The following is the text of the Civil War Diary of Henry Whitney:
[Henry Whitney was the father of the Barrett Brother's maternal grandmother, Edith Whitney (Whitson)]
[Note to those interested in Whitney genealogy. This Henry Whitney was descended from the Henry Whitney (born in England in 1620) who came to New England on the "Elizabeth Ann" ship in 1635. Henry-Bennet-Aaron-Ebenezer-David-Joseph-John-Henry]
Diary of 2nd Lieut. Henry Whitney
45th U.S. Colored Troops
Clarksburg West Va.
1. April 23rd, 1864
I entered the Free Military School at Philadelphia on the 14th day of Jan. and after remaining there six weeks I appeared before the Board of Examiners at Washington on Feb. 26th and passed as a 2nd Lieut. of the 1st class. I then went home stopping in Baltimore one night to see Eben and reached Bridgeport on the 29th.
Note: Eben Whitney is Henry’s older brother and also commanded colored troops,
30th U.S.C.I. Henry went home to Bridgeport, NJ to visit his parents Benet and
Sarah Whitney and three sisters and a younger brother
I remained there one week and then returned to Philadelphia where I waited for my appointment. Received it on the 31st of March. I started for Clarksburg, the place where I was ordered to report for duty that night at half past twelve o’clock.
2. Reached Baltimore in the morning and stayed with Eben at the Camp of the 30th till night. Bought a pistol for $20 and Eben very kindly loaned me his watch and some money.
Left him at night perhaps never to see him again and started from Baltimore at nine o’clock in the evening. Rode all night and reached Grafton the next day at noon where I found Lieut. Col. G.A. Oakman of the 30th Reg. to whom I reported and with whom I arrived at Clarksburg on Sunday morning Apr. 3rd and found one Captain and two 2nd Lieutenants here before us. Since then three 1st Lieutenants and the Surgeon of the Reg. have arrived.
The Col. had no orders to enlist men for the Reg. but was ordered to remain here and receive them 3. as they were sent in by the Provost Marshals of the States. But as they received no orders until quite lately we have been obliged to remain here without doing anything.
I went to Cumberland and was mustered into the service on the 7th paying my own expenses there and back and on the 9th sent papers to Joseph E. Devitt & Co. giving them the power of Attorney to collect my bounty of two hundred and seventy-five dollars of the City of Philadelphia. I have yet heard nothing from them. I ordered them to send me $60.00 to send $100.00 to Mr. Bennet Whiney Bridgeport, Conn. And pay to J. Fleming of 400 Walnut St. Phila. $90.00. He is to use it for Capt. Eben Whitney.
The Col. arriving here immediately 4. wrote to Major Foster asking power to recruit. He has rec’d permission to do so but will be furnished with nothing but transportation and we have not received that yet.
In the mean time we are to do what we can here and Lieut. Wm. Roberts and myself are placed here at the Academy building to take care of Quartermaster’s property and open a recruiting office.
I left the Bartlett Hotel on the 21st. I have been staying there since my arrival in the place paying five dollars per week, but am now living in the office with Lieut. Roberts. But one recruit has come in yet and nothing has been heard from the Provost Marshals
This morning I answered a letter that I rec’d from Father on the 21st. 5. I was in such a hurry to get it done and to the post office before the mail closed that I forgot to put any date to it. When I began to write I could not think what day of the month it was and so left it without thinking of it again till it was in the office and too late to be helped. I think in the course of a few days men will begin to come in fast. If our one recruit can be trusted and he seems like an honest fellow, there are a good many who will be glad to come in as soon as they know that they will be protected. There are a good many in this place who are bitterly opposed to us and who will do all they can to hinder men from enlisting.
The day has been quite warm 6.with clear weather and a south wind. It is wonderful to see how soon the roads have dried up and become hard and solid after so much rain as has fallen in the last three weeks. It looks now as if we were to have spring and dry weather immediately.
I went out today to buy some eggs and butter but could not find any of either in town. One store keeper told me that he had done without butter for a month and would be glad to get some at50 cents a pound for the use of his family.
