight elevation on the 
bank of the ravine, and in the centre of the brigade. At this 
time, the fighting was principally on our right. About 3 o clock, 


the enemy charged on us, and were handsomely repelled. Two 
of Lieut. Bucklin s guns 1^ere sighted at the rebel colors, and 
at the second shot they fell. The rebels fought with a deter 
mination to conquer, and were met in a corresponding spirit. 
The thunder of artillery and the roar of musketry was per 
fectly deafening. " Death spoke from every booming shot that 
knelled upon the ear." Our artillery mowed them down like 
grass, " and slaughter heaped on high its weltering ranks." 
Three times they charged with the fury of a tornado, but were 
as often driven back. But worn out human nature could not 
longer resist such fearful odds. Our corps, rated at 30,000, 
probably counted not more than 25,000 fighting men. Against 
this number, the rebels massed and hurled 60,000 to 70,000, 
supported by eighty pieces of artillery. At their fourth onset, 
our lines were broken, and the infantry fell back. In our bat 
tery, officers and men were cool and determined. The gun 
ners, streaming with perspiration and begrimmed with powder 
and smoke, worked their pieces with vigor and effect, though 
Minies fell like hail stones around them. The sections of 
Lieutenants Waterman and Clark belched forth vollies of 
death. But fourteen men had fallen, killed and wounded; 
sixty horses had been shot ; Lieut. Buckley had not enough 
left to take off his guns ; and the order to retreat became a 
necessity. It was obeyed only when a squadron of rebel cav 
alry had charged within a few rods, and then, their contents 
were bestowed upon them as a parting gift. Three guns and 
three caissons were lost two guns left on the field for the rea 
son above stated, and one mired. Lieut. Bucklin s horse was 
shot. General Reynolds was taken prisoner. Among the offi 
cers killed, were Col. Gove, of the 22d Massachusetts, and Col. 
Black, of the 62d Pennsylvania. He was a noble officer, and 
fell at the head of his regiment while leading a charge. The 
loss on both sides, in killed and wounded, was large. The 
rebels, from their superior numbers, and reckless rushing up 
to the cannon s mouth, suffered most. 


When the order to retire was received, we moved to the 
Chickahominy, crossed that stream ft Woodbury s Bridge, and 
encamped for the night. Saturday morning, I went round and 
took a look at the hospital and wounded. Many poor fellows 
were writhing in agony ; some with shattered arms ; some 
pierced through the lower limbs, and others through the body, 
with Minies. It required strong nerves to witness the scene 
unmoved, and no small amount of self-control to restrain a vocal 
call of curses upon the heads of men " composed and framed of 
treachery," who, reckless of consequences, and consulting only 
their mad ambition, had involved their country in all the horrors 
of civil war. 

The hospital was located near Gen. McCall s head-quarters. 
There I saw George W. Ham, Jr., of Providence, who was 
mortally wounded. He was shot during the retreat. A round 
bullet entered his back to the right of the spine, which followed 
round the ribs and came out in front, just below the short ribs. 
He was in Lieut. Buckley s section, and did his duty manfully, 
till ordered to retire. 

Sunday morning, at 8 o clock, we left our encampment, at 
White Oak Bottom, and continuing our march, arrived at Tur 
key Bend on Monday, and took position on Malvern Hill. The 
battles at Peach Orchard, Savage s Station,* Golding s Farm, 
White Oak Swamp, Charles City Cross Roads and Glendale, 
which would make graphic pictures of valor, were but a con 
tinuation of the line of fire running from Mechanicsville to the 
James river, f At the latter place, Capt. Randolph had the 
four rifled pieces of his battery on the right front, with the 
division of General Slocum. His two howitzers were a mile 

* Dr. Newell, of Providence, was taken prisoner at Savage s Station, 
with twelve other surgeons, and a large number of wounded men. He 
was sent to Richmond with the wounded men under his care, but in the 
course of a few days, was released. 

t At Glendale, June 30, battery A had four men Avounded, and battery 
B, three. 


to the left, with Kearny s division, and, for a short time, in the 
thickest of the fight. One howitzer was taken by the enemy. 

Yesterday, the battle of Malvern Hill took place, a fight as 
exciting and sanguinary as those of Thursday and Friday, at 
Mechanicsville and Gaines s Mill. In the order of battle, 
General Franklin held the right, resting on James river; 
General Porter, the extreme left ; Generals Keyes and Heint- 
zelman occupied the centre, and General Sumner s corps was 
held in reserve. The right was supported by the gunboats 
Galena and Jacob Bell, whose 100-pounders were useful in 
searching the woods, and interfering with the advance of rebel 
reinforcements, as they came down in heavy numbers within 
range. The day was clear ; and the rolling country covered with 
with moving thousands, the glittering of bayonets and burnished 
artillery, the verdant forest skirting the field, and the spark 
ling waters of the James, seen in the distance, all combined 
to open the day with a picture of surpassing beauty. It soon 
vanished, and the eye rested on a scene of blood and slaughter. 

The battle began at 3 o clock P. M., by a heavy musketry 
fire from the rebels upon our centre, and soon a general en 
gagement ensued. Our line was in the form of a semi-circle. 
For several hours, the conflict raged with unmitigated fury. 
Here, as at Gaines s Mill, Porter s corps did some splendid 
fighting. The troops, under Heintzelman, Sumner, Sedgwick, 
Kearny, Keyes, Couch, Morell and other generals, fought with 
the steadiness of veterans. The 2d Rhode Island held an im 
portant position, and deserves honorable mention. The 10th 
Massachusetts, under the temporary command of Colonel Nel 
son Viall, of the 2d Rhode Island, in connection with the 36th 
New York, assailed and nearly annihilated a rebel brigade. 
Randolph s battery occupied a position on the right, within one 
thou -and yards of the rebel batteries stationed in a wheat-field. 
He had a severe artillery fight, losing one man killed and four 
wounded, while the regiments in support in front and rear lost 
fifty men. 


At half-past 8 o clock in the morning, the three remaining 
guns of battery C, with a section of Allen s Massachusetts bat 
tery, all under the command of Lieut. Waterman, (Capt. Wee 
den being Chief of Artillery,) moved to the hills, and proceeded 
off to the left of the line to protect the left flank. The battery 
with Allen s section was stationed on the brow of a hill, and 
commanded a plain below. A sharp look-out was kept along 
the edge of the woods beyond the plain, to see that no rebels 
came out, and if they did, to give them a becoming reception. 
Shot and shells from the rebel batteries on our right were con 
stantly flying over our heads, but we had, for the moment, less 
to fear from them than from some of our own guns on the ex 
treme left of the line, which were obscured from our view by 
woods, and were shooting over our heads. Some of their shells 
were fired at too short range, and a 42-pounder shell burst 
close by one of our pieces, instantly disabling six of its men, 
and fatally wounding Lieut. Waterman s horse and that of 
Sergeant Hunt. It was little less than miraculous that their 
riders escaped. Two of the men were instantly killed and four 
wounded, one severely. The explosion was stunning. Shells 
were coming from right, rear and left, and our position being 
too hot, we were ordered to retire ; and moving further to the 
right, very soon relieved Griffin s battery, which had expended 
all its ammunition. After getting in battery, firing was com 
menced, dropping shells in various directions in the woods in 
front of us. A rebel battery somewhere in front of us respond 
ed to our civilities, and sent us specimens of their ordnance 
stores, but as most of them overreached, no injury was done. 

In a short time, a rebel regiment was seen coming down a 
road to our left and front, and deploying into the field as skir 
mishers. Attention was also arrested by a rebel battery just 
in the edge of the woods in the rear of the regiment, whose 
position could be discerned only by the smoke of. its discharges. 
A few well directed missiles put a stop to impertinences; and 
firing from that quarter soon ceased. Most of its shots over- 


reached, and did comparatively little damage. One was made, 
however, which told on our ranks. A shrapnell burst splen 
didly, (for so are death missives often viewed on the battle 
field,) and one of the fragments struck Corporal William B. 
Thompson in the thigh, making a mortal wound. Another 
man, working the gun, was struck in the arm by a piece of the 
same shell, and died in twenty minutes. The rebel infantry 
came within 300 yards of our battery, but we could not poke 
cannister at them from fear of wounding our own men in front ; 
so we gave them shrapnel, (shells filled with sixty bullets and 
nearly as destructive,) which were fired over the heads of the 
infantry. The batteries, in their several positions, mowed 
down the rebels with terrible certainty, as did our infantry 
along the entire line ; but life seemed of no consequence to 
their officers, and relying on their superior numbers, they filled 
every breach made in their ranks with fresh men, maddened 
and made reckless with whiskey and gunpowder. Though they 
numbered three to our one, it was in vain that they rushed upon 
our men. It was only to meet certain death and final repulse. 
Our men stood up bravely to the work, as they did six days 
before, and when they saw the rebel infantry deploying, cheered 
and waved their hats, crying, " give it to them, give it to them," 
and it was done. In this battle, four men of the battery 
were killed, eleven wounded, and several missing. We lost 
ten horses and one caisson. About half past seven o clock, we 
were relieved, and returned to the camp we left in the morn 
ing. Late in the night, the battery proceeded on its way to 
Harrison s Landing, where it arrived at four o clock A. M., very 
much exhausted. At midnight, terminated a week of battles, 
the enemy driven back, and the Federal army holding the 
field. The Federals captured twenty-nine cannon and lost 
twenty-eight. The slaughter on both sides was immense the 
rebels suffering largely in excess. To describe the appearance 
of the ground the next morning, covered with wounded, dead 
and dying men, carcases of horses, and strewed with fragments 


of gun carriages, muskets, and other military accoutrements, 
would only be to describe the horrors of previous battles, mag 
nified. Imagination can scarcely exceed the reality. 

The question is sometimes asked, How does a man feel in 
battle ? The testimony of the bravest generals in this country 
and in Europe is, that at the commencement of a fight, they 
experienced a certain trepidation that soon wore off. To stand 
unconcernedly before an opposing force, especially of superior 
numbers ; to abide the calm that precedes the first flash of ar 
tillery or volley of musketry, thinking of home and the possi 
bilities of the hour, requires some nerve ; and the man who 
trembles when he first hears " the death-shot hissing from afar," 
is not to be branded as a coward. He may be brave as Caesar, 
but his blood will quicken, his heart beat with increased force, 
and through his whole frame " some sense of shuddering " be 
perceptible. But the first discharge of artillery or infantry 
from his own side breaks the charm, and in a few minutes the 
strange sensation, not easy to describe, that had run over him, 
passes away, and in the din and wild excitement of the bat 
tle s progress he becomes oblivious of danger, and even finds 
in the last exploded shell, or shower of Minies, subjects for a 

Roll-call, after a battle, tinges success with sadness. Many 
of our regiments have been decimated. The gallant 4th 
Michigan, which left Miner s Hill with full ranks, now num 
bers less than 300 men. The brave Colonel Woodbury was 
killed yesterday, while leading it on. Col. Cass, of the Massa 
chusetts 9th, was severely wounded. Both belonged to Mor- 
ell s old command, now under Gen. Griffin. Not more than 
1500 men are left in the whole brigade, and but two or three 
field officers. Col. McQuade, of the 14th New York, is the 
only colonel that escaped injury. All the New York, Penn 
sylvania, New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachu 
setts, Connecticut and Maine regiments engaged, suffered 
severely. On the fatal fields of the Chickahominy and of 


Malvern Hills, many noble fellows lie low, " no more to hear 
the victor s shout or clashing steel ;" and when the historian 
shall record the daring deeds of the Army of the Peninsula, 
he will not fail justly to eulogize the patriotism and fidelity of 
the men who supported law and sustained the integrity of the 
government by the sacrifice of their lives. 

[Perhaps the most trying experience in war is the necessity, 
that sometimes occurs on a retreat, for leaving sick and 
wounded men behind, and this was sadly realized in the late 
retreat of our right wing and centre. By sickness and the 
casualties of battle the hospitals at White House and Savage s 
station had become crowded, and when the evacuation of the 
former had been determined on, the means . for removing the 
helpless ones were found to be totally inadequate. It only 
remained for those superintending the operation, to take away 
as many as the hurry of the time, and the limited number of 
vehicles would enable them to do, and leave the residue to be 
made prisoners by the rebels, sent to Richmond to struggle 
with death, and if successful, to find themselves transferred 
from the discomforts of poorly provided hospitals to the even 
greater discomforts and worse provided Libby Prison, or an 
other equally miserable place of confinement. In such a pros 
pect, there was nothing to inspire, but everything to extinguish, 
hope, and the feelings of the unfortunate victims can easily be 
conceived. Dr. Thomas T. Ellis, an acting medical director 
at the White House, speaking on this subject, says : 

" At daylight on Saturday it was known that the army was 
to evacuate its line of entrenchments. To do this with suffi 
cient celerity, it was necessary to move only the most essen 
tial baggage, and leave behind everything ponderous and bulky. 
An order was issued to officers to discriminate between neces 
saries and luxuries. Even the sick had to be told that to but 
few of them could ambulances be allowed. The wounded 
were told nothing, but the ominous silence must have convinced 


them that they were to be left on contested ground, at the 
mercy of the enemy, while the army would, column after col 
umn, recede to the distant James river by a doubtful and dan 
gerous route. None who witnessed it, will ever forget the 
scene on Saturday morning. All knew that the White House 
had been abandoned, thus cutting off the depot of supplies a 
part of the line of earthworks deserted, and the tentless army 
lay on the open field, many sleeping after the labors of the 
battle, but by far a greater number were grouped in anxious 
conversation. Hundreds also were limping along, or with an 
arm in a cling, inquiring eagerly for their own regiments. 
Many, very many, started on the painful and hopeless pilgrim 
age to the now coveted James river, where they hoped to find 
the Union gunboats, feeling that under their port-holes alone, 
could they find rest or safety. The long and straggling lines 
of these left many a drop of blood on the sandy track as they 
filed through brook and wood, and over hill and dale, traced 
by the certainty of deliverance which each step secured to 
them. Some of them hobbled ten miles the first day, upon 
crutches ; and one poor fellow, who had received a ball 
through the hip and had the ankle of the other leg broken, 
kept up with an ambulance for eleven hours. The ambulances 
were crowded so full that the springs, often breaking, were all 
bent flat on the axle. Many poor wounded fellows sat on the 
tail of the ambulances, their blood-dripping feet dangling be 
hind. . . . Over a thousand wounded were left in the 
hospital at Savage s station. This w r as unavoidable under the 
circumstances, and every arrangement that could be made was 
attended to, to insure their comfort and secure them good 
treatment from the enemy whose bloody greeting they were 
a second time destined to hear. But not a few of these poor 
fellows were unwilling to remain, and made desperate efforts 
to get away. Scarcely able to drag themselves along, they 
clung to the skirts of their stronger comrades, or hobbled on 
crutches, apparently dreading, more than death itself, falling 


into the hands of the rebels. Many became so exhausted that 
they fell by the wayside and could only be roused and helped 
forward by the greatest exertion. 

The Federal losses in the various battles preceding and 
during the retreat, according to General McClellan s official 
report, were as follows : 





Gen. Sumner s, 

Second Corps, 





Gen. Heintzelman s, 

Third Corps, 





Gen. Keyes , 

Fourth Corps, 





Gen. Porter s, 

Fifth Corps, 





Gen. Franklin s, 

Sixth Corps, 





Gen. Stoneman s, 






The Engineers, 









Grand Total.. 

. 1 5 ?24 

Of any single division, that of General Me Call suffered the 
greatest loss. Killed, 251 ; wounded, 1,223; missing, 1,607; 
total, 3,081. Of the rebel casualties, no authentic statement 
has been seen. A Richmond paper admits the loss to have 
been not far from 18,000 ; but there is good reason for the 
belief that 20,000 to 25,000 would be nearer the fact. 

The army of the Potomac, after the battle of Malvern Hill,, 
established its lines at Harrison s Landing, in the form of a 
crescent, the right and left wings resting on the James river, 
supported by gunboats. Fortifications were soon thrown up,, 
which rendered its position secure. On the fourth of July, 
General McClellan reviewed the troops, at which time the fol 
lowing general order was read : 

July 4, 1862. f 


Your achievements of the last ten days ha^e illustrated the valor 
and endurance of the American soldier. Attacked by superior force*). 



and without hope of reinforcements, you have succeeded in changing 
your base of operations by a flank movement, always regarded as the 
most hazardous of military expedients. You have saved all your 
material, all your trains, and all your guns, except a few lost in bat 
tle, taking in return guns and colors from the enemy. 

Upon your march, you have been assailed day after day, with des 
perate fury, by men of the same race and nation, skilfully massed and 

Under every disadvantage of numbers, and necessarily of position, 
also, you have, in every conflict, beaten back your foes with enor 
mous slaughter. 

Your conduct ranks you among the celebrated armies of history. 

No one will now question that each of you may always, with pride, 
say " I belong to the Army of the Potomac." 

You have reached this new base, complete in organization and un 
impaired in spirit. 

The enemy may, at any time, attack you. "We are prepared to 
meet them. I have personally established your lines. Let them 
come, and we will convert their repulse into a final defeat. 

Your Government is strengthening you with the resources of a 
great people. 

On this our nation s birthday, we declare to our foes, who are 
rebels against the best interests of mankind, that this army shall en 
ter the capital of the so-called Confederacy ; that our national Con 
stitution shall prevail, and that the Union, which can alone insure 
internal peace and external security to each State, must and shall be 
preserved, cost what it may in time, treasure or blood. 

Major General Commanding. 



Rebels fought under disadvantage Cause of the evacuation of White 


July 8, 1862. ) 

Ever since the army left Yorktown, we have fought the 
rebels under great disadvantage. They were on their own 
ground. They were familiar with the country. They knew 
every nook and corner, every swamp and hiding place, and the 
direction of every road and cross-road. They had plenty of 
spies in the people among whom we encamped, to give them 
warning of all our movements. They were thus able to choose 
their positions, and take advantage of every circumstance that 
could be turned against us. We, on the contrary, had every 
thing to learn, with -few reliable sources of information, and 
constantly liable to be misled. Nearly all the knowledge that 
could be depended upon, had to be obtained by reconnoissance.* 

* General McClellan, in his testimony before the Committee on the Con 
duct of the War, said : " Our maps proved entirely inaccurate, and did us 
more harm than good, for we were constantly misled by them." General 
Barnard, chief of engineers, before the same committee, said : " We found 
ourselves in a terra incognita. We knew nothing of the roads; nothing 
of the country. I had supposed that all these matters had been investi 
gated ; that in choosing such a route, there was, at least, such a knowl 
edge of it as wouid have justified the choosing of it. The country be 
tween Fort Monroe and Yorktown was almost a perfect wilderness. It 
had been stated so often, that I felt that it was an assured fact, that the 
roads were hard and sandy; whereas, they were everywhere of the most 
terrible character what there were of them; and with the roads we had 
thei-e, we never had heard, up to the day we arrived before Yorktown, of 
the fact that there were any other defences except the mere defences of 
Yorktown. But when we got there, we found a line of defences stretch 
ing across the isthmus." 


Yet, with all these unfavorable conditions, the Federals have 
ever been more than a match for the rebels. They beat them 
at Williamsburg, at West Point, at Hanover Court House, and 
in every considerable fight along a line of some twenty-two 
miles extent. Gaines s Mill may be regarded as the solitary 
exception. By the time our army had fought its way to the 
Chickahominy, disease had begun to make serious inroads upon 
its ranks, and on the day that arrangements had been com 
pleted (including the building of bridges and corduroy roads) 
for advancing it across that stream, 80,000 or 40,000 men were 
needed to make it as strong as when it commenced pursuit of 
the retreating foe. In the meantime, rebel tactics had been 
changed. Raids were organized and put in active operation, 
to gain time for the accumulation of an overwhelming force at 
Richmond. When Gen. Porter s division was thrown forward 
to Hanover Court House and the Junction, it was mainly to 
cut off northern communication with that city. 

It had been hoped that Stonewall Jackson would have been 
kept in the valley of the Shenandoah, in which event the right 
wing of our army would have been safe. But he escaped. 
And when it was found, on the 24th June, that he had broken 
through his barriers, and was sweeping down upon our right 
with 30,000 men, it became evident, that with such a force in 
conjunction with that in front, nothing could prevent his seiz 
ing White House and the military supplies there deposited, and 
attacking our army on the flank and in the rear, with the al 
most dead certainty of its annihilation. All this foreseen, the 
immense stores were speedily transferred to the shipping in 
the Pamunkey, and the chagrined rebel leader disappointed in 
his hopes of booty. The double movement of throwing the left 
wing forward to the James river, where the gunboats rendered 
it secure, and swinging round the right, required great skill, 
and the success with which it was accomplished in the face of 
formidable obstacles, places it among the most remarkable of 
military achievements. 


[To go back a little and make the record more complete and 
intelligible, it should be remarked that, upon the request and 
earnest representation of General McClellan, the President, on 
the 17th May, acceded to his request to have General Mc 
Dowell, then before Fredericksburg, form a junction with his 
right wing, to cooperate in his advance on Richmond. This 
would have added thirty-five or forty thousand men to his 
army, and rendered an entrance into the rebel capital, early in 
June, before the enemy had time to increase their strength, 
comparatively easy. This junction, it is now understood, was 
to have taken place about the time, or soon after the battle of 
Hanover Court House, which, as already described, occurred 
on the 27th May. But, in the meantime, the rebel movements 
elsewhere had become alarming. The critical condition of 
General Banks s position, the push upon Harper s Ferry, the 
threatening of Leesburg, Geary, and, to a certain extent, Wash 
ington itself, induced the President, from prudential considera 
tions, to countermand the order to General McDowell, which 
he did on the 24th May, and on the same day notified General 
McClellan that he had been compelled to suspend the move 
ment of General McDowell to join him. In the place of Mc 
Dowell, General Me Call s division of ten thousand men was 
sent forward to strengthen his right. They began to arrive at 
White House on the llth June, and before the 26th, were 
ready for the battle they so bravely fought on that day. Mean 
while, the rebel force had concentrated on the Federal right, 
in superior numbers, and the ten thousand auxiliaries were 
insufficient for the exigency. To fight, and hold the ground ; 
to fight again, and fall back, was all that could be done. Ten 
thousand additional troops might have changed the day on the 
27th. But they were not to be had, and retreat and evacua 
tion, as before stated, of necessity followed.] 



Reconnoissances President s visit Exchange of prisoners Sick 
ness Harrison s Mansion Ancient will Flies. 


August 12, 1862. j 

Since the battle of Malvern Hill, the army has been chiefly 
occupied in reconnoissances, reviews, and such attention to its 
personnel and material, as would prepare it for the offensive 
service to which it may soon be called. Skirmishes have been 
of frequent occurrence, keeping up the esprit de corps of the 
troops. Last Tuesday, (5th,) Hooker and Sedgwick had a 
sharp contest with the rebels at Malvern Hill, and drove them 
off at the point of the bayonet. The Federal loss was about 
forty in killed and wounded. A considerable number of the 
enemy were taken prisoners. Twenty-eight of their captured 
cavalry men passed our camp at night. The affair, it is said, 
created a strong sensation at Richmond, and forty thousand 
men were sent down in the direction of the Hill, to look after 
matters. If the design was to divert the rebels from Pope and 
Burnside, the movement may be reckoned successful. 

On the 8th of last month, the President made a brief visit 
of inspection to the army, by whom it was reviewed. He was 
welcomed with the customary official salute, and as he rode 
along the lines of each division, by the stentorian cheers of the 
men. General Halleck and other high military dignitaries 
have also been here, for consultation, as is supposed. 

Vessels are constantly descending the river with flags of 
truce, bringing large numbers of our sick, wounded, and able- 
bodied men, taken prisoners in the late battles. Equivalents 
in kind are almost daily returned. The river, at the landing, 
displays all the activity of a commercial city. At times, more 


than one hundred sailing vessels and steamers may be seen 
laying in the stream, waiting to discharge or receive cargoes. 
Among the latter are the Canonicus, Commodore, State of 
Maine, Nantasket and South America. The ironclads Daco- 
tah, Monitor and Galena, move back and forth, watchful of 
their defenceless proteges, and looking well to rebel demonstra 
tions on either bank. The shore on the western side is lined 
with officers quarters, hospitals, ambulances, commissary stores, 
wagons, mules, disabled horses, post office, express office, and 
photographic establishment. These, with a host of contraband 
menj women and children, of all shades, from neutral tint to 
jet, present a picturesque scene, while their shouts, laughter 
and loud lingo, remind one of the confusion of tongues. 

Compared with the swamps of Chickahominy, the location 
occupied by the army is healthy ; but tested by sanitary laws 
the entire country, at this season of the year, must be pro 
nounced sickly. Much of the sickness now prevailing, (though 
the health of the army is understood to be better than when 
our right wing rested on Gaines s farm,) was engendered by 
fatigues and exposures previous to the battle of Malvern Hill. 
Besides diarrhoea and fevers, scurvy has, to some extent, pre 
vailed, the latter aggravated, if not induced, by an inability to 
obtain a sufficiency of vegetables. The man who said he was 
tempted to cry " liberty and onions, now and forever, one and 
inseparable," understood the needs of men whose staple of food 
has, of necessity, been salt junk and hard tack. The govern 
ment has not been unmindful of these wants, and the beneficial 
effects of the recent provision made for a mixed diet will un 
doubtedly soon be visible. * 

Harrison s Landing receives its name from Benjamin Harri 
son, the friend of Washington, and a signer of the Declaration 
of Independence. It possesses additional interest from being 
the birth-place of the late President William Henry Harrison. 
He doubtless little thought, when " Tippecanoe and Tyler too" 
was the popular refrain of 1840, that in twenty years Virginia 


would became a hot-bed of rebellion, and a leader of it his as 
sociate in the Presidential canvass. But times change, and 
men of feeble principle, or victims of ambition, change with 
them, only to build for themselves a monument for true men s 
scorn. The old family mansion is still standing near the river, 
and is used for hospital purposes. On the roof of the house the 
signal corps has a look-out, which commands the surrounding 
country. The granary of the old mansion is occupied by Dr. 
Holmes, of Brooklyn, N. Y., as an embalming house. A relic 
of interest, in this connection, is the following copy of the will 
of Benjamin Harrison, picked up among scattered papers at 
Warwick Court House, where the registry was made. It is 
witnessed by Thomas Read and Samuel Harrison, and the re 
cord attested by Miles Carey, clerk of the county court. What 
relation the testator held to Governor Benjamin Harrison, if 
any, is by me unknown. 

In the name of god, Amen. I, Benjamin Harrison, being sicke & 
weake in body, but in perfect sence and memorie, blessed bee God for 
it, finding my selfe to bee of noe longe continvance doe make this my 
last will & Testament as followeth first, I give my Soule to god my 
maker, hopeing through the merritts of Jesus Christ my Saviour, to 
attaine to Everlasting life and my body to my mother, the Earth, to 
bee buried after a Cristian maner, and all the rest of my worldly Es 
tate, as followeth : 

1. I give and bequeathe unto my son, Benjamin Harrison, my ne 
gro boy Called Billie, to bee delivered to him by my Executors when 
he is Twentie one years of age, and when he. my sd son, hath the sd 
negro Delivered to him that then, he shall pay unto his Sisters, as 
many of them as shall bee then alive, to Each of them twenty Shills : 
and I give alsoe unto my sd son^ my Gun and sword. And alsoe my 
Desire is, that my sd son shall bee bound to a Trad as he most de 
sires, at the age of thirteen or fourteen years, att the Discrettion of 
my Executors : but if the above named negro boy should Die before 
(2) that my son is of age, then my will is that my sd son shall have a 
proporsonable share with my wife and the rest of my Children of all 
the rest of my Estate, but at the receitt of the above sd negro, my sd 
son shall give a discharge for his full share of my Estate. 


3. I doe lend unto my loveing wife, Ann Harrison, all the rest of 
my Estate, dureing her widdow-hood, without Inventory or Apraise- 
ment : and if my sd wife should majry, that then it shall bee Equally 
Devided betwen my sd wife and the rest of my Children : and I doe 
alsoe make my loveing wife and my Son-in-law, John Langhorn, my 
whole and Sole Executors of this my last will and Testament, re- 
voakeing all other wills by me made, as wittness my hand and Sealle 
this day of Apprill, 1715. 


[At this season of the year, the surrounding country here 
affords an inviting field for exploration to the enthusiastic am 
ateur or professional entomologist. Between the " sweet mu 
sician" who seldom forgets to thrust his bill for payment in the 
face of one whose unwilling ear is compelled to listen to a 
nightly serenade to that member of the Pediculus family, 
celebrated by Pindar, is to be found " every creeping thing " 
that Noah permitted a place in the ark, and perhaps some that 
he did not. Some of the specimens are as ill-favored, and by 
no means desirable companions. But whatever pleasure may 
be derived from pursuing sientific investigations through this 
wide field, it is not far separated from discomforts, among the 
chief of which, in the present lull of war, may be reckoned 
flies. Talk of " Rats in Brazil," or " Cockroaches in Japan ; " 
they are not a circumstance to the Diptera tribes, at Harrison s 
Landing. Pharaoh was never more effectually plagued, and 
it is not a wonder that he regarded the toleration of Hebrew 
worship in his dominions, a cheap payment for their expulsion. 
Here, the most hardened and impracticable rebel would give 
up, and take the oath of allegiance, rather that endure their 
torment a week. Remember, the mercury is at 100 or 110 
in the shade. You write, and flies cover your paper. You 
read, and flies usurp the page. You attempt a siesta, but it 
proves an abortion. You " saw the air," with a quick irregu 
lar motion of the hand, but your tormentors only double their 
torments for this attempt at self-defense. Buzz, buzz, buzz ; 
flies on the nose ; flies in the ears ; flies on the table ; flies in 


the food ; flies in the tent ; flies outside ; black, biting, merci 
less flies, everywhere. Look at those poor horses at the picket 
rope, and under yonder shade. Flesh has gone and flies have 
got it. You count their ribs, and you mark their almost ex 
pression of despair. How they stamp, and shake their heads, 
and whisk their brushes, and pull at the halter for release. 
But all in vain. Flies have them. Flies are consuming them. 
Of many of them, flies will be the death. No marvel that 
they are often frenzied beyond recovery. Next to a miracle 
will it be if any escape. In a fair fight, the rebels can be 
vanquished, though three to our one ; but flies, in fly time, 
never. Like hungry contractors, they stick till gorged, and 
then retire, only to return and gorge again. 


Withdrawal of the Army of the Potomac from the Peninsula. 

August 17, 1863. ) 

The shadow of coming events at Harrison s Landing was 
resolved, early last week, into tangible substance. Rumors that 
had freely circulated in camp, then issued in facts, and prepar 
ations by the army to retire from the Peninsula, were every 
where seen. On the 10th, the baggage of Battery C was 
placed on transports. Thursday, the 14th, we were prepared 
to vacate our camp. On the night of that day the order " for 
ward " was given, and turning our backs alike, upon the enemy 
we had beaten at Malvern Hill, and the entomological tribes 
that shared our tents and disturbed our repose, we took up our 
line of March. Our course lay through Charles City Court 
House. We crossed the Chickahominy at its mouth, over a 
pontoon bridge 1,400 feet in length, built under the direction 


of Captains Spaulding and Duane, of the 50th New York 
regiment. The bridge was a fine specimen of engineering, 
and greatly facilitated the withdrawal both of the army and 
the immense baggage trains of the commissary, quartermaster s 
and ordnance departments. Our march was through Williams- 
burg, Yorktown and Great Bethel, and this morning we arrived 
at Newport News, dusty and weary. A salt water bath at the 
beach, was among the earliest refreshing experiences. The 
march was pleasant, and an abundant supply of poultry and 
fruit, obtained by the way, were very satisfactory contributions 
to the gastronomic department. 

[After a change of base became necessary, and the army 
had taken up its new position on the James river, the question 
of evacuating the Peninsula was privately discussed. This 
discussion was connected with the visit of General Burnside, 
referred to on a preceding page. The President and General 
Halleck visited General McClellan at his head quarters, for 
consultation, to ascertain from observation and inquiry, the 
morale of the army, and perhaps, to obtain with greater defi- 
niteness, the views of the General. The review of the troops, 
mentioned in a preceding letter, was embraced within this de 
sign. On the occasion of General Halleck s visit, an informal 
consultation of the corps commanders was held, at which Gene 
ral Burnside was present, and the subject of the removal of the 
army fully discussed. A difference of opinion existed. Some 
were decidedly in favor of withdrawal ; others were disposed 
to make another trial for the capture of Richmond. This was 
the earnest wish of General McClellan. For this purpose, he 
asked a reinforcement of fifty thousand men, but as that num 
ber were not immediately available, expressed a willingness to 
make the attempt with twenty thousand, which General Halleck 
informed him he could have. But the rebels had been diligent 
in making Fort Darling, near the river, impregnable to our gun 
boats, and in otherwise strengthening their position around Rich- 


mond. Piles had been driven in the river, and obstructions 
sunk in the channel, which rendered abortive any attempt to ap 
proach within range of the city by water. Recruits for wasted 
regiments came in slowly, and although considerable activity on 
our side prevailed, little was accomplished that gave promise of 
immediate success. At this time, the rebel army in front of 
Richmond, for its protection, was estimated at 200,000 men. 
According to a statemen f based on official reports, made by 
General McClellan to the President, July loth, the number of 
men under his command, then present for duty, was 88,665. 
Upwards of 38,000 were absent, with and without authority, 
while the sick present, amounted to more than 16,000. On 
the return of General Halleck to Washington, he was accom 
panied by General Burnside, to ] eceive his instructions about 
taking up reinforcements to General McClellan. The next 
morning, he was informed that a message from the General 
made it necessary to change the plan which had been decided 
upon, and that he must wait for further instructions. A few 
days subsequent he was ordered to move his whole command to 
Acquia Creek, and from thence to Fredericksburg, to relieve 
General King, who rejoined General McDowall s corps, then 
on the upper Rappahannock with General Pope. In the then 
existing state of affairs, it was deemed by General Halleck 
a military necessity to concentrate the forces of the Peninsula 
with those of General Pope, on some point where they could, 
at the same time cover Washington, and operate against Rich 
mond, and accordingly the order to withdraw was given. 

To remove without loss, in the face of a powerful foe, the 
army and its entire material, was an undertaking requiring 
forecast and skill. It was done. It was intended to conceal 
the movement from the enemy. How successful the attempt 
proved could only be conjectured. If, with numerous spies, 
prowling cavalry, and the almost free control of the opposite 
side of the river, they discovered nothing in appearances to 
awaken suspicion, they must have been more dull of appre- 


hension than would be reasonable to suppose of a vigilant ad 
versary. To common discernment, the massing of vessels and 
transports near the various landings, the activity of numerous 
tugs, and the nightly departure of full freighted steamers, would 
naturally suggest something unusual as going on, and stimulate 
curiosity to ascertain what it all meant. But, however that 
may have been, no proper caution, on the Federal side, was 

To cover appearances, the gunboats were kept up towards 
City Point, watching the enemy, and appearing as if waiting 
for the coming of the formidable ram from Richmond. The 
balloon regularly visited the upper regions, to view ether, and 
the. surrounding country enveloped in smoke. The tooting of 
bugles and beating of drums in the camp were, if possible, 
more stentorian and defiant than ever, as much as to say, 
" Here we are, come if you dare." The siege guns continued 
to show their black mouths to the enemy s pickets, from the 
intrenchments at the front. The usual parades, reviews and 
guard mountings went on, just as if nothing unusual was about 
to happen. Steamers coming up the river brought large com 
panies of returning convalescents and stragglers, which aided 
to keep up appearances. Meantime, all the sick were sent 
away. The surgeons in charge of this department literally had 
their hands full. Dr. Bradley shipped 1,908 patients onboard 
of the State of Maine, Louisiana, Knickerbocker and John 
Brooks mostly light cases of fever and diarrhoea, the men 
walking on board. They had been reduced and broken down 
by climatic and other influences. 

Dr. Dunster, the director of the transports, arrived on the 
Webster, Friday evening, August 15th, and immediately took 
up the business of getting off the sick. He sent on board of 
eight steamers, 3,149 persons. As fast as one- steamer was 
loaded she was sent away. The estimated number of sick and 
wounded dispatched north, by different transports,, was 11,000, 
3,000 of whom were prisoners from City Point. These in- 


eluded those sent from White House before the change of base. 
Surplus tents were struck ; regimental baggage, by the hundred 
tons, was shipped, and eight days rations ordered for each of 
the commands five days to go on the transports, land and 
water, and three to be carried by the men. 

The gunboats engaged in shelling the woods along the banks 
of the James river opposite this place, elicited no response from 
the enemy. It was doubtful if there was any near enough, in 
force, to be hit. A balloon reconnoissance revealed no impor 
tant change of the enemy s position. It was too smoky to see 
much. A cavalry reconnoissance as far as Sandy Point found 
no enemy. 

The landing of express baggage was stopped, transportation 
being now the other way. The mail steamer, John A. War 
ner, hauled out into the stream to evade the rush of passengers 
on board before the time of departure. Mountains of knap 
sacks, belonging to the various departing regiments, lay piled 
upon the bank opposite the landings. At the upper wharf, 
men were busy all through Monday night, in pulling field and 
siege caissons and ammunition wagons on board the transports. 
Such, in brief, was the work of a week. The general plan of 
evacuation was, to send away the larger portion of the troops, 
with the necessary artillery and transportation wagons, by land, 
moving them in two or three columns towards Williamsburg, 
and then embark the remainder of the troops and material upon 
transports, under cover of the gunboats if we should be at 
tacked. For the purposes of embarkation, no better position 
could be found on the James river. With the low ami swampy 
region of Herring Creek protecting the rear and right of our 
encampment, no force could annoy us with impunity from the 
land side, for the gunboats could effectually keep such a force 
at bay there, and at the same time render it impossible for it 
to approach from the direction of our intrenchments at the front 
and right, after those works were abandoned. 

On Thursday night, August 14th, the forces departing by 


land were in motion. General Syke s division led the advance, 
followed by the divisions of Generals Morell and McCall. 
The other troops pursued the way assigned them. General 
Heintzclman s corps crossed at Jones s Bridge, covering, by its 
inarch, the movement of the main column. Unmolested, 
and with only the loss of a single baggage wagon of the im 
mense train, which broke down and had to be left behind, the 
army was soon beyond danger of attack, on the northern side 
of the Chickahominy. The 2d Rhode Island made its encamp 
ment on York river, two miles below Yorktown, where it re 
mained a week, occupied in destroying earthworks thrown up 
during the siege. On the 29th August, it embarked on board 
the steamer S. R. Spaulding, for Alexandria, accompanied by 
General Devens and staff and a part of the 36th New York 
regiment. They reached their destination on the 31st. Gen 
eral Keyes, with Peck s division and all the reserve artillery 
of his corps, established his head-quarters at Yorktown. 

Thus closed the Peninsula campaign. It failed of the final 
success it deserved. Disappointment was felt alike by the 
country and the army. But upon that army no stain of dis 
honor rested. For five months it had been familiar with dis 
ease in malarious swamps, and fought superior forces with 
honorable bravery. It had approached within sight of the 
rebel capital, inspired by the expectation of celebrating our 
national anniversary there, and of seeing the monster, grown 
into huge proportions in Virgina, destroyed. It was hard to 
turn back from a work auspiciously begun, and to yield a prize 
that seemed almost within its grasp. But the sacrifice was 
made, and a record, of which the army had no cause to be 
ashamed, committed to the keeping of history.] 



Embarkation Pope s situation Battles of Bull Run and Chan- 
tilly Death of Generals Stevens and Kearny. 

September 14, 1862. ) 

To keep my narrative unbroken, I must go back to the 17th 
ultimo, which day found us at Newport News. As early as 
the 20th, the army of the Peninsula was occupying camps in 
the vicinity of Fortress Monroe and Yorktown, as convenient 
places for embarkation to another field of service. Immediately 
on his arrival at Newport News, General McClellan established 
his head-quarters in a grove in the neighborhood of Camp 
Hamilton, to give direction to the further movements of his 
troops. On the 18th August, our battery marched to Hamp 
ton and embarked. In the "Roads were several hundred ves 
sels of all descriptions, some full-freighted and others waiting 
to receive their cargoes of human kind. Our destination was 
to reinforce General Pope, who, at that time, was pressed hard 
by Stonewall Jackson. 

[Of his situation, he makes the following report : " From 
the 12th to the 18th of August, reports were constantly reach 
ing me of large forces of the enemy reinforcing Jackson from 
the direction of Richmond, and by the morning of the 18th, I 
became satisfied that nearly the whole force of the enemy from 
Richmond was assembling in my front, along the south side of 
the Rapidan, and extending from Raccoon Ford to Liberty 
Mills. The cavalry expedition sent out on the IGth, in the 
direction of Louisa Court House, captured the Adjutant Gen 
eral of General Stuart, and was very near capturing that on> 


cer himself. Among the papers taken was an autograph letter 
of General Robert Lee to General Stuart, dated at Gordons- 
ville, August 15th, which made manifest to me the disposi 
tion and force of the enemy and their determination to over 
whelm the army under my command before it could be 
reinforced by any portion of the army of the Potomac. I 
held on to my position thus far to the front, for the purpose of 
affording all time possible for the arrival of the army of the 
Potomac at Acquia and Alexandria, and to embarrass and de 
lay the movements of the enemy as far as practicable. 

"On the 18th August, it became apparent to me that this ad 
vanced position, with the small force under my command, was 
no longer tenable in the face of the overwhelming forces of the 
enemy. I determined, accordingly, to withdraw behind the 
Rappahannock with all speed, and, as I had been instructed 
to defend, as far as practicable, the line of that river, I accord 
ingly directed Major General Reno to send back his trains on 
the morning of the 18th, by way of Stevensburgh, to Kelly s 
or Barnett s Ford ; and, as soon as the trains had gotten seve 
ral hours in advance, to follow them with his whole corps, and 
take post behind the Rappahannock, leaving all his cavalry in 
the neighborhood of Raccoon Ford, to cover this movement. 
General Bank s corps, which had been ordered on the 12th to 
take position at Culpepper Court House, I directed, with its 
trains preceding it, to cross the Rappahannock at the point 
where the Orange and Alexandria Railroad crosses that river. 
General McDowell s train was ordered to pursue the same 
route ; while the train of General Sigel was directed through 
Jefferson to cross the Rappahannock at Warrenton, Sulphur 
Springs. So soon as these trains had been sufficiently ad 
vanced, McDowell s corps was directed to take the route from 
Culpepper to Rappahannock Ford, while General Sigel, who 
was on the right and front, was directed to follow the move 
ment of his trains to Sulphur Springs. These movements 
were executed during the day and night of the 18th, and the 


day of the 19th, by which time the whole army, with its trains, 
had safely recrossed the Rappahannock. and was posted behind 
that stream, with its left at Kelly s Ford, and its right about 
three miles above Rappahannock Station, General Sigel hav 
ing been directed, immediately upon crossing at Sulphur 
Springs, to march down the left bank of the Rappahannock 
until he connected closely with General McDowell s right. 

" Early on the morning of the 20th, the enemy drove in our 
pickets in front of Kelly s Ford ftnd at Rappahannock Station ; 
but finding we had covered these fords, and that it would be 
impracticable to force the passage of the river without heavy 
loss, his advance halted, and the main body of his army was 
brought forward from the Rapidan. By the night of the 20th, 
the bulk of his forces confronted us from Kelly s Ford to a 
point above our extreme right. During the whole of the days 
of the 21st and 22d, efforts were made by the enemy, at various 
points, to cross the river, but they were repulsed in all cases. 
The artillery fire was rapid and continuous during the whole 
of those days, and extended along the line of the river for 
seven or eight miles. Finding that it was not practicable to 
force the passage of the river in my front, the enemy began 
slowly to move up the river for the purpose of turning our 
right. My orders required me to keep myself closely in com 
munication with Fredericksburg, to which point the army of 
the Potomac was being brought from the Peninsula, with the 
purpose of reinforcing me from that place by the line of the 
Rappahannock. My force was too small to enable me to ex 
tend my right further, without so weakening it as to render it 
easy for the enemy to break through it at any point. I tele 
graphed again and again to Washington, representing this 
movement of the enemy toward my right, and the impossibility 
of my being able to extend my lines so as to resist it without 
abandoning my connection with Fredericksburg. I was as 
sured, on the 21st, that if I would hold the line of the river 
two days longer, I should be so strongly reinforced as not only 


to be secure, but to be able to resume offensive operations ; but 
on the 25th of August, the only forces that had joined me or 
were in the neighborhood, were two thousand five hundred 
men of the Pennsylvania reserves, under Brigadier General 
Reynolds, who had arrived at Kelly s Ford, and the division 
of General Kearny, four thousand five hundred strong, which 
had reached Warrenton Junction."] 

To embark the troops gathered in the neighborhood of For 
tress Munroe and Yorktown, together with their baggage 
trains, ordnance stores and other material, was a labor of even 
greater magnitude than their removal from Harrison s Land 
ing the previous week, and taking the two events together, 
they are without parallel in the military history of our country. 
This more particularly deserves attention, because work of this 
sort, in connection with the active operations of an army, is 
seldom appreciated. Yet, upon the promptness and care with 
which it is executed, may depend, in no small degree, the suc- 
of an enterprise involving momentous consequences. The 
delay of a day, or misjudgment in the arrangements, may be 
fatal to the best laid plans. In the present instance, the em 
barkation was seasonably commenced and industriously pur 
sued, until every transport had received its full complement of 
men, horses, and munitions of war ; and great credit is due to 
those under whose immediate supervision the whole was 

On the 19th of August, battery C left Hampton Roads, and 
steamed away for Acquia Creek Landing, which we reached 
on the 20th, and debarked. From thence we marched to Bar- 
nett s Ford on the Rappahannock ; thence to Kelly s Ford ; 
and on the 27th arrived at Warrenton Junction. The next 
day we proceeded to Gainsville. The march was one of the 
most trying to men and horses that had yet been made. Owing 
to some delay in the supply train, rations and forage were de 
ficient. The weather was hot, the travel hard, and the neces- 


sity for a rapid advance, urgent. But neither equine nor 
human nature were proof against the influence of a stinted 
commissariat ; and when they reached the scene of action, had 
the rebel army, under some magicians touch, been transformed 
into droves of beef and sacks of grain, both men and horses 
would have foraged with a voracity surpassing the lean bovines 
of Egypt. 

[For the previous nine days, General Pope s army had 
been kept in motion, marching and fighting, with various re 
sults. On both sides it was an adroit game. In the mean time? 
Hooker, Heintzelman, Kearny and Franklin had placed them 
selves in active relations with him. On the 22d August, Stuart 
made a raid upon Catlett s Station, capturing two hundred 
horses, and the camp equipage of General Pope and staff, includ 
ing instructions, maps, and topographical charts. On the 27th, 
Hooker made battle with the rebels near Bristow station, and 
after a smart skirmish, caused them to retreat with consider 
able loss. Randolph s battery, and a section of a New York 
battery were engaged, and drove the batteries of the enemy 
from a superior position. The former lost two men killed and 
two wounded. On the 28th, General Pope reached Manassas 
Junction with Kearny s division and Reno s corps, shortly 
after Stonewall Jackson had departed. Hooker, Reno and 
Kearny were immediately pushed forward upon Centreville. 
Late in the afternoon, the latter drove the enemy s rear guard 
out of the town, and occupied it with his advance beyond. 

On the morning of the 29th of August, General Sigel opened 
the first day of the second Bull Run battle, by an attack on 
the enemy a mile or two east of Groveton. Kearny, Hooker, 
Heintzelman, Reynold s, McDowell, and other generals, fought 
their commands. Our battery took position on the left of the 
line, but was not called into action. The battle was bloody, 
the Federal losses amounting to not less than six or eight 
thousand killed and wounded. The rebel loss was vastly more. 


The results of this battle were not satisfactory.* On the fol 
lowing day came the renewal of the fight. Of this, General 
Pope, in his report, says : " During the whole night of the 
29th and the morning of the 30th, the advance of the main 
army, under Lee, was arriving on the field, to reinforce Jack 
son, so that by twelve or one o clock in the day, we were con 
fronted by forces greatly superior to our own ; and these 
forces were being every moment largely increased by fresh 
arrivals of the enemy from the direction of Thoroughfare Gap. 
Every moment of delay increased the odds against us, and I 
therefore advanced to the attack as rapidly as I was able to 
bring my forces into action. 

Shortly after General Porter moved forward to the attack 
by the Warrenton turnpike, and the assault on the enemy was 
begun by Heintzelman and Reno on the right, it became appa 
rent that the enemy was massing his troops, as fast as they ar 
rived on the field, on his right, and w,as moving forward from 
that direction to turn our left, at which point it was plain he 
intended to make his main attack. I accordingly directed 
McDowell to recall Rickett s division immediately from our 
right, and post it on the left of our line. The attack of Porter 
was neither vigorous nor persistent, and his troops soon retired 
in considerable confusion. As soon as they commenced to fall 
back, the enemy advanced to the assault, and our whole line, 
from right to left, was soon furiously engaged." 

On the morning of the battle, our battery marched to the 
field, and at 10 o clock went into position, and opened on the 
enemy. At 12 M., the position was changed, and again at 3 
and 4 o clock P. M. Two men were wounded and two horses 
disabled. Randolph s battery was posted on the left of the 

* The failure to obtain a decisive victory, General Pope,, in his report, 
ascribed to the inaction of General Porter, who suffered his troops "to 
lie idle on their arms, within sight and sound of the battle, during the 
whole day." General Porter was subsequently court-martialed on specific 
charges, and dismissed from the service of the United States. 


Leesburg road, and delivered an effective fire. He lost two 
men killed and three taken prisoners. For hours the battle 
raged with fury. As on the previous day, the losses on both 
sides were heavy on the Federal side, estimated at 500 killed 
and 5,000 wounded. The enemy greatly outnumbered the 
Union forces, but the latter held their ground till dark. Gen 
eral Pope claimed a victory, but dear bought. Ten field offi 
cers were killed, among them Colonel Fletcher Webster, of 
the 12th Massachusetts. Of the wounded, were Generals 
Duryea, Towers and Hatch. At night, the Federals fell back 
on Centreville. In the battles of the 29th and 30th, Munroe s 
Rhode Island battery, (D,) was warmly engaged, and suffered 
severely in men and horses. 

The day after the battle of Bull Run, (September 1,) a se 
vere fight took place at Chantilly, in which the rebels were 
routed by a general bayonet charge. The 2d Rhode Island 
formed a part of Hookerte force in this battle, but were not 
called actively into engagement. Randolph s battery was in 
the action, and by its destructive fire did much to decide the 
day. His only loss was one horse. The Union loss, in killed 
and wounded, was estimated at one thousand, and the rebel loss 
not less. Among the killed on our side, were Generals Isaac 
L. Stevens and Kearny. The latter was shot by a rifle bullet, 
while riding out to examine the position of the enemy, and died 
almost instantly. He had, but a few moments before, been 
cautioned against going farther, but thought there was no dan 
ger, and continued his way. He was an officer of large expe 
rience and chivalrous spirit, and, by deeds of valor, had won a 
name that will be perpetuated on the roll of patriot heroes. 
General Stevens was an excellent officer, of noble charac 
ter, and gave promise of becoming a successful leader in our 
army. His untimely death caused general sorrow throughout 
the country. 

The defeat at Bull Run, for such practically it was, and the 
proximity to Washington of so large a rebel force, excited much 


alarm for the safety of the capital, and, on the 2d of September, 
General McClellan was put in command of its fortification and 
all of the troops for its defence.* But the rebel leaders had 
other objects in view, and did not press the assault. General 
Lee pushed a heavy column into Maryland, threatening Balti 
more, and also Pennsylvania. This movement was to be looked 
after and the rebels to be driven out or captured. For this 
purpose, General McClellan was invested with the command of 
General Pope s troops, including his own army of the Potomac, 
which he speedily reorganized and set in motion.] 

On the 31st of August, our battery marched to Fairfax 
Court House, and thence to Alexandria, where we arrived 
September 3d. We encamped opposite Fort Lyon, whose 
frowning brow had not softened its stern expression since we 
last gazed upon it, some five months ago. The next day we 
marched to Miner s Hill, where we took possession of our old 
camp ground. Six months had made but few changes in the 
features of the spot, or of its surroundings. The old fields, the 
scenes of many thorough drills, the adjacent hills from whose 
summit skillful gunnery was occasionally displayed, the pros 
trate forest on the west, opening uninterrupted prospects of 
Falls Church, (recently used for hospital purposes,) and Lewins- 
ville, and the distant Blue Ridge, lifting its head to the skies 
" in the wild pomp of mountain majesty," remained essentially 
as they appeared when we first pitched our tents in Secessia ; 
and though memory recalled amusing episodes in the camp life 
spent there, roll call cast a shadow upon mirthful thought, by 
reminding us that some who marched with us from Camp Owen 
last spring, were folded in the leaden arms of death, far from 

*It was bold and characteristic of Jackson to make this dash for 
Washington, but he was not quite quick enough to accomplish his pur 
pose. Had the first battle been fought a day or two earlier, there is no 
telling what mischief might have speedily followed. As it was, he was 
checked in his career, and the capital freed from his grasp. 


the homes they loved, noble sacrifices to their country s cause. 
The lesson will not be void. 

Two days sufficed for indulging in local reminiscences. The 
battery was held in readiness for any service. On the 6th, at 
10| o clock P. M., we once more bade farewell to our old mili 
tary homestead, and marched back to Alexandria, wliere we 
arrived at daylight. A Sabbath sun broke upon the various 
encampments as brightly as though the blast of war had not 
been heard, or the black cloud of rebellion had not obscured a 
southern sky. But the calmness of the day was followed by 
the excitement of night. Report came that the rebels were 
moving in force to make a raid on Alexandria, and a little past 
midnight, the battery was hit.ched up and on the advance to 
meet the foe. No enemy was discovered, and at early dawn 
we returned to camp with excellent appetites for " peas on a 
trencher." Subsequently, we moved half a mile to the front, 
near Gen. Morell s head-quarters, and encamped within the 
line of breastworks, about forty rods from Fairfax Seminary, 
an Episcopal theological institution, occupied as a hospital for 
the sick and wounded of our army. From the cupola of this 
handsome building, a splendid prospect of the surrounding 
country is obtained. On the 10th, we broke camp at 7 o clock, 
proceeded to Fort Corcoran, opposite Georgetown, and en 
camped on the ground we occupied when we crossed into Vir 
ginia last October. 

The daily mails are looked for with eager interest. Nothing 
contributes so much to keep up the spirits of the men as the 
privilege of frequent correspondence with cherished friends at 
home. Letters from distant ones, filled with local gossip and 
words of cheer, as loving mothers and sisters only know how 
to fill them, are " like glow-worms amid buds of flowers," cast 
ing a pleasant light upon the beautiful treasures of memory, 
and inspiring courage that nerves the arm for deadly strife. 



March to Antietam The Battle. 

September 20, 1862. ) 

My last, dated at Fort Corcoran, left us at the close of a 
mounted inspection, in momentary expectation of a forward 
movement. The experienced eye of Col. Webb relieved the 
battery of two pieces and caissons worn out in the severe ser 
vice of the peninsula, and some twenty horses unfit for present 
use. On the morning of the 12th inst., the line of march was 
formed, and bidding adieu to Camp Randolph of last October, 
and with a farewell recognition of Fort Corcoran, the battery 
crossed the Potomac. Passing through Georgetown and 
Washington, we were soon on the road leading to Leesboro, at 
which place we arrived about 6 o clock P, M., and encamped for 
the night. The next morning we proceeded through Rock- 
ville to Clarksburg, where we made our second encampment. 
Leaving Clarksburg at 5 o clock A. M., on the 14th, our march 
was continued through Harrisville and Urbana, and the battery 
went into camp just in the outskirts of Frederick city. Heavy 
firing was heard all day, particularly in the afternoon, in the 
direction of Harper s Ferry, stirring the boys blood for the 
strife, as the trumpet blast causes the war-horse to " arch his 
high neck and paw the ground with restless feet." The night 
was, however, passed quietly, and the next day, (Monday,) 
provided with three days rations of hard bread and bacon, the 
march was resumed in the direction of Middletown, in the 
neighborhood of which we arrived at dusk. Before reaching 
our camp, we were passed by a squad of 180 rebel prisoners. 
Departing from this place, we continued, our course through. 
Boonesboro, with Martindale s brigade in our. advance and. 


Berdan s Sharpshooters in our rear, halted for a short time, in 
Keedysville, and, late in the afternoon, reached the summit of 
a range of hills where our infantry and artillery were drawn 
up in battle array, and from which we could distinctly see the 
rebel lines. Between Bolivar and Boonesboro, I counted by 
the roadside, ten bodies of rebels, killed in last Sunday s fight, 
and in the woods just beyond Bolivar, were several hundred 
dead rebels, unburied, (killed on the same day.) in an advanced 
stage of decomposition, so as to render the atmosphere exceed 
ingly offensive. They may yet receive the rites of sepulture, 
though the chances are that some of them will supply feasts for 
the fowls of the air. Such is one of the possibilities of war. 
Well would it be could the plotters and supporters of this infa 
mous rebellion be made the grave diggers of every battle field. 
With thousands of eyes unsealed in death, glaring upon them, 
and the dread thought of an untried eternity quickening the 
moral sense, they could see nothing but frightful shadows, 
clouds and darkness gathering as a winding sheet round the 
criminal disloyalty, a presage of their own deserts. 

On our march to this place, we passed through a number of 
pleasant villages, indicating, in their appearance, a higher re 
finement than we have been accustomed to witness in Virginia. 
The country is diversified with hills and valleys, fertile fields 
and dense woods, imparting to the scenery a highly picturesque 
character. The people along the route appeared loyal, and 
hailed the presence of the Federal army with marked evidences 
of satisfaction. The ovations to Generals McClellan and 
Burnside, on entering Frederick city, were inspired with in 
tense enthusiasm, such as might be expected from a rescued 
people towards their deliverers. If any of the throng sympa 
thized with Jackson in his invasion of Maryland, they were 
prudent enough to conceal their predilections. 

On the 17th, the battle of Antietam took place, when the 
hosts of McClellan and Lee measured strength. The fights of 
previous (Jays were only preliminaries to the great struggle 


between constitutional law and the inviolability of the National 
Compact on the one side, and of treason on the other. 

[To form an adequate idea of this great battle, it is needful 
to have some knowledge of the topography of the country, and 
of the relative positions of each army. In the absence of a 
map of the field, showing the line of battle, the following dia 
gram, with accompanying explanation, prepared by Mr. Coffin, 
the accomplished army correspondent of the Boston Journal, is 
given. Mr. Coffin, widely known as " Carlton," was on the 
ground, and witnessed much of what he describes. 

" The enemy selected the ground, choosing a line where the 
two armies would be face to face, with but little opportunity 
for flank movements ; a line about four miles long a gateway 
four miles wide, where he put up his batteries. Harper s 
Ferry was in his possession, also Shepardstown ; Williamsport 
in ours, so that, the enemy could not flank us in that direction, 
neither escape them if defeated. McClellan could not flank 
Lee, or get in his rear. Neither could Lee outflank McClellan. 
Neither was there an opportunity for the cutting round policy 
pursued against Pope. It must be, then, a square fight. Let 
it be kept in mind that the nature of the ground was such that 
there were necessarily wide gaps between some of the corps. 
Gen. Hooker was assigned the extreme right near Potfen- 
burgh s house. Next Gen. Mansfield, commanding Bank s 
army corps, next Sumner, next Franklin, next Richardson. 
All of these were west of the river, extending from the Sharps- 
burg and Boonesboro turnpike bridge to the Potomac. East 
of the Antietam was Porter and Burnside, the latter at the 
lower stone bridge. Franklin did not arrive on the ground till 
Wednesday forenoon. He came up Pleasant valley, crossed 
the upper bridge, turned in column to the left, moved over the 
fields and took his position partly between Richardson and 
Sumner, his right overlapping Sumner s left. Let me endeavor 
to make the plan by a few lines and figures. 












Pt. 1 otomac. 

* I offenburg house. 

H. Hooker. 

M. Mansfield. 

8. Sumner. I I*. I orter 
F. Fra.iklin. | B. Burnside. 
Rebels. b. Bridges 

11. Richardson. | Sh. Sharpsburg. 

** Wm. Roulet s house. 


" The straight line in the centre of the diagram is the Sharps- 
burg and Hagerstown pike; the dotted line, the Antietam 

" Of course, this is but approximately accurate, as nearly 
accurate as can be made by straight lines, which must be used in 
print. I have shown Franklin at right angles with Sumner, 
and the rebels also at right angles, but an angle of forty-five 
degrees would more nearly represent -it. You are to imagine 
an elevation in front of Sumner s left, crowned by the grove 
before mentioned. It was high land, owned by William Rou- 
let. It was a pivot on which the varying fortunes of the day 
turned and trembled like the mariner s compass in a tornado. 
The right and the left wavered, swung backward and forward, 
but the centre was stationary. Mr. Koulet s house is in a 
ravine, three-fourths of a mile northeast of Sharpsburg. A 
road runs up the ravine toward the turnpike, northwest ; be 
yond it, is a large cornfield. Between Franklin and Richard 
son, and between the rebels in front of Richardson, three- 
fourths of a mile, is an unobstructed sweep of ground. The 
distance between Sumner and the rebels in front of him is not 
more than a third of a mile. Sumner is in a western border 
of a grove, the rebels in an eastern the rebels on ground fifty 
to seventy-five feet highest. In front of Mansfield is a grove. 
In front of Hooker, the mown land, the cornfield, and the 
wood-crowned ridge beyond, already mentioned, occupied by 
the rebels. The batteries in front of Richardson are fifty feet 
above him, on the highest land in the vicinity, and were turned, 
at times, upon Sumner, Franklin, Richardson, Porter, and 
Burnside. The rebel batteries at Sharpsburg played upon 
Richardson, Porter and Burnside. Burnside also had a heavy 
rebel battery in front and on his flank. 

" It will be seen that the lines were near together in the 

centre, opposite Sumner, but more widely separated on the 

flanks. The centre was the rebel stronghold. Hooker took 

the extreme right, having Doubleday s Rickett s and Meade s 



divisions. He did not know that the enemy were in full force. 
Jackson, when last heard from, was at Harper s Ferry, with 
only Longstreet s, A. P. Hill s and Ewell s corps, in the vicinity 
of Sharpsburg. I do not think our generals comprehended that 
Lee had chosen the locality for a great battle till the batteries 
began to play on Tuesday afternoon."] 

To describe, in detail, all the movements of the day, would 
weary rather than edify. In the centre, on the right wing and 
on the left, the contest fiercely raged. Sumner, Hooker, Mans 
field, Doubleday, Sedgwick, Meade, Richardson, Howard, 
French, Pleasanton, Rickett, Slocum, and other generals, 
spared no energy and shunned no exposure. The hundreds of 
subordinate officers, and the thousands of privates comprising 
the army, whose services will be honored when their names 
cease to be mentioned, were inspired by the occasion to deeds 
of martial daring. The Rhode Island batteries, A, D and G, 
were in the thickest of the fight. The 4th Rhode Island regi 
ment stood up bravely in the face of a murderous fire, and re 
corded ninety-three of its number killed and wounded, among 
the latter, Colonel William H. P. Steere. General Isaac P. 
Rodman, an honored son of the State, was smitten down by a 
shot that proved fatal, as was his Aide, Lieutenant Ives.* To 

* Of General Rodman, a more particular notice is given in the appen 
dix. Lieut. Robert Hale Ives died at Hagerstown, Md., September 27th, 
of the wound received at Antietam. His age was 25 years, 5 months and 
24 days. He was the only son of Robert Hale and Harriet Bowen ( Amory) 
Ives, of Providence. After graduating at Brown University and spending 
some time in Europe, he entered into commercial pursuits in his native 
city. In August, 18t32, he was commissioned as Lieutenant by the Gov 
ernor of Rhode Island, and attached to the staff of Brigadier General Rod 
man, as a Volunteer Aide, he modestly preferring to serve at his own 
charge. He soon afterwards joined his General, who had then just been 
assigned to the command of a division in the corps of General Burnside 
in the army of the Potomac. The army was already moving into Mary 
land, to repel the invasion of the rebels, and Lieutenant Ives found him 
self at once engaged in the most arduous service. He speedily displayed 


the commander-in-chief, who visited every part of the field in 
person, it was an anxious day ; but not more so than to the 
gallant commander on the left wing, to whom was assigned the 
hard duty of forcing the bridge across the Antietam, and in 
the face of a deadly artillery fire, with insufficient numbers, to 
take and hold a position on the heights beyond. The quick 
eye of the rebel chief saw the importance of regaining that po 
sition, and massed a heavy force to fall upon his exhausted 
divisions, and sweep them into the stream they had passed. 
What consequences then hung upon the hour ! What interests 
imperilled ! Of what value a fresh brigade, at that critical 
moment, to renew the strength then waning. But it did not 

When Marshal Ney, at the battle of Waterloo, his command 
exhausted, and weakened by loss, sent to Napoleon for a rein 
forcement of infantry, the Emperor, who had none to spare, 
exclaimed, " Infantry ! where does he expect me to take them ? 
Does he expect me to make them ?" and the Marshal main 
tained his fight without them. The parallel of this military 
incident was found at Antietam. Burnside had fought his 
command with the vigor of a Ney. His men had faced the 
foe with veteran coolness. Each volley of the rebels thinned 
his ranks while their own were augmented by fresh supports. 

the qualities requisite for an efficient staff officer. He was alive to re 
sponsibility, exact and persistent in the discharge of duty, cool in danger 
and courteous in manner, and he speedily won the confidence and esteem 
of those with whom he served. On the fatal 17th, Lieutenant Ives was, 
throughout the day, near the person of his General, save when sent to ex 
ecute orders at a distance. At about four o clock in the afternoon, when 
the battle was nearly ended, General Rodman, at the head of one of his 
brigades, charged upon a battery of the enemy which had given special 
annoyance to our troops. The battery was taken, but both the General 
and his Aide fell, mortally wounded, within a few feet of the guns. He 
survived the battle ten days, bearing his sufferings with great fortitude, 
and yielding up his life in the spirit of a Christian believer, in humble sub 
mission to his Heavenly Father s will. 


Pressed by superior numbers, nerved to the attack by the 
energy of desperation, and with clouded prospects, he sent to 
McClellan for aid. " Give me infantry," was his request ; but 
the answer came back, that not a regiment was available. 
" Tell General Burnside," was added, " that this is the battle 
of the war. He must hold his ground till dark, if possible. 
All I can give him is a battery of artillery. If he cannot hold 
his ground, then fall back and hold the bridge at all hazards. 
If the bridge is lost, all is lost." He obeyed. He fell back to 
his first position after crossing. A night and a day he held it, 
at a terrible cost. The rebel fire was deadly, and by hundreds 
his men bit the dust. But there was no wavering. Volley 
answered volley ; and when the fiery tempest hushed, the ene 
my had been driven back, the bridge secured, and the left wing 
of the army saved. History will record the deed as one of the 
most brilliant achievements of the war.* 

It was the fortune of battery C to be in the reserve, on the 
field, ready for service, but not called into action. Improving 
an opportunity, I went to the top of a high hill, and witnessed 
a portion of the engagement. The battle array, with banners 
flying, bayonets gleaming, and countless hosts moving in every 
direction, was a magnificent spectacle, such as I never expect 
to behold again ; while the steady roar of musketry and the loud 
pealing of four hundred cannon spoke in unmistakable language 
of the determined spirit in which assaults were made and re 
sisted. It was a battle of Titans the ablest generals of both 
sides, leading the flower of the Federal and rebel armies to 

* On the 14th of September, the battle of South Mountain was fought 
under the direction of General Burnside, who held the centre, with the 
troops of Hooker on the right, and of Franklin on the left. The field was 
strongly contested by the rebels, led by Generals Longstrect, D. H. and 
A. P. Hill, Garland and Stuart. They were defeated, with a loss in killed, 
wounded and prisoners, of 4,000 men. General Garland was killed. On 
the Federal side, the loss was 443 killed, 1,806 wounded, and 76 missing- 
total, 2,325. Among the killed, was the brave General Jesse L. Reno, an 
able officer, and greatly endeared to his men. 


almost hand to hand encounter. Before the setting of the sun 
the fate of the nation was to be decided. And when I thought 
of this, you will not wonder that I, at times, held my breath to 
catch, if possible, the first shout that should proclaim a victory 
for freedom, and announce to the anxious millions of our land 
that we had still a constitutional government. The cry came, 
an 1 the country heard it. Henceforth Antietam will be a syn 
onym for indomitable courage and triumph. 

But however magnificent a battle appears to a spectator, 
posted at a safe distance, when over, an inspection of the field 
dissipates the illusion, and the shocking details of carnage speak 
more emphatically, than words can express, of its sanguinary 
fruits. Let us make the rounds. Here are the mangled re 
mains of a noble fellow who held a front rank in the charge. 
A cannon ball carried away the upper part of his head. He 
could never have known what hurt him. There lies one 
pierced by a bullet through the heart. He fell forward, hold 
ing still his musket in the strong grasp of death. These heaps 
of dead bodies tell of the fatal effects of the Federal artillery, 
as it poured upon an advancing column of rebels an enfilading 
fire. This ditch, used as a rifle pit, strown with men sunk in 
sleep that knows no waking, shows with what certain aim the 
enemy sent leaden death among them. Yonder windrow of 
the dead has been hastily collected to fill the long trench which 
will soon be thrown open for their reception. Time presses, 
and no formal rites of sepulture will be observed here. An 
hour hence, course upon course will rest in silence beneath the 
sod, without stone or tablet to tell their names ; and long before 
the field can be searched by anxious friends or loving kindred 
from home, festering mortality will have blended in one indis 
tinguishable mass. 

Near that small, solitary house, shaded by a neighboring 
wood, stands a caisson, and around it the bodies of six confed 
erate artillerymen, as they fell beneath a deadly Federal fire. 
One horse, shot in the traces, mingles his blood with theirs to 


enrich the soil. The group is not easily forgotten. Close by 
yonder fence, a Louisiana regiment was severely pressed. 
These are of its men, as they fell. That one, with raised arm 
and head thrown back, must have died hard. But his pains 
are over. Here lies a manly form. A deadly missile shat 
tered his thigh, and severed the great artery. He must have 
soon sunk to rest from loss of blood, and his fixed expression 
indicates the determined heart that so recently beat within his 
bosom. The poor fellow under this tree, mutilated and welter 
ing in gore, dragged himself out of the line of the enemy s fire, 
and the equally fatal trample of cavalry, as they charged across 
the field, hoping, perhaps, to be taken up and carried to the 
rear. He still breathes, but his eyes are glazed, and his spirit 
will soon be where the cannon s roar is never heard, " and gory 
sabres rise and fall " no more. This barn, now a temporary 
hospital, is crowded with victims of the day. Around, lying 
upon the ground, waiting to receive the surgeon s attention, are 
numerous wounded, imperfectly screened from night chills, rain 
or autumn sun. Their shelter is of the rudest kind. By and 
by, those who survive will fare better. But let no sensitive, 
imaginative one, look upon the sight, lest some " horrid appa 
rition, tall and ghostly, that walks at dead of night," should ever 
after haunt the sleeping hours. Thus the day closer, and night 
shuts the scene, leaving ten thousand men, helpless and bathed 
in blood, to watch the return of light, for removal and the 
dressing of their wounds. Who can imagine the sufferings of 
that night, and the work for surgeons on the morrow ! 

[By official reports, the Federal loss in this battle was 2,010 
killed, 9,416 wounded, and 1,043 missing total, 12,4G9. 
The rebel loss was upwards of 20,000. 15,000 small arms 
were collected on the field. On the Federal side, beside Gen 
eral Rodman, already mentioned, General Mansfield was killed, 
and Generals Hooker, Scdgwick, Dana, Richardson, Hartsuff, 
Duryea, Weber and Meagher, wounded. Of the rebels, Gen- 


erals Branch, Starke, Anderson, Whiting and Colquitt, were 
killed ; and Generals Wright, Ripley, Hayes, Lawton, Ran- 
some and Armistead, wounded. From the time the enemy 
was first encountered in Maryland until driven back into Vir 
ginia, the Federals captured 13 guns, 7 caissons, 9 limbers, 2 
field forges, 39 colors and one signal flag, with no loss of gun 
or flag on their side. The expulsion of the rebel army from 
Maryland was officially recognized by the thanks of the gov 
ernor, " for the distinguished courage, skill and gallantry with 
which that achievement was accomplished." 

On the morning after the battle, General Lee sent in a flag 
of truce, asking a suspension of hostilities for the purpose of 
burying the dead, which was granted until 4 o clock P. M. 
On the part of the rebel commander, this was strategy. The 
living occupied more of his thoughts than the thousands of his 
killed that lay scattered over the field. He was in close quar 
ters. How to escape, was a prime consideration, and the rites 
of sepulture, for his slain, suggested the method. Under cover 
of an armistice, ostensibly for the performance of this sacred 
duty, arrangements were made for retreat. Late in the day, a 
heavy rain set in, which favored the design. All night, the 
rebels were expeditiously moving, and by break of day next 
morning, the entire army, except the rear guard, were once 
more in Virginia. As soon as discovery of the retreat was 
made, troops were put in pursuit, but not in season to seriously 
molest the retiring foe. How many of his dead Lee caused to 
be buried, or how many of his wounded he carried off, is un 
known ; but twenty-five hundred of the former were left on the 
field, to be interred by Federal details, and of the latter, a large 
number were abandoned to Federal humanity. These were 
mostly wounded in the lower limbs.] 



Lee s disappointment Loss of Harper s Ferry Temporary hospitals 
New guns for Battery C Bolivar, Loudon and Maryland Heights 
and Harper s Ferry retaken A better organized Ambulance Corps 
needed Statements of Dr. Bowditch. 

September 27, 1862. ) 

The invasion of Maryland was a bold conception, and had it 
succeeded, would have put us hors du combat for the present, 
at least. That General Lee was encouraged to make it, upon 
representation that an extensive uprising of the people would 
follow his appearing, is not improbable. In Baltimore, Fred 
erick, and in other parts of the State, there were men of high 
social and political positions, who sympathized with rebellion, 
and who would have rejoiced to witness its complete triumph. 
They represented that it was only by the presence of Federal 
force that the people were kept down, and that they were pant 
ing to be delivered from Federal rule. Under these consider 
ations, the rebel chief, on arriving near Frederick, issued a 
proclamation " to the people of Maryland," in which they were 
reminded of " the wrongs and outrages " that had been inflicted 
upon them, and declared his belief that they possessed " a spirit 
too lofty to submit to such a government " as ours. " The 
people of the South," he said, " have long wished to aid you in 
throwing off this foreign yoke, to enable you again to enjoy 
the inalienable rights of freemen, and restore the independence 
and the sovereignty of your State. In obedience to this wish, 
our army has come among you, and is prepared to assist you 
with the power of its arms, in regaining the rights of which 
you have been so unjustly despoiled. This, citizens of Mary 
land, is our mission so far as you are concerned." 

If General Lee relied on the disloyalty of the controlling 


influence of the State, he must have been sorely disappointed. 
The masses did not respond to his call. They did not appre 
ciate the benevolence of his mission. The heart of Maryland 
was loyal, and this experiment of winning it over to Secession 
proved a costly failure. 