Perhaps I had better try to give a little description of this place though I don’t know how well I shall succeed as I never attempted anything like it before.
The Academy stands on a slight elevation north of town 7.facing to the south. About one hundred yards east of it is the church where we are to quarter part of our Regiment. It faces towards the academy and is on the extremity of the elevation which immediately behind and to the north of it descends with a steep bank nearly to the level of the river. The river waters the town flowing to the north and after passing by the church at the distance of about 300 yards to the east of it turns to the west and flows behind the academy about 200 yards off. The river is about the size of the one at plats Mill but west of the town it is joined by one somewhat larger. North of the Academy and beyond the river is the railroad. The depot is most half a mile north east of the town 8. the largest part of which (the town) is inside the angle formed by the turn in the river.
Passing down the street that runs south from the academy we cross the two main streets of the town. They run parallel with each other crossing the river by means of two bridges to which they descend by a long hill. Most of the houses of the town are on these two streets. There are several stores and two or three Hotels in the place.
There are five meeting houses but meetings are held in but one of them. It seems as though the town had seen its best days and was now decaying. I forgot to say that there was a hill several hundred feet high just north of the depot from the top of which an excellent view of the country can be obtained. 9. It is being fortified and will have guns pointing towards the town. I think I have written enough for one day and won’t try any more description tonight.
Sunday Apr. 24th
Went to the Presbyterian Church this morning and heard a sermon but for some reason it was not very interesting to me. I should like to know where Eben is today. I wonder if he is married yet. I wish I could see him. He wrote me that his Reg’t had gone to Annapolis and he expected to follow it in a day or two. I would write him a good letter if I knew how but I don’t know what to say to him so I think I won’t try it. For some reason he has always had a great 10. deal of trial and trouble but I hope he will do well now though his business is a pretty risky one. But I suppose God can take care of all these things and if we trust him it will be well with us. Oh, that I could trust him and feel his presence more. I was reading today in the “Saints Rest” about the “Character of those for whom the rest was designed” and the “Misery of those who lose the saints Rest.” Lord grant that I may live to serve thee here and be prepared for that rest that remains for thy people hereafter.
The weather today has been warm and cloudy and tonight it is raining.
11. April 25th
Today I went to Bridgeport with two of the 1st Lieuts. We went to see if we could not pick up some recruits there but found that they were very scarce being all carried off in the rebel raid of last spring. It is a little place 4 miles east of here on the railroad. We walked down and back passing through the long tunnels. A train was expected in a few moments so we went through just about as quick as we could.
About one third of the way is arched with stone and is narrow so that if the train had come while we were in there we should have been obliged to lay flat in the mud at the side of the track. 12. However we got through all right. When we had looked around Bridgeport we went back in the country and came back by a pike that gave us a long walk and brought us home about tired out.
This morning Lieutenants Edwards and Brooks started on recruiting tours the first to Charleston and the others to Martinsburg. We have enlisted five men but have received none from the Provost Marshals.
I rec’d a letter from a friend in Philadelphia today. Capt. Crissy and his Reg’t expected to leave on the 23rd to join Gen. Burnsides; I suppose at Annapolis though the letter 13. did not say where. I sent a letter to Father this morning asking for some money. I have already borrowed $125.00 of him and am getting most tired of using up his money though there is no use in fretting about it.
1st Lieutenant Walton who arrived here a few days ago and who attended the School about six weeks says he has spent $350.00 already and he does not seem to be extravagant either. He is seventeen years old and will probably be in the same company as myself.
I have written a letter to send to my attorney which I might have sent this morning if I had thought to write it before the mail went off as it is it will have to wait till tomorrow. I feel very tired 14. tonight a little sore from yesterday which affected me more on account of my taking but little exercise lately. It is now about 8 o’clock and I am sitting here at the desk which is a clothing box set upon the side and covered with a rubber blanket. The tallow candle stands on a little pine board and does very well for a light. On one side of me is a bright warm fire of soft coal and in the corner beyond two of the boys are sitting on the boxes of clothing and one is telling the other about some battle that he saw when he was with Gen. Averill and the old 8th at whose yell the rebs would “git up an run jes as fast as 15. thar legs could ear-run.” According to his account it must have been the most brilliant battle of the whole war and every man of them should be promoted immediately.