A heavy drawback upon the triumph of Antietam, is the 
surrender of Harper s Ferry, on the 15th instant, by which 
more than 11,000 Union troops, with scarcely any resistance, 
were taken from our strength, a gate opened for the escape of 
the rebel army into Virginia, and a temporary paralysis inflict 
ed upon the cooperative movements of Heintzclman and Sigel 
from near Washington.* Viewed from any point, it was a 
disgraceful affair, and involved consequences that should visit 
the responsible parties, if living, with merited severity. 
When the tidings first reached the army here, they were re 
ceived as incredible, so confident were we that the place could 
be held against any force that could be brought against it, at 
least till reinforcements could be thrown forward. Never was 
the spirit of old John Brown so needed there as on that occa 
sion. A tithe of the determination manifested by him when 
his soul commenced " marching on," would have prevented the 
shameful catastrophe, Lee and Jackson, with their army, would 
have been cooped, and rebellion sent to the receptacle for 
things lost on earth. As it is, we must possess our souls in 
patience a mighty hard task repair damages, and finish up 
the work at a later day elsewhere. 

Going over to Frederick on business for the battery, a few 

* By this disaster, 73 pieces of artillery, 11,000 stand of arms, 1,800 
horses, and a vast amount of military stores, fell into the hands of the 
rebels, and more than 30,000 of their men left free to cooperate with Lee s 
army, from which they had been detached. The night before the surren 
der, the Federal cavalry departed, and reached McClellan s lines in safety, 
capturing a rebel ammunition train on the way. Soon after the terms of 
surrender had been agreed upon, Colonel Miles was killed, bj: the explo 
sion of a shell. 



days since, I found that place one vast hospital. Churches, 
hotels, seminaries of learning, private dwellings, and a large 
barrack, used by Gen. Banks, last winter, twenty buildings in 
all, were occupied by upwards of 4,000 sick and wounded. 
On my return, the road was filled with ambulances, employed 
to transport the wounded from various places to that city. 
Yet, with the means at command, their removal has not been 
sufficiently rapid to secure to all the early attention they needed ; 
and such will necessarily be the case after any great battle 
hereafter, until more ample arrangements in the ambulance 
department shall be made. Many of our wounded are in tem 
porary hospitals at Middletown, Keedysville, Boonsboro , and 
in this vicinity. Not far from us are a considerable number of 
wounded rebels, left behind in charge of their own attendants 
and surgeons. Some of the men have lost an arm ; others, a 
leg; and others have been variously wounded by Minie balls. 
One man, I saw, who had lost both legs. This assemblage of 
mutilated human beings was a sorry ,- ight, yet the men ap 
peared cheerful, and certainly devoted to rebellion. I con 
versed with several of them from Georgia, North Carolina, 
Virginia and Louisiana, and they all expressed their belief that 
the south would never be subdued, and rather boastfully ad 
ded, that, with a navy like ours, they would have whipped us 
long ago. They bore their reverses with apparent philosophic 
indifference, yet were not insensible to common civilities. 
When I offere 1 one of them a drink of water, he said our men 
had more sympathy for them than their own ; and then laughed 
and joked as though nothing was the matter. But all this may 
have been a counterfeited glee, covering a sad and disappointed 
spirit. From a prisoner belonging to a Louisiana regiment, I 
received, as a souvenir, a secesh button. The emblem, (the 
pelican and her brood,) aptly illustrates the condition into 
which rebellion has brought the seceded States feeding on 
their own vitality. In return for his civility, I presented him 
a Rhode Island Union button, as a reminder of the folly into 


which he had fallen, and as suggestive of the line of duty when 
he should be exchanged. 

General Porter s corps, which, in the battle of the 17th, 
formed the reserve, has been assigned to the front, and holds 
position about two miles from the river. Last week, Lieut. 
Buckley came up from Washington, with the new pieces, cais 
sons, and several horses, to supply the places of those condemned 
by Col. Webb when we moved to join the army at Antietam, 
putting the battery in good working order. Last Saturday, 
(20th,) it was brought into position on the banks of the Poto 
mac, and Gen. Martindale s brigade crossed the river to feel the 
position of the enemy. He was suddenly pounced upon by a 
heavy column of rebel infantry, and forced to retire. Eight 
or ten batteries opened upon the advancing foe, to protect the 
brigade as it fell back. But, with more spirit than prudence, 
they came rushing on, and were cut down fearfully by our artil 
lery. In this affair, battery C expended about five hundred 
rounds of case shot and shell. Capt. Waterman, while on the top 
of a hill near by, received a shot through a leg of his pantaloons, 
but, providentially, was not injured. Early the same forenoon, 
Griffin s brigade captured three pieces of artillery, one a Parrott 
gun, said to be the same lost by him at the battle of Bull Run last 
year. On the 21st, our battery fired at intervals all day, with 
what effect is unknown, the rebels keeping wide as possible of 
our range. An occasional occupation of our own and the rebel 
sharpshooters has been to pop at each other across the river, 
an amusement that tyros in war would scarcely crave, but 
which those inured to peril are ready to seek. 

Sharpsburg, in advance of which we now are, was, not long 
since, a neat village of 1,500 inhabitants, but, at present, wears 
a dirty, dilapidated aspect. Scarcely a house or barn has es 
caped the effects of shells and musketry. Here a dwelling has 
been pierced by a 12-pounder Parrott; there a chimney-top 
unceremoniously knocked into the street ; and yonder a stable, 
consumed with its equine victims a destruction anticipating 


the waste of all-devouring years. Such is war. London 
Heights, Bolivar Heights, Maryland Heights and Harper s 
Ferry are again in our possession.* The bridge destroyed is 
fast rebuilding. A pontoon bridge across the Potomac is in 
rapid process of construction, and divers other things are in 
contemplation. We hear of masked batteries on the other side 
of the river, of rebels concentrating at Winchester and Martins- 
burg, and hanging round favorable points below us, watching 
opportunities to dash into Maryland again, and, by some bril 
liant operations, recover the reputation lost upon her soil. All 
this may or may not be true. In due time we shall know. 
Both in Pope s campaign and in the present, the battery horses 
have suffered severely from overwork and the want of sufficient 
food. After the battle of Manassas, three dropped dead from, 
exhaustion, having been without grain for five days. From 
the 30th August to 15th September, fifteen died, or were 
abandoned dying on the road, from the causes here stated. 

In a preceding letter, the importance of an ample ambulance 
corps, trained to the service of removing the wounded from the 
field during a battle, was incidentally mentioned. Observation 
since has confirmed the view then briefly stated. In all the 
principal battles fought since the rebellion begun, the wounded 
have been largely disproportionate to the killed. Thus far in 
the war, it has appeared to be the policy of the rebels in battle 
to wound quite as much as to kill. Beaurcgard, at the first, 
and other rebel generals after him, instructed their men to fire 
low, as every severely wounded man would require the services 
of two other men to remove him from the front, thus weaken 
ing, in that proportion, the fighting power of the opposing forces. 
A body of men, employed exclusively for this purpose, would 

* Tho rebels evacuated Harper s Ferry, September 20th. While in their 
hands, they destroyed the railroad and pontoon bridges across the Poto 
mac, together with much other property. Soon after, General Sumner 
occupied Bolivar Heights, General Williams, the Maryland Heights, and 
General Geary, Lou-Jon Heights. 


prevent any such result, besides obviating the confusion incident 
to considerable numbers breaking ranks. A properly organ 
ized ambulance body attached to each regiment, brigade or 
division, would insure the security of the wounded from what 
is so much dreaded, and frequently happens in the haste and 
confusion of falling back, being left on the field of battle, to 
fall into the hands of the rebels. Men shrink from this, who 
would bravely meet death at the cannon s mouth. 

Not only should the supply of ambulances be sufficient for 
every conceivable exigency, but they should be constructed 
with special reference to the comfort of the wounded with 
springs so arranged as to prevent, as far as possible, all painful 
jar. And above all, the drivers should be men of humanity. 
For the want of a system, on a scale such as here suggested, 
an untold amount of needless suffering has been caused. 

[The character of that suffering, the following statements of 
Dr. Henry I. Bowditch, an eye witness, made before the Bos 
ton Society for Medical Improvement, will perhaps best illus 

" As an illustration of, and in addition to what has been al 
ready published by others, as well as by myself, I beg leave 
to state that Lieut. Bowditch, having been mortally wounded, 
in the first charge made after leaving Kelly s Ford, lay helpless 
on the ground, for some time, by the side of his dead horse. 
Two surgeons saw him, but they evidently had no means for 
carrying off the wounded officer, and it is believed no one con 
nected with an Ambulance Corps ever approached him there.* 

" A stranger horseman, probably from the Rhode Island 
forces, finally assisted him to get into a saddle ; and he rode 

* " Three days after the fight, I heard several staff officers, one of 
whom, certainly, was a surgeon, talk, not as if they approved of the fact, 
but as if it were a matter of course, saying that they thought a flag of 
tru> e ought to be sent over the river, to see to our wounded, many of 
whom were then, as they believed, still lying on the field! " 



off, leaning over the neck of the animal, a terrible mode of 
proceeding, considering his severe wound in the abdomen. All 
this happened when he was in the rear of our victorious army, 
or, in other words, at just the place and time at which a 
thorough Ambulance Corps should have been busily at work, 
seeking out, and relieving, with every means a great government 
should have had at its disposal, the wretched and, perhaps, dy 
ing sufferers. 

" After Lieut. Bowditch arrived at the ambulance carriage, 
there was no water to be found in the casks, connected with it, 
although, by law, there should have been. The driver was 
wholly ignorant of the names of those whom he was carrying. 
He actually, and in answer to a direct question from Colonel 
Curtis, denied that Lieut. Bowditch was one of them. He did 
not get any water for the Lieutenant and his still more suffer 
ing comrade, although both longed and asked for it! A 
wretched and dying Sergeant begged much for it, and in vain ! 
Had it not been for the kindness of Col. Curtis, who, after much 
difficulty, found out where my son was, no water would prob 
ably have been procured for either of the parched sufferers. 
As it was, it arrived at last, too late for the Sergeant, who was 
so much exhausted as to be unable to avail himself of the cup, 
finally proffered him by his wounded comrade."* 

Again : 

" On the evening of Friday, September 5th, at the request of 
the surgeon-general, I joined an ambulance train that was just 
starting to go to the relief of our starving and wounded men 
near Centreville. There was a train of fifty carriages. I sub 
sequently learned that three of the drivers, afraid of entering 
the enemy s lines, escaped with their ambulance wagons before 
we reached Long Bridge. This was easily accomplished, as 
there was no escort ; and, as it subsequently appeared, no power 

* "A brief plea for. an Ambulance System, for the Army of the United 


to prevent such an event. It is true that an army-surgeon 
accompanied and gave general directions to the train, but he was 
in the first wagon, and could not know what was doing towards 
the end of the long train. I soon perceived that the drivers 
were men of the lowest character, evidently taken from the 
vilest purlieus of Washington, merely as common drivers, and 
for no other qualification. Their oaths were flaunted forth 
without the least regard to the presence of superiors, and 
with a profusion that was really remarkable, even in the vicinity 
of Washington. The driver of my ambulance became sleepy 
as the night wore on, and as his zigzag course over a Virginia 
road was rather perilous, and as he informed me that he had 
been overturned a few weeks previously, I thought it more 
prudent to drive nfyself, rather than to allow him to do so. 
While the moon was up, this was comparatively easy. He 
accordingly slept inside of the carriage until 3 or 4 A. M. ; he 
then reluctantly again took the reins, because I was unwilling, 
owing to the darkness, to drive further. His whole deport 
ment, during the night, showed a disregard for everything save 
his own comfort. 

" About mid-day we arrived, and found our men in a most 
piteous condition, lying everywhere, inside and outside of every 
building connected with a small farm-house. The negro-quar 
ters was a palace, the manure-heap was a soft bed. The 
fairest place was under a wide-spreading tree. I found the 
drivers did not feel it to be their duty to help the sufferers, but 
sulked, or swore, or laughed, as it pleased each. On the fol 
lowing morning, it is true, I did persuade my own driver to 
bring to me water, as I was dressing the wounds of the soldiers ; 
but it was difficult even to get that, and he aided me because I 
asked him to do so, and not because he had any heart in the 

" On Saturday, P. M., we started for Washington, all 
the sick having been arranged in different ambulances, under 
charge of various surgeons. That night I shall never forget. 


I had taken one of those most severely wounded under my own 
special charge. The ball had passed into his chest, and caused 
intense difficulty of breathing. He was a German, and one of 
the most uncomplaining of sufferers ; and his broken words of 
gratitude for the slightest token of kindness, were most touch 
ing. None but a brute could have failed to be kind to him. 
He could lie only on one side, and consequently his head was 
placed directly behind my driver. During the first part of the 
way, I did not think that the driver paid the least attention to 
the road with reference to the comfort of the patient. In early 
night, his tongue ran glibly on in loud, indifferent talk, or the 
vilest profanity, thus preventing all sleep. As the night 
progressed, I was distressed to find that the whiskey, with 
which he probably had supplied himself, was having its usual 
soporific effect, and he fell back upon the panting form of my 
patient. I lifted him up, and told him I could not allow such 
treatment of the sick man. The only response I got was a 
muttered oath of men complaining, &c. But it was all in 
vain. Again and again did he fall back, until at last I took 
the reins, and drove most of the night with one kand, while 
with the other I supported this snoring drunkard ! " 

"With deep feeling, naturally intensified by what he had seen, 
and the knowledge of facts gained by inquiry, Dr. Bowditch 
says : " The people are willing their sons should dedicate their 
young, heroic lives to this Holy War, this blossoming-out of 
centuries. We have, even in our bereavement at their death, 
a certain triumphant joy, if they, as the instruments of High 
Heaven, be accounted worthy to be martyrs in so sacred a 
cause. But we have a right to demand that they shall not be 
needlessly tortured, or thrown aside, like their own wounded 
steeds, to die perhaps by the wayside, for want of proper care: ] 

It may be that the war has attained proportions unthought 
of at its commencement, and for which reason the provision in 
this department has been less ample than it otherwise would 


have been. At all events, in every great battle thus far, the 
deficiency has been painfully apparent. But this should no 
longer be. Except in extraordinary cases, for which it may 
be impossible to provide, the wounded should all be brought 
off, and spared the anguish of lying uncared for on the field? 
one, two, and even three days, before receiving surgical atten 
tion. The discussion might be largely amplified, and its impor 
tance illustrated by facts of the current year ; but it may be 
enough to say that the humanity for which our government has 
been distinguished demands that something of this sort should 
be done. In the varied service of the army, a body of men 
such as indicated could be advantageously employed, when not 
on the field, in duties for which men are often detailed from the 


Reflections Artillery practice President s visit Harper s Ferry 
Tokens from home Stuart s raid Sharpsburg Army in motion. 

October 14, 1862. } 

A year since, the army of the Potomac, stretching some 
twenty miles, from Fort Lyon, on the left, to beyond Langley s, 
on the right, was passing through a series of brigade and divi- 

* Since the date of this letter, attention has been widely drawn to this 
subject. In the ambulance department, improvements hare taken place, 
but leaving a wide margin for the perfection shown in the French system, 
and which the cry of the wounded from every battle-field demands. In 
the National House of Representatives, last winter, a bill providing for 
organizing an Ambulance Corps was passed. It reached the Senate, and 
there rested . The subject is doubtless environed with difficulties, but they 
are not insurmountable. 


sion reviews, which culminated in a grand display of seventy- 
five thousand troops at Bailey s Cross Roads. It is safe to say, 
that such a body of men, with such physique and morale, had 
never before been seen in warlike array, in this or any other 
country. They were the cream of the patriotism of the day, 
and affected less by mercenary considerations than is commonly 
the lot of human nature. They were there to fight, not for sec 
tional ends, but for the perpetuity of a government and consti 
tution under which a feeble people had risen to a foremost rank 
among nations. Rebellion was then strong stronger than even 
the most credulous imagined. Its backbone had not, as many 
supposed, been broken. It had powerful friends in the capital 
of the country, and, by some mysterious process, government 
plans were gained possession of and made known to the rebel 
leaders almost as early as they were communicated to our own 
commanders. The magnitude of the work to be done and the 
embarrassments that environed it, were not then comprehended 
as they are now, and for this reason, possibly, public expecta 
tion became unduly large. But be this as it may, the men of 
the army were inspired by a noble spirit, and felt equal to the 
service to which they were called. They were animated, too, 
by the hope of speedy results. " "We want to do this work up 
quick and go home," was the frequent remark of our brave 
neighbors at Miner s Hill, the Michigan 4th, and this expressed 
the common feeling along the entire line a feeling that has 
not yet died out. If the hopes of the army and the people 
have not yet been realized, it is owing to occurrences, some of 
which, it may be, were not anticipated, and could not seasona 
bly be provided for. The army has certainly fought hard 
enough, and endured enough, to deserve not only the successes 
it has achieved, but the crowning triumphs which are to make 
its glorious future. 

Since covering the retreat of Gen. Martindale s brigade 
across the Potomac, mentioned in my letter of the 27th ultimo, 
nothing material has occurred until last Tuesday, when a body 


of about two hundred rebel cavalry approached the river on 
the other side, a mile below Shepherdstown, to relieve guard. 
So tempting an opportunity for artillery practice could not be 
allowed to pass unimproved. Accordingly, Lieut. Sackett 
opened his section upon them, and a few well-directed shots 
caused a speedy retreat to the village above. Shepherdstown is 
about three-quarters of a mile from where we are on picket, 
and has been filled with the rebel wounded. It is a place of 
fifteen or sixteen hundred inhabitants, and before the rebellion 
broke out, carried on considerable trade. The bridge connect 
ing it with the Maryland shore has been destroyed, nothing 
remaining but the abutments and two or three piers. 

For two weeks, firing has been daily heard in various direc 
tions, some of it quite heavy, indicating skirmishes with the 
rebels, but more of it merely artillery and infantry practice. 

The late visit of President Lincoln to the head-quarters of 
Gen. McClellan proved a gala occasion to the army, which was 
reviewed by him. Its general appearance is understood to have 
been satisfactory. What movements are to follow this visit 
will be made known in due time. In the meanwhile, the army 
will exercise the virtue which it is said the President recently 
recommended to a gentleman seeking a solution of our quiet 
problem patience. 

At Harper s Ferry, a good deal of activity is manifested in 
the way of strengthening its defences. Report says it is to be 
made the Gibraltar of the Potomac, and not to be used again 
by the rebels as a free passage to and from Maryland. Within 
the camp lines of the army, the regulation in regard to strag 
gling is, at present, more stringently applied. No one is allowed 
to leave camp without a pass from head-quarters, and any one 
taken who cannot produce that necessary document is imme 
diately sent to Harper s Ferry to work on the fortifications 
there. Under this rule, several officers have had an opportu 
nity to practice the pick and spade manual. 

The Quartermaster Sergeant, on his return from Washing- 


ton a few days ago, brought to camp numerous boxes, among 
them one provided by thoughtful hearts, and packed by skillful 
hands, that has been seventy-two days on its winding way. Of 
course, the perishable articles had become foregone conclusions, 
and though summer gear, looked for and needed last July, with 
the thermometer at 100 in the shade, was a little out of sea 
son, other matters saved under seal were adapted to quicken 
the appetite of even dispeptics who quarrel with minced pies, 
and disparage their best and dearest friend, plum-porridge, to 
say nothing of fat pig and goose. After this, who will despair 
of the Express that puts things through in four days, or a week 
at most, or the safety of government storehouses, where, Mr. 
Olmstead of the Sanitary Commission assures us, many hun 
dred tons of presents prepared by loving sisters and fond mo 
thers, for brothers and sons in the army, are now piled use 
lessly away. It is good to have faith in men and institutions, 
for " faith evermore looks upwards and descries objects remote," 
as far off, at least, as Washington or Fortress Monroe. 

Could the commission aid in forwarding those many hundred 
tons to the army, they would add another to the many valuable 
services they have already rendered, and ensure the perpetual 
gratitude of their recipients. Many of the boxes and packages 
contain wearing apparel sent by friends, to supply loss incurred 
in battle, and which is quite as much needed now as then. 
There need be no apprehension that the men will jus f now be 
burdened with an excessive amount of clothing, as an inspec 
tion of some of the regiments will clearly prove. Soldiers who 
have not had a change of under garments since they left the 
Peninsula, in August last, and who are obliged to appear on 
parade in nether integuments minus one leg, and even worse, 
run little risk of being broken down by the weight of knap 
sacks, on the first long continued hard march. At all events, 
while the army is in camp, and all is quiet along the Potomac, 
let the many hundred tons now piled uselessly in storehouses 
and yards, and upon old camp grounds, be sent along, and the 


boys will take the responsibility of consequences. The bene 
ficial effects of these tokens of the affectionate interest of their 
friends, will a hundred fold compensate the cost and trouble of 

The late battle at Antietam is still a topic of conversation in 
camp, and speculations are free as to what could or could not 
have been done. Among other statements made concerning 
the rebels, it is said they were short of ammunition, and that 
they could not have held out with artillery more than an hour 
longer. Their ammunition train did not arrive till 4 o clock or 
later, and then could hardly reach them, the roads were so 
blocked with ambulances and wagons. Stuart s raid into Penn 
sylvania, on the 10th inst., and escape back into Virginia, after 
making the circuit of our army, capturing 1,000 or 1,200 horses 
and a large amount of other property, has occasioned many 
witticisms, and not a few expressions unauthorized by the deca 
logue. As an equestrian feat, it surpasses in boldness and 
success any event of its character on record. The rapidity 
with which he was followed by Gen. Pleasanton, who made a 
march of seventy-eight miles in twenty-four hours, without 
change of horses or rest, is proof that, with a body of cavalry 
such as might be selected from the force in the field, the rebels 
could easily be matched in this kind of warfare. On the morn 
ing of the 12th, Pleasanton s advanced guard met Stuart s, dis 
guised in Union uniform, who, before their character was dis 
covered, opened an artillery fire. The latter had only two 
pieces with him, with which to reply, the rest of the battery 
being unable to keep up on account of the exhausted condition 
of the horses. Subsequently, they arrived, and the rebels re 
treated. They crossed the river into Virginia at White s Ford. 
Pleasanton sent a regiment of cavalry and some infantry down 
the tow path to intercept their crossing, and used every exer 
tion to get his guard of artillery to follow them ; but the horses 
could not pull up the hill, and he was obliged to employ men, 
which caused delay. He held the rebels in check for two 


hours, but the delay gave them time for a successful " skedad 
dle." In this raid, Stuart had the advantage of Pleasanton in 
two particulars, viz., the start, and in the relays of fresh horses 
seized on his course. To this last fact, he mainly owes his es 
cape. Under the circumstances, Pleasanton made the best 

Sharpsburg, in front of which is the head-quarters of our 
battery, is about sixteen miles south from ELigerstown, ten or 
twelve west of Middle town, from which it is separated by South 
Mountain, eleven north of Harper s Ferry, and about three 
from the ferry on the Potomac at Shepherdstown. The loca 
tion is generally healthy, the only diseases to excite fear being 
bilious fever and fever and ague. Very few are on the sick 
list, and Dr. Schell, the battery surgeon, reports that the gen 
eral health of the men is better here than it had ever been 

[From the battle of Antietam until the latter part of October, 
the army lay stretched some thirty miles along the Potomac, 
guarding the numerous fords. But this time was not spent 
wholly in inaction. A number of reconnoissances were made 
to the enemy s lines, to gain knowledge of his movements and 
position. Several conflicts also occurred in the neighborhood 
of Martinsburg, Charlestown, John s Run, Snickersville, 
Hedgesville and other places, resulting in rebel defeats, and 
the capture of prisoners and army supplies. As September 
drew to a close, General McClellan considered his army " not 
in a condition to undertake another campaign, nor to bring on 
another battle unless great advantages were offered by some 
mistake of the enemy, or pressing military exigencies rendered 
it necessary ;" and this owing to the absence of officers, the 
reduced condition of many of the old regiments, and the in 
struction needed by the new. Several weeks later, he repre 
sented that the army was not in situation to move, on account 
of deficiency of clothing and shoes. It was shown at the 


Quartermaster General s department that a sufficient supply 
had been issued ; but, as up to the 18th October, it had not been 
received at the army depots, it must have been delayed some 
where on the way. But the country and the government were 
impatient of further delay, *and on the 6th October, the Presi 
dent directed General McClellan to " cross the Potomac and 
give battle to the enemy, or drive him south." 

By correspondence published in the report of the Committee 
on the Conduct of the War, it appears to have been the pur 
pose of the commanding general, " after a full consultation with 
the corps commanders " in his vicinity, " to adopt the line of 
the Shenandoah for immediate operations against the enemy 
now [then] at Winchester," though he did " not regard the line 
of the Shenandoah valley important for ulterior objects." 
" The objects I propose to myself," he says, " are to light the 
enemy if they remain near Winchester, or, failing in that, to 
force them to abandon the valley of the Shenandoah, there to 
adopt a new and decisive line of operations which shall strike 
at the heart of the rebellion." It was the desire of the PresL 
dent, however, though he did not so order, that the army should 
" cross the Potomac below instead of above the Shenandoah and 
Blue Ridge." " Recurring to the idea of going to Richmond on 
the inside track, the facility of supplying from the side way from 
the enemy," he considered remarkable. " I should think it 
preferable," he added, " to take the route nearest the enemy, 
disabling him to make an important move without your knowl 
edge, and compelling him to keep his forces together for dread 
of you. The gaps would enable you to attack if you should 
wish. For a great part of the way, you would be practically 
between the enemy and both Washington and Richmond, en 
abling us to spare you the greatest number of troops from here." 
On the 22d October, General McClellan informed General 
Halleck, that, after full consultation, he had " decided to move 
upon the line indicated by the President," and had accordingly 
" taken steps to execute the movement." 


On the 26th October, the crossing of the army into Virginia 
was commenced. The dispositions made for defending the 
extended line in the rear, were as follows : ten thousand men 
to be left at Harper s Ferry ; a brigade of infantry in front of 
Sharpsburg ; a brigade at Williamsport ; another at Cumber 
land and between that point and Hancock. Four small cav 
alry regiments were also left to patrol and watch the river and 
the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad from Cumberland down to 
Harper s Ferry.] 


Group of incidents March of Battery C John Brown Colonel 
Miles Snickersville General McOlellan relieved of his command 
Farewell order General Burnside succeeds him His order on 
taking command Letter of Governor Sprague. 


November 10, 1862. 

Since my letter of the 14th ultimo, the telegrams have kept 
you hourly advised of what has been going on along the Poto 
mac. They have told you how the rebels again crossed the 
river at Hancock, disturbing the Sabbath quiet of the good 
people of Hagerstown, by apprehension of a second raid ; how 
two brigades of Gen. Couch s division, including the 2d Rhode 
Island regiment, moved from near Williamsport, up the river 
to Clear Spring, a position held by Gen. Howe s brigade since 
Stuart s celebrated equestrian feat ; how several brigades of 
Gen. Smith s division had taken their departure from the 
neighborhood of Hagerstown, which, with other movements, 
indicated something in the wind ; and besides nameless similar 
incidents, how the President, on his late visit to the army, 


drank Union cider with an old farmer, at the Mountain House. 
Do not smile at this potation, and call it folly. Remember, it 
was not John Barleycorn s decoction that inspires scorn of 
dangers, nor brandy, " spring of tumult, source of strife," but 
juice of the apple, sweet from the press, awakening recollec 
tions of boyish delights with straw and noggin, and bringing 
up visions of mince pies and thanksgiving. If hard cider ac 
complished a mighty revolution in 1840, what may not be 
hoped from the sweets extracted from the " apple of discord " 
in 1862? A governor of Rhode Island understood human 
nature, when he solicited a quid of tobacco from a constituent. 
The President was no less discerning. There was wisdom in 
that " stirrup cup," and henceforth the old farmer and his pos 
terity may be counted in with those who go for the union of 
the States, " one and indivisible, now and forever ! " 

The weather, during the month of October, was generally 
pleasant, and, for military operations, more favorable than 
September. While detachments, regiments and batteries were 
occupied on picket, or making reconnoissances, w r ith now and 
then an interchange of leaden civilities with the secesh, our 
army was slowly moving its huge proportions towards the sa 
cred soil from which it had so recently retired. At Sharps- 
burg, the monotony of camp life was diversified by picket ser 
vice, team and mounted inspections, and such other duties as 
pertained to a battery. In the meantime, the military authori 
ties seized a Rev. Mr. Douglass, residing near the river, who 
proved to be a traitor, and sent him to Harper s Ferry, to an 
swer for having communicated with the rebels, at Shepherds- 

For ten or twelve cays previous to the close of the month, 
orders were several times issued to Porter s corps, and as often 
countermanded, to prepare to move. On the night of the 27th, 
two days rations were cooked for the battery, expecting to be 
off the next morning. Morning came, but we did not move. 
The 28th and 29th found us still lingering ; but on the 30th, the 


order " forward," so welcome to all, was heard, and eagerly 
obeyed. At 6 o clock P. M., we broke camp, and turned from 
the fields that had but lately been scenes of bloody strife. 
There was something touching in the memories of the hour, 
and as we moved along, the winds, in sympathy, sweeping 
through the trees, sighed out the requiem of the sleeping he 
roes of Antietam, and the falling leaves, like tears of nature, 
dropped upon their honored graves. We marched all night, 
over the roughest road I have yet seen in our campaigning, 
now climbing sharp ascents, and anon diving down steep de 
clivities. At 3 o clock the next morning, we halted and made 
camp about two and a half miles from Harper s Ferry. At 10 
o clock, we broke camp again, and crossed the Potomac at the 
Ferry, halting only long enough to partake of slight refresh 
ments. Pursuing our way, we crossed the Shenandoah on 
pontoon bridges, and about three miles beyond, encamped once 
more in Virginia. Harper s Ferry is too well known to require 
description. Nestled at the base of a high hill, and surrounded 1 
by scenery of the most picturesque character, it was, three 
years ago, a place of unusual charms. But now the village 
everywhere gives evidence of the desolating effects of war. 
The seizure of the arsenal by John Brown and his eighteen 
il merrie men," in 1850, and subsequent occurrences resulting 
from their doings, has given to -the place a permanent historic 
character ; and though the body of the bold leader " lies mould 
ering in the ground," the historian, in corning ages, will trace 
the progress of his spirit, as it kept step with the march of years 
along the highway of human freedom. 

Although Brown organized a provisional government, with 
its legislative, executive, judicial and military departments, and 
took possession of the United States Armory, to aid in carrying 
out his purposes, it is a singular fact, that Mason and Jefferson 
Davis, of the investigating committee, were careful to denomi 
nate this invasion of Virginia and attempt at insurrection as 
simply the act of lawless ruffians, and, if my memory serves me 


correctly, declined suggesting any legislation that might pre 
vent like occurrences in future. Did they not then contem 
plate that future as near, when they were to throw themselves 
into the lead of a rebellion on a national scale, and for that rea 
son, refrained from giving a character to Brown s conduct that 
would condemn their own ? The coolness, not to say indiffer 
ence, with which they treated the subject, inclines one to the 
belief that they were influenced by this consideration. 

From the commencement of the rebellion, Harper s Ferry 
has been an important military position. It was unfortunate 
for our campaign in Maryland, that this post was left in charge 
of Col. Miles. His surrender lost us the best fruits of the bat 
tle of Antietam. Whatever plausibility or truth there may 
be and I do not pretend to judge in the criticisms upon 
events subsequent to that battle, had Col. Miles maintained his 
ground, the strength of the rebel army would have been ours, 
and rebellion have received its death-blow. And all this is the 
more aggravating from the fact that Gen. Wool says that had 
Col. Miles obeyed his orders, he could have held the place 
against any force the rebels would have had it in their power, 
at that time, to bring against him. What motives influenced 
Col. M. to adopt the course he pursued, it is impossible now to 
say. He was reputed an able officer, and his friends claim for 
him devotion to the Union. Whether the infirmity imputed to 
him at Bull Run incapacitated him here, or whether he was 
affected by other causes, the committee of investigation may be 
able to decide. 

The day we passed through Harper s Ferry was hot, and a 
day of rest at our camp, on the east side of the Shenandoah, 
was agreeable alike to men and horses. On the 2d instant, 
the battery was in motion at 7| o clock A. M., and continuing 
our march up the river, we arrived at Snickers ville at 5 o clock 
P. M., and went into camp. On our way, heavy firing was 
heard in front. It proved to be by Gen. Sumner s corps, which 
arrived at Snickersville just in season to drive back the rebels, 


who were then coming through Snicker s Gap. The village, a 
smart little place, is situated directly opposite the Gap. It 
communicates by turnpike with Winchester, some twenty -three 
miles northwest, where the rebels are reported to be in con 
siderable force, and Leesburg, eleven or twelve miles east. 
Thirteen miles southeast is Aldie, on the direct route to Alex 
andria, through Pleasant Valley and Fairfax Court House. 
Thirty miles southwest is Front Royal, commanding the rail 
road through Manassas Gap. All these places have obtained 
considerable notoriety since the rebellion begun, and several of 
them possess military imporfance. Winchester, like Martins- 
burg, is a convenient position for the rebels, either as a base 
for raids, or for the concentration of forces for heavier work. 
They can approach Harper s Ferry by way of the Winchester 
and Potomac Railroad, or dashing through the Gap by way of 
Berry ville, range between the Blue Ridge and the Shenandoah, 
with fair prospect of escape if pursued by our troops. The 
present disposition of forces left behind will probably keep them 
from doing any essential mischief 

From whom or what Snickersville derived its not very eu 
phonious name. I am not apprised. It may have been from 
an old inhabitant, addicted to laughing in his sleeve at human 
credulity, or a company of settlers habituated to cachinate "with 
small audible catches of void. 1 ," at the discomforting experience 
of every new comer. Be that as it may, the modern Snicker- 
villians do not differ essentially from the dwellers in other 
villages through which we passed. * Had inquisition been made, 
we should probably have found, as at Sharpsburg, a fair per 
cent, of Union feeling, with a smart sprinkling of secesh pro 
clivities. Immediately on our arrival, our battery was put in 
position, together with all others in this division, to command 
the Gap, and had the rebels shown themselves, the " snicker " 
would have been on our side and not theirs. After their ex 
perience with Gen. Sumner, they prudently declined making 
our acquaintance, and having held our position till Wednesday 


last, (5th,) we again took np our line of march. Continuing 
our course through Middleburg, we arrived, without noticeable 
incidents, near Warrenton, on the morning of the 8th, and 
went into camp. Yesterday, we moved forward two and a half 
miles, where we now are. The weather, on the march, has 
been variable, but mostly cold. Last Friday, snow fell all day. 
Yesterday threatened rain. To-day is pleasant. 

Warrenton is about fifty miles from Gordonsville, where it 
is supposed the rebels have a large force, and design to make 
a stand should they be attacked. Jt is also some thirty-eight 
miles from Fredericksburg, which may soon become a base of 
supplies for our army. It is situated in the rnidst of a fine 
agricultural country, and, before our present troubles, did a 
flourishing business. But a small number of the sick and 
wounded in the rebel hospital have recovered. Our front ex 
tends some distance beyond Warrenton, and Burnside s forces 
rest on Waterloo. The concentration of troops, at this place, 
indicates some active operation at an early day. How long we 
shall remain here is uncertain, but probably not many days. 

The most -exciting event of the week has been the retirement 
of Gen. McClellan from the command of the army of the Po 
tomac. The rank and file, who have shared with him the toils 
and dangers of the Peninsula, and were enthusiastic in their 
devotion, were taken by surprise, and were deeply moved when 
the tidings spread from camp to camp. Yet, to their honor, 
and to the praise of their patriotism and discipline, they quietly 
acquiesced in this military necessity. 

The following Farewell Order of the General, brief and 
affectionate, was read to the army of the Potomac at dress 
parade : 

Camp near Rectortown, Va., November 7, 1862. ) 


An order of the President devolves upon Major General Burnside 
the command of this aimy. In parting from you, I cannot express 


the love and gratitude I bear to you. As an army, you have grown 
up under my care. In you I have never found doubt nor coldness. 
The battles you have fought under my command will probably live 
in our nation s history. The glory youh ave achieved ; our marches, 
perils and fatigues ; the graves of our comrades fallen in battle and 
by disease ; the broken forms of those whom wounds and sickness 
have disabled ; the strongest associations which exist among men, 
unite us still by an indissoluble tie. We shall ever be comrades in 
supporting the Constitution of our country, and the nationality of its 


%Iajor General United States Army. 

This forenoon, the General took personal leave of the army. 
As he rode through the double lines of his veterans, music 
swelled upon the air, colors were dipped, cannon boomed their 
deep-toned farewell, and cheers, like the voice of many waters, 
burst from every lip, as spontaneous heart expressions. Gen. 
Burnside, who arrived here with Gen. McClellan, day before 
yesterday, bore himself grandly on this trying occasion, and 
paid every attention to his old friend and companion in arms, 
that could tend to make pleasant the memories of the hour. 
Last night, at tattoo roll-call, the following order issued by 
General Burnside, on taking command of the army, was read 
to the line. In expression and spirit it is excellent, and was 
cordially received : 

In accordance with General Orders No. 182, issued by the Presi 
dent of the United States, I hereby assume the command of the Army 
of the Potomac. Patriotism and the exercise of my every energy in 
the direction of this army, aided by the full and hearty co-operation 
of its officers and men, will, I hope, under the blessing of God, ensure 
its success. 

Having been a sharer of the privations, and a witness of the bra 
very of the old army of the Potomac, in the Maryland campaign, and 
identified with them in their feeling of respect and esteem for 
ral McClellan, entertained through a long and most friendly 
association with him, I feel that it is not as a stranger I assume com 


To the- Ninth Army Corps, so long and intimately associated with 
me, I need say nothing. Our histories are identical. 

With diffidence for myself, but with a proud confidence in the un 
swerving loyalty and determination of the gallant army now entrust 
ed to my care, I accept its control with the steadfast assurance that 
the just cause must prevail. 

(Signed,) A. E. BUENSIDE, 

Major General Commanding. 

As I saw General Burnside yesterday, he had the same 
noble mien and sunshine of expression that long ago won the 
respect and affection of Rhode Island men. No other officer 
could, at this time, succeed General McClellan with so general 
approbation of the men, no other could at once so universally 
win tmjfchearty good will. He is looked upon as prudent, yet 
prompt and vigorous in action. They expect under him, what 
they crave, lively times. His antecedents give them confidence 
in his ability, and they hope to make short work in doing up 
rebellion. The battle which shall give assurance of this, will 
be marked by a repetition of the best fighting of the Peninsula. 

[Immediately on the announcement of the accession of 
General Burnside to the chief command, the following letter 
of congratulation was despatched to him by telegraph, from 
Governor Sprague, of Rhode Island : 


Providtncc, November 10, 1862. 

Allow me to tender you my sincere congratulations on your ap 
pointment to the command of the army of the Potomac. Your well 
known energy, skill and patriotism, will, I i eel sure, restore confi 
dence to a disheartened people, and lead them to expect active opera 
tions and the speedy success of our brave army, in the suppression of 
treason and rebellion. 

Rhode Island regards your appointment with unfeigned pride and 



Commander-in- Chief, Army of the Potomac. 


To which, through the same medium, the following reply 
was returned : 


November 10, 1862. 5 

Your despatch of this date is received, and I thank you for it. It 
is a great support to me, in the assumption of so great a responsibility, 
to know that I have your confidence, and that of the State of Khode 

(Signed,) A. E. BURNSIBE, 

Major General, Commanding Army of the Potomac.] 


Wanderings Life in camp and on the march Hoof-rot in horses 
General Porter relieved of his command. 

November 26, 1862. j 

We arrived here yesterday, from Warrenton, by the way of 
Elkton and Spotted Tavern. Our march brought us over a 
portion of the road we travelled last summer, when we went 
up from Acquia Creek to Warrenton, and thence, via Bull Run, 
reached our old quarters at Miner s Hill. If our wanderings, 
since the 10th of last March, have not equalled those of the 
Israelites, our exposures, privations, sacrifices of life, and pa 
tient endurance, deserve the reward finally bestowed upon that 
very respectable army of contrabands. The land of promise 
has been seen, and it may be otir privilege, before many- 
months, to possess it. In the advance of our army towards 
Fredericksburg, the rebel scouts hung closely upon its rear, 
watching its movements, and keeping the rebel commander ap 
prised of every appearance worthy special attention. These 


impertinences frequently issued in skirmishes, with little disas 
ter on our side, and pretty uniform skedaddling on the part of 
the secesh. Our temporary camp in the neighborhood of Fal- 
mouth was not far from the head-quarters of Gen. Burnside ? 
and though burdened with the responsibilities of an immense 
army, a weight sufficient to crush an ordinary mind, his ex 
pression was as cheerful as though a stranger to " marking care." 
AH the way between Warrenton and Falmouth, the people 
were strongly secesh, and some of them more than intimated 
that we should be driven back. As we held a different opinion, 
and for satisfactory reasons, we felt that we could aiford to in 
dulge these sons of Belial in their harmless taunts. 

Life in camp and life on the march have some features in 
common, yet, in prominent characteristics, differ. In the for 
mer, monotony soon rules, and weariness of spirit, when off 
duty, enters largely into the daily experience. In the latter, 
there is a constant shifting of scene to refresh the eye, a pros 
pect of adventure that feeds the imagination, and an amount 
of fatigue that gives sweetness to the slumbers of the bivouac.. 
And then, when, as sometimes happens, rations are scant, fora 
ging by the way becomes an agreeably exciting episode, in 
matters gustatory. Thus, on the route from Harper s Ferry 
to Warrenton, salt junk and hard tack were often diversified 
with poultry, fresh ^meat and vegetables, purchased, of course,, 
sometimes with government postal and sometimes with secesh 
money, that the confederate treasury would hardly receive in 
payment of taxes, or accept as a voluntary contribution to the 
war fund, if such exists. A very proper order against pillaging 
existed, which I fear that now and then a man of unbounded 
stomach, stimulated by the incentive of savory meat, may have 
less scrupulously observed, than comported with due reverence 
for law. If any such exceptional cases did occur, and in some 
unexplained way a barnyard representative found its way into 
camp, charity remembered how hard it must have been for 
men, under the potent sway of appetite and the tempting pres- 


ence of dainties, to " defy that which they love most tenderly/ 
and spread her mantle over the deed. 

For a few weeks past, the army supplies have scarcely ex 
ceeded daily consumption, rendering any movement dependent 
on a surplus, unsafe. But the railroad bridge on the road from 
Acquia Creek Landing to Fredericksburg, destroyed by the 
rebels, has been reconstructed, so that hereafter the needs of 
the army, for any emergency, will be speedily supplied. 

The " hoof-rot," or, more properly, " grease," a disease that 
has prevailed to a considerable extent among the horses of the 
army, and that, at one time, assumed an alarming aspect, ap 
pears to be subsiding. It was first noticed in our battery at 
"Warrenton, and occasioned the loss of a number of horses. 
Since leaving that place, but few severe cases have occurred. 
The disease is of singular character. It commences with in 
flammation of the heel, which soon suppurates, spreads, and in 
time the entire hoof comes off. Its origin in the army, has not, 
to my knowledge, been explained. It may have been caused 
by hard service and exposure on the peninsula, connected with 
wet or muddy picketings, so often unavoidable. 

General Fitz John Porter has been relieved from the com 
mand of the Fifth corps d armee. On the afternoon of the 
12th, he took formal leave of the men he had led in the hard- 
fought battles of the peninsula. All the tro ps were formed in 
line, and as he rode past with his staff, accompanied by Gen. 
Hooker, Martin s battery fired a salute of honor of thi: teen 
guns. The General seemed deeply affected, and it was not 
without evident sorrow that the men parted with one under 
whom they commenced military life. But, as on the occasion 
of a former military necessity, no breach of soldierly propriety 
has, on that account, occurred. Gen. Hooker, or Fighting Joe 
as he is familiarly called, comes to the chief command, with 
the well-earned fame of peninsula exploits, and the prestige of 



Battle of Fredericksburg Rhode Island regiments and batteries en 
gaged Recrossing the river Disappointed feeling The Presi 
dent s address to the army The weather. 

December 24th, 1862. ) 

The ominous preparations of a month found an explanation 
on the 13th inst. On that day, a great and bloody battle was 
fought at Fredericksburg ; and now, at the end of two weeks, 
after opportunity to gather up particulars, I propose to give, 
not a complete detail of all that occurred, but such points 
(glancing at the parts in which Rhode Island was represented,) 
as will convey a pretty clear idea of the fearful contest. 

Immediately on assuming the command of the army, Gen 
eral Burnside prepared to act with promptness and vigor. 
His plan was to concentrate^his forces in the neighborhood of 
Warrenton ; to make a small movement across the Rappahan- 
nock, as a feint, with a view to divert the attention of the 
enemy, and lead them to believe he was going to move in the 
direction of Gordonville, and then to make a rapid movement 
of the whole army to Fredericksburg. In doing this, he would 
still be near Washington, having an unobstructed rear for the 
reception of supplies, and nearer to Richmond than he would 
be were he to take Gordonsville. This he considered prefera 
ble to taking the Gord jnsville line, as, in that event, the enemy 
had it in their power to defend the place until they had given 
the Federal forces a check ; and then, with so many lines of 
railroad open to them, fhey could move upon Richmond or 
upon Lynchburg, making it difficult, in either case, to follow 
them, and, at the same time, keep open the line of communica 
tion with the base of supplies. 

This plan was arranged on the 9th November, and, in ac- 


cordance with it, pontoons for crossing the Rappahannock at 
and below Fredericksburg, were to be sent at once from Wash 
ington. In pursuing its course to Warrenton, the army 
marched in three columns, within striking distance of each 
other, the Second and Ninth army corps being on the right, 
the Third and Fifth in the centre, and the First and Sixth on 
the left. The pontoons were expected to be ready for use, at 
Fredericksburg, on the arrival of the army. On the 17th, 
General Sunnier, with his command, arrived before that place, 
but the pontoons had not yet come. Had all things been in 
readiness, he could at once have crossed over, and taken pos 
session of the heights commanding the town, as the force of 
the enemy was then comparatively small report says not over 
five hundred and the position had not been fortified. This 
would have enabled General Burnside to keep possession of 
the line of the railroad to Richmond, pressing the enemy off, 
and if not able to precede them into their capital, yet to keep 
so close to them as to afford no time for building fortifications. 

[Directly upon the appearing of General Sumner s troops 
on the ridge back of Falmouth, a battery of rebel artillery 
opened upon them, and the General was strongly tempted to 
go over, seize the guns and occupy the city ; but his orders 
being to hold Falmouth but not to cross, he suppressed the 
impulse. In his testimony before the committee on the Con 
duct of the War, he says : " That same night, I sent a note to 
General Burnside, who was some eight or ten miles distant, 
asking him if I should take Fredericksburg in the morning, 
should I be able to find a practicable ford, which, by the way, 
I knew when I wrote the note, that I could find. The General 
replied, through his chief of staff, that he did not think it ad 
visable to occupy Fredericksburg until his communications 
were established ; and, on reflection, I myself thought he was 
right ; that it was prudent and proper to have the bridges ready 
before we occupied Fredericksburg."] 


On the 21st, General Sumner formally demanded the sur 
render of the city, allowing sixteen hours for the removal of 
women and children, the sick and wounded, the aged, &c., at 
the expiration of which time, if not given up, he proposed to 
shell the town. Subsequently, eleven additional hours were 
granted. The pontoons did not arrive until the 22d or 23d 
November. In the meantime, the alarm had been given in 
Richmond, and with the facilities of the railroad, the rebels 
continued day and night to roll in their forces, until by the time 
the necessary arrangements for attack had been made, an army 
of more than one hundred thousand men had come to the res 
cue of the city, while the heights were fortified with strong 
redoubts, bristling with heavy cannon. 

On the llth, the pontoons in front of Fredericksburg and 
two miles below had been laid, under a galling fire from the 
rebel sharpshooters, and our army began to cross. It was a 
time of impressive excitement, awakening at once serious and 
animating emotions. The chances of battle passed swiftly be 
fore the mind, and men of thoughtful mood disposed themselves 
to meet, with heroic firmness and in a trusting spirit, the dread 
issues of the hour. Then came the inspiration springing from 
the consciousness that a blow, hoped to be decisive, was to be 
struck in vindication of law, order, and that fundamental prin 
ciple of our Federal government the will of the majority of a 
free people, fairly expressed through the ballot-box. Men of 
high resolve held their muskets with firmer grasp, and moved 
at the word of command with quick and determined tread. 

In the general disposition of the forces, General Sumner 
held the right, General Franklin, the left, and General Hooker, 
the centre. Of General Franklin s command, the 2d Rhode 
Island, under Coldkel Frank Wheaton, were the first to cross 
the river. On ascending the bank, they instantly deployed as 
skirmishers, driving the rebel pickets back, who took refuge in 
the woods. It was a perilous moment. Between the river 
and the neighboring heights, occupied by a heavy body of the 


enemy s infantry and artillery, lay a plain three-quarters of a 
mile in width, across which they had* to pass, exposed to the 
deadly aim of an almost unseen foe. But they executed the 
movement with the coolness and precision of a regimental drill* 
Those who witnessed it pronounced it one of the most finished 
evolutions of the day, and it drew from the entire corps of be 
holders loud cheers of commendation. The next day, Colonel 
Wheaton took command of the brigade that had been under 
General Howe, and the command of the regiment devolved on 
Colonel Nelson Viall. It was brought into the brigade line ? 
occupying front lines in support of batteries -a position of great 
exposure. When the grand division of Franklin recrossed the 
river, two companies of the regiment were assigned to guard 
the bridges- They held their post until the pickets were with 
drawn, and were themselves the last to follow. 

At 6 o clock in the morning of the llth, General Burnside 
ordered the artillery to open upon the city, and soon the sky 
was wreathed in the smoke of conflagration. All day long the 
immense line of batteries in front filled the air with deafening 
sounds- The town was carried, and the troops inspirited with 
confidence of success. Next day came the heavy conflict, when 
General Meade, of Franklin s corps, made the first attack on 
the left of our lines, and drove the enemy from his advanced 
works ; but not receiving seasonable support, was unable to 
hold his ground. Out of 4,500 men, he lost 1,740. General 
Birney, of the same corps, punished the rebels severely as they 
advanced, and caused them, for a time, to reel and fall back. 
Generals Gibbon, Smith, Stoneman, Doubleday, Vinton, Bay 
ard and others, were hotly engaged. The entire command of 
General Reynolds suffered much, his aggregate loss being 

General Sumner fought his men with great energy. He 
pushed forward Generals French and Howard, to assault the 
enemy s works, which rose in triple strength on the heights. 
^Intermediate, and the most powerful obstacle to their advance 


was a stone wall of four hundred or five hundred yards in 
length, which had been raised and strengthened, and enfiladed 
by artillery at both ends. When the Federals approached 
within a distance ensuring deadly aim, a tremendous fire was 
poured upon them from behind the wall, together with a storm 
of shell from the enfilading artillery, which sent scores of brave 
men to the ground. It was in vain that repeated assaults were 
made. It can only be said they did their best, and failed to 
carry the position. 

General Hooker s command were not behind the right and 
left, in spirit and activity. A portion of his troops were sent as 
supports to Franklin, and a division sent to relieve General 
Howard, in f he upper part of the city. General Humphries, 
with 4,000 men and Sykes division for a support, made a 
spirited assault upon the enemy s works, but was unable to 
accomplish his object. He was compelled to retire, leaving 
1,760 men behind -the work of one<-fourth of an hour. The 
total killed, wounded and missing in Hooker s grand division is 
reported to be 3,548, and in Griffin s, to which our battery is 
attached, 1,190. His troops, to a man, fought like veterans. 

In this battle, Rhode Island was more largely represented 
than on any previous field. The 2d, 4th, 7th and 12th regi 
ments volunteers, and batteries A, B, C, D, E and G were 
there. The 2d Rhode Island, first in the fight, added to its 
reputation for bravery and efficiency. It reckons eight wound 
ed. The 4th discharged its duty manfully, and mourns the 
death of its accomplished Lieut. Colonel Curtis, then in com 
mand. The 7th was finely handled by Colonel Bliss, and won 
honor on this first experience under fire. It counts 12 killed 
and 140 wounded. Of the former is Lieut. Colonel Welcome 
B. Sayles, and, of the latter. Major Jacob Babbitt. The 12th, 
like the 7th, were, for the first time, under fire ; and under the 
eye of Colonel Browne, delivered their own in return, with 
coolness and spirit, losing six killed and ninety-four wounded. 

On Colonel Charles H. Tompkins, of the Rhode Island ar- 


tillery, a heavy responsibility devolved, which was discharged 
with the efficiency of an accomplished soldier. Eighty-eight 
guns were under his direction, and the work of bombarding the 
town, on the llth, fell mostly upon his command. Battery A, 
Captain Arnold, who came to the command just in season for 
the battle, won deserved commendation. Battery B, Captain 
John G. Hazard, fought bravely under a hot fire, losing six 
teen men killed and wounded, and twelve battery horses killed. 
The horses of himself and of Lieutenants Bloodgood and Milne 
were also shot. Battery G, Captain Charles D. Owen, be 
haved gallantly. Before crossing the river, it was posted on 
the extreme right of the artillery line. On going over, it took 
position in the rear of Gordon s house. Coveting its posses 
sion, the rebels approached within one hundred and fifty yards, 
but were driven back with cannister and the support of the 
5th Michigan infantry. Battery D, Captain Buckley, who had 
been in command but a single day, contributed of its projectiles 
to the discomfort of the enemy. 

Battery E, Captain Randolph, was attached to General Bir- 
ney s division, which reported to General Franklin, and was 
placed in support of Meade s ^Pennsylvania reserves, about a 
mile down the river from Mansfield Estate, General Franklin s 
head-quarters. When Meade attacked, Captain R. relieved 
his batteries, he (R.) commanding the batteries of the line. 
When Meade was repulsed, the enemy, covered from his fire 
by the ground and the retreating troops, pushed within thirty 
yards of his line. Not daring to leave their cover and face his 
light 18-pounders, loaded with cannister, they laid down and 
commenced picking off the cannoneers. After waiting a short 
time, in the hope that they might be tempted a little further to 
their destruction, General Birney advanced his infantry and 
drove them in confusion into the woods. In this battle, Captain 
R. s three batteries were well posted, covered by a ridge run 
ning the entire length of his line. He had two men killed and 
three wounded, and lost six horses. 


Of battery C, Captain Waterman, the following is the sum 
of its ten days experience. On the morning of the 10th, it 
moved from camp and took position on the bank of the Rappa- 
hannock, opposite the lower part of Fredericksburg. During 
a first attempt to throw a pontoon bridge across the river, the 
time was occupied in firing at the houses sheltering the enemy s 
sharpshooters, sometimes rapidly, and occasionally at intervals. 
On the 12th, the fire was turned upon the town until late in 
the afternoon, when a successful attempt to complete the bridge 
being made by the engineer corps, it was concentrated upon 
the buildings and terraces which protected the enemy s rifle 
men. The expenditure of ammunition on the llth and 12th 
was about 800 rounds. At the commencement of the action 
on the 13th, the battery cooperated, as far as possible, with 
our advancing lines, by firing on the enemy s artillery and 
skirmishers, until our lines approached so nearly those of the 
enemy that continued fire became dangerous to our infantry, 
when it was discontinued. Up to this time, about three hun 
dred rounds of ammunition had been expended. 

About one o clock P. M., the battery crossed the river, and 
was placed in position under General Couch, by Major Doull. 
At two o clock, it commenced shelling the enemy s artillery and 
skirmishers, at a range of about 850 yards. The fire was 
continued rapidly for about two hours, when, from information 
that our forces held the ridge on our left, to which the fire had 
been mainly directed, the battery concentrated its fire upon the 
batteries directly in front, which for an hour had been firing 
upon it. This appeared to have the effect to silence the ene 
my s guns, until after dark, when they fired a few random shots 
in the direction of our position. The men were held to their 
posts during the night, and the horses in harness. During 
Sunday, the 14th, but a few shot were fired from the battery. 
The men were exposed to a fire of sharpshooters most of the 
day, but no men or horses were wounded. 

At 7 % o clock on Sunday evening, the 14th, the battery re- 


crossed the river and bivouacked for the night. At 9 A. 31., 
of the 15th, it moved to a position in rear of the Lacy House, 
and bivouacked until the morning of the 16th, when it was 
placed in positipn in rear of the plain commanding the lower 
part of Fredericksburg, in readiness to repel an attack on the 
engineer force detailed for the removal of the pontoon bridge. 
It remained in position there until 10 o clock of the 20th, when 
it returned to its former camp. One man and three horses 
were lost, and two gun carriages disabled. The poor fellow 
who fell a victim to a deadly aim, had both legs broken and his 
jaw shot away. He lived but a short time. The men behaved 
finely, though they passed four nights with little or no sleep. 

During the action, the head-quarters of Generals Burnside 
and Hooker were at the Phillips House, and of Sumner, at the 
Lacy House, as the most favorable positions for observing ope 
rations. Professor Lowe employed his balloon for watching 
the movements of the enemy, but the state of the atmosphere 
precluded any important discoveries. The battle closed, and 
a few words will suffice to sum up the beginning, progress and 
end. The enemy was driven at different points, and in turn 
they drove our troops. They took seven hundred of our men 
prisoners, and we took as many of theirs. Our forces held the 
city twenty-four hours after the termination of the fight, and, 
in the opinion of General Sumner, could have continued to 
hold it " with a single division, by posting our batteries right." 
Our right and centre stood in front of the rebel breastworks, 
and they behind them. They held no ground they did not 
hold before the battle begun. Our army rested a day in the 
city before evacuating, and no successful attempt was made to 
dislodge it. It recrossed the river on the night of the 14th 
Egyptian in darkness without the loss of a man, horse or 
gun. The bridges were taken up without the destruction of a 
single pontoon, and, on the morning of the 15th, the two armies 
faced each other, with the Rappahannock between, as they did 
on the morning of the 10th. On the field of strife lay min- 


gled their dead and ours. Of the terrible magnificence and 
awful carnage of the 13th, no words can convey an adequate 
idea. The roar of musketry and thunder of artillery, the 
screeching of shells and the whir of Minies was incessant, and 
it seemed as though the fabled battle of the gods had been re 
newed. Generals Jackson and Bayard were killed, and Gen 
erals Tyler, Meagher, Vinton, Gibbon, Kimball and Caldwell, 
wounded. From description, the appearance of the field, cov 
ered with the slain and wounded, and the subsequent hospital 
scenes, were sad and sickening.* Having made himself ac 
quainted with the story of the battle its courageous deeds and 
mournful losses the President, day before yesterday, issued 
to the army the following address : 

Washington, December 22d, 1862. 


I have just read your Commanding General s preliminary report of 
the battle of Fredericksburg. Although you were not successful, the 
attempt was not an error, nor the failure other than an accident. 
The courage with which you, in an open field, maintained the contest 
against an intrenched foe, and the consummate skill and success with 
which you crossed and recrossed the river in the face of the enemy, 
show that you possess all the qualities of a great army, which will 
yet give victory to the cause of the country and of popular govern 
ment. Condoling with the mourners for the dead, and sympathizing 
with the severely wounded, 1 congratulate you that the number of 
both is comparatively so small, I tender to you, officers and sol 
diers, the thanks of the nation. 



That the army feels disappointed at the unsuccess, it were 
useless to deny. Still, in view of what they suffered, and the 
thinned ranks of many regiments, they are in better spirits 

* The rebel loss was large, though, from their sheltered position, much 
less than the Federal. The Richmond Despatch admitted " 2,500 wound 
ed." General Cobb was killed, and General Greeg mortally wounded. 


than could have been anticipated. " Cast down, but not des 
troyed," may be written as their motto. They believe in their 
General still, while they marvel at his tenderness of everybody 
but himself. The plan of attack was well laid, but the hin 
drances to success were unforeseen and unexpected. Had the 
pontoons been sent forward from Washington with the celerity 
that the army moved from Warrenton, no failure could have 
occurred ; but that delay proved fatal. It gave the rebels 
ample time to concentrate their forces and fortify their position, 
and prevented results that were confidently expected. 

The year draws to a close under a cloud, but the hidden sun 
of success is not blotted out. Its light of promise will yet be 
seen. More than 1,200 noble fellows sleep the sleep of death 
on the banks of the Rappahannock, and more than 6,000 of the 
living bear honorable marks of the patriotism that inspired 
their bravery on the field. And these, the dead and the liv 
ing, speak to their countrymen of the spirit that should actuate 
every breast while rebellion exists. 

From all accounts, Fredericksburg has been essentially 
ruined. An immense destruction of property was caused by 
the bombardment and pillage. Many years must elapse be 
fore its past prosperity can be restored. In the tobacco busi 
ness, its merchants have found temporary competitors. Two 
or three weeks ago, large quantities of the article were thrown 
into the river to prevent it falling into Federal hands. This 
the soldiers have been fishing up, and selling to ready purchas 
ers. To-day, some of them have disposed of thirty or forty 
dollars worth apiece quite a nice operation for the lucky 

The weather, during the month, has been variable, furnishing 
about equal proportions of sunshine and rain, snow, mud and 
frost. In a time when men are liable to be aroused at any 
hour of the night, they may be pardoned if they turn in with 
their boots on. Taking advantage of an illustrious precedent, 
I did so a short time since, and woke in the morning to find 


them frozen stiff. Luckily the frost did not penetrate the 
quick, so no harm was done. To-day, the temperature is too 
low for comfortable epistolary work without a fire ; but in a 
few days we shall rise from the humble conveniences of tar 
paulin or poncho shelter to the elegance of a shanty, with the 
luxury of a fire-place, when old ideas may be thawed out, if 
new ones are not warmed into life. To-morrow is Christinas. 
May its coming prove the precursor of brighter skies. 


Christmas New Year Rebels tired of the war Forty millions of 
dollars due the army Review Rosecrans success Reflections 
Vegetables for the army. 


December 26, 1862. f 

Christmas came and passed as pleasantly as could be ex 
pected in the midst of civil war, on rebel soil, in front of a 
rebel army. Dreams of home, " a dearer, sweeter spot than all 
the rest," ushered in the morning that commemorates the chief 
event in the world s history since the creation ; and memories 
were fresh of by-gone days, when a visit from the jovial Saint, 
with his queer face and huge pack, as delineated in the annual 
pictorials, was expected, and stockings confidingly hung in the 
corner were made plethoric by his munificence. But here no 
such anticipations were realized. No stockings were hung ex 
pectant, and therefore no disappointments were experienced. 
The venerable Patron, yet always youthful in spirit, was too 


busy with Spanker and Jumper elsewhere to visit a spot so 
near the recent scene of bloody strife, and, as an equivalent for 
the fun his presence always imparts, resort was had, in some 
encampments, to athletic sports, while in others, some spent a 
portion of the day in writing to friends at home, or in social 
calls. In culinary matters, there were differences of expe 
rience. In some messes, the capture of a grey-back, whose 
nimble bound was overmatched by the swifter feet of biped 
pursuers, supplied savory meat for Christmas dinner, while a 
chicken graced the festivities of others. Those less fortunate 
had opportunity to test their skill in conglomerating a dish from 
pork, salt junk and hard tack. A lean larder arouses ingenui 
ty, and men who are equally at home in building railroads, 
making engines and fighting secesh. could hardly fail in getting 
up a respectable feed. Report, " that blunt monster with un 
counted heads," gives currency to various novelties as distin 
guishing the day. In one encampment, it is averred that an 
officer, in a highly imaginative mood, was seen astride a log, 
spurring it to a charge, while another gravely ordered the ar 
rest of a rail-fence for neglecting to salute the general. It is 
possible that the reporter himself saw double. At all events, 
I can affirm that nothing of the sort fell under my observation. 
Emerged from shelter tent to hutted life, the sense of progres 
sive civilization has become somewhat quickened and the area 
of ideas enlarged. If our nine-by-nine does not show the high 
est order of architectural skill and finish, it affords an amount 
of comfort unknown for many months past. 

January 2, 1863. The departure of the old gentleman with 
the venerable beard and ominous scythe, whose portrait has so 
often arrested childhood attention, was not attended by any 
.special demonstration of nature, and his successor was ushered 
in to meet a cool, not to say freezing reception. It was im 
possible to part with our old friend without throwing the mind 
into a retrospective mood. It was remembered, that nine 


months before lie had witnessed our exultant farewell to Mi 
ner s Hill, and had smiled approvingly upon our battery as it 
opened the ball with artillery music before Yorktown. He 
had seen the struggle and carnage at Gaines s Farm, and the 
triumph achieved at Malvern Hills. He had noted our voyage 
to Acquia Creek, our wearisome march to Warrenton and Bull 
Run, our return to our old camp, our march thence to Antie- 
tam, and thence to Fredericksburg, culminating in the fierce 
and deadly encounter of December 13th. And when we said, 
with a slight tone of sadness, " Good bye, old fellow, we shall 
never look upon your like again," he responded, cheerily, 
" Keep up good heart ; all will yet issue well. Never mind 
criticisms, nor tirades against the best government beneath the 
sun. You saw the spires of Richmond, and if you failed to 
possess that stronghold of rebellion, it was for causes that re 
flect no dishonor upon the army of the Potomac, and that my 
successor will more fully explain. History will set all right. 
Deeds of valor, never surpassed, will not pass into oblivion. 
Stand firmly for the right. Sustain the constitution and laws 
from principle. Confide in your noble general, and repose 
faith in the just aims of the government. Take courage from 
what has been accomplished. Feel yourselves strong in an 
army and navy competent to cope with the strongest nation on 
earth. Disasters may yet occur. Disappointments may still 
be a part of the nation s experience. Much treasure and blood 
may yet be required to be poured out, but justice will triumph 
over injustice, freedom over oppression, and the fruit of pa 
triotic sacrifice shall be a vindicated Union and a higher plane 
of national civilization, that will send down its blessings to re 
motest posterity." Thus speaking, with outstretched hand, as 
if to scatter the nation s path with the benedictions prophesied, 
the Father of Years passed from view, and the reverie into which 
the mind had sunk was broken. 

January 5. " All quiet along the Rappahannock," might 


answer for a daily record during the past ten days. In several 
divisions, the monotony of camp life has been diversified by 
reviews, and a general smoothing of the kinks taken up at 
Fredericksburg. A line of pickets, extending over twenty 
miles, indicates that our General-in-Chief does not intend af 
fording the rebel raiders opportunities to make unceremonious 
visits to any portion of the army. It is singular how soon the 
animosities of contending parties pass away, and the era of good 
feeling is restored, after a hard-fought battle. Federal and 
rebel pickets, with only the river between them, frequently en 
gage in friendly conversation, mutually forbearing the use of 
deadly weapons, and occasionally the latter cross to our side in 
boats, and spend an hour in discussing public affairs, and ex 
changing tobacco for a cup of coffee or other article of refresh 
ment, unknown to their cuisine. They repeat the old story, 
that they are tired of lighting, and wish the war was ended. 
They are short of clothing, and when relieved from guard, 
transfer their overcoats to their successors. Yet they express 
themselves strongly for the confederacy, and show no disposi 
tion to abandon the bad cause they have espoused. How far 
this intercourse is advisable may be an open question. As yet 
no evil is known to have arisen from it, and if our pickets are 
the prudent, reliable men they are supposed to be, none is likely 
to occur. Still, one can imagine how it might be availed of by 
a shrewd secesh for indirectly gaining valuable information. 
But then the same may be said for the Federals, thus balancing 
the account. 

The rebels have been quite busy since our army returned to 
its present position, in fortifying along the banks of the river, 
evidently apprehensive of another visit from us. A small fort 
has been thrown up opposite where we had a bridge. No guns 
are yet mounted, and if there were, it would be of little account 
should we wish again to cross at that point, as a few shells from 
our siege guns could, in a few minutes, demolish it. 


January 9. Since the opening of the new year, the weather 
has, for the most part, been fine. The first day was signalized 
by mustering in the men for pay. Six months have passed, 
with no chink from our excellent Uncle at Washington. His 
liberal heart has never been doubted, and a large allowance is 
to be made for the obstacles in the way of supplying paymas 
ters with a sufficient amount of green-backs to promptly meet 
the treasury obligations. Forty millions of dollars, however. 
is too large a sum to longer remain unpaid, without causing 
complaint among the men, and seriously affecting their fami 
lies, dependent, to a great extent, upon regular remittances ; 
and it is gratifying to see that the Secretary of the Treasury- 
has put himself earnestly to the work of liquidating this im 
mense liability. The military committee in Congress, I ob 
serve, are preparing a bill to equalize the condition of the first 
and second quotas of three years men, in regard to bounties 
and other matters. It is understood here that this movement 
originated in Providence. Whoever did the deed will be sure 
of the thanks of the army. In view of the feeling awakened 
in consequence of the disparity referred to, no measure could 
be more timely, or better adapted to harmonize the spirit of 
the men. 

Yesterday, there was a grand review of the first divisions, 
by Generals Burnside, Hooker and Meade. Gen. Meade, at 
present, commands the 5th army corps. Daily drills, dress 
parades, and camp duties, fill thp time that would otherwise 
hang heavily on the army. Our new quarters are quite cosy, 
and are in agreeable contrast with former accommodations. 

The news from Rosecrans is exhilarating, though shaded by 
the heavy cost at which success was won. His hard-fought 
battle has deservedly gained for him the praise due to a brave 
soldier. The fall of Port Hudson and Vicksburg is next to be 
looked for. Those places in Federal hands, the course of the 
Mississippi will be free. Time speed the events. Our rebel 
neighbors are not idle, though it is difficult to tell precisely 


what they are about. Report is that they amuse themselves 
with nocturnal incursions in the neighborhood of King George 
Court House, seizing the colored population and sending them 
south. It is also said that a portion of their forces have been 
withdrawn from their works in the rear of Fredericksburg. 
But little reliance can be placed upon these stories. 

January 15. We are still here, nursing our future as a 
glorious uncertainty. The camp feeling is kept in gentle un 
dulations by a succession of contradictory rumors. One day, 
old madam s runners tell us the army will move soon ; the next, 
declare that winter quarters in front of Fredericksburg is our 
destiny ; and, on the third, affirm that Gen. Burnside has re 
ceived marching orders, and to-morrow we shall be in motion, 
sure. Thus swings the pendulum of time, moving the ma 
chinery of speculation to the point, whether our war is an ob 
jective certainty or a subjective nonentity. Decisions are 
reversed at each vibration, now affirmative, now negative ; and 
then, like the Dutch justice, massing the testimonies, and ac 
cepting them all. In regard to this matter, I shall not assume 
to be wise above the written order. What is to be, we shall 
in due time know. Every one knows that inactivity is not a 
proclivity of our General. He has already shown that he arose 
too early, and marched too rapidly for somebody in Washing 
ton. We may reasonably believe that he is as ready to rise 
early and work late, as ever^ and that if he does not " march 
with vigor on," it will be for the best of military reasons. Now 
and then an occurrence happens that awakens suspicion of 
something being in the wind. For example, week before last, 
a number of siege guns came up. The surgeons are removing 
patients from the hospitals, and sending them to some other 
place. This is supposed by some to indicate immediate action ; 
but, per contra, it is said a government hospital on a larger 
scale is to be established at Acquia Creek, and that looks like 
no apprehension of danger or design to leave this quarter ; so 


our gleams of light vanish, and darkness wraps its mantle about 
us. But whether fighting is speedily renewed or not, a full 
preparation should be made, and the amplest provision also, 
for the removal of the wounded. Our arrangements, in this 
particular, however better than on the peninsula, are suscepti 
ble of further and important improvement. The men need this 
stimulus as an energizer, when they meet the enemy on a field 
of mud, where to fall wounded and lie a day, before removal, 
must inevitably be attended with fatal results. 

With an hour of leisure at command, the temptation is strong 
to spend it in a general review of the past year, and in the in 
dulgence of " a few brief remarks," as long-winded orators say, 
in prefacing interminable speeches, on the prospects before us. 
In regard to the first particular, the inclination will be resisted, 
except to say that the Federal armies on the Peninsula, at 
Antietam, South Mountain, Fort Donelson, Roanoke, Port 
Royal, Island No. 10, Forts Philip and Jackson, Murfreesboro, 
and elsewhere, have shown themselves capable of great things. 
Many of the battles, for gallantry and grandeur, are not sur 
passed by any on the record of modern warfare ; and the ad 
vantages gained, though at an immense expense of life, are of 
vital importance to the perpetuation of our nationality, and 
must tell disastrously, in a corresponding degree, upon the rebel 
confederacy. Yet, the rebels possess wonderful recuperative 
powers. They have the advantage of position. They fight 
with their homes in sight, and, made to believe that this war is 
one of extermination, they fight with desperation. "We can 
fight them and drive them every day, and with the doggedness 
of an English mastiff, they will return to the conflict. Their 
policy of warfare is shrewd, and calculated to realize the most 
from limited resources. It is what may be called the exhaust 
ing system. They mass their men when possible, and when 
not, harass by dashes, fight where success is doubtful up to a 
given time, and having effected all the slaughter possible, leave 
the Federals in possession of the field, often too much wearied 


and depleted to follow up instantly the advantage left in their 
hands. They fight and run, on the maxim, probably, that they 
may thus " live to fight another day." Now, it seems to me, 
they should be met in their own way. Our armies should be 
massed. Overwhelming force should be brought to bear on 
single points, so that victory may never be equivocal ; and that 
when the rebels are put to a skedaddle, there may be an abun 
dance of spare power to follow them up, and make a complete 
finish of the work. The massing of our artillery at Malvern 
Hill gave us that splendid victory. Nothing else could have 
done it. A braver army of infantry than ours never engaged 
in action, but except sustained by the vast artillery force, they 
would have been overpowered by the immense hordes massed 
against them. These may, to the more experienced in the art 
of war, seems but the crude words of a tyro. They express, 
however, an opinion, the result of some thought, a careful study 
of the various campaigns since the war begun, and a tolerable 
knowledge of the animus of the army. With 800,000 men in 
the field, and one of the largest navies in the world, rebellion 
ought to be crushed out before next July. 

If one in a comfortable shanty, listening to the patter of rain, 
or the music of the wind, were inclined to be cynical, and to 
engage in special fault-finding, it would be at the irregularity 
of the mails. But u hard words butter no parsnips," and it is 
wiser to regard disappointment as Sam Foote did a hole in his 
stocking, " an accident of the day," and take refuge in the plea 
sures of hope. Letters tell us that a vessel is on the way to 
our base of supplies, full-freighted with vegetables for the 
Rhode Island troops, and boxes for individuals from thought 
ful friends. They will appreciate the tokens of remembrance. 
For some weeks past, potatoes and onions have been drawn 
from the commissary, and though not in sufficient quantities to 
make them a daily ration, they have served a good purpose in 
making a healthful change of food. Many eyes will be turned 
towards the Potomac, and the arrival of the Elizabeth and 


Helen will be greeted with a heartiness that such a presence is 
calculated to awaken. Propitious breezes fill her sails and 
spee,d her course.* 


Events of three weeks General Burnside plans an aggressive move 
ment Is delayed The army moves Is compelled by a severe 
storm to turn back Terrible condition of the roads General 
Burnside relieved Is succeeded by General Hooker. 

January 30, 1863. ]" 

The events of the past three weeks may be grouped thus : 
A plan, bold and promising success, to drive the rebels from 
their stronghold in the rear of Fredericksburg, was formed ; 
but something happened to cause delay. The secesh got 
knowledge that a new scheme was on foot, and improved the 
opportunity the information afforded, to prepare for a Federal 
visit. When obstacles were removed, the army was put in 
motion ; but " the rain descended and the floods came," and 
the mud deepened, and transformed from fitness for brickyard 
purposes, became a sea of mortar. The men waded, the horses 
floundered, and the artillery mired. Sixteen horses and a 
hundred men pulled at a single gun, to hasten it forward, but 
almost in vain. Pontoons, as on a former occasion, were late, 
and helped to disappoint a purpose. The elements, with a 
perfectly resistless power, did what the enemy could not have 

* The Helen and Elizabeth, after a long and boisterous passage, in 
which she met with consideiable damage, arrived at her destination. The 
cargo of vegetables was in good order, and made a welcome addition to 
camp fare. 


done brought the army to a stand-still and finally forced it 
back to its old encampments. 

[To make this synopsis more intelligible, it should be stated 
that, though disappointed of success on the 13th December, it 
formed no part of General Burnside s programme to pass an 
idle winter in front of the enemy s lines. He at once devised 
a plan for an aggressive movement, and took prompt measures 
to carry it into execution. Of this plan he gave, when called 
before the Committee on the Conduct of the War, the following 
history : 

" On the 26th of December, I ordered the entire command 
to prepare three days cooked rations ; to fill their \vagons 
with small stores to the amount of ten days supply ; if possible, 
to have with them, at the same time, from ten to twelve days 
supply of beef-cattle, with forage for teams, and cavalry and 
artillery horses for about the same length of time, and the re 
quired amount of ammunition, in fact, to be in a condition to 
move at twelve hours notice. I had determined to cross the 
river some six or seven miles below Fredericksburg, at a point 
opposite the Sedden House, a short distance below Hayfield. 
The positions for the artillery to protect the crossing had all 
been selected, the roads surveyed, and the corduroy necessary 
to prepare the roads had been cut. It was my intention to 
make a feint above the town, which could have been turned into 
a positive assault if I found we were discovered below. But 
if we were not discovered below, it was my intention to throw 
the entire command across at the point opposite the Sedden 
House, and points in the neighborhood where bridges could be 

" In connection with this movement, I had organized a cav 
alry expedition, to consist of some two thousand five hundred 
of the best cavalry in my command ; a thousand of them, with 
four pieces of artillery, to be picked men. And I had detailed 
a division of infantry from General Hooker s command to ac- 


company this cavalry as far as the upper fords of the Rappa- 
hannock, and aid them in crossing. The thousand picked men, 
with the four pieces of artillery, were to cross the Rappahan- 
nock at Kelly s Ford ; the Rapidan at Raccoon Ford ; the 
Virginia Central Railroad at Louisa Court House ; the James 
River at either Goochland or Carter s ; the Richmond and 
Lynchburg Railroad at a point south of there ; the Richmond, 
Petersburg and Weldon Railroad at or near the crossing of the 
Nottoway ; and then to move on through General Pryor s 
command, and join General Peck at Suffolk, where we were 
to have steamers in waiting to bring them back to Acquia 
Creek, at least, the men, with their arms and accoutrements ; 
and, in case their horses had to be left behind, new horses 
would be supplied to them. The object of this cavalry expe 
dition was to attract the attention of the enemy, blow up the 
locks on the James River canal, blow up the iron bridge on 
the Richmond and Lynchburg Railroad at the place of cross 
ing, and destroy the bridge on the Richmond and Weldon 
Railroad over the Nottoway ; and, during this movement, I in 
tended to throw my command across the river at the point I 
have named. The remainder of the cavalry, other than the 
thousand picked men, was to break off from the main body in 
the following order : a portion to go up to Warrenton ; another 
portion to go to the neighborhood of Culpepper ; another por 
tion was to accompany the thousand picked men as far as Rac- 
ctoon Ford, from which point they were to turn back. The 
object of these dispositions was to deceive the enemy as to 
which one of the columns was the attacking column. 

" This expedition had got under way, and the brigade of 
infantry had, I think on the 30th of December, crossed at 
Richard s Ford, and come back over Ellis s Ford, which would 
have enabled the cavalry to cross at Kelly s Ford. On that 
day, I received from the President of the United States a tele 
graphic dispatch in, substantially, these words : . I have good 
reason for saying that you must not make a general movement 


without letting me know of it. I could not imagine, at the 
time, what reasons the President had for sending this telegram, 
but supposed it related, in some way, to some important mili 
tary movements in other parts of the country, in which it was 
necessary to have cooperation. I at once despatched a mes 
senger to overtake the advance of this cavalry expedition, and 
order them to halt until further orders ; and I simply suspended 
the order for the general movement. My messenger overtook 
the cavalry just as they were ready to cross at Kelly s Ford. 
In the meantime, I heard of the raid Stuart had made in the 
direction of Dumfries, and the rear of Fairfax Court House, 
and sent a second order for a portion of this cavalry to endeavor 
to cut off Stuart in the neighborhood of Warrenton, in which 
they did not succeed. I then determined to come up to Wash 
ington to see the President, and, if possible, to ascertain the 
exact state of the case. 

" I came up to Washington, saw the President, and he frankly 
told me that some general officers of my command had called 
upon him, and represented that I was on the eve of another 
movement ; that the order for the preparation of rations, am 
munition, &c., had already been issued, and all the preliminary 
arrangements made ; and that they were satisfied that if the 
movement was made, it would result in disaster. That was 
about the substance of what the President told me, although 
he said a great deal more. I was so much surprised at the 
time, at what I heard, that it did not make an active impres 
sion on my mind as to the exact words. But I am sure that 
was the nature of it ; and I think he said that he had under 
stood that no prominent officer of my command had any faith 
in my proposed movement. 

" I then sat down and gave the President a detailed account 
of my plans for this movement, at the same time telling him 
that I was satisfied there was some misgiving on the part of 
some of my general officers as to making any movement at all 
at that time. But I said that I was myself satisfied that that 


movement ought to be made, and I had come to that conclusion 
without any consultation with the other generals. 

" The President still expressed misgivings as to the feasibility 
of making the entire movement, but expressed some regret at 
the cavalry portion of it being stopped. I told him that that 
was a portion of the general movement, and that, if these picked 
men were to go around Richmond without having any general 
movement in cooperation with, them, and were to meet with 
disaster and be captured, it would be a very serious loss to us ; 
and even if they were to meet with success, it would not com 
pensate for the risk, unless we were to take advantage of that 
success by a general movement ; and, besides, if the details of 
this cavalry movement could be kept quiet kept secret it 
might yet be made, in conjunction with the general movement, 
as I had proposed. 

" The President then said that he did not feel willing to au 
thorize a continuous movement without consultation with some 
of his advisers. He sent for General Halleck and Mr. Stanton, 
and the matter was very fully talked over. He told them, 
what they then for the first time heard of, that these officers 
had called upon him and made these representations to him, 
resulting in his telegram to me. I asked him if he would give 
me the names of those officers. He said he could not. I ex 
pressed some opinions in reference to what ought to be done 
with them, but, at the same time, said that I should not insist 
upon having the names, as he had a right to withhold them. 
General Halleck, at the same time, expressed the opinion that 
officers making representations of that kind should have 
been dismissed the service at once, or arrested at once, or some 
thing of that kind. My view was that they should have been 
dismissed the service. 

" No definite conclusion was come to during that conference 
in reference to the subject of a movement, I was here at that 
time for two days. 

" When I returned to my camp, I found that many of the 


details of the general movement were already known, and was 
told by a general officer that the details of the cavalry move 
ment were known here in the city of Washington to some sym 
pathizers with the rebellion. I was told that by General 
Pleasanton. This was some two or three days after my first 
interview with the President. Of course, I then abandoned 
the movement in that distinct form, intending to make it in 
some other form within a few days." J 

On the 20th instant, General Burnside announced in a gen 
eral order to the army, that they were to meet the enemy once 
more ; that the auspicious moment had arrived for striking " a 
great and mortal blow to the rebellion, and to gain that decisive 
victory which is due to the country." He had personally re- 
connoitered the ground above Falmouth, which determined him 
to make preparations for crossing at both Banks s and the 
United States Fords, and in their neighborhood ; and also for 
crossing six or seven miles below. To that end, all the neces 
sary roads were prepared, the pontoon trains placed in position, 
and the artillery detailed to cover the crossing. In carrying 
out the plan, General Sumner had the right, Hooker the centre, 
and Franklin the left. Hooker and Franklin began to move 
their columns up by different roads, while Sumner was to make 
a feint with pontoons below. The design was to tjirn the rebel 
stronghold in the rear of Fredericksburg, while Sumner was to 
cross the river at the old place opposite, and attack simultan 
eously in front. 

The plan was well conceived ; but its success depended upon 
secrecy, celerity and propitious weather. By some means yet 
unexplained, the rebels became aware of the contemplated 
movement some days before it occurred. Conflicting intelli 
gence of spies, in regard to the position of the enemy, caused 
delay,, and when, at last, the march commenced, a severe rain 
of three days duration set in, converting the whole country, un 
der the tread of men and horses, into a vast morass, and ren- 


dering further march impossible. The rebel pickets across the 
river saw our discomfiture, and gave expression to their de 
light by exhibiting sarcastic placards. " Stuck in the mud," 
was their legend. 

To further contest the supremacy of the elements were folly, 
and it only remained to accept the alternative return. But 
this was scarcely less difficult than to advance. Artillery, am 
bulances and pontoon trains blocked the roads ; men, horses 
and mules, sunk to their knees in mire, could only with the 
utmost exertion move. But by dint of whipping, spurring, and 
of shoulders put to wheels that horses could not stir, the army 
finally reached the vacated encampments, but in no enviable 
plight. Horses, cannon and caissons were cased in clay, and 
thousands of men who by a misstep had measured their length 
in the plastic bed, resembled, in outward appearance, a body of 
ditchers or brickyard workmen. Except for recollection of the 
hundreds of poor fellows who gave out and fell by the way, to 
be taken up sick or dying, the return would have been irresist- 
ably ludicrous; and as it was, mirthfulness predominated. 
Jests were freely bandied, though mingled with a liberal 
arnoUnt of emphatic expletives. In the memorable experiences 
of these few days, battery C, in common with the other Rhode 
Island artillery, participated, and shared in the universal re 
grets at a failure for which neither the army nor its leader were 
in fault. 

Through the entire four weeks covering the planning and 
attempted execution of this expedition, and perplexed as he 
was in no common degree, the Commander-in-Chief bore him 
self with characteristic equanimity. Every movement and ex 
pression was indicative of the high-minded, conscientious pa 
triot. On going to Washington, for reasons which it is not the 
purpose here to discuss, he tendered to the President his resig 
nation. But the President said, " We need you, and cannot 
accept your resignation." In its stead, a thirty days leave of 
absence was given, at the close of which he was to be invested 


with the command of an important department.* Last Mon 
day, (26th,) General Burnside, by general order, announced 
the transfer of his command to General Hooker. He compli 
mented the army for its courage, patience and endurance, and 
urged the men " to be true in their devotion to their country 
and the principles they had sworn to maintain," and to give 
their new commander their " full and cordial support and co 
operation." His departure awakens wide regret. His genial 
smile will be missed by the men, and he carries with him their 
confidence and affection. General Hooker has announced his 
staff, at the head of which is Major General Butterfield. To 
a speculative mind, the year entered upon, as the year closed, 
furnishes materials for the construction of a philosophy of con 
tingencies, or for an elucidation of the science of probabilities. 
Fortune is certainly an untrustworthy dame ; but if they who 
" braveliest bear her scorns awhile," are those " on whom at 
last she most will smile," the army of the Potomac need not 
abandon hope of brighter skies. All, in national life, is not 
exclusively in the control of man. God is over him, and in 
the end will vindicate his cause. 

* General Bornside was assigned to the Department of the Ohio. Gen 
eral Sumner was at the same time, at his own request, relieved of his 
command. He died, after a short and severe illness, at Syracuse, N. Y., 
while on a visit to that place, March 21, 18G3, in the t>8th year of his age. 
He was a native of Boston, and making arms his profession, he served his 
country long and faithfully. A short time before he died, a few drops of 
wine were given to revive him, when he seized the glass and waving it 
above his pillow, exclaimed, " God save my country, the United States 
of America." His decease was appropriately noticed by his successor, 
General Couch, in a general order to the Second army corps, and also by 
General Howard, commanding the second division iu the same corps. 



Mud, king Changes in command Hospital incident Rebel relics 
Washington s birth- day. 

February 6, 1863. 

Mud is king, and top-boots for subjects are in requisition. 
Since the army returned to its encampments from the attempt 
to cross the Rappahannock, snow, rain, frost and drizzle have 
preserved the monarch s domain from all attempts of sunshine 
and wind to diminish its extent. Let one undertake a pleasure 
jaunt of twenty miles just now, and he will be convinced that 
the story of a battery gun being sunk, on the late expe 
dition, until nothing remained visible but the rims of the 
carriage wheels, was but a slightly exaggerated form of speech. 
In the course of a few weeks the fitful season will be past, and 
active movements can then be more satisfactorily made than at 
present possible. 

Various changes have taken place in commands. General 
Smith has been transferred from the Sixth to the Ninth army 
corps, which won noble distinction under Gen. Burnside, at 
Antietam. Gen. Smith s old command held a front position 
before Yorktown, showed great valor at Williamsburg, and 
claims to have saved the right wing at Antietam. The record 
of his new command, he can look upon with satisfaction. Gen. 
Couch, who has succeeded Gen. Sumner, has the reputation of 
a brave and skillful officer. 

The autumn campaign was very severe on horses. Accord 
ing to official report, nearly 12,000 unserviceable animals were 
turned into the depot at Washington, between September 1st 
and December 1st. It is said the larger portion of these were 
disabled by hard usage and want of proper attention. Both 
these causes were often of necessity and not inhumanity. 


Yesterday, a cavalry reconnoissance was made to Rappa- 
hannock Station, in search of a pontoon bridge which it was 
reported the rebels were constructing in the vicinity. No dis 
covery was made, and the pontoon is probably a myth. 

February 8. Since Gen. Hooker assumed the command of 
the army of the Potomac, a reorganization has taken place 
which it is supposed will give it greater efficiency. Army 
corps take the place of the grand division system. The com 
manders of these stand in the following order : Major Generals 
John F. Reynolds, Couch, Sickles, (whose command is report 
ed to be temporary,) Meade, Sedgwick, Sigel, Slocum. The 
batteries are to be a unit under a chief of artillery, and the 
cavalry are to be consolidated under Gen. Stoneman, who led 
the advance on the Peninsula. For several days past, consid 
erable stir had been visible in the Ninth army corps, which 
proved to have been caused by preparation for leaving the 
scene of its late encampment. Last Friday, it moved for For 
tress Monroe. In this corps are included the 4th, 7th and 12th 
Rhode Island regiments, and the 8th, llth, 15th and 16th 

The war has given birth to many gems of poetry, patriotic, 
humorous and pathetic, illustrative of the spirit and varied 
impressions of the times. A volume compiled from the news 
papers of the day would prove a rich contribution to the mili 
tary literature of the country. Here is a touching morceau, 
from an unknown pen, suggested by an affecting scene in one 
of the army hospitals. A brave lad of sixteen years, belonging 
to a New England regiment, mortally wounded at Fredericks- 
burg, and sent to the Patent Office Hospital, in Washington, 
was anxiously looking for the coming of his mother. As his 
last hour approached, and sight grew dim, he mistook a sym 
pathetic lady who was wiping the cold, clammy perspiration 
from his forehead, for the expected one, and with a smile of 
joy lighting up his pale face, whispered tenderly, " is that mo- 


ther ? " " Then," says the writer, " drawing her towards him 
with all his feeble strength, he nestled his head in her arms like 
a sleeping infant, and thus died with the sweet word ( Mother 
on his quivering lips." 


11 Is that mother, bending o er me, 

As she sang my cradle hymn 

Kneeling there in tears before me ? 

Say ? my sight is growing dim. 

" Comes she from the old home lowly, 

Out among the northern hills, 
To her pet boy, dying slowly 

Of war s battle wounds and ills? 

Mother ! oh we bravely battled 
Battled till the day was done ; 
"While the leaden hail- storm rattled 
Man to man and gun to gun. 

" But we failed ; and I am dying 
Dying in my boyhood s years, 
There no weeping, self-denying 
Noble deaths demand no tears ! 

" Fold your arms again around me ; 

Press again my aching head ; 
Sing the lullaby you sang me 
Kiss me, mother, ere I m dead." 

There is pathos in this incident one only of hundreds simi 
lar, to inspire the artist s pencil. 

February 14. Nothing of exciting interest has occurred the 
past week, and little of incident of any sort worth noting. The 
battery stands parked in grim silence, ready to report when 
called upon, and the encampments of the army generally are 
in quietude. The rebels, on the contrary, are reported busy 
on the other side of the Rappahannock, along our entire front. 


Earthworks have been thrown up opposite Falmouth, and rifle 
pits near the margin of the river. Whether these additional 
preparations for visitors are based upon a supposition that the 
Federals design to revisit their old battle-field, or upon posi 
tive information, is unknown ; but our apparent quietness evi 
dently alarms them, and they intend to be in readiness for 
whatever may turn up. On our side, sharper attention is paid 
to picket duties. By a late order, corps commanders are held 
responsible for the proper position and strength of their picket 
lines, and their proper connection on the right and left. This 
is a wise and judicious measure, and will tend to prevent sud 
den surprises by rebel raids. 

A few epistolary relics from the rebel encampment, scattered 
by the battle of December 13th, have fallen into my hands, 
together with a few secesh envelopes, which bear strong ex 
ternal evidence of northern manufacture. The letters are from 
home, to relatives in camp. One from a wife, is full of solici 
tude for her husband, whom she learns is sick, and begs, if he 
cannot obtain a furlough to come home until he recovers, to be 
kept constantly informed of his situation. Another, from a 
brother, relating to some business transactions with a neighbor, 
shows that Mr. Jefferson Davis has at least one man in his do- 
maSn who needs sharp looking after. But the most significant 
one is from a mother, who exclaims, " Oh, how I long for this 
terrible war to be over, so that our poor soldiers may return to 
their homes and friends, and peace be restored to our troubled 
country." Doubtless this is the daily wish of thousands of 
mothers in Dixie ; and if they will persuade their husbands 
and sons to abandon a wicked rebellion, that if persisted in, 
must issue in their utter ruin, they may hope, at an early day, 
to realize their wish. The process is simple and practical, and 
the experiment worth trying. 

February 23. Yesterday, the birth-day of Washington was 
ushered in by one of the severest snow storms of the winter ; 


grand in itself, as a natural phenomenon, but shorn of poetic 
sublimity, when viewed from the long line of tents scantily 
provided with fuel, or deficient in extra blankets. A national 
salute of thirty-four guns was fired at noon, by the artillery of 
the different divisions, and, had the weather permitted, the 
army would have been paraded to hear read portions of the 
Farewell Address. To the loyal States, and to loyal men in 
the rebel States, the wise counsels of that address were never 
so full of expression as now. The angry whirl of the snow, 
and the hoarse Voice of the storm, were appropriate demonstra 
tions of the spirit in which, if living, the founder of the Re 
public would rebuke the men seeking to destroy it. Under 
canvas, the hours of discomfort were whiled away by ingen 
ious attempts to keep out the sky dust, or in running a parallel 
between a winter in front of Fredericksburg and a Revolution 
ary winter at Valley Forge. 

Provost Marshal General Patrick is vigorously exercising 
his functions against sutlers of feeble conscience. At Belle 
Plain, a few days ago, a cargo of forbidden goods were seized 
and confiscated a significant warning to all minor and major 
offenders. An extensive contraband traffic between the rebels 
in Maryland and Virginia has also just been broken up. The 
supply party run their merchandise, and with it important in 
formation of Federal positions and designs, across the Potomac 
near the extremity of the peninsula. The seizures compri^d 
horses, mules, and a large quantity of provisions, destined for 
Richmond. A number of vessels employed as transports were 
destroyed, and several citizen smugglers, together with a rebel 
signal officer, captured. This operation has stopped, for the 
present, the enforcement of the rebel conscription, in what are 
called the Neck counties of the peninsula, then about to take 

March 20. Last Tuesday, (17th,) Gen. Averill had a sharp 
engagement of four hours duration, with the rebel cavalry un- 


der Stuart and Fitz Hugh Lee, beyond Kelly s Ford. Gen. 
Averill s command consisted of the 1st Rhode Island cavalry, 
Colonel Duffie, 1st and 5th regulars, 4th New York, 6th Ohio, 
16th and 34th Pennsylvania, and the 6th New York light 
battery. The enemy were routed with the loss of one hundred 
men and fifty prisoners. The Federal loss is reported at about 
forty. The fight is considered the most brilliant cavalry affair 
of the Rappahannock campaign, and reflects high credit on the 
spirit and skill of General Averill. The Rhode Island, cavalry 
were in the hottest of the fight, and displayed great bravery. 
They lost Lieut.. Nichols and two privates killed, and had 
eighteen men wounded. Lieut. Colonel Farrington narrowly 
escaped with a wound in the neck, but continued on the field. 
Lieutenant Bowditch, an estimable officer of 1st Massachusetts 
cavalry, and Assistant Adjutant General of the first brigade, 
was mortally wounded. Of his sufferings, mention has already 
been made. 

General Stuart appears to have an exalted estimate of fe 
male influence, and begun to turn it to account in the rebel 
cause, by appointing a Miss Antonia J. Ford an honorary 
Aide-de-Camp, and, as such, requiring her to. be " obeyed, re 
spected and admired, by all the lovers of a noble nature." Miss 
Ford has been styled " a modern Delilah." She was recently 
arrested at her home, near Fairfax Court House, by the mili- 
ta^r authorities, which act may save the Federal Samsons of 
that outpost from betrayal into the hands of the Philistines. 

March 29. Day before yesterday, Gov. Curtain of Penn 
sylvania, who is visiting the troops from that State, was enter 
tained with an exhibition of skill in various athletic sports, 
enlivened by the music of several bands. A stand, some two 
hundred feet in length, was extemporized from pontoons and 
bridge materials at hand, near the encampment of the Second 
army corps, which was occupied by Gov. C. and suite, division 
and brigade officers, and a number of ladies, whose temporary 


presence has of late graced the camp. The amusements com 
prised a steeple chase, scrub, foot and sack races, greased pole 
climbing, and other like gymnastics. If they were less classic 
in order and execution than those of Isthmian fame, they were 
quite as amusing and satisfactory to the large assemblage of 
spectators. For several weeks past, occasional episodes of this 
kind have received the sanction and presence of the Comman- 
der-in-Chief, giving healthful excitement to the soldiers, amid 
the graver duties of military routine. Human nature is the 
same in the army as out of it. The men crave provocations to 
mirth, and Mars does wisely by now and then yielding a point 
to Momus. 

Under the judicious arrangements of General Hooker, the 
morale of the army has been constantly improving for the last 
two months. Its present condition is in agreeable contrast 
with its jaded spirit immediately after what has been facetiously 
called the "mudlarking expedition." Rest, brief leaves of 
absence, a full supply of vegetables, soft bread, and other spe 
cial attentions to the comfort of the soldiers, have invigorated 
the atmosphere of the camps. Cheerfulness prevails, the jocund 
laugh rings out with hearty sound, the fire that burned at An- 
tietam is again kindling, discipline improves, confidence in 
creases, and, to all appearance, by the time a movement shall 
be possible, the men will be ready for any good service to which 
they may be called. 

The experiences of ten days leave of absence are not with 
out interest, especially to those who have enjoyed the privilege 
for the first time in eighteen months. Suppose the somewhat 
tedious preliminary of obtaining the necessary papers, duly 
signed, to be over, and the lucky recipient safely embarked on 
board the government mail steamer, the fasts thrown off, and 
the vessel headed for Washington. Fancy now plumes her 
wings for a speedy flight to distant waiting joys. But fancy 
and fact are in conflict. Imagination succumbs to stern reality. 
Expectation drinks from the cup of disappointment. The tide 


is low, the channel tortuous, and in a few moments the steamer 
" misses stays," and is brought up all standing on a sand bar, 
where, for three hours, she lies puffing and floundering like a 
stranded cetaceous monster, affording the meditative mind am 
ple opportunity, amid the noise and confusion of a not over pious 
crowd, to philosophize upon the uncertainties of this nether 
world, and to test its patience, while reflecting that the delay 
necessitates the using up of the next twenty-four hours at the 
wrong end of the route. But the capital is finally reached, and 
a much needed bath at Willard s makes partial atonement, by 
its refreshing influence, for the vexations of the day. 

But another trial is in store. Night comes, but " sleep is no 
servant of the will," and is courted in vain. A generous host 
can only provide a luxurious feather bed. Here come no 
"rosy dreams and slumbers light." Half smothered in the 
plumage of Rome s deliverers, rest is as impossible as peace to 
a troubled conscience, and tossing from side to side, while wait 
ing coming day, the mind reverts to blanket, tent, or bivouac, 
when sleep was both deep and sweet, and sympathizes with the 
boy whose painful endurance of a single feather caused him to 
marvel that human nature could abide the effects of a sack full. 
The time of departure at last arrives. Turning the back on 
steamer and city, the cars are taken at 6 o clock P. M., puff, 
puff, goes the iron horse, as he rushes over the road with light 
ning speed, and, at* the end of thirty-six hours, the traveller 
finds himself at his destination, to give unexpectant friends an 
early morn surprise. Then come the hearty greetings, the 
multiplied seals of affection, the social divertisements that 
awaken memories of more peaceful days, beguile the hours, and 
bring so soon the moment of departure, that one is disposed to 
think old Father Time has been rejuvenated, and, for the pur 
pose of hastening matters, has borrowed the famed seven league 

The recent address of Mr. Jefferson Davis to the confederate 
States indicates apprehensions on the food question. The de- 


ficiency in the supply of meat for the rebel army, is acknowl 
edged, and a full avowal of the fact is made, that " the produc 
tion of corn, oats, beans, peas, potatoes, and other food for man," 
is of more consequence than the " production of cotton and 
tobacco." Cotton is no longer king, and the dethroned monarch 
shrinks away from the cry that is daily coming up with stronger 
emphasis, " what shall we eat ? " 

The condition of the rebel confederacy, as here virtually 
confessed by its chief, is in remarkable contrast with the state 
of things in the loyal States. While the south is trembling in 
prospect of "embarrassments in military operations, and suf 
ferings among the people," arising from deficiency in the food 
supply, the vast grain regions of the west have scarcely been 
touched by the devastating hand of war ; the immense granaries 
of Chicago pour out their supplies in unstinted measure, and 
the mills of St. Louis, Rochester, Patapsco, and elsewhere, run 
with increasing vigor. While at the south, a depreciated cur 
rency, deranged business, and desolated fields, show how terri 
ble is the calamity of war when brought home, the most strik 
ing feature at the north is the almost total absence of its signs. 
With this, I was strongly impressed on my late brief visit there. 
In Washington and Baltimore, the evidences of existing war 
Were abundant, but in Philadelphia and New York they had 
nearly disappeared. The noble Soldier s Rest, in the former 
city, which has refreshed so many thousands of our weary men, 
indeed reminded us that sympathy for the defenders of the 
Union was still warm ; but Chestnut street was as gay as in the 
palmiest days of peace, and the squirrels on Independence 
Square gamboled undisturbed by national turmoil. In New 
York, Broadway teemed with busy life. Merchant princes 
were making more princely fortunes than ever. Fashion had 
never been more costly in expenditures, promenades never 
more brilliant, and places of amusements never more crowded. 
Except the old barracks on the Park, and the few soldiers met 
who find a temporary home at the Rest, superintended by Col. 


Howe, little was to be seen indicative of civil convulsion. The 
same was true of Providence. Westminster street was as 
lively as before the first gun was fired on Sumter ; familiar 
faces were met at every corner ; the cars were, as usual, bring 
ing and carrying away their living freights ; the ships at 
the wharves were lading and unlading, with unabated activity ; 
the smoke was going up from numerous factories, foundries and 
machine shops, and scarcely a noticeable depletion in popula 
tion had been made by the thousands sent from the city to sus 
tain the government in suppressing rebellion. And so it is 
throughout the north. Except here and there a recruiting 
station, nothing looks like war. "When one witnesses the pro 
fusion that prevails, and sees, as he must, that all the north has 
clone to support the Union has been from her abundance ; that 
sacrifice has not yet touched her fountains of wealth, the con 
trast between the condition of the north and the south becomes 
too palpable to escape attention, and too significant not to 
awaken practical reflection. Still, it may not be safe to count 
largely on the fatal effects of the present scarcity of food upon 
the rebel cause. The leaders are in earnest, as men to whom 
results will be life or death. They have a faculty of inspiring 
the masses with their own spirit, and whatever change they 
propose for mending their fortunes, will probably be adopted. 
If a cultivation of the cereals, to the exclusion of cotton, is 
urged as a necessity, the grain fields will at once be multiplied, 
and the crops of a favorable season will contribute largely to 
relieve them of the embarrassments now felt. It may be true 
that a diminished crop of cotton will injuriously affect the con 
federate finances ; but credit in Europe will be quite as much 
strengthened or weakened by the probabilities of final success 
or disaster, as by any temporary advantages to foreign manu 
facturing interests accruing from a larger cotton supply. The 
effectual Federal counteractive of Mr. Davis s new policy, is 
to be found in good fighting. 

Under the President s proclamation, many absentees have 


returned to their respective regiments. They were largely 
men who had enlisted under the high bounty system, and had 
deserted to enlist again under assumed names, to improve their 
finances. Many of them enlisted and deserted several times. 
Probably no system designed to encourage patriotic enlistments 
was ever so widely abused. Bringing to the army thousands 
actuated solely by pecuniary considerations, and who never 
intended to fight, the moral effects were only evil, and a plan 
intended to strengthen it, proved, for the time, an expensive 
failure. The interesting and important report of Major ^Ham- 
lin to Gov. Sprague shows thai, in common with other State?, 
Rhode Island has suffered severely from this evil. The return 
to their regiments, through his efforts, of between eight and 
nine hundred deserters and stragglers, affords commendable 
evidence of the persistence, vigor and success with which he 
has pursued his duties. At Washington, as I have incidentally 
learned, the United States Provost Marshal s office in Provi 
dence is considered the most thoroughly organized and efficient 
of any in commission. 


Health of the army Hospitals Sanitary Commission The work of 
Mrs. Fales, Mrs. Chittenden and Mrs. Jillson St. Patrick s day 
Death of Young Fales Distinguished visitors Reviews Rebel 
Pickets Movement of General Stoneman General Fogliardi Pay 
day Army in motion. 

April 4th, 1363. } 

The sanitary condition of the army is favorably reported. 
The number on the sick list, in the camp hospitals, does not 
exceed the usual average, and is less than might have been 


expected after the fatigues and exposures of the earlier part of 
winter. Our camp hospitals are not intended for patients re 
quiring serious treatment, and are usually occupied by men 
whose cases call for only the simplest prescriptions. As soon 
as it is evident that some weeks or months will elapse before 
recovery, the patients are removed to Washington, and thence, 
if they can bear the fatigue of the journey, many of them are 
distributed to hospitals in Baltimore, Philadelphia, or Ports 
mouth Grove. The hospital department has been constantly 
expanding to meet the exigencies of a constantly expanding 
war, and the arrangements are considered as well systematized. 
In the beginning, no one foresaw or imagined, that in less than 
two years, nearly one hundred and fifty thousand sick and 
wounded men would require medical and surgical treatment ; 
yet this has actually occurred since the 1st of November, 1862. 
From the most reliable sources of information, it appears that 
upwards of one hundred and thirty thousand men are now in 
the various hospitals of the country.* "With limited conven 
iences, and an inadequate number of skillful surgeons, it is not 
surprising that, at first, complaints were numerous and emphatic ; 
but early measures were adopted to remedy evils that a short 
experience had developed. In "Washington, temporary hospi 
tals took a permanent form ; large and commodious buildings 
were erected, and others at hand were taken by the govern 
ment, and converted to hospital uses. These are now in good 
condition. Patients sent there find the comforts and attention 
that make sickness endurable, and that relieve the ennui of 
confinement from wounds. 

For the improvements visible in general and camp hospitals, 
much is due to the labors of the Sanitary Commission. By 
the inspections and suggestions of its medical agents, many 
evils resulting from inexperience and other causes have been 
removed, and by the seasonable supplies of hospital stores it 
has furnished, the sick and wounded have been greatly relieved. 
The services rendered in the camps on the Peninsula, and on 


the fields at Antietam, Fredericksburg and elsewhere, are 
among the gratifying evidences of its usefulness as an auxiliary 
to the Medical Bureau. At Antietam, the army was reached 
by more than forty agents of the Commission, with supplies, at 
an earlier hour than it was possible for the government to for 
ward them, and within three days after the battle, they had 
rendered relief, in some form, to eight thousand poor fejlows 
who had experienced the casualties of war. By their prompt 
labors, hundreds of lives were doubtless saved, that otherwise 
would have been lost. The same was true before Fredericks- 
burg, where eighteen division hospitals had been organized. 
The agents came laden with blankets, so much needed by the 
wounded, exposed to a chilly night and to rain ; and welcome 
were the changes of raiment they brought to those whose gar 
ments were stiff with dirt and gore. The value of such works 
cannot be over-estimated, and a commission that carries them 
so vigorously on, deserves the hearty and liberal support of the 
patriotic and humane, whose spirit it so faithfully represents. 
The relation it holds to the army is vital. Its experience in 
everything pertaining to the sanitary welfare of the troops in 
the field and in the hospital, is invaluable, and while the re 
bellion continues, will find ample scope for its disinterested 

To the voluntary labors of such women (an honored word) 
as Mrs. J. T. Fales, wife of Joseph T. Fales, Esq., of the Pa 
tent Office, Mrs. Chittenden, Mrs. Jillson, and others in Wash 
ington, who have so constantly visited local and camp hospitals, 
great praise is also due. Their presence and sympathetic 
words, even more than their gifts, have cheered thousands of 
our wounded, whose sufferings, far from home, were making 
them victims of despondency, and left an impression on grate 
ful memories that will never be obliterated. 

Of Mrs. Fales, it is no fulsome compliment to say she is a 
Florence Nightingale of our army. She is from Iowa, and 
when the rebellion broke out, entered upon her mission of 


mercy under the promptings of a noble patriotism. At Cor 
inth, Pittsburg Landing, and elsewhere in the west, she was 
busy on the battle-field, ministering to wounded and dying 
soldiers. Last summer she was on the peninsula, dispensing 
to the sick and suffering, the refreshing contents of her ample 
trunk. A woman of sound judgment, of calm but energetic 
temperament, of warm maternal heart, practical in action, and 
uncompromising in her devotion to the Union, she enjoys the 
full confidence of the government, who have placed an ambu 
lance and a driver at her command, and, thus appointed, she 
daily visits the hospitals, extending her drives often twenty 
miles distant from the capital. 

The observations of one day prepare her for the details of 
the next. Whatever is lacking of clothing, stimulants or deli 
cacies, she notes, and these, as far as in her power, are made 
the assortment of the following day. When at home, her prac 
tice is to visit the depots and steamboat landings, where she 
renders the aid in her power to the sick and friendless, sent 
from the army discharged, or destined to the government hos 
pitals. A convenient tent, pitched in her front yard, has been 
a blessed home to many poor wayfarers, exhausted by disease, 
or destitute of means to procure food and lodging. To increase 
; her usefulness, she corresponds extensively with individuals 
;and associations, and whatever is sent to her for general or 
special distribution, is discreetly dispensed. Her interest em 
braces soldiers from every State, and many Rhode Island sol 
diers have been made glad by the kindnesses she has bestowed 
upon them.* 

*An only son, Corporal Thomas H. B. Falcs, of Co. K, 2d Rhode 
Island, was killed in the battle of Salem Heights, May 3d, at the age of 
twenty-one years. Of pure moral and Christian character, and justly esti 
mating the value of the Union, he heartily engaged in its defence. When 
-Mr. Lincoln s election became known, and threats were made that he 
should never be inaugurated, young Fales joined a volunteer company in 
Washington, in which he served for several months, until disbanded. He 
then enlisted in the 2d Rhode Island regiment, and was with it in the bat- 


In the history of this rebellion, a large chapter will be due 
to the loyal women of the country. To them, to a greater ex 
tent than has been acknowledged or generally realized, is the 
government indebted for the enduring patriotism of its army. 
The Rhode Island soldiers owe much to the Relief Associations 
in Providence and elsewhere, for remembrances that have re 
vived flagging spirits, enlivened many a weary march, and 
cheered both camp and hospital. 

"Theirs are deeds which cannot pass away, 
And names that will not wither." 

April 12. The civic amusements inaugurated on St. Pat 
rick s Bay, under the auspices of General Meagher, and cul 
minating in the athletic entertainment given in honor of Gov. 
Curtin, under the sanction of Gen. Hooker, have been suc 
ceeded by military galas, honored by the presence of the 
President, Mrs. Lincoln, Master Lincoln and Attorney General 
Bates. These distinguished guests reached Acquia Landing 
in a fierce snow storm, on Saturday evening, 4th instant. 
They remained on board the steamer until the next morning, 
when they proceeded to Falmouth Station, where they were 
received by Gen. Butterfield, and thence escorted by a squad 
ron of lancers to Gen. Hooker s head-quarters. 

The storm of Saturday night, the snow drifts piled up about 
the camps, the sharp winds of Sunday, the mud of Monday, 
and the examination of encampments and hospitals on succeed 
ing days, must have given the Presidential party a better idea 

tie of Bull Run, and also in all its subsequent engagements. Brave, faith 
ful in the discharge of his duty, and ever displaying generous, manly 
traits, he engaged the respect and esteem of his companions in arms. In 
the heat of the battle above mentioned, he was severely wounded, but re 
fused to go to the rear. Soon after, a second shot pierced his breast, and 
he fell dead, and was buried on the field. An unsuccessful effort was 
made to recover his body, the rebel general refusing permission to enter 
his lines to search for the grave. 


of the vicissitudes of a soldier s life than could have been de 
rived from official reports. During the President s sojourn 
here, every corps of the army, infantry, cavalry and artillery, 
passed in review before him. 

Ladies are always welcome visitors to the camp, and never 
fail to be received with the courtesy due to their sex ; and the 
presence of Mrs. Lincoln gratified the respectful curiosity of 
the thousands who had never before seen a President s wife. 
A tent was fitted up for her use, less sumptuous than the ar 
rangements of the White House, but neat and comfortable. 
,At the reviews, she occupied a carriage, and appeared to take 
a warm interest in the passing scenes. Of the President, a 
characteristic anecdote is related. After the review, last 
"Wednesday, (8th,) an ardent admirer of the regulars, in dis 
paragement of volunteers, called his attention to the more 
exact discipline of the former, inasmuch as they stood statue- 
like without%ioving the head, when he passed, while the latter 
almost universally dressed to the left, that they might keep him 
in view along the entire line. He did not, however, take the 
impression intended to be given, and simply replied, " I do n t 
care how much my soldiers turn their heads if they do n t turn 
their backs." He returned to Washington day before yester 
day, and all is again quiet. 

Some time ago, communication between the rebel pickets 
and our own was interdicted, but gradually, after a short pe- . 
riod, the old and somewhat familiar relations were resumed, and 
good-natured jokes bandied across the river. The rebels have 
been very free in expressing their opinions of the war, and 
some of them, if reported, would hardly be accepted as compli 
mentary to Mr. Jefferson Davis. From the pickets on our 
side, they often get a sharp criticism, which is usually good- 
naturedly received. The charm of Abydos to Leander was 
scarcely stronger than is the affection of thirsty secesh for 
Federal coffee. To obtain a luxury so rare, they often propose 
a suspension of hostilities, that they may come over and par- 


take of Union hospitality. Recently, half a dozen of them 
stacked arms and crossed the river. They wished the war 
over, and thought if their leaders were out of the way, the 
difficulties could easily be adjusted. After spending an hour, 
two of their number concluded to remain. The others re 
turned. How they accounted for the absence of their com 
panions without criminating themselves has not been reported. 
The Butternuts, however, are good at a dodge, and no doubt 
came off clear. The rebel army is still in full force at Fred- 
ericksburg. At the present time, they will hardly risk to 
weaken themselves at this point, however much they may de 
sire to send troops elsewhere. 

April 18. The New York papers have put us in possession 
of Culpepper and Gordonsville, consummations " devoutly to 
be wished," but the record, I am sorry to say, is not supported 
by facts. The statements probably grew out of a demonstra 
tion made by a body of Gen. Stoneman s cavalry and a support 
of infantry, at Kelly s Ford on Tuesday last, the account of 
which, before reaching New York, assumed the proportions of 
an important success. Whether Gen. S. designed anything 
more than a reconnoissance in force is unknown, but crossing 
the river and driving the rebels from their stronghold remains 
a work for the future. 

The army, or at least portions of it, has been, for a week, 
under light marching orders, with eight days rations kept con 
stantly on hand. As usual, when a movement is in contem 
plation on the Rappahannock, the elements seemed to be in 
sympathy with the rebels. A severe rain storm on Wednes 
day last, has vetoed operations for a few days, and desire for 
active service is held in abeyance by that cardinal virtue, pa 
tience. The temporary absence on leave, of Capt. Martin, has 
devolved the duties of chief of artillery on Capt. Waterman. 
Ten days ago, battery C was withdrawn from the position in 


which it had been placed, to watch the enemy, and has since 
been in park, ready to hitch up at a moment s warning. 

In some way the rebels had been apprised of the stir in our 
camps, and it is said, immediately sent reinforcements to guard 
the various fords. Of what is to be attempted or done by our 
forces, it is premature to speak. A week of fair weather will 
put the roads in a more passable condition, when large bodies 
can move with greater certainty of carrying their point. When 
again in motion, the wires will chronicle their deeds. 

Gen. Fogliardi, a Swiss military celebrity, has been, for a 
short time, enjoying the hospitality of Gen. Hooker. He is 
accompanied by Col. Repetti and Lieut. Lubin, the latter act 
ing as interpreter. The object of this visit is to obtain a knowl 
edge of the character and efficiency of our army. To this end, 
he has favored with reviews and inspections. These, it is 
understood, have elicited warm encomiums. 

Among the welcome personages seen among us since the 
President s visit, have been the paymaster and allotment com 
missioner Amsbury. To many of the regiments and batteries, 
five months pay was due, and settling up has lighted a multi 
tude of faces with smiles. The clergyman who thought he 
could preach better for having a V or an X in his pocket, 
differed little from his brethren of the human family, whose 
weapons of warfare are less spiritual ; and no doubt when the 
word forward is heard, the step will be all the more elastic for 
a reasonable supply of green-backs. The allotment arrange 
ment is an admirable one for safety, and numbers improved 
the presence of the commissioner to make remittances to their 
families or parents. I am informed that nearly half a million 
of dollars has passed through this channel from Rhode Island 
soldiers since the system was organized, and not a dollar has 
failed to reach its destination. 

April 27. Gen. Stoneman s advance, mentioned under a 
previous date, appears to have been the signal for a general 


movement of the army ; but since the return of the President 
and his party to Washington, the elements have been unpro- 
pitious, and little more than patient waiting could be done. 
For upwards of two weeks, in the apparent absence of the chief 
of the Zodiac, Aquarius usurped the rule, and exercised his 
peculiar functions without stint. The floods were poured ; the 
Rappahannock increased its proportions ; the little streams 
filled to repletion, and the roads rivalled their condition in the 
memorable mud expedition of January. Of course, this usur 
pation could not long be quietly submitted to, and by an adroit 
flank push, and a vigorous charge in front, Taurus regained the 
position from which he had been unceremoniously ejected, "and 
all the clouds that lower d upon our house " were rolled behind 
the distant horizon, or " vanished into thin air," leaving Sol and 
Boreas full power to repair damages. By their joint industry, 
the ways have been so far improved that, to-day, under the 
inspiration of a balmy atmosphere and smiling skies, the army 
has commenced motion. Our battery moved at 11 A. M. 
Others will follow soon. We had but three hours notice, and 
in that time eight days rations were drawn, three of them were 
cooked, and the battery was on the march. Large bodies of 
infantry are in motion, giving an animating appearance to the 
scene in every direction. Stirring events may be expected 
soon. We leave our old encampment with pleasant recollec 
tions of the comforts it afforded ; but while we shall miss our 
commodious huts and the conveniences ingenuity contrived, we 
shall be well content to dispense with them, if this movement 
issues in success. 



The Battle of Chancellorville Part taken by the 2d Rhode Island, and 
five Rhode Island batteries Stoneman s raid Army recross the 

May 9, 1863. f 

For ten days the valley of the Rappahannock, and all the 
country between Fredericksburg and Richmond, have been in 
intense commotion. My date of the 27th ultimo announced 
that the Federal army was in motion. I now resume the nar 
rative then interrupted, giving such particulars as have fallen 
under personal observation, and as have been hastily gleaned 
by inquiry. 

If the reader looks at the map of Virginia, and makes a dot 
at Port Conway, some twenty miles below Fredericksburg, and 
then makes another dot at Kelly s Ford, twenty-five miles 
above, a clear view will be obtained of the extent of our line 
in the primary operations. This, however, was soon contracted. 
At Port Conway, a feint of crossing with a large body of our 
troops was made, which drew down Jackson, with 60,000 men, 
to oppose it. While thus diverting attention, the First, Third 
and Sixth corps, under Generals Reynolds, Sickles and Sedg- 
wick, were massed at Franklin s old crossing. A portion of 
the troops were thrown over, driving the rebels from their rifle 
pits, and holding the bank, without advancing. The residue, 
including the 2d Rhode Island, remained encamped on this side 
until Friday, in plain sight of the rebel pickets, who had two 
pieces of artillery in position at an inconvenient nearness, with 
more of the same sort planted on the hills in their rear, over 
looking and commanding the plain stretching back from the 
river, and extending towards Fredericksburg. They did not 
molest our troops, however, lest it might prematurely bring on 
an engagement, or perhaps prove a signal for an opening upon 
the city by two Federal batteries in front. 


111 the movement on the right, the Eleventh corps, under 
Gen. Howard, led off, followed by the Twelfth, Gen. Slocum, 
and Fifth, Gen. Meade, to which battery C is attached. They 
all took the direction of Kelly s Ford, but by different roads, 
leaving desolate the camps so recently the scenes of drills, re 
views and athletic sports. The day was warm, and the men, 
burdened with rations, heavy knapsacks and overcoats, soon 
felt the pressure of the heat, and, before night, large numbers 
had cast aside every encumbrance but the contents of their 
haversacks, to be gathered up and brought on by the baggage 
teams, or to furnish a rich harvest of gleanings for the farmers 
on the route, or other chijfonniers, following in the wake of an 
army. By this injudicious act, (to which weary limbs and 
aching shoulders are easily provoked,) they deprived them 
selves of the protection, so soon needed, from evening chills 
and rain. 

On the first day, (Monday,) our battery marched nine miles. 
On the second, we made eight miles, over roads in many places 
in very bad condition, and camped at Mount Holly Church. 
The third day, (Wednesday,) at 10 o clock A. M., we reached 
Kelly s Ford. In this vicinity, General Stoneman s cavalry 
had lingered since the 13th April, when a contemplated raid 
towards Richmond was cut short by heavy rains. The pon 
toons were seasonably at the Ford, and speedily laid, and be 
fore night of the 29th, the army had crossed the Rappahannock, 
and Stoneman s cavalry was flying on its important mission. 
Our division took the direction of Ely s Ford, on the Rapidan, 
where we encamped for the night, having, in the meantime, 
captured over one hundred rebels. The next morning, (30th 
April,) we forded the Rapidan, which here is about seventy 
yards wide and three or four feet deep, and marched in the 
rain to Chancellorsville, ten miles in the rear of Fredericksburg. 
The Eleventh and Twelfth corps crossed the river at Germania 
Mills, and after a smart brush with the rebels, resulting in tak 
ing a considerable number of prisoners, formed a junction with 


us. To gain time for this, and to confuse the enemy, imme 
diately after our arrival, we made a feint off to the left towards 
Banks s Ford, on the Rappahannock. "VVe went out with the 
1st brigade, 1st division. Subsequently, the 2d brigade came 
up to reinforce us. We did not need their aid, and fell back 
to Chancellors ville and bivouacked for the night. 

Chancellorsville is a one-house post-town, seventy-six miles 
northwest of Richmond. The house stands in the centre of a 
moderate sized clearing, is built of brick, and occupied as a 
tavern by its owner, from whom the locality derives its name. 
From this point radiate four roads, one leading to Fredericks- 
burg, one to Gordonsville, one to Spottsylvania, and one to 
Ely s Ford. There is nothing particularly attractive in the 
spot or its surroundings, and at this time it was of consequence 
chiefly in a military point of view, bringing us within support 
ing distance of forces in different directions. For a short time, 
General Hooker made his head-quarters here. It was a very 
exposed situation, but better than any other that offered, from 
which to observe the field, receive information and communi 
cate orders. The house was soon an object of attraction to the 
rebels, who made it an unsafe abode. While standing near a 
post on the piazza, General Hooker was struck senseless by a 
splinter thrown off by a cannon shot, and remained in that 
condition for nearly half an hour. This casualty may have 
seriously affected the fortunes of the battle. The house was 
subsequently burned. 

On Friday, the 1st instant, our line of battle was as follows : 
Gen. Meade s, Fifth corps, on the left; then the Second corps y 
Gen. Couch, next on the right ; then Slocum s, Twelfth ; then 
Howard s, Eleventh, on the extreme right, with Sickles s, Third, 
in reserve. During the day, considerable cannonading and 
some sharp fighting occurred. At 10 A. M., our battery broke 
camp, and with the 1st and 2d brigades, inarched off on the 
road leading to Fredericksburg. At 3 P. M., we counter 
marched and returned to Chancellorsville, and went into posi- 


tion, and so remained all night. Late in the afternoon, the 
enemy felt our entire line, and received some solid tokens of 
Federal disapprobation. Saturday morning, at 4 o clock, the 
battery was relieved, and fell back a mile or so. Here it went 
into position again, while rifle pits were dug, and trees felled 
to strengthen our defence. Four pieces, Lieut. Lee s and 
Lieut. Fiske s sections, under Capt. Waterman, went down the 
road to the left of the centre of our lines, a mile or more, and 
took position. Lieut. Sackett remained at this point with his 
section. Up to near 5 o clock P. M., all the movements of the 
day had been satisfactory. From the position of the different 
corps, it seemed the object of Gen. Hooker to induce the rebels 
to follow him here, where he was prepared to give them a 
crushing blow. But in his plans he was doomed to disappoint 
ment. Gen. Howard s corps had been pushed forward to sup 
port the right flank, and was doing a successful work, when 
suddenly, upon a heavy and vigorous charge by the rebels, two 
German regiments, in Gen. Schurz s division, broke and ran 
towards the rear, and in every direction, like flocks of fright 
ened sheep, causing confusion, and carrying consternation 
wherever they went. Gen. Howard and Gen. Sickles exerted 
themselves with great energy to remedy the evil, but with only 
partial success. 

The disaster necessitated a new line of battle, which Gen 
eral Hooker set about promptly. All night the generals of 
corps and divisions were incessantly at work. Old positions 
were abandoned and new ones taken up. The Fifth corps 
blended its strength with the Second ; and the Eleventh, re 
formed, took the old position of the Fifth. The line of Gen. 
Sickles was thrice fiercely assailed, and as often the rebels were 
beaten back. Birney pushed ahead with great vigor, and with 
Randolph s battery, soon sent to the rear, as prisoners of war, 
the entire remnant of the 23d Georgia regiment, numbering 
over four hundred officers and men. 


During the afternoon of Sunday, the enemy made several 
attempts to force our lines, particularly at the apex of our 
position, near the Chancellor House, but Capt. Weed had 
massed a large quantity of artillery in such a position as to re 
pulse, with great loss, everything placed within its range. The 
enemy tried several batteries and regiments at that point, at 
different times during the afternoon, and they were literally 
destroyed by the fire of our terrible guns. Nothing could live 
within their range. 

[The storming of Marye s Heights, one of the most promi 
nent and bloody events of the battle, was accomplished with 
heavy loss. " As Gen. Gibbon went to the right, the enemy s 
men were sent in that direction to meet him. As they had the 
shortest lines, the same men could be employed at whatever 
point we might threaten. Thus, ten thousand men should have 
been equal to at least fifty thousand, and we did not have more 
than fifteen thousand on the field. On the front, where Gen. 
Gibbon commanded, the 10th Massachusetts skirmished toward 
the enemy s pits, and the fire demonstrated that there were men 
there as well as cannon. Away on the left, Howe did just 
what Gibbon did on the right, and Newton did the same in the 
centre ; yet, with all, though men were killed and wounded 
plentifully, there was nothing done. Every battle has these 
periods of indefinite endeavor, from which some one fact event 
ually shapes itself out, and becomes the fact of the occasion. 
So it was here ; and while, in every direction, the artillery 
Butler s battery, Ilexamer s, McCartney s, Harris s, Hazard s, 
Adams s, and some others thundered at the enemy, while 
Howe felt for a chance on the left, and Gibbon found every 
point equally difficult on the right, a plan of assault was deter 
mined upon, to be made by the 3d and 8th divisions under 
Gen. Newton, against the enemy s centre. Attempts to storm 
were to be made simultaneously by Gibbon, on the right, Howe, 
on the left, and Newton, on the centre, and were so made ; but 


inasmuch as Newton s was the successful attempt as he was 
the first to penetrate the line, and as when the line was once 
penetrated at one point it was no longer tenable anywhere 
Newton s assault appears to deserve the especial honor. It 
was made on the centre against Marye s Hill. The right 
column was formed of the 61st Pennsylvania regiment, Col. 
Spear, and the 43d New York, Col. Baker. It was supported, 
as we have said, by two regiments in line, the 1st Long Island, 
Col. Nelson Cross, and the 82d Pennsylvania, Major Bassett. 
These two regiments were part of Shaler s brigade, and Shaler 
went with them. The left column of attack was formed of the 
7th Massachusetts, Col. Johns, and the 36th New York, Lieut. 
Colonel Welsh. This column was supported by two regiments 
in line of battle and a regiment of skirmishers in the open field 
to the left. These skirmishers were the 43d New York. The 
regiments in line were the 6th Maine and the 5th Wisconsin. 
These two columns and their supports numbered in all about 
8,000 men. They moved out of the town, to the assault, at 
about eleven A. M. As soon as they came well into the ene 
my s field of fire, the terrible fusilade began. Colonel Spear, 
at the head of his regiment, was one of the first hit, and his fall 
affected his men, so that they wavered and fell into confusion 
and disorder, and communicated it to the 43d, behind them, 
and much of the ground already gained was lost. For this 
column, it was so far a fair repulse. But in this critical junc 
ture, Colonel Shaler, with magnificent gallantry, rallied the 
column, brought it up to the work once, and took it on 
up the hill. Meantime, in the left column, matters were some 
what the same. The Colonel of the Massachusetts 7th, was 
hit, and his regiment faltered also, but was rallied handsomely 
by Col. Walsh, of the 36th New York, and with those glorious 
fellows it went on once more. The supports in the open plain 
drew the enemy s fire heavily ; but they went on steadily, from 
the first, and went into the work with the rest. Many of the 
enemy s men were slain in their places, in the pits where they 


stood till tlie last moment, and resisted even as our men clam 
bered over the walls. Col. Spear, of the 61st Pennsylvania 
volunteers ; Major Bassett, of the 82d Pennsylvania volun 
teers ; Major Faxon, of the 36th New York; Major Haycock, 
of the 6th Maine, with Captains Billings, Young and Gray, of 
that regiment, were killed in this assault. Col. Johns, of the 
7th Massachusetts, was wounded here. By this success, the 
place was ours ; the enemy s line gave way precipitately ; our 
men entered at several points at once, and we captured eight 
guns and from eight hundred to a thousand prisoners." 

The fierceness with which the battle raged may be judged 
by the fact, that the entire loss of General Sedgwick, who was 
in chief command, amounted, in killed and wounded, to six 
thousand. The heights were held until Monday, when assailed 
by a superior force, his rear threatened to be cut off, he retired 
across Banks s Ford. 

The share of the 2d Rhode Island in this terrible conflict, 
is thus related by participants : " We took the Heights of 
Fredericksburg by storm. The flag of the 36th New York 
was first planted there. Then how they poured up. Hill after 
hill was taken the grey-backs everywhere fled at sight. 
Many prisoners were taken. A sharp pursuit was instituted. 
Our division, under Gen. Wheaton, and the three other divis 
ions of the Sixth corps, took the road to the southwestward. 
The rebels turned at bay several times, but gave way imme 
diately. Towards night they made a formidable stand, driving 
in our troops in confusion. The 1st and 2d divisions were re 
pulsed, and the other two brigades of our 3d division broke and 
fled through our lines. We were ordered up. The 37th Mas 
sachusetts on the left of the pike, and the 10th and 7th Massa 
chusetts and the 2d Rhode Island on the right. The rebels 
broke from the woods, charging upon the fleeing New Jersey 
brigade, cheering as they came. The second brigade was 
quickly formed, and, on the double quick, passed the battery 
the rebels aimed at down hill and up excited by the pres- 


ence of Generals Newton and Wheaton, commanding the Sixth 
corps and our division (the 3d). Capt. Young (2d Rhode 
Island,) Brigade Assistant Adjutant General, volunteer Aide 
to Colonel Browne, (36th New York,) commanding the bri 
gade, and 1st Lieutenant Bradford, Adjutant 2d Rhode Island, 
acting as Aide to Gen. Wheaton, actively assisted in leading on. 

" The 7th, 10th and 2d halted by a house on top of the hill, 
and poured a withering storjn of Minies upon the elated line of 
rebels, swiftly advancing from the woods. Such firing, men 
say that heard it, and that have known what heavy firing is, 
they never heard before. The rebels halted, crouched, hesitat 
ed, yielded, turned and fled, every man for himself, seeking the 
cover of the woods. It was hot work. Every man fought as 
if all depended on his individual exertion. 

" Our loss was heavy at the house. 1st Sergeant Greene of 
company I, and 1st Sergeant Nichols of company B, fell at the 
first fire. Lieut. Bates was here wounded in the thigh. Our 
men cheered as Gen. Newton and Gen. Wheaton showed 
themselves under fire. The latter praised their conduct, and 
said they did well. He said they had saved the corps, and 
prevented another Bull Run. It looked so. The rebels had 
fled. That was well. But again we went on. Gen. Newton 
had ordered Col. Rogers to take his regiment to the woods and 
save the corps, as all depended on this effort, and to the woods 
we went down hill on the double quick and the run, across a 
little brook and up the opposite slope halting to form, and 
advancing to the woods under a heavy front and flank fire from 
the enemy. The 10th and 7th Massachusetts, and three com 
panies (F. E and I,) of the 2d Rhode Island, faced the latter. 
The other seven companies of the 2d Rhode Island, led by Col. 
Rogers in person, who thrice seized the colors and cheered on 
and rallied his men, entered the woods. At last, firing ceased. 
The regiment reformed on the edge of the woods, and in good 
order retired to the house aforesaid and took post, the right and 
left on slight elevations, and the centre in a depression between. 


Lieut. Col. S. B. M. Read and Major Henry C. Jencks, be 
haved with great gallantry. Sergeant Edmund F. Prentiss 
received the commendation of his superior officers for good 
conduct on the field. Corporals Kelly and Flyer gallantly 
carried our colors through the entire battle. All the officers 
and men behaved bravely. 

Under a tree, directly in the rear of the regiment, the dead 
were buried. Our loss was 7 killed, 68 wounded and 8 miss 
ing. Capt. Turner, of Co. G, belonging in Newport, was 
wounded while exciting his men to deeds of daring. Our 
wounded were mostly brought across the river in safety. It 
was late in the afternoon that the fighting took place. That 
night we slept on the field. It was rainy and cold. Morning 
opened foggy, but cleared up. No fighting, except occasionally 
on other parts of the field, till 3 P. M. Then rapid discharges 
of grape and canister, and cries and cheers on the centre and 
left, in the direction of Fredericksburg, announced some fight 
ing. Long dark columns soon approached, rapidly crossing the 
fields to the rear, but whether of our troops fleeing or enemy 
pursuing, we could not tell. Unhealthy rumors and camp 
stories retailed by stupid or malicious persons, had made most 
anxious. The most improbable stories found ready believers. 
Night drew on fast. Some misunderstanding about the with 
drawal of a regiment, all the pickets in front covering the flank 
of the army, for we occupied the extreme right, caused some 
croaking, but the appearance of Generals Sedgwick and New 
ton inspired all with fresh confidence. At last we had orders 
to withdraw. All night, till ten minutes of four in the morn 
ing, we marched up hill and down, across muddy plains and 
over fences, under fire of rebel batteries, and in the thick fog 
and darkness, to the bridges at Banks s Ford, where we crossed. 
Our regiment was one of the last to leave the field. Co. K, 
Captain John P. Shaw, was detailed as rear guard, and was 
among the last to recross the river. Yesterday was extremely 


hot. Many were affected. Among others, Captains Sears, 
Shaw and Foy, and Lieut. Bowen."] 

In this battle, Colonel Tompkins, of the artillery, gave di 
rection to fifty-four guns. Of their work at Marye s Heights, 
Salem Chapel and Salem Heights, he had reason to be proud. 
At the battle of the latter place, on Sunday, (3d,) he narrowly 
escaped being taken prisoner, and was saved by his self-pos 
session and the color of the corduroys he wore. On that day, 
the Sixth corps (Sedgwick s) was in a precarious condition. 
General Hooker having fallen back from Chancellorsville, left 
General Lee at liberty to mass his entire army against this one 
corps, already decimated by the two severe engagements of the 
day before. The only line of retreat was by Banks s Ford, 
before referred to, where the Federals had two pontoon bridges. 
To cover this point, General Sedgwick was obliged to form his 
line upon nearly three sides of a square, with the river for the 
fourth. About 5 o clock P. M., the enemy having massed a 
very heavy column against General S., attacked his left in 
great force, and for a time were successful. They were finally, 
however, checked and driven back. At the time this attack 
was made, Colonel Tompkins was on another part of the line, 
but seeing that more artillery was needed, he took a 12-pounder 
battery to the point threatened, and added it to that of the bat 
teries already in position there. The fight raged furiously 
until after dark, and ended in checking the advancing enemy. 
Colonel T. then set out to ride back to where he had left Gen 
eral Sedgwick in the afternoon. The moon shone bright, but 
the road was shaded by trees so as to obscure the way far in 
advance. He had nearly reached the spot where he parted 
from the General, when he became aware that no troops were 
visible. He rode from under the shade of the trees, into the 
open field, but could not, with the aid of a glass, discover any 
living man. Only the dead lay scattered about. On turning 
his tired horse to make his way back to the left, a lively skir- 


misli commenced in that direction ; and by the flashing of the 
guns, he perceived that he was in the rear of the enemy s 
skirmishers. He then endeavored to make his way across the 
fields to the river. He had gone about a mile and was ap 
proaching the river, through some scrub oaks, when he sud 
denly came upon a company of rebels, going in the same 
direction. With great presence of mind, he followed behind 
them, taking the precaution to throw open his coat so as to 
display his corduroys, which, in the moonlight, looked grey 
the rebel uniform. After marching in this way two or three 
hundred yards, they turned through the bushes, while he kept 
straight on for a short distance, when he stopped to take an 
observation. Just as he had decided upon his course, another 
company of rebels came out of the bushes directly in his rear 
when he deliberately rode on at their head, they supposing him 
to be field or staff officer of theirs. They soon turned aside? 
and putting spurs to his horse, he made a wide detonr through 
a deep ravine, and reached the river, to which the forces had 
fallen back preparatory to crossing. 

Five Rhode Island batteries renewed their acquaintance with 
the forces of Lee. Battery E was under the immediate com 
mand of Lieutenant Jastram, Captain Randolph, as chief of 
artillery, being in every part of the field. It had a sanguinary 
fight, and dealt death discharges with fatal effect. Subjected to 
a galling enfilading fire, it lost two men killed, sixteen wounded, 
and twenty-four horses killed, wounded and missing. Capt. Ran 
dolph narrowly escaped. While giving orders, a cannon ball 
struck his horse in the rear and passed directly through him, 
coming out at the breast, killing him instantly. A Minie ball cut 
a sleeve button from Captain R. s wrist, but inflicted no wound. 
In the evening, while searching on the field for guns and cais 
sons, that the great destruction of horses prevented being with 
drawn, he unconsciously rode outside the Federal lines, when 
he was discovered by a rebel officer, who attempted to inter- 


cept his return ; but a fleet horse distanced his pursuer, and 
he arrived in camp without further molestation. 

Battery G, Captain Adams, also in the hottest of the battle, 
was handled with great skill. It was early sent forward to an 
exposed position to silence a battery about six hundred yards 
distant, which it succeeded in doing. During the operation, it 
was subjected to a heavy and fatal cross fire from a rebel bat 
tery on the right. The casualties were twenty-four men killed 
and wounded, sixteen horses lost, and a gun carriage badly 
damaged. Among the wounded were Lieutenants Benjamin 
E. Kelley, O. L. Torslow, (not severely,) and Crawford Allen, 
(slightly.) Lieutenant Kelley s wound was caused by a shell, 
and proved mortal. He was conveyed to the Lacy House, 
where he lingered until Monday morning, (4th May,) and then 
passed peacefully away.* Lieutenant Torslow s horse was 

Battery A, Captain Arnold, participated in the battle. It 

* Lieutenant Benjamin E. Kelley was the son of the late Captain Ebe- 
nezer Kelley, of Providence. When the rebellion first broke out, he was 
pursuing his studies in the High School; but aroused with patriotic in 
dignation at the attempt to overthrow the Union, he enlisted in the 1st 
Rhode Island regiment of three months volunteers, and at Bull Run was 
in the company of sharpshooters under Captain Goddard. On his return 
home, he felt it his duty to devote himself to the service of his country, 
and having a preference for the artillery arm, entered at once upon a pre 
paratory course of study. He joined battery G, under a sergeant s war 
rant, and was promoted second lieutenant, November 18, 1862. Ke was 
with the army of the Potomac on the Peninsula, and in its subsequent 
campaigns, and in all scenes of action exhibited, the spirit of undoubted 
courage. In one battle, his horse was shot. His prompt attention to 
duty, correct habits, and elevated moral qualities, gained him universal 
esteem. After being removed to the Lacy House, he received every at 
tention that friendship and surgical skill could render, but all was unavail 
ing. He was fully aware of his situation, and met his fate with the calm 
ness of Christian trust. His remains were brought to Providence, and 
buried at Swan Point, May 9th. He died at the age of 22 years. A life 
full of promise, thus suddenly terminated, cast a deep shadow of sorrow 
upon a wide circle of friends. 


crossed the river on Thursday, was engaged about two hours 
on Friday, went into position on Saturday, though not called 
to engage, and on Sunday went to the front, but experienced 
no disaster. 

In the temporary absence of Captain Hazard, on account of 
sickness, battery B was commanded by Lieutenant T. Freder 
ick Brown. Placed on a hill at point blank range opposite a 
rebel work, it had hardly got into position when it was sharply 
opened upon from that quarter. To this attention, it responded 
in a vigorous and effective manner. It was supported by the 
2d Rhode Island. 

Battery C, Captain Waterman, was under heavy fire, which 
it returned with spirit. Its position, one of great importance, 
was becomingly sustained. The casualties were, Sergeant Au 
gustus S. Hanna and Frederick T. Moies, killed, and Lieutenant 
Sackett, Charles Jenkins and Patrick J. May, wounded. 
Hanna was shot in the neck with a Minie, and lived until the 
following afternoon. Moies was shot in the side with cannister, 
and died instantly. The day after the battle, the battery re- 
crossed the Rappahannock at United States Ford, and day 
before yesterday, at 1 o clock P. M., reached its old camp, after 
nine days hard service. 

The mission of General Stoneman s cavalry, just mentioned, 
was a cooperative expedition, made in three columns. One, 
under General Averill, including the 1st Rhode Island cavalry, 
crossed the Rappahannock at Kelly s Ford, and advanced to 
Brandy Station, where it drove back the rebel pickets. It 
then proceeded to Qulpepper Court House, and having cap 
tured a quantity of flour, pursued the retreating enemy to 
Rapidan Station, where he had a sharp encounter and took 
thirty-one prisoners. His object was to destroy the bridge, but 
in this was anticipated by the panic stricken foe. After march 
ing to Orange Court House, he rejoined the main army at 
Cliancellorsville. A second column, under General Buford, 
proceeded directly to Gordonsville, and there broke the con- 


nection on the Central Railroad, between that place and Rich 

With his principal column, General Stoneman pushed to 
wards Richmond, for the purpose of destroying the rebel rail 
road communications, and preventing a retreat. He traversed 
a great extent of the peninsula, destroying bridges, tearing up 
railroads and canal locks, seizing horses and military stores, 
and approached within a few miles of the rebel capital, awak 
ening, on every hand, the liveliest alarm. It was a more bril 
liant affair than Stuart s celebrated gallop round our army, and 
quite as bold. But, unfortunately, communication not being 
kept up between him and General Hooker, neither understood 
the exact position of the other, and consequently the main 
benefits anticipated from the operation failed to be realized. 

On the first and second days of the battle, the advantage ap 
peared so decidedly with us, that General Hooker issued a 
congratulatory general order announcing to the army that the 
enemy were where they " must ingloriously fly, or come out 
from behind their defences, and give us battle on our own 
ground, where certain destruction awaits him." But this 
declaration proved premature. The current of events turned. 
The breaking of the Eleventh corps, at a critical moment, had 
not been anticipated, while the separation of our army by a 
vigorous and adroit movement of Lee, was like the reversing 
of the engine to a train of cars. General Hooker could, in 
deed, have continued to hold his position in the rear of Chan- 
cellorsville, where quantities of artillery were massed, but only 
to kicur unwarrantable risks. The new disposition of the 
rebel forces, which their greatly augmented numbers enabled 
Lee to make, tfce derangement of plans caused by the stampede 
of the German regiments, the near exhaustion of our eight 
days rations, the danger of being separated from the base of 
supplies, and other prudential considerations, determined the 
falling back of our forces in season to escape a possible fatality. 
This was done, without opposition, the rebels being too much 


crippled and exhausted to follow and harass us. Our troops 
fought with a bravery never excelled ; the rebels, as in former 
battles, with the desperation of a last hope. The carnage, on 
both sides, exceeded any former battle. Our losses are esti 
mated from ten to eighteen thousand, in killed, wounded and 
missing ; the rebel loss is much greater.* Their greatest gen 
eral, next to Lee, Stonewall Jackson, is mortally wounded.t 
In some places their dead lay in heaps, the effect of our artil 
lery fire. We have taken five thousand prisoners, seven pieces 
of cannon, and fifteen stands of colors. The rebels have cap 
tured some guns and a considerable number of men, but the 
balance is largely in our favor. The scenes on the field were 
essentially repetitions of those described in other battles. In a 
location known as the Wilderness, heavily wooded and having 
a thick undergrowth, lay many of the dead and wounded of 
both sides. Much of the forest was dry timber, and this be 
ing set on fire by the bursting shells, numbers of the wounded, 
unable to drag themselves from the spot, perished in the flames. 
Tales of horror might be multiplied almost indefinitely. Let 
the imagination have free scope, and the picture it draws will 
hardly be an exaggeration of the reality. The army has again 
tasted the bitter cup of disappointment, but Hope, at the bot 
tom, speaks bravely of a future to be tried. 

* Among our dead, we mourn the loss of Major General Hiram G. 
.Berry, who was killed in the action of Sunday. He entered the service 
as Colonel of the 4th Maine volunteers, and in March last, was appointed 
to. the command of the 2d division of the Third army corps, under Gen 
eral Sickles. He was a brave and valuable officer. Of officers wounded, 
are Generals Whipple, (since dead,) Brooks, Devens and Mott. Many 
hair-breadths escapes among the general officers occurred. Generals 
Couch, Hancock, Griffin and French, each had a horse shot under them. 

t The Richmond Enquirer states that General Jackson, " through a 
cruel mistake, in the confusion, received two balls from some of his own 
men." He was shot through the left arm, which was amputated, and a 
bullet passed through his right hand. He died on the 10th May, aged 37 




Encampments and their arrangements, 

May 16th, 1863. ) 

By the date of this letter, it will be seen that we have 
changed our position. A second time we have made our conge 
to our comfortable huts, and advanced our camp about three 
miles, and are now parked about two miles from Falmouth, in 
a pleasant location, with a dozen other batteries in near prox 
imity. The 2d Rhode Island volunteers are encamped about 
a mile from us. By a recent consolidating arrangement, the 
artillery assigned to each corps will constifcite a brigade, under 
the command of a chief of artillery of the corps, who will be 
responsible for its efficiency and administration, to the chief of 
artillery of the army. And now that my pen is running on 
camps, I will answer, in brief, the accumulated questions con 
cerning them, propounded by the uninitiated, and which, in the 
absence of fresh incident or interesting rumor, may serve as 
the material of a letter. 

To one who has never seen an encampment on a large scale, 
a visit to the canvas homes of a division or a corps d armee 
will be fraught with interest. The visitor will be impressed 
with the order and regularity that prevails, and wonder that 
so much life can be provided for in so small a space. Of the 
general arrangements of an infantry encampment, a simple plan 
of a regimental camp will probably give a tolerable idea, re 
membering, always, in thinking of the army of the Potomac, 
to multiply it by one hundred or more. Take the following 
representation, made up of printer s types, and employ the 
imagination in creating a perspective, and you have the whole 
thing before you. 



Surgeon . 


Lieut. ( 

Colonel. Colonel. 


Company Officers 1 
D E F 




O O 















Men s 
























































A A 






The Colonel of the regiment, as will be seen, occupies the 
centre, with the tents of the several companies in front. On 
his right are the tents of the Lieut. Colonel and Surgeon, and 
on the left those of the Major and the Quartermaster. The 
tent of the Chaplain has its appropriate place, as does the hos 
pital tent and the regimental kitchen. The hospital tent is 
usually on the extreme left, in line with that of the Colonel, 
the latter on the extreme right of the camp, and all within 
guard lines. These do not, however, invariably occupy the 
positions here indicated, but may be varied according to the 
nature of the ground or other governing circumstances. 

An entire army, like that of the Potomac, is never encamped 
in a solid or unbroken mass. Convenience, as well as sanitary 
considerations, require a suitable space between the several 
divisions, and also between the different regiments of a divi- 


sion, and hence an army of an hundred thousand men may be 
scattered over an extent of ten or fifteen miles. In a full en 
campment, the regimental hospital is usually merged in that 
of a brigade or division. When a camp has been properly laid 
out, the street of each company is commonly designated by a 
letter of the alphabet, or some favorite name ; and when es 
tablished for a time, a fine taste and much skill is often dis 
played, both in embellishing the grounds and securing tent 
comforts. The 2d Rhode Island have been noted for this. 