The one that is telling it has seen some of the war. He was our first recruit has been a slave in southern West Va. Has worked on the fortifications before Richmond, has escaped three or four times, and been retaken but finally got away and is now going to fight for the Union. The other day I let him tell how slaves were treated in Richmond and where he had lived. It was like Uncle Tom’s Cabin but not so refined. Of course I can’t tell how 16. much truth he tells but he seems honest and reliable.
On looking up I see before me on the window sill the big loaf of bread from which I ate at supper. The darky has stuck the fork in it to lift it by to show me that he has not taken it in his hands, I suppose, and has put it there because I was sitting before the box where we keep it and he did not want to stop my writing. If the guard outside has not had his supper I presume he would like to smash the window and get hold of something to eat seeing it is so plainly exposed to view. But Roberts has come in and wants to do some writing for the Quartermaster’s Dept. . 17. So I have located myself onto a hardtack box that I have set on end and am now trying to write a little more but I am a little sleepy and so will stop this nonsense. I don’t know as this writing is going to do any good except to use up paper for I don’t know as I shall ever want to read it again and I pity any one else that has to.
Sent the letter to Devitt & Co. No.427 Walnut St. and have written one to Eben which I will send to Washington as the Col informs me that the Regiment is there and that is the place to direct all letters to soldiers when 18. the place of the Reg’t is unknown.
Two more Lieutenants went out recruiting today, one to Parkersburg and one to Weston. Weston is 25 miles south of here and Walton is gone afoot. He hopes to bring back 25 or 30 men.
The Surgeon returned this morning from Cumberland where he went to be mustered in. I told him about the Philadelphia city bounties and he has got the necessary papers and is going to get it through he said he was utterly astonished at the idea when I first told him of it. He examined and passed two of our recruits 19. this afternoon. Everything dull today.
Today I went to Wilsonburg three miles west of here and did not get back till after 3 o’clock p.m. I felt tired and when the boy brought his pies as usual to the soldiers in the guard-house. I decided that I must have one even though they did cost ten cents and I was –ust to the bottom of my pockets. So I bought and ate the ten cents worth on the spot and taking up my hat I went over to the Col’s Hotel but stopped on the road to pick up a ten cent bill on the pavement which I suppose was intended for the pie that 20. I had just bought. I neglected to buy a holster for my pistol when in Baltimore and have to borrow one whenever I wish to carry it with me. I do not find much of interest to write in here as everything continues dull yet.
The day commenced lowring and cloudy and this afternoon it is raining again and it looks as though it would continue a week. No more men came in, no letter from home yet, no news from Eben yet and nothing from Philadelphia added to the rain without does not tend to keep my spirits up very high but it can’t be helped. I don’t know but I am a little ruffled by the conduct of an officer of 21. the Regiment from whom might be expected better manners but who I perceive is not a perfect gentleman by any means.
Of course soldiers are to meet roughness but it seems to me that Officers and more especially those in Colored Regiments should behave like gentlemen to each other particularly in the presence of inferiors. I wish I could receive an Examiner or any other interesting paper from home but I forgot to speak about it when I wrote home last and must wait till I send to them again. We get the Wheeling paper of the day before every morning but no eastern paper is to be had except by regular subscribers.
22. Sunday, May 1st, 1864
Today is the beginning of another month, the month of flowers. One month ago today I was with Eben in Baltimore. Probably before the beginning of another, he will have seen at least one battle and I hope the next battle will thoroughly avenge the murder of our troops at Fort Pillow and forever decide the question whether Union troops of whatever color are to be treated as prisoners of war or butchered while crying for quarters or rather hope it will prove that the latter cannot be done without provoking sure and awful retaliation.