In a campaign, an artillery camp is sufficiently near to the 
infantry, to be protected by it, in case of a sudden attack, and, 
at the same time, to aid in defending the camp should an assault 
be made. It embraces the files of tents for the privates and 
non-commissioned officers, with streets of suitable width, and 
gutters or drains to lead off the water during rains ; separate 
tents for the captain, lieutenants, the quartermaster sergeant s 
department ; a suitable spot for parking the battery ; the picket 
ropes for the horses, and last, though not least, the kitchen. 
This latter, as often as otherwise, is a simple enclosure open to 
the weather, within which the functions of the cook are ex 

If the camp is to be occupied for some time, and lumber can 
be obtained, a shanty may be erected to protect this important 
personage and his assistants from storms. According to strict 
military rule, the kitchen should be twenty-five paces in front 
of the front rank of tents, and the park opposite the centre of 
the camp, forty paces in rear of the officers tents ; but the na 
ture of the ground does not always admit of exact conformity 
to the regulations, and then the nearest approach possible is 
adopted. On a march, where encampments are made for a 
single night, and often for a few hours only, a kitchen cannot 
easily be established, and generally every man cooks for him 
self in a very primitive manner. In marching through an open 
country, where dry fuel is not plenty, it is not uncommon to 
see men towards night armed with a fragment of a, rail, foraged 


by the way, with which to cook their rasher of bacon or salt 
pork, and make their coffee or tea after bivouac. 

The tents in common use are the wall, (principally occupied 
by officers,) the wedge, or A, Sibley, and shelter. The wall 
tent is, in many respects, the most convenient, and resembles 
the upper story of a cottage house. The wedge, as its name 
imports, has the form of an inverted V, (thus, /^,) and as it is 
designed to crowd the largest quantity of human flesh into the 
smallest given space, is scarcely high enough at the ridge to 
permit an inmate to stand erect, and entirely destitute of proper 
ventilation. It is poorly adapted to health or comfort. The 
Sibley takes its name from the inventor, Major H. H. Sibley, 
of the 2d United States dragoons. It is conical, easily pitched, 
has a ventilating arrangement, and in every respect, is vastly 
preferable to the wedge, or A. In winter encampments, both 
the wedge and Sibley are often mounted on a stockade base or 
frame of logs, thus constituting a roof to a convenient hut, 
warmed by a portable sheet iron stove, or a California fire 
place, an affair that bears no resemblance to the fire-place of 
home, but that economizes fuel, and answers very well the 
purpose for which it was contrived. 

The tente tfabri, or shelter tent, comes to us from the French^ 
by whom it has been in use since 1837. Scott calls it " a most 
precious invention," for the reason, I suppose, of its convenience 
on a inarch. With us, it is simply two rubber blankets but 
toned together, stretched over a pole resting on a couple of 
crotched stakes, and the sides fastened to the ground with pegs. 
Such a tent will accommodate two men. Its chief merit is, 
that it diminishes the bulk of baggage, is quickly pitched, and 
for temporary purposes, affords shelter from vertical rains and 
night dews. With it, an army on a short expedition, like our 
late nine days campaign, resembles the independent Mollusc*, 
carrying their habitations upon their backs. Except for the 
purpose mentioned, it is but little better than a dog kennel, 
which it somewhat resembles. On a larger scale, in a battery, 


tarpaulins are used, which accommodate from six to ten men. 
Tent furniture, of course, is limited, and a soldier s service of 
plate is usually comprehended in a tin cup, tin plate, knife and 
fork and spoon. While the army is in motion, tables and camp 
chairs ar^fiut of the question ; straw is not always to be had, 
and if the hungry soldier does not find a convenient stump, log 
or fence, upon which to rest while disposing of his grub, he is 
quite content to take it in oriental fashion on the ground. 

The camp life of a battery is diversified with a variety of 
calls, sounded by bugle. First comes reveille, announcing 
what is not always the fact, that " tired nature s sweet restorer" 
has done all the night work craved. But the voice is inexora 
ble, and the half-wakened sleeper tumbles out, wondering at 
the hasty departure of the sable goddess, and breathing a wish 
that " sweet forgetfulness of life " could have been protracted 
another hour. Then follow feed call, breakfast, water, stable, 
sick, drill, dinner and supper calls, all of which suggest their 
several explanations. To these may be added roll call and 
guard mounting. 

As night approaches, the retreat sounds, to which supper 
succeeds. At 9 o clock, tattoo is sounded, and the men retire 
to their quarters. Taps soon follow, when lights are extin 
guished, mirthful voices are silent, and sleepers go off to dream 
land, or spend a wakeful hour first, in speculations on what the 
morrow will bring forth. 

Neither the excitements of the march, the inspiration of the 
battle, nor the quiet of an agreeable camp, make the soldier 
forgetful of home ; and after an absence of a year or more, he 
greets with no ordinary pleasure, the furlough that grants him 
the privilege of visiting scenes familiar and dear. The form of 
this coveted instrument is as follows : 


The bearer hereof a sergeant [corporal or private, 

as the case may be,] of Captain company, [giving the 

letter, A, B, C, &c.,] Regiment of [Infantry or Artillery, as 


the case may be,] Volunteers ; aged -years, feet inches 

high, complexion, eyes, hair, and by profession a 

; born in the State of , and enlisted 

at , in the State of , on the day of 

, eighteen hundred and , to serve for the period 

of , is hereby permitted to go to , in the 

county of , State of , he having a furloagh from 

the day of , 186, to the day of 186 

at which period he will rejoin his company or regiment at , 

or wherever it then may be, or be considered a deserter. 

Subsistence has been furnished to said to the 

day of , 186 , and pay to the day of 186 , 

both inclusive. 

Given under my hand at this day of , 


, Captain, Commanding . 

The instrument is endorsed by the Captain, recommending 
the furlough, specifying the number of days to be allowed, and 
also the reasons therefor. This is approved by the brigade 
commander, and again by the General commanding division, 
when it goes to head-quarters, where it is granted by the Gen 
eral-in-Chief, countersigned by the Assistant Adjutant General. 
With these high autographs, the paper comes back to the com 
pany, the dates are filled out, and the happy possessor loses no 
time in starting for his destination. 

As a visitor wanders through a camp, he meets officers of 
different grades, and unacquainted with the marks of distinc 
tion, is perplexed to discriminate. How shall he know their 
official positions ? Attention to the following particulars will 
give him the desired information : 

The shoulder straps of a Major General bear two silver 
embroidered stars, one on each end of the strap ; a Brigadier 
General has one silver star only ; a Colonel has a silver em 
broidered spread eagle ; a Lieutenant Colonel has two silver 
embroidered leaves, one on each end of the strap ; a Major 
has two embroidered leaves similarly placed. A Captain has 
two gold bars at each end of the strap ; a First Lieutenant, 


one gold bar at each end ; and a Second Lieutenant, no bars 
at all. 

The cloth of the strap, by its color, distinguishes the arm of 
the service. For general and staff officers, it is dark blue ; for 
artillery, scarlet ; for infantry, sky blue ; for riflemen, green, 
and for cavalry, orange color. 

Non-commissioned officers are indicated by chevrons or 
stripes on the coat sleeve, in the form of a letter V. Corporals 
wear two stripes ; Sergeants, three. Orderly Sergeants have 
a lozenge, or diamond shaped figure, Within the angle of the 
chevrons. Sergeant Majors have the three stripes of a Ser 
geant completed into a triangle, base uppermost. 

The kitchen of a camp holds an important place in the de 
tails of daily experience. Here, as in a well-regulated house 
hold, it is a power to win or repel to stimulate the genial 
virtues, or to frictionize the animal nature. It is not to be 
assumed, or supposed, from anything here said, that soldiers, 
more than all other men, are given to appetite, or that they are 
principally occupied in devising methods of gratifying it. Still, 
they are not indifferent nor should they be to a capable ad 
ministration of the culinary department. This need deserves 
more consideration than it has hitherto received, and if a brief 
plea for reform in the camp kitchen, shall arrest attention in 
the proper quarter, this page will have accomplished its object. 
Two years of observation and inquiry have furnished satisfac 
tory evidence that the government could render no better ser 
vice to the army than by providing for each regiment a chief 
cook who is master of his art. The health and good nature of 
an army is inseparably connected with its kitchen. To keep 
soldiers in good heart, and ready for anything in the line of 
active duty, they must be well fed ; and good feeding depends 
on the skill of the cooks. The difference between rations pro 
perly cooked and otherwise, is the difference between robust 
health, good nature and economy on the one hand, and waste 
fulness, grumbling, indigestion and other forms of disease on 


the other. An accomplished cook will make poor rations (and 
sometimes they are poor) palatable, while one possessing nei 
ther skill, genius nor good taste, will spoil the best. A com 
pany or regiment having cooks who understand their business, 
can seldom consume all their rations, and will frequently have 
a barrel of beef or pork to dispose of for little matters that give 
pleasant variety to the primitive table of a soldier. 

It was the boast of Guignart, the famous monarch of Roths 
child s kitchen, that he could cook an egg six hundred different 
ways, and make soups in endless variety. Now, such extraor 
dinary skill is not necessary in an army cook. Eggs are not 
set down among the common rations of a soldier. If he obtains 
them, they will probably be drawn from some quarter other 
than the commissary department ; and even were they a part 
of his daily allowance, the ordinary methods of serving them 
would be quite satisfactory. But in the matter of meats, it is 
otherwise. It is not needful, indeed, that a cook should be able 
to prepare twenty choice dishes from a rump or round of beef, 
or be capable of concocting three hundred and sixty-five dif 
ferent kinds of soup, as was demanded of his chef by the great 
banker ; but it is important that he knows the difference be 
tween soup and slush, and that he be competent to make two 
or three varieties, according to the quality of his meat, and 
make them well. Many an extemporized cook, one who per 
haps could not tell a hock from an aitch bone, for want of 
practical knowledge, has wasted his time, spoiled the dinner, 
provoked the ire of hungry expectants, and served nobody sat 
isfactorily, except the sutler, who is sure of a brisk custom after 
every badly cooked meal. Under the hand and eye of a cook 
who understands his business, even the " old horse" and " mule" 
that often defies mastication, could be relieved of their offensive 
qualities. In the arrangements for dealing summarily with 
contractors who impose stale provisions on the army, the gov 
ernment did a good thing. Let one more step be taken, and 
military kitchens be organized in keeping with the civilization 


of the age, and such as an army of intelligent men will ap 
preciate. So much for camps and their adjuncts. Many de 
tails in regard to sinks, policing, drills, reviews, inspections, and 
other matters are omitted. Enough has been explained to 
gratify reasonable curiosity. 


Camp of Battery C removed Presentation of the Kearny Cross 
Picket intercourse Piscatory amusements Raid of the 8th Illinois 
cavalry Ball Sword presentation. 


June 6, 1863. j 

For some little time after the return of the army from its 
nine days campaign, changes were made in the location of 
encampments, prompted by sanitary considerations. Many of 
the camps have been tastefully arranged, and with an eye 
to comfort. That of the 2d Rhode Island is formed about 
one-fourth of a mile from its old one. It is neatly laid 
out, and ornamented with trees. Our camp was moved last 
week, 27th ultimo. We are on new ground, not far from Gen. 
Hooker s head-quarters, and about six miles from our last win 
ter home. But war assures " no constancy in earthly things," 
and judging from the past, as well as present signs, we may look 
upon our abode as temporary. At this season, the valley of 
the Rappahannock is clad in picturesque garments, though 
showing many unseemly rents. From Acquia Landing to 
Falmouth, the woodman s axe had spared but little of the for 
ests with which the country had been heavily covered. Except 
here and there a clump of trees, or a large grove, countless 
stumps alone tell of the deep shades that, in the heat of last 


summer, were the pleasant retreats of feathered and animal 

Last Wednesday, (27th ultimo,) was a day of pleasurable 
excitement to General Birney s division of the Third corps. 
Between four hundred and five hundred non-commissioned 
officers and privates were presented with the Kearny cross, in 
recognition of meritorious services in the battle of Chancellors- 
ville. The distribution was preceded by a spirited address by 
General Sickles. Among the recipients were four members 
of Rhode Island battery E, viz. : William Turpey, John 
M Aides, Martin Harvey, and Albert N. Colwell. The cere 
mony took place in the presence of several general officers with 
their staffs, presenting a brilliant spectacle. The medal is a 
Maltese cross of bronze, inscribed on one side with the name 
of " Kearny," and on the other with the motto, " Dulce et de 
corum est pro patria mori" It was struck in commemoration 
of the brave soldier whose name it bears, and will be to the 
members of the division who fought under him, what the dec 
oration of honor was to the veterans of Napoleon the pride of 
future days, when, to young listeners, the wondrous tale of bat 
tles shall be repeated, and with or without crutch, the winning 
of bloody fields described. 

The rebel and Federal pickets keep up lively conversations 
across the river, and bandy jokes like old acquaintances, as 
indeed many of them are. At one of the posts lately, the 
former cried out, " Where is Joe Hooker now ? " " Gone to 
the funeral of Stonewall Jackson," was the quick response. 
The answer was deemed sufficient, and no further questions 
were asked. At another post, a few days ago, men of both 
sides, while bathing, met in the middle of the river and shook 
hands with the familiar exclamation, " How are you, old fel 
low ? " In sportive mood, they agreed to exchange positions 
on shore, and personate each other, which they accordingly did. 
Then followed the calls, " How are you, secesh ? " " How are 
you, pork and molasses ? when are you going to pitch into us 


again ? " and a string of similar interrogatories. After amus 
ing themselves in this manner awhile, they resumed their sta 
tions as representatives of hostile armies. In a week, these 
men may meet in deadly strife, and use the bayonet as freely 
as they have exchanged good natured sallies. This kind of 
intercourse, and sudden transition from the spirit of fierce con 
tention to fraternal intercourse, is an anomaly in modern war 
fare, and to the moral and intellectual philosopher opens a 
curious field for psychological investigation. The Cooper of 
another generation will find in the story of picket life in our 
army, rich tints with which to finish up his glowing romance. 

For a month past, the Rappahannock has afforded piscatory 
attractions, and, for a short time, rebel and Federal pickets 
improved their opportunities for varying their rations. Sud 
denly, sundry citizens of Falmouth were smitten with a desire 
for the scaly luxury, and repaired with suspicious frequency to 
the river, ostensibly to make purchases, but really, as believed, 
to communicate intelligence to the rebels. This led to an order 
prohibiting angling on the part of our pickets, and a notice to 
the rebels that if they persisted in the practice, they would be 
fired upon. So ended all displays of Waltonian skill, and no 
longer, unless by stealth, does the ichthyous family " greedily 
suck in the twining bait " of Federal or secesh. 

The 8th Illinois cavalry, under Colonel Clendenin, compris 
ing five hundred men, have lately returned to their encamp 
ment, after an extensive and successful foraging expedition of 
two weeks duration. They advanced to King George Court 
House, and there dividing into three columns, swept over the 
entire neck of the peninsula, exploring every nook and corner, 
seizing the goods, boats, and other material substance of smug 
glers, destroying a large quantity of provisions that could not 
well be removed, and confiscating to Federal use, horses, mules, 
and whatever else could be turned to good account. The spoils 
with which they returned were as varied as ever seen in the 
triumphal procession of an ancient conqueror. Of equine and 


mongrel animals, a string of five hundred came in very sea 
sonably to supply needs in the cavalry, and in the transporta 
tion department. With these, came oxen, carts, wagons, car 
riages top and topless, about one hundred prisoners, and up 
wards of eight hundred contrabands, including mammas and 
pickaninnies, who voluntarily abandoned their masters, and 
sought the advantages of the emancipation act. Of this num 
ber, three hundred are reputed able-bodied men, arid with such 
pay as the government allows, will be able to support them- 
elves and families very comfortably. The value of property 
destroyed is estimated at more than one million of dollars, the 
loss falling heavily on those engaged in contraband trade. 

The success of this raid is a very satisfactory offset to some 
of the sharp practice of Stuart, and adds to the reputation for 
smartness which the 8th Illinois has already gained. An order 
has been issued, authorizing a clean sweep to be made of horses 
belonging to disloyal persons resident in any part of the coun 
try, as a species of property contraband of war, and available, 
while in the hands of its owners, to guerrillas and others en 
gaged in the rebel interests. Should the order be strictly car 
ried out, the inhabitants of the Rappahannock valley, of secesh 
proclivities, will pay dearly for the aid they have rendered to 
rebel spies and agents, while our army has been encamped 
among them, besides securing to the use of the government a 
better class of animals than is usually obtained by purchase. 

Last Wednesday evening, the camp of General Howe s divi 
sion was the scene of a festivity at which Terpsichore presided. 
A spacious dancing hall wAs erected of pine trees, and covered 
with branches ; and when illuminated by candles blazing from 
rustic chandeliers, presented the appearance of a fairy bower. 
A number of ladies, wives of officers, graced the occasion, and 
those favored with an invitation to participate in the agreeable 
excitements of the evening, pronounce the whole thing recher 
che. In the Second army corps, General French, whose briL 
liant charge in the battle of Chancellorsville received, on the 


field, the warm encomiums of General Howard, has been made 
the recipient of an elegant dress sword, the gift of the 14th 
Indiana volunteers. These episodes in camp life break the 
monotony of daily drills and parades, and give healthful play 
to the social element. 

For a few days, it has been evident that whatever the rebels 
might be about, something of importance on our side was soon 
to take place. Yesterday, speculation was brought to a focus. 
A reconnoissance in force on our left was ordered, and at this 
moment a large body of the Sixth army corps hold position on 
the other side of the river, having, as reported, taken two hun 
dred prisoners. There was a snyirt cannonading last night. 
Our battery is under orders to be in readiness to march with 
three days rations, in what direction is not yet made known. 


Lee invades Pennsylvania Federal army in motion General Hooker 
relieved Succeeded by General Meade Battle of Gettysburg 
Lee defeated and retreats Pursuit Sanitary and Christian Com 
mission Hospitals and the field. 

June 21, 1863. j 

For two weeks past, the eyes of the whole country have 
been fixed with anxious gaze upon the two opposing armies, 
separated by the Rappahannock. Watching each other with 
the mutual consciousness of having an able foe to deal with, 
movements and counter-movements have been made, without 
materially changing their relations. Since the battle of Chan- 
cellorsville, the rebel General Lee has more than once indi 
cated a disposition to cross the river and demolish his Federal 


antagonist. But disposition and ability were not, in his case, 
united, and while the former was intense, the latter was unequal 
to the task. The results of the late, battle were not such as to 
warrant a direct assault upon our lines, nor could he longer 
remain in comparative quiet, and satisfy popular expectations 
in Secessia. Necessity was laid upon him to act, and he con 
ceived the bold and dangerous plan of invading Pennsylvania, 
at the same time threatening Maryland, Western Virginia and 
Ohio. By suddenly throwing the bulk of his army into Penn 
sylvania, seizing the capital, and possibly Philadelphia, sub 
sisting his forces at Federal expense from the rich fields and 
plentiful granaries of the valley of the Susquehanna, he would 
show a dash, daring and self-reliance calculated to inspire con 
fidence throughout the confederate States, and supply material 
for a graphic and effective picture in Europe. A success of 
this sort would be a more powerful auxilliary to the confederate 
agents in London and Paris, than any verbal or written argu 
ments they could present to the governments from whom they 
were .seeking the recognition of nationality. 

[Some of the objects and purposes of this invasion are thus 
stated by General Lee, in his report made to General Cooper, 
at Richmond, July 31st: 

" The position occupied by the enemy opposite Fredericks- 
burgh being one in which he could not be attacked to advan 
tage, it was determined to draw him from it. The execution 
of this purpose embraced the relief of the Shenandoah valley 
from the troops that had occupied the lower part of it during 
the winter and spring, and, if practicable, the transfer of the 
scene of hostilities north of the Potomac. 

" It was thought that the corresponding movement on the 
part of the enemy, to which those contemplated by us could 
probably give rise, might offer a fair opportunity to strike a 
blow at the army therein commanded by Gen. Hooker, and 
that, in any event, that army would be compelled to leave Vir- 


ginia, and possibly to draw to its support troops designed to 
operate against other parts of the country. In this way, it was 
supposed that the enemy s plan of campaign for the summer 
would be broken up, and part of the season of active operations 
be consumed in the formation of new combinations and the pre 
parations that they would require. 

" In addition to these advantages, it was hoped that other 
valuable results might be attained by military success." 

The first movement towards the invasion of Pennsylvania 
was opened soon after the battle of Chancellorsville, by a cav 
alry movement, which was met and quashed at Brandy Station 
by General Plcasanton, about the 1st of June. On the 13th, 
General Milroy was attacked at Winchester, by the advance of 
Lee s army, under General Ewell, and retreated, after a short 
conflict, to Harper s Ferry, abandoning all his stores and can 
non to the rebels. This opened the way for the advance of the 
foe across the Potomac. Another force of its cavalry crossed 
the upper Potomac on the 15th, causing great consternation in 
Maryland and lower Pennsylvania. It entered Chambersburg 
and Mercersburg in the evening. The alarm caused by this 
raid was unnecessarily great, for the main army of Lee had 
not yet reached the south side of the Potomac. The Union 
garrison at . Frederick, Md., fell back to the Relay House, on 
the 16th. A detachment of the enemy attacked Harper Ferry 
the same day, but was shelled back by General Tyler, from 
Maryland Heights. Ten thousand rebel infantry crossed the 
Potomac at Williamsburg, in the night, beginning in earnest 
the great invasion which was now fully shown to be intended. 
Fights took place at Aldie, on the 18th and 19th, between 
General Pleasanton s and a body of the enemy s cavalry. 
More rebels constantly poured across the Potomac, and on the 
19th, Ewell s entire division occupied Sharpsburg, in Maryland. 
By this time, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey be 
gan their great effort to repel Lee s advance, from the North. 
Meanwhile, General Couch had commenced the organization 


of a militia force at Gettysburg to check the twenty thousand 
men under Ewell, who were raiding like banditti through the 
country. The main rebel army was entirely across the Poto 
mac, below Williamsburg, on the 26th, moved northward via 
McConnellsburg and Chambersburg, and began, in partially 
scattered columns, its advance through Pennsylvania, in the 
direction of Philadelphia and Baltimore. 

Forty thousand rebel troops and a hundred pieces of rebel 
artillery passed through Chambersburg on the 27th. On Sun 
day, York was occupied by General Early, who made his fa 
mous levy on its citizens. Harrisburg, long threatened, was 
not yet attacked. 

The reason for changing his purpose to proceed at once to 
Harrisburg, is thus given by General Lee : 

" Preparations were now made to advance upon Harrisburg ; 
but, on the night of the 29th, information was received from a 
scout, that the Federal army, having crossed the Potomac, was 
advancing northwards, and that the head of the column had 
reached the South Mountain. As our communications with 
the Potomac were thus menaced, it was resolved to prevent his 
further progress in that direction by concentrating our army on 
the east side of the mountains. Accordingly, Longstreet and 
Hill were directed to proceed from Chambersburg to Gettys 
burg, to which point Gen. Ewell was also instructed to march 
from Carlisle. 

" Gen. Stuart continued to follow the movements of the 
Federal army south of the Potomac after our own had entered 
Maryland, and, in his efforts to impede its progress, advanced 
as far eastward as Fairfax Court House. Finding himself 
unable to delay the enemy materially, he crossed the river at 
Seneca, and marched through "Westminster to Carlisle, where 
he arrived after Gen. Ewell had left for Gettysburg. By the 
route he pursued, the Federal army was interposed between 
his command and our main body, preventing any communica 
tion with him until his arrival at Carlisle. 


" The march towards Gettysburg was conducted more slowly 
than it would have been had the movements of the Federal 
army been known." 

Having thus anticipated a portion of the narrative, and put 
the enemy on the field where he is to be by and by found, we 
turn back to Federal action in the premises.] 

When it became certain that Lee s army was in motion, it 
only remained to follow his example, ascertain his design, and 
thwart his purpose, or do the better thing conquer him. 
Preparatory to leaving our position in front of Fredericksburg, 
the sick and wounded, numbering about 10,000, were transferred 
to the hospitals in Washington, and the army stores not needed 
for immediate use, secured on board transports. Materials not 
worth removing were destroyed, so that the village of govern 
ment buildings at Acquia Landing, and the whole region lately 
teeming with busy life and gleaming with weapons of war, 
suddenly became desolate as " the wide waste of all devouring 

On the 14th, Gen. Hooker removed his head-quarters from 
Falmouth to Fairfax Court House, accompanied by two divi 
sions of the Second army corps and two divisions of the Sixth. 
The Twelfth corps had preceded him to this place. The 
Third, Fifth and Eleventh corps had also taken up their line 
of march. As soon as circumstances permitted, the entire 
army was in motion. The tale of battery C, in the departure 
from the Rappahannock, is brief and soon told. From the 6th 
to the 14th instant, the battery was on picket, two miles below 
Fredericksburg, at or very near the spot where Franklin 
crossed last December. A portion of the Sixth corps, includ 
ing the 2d Rhode Island volunteers, were on the other side of 
the river, where they had dug rifle pits, thrown up a large 
breastwork with embrasures for Parrott guns, and had a masked 
battery of 24-pounders in position. Our line on that side was 
in the form of a semi-circle, either flank resting on the river. 



The diagram below will, perhaps serve in the place of a more 
particular description. 


-^^^ - 

_ . ~E 


A. Federal rifle pits and redoubts. E. Kiver. 

B. Federal pickets. F. Fredericksburg. 

C. Rebel pickets. f^ 3 2 miles to Fredericksburg, 

D. Hill, dense woods filled with G. Position of Battery C. 


The position of our battery, as will be seen, was on this side 
of the river x and, during the term of picketing, was temporarily 
attached to the Sixth corps. Subsequently, the assignment 
was made permanent, as was also the case with battery G, and 
under this arrangement we are no longer in the former artil 
lery reserve. We have been supplied with new armament, and 
our park now consists of six 10-pounder Parrotts. There is 
something painful in breaking up old associations, and separat 
ing from those with whom we have for nearly two years shared 
the fortunes of war ; but the corps to which we have gone has 
won a noble reputation, its chief holds a first rank among the 
generals of the army of the Potomac, and regrets are mitigated 
by the thought that we are to share in the good name which 
the honorable record of the past has secured. 

On the afternoon of the 14th, the battery moved from its 
position and marched to Stafford Court House, where it ar 
rived at 5 P. M. The place consists of a court house, jail, a 


few outbuildings, and perhaps half a dozen rusty looking 
dwellings, and presents nothing in appearance interesting or 
attractive. At 10 o clock P. M., we started for Dumfries, and 
marched all night, through a thinly populated region. A cen 
tury ago, this town was of some importance in a business point 
of view. At present it is a dirty looking place, inhabited by 
" poor white trash." On the 1 6th, we broke camp at daylight 
and marched to near Fairfax Station, and, on the 18th, pro 
ceeded to Fairfax Court House, and went into camp one mile 
beyond. This makes our third visit to this place within fifteen 
months. The march from the Rappahannock was hot and 
dusty, and the travel over old corduroy roads very fatiguing. 

Hyattstown, Md., June 28. Day before yesterday, at 3 
o clock A. M., battery C broke camp at Fairfax Court House, 
and with the Sixth army corps, took up the line of march for 
the future field of action. We advanced fifteen miles in a 
drizzly rain, passed through Drainsville, and made camp one 
mile beyond. Yesterday, we crossed the Potomac on a pon 
toon bridge at Edward s Ferry and camped, having marched 
ten miles. To-day, we advanced eighteen miles, passing 
through Poolesville, and halted for the night at this place, a 
little post village, situated on Bennet s creek, 36 miles north 
west of Washington. The day has been signalized by the 
transfer of the command of the army from General Hooker to 
General Meade. This was announced in the following general 
orders : 

Frederick, Md. t June 28, 1863. 

GENERAL ORDER, No. 65. In conformity with the orders of the 
War Department, dated June 27, 1863, I relinquish the command of 
the Army of the Potomac. It is transferred to Major General George 
G. Meade, a brave and accomplished officer, who has nobly earned 
the confidence and esteem of the army, on many a well-fought field. 
Impressed with the belief that my usefulness as the commander of the 
Army of the Potomac is impaired, I part from it, yet not without the 


deepest emotion. The sorrow of parting with the comrades of so 
many battles is relieved by the conviction that the courage and devo 
tion of this army will never cease nor fail ; that it will yield to my 
successor, as it has to me, a willing and hearty support. With the 
earnest prayer that the triumph of its arms may bring successes wor 
thy of it and the nation, I bid it farewell. 

JOSEPH HOOKER, Major General. 
S. F. BARSTOW, Acting Adjutant General. 


June 28, 1863. 5 

GENERAL ORDER, No. 66. By direction of the President of the 
United States, I hereby assume command of the Army of the Potomac. 
As a soldier, in obeying this order, an order totally unexpected and 
unsolicited, I have no promises or pledges to make. The country 
looks to this army to relieve it from the devastation and disgrace of a 
hostile invasion. Whatever fatigues and sacrifices we may be called 
upon to undergo, let us have in view constantly the magnitude of the 
interests involved, and let each man determine to do his duty, leaving 
to an all- controlling Providence the decision of the contest. It is with 
just diffidence, that I relieve, in the command of this army, an eminent 
and accomplished soldier, whose name must ever appear conspicuous 
in the history of its achievements ; but I rely upon the hearty sup 
port of my companions in arms, to assist me in the discharge of the 
duties of the important trust which has been confided to me. 

Major General Commanding. 
S. F. BARSTOW, Assistant Adjutant General. 

This change gives to the army of the Potomac its sixth com 
mander. General Meade comes to his new command under 
trying circumstances, but with a record that gives assurance of 
ability equal to the demands of the hour. 

Near Gettysburg, July 5. By rapid marches, such as must 
convince the sceptical that the army of the Potomac has legs, 
it reached this place in season to gain position and offer battle to 
the confederates. On the 29th ultimo, battery C left Hyatts- 


town at 5 o clock A. M., taking its course through Monrovia, 
New Market, Ridge ville and Mount Airy, and after marching 
25 miles, camped at Sam s creek, at 7| o clock. The next day 
an advance of 15 miles was made, and passing through West 
minster, which had been ransacked by rebel cavalry the night 
before, went into camp near Manchester. The entire night of 
the 1st instant was occupied in marching, and, on the 2d, pass 
ing through Uniontown and Littlestown, the battery went into 
park near Gettysburg, as a part of the reserve, which is the 
position of General Sedg wick s corps. The march was not 
marked by much incident. Foraging was practiced as oppor-. 
tunity offered. At and around Fairfax Court House, and 
until we reached the Maryland line, the secesh spirit was quite 
prevalent, but as we advanced, the Union feeling became more 
apparent. The women, generally, were prompt to contribute 
whatever they could to the comfort of the soldiers. At almost 
every house they were baking bread for the thousands of hun 
gry passers. A lady told me she had baked up two barrels of 
flour, and distributed it without charge. A few, however, bent 
on making a penny, demanded fifty cents to one dollar per loaf 
for their bread. 

Gettysburg is situated at the head of a beautiful valley lying 
between the Cacoctin and South Mountains, from which issue 
roads to nearly every point of compass. There is nothing in 
the place or the neighboring country, to invite the presence of 
war. Its seat of learning, its school of the prophets, its beau 
tiful cemetery, and the calm of its rural scenery, all suggest 
quiet and peaceful pursuits. As already seen, it appears not 
to have been Lee s original design to deliver battle here, but 
the necessity was forced upon him by his inability to proceed 
directly to Harrisburg. It was good judgment in him to thus 
use his necessity. On some other field, he might have been 
flanked, and, in case of disaster, his retreat wholly or in part 
cut off. But here, the danger of either was hardly manifest. 
From a flank ni6vement on the south, he was secure, while his 


rear was sufficiently open to escape, to warrant the risk of a 
general battle. 

The preliminary manoeuvres on both sides for position hav 
ing been made, the battle was opened on the 1st by General 
Reynolds, and continued through the day. It was severely 
fought, and terminated at night in a mutual heavy loss. Gen 
eral Reynolds was mortally wounded while examining the field 
for an advantageous disposition of his men, and the command 
of the corps devolved on General Doubleday. Early on the 
morning of the 2d, the battle line was formed, the Second and 
Third corps being on the left, resting on Round Top Hill, the 
First and Eleventh on the right, and the centre occupying the 
heights near the cemetery. The entire line extended nearly 
two miles. 

The head-quarters of General Meade were established at a 
small house on the south side of the road leading to Taney- 
town, and directly in the rear of his centre. It was a danger 
ous spot, but convenient for observing operations and sending 
orders. to the right and left. But the General was bound to 
share the risks of his centre, and the heavy fire it sustained was 
watched with a coolness that inspired the confidence of the 
officers about his person. 

The battles of the first and second day determined nothing. 
If the first day gained anything to the Federal side, as much 
was lost. The second day s fight was even more death-dealing 
than the first. The rebels hurled a heavy force against our 
left, only to be beaten back with immense slaughter. Ewell 
tried a similar experiment on our right, and after a short, doubt 
ful state of things, was repulsed with heavy loss. The centre 
was in like manner assailed, but with no better success. The 
battle continued until 8| o clock P. M., and terminated with 
a bad record for the rebels. The advantage was with Meade. 
Friday, the 3d, was the great battle day, and developed the 
full power and skill of the opposing armies. Which, now, was 
to be master of the position, Meade or Lee ? A few hours 



would and did decide. The stake with Lee was the Confed 
eracy with Meade, the salvation of Pennsylvania and the 
preservation of Baltimore and Washington. The former lost, 
the two latter, to human appearance, must be, and then Mary 
land. No wonder that both braced themselves, as mighty 
giants, for the struggles of the day. And when they met, what 
a concussion of forces ! Language is feeble to describe it. 
The charge and the repulse ; the rally and the charge repeated ; 
the surging of heavy rebel columns against the impenetrable 
walls of Federal artillery and infantry ; the rush of cavalry, 
and the shouts of moving masses, formed a succession of pic 
tures intensely exciting ; while the steady roll of musketry and 
the thunderings of three hundred cannon, rending the skies 
and shaking the earth to its centre, seemed like the outburst of 
a dozen volcanoes. Lee struggled like one hanging between 
life and death. His generals fought their men with the fierce 
recklessness displayed at Malvern Hill. But Victory refused 
them her banner ; and abandoning all hope, they commenced 
a retreat, leaving thousands of their dead to be buried by Fed 
eral hands, and ten thousand of their wounded to be cared for 
in Federal hospitals. Lee s estimated loss, from all causes, was 
between thirty and forty thousand. As though apprehensive 
of defeat, his wagon trains were put in motion towards the Po 
tomac while the battle was going on, and the continuance of the 
fight on Friday may have been, in part, to gain time for their 
safe departure. Soon as the retreat became known, Sedgwick s 
reserve was brought to the front and put in pursuit. The 
Federal advance continually threatened the rebel rear, exciting 
constant alarm, and keeping them on the alert to ensure es 
cape. Upwards of 500 of their wagons were destroyed. 

The position and conduct of the Rhode Island troops in this 
battle sustained, with honor, the reputation already gained. 
The 2d Rhode Island, of Sedgwick s reserve, though not di 
rectly engaged, was led by Colonel Rogers, under a storm of 
shells, to different parts of the field, in support of points hardly 



pressed. Colonel Tompkins, commanding the artillery brigade 
of the same corps, met his responsibilities handsomely in the di 
rection of forty-eight guns. Battery C was held in constant 
readiness for action, but was required only once to go to the 
front as a relief. It experienced no disaster. Battery G was 
engaged on Friday, and expended one hundred and sixty-two 

Captain John G. Hazard, chief of the artillery brigade in 
Howard s (Second) corps, had five batteries in the field, which 
fought bravely. In the midst of a hot fire, his horse was shot 
under him. His Adjutant, Lieutenant G. L. Dwight, met with 
a similar casualty. The two Rhode Island batteries in Captain 
Hazard s brigade, (A and B,) were severely cut up. The for 
mer, Captain Arnold, had position on a hill, and was subjected 
to a destructive artillery fire, which it returned with great spirit. 
Captain Arnold s loss was five killed, twenty -three wounded, 
among them Lieutenant Jacob H. Lamb, Sergeant B. H. Child, 
and Corporals Wesley B. Calder, William H. Rider and Ed 
win Shaw, and one missing. Thirty horses were also lost. 
Battery B went into action under Lieutenant T. F. Brown, 
and came out of a fiery ordeal with a heavy loss of horses, four 
men killed, and twenty-three wounded and missing. Lieu 
tenant Brown was wounded in the neck. Lieutenant Joseph 
H. Milne, who had been detailed to United States battery A, 
received a mortal wound. Sergeants John T. Blake and Ed 
win A. Chace were each wounded in the wrist. Lieutenant 
A. H. Gushing, a brave officer commanding United States bat 
tery A, was killed. 

Captain George E. Randolph, commanding the artillery 
brigade in Sickles s (Third) corps, had five batteries of his own 
brigade and three from the artillery reserve, in the battle, which 
were finely handled. Early in the action, he was wounded in 
the shoulder by a Minie, but conflnued on the field, directing 
the movements of his command. His Adjutant, Lieutenant 
Jastram, was very active, and rendered important aid in the 


varied duties of the day. Battery E was taken into battle by 
Lieutenant John K. Bucklyn. It was posted on the road from 
Gettysburg to Emmettsburg, near the Peach Orchard that 
formed the angle of our lines. The rebels concentrated upon 
it a heavy fire of shot and shell, causing a loss of twenty-nine 
men killed and wounded, and forty horses killed and disabled. 
Lieutenant Bucklyn was severely wounded in the breast while 
removing a caisson whose horses were shot. Lieutenants 
Benjamin Freeborn and Charles B. Winslow were slightly 
wounded, as were Sergeant Hargraves and Corporals Farmer 
and Alexander. The men, no less than officers, in the several 
batteries, deserve warm commendation for coolness and vigor 
ous work under the hottest exposure. None could have done 

One year ago, the army of the Potomac, exhausted by the 
fatigue and the excitement of its seven days battles, was re 
posing at Harrison s Landing. The brightness of the national 
anniversary was then shadowed by disappointment, in prospect 
of being withdrawn from the Peninsula without gaining the 
prize almost within our grasp. Yesterday, the anniversary 
returned, enlivened by brilliant deeds, and witnessing to a 
success long delayed. In a spirit becoming the event, General 
Meade issued the following address : 


Near Gettysburg, July 4, 1863,5 

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 68. The Commanding General, in behalf 
of the country, thanks the army of the Potomac for the glorious re 
sult of the recent operations. Our enemy, superior in numbers, and 
flushed with the pride of successful invasion, attempted to overcome 
or destroy this army. Baffled and defeated, he withdrawn 
from the contest. The privations and fatigues the army has endured, 
and the heroic courage and gallantry it displayed, will be matters of 
history to be ever remembered. 

Our task is not yet accomplished, and the Co manding General 
looks to the army for greater efforts to drive from our soil every ves 
tige of the presence of the invader. 


It is right and proper that we should, on suitable occasions, return 
our grateful thanks to the Almighty Disposer of events, that in the 
goodness of His providence, He has thought fit to give victory to the 
cause of the just. 

By command of Major General Meade. 


Throughout the three days fighting, the cooperation of the 
several corps was hearty and complete. Orders were promptly 
communicated from head-quarters and as promptly obeyed. 
Generals Sickles, Barnes, Gibbon, Doubleday, Howard, Plan- 
cock, Sedgwick, Slocum, Webb, Shurtz, Wadsworth, Howe, 
Plea: anton, Kilpatrick, Bufford, and the many others not named, 
exerted themselves to the utmost in carrying out the plans of 
the Commander-in- Chief, and the officers of every grade, as 
well as the privates of every regiment, conducted with a 
bravery never excelled. To General Meade,- the victory was 
costly. With the immense amount of artillery pitted against 
him, and the strength of an hundred thousand infantry and 
cavalry thrown furiously upon his lines, it could not be other 
wise. If the sacrifice exceeded all former example, its fruit 
was victory on this field clear and decisive and victory, at 
any price, in such a crisis, became a joy. Of Generals killed, 
besides Reynolds, were Zook, Shired, Paul and Weed, the 
latter lately an able chief of artillery. Of the wounded, were 
Generals Sickles, (leg amputated,) Merideth, Graham, Han 
cock* Gibbon, Warren, Hunt, Butterfield, Barlow, and Double- 
day. Defeat, to the rebels, was still more costly. Two of 
their Generals were killed, (Barksdale and Garnet,) and 
thirteen wounded, three mortally. General Archer was taken 

The field, after the battle, exhibited all the terrible features 
of Antietam intensified. In no previous battle had the number 
of killed and wounded been so great. Over an area of many 
miles lay thickly mingled, wounded and dead men, wounded 
and dead horses, broken caissons, disabled guns, muskets, hav- 


ersacks, and other appurtenances of war. Cemetery Hill, 
where the fight had raged with hurricane violence, was strewn 
with the dead and dying, and the cemetery itself filled with dead 
men and horses, the fragments of shattered monuments, broken 
gravestones, damaged caissons and exploded shells. The field 
hospitals, and Gettysburg!!, which had become one vast hospi 
tal, were crowded with Federal and rebel wounded, taxing to 
the utmost the services of surgeons and nurses. 

[To describe the scenes here, would be but to repeat in words 
of stronger emphasis, the ghastly tales of Savage s Station, 
Malvern Hill, Antietam and Fredericksburg. One who visi 
ted the hospitals, writes : " In the court house, in the very heart 
of Gettysburgh, we found our own soldiers lying on the bare 
floor, covered with blood, and dirt, and vermin, entirely naked 
having perhaps only a newspaper to protect their festering 
wounds from the flies ! Their wounds were very severe. 
Some of them were disfigured beyond the possibility of recog 
nition. Oh! it is impossible to describe these mangled and 
marred fragments of humanity. One we saw with a great 
cavern in his side, from which the lungs protruded several 
inches. Another unfortunate, whose eyes had been shot out 
whilst trying to creep to a fence for shelter, was struck in the 
body five times ! Of the number above named, eighty-tin ee 
were shot in the body ; seventy-seven were cases of amputa 
tion ; the rest were wounded mostly in the lower limbs. And 
this may be regarded as a fair average exhibit. 

" Riding on over muddy roads, and through swollen streams, 
we came to the camp hospital of the Third army corps, against 
whose undaunted front Longstreet had hurled his legions, only 
to be crushed and driven back. The large number of their 
wounded attested the valor with which this corps had fought. 
Language fails to depict the misery which was here present. 
Scarcely had one man out of nearly three thousand anything 
to lie on but the ground, covered by an old blanket or oil-cloth, 


and hundreds had undergone amputation since the battle. 
The surgeons were still busily engaged in cutting off arms and 
legs. The several limbs were piled up at different tables. 
Gangs of men were employed all the time as grave-diggers, 
and the dead lay on stretchers, or on the ground, waiting for 

Another adds : 

" The sad scenes and sights of the wounded, the sick, the 
bereaved, hang up pictures in the halls of memory and imagi 
nation that will never be taken down. Here is a poor rebel 
with both legs off below the knee, waving a long wisp of straw 
to keep the flies off, and the freight cars must be a hard bed for 
him to lie on in a jolting journey of eighty miles. *Here is one 
with a spot on his back, the place of a severe wound, perfectly 
black with the flies which have lighted on his shirt. Here is 
a man with a hole in the top of his head. Here a poor boy is 
minus an arm. Here a confederate, wounded, has a shirt as 
black as the chimney, which has, apparently, not touched water 
since the fall of Fort Sumter. For, with all that is done, and it is 
a benevolence computed only by billions, much that still remains 
undone would attract the quick eye and pain the gentle heart 
of woman. But men rough it through somehow ; God and 
their good angels only know how. But we saw little complaint, 
heard no angry words. If women can bear terrible wounds, 
sickness, and anguish more patiently than did these victims of 
Gettysburg, they must be largely compounded of angel and 
divinity." And now, as messengers of humanity, came the 
agents of the Sanitary and Christian Commissions, to do the 
needed work at the moment of pressing demand. With the 
forecast and energy displayed at Antietam and Fredericks- 
burg, the Sanitary Commission pushed forward, in wagons, 
large quantities of hospital supplies, to meet the deficiencies in 
the stores of the surgeons, shortly before the battle commenced ; 
and after the battle, eleven wagon loads of special supplies 
were distributed to the corps hospitals and to scattering groups 


of wounded found in the field, before any supplies arrived by 
railroad. What was done by this noble organization, during 
the ten days following the battle, may be learned from the 
following incomplete statement of the quantities of the principal 
articles distributed : The perishable articles, (amounting to over 
60 tons,) were taken to the ground in refrigerating cars. A 
considerable quantity of the same articles, purchased from or 
contributed by the farmers about Gettysburg, is not included 
under this statement. 

Of drawers, shirts and other hospital body-clothing, 39,884 
pieces, being equal to full suits of clean bed-clothing for ten 
thousand wounded men. 

Of beds, sheets, blankets, comforts, pillows, cushions for 
wounded limbs, and mosquito nets, 11,700 pieces, being equiva 
lent to a complete bed equipment for eighteen hundred men, 
severely wounded. 

Of bed utensils 728 

Of towels and napkins 10,000 

Of sponges 2,300 

Of combs 1,500 

Of buckets 200 

Of soap, Castile , , 250 pounds, 

Of old silk 300 yards. 

Of tin basins, cups, etc 7,000 

Of old linen, bandages, etc 110 barrels. 

Of water tanks 7 

Of water coolers 46 

Of bay rum and Cologne water .100 bottles, 

Of fans 3,500 

Of chloride of lime 11 barrels, 

Of shoes and slippers 4,000 pairs. 

Of crutches 1,200 " 

Of lanterns 180 

Of candles 350 pounds. 

Of canvas 300 sq. yds. 


Fresh poultry and mutton 11,000 pounds. 

Fresh butter 6,100 " 


Fresh eggs, (chiefly collected for the occasion at farm 
houses in Pennsylvania and New Jersey) 8,500 dozens. 

Fresh garden vegetables 675 bushels. 

Fresh berries 48 " 

Fresh bread 10,300 loaves. 

Ice 20,000 pounds. 

Concentrated beef soup 3,800 " 

Concentrated milk 12,500 " 

Prepared farinaceous food 7,000 " 

Dried fruit 3,500 " 

Jellies and conserves 2,000 " 

Tamarinds 750 gallons. 

Lemons 116 boxes. 

Oranges 46 

Coffee 850 pounds. 

Tea 426 

White sugar 6,800 " 

Syrups, (lemon, etc.) 785 bottles. 

Brandy 1,250 " 

Whisky 1,160 " 

Wine 1,148 " 

Ale 600 gallons. 

Biscuit, crackers and rusk 134 barrels. 

Preserved meats .500 pounds. 

Preserved fish 3,600 

Pickles 400 gallons. 

Tobacco 100 pounds. 

Tobacco pipes 1,000 

The service of the Commission has never been more honor 
able to those engaged in it than in this campaign. The fact 
that four of its agents were taken prisoners of war, while en 
deavoring to push forward supplies ; that in performing assigned 
duties, several of them placed their lives in imminent jeopardy, 
while others, forgetful of self, labored continuously during suc 
cessive days and nights ; and that, while there were many 
critical points in the arrangements of the service, nothing of 
consequence failed to be found at the time and place demanded, 
testify to the courage, zeal and industry, no less than to the 


patience and good discipline exercised. More than double the 
usual number of persons were employed ; nearly all those 
added to the force having been formerly in the service of the 
Commission, and volunteering their assistance for the emer 
gency. Without this prompt and munificent aid, the sufferings 
of the wounded must have been inconceivably increased.] 

When the army commenced the pursuit of Lee, there was a 
general impression that he would be compelled to give battle 
at Hagerstown, Williamsport, or possibly on the old field of 
Antietam, in which event it was believed he would be bagged 
sure. But he had a quick eye and a becoming respect for lines 
of retreat ; and having made provision for the safety of his 
baggage trains, nimble legs carried him and his broken army 
across the Potomac, and saved him from a general engagement. 
At one moment, while but a portion of his army had crossed, 
appearances favored the expectation of a battle, and the men 
on our side were in high spirits. But they were doomed to 
disappointment, which, it is but truth to say, the tidings of the 
victory at Vicksburg and Port Hudson assisted them to bear 
with tolerable equanimity. There were doubtless military 
reasons why Gen. Meade yielded his understood wish for an 
immediate attack, to the adverse opinions of the majority of his 
generals in council. Nothing would have been more gratifying 
to the army of the Potomac than to have finished the work 
begun at Gettysburg, on either of the aforementioned fields, as 
the crown stone of the southwestern triumphal arch ; but it 
may be that the Almighty has another vial of wrath to pour 
out upon the Old Dominion, to consummate the evils she has 
invoked on herself, by striking hands with rebellion, dishonor 
ing her patriotic antecedents, and insulting the memory of her 
Washington. If " things sweet to taste prove in digestion 
sour," this failure and defeat must be the most mortifying of 
General Lee s experiences since he assumed supreme com 
mand of the rebel army in Virginia. The prestige gained on 


other fields is under a deep shadow. He returns, not a con 
queror, having dictated terms of peace, but a fugitive, driven 
back, shorn of one-third of his army. The charm of a northj 
ern invasion has been broken, and the experiment will hardly 
be repeated. 

[The alarm created by the defeat of Lee was at once visible 
in the tone of the rebel newspapers. The most extraordinary 
efforts were made to conceal from the people, as long as possible, 
the disastrous results of his campaign. They were told that he 
had achieved a great victory, had annihilated the Federal 
army, had overburdened himself with prisoners, and that the 
deeds of the campaign transcended in glory those of all other 
battles ! In future years, when the story of Gettysburg shall 
be read, it will appear incredible that the editor of the Rich 
mond Enquirer, five days after the battle, with a full knowl 
edge of the facts, wrote and published as follows : 

" Gen. Lee s magnificent victory at Gettysburg has, doubtless, cost 
us very dear, as many of us will know too well when the sad details 
come in. At present, we have only the grand and glorious result 
the greatest army of the Yankee nation swept away, trampled under 
foot, and all but annihilated upon its own soil ; the best part of Penn 
sylvania laid under contribution to sustain our army, and, in some 
small measure, make good our heavy losses ; the second city on the 
continent open to our armies, and already reckoning up the number 
of millions it must pay to ransom it from pillage and conflagration ; 
our own city of Baltimore, waiting its deliverance with a passionate 
but secret joy ; and Washington, that foul den of thieves, expecting 
the righteous vengeance of Heaven for the hideous crimes that have 
been done within its walls. In Philadelphia, how the Quakers quake 
this day ! In Washington, how the whole brood of Lincoln and his 
rascal ministers turn pale how their knees smite together, as they 
hear from afar off the roar of the grand Army of the Potomac rolled 
back in bloody rout and dismay, and see flashing through their guilty 
dreams the avenging bayonets of those they dared to call rebels ! 
Ha ! does their monstrous crime weigh heavy on their souls to-day ? 
Mingling with the cheers that greeted the sweet perorations of their 
Fourth- of- July orators of the day, do their ears hear the wail of the 


homeless and the fatherless whose houses they have lain in ashes, 
whose pride and strength they have laid low in the graves of a hun 
dred battle-fields ? Ye?, they begin to feel that they were in the 
wrong ; that there was some mistake somewhere ; and, for the first 
time, they pray for peace. 

" But this is only their first lesson. It is probable that our Peace 
Commissioners will have yet several other such to administer, before 
the enemy shall be perfectly satisfied that there is no possible peace 
for him until he withdraws every soldier from the soil of every State, 
including Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware, and yield up 
to their lawful owners every town and fort he holds all around our 
borders. Cincinnati, for example, would, we are assured, burn well. 
It is the enlightened metropolis of strychnine whisky, the queen city 
of fat pork, peopled by as God-abandoned sons of Yankees as ever 
killed a hog. Our troops have now got a taste of northern viands, 
and their fine, healthy appetite grows by what it feeds on. Ohio also 
has silver and gold, and towns to ransom, and fertile plains to sweep 
of flocks and herds. As they will have war, let them have their fill 
of it, and that in its highest perfection and widest development. So, 
and not otherwise, will Peace spread her white wings, and cover all 
the land as the waters cover the sea. 

" We are only at the beginning of our peace movement, and other 
such diplomatic protocols as that of Gettysburg will yet have to be 
formulated before the end comes. We hail with joy the inauguration 
of the new era, the opening of the true path to freedom and to peace. 
We are prouder than ever of our heroic army and of its illustrious 
General, of whom it is the highest praise to say that he is worthy of 
the troops he leads ; firmer than ever in the belief that peace will come 
to us only in one way by the edge of the sword."* 

* It is still more incredible that General Lee should have written similar 
statements to the President of the Rebel Confederacy, from whom he 
could have had no justifiable motive in concealing the truth. Yet, accord 
ing to the Richmond Enquirer, such was the fact. In its issue of July 
llth, it says: "The President received a letter from Gen. Lee, on Satur 
day, which puts to rest all anxieties in relation to the situation of our 
army in Maryland, and confirms the statements which have been made, 
that our army has been uniformly victorious in its encounters with the 
enemy in Pennsylvania. The letter states, in effect, that the engagements 
at Gettysburg resulted in defeating the enemy completely, in killing and 
woundiug a number far exceeding our own, and in the capture of a large 
number of prisoners ; that the falling back of our army to Hagerstown 


Of the cool assurance of this gasconade, it would be difficult 
to find a parallel.] 

In the account now given of the most deadly battle in which 
the army of the Potomac has been engaged, many particulars 
of interest have necessarily been omitted. It would be pleas 
ant to bring to notice instances of individual bravery ; to speak 
of men in the ranks, whose good conduct deserves a perpetual 
record ; to mention, by name, the wounded and the dead, who, 
with no ambition other than to do their duty, offered themselves 
voluntary sacrifices on the altar of their country s service ; but 
such a record would of itself swell to a volume, and cannot here 
be made. But they will not be forgotten. Friends who mourn 
the departed, and rejoice in the surviving, will hold them in 
affectionate remembrance. A grateful country will honor their 
patriotism ; and, in advancing years, one who can say, " I 
fought at Gettysburg," will find his utterance a passport to gen 
erous sympathies ever enduring. 

Camp near Warrenton, Va., July 27. Twenty days have 
passed since battery C commenced its return march from 
Pennsylvania. On the morning of the 7th instant, it left camp 
at Emmettsburg, and proceeding by the way ofMiddletown and 
Boonsboro, went into position on the 10th, in the neighborhood 
of Funkstown, Md., that place then being occupied by rebels. 
The next day, Lieutenant Rich advanced his section about 
fifteen hundred yards, and fired four rounds over the village, 
without drawing out a response. The etymology of this rather 

was a prudential move, not occasioned by any success on the part of the 
enemy, and not through any apprehension of contingencies arising which 
might insure his success at that point. The gist of the letter, in a few 
words, is that the enemy was even more thoroughly cut up and whipped 
than he ever has been upon southern soil, and that the occupation of Ha. 
gcrstown was a movement dictated by strategy and prudence, as essential 
to the success of the campaign." 


uneuphonic name rests in obscurity. For aught that appears 
to the contrary, it may have been the homestead of the original 
Peter, whose numerous progeny have obtained an unenviable 
notoriety. However this may be, it is* one of the principal 
villages washed by Antietam creek, and boasts a population of 
seven or eight hundred. Our march brought us within a few 
miles of Hagerstown, which the rebels occupied immediately 
after their retreat from Gettysburg. The ro*ads over the Cum 
berland mountain were in a bad condition, and the marching 
exceedingly fatiguing. Continuing our march, we proceeded 
to Berlin, a post town eight miles below Harper s Ferry, where 
we arrived on the 16th. There was little of interest to attract 
the eye or excite the imagination, in this place, or its surround 
ings, and the order to break camp, on the morning of the 19th, 
was a welcome sound. Marching through the town, we crossed 
the Potomac on a pontoon bridge, and passing through Lovet- 
ville, encamped at 3^ o clock P. M., having marched twelve 
miles. The 2d Rhode Island crossed the same day, on a simi 
lar bridge, thrown over below. We were now, once more, 
after an absence of nearly six weeks, treading the soil of Se- 
cessia. Temporary absence had failed to clothe it with new 
beauties, or to inspire reverence for its presiding spirit. Trea 
son was as hideous as when its brazen trump first sounded 
defiance to constitutional law, and sent a thrill of horror through 
the land. 

Pursuing our course, we camped at Rector s Cross Roads on 
the 22d, and the next day passed Rectortown, the head-quar 
ters of Gen. McClellan, last November, and Salem, a village 
" beautiful for situation," but whose inhabitants cannot yet take 
up the refrain, " now no more the drum provokes to arms." 
Bloody months may pass before the soul of social life its name 
imports, will be realized. On the 24th, at 11 o clock A. M., 
the battery reached Manassas Gap, where the horses were fed, 
watered and grazed. After three hours rest, we counter 
marched and took another road, when the march was continued 


to Klum s creek, where we encamped for- the night, having 
made twenty miles a pretty good day s work. On Saturday, 
(25th,) a march of fifteen miles brought us to this place, near 
which, eight months Igo, we paused on our march to what 
proved our winter quarters before Fredericksburg. The 2d 
Rhode Island, which took nearly the same route from Berlin, 
arrived the same day, and halted about two miles from War- 

Here we pause. The close of the Pennsylvania campaign 
brings us to a period in the rebellion when we may look back 
and take counsel of the past, and forward, to divine the future. 
The fierce and sanguinary struggle of more than two years and 
a half duration, was entered upon by the Unionists with reluc 
tance, and only from a conscientious sense of duty to the Gov 
ernment whose authority was defied, and to constitutional law, 
which interposed a barrier to the destructive sweep of anarchy. 
They were tender and forbearing as events have shown, un 
wisely so. They shrank from violence, and especially from 
bloodshed, in restoring obedience to authority. Their pursuits 
were peaceful ; they deprecated domestic broils, and were 
ready to accept quiet on any terms consistent with mutual 
rights, law and order. But they found themselves dealing with 
lawless revolutionists men who had resolved to break up the 
Union, go out of it if they could not, or remain in it only on 
stipulations that would perpetuate in their hands a controlling 
power in the nation. It was really a question of freedom or 
bondage of master or vassal of life or death and the friends 
of the Federal government were made sadly sensible, that per 
sonal rights could be ensured, and national life preserved, only 
at the price of blood ; and blood has flowed in torrents, stain 
ing the fair inheritance purchased by sacrifice, with fratricidal 

The contest begun. Treason fired the first gun. But on 



our part it was not a battle for sectional aggrandizement. Had 
it been, not a regiment could have been raised in the North 
for its prosecution. With the North, it was a war for peace ; 
for the restoration of harmony ; for the vindication of a viola 
ted constitution ; for the maintenance of civil government ; for 
the security of property, personal liberty, and that vital feature 
in organized society the inviolability of contracts. And more. 
It was a war for the safety of nations. The principle assailed 
by anarchists was the principle that underlies and upholds 
nationalities. It was a battle for Europe no less than for 
America ; for the throne as for the republic ; for England and 
France as for the United States. 

In this light, it was seen by the peace-loving and law-abid 
ing millions of our own land, and by the intelligent and orderly 
of all lands. It was natural to suppose, under such conditions* 
that the government of the United States would receive the 
sympathy of at least the two nations claiming to be the most 
enlightened and honorable in their diplomacy of the nations of 
the Old World. Of France, not so much was expected as of the 
mother country ; yet, even she, it was believed, would at least 
preserve a strict neutrality. How she has met the expecta 
tion, her hobnobbing with rebel agents, and other equally of 
fensive conduct, show. But of England and, by England, 
her government is meant better things were believed. 
Something Avas hoped from the influence of a community of 
language, identity of interests, the kindly feeling supposed to 
be well established towards us, and above all, her professed 
detestation of human oppression. But painful has been the 
disappointment. She has shown herself selfish when she 
should have been generous ; practicing duplicity when straight 
forward frankness was her duty ; resorting to Machiavellian 
arts when^she should have been true to an honorable national 
life. Her policy has lacked the element of principle. Her 
Palmerstons have shuffled and bent the knee to Cotton, when 


they should have borne themselves erect like high-minded 
men. In the face of all professions of friendship, and while 
the princely hospitalities showered by our nation upon the heir 
to her throne were yet fresh in memory, she insidiously struck 
a blow at our national unity. She dickered with treason. 
She suffered her island ports to be made the rendezvous for 
repairs and supplies, to an outlaw preying upon the commerce 
of a country with which she was at peace. She permitted to 
enter, and protected in departure, from a chief commercial port, 
a vessel whose flag, by the law of nations, was piratical, and 
which she knew, as is believed, intended to capture, sink and 
destroy all merchantmen sailing under the flag, and claiming 
the protection of the United States, that crossed her corsair 
path. She knew, that in the shipyards of Liverpool, iron-clads 
were building by her own subjects, ostensibly for China, but 
really for the rebel confederates, yet chose not officially to see 
the fact, until forced to by the moral sentiment of the world. 
She knew privately, unofficially, that articles contraband of 
war were daily exported, in British bottoms, from her own 
ports, for the aid and comfort of rebellion in this nation, but 
adopted no measures to prevent it. And ignoring her West 
India emancipation, and her long years boasting of superior 
humanity, and with a will to do us harm, she has indirectly 
encouraged rebellion, while professing to hate the thing that its 
leaders avowed to be the corner-stone of the new nation they 
are striving to rear ! England, then, scarcely less than the 
South, is responsible for the present condition of our country. 
Had she taken counsel of her Brights and her honest masses, 
instead of her corrupt aristocracy ; had she been just to her 
position, and acted as she ought, rebellion had long since come 
to an end. Without foreign intervention, the cause of the 
anarchists was utterly hopeless ; and so long as England, by 
covert measures, encouraged the hope of ultimate recognition, 
she contributed to the protraction of this intestine war. So the 


pen of History will record, when it writes the dark, sad page 
of her national tergiversatiBns.* 

What, then, is the lesson taught by the past ? It is, that in 
this contest, we are to hope for nothing two powers of 
Europe with which we have been most intimate, on the score 
of principle or friendship. If anything is yielded, it will be 
the fruit of self-interest. "We are to rely more on our inherent 
strength. We are to develop our material forces, with the 
vigor of a nation in earnest. We are to increase our naval 
arm of four hundred sail, if need be, until with its hundred iron 
clads, it can defy all haters of our republic. We are to culti 
vate harmony of purpose ; to stand by the government, with 
only this one thought the Nation as a Unit. 

When rebellion begun, it seemed a small thing, and expec 
tation was common that it would come to a speedy termination. 
But expectation was destined to disappointment. The deep- 
seated character of the disease was imperfectly understood, 
even by the wisest. From the little thing it seemed, it swelled 
to enormous proportions, like the human body under mercurial 
treatment. But by processes sometimes heroic, and sometimes 
lenitive, its distorted features have been largely reduced, while 
the power of the Federal government to treat it successfully 
has correspondingly enlarged. When will the unnatural con 
test cease ? This question is often asked, coupled with another 
What is to be the result ? When will it cease ? None but 

* Since this page was written, a speech delivered by, Lord John Russell, 
at Blairgowrie, Scotland, has been published, which may be regarded as a 
semi-official development of the future policy of the British government 
towards the United States. The policy indicated, from whatever cause 
the change, is much more conciliatory than the course pursued in an 
earlier stage of the rebellion. This is well. It is due, from what is known 
of Lord Russell, to believe that his speech is an honest expression of his 
private feelings ; but as an explanation of, or an indirect apology for, the 
conduct of the English government in the past, it is exceedingly lame. 
There stand the facts, and no amount of reasoning can hide their moral 



the Omniscient can answer. Its end may be nearer than any 
suppose. Causes unseen may be at work to bring it to a speedy 
termination ; or, if the Infinite s plans are not yet ready for a 
final development, it may be protracted until the value of the 
sacred principle involved shall be so impressed on the national 
heart r as to ensure to it the strengh of an undivided support. 
That there are still difficulties to be met, it were idle to deny. 
In some form, they will appear till the death throe. But the 
signs of encouragement are not to be overlooked, nor under 
valued. These are many ; and among them, in the words of 
another, are " the great deliverance from the long strain and 
menace of invasion the easy victory over anarchy at home, 
which some had thought to be our most formidable foe." 

What is to be the result of this still uncompleted war ? 
That which has ever issued from the contestant forces of right 
and wrong human good. Out of Waterloo, Victor Hugo tells 
us, greAv liberty ; and the deadly struggles of Magenta and 
Solferino, helped to diffuse its spirit over the continent, to 
soften the hard features of despotism, to emancipate thought, 
and to call out the latent endowments of national manhood. 
And so, out of this contest with " the conspiracy of unscrupu 
lous and traitorous men," will grow a higher form of national 
life of purer humanity and Christian civilization. 


IN preparing the following sketches of the several regiments and 
batteries sent into service by Rhode Island, it has been the aim to 
seize \ipon salient points in the history of each, rather than to burden 
the narrative with minuteness of detail that would extend this volume 
far beyond prescribed limits. Though, for this reason, particulars of 
camp life, marches, picket and other experiences may be missed, that 
participants therein would like to see, it is believed that the omissions 
do not, in any degree, affect the integrity of the story, nor obscure 
the merits of the work accomplished. In the body of the volume, as 
will be seen by reference to the Index, many incidents of regiments 
and batteries are given, which it is unnecessary here to repeat. 


Rev. Augustus "Woodbury, pastor of the "Westminster Congrega 
tional Church and Society, in Providence, has written an admirable 
and exhaustive history of the campaign of this first three months 
regiment from Rhode Island, To that volume the reader is referred, 
to learn how, in the hour of our country s peril, all classes and con 
ditions of society, "rich and poor, native and foreigner, Protestant 
and Catholic, radical and conservative, republican and democrat, 
alike felt the mighty impulse " of loyalty, and sprang as one man to 
the rescue. The name of this regiment is introduced here, not for the 
purpose of writing its history anew, but to preserve its numerical re 
lation to its successors in the war, and to add a testimony to the in 
valuable service it rendered the government by its prompt lesponseto 
the call for 75,000 men. 

The regiment departed from Providence in two detachments, on the 
20th and 24th of April, 1861, the first under Colonel Ambrose E. 
Burnside, and the second under Lieutenant Colonel Joseph S. Pitman. 
Both left with the warm benedictions of the immense throngs that 
crowded to witness their departure. After a brief sojourn at the 
Patent Office in Washington, a beautiful encampment was provided 
about one mile north of the capitol, which received the name of Camp 


Spraguc. The battle of Bull Run was fought, in which the regiment 
made an honorable record ; the term for which it enlisted had ex 
pired ; and assured that the capital was safe, it returned home, bear 
ing in its Avounded, and in its tattered colors, the evidence of a bravery 
of which Rhode Island will ever be proud. 

The regiment arrived in Providence on the morning of the 28th 
July, and the reception was a magnificent tribute of popular feeling to 
men who had distinguished themselves for martial qualities with- 
standing a trial more fearful than any they could have anticipated, 
and found faithful beyond all they had promised. They came on the 
morning of the Sabbath, and, as if by concert, yet not by any mutual 
understanding, the houses of worship were closed, and the thousands 
of worshippers lined the streets, to greet with a spontaneous expres 
sion of sympathy and affection, men who had faced the raging storm 
of death. Yet a Sabbath morning never seemed more sacred, nor were 
its proprieties ever more becomingly preserved. At Fox Point, the 
regiment was formed in line, and the vast procession moved. First 
came the escort of fourteen companies belonging to Providence, New 
port and Pawtucket, with Gilmore s & Shepard s Bands, together 
with a large number of citizens. Then followed the regiment, includ 
ing the brass and drum band, at the head of which rode its gallant Colo 
nel and staff, accompanied by Lieutenant Governor Arnold, Adjutant 
General Mauran and Captain Hoppin of his staff. As the extended 
column filed through various streets, the stillness of the hour was 
broken, again and again, by deep yet orderly outbursts of feeling. 
Handkerchiefs waved from eyery window. Colonel Burnside was 
fairly loaded down with boquets, and nearly every bayonet in the 
regiment was decked with flowers. The battle-torn flag was warmly 
greeted. At every point the soldiers were beset and crowded by 
hundreds who had acquaintimces and relatives in the regiment, and 
who, when they discovered among the brown and sun-burned faces 
the one they sought, rushed up with demonstrative joy and words of 
welcome. There were a few that wandered about with sorrowful 
faces, and did not find those for whom they waited and hoped. The 
manly form of the Christian patriot, Lieutenant Henry A. Prcscott, 
was missing, and the memory of his fall on the fatal field, cast a 
shadow upon many hearts. 

In Railroad Hall, Messrs. L. H. Humphrey & Co. had laid an am 
ple collation for about three thousand persons. To this, the soldiers 
were welcomed by Lieutenant Governor Arnold, followed in an ear 
nest and appropriate address by Bishop Clark. "This day," he 
said, is sacred. These men have been doing a sacred and solemn 
work. The greeting which we now tender them is appropriate to this 
hallowed season." He referred to the reports of valor that had come 

to him, and he thanked them all for what thcv had done. He added : 

" You brought home with you, to-day, the sick and the wounded. May 
God heal them in His good time, and restore them to us sound in ltml> 
and firm in health. You have left others behind. We know not what 
may he the fate of some of them, but we pray God to have them in His 
keeping, and give them back to us in clue season. 

" You have left also the dead, and the soil of Virginia is now in a real 
sense sacred to us. Often, in the morning and in the evening, our 


thoughts have turned to that hallowed spot, as the Israelite turned to 
ward Holy Jerusalem. 

" We will embalm the names of the departed in our memories ; we will 
write them on the tablets of fame, and Rhode Island shall raise a monu 
ment to their memories that shall tell to all coming generations how sa 
cred she holds her heroic dead. 

" I wi-h that our Governor were with us to-day; but, true to his na 
ture, he remains not where honors await him, as they would have done if 
he had come home with you, but Avhere his most solemn duty lies. He 
stays to succor those who are in want. And when he has done all the 
work that he can do for us there, then may God send him back to us and 
we will render him due honor. [Applause.] 

"You have come back to us, as they say, from a defeat. I rejoice to 
say that Rhode Island comes back from a victory. You had achieved 
your triumph and won the battle before the tide turned, and if all the 
men in the rield had been like you, and all the officers like Colonel Burn- 
side, [Great applause] and all the leaders like Governor Sprague, [Re 
newed applause] the whole north would have been in a blaze of exulta 
tion to-day." 

The scene in the hall was scarcely less exciting than that which had 
just preceded it in the streets. After the collation, the regiment was 
dismissed until the following Thursday, August 1st, when it met on 
Exchange place, for the last time, and listened to the farewell order 
of its beloved commander. The following is a list of the 

(Commissioned and Non-commissioned.) 

Colonel AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE. Brigadier General of Volun 
teers, U. S. A., August 6th, 1861 ; Major General, March 18th, 1862. 
In command of the Department ot North Carolina. Joined General 
McClellan on the Peninsula. Commander-in-Chief of the army of the 
Potomac, November 7, 1862. Relieved, and appointed to the com 
mand of the Department of the Ohio. 

Lieutenant Colonel JOSEPH S. PITMAN. 

First Major JOHN S. SLOCUM. Resigned, and appointed Colonel 
of 2d regiment R. I. V., May 8th, 1861. 

First Major JOSEPH P. BALCH. Promoted from Second Major, 
June 27, 1861. 

Second Major WILLIAM GODDARD, appointed June 27, 1861. 

Surgeon FRANCIS L. WHEA.TON. Resigned, and appointed Sur 
geon in 2d regiment R. I. V., June 6, 1861. Brigade Surgeon. Sur- 
geon-in- Chief at Portsmouth Grove Hospital. Relieved, 1862. 

Surgeon HENRY "VV. RIVERS. Promoted from Assistant Surgeon, 
June 7th. Surgeon 4th regiment R. I. V. Promoted to Brigade 
Surgeon, March, 1862. 

Assistant Surgeon NATHANIEL MILLER. 

Assistant Surgeon GEORGE W. CARR. Appointed Assistant Sur 
geon in 2d regiment R. I. V., August 27, 1861. 

Assistant Surgeon JAMES HARRIS. Attached to 2d regiment R. 
I. V., July 1st, 1861 ; taken prisoner at the battle of Bull Run, July 
21st, 1861 ; released, September, 1861. Appointed Superintendent 
United States Hospital, in Providence, April, 1862. 


Adjutant CHARLES H. MERRIMAN. Appointed Acting Assistant 
Adjutant General and Chief of Staff of Brigade. Major 10th regiment 
R. I. V., May 26th, 1862. Resigned, June, 1862. 

Quartermaster CYRUS G. DYER. Resigned, and Captain in 2d 
regiment R. I. V., June 5th, 1861. 

Quartermaster WILLIAM LLOYD BOWERS, June 5th, 1861 ; taken 
prisoner at Bull Run, July 21st; released and returned to Providence, 
January 25th, 1862. 

Commissary ALVAN COLE. 

Paymaster HENRY T. Sissoy. Captain, Decemhcr 20th, 1861. 
Major, 3d regiment R. I. II. A., February 5th, 1862. Colonel 5th 
regiment R. I. V., November 5th, 1862. 

Chaplain AUGUSTUS WOODBURY. Very active on the field as Aide 
to Colonel Burnside at the battle of Bull Run. 

Assistant Chaplain THOMAS QUINN. Appointed Chaplain 3d 
regiment R. I. H. A. Transferred to 1st regiment R. I. L. A. Dis 
charged January 8th, 1862. 

Engineer HENRY A. DsWiTT, May 31st, 1861. Planned Camp 

Sergeant Major JOHN P. SHAW. Lieutenant 2d R. I. V., June 
6, 1861. Captain, July 24, 1862. 

Sergeant Major JOHN S. ENGS, June 8th, 1861. 

Quartermaster Sergeant HENRY A. BARTLETT. Relieved, May 
2d. Appointed Lieutenant United States Marine Corps. 

Quartermaster Sergeant ELIAS M. JENCKES. 

Commissary Sergeant WILLIAM L. HUNTER. 

Ordnance Sergeant JAMES W. LYON. Lieutenant 4th regiment 
R. I. V. 

Drum Major BENJAMIN G. WEST. Bugler in 3d regiment R. I. 
H. A. 

Hospital Steward JAMES H. TAYLOR. 

The Captains of the several companies were Arthur F. Dexter, 
Nathaniel W. Brown, George W. Tew, William W. Brown, Nicholas 
Van Slyck, Stephen R. Bucklin, Charles W. II. Day, Peter Simpson, 
Henry C. Card, John T. Pitman. 

The regiment was accompanied, throughout the campaign, by the 
Providence American Brass Band, under the leadership of Joseph C. 
Greene, one of the most accomplished performers on the bugle in the 
United States. In the camp and on the march, the music ot the band 
had the charm of inspiration, while, on the field of battle, the humanity 
of its members was displayed in the care bestowed upon the wounded 
and dying. The names of the Band were Joseph C. Greene, Band 
Master, and afterwards occupying the same position in the 4th regi 
ment R. I. V., Henry L. Dana, Alfred E. Dickenson* William L. 
Dunbar, Thomas P. Fenner, John C. Harrington, Willard Haskell, 
Augustus Heise, William W. Hall, Walter B. Kingsley, George E. 
Mason, William F. Marshall, Emory Paine, Abijah M. Pond, Edward 
L. Potter, Carroll J. Pullen, William Lee Reynolds, Beriah G. Rey 
nolds, Samuel D. Spink, Stephen R. Sweet, Sylvester J. Sweet, Wil 
liam E. Whiting, Stephen G. Whittemore. 


On the 10th .of August, a public welcome was given to the Band in 
the Church of the Ministry at Large, in the presence of an audience 
crowding the house to its utmost capacity. The pulpit window was 
festooned with national flags,, above which were the words, "Ameri 
can Brass Band Welcome." After appropriate introductory services, 
the following original hymn was sung by the congregation with thril 
ling effect : 

"1. Welcome, friends, to homes and kindred, 

Welcome to this sacred fane: 
Here accept our friendly greetings, 

As this day we meet v again. 
Mem ries thickly gather round us, 

Paling joy with shades of woe; 
Tears we drop for brothers fallen, 

Tears that from deep fountains flow. 

" 2. From the scenes of war and carnage, 

You have come with wearied tread; 
Where the charge the raging conflict 

Strewed the field with martyr dead; 
Where, by Mercy s inspiration, 

Hearts were moved to deeds humane; 
Where Samaria s proud example 

Shed its fragrance o er the plain. 

" 3. Thanks we tender for the service 

You so nobly rendered there, 
To the wounded and the dying, 

Mid the lurid death-storm fire. 
Never be that day forgotten ; 

Ever bright that work of love; 
May the meed of well done, faithful/ 

Crown life s close with joy above. 

" 4- Safe returned from march and peril, 

Faithful to Rhode Island s fame; 
High on merit s scroll recorded, 

Shall be found your honored name. 
Patriot Band ! we once more greet you, 

Welcome to this sacred fane; 
Welcome to our heart-affections, 

As this day we meet again." 

Addresses were then made by Rev. E. M. Stone and Hon. William 
M. Rodman, suggested by the passing hour. Mr. Stone reviewed the 
events of the preceding five months, culminating in the battle of Bull 
Run. He bade the band a fraternal welcome. It was fitting that the 
house of God should be the place of greeting. The service they had 
done was God s service. The spirit by which they had been actuated 
was the inspiration of the Almighty. He thanked them for their ex 
ample of patriotism for their self-forgetfulness and voluntary deeds 
of humanity on the battle field. It was his earnest prayer, that when 
life s last battle had been fought, they might be found enrolled in the 
innumerable army of the living God. 

Mr. Rodman spoke of the condition of the country and the duties 


of the patriot. He made delicate allusion to Colonel Burnside, as a 
model Christian commander, and referred tenderly to Slocum, Pres- 
cott and others, of the noble dead. He greeted the Band in Avell- 
chosen words, and closed with solemn reference to the end of life. 
He is the wise and true man, who, faithful to his country and his 
God, dies the good soldier of Jesus Christ. 

To these addresses, the Band responded by playing, with touching 
pathos, " Home, Sweet Home." The exercises were closed by sing 
ing the national hymn 

" My country, tis of thee," 

in which the suppressed feeling of a deeply moved congregation found 
full expression. 


ON the first call of the President of the United States, for addi 
tional men to serve for a period of three years, unless sooner dis 
charged, Governor Sprague took prompt measures to organize a second 
regiment of infantry and a battery of artillery. On the 8th of June, 
1861, an order to that effect was issued. The camp was established 
on the Dexter Training Ground, in Providence, and named Camp 
Burnside. Major John S. Slocum, of the 1st regiment, who had 
served with reputation in the Mexican War, was appointed Colonel. 
Colonel William Goddard, of the Governor s staff, was detailed to act 
temporarily as Lieutenant Colonel, and on being relieved, General 
Charles T. Robbins was appointed temporarily to that position. At 
the request of Colonel Slocum, Colonel Christopher Blanding assisted 
in drilling the regiment. 

While making preparations for departure, the regiment received 
numerous tokens of interest and regard from friends, in the form of 
articles designed for personal convenience. The citizens of Lonsdale 
made a liberal donation to the Hospital department, and the firm of 
A. & W. Sprague generously presented one thousand rubber blankets 
for the use of the men. Chaplain Jameson was made the recipient of 
handsome dress sword and a purse of $200. Many of the officers, for 
themselves, or for their companies, received substantial expressions of 
good will. 

Shortly before leaving for Washington, an elegant stand of colors 
was presented to the regiment from $ number of ladies of Providence, 
through Colonel Jabez C. Knight, Paymaster General. The regiment 
was drawn up in line, and the ceremony took place in the presence of 
an immense throng. To Colonel Knight s address, Colonel Slocum 
made a brief response, expressing his grateful sense of the kind re 
membrance, and giving assurance that the colors should be preserved 
from the stain of dishonor. Addresses w r ere also made by Rev. Ed 
ward B. Hall, D. D., and Captain Cyrus G, Dyer. Company D, 


Captain Nelson Viall, having been appointed to carry the colors, the 
beautiful American ensign of silk, with gold fringe and tassels, and 
having the name, " 2d Regiment R. I. V.," inscribed in gold letters 
on the centre red stripe, was passed by Colonel Slocum to Lieutenant 
Ames. The regimental standard of blue, with gold fringe and tassels, 
and bearing on its folds the arms of Rhode Island, was passed to 
Lieutenant Monroe, of the artillery. 

On the 19th of June, all things being in readiness, tents were struck 
at 2 o clock P. M., and at 4 o clock, the regiment, headed by the 
Governor and his staff, together with the Secretary of State, Paymas 
ter General Knight, and several other prominent citizens, took up the 
line of march to Exchange place, where, in the presence of a large 
crowd of spectators, a short and spirited address was delivered by 
Bishop Thomas M. Clark, who also invoked the divine blessing. 
After these services, the march was resumed to Fox Point, where the 
regiment embarked on board the steamer State of Maine, and the bat 
tery, under Captain William H. Reynolds, on board the steamer Kill 
Von Kull. The regimental field and staff officers, as far as appointed, 
were as follows : 

Colonel JOHN S. SLOCUM. 

Lieutenant Colonel CHARLES T. ROB"BINS, (temporarily.) 


Adjutant SAMUEL J. SMITH. 

Quartermaster JAMES ABORN. 

Commissary Sergeant JAMES T. TATB. 


Hospital Steward E. A. CALDER. 

Assistant Hospital Steward W. L. WHEATON. 


The vacancies were not all filled until after the regiment reached 
Washington. The Captains of companies, in the regular order of 
their letters, were Cyrus G. Dyer, John Wright, Nelson Viall, Wil 
liam H. P. Steere, Isaac P. Rodman, Levi A. Tower. Nathan Goff, 
Jr., Charles W. Greene, Samuel J. Smith, Charles W. Turner. 

Accompanied by Governor Sprague, Secretary Bartlett and Bishop 
Clark, the regiment arrived at Washington at 3 o clock on Saturday 
morning, June 22d, and was warmly welcomed by its companions in 
arms, the Rhode Island 1st. It encamped in Gale swoods, near Camp 
Sprague, and the next three weeks were devoted to ordinary duties. 
On the 25th, both regiments, and the two batteries, under Captains 
Tompkins and Reynolds, paid their respects to President Lincoln, by 
whom they were reviewed. The scene, as they marched up New 
York and down Pennsylvania avenues, was exhilerating, and the 
drill, discipline, completeness of outfit and soldierly appearance, 
called forth universal commendation. 

On the 21st July, came the battle of Bull Run, which Rev. Mr. 
Woodbury, in his interesting history, has graphically and accurately 
described. In that memorable action, Colonel Burnside commanded 
a brigade, comprising the 1st and 2d Rhode Island, Captain Rey- 
nolds s Rhode Island battery, the 71st New York and the 2d New 



Hampshire. A battle had been for some days anticipated, and the 
order to move was received with lively expressions of satisfaction. 
On the march, Colonel Slocum had the advance, which he kept until 
the regiment reached the field. There, with Captain Keynolds s ar 
tillery, it was the first to engage, and fought the enemy forty- five 
minutes without support. In this sanguinary and disastrous battle, 
Colonel Slocum, Major Ballou and Captains Tower and Smith fell. 
The death of Colonel Slocum devolved the command of the regiment 
on Captain Frank Wheaton of the United States army, then acting 
Lieutenant Colonel. On the fall of Major Ballou, Captain Viall left 
his company in charge of Lieutenant Stanley, and assumed the duty 
of a field officer. It was unfortunate, as the result of the battle 
showed, that the brigades were not kept together on the march, or at 
least within supporting distance. The men of the 2d Rhode Island 
stood up bravely under a heavy fire from the rebel batteries, but to 
no purpose. Having exhausted their ammunition, they retired to the 
rear to replenish. The regiment was then ordered into line to sup 
port New York troops, to the south of its old position. At this time 
regiments were getting uneasy, some were broken and flying, and it 
became evident that the day was lost. The regiment retired in good 
order under fire, the panic which seized other troops leaving no other 
alternative than retreat. The loss in this battle was 28 killed, 56 
wounded and 30 missing.* Governor Sprague identified himself with 
the fortunes of the two Rhode Island regiments. He joined Colonel 
Burn side s brigade as a volunteer, and was in the hottest of the fight, 
inspiring the men by his coolness and courage. His horse was killed 
under him. The death of Colonel Slocum, whose gallantry on the 
field was conspicuous, made a sad void in the hearts of the men he 
ltd. Major Ballou was a gentleman of amiable character and high 
culture, and showed himself among the bravest of the brave. Even 
after he fell, he continued to shout to the men to press forward. 
Captain Tower fell early in the battle, while boldly leading his men 
to the charge. He merely requested to be turned over, and died 
without a struggle. Captain Smith, after having led his company 
bravely through the strife, and performed all the duties of a gallant 
officer, was instantly killed by a ball from a masked battery, on the 
retreat. The colors of the regiment were completely riddled by balls, 
but the standard bearer, Sergeant John M. Durfee, of Captain Viall s 
company, stood mfenfully by them, and brought them from the field. 
Upon the death of Colonel Slocum, Lieutenant Colonel Frank 
Wheaton succeeded to the command of the regiment, Captain William 
H. P. Steere was appointed Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain Nelson 
Viall, Major. On returning to Washington, from Bull Run, the 
quarters of the regiment were temporarily established at Camp Clark, 

*The wounded of the 1st and 2d Rhode Island, not taken prisoners, 
were brought home at an early day. The remains of Colonel Slocum, 
Major Ballou and Captain Tower were buried on the field. They were 
subsequently exhumed, brought home and entombed with military hon 
ors. The indignities practiced by the rebels upon the Union dead who 
fell into their hands, would have been disgraceful to savages. 


so named in honor of the Bishop. Subsequently, they were moved to 
Camp Sprague, but finally a favorable spot was selected by Col. Whea- 
ton, on the farm of a Mr. Ray, about four miles northeast from Wash 
ington, and near the United States Soldier s Home, to which was 
given the name of Camp Erightwood- Here the regiment remained 
until March, 1862, perfecting itself in drill, performing picket service, 
clearing away forests, and throwing up a defence to guard an approach 
to Washington, to which they gave the name of Fort Slocum an 
honorable testimony to their cheerful industry, and a worthy monu 
ment to the memory of their firsthand revered commander. During 
the six months occupancy of Camp Brightwood, frequent visits of 
friends and constant arrivals of home remembrances, kept up a pleas 
ant excitement that broke the monotony of military routine. With 
the 7th and 10th Massachusetts and the 36th New York, they consti 
tuted the brigade commanded by General Couch, in which, by pro 
ficiency in drill and other soldierly qualities, they held a first rank. 
On the 8th October, 1861, the regiment was visited by Governor 
Sprague, accompanied by President Lincoln and other distinguished 
gentlemen. On this occasion, they were presented with a flag sent 
to them by patriotic citizens of California. A brief address was made 
by the President, which was appropriately replied to by Colonel 
Wheaton. The 4th regiment Rhode island volunteers was present. 
Both regiments were drawn up near each other, and were addressed 
by Bishop Clark, in an eloquent and stirring speech. The doxology 
was then sung, and the ceremonies concluded. It was a proud day 
for the regiment, and the men were highly complimented for their fine 

On Wednesday, March 26th, the regiment took final leave of Camp 
Brightwood, and embarked at Washington, on board the steamer 
John Brooks, for the Peninsula. On reaching Fortress Monroe, 
March 28th, company F, Captain William B. Sears, was the first to 
debark. The regiment marched through Hampton, and encamped four 
miles from Newport News, where it remained a week, and then pro 
ceeded to Warwick Court House, which was reached April 5th. 
During the siege of Yorktown, it was constantly employed in picket 
and other duties, rendering important service. On the evacuation of 
that place by the rebels, it formed a part of Stoneman s advance or 
dered in pursuit, and, by hard marching, reached Williamsburg in 
season to participate in the capture of the enemy s t fortifications there. 
The regiment arrived on Monday, at 3 o clock P. M., and stood in 
line, in rain and mud, till daylight on i uesday. It relieved and saved 
a regiment that had been badly cut up by unwisely drawing upon it 
the fire of Fort Magiuder at eight hundred yards distance. Here, 
Captain Sears captured a small rebel flag. From Williamsburg the 
regiment took the advance under General Stoneman, which was kept 
during the operations on the Pamunky and Chickahominy rivers, and 
beyond, approaching, at times, almost within sight of the spires of 
Richmond. It was the first to take poses sion of White House. 
It took part in the battles at Mechanicsville and Seven Pines, ex 
periencing considerable loss in killed and wounde^d. On arriving at 
Turkey Bend, it was detached with the 7th Massachusetts, to guard 
the Turkey Bend bridge, and remained there until Porter s corps 


crossed. Not being seasonably relieved, it was unable to participate 
in the battle of Malvern Hill. After that action, when the army fell 
back to Harrison s Landing, the regiment was assigned to the rear as 
a cover. On the 5th July, it was in position on the west side of 
James river, opposite City Point, busy in mud and water, throwing 
up a line of breastworks to cover batteries and infantry. A battle 
line extended three or four miles across the Point, with gunboats 
protecting the rear. A ditch and abattis rendered the approach diffi 
cult, and had the rebels made the frial, they would have met a recep 
tion hotter than the sun then ponring down his unrelenting rays. 
Such had been the exhaustive nature of its work after leaving York- 
town, that, on the 16th July, the regiment could number only 250 
effective men. 

On. the withdrawal of the army of the Potomac from the Peninsula, 
the regiment proceeded to the vicinity of Yorktown, where it remained 
a week, occupied in destroying earthworks thrown up when the Federal 
army lay in front. On the 29th August, it embarked for Alexandria, 
where it landed, September 1st, and proceeded to Germantown, to 
the support of Kearny. After sharing the fortunes of Pope s Bull 
Hun campaign, it returned to Alexandria, proceeded thence on board 
the steamer Nelly Baker, to Georgetown, debarked and crossed Chain 
Bridge to Fort Ethan Allen, and continued its march to Elk Moun 
tain, where it held position during the battle of Antietam. The fol 
lowing day, it came to the front, and was occupied in guarding the 
river. Subsequently, it marched to "Williamsport to prevent the 
crossing of Stuart. Afterwards, it proceeded to Poolsville, and then 
to Warrenton and New Baltimore, and finally to the front of Fred- 
ericksburg. In the battle of December 14th, it crossed the river in 
advance of all Franklin s corps, and took a captain and two privates 
of the Georgia 19th, prisoners. Company F, Captain Sears, had two 
men slightly wounded by the fragment of a shell. Here, Colonel 
"\Vheaton having been appointed to the command of a brigade, the 
command of. the regiment was assumed by Colonel Nelson Viall, who 
received his commission on the field. All the duty assigned it during 
this battle was discharged with a spirit and efficiency that gained for 
it warm commendat on. 

The men of the regiment were strongly attached to Colonel (now 
General) Wheaton, and were unwilling to part from him without some 
suitable expression of their feelings. After the battle and their return 
to their encampment, arrangements to that effect, already begun, were 
completed, by a committee consisting of the first sergeants of each 
company, assisted by Colonel Viall and Lieutenant Colonel Goff. 
Four hundred dollars were contributed by the enlisted men, with 
which was purchased a superb sword, belt and silver spurs. These 
Avere formally presented to the General, in behalf of the contributors, 
by Sergeant Edmund F. Prentiss, of company C, chairman of the 
committee. In a few words, the General acknowledged the gratifying 
testimonial, and subsequently, more at length in a written communi 
cation, in which he spoke of his long and pleasant connection with 
the regiment, and ot the deep interest he should always take in its 
future success. " Never forget," he said, in conclusion, " that you 
have a reputation to sustain. Y r our dear old flags bear many proofs 


of that. Remember that you are descended from those noble patriots 
who were pronounced by Washington, when he reviewed his troops 
at Cambridge, to be the flower of the American army. The prec 
ious inheritance those few words gave you mu^t be sacred in your 
hands. Our native State that sent you out to battle for her princi 
ples, in this our second war for. in dependence, has confidence in your 
ability to prove honorable sons of those who conquered for her in the 
first. Go, then, to gallant deeds, and remember, each one of you, 
that Rhode Island s name and fame is in your keeping. Preserve it 
as your fathers did ; and when the war is over, when those who 
would destroy our liberties shall be themselves destroyed ; when the 
flag our fathers gave us shall be the only one to float secure in all of 
this broad land ; when liberty and law shall prove too strong for trai 
tors, then, but not till then, may we think of peace, or of the joyous 
welcome that waits us at our homes." 

Not long after the first battle of Frederick sburg, ColoneWiall re 
signed, and the temporary command of the regiment devolved on 
Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Goff, Jr., an able and highly esteemed 
officer. He was succeeded by Colonel Horatio Rogers, Jr., trans 
ferred from the llth Rhode Island volunteers, then stationed at Mi 
ner s Hill. In the second expedition of General Burnside, which, as 
already mentioned, a violent storm and other causes rendered abor 
tive, the regiment endured the fatigue and discomforts of the march 
with soldierly patience. Winter life followed, relieved of irksome- 
ness by a full share of picket duty. February and March passed with 
only such occurrences as were common to other camps ; but when the 
third attack of Fredericksburg was decided on, the order to march 
came to the 2d Rhode Island as a welcome sound. 

The part taken by the regiment in the storming of the heights of 
that city has been shown on page 234. To the account there given, 
a few particulars may be added. After recrossing the Rappahannock 
at Banks s Ford, on Tuesday, May 5th, it performed picket duty at 
the Ford, and guarded the pontoon train until Friday, the 8th, when 
it marched to the neighborhood of its old camp. In eleven days cam 
paigning, the regiment did four and a half days picket duty, and 
fought two battles. Its casualties, as already mentioned, were heavy. 
Nothing could surpass the determination with which the men ad 
vanced to the extreme front when a regiment was flying panic- 
stricken through their ranks ; the gallantry with which they drove 
the rebels back ; the pertinacity with which they held their ground 
until support could come up ; and the excellent order and spirits with 
which they retired when ordered back. This regiment, as much or 
more than any other, contributed towards checking the enemy when 
our forces were being driven on the right. It saved a New Jersey 
regiment, hotly pressed in the woods, from annihilation and probable 

After about four weeks rest, the regiment [was again in motion. 
On the 6th June, it crossed the Rappahannock, and took part in a 
demonstration below Fredericksburg, to keep the enemy s troops in 
that neighborhood. On the night of the 13th, it recrossed the river, 
and began its march northward with the rest of the Sixth corps, via 
Dumfries, Fairfax Court House, Centreville, Edwards s Ferry, 



Poolesville, Newmarket and Westminster, halting here and there a 
day or two. About 9 o clock of the evening of July 1st, while in 
bivouac near Manchester, the regiment was hurriedly got into line, 
and marching all night and all the next day, up to four o clock in the 
afternoon, it arrived near Gettysburg, a distance of about thirty miles. 
As it approached, the thunder of artillery and the rattling o f mus 
ketry seemed nearer and nearer, and then came the stream of wound 
ed and stragglers, sure signs of a battle going on somewhere close by. 
The whole corps was bivouacked for two or three hours, to rest after 
their long tramp, and then were put into position on the field of bat 
tle, on the extreme left, where they lay on their arms all night, being 
drawn up into three lines, the second brigade forming a part of the 
middle one. The next day, the day of the great battle, was a busy 
one for the regiment, for wherever the fighting was thickest, there the 
second brigade was sure to be sent to reinforce points hard pressed ; 
but though the regiment had to traverse that bloody, fatal field, 
through shot and shell, time and time again, first to the centre, then 
back again, then retrace its steps, then to the right, and so on, it was 
not called into direct action. The day after the battle, the regiment 
was on picket on the further edge of the battle field, and as it rained 
and the sun shone by turns, the stench was insufferable. The loss in 
this battle was one man killed and five wounded. In the pursuit of 
the rebels on their retreat, the regiment had a picket skirmish at Wil- 
liamsburg, July 12th, in which three men were wounded. Continu 
ing its march back into Virginia, it made camp near Warrenton, 
July 2oth, having marched, going and returning, nearly three hun 
dred miles. 

It is a rejnarkable fact in the history of this regiment, that from the 
first battle of Bull Hun to that of Chanceliorsville, it has met the same 
rebel regiments on picket, and been opposed to the same on the field. 
So frequently had they met, that many of the men, on both sides, 
formed a familiar acquaintance. On the first picket service after a 
hard battle, the secesh would inquire, with apparent interest, after 
Federals not present. The scrupulous regard paid by the 2d Rhode 
Island to the order against picket firing, secured the respect and en 
tire confidence of these opponents, and when the former took their 
posts, the latter would leave their rifle pits to which they had resorted 
for cover, stack arms, and enter into friendly conversation. From the 
beginning, the regiment has supported an honorable reputation for 
respecting piivate property in proximity to its encampments. The 
amount of hard labor it has performed has not been surpassed by 
any other regiment in the army of the Potomac ; but whether in 
trenching, clearing away forests, marching or fighting, it has main 
tained a uniform character for bravery and efficiency. 



(Commissioned and Non-commissioned.") 

Colonel ASHUB R. EDDY, U. S. A. Resigned, September 17th, 

Colonel NATHANIEL W. BROWN, September 17th, 1861, Died at 
Port Royal, S. C., October 30ih, 1862. 

Colonel EDWIN METCALF, Major, August 27th, 1861. Resigned, 
August 4th, 1862. Colonel, llth regiment, September loth, 1862. 
Colonel, 3d R. I. H. A., November llth, 1862. 

Lieutenant Colonel CHRISTOPHER BLANDING, August 19th, 1861. 
Resigned, on account of ill health, October 14th, 1861. Appointed 
Major, 3d H. A., December 9th, 1861 ; resigned on account of failing 
health, September 2d, 1862. Captain Hospital Guards, Portsmouth 
Grove, October 17th, 1862. 

Lieutenant Colonel STEPHEN R. BUCKLIN, October 2d, 1861. 
Resigned, December 26th, 1862. 

Lieutenant Colonel JOHN FRIEZE, 1st Lieutenant 3d H. A., Feb 
ruary llth, 1862. Major, 3d H. A., September 16th, 1862; Lieut. 
Colonel, January 14th, 1863. 

Lieutenant Colonel HORATIO ROGERS, Jr., 1st Lieutenant 3d H. 
A , August 27th, 1861 ; Captain, do., October 9th, 1861 ; Major do., 
August 18th, 1862; Colonel. llth regiment, December 27th, 1862. 
Colonel, 2d regiment. 

Lieutenant Colonel CHARLES R. BRAYTON, October, 1863. 

Major CHARLES W. H. DAY. Promoted from Captain 3d H. A., 
November 28th, 1862. 

Major JAMES E. BAILEY. Promoted from Captain, 3d H. A., 
August 27th, 1861. 

Major HENRY T. SISSON. Promoted from Captain, 1st L. A., 
February 5th, 1861 ; resigned, August 6th, 1862 ; Colonel, 5th regi 
ment, November 5th, 1862. 

Major WILLIAM AMES. Captain, company G, 2d regiment, July 
21st, 1862 ; promoted to Major, 3d H. A., January 2d, 1863. Post 
Commander at Fort Pulaski. 

Major G FORGE METCALF. 2d Lieutenant 3d H. A., October 9th, 
1861 ; 1st Lieutenant do., May 20th, 1862 ; Captain do., July 8th, 
1862 ; on General Terry s staff on Morris Island ; Major 3d H. A., 
November, 1864. 

Adjutant JOSEPH J. COMSTOCK, Jr. Captain, 3d H. A., March 
llth, 1862. Major, 14th (colored^egiment. 

Adjutant JAMES L, RICHARDSON, March llth, 1862 ; resigned, 
December 30th, 1862. 

Quartermaster WILLIAM P. MABTIN, August 21st, 1861 ; resigned 
August 30th, 1862. Appointed by the President, Commissary of 

Surgeon FENNER H. PECKHAM, August 15th, 1861 ; resigned, 
February 22d, 1862. 

Surgeon HORATIO G. STICKNEY. Promoted from Assistant, Feb 
ruary 22d, 1862. 


Surgeon GEORGE S. BURTON. Promoted from Assistant, June 
22d, 1863. On detached setvice at Morris Island. 

Assistant Surgeon JOB KENYON, August 28th, 1862 ; resigned, 
June 10th, 1863. 

Assistant Surgeon HORACE S. LAMSON, March, 1862. 

Chaplain THOMAS QUINN, August 15th, 1861 ; Chaplain, 1st light 
artillery, November 7th, 1861. 

Chap lain JAMES GUBBY, October 21st, 1861; resigned, September 
26th, 1862. 

Chaplain FREDERICK DENNISON, 1st cavalry, November 7th, 
1861 ; 3d H. A., January 20th, 1863. 

Quartermaster Sergeant J. B. MINER, September, 1861 ; dis 
charged for disability, September 4th, 1862. 

Quartermaster Sergeant BABCOCK W. ALLEN, May 13th, 1863. 

Commissary Sergeant SAMUEL A. FISKE, October 12th, 1861. 

Hospital Steward EDWIN S. THURBER, August 21st, 1861. 

Hospital Steward FENNER H. PECKHAM, Jr., November 6th, 1861. 

Hospital Steward FRANK H. GOULD, December 1st, 1862. 



Nelson H. Arnold, Thomas Buckley, John Buckley, James Bur 
rows, Samuel Booth, James Bedford, John F. Kavanagh, James Do- 
ran, Thomas Fetherstone, Albert C. Greene, Peter Macnamara, John 
Roe, John P. Smith, Robert Siela, Daniel Shea, Hugh Showcross, 
W. A. Welch, Richard Welch, Thomas .Whitworth, John Walker, 
Giles Waterhouse. 

On the departure of the regiment, the Captains were John Daily, 
Libteus C. Tourtellot, Thomas B. Briggs, James E. Bailey, John H. 
Gould, Pardon Mason, Charles W. H. Day, Hugh Hammell, William 
E. Peck, Richard G. Shaw, Labin and Simon S. Rankin, Lieu 
tenant commanding. 

On the 12th August, 1861, Governor Sprague issued an order for 
organizing a third regiment of infantry. General Charles T. Robbins 
was appointed acting Colonel, and Colonel Christopher Blanding act 
ing Lieutenant Colonel. These gentlemen, with Majors Balch and 
Sinnot were constituted a board to examine those recommended by 
companies for commission. Drs. Rivers and Miller were assigned td 
the duty of medical examiners. An encampment was formed on 
Spring Green Farm, on the Old Warwick road, which received the 
name of Camp Ames. On the 19th August, Captain Ashur R.Eddy, 
U. S. A., was appointed Colonel*f the regiment. Lieutenant Colo 
nel Blanding also received a commission as second in command. 
For several weeks, the discipline and drill of the regiment was prin 
cipally in the hands of the latter. 

On the afternoon of the 7th September, the regiment left Camp 
Ames, and marched to Providence, to embark on board the steamer 
Commodore for the camp on Long Island, which was under command 
of General W. T. Sherman. They were a hardy body of men, and 
possessed largely the fighting qualities that secured to them the 


high reputation they subsequently won. The regiment reached 
Providence between five and six o clock, and wheeled into Exchange 
Place. Here, a hollow square was formed, when the troops were 
addressed by Rev. A. H. Clapp and the Chaplain, Father Quinn. 
They then defiled into Westminster street, and passing to the steamer 
moored at Smith s wharf, at 10 o clock took their departure. On 
arriving at Fort Hamilton, N. Y., an encampment was assigned the 
regiment, which immediately commenced a thorough course of light 
and heavy artillery drill, under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel 
Blanding. This was continued by him until the 14th October, when, 
on account of ill health, he resigned and returned home. His depar 
ture was deeply regretted by the officers of the regiment, who appre 
ciated his skill as an instructor, his tact as a disciplinarian, and his 
courtesy as a commander, in token of which, they presented him with 
a valuable gold headed cane, accompanied by a complimentary letter, 
signed by them all. 

Colonel Eddy having resigned, he was succeeded by Colonel Na 
thaniel W. Brown, who continued the daily drills until the embark 
ation of the regiment for Fortress Munroe, October 12th, where it 
arrived on the 14th, and encamped about one mile beyond, towards 
Hampton. While here, a gift of colors from the ladies of Providence, 
camp colors from Mrs. Manton, of New London, and seasonable ar 
ticles of comfort for the sick, from Mrs. Bucklin and other ladies of 
Pawtacket, were received. On the 23d October, the regiment em 
barked with the expedition under General Sherman and Admiral 
Dupont, destined to Port Royal, S. C. The fleet arrived off that 
place, November 4th, after a boisterous passage. Without attempting 
an extended account of the services of the regiment, the following 
synopsis of its field history is given.* It was present at the naval 
action at Port Royal, November 7th, 1861, landed two companies the 
same day, and the balance the next, and was assigned to the charge 
of Fort Welles. Subsequently, Fort Seward, at Bay Point, the en 
trenchments at Hilton Head, the entrenchments at Beaufort, and Fort 
Mitchell, on Skull Creek, were garrisoned by detachments from it. 
In December, 1861, company C, Captain Day, made a successful re- 
connoissance up Broad river to Beaufort. Company 1, Captain Stra- 
han, held a small battery on Otter Island, from December, 1861, to 
May, 1862. In June following, Lieutenant Colonel Blanding, with a 
small party, made a surprise of the White House on the main land, 
near Pinckney Island, where the rebels had been quite busy. The 
house and outbuildings were destroyed. Companies E and G mount 
ed the guns and manned the batteries erected on Jones s Island in the 
Savannah river, in February and March, 1862. On the 15th Febru 
ary, four rebel gunboats attacked the batteries, then commanded by 
Captain Gould, and after an engagement of an hour, were driven off 
without loss on the Federal side. In the bombardment of Fort Pu- 
laski, April llth and 12th, companies B, F and H assisted, and after 

* February 17th, 1802, by general order, the name of the regiment was 
changed to "3d regiment Rhode Island Heavy Artillery," with authority 
to increase it to twelve companies of 156 men each. * 


the capture of the Fort, company G formed a part of its garrison. 
In the movement on Charleston, in June, 1862, by way of John and 
James Islands, companies B, E, F, II, I, K, and one section of C 
(mounted) were included. On 16th June, in the engagement on 
James Island, the principal part of the battalion acted as infantry. 
Companies B, F and K were deployed as skirmishers, under the di 
rection of Major Sisson. The fire of the enemy was very severe. 
TheFederal loss was 7 killed, 30 wounded and 8 missing. 

Major Edwin Metcalf, who commanded the battalion in this battle, 
received special commendation from the brigade commander. Colonel 
Robert Williams, for " courage and soldierly conduct." In his report 
to Governor Sprague, he says, " It is my belief that no officers or men 
could have behaved better under fire than they did, and certainly, no 
officer could have led his command with more skill and bravery than 
did Major Metcalf." The Major, in his report, speaks in the highest 
terms of the coolness, steadiness and courage displayed by his men, 
and, in conclusion, says, " I take great pleasure in speaking of the 
Adjutant of the battalion, First Lieutenant J. Lanahan, of company 
I, always prompt and cool, and sustaining me in every difficulty by 
his good judgment and long experience as a soldier. First Lieutenant 
A. E. Green, commanding company B, was especially energetic and 
active. Second Lieutenant E. S. Bartholomew, of company E, nobly 
proved himself deserving the commission he had received since our 
departure from Hilton Head, falling mortally wounded while cheer 
ing on his men into the thicket from which the enemy so severely an 
noyed us. Captain H. Rogers, Jr., and First Lieutenant C. R. Bray- 
ton, of company H, were untiring in their exertions, and zealously 
supported me. First Lieutenant A. \V. Colwell, of company F, and 
Second Lieutenant D. B. Clmrchill, of company K, particularly at 
tracted my notice by their coolness and energy. I am pleased to 
name First Sergeant G. W. Greene and Sergeant J. B. Batchelder, of 
company B, First Sergeant O. A. Thompson, of company E, and First 
Sergeant W. Wheeler, Jr., of company K, as distinguished for gallant 
conduct. I shall feel justified in recommending them to the Governor 
of Rhode Island for promotion."* 

Company M assisted in transporting and working two boat howit 
zers at the affair of Pocotaligo Bridge, in October, 1862, and compa 
nies E, K and L formed part of the force, but were not engaged. f 

* In the battle on James Island, Captain Benjamin Church, son of Colo 
nel Peter Church, of Bristol, K. I-, was killed, receiving a shot through 
the head, when near the foot of the parapet of the enemy s breastworks. 
He commanded a company in the 8th Michigan, which was badly cut up. 
Daniel Lyman Arnold, youngest son of the Tate Governor Lemuel H. Ar 
nold, of Rhode Island, was killed in the same battle, serving honorably 
in the ranks. 

t Lieutenant Jabez B. Blanding was badly wounded in the left arm. in 
this action. In a reconnoitering trip through the Coosaw river, on the 
8th April, 1863, on board the gunboat George Washington, he narrowly 
escaped with his life, by the explosion of her magazine, caused by a rebel 


Companies B, D, F, I, K, L and M sailed for Stono Inlet, April 2d, 
1863, to take part in the second movement on Charleston, but re 
turned to Hilton Head, on the 12th. In an expedition up the Co- 
hambee, on the 1st of June, 1863, und:r Colonel Montgomery, a sec 
tion of battery C, commanded by Captain Brayton, participated. He 
captured many horses, mules and cattle, destroyed rice mills and 
store houses containing cotton and rice, and brought off all the ne 
groes within hailing distance. Companies B, C, D, H, I and M are 
now, (October 29th, 1863,) with General Gilmore on Morris Island, 
having batteries of 20, 30, 100 and 200-pounderParrott guns and also 
mortars. In the first attack on Morris Island, they received praise 
from the General for the manner in which they worked their guns. 
Light company C is also there, doing excellent service. In the at 
tack on Fort Sumter, company M lost a valuable officer in Lieutenant 
Henry Holbrook, who was struck in the breast by a fragment of a 
shell," and died shortly after being removed to the hospital. During 
the progress of the siege, Captain Charles 11. Brayton received pro 
motion as Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment, and Captain Joseph J. 
Comstock, Jr., was appointed Major of the 14th Rhode Island. Other 
Captains in command of batteries are Strahan, Shaw and Colwell. 
Both officers and men have made a proud position for themselves. 

Not long after the arrival of the regiment at Hilton Head, Lieuten 
ant Asa A. Ellis returned to Providence to obtain additional men. 
Colonel Blanding having accepted the position of Major, superintend- 
edthe recruiting. On the 19th February, 1862, he sailed from New 
York on board the United States steamer Oriental, with 225 men, and 
arrived at Hilton Head, March 23d. On the passage, a gale was ex 
perienced, and off Charleston harbor the steamer was mistaken, in the 
night, for a blockade runner, and was brought toby the United States 
gunboat Florida, which fired several guns. Shortly after parting with 
the Florida, the steamer was discovered to be on fire. It was quickly 
subdued without exciting alarm. This was fortunate, as. there were 
450 tons of ammunition on board. The Colonel and his recruits 
were warmly welcomed, and the regiment, now increased to twelve 
companies, was in good condition for active service. The day follow 
ing his arrival, he was ordered to the entrenchments (then occupied 
by companies B, C and K,) extending about two miles, and mounted 
with forty pieces of heavy artillery. As an outwork of the post, the 
position was honorable, the duties arduous and satisfactorily per 
formed. Major Metcalf had previously been stationed here. 

Among other duties, Colonel Blanding was directed to examine all 
the approaches to the works ; and taking with him a sergeant of the 
regiment, mounted, he thoroughly explored every part of the island, 
making a map of all the roads leading from the w^side to the en 
trenchments. The knowledge thus acquired was^p great service 
whenever it became necessary to strengthen and extend outlaying 
pickets, or to post them in a manner best to prevent surprise, though 
it was the occasion of many extra hours in the saddle. At one time, 
when an attack was daily expected, the pickets were so much extend 
ed, that it required a ride of ninety miles to visit them. This was re 
peatedly done in twenty-four hours by Colonel Blanding, viz., in the 
morning, to post them ; in the afternoon, to give them the counter- 


sign and instructions for the night, and in the night to see that all was 
right. An impaired constitution, however, was not equal to such 
unremitting field labors, and, with the intense heat of summer and 
the night exposure to the malaria of a swampy country, brought on a 
fever that seriously threatened his life. By counsel of the surgeon, 
he again reluctantly resigned. On recovery, after reaching home, he 
was appointed Captain of the Hospital Guards at Portsmouth Grove. 
Many particulars of Port Royal, Port Royal Ferry, Beaufort, Hil 
ton Head, Daufuskie, Tybee and Otter Island, together with other 
localities, would furnish a chapter of exceeding interest, but except 
in this general allusion, they must be passed. The services of the 
regiment, as will be seen, were very miscellaneous, its companies be 
ing almost constantly scattered. This added not a little to the cares 
and anxieties of its commander, and to the pressure of which his 
constitution began to yield. In the summer of 1862, worn by con 
stant duties and the effect of climate, Colonel Brown came home on a 
brief leave of absence, to obtain the benefit of a northern atmosphere. 
He spent a few weeks in the bosom of his family, and returned to 
Hilton Head, where he arrived on the loth September, apparently in 
improved health, and in excellent spirits. His return was the signal 
for a spontaneous expression of the respect and good will he had 
gained from both officers and men. His reception was enthusiastic in 
the extreme. But this delight was of short duration. On Saturday, 
October 25th, he was seized with a virulent fever that baffled the 
best medical skill, and, on the morning of the 30th, expired, at the 
age of fifty-one years. His sudden and unexpected decease cast a 
gloom over the regiment, and his loss was sincerely mourned. The 
funeral obsequies were conducted by Rev. H. L. Wayland, chaplain of 
the 7th Connecticut regiment, and Chaplain Hudson, of the Volun 
teer Engineers. The remains of the deceased were borne to the grave 
on an ambulance, festooned with the national flag, and drawn by six 
grey horses. The horse he usually rode, led in the procession by a 
servant, and the long cortege that followed, imparted to the occasion 
a deep solemnity. Of Colonel Brown, Chaplain* Wayland writes : 
On the morning of the battle of Pocotaligo, I saw him at Mackay s 
Landing, superintending the debarkation of the artillery. He greeted 
me cordially, as he always did. I little anticipated that it was the 
last greeting I should exchange Avith him. During the day, he was 
twelve hours in the saddle, and underwent both on that" day and 
during the night previous, and the night and day following, very 
great fatigue. Either he had already imbibed the virus of the prevailing 
disease, or returned exhausted, his system was not able to resist it, 

and he began to fail soon after reaching camp We laid his mortal 

remains in thePine Gfove Cemetery, but a little way from the in- 
trenchments wMfci he, with his noble corps, have guarded long and 

faithfully Tnever saw any one look more thoroughly the soldier 

and leader than he did on the morning of the 22d, when, for the last 

time, I saw him mounted and eager for the advance He had a 

high sense of the value of religion and religious observances. But a 
few days before the action of Pocotaligo, he expressed his desire that 
I would come and preach to the regiment on the first Sunday when I 
could command the time. Colonel Brown was much interested in 


the establishment of religions worship near head-quarters at the post, 
and was a regular attendant until his sickness." Lieutenant Walter 
B. Manton, a valuable and highly esteemed officer, died of the same 
disease, five days before Colonel Brown, and General Mitchell, at 
Beaufort, the day after. Lieutenant Manton was acting Quartermas 
ter of the regiment. 

Colonel Brown, son of Isaac Brown, was a native of Providence, 
and, for many years, engaged in manufacturing. He was a member 
of the well known firm of Jacob Dunn ell & Co. When the rebellion 
broke out, he was among the first to tender his services in defence of 
his country, was appointed Captain in the 1st Rhode Island regiment, 
and at Bull Run displayed extraordinary coolness and courage. In 
command of the 3d Rhode Island, he displayed the fine qualities es 
sential to success as an officer. He was a thorough disciplinarian, 
prompt and decided in action, and ever watchful of the interests of 
his men. He possessed to perfection one great virtue of a soldier, 
strict temperance ; and what he practiced, he encouraged in others. 
A few weeks before his death, he was placed on the staff of General 
Mitchell, as chief of artillery, and in the fight near the Charleston and 
Savannah Railroad, where he took command of the entire artillery, it 
was said by eye-witnesses of that thrilling scene, that his conduct was 
of a noble type. If it was not permitted him to fall on the battle 
field, his memory, as a brave and faithful officer, will be none the less 
honored, and his name will be inscribed on the roll of the sons of 
Rhode Island who gave their lives for their country * 

The 3d Rhode Island Heavy Artillery was probably more widely 
known in the Department of the South than any other regiment, and 
contributed as much for the advancement of the cause as any other 
troops. It was looked upon, both by General Hunter and General 
Mitchell, as among the most reliable of their forces. For three 
months previous to the surrender of Fort Pulaski, the detachment 
serving in the investment, slept every night alongside their guns in 
flat boats, in swamps and in entrenchments, and received commenda 
tion from Brigadier General Viele for their "patriotic and sturdy en 
durance." In nearly or quite every engagement or skirmish that 
occurred, one or more of its companies participated : and in the siege 
of Charleston, the hard toil in the trenches, the cheerful endurance 

* January 27th, 1863, the remains of Colonel Brown and of Lieutenant 
Manton were brought to Providence, in charge of Major John B. Frieze. 
The funeral of the former was solemnized on Friday, 30th, in the pres 
ence of a large concourse, including the Governor and members of his 
personal staff, and other military gentlemen. The pall bearers were Colo 
nel William W. Brown, Colonel William Goddard, Colonel James Shaw, 
Colonel Nicholas Van Slyck, Major Joseph Balch and Lieutenant Colonel 
S. R. Knight. The religious services were conducted bv Rev. Dr Edward 
B. Hall, Rev. Augustas Woodbary and Rev. Mr. Le Baron. The remains 
were conveyed to th" North Burial Ground. 

The funeral of Lieutenant Manton took place January 31st, and was 
attended by a larire number of friends, Rev. A. H. Clapp officiating. The 
pall bearers were Francis M. Smith, Henry Rhoades, Albert C. Greene 
and C. A. P. Mason. The remains were interred in the Swan Point 



of exposure to an insalubrious climate, and the brave handling of 
seige guns, by its representative companies, earned for it a deserved 

tails are here given that were omitted in their proper place in the narra 
tive : 

In March, the 3d regiment, as already mentioned, having been changed 
into heavy artillery by an order from the War Department, companies L and 
M were sent out from Rhode Island, and recruits for the other companies, 
so that they were increased to from 110 to 140 men each. The regiment 
was moved, with the exception of company A, Captain Briggs, from Fort 
Wells about a mile out on the island, where field works had been erected, 
about a mile and three-quarters in length, and served as the garrison of 
those works. Companies F and II went to Tybee Island. There, with 
the 7th Connecticut and 46th New York, they were engaged in doing 
picket duty, digging earthworks, building magazines and hauling ord 
nance two miles from where it was landed to the batteries. Much of this 
was night-work, and verv trying to the strength of the men. The engi 
neering was principally done by three companies of Sncll s New York 
volunteer engineers. On the 10th of April, at7 o clock A. M , the signal 
for commencing the bombardment was given from battery Sigel, and the 
batteries opened fire. Captain Horatio Rogers, Jr., Company H, com 
manded battery McClellan, composed of two 84 and two 64 pounder 
Jamc- rifle guns, sometimes called 42 and 32 pounders, because that 
would be their calibre with round shot. The charge used for the former 
was eight pounds of No. 5 powder, and for the latrer, six pounds; for the 
shell, from one pound to one pound and a half of musket powder. From 
8 o clock till dark, Captain Rogers kept up a welt-directed fire from his 
battery, and recommenced at 5 o clock the next morning, and continued 
till 2A P. M., when the rebels hauled down their flag and hoisted a white 
one. The James guns were very effective, and their work fully realized 
the expectations that had been entertained of them. On the first day, the 
battery rired 383 solid shot and 20 shell; on the second day, 187 solid shot 
and 203 shell. Very few of the shell tumbled, as was the case with the 
Parrott guns, but went true point first The firing of the largest guns was 
at an elevation of 4.4 and 4^ ; the smaller at 4 and 5. The recoil on 
sanded rils was from 3^ to 4j feet. The battery was very highly com 
plimented by General Gilmore, for its precision and effectiveness. His 
first words on landing, after receiving the surrender of the fort, as he saw 
the James projectile lying everywhere inside, Tell Captain Rogers the 
42-pounders did it " Colonel Olmstead, the rebel commander, declared 
that but for the James guns he should not have surrendered, and that 
their renetrating force was overwhelming. 

In this assault, Captain Mason, company F, had battery Scott, com 
posed of three 10-inch and one 8-inch columbiad guns, which were han 
dled with great vigor and success. Captain Tourrellot, Company B, had 
two batteries about IAVO miles distant from Pulaski. His guns were 
served with telling effect, and the firing received the commendation of 
Generals Hunter and Bcnham. Battery McClellan was 1620 yards from 
the wall of Pulaski, at which the firing was directed, jmd 10S9 yards from 
the flair staff. Buttery Scott was al>out 40 yards further off. The work 
in the trenches was very hard and disagreeable, the light sand sifting into 
everything. Twice, battery McClellan, against which the rebels concen 
trated all the guns they could bring to bear, came near being blown up. 
Once, a shell burst directly over the entrance to the magazine, into which 
Captain Rogers hail just stepped, blowing it to pieces and burying him 
up with sand and splinters, without serious injury however, and slightly 


wounding two men. At another time, a 10-incli columbiad solid shot 
struck the front of the magazine, carrying off the sand covering and bar 
ing- the boards beneath. One man, James Campbell, of Valley Fulls, R. 
I., "was killed by a shell. He was the first man in the regiment killed in. 
action, and the only one killed on the Federal side in this affair. In work 
ing the battery, Captain Rogers was ably sustained by Lieutenants U ray- 
ton and Barney; and the men, witnessing the effect of their shots, were 
enthusiastic about their favorite guns. Captains Bailey and Gould, with 
their respective commands, bore an honorable part in the contest. 


(Commissioned and Non-commissioned. ) 

Colonel JUSTUS I. MCCARTY. Commission revoked, October, 1SG1. 

Colonel ISAAC P. RODMAN, Captain 2d regiment, June 1st, 1861 ; 
Lieutenant Colonel 4th regiment, October 19th, 1861 ; Colonel 4th 
regiment, October 30th, 1861 ; Brigadier General, April 28th, 1862 ; 
mortally wounded at the battle of Antietam, September 17th, 1862. 

Colonel WILLIAM H. P. STEERE. Captain 2d regiment, June Ist^ 
1861 ; Lieutenant Colonel 2d regiment, July 22d, 1861 ; Colonel 4th. 
regiment, June 12th, 1862. Acting Brigadier General, 1863. 

Lieutenant Colonel GEORGE W. TEW. Captain IstR. I. detached 
militia, April 18th, 1861 ; Captain 4th regiment, October 2d, 1861 ; 
Major 4th regiment, October llth, 1861 ; Lieutenant Colonel 4tli 
regiment, November 20th, 1861; resigned, August llth, 1862 ; Major 
5th regiment, October 1st, 1862. 

Lieutenant Colonel JOSEPH B. CURTIS. 2d Lieutenant and Ad 
jutant 4th regiment, September i.6th, 1861 ; 1st Lieutenant and Ad 
jutant ot same, October 2d, 1861 ; Assistant Adjutant General, Gen 
eral Rodman s Staff, June 9th, 1862 ; Lieutenant Colonel 4th regi 
ment, August llth, 1862 ; killed in the battle of Fredericksburg, Va., 
December 13th, 1862. 

Lieutenant Colonel MARTIN P. BUFFUM. 1st Lieutenant 4th regi 
ment, October 2d, 1861 ; Captain of same, October llth, 1861 ; Major 
of same, October 10th, 1862 ; Lieutenant Colonel of same, December 
24th, 1862. 

Major LEVI E. KENT. Captain 4th regiment, October 2d, 1861 ; 
Major of same, August llth, 1862 ; resigned, September 26th, 1862. 

Major JAMES T. P. BUCKLIN. 2d Lieutenant 4th regiment, Octo 
ber 2d, 1861 ; 1st Lieutenant do., November 20th, 1861 ; Captain do., 
April 30th, 1862 ; Major do., January, 1863. 

Surgeon HENRY \V. RIVERS. August 27th, 1861. Division Sur 
geon, 1863. 

Assistant Surgeon ROBERT MILLER. August 27th, 1861. 

Adjutant HUNRY J. SrooxEii. 2d Lieutenant and Adjutant 4th. 


regiment, August 27th, 1862 ; 1st Lieutenant and Adjutant of same, 
October 1st, 18G2. 

Quartermaster SIDNEY C. SMITH. 2d Lieutenant and Quarter 
master, September 16th, 1861 ; 1st Lieutenant 4th regiment, October 
2d, 1861; resigned, August llth, 1862. 

Quartermaster BRAYTON KNIGHT. 2d Lieutenant and Quarter 
master, 4th regiment, August llth, 1862; 1st Lieutenant and Quar 
termaster of same, November 2oth, 1862. 

Sergeant Major JABEZ S. SMITH. 2cl Lieutenant 4th regiment, 
November 20th, 1861 ; resigned, August llth, 1862. 

Quartermaster Sergeant ZERAH B. SMITH. 2d Lieutenant, 4th 
regiment, November 20th, 1861 ; resigned, February 24th, 1862. 

Hospital Steward THOMAS J. GRIFFIN, Jr. 

Assistant Hospital Steward GEORGE F. WATERMAN. 

Chaplain ALONZO B. FLANDERS. Resigned, October 31st, 1862. 

Chaplain SILAS S. CUMMINGS. Resigned, October, 1863. 

Leader and Director of Band JOSEPH C. GREENE. 

Drum Major MURDOCH.. 


Edward G. Bishop, Isaac II, Barrows, James Gough, C. E. Cogges- 
hall, E.M. Churchill, D. P. Gladding, David Hudson, Joseph G. 
Jenison, John Guinness, James McCormick, William Naydan, Wil 
liam II. Johnson, William T. Nichols, Calixa Lavalla, George La- 
valla, Orrin G. Shaw, John Leach, Charles F. Folger, Jabez Butter- 
field, Jacob Butterfield. 

The commanding officers of companies, when the regiment departed, 
were Captains George W. Tew, John A. Allen, Henry Simon, Levi 
E. Kent, Nelson Kenyon, and Lieutenants ErastusE. Lapham, James 
T. P. Bucklin, Martin P. Buffum, Charles Tillinghast, William C. 

The Fourth Regiment of Rhode Island Volunteers was organized 
by Colonel Justus I McCarty, of the regular army, and who had seen 
service in Mexico under General Scott. At the time of his appoint 
ment, he held a commission as Major of an independent battalion. 
On the oth of September, 1861, the first detachment, in charge of 
Captain Topliff, went into camp between Olneyville and Apponaug, 
west of the railroad, on the ground subsequently named " Camp 
Greene," in honor of General Nathaniel Greene, of Revolutionary 
fame. Two d.iys after, a second detachment was added. The enthu 
siasm of the State was still fresh ; recruits poured in faster than was 
convenient to piopcrly equip them, and before the close of the month, 
the regiment was reported full. It was the determination ot the Colo 
nel to secure the greatest possible efficiency to his command, and to 
that end, most of the officers were required to prove their capacity by 
drilling men in squads, and in companies, before being recommended 
for commission. Men were taken from the ranks for non-commis- 
sionod officers, and tested in the various duties of their positions. In 
his manner, an unusual ^o tivity was aroused, and the best military 


talent developed. The camp, laid out with military exactness, -\vas a 
model of neatness. The grounds were well adapted to drills and 
parades, and the work of pjrfccting the regiment in a knowledge of 
the manual was pushed with great vigor. After less than a month of 
practice, tho regiment was reviewed by Governor Sprague, in the 
presence of General Burnside and many State military officers ; and 
the soldierly appearance of the men, as well as the accuracy of their 
evolutions, excited gratifying surprise. Like the regiments that pr3- 
ceded it, the members of the 4th received frequent substantial tokens 
of interest from personal friends, while, in its organized capacity, it 
was patriotically remembered by the gift of two elegant stands of 
colors, from ladies of Providence. The first was presented through 
Mrs. R. M. Bates and E. A. Winn, and the second through Mrs. 
Philip Allen, Jr. Both were warmly acknowledged by Colonel Mc- 
Carty, in behalf of the regiment. 

Orders having been issued for the regiment to proceed to "Washing 
ton, it took its departure on board the steamer Commodore, October 
2d, amid the thundering of cannon and the mingled cheers and tears 
of kindred and friends. On the march from the camp to the place of 
embarkation, in Providence, the regiment was accompanied by Gov 
ernor Sprague, Colonel Sprague, of his staff, Adjutant General Mau- 
ran, with Captain Hoppin, his Aide, Paymaster General Knight, 
Colonel Charles H. Tompkins and Lieutenant Colonel William H. 
Reynolds. The Providence Horse Guards, under Colonel George W. 
Hallett, performed escort duty. Governor Sprague, Colonel Tomp 
kins and Major Sanford met the regiment at New York, and accom 
panied it to Washington, where it arrived October 6th, and took tem 
porary quarters at Camp Spragne. The day following, it marched 
back to the city, and went into camp in tents. Soon after, it shifted 
to a better position on Capitol Hill. Subsequently, it made an en 
campment, known as " Camp Casey," near Bladeiisburg, where it 
had the advantage of a fine grove, to break the sharp rays of an au 
tumn sun, and of a broad level field, for drills, parades and reviews. 

On the 16th October, Colonel McCarty, at the head of the regiment, 
paid his respects to the President, at the White House, and on the 
day following, the regiment was reviewed by General Casey. A 
pleasant visit to Brightwood, to witness the presentation of a stand 
of colors from California to the 2d Rhode Island, diversified the next 
week ; and on the following week, October 2oth, the regiment com 
posed part of the military cortege that followed the remains of the 
lamented Colonel Baker, who had just fallen at Ball s Bluff, to the 
grave. Among the dirges played while the funeral train was moving, 
was the " Dead March in Saul," by the band cf the Fourth. It ad 
ded greatly to the solemnity of the occasion, and was repeated twice 
by request. On the 28th, the regiment, in connection with ten others, 
was reviewed by General McClellan. Soon after, Colonel McCarty s 
commission was revoked, and Captain Isaac P. Rodman was appoint 
ed to fill his place. 

The first heavy marching experience of the regiment, was to Lower 
Marlboro, Md., where it was ordered during a State election, to pre 
serve the peace, and ensure to all electors their rights at the ballot- 
box. This delicate mission was successfully accomplished by -Colonel 



Rodman, and the discreet conduct of his men, left a very favorable 
impression going and returning. A march of one hundred miles over a 
muddy road was made in four days alike, fatiguing and amusing. 
One who participated in the expedition thus writes : " Through mud 
and water knee deep, and obliged to use, at j/lmost every step our 
full strength to extract our legs therefrom, we went, carrying our 
blankets, guns, forty rounds of ball cartridge, and two days rations in 
our haversacks. The Colonel and some other officers had mercy on 
some of us, and carried our guns and blankets. One cadaverous 
looking individual, with elongated features, was mounted on the 
Chaplain s horse, while the latter trudged on by the side of a Penn 
sylvania 45th, carrying his gun." The experience was but a dim fore 
shadowing of that in reserve. At Camp Casey, the regiment was 
brigaded with the 81st Pennsylvania, 61st New York and the 5th New 
Hampshire, under the command of Brigadier General O. O. Howard. 
The latter took the place of the 45th. On the 30th October, the 4th 
was mustered into the service of the United States, and fairly launched 
upon the stormy sea of rebellion. 

Skirmish, battalion and other complicated^drills occupied the month 
spent at Camp Casey. The Chaplain was active in the discharge of 
his varied duties, and found encouragement in his work. On the 
28th November, the regiment passed into Virginia, over Long Bridge, 
to the strains of " Dixie," from Captain Greene s bugle ; and on the 
29th, pitched its tents at Camp California, under the guns of Fort 
Worth, in the neighborhood of Fairfax Seminary. There was much 
in this vicinity to interest the lover of nature, or the curious in locali 
ties. The ancient church in Alexandria, where Washington wor 
shipped, the Marshall House, where the gallant Ellsworth was mur 
dered, were attractive spots, and from the beds of scilified wood, not 
far from the camp, the devotee of science could soon load himself with 
sparkling geological specimens. 

On the 14th December, the regiment proceeded to Edsall s Hill, 
where it made its first acquaintance with picket life, diversified with 
occasional scouting and foraging expeditions, Returning to camp, 
the holidays came with their athletic sports. The ladies of Rhode 
Island remembered the soldiers, as timely donations of mittens and 
socks testified. Colonel Hodman was made the recipient of a hand 
some testimonial of regard from his officers, giving birth to a neat 
presentation fpeech from the Chaplain, and calling forth a feeling 
reply ; and on New Year day, the regiment was addressed by General 
Howard, and Hon. George H. Browne, then member of Congress from 
the second Rhode Island congressional district, the latter lifting the 
curtain slightly and partially revealing the work of its early future. 
The famous Burnside Expedition loomed up in the distance, the dan 
gers and glory of which the Fourth was destined to share. 

The day of departure came. Winter quarters, half-finished, were 
abandoned ; General Howard said a few farewell words, commenda 
tory of the past and prophesying an honorable future for the Fourth, 
and the regiment took up the line of march for Washington, -where 
the muskets of the men were exchanged for newly-imported Belgium 
rifles. A night at the Soldier s Rest, and a tedious ride of thirty- 
seven miles in the government cars, the next day, occupying eleven 


hours, brought the regiment to Annapolis, where its tents were 
pitched on the grounds of the Naval Academy, in the midst of a driv 
ing snow storm. But plenty of straw made all inside comfortable, 
and the sight of many home faces, recognized in the 5th Rhode 
Island, which arrived a few days previous, gave cheerfulness to the 
hour in defiance of snow and wintry cold. 

"While waiting the departure of the expedition gathering at Annap 
olis, the regiment was brigaded with the 8th and llth Connecticut 
regiments and the 5th Rhode Island battalion, which, together, con 
stituted the third brigade of the Coast Division. Pastimes of various 
kinds filled the spare hours. Occasionally, some returning from the 
city to the camp, would appear suspiciously corpulent, a condition that 
close examination and careful manipulation were able speedily to re 
duce. One poor fellow of this class, naturally slender, who sud 
denly gave indications of a bad case of ascites, received at once the 
compassionate attention of his captain, who, after relieving him of 
twelve " original packages," restored him to his customary condition ! 

On the 7th January, 1862, the regiment embarked on board the 
Eastern Queen, and sailed for Fortress Monroe, and thence with the 
fleet gathered there, for Roanoke. The Burnside Expedition, at the 
time of its organization and departure, though not so large as the one 
subsequently fitted out against New Orleans, was formidable for that 
period. Some idea of its magnitude may be gained from the fact, that 
within one week after the fleet began to arrive at the rendezvous in 
Hatteras Jnlet, upwards of one hundred vessels of various tonage 
were lying at anchor over the bar. The land forces consisted of 
eleven regiments and one battalion of infantry and one light battery, 
in all probably ten thousand men. Add to this a force of five thou 
sand sailors, and it gave a total land and naval force of fifteen thou 
sand men. The rumors as to the destination of the expedition were 
various, but a few weeks revealed both its destination and purpose. 

In the objects and success of this expedition Governor Sprague 
heartily sympathized, and, on the eve of its departure, issued an ap 
propriate and inspirating address to the Rhode Island troops attached 
to it. I regret," he said, " that I cannot accompany you in the new 
work to which you are called ; but I am assured you will be cared for, 
and I can safely assure you that you will be remembered. The heart 
of the State will go with you, and many prayers will ascend for your 
triumph in every struggle, and your safe return to your hearth-stones. 
In whatever situation you may be placed, Rhode Island will do all in 
her power to promote your well being. She sends you this her cheer 
ful good-bye, and earnest God speed." 

In the very outset, disaster threatened the enterprise. "With what 
terrific power the storm raged when the fleet was approaching its 
destination ; how steamers fouled each other for the want of sea 
room ; how vessels dragged their anchors, and crashed into each 
other ; how the Eastern Queen was driven on shore ; how the splen 
did ocean steamer New York, laden with ammunition, stranded on 
the beach and went to pieces ; how the gunboat Zouave went down, 
and was a total loss ; how the Pocahontas, an unseaworthy steamer, 
was beached three or four miles north of Hatteras Light, with the 
loss of all the horses belonging to the 4th R. I. ; how the men suffered 


for want of fresh water and food ; all these, and many more thrilling 
incidents, have been made the subjects of such minute description, as 
to render their repetition here unnecessary. But while the winds 
lashed the ocean into foaming madness, and the ocean spent its mighty 
force a on the seemingly doomed Armada, its leader was calm, appar 
ently*, as when directing its preliminary arrangements at Annapolis ; 
and his quick eye made him, on the instant, master of the situation. 
General Burnside rose in strength with the perils of the hour. He 
was seen every where. On a little tug, that went puffing and strug 
gling through the angry waves like a faithful Newfoundland climbing 
out of the trough of the sea, and shaking off the briny envelope when 
threatened to be engulphed, the General would appear when and 
where most needed, while his clear, ringing voice, would be heard 
above the fury of the storm, imparting his own fortitude to officers 
and men, bringing order out of confusion, and safety out of apparent 
inevitable ruin. It was a nobler triumph than the winning of a field. 

But the storm ceased, the troops were landed, and the battle of 
Roanoke Island fought. The attack was made on the morning of 
February 7th, and continued on the 8th, by the naval and military 
forces of the expedition, which resulted in the capture of six forts, 
forty guns, over two thousand prisoners, and three thousand small 
arms. Among the prisoners were Colonel Shaw, the commander of 
the Island, and Colonel O. Jennings Wise, commander of the Wise 
Legion, and son of Hon. Henry A. Wise, of Virginia. The latter was 
mortally wounded, and soon after died. The Federal loss, as re 
ported by the commanding general, was thirty-five killed and two 
hundred wounded. In this battle the regiment passed through its 
first experience under fire. It occupied various important positions 
during the day, and conducted with the promptness and coolness of 
veterans. It was the first to plant the Union colors on the captured 
Fort Bartow, and the beautiful banner received from the ladies of 
Providence, announced to the fleet that victory had been achieved. 
Colonel Rodman and Lieutenant Colonel Tew led their men with 
great bravery, and General Parke, in his official report, particularly 
commended Lieutenant Joseph B. Curtis, Adjutant of the regiment, 
for being " conspicuous in conducting and cheering on the men." 
The regiment bivouacked the night of the 8th in the rear of Fort Bar- 
tow, many occupying the quarters of the rebels. Soon after it went 
into camp at " Camp Parke," where it remained for a month recruit 
ing its strength. While here, Quartermaster Smith was detailed to 
act for the brigade and Captain Jeremiah BroAvn was detailed to en 
close the burial ground adjacent to the camp, which he did in a very 
neat and satisfactory manner. 

The next conspicuous action of the regiment was at Newbern, 
which was captured March 14th, by the combined land and naval 
forces under General Burnside and Commodore Goldsborough, with 
a loss on the rebel side of 46 siege guns, 3 field batteries, about 300 
prisoners, 3000 small arms, and oOO men killed and wounded. The 
Federal losse.-s were i)l killed and 4GG wounded. In this expedition 
the regiment embarked on the Eastern Queen the 9th of March, pro 
ceeding to the Ncuse River, and landed near the mouth of Slocum s 
creek. The troops of the several regiments wet e formed on their colors 


as fast as they reached the shore, and were soon on the march up the 
right bank of the river. The rain had rendered the roads very muddy, 
and the march to the point of action was wearisome. In the battle, 
General Parke s brigade, consisting of the 4th and 5th R. I., 8th and 
llth Connecticut, was held for a support. The General having dis 
covered an uncovered point in the enemy s works, the duty of charg 
ing and turning his flank was assigned to Colonel Rodman. This 
was done. "Forward Fourth Rhode Island, " said the Colonel, and 
the regiment marched up the railroad, passing an abandoned rifle pit, 
and exposed to a fire from the front and both flanks, The order On 
the right into line, march !" was given. Then came the order to 
charge, and with a stentorian shout it was made. The rebels fled, 
throwing away muskets, equipments, blankets, and whatever else 
impeded their retreat, and those who were not taken prisoners, or 
overtaken by some leaden messenger, rushed through the woods in 
the rear. One trophy of this charge was the battle flag of Latham s 
battery, whose guns were also taken. The casualties in the regiment 
were 8 killed and 22 wounded. Of the former, were Captain Charles 
Tillinghast, and Sergeant George H. Church, Jr. Both fell in the 
charge made in support of General Reno s brigade. Captain Tilling 
hast was the son of the late Dr. George H. Tillinghast, of Providence. 
He was a brave and energetic officer, and greatly beloved by his men. 
Sergeant Church was the son of Dr. Church, of Wickford, R. I. He 
died in the faithful discharge of his duty. Captain William S. Chace, 
son of the late Major John B. Chace, of Providence, was severely 
wounded in the neck. Lieutenant George E. Curtis, of Providence, 
was wounded in the shoulder. 

Following the fall of Newbern was the investment and reduction of 
Fort Macon. The investment was perfected on the 25th of April, and 
on the following day, after a bombardment of ten hours, the fort sur 
rendered. In the meantime, companies A and E occupied Morehead 
City for the purpose of cutting communication with the fort. On the 
25th, company A, Captain Brown, and company B, Captain Buffum, 
both under command of Major John A. Allen, crossed over to Beau 
fort, and took formal possession of the town. Major Allen was de 
clared Military Governor, and Captain Buffum Provost Marshal. 
Besides the two companies in Beaufort and one in Carolina City, 
seven were on the Banks, working in the trenches. The labor of those 
on the Banks was very arduous, and was cheerfully performed. Five 
companies of the 4th alternately relieved the 8th Ct. and 5th R. I. 
Battalion in the trenches for fifteen days, exposed through the day to 
the fire of the enemy, during which time the siege batteries were 
planted. Not a day passed that the enemy did not open upon them, 
firing from thirty to fifty shell, none of which injured any of the 

The 5th R. I. Battalion, being on duty in the trenches at the time 
of the surrender, received their arms, and five companies of the 4th 
regiment relieved Major Wright, guarding the prisoners until they 
were shipped off. 

The fort was much damaged, and some twenty- six guns rendered 
unfit for service. The day following the surrender, Colonel Rodman 
was ordered to cross with his command to Beaufort, where it was 


assigned provost duty. On the 1st of May the Colonel was appointed 
Military Governor, and Major Allen Provost Marshal for the entire 
district. Having been appointed Brigadier General, the Colonel took 
leave of the immediate command of his regiment June 2d, in an affec 
tionate general order. The feeling expressed was reciprocal, and the 
men parted with him with sincere regret. Lieutenant Colonel i ew 
assumed the command. Lieutenant Joseph B. Curtis was appointed 
on General Rodman s staff. 

The brilliant success with which the North Carolina Expedition 
had thus far been conducted, created among the troops the most un 
bounded confidence in their Chief, and throughout the country in 
creased his already popular reputation as an energetic and skillful 
commander. In this universal homage, Rhode Island warmly par 
ticipated. Upon the recommendation of Governor Sprague, the 
General Assembly unanimously directed him to procure, and cause 
to be presented to General Burnside an elegant sword, in testimony 
of the appreciation of his eminent services at Roanoke. The sword 
was manufactured by Tiffany & Co., of New York city, from a design 
prepared by Captain Augustus Hoppin, A. A. General. General 
Edward C. Mauran was selected by the Governor to present the 
sword in person to General Burnside, and on the afternoon of June 
20th the ceremony took place at Newbern, in the presence of 16,000 
troops, together with a large and brilliant staff. The escort duty was 
performed by the 4th and oth Rhode Island, and the salute, as the 
General appeared on the field, was fired by R. I. battery F., Captain 
Belger. The fine appearance and good conduct of the 4th on the 
occasion, was complimented by Lieutenant Colonel Tew, in a general 
order the next day. On the morning of presentation day, both regi 
ments had a dress parade in front of General Burnside s quarters, 
which drew from him expressions of entire satisfaction. In his report 
of the presentation, General Mauran says, " Ihe deafening cheers 
which went up throughout the entire lines, combined with the pres 
ence of so large a body of well disciplined troops, presented a scene 
to be remembered. " Of the marches, bivouacs, reconnoissances, 
picket and other services, or the varied movements in battle which 
filled up the experience of the Fourth Rhode Island, during its con 
nection with the army of North Carolina, it is impossible here to give 
a minute description. Suffice it to say, they were such as character 
ize the life of a hard working regiment in an active campaign, and 
whether exposed to the perils of rebel bullets, or to the insidious 
influence of a debilitating climate, their obligations were met with 
cheerful alacrity. Many of their number nobly fell on North Caro 
lina soil, in vindication of human rights, and more still live, who will 
bear to their graves the honorable scars of a devoted patriotism. 

The Anniversary of our National Independence was celebrated by 
the 4th and oth 11. I., with a zest quickened by a dispatch received 
on the 3d of July, announcing the capture of Richmond, a statement 
soon after contradicted. The two regiments were formed in a square, 
the Declaration of Independence was read by Captain Bxiffum, a prayer 
offered by the Chaplain, the band poured forth patriotic strains, the 
men gave nine hearty cheers, and the ceremonies ended. The rest of 
the day was spent in festivity. 


But now, the Fourth was destined to act in another field of duty. 
General Burnside was called to join General McClellan on the Penin 
sula, and the regiment followed his fortunes. On the 6th of July 
it embarked on board the Empire City, and sailed for Fortress Mon 
roe, where it arrived on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 8th, and 
debarked the troops at Newport News Point. On the same day, 
Colonel William P. Steere, who had been appointed from the 2d 
Rhode Island, arrived and joined the command. On various fields 
he has proved himself a brave and able commander, and under his 
administration the regiment has maintained an honorable reputation 
for harmony and discipline. Lieutenant Colonel Tew having re 
signed August llth, Adjutant Curtis, of General Rodman s Staff, 
was appointed to succeed him. 

The troops from North Carolina were organized into the Ninth 
army corps, under General Burnside. The third division was com 
manded by General Parke, and the second brigade, composed of the 
4th Rhode Island and the 8th and llth Connecticut, was commanded 
by the senior Colonel Harland Lieutenant George F. Crowning- 
shield, of the 4th Rhode Island, was appointed acting Aide on his 
staff". Surgeon Rivers was made division surgeon on the staff of 
General Parke. The regiment did not reach the Peninsula in season 
to actively engage in the operations there. It proceeded with General 
Burnside to Fredericksburg, to supply the place of McDowell, who 
had been sent to the aid of Pope. Gen. Parke being made chief of 
General Burnside s staff, General Rodman was assigned to the com 
mand of the division. Pope s retreat rendered the evacuation of 
Fredericksburg necessary, and after the destruction of the govern 
ment depot of supplies at Acquia Creek, on the 31st August, the 
Fourth, with the iest of General Burnside s command, proceeded to 
"Washington and joined McClellan to drive Lee out of Maryland. 
Marching on to the scene of action, it formed a part of the forces that 
made a triumphal entrance into the city of Frederick, and was with 
its noble chief in the battle of South Mountain, September 14th, where, 
under the gallant lead of Colonel Steere, it sustained the honor won 
in North Carolina. A member of the Fourth, present in the action, 
thus describes the scene at one period of the day : "The battle was 
now terrific. The enemy had thrown his whole force upon the Union 
lines, but the men of the north had been unshaken. Side by side, and 
shoulder to shoulder, had they stood. Fearful gaps had been made 
in their ranks, but the shock of the enemy had been broken. But the 
gallant Reno had fallen. Many a better man than I will fall to-day, 
he had said in the morning ; and now he had fought his last fight. 
Deep was the sorrow of the Fourth, as they saw the form of that brave 
leader borne by. But still the battle raged. The rattle of musketry 
was incessant ; bullets were thickly showered ; and as fast as the 
powder-begrimmed cannoneers could load their pieces, from rank to 
rank their vollied thunder flew. In the valley below and on the hill 
side beyond, the continuous flash of rifles showed the opposing line 
of battle. For a few minutes an ominous silence would reign, and 
then the storm would burst forth again in all its fury, as with the 
last expiring energies of the foe, they dashed again and again on the 
Federal lines, only to fall back repulsed, bleeding and broken. While 


in this position, Colonel Steere found Colonel Ferero, whose brigade 
he was ordered to support, and the latter, conducting the Fourth, 
moved into position. The road, for at least three-quarters of a mile, 
as an officer remarked, was strewn with dead, lying like cord wood. 
Upwards of thirty bodies lay in one spot not sixty feet square, and 
two were hanging from the fence they had strode, never to reach the 
other side. Forming in line of battle, the regiment marched to the 
front and took position on the left of the 51st New York." Victory 
rewarded the Federals in this fierce contest. Night came, and most 
of its hours were laboriously employed by Assistant Surgeon Smalley, 
in rendering service to the wounded, Surgeon Miller being detailed 
at the general hospital. The casualties of the Fourth were three men 

On the 17th September, the Fourth shared the dangers and helped 
to gain the glory of the bloody field of Antietam. The battle and its 
results have already been described, pages 146-155. On the left wing 
with Burnside, the Fourth showed an activity second to no other 
regiment engaged, and both officers and men were nerved by a com 
mon sentiment of valor. The exposures of the day are well attested 
bv the record of ninety-eight killed and wounded. In the midst of 
the battle, and while changing the position of the regiment, Colonel 
Steere was struck in the left thigh by a rifle bullet, but made no re 
mark, and still attempted to lead on his men. Fainting, however, 
from loss of blood, he was carried to the division hospital, to which 
he had been preceded by the lamented General Rodman and his Aide, 
Lieutenant Robert H. Ives. Everything possible was done by Sur 
geon Miller to render them comfortable.* The Major being sick, and 
having then no Adjutant, it was left to Lieutenant Colonel Curtis and 
one other field officer to handle the regiment, in consequence of 
which, at one time, under a very severe fire it broke, but was socn 
reformed. The color bearer, Corporal Thomas B. Tanner, was killed 
upon a hill, having carried his flag, supported by Lieutenants George 
E. Curtis and George H. Watts, within twenty feet of the enemy. 
It was saved by Lieutenant Curtis. The officers wounded besides 
Colonel Steere were Captain Caleb T. Bowen, taken prisoner and pa 
roled, Lieutenants Watts, severely, George P. Clark, dangerous 
ly, and acting Lieutenant George R. Buffum, mortally. In his report 
to the Governor of Rhode Island, Lieutenant Colonel Curtis says : 
< Throughout the day I never saw an officer but that he was en 
couraging and directing his men," and he makes special mention of 
the bravery of Lieutenants Watts and Curtis, Sergeants Wilson, Coon, 
and Morris, Corporals Leonard and Farley, and privates McCann and 

* Colonel Steeie was taken to Hagers town, and thence to Philadelphia, 
where, in the hospitable family of Colonel Peter Fritz, he was under the 
care of Dr, Paul li. Goddard Forty-seven days elapsed before the ball 
was extracted. He joined the regiment in May, having been taken from 
duty nearly ten months. 

t* In the battle of Wackwater, October 3d, 1802, Corporal James H. 
Burbank, Company K, Rhode Island 4th, detailed on board the Commo 
dore Perry, distinguished himself for gallantry and was recommended for 
promotion by acting Jicar Admiral S. P. Lee. 