I think when Gen. Burnsides Corps gets into a battle there 23. will be some stern and bloody work done and but few prisoners taken. The weather is pleasant and warm today and this afternoon Lieut. Walton returned from Weston. He did something is the way of getting recruits but not so much as he hoped to do. I have not been to meeting today and cannot go this eve as Roberts has to be away and it won’t do for both of us to be absent at once.
I should like to hear a sermon tonight from Dr. Eddy or Mr. Hopper, believe it would do me good but a good letter from Father would be better than either. I suppose you at home are all at church tonight unless it is Mother who is tired and 24. asleep in her chair and Grandma who is in her room sitting in the dark and thinking. Wish I could sit down and have a talk with her, or perhaps she is taking care of Aunt Sarah who may be sick again. And perhaps Jane is too tired out and sick from her work so that she can’t go out today or it may be Bennet or Georgie. I wonder if the hoped for event connected with Eben has taken place and if another Mrs. Whitney is at our house. I hope so myself and hope Aunts will not be troublesome. If this ever gets home I want it remembered that it is only for home use. I should like to know how Jane likes her 25. trade. I wish I had her photograph. By the way, as soon as I am out of debt (don’t know when that will be) I am going to have Mother’s that is if I can get it and Father’s too. I haven’t written Bennet yet, must do it soon to encourage him to write if for no other reason. He will be sorry one of these days that he has not written more and if he would write some every day no matter how tired he might feel it would be the best thing he could do for he will be ashamed sometime that with his advantages in other respects he never wrote enough to hardly know how to make the letters. I think it a great mistake that more pains was not taken to make 26. us write especially as none of us but Eden and Sarah took to it naturally.
Rec’d a letter from Home this morning dated Apr 26th and 27th. They had rec’d mine of the 23rd but not the other. I have written to Col. Taggart Free Military School, Philadelphia asking for the letters of recommendation that I presented on entering the school. I forgot to get them before leaving Phili.
I am glad to learn that Father has made so good arrangements about work and wages. He does not say where Belfield is gone. We have got another lot of provisions today. We bought a small ham among other things. It cost 15 cents @ but guess we can afford it on all accounts. We can live pretty cheap even 27. if things are high. I don’t know how much it does cost us exactly yet but from $1.75 to $2.00 each for 11 days but we have done without butter or eggs for we could not get them. It is stormy and cold tonight with high wind.
The weather continues cold and stormy with the wind blowing cold from the west. The men have been employed under direction of the Captain in building a fireplace where they can cook conveniently. No letter yet from Eden or from Philadelphia. I went fishing this afternoon with Lieut. Walton for an hour and a half but did not catch anything.
The weather has cleared off and it is pleasant today. I sent a letter
28. this page not copied
29. this page not copied
30.ways. When in Lumberport we stopped at a house that was a halfway tavern and asked for a drink of milk. They brought us all we wanted to drink and would not take any pay saying that he had given a meal’s victuals to at least 500 soldiers since this war commenced and never charged anything and he was sure anybody would give us what milk we wanted to drink. We thanked him and went on but before we got to Clarksburg we were thirsty again, for it has been the warmest day of this spring. So we stopped at a farm house and asked if we could get a glass of milk. They said yes but they had fresh buttermilk if we preferred that. We did “prefer” and two big glasses of it went down each of our throats and I don’t 31. know when I have had anything taste as good as that buttermilk did for which they would not take any pay but said we were welcome to it.
We were a good mind to try it again before reaching Clarksburg but thought two such drinks ought to do us for the eight miles between the two places. We reached home at half past seven this evening. I have ate supper and think I must write to Bennet tonight. I am glad to hear from Eben and very glad that he is married. Hope Mrs. Whitney will stay at our house. Should like to see my new sister but it cannot be for the present at least, perhaps never. I hope Eben will get along well and not meet any stray bullet, I believe I would rather know that he was successful and raising than 32. to know it of myself. He certainly deserves success if anybody does. There is little danger of my raising while we are kept in West Va. To raise the Reg’t and other states can send here and offer the recruits $500.00 bounty on the spot and take them away from under our nose. But perhaps it is none of my lookout. I think a battle is going on somewhere below here. The guard just called my attention to a sound that he said he had heared all the evening at intervals. It is a faint sound but seems to jar the ground and I can feel it more that hear it. He thinks it is cannon and I presume it is.
33. May 6th
Today I sent a letter to Father but do not know as it went today as there was no train from the east and I don’t know as any went that way. The rebels are said to have possession of Newcreek and have burned Piedmont, both places between here and Cumberland. We don’t know when they may be on us here. I should think they would come here if they could as there are a large amount of quartermaster stores here and not very much of a guard to defend them.
I have been taking things pretty easy today as the weather is warm and I was sore from yesterday’s walk. I will be pretty well used up after the first forced march that we make unless I have a company to drill some first. Since I have been in 34. this place each of my eyes has become enflamed and sore and after remaining so for a few days has got over it and today my left one is sore again. It seems as though it was a cold settled there and makes me look as though I had been fighting. It does not trouble me much about seeing but feels weak and is disagreeable to have.
Have begun a letter to Bennet but shall not probably send it for a few days. The weather is quite warm today. The buds are very thick on the apple trees and I think there will be a good deal of fruit this year.
Have just written a letter to Bennet but suppose it will not start till Monday morning. Since that I have been down to 35. the river and taken a bath. The water is plenty warm from the few days of sunshine that we have had. After I had washed me and was just going to put on my stockings, I heard a rattle close to my feet.
I moved away from that place quite quickly and then went back for my boots by wading through the water for it was so dark that I could not see the snake which was probably near at hand. The bath was very refreshing after this hot day but I don’t like being disturbed by that kind of snake when I am barefoot. This morning thirty prisoners were brought in and logged in the guard house. They were brought from Piedmont and I 36. am not sure that they are not deserters from the rebels though I have not talked with any of them yet. They have been singing hymns this afternoon and they sang well too.
Sunday May 8th, 1864
The weather is pleasant and warm today. The apple, plum, and cherry trees are white with blossoms where three days ago the buds could hardly be seen. Every thing is growing very fast with this hot weather.
I went to meeting this morning at the Presbyterian Church. The text was Mat. XIII 45 – 46. with the usual explanation. I went hoping to get some good but came away without much benefit. I learned today that Capt. Dodge, the Assistant Qm. U.S.A. had one of the churches that the soldiers used cleaned up and repaired and that he reads a sermon in it every Sunday and has a Sunday school there. I think I shall go and hear the sermon next Sunday.
37. Sunday May 8th 1864
They are trying to kick up a fuss about one of the boys that we enlisted. When he enlisted we told him to report in three days, he had some matters that he wanted to attend to, and he has not reported yet. He seems to have got scared about it and wants to get out. He had been working at Bartlett’s Hotel but his master is around today and wants to get him off. Perhaps he will run him off before morning but I rather think not. We have not guards to take him and keep him and so have let him be but think we must make some movement in the morning. He is owned by four brothers, three of them in the rebel army.
38. News came by telegraph this P.M. that Gen. Grant has fought the enemy at Orange Court House killing 3000 and wounding 10,000 but does not say how many we have lost. I hope it is a success for us but the report does not say so and I wait to hear some more.
Lieut. Walton commenced to mess with us today. Read a letter from Colonel Taggart with my recommendations and a note from the library of the school saying that I had a Davis Bourdon Charged to me on the bills of the library. I returned that book before I went to Washington and if they neglected to cancel it on their books I am not to blame.
39. May 10th
Today we have heard some thing of the battles of last Friday and Saturday. So far as we have heard Gen Burnsides corps has been engaged but it is supposed that he is fighting today. I got tired of staying in the house today and so Lieut. Hitchcock and myself went walking and fishing. We caught two fish and got caught in a shower of which we were very glad as it had been pretty warm and the shower cooled the air off. I am waiting patiently to hear from Eben but it seems strange that he has not written. The Colonel does not like to be here on recruiting service while his Reg’t is in the field and fighting.