November found the army of the Potomac in front of Fredericks- 
burg, with General Burnside in command. The story of its march, 
and of its sanguinary battle of December 13th, has been told, pages 
171 to 192. In the fatigue and excitements of that march, the 4th 
Rhode Island shared. With the perils of that battle, it was identified. 
Colonel Steeve still disabled from service on the field by his wound, 
Lieutenant Colonel Curtis was yet in command. On the 12th, the 
regiment crossed the river to Fredericksburg, and reported to Colonel 
Hawkins for picket duty. Before daylight on the 13th, it was re 
lieved by the 9th New York, and after being held till 8 o clock, in 
reserve, it joined its brigade, then lying on the river bank, and all the 
morning listened to the music of shells fired by both friends and foes, 
which occasionally burst overhead. At sunset, the regiment was 
ordered forward with its brigade to the support of Colonel Hawkins, 
and soon reached where the 9th New York were lying on the ground 
in support of a battery. Here, while Lieutenant Colonel Curtis was 
reforming the line, which had become somewhat broken by the nature 
of the ground passed over, a ball from a shrapnell shell, which ex 
ploded immediately in front, struck him in the head and he fell dead. 
Major Buffum, who had, until the day the Fourth crossed the river, 
been Provost Marshal of the division, and who, at his earnest request, 
was relieved of that duty that he might be with his regiment, now as 
sumed the command and held his position for the night. On the night 
of the 15th, he recrossed the The casualties, besides the death 
of the commander, were Lieutenant George E Curtis, Corporal Hi 
ram Freeborn, and seven privates, wounded. Seven days after the 
battle, Dr. Lloyd Morton, commissioner appointed to examine into 
the physical condition of the Rhode Island troops in Virginia and 
around Washington, visited the regiment and found 448 men reported 
for duty. The hospital department was in good condition, and on the 
21st January following, only eight men were requiring its care. 

Lieutenant Colonel Curtis was the son of George Curtis, Esq., of 
New York, and grandson of Hon. Samuel "W. Bridgham, the first 
Mayor of Providence, tfo officer could have been more sincerely 
mourned. " Young, thoughtful and earnest," one wiites, " at the 
very outset of the war, he gave his manifold talents and attainments to 
the cause of his country. Animated with the highest patriotism, he 
labored earnestly and arduously in his new career, and though the 
rebellion maintained a longer existence and assumed more gigantic 
proportions than ever he anticipated, yet he never flagged in his en 
deavors, and never doubted for a moment but that the cause of the 
nation would be crowned with ultimate and complete success." His 
remains were brought to Providence, and lay in state, with those of 
Lieutenant Colonel Welcome B. Sayles, of the 7th Rhode Island, in 
the Representatives Hall, under a spacious marquee formed of mourn 
ing drapery. Lieutenant Colonel Sayles was buried December 20th, 
in Grace Church Cemetery, with masonic and State military honors. 
Lieutenant Colonel Curtis was buried in the North Burying Ground, 
where religious services were conducted by Rev. Dr. Edward B. Hall. 
At the instance of his friends, the funeral was private. 

December 24th, Major Buffum was commissioned Lieutenant Colo 
nel, and Captain James T. P. Bucklin, Major. The regiment was 



detached from Colonel Harland s brigade, and with the 13th New 
Hampshire and 25th New Jersey, formed into a new brigade under 
Colonel Button of the 21st Connecticut. Lieutenant George F. 
Crowninshield was appointed on Colonel Button s staff. On the 8th 
February, 1863, the regiment, with the Ninth army corps, embarked 
at Acquia Creek for Fortress Monroe. The early days of a pleasant 
encampment at Newport News were made more pleasant by the re 
ceipt of a generous supply of fresh vegetables, a portion of the cargo 
of the Helen and Elizabeth, sent by considerate friends at home. 
Shortly after encamping at this place, the regiment was honored with 
a handsome national flag and guidons, presented b} a few friends in 
Providence, through Mrs. Sarah M. Hall. The flag was inscribed 
with the names of the victories in which the Fourth had nobly borne 
its part Roanoke Island, Newbern, Fort Macon, South Mountain 
and Antietam with the words, " Fourth Hhode Island Volunteers," 
in the centre. The gift was appropriately acknowledged by Lieutenant 
Colonel Buffum, who referred to the fidelity with which the the regi 
ment had defended its first banner, as the best assurance of the man 
ner in which the second would be cherished. On the 13th of March, 
the regiment made its camp near Suffolk, Ya. On the 16th April, six 
companies were in support of Fort Bix, two companies in support of 
Simpson s battery, two companies in the rifle-pits, and Lieutenant 
Field, with twenty men, in support of Fort Halleck. On the 3d of 
May, the Fourth had a sharp brush with the rebels at Hill s Point, 
across the Nansemond river, driving in their pickets and occupying 
their rifle pits and earth works, losing, in the conflict, CorporalJames 
Grinod killed, and Lieutenant George F. Waterman, Corporal George 
"W. Allen and piivates George Erwin and Joseph A. Griffiths, wound 
ed. In advancing up the hill to examine the ground and judge of the 
enemy s force, Colonel Buffum and Major Bucklin were exposed to the 
fire of their sharpshooters, but fortunately escaped injury. May 22d, 
Colonel Buffum made a reconnoissance in the Dismal Swamp, down 
the Jericho canal : and on the 24th, Another with a detail of sixty men, 
to Brummond Lake. On the afternoon of the same day, the balance 
of the regiment, with Corcoran s Legion and most of the 3d division 
of the Ninth corps, made a reconnoissance on the Edenton road, en 
countering the enemy and capturing their first line of breastworks. 

Among the marked features of the summer, was the building of 
Fort Rodman, one of the most important in the cordon of defences 
designed to stretch from the West Branch of Elizabeth river to Bis- 
mal Swamp, and an expedition by the way of Yorktown and White 
House, to near Hanover Court House, from which the regiment re 
turned July 13th, having had a fatiguing march over bad roads, under 
a burning sun, that tested to the utmost the endurance of both officers 
and men. In July, it was transferred from the Ninth to the Sevi nth 
corps, second division, third brigade, under General Naglee. In the 
same month, Colonel Steere became acting Brigadier General of the 
third brigade of Getty s division of the Eighteenth army corps, leav 
ing Lieutenant Colonel Buffum in command of the regiment 

From the date of departure from Providence to September 9th. 1863, 
the Fourth broke camp eighty- five times, made heavy marches in 
three rebel States, and went within eight miles of Richmond, in the 


same period, besides the part taken in the battles of Roanoke, New 
born, Fort Macon, South Mountain, Antietam and Fredericksburg, it 
had two skirmishes on the Nansemond river and two at Suffolk. It 
entered the field with 890 men. On the date referred to, it had 581, 
including 175 recruits. Up to the same time, it had lost 295 in killed, 
wounded and by disease. Patriotism and fidelity is the sum of its 
honorable record. 

On the 31st October, Chaplain Flanders was compelled by sickness, 
to resign. He had been with the regiment from its organization, 
and by his judicious and faithful ministrations, obtained the confi 
dence and esteem of both officers and privates. His departure 
awakened general regret. 


[First organized as a battalion, and after the taking of Fort Macon, 
recruited to a full regiment. In 1863, changed to heavy artillery.] 

(Commissioned and Non-commissioned. ) 

Colonel HENRY T. SISSON, November 5th, 1862. 

Lieutenant Colonel JOB ARNOLD. Captain, 5th R. I., November 
30th, 1861 ; Lieutenant Colonel, 7th R. I. 

Lieutenant Colonel GEORGE W. TEW. Promoted from Major of 
4th R. I., 1862. 

Major JOHN WRIGHT. Captain, 2d R. I., June 1st, 1861 ; Major, 
4th battalion, November 7th, 1861. Resigned, July 25th, 1862. 

Major THORNDIKE C. JAMESON, December 13th, 1862. 

Adjutant CHARLES H. CHAPMAN, Resigned, 1862, 

Adjutant JAMES M. WKEATOV, (1st Lieutenant,) June 9th, 1862. 

Chaplain Rev. WALTER M. NOYES. Resigned, August 15th, 1862. 

Chaplain HENRY S. WHITE. 

Surgeon EPHRAIM L. WARREN, December 10th, 1862. 

Assistant Surgeon ALBERT POTTER, October 10th, 1861. 

Assistant Surgeon JEROME B. GREENE. 

Hospital Steward FRANK GLADDING, 1st Lieutenant. 

Quartermaster MUNRO H. GLVDDINO, (1st Lieutenant,) November 
30th, 1861. Died at Beaufort. N. C., November 2d, 1862. 

Quartermaster WILLIAM W. PB.OUTY. Promoted from Quarter 
master Sergeant. 

Commissary Sergeant CHARLES^ E. BEERS. Promoted to 2d 

Sergeant Major JOSEPH J. HALLINGER. Appointed Lieutenant 
Hth R. I. 

Sergeant Major JOSHUA C. DROWN. 


Captains when the battalion left Providence, Jonathan M. Wheeler, 
Allen G. Wright, James M. Eddy, George H. Grant, Job Arnold. 
Captains, October 3d, 1863 Isaac M. Potter, James Gregg, "William 
W. Douglas, James Moran, George G. Hopkins, William K. Landers, 
John H Robinson, Henry B. Landers, John Aigan, Emilius Di Meu- 
len, Charles Taft. 

The Fifth Battalion Rhode Island Volunteers was recruited under 
authority received by General Burn side, from the Secretary of War, 
to raise a division for coast service, to be commanded by himself, and 
denominated the " Coast Division." It was organized at Camp 
Greene, in October, 1861, from which it was transferred to Camp 
Slocum, on the Dexter Training Ground, in Providence. In the 
commencement of the enlistment, it was expected to act, in times of 
need, as marines, and was to be armed with Burnside rifles and short 
boarding swords. It was drilled, however, with muskets, and has 
never used any other small arm. The battalion consisted of five com 
panies, with the ultimate design of being made a full regiment. To 
serve under General Burnside, and to be identified with his fortunes, 
was, to many, independent of other considerations, an inducement to 
enlist ; and, though the 4lh Rhode Island had so recently filled its 
ranks and departed, leaving the field less favorable to rapid enroll 
ment for the next comer, in about seven weeks the enlistments had 
reached the required numbers. 

On the 27th December, 1861, the battalion departed for Annapolis, 
to join the Expedition to North Carolina. The morning was spent in 
preparations. At 3 o clock, P. M., it was reviewed by Governor 
Sprague, and exhibited a commendable discipline. After the review, 
the line was thrown into column and marched to the depot, where a 
train was in waiting. At 4 o clock, amid the cheers of the multitude 
assembled to witness the departure, the cars moved off, and the bat 
talion bore with it, to its future field of service, the best wishes and 
earnest prayers of numerous friends. Nothing occurred on the jour 
ney to damp the cheerful spirit in which the troops left home. Duty 
beckoned them onward. Patriotism found range in the expectations 
of coming days ; and the vision of glory to be won under a noble 
chieftain made welcome the active duties to which they were hasten 
ing. At Annapolis Junction, a delay of three hours, enabled the lov 
ers of nature to enjoy delightful autumn scenery resting in the lap 
of winter, under a bright sun that permeated the atmosphere with an 
almost summer warmth. The camp of a western regiment was located 
there, and to the Fifth an opportunity was afforded of witnessing, and 
with admiration, the perfection of its drill. The delay ended, the bat 
talion soon reached its immediate destination. 

At Annapolis, all was bustle and methodical activity. Transport 
vessels were constantly arriving and getting in readiness for their liv 
ing freight ; troops were daily pouring in ; and General Burnside, the 
soul ot the movement, was everywhere present, perfecting the ar 
rangements. His staff, in this expedition, was as follows : 

Assistant Adjutant General Captain LEWIS RICHMOND. 
Division Quartermaster Captain HERMAN BRIGGS. 


Assistant Quartermaster Captain WILLIAM CUTTING. 

Assistant Division Commissary Captain E. R. GOODRICH. 

Aides- de- Camp Lieutenant DUNCAN C. PELL and Lieutenant 

Medical Director and Acting Division Surgeon Major W. H, 

Naval Officer Commander S. F. HAZARD, U. S. N. 

At length all wr.s complete. On Thursday, January 9th, 1862, the 
Fifth left Annapolis, on board the transport ship, Kitty Simpson, and 
sailed for Fortress Monroe, where she arrived on the llth, and there 
found a large fleet of sailing and steam vessels. With this fleet, the 
voyage to Hatteras Inlet was continued. Off Cape Henry, the pilot 
left the transport, taking charge of two hundred and fifty letters home 
ward bound. On reaching the Inlet, the draft of the vessel was found 
to be only six inches les c than the depth of water covering the bar. 
Casting anchor, three days were devoted to lightening ship, and then 
the propeller Virginia attempted, by aid of a hawser, to help her over. 
But the swell of the waves only lifted her up to plunge her, with 
greater violence, into the sand, when the hawser parted, and for a 
time she was left by the tug to her fate. In this perilous position she 
remained about six hours, rising and falling with the regularity of a 
trip-hammer. At each thump, a shiver, as if foreboding certain de 
struction, was felt from stem to stern, with the only offsetting en 
couragement that, at each rise, the force of the waves impelled her 
forward a few feet. Late in the afternoon, while struggling with the 
elements that had proved so disastrous to some, and threatened so 
violently to engulph all, the Kitty Simpson was relieved by the steam 
tug Eagle, who connecting by hawser and favored by a rising tide, 
succeeded in drawing her over the bar into safer moorings. To those 
on board the scene was one of intense excitement. 

After laying inside the bar for about three weeks, all was made 
ready for an assault upon Roanoke Island. The Fifth, making apart 
of the 3d brigade, under General Parke, had been shifted to the 
steamer S. R. Spaulding, General Burnside s head-quarters, and 
moved towards its destination. 

The day before the battle, Lieutenant Andrews, of the New York 
9th, but acting as General Burnside s Aide, with a detachment of the 
5th Rhode Island, made a boat reconnoissance for a suitable place to 
land. Having sounded out a good channel, and just as the boat 
reached the shore, the crew was fired upon by a rebel squad, wound 
ing, in the jaw, Charles Viall, of Providence, thus giving to Rhode 
Island the honor of having shed the first blood in the enterprise. The 
action between the Federal fleet and the rebel gunboats begun on the 
7th February. That afternoon and night the night dark and rainy 
about 11,000 troops landed. As the small steamers in which they 
were taken came only within 400 feet of the shore, the men were com 
pelled to wade through water and deep mud. The next morning, at 
an early hour, the enemy fired on the Union pickets and drove them 
in. Generals Foster, Reno and Parke soon had their brigades in mo 
tion. The advance was supported by six howitzers, commanded by 
Midshipmen Porter and Hammond, and manned, in part, from the 



fleet. After fording a creek, General Foster s force came up with the 
enemy s pickets, who fired their pieces and retreated. Striking the 
main road, the brigade pushed on, and after marching a mile and a 
half, came in sight of the enemy s position. In the mean time, the 
Fifth was ordered to seek and take possession of a house for a hospi 
tal, which was done ; but beyond being brought under a heavy fire in 
consequence of taking a wrong road, the guard duty to which it was 
assigned prevented contact with the rebels, and no casualties were 
suffered. In the front the battle was now raging violently. The 
Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsyl 
vania troops behaved handsomely. General Parke came up with the 
4th Rhode Island, 8th Connecticut and 9th New York, and gave 
timely and gallant support to the 23d and 27th Massachusetts. Fort 
after fort was taken. The rebels fled from before the impttuosity of 
the Federals, and General Foster having kept up a pursuit for five or 
six miles, was met by a flag of truce borne by Colonel Pool of the 8th 
North Carolina, seeking terms of capitulation. These were uncon 
ditional surrender, which, after a little delay, were accepted. In the 
course of a few days, Elizabeth city and Edenton were taken posses 
sion of by Commodore Goldsborough. The victory by sea and land 
was complete, giving to the Union forces entire possession of all the 
inland waters of North Carolina. 

The news of the fall of Roanoke was received in Rhode Island with 
the liveliest demonstrations of joy. In Providence, the let New Eng 
land regiment of cavalry paraded in honor of the event ; it was made 
the subject of a special address by the Governor to the General As 
sembly r the chimes of Grace Church peeled out the Star Spangled 
Banner and other patriotic airs ; a national salute was fired in the 
afternoon, another at sundown, aud in the evening one hundred guns 
were fired by a detachment of the Providence Artillery. 

Nearly a month was spent at Roanoke, after the battle, duiing 
which time General Burn side was preparing for an advance upon the 
rebels. The days were enlivened by drills and common camp duties. 
In the manual of the rifle, the battalion made great proficiency, for 
which, and for the neatness of its encampment, credit was given at 

In the expedition against Newbern, captured March 14th, the Fifth 
was transported to the landing at the mouth of Slocum s creek, by the 
steam tugs Eagle and Curlew. On the morning of the 13th, the land 
ing was effected under cover of the naval fleet commanded by Com 
modore Rowan, and after a hard march in mud and rain, bivouacked 
at night, unconsciously, near the enemy. Fortunately, its camp fires 
did not attract attention. At 6 o clock, the next morning, the line was 
formed, and two hours later the heavy firing on the advance an 
nounced that the work had begun. Soon the order "Forward!" 
was passed along the eager lines, and the Fifth was in motion for the 
field. "As we filed by General Burnside," writes one engaged in the 
action, " we glanced at his noble countenance, and caught from hi? 
look a new inspiration for the conflict before us. Silently we de 
ployed into the thick woods, all intent upon the new sounds of mus 
ketry and artillery in full play upon our position. One shell came 
screaming through the trees, cutting the branches in its course, passed 


near the General, and exploded far off behind. Then, as if at a sig 
nal, the woods on our right resounded with the reports of heavy guns 
and musketry, like rain upon a seething sea. We advanced, halting 
now and then, and obeying the order to lie down while showers of 
lead whizzed by our ears and brought down twigs and branches from 
every tree. Not a few, too, clipped almost musically by, in close 
proximity to our heads and limbs ; but here, fortunately, no one was 
struck. I was most agreeably surprised to see our men steadily ad 
vance at the word, nor make the least motion backwards. At last 
we came to a deep ravine, or rather a series of hills and gullies thrown 
together in inextricable confusion, and were told that the great bat 
tery of the enemy had been taken by part of the Massachusetts 21st, 
but could not be held by the small number who entered, and was 
consequently retaken by the enemy. We were ordered to fall in be 
hind the 4th Rhode Island and the 8th Connecticut ; but the 8th 
halted and allowed as to take our position next the 4th. Then 
* Charge, Rhode Island ! was the cry, and on we ran, over stumps 
and fences, up a steep bank, across an open space, the bullets all the 
time keeping time to our steps and whistling close to our ears, and 
halted only inside the breastworks, with the 4th in advance inside the 
main battery the enemy in retreat. The fire from the left of our po 
sition still continued, and after forming line under it to repel an ex 
pected charge, we were ordered to turn to the left, take up a position 
under the brow of a small sand ridge, covered, as the whole battle 
field was, with tall trees and thick underbrush. Here, after having 
crossed the hot fire from the rebel rifle pits and battery beyond the 
railroad twice, we fired our first volley advancing to the brow of the 
hill, taking aim, firing, and then retiring a few steps to load. That 
volley, the prisoners told us afterwards, killed fifteen men. We 
slackened the fire of the enemy at that point three times, but were 
interrupted by a rumor that we were firing into our own men. The 
fog and smoke and dense wood prevented us from seeing anything for 
a while, but as a puff of wind for a moment cleared the view in front, 
we saw, with joy, that we were firing at the grey coats and caps of 
real enemies. Now, the 4th, who had been doing good service some 
where near the centre of the enemy, beyond the large battery, were 
ordered to support us, and to advance with their flag, as we had none. 
They filed past on our left, and scattering through the woods in our 
front, rushed down over the railroad, across rifle pits and gullies, and 
with one shout, carried the concealed battery beyond, and decided the 
victory. Our advance was now undisputed and triumphant. The 
railroad and the turnpike led us straight into Newbern. We took 
two camps in which the fires were still burning, and the bread left in 
the mixing troughs. The 4th was stationed in one and the 5th in 
another. Just as our tired limbs were warning us that they could 
not carry us much farther, the news was brought us, our gunbcats 
are at the wharf in Newbern. We arrived at our camp in time to 
eat the warm bread baked by the enemy." 

The loss of the Fifth, in this battle, was four killed, and seven 
wounded. Of the killed, the battalion mourned the loss of Lieuten 
ant Henry R. Pierce, of company D, who fell, shot through the heart, 
while enthusiastically encouraging his men to action. Lieutenant 


Pierce had been, for several years, the successful Principal of the 
High School in Woonsocket, R. I., and entered the service of his 
country from a conscientious sense of duty. Into his new profession 
he carried the ardor that distinguished him as a teacher, and his sol 
dierly qualities, not less than his social and moral traits, secured for 
him a warm place in the affections of his brother officers. His re 
mains were brought to Woonsocket, and on the 29th April, deposited 
in Oak Hill Cemetery, with military honors and appropriate religious 
ceremonies, amidst the tears of the wide circle to whom he was en 
deared as the patriot soldier, faithful teacher and sinceie Christian. 

Whatever may have been the feeling of the white population of 
Newbern, on the entry of the Union forces, there was nothing equiv 
ocal in the conduct or language of the slaves. Many of them wel 
corned, with almost frantic joy, the day of deliverance, as they re 
garded it, and "Bless de Lord, I m free," was uttered with an unc 
tion that showed how highly they prized the boon. After the battle, 
the Fifth had its camp near Newport citv and for a time was engaged 
in guarding part of the railroad from that place to Beaufort, and in 
repairing the damage done to it by the retreating enemy. A bridge 
180 feet long, essential to the transport of supplies in the investment 
of Fort Macon, had been destroyed. This was rebuilt in five days, 
under the direction of Major Wright, and the cars running over it. 

The investment of Fort Macon, owing to the difficulties in trans 
porting siege materials, was a slow and somewhat difficult undertak 
ing ; but the marshy shore and yielding sand bluffs of Bogue Island, 
as well as other obstacles, were finally overcome, and on the morning 
of April 26th, the bombardment commenced. The Federal gunners 
attained great precision in firing. Out of fourteen hundred shells 
fired, four hundred and fourteen were thrown within the walls. The 
rebels also showed accuracy in the aim of their guns. Captain Pell, 
who rendered valuable assistance in the working of a 10-inch mortar 
battery, narrowly escaped death from one of their projectiles. While 
looking over the parapet, he perceived a shot coming, and immediately 
"ducked" into the pit. The shot, a 32-pounder, struck and passed 
through the embankment within three inches of his head, burying 
him up in the sand. Other hair breadth escapes occurred. A con 
ference with the rebels under a flag of truce terminated in an uncon 
ditional surrender, they solemnly promising not to bear arms against 
the United States until regularly exchanged. Fifteen guns had been 
dismounted, seven men killed and fourteen wounded. The prisoners 
numbered upwards of three hundred and fifty, and among the spoils 
were fifty-two cannon, thirty thousand pounds of powder, thirty 
thousand cartridges, and a large quantity of military stores. The 
rebels fired 250 thirty-two pound shells, 200 ten inch shells, 150 eight 
inch shells, 4 percussion shells, (rifled,) 150 twenty-four pound shells, 
800 solid shot, and about 9000 pounds of powder. Yet the Federal 
loss, remarkable to say, was only one man killed and two wounded. 
The man killed, William Dart, of 3d N. Y. artillery, was standing up 
on the parapet of the 10-inch mortar battery, driving home a pointed 
stake, and disregarding the warning to "duck" by one who saw the 
flash of the rebel gun which was the last fired before flag of truce 


came out he was hit by the fragment of a shell bursting near him, 
which lacerated his body in a shocking manner. 

To the Fifth Rhode Island was assigned the honor of taking posses 
sion of the Fort. A few days previous, two beautiful colors, in 
scribed with the names of "Roanoke" and "Newbern," had been re 
ceived, the gift of ladies in Providence, but no time had offered for 
their formal reception ; and now opened a providential occasion for 
the ceremony. Lieutenant Douglas, at his reqiiest, was permitted to 
return for them to camp, where they had been left, and with a speedy 
gallop they were soon brought on the ground. The battalion was 
formed in line. The colors were taken by General Burnside, who 
unfurled and handed them to Major Wright. He passed them to the 
color bearer, who took his place at the head of the column, and the 
procession moved in the following order : General Burnside, General 
Parke, Captains Biggs and King, Major Wright, Color Bearer, Fifth 
Rhode Island, Staff, members of the press present. Entering the fort, 
the battalion ascended to the ramparts, arid marched once around; 
and while Captain Joe Greene peeled forth "The Star Spangled Ban 
ner," and "The Red, White, and Blue," the stars and stripes of the 
5th were firmly planted in the sight of surrounding thousands, and 
the inspiring ceremony of taking possession ended. That night the 
Fifth returned to its encampment, and the Fourth B. I. occupied the 

In May, after the fall of Fort Macon, the camp of the Fifth was on 
Bogue Banks, near by. The situation, in many particulars, resembled 
NeAvport. It had the some bracing sea air, the same hard beach, and 
the same opportunities for surf bathing. Scup were plenty, sea 
fowl in abundance, and it only wanted the presence of a bevy of sea 
nymphs, with their red bloomers and bewitching straw hats, with a 
corresponding number of male admirers, doing the dutiful in the 
briny sports, to make the illusion complete. The Fifth remained here 
until General Burnside was called to the aid of General McClellan on 
the Peninsula, when it went to Beaufort, where Major Wright became 
military commandant, and Lieutenant Douglas was appointed Provost 
Marshal of the District, the duties of which delicate and often per 
plexing office, he discharged with firmness and excellent judgment. 
In the imposing pageant of the Sword Presentation, which occurred at 
Newbern, June 20th, as already described, the Filth participated with 
the Fourth in performing escort duty. It was a proud privilege, and 
the honor thus conferred upon them by their beloved chief was most 
gratifying. Nature joined man in imparting glory to the occasion. 
At the moment a shower was falling in the distance, and as the Gen 
eral rode into the area where the ceremony was to be performed, a 
beautiful rainbow spanned the heavens, forming a triumphal arch of 
gorgeous splendor over the uncovered head of the hero, and giving 
as it were a divine brilliancy to the scene. 

If, up to this period, fewer decided indications of Unionism among 
the leading inhabitants of North Carolina were visible than had been 
anticipated, the reason, perhaps, might be found in their distrust of 
permanent protection, should they unequivocally avow themselves. 
While the army of General Burnside, if kept in a body, might be suffi 
cient to overpower the rebels at any given point, it was evident that, 


to keep the advantages gained as he proceeded, he must leave garrisons 
behind at almost every step, and thus in a short time reduce his 
strength too much to penetrate the State, and hold important interior 
positions. Should they, under such circumstances, take a decided 
stand, and the Union army fail to be reinforced sufficiently to hold the 
State against any subsequent rebel operations, it might terminate in 
confiscation of property to the confederacy, if not in death as an ad 
ditional penalty, without any benefit inuring to the Union as an equiv 
alent for the sacrifice. Had it been possible to have given General 
Burnside at the outset, fifty thousand instead of fifteen thousand 
troops, with which to have put the entire State practically and at 
once under military rule, the Union feeling believed to exist, would 
probably have been manifested with a strength that would have saved 
the old North State from the entanglement of a reluctant alliance 
with rebellion. 

Major Sisson received his appointment of Colonel of the Fifth, 
November 5th, 1862, but did not arrive out to take command until 
January 9th, 1863. He was received in a nattering manner, and 
complimented with a regimental parade and review, under the direc 
tion of Major Tew, which displayed the men to fine advantage. A 
collation followed, and a pleasant hour was spent in friendly greet 
ings. In the evening, Colonel Sisson received his officers at the Gas- 
ton House, which he made his quarters. 

In the beginning of March, 1863, the rebels conceived and attempt 
ed to execute a plan for the capture of Newbern. In this, by timely 
and judicious countermovements on the part of the Union forces, they 
were foiled. Shortly after, Lieutenant Colonel Job Arnold dissolved 
his connection with the Fifth to join the Seventh Rhode Island. 
Colonel Arnold had been identified with the regiment from its or 
ganization, had shared with it the dangers of the sea-storm at Hatteras, 
the fatigues of numerous marches, and the risks of battle. In all 
positions of danger he had shown himself brave ; prompt to act, but 
not injudiciously impulsive ; a thorough soldier without pretence ; 
self forgetful, and always thinking of the interests of his men ; in his 
intercourse with brother officers, governed by the most delicate sense 
of honor, and ready to yield a personal advantage rather than stand 
in the way of another s advancement. These, with a happy and sym 
pathetic nature, had greatly endeared him to both officers and men, 
and the separation caused sincere regret. Before leaving, the officers 
of the line presented him with an elegant sash and field glass, as a 
slight token of their regard. An affectionate note, signed by every 
non-commissioned offijer and private in the regiment, was also ad 
dressed to him, giving assurance of their united best wishes for his 
future success and welfare. 

The climate, not less than the fatigues and exposures of active 
Campaigning, had early severely affected the health of Chaplain Noyes, 
and by sickness he was finally taken off from the duties to which he 
had been faithfully devoted. He resigned August loth, 1862. In 
his successor, Rev. Henry S. White, the regiment was singularly 
fortunate. Genial and practical, quick to see, and sensitive to feel 
the soldier s needs, the welfare of the men was kept constantly in 
view, aijd his usefulness was made apparent in other than merely profes. 


sional ways. On a visit to Rhode Island in May, 1863, his earnest 
appeals in behalf of the regiment, secured contributions in money of 
nearly fifteen hundred dollars, besides numerous miscellaneous dona 
tions of substantial and convenient articles for camp and hospital use. 
With the money, a varied cargo, including one hundred tons of ice, 
was purchased, which reached Newbern on the afternoon of July 3d, 
in season to enhance the enjoyments of the National anniversary. 
To the men, these evidences of interest had no ordinary charm. They 
felt that amid the poisoning miasma, and under the scorching sun of 
their remote field of duty, they were still remembered. Home, with 
manv of its long missed comforts, seemed to have come to them, and 
words of gratitude found free and full expression. 

E-ahl s Mills, Kinston, Whitehall, Tarboro and Goldsboro , are 
representative names of military operations subsequent to the capture 
of Fort Macon. 

But among the military adventures of the Fifth, the raising of the 
siege of Washington, N. C., must ever occupy the most prominent 
place as a hazardous and brilliant achievement. Immediately after 
the capture of Newbern, it was occupied by the national forces. Early 
in April, 1863, the garrison there consisted of the 27th and 44th 
Massachusetts volunteers, and one company of the 3d New York 
Cavalry. These, with about one hundred armed negroes, numbered 
but little more than 1300 men. Three gunboats, the Louisiana, 
Ceres and Commodore Hull, lay in the stream. General Foster, 
commanding the Department of North Carolina, had gone to Wash 
ington to inspect the garrison and defences there, and suddenly 
found himself besieged by the rebel General Hill, with a force vari 
ously estimated at from 10,000 to 16,000. The enemy had also taken 
possession of Rodman s, Hill s, and Swan s Points, where they 
planted strong batteries, and for a distance of seven miles held the 
entire command of the river, rendering an approach by water a seem 
ing impossibility. The land forces made a complete cordon around 
the town, so that escape was out of the question. General Foster 
made the best possible disposition of his little band, and for sixteen 
days stood up bravely against the bombardment, opened and con 
tinued by his formidable foe. Provisions now were short, the 
pinchings of hunger felt, and, to the besieged, starvation or surrender 
seemed the only alternative. Still they held out, and answered the 
shrill voices of rebel shells with the thunder of their heavy guns. If 
surrender must come, it would bs only when the last meagre ration 
was consumed, and the power to resist totally exhausted. 

When the tidings of General Foster s situation reached Newbern, 
immediate steps were taken for his relief. On th3 third day of the 
siege, General Spinola, with his brigade, was sent by water, with 
several gunboats, to co-operate in the operation. The attempt failed. 
The gunboats ascended to within range of Hill s Point battery, and 
opened fire, but the response was such as to forbid an attempt to run 
by, and they retired with two holes in one of their paddie boxes. 
Another expedition overland, by General Spinola, was attended by 
no better success. Matters now looked more serious than ever. Aid 
must speedily be rendered, or the hard pressed garrison must yield. 
At this juncture, Colonel Sisson, with the Fifth Rhode Island, was 


ordered by General Palmer to proceed to Washington. Rev. Edward 
H. Hall, Chaplain of the 44th Massachusetts, who had been to New- 
bern on business, joined the expedition and participated in its dan 
gers. On Friday, 10th April, the Colonel, accompanied by General 
Palmer, embarked his command on board the transport steamer 
Escort, and proceeded up to Maul s Point, on the Pamlico river, ten 
miles below Washington. Here he found a fleet of gunboats, and 
some transports loaded with provisions, ammunition and forage. But 
the hindrances to proceeding further were no less formidable than 
those from which the gunboats with General Spinola s brigade recoil 
ed. These were the three batteries of heavy guns before mentioned. 
That at Hodman s Point, commanding the river and city, and those 
at Hill s and Swan s Point, nearly opposite each other, threatening to 
blow into atoms any craft that should attempt to run the gauntlet. 
Besides these, a triple row of piles extended across the river, with the 
exception of a passage about one hundred feet wide and lour hundred 
feet from the shore, and directly under the guns of the battery. To 
increase the difficulty in finding the crooked channel, the enemy had 
removed all the buoys in the river. A reconnoissance by Captain 
W. W. Douglas and Lieutenant Dutee Johnson, with fifty volunteers 
from the regiment, and which was very successfully conducted, dis 
covered three rebel batteries on the west bank of Blunt* s Creek, which 
would prevent an approach to Washington by land. To most, the 
case now seemed hopeless. To Colonel Sisson it did not. He be 
lieved Washington could be reached, and he resolved, if permitted, to 
make the attempt to go there. He dispatched Major Jameson to 
General Palmer, on board the Southfield, to volunteer his command 
to attempt the passage of the blockade. From the perilous and un 
certain nature of the enterprise, the General did not feel warranted in 
ordering it, but gave the Colonel discretionary power to act as in his 
judgment might be practicable. This was enough. He decided that 
the object of the expedition was of sufficient importance to demand 
the risk. Calling his men around him, he told them that he had re 
solved upon his course after deliberate consultation with his officers ; 
that General Foster must be relieved, and the 44 ih Massachusetts, 
part of their own brigade, must be rescued from danger. If the 44th 
were in their place, he knew they would go through. Would they 
do less ? The response was hearty and unanimous, and preparations 
were made at once for the passage. The machinery and pilot house 
were protected as thickly as possible with hay bales ; the ammuni 
tion, [some twenty tons of which had been put on board,] shifted to 
the safest part of the boat, where the soldiers threw themselves upon 
it to protect it still more ; all lights were put out, and every one 
except the officers on duty, and a company of sharp-shooters, were 
ordered below decks. * 

So in silence and darkness, [Monday, 13th,] the Escort began her 
perilous voyage. Pushing slowly up to the sunken piles, with the 
gunboats at a respectful, distance behind, she felt her way through the 
narrow passage. Once she struck upon the piles, and hearts beat fast 
at the thought of sticking fast, unable to move, right under the rebel 
battery. But it was only for a moment. Backing slowly down the 
stream, she tried once more, pushed through just as the rebel gun- 


ners seemed to discover her, and putting on a full head of stei/m, soon 
ran out of reach of the shot that were sent whizzing after her. Rod 
man s battery, however, was still to be passed, an even more formi 
dable task, for the channel runs close in to shore, and for two miles 
the Escort was in range of their heavy guns. All along the banks of 
the river, volleys of musketry were poured in upon the boat ; but as 
she approached the batteries, the storm burst upon her with relentless 
fury. But courage and heroism carried a charmed life. The Escort 
was not to suffer that night. Pressing on the steam again, she ran 
safely by the batteries without the loss of a man. Then, when the 
danger was past, and the great success achieved, the suppressed emo 
tion of those three long hours found eloquent vent. The Rhode 
Island boys sent the glad cheers ringing through the town, carrying 
the first promise of hope and relief to the worn but stout-hearted sol 
diers in the trenches."* 

On Wednesday night, 15th, the rebels supposing General Foster to 
have received a large reinforcement, evacuated their works under cover 
of a heavy fire which they opened upon the town, and left the Federal 
forces in undisputed possession of the post. In his report of this ex 
pedition, made to Adjutant General Mauran, Colonel Sisson says : 
<4 I cannot close before mentioning the gallant conduct of my officers 
and men, during the period of suspense through which we passed. 
Their self-possession and ready obedience were extremely gratifying 
to me, and justify a confidence that they will never prove recreant in 
the hour of danger. 

" I would speak particularly of Lieutenant Colonel Tew and Major 
Jameson, whose advice and support materially aided me in the con 
ception and execution of our undertaking ; of Captain William W. 
Douglas, who, during the reconnaissance of Monday morning t tlis- 
played great coolness and bravery in proceeding, in company with 
Sergeant Major J. J. Hathinger, in advance of his men, directly under 
the enemy s guns, to prepare an accurate sketch of their position. 
Captains H. B. Landers and Isaac M. Potter, Lieutenant Thomas. 
Allen and Sergeants Mott and Conger, were at their posts on deck, 
and ably performed their respective duties. "t 

Lieutenant Colonel Tew, with five companies of the Fifth, took 
possession of Rodman s Point, where the following note was found : 

YANKEES ! ! ! We leave, you, not because we cannot take Wash-. 
ington, but the fact is, it s not worth taking ; and, besides, the climate 
is not agreeable. A man must be amphibious to inhabit it. We leave 
you a few bursted guns, some stray solid shots, and a man and bro-_ 
ther rescued from the waves, to which some fray among his equals 

* Letter of Rev. Edward H. Hall. 

t The General Assembly of Rhode Island, at its May Session, 1863, 
passed a resolution oi thanks to Colonel Sisson and the officers and men. 
of the 5th Rhode Island regiment, " for the gallantry and heroism which 
they displayed in running the gauntlet of the enemy s batteries on the^ 
Pamlico river, under circumstances of extraordinary peril," 



consigned him. But this tribute we pay you, you have acted with 
much gallantry during this brief siege. We salute the pilot of the 

"Co. K, 32 N. C. Vols." 

The pilot of the Escort referred to, was killed, on her return pas 
sage down the river, with General Foster on board, he being obliged 
to take an early departure after the enemy withdrew. By his orders, 
Assistant Adjutant General Hoffman presented to Colonel Sisson and 
the officers and men under him, thanks " for the energy, perseverance 
and courage displayed in running the gauntlet of the enemy s bat 

The Massachusetts 44th felt deeply the important service thus ren 
dered, and on the 25th April, Colonel Francis L. Lee communicated 
to Colonel Sisson a series of resolutions, thanking him and the regi 
ment for an act of valor that raised the siege and brought the much 
needed succor at a critical moment, and expressing the desire, if it 
met the wishes of the Fifth, to present it with a set of colors bear 
ing a device commemorative of the act of gallantry. This was subse 
quently done. On the return of the 44th, from its nine months term 
of duty, an elegant banner was procured and placed in the hands of 
Rev. Henry S. White, Chaplain of the Fifth, he then being in Boston, 
to be presented by him to the regiment. The ceremony of presenta 
tion took place at Newbern, August 3d. Chaplain White made an 
appropriate address, referring to the unity of the two States repre 
sented in the gift, and bidding his compatriots, as they looked upon 
it, to "remember the duties of the future as interpreted by the history 
of the past." Lieutenant Colonel Tew, in the absence of Colonel Sis- 
son, received the flag, and responded in behalf of the regiment in a 
patriotic and spirited address. When the 44th returned home, Colo 
nel Sisson accompanied them ; and on the occasion of a subsequent 
visit to Boston, the lady friends of the regiment presented him with 
an elegant sword, sash and belt, together with two massive pieces of 
silver, in token of their appreciation of his services in the rescue. 

In the several campaigns of North Carolina, the 5th Rhode Island 
maintains an honorable position. A hard working regiment, ever 
doing with promptness and spirit whatever duties were assigned it, 
the good name it has achieved is held among the choice treasures of 
the State. 


This was intended to be a colored regiment, and the order, direct 
ing its formation, was issued August 4th, 1862. Owing to causes 
mentioned in the introduction of this volume, it was not organized. 




(Commissioned and Non-commissioned.} 

Colonel ZENAS R. BLISS. 

Lieutenant Colonel WELCOME 33. SAYLES. Killed in battle, Fred- 
ericksburg, Va., December 13th, 1862. 

Lieutenant Colonel JOB ARNOLD. From 5th Rhode Island, 1863. 

Major JACOB BABBITT. Mortally -\vounded at battle of Freder- 
icksburg, Va., December 13th, 1862. 

Major -THOMAS F. TOBEY. 1st Lieutenant and Adjutant, 10th 
Rhode Island, May 26th, 1862. 

Adjutant CHARLES F. PAGE. 1st Lieutenant, September 4th, 


Quartermaster DEAN S. LINNELL. Quartermaster Sergeant, 10th 
Rhode Island. 

Quartermaster JOHN R. STANHOPE. Quartermaster and 1st Lieu 
tenant, November 3d, 1862. 


Assistant Surgeon WILLIAM A. GAYLORD. 

Assistant Surgeon ALBERT G. SPRAGUE. August 29th, 1862. 

Assistant Surgeon CHARLES G. COREY. 


Sergeant Major J. S. MANCHESTER. 1862. 

Quartermaster Sergeant STEDMAN CLARK. 1862. 

Commissary Sergeant JOHN R. STANHOPE, Jr. 1862. 

Hospital Steward STEPHEN F. PECKHAM. 

Captains, September 10th, 1862 Lewis Leavens, Theodore Whin, 
George E. Church, William H. Joyce, (Lieutenant commanding, since 
Captain,) Thomas F. Tobey, Lyman M. Bennett, Rowland G. Rod 
man, James H. Remington, Thomas B. Carr, George N. Durfee, 
Captains, August 8th, 1863, not mentioned above Alfred M. Chaii- 
nell, Percy Daniel, James N. Potter, Thomas Greene, Ethan A. Jenks, 
George A. Wilbur, Edward T. Allen, George N. Stone. 

The Seventh Regiment of Rhode Island Volunteers was organized 
under a general order flated May 22d, 1862, to serve during the war. 
Circumstances were less favorable for. rapidly filling it up, than had 
surrounded its predecessors. But the officers and agents, to whom 
the duty of obtaining enlistments was assigned, prosecuted their work 
with unwearied diligence, and early in September the regiment had 
nearly reached its maximum number. The camp, known as " Camp 
Bliss," was established in a pleasant locality near the shore of the 
Bay, in South Providence, and the summer was devoted to drill in 
the manual, and the formation of soldierly habits, in preparation for 


the fatigues of the march and the conflict of the field, that were sub 
sequently to become an experience. The commander, Colonel Zenas 11. 
Bliss, was an accomplished officer, transferred from the regular United 
States service. A thorough tactician and disciplinarian, and with a 
careful eye to the comfort and health of the men, he was eminently 
fitted to secure their efficiency. 

On Wednesday, September 10th, the regiment broke camp and 
marched to Mashapaug station, where it took the cars for Washing 
ton. The night on the Sound was pleasant to wakeful eyes, and the 
moon shed her mild lustre as a halo of glory upon the embryo pa 
triots, as they watched from the deck of the Commonwealth the mo 
tion of the silvery waters through which she ploughed. The depar 
ture from New York, the next morning, called forth friendly demon 
strations from the shipping in tbe harbor. At Philadelphia, a hospi 
table entertainment at the Volunteer Refreshment Saloon awaited the 
regiment. As it marched through the streets, shouts and cheers for 
Rhode Island and Pennsylvania rent the air ; flags and handkerchiefs 
were waved on every side ; officers and men shook hands with the 
ladies and gentlemen thronging the sidewalks, and even little children 
claimed a kiss or made other demonstrations of affection ; and the 
regiment can ied with it pleasant memories of the city of Brotherly 
Love, lasting as life. At Baltimore, another bountiful collation 
awaited it, but no greeting voice was heard in the streets. The Mon 
umental City had not yet recovered the full freedom that had been 
violently wrenched from her loyal citizens by the strong hand of rebel 
sympathizers, and Unionism prudently held its peace. But a better 
day came, and Baltimore, in its municipal rule, ceased to be to the 
country, the impersonation of secession. 

A slight injury to the Drum Major, William H. Hopkins, near the 
Relay House, was the only incident of oxciting interest that occurred 
between Baltimore and Washington, where the regiment arrived on 
the 12th, and encamped on Capitol Hill. On the 16th, the camp was 
moved across the Potomac to Arlington Heights, and the Seventh was 
assigned to the command of General Paul, of the second brigade of 
Casey s division, when drills for field service again occupied the time. 
Leaving this encampment about the 1st of October, the regiment pro 
ceeded by the way of Frederick, Md., to Sandy Hook, near Harper s 
Ferry, where it arrived on the 3d, and marching up the steep side of 
Maryland Heights, a distance of half a mile, -encamped at the foot of 
the main mountain. From this point the skirts of the field of Antie- 
tam could be discerned, quickening the blood of patriotism ; and in 
the far distance, a rebel flag waving defiantly in the breeze. On the 
6th, the encampment was removed to the valley below, where the 
regiment was visited by General Burnside, wlio was welcomed with 
hearty cheers. Moving with the army of the Potomac, in November, 
the Seventh found itself in its appointed place before Fredericksburg, 
on the 13th December, and engaged with veteran coolness in that 
hard-fought field. To describe this battle would be only to repeat 
the tale already told ; but it should be said, that throughout that 
sanguinary day, and under the most trying circumstances, the regi 
ment exhibited the most unflinching bravery. It marched over or 
held its position on the hottest part of the field in good order ; ex- 


pended all its ammunition, and used more procured from the dead 
and wounded, and from other regiments ; and after this expenditure 
of ammunition, remained on the field with fixed bayonets until or 
dered off, at 7k o clock in the evening. The flag of the regiment was 
pierced by sixteen bullets and a fragment of a shell. The casualties 
of the day fell with severity upon both officers and men. Lieutenant 
Colonel Sayles was instantly killed by the fragment of a shell, while 
lying on the ground with the regiment, under fire. Major Jacob 
Babbitt was mortally wounded. Adjutant C. F. Paige was wounded 
in the forehead. Captain Rowland G. Rodman received a wound in 
the right shoulder. Captain James H. Remmington had his jaw 
broken. Captain Lewis Leavens was bruised by fragments of a shell. 
Lieutenant George A Wilbur was shot through the leg. Lieutenant 
David R. Ken yon was wounded slightly. Sergeant Major J. S. Man 
chester lost his right arm. Colonel Bliss was constantly exposed 
during the day, and had several narroV escapes. At one time, when 
the regiment was advancing, he moved towards an opening in a fence 
a sort of shell road through the palings and before he reached the 
gap five men had fallen there before the unerring fire of the rebel 
sharpshooters. He then passed the barrier unhurt. The shell that 
killed Lieutenant Colonel Sayles ricocheted over the head of the 
Colonel, covering him with bood ; and subsequently the Adjutant 
fell bleeding upon his left arm. The entire list of the wounded, offi 
cers and privates, was reported to be 140. 

The remains of Lieutenant Colonel Sayles were brought to Provi 
dence, and buried from the State House, December 20th, as already 
described, with military and masonic honors. Colonel Sayles was a 
native of Bellingham, Mass. He was well known not only in Rhode 
Island, but throughout the country. He was for eight years Post 
master in Providence, having been appointed by President Polk, and 
re-appointed by President Pierce, and discharged the duties of that 
office with great efficiency. He was one of the founders, and for 
several years the chief editor of the Providence Post, and displayed 
no small ability in the conduct of that paper. He had long been a 
conspicuous leader in the Democratic party in Rhode Island, and by 
his energy, ability and fearlessness, wielded a large influence. His 
executive ability was uncommon. He had the chief supervision of 
the organization of the Seventh regiment, and addressed himself to 
his new duties with characteristic vigor. At the age of fifty years, he 
fell in this its first battle, leaving a wife and several children to mourn 
his loss. 

Major Babbitt was a prominent citizen of Bristol, R. I., and Pres 
ident of the Commercial Bank in that town. His body was brought 
home and buried January 1st, 1863, with military honors. The 
funeral was attended by a large concourse of citizens. Governor 
Sprague, and Colonel Gardner of his personal staff, Adjutant Gen 
eral Mauran and Quartermaster General Cooke, were in attendance 
upon the services, which were conducted at the house of the deceased 
by Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepard, and in the church by Rev. Mr. Stowe, 
Flags were displayed at half-mast on public and private buildings, 
the bells of the churches were tolled during the moving of the pro 
cession, and minute guns were fired by a detachment of the Artillery. 



After the battle of Fredericksburg, the regiment remained at its 
old camp near Falmouth until the 9th of February, when the whole 
corps were ordered to Newport News, Ya. While doing picket duty 
along the Rappahannock, February 6th, the rebel pickets communicat 
ed this intelligence to the Federals, and also repeated the orders to which 
the regiment had listened at dress parade the day before, showing 
the presence of spies, or of rebel sympathizers. Indeed, little was 
done in the Union encampments that was not immediately known on 
the opposite side of the river. The 7th suffered severely from the 
effects of the malarious character of the atmosphere in the vicinity 
of the Rappahannock, and lost many of its members by death, and 
more by transfer to the various hospitals of the North. Moving by 
rail to Acquia Creek, and from thence in transports, it reached New 
port News February llth. On the 14th, the camp was enlivened by 
the arrival of the Elizabeth andjlelen, with a donation of vegetables, 
and about 300 boxes of personal comforts, sent as mementos of 
home. Here the regiment remained until the night of March 25th, 
having that afternoon been paid off for the first time since entering 
the service. 

The health, as well as discipline of the regiment, had mate 
rially improved during its stay at Newport News, and all started in 
good spirits for Kentucky, General Burnside having been assigned 
to the command of the Department of the Ohio," and taking the 
9th corps with him. The Seventh reached Cincinnati March 29th, 
and left same afternoon for Lexington, Ky., at which place it arrived 
and encamped near the Fair Ground on 31st. Staying here only suffi 
cient time to rest the men from the fatigues of the journey, it left for 
Winchester on April the 8th. This was the severest march the men 
had ever encountered. The weather was very warm, the roads made 
of Limestone retained the heat, and when they reached camp at about 
9, P. M., not an officer or man but what complained of blistered feet. 
The distance twenty-three miles on the men who, since their first 
arrival at Falmouth November 17th, 1862, had made no single march 
of over three miles, was telling in its effects, and all were completely 
exhausted. Lieutenant Colonel Job Arnold, appointed from the 5th 
H. I., joined the regiment in the West, and participated in its subse 
quent fatigues and exposures, winning, by private and professional 
worth, t.he confidence and esteem of his command. 

During April and May the regiment encamped at Richmond, Paint 
Lick, Lancaster, and Crab Orchard. At Richmond, the camp ground 
at the hour for dress parade, became the frequent resort of people 
of the vicinity, and on May- day was enlivened with the presence of a 
number of ladies, accompanied by General Nagle and his staff. Be 
sides the attraction of neat and well drilled soldiers, the dress parade 
presented that of fine music frojn a band, whose energy and perse 
verance have made them very good performers. On the first of June, 
while at Crab Orchard, the regiment was ordered to the front towards 
Cumberland Gap, with eight days rations, sending all surplus bag 
gage and winter clothing of the men to Hickman s Bridge, Ky., for 
storage. It had hardly completed the arrangements for moving, when 
these orders were countermanded, and it was ordered to start at once 
to join the army of the Tennessee in front of Vicksburg, Miss. June 


4th, the regiment marched to Nicholas ville, a distance of thirty- six 
miles, in two days, took cars for Cairo, 111., via Cincinnati, there 
embarked on steamboats for Vicksburg, and reached Sherman s Land 
ing, nearly opposite that city, June 4th ; disembarked here, and en 
camped in a swamp surrounded by Contraband camps. Early the loth, 
the regiment made an effort to join General Grant s army, in the rear 
of Vicksburg, but hardly reached the river before it was ordered to 
Snyder s Bluff, on Yazoo River, to assist in defending Grant from an 
attack by Johnston. Taking small steamboats for this place, it ar 
rived and encamped on the 17th, remaining until the 23d. On this 
day, the brigade to which the seventh was attached, started for the 
front towards Big Black, camping near Neely s for a week, making in 
the time, one reconnoissance in force, crossing the Big Bear Creek. 

July 4th, news of the surrender of Vicksburg reached camp, and 
was published in the afternoon of the same day. The troops started 
towards Jackson in pursuit of Johnson and his force. He retreated into 
Jackson. The Union forces reached that city July 10th. It was on 
this march, that, in passing a plantation of Jefferson Davis, the house 
of a Mr. Cox, formerly his steward, was searched, and the library, 
and a large amount of the rebel President s private correspondence 
discovered and seized, according to inclination, as trophies of war. 
The correspondence, largely political, extended over many years, and 
the portions preserved revealed almost every shade of opinion and 
purpose on the part of the writers in regard to public affairs, from 
radical State rights views to positive secession. To the future histo 
rian of the Rebellion, this correspondence will be of great use, as a 
help in explaining some of the mysteries of political combinations 
issuing in treason. 

On the afternoon and evening of July llth, the regiment, with a 
portion of the 6th New Hampshire, both under command of Colonel 
Bliss, proceeded to the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and destroyed some 
500 yards of the track, burning the ties and bending the rails, render 
ing them unfit for use. The telegraph was also cut, and the wire 

On 12th, the regiment supported the 35th Massachusetts, doing 
front picket duty. 13th relieved them, and skirmished with the 
enemy the entire day, losing Lieutenant Adjutant Sullivan, and 
Lieutenant Fuller Dingley prisoners, two men killed, and nine 
wounded. In this affair, which really assumed the proportions of a 
battle, officers and men behaved with the greatest gallantry. Adju 
tant Sullivan particularly distinguished himself by advancing in front 
of the Union lines, and bringing off the body of a Sergeant who had 
been shot early in the morning ; and when taken prisoner he had just 
posted a company sent by Colonel Bliss to reinforce the line. The 
men killed were Sergeant John K. Hull, of South Kingstown, R. I., 
and private Jonathan R. Clark, of Charlestown, R. I., both highly 
respected by their officers. 

The regiment left Jackson July 20th, and arrived at Snyder s Bluff, 
24th. Here, writes a member of the 7th, "The campaign of the 9th 
Army Corps, in Mississippi has ended, and with it that of the 7th R. 
I. It has been the most arduous of any in which we have been en 
gaged, compared with which, our last fall s campaign in Virginia was 


comfortable, and our spring visit to Kentucky a mere pastime. While 
in Mississippi, we have truly learned that the duties of a soldier s 
life may be arduous in the extreme, but throughout the whole we 
have accomplished all that has been asked of us, both as men and 
soldiers ; have received the compliments and thanks of both depart 
ment and corps commanders, while we have won, I trust, the friend 
ship and respect of the north-western troops, with whom we have 
been brought in contact. Such appreciation may seem of small mo 
ment, and may offer but little consolation to those who have been 
brought low by sickness, but to those who are spared, the hearty 
grasp and welcome of our western brothers are very pleasing. 

From July 4th to July 24th, a period of not less than three weeks, 
the regiment marched from Kneely .s station to Jackson and returned 
to Mill Dale, a distance of a little more than one hundred miles. Dur 
ing the time, scarce a night passed when they were not under arms. 
When in the vicinity of Jackson, they were often in line twice during 
the same night. Such continued interruptions of the hours of repose, 
together with their arduous duties and the continued heat of the cli 
mate, were severely felt in their influence upon the health of the men. 
After the evacuation of Jackson, but a few days were allowed us for 
rest, when we were subjected to the severest trials of all the return 
march to Mill Dale. This march, a distance of fifty miles, was ac 
complished in eighty hours, including all halts. Many of the men 
were without shoes ; many had substituted drawers for pants, and 
others had arrayed themselves in various articles of apparel found at 
Jackson. A motley crowd were we, and I often heard the wish ex 
pressed that Westminster street might have been on our line of march. 
Added to the excessive fatigue of our marches was the want of com 
plete rations. An Adjutant General said on the last morning, "I 
am without my breakfast the niggers stole all my hard tack last 
night I ll give fifty cents for one of Uncle Sam s pies this morning." 
A march of thirty-two miles, from Jackson to the Big Black, in two 
days, and a halt at night. The last beeve in the coral is killed and 
eaten for breakfast, while this pleasing dilemma demands considera 
tion to remain is to starve, to go on is to tax our weary limbs to 
their utmost point of endurance. A dinner of green corn and salt is 
provided, with a little tea, (the sugar was gone two days before,) 
upon which we march at four o clock. We cross the Big Black river 
and encounter a thunder storm, throuerh which we march, while wet 
to the skin, eleven miles. For supper we take tea, and sleep on wet 
blankets. We breakfast on the anticipation of some hard tack at Mill 
Dale, and march seven miles. At noon on the 14th, all feasted on 
hard tack." 

Colonel Bliss, in his report of the operations of the regiment after 
leaving Kentucky, says : "The conduct of the regiment during the 
expedition has been praiseworthy, and credit is due them for their 
gallantry in repelling the sortie of the enemy, and for the soldierlike 
manner in which they have submitted to the many privations and 
fatigues they have been obliged to undergo. Several nights in suc 
cession they were turned out, and remained in readiness to repel the 
attacks of the enemy. They have suffered severely from the intense 
heat, and debilitating effects of the elements. Some of the marches 


were long, -with but little water, and many of the men were bare 
footed and without proper clothing, and at times all were on less than 
half rations." . 

August 8th, the brigade embarked on steamboats for Cairo. They 
had not proceeded far before they run aground in the Yazoo River, 
and in attempting to get off, the boat containing the 7th broke the 
rudder, and they were obliged to remain in the river until Sunday 
afternoon 10th. The effect of this delay was soon perceptible in the 
men. Drinking the water from the swamp, many of them were taken 
sick with the Yazoo fever, and during the trip up the Mississippi, 
three died, and were buried on the shore. The troops arrived at 
Cincinnati August 20th, crossed the river, and encamped in Coving- 
ton. From Covington they proceeded to Nicholasville, Ky., stopping 
there two weeks, during which time one Lieutenant and six men 
were buried. 

The campaign m Mississippi, honorable alike to officers and men, 
was disastrous in its effects on the regiment. Its results were, in 
cluding the two killed at Jackson, a loss of 35 by death, to October 
1st, besides many subsequently discharged or transferred to the In 
valid Corps.* On the 7th September, the regiment was ordered to 
join the army of General Burnside, in Tennessee ; but on representa 
tion of its condition, it was sent to Lexington, Ky., to do provost 
duty. By steadiness in battle, cheerful endurance of long marches 
and scanty fare, and fidelity in the discharge of every duty assigned 
it, the 7th Rhode Island has shown that the praise awarded by its 
commander was merited. 

One writing from the army of the Cumberland, has said, "To goto 
Charleston is a frolic ; but to go to Chattanooga is sober earnest ;" 
and a similar statement might be made in regard to the long and tire 
some marches of the 7th Rhode Island. To go to Cincinnati by rail 
was pleasant recreation, but to march hither and thither, in Missis 
sippi, under a scorching sun, and inhale the miasma of its swamps ; 
to bivouac with little or no shelter from drenching rains ; to do the 
work of soldiers on poor rations and deficient in quantity, or to slake 
a raging thirst from stagnant pools from which horses refused to 
drink ; to do and endure all this and more, as the routine of daily life, 
without expectation of applause, was to do the sober, earnest, but 

* July 1, 1863, at Camp Neelys, Warren county, Miss., 119 men were 
reported absent from the regiment sick. The returns, November 1st, 
reported the number of the regiment to be 32 officers and 516 men. 
Lieutenant Colonel Arnold, who then commanded the regiment, had 
been untiring in his endeavors to develop to the utmost the qualities of 
the gentleman and the soldier, in those over whom he was placed. By 
orders adapted to the end, a spirit of emulation among the members of 
the companies, in regard to neatness of dress and equipments, and sol 
dierly bearing, was stimulated. These requisites of a good soldier, at all 
times to be fostered and cherished, and for which the regiment had often 
been complimented, were particularly to be encouraged at this time when 
it represented the government in a city of high importance, which num 
bered, among Its inhabitants, many whose wavering loyalty depended 
upon the conduct of those who were its defenders. 


prosaic work of patriotism, stripped of all poetic charm. It was to 
test soldierly virtues in no ordinary manner ; and that the men nei 
ther faltered nor lost their buoyant spirit, redounded more to their 
honor than would a victory achieved under the stimulus of a glorious 
name to be won. 


This, like the 9th and 10th regiments, and under the same call, was 
intended to be composed of three months volunteers for the emer 
gency ; but not being required for that brief service, it was not or 


(Commissioned and Non-commissioned.) 

Colonel CHARLES T. BOBBINS, temporarily. 

Colonel JOHN T. PITMAN, July 3d, 1862. Major of same, May 
29th, 1862 ; Lieutenant Colonel of same, June 9th, 1862 ; Lieutenant 
Colonel of llth R. I., September 16th, 1862. 

Lieutenant Colonel NICHOLAS VAN SLYCK, temporarily. 

Lieutenant Colonel JOHN HARE POWELL, July 3d, 1862. Captain 
of same, May 26th, 1862 ; Major of same, June 9th, 1862. 

Major GEORGE LEWIS COOKE, July 3d, 1862. Promoted from 1st 
Lieutenant and Quartermaster; Major, 12th regiment, October 13th, 
1862 ; Lieutenant Colonel of same, October 22d, 1862, temporarily. 

Adjutant ALBERT C. EDDY, temporarily. 

Adjutant HENRY C. BROWN. 

Quartermaster WILLIAM MCCREADY, Jr., May 26th, 1862. 2d 
Lieutenant and Quartermaster, 2d cavalry, November 12th, 1862. 


Assistant Surgeon HENRY KING; do., 12th R. I., October 19th, 

Chaplain N. W. TAYLOR ROOT. 

Sergeant Major ROBERT FESSENDEN. 2d Lieutenant and Adju 
tant, llth R. I., October 1st, 1862. 

Commissary Sergeant G. MILLAR. 

Quartermaster Sergeant ALFRED O. TILDEN. 

Hospital Steward HENRY E. TYLER. 

Principal Musician CHARLES GREENE. 



Captains Charles L. Watson, Robert McCloy, John M. Taylor, 
Samuel Pierce, Henry F. Jenckes, James R. Holden, Henry C. Card, 
John A. Bowen, Place, Slocum, McKinly. 

The Ninth and Tenth Rhode Island regiments were organized for an 
emergency under the same general order, and may properly be spoken 
of together in their incipient state. In May, 1862, Washington was 
menaced, and more men were needed in the field. The Secretary of 
War called for supplies of three months volunteers, and Rhode Island 
again showed herself among the first to respond. The tidings of the 
peril and the need came on Sunday at midnight, (25th) and "as the 
news flashed along the wires, men leaped from their beds, and has 
tened to the places of rendezvous, to march at once to the South." 
The excitement and enthusiasm was intense as when the integrity of 
the nation was first threatened, and affected alike all classes. 
"Men hurried again from their counting rooms; students dropped 
their books and fell into the ranks ; citizens of high social po 
sition, who had filled important offices of trust in executive and 
other departments of State, patriotically came forward, and threw the 
weight of their example into the scale of duty ; mothers, who had 
already sent sons to the war, heroically bade their other sons God 
speed ; brides parted tearfully but bravely with their husbands ; and 
the sorriest and saddest men were those who could not go." The 
two regiments, as well as a battery of Artillery, were made up mostly 
of the National Guards, and with such rapidity were the ranks filled, 
and such the activity of the Adjutant General s and Quartermaster 
General s Departments, that in four days the Ninth and Tenth regi 
ments were completed, equipped, and forwarded to the seat of War. 
The Ninth Rhode Island was organized by Colonel Charles T. 
Robbins, and left Providence in two detachments, the second of which 
took its departure May 28th, and proceeded directly to Washington. 
Nothing occurred on the route to mar the enjoyment or cool the 
ardor of the men. To many, it was more than an ordinary trial. 
They had not had the advantage of a few weeks of camp life and 
discipline to prepare them for the rough experience of soldiers ; but 
coming from studies, or other peaceful pursuits, they were required 
to adopt at once habits differing widely from accustomed modes of 
living, testing severely natures the most robust. On arriving at 
Washington, the regiment marched to Tcnnallytown and formed an 
encampment, which subsequently received the name of "Camp 
Frieze." Here a month was spent in thorough attention to drill, and 
to all other duties essential as preparations for any service to which 
it was liable to be called. During this month it was regarded as a 
part of the force for the defence of the Capitol, and with other regi 
ments encamped in its vicinity, did constant picket duty in the neigh 
borhood of, or beyond Chain Bridge. On the 1st of July the regi 
ment moved, via Washington and Long Bridge into Virginia, and 
encamped near Fairfax Seminary. It remained there only two days, 
however, going from thence by the river to Washington, and out 
across the eastern branch of the Potomac to the line of fortifications, 
which extends from nearly opposite Alexandria to a point opposite 
Georgetown. Here it relieved the 99th Pennsylvania, which joined 



McClellan on the Peninsula. These were veteran troops, and after 
ward did good service. For the remainder of its term of service, the 
regiment performed garrison duty in this chain of forts, its head 
quarters being at Fort Baker. 

The distribution of the companies was as follows : 

Company A. Captain McCloy, at Fort Greeble. 












Bo wen, 




















1 Slocum 



The total number of guns on both branches of the Potomac, cover 
ing the approaches to Washington, was 213. Life at the forts was 
unavoidably monotonous. The separation of the companies limited 
social intercourse, and the spare hours between the regular daily ar 
tillery drills, were occupied with such amusements as each man was 
inclined to, or by home correspondence. The readiness to improve 
opportunities for the latter, is shown by the fact that, during the 
few weeks the regiment was at Camp Frieze, about ten thousand let 
ters were written and posted, while quite the same n amber were re 
ceived, keeping home affections warm, and home influences exerting 
their steady and useful power. The chaplain, according to custom, 
acted as Postmaster, and in other ways interested himself in the wel 
fare of the men. For the reason above assigned, general religious 
services were impossible. At the close of each day s drill, a brief 
exercise, terminating with the doxology and benediction, was given, 
and on Sunday evenings, at dress parade, at headquarters, a sermon 
was delivered. The duties of the chaplain were very faithfully and 
satisfactorily performed. 

The health of the regiment was generally good. During th.3 three 
months absence, but two deaths occurred. The first death was that 
of Sylvester B. Arnold, son of George Arnold, of North Kingstown, 
aged 21 years. He belonged to Company K, Captain Holden, was a 
good soldier and cheerful companion.. His remains were sent to 
Rhode Island, to be buried among kindred and friends, but before 
they were taken from camp, received full military honors, the burial 
service being first read. 

The history of the Ninth is necessarily brief and uneventful. It is 
not identified with brilliant deeds, such as attract the gaze, and call 
forth expressions of wonder or admiration. It cannot point to hard 
fought battles, and exhibit a long list of casualties, as evidence of its 
prowess. But if destitute of these features, history will nevertheless 
give it a deserved recognition as a reserved power. Important, but 
not dazzling, duties were assigned it, and these were faithfully per 
formed. In every respect, it was a credit to the State, and worthy of 
being had in honorable remembrance. At the expiration of the term 
of enlistment, the regiment returned home. It reached Providence in 


the steamer Bay State, August 31st, and was escorted by the 10th 
regiment through various streets to Exchange Place, where it was 
dismissed. With one exception, the companies belonged in other 
towns, and left the city, in the earliest trains, for their respective 
homes. Companies A and H, of Pawtueket, were handsomely re 
ceived there, and a bountiful collation provided. A similar reception 
was given to company I, in Warren, and a speech of welcome made 
by A. M. Gammell, Esq. ,A few days after, the regiment assembled 
in Providence, was paid off, and mustered out of service. 


(Commissioned and Non-commissioned.) 

Colonel ZENAS R. BLISS. Colonel, 7th R. I., August 8th, 1862. 

Colonel JAMES SHAW. Jr. Promoted from Lieutenant Colonel, 
August llth, 1862; Lieutenant Colonel, 12th It. I.; Colonel, colored 
regiment in Maryland, 1863. 

Lieutenant Colonel WILLIAM M. HALE. Promoted from Captain, 
August llth, 1862. 

Major CHAKLES II, MERRIMAN, temporarily. 

Major JACOB BABBITT. See 7t.h It. I. 

Adjutant BENJAMIN F. THURSTON, temporarily. 

Adjutant JOHN F. TOBEY. 

Quartermaster JAMES H. ARMINGTON. 2d Lieutenant ; 1st Lieu 
tenant, June 9th, 1862; resigned July 19th, 1862. 

Quartermaster CHARLES W. ANGELL. 2d Lieutenant, Julv 25th, 


Assistant Surgeon ALBERT C. SPRAGUE, Jr. 


Sergeant Major EDWAUD R. GREENE. 

Commissary Sergeant JAMES O SWAN. 

Quartermaster Sergeant DEAN S. LINNELL, 

Principal Musician GEORGE LEWIS. 

Captains Ex-Governor, Elisha Dyer, Hopkins B. Cady, A. Craw* 
ford Greene, William E. Taber. William M. Hale, Benjamin W. Har 
ris, Jeremiah M. Vose, Christopher Duckworth. G. Frank Low, Wil 
liam S. Smith, Samuel H. Tho nas, Charles II. Dunham, temporarily. 

On the 23d of May. 1862. a special order was issued for the com 
mandants of the several military companies of the State -to assemble 
their respective commands at their usual places of rendezvous, and 
report one company, minimum standard, from each organization, to 


the office of the Adjutant General, for three months service at Wash 
ington." At a meeting of the officers composing the 1st Rhode Island 
regiment National Guards, Hon. Elisha Dyer presiding, it was re 
solved, "that Colonel James Shaw, Jr., be and is hereby requested 
to offer to His Excellency, the Governor, the services of the organi 
zation known as the 1st Rhode Island regiment National Guards, as 
no\v officered and organized, in response to the call and service made 
by him." The offer was accepted. On the night of May 25th, a des 
patch announced the defeat of General Banks, and the utmost haste 
to reach the Capital seemed necessary. At 1 o clock A. M., an order 
\vas received by Colonel Shaw, from the Executive, to immediately 
organize the National Guard. The companies were ordered to meet 
at their respective armories, at 9 o clock A. M., and at 7 o clock P. 
M., of the same day, G13 men were reported to % the Governor, ready 
for duty. These were at once organized as the 10th Rhode Island 
volunteers, and at the request of Colonel ShaAv, Captain Zenas R. 
Bliss, an experienced officer of the United States army, was appointed 
its commander. On the folloAving day, (27th,) the regiment departed 
for Washington in the midst of a pouring rain. 

Nothing of special importance occurred on the journey. At Phila 
delphia, the regiment was provided with a bountiful collation, and 
received other courteous attentions that enlivened the hour, and that 
are still gratefully recollected. Passing through Baltimore, the regi 
ment arrived in Washington on the 29th. and took quarters in the 
barracks near the depot, for the night. The next morning, (he line 
of march was taken up for Tenallytown, where a site for a camp was 
selected, just beyond the village, and in. the midst of a cold, drenching 
rain, the tents were pitched. This was named "Camp Frieze," in 
honor of the Quartermaster General of Rhode Island. The regiment 
was attached to the brigade commanded by General Sturgis, and on 
the yth of June was mustered into the service of the United States. 
The usual routine of camp life now commenced, with its daily drills 
and detail for guard and picket duty. The camp was pleasantly lo 
cated, but lacked the convenience of suitable ground for parade. Re 
ligious services were held every evening, and on the Sabbath, while 
together, the Ninth united with the Tenth in the principal ^ervice of 
the day, the Chaplains officiating alternately The Tenth found in 
Rev. Mr. Clapp, a true, sympathetic fiiend <md faithful spiritual ad 
viser, who both by official and unofficial services, greatly endeared 
himself to the men. 

If picket post had its serious side, it also furnished amusing inci 
dents, that relieved the tedium of "the sentinel s lonely beat." On 
Saturday evening, May 31st, the first night duty of this kind was 
performed by Captain Harris, of Company F. and a small sqund of 
men. Sunday evening, from indications that seemed to require greater 
precaution, Captain Dyer, of Company U., was ordered "to select 
thirty privates, with ten rounds of ball cartridges each, and post him 
self at such place and distance, on the middle road, (leading to Fred 
eric, Md.) as he thought most advisable, and to report at Headquar 
ters :-it sunrise next morning." The night was excessively dirk, and 
a severe thunder storm was raging. The men, with coats or blankets 
to protect them, water in their canteens, and hard biscuit in their 


haversacks, were in line at nine o clock, P. M. Ammunition was 
distributed, strictest caution and silence enjoined, and the detach 
ment left camp. Captain Dyer, (accompanied by his 1st Lieutenant, 
J. Frank Low, and three Sergeants.) was, as also his command, 
ignorant of the road or country. Picking their way as best they 
could, with the vivid flashes of lightning, and subsequent impenetra 
ble darkness, drenched before leaving camp, in the heavy continuous 
rain ; the "picket squad" were halted between one and two miles from 
camp, by the roadside, while the Captain and Lieutenant knocked 
at the door of what appeared a large farm-house. No one answering, 
and lights being seen, the knock was repeated. Stillness was again 
the response. The other side of the house was traced by following 
the boards, &c., and dispensing with any formality, the outside door 
was opened into a large room, in which the family of two males, three 
or four females and children, were gathered. "I want quarters for 
my men for the night," says Captain D. "We have no room," was 
the answer. "You must make some ; my men are wet through ; the 
night is boisterous ; we want no beds or furniture, but room ; we do 
not leave here." "But there s no room in the house." "Then show 
us the barn. We are coming in under cover somewhere, with your 
leave if we get it, without it if we don t." "You can go into the 
wagon-shop." "Very well, show us the wagon-shop." Light in 
hand, father and son came out, and their courtesy and locomotion 
was essentially quickened, by the sight of a larger number of well 
armed guests than he supposed were honoring them. The wagon- 
shop was soon cleared as was necessary seats were arranged, a 
large Kerosene oil lamp brought in, with a stone jug of water, the way 
to the spring pointed out, and "if we wanted anything in the night, 
come for it." The beginning, and the end of the host s welcome were 
very different. It was afterwards ascertained that the family were 
rank secessionists, having at that time two sons in the rebel army. 
But as long as picket duty was performed by the 9th or 10th regi 
ments &t "Camp Frieze," so long was the wagon-shop of -its 

headquarters. The picket guard of that night were posted in advance 
of the command, relieved every two hours, and reported themselves, 
as ordered, at sunrise, fully satisfied with their first night s experi 
ence of a soldier s life. There were several starts during the night. 
Market wagons were searched for "things contraband of war," and a 
gay Lothario, returning from Rockville at midnight, passed the night 
in the wagon-shop, as he foolishly undertook to pass the picket on 
horse-back, not knowing any countersign but what had been ex 
changed at Rockville. Colonel Hobbins, sympathizing in the abrupt 
annihilation of his pleasures, dismissed him, as the Captain led him 
next morning, to head-quarters, with the advice, "to do his courting 
earlier, or get the countersign." 