40. May 11th
On the 9th the Colonel rec’d notification from the A.V. at Washington that mine and the Surgeon’s muster was suspended as Col. Frothingham who mustered us did not make out a certain affidavit that was required.
We have made the affidavit and are going to send it on to Col. F. and hope it will be sufficient without our being mustered in again but if we have to be I shall not get the bounty unless it is in the hands of my lawyers already. The officer who mustered Roberts would not credit him to Philadelphia and that will be my fate in the same circumstances. I receive no letter from any quarters. There are three on the road home that I have 41. not heard from yet though it is not time perhaps. I have written to Col. Taggart about that book. I shall not probably hear from him again.
Went rambling today with Lieut. Walton. We saw what they call an alligator (around here that is). Somebody had caught it in the creek and thrown it upon the bank. It was a foot and a half long, its skin about the color of a catfish, the nose and mouth something like a dog’s, and it has four short legs and no fins. It is an ugly looking thing and it is said that its bite is poisonous. As I was walking along the bank if the creek I passed what I thought was a flock of tame ducks swimming in the water quite near me but when I had passed a little beyond them they showed themselves to be wild by taking to flight and me to be a goose for not perceiving 42. it in time to capture one.
Today it is stormy and cool. Lieut. Hitchcock has commenced to mess with us and we have got possession of the man that enlisted and would not come when he was ordered to. I don’t think he will make any more trouble. Roberts and I messed together eighteen days and we find that it cost us 15cts per day to live. It will cost more as soon as we can get what we want.
I had the sick headache yesterday and could not write in the evening. It commenced before noon in my eyes making them feel strangely and so blurred that I could not bee anything distinctly when I looked at it. Afternoon I went out to walk 43. it off if possible but it only brought it on harder and I came back most blind and sick. I asked one of the “boys” what to do for it and he comforted me by saying it was just the way small pox began as he had the disease sometime and know something about it. I was not sure that I had not caught it for I never had any such feeling in my head before. Today it is better but my head is sore and weak.
We gave clothing to 10 of the men today and they feel very grand about it. But why don’t I receive your letters. It is more than three weeks since I heard from Eben and ten days since I received anything from home. Every day I go to the post office and come away without anything. This is a slow place every way 44. I think. Lieut. Walton sent a telegram to Phila. And three days after rec’d the answer. I have looked over my account of expenses from the time that I left home on the 11th of January. I knew the account was crooked and found that there is five dollars and twenty nine cts. More paid out and on hand than I have put down as rec’d. If it had been the other way I should have thought it nothing strange, but as it is I think mother must have paid for some of the things that I bought in Bridgeport my giving her credit for it. I have rec’d 135.00 dollars in all from home but do not know from memory whether my vest and valise were paid for from mother’s pocket or my own. I thought it was settled that I owed 115.00 dollars when I left home bet even think of any other way of accounting for the extra amount.
45. Sunday May 15th 1864
The weather continues cloudy and it is raining now. It is about nine o’clock and I have washed up and put on clean clothes ready to go to meeting but if it continues to rain as it does now I think I shall not go. The Provost Marshall had sent for the Colonel to come to Wheeling and he starts this morning. Hope something will be done now but don’t know what. Perhaps we are to be ordered to Wheeling to (t)rain the Reg’t there.
Afternoon I went this morning and heard the Episcopal service and a sermon read by Capt. Dodge. There was more singing but the service was as interesting as any of the kind that I ever attended. This afternoon I had a slight attack of headache but think it will pass off. My left eye which became enflamed a week 46. ago has got well except the look of it. It is still red with a white spot in the middle of the red that makes it look like a boil. Think I shall ask the surgeon to open it when I see him again.
Wonder what the folks at home are hearing from the war today. You are probably waiting with anxious hearts to hear how the battle goes with more personal interest in it than you could have had in any previous battle since the war commenced. Or perhaps you have heard from the front and know how the battle is decided.
I hope that we may be successful and that Eben will be preserved in the time of danger though I know that many must fall and perhaps he is one of them though I don’t like to think of it.
47.The rain keeps coming down as if it was April. The fleas are exceedingly thick here and trouble us a good deal. Lieut. Walton who never knew of them before is bitten so much by them that he is almost sick they poison him so badly. As for myself they do not affect me so much as they used to in Pella. I have been told by someone that when they have bitten a person all over they do not trouble him afterwards and I hope that will be my comfortable fix soon.
May 16the Three miles back of Flemington. It is 7 o’clock and we are resting in a log house where we hope to get something to eat and a floor at least to sleep on but are waiting for the man to come in from the field and decide it. Flemington is a station on the railroad 10 miles 48. east of Clarksburg. We walked down passing through the tunnel which was real fun though Lieut. Walton did not fancy it much. We started at 9 ‘clock and reached Flemington at one P.M. and all this afternoon have been climbing about these hills to find boys that would enlist.
We have not succeeded very well so far but hope something will be done tonight as the fellow we brought with us is to meet some of his friends at a house a little above here and perhaps can make a clean sweep of the whole of them. One so afraid to enlist unless the rest will so there is an advantage in getting several together and talking it over. We have found that we can stay here tonight.
49. May 17th Clarksburg
It is half past nine P.M. and I am sitting here at the desk tired and willing to rest but trying to do a little writing. Four of the boys met last night two of them enlisted and two would not ----. The two came down by the house where we stayed overnight on their way home to get their breakfast and get ready to leave
George went along with them to help them in any difficulty they might have with their masters and to help them eat breakfast. As they came by we took their names &c in a book and told them to consider themselves enlisted and sent them on while we stopped to get our breakfast and then followed them. We found George with the one at the first house that we came to. The master there was a Union 50. man, cam out and talked with us said he was willing his boy should enlist but was sorry to have him go as he had raised him and he was a good faithful boy. The other boy lived beyond and out of our road but did not come as he had promised so we had to go after him.
We found the house and a hubbub too. The master, or perhaps I should say Mistress of the house seemed to be a little inclined toward the truth and gave it to us considerably, set the children to howling and tried to get him to stay. We tried to moderate her feelings and at the same time explained that if he did not come willingly he would have to come anyhow after enlisting of his own accord and then ordered him to come along which he did in spite of the squalling children and I think weeping mistress. It seemed rather hard to do so but we had 51. the consolation of knowing that they were none too kind to him and that he was very glad to have us take him as we did. The master did not say anything against us and as a general thing the men do not talk as hard against us as the women knowing that it is not safe to go too far.
We went round to get another one that they were plenty sure would enlist for he had run off to do so once but had been caught and brought back before he had got to the place. We met his owner before we got to the place and while we went to the house he had turned his horse about and rode to the field where the boy was at work the boys soon found by some means I don’t know how where the boy was at work but when they saw the old man on his horse going that way as fast as he could, they said we would 52. not find him as the man would make him lie down and cover him with brush and if we wanted him we must hunt round the field in the brush heaps.
However we went on and had a talk with the old man and he acknowledged that his boy had been there but was hid then. We had to come away without him. It was six miles to Flemington and ten more to Clarksburg so we came on as lively as we could as we wanted to get home without staying out another night. We tried to get to Flemington in time for the train to Georgie on as he was quite lame with walking but were three minutes too late so he had to walk it with us. A good Union family gave us dinner and we started from F. at two o’clock and got here at seven. We passed through the tunnel in eight minutes which was pretty good walking considering the darkness.
We find walking in this country quite fatiguing as there are so many hills to climb but find some compensation in the water that we have to drink. On almost every hillside and every half mile on the railroad we can find a spring bubbling up with the most delicious water that was ever drank and on warm days when we can sweat enough to make it safe we drink of most every one that we find with the greatest pleasure. Some of the wells in this country taste of iron but the springs never. There is one just the other side of the tunnel in the bank by the side of the R.R. about the height of my head above the track 54. and you can imagine that after walking through the sun on the hot railroad track it was pleasant to step up to the place and drink all that I wanted out of the little place hollowed out in the hard bank.