On the 2Gth of June the regiment passed into Virginia, over Long 
Bridge, and made its encampment near Fort Ward, in the neighbor 
hood of Fairfax Seminary. The march of about eighteen miles, was 
performed in six hours, and the regiment marched into their new 
camp with every man in line, and as in good order as if on parade. 
All the forces south of the Potomac not garrisoning fortifications, 
were now formed into one division, consisting of two brigades, the 


first under command of General Cook, and the second under Colonel 
Bliss, which comprised batteries L, 2d N. Y. C, 1st N. Y., 16th 
Indiana, 2d Excelsior, 9th and 10th It. I., 32d Massachusetts volun 
teers, and 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry. The camp was finely situated 
on a large plain, well adapted to battalion chill and evolutions of the 
line, and anticipations were awakened, that opportunity for becoming 
perfected in these would be afforded. But in this there was disap 
pointment. On the 29th orders were received to take possession of 
the forts then garrisoned by the 59th New York. On the 30th, the 
regiment embarked at Alexandria for Washington, then marched to 
Tennallytown, and bivouacked for the night, and on the 1st of July, 
the companies were distributed as follows : 

Company B. Captain Dyer, Fort Pennsylvania. 
K. " Low, 




D. " Smith, 
A. " Taber, 

E. " Cady, 
I. Hale, 

F. Harris, 


II. " Duckworth, Battery Vermont, and Martin 

Company C. " Vose, Fort Cameron. 
" G. " Greene, " Gaines. 

" L. Gallup, Light Battery, encamped near Fort 


These forts and batteries, mounting 52 guns, 20, 24, 32 and 42 
pounders, extended over a space of six or eight miles, from Battery 
Cameron on the left, near Georgetown and the Potomac, and Fort 
De Russcy on the right, near Rock Creek, and commanding the 
Potomac at and near Chain Bridge, and all the roads leading to Har 
per s Feny and Rockville. The transfer from the camp to garrison 
duty was anything but agreeable to the regiment. By this, it was 
compelled to forego all hopes of perfecting itself in infantry tactics, 
and to commence with the rudiments of artillery, with which it was 
entirely unacquainted. Instructors were furnished from the 112th 
Pennsylvania, 2d Artillery, and very commendable progress was soon 
made in the use of the new arms, but extended, as the regiment was 
over so long aline of fortifications, the garrison at each post was 
necessarily very small, and the duties severe. In many cases, the 
turns lor guard duty came every other day. In addition to other du 
ties, a detail of forty men from the regiment was required to report 
daily, at Battery Vermont, to complete the extension of that work. 

The interest of the National Anniversary at Fort Franklin, was 
enhanced by the presentation of a flag to Company A, Captain Taber, 
the gift of the ladies of the Fifth Ward, in Providence. It had been 
the intention that the presentation should be made by the Chaplain, 
but in consequence of illness he was unable to be present, and in his 
place Mr. YV, P. Hood, a student of Brown University, made the 
presentation address, which was responded to by Captain Taber. 
The flag was then hoisted to the head of the staff by Lieutenants Ben 
nett and Belcher, amid the cheers of all present. Refreshments fol 
lowed, and the ceremonies were closed with renewed cheers for the 


flag, and for the donors. On the 28th of July, Company G, Captain 
Greene, had a flag raising at Fort Gaines, which called forth patri 
otic speeches from Chaplain. Clapp, Adjutant Tobey, Captains Gallup 
and Duckworth, Lieutenants Allen and Pierce, Dr. King, Sergeant A. 
J. Manchester, (Principal of the Prospect Street Grammar School, 
Providence,) and others. The stars and stripes floated over the fort 
for the first time, and were flung to the breeze amid reiterated cheers. 

About the 1st of August, an epidemic fever broke out at Fort De 
Russey, and twenty-two men from Company D. were at one time on 
the sick list. As the fever decreased at this post, it appeared at Fort 
Pennsylvania, and in companies 13 and K, for some time after the de 
tails of the day were made, not half a dozen men from both could be 
mustered for company drill. On the 6th of August, Colonel Bliss 
having been ordered home to take command of the 7th regiment, took 
leave of the Tenth in a general order, in which he tendered his thanks 
to the officers and enlisted men for the cheerful faithfulness with which 
they had discharged all the duties required of them, and giving assur 
ances of his entire satisfaction with their conduct while under his 
command. On the departure of Colonel Bliss, Lieutenant Colonel 
Shaw assumed the command, and on the 22d received a commission 
as Colonel of the regiment, Captain Hale being also commissioned 
Lieutenant Colonel. Colonel Shaw was a valuable officer, and dis 
charged his duties with spirit. Ever watchful for the comfort of 
his men, one of his earliest acts was to apply to General Sturgis 
for a release of his regiment from the daily details of laborers 
for Battery Vermont, on the ground that the hard work and exposure 
to the sun, with the thermometer ranging from 100 to 130, was 
daily increasing his already large sick list A verbal reply to this 
application, through Lieutenant Colonel Haskin, was, in substance, 
that a requisition for "contrabands" had been made, but as they had 
not been obtained, the regiment must do all the work it was able. 
The details were therefore continued until it was ordered home. The 
task was a thankless one, which the men justly felt that idle hands 
in Washington might have better been employed to do. To dig, they 
were not ashamed. To endure any needful hardship and exposure, 
they were always ready; but they could not see the reasonableness 
or propriety of being taken daily from their duties as soldiers, and 
put to the service of common laborers, when there were hundreds of 
contrabands lounging idly about the streets in Washington, living at 
public charge, and rendering no return for what they received, who 
could have performed this same labor without detriment to their 
health, and with decided advantage to their morals. However, grum 
bling was no part of their desire, whatever may have been their sense 
of injustice ; the orders to toil in the trenches were still promptly 
obeyed, and a large amount of work performed. 

It was a pleasant circumstance, in this short campaign, that the 
regiment was officered by gentlemen well known as citizens to the 
rank and file. Their previous social and military acquaintance en 
gendered a mutual regard that greatly facilitated discipline, and en 
sured order and becoming courtesy in camp. And while justice ac 
cords an honorable testimony to all the officers, for the manner in 
which they discharged their duties, it will not be invidious to refer 


particularly to one of their number, whose former position, as the 
chief magistrate of the State, gave increased value to the service now 
rendered. At the very commencement of our national troubles, Ex- 
Governor Dyer took a strong and decided stand in support of the 
government, and by personal effort as well as by earnest appeals, did 
much to arouse the spirit that burst into a patriotic flame all over the 
State. In the organization of the National Guard, he actively en 
gaged, and was chosen Captain of the Fourth Ward company, which, 
under his command, was brought into fine discipline. In volunteer 
ing without hesitation or delay, to meet a crisis which was then be 
lieved to involve the serious consequences of the battle-field, he set 
a meritorious example widely appreciated, and that, in its beneficial 
effects, was immediately visible. As soon as it was known that he 
had done so, the ranks of his company were filled, including fifty- 
nine young men from Brown University and the upper classes of the 
Providence High School. With a just comprehension of the obliga 
tions of an officer, and with a deep sense of the more than ordinary 
responsibilities that rested upon him, he maintained towards the men 
under his command the relations of an interested friend. By timely 
counsel to the inexperienced, by watchful care of their health, and by 
manly moral courage in sustaining their rights, he secured universal 
confidence and respect ; and among the recollections of three months, 
by no means free from vexations and trials, the intercourse between 
the commander and the privates of company B will ever be preserved 
by the latter in grateful memories. 

Reference has already been made to the Chaplain, whose duties 
were so varied and so usefully performed. It is due to those with 
whom he was associated, to add, that his situation was rendered ex 
ceedingly pleasant by the cordial and hearty support given him by 
every officer in tha regiment ; and though attendance upon Sabbath 
worship was never coerced, the congregations were uniformly large, 
the hearing attentive, and the direct and indirect effect, in the highest 
degree, satisfactory. The beneficial results were seen not merely on 
the Lord s day, in the quiet of the camp, and in other external signs 
of respect for holy time, but in the vocabulary of the week day, and 
the homelike manner of passing the hours when not on duty. At the 
close of the day, instead of gathering in knots for the indulgence of 
boisterous vulgarity, or paining sensitive ears with obscene songs 1 
groups might often be seen, as the evening twilight gathered, blend 
ing their voices in some favorite hymn, or filling the air with patriotic 
strains. The fruits of the Chaplain s labors demonstrated the fact, 
that with the office properly filled, and the sympathetic support of 
officers who understand the value of the moral element in the disci 
pline and effectiveness of a regiment, it is possible to maintain as high 
a standard of character in the camp as is found among a correspond 
ing number of persons exposed to the temptations of civic life. But 
without such chaplains and such officers, results like thcs-e are impos 

The term for which the Tenth volunteered had now nearly expired, 
and on the 21st of August, Colonel Shaw received a note from Lieu 
tenant Colonel Haskin, A. D. 0., asking if the regiment would be 
willing to be sworn in for an extra term of from two to four weeks, 


until it could be relieved by another regiment, and that one be instructed 
in the heavy artillery drill. To this a negative answer was given, the 
reasons for which the following letter explains : 

Fort Pa., Aug. 22, 18U2. J 

COLONEL: Yours of the 21st, requesting the regiment to remain two 
or three weeks or one month after the expiration of their term of service, 
is received, and has been laid before the regiment. I regret to say that 
it has not met their approbation, though, when all the circumstances are 
considered, I am not surprised at the result. 

You will remember that the regiment started from Rhode Island at 
twenty-four hours notice, coming only for the emergency, and expecting 
to be relieved within a month. Many of them left important business 
matters and permanent situations that they feel must be attended to. 
They will have staid, on the 26th instant, the longest time, as they under 
stood it when they left home, that would possibly be required of them, 
and have made their arrangements expecting to be at home at that time. 
We have many amongst us, who are expecting positions in the regiments 
to be sent from our State, and many that are now being offered by many 
of the towns. These all wish to go. The epidemic fever which now pre 
vails at Fort Pennsylvania, has a great influence. Sick men always wish 
to go home. Under these circumstances, I trust you will do the regiment 
the justice to believe that its disinclination to stay is not from any lack of 
patriotism, or desire to comply with every wish of the government. So 
much we think was manifested by the readiness with which they volun 
teered for what then appeared immediate, active service, and the cheer 
fulness with which they have served through the longest time mentioned 
as the limit of our stay. I trust our reply, when thus explained, will 
meet the approbation of General Barnard. 

I am, sir, very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 
(Signed,) JAMES SHAW, JR., 

Lieut. Col. Commanding. 
To Lieut. Colonel Haskin, A. D. C. 

This reply was perfectly satisfactoiy to Colonel Haskin, who said 
that he did not think the regiment should have been called upon to 
stay, and that, had General Barnard (who had just assumed the com 
mand) understood the circumstances, he would not have made the 

But though these reasons were entirely sufficient in the sight of 
military men on the spot, who perfectly understood the case, there 
were those who persisted in continuing to ask, and often in a cynical 
spirit, "Why did you not stay ?" " How is it that you come home 
just now ?" These questions were answered by the Chaplain, and his 
reply is here quoted: "They came home because their work was 
done. They went out to defend the Capital for three months, and so 
far as God gave them the ability, they did it. It was all they had to 
do. It was everything they were called to do. The regiment did its 
work, and received the commendations of those who had its direc 
tion. It went where it was ordered, and did what it was ordered, 
nobly and soldierly. That the regiment did not go into battle was 
not its fault. It was placed where the exigencies of the service re 
quired, and the labors peiformed were not mere sportive recreations. 
It was not the kind of work they had expected. But, nevertheless, 


without saying what they liked or disliked, they did it cheerfully ; 
and cheerful and ready obedience are the true qualifications of the sol 
dier. It is easy to criticise. Let those who do so, go and see if they 
can do better." For vindication, if such be necessary, this is suf 

On the 24th of August, the 113th New York took their post at the 
several forts and batteries, and on the 25th, the 10th Ilhode Island 
and the 10th battery started for home, passing through Baltimore, 
Harrisburg and Easton to Elizabethport. There, a steamer was taken 
for Providence, where the regiment and battery arrived on the morn 
ing of the 28th. A pleasant reception awaited them from expectant 
friends. A salute of thirty-four guns was fired by a section of bat 
tery H, under command of Lieutenant Thomas S. Anthony. The 
First Ward Light Guard, Captain Nathan J. Smith, performed escort 
duty, and accompanied by the Marine Artillery, the regiment marched 
to Exchange Place, where they were dismissed to their several ar 
mories, to partake of generous hospitalities. They were mustered out 
of service September 1st. The regiment returned with 674 men, 
twenty-five reported as unfit for duty, and three left behind in hospi 
tals sick. Two died, viz., Frederick Atwoocl, of Providence, at the 
hospital in Georgetown, July 30th, of typhoid fever ; and Matthew 
M. Meggett, of Pawtucket, at Fort Pennsylvania, of the fever then 
prevailing. The remains of both were brought home. Both of the 
deceased were good men, faithful soldiers, and highly esteemed. Mr. 
Meggett had been a student in Brown University, and intended, when 
his studies were completed, to prepare himself for the Christian min 
istry. His sickness was borne with Christian fortitude, and his de 
parture peaceful. 

In his final report to the Governor, Colonel Shaw says : "Of the 
character and conduct of the regiment, I cannot speak in too high 
praise. It was all that could be asked. The guard-house was an 
almost useless institution. We were permitted to perform but an 
humble part in the great struggle for all that we hold most dear ; but 
I hope that that part was well done, and that it will meet your ap 
proval and the approval of the citizens of our honored State." 



(Commissioned and Non-commissioned.) 

Colonel EDWIN METCALF. Colonel, 3d H. A., November llth, 

Colonel GEORGE E. CHURCH, 1862. 
Lieutenant Colonel JOHN T. PITMAN. 


Major NATHAN F. Moss. Promoted from Captain, November 
oth, 1862. 


Quartermaster JOHN L. CLARK. 1st Lieutenant, llthR. I. ; re 
signed, October 1st, 1862 ; 1st Lieutenant and Quartermaster, 12th 
11. I. regiment, October Oth, 1862. 

Quartermaster HENRY S. OLNEY. 1st Lieutenant, 3d II. A., 
January 29th, 1862 ; resigned, August 6th, 1862 ; Quartermaster, 
llth K. I., October 1st, 1862. 



Chaplain JOHN B. GOTJLD. 

Sergeant Major JOHN PITMAN. 

Quartermaster Sergeant SAMUEL W. TILLINGHAST. 

Commissary Sergeant JAMES ZIMMERMAN. 

Hospital Steward JACOB S. PERVEAR, Jr. 

Captains -William H. Ayer, Charles W. Thrasher, Charles H. 
Parkhurst, Thomas W. Gorton, Jr., Hopkins B. Cady, Edward Taft, 
Amos G. Thomas, Nathan F. Moss, Joseph H. Kendrick, William A. 
Mowry, Joel Metcalf. 

Various causes combined to promote enlistments for the nine 
months regiments, in the summer and fall of 1862.* The disastrous 
issue of McClellan s campaign on the Peninsula had impressed on 
every loyal mind the need of new sacrifices and of more strenuous 
efforts. Still under the delusion that the failures of the Army of the 
Potomac were caused by inadequacy of force, the North believed that 
overwhelming numbers of troops must be at once mustered to prevent 
yet more fatal calamities. The timid gladly offered exhortations and 
money, in order to hasten volunteering which was to avoid the neces 
sity of a draft. The short term of service attracted many whom duties 
at home and unwarlike tastes forbade to enter, for the longer period, 
on the duties of the soldier, while the enormous bounties offered by 
States, towns, and even individuals, rendered a brief devotion to the 
country not pecuniarily unprofitable. 

The llth regiment was enlisted during the month of September, 
amidst unusual demonstrations of patriotic enthusiasm. Meetings of 
citizens were held almost daily, at which men of all professions, dis 
daining the common exhortation Go, came forward to urge the more 
effectual plea Come. As the companies were filled, they went into 
camp on the Dexter Training Ground, in Providence. Here they 
learned their first military lessons, amidst a throng of friends Avho 
crowded the grounds, to cheer with every form of sympathy, the last 
few days the soldiers were to spend at home. From respect to the 
memory of General Stevens, then recently killed in battle, this camp 
was named " Camp Stevens." The regiment was organized by Cap 
tain A. C. Eddy, a staff officer of the State militia, and delivered to 
Colonel Edwin Metcalf, early in October. The appointment of this 

* ! This sketch was furnished by a member of the regiment. 


accomplished officer to command the llth was very popular with the 
whole regiment. Every private and every officer learned to regard 
him with affection ; and it was with sincere regret that we parted with 
him, when, after commanding the regiment a little more than a month, 
he left it to fill a more important position. Lieutenant Colonel John 
T. Pitman remained with us during the entire nine months, and won, 
to a rare degree, our respect and confidence. 

The regiment was recruited, almost wholly, in Providence and the 
immediate vicinity. Two companies, B and F, were furnished mostly 
by Pawtucket and Central Falls. Of the city companies, two, I and 
K, were recruited under the auspices of the Young Men s Christian 
Association. The quotas of the several wards of the city were dis 
tributed among the remaining companies. Of the general character 
of the men composing the regiment, it may be said, that it was fully 
equal to that of the average of regiments in our army. Whatever in 
tellectual superiority may be inferred from an extraordinary amount 
of letter-writing, may be attributed, in large measure, to the men of 
the llth Rhode Island. 

Shortly before the departure of the! Eleventh, a handsome regula 
tion national flag was presented to it by the ladies of Providence, 
through Hon. William M. Rodman, who represented the donors in a 
neat and appropriate speech, and to which a suitable reply was made 
by Lieutenant J. T. Edwards. The flag bore on the field the motto, 
" God and the Constitution," and on the centre stripe, the name of 
the regiment. 

On the evening of the 6th of October, the regiment left Providence 
by a special train, on the Stonington railroad. It arrived in Wash 
ington on the evening of the 8th. That night we spread our blankets 
on the filthy floor of the barracks, near the depot, and slept soundly, 
after the fatigues of our tedious journey. Before the order came to 
fall in, the next morning, almost every man had found an opportunity 
to tell, in a letter to his friends at home, how cruelly the government 
provides for the transportation of its brave defenders. From this 
pleasing occupation, we were roused by the order to prepare to march. 
We moved to a dusty plain on East Capitol Hill, and there pitched 
our tents. The regiment remained here until Saturday, when we 
broke camp and began a new march. Passing through Washington 
and Georgetown, we marched up the Potomac, across Chain Bridge, 
to a spot near Fort Ethan Allen, where we bivouacked for the night. 
On Sunday morning, we moved to a beautiful camping-ground, in an 
orchard, about a mile from the fort, where we pitched (Tur second 
camp. After little more than a week pleasantly spent here, in drill 
ing, we struck our tents and packed our baggage for a new change of 
position, on the 21st. Having camped for a single night in a field 
near its destination, the regiment took its position on Miner s Hill, 
on Wednesday, the 22d. 

In these three weeks, the raw recruits of the Eleventh had wonder 
fully enlarged their experience. They had learned the wholesome 
lesson that the individual soldier moves in an infinitcsimally small 
orbit, and that his importance is an inappreciable element in the events 
he witnesses. At home, he had relations of more or less complexity 
with society and the State. Here, he was cut off from all possibility 



of exerting large influences, arid stood to his neighbor in no deeper 
relation than that of file-leader. To " cover square" was his duty to 
his fellow-man. The raw recruit had been marched into a field late 
on a chilly evening, and told that he might sleep there that night. 
He had found that this was easy to do, and that it did not give him 
an asthma or an influenza. This increased his self-respect. It was a 
manly, soldierly feat to scorn a roof and sleep under the stars, amid 
the falling dews. He had layi in dust and dirt, and had learned that 
this is not so really bad as it is unbecoming. The recruit had not 
simply entered into new hardships ; he had gotten rid of innumerable 
old ones. With a minimum of responsibility to bear, no forethought 
to exercise, no need to use his accumulated knowledge, he gave his 
mental faculties a genuine vacation, and exulted in the development 
of his bodily strength and endurance. 

At Miner s HiH, the regiment was brigaded with the 40th Massa 
chusetts, -141st New York, 22d Connecticut, a Virginia regiment, and 
a battery of light artillery. These camps were in near proximity to 
each other, the llth occupying the highest ground on the summit of 
the hill. The brigade was commanded by General Robert Cowdin, 
formerly Colonel of the 1st Massachusetts, at this time a nominee of 
the President to the office of Brigadier General, and who subsequent 
ly failed of confirmation by the Senate. None of the men in General 
Cowdin s command were able to appreciate the motives which weigh 
ed with the senators in their rejection of this officer. 

Miner s Hill was one of the military positions that constituted the 
defences of Washington. It is situated just at the North-west corner 
of the square area formerly embraced within the District of Columbia. 
The duties of the brigade stationed here were, besides the regular drill 
and guard duty, to picket its portion of the front of the defences, and 
to be on the alert to repel any raid which the enemy might suddenly 
make towards the Capitol. The turn for both picket and guard du 
ties came to each company once in about eight or ten days. An abun 
dance of time was thus left for drill, which cur commanders did not 
fail to improve. In the forenoon, special hours were assigned for the 
instruction of the companies in the bayonet exercise, and in skirmish 
ing, and in the afternoon, long and rapid battalion drills inured us to 
the fatigue ot bearing arms. During the months of November and De 
cember, the regiment attained a proficiency in military exercises which 
no subsequent practice ever enabled it to surpass. The picket duty 
at this position was devoid of danger and excitement. Now and then 
a deserter from the Army of the Potomac, far beyond us at the front, 
was arrested in his vain attempt to reach his home, but no collision 
with the enemy occurred while the regiment remained in this camp. 
About 12 o clock on the night of Sunday, the 28th of December, we 
heard, for the first time, the long roll In consequence of an alarm, 
occasioned by the approach of a body of rebel cavalry, a movement 
wa* made, in the vain hope of cutting off their retreat. Three re<ii- 
ments, including the llth, of C owdin s brigade, made a midnight 
march of four or five miles to the front, remained under arms the next 
day at a spot known as Mill s Cross Roads, and iu the evening were 
counter-marched back to camp. 

Early in November, Lieutenant Colonel Pitman succeeded to the 


command of the regiment, in consequence of the departure of Colonel 
Metcalf, who went to Hilton Head, S. C., to take command of the 
3d regiment Heavy Artillery. The vacant Majorship was filled by 
the promotion of Captain Moss, of Company II. 

As the cold season advanced, the men learned the various shifts by 
which comfort is secured, even by dwellers in tents, in a country 
abounding in rain and mud. 1 he neighboring pines yielded the mate 
rial for stockading the tents, and even for building huts, which, well 
plastered wilh the adhesive Sacred, were proof against water, air and 
light. Numerous packages of creature comforts from the thoughtful 
friends at home, reproduced for us, as far as was possible, a New 
England Thanksgiving, and enlivened the winter holidays with pleas 
ant cheer. 

Although Miner s Hill had become somewhat of a home for us, 
yet, on the morning of the 14th of January, the regiment fell into line 
with alacrity, under orders to move to a new camp, there to perform 
new duties. The monotonous, unheroic, unsoldierly work of guard 
ing a convalescent camp, was destined to be its service for the next 
three months. Picket duty was no longer performed ; drill, except 
the scantiest, was of necessity neglected, and the military spirit of 
the men sadly declined. Far from the front, within the defences of 
"Washington, it was almost as remote from any possibility of collision 
with the enemy, as the citizens of the Capitol itself. Veterans of the 
Army of the Potomac, old Campaigners of the Peninsula, as we after 
wards found, envied us such a safe, snug birth. But we, being young 
in the service, and still afflicted with the verdant folly of military 
enthusiasm, had set our hearts on seeing the front. 

The Convalescent Camp lies on the London and Hampshire Rail 
road, three or four miles from Alexandria, and about as fur from 
Washington. Fort Richardson, and one or two other fortifications, 
overlook the valley in which it is situated. In January, 1863, it con 
sisted of a vast number of tents of all kinds, covering many acres of 
ground, and disposed apparently without regularity. The place reek 
ed with filth and vile odors. A great quadrangle of barrack build 
ings, fifry in number, was, at this time approaching completion, but 
had not yet been occupied by troops. In this loathsome camp were 
congregated soldiers of all regiments, just discharged from hospitals, 
awaiting complete recovery, in order to be sent again into the field. 
Their numbers varied greatly from day to day, reaching sometimes as 
high as six or eight thousand. 

The authorities of the Convalescent Camp had found difficulty in 
its management, from the reluctance of the men to be sent to their 
regiments in the field. Mtn would absent thpmselves from c<.mp in 
order to avoid the roll-call, which would include them in the squad 
ready to go forward to the front. Coercion therefore became neces-snry. 
Aguard must be put around the convalescent patriots to secure their 
presence in camp This was the service assigiu d to the Eleventh. 

For this puipose the regiment was detached from ("owdin s biigade, 
and placi d as guards under command of Lieutenant Colonel McKel- 
esy, an officer of General Ili-int/.elman s staff, in charge of the Con- 
vale -cent Camp. In this position, it was included within the com 
mand of Brigadier General JSlough, military governor of Alexandria. 


So long was the line of sentinels required to surround this vast 
camp, that one-half of the regiment was required to do guard duty 
each day. The work naturally became tedious. The deep mud and 
slush, and the horrid camp filth, rendered the operation of posting 
guards in the night formidable in no slight degree. The onerous 
duty fell to the soldier every alternate day. The sarcastic convales 
cents soon learned all the circumstances pertaining to their guards 
which were most convenient for jeers and gibes. The short term of 
service which, in their sober moods, they confessed they envied us, 
and the large premiums offered for even this short term, were made 
the theme for every form of taunt and insult, and flung into the teeth 
of our patient sentinels. The only heroic features in our position 
were, that we obeyed orders the highest duty of the soldier and 
honestly longed to be out of the odious service to which it had been, 
our ill fortune to be assigned. 

On the 23d of January, Colpnel Horatio Rogers, formerly Major in 
the 3d Heavy Artillery, arrived in camp, and took command of the 
regiment. Though Colonel Rogers remained with us less than a fort 
night, yet, in this brief time, he made an excellent impression on offi 
cers and men, and. by his enthusiasm for military enterprise, and his 
decided disgust with the work he found us doing, inspired some 
hopes that we might be marched away from the stench, filth, and ob 
scenity of the Convalescent Camp, to the clear air of the camps on 
the Rappahannock. But before we fairly knew him, our second 
colonel left us, as the first had done, to command a veteran regiment 
in a more honorable field. 

By a general order of Colonel Rogers, our camp received the pop 
ular designation of Camp Metcalf. 

On the 3d of February, Companies C and K were ordered to the 
Camp of Distribution, near Fairfax Seminary. Though breaking 
camp in winter is by no means an enviable task, yet these companies 
gained, on the whole, by the change. The Camp of Distribution 
was, at that time, situated on the Leesburg Turnpike, a mile or two 
from Alexandria. Its site was elevated and healthful. The purpose 
subserved by this camp was, the distribution! of the men discharged 
from hospitals, and the numerous stragglers, gathered from all parts 
of the country, to their respective regiments. On the 18th of March, 
the Camp of Distribution having been removed to the immediate vici 
nity of the Convalescent Camp, companies C and K rejoined the 

At Camp Metcalf, the regiment enjoyed the comfort of Sibley tents, 
well stockaded and floored. The requisite lumber was procured 
from Washington, at the expense of the men themselves. By strictly 
enforcing the performance of police duties, a good degree of comeli 
ness and neatness had been attained in camp. A fine brass band, 
composed of members of the regiment, was here organized, and after 
due time spent in the work of preparation, made its appearance at 
dress parade in the last days of winter. This band always remained 
an object of pride to the re giment, and did very much to relieve the 
tedium of its unexciting duties. Passes to Washington and Alexan 
dria, both for officers and men, were not difficult to obtain. Our three 
months at Camp Metcalf were therefore passed in comparative luxu- 


ry. But in justice to the regiment as a whole, it should be stated, 
that the prevailing spirit among the men was dissatisfaction with their 
duties at this position. 

On the 20th of March, Colonel George E. Church took command 
of the regiment, and continued with it till the expiration of its term 
of service. 

On Sunday, the 12th of April, orders were issued which at once 
produced a commotion, quite unprecedented at Camp Metcalf. March 
ing orders to go we knew not whither seven days rations to be ta 
ken, baggage to be cut down to a minimum, these were startling 
innovations in the monotony of our guard duties. Sunday, and the 
two following days were spent in packing, for transportation to Rhode 
Island, all ot our accumulated baggage which could not be carried 
on a march, and in vainly conjecturing what could be the destination 
of so many troops as we knew were ordered from the city of Wash 
ington. Less than three months now remained of the term for which 
we had entered the service. As yet, we had not seen the enemy, and 
had almost despaired of being gratified with that pleasant spectacle. 
Now, we were confident, our aspirations were to be realized. The 
regiment therefore fell cheerfully into line in the midst of an April 
lain, on the morning of the loth, and bade a hearty and noisy fare 
well to the Convalescent Camp, of unblessed memory. The satisfac 
tion of the men at quitting the ignoble service they had performed for 
three months, prevented much regret on giving up to others the win 
ter quarters which they had taken so much pains to construct. 

It was quite agreeable, on the wet and muddy morning, to be taken 
to Alexandiia by railroad. Here we found several steamers at the 
wharves, and the bustle of embarkation of a considerable number of 
troops. The llth was marched aboard the ancient steamer "Hero." 
On this venerable relic, we had the usual luck of troops aboard trans 
ports, crowded amid filth and wet, but were nevertheless abundantly 
jovial, indulging our last jokes on the Convalescent Camp. An after 
noon s sail brought us to Matthias Point, off which the Hero lay at 
anchor during the night. Thursday was occupied in steaming down 
the Chesapeake. Other boats, carrying soldiers in the same direction, 
were constantly in sight. At sunset we rounded Old Point Comfort, 
and stopped a few minutes off Fort Monroe, to send a messenger 
ashore. Thence, during twilight and early evening, we proceeded up 
Hampton Roads and the Elizabeth River, to Norfolk, arriving about 
nine o clock. After disembarking and waiting several hours for 
transportation, the regiment took a train on the Norfolk and Peters 
burg railroad, and early the next morning found itself in Suffolk. 

Suffolk, commanding from its position two important railways of 
the South, had been occupied and fortified by the Federal Govern 
ment, as the key of the important port of Norfolk. Its importance 
was well understood by the rebel leaders, and its defences had been 
established on a scale commensurate with the probabilities of an at 
tempt to repossess it. It had been garrisoned during the winter by 
Federal troops, who had erected extensive fortifications, and mount 
ed many heavy guns. We found the town completely surrounded 
by earthworks, consisting of numerous forts and batteries, which 
were connected by breast- works and rifle-pits. 


About a fortnight before our arrival, a large rebel force under Long- 
street had appeared before Suffolk, to attempt its recapture. Foiled 
in his endeavors to surprise the garrison, the rebel general had, as 
far as possible, invested the town, and commenced the construction 
of formidable works, apparently with a view to a siege. The complete 
investment of Suffolk was however impossible, because our gunboats 
had control of the Nanscmond river, and the Dismal Swamp consti 
tuted, on the side towards Norfolk, a very effectual defence. Com 
munication with Norfolk was, therefoie, at no period of the opera 
tions, cut off, and reinforcements were easily and rapidly brought by 
rail to the very spot where they were needed. The necessity of se 
curing the position against the large show of rebel force, was the rea 
son why so many regiments had been ordered from the vicinity of 
"Washington down the Chesapeake. 

At Suffolk, the Eleventh was annexed to the brigade of General 
Terry, who commanded the western front of the defences, A camp 
ing-ground was assigned to it near the head-quarters of Major Gen 
eral Peck, not far from the bridge over the Naiisemond, known as the 
Drawbridge. Here the regiment pitched, for the first time, its shelter 
tents. These tents had been furnished to the men at Miner s Hill, 
but had never before come into requisition. Stockaded with lumber 
obtained from houses destroyed in the town, they formed very pleas- 
and healthful summer quarters. Our camp-ground was almost sur 
rounded with valleys through which flowed brooks, furnishing 
abundant facilities for washing and bathing. 

By an order of the Colonel, this camp received its name from 
the regimental surgeon, and was henceforth known as " Camp 

Like all other towns of Virginia which have come within the ope 
rations of the contending armies, Suffolk presented a very desolate 
and repulsive appearance. Before the war, it had evidently been a 
dilapidated place, containing hardly a single building that showed 
signs of thrift and enterprise. Now all the activity in its streets was 
military. Very many of the houses and nearly all the public build 
ings were occupied as hospitals, quartermasters storehouses, or as 
head-quarters of generals. Except the negroes, very few of the origi 
nal inhabitants remained, and these few were mostly women and 
children. A large number of negroes had gathered here, many of 
them refugees from points further west and south, whose labor was 
usefully employed on the works which were in process of construc 

Our first impressions of Suffolk were wholly novel. Hardly had 
we stepped from the cars before we perceived, from the reports of ar 
tillery and musketry, that the enemy was not far distant. While we 
pitched our camp, a neighboring battery was keeping up a constant 
fire. By looking carefully into the edge of the woods which skirted 
the fields beyond the river, we could see the grey-coats themselves. 

The regiment was at once set about duties wholly different from 
anything it had done before. At night, large details were made to 
work with the spade and the pick on fortifications whose exposed 
positions prevented all operations on their exterior by day. A detail 
of several companies was made each night, to lie under arms in the 


batteries, ready to repel an attack. All drill was necessarily omitted, 
the men needing the day to recover from the fatigue of the night. 
Frequently the regiment was ordered into line on some sudden appre 
hension of an attack, but as often broke ranks and returned to quar 
ters. Except an abundance of fatigue duty, constructing and 
strengthening breastworks and garrisoning batteries at night, the regi 
ment had little to do until the enemy withdrew his forces. 

On Sunday, the 3d of May, a reconnoissance in force was made 
beyond the Nansemond, to ascertain if the enemy was still present in 
force. The Eleventh received orders to be ready to march, and con 
fidently expected to meet the enemy. The regiment remained under 
arms during the entire day. From our camp, we saw the troops pass 
over the drawbridge and form line of battle in the fields beyond the 
river, while the skirmishers deployed, and, advancing towards the 
woods, soon drew the rebel fire. A scattering fire of musketry, with 
some artillery practice, was kept up till night. A considerable num 
ber of killed and wounded, brought in on the ambulances, showed 
that there had been serious work at the front. As the day waned, 
and no orders came for us to cross the river, we saw that it was as 
reserve that we had been acting, and that we should not participate in 
the action. At sunset, the regiment was marched to a line of breast 
works on our own fide of the river, and there spent the night without 
alarm. The next day it was ascertained that, during the night, the 
enemy had retired beyond the Blackwater, and that Suffolk was no 
longer invested. 

After the retirement of the enemy, the duties of the regiment be 
came somewhat different. Fatigue work still remained to be done. 
A line of strong earth- works which the enemy had constructed, four 
or five miles from the town, was to be demolished. The fortifications 
of the town itself were to be strengthened. But daily drills were now 
established, and the regiment advanced cnce more in military pre 
cision and discipline. Its dress parades were especial commendations. 
Details were sent out on picket on the road leading to the town. 

On the 16th of May, the regiment was ordered to join a large force 
which had been sent out a few days before, for the purpose of taking 
up the rails on the Norfolk and Petersburg and the Seaboard and 
Roanoke Railroads. As the rebels had no military posts east of the 
Blackwater, a considerable portion of each of these roads was open to 
the operations of our army. Considering the immense value of rail 
road iron to the Southern Confederacy, the deprivation of so large a 
quantity of it was thought to be a serious blow. On this expedition, 
the regiment was absent from camp eleven days, bivouacking at va 
rious points near the railroads, and acting, with many other regi 
ments, as guard to the working party. Once, during this time, our 
picket companies were attacked by a force of the enemy on the road 
leading to Zuni, and succeeded, after a sharp skirmish, in forcing 
them to fall back. 

The term of service cf the regiment was now drawing to a close ; 
but its severest duty yet remained to be performed. On the 12th of 
June, a large force of infantry, artillery and cavalry, including the 
Eleventh, left Suffolk under command of Brigadier General Corcoran, 
and took its march eastward toward the Blackwater. During the 


next six days, these troops marched a distance averaging nearly twenty 
miles a day. The most plausible conjecture as to the object of this 
movement seems to be that it was a reconnoissance in force, prepara 
tory to the evacuation of Suffolk, which shortly afterwards took place. 
The troops were halted and formed in line of battle, once in the 
vicinity of South Quay ; once near Zuni, and twice in the neighbor 
hood of Franklin. On these occasions the artillery threw shell into 
the enemy works, but without eliciting any reply. At Franklin, a 
collision between our cavalry and the rebel pickets resulted in a few 
casualties. The manner in which this march was conducted seemed 
to be the one most adapted to weaken and disable the men, and 
weaken their confidence in their commander. General Corcoran fre 
quently did not begin his day s march till nearly noon, and then con 
tinued it, with only the briefest halts, till late in the evening. Such 
toil, under the burdens which the soldier has to carry, and in the tor 
rid June sun of South Virginia, was painful in the extreme. Under a 
judicious and skillful leader, a distance of twenty miles a day, for 
several days, may be accomplished, even under a burning sun, with 
out greatly injuring the efficiency of the troops. But the regiments 
which General Corcoran led to the Blackwater returned to Suffolk on 
the 18th, straggling, exhausted and disgusted. 

Arriving in Camp Perry, we found orders to be ready to break camp 
immediately, to move again, we knew not whither. One night was 
allowed for rest, and on the morning of the 19th, we left Suffolk in 
the cars. At Norfolk the regiment was transferred to the steamer 
Maple Leaf. We awoke the next morning off Yorktown. After dis 
embarkation, we pitched a camp a short distance below the town, 
near the banks of the York river, outside of the fortifications. While 
at this position, we were intensely interested to visit the famous 
works constructed by McClellan, at the outset of the Peninsular cam 
paign. But far more memorable were the traces of that other siege of 
Yorktown, from which the hostile general could not escape, and which 
honorably closed a long war, instead of commencing a series of dis 
asters. 9 

The evident object of the movement to the Peninsula was to threat 
en an attack on Richmond from that quarter, and thereby effect a 
diversion In favor of Hooker who was, at that time, manoeuvreing to 
prevent Lee from crossing into Pennsylvania. Most of the force 
which had garrisoned Suffolk was withdrawn for this purpose After 
a day of rest on Sunday, the Eleventh marched on the morning of the 
22d, with many other regiments, to Williamsburg. That night we 
bivouacked near tho battle-field. On Tuesday, we saw our compan 
ions continue their march up the Peninsula, while we, on account of 
the near expiration of our term of service, were distributed among the 
forts and redoubts ot Williamsburg. Here the regiment remained 
till the evening of the 30th, when it Avas relieved and commenced its 
march towards Yorktown. After marching all night, it reached its 
camp at sunrise on the morning of the 1st of July. 

At Miner s Hill, the religious needs of the regiment were among 
the earliest provided for. A large and convenient log building was 
erected for a chapel, and occupied for Sabbath exercises, and also for 
weekly social conferences, which were freely participated in by offi- 



cers and men. The meetings on the Sabbath were usually well at 
tended, and the influences of a primitive worship beneficial. During 
the entire term of service, devotional exercises were held by the Chap 
lain at dress parade, except when the weather or the separated condi 
tion of the regiment prevented. At Suffolk, meetings of much interest 
were often held in the open air. 

Relieved from active duty, we now waited only for transportation, 
to embark for home. On the evening oi the 2d, we broke camp and 
marched down to the wharf, where the propeller John Rice was al 
ready taking aboard the baggage. After resting all night on the sand 
of the beach, we embarked in the morning, and soon were steaming 
out of the Chesapeake into the open sea. On the evening of Saturday, 
the 4th, we entered New York Harbor, and anchored for the night in 
North River. During Sunday night, we lay at anchor near the eas 
tern end of the Sound. Starting again on Monday morning, we 
reached Providence at noon, and disembarked among a crowd of 
friends, who had gathered to welcome us home. Colonel Paine s 
regiment of militia escorted the Eleventh to Railroad Hall, where, 
after partaking of a generous collation, we broke ranks ; and, in a 
few days thereafter, were mustered out of the service. 


(Commissioned and Non-commissioned.) 


Lieutenant Colonel JOSEPH P. BALCH, temporarily. 
Lieutenant Colonel GEORGE LEWIS COOKE, temporarily. 
Lieutenant Colonel JAMES SHAW. Jr. December 31st, 1862. 
Major GEORGE LEWIS COOKE, temporarily. 

Adjutant JOHN TURNEB. 1st Lieutenant ; resigned, December 
25th, 1862. 

Adjutant OSCAR LAPHAM. 1st Lieutenant ; promoted to Captain. 
Assistant Surgeon HENHY KING; resigned. 
Assistant Surgeon PROSPER K. HUTCHINSON ; resigned. 
Assistant Surgeon SAMUEL M. FLETCHER. 
Chaplain SAMUEL W. FIELD. 
Quartermaster JOHN L. CLARKE. 
Sergeant Major JOHN P. ABBOTT. Promoted. 
Sergeant Major DANIEL R. BALI-OU. Promoted. 


Sergeant Major CHARLES POTTER. Promoted. 
Sergeant Major WILLIAM H. LINDSEY. Promoted. 
Sergeant Major JOHN F. DOWNES. 
Quartermaster Sergeant PARDON E. TILLINGHAST. 
Commissary Sergeant AMASA F. EDDY. 
Hospital Steward FRANK H. CARPENTER. 

Captains Edward S. Cheney, (resigned,) Christopher H. Alexan 
der, James M. Longstreet, James H. Allen, George C. Almy, (re 
signed,) John P. Abbott, 1st Lieutenant George H. Taber, (acting Cap 
tain,) John J. Phillips, William E. Hubbard, William C. Rogers, 
Oliver H. Perry, George A, Spink, 1st Lieutenant Edmund Fales, (act 
ing Captain,) Oscar Lapham, 

On the 18th day of September, 1862, George H. Browne was ap 
pointed and commissioned as Colonel of the 12th regiment Rhode 
Island volunteers. On the 13th of October following, the regiment 
was mustered into the United States service, having been recruited 
and organized in less than four weeks. On the 2 1st of the same 
month, the Colonel, in obedience to orders, left with his command for 
Washington, D. C. Owing to a disagreement between the State au 
thorities and the soldiers, relative to the bounty promised them, all 
did not leave that day ; but those remaining behind joined it soon 
after its arrival at Washington. The command proceeded by way of 
New York city, Harrisburg and Baltimore, and through Washington 
to Camp Chase, a little south-westerly of Arlington Heights. Before 
they had completed the pitching of their tents,, a furious storm of 
vrind and rain set in, lasting two days and nights, and rendering their 
debut into military life anything but agreeable. Here they were brig 
aded under Colonel Wright in Casey s division of the army of the 
defences of Washington. Here, too, they were armed, receiving the 
old Springfield smooth-bores. At the end of a week they removed 
camp to Fairfax Seminary, some six miles distant, where they were 
assured they would remain during the winter. This incited them to 
make their camp as neat and comfortable as possible, in which they 
succeeded admirably. Their duty consisted in drill and picket, which 
was fast preparing them for the severe service subsequently demand 
ed of them. There was no force between them and the enemy ; con 
sequently they must be on the alert, and General Casey is sure that 
all under his command practice his tactics. But this pleasant service 
did not last long. On the 1st of December, 1862, several brigades, 
including the one to which the 12th was attached, were put in motion 
for Fredericksburg. The march, which was one of uncommon se 
verity and privation, was through Washington, down the east side of 
the Potomac, to Liverpool Landing, crossing to Acquia Creek, and 
thence to Falmouth. But five wagons to a regiment were allowed. 
In these were to be transported all the camp equipage, baggage, hos 
pital stores, ammunition and rations of more than a thousand men, 
for about ninety miles. The inevitable consequence was that the 
regiment was out of rations long before reaching its destination. The 
first four days were pleasant, and though blistered feet, and legs and 
backs weary of their burdens, called forth many complaints and mal- 


edictions against those who compelled them to take this toilsome 
journey, when they might have embarked at Alexandria on some of 
the many transports lying idle there, and been landed at Acquia in a 
few hours ; yet nothing more serious resulted from it. Few men who 
have not been in actual service have any definite idea of a real march. 
They do not reflect, that the soldier must lug his arms, equipments, 
always forty and sometimes eighty rounds of ammunition, from 
three to five days rations in his haversack, his canteen filled with 
water, his knapsack stuffed with great-coat, dress-coat and change of 
under clothing, his woolen and rubber blankets, an extra pair of 
shoes, his cup and plate, and lastly, his tent all told, no light or 
convenient outfit. And cold or hot, shine or rain, strong or weak, 
fresh or weary, and sometimes well or pick, these, though worse to 
support than the " old man of the mountain," must be borne. The 
rations, it is true, grow lighter day by day, but what if they give out, 
as they did on this march ? 

The sight, at the close of their third day s march, was a grand one. 
The two brigades that had thus far preceded, were overtaken. They 
had encamped on the southern or farther side hills of Pircutaway 
Valley, and we on the northern. The whole formed a sort of Amphi 
theatre. When all had fairly got into position, at once camp fires 
blazed up in every direction. The night was very dark, and this im 
provised illumination lighted up the objects around with a singularly 
distinct and startling effect. The whole was heightened by the hur 
rahs and shouts of the men. The rabbits, which abound in this re 
gion, were constantly being routed from their hiding places, and in 
their terror and attempts to escape, would run from one squad, or com 
pany, or regiment, to another ; and the men, forgetting their weari 
ness and blisters, would put chase with a hurrah and shout, that 
echoed among the hills till it seemed as if Pandemonium were let 
loose. The darkness of the night, the fitful flash of the thousands of 
camp-fires, the rushing to and fro of the soldiers in the chase, and the 
echoed shouts, all produced a scene of grand confusion and brilliancy 
rarely seen, and which will never be forgotten by those who wit 
nessed it. 

The fifth day opened rainy, and the roads became first slippery and 
then muddy. Before nightfall, few had anything in their haver 
sacks. The teams were unable to keep up. Lame, foot-sore, weary, 
hungry, and wet through, the whole command were obliged to make 
their bed on the wet ground in the woods. Late in the evening, the 
snow fell to the depth of two or three inches, and before morning 
it became cold, and ice formed to the thickness of half an inch. Sleep 
under such circumstances was not, of course, particularly sound or 
refreshing. But, even in misery, there are some silver-lined clouds. 
Reveille wakened the stiffened and sore marchers, to admire one of 
the most beautiful winter scenes ever beheld. The feathery snow had 
adhered to the wet trees and shrubs, and been fastened there orna 
mented by frost work, so that when the sun rose bright and clear, the 
prospect in every direction resembled some fairy land. All, for a 
moment, in admiration of the scene, forgot their woes. But what 
was to be done? On inquiry it was found that there was no supply 
train, and the Quartermaster s stores had been used up. His feeble 


mules and five wagons over such roads, made but a poor show in 
dragging, besides their other load, rations for a thousand men. Af 
ter much delay, the Quartermaster obtained from another regiment 
which had the same number of wagons, but not near as many men a 
breakfast, which, hastily devoured, all fall into line and are off, 
though their load seems to have grown heavier during the night. 
This day s march, however, though one of intense suffering, was not 
a long one. After about two hours groping through the bended trees, 
the whole force found itself on a high plain, raked by the piercing 
winds from the bay, here about four miles wide. Here they halted, 
waiting impatiently enough their turn for crossing. The morning sun 
had melted the snow, but by one o clock, P. M., it began to freeze. 
The Brigade commander refused permission to use any of the sur 
rounding wood for fires, till it became evident the men must perish 
without. The 12th were the first to take the responsibility, and vote 
fires on that occasion a "military necessity." All the other regiments 
soon followed, but even then so exposed was the situation, that they 
suffered intensely. About dark, part of the 12th succeeded in getting 
on board an open Ferry boat, and started for Acquia. The wind 
seemed fresh from the glaciers of Iceland, but the hope of obtaining 
shelter and food on the other side encouraged them, and they endur 
ed in silence. What was their disappointment on arriving at Acquia ! 
The so called wharf was narrow, shackly, and covered with ice ; not 
a building was there ; the place was low and swampy, and exposed to 
the blast, and the few stationed there in tents seemed but little dis 
posed to turn out in the night, even to feed and direct a thousand 
starving men. 

At last, after earnest and somewhat angry remonstrances, rations 
were procured and loaded upon the cars, ready to be sent to whatever 
camp ing- ground might be selected. To discover a suitable spot, get 
the regiment off the swampy banks of the creek, and thread the way 
safely along the railroad track, with engines constantly switching and 
backing, and this at 10 o clock of a dark night, was not an easy task. 
But it was finally accomplished. After a tedious search, the Colonel 
found a brook, and near by, on a side hill, a space where the trees 
had been felled and some cut up. This was good luck, for there were 
but two axes with the command, and the trains were on the other side 
of the river. The regiment was speedily brought up and pushed, by 
companies, in among the fallen timber. The snow was nearly six 
inches deep. But the hill, in a measure, broke the wind, and in a 
few minutes the hillside was luminous with camp fires. About eleven 
P. M., the train, with rations, reached the spot where the command 
left the track, and details brought them to camp. There was little 
sleep in camp that night, and one day s rations disappeared at a single 
meal. The bill for fuel, had it ever been presented to the Auditor, 
would have astonished that worthy gentleman. The smoke eddied 
and whirled and circled round and round, clinging to the hill side till 
it almost suffocated the poor fellows, but it was better than freezing. 
This spot was ever after known by the soubriquet of " Camp Smoke." 

In this trying experience, the Colonel fared even worse than the 
men. While he succeeded in procuring food for them, he failed to 
obtain any for himself. With considerable difficulty, he succeeded in 


securing shelter for the night, on board a steamboat at the wharf, but 
was compelled to hold his fast for twenty-four hours, when some of 
the soldiers shared their meal with him. 

Here the regiment remained three days, when, with the brigade, it 
was again in motion for Fredericksburg, in front of which it arrived 
the night before the battle, and bivouacked on the snow. Through 
the solicitation of Lieutenant Colonel Welcome 13. Sayles, of the 7th, 
the 12th was, in the distribution of regiments, brigaded with the 7th 
in the first brigade, General Nagle, second division, General Sturgis, 
of the Ninth army corps, General French, General Sumner s grand 
division. But the 12th had hardly stacked arms, before an order came 
to be in readiness to cross the Ilappahannock, the next morning at 
daylight, to attack the enemy in his works. To weary, lame, foot 
sore men, this was rather severe; but the order was blithely obeyed. 
Ammunition secured and rations cooked, the men, at a late hour, 
sought brief repose ; but soon the roar of artillery aroused them from 
sleep, and springing up and hastily swallowing a cup of coffee, they 
were soon in line, and on their way to the field. 

The crossing, however, was not made until the next morning. The 
general plan of the battle, and the position of the enemy in the rear of 
Fredericksburg, has been described in another part of this volume. 
Once over the Ilappahannock, the regiment, according to orders, 
pushed rapidly through Fredericksburg, and soon reached a position 
within fair range of the enemy s rifles. They had halted but a short 
time, when word came down from the right of their line, that another 
order had been given to advance. The 48th Pennsylvania was now 
withdrawn, and held as a reserve ; and the 2d Maryland, which was 
in front of the left wing, after some delay, pushed forward to and 
across the railroad, and took refuge under the steep bank formed by 
the railroad cutting through the side hill. Passing the word along 
the line, the Twelfth hurried on at double quick, through the brick 
yard and on to the railroad, in good order. Here General Nagle ap 
peared, and gave the word "Forward," and the right wing, having a 
smooth field before them, pushed on under the Captains to the ex 
treme front of the Federal lines, and within seventy yards of the rebel 
lines. No Lieutenant Colonel of the Twelfth had been appointed at 
this time, and Major Dyer, who had charge of the right wing, was 
disabled soon after arriving at the railroad, and was taken to the rear, 
leaving the Colonel without the aid of a single field officer. Mean 
while the left wing of the Twelfth, except the two extreme left com 
panies, which were round the hill so far as to be partially hidden, be 
ing unable to pass in line over the regiment that preceded them and 
up the steep bank, moved by the right flank and filing left, went up 
a place in the bank less steep than the rest, and reached a partly level 
tract on the hill, where, again forming hastily in line, they advanced 
rapidly till they encountered a cut in the hill about forty feet deep and 
nearly an eighth of a mile long, running diagonally across their line 
of march. Following the example of the Colonel, they successively 
jumped into this as they reached it, and attempted to climb the oppo 
site bank and reach the smooth field beyond. But it was too steep 
forsuch a movement, and the companies, in jumping down and at 
tempting to climb the opposite side, became disordered and broken 


up. The enemy, too, opened a most horrid fire upon them from an enfila 
ding battery, with shell and grape and eanister, as soon as they jumped 
into the cut. After some little delay, the Colonel formed them in the 
bottom of the cut and marched them by the flank down to its inter 
section with the railroad, and then on the railroad to the place where 
the right -\ving crossed. There forming in line, they pushed up and 
planted the colors on the extreme front of the Union line. The two 
companies on the extreme left, round the hill, had not, it seems, heard 
the last order to advance ; but finding the rest of the regiment had 
gone forward, moved up the hill and across the plain, into the cut 
before spoken of, and remained there exposed to the fire of the bat 
tery that enfiladed it till evening. 

About an hour after the Twelfth reached the front of the Union 
line, a New York regiment, in moving up over the hill and plain be 
fore spoken of, was fired upon by the enemy s batteries, and several 
shells exploded directly in its ranks, making sad havoc. The men 
threw themselves flat upon the ground, but soon sprung up, and mis 
taking the Union forces in the front for the enemy, discharged a vol 
ley directly among their friends, by which several were killed and 
wounded. The Twelfth had one killed and three wounded by this 
sad mistake. The Twelfth remained in this position till evening, 
when having fired away all their ammunition, and the other regiments 
having decided to withdraw, they filed into the rear of the retreating 
column, and returned to the position they occupied the night previous, 
on Sophia street. Here, before leaving, a hospital had been estab 
lished in the African Church. It was sad enough to find it so com 
pletely filled with tenants, but too many of whom were from the ranks 
of the Twelfth. The roll was called and reports made, when it ap 
peared, that of those who, a few hours before, marched out with the 
regiment, one hundred and nine were either killed or wounded. 
Among them were the manly and brave Lieutenants, Briggs and Hop 
kins, who fell when they had nearly reached the front. 

As a regiment, the men had stood up nobly, and but for the broken 
and impracticable nature of the ground the left wing had to pass 
over, all would have swept up in an unbroken line. Some few had 
faltered, but the number was small, although it was their first experi 
ence on the field, and they were in the very centre and hottest part 
of one of the most sanguinary battles of the war. Many of the offi 
cers and men distinguished themselves for coolness and daring in 
the face of a murderous fire. Besides the two just named, the Colo 
nel in his official report to General Nagle, particularly mentions Cap 
tains Cheney and Ilubbard, Lieutenants Lawton, lloberts, Alexander, 
Pcndleton, Bucklin, Tabor and Abbott, Sergeant Major Potter, and 
Serjeants Ballou, Cole and Pollard. General Nagle, in his report to 
General Sturgis, commends the regiment for behaving well, and doing 
"more service than was expected from raw troops." And he adds, 
"Colonel Brown, who was the only field officer, (Major Dyer having 
been disabled before going into action,) is entitled to much praise for 
his personal conduct." The brigade to which the 12th was attached 
lost 522 men, or one-fifth of the whole number. 

Subsequent to the battle, the regiment remained in Fredericksburg 
two days, and on Monday night, 15th of December, re-crossed the 


river, the brigade covering the retreat of the centre. For several 
weeks after, the regiment suffered severely from want of suitable shel 
ter, and a deficiency in food. The weather was inclement, fuel not 
easy to be obtained, and protection from the storms and piercing winds 
of the most miserable kind. To men in health, the situation was 
sufficiently trying, but to the sick and dying, it was heart rend 
ing. Only those who passed through the experience can fully 
comprehend the destitution and absolute horrors of those weeks. 
Men who suffered thus deserve well of their country. 

On the 8th of January, 1863, Lieutenant Colonel James Shaw, Jr. 
joined the regiment, and through the residue of its term of service, 
showed that the appointing power had not misjudged his qualities as 
an officer. In the second advance on Fredericksburg, January 20th, 
the 12th was to have participated ; but the storm setting in before call 
ed to move, it fortunately escaped the muddy experience to which 
other portions of the army were subjected. January passed, with the 
usual routine of picket aad other duties, and on the 9th of February, 
the Ninth Army Corps, including the 12th Rhode Island, withdrew 
from the Rappahannock, and embarking at Acquia Creek, steamed 
to Newport News, and encamped on the banks of the James River. 
There was nothing in the memories of the past to awaken regret at 
the change. A miserable plain of alternate mire and frost had been 
given up for camps finely situated, pure air and good water. New 
A" tents took the place of the poor concerns that were pervious 
alike to rain, snow and wind. The Corps gained by the operation 
in spirits and discipline, and in the advantage of both the 12th shared. 
The original destination of the 9th Corps was North Carolina ; but 
when General Burnside was assigned to the Department of the Ohio, 
he insisted that his old corps should go with him. His wish was 
granted, and thus it became the fortune of the 12th and 7th Rhode 
Island to enter upon a wide field of duty in the West. On the 25th 
of March, the regiment proceeded by steamer to Baltimore, and thence 
by rail, via Pittsburg and Columbus, to Cincinnati, where it arrive d 
on the evening of the 30th, and received a hospitable welcome. The 
same night it crossed the Ohio to Covington, and the next day reached 
Lexington. From the 1st to the 23d of April, the regiment made the 
acquaintance by marches of Winchester. Boonsboro , Richmond, 
Paint Lick, and Lancaster. From thence it moved to Crab Orchard, 
where preparations were made for an advance into Tennessee ; 
but suddenly the orders were countermanded, and others issued, di 
recting a post-haste march to Vicksburg. The route lay through 
Cincinnati. The march was begun, and passing through Lancaster, 
Nicholasville was reached, when the 12th was detached from the 
corps, and ordered to report to General Carter, at Somerset. For 
Somerset it started, and reached there June 9th. having marched 100 
miles in six days, and when the arms were stacked and the roll call 
ed, every man answered. a pretty good evidence of its locomotive 
ability. The sum of the succeeding months, was, almost constant 
marching hither and thither, with the enemy often near, and a daily 
expectation of a battle. At Somerset it was detached, and sent to 
Jamestown, where it arrived June 23d. Here the regiment found 
itself in proximity to Morgan s guerrillas, and by various movements 


held them in check. Near Neatsville, a train of wagons under Quar 
termaster Clark, returning from Lebanon with supplies, was attacked 
by a rebel force of sixty-five men, but defeated, and driven off by the 
guard of twenty-eight men of the 7th Ohio. The enemy lost one 
killed, two wounded, and twelve taken prisoners. Subsequently 
Morgan made an incursion into Indiana and Ohio, threatening Cin 
cinnati, and causing great consternation in those regions. On the 4th 
of July, at day-break, the regiment was called to arms, the enemy be 
ing reported as approaching on several roads ; but they altered their 
course, and passed through Columbia to Lebanon, pursued by the 
Union Cavalry. At a later hour, the regiment started on its return 
to Somerset with 20 prisoners, including one Captain. The 9th found 
it at Crab Orchard again, and the 10th at Dick river, and the llth at 
Hickman s Bridge. But one day now remained of the nine months 
since the regiment was mustered into service, and its steps were turn 
ed towards home. Arriving in Cincinnati on the night of the 12th 
of July, it remained, at the request of General Burn side, for special 
duty until the 19th, enjoying again the generous hospitality of the 
citizens, when a final move for Providence was made. It arrived 
there on the 22d, and was warmly received. A salute was fired by 
the Marine Artillery ; the streets were lined with waiting friends, 
flags were hung out all along the line of march, handkerchiefs were 
waving everywhere, and boquets and wreaths were scattered with 
liberal hand. Escort duty was performed by the 4th and 6th regi 
ments of Rhode Island militia, the former under Colonel Nelson Yiall, 
and the latter under Colonel James II. Armington. The procession 
marched to Exchange Place : the men stacked arms, and repaired to 
Howard Hull, where an ample collation had bcn provided and served 
up by L. H. Humphreys. A blessing upon the repast was invoked by 
Rev. Dr. Swain. Governor Smith gave a warm welcome to the regi 
ment, and thanked officers and men for the services they had render 
ed on the field. Colonel Brown responded in an admirable speech, 
describing biiefly the work the regiment had done, and predicting 
the re-union of "a mighty nation, whose arms will be more a shield 
for every citizen than was ever Rome in her proudest days." The 
repast over, the men were dismissed until the following week, when 
they were mustered out of service. 

The Chaplain s office, as in other regiments, was of manifold char 
acter. Besides performing his spiritual duties, he acted as postmas 
ter to the regiment, an important and highly responsible labor ; and 
as he was supposed to know everything, and to possess ability to 
command anything wanted, an endless variety of questions were to 
be answered, all descriptions of articles to be supplied, and all sorts 
of ser vie- 1 to be rendered ; no-w distributing comforts from home, ad 
dressed to his care ; now writing, or superscribing letters for the 
men ; now supplying yarn to some provident enough to darn their 
stockings, and now hunting up a nail wanted for some tent arrange 
ment ; and all going to smooth out wrinkles, neutralize excess of bile, 
increase content, and serve the interests of the country. The govern 
ment can have no better class of helpers in the army than chaplains* 
whose hearts are full of sympathy, and whose hands are full of good 



During the term of nine months, the regiment travelled 3500 mile.", 
500 of which were on foot. Its record will compare favorably with 
any other nine months regiment which has been in the service during 
the war. Previously to its leaving Cincinnati, General Burnside is 
sued the following commendatory order: "On the departure of the 
12th Regiment Rhode Island volunteers, at the expiration of their 
term of enlistment, the Commanding General wishes to express his 
regret at taking leave of soldiers, who, in their brief service, have 
become veterans. After passing through experiences of great hard 
ship and danger, they will return with the proud satisfaction that, in 
the ranks of their country s defenders, the reputation of their State 
has not suffered in. their hands." 


This regiment was ordered by the Governor, for six months service, 
June 16th, 1863. Enlistments were commenced, and "Camp Smith" 
established on the Dexter Training Ground, Providence. August 
18th, the order was revoked, and the enlisted men transferred to other 


[This colored regiment was organized as heavy artillery, and num 
bers 1800 men. The commissioned officers are white ; the non-com 
missioned, colored.] 

{Commissioned and Non-commissioned.) 

Colonel NELSON VTALL. 1st Lieutenant, 1st regiment R. I. de 
tached militia, April 18th, 1861 ; Captain, 2d R. I. regiment, June 1st, 
1861 ; Major of same, July 22d, 1861 ; Lieutenant Colonel of same, 
June 12th, 1862 ; Colonel of same, December 13th, 1862 ; resigned. 

Lieutenant Colonel RICHAKD SHAW. 

Major JOSEPH J. COMSTOCK, Jr. Promoted from Captain in 3d 
R. I. H A. 

Adjutant JOSEPH C. "WHITING, Jr. 1st Lieutenant, November 
9th, 1863. 

* The list of officers was incomplete at the time this page was printed. 
All the appointees had not then presented themselves for examination. 


Quartermaster Jo HX B. PIERCE. 1st Lieutenant, October 27th, 

Assistant Surgeon JOSEPH R. DRAPER. 

Captains -Joel Metcalf, Jr., Thomas W. Fry, George Bucklin, 
George W. Cole, Henry Simon. 

First Lieutenants Thomas B. Briggs, John B. Pierce, (Quarter 
master,) Phanuel E. Bishop, Joseph C. Whiting, Jr., (Adjutant,) 
Zephaniah Brown, Charles H. Case, Charles II. Mumford, A. H. 

Second Lieutenants E. F. Aborn, Charles H. Potter, George Wee- 
den, Rowland R. Hazard, George II. Burnhaiu, Walter F. Wheeler, 
Daniel J. Viall, Charles P. Gay. 

This regiment of 1800 men was organized under a general order of 
Governor Smith, by Colonel Nelson Viall.* The enlistments begun in 
August, 1863, and" on the 28th of the same month the first company 
was mustered in " Camp Frtmont," on the Dexter Training Ground, 
Providence. In the course of a few weeks a battalion was enlisted, 
which was subsequently expanded to a regiment. In September, four 
companies were transferred to " Camp Bailey," on Dutch Island, and 
from time to time, were followed by others, where they were thor 
oughly drilled in company, battalion and regimental movement-. 
Here, too, as mentioned in the introduction, daily details were em 
ployed in -working upon the fortifications, which the State was erect 
ing under the authority of the general government, for the protection 
of Narragansett Bay. With the exception of about seventy-five 
drafted men, the regiment is composed of volunteers, and its general 
material may be judged of by the small number of deaths (four) and 
desertions (eleven), from the commencement of its organization up to 
December 3d. The nativity of the men is as varied as the shades of 
their complexion, representing eight States of the Union, besides sev 
eral rebel States, Cuba, Hayti, and the isles of the Carribean Sea. 
The average height of the first six companies, as ascertained by mea 
surement, is a little over five feet seven inches, and the average age 
of the same men is a fraction more than twenty-four years. They arc 

* Colonel Viall served as a private in the Mexican War, under his per 
sonal friend, the late Colonel Slocum, then Captain, and was promote I 
successively to corporal and sergeant in the regular service. At the 
breaking oiit of the rebellion, he was Lieutenant Colonel of the Providence 
Artillery. Upon the call of the President for 75,000 men, he raised a com 
pany, the command of which he declined, hoping to keep all the officers 
as they stood in the militia, which was done. He was appointed Fir: t 
Lieutenant in company B, Captain Nicholas Van Slyck, and served until 
the second regiment of volunteers was ordered to be raised, when, in a - 
cordance with the wish of Colonel Slocum, he was commissioned Captai;i 
of Company D. He was successively commissioned Major, Lientcnaut 
Colonel and Colonel of the regiment. After the battle of Fredericksburg 
he resigned, and when the colored regiment was organized, he was place! 
in command. 


well formed, with strong and compact frames, quick to learn, yield 
ing ready obedience to orders, and in all respects giving promise of 
great power in the field. For the success with which the experiment 
of organizing and preparing for service the first colored regiment sent 
from Rhode Island, since 1776, has been attended, great credit is due 
to Colonel Viall, who, from its inception, devoted himself untir 
ingly to the work. 

Among the agreeable incidents of the island life of the regiment 
was a flag presentation, which occurred November 19th. A cloudless 
sky and a genial, autumnal atmosphere, heightened the enjoyments of 
the occasion to those who, by invitation of His Excellency Governor 
Smith, were permitted to witness the scene. 

The visitors numbered not less than three hundred, and comprised 
His Excellency the Governor, and the gentlemen of his personal and 
the general staff, (including Colonel J. II. Almy of New York,) His 
Honor the Lieutenant Governor, a portion of trie staff of the Major 
General, the Brigadier Generals and members of their staffs, several 
Colonels of the State militia, the Provost Marshal of the First Dis 
trict, members of the General Assembly and of the city governments 
of Providence and Newport, the President of BroAvn University, a 
number of our city Clergy, and a few other invited guests. The 
excellent American Brass Band was also on board, and contributed 
much to the pleasure of the occasion. 

The Montpelier left her wharf in Providence about 10 o clock, and 
proceeded down the Bay, touching at Portsmouth Grove and New 
port for a few moments, to receive additions to the already large num 
ber of distinguished persons on board. Leaving the latter place, the 
party proceeded around Beaver Tail, and as the steamer approached 
the landing at Dutch Island, the Third Cavalry, under Lieutenant 
Colonel Parkhurst, were observed in line on the opposite hill- side of 
Conanicut. The bright sabres flashed in the sunlight as they were 
brought to a salute, when the distinguished party were nearest to the 
thither shore. About 1 o clock the boat reached the wharf at Dutch 
Island, and the Gem rnor received the usual salute of fifteen guns, 
fired under the direction of Major Comstock. Lieutenant Charles 
H. Potter, (officer of the day) was stationed at the landing in 
command of a company detailed to receive the visitors. Colonel 
Viall came on board, and Avelcomed His Excellency and those accom 
panying him to the Island, after which the landing was made in the 
following order : 

Commander-in-Chief and Staff, Major General s Staff, Brigadier 
Generals and Staffs, Adjutant General and Staff, Quartermaster Gen 
eral and Staff, Paymaster General and Staff, Members of the Legis 
lature, Invited Guests. 

"Upon moving to the hill, which forms an admirable parade ground, 
the regiment was seen formed in line. "When the Colonel had taken 
his position in the centre of the column, one company, was taken from 
the flank at right shoulder shift in column of platoon, field music in 
front, followed by the band. This company proceeded to the Colonel s 
Headquarters, and came up left into line. The Color Bearer, pre 
ceded by a Lieutenant and followed by a Sergeant, received the color, 
and returned, followed by the Lieutenant and Sergeant, the Com- 


pany presenting arms on his appearance, and the drums beating "to 
the color." The Company wheeled into column of platoon at shoul 
der arms, and marched in quick time, directing their march to a point 
loO paces in front of the right flank of the regiment, and then on :i 
line parallel with the Regiment, until opposite the centre, when the 
head of the column turned to the left, guide right (directing flank on 
a line with centre of Regiment) and halted twenty paces in front of 
the Colonel. The Color bearer passed by the right flank, and pre 
sented Colors to the Governor. The Company retired by the left and 
rear to its position in line, the Band remaining with the Governor. 
The Governor then presented the standard to Colonel Viall, accom 
panied by the following brief address : 
Colonel Viall, Officers and Men of the Fourteenth : 

It affords me much pleasure to present to your regiment, our Four 
teenth "Corps d Afrique," this flag, and I feel confident it will be 
entrusted to as brave men as ever entered the service in defence of 
our country and its liberties. And I feel assured that but one thought 
will occupy the mind of every man in the regiment, and that thought 
is, our country. Let this flag be your beacon light, its stars ever 
to shine. I now surrender it to your keeping. Let its history be 
Rhode Island s history. 

Colonel Viall, in behalf of the Fourteenth, expressed his thanks for 
the beautiful stand of colors, and promised that it should be preserv 
ed from dishonor or disgrace. The flag would be a perpetual re 
minder of His Excellency, and his zealous and untiring efforts to 
promote the welfare of the regiment, and would incite to noble deeds 
wherever in the battle s front it might be unfurled. 

After the reception of the colors by the Colonel, and the passage of 
the same to the color bearer, the Colonel ordered "Present Arms," the 
music playing "to the Color," while the Sergeant took his post in 
line. The Color Company is under the command of Captain Buck- 
lin, and the Color Sergeant is John Van Slyke 

The Governor then introduced to the regiment Hon. H. B. Anthony, 
as "the man to whom you have got to look for your increased pajv 

Senator Anthony then addressed the men in an earnest and patri 
otic strain, expressing his gratification with their excellent appear 
ance, and intimating that he should fulfil his duty in the matter 
touching the pay of the colored soldiers. He spoke of the colored 
regiment raised by Rhode Island in the War of the Revolution, the t 
under Colonel Christopher Greene, received and merited the praise of 
General Washington. He thought he risked nothing in saying that 
this regiment would receive equal justice from the President and th.3 
Federal Government. The man who wore the uniform of the United 
States, who followed the stars and stripes to the field of battle, could 
never become a slave, but throughout our broad land, every man. 
made in the image of his Creator, would stand forth in the liberty 
with which his Creator had endowed him. 

Senator Anthony was followed by the Right Reverend Bishop 
Clark, Rev. Dr. Edward B. Hill, Rev. Dr. Barnas Sears, President 
of Brown University, and Rev. Dr. Leonard Swain, in brief and elo 
quent speeches, setting forth the mission of the colored race in this 
war, the value of time to a soldier, the practical issues of the great 


struggle, watched by the whole civilized world, and the great princi 
ple of inalienable rights set forth in the Declaration of Independence, 
which the ceremony of the hour re-affirmed. 

The regiment then broke into column and passed in review before 
thcGovernor, making a very gratifying appearance, and receiving 
hearty applause from the spectators as they passed by. A half hour 
more was spent in looking over the grounds, calling upon the various 
officers of the regiment, and inspecting the progress of the fortifica 
tions, which was quite satisfactory. The Governor, for the nonce, 
became an artillerist and sent a few shells and solid shot across the 
harbor, giving evidence of his ability in that direction, and the effec 
tiveness of the works to resist a hostile invasion of our soil. 

At 4 o clock the steamer s whistle summoned the visitors on board, 
where many found, to their surprise and gratification, that the last 
item necessary to make the day one of the most pleasant in all their 
experience, had been attended to. This was a generous and ample 
collation got up under the direction of the well known caterer, Mr. 
L. II. Humphreys. While the visitors were discussing the contents 
of the tables, the boat put off, going around the North end of Conan- 
icut, and down to Newport. On her return, she passed near the 
ships occupied by the Naval School, the members of which gave 
hearty cheers, which were returned from the decks of the Mont- 
pelier with interest. In the outer harbor, she passed under the stern 
of the captured blockade runner, Robert E. Lee, which put in 
for coal, while on the way to Boston in charge of a prize crew. 
After cheering the gallant tars, and receiving a suitable response, the 
boat tuined her prow homeward, (stopping a few moments at Ports 
mouth Grove) and arrived in the city about seven o clock. A de 
tachment of the Marine Artillery, stationed on the Fall River Com 
pany s Wharf, under command of Major General Pierce, greeted the 
arrival of the distinguished party by a salute of fifteen guns. 

On the 7th December, a battalion of the regiment, numbering 600 
men, left the island under Major Com stock, came up to Providence, 
and went temporarily into camp at " Camp Fremont," preparatory to 
proceeding to New Orleans. On Wednesday, December 9th, the col 
ored ladies of Providence presented the battalion with a handsome 
flag of yellow silk, bearing the artillery symbol, cross cannons, sur 
mounted by the letters, " U. S.," and below the regimental designa 
tion, " 14th Regiment R. I. H. A." Governor Smith, Lieutenant 
Governor Padelford, Major General Robbins, Adjutant General Mau- 
ran, His Honor Mayor Knight, and a large concourse of spectators 
were present. The presentation address was made by Mr. John T. 
Waugh, a colored native of Virginia, in which he spoke of the condi 
tion and capabilities of his race, and the opportunity now afforded for 
its vindication. " You are expected," he said, " to do your utmost 
to wipe out the foulest blot which stains our land. See to it that 
history writes that you nobly sustained the honor of the flag." 

The speaker then handed the banner to Sergeant John Jenkins, of 
company A, who briefly and handsomely responded. He, in turn, 
handed it to Major Comstock, who, on receiving it, thanked the ladies 
for the gift, and expressed himself proud to be an officer in a colored 


The officers of this regiment were passed upon by the Board of Ex 
aminers for officers in the United States army, established in Wash 
ington, at the head of which is General Silas Casey, a native of Rhode 
Island. The portion of the regiment left at Dutch Island was inclu 
ded in the assignment to New Orleans, and soon followed the advance 
led by Major (Jomstock. 