When I got here I found that there was a letter here from home from Father, Mother, Sarah and Georgie. I was very glad to receive it especially the one from Georgie as it was a surprise and showed me that she had not forgotten me. I believe she is the best writer in the family that is (if she has a mind to be.) They call me a Yankee here for using such expressions as the last one that I have marked. Rec’d a pamphlet of the school from Col. Taggart which I did not expect. It is probably to acknowledge the receipt of my letter about that book. I think I shall look it over and then send it home. The two Examiners are rec’d. We had a thunderstorm for an hour yesterday noon and this noon and another one coming on this eve.
The Col. Returned yesterday from Wheeling but does not say much only we shall probably remain here for the present. Am a little sore today with walking but took the precaution to wash my feet and legs off in cold water last night and am better off than Walton who neglected to do so. I had to buy a pair of shoes today as my boot soles are worn out on the railroad which is ballusted
56. this page not copied
57. this page not copied
58. and watched it for half an hour. It flew from one stump to another all around the field sometimes clinging to the side and sometimes standing on the ground and reaching up to pick at it as a hen would.
It did not like to have me follow it around so persistently and at last flew to the other side of the creek where it continued to work away as though it had a good appetite. Think the kind must be rare and wish I could have caught and stuffed it that is if I had known how. There are a great many small birds here that I have never seen else where. After watching the bird I heard a spring, sent to it and refreshed myself and then came home passing a place where a little 59. stream of cool water falls over a shelving rock and makes a good place for shower bath which I think I shall improve.
We have had catfish to eat today which were very good. They were about eighteen inches long and I understand were caught in the creek here This eve there is a full moon and it is exceedingly pleasant out of doors. The guards have been singing and I have been listening. They sing hymns generally but sometimes war songs. I often feel like singing songs but forgot the words or else never knew but the first verse. I wonder if you Georgie could not send me the words of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Also the other verses of the hymn “Forever with the Lord amen so let it be.” I know the 60. first verse but believe there are more. I suppose you are busy with you studies but perhaps you can get Sarah to copy them for you sometime when she is not too busy in the Library, and so send them on when you write again.
Sunday, May 22nd, 1864
It is three o’clock P.M. and quite warm. The sun is shining dimly through the hazy air that feels heavy and oppressive while I can hear the thunder almost constantly rolling in the distance foretelling the coming shower. I boy has just come in and enlisted and has now gone down to quarters. He comes from a place nineteen miles west of here and has walked in for the purpose. I asked him if his master knew he was coming, he said yes he had 61. run away so often that his master told him he didn’t care where he went. Said his master was a rebel. As a general thing we find that slaves are hardly worth keeping in this state. In most cases they have demanded wages and rec’d the promise of it though but few will be paid anything by their masters. They (the masters) have to let them do as they please or else lose them altogether as they all know that they can be free if they have a mind to be.
We have found that Sunday is the best time to recruit as the darkeys have places where they all come together to have a dance or “shindig” as it is called and to visit with each other on that day and gather from the distance 62. of five or six miles and when they are together it is easier to get them to enlist besides save me the trouble of looking them up singly. If we had gone to Flemington on Saturday as George wanted us to we would have been sure of one and probably three or four mare as there is a gathering up there every Sunday.
The darkeys can enlist and come off on that day without having any trouble from their masters of whom they stand in some dread and in some cases with good reason I suppose though we let them know that they are safe with us.
Have not been to church today. Evening I have been over to Headquarters and in talking with the Col. Learned that 63. the 30th Reg’t has been guarding the railroad and has not been engaged as he has heard of.
It has been very warm today. This morning when I was out walking I saw what I think must be a badger. I have seen stuffed ones in the museum but never one alive before. On being scared by me he ran into his hole under a large rock. It was on the hill side just south of town and I should think he would find it uncomfortable living so rear to dogs and men.
We have rec’d news that Gen. Siget has been forced