{Commissioned and Non-commissioned.} 

Colonel ROBERT B. LAWTON. Dismissed July 1st, 1862. 

Colonel ALFRED N. DUFFIE. Promoted to be Brigadier General, 
June 24th, 1863. 

Colonel JOHN L. THOMPSON, (acting,) 1863. 

Lieutenant Colonel WILLARD SAYLES. Resigned July 7th, 1862. 

Lieutenant Colonel JOHN L. THOMPSON. Promoted from Major, 
July llth, 1862. 

Major WILLARD SAYLES. Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, Feb 
ruary 21st, 1862. 

Major ROBERT C. ANTHONY. Promoted from Captain, February 
21st, 1862; resigned, July 7th, 1862. 

Major EDMUND C. BURT. Promoted from troop B, July llth, 
1862 ; mustered out of service, August 7th, 1862. 

Major STEPHEN R. SWEET. Resigned, April 7th, 1863. 

Major WILLIAM SAN FORD. Resigned, June 14th, 1862. 

Major- JOHN WHIPPLE, Jr. Promoted from Captain, June 27th, 
1862 ; resigned February 17th, 1863. 

Major WILLIAM H. TURNER. Promoted from Captain, March 
1st, 1863 ; on detached service, August, 1863. 

Major PRESTON M. FARRINGTON, July llth, 1862. 

Adjutant JOHN WHIPPLE, Jr. 


Adjutant CHARLES S. TREAT. From 1st Lieutenant, August 1st, 
1862 ; resigned, November 30th, 1862. 

Adjutant EZRA B. PARKER, since June 18th, 1863. In Libby 
Prison, Richmond, Va. 

Quartermaster CHARLES A. LEONARD. 

Commissary LEONARD B. PRATT. 

Surgeon TIMOTHY NEWELL. Resigned, May 23d, 1862. 

Surgeon JAMES B. GREELEY. Promoted from Assistant, June 
1st, 1862 ; wounded, September, 1862 ; honorably discharged. 


Assistant Surgeon JAMES 13. GREELEY. Promoted. 


Assistant Surgeon AUGUSTUS A. MANN. Taken prisoner, June 
18th, 1863 ; exchanged. 

Assistant Surgeon NATHAN B. STANTON. September 18th, 1862. 

Assistant Surgeon ALBERT UTTER. January 16th, 1863. 

Chaplain FREDERICK DENNISON. Resigned, January 19th, 1863. 

Chaplain ETHAN R. CLARK. February 5th, 1863. 

Sergeant Major ALFRED S. CHILDS. Promoted to 2d Lieutenant, 
December 6th, 1862. 

Sergeant Major JOSEPH W. DEWEY. January 1st, 1863. 

Quartermaster Sergeant CHARLES E. ELLISON. 

Commissary Sergeant ELI E. MARSH. 

Hospital Steward EDWARD C. CAPWELL. March 10th, 1863. 

Chief Buglers EDWARD H. GURNEY, discharged for debility, Feb 
ruary 25th, 1863 ; JOHN W. DAY. 

Captains Joseph I. Gould, E. C. Burt, Lycurgus Sayles, Robert 
C. Anthony, John Whipple, Jr., Charles N. Manchester, Augustus 
H. Bixby, P. M. Farrington, John Rogers, J. B. Wood, Joseph J. 
Gould, Frank Allen, William H. Turner, Jr., Edward E. Chase, Ste 
phen R. Sweet, Lorenzo D. Gove, John L. Thompson, Arnold Wy- 
man, John J. Prentice, William P. Ainsworth, Willis C. Capron, 
George H. Rhodes. 

Quartermaster Leonard B. Piatt. 
Sergeant Major Edward E. Chase. 
Quartermaster Sergeant Benjamin Weaver. 
Commissary Sergeant Samuel P. Mason, James P. Taylor. 
Hospital Steward Nathaniel G. Stanton. 
Saddle Sergeant Frederic Ocherhausen. 
Veterinary Sergeant William Spooner. 

Sergeant Major James M. Henry. 
Quartermaster Sergeant Thomas Manchester. 
Commissary Sergeant Ira Wakefield. 
Hospital Steward Joseph A. Chedell. 


Adjutant George T. Cram. 

Sergeant Major Charles C. Harris, Eugene M. Bowman. 

Quartermaster Sergeant Jacob B. Cooke, Henry E. Newton . 

Commissary Sergeant Eli C. Marsh. 

Hospital Steward Edwin D. White. 

Veterinary Sergeant Edward Brown. 

1 he First Rhode Island Cavalry was organized in the Autumn of 
1861. Its camp was established at PaAvtucket, where it passed the 
winter. In the work of enlistment, Major Willard Sayles, Major 
William Sanford, General Gould, and others, were actively engaged. 
October 7th, Colonel George Hallet was appointed temporarily to the 
command of the regiment, and directed to "establish a system of 


drill with swords and carbines, dismounted." November 4th, he was 
appointed Chief of Cavalry in Rhode Island, and Captain Robert B. 
Lawton, late of the U. S. Army, was appointed Colonel of the regi 

On the 12th of March, 1862, a battalion under Major Sanford left 
Providence for Washington. In a few days the rest of the regiment 
followed. Uniting there, it proceeded to "Camp Mud," at Warren- 
ton Junction, and for a time was constantly engaged in picket duty, 
scouting and reconnoissances, with an occasional skirmish. From 
there it went over into the Shenandoah. A battalion of 100 men was 
sent forward to Front Royal in advance column, to save bridges, and 
do any other work circumstances might require. They entered Front 
Royaf just as the 12th Georgia Infantry was setting fire to the bridge 
on the opposite side. Putting spurs to their horses, the cavalry charged 
upon them with great impetuosity, taking 117 prisoners and re- 
captm-ing twenty men and two officers of the 1st Vermo nt Cavalry. 
Captain William P. Ainsworth and seven men were killed, and seven 
wounded. Captain Ainsworth belonged to Nashua, N. H. He was 
a brave officer, and universally esteemed. 

From this service, the battalion went to Manassas in July. Colonel 
Alfred N. Duffie, an accomplished French officer, succeeded Colonel 
Lawton in the command. Colonel Duffie immediately commenced a 
thorough course of drilling, which greatly increased the efficiency of 
the regiment. In August it moved to Rappahannock village, thence 
to Raccoon Ford, and thence to Cedar Mountain, when the rebels 
were encountered, and a sharp fight ensued. Major John Whipple 
and Lieutenant Barker had their horses shot. Lieutenant, Richard 
Waterman lost one man killed and one missing out of his command. 
Six other men were killed, and several horses lost. The conduct of 
the regiment was complimented by General Banks. On the 22d of 
August, at the same place, it was in line of battle all day. At Grove- 
ton, August 29th, and at Bull Run August 31st, it was under fire. 
At Chantilly, September 1st, it drew the fire of the enemy, and engaged 
in the fight, losing two men wounded, and two horses. On a 
scout between Leesburg and Aldie, in October, Captain Gove en 
countered a superior force of the enemy, and was killed, together with 
several privates. In an affair at Beverly Ford, two men were killed. 

December 19th the regiment received a handsome flag from the la 
dies of Providence, through Governor Sprague. The presentation by 
Colonel Tristam Burges gave unusual animation to dress parade, 
and the acceptable token of remembrance was received with hearty 
cheers. In a severe battle at Kelly s Ford, March loth, 1863, great 
gallantry was displayed. The regiment charged across the river, re 
pulsed the enemy, and took 24 prisoners. It also lost heavily in men 
taken prisoners, and killed and wounded. Here the accomplished 
Assistant Adjutant General of the regiment, Lieutenant Nathaniel 
Bowditch, received a mortal wound. Major Farrington, a brave and 
skillful officer, received a wound in the neck. Captain Allen Baker, 
Lieutenants George H. Thompson and George W. Easterbrook, Ser 
geant James E. Bennett and Corporal James W. Vincent, were among 
the wounded. Lieutenant Henry L. Nicolai, Sergeant Jeremiah 


Fitzgerald, and private Joseph Gardner, were killed. The whole 
number of killed and wounded was 21 ; missing 18. 

On the 17th of June, Colonel Duffie made a reconnoissance in force 
to Middleburg, where he encountered a vastly superior rebel force, 
and a severe fight ensued. On the following day he was attacked on 
both flanks, and in danger of being surrounded, but bravely cut 
his way through, and escaped by Hopewell Gap. Major Farrington, 
with 2 officers and 23 men, was for a time cut off from the rest of the 
regiment and after remaining twenty-four hours within the rebel lines, 
succeeded in bringing his party safely in. Sergeant Palmer and 12 
men were also cut off, but rejoined the regiment without loss. The 
casualties were 5 killed and 9 wounded. Of the former was Lieuten 
ant Joseph A. Chedell, a promising young officer, and universally es 
teemed for high moral qualities. He belonged in Barrington, R. 1. 
Of the latter, were Captain A. II. Bixby, Lieutenants Barnard Ellis 
and Simeon Brown, Sergeant George H. Steele, and Corporals George 
"W. Gorton, George S. Bennett, and Lawrence Cronan. Captain 
Briggs had a narrow escape from a bullet, which struck his sabre, 
held in advance while rallying to the charge. Surgeon Augustus A. 
Mann showed great coolness and courage in volunteering to assist 
in rallying the men, and leading a command to the charge. He was ta 
ken prisoner to Richmond, and released in November, 1863. In this 
action, Sergeant George A. Robbins, having charge of the flag, was 
taken prisoner, but made his escape after about a week of captivity. 
He saved the flag from falling into the hands of the rebels, by taking 
it from the staff and concealing it about his person. For this, and 
for meritorious conduct in the battle, he was promoted to be First 

The duties of Chaplain were very faithfully performed by Rev. 
Charles Dennison, while connected with the regiment. He resigned 
January 19th, 1863, and was succeeded February 5th by Rev. Ethan 
R. Clark. Mr. Dennison was subsequently appointed Chaplain of 
the 5th R. I. Heavy Artillery, and joined that portion of it on Morris 
Island engaged in the siege of Charleston. 

Colonel Duffie having received the appointment of Brigadier Gen 
eral, Lieutenant Colonel John L. Thompson succeeded to the com 
mand of the regiment. He was a lawyer in Chicago, and at the 
breaking out of the rebellion enlisted as a private in the three months 
light battery that went from that city. He subsequently joined the 
1st R. I. Cavalry as Lieutenant, and by merit rose to the command. 

From the nature of the service, the regiment has often been long 
separated from the base of supplies, and subjected to meagre fare. 
Its marches have been frequent and fatiguing, and its spirit and con 
duct have given it an honorable rank in the Cavalry arm of the 
Army of the Potomac. 



(Commissioned and Non-commissioned.) 

Colonel AUGUSTUS W. CORLISS, (acting.) 

Lieutenant Colonel AUGUSTUS W. CORLISS. Promoted from Ma 
jor, January loth, 1863 ; resigned, and honorably discharged. 


Major ROBERT C. ANTHONY. March 25th, 1863. 

Major C. N. MANCHESTER. January 13th, 1863. 

Assistant Surgeon H. W. KING. Resigned. 

Adjutant EDWIN A. HARDY. Promoted to Captain, January 15th, 


Adjutant WALTER M. JACKSON. Promoted to 1st Lieutenant, 
April . 4th, 1863. 

Adjutant C. E. BRIGHAM. 

Quartermaster WILLIAM MCCREADY, Jr. 

Sergeant Mnjor HKNRY STEBBINS. 

Hospital Steward NATHANIEL G. STANTON. Promoted to Assis 
tant Surgeon, April 23d, 1863. 

Captains Robert C. Anthony, George A. Smith, William H. Ste 
vens, George W. Beach, Edwin A. Hardy, Peter Brucker, William 
W. B. Greene, Gecrge Henrv Getchell, William J. McCall, Henry C. 


August 31st, 1862, orders were issued by the War Department for 
raising the first battalion, 2d regiment, Rhode Island cavalry, to be 
under the command of Major Augustus W. Corliss, of the 7th squad 
ron Rhode Island cavalry, (three months.) November 15th, orders 
were issued to make it a full regiment of three battalions. The first 
battalion was full December 24th ; the second battalion, January 19th, 
1863 ; and Major Corliss was promoted to be Lieutenant Colonel. 
The two battalions were ordered to join General Banks, and had all 
arrived in New Orleans in season to take part in the first advance on 
Port Hudson, March 14th, 1863. During this expedition, Captain 
William II. Stevens was wounded and taken prisoner, with three men 
of his company. The regiment was part of the force engaged in the 
Teche Expedition, during which it was engaged in the battles of Bis- 
land and Franklin. The expedition proceeded to Alexandria, La., on 
Red river, and then to Port Hudson. During the si ge of Port Hud 
son, the regiment was actively employed in scoutingjand foraging. On 
the 20th June, it contributed to a force sent out to protect a forage 
train between Clinton and Jackson, La. The force consisted of the 
2d Massachusetts regiment, (250 men,) one section of artillery, 122 
Rhode Island cavalrymen, and 250 men of the 6th and 7th Illinois 
cavalry. They were attacked by two Arkansas regiments, a heavy 
cavalry force and two pieces of artillery. Colonel Corliss was in the 
advance, and held the enemy in check, while he sent three times for 


the artillery to come up. He then -went and brought it up himself, 
and fired twenty rounds of spherical case shot, killing one of the 
enemy and wounding seven. He also captured four prisoners. 

The cavalry lost David Goodman and Alexander Brenno, company 
A, taken prisoners. Lieutenant E. C. Pomroy, company A, was 
severely, but not dangerously, wounded in the neck and mouth. 
Frank Brucker, company A, was wounded in the shoulder slightly. 
In the fight at Springfield Landing, July 2d, the regiment lost one 
man killed, four severely wounded and thirteen taken prisoners, ten 
of whom were parolled. Those held were Lieutenants J. II. Whitney 
and Welcome Fcnner and private John Graf. When the rebels took 
Brashear city, they captured Major Anthony and about 20 new re 

Like most cavalry regiments, this one lost more men on picket 
duty and skirmishes than in large battles. Hard marches and climate 
also aided greatly to diminish its numbers. Reduced below the mini 
mum allowed, it was consolidated, by general order, July 1st, 1863, 
into one battalion of four companies, and united with the 1st Louisi 
ana cavalry. The field and staff, consisting of Lieutenant Colonel A. 
W. Corliss, Major C. W.Manchester, Surgeon H. \V. King, Adjutant 
C. E. Brigham, and Quartermaster William McCready, Jr., resigned 
and were honorably discharged. The officers retained were Captains 
William J. McCall, Henry C. Filts, George W. Beach and E. A. Har 
dy ; First Lieutenants, J. N. Whitney, Charles \V. Turner, John D. 
Hanning, Walter M. Jackson; Second Lieutenant, Frank Hays. All 
other officers were mustered out of the service. The battalion was 
finally united with the 3d Rhode Island cavalry, at New Orleans. 


Enlistments for this regiment Avere commenced in July, 1863, and a 
camp established at Mashapaug. August 18th, the recruits, 150 in 
number, were transferred to Camp Meade," in Jamestown, on Co- 
nanicut Island. Recruiting offices were kept open in Providence, and 
Captain A. T. Bushee, formerly of the 1st New York Chasseurs, en 
gaged actively in procuring enlistments in the country. On the 4th 
of December,* 376 men had been enlisted. The field and staff officers 
were then as follows : 


Lieutenant Colonel CHARLES II. PARKHURST. 




Quartermaster STAFFORD MOWRY. 


At the above date, the roster of officers had not been completed. 
The destination of the regiment was New Orleans, to join the forces 
of General Banks, for which place it left the latter part of December. 



The importance attached to the artillery arm of the service, at the 
commencement of the rebellion, by the Executive of Rhode Island, 
has been attested by the work the batteries sent into the field have 
done. In long and wearisome marches, in picket and reconnoissance 
duties, and in the heavy sacrifice of life and limbs they have made, 
they have shown the prime qualities of soldiers, promptness, endu 
rance and courage. So much of their story has been related in pre 
ceding pages that brevity here will seem to be demanded. 


Colonel CHARLES H. TOMPKINS. September 13th, 1861 ; Chief 
of artillery brigade, sixth army corps. 

Lieutenant Colonel WILLIAM H. REYNOLDS. Resigned, June 
26th, 1862. 

Lieutenant Colonel JOHN ALBERT MUNROE. December 4th, 1862 ; 
in command of Camp Barry, Washington, D. C. 

Major CHARLES H. TOMPKINS. Promoted to Colonel. 

Major ALEXANDER S. WEBB. Resigned, October 9th, 1862. 

Major JOHN ALBERT MUNROE. Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. 

Major JOHN A. TOMPKINS. Promoted from Captain, battery A, 
December 4th, 1862. 


Adjutant JEFFREY HAZARD. Promoted to Captain, battery H. 


Quartermaster CHARLES H. J. HAMLIN. 

Surgeon WILLIAM T. THURSTON. Honorably discharged, April 
6th, 1863. 

Assistant Surgeon FRANCIS S. BRADFORD. Resigned, July 18th, 

Assistant Surgeon JOHN H. MERRILL. 

Chaplain JOHN A. PERRY. 

Hospital Steward JOHN GIDEON HAZARD. 


(Mustered into service June Qth, 1861.) 

Captains William H. Reynolds, promoted to Lieutenant Colonel 
1st regiment R. I. L. A. ; John A. Tompkins, promoted to Major do.; 
William A. Arnold, promoted from 1st Lieutenant battery E, Decem 
ber 6th, 1862. 

Lieutenants Thomas P. Vaughan, John A. Munroe, John A. 
Tompkins, John G. Hazard, Charles F. Mason, Gamaliel Lyman 
D wight, John Albert Munroe, Charles D. Owen, Peter Hunt. 



Battery A left Providence June 19th, 1861, William H. Reynolds, 
Captain, Thomas F. Vaughan, John A. Munroe, John A. Tompkins 
and William B. Weeden, Lieutenants, and 151 men. It arrived in 
Washington, June 22d, and was attached to Burnside s brigade, Hun 
ter s division, McDowell s army corps. It opened the attack on the 
right in the battle of Bull Run, July 21st, losing 5 guns, and 2 men 
killed and 14 wounded, as related by Rev. Mr. Woodbury, in his his 
tory of that battle. The gun saved was under the command of 
Lieutenant Tompkins. On the 28th July, the company left Washing 
ton for Sandy Hook, where it relieved the 1st battery (three months 
men) R. I. detached militia, Captain Charles H. Tompkins. On the 
llth August, one section, under Lieutenant Tompkins, was sent to 
Berlin, Md., and did picket duty on the Potomac until September 3d, 
when the battery was once more together at Darnestown, Md. On 
the 13th September, Lieutenant Tompkins assumed the command, 
Captain Reynolds having been promoted to be Lieutenant Colonel. 
On the 16th, Captain Tompkins proceeded, with two guns, to Har 
per s Ferry, and on the 16th, was engaged in the fight at Bolivar 
Heights, Va. On the 20th, he marched for Edward s Ferry, where h$ 
found the rest of the battery ; and on the 26th October, marched to 
Muddy Branch, Md. The battery wintered at Poolsville, Md. ; and, 
in March, 1862, after the operations against Winchester, shared the 
fortunes of McClellan s army on the Peninsula. It was engaged be 
fore Yorktown, at Fair Oaks, Peach Orchard, Savage s Station, 
Charles City Court House and Malvern Hill, and was the last battery 
to leave the hill when the army fell back to Harrison s Landing. 
After leaving the Peninsula, the battery was in the reserve at Chan- 
tilly, and on the 2d September, two guns engaged in a skirmish with 
the enemy. Another skirmish occurred at Hyattstown, Md., on the 
llth September. At Antietam, on the 17th, the battery was engaged 
for nearly four hours within 300 yards of the enemy s line of battle, 
and repelled, with great loss to the rebels, a charge made upon it. 
The battery had 4 men killed, 15 wounded, and 10 horses lost. Lieu 
tenants Mason and Hazard bravely worked at the guns for the want 
of men. The battery proceeded with the army to Falmouth. Decem 
ber 4th, 1862, Captain Tompkins was promoted to be Major, and 
Captain William A. Arnold, promoted from 1st Lieutenant of battery 
E, took the command, and participated in the battle of Fredericks- 
burg, as mentioned on page 188. In the operations of December 12th 
to 15th, Major Tompkins was in command of the artillery on the right 
of the Lacy House, opposite Fredericksburg. In April following, he 
^ was assigned to the command of the artillery brigade in Brooks divi- 
. - sion, consisting of TChirii Inlnmd batteries C and D, McCartney s Mas 
sachusetts, Hexamer s New Jersey and Rigby s Maryland. The brig 
ade was hotly engaged at Marye s Heights, Fredericksburg and Salem 
Church. In May, Major Tompkins wa ordered to the artillery re 
serve, to reorganize the volunteer batteries, some twenty-three in 
number. Upon the completion of that work, he was appointed As 
sistant Inspector and Chief of Staff of Reserve. In the official reports 
of Generals Sedgwick and Sumner, he was recommended for promo 
tion for meritorious conduct and bravery," and after the battles of 


May 3d and 4th, was highly complimented by Generals Brooks and 

Since taking command of battery A, Captain Arnold has gained an 
honorable reputation for bravery and skill. In the sanguinary battle 
of Gettysburg, (see page 266,) the battery was fought with great 
energy and effect, until nearly cut to pieces, and there, and in the 
more recent operations on the Rappahannock and Rapidan, Captain 
Arnold and his command won deserved praise. 


(Mustered into service August 13th, 1861.) 

Captains Thomas F. Vaughan, resigned December llth, 1861 ; 
Walter O. Bartlett, January 24th 1862, resigned August 19th, 1862; 
John G. Hazard. 

Lieutenants Raymond H. Perry, George W. Adams, Horace S. 
Bloodgood, Francis A. Smith, John A. Tompkins, William B. Wee- 
den, George E. Randolph, Henry Newton, Jeffrey Hazard, Thomas 
Frederic Brown, Jacob H. Lamb, James P. Rhodes, William S. Perrin, 
Charles A. Brown, Gamaliel L. Dwight, Joseph H. Milne. 

Battery B was enlisted and organized under the active supervision 
of Colonel William H. Parkhurst, w r ho was also appointed its Cap 
tain, which circumstances compelled him reluctantly to decline. It 
was composed of able-bodied men, capable of doing good service. On 
the 13th of August it left Providence for Washington. At Philadel 
phia it was received with marked attention, and partook of bountiful 
refreshments provided by the Union and Cooper Refreshment Com 
mittee. After arriving at Washington, the battery was assigned to 
General Stone s command, afterwards Sedgwick s Corps Army of 
the Potomac, and on the 21st of October, the left section, under the 
command of Captain Vaughan, proceeded to Conrad s Ferry, to sup 
port Colonel Baker, in the unfortunate battle of Ball s Bluff. In the 
temporary absence of Captain Vaughan, Lieutenant Bramhall, a New 
York officer, took one gun, fourteen men and seven horses, over the 
Potomac, and after severe labor, succeeded in getting it up a steep 
hill, into position. Here it was fatally assailed by the rebels, and 
after returning a vigorous fire until all but two of the cannoniers were 
shot down, the gun had to be abandoned. In February, 1862, the 
battery advanced on Winchester, and had a severe and fatiguing march. 

After the resignation of Captain Vaughan, Lieutenant Walter O. 
Bartlett, an excellent officer, was appointed to the command, and 
conducted the battery through the peninsula campaign, doing good 
service. It engaged the enemy before Yorktown, and on the evacu 
ation of that place proceeded to West Point by water, and thence con 
tinued the advance towards Richmond. It was present at the battle 
of Hanover Court House, as a support, and was under fire at Fair 
Oaks. It was in position at Peach Orchard, Savage s Station and 
Malvern Hill, having two or three men wounded at the latter place. 

On the resignation of Captain Bartlett, Lieutenant John G. Hazard, 
who joined the battery at Alexandria, from battery C, August 30th, 


1861, was commissioned Captain, and has since held the command. 
In the battle of Fredericksburg, he fought his battery with great bra 
very. On the llth of December, he was in position to the right of 
the Lacy House, and during the day expended 384 rounds of solid 
shot upon the enemy s sharpshooters rifle pits and covers, lining the 
opposite bank of the river. The next day he crossed over, and on the 
13th took an exposed position on an eminence, where he opened upon 
the enemy, and continued firing with great rapidity for three quar 
ters of an hour, when, by order, he withdrew to the position of the 
day before in the city. He lost sixteen men, and twelve battery hor 
ses. In his report to Captain Morgan, he speaks in warm praise of 
the bravery and endurance of the men, and of the gallant conduct of 
Lieutenants Adams, Bloodgood, Perrin, and Milne. The good condi 
tion and efficiency of the battery, drew from General Hunt, Chief of 
Artillery, a highly commendatory letter to Captain Hazard. At 
Chancellorsville, in the absence of Captain Hazard, on account of 
sickness, Lieutenant T. F. Brown held the command. 

On the 23d of May, 1863, Captain Hazard was appointed Chief of 
Artillery, of the Second Army Corps, and in the battle of Gettysburg 
his brigade consisted of Company I, U. S, Artillery, battery A, 4th 
U. S., batteries A and B, 1st New York, batteries A and B 1st R. I., 
in all 28 guns. In this sanguinary action, described on page 266, the 
fire was effective, and the losses in men and horses severe. So, espe 
cially, was this the case with the Rhode Island battery A, that it be 
came necessary temporarily to unite it with another. Captain 
Hazard s horse was twice shot, and his exposure constant during the 
battle. In the subsequent movements of the Army of the Potomac, 
Battery B, up to the close of 1863, has handsomely maintained a 
well earned reputation. 


(Mustered into service August 25th, 1861. 

Captains William B. Weeden, August 8th, 1861 ; appointed Chief 
of Artillery on the Peninsula June 13th, 1862; resigned July 22d, 

1862. Richard Waterman, promoted from First Lieutenant July 
25th, 1862. 

Lieutenants John G. Hazard, Richard Waterman, William W. 
Buckley, promoted to Captain battery D, Oct. 30th, 1862 ; Charles H. 
Clarke, resigned August 25th, 1862 ; Frederick M. Sackett, wounded 
at battle of Chancellorsville, Va., May, 1863; resigned October 6th, 

1863. Charles H. Wilcox, honorably discharged for disability April 
10th, 1863 ; Thomas F. Brown, transferred to battery B ; Robert H. 
Lee, resigned June 1st, 1863 ; Stephen W. Fiske, Reuben H. Rich, 
Andrew McMillan. 

Battery C, after enlistment, went into camp for a short time at 
"Camp Ames," where it was joined by Captain Weeden. On the 
31st of August it broke camp, marched to Providence, and took the 
cars for Washington, It there occupied Camp Spraguc, engaged in 



daily drill, until October, when it crossed the Potomac, and en 
camped near Fort Corcoran. The rebels -were then hovering around 
Washington, and occupied Munson s. Hill, a commanding eminence 
near Bailey s Cross Roads, where they threw up an earthwork with 
ubuttis, but mounted no guns unless "Quakers." Ihis, and other 
movements on their part, kept up a lively apprehension of an attack 
upon the Capital, and perhaps stimulated activity in measures for the 
defence, as well as for aggressive operations. Troops were constantly 
passing over Long Bridge and Chain Bridge, into Virginia, and mak 
ing encampments along the Potomac, from below Alexandria to Lang- 
ley s, a distance of about fifteen miles, so that before the close of 
November, an immense army was there gathered, and the safety of 
Washington ensured. 

The battery shortly removed from "Camp Randolph" to Hall s 
Hill, and thence to Miner s Hill, near by, where it formed "Camp 
Owen," and passed the winter. The time was spent in acquiring 
proficiency for service in the field. It was attached to General 
Morell s brigade, General Fitz John Porter s division of the Army of 
the Potomac. On the 10th of March, 1862, it moved with the grand 
army to the Peninsula. Its history, during that and subsequent 
campaigns, has been so fully related in the preceding pages, that little 
remains to be said to complete the narrative. After the return of 
the army from the victory of Gettysburg to the line of the Rappahan- 
nock, battery C was assigned a post near Cedar Mountain, in full 
sight of the enemy s earthworks on the opposite side of the Rapidan, 
and commanding their position should they attempt to advance. 
When Lee made his attempt to flank Meade, and gain his rear, the 
battery fell back with the army, and from the 10th to the 19th of 
November, was constantly in motion. Lee, disappointed in his pur 
pose, retreated, and the Army of the Potomac re-assumed the posi 
tion it had recently left. In the advance upon the rebels, and in the 
successful battle of November 7th, the battery participated. It took 
position on the right of the road leading to Rappahannock Station, 
and opened an effective fire upon the enemy, which was kept up near 
ly two hours. Here two men were wounded, CorporalJohn Jenkins 
severely, and private John Seamans, slightly. On the 8th, three 
pieces crossed the river, and took up position in a fort from which 
the rebels had been driven. The other three guns, under Lieutenant 
Fiske, remained near the river on the hither side, to guard a Pontoon 
bridge. On the 12th, the battery moved forward, and went into camp 
near Hazle River, where it remained until the 25th, when it advanced 
with the army across the Rapidan,* and on the 27th again encoun 
tered the enemy, for an hour giving and receiving a sharp fire. In 
this action, Henry Nascn. of Valley Falls, R. I., was severely 
wounded, having both feet taken off. The severity of the weather, 
the state of the roads, night exposures, and other causes, rendered 
this campaign of eight days one of unusual fatigue. In the cam 
paigning of twenty -one months since leaving Miner s Hill, the battery 
has fought in the hottest battles of the war, in which the Army of the 

*The first section, under Lieutenant McMillan, was detailed to bring 
up the rear with the 2d brigade, 1st division, 6th corps. 


Potomac has been engaged . Its losses in men and horses have been se- 
yere. Its varied record bears testimony to the courage and ability of 
its successive commanders, and to the bravery of its officers and men. 
In the advance by the peninsula against Richmond, it opened the 
Artillery fire before Yorktown, and made the first offering of blood 
there for the Union. 


(Mustered into service September 4th t 1861.) 

Captains John Albert Munroe, promoted to Major, October 20th, 
1862 ; William W. Buckley, promoted from 1st Lieutenant battery C, 
October 30th, 1862. 

Lieutenants George C. Harkness, resigned March 3d, 1863 ; Kirby 
Steinhauer ; Henry R. Gladding, mustered out of service, November 
30th, 1862 ; William B. Rhodes, from battery G ; Stephen W. Fiske, 
promoted to 1st Lieutenant battery C ; Frederic Chase ; Ezra K. 

Battery D arrived in Washington, September 15th, 1861, when 
Captain Munroe assumed command. October 8th, the following 
month, it marched to Hall s Hill, Va., and was attached to the division 
of Fitz John Porter. October 1 2th, it reported to General McDowell, 
at Upton s Hill, Va., and shortly after went into " Camp Dupont." 
where it remained until March 9th, 1862, when it marchd to Fairfax 
Court House, and was attached to King s division the corps forma 
tion of the army having been organized, General McDowell taking 
command of the corps, and General King assuming command of Gen 
eral McDowell s old division. 

From Fairfax Court House, it marched to Cloud s Mills, near Al 
exandria, for embarkation for the Peninsula ; but the plan of opera 
tions being changed in some respects, the corps was ordered, March 
29th, to Bristow, Va., to which place the battery went. There it re 
mained two weeks, when it removed to Catlett s Station, and thence, 
about April 28th, to Falmouth, opposite Fredericksburg, taking part 
in the skirmish with Holmes rebel force who held the city. In the 
early part of June it marched to Thoroughfare Gap, Va., Catlett s 
Station, Warrington, Gainesville and Haymarket, with McDowell s 
corps, in the pursuit after Stonewall Jackson when on his famous 
raid up the Shenandoah Valley. It returned to the old camp, oppo 
site Fredericksburg, July 1st ; August 8th, marched from Fred 
ericksburg nearly to the North Anna river, with Gibbon s brigade, 
and returned four days after, having had two days running fight with 
Stuart s cavalry. About August 19th, it was ordered to Rappahan- 
nock Station, to rejoin McDowell s corps, having been detached from 
that corps when it was relieved at Fredericksburg by General Burn- 
side, where it arrived in time to take part in the engagement then go 
ing on. Thence it marched to Warrenton ; thence to Sulphur Springs, 
taking part in the fight there ; thence back through Warrenton to 
Groveton, where, on the evening of August 28th, a very severe en 
gagement occurred, in which battery D took an active part. 

In the battle of Bull Run, August 29th and 30th, the battery was 
engaged from the commencement of the action to its close, suffering 


severely in men and horses. It returned with the army within the 
defences of Washington ; marched into Maryland under General Mc- 
Clellan, attached to the corps of General Hooker ; fought at South 
Mountain and at Antietam. In the latter battle, Captain Munroe was 
Chief of artillery in Doubleday s division, Hooker s corps, and had the 
command of thirty- six guns on the right, that did so terrible execution 
on the enemy s left on the night of September 17th. 

The casualties of men, up to August 28th, were very slight, but 
quite a number of horses were lost. At Groveton, five or six men 
were wounded severely, four taken prisoners and two missing. Sev 
eral horses were killed, among which was Captain Monroe s. One 
caisson was so damaged by a shot from the enemy that it could not 
be removed, and was blown up to prevent it and its ammunition fall 
ing into the hands of the enemy. An exciting circumstance occurred 
in this action. The battery was ordered to take position on a hill, 
about three hundred yards from the road, for which it started at a 
quick trot, but just as it reached the foot, a cavalryman dashed down 
at a rapid rate, saying that the enemy had a battery going up the same 
hill on the other side, and a moment more showed them unlimbering 
their pieces. The battery was taken away at a gallop, behind a clump 
of woods near by, but before it reached there, received a pretty hot 

At Bull Run, during the two days, the battery lost eighteen men 
killed and wounded. Lieutenant Harkness was also injured. Lieu 
tenant Harkness horse was wounded ; Lieutenant Fiske s horse was 
wounded and died soon after, and the Captain had two horses shot 
under him. At South Mountain the battery lost two men missing ; 
at Antietam thirty-nine more were lost in killed, wounded and miss 
ing. In this action, the battery lost a large number of horses. From 
one piece all the horses but one were killed, and all the cannoneers 
but the gunner and one priva te either killed or severely wounded. 
This piece was drawn to the rear by the prolong 1 e. While the prolonge 
was being attached to this piece, Lieutenant Fiske s horse was shot, and 
the Captain s horse, upon which he was mounted, received no less 
than six bullets. 

October 20th, 1862, Captain Munroe was commissioned Major, and 
on the 4th December following was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. 
Shortly after his appointment to the rank of Major, he was assigned 
to the light artillery in and about Washington, north of the Potomac, 
with directions to organize a camp of instruction for artillery, to which 
the new batteries from the States might be sent and be fitted for the 
field. With these instructions, he laid out " Camp Barry," containing 
about seventy-five acres, and provided with a hospital and stables for 
1200 horses. Here a system of instruction in tactics has been estab 
lished. All the eastern armies are supplied with light artillery from 
this camp, and a sufficient number of batteries are kept on hand to 
supply any deficiencies that may occur from loss or otherwise. When 
batteries in the field become depleted in numbers or broken down, 
they are sent to Camp Barry to be refitted for service. In various en 
gagements, Colonel Munroe had his garments perforated with bullets, 
but escaped without wound. 

On the 30th October, 1862, Lieutenant William W. Buckley, of 


battery C, was appointed Captain of battery D, and reached his com 
mand just in season to participate in the battle of Fredericksburg, 
December 13th. He was subsequently assigned with it to Burnside s 
command in the west, where it has been doing constant service, and 
has gained an excellent reputation, ranking with the best batteries in 
that department. iSince its organization, about forty officers have 
been commissioned from it. 


(Mustered into service September SQth, 18G1.) 

Captains George E. Randolph, promoted from 1st Lieutenant, 
battery C ; Chiei of artillery in Kearny s division, 1862 ; Chief of the 
artillerv brigade, with staff, in third army corps of the Potomac, April 
17th, 1863. 

Lieutenants Walter O. Bartlett, promoted to Captain of battery 
B ; William Albert Arnold, promoted to Captain of battery A, De 
cember 6th, 1862 ; John K. Bucklyn, severely wounded in battle of 
Gettysburg, Penn., July 2d, 1863 ; John A. Perry, appointed Chap 
lain, January 13th, 1862 ; Pardon S. Jastram, Assistant Adjutant 
General on Captain Randolph s staff, artillery brigade, third corps, 
May, 1863 ; Israel R. Sheldon ; James F. Allen ; George C. DeKay, 
(declined the appointment ;) J. Russell Field ; Benjamin Freeborn. 

Battery E had its encampment at "Camp Greene," and left for 
Washington early in October, 1861. It remained at "Camp Sprague" 
until November 5th, when it passed into Virginia, and established a 
camp near Fort Lyon, southwest of Alexandria, which was named 
" Camp Webb." At a later day, the camp was moved a short dis 
tance east, where stabiles were erected, and the battery passed the 
winter. It was now in Heintzelman s division, and not far from his 
head-quarters. A night reconnoissance to Pohick Church, a distance 
of about fourteen miles, November llth, was a first experience of the 
kind, and as there was an expectation of meeting the enemy, very 
fairly tested the spirit of the men. At midnight the preparations were 
made, and at 3 o clock A. M. the battery was on the move. The cav 
alry accompanying the expedition had a brush with the rebels, and 
lost several men. The battery and infantry did not engage, and re 
turned to camp at night, after a fatiguing march over muddy roads. 

On the 4th of April, 1862, the battery accompanied Hamilton s di 
vision (formerly Heintzelman s) to the Peninsula, in the general move 
ment of the army of the Potomac on Richmond. Its work during the 
four months that succeeded has been elsewhere related. At York- 
town, General Kearny relieved General Hamilton, and thenceforth, 
until the death of that gallant officer, the battery was closely identi 
fied with his movements. The march to William sburg, after the 
evacuation of Yorktown, was one of great fatigue, on account of the 
bad state of the roads, and though ten or twelve horses were attached 
to each piece, it was impossible to reach a position in season to sup 
port Hooker, as was designed. From the 7th of May to the 4th of 


July, the battery was constantly on the alert. It passed through the 
fiery ordeal of the memorable " seven days" that swung the right wing 
of the army round to the James river, and closed with the battle of 
Malvern Hill. In that last engagement, the battery lost one man 
killed and four wounded. It was next engaged, (after the evacuation 
of the Peninsula,) with General Hooker at the battle of Bristow s 
Station, August 27th, driving the enemy and losing two men killed 
and two wounded. Then came Bull Run battle, number two, losing 
two men killed and three wounded. Then followed the battle of 
Chantilly, where the battery made a very destructive fire. Here, 
Captain Randolph was in command of all the artillery of Kearny s 
division, consisting of Rhode Island battery E, Bramhall s New York, 
Clark s New Jersey, Seeley s 4th United States and Livingston s 
3d United States. 

The hard work of this corps on the Peninsula, and the casualties of 
Pope s campaign, had greatly reduced its efficiency, and after the bat 
tle of Chantilly it was placed in the defences of Washington to recu 
perate. In October, the battery was at Poolesville, Md., and on the 
5th December, at Stafford Court House, Ya. Its gallantry in the bat 
tles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, has been de 
scribed, pages 188, 238, 266. In the advance of the army upon the 
rebels, November 7th, 1863, it fought at Kelly s Ford with galling 
effect, as it did again after crossing theRapidan, and encountering the 
enemy near Mile Run, November 27th. 

After the battle of Chancellorsville, Captain Randolph was ap 
pointed to the command of the artillery brigade of the third army 
corps, having a regular brigade staff, consisting of Assistant Adjutant 
General, Commissary, Quartermaster, Ordnance officer, Assistant 
Inspector and Surgeon. Lieutenant Jastram, who commanded the 
battery at Chancellorsville and fought it with great skill, fills the po 
sition of Assistant Adjutant General. In this new and responsible 
command, Captain Randolph has shown rare executive ability. 
Since the war begun, he has been twice wounded, first at Bull Run, 
July 21st, 1861, and second, at Gettysburg. At Gettysburg, bat 
tery E was commanded by Lieutenant John K. Bucklyn, where he 
was severely wounded. Both there and in the more recent actions 
of the 7th and 27th November, he displayed the qualities of a brave 
and efficient officer. 


(Mustered into service October 29th, 1861.) 
Captain James Belger. 

Lieutenants Charles H. Pope, resigned October 6th, 1862 ; Thomas 
Simpson, George W. Field, resigned October 6th, 1862; William A. 
Arnold, resigned May 4th, 1863 ; Peter C. Smith, Philip S. Chase, 
Albert E. Adams. 

Battery F was sent to Washington early in November, 1861, and 
quartered at Camp Sprague, where it received its guns, and Captain 


Belger assumed command. After a few weeks, it proceeded to Camp 
California, near Alexandria, Va. Here it remained until ordered to 
join the Burnside expedition, when it went to Annapolis, Md , and 
on the 9th of January, 1862, the men and horses were embarked on 
board the steamer "George Peabody," and the battery on board the 
schooner "James Brady. It shared the discomforts and perils of the 
memorable voyage to Hatteras Inlet, where it landed in a violent 
storm, from which the men suffered severely. It remained at "Camp 
Winfield" until February 26th, when it departed for Roanoke Island, 
an d arrived March 2d. On the llth of the same month it left the 
Island, and arrived at Newbern on the 14th. From March 20th till 
May 18th, the company acted as Cavalry, and performed picket duty 
on roads leading to Newbern. While on picket near this place, March 
31st, privates Henry Love and George E. Fuller were wounded, and 
May 2d, Corporal Benjamin F. Martindale was killed. On the 20th 
of June, the battery made part of the brilliant military pageant at the 
State presentation of a sword to General Burnside, and fired the salute 
on that occasion. It left Newbern July 25th, on a reconnoissance to 
Trenton and vicinity, and arrived back the 27th. It left again Octo 
ber 29th, and marched to Washington, N. C., where it arrived the 
next day. It left there on a reconnoissance to Tarboro, engaged the 
enemy on Little Creek twice the same day, and arrived at Newbern 
November 12th. It left December llth on an expedition, engaged 
the enemy at Whitehall Ferry on the 16th, in which action Corporal 
George H. Manchester and private John Butterworth were severely 
wounded, and William Nesbett and James D. Gavett killed. Eight 
horses were also killed. On the 17th of December, the enemy were 
engaged at Goldsboro Railroad Bridge, when Sergeants Alexander 
Massie and J. A. Gage, and private C. C. Burr were wounded. The 
battery accompanied General Spinola, in his expedition to raise the 
siege of Washington, and in an encounter with the enemy, Captain 
Belger was severely wounded, and for several months was taken off 

Among the early losses of the battery by death from sickness and 
accident, were private William B. Healy, of Providence, Corporal 
Elisha A. Slocum, of Pawtucket, and Sergeant Benjamin H. Draper, 
of Providence. Private Healy had an earnest, affectionate nature, 
and a keen sense of moral and religious obligation. He shared large 
ly the esteem of his commander, and his companions. He died at 
Roanoke Island, of fever, enduced by severe exposure at Hatteras In 
let, and the effects of climate. He passed away peacefully at the age 
of eighteen years. His remains were brought home, and interred in 
the North Burying Ground. Corporal Slocum entered the service 
with ardent patriotism, and a strong desire for active duty. He 
w r as soon prostrated by typhoid fever, terminating in chronic diarrhoea, 
and after an illness of several weeks at the hospital on Roanoke 
Island, was brought home to die. He expired July 5th, 1862, aged 
seventeen years, leaving a large circle of friends to mourn the depar 
ture of one whose pure life and Christian resignation gave assurance 
of ripeness for a happy immortality. 

Returning from a night reconnoissance, the company acting as 
Cavalry, Sergeant Draper received a kick from a horse, which broke 


his leg badly below the knee. All means that surgical skill could 
devise were employed to save the limb, but without success, and am 
putation became necessary. At first the case appeared hopeful, but 
with a constitution unequal to the shock, he rapidly sank, and on the 
27th of May, 1862, departed this life in the 21st year of his age. Ser 
geant Draper joined the battery at the commencement of its organi 
zation, and took an active part in filling up its ranks by enlistments. 
With strong convictions of duty, he volunteered with the honorable 
purpose of aiding to restore the harmony of the Union ; and endowed 
with soldierly qualities, his worth was appreciated, and his prospects 
of advancement promising. His confinement was borne with manly 
fortitude, and his last hours were sustained by Christian trust. His 
body rests in Swan Point Cemetery. 

"No stern array in battle s front, of fierce and vengeful foes, 
Can break the holy peace that marks the soldier s last repose." 

From January to November, 1863, the battery was much engaged 
in picket and reconnoissance duties, and has taken a high rank for 
efficiency. In November it proceeded, by order, to Fortress Monroe. 


(Mustered into service December 21s, 1861.) 

Captains Charles D. Owen, resigned December 24th, 1862 ; 
Horace S. Bloodgood, promoted from 1st Lieutenant battery B, De 
cember 29th, 1862. resigned April 22d, 1863 ; George W. Adams, 
promoted from 1st Lieutenant battery B, January 30th, 1863 ; trans 
ferred from Captain battery I, April 23d, 1863. 

Lieutenants Charles D. Owen, promoted to Captain, December 
21st, 1861 ; Edward H. Sears, resigned November 14th, 1862 ; Craw 
ford Allen, Jr., wounded at battle of Fredericksburg, Va., May 3d, 
1863, promoted to Captain battery H ; Elmer L. Cothell ; William B. 
Rhodes, transferred to battery D ; Otto L. Torslow ; Benjamin E. 
Kelley, killed at battle of Fredericksburg, May 3d, 1863 ; James E. 
vJhace ; Allen Hoar. 

Battery G left Providence for Washington, December 7th, 1861, 
and went into camp at Camp Sprague, where it remained occupied in 
drill until January 3d, 1862, when it proceeded to Darnestown, Md., 
and encamped for the night ; and from thence marched to Poolsville, 
where, on the 8th, the Potomac being frozen over, the pickets on both 
sides suspending the monotonous business of their respective beats, 
engaged in the more peaceful and exciting amusement of skating so 
closely does the war and peace spirit approximate ! In February, the 
battery was at Edwards Ferry, where it was visited by Governor 
Sprague. When, on the 7th February, the joyous news of victory in 
Tennessee arrived in camp, Lieutenant Sears fired a salute of 34 guns. 
The encampment was situated in a beautiful grove, about half a mile 
from the ferry. Here it remained, doing picket duty, until early in 
March, occasionally exchanging shell compliments with the rebels. 


On the 15th of that month it was at Bolivar Heights, having marched 
by the way of Sandy Hook and Harper s Ferry. From there, it pro 
ceeded to Washington to join McClellan s advance on Richmond. 
March 29th, it left Washington on board a propeller and two schoo 
ners, dropped down to Alexandria, and the next day sailed for For 
tress Monroe, where it arrived, April 2d. After landing, the battery 
proceeded up the Peninsula, and encamped seven miles from York- 
town. On the 28th, it was ordered to take position in batteries No. 7 
and 8, within one thousand yards of the rebel fortifications, which it 
did, and at night returned to Camp Winfield Scott. During the siege, 
it was constantly engaged in picket duty and skirmishes with the 
enemy. On their abandonment of their stronghold, it followed up 
with Sedgwick s division to which it was attached, and during the 
residue of the campaign, shared the dangers and fatigues of his com 
mand. During the " seven days " fight, it rendered special service 
on the retreat, and in one instance, by timely occupying a particular 
position, prevented an important advantage to the rebels. On with 
drawing from the Peninsula, it marched by the way of Yorktown, to 
Hampton, where it embarked for Alexandria. The guns were sent 
forward by transport, under charge of Lieutenant Allen. Captain 
Owen, and Lieutenants Sears, Rhodes and Torslow, followed, on 
board another, having the horses in care. On the 6th September, the 
battery was at Arlington Heights. On the 17th, it fought at Antie- 
tam, under Captain Owen, with great bravery. On the 6th of Octo 
ber, it was at Bolivar Heights. It left there on the 31st, and crossed 
the Shenandoah. On the 5th November, it was at Upperville, and 
moving on, it was in readiness, on the 18th December, to join in the 
assault on Fredericksburg. In this battle, Captain Owen fought his 
guns with coolness and spirit. 

On the resignation of Captain Owen, December 24th, 1863, Lieu 
tenant George W. Adams, by promotion, succeeded to the command. 
The part taken by him in the battle of Chancellorsville, is described 
on page 239. In subsequent service, the battery has maintained its 
good reputation. 


(Mustered into service October Uth, 1862.) 

Captains Charles H. J. Hamlin, May 16th, 1862, resigned Septem 
ber 27th, 1862 ; Jeffrey Hazard, promoted from 1st Lieutenant battery 
A, October 1st, 1862, resigned August 17th, 1863 ; Crawford Allen, 
Jr., promoted from 1st Lieutenant battery G. 

Lieutenants Clement Webster, did not enter the field, and resigned 
February 3d, 1863; George W. Blair, Charles F. Mason, promoted 
from battery A, Kirby S. Steinhauer, promoted from Sergeant battery 
G, assigned to battery D ; Elmer L. Cothill, promoted from Sergeant 
battery F ; Walter M. Knight, promoted from Q. M. Sergeant battery 
F ; Samuel G. Colwell. 

Battery H was enlisted under Captain Charles H. J. Hamlin, and 


went into camp near Mashapaug Pond. On proceeding to Washing 
ton, October 23d, 1862, it was assigned, October 28th, to "Camp 
Barry," where it received three-inch rifled guns in place of the 
"James" pieces with which it left Rhode Island. On the resignation 
of Captain Hamlin, Captain Jeffrey Hazard was promoted to the com 
mand, from 1st Lieutenant of battery A, in which he had seen severe 
service, and shown undaunted courage. At first the battery suffered, 
by the desertion of a large number of men from New York, who en 
listed for the bounty. In March, 1863, the battery was filled by de 
tached men from the Vermont brigade, General Casey s division, in 
which division the battery had been since the 23d of January. In. 
March, the battery was ordered from Fairfax Station to Union Mills, 
on Bull Run. At the time of the battle of Chancellorsville, one sec 
tion was ordered by General Abercrombie to be taken to Rappahan- 
nock Station, where it remained nine days with the 12th Vermont 
regiment. Upon the return of this section, the whole battery was 
ordered to Chantilly, where it remained until Hooker s Army passed 
through to Maryland and Pennsylvania. The time of our nine months 
detached men had then nearly expired, and the battery was ordered 
to Washington, where it remained two days, when it was ordered to 
the defences South of the Potomac, General DeRussey. This bat 
tery had fine opportunities for drill and general improvement, but 
having been retained in the Department of Washington, has never 
been in any engagement. 

The vacancy in the command, made by the resignation of Captain 
Hazard, was filled by the promotion of Lieutenant Crawford Allen, 
Jr., from battery G. He was slightly wounded in the battle of Chan 
cellorsville. A correspondent of the Providence Press, writing from 
Camp Barry, under date of November 30th, says: "Captain Allen, 
in the time he has been with us, has shown himself quite efficient as 
a commander, as well as exceedingly popular with the men." In No 
vember, 1863, Lieutenant Charles F. Mason, whose gallantry at the 
battle of Antietam has elsewhere been referred to, was appointed on 
the Staff of Colonel Tompkins, Chief of the Artillery brigade, 6th 
Army Corps. * 


Three Months Volunteers Mustered out August 30, 1S62. 
Captain Edwin C. Gallup. 

Lieutenants Samuel A. Pierce, Jr., Frank A. Rhodes, Amos D. 
Smith, Jr., Henry Pearce. 

Sergeant Major Amasa C. Tourtellott. 

Quartermaster Sergeant Asa Lyman. 

Hospital Steward Charles W. Cady. 

Sergeants James S. Davis, Jr., Henry W. Brown, Calvin J. Adams, 
George W. Payton, Stephen G. Luther, Philip B. Stiness, Jr. 

Corporals John L. Remlinger, Henry L. Guild, Smith F. Phillips, 
Nathaniel F. Winslow, Jr., Ephraim Greene, John P. Dow, Charles 



II. Starkey, Alphonso Bennett, Henry A. Boss, Isaac Andrews, 
James Flate, James M. Harrison, William Almy. 

Artificer Charles J. Noonan. 

Bugler Daniel F. Read. 

The Tenth Battery, for three months service, was raised simulta 
neously with the Ninth and Tenth regiments of three months volun 
teers, and was recruited tinder the supervision of Captain Edwin C. 
Gallup. It left Providence for Washington in May, in three detach 
ments, the first under Lieutenant Samuel A. Pearce, Jr., the second 
under Lieutenants Frank A. Rhodes and Amos D. Smith, Jr., and 
the third under Captain Gallup and Quartermaster Sergeant Asa 
Lyman. On reaching Washington, they proceeded to Tenallytown, 
and concentrated at "Camp Frieze." The battery lay here, improv 
ing its drill, until June 23d, when, in obedience to orders, it moved 
forward to reinforce General Banks. It marched to Cloud s Mills, 
and there encamped, waiting further orders. In about a week they 
came, not to advance, but countermanding those originally given, 
and directing a return. It therefore countermarched, and made its 
encampment near Fort Pennsylvania, the headquarters of the Tenth 
R. I. Volunteers. Here it remained until the expiration of its term 
of service, when it returned home in company with the Tenth, and 
shared the welcome that waited their arrival. During its absence it 
made a proficiency in artillery movements, that excited the surprise, 
and received the strong approbation of military visitants from Wash 
ington. Though not sent to the front, to engage in deadly conflict, 
the battery formed an important arm of the defence of Washington, 
at a time when it became necessary to withdraw troops more enured 
to service from the fortifications around that city, to reinforce the 
armies in the field. One death only, and that by accident, occurred. 
Corporal James Flate was run over by a limber, and so badly injured 
that he died in four hours. He enlisted in New York, as the battery 
passed through that city. He was faithful in the discharge of his 
duty, and by his social qualities gained universal favor. 


Assistant Surgeon H. W. KING. 
Quartermaster GEORGE A. SMITH. 

Captains Christopher Yaughn, Sanford S. Burr. 
Lieutenants John Angell, Samuel A. Lewis, Theodore Kellogg, 
"William H. Stevens. 

This body of 1G5 men was raised for three months service, and sent 
into the field 28th of June, 1862. It was composed of a company re 
cruited from Dartmouth College and Norwich University, and one 


company enlisted in Providence. Its services were rendered chiefly 
in the vicinity of Winchester and Harper s Ferry, in reconnoitering 
and doing scout duty. It was part of the cavalry force which cut its 
way out of Harper s Ferry, during the investment of that place by the 
rebels. It was present on the field of Antietam, ready to go into 
action should occasion offer for employing its services. During the 
campaign it lost thirty men taken prisoners. It returned to Provi 
dence on the 28th September, and was mustered out of the service. 
The services performed were creditable to die Sqnadron and to the 


(Note to page 150.) 

General Hodman received a musket ball in the left breast, which 
passed completely through his body. He was conveyed to the house 
of Dr. Horner, near Hagerstown, where he died, September 29th, 
1862, aged forty years, in the presence of his father and his wife, who 
were with him to comfort his last hours. Before he went to the war, 
General Rodman was well known to the citizens of Rhode Island, as 
an active and enterprising manufacturer, of the firm of Samuel Rod 
man & Sons, of South Kingstown. When the second regiment was 
raised, he accepted the office of Captain in it. He devoted himself to 
the study of the military art with the energy he had always brought 
to his business pursuits. He showed marked bravery and coolness at 
the battle of Bull Run, July 21st, 1861. Soon after the 4th regiment 
Rhode Island volunteers was organized, he was appointed Colonel of 
it, and accompanied Burnside in his expedition to North Carolina. 
In the battle of Roanoke and in the battle of Newbern, his regiment 
was distinguished. 

In recognition of his eminent services, Colonel Rodman was ap 
pointed Brigadier General. The severe labors of the campaign had, 
by the early summer, so worn upon him that his surgeon and General 
B urnside both insisted on his going home for rest. He accordingly 
returned, and spent the summer with his family. His townsmen gave 
him an enthusiastic reception. Having a great reluctance to anything 
that might look like display, he refused all requests to appear on 
public occasions, until the great war meeting was held in Providence, 
on the oth of August, when he appealed with great earnestness to his 
fellow citizens to hasten forward the recruiting. He soon after re 
turned to the army, and took command of a brigade in Burnside s 
corps. The high esteem in which he was held by his superior officers, 
is shown by the fact that a division was entrusted to him in the battle 
of South Mountain, where our forces gained so signal a victory. Be 
sides a wife, daughter of the late Governor Arnold, he left six children 
to mourn his loss. By his old regiment, the 4th Rhode Island, his 
death was deeply mourned. 


The remains of General Rodman arrived in Providence October 3d, 
and were received by a guard of honor, and conveyed to the Repre 
sentatives Hall in the State House, which had been appropriately 
draped for the occasion. Here they lay in state until the afternoon 
of the next day, when a solemn and appropriate service was held on 
the State House Parade. A canopied platform had been erected near 
the western steps, on which the casket containing the body was 
placed. Prayer was offered by Rev. Dr. Barnas Sears, a dirge per 
formed by the Band, and brief and impressive addresses made by 
Governor Sprague, Hon. Henry B. Anthony, Abraham Payne, Esq., 
Rev. Dr. Sears and Hon. William M. Rodman. Rev. Dr. E. B. Hall 
pronounced the benediction. 

At the close of the service, the remains were escorted through sev 
eral streets to the cars by the llth regiment Rhode Island volunteers, 
the Providence Horse Guards, and a section of battery H. They were 
conveyed to South Kingstown under escort of the Governor s staff, 
the Narragansett Guards and the Pettaquamscutt Infantry. On Sun 
day, 5th October, the final funeral services were performed by Rev. 
Dr. Barnas Sears, in the presence of an immense concourse. The body 
was deposited in the family burying ground, on the farm of the Hon. 
Samuel Rodman, the father of the General. Three volleys of mus 
ketry were fired over the grave, and the great company moved tear 
fully away, but never to forget the Christian patriot who fought so 
valiantly and fell so nobly, defending the honor of his country,* 


(Note to page 150.) 

The remains of Lieutenant Ives were brought to Providence, and 
funeral services were performed on Wednesday, October 1st, at St. 
Stephen s Church, at which he was a worshipper and a communicant. 
Only a month elapsed from the day of his departure from home to the 
day of his funeral. So brief was his campaign, so sad was its close. 
Yet not wholly sad ; for his example will not be lost. It will call 
it does call to young men of wealth and culture and refinement, to 
be willing to make the same sacrifice which he made. Few have so 
much to sacrifice as he. None can offer what they have more mod 
estly or more generously. 

Providence Journal. 



(Note to page 142.) 

The remains of General Stevens reached Newport, R. I., September 
7th, and were conveyed to the residence of his brother-in-law, Rev. 
Charles T. Brooks. On Wednesday, 10th, they lay in state in the 
lower room of the State House, from 8 A. M. to 1 o clock P. M., at 
tended by a detachment of the Newport Old Guard as a guard of 
honor. The room was appropriately draped with mourning and the 
national colors. The body, enclosed in a neat casket, was arrayed in 
full uniform, and the casket covered with flowers. The sword and 
equipments of the deceased, enclosed in a case, were placed near the 
head of the casket. The flags of the city, of Fort Adams, and of the 
shipping in port, were at half mast, and many stores and residences 
draped in mourning. The obsequies took place at two o clock 
P. M. Religious services were held at the house of Rev. Mr. Brooks, 
where the mourners were assembled, by Rev. Augustus Woodbury, 
of Providence, who briefly dwelt upon the private virtues of the de 
ceased, and opened to the bereaved family the sources of consolation 
in the gospel of Christ. The remains were escorted from the State 
House to the Cemetery by five military companies, formed into a bat 
talion, commanded by Colonel William E. Stedman, of the Newport 
Artillery. The procession was the largest and most imposing ever 
gathered on a similar occasion in Newport. At the grave, the mili 
tary formed a hollow square, and Rev. Mr. Woodbury read passages 
from the book of Revelation appropriate to the occasion, made a brief 
address, followed by a prayer and benediction. Three volleys of mus 
ketry were then fired over the grave, and the impressive ceremonies 
closed. General Stevens was a native of Massachusetts. He served 
with honor in the Mexican war, was one of the commission that sur 
veyed the route for the Pacific Railroad, and had been Governor of 
Washington Territory. In his civil and military relations, he was 
distinguished for energy and administrative qualities. He was cour 
ageous even to daring, and his attachment to the Union was attested 
by the sacrifice of his life upon the altar of liberty and law. His no 
ble deeds will live in the pages of history. 


Arrangements having been made with the War Department, for 
establishing this hospital for sick and wounded soldiers, the first con 
tribution of 1724 patients arrived July Gth, 1862. Active measures 
were pursued to increase the accommodations, improve the grounds, 
lay out a cemetery, and enclose the premises with a high, substantial 
fence. The whole number of buildings is 08, comprising 28 wards 
for patients, and 30 for mess-house, kitchen, laundry, dry -houses,, 



hospital store, dispensary, commissary department, officers quarters, 
chapel, blacksmith and carpenter s shops, barracks for Hospital 
Guards, and other necessary purposes. A daily religious evening ser 
vice is held by the chaplain, who preaches morning and evening on the 
Sabbath. The chapel building is 80 feet long by 30 broad, and two sto 
ries high. The audience room, in the 2d story, will comfortably seat 
350 persons, and the walls are decorated with shields, on which are 
inscribed passages of Scripture. The successive Chaplains have been, 
Rev. O. S. Prescott, Rev. Silas S. Cummings, and the present en- 
cumbent, Rev. Alexander Proudfit. The spiritual labors of these 
gentlemen have been greatly blest, and the present chaplain finds 
great encouragement in his work. In the lower story of the chapel 
is a reading room and a library of 1600 volumes, which are freely 
used by the men. Every department of the hospital is kept in neatest 
order, and in the arrangement of its wards for ventilation, is superior 
to any other government establishment of the same kind and extent, 
in the United States. 

From the opening of the hospital to August 1st, 1863, the number 
of patients received was 6866. Of these, 414 were Rhode Island men. 
Deaths in the same time, 124; buried in the hospital cemetery, 101. 

List of Past Officers. 

Medical Staff. Surgeons Francis L. Wheaton, U. S. V. ; D. J. 
McKibbcn, U. S. V. ; F. P. Ainsworth, U. S. V. 

Assistant Surgeons A. D. Blanchard, U. S. A , H. E. Brown, 
do. ; P. McIIaughton, do. ; A. J. Cummings, G. C. Stiebling, Benoni 
Carpenter, E. Bacon, J. March, U.. S. A., A. Cooledge, H. T. Liver- 
more, U. S. A. ; T. Phelps, G. M. Stemberg, do. ; H. L. Sheldon, 
do. ; A. E. Dyer, do. ; E. Thomas, do. ; L. J. Marven, do. ; W. F. 
Hutchinson, do. ; E. Flynn, do. ; J. R. Ludow, U. S. V. ; Francis 
Greene, do. 

Quartermaster Captain F. J. Crelly, U.S. A. 

Chaplains Rev. O. S. Prescott, Rev. Silas S. Cummings. 

List of Present Officers, August 1st, 1863. 

Medical Staff L. A. Edwards, Surgeon U. S. A. ; W. F. Cornick, 
Assistant Surgeon U. S. A. ; J. \V. Merriam, Assistant Surgeon U. 
S. V. ; J. M. Laing, do. ; A. M. Paine, Acting Assistant Surgeon U. 
S. A. ; II. B. Knowles, do. ; Ed. Seyffarth, do. ; J. W. Gushing, do. ; 
S. Ingalls, do ; F. L. Taylor, do. ; W. C. Mulford, do. ; A. J. Gray, 
do. ; W. T. Thurston, do. The Acting Assistant Surgeons are pri 
vate Physicians under contract. 

Hospital Steward E. A. Calder, U. S. A. 

Chaplain Rev. Alexander Proudfit, U. S. A. 

Quartermaster Captain Charles E. Russ, U. S. V. 

Officers of Hospital Guards, R. I. V., on duty at this post. 

Captain C. Blanding, U. S. V. 1st Lieutenant W. C. Chace, 
wounded at Newbern. 2d Lieutenant John H. Hammond, Sergeant in 
battery A, in battle of Bull Run, 1861 ; wounded in battle near Mal- 
vern Hill, June 30, 1862. 



The frequent calls made upon the President of the Providence Fifth 
Ward Relief Association, during the summer of 1862, by invalid sol 
diers returning to their homes in other States, and the many found at 
the railroad station, destitute of the means to provide themselves with 
a night s lodging, suggested to her the utility of establishing a Home 
Avhere this class could obtain shelter and food, and be otherwise made 
comfortable until able to resume their journey. The plan was laid 
before several gentlemen interested in the welfare of discharged volun 
teers, by whom it was cordially approved. Through the active exer 
tions of a gentleman appointed for the purpose, $2000 were at once 
raised to commence and carry on the Institution for one year. The 
State, through Governor Sprague, who warmly favored the move 
ment, granted the use of the Marine Hospital, which was soon neatly 
fitted up, a Steward and Matron employed, and in October the work 
begun, under the direction of an organized Board of Managers. Of 
this Board, Mrs. Edward Darlington was chosen President, Mrs. 
Di.Wayland, Vice President, Mrs. William T. Grinnell, Treasurer, 
and Mrs. A. N. Beckwith, Secretary. Subsequently, Miss Sophie B. 
Dunnell, of Pavvtucket, became Secretary. The professional services 
of Drs. Collins, N. Miller, Baker, Okie and MeKnight were gratui 
tously given to the Home. At the end of the first year it was closed. 
During its operations, 750 persons were received into it, for periods 
varying from a single meal to several weeks, and embracing many 
wasting away under disease engendered by the exposures of the field, 
or suffering severely from wounds. Though temporary in its charac 
ter, the Soldiers Home deserves to be remembered as having render 
ed an important service in the work of humanity. 


(In Providence.) 

The course taken by the city of Providence in encouraging enlist 
ments, and in providing for the families and dependents of volunteers 
and drafted soldiers, has been generous and patriotic. As early as 
1861, during the latter part of tht year, the City Council appropri 
ated the sum of $8000, for the relief of the families of volunteers, to 
be expended under the advice and direction of the Mayor. This sum 
was entrusted to the care and management of Mr. George B. Holmes, 
and by him judiciously expended in weekly sums of one, two and 
three dollars, according to the size and needs of the respective fami 
lies requiring assistance. Additional appropriations of this kind were 
made from time to time, until the sum expended thus amounted to 


The first provision made for soldiers and their families in the form 
of a bounty, was during the summer of 1862, when, to encourage en 
listments to fill the quota under the call of the President of the Uni 
ted States for 300,000 men, the City Council, July 14th, authorized 
the payment of a bounty of $100 to each and every able bodied man, 
to the number of six hundred, who within thirty days should enlist 
in any company or regiment raised in Providence by the authority of 
the Governor of the State. This bounty did not secure the number 
of recruits requisite to fill the city s quota, and a draft impending, 
petitions were presented to the Council, asking that bounties of $300 
and $500 might be given to men volunteering for nine months, and 
for the war. The subject was referred to a committee of nine, who, 
through their chairman, Mr. Reuben A. Guild, presented, August 
25th, a lengthy and carefully prepared report, which was adopted. 
This report recommended the payment to every three years volunteer, 
of a bounty of $100, and $25 per month to his family, (if he have 
one, and if not on his written order,) during the first twelve months 
of his service, provided he did not, in the meanwhile, desert or be 
dishonorably discharged. On similar conditions the nine months 
volunteer was to receive $25 per month. 

On the 8th of September, 1862, Messrs. Guild, Field and Payton, 
of the Council, and Alderman Ham were appointed a special commit 
tee to report at the next meeting of the Council, what further legisla 
tion was necessary for the support of the families of volunteers from 
the city, and also to report some practical method of disbursing the 
appropriations made by the City Council, which should come more 
immediately under their supervision and control. They reported an 
organization and regulations for a relief committee, which was adopted. 
The committee consisted of Reuben A. Guild, Chairman ; William J. 
Cross, Oliver A. Washburne, Jr., Samuel J. Curry, Secretary ; Joseph 
A. Barker, George W. Payton, G. Burroughs Field, being one coun 
cilman from each ward, and Alderman Daniel Paine. Joseph H. 
Hoyt was appointed Relief Clerk. The families to be aided were 
divided into three classes, and received weekly two, three and four 
dollars respectively, according to the number of persons in each. 

The entire amount appropriated by the Council from time to time, 
and expended by the Relief Committee up to the close of 1863, is 
$300,000. Additional appropriations for the families and dependents 
of soldiers will probably continue to be made until the Rebellion is 
crushed out, and the union of the States restored. 


The "Florence Nightingale" Association, in Providence, was a 
spontaneous organization, that took form the day succeeding the at 
tack on Fort Sumter, and almost its earliest work was to make tunics 
for the volunteers hurrying to the defence of Washington. In August 
following, it was organized on a broader scale, and took the name of 
"The Providence Ladies Volunteer Relief Association." Its object, 


as expressed in the constitution, was "to aid in fitting out the Rhode 
Island Volunteers, and contributing to their confort while absent." 
Contracts from the government were taken for garments needed by 
the volunteers, giving to 575 needy needle women the benefit of the 
employment ; articles were made for the soldiers not furnished by 
the government, and forwarded to the camps and hospitals. In car 
rying out the general objects, 29030 garments have been made on con 
tracts from the Quartermaster s department of the State and the Uni 
ted States, and 19,012 for hospital uses. The treasurer has received 
$13,034,37. Of this $5,338,31 was in payment of contracts, and 
$7,696,06 from private contributions. $7,510,99 have been paid to 
the employees, and $5523,38 expended for materials for hospital use, 
transportation of boxes, &c. The organization was somewhat chang 
ed in the spring of 1863, and took the name of the Rhode Island Re 
lief Association, Auxiliary to the Sanitary Commission, and its direct 
work is in aid of that body, doing such incidental, outside service, as 
discreet judgment dictates. 

The Providence Third Ward Ladies Relief Association, has been 
abundant in patriotic works, and has contributed to the army and 
hospitals, values to the amount of about $5000. 

The Providence Fifth Ward Ladies Relief Association was organ 
ized July 25th, 1861, and has been unwearied in its labors. From 
July 1st, 1861, to December 1st, 1862, it contributed 7755 articles for 
volunteers in the field, and in hospitals. Numerous letters from 
officers, soldiers and surgeons, bear testimony to the great value of 
the services thus rendered. 

In Newport, Bristol, Warren, Pawtucket, Woonsocket, and in 
every other town in the State, similar associations have been indus 
triously engaged in like works. The history of these several organi 
zations reveals a loyalty, as earnest and devoted as that which char 
acterized the women of the Revolution. 


The agency of the United States Sanitary Commission was estab 
lished in Providence, in October, 1861. Its duties were to receive any 
articles intended for the relief of the army or navy, and pack and 
forward them to the places where needed ; and also, to receive all 
contributions in money and send to the Treasurer. The estimated 
value of 352 cases thus forwarded is $70,000. Up to March 10th, 
1863, $8,318 36 had been expended for hospital articles, freights, &c. 
Russell M. Larned, Esq., has given his gratuitous services to the 
agency from his first connection with it. 



This commission was established by the State, in 1862, as a method 
of enabling Rhode Island volunteers safely to remit their pay to their 
families. The first State Commissioner was George B. Holmes, Esq., 
who resigned July 1st, 1863, and was succeeded by Colonel Amos D. 
Smith, 3d. The Paymasters and Commissioners to receive such sums 
as the officers and men wish to send home, are Colonel J. T. Pitman, 
Major William Munroe, who has travelled 18,000 miles in visiting the 
various regiments and batteries, Daniel D. Lyman and Henry M. 
Amsbury, Esqs. Cashier, at the office in Providence, Cyrus Dyer, 

The commission has been admirably managed under the adminis 
tration of the two State Commissioners, and from April, 1862, to the 
close of 1863, nearly $1,000,000 have been remitted through the visi 
ting commissioners, by the Rhode Island troops. No better commen 
tary upon the excellence of the system can be offered than this fact. 
Rhode Island was the earliest to organize a safety plan for her soldiers, 
the essential features of which have since been incorporated into simi 
lar agencies in other State?. 


On the 24th September, 1862, the War Department issued " General 
Orders No. 140," organizing a system of Provost Marshals, consisting 
of one Provost Marshal General, and one or more special Provost 
Marshals for each State. Simeon Draper, Esq., was appointed Pro 
vost Marshal General. 

Tor the State of Rhode Island, William E. Hamlin was appointed 
by the President of the United States, and was afterwards commis 
sioned by the Governor of Rhode Island, with the rank of Major. 

Major Hamlin continued in the duties of his office so long as this 
system was in operation. 

In a report made to His Excellency Governor Sprague, on the 17th 
January, 1863, he states that 

"The duties devolving upon this office are various. They have 
included the arrest and confinement of deserters and stragglers, and 
the transportation of them to their respective regiments ; ferreting out 
cases of fraud upon the Government, and of enticing soldiers ^ to de 
sert, and holding them for trial in the civil courts ; giving certificates 
of identity and loyalty to our citizens, to enable them, when at Wash 
ington, to obtain passes to their friends within the lines of the army ; 
quelling disturbances in the various barracks of the city ; searching 
for government property which had been embezzled or stolen, and the 
prosecution of offenders ; correspondence with Provost Marshals of 
other States for the return of deserters, and with commanders of regi- 


ments and batteries to obtain complete descriptive lists : investigating 
the numerous cases of frauds occasioned by the large bounties ; ex 
amining into cases of more than one enlistment by the same person, to 
ascertain where he belongs ; embarking of regiments and detachments 
for their destination ; and, finally, keeping a complete list of all de 
serters in this State, and of all the arrests made, with the disburse 
ments of rewards and expenses." 

During the period of Major Hamlin s official duties as Special Pro 
vost Marshal for Rhode Island, he arrested and restored over one 
thousand deserters and stragglers to their regiments, about five hun 
dred of whom were deserters. Large amounts of Government pro 
perty have been captured and restored, and the State of Ilhode Island 
saved from the loss of many thousands of dollars, by corrupt bounty 
swindlers who infested the State, and who by systematic operations de 
vised every conceivable means to accomplish their purposes. Re 
cruits who enlisted in the city of Providence to obtain the bounty of 
$4 per week for their families, would, after their being mustered into 
the service, ascertain that the recruiting officers had placed them as 
enlisting in another town, where a cash bounty w r as paid down, (in 
stead of a weekly bounty,) the recruiting officer taking the cash boun 
ty, and the soldier obtaining nothing of the town bounties for himself 
or family during his service. 

Recruiting runners would combine to have the men whom they 
enlisted desert, in order to enlist them again in another State. For 
this purpose, a party would leave New r York in season to meet a de 
tachment going on from Rhode Island. They take state-rooms, and 
have an ample supply of clothes, for gentlemen, sailors, laborers, 
&c. After the detachment reaches the New York steamboat, from 
Providence, the men, under cover of the darkness, find their way to 
the state-rooms, where they are completely metamorphosed. In the 
morning, the soldiers are called into line, and six or eight found to be 
missing. The boat is searched ; perhaps one of the missing soldiers, 
in the disguise of a sailor or a deck hand, assists in the fruitless 
search. The detachment leaves for the regiment, and six or eight men 
reported deserted. 

Again. The same party start to meet another detachment. On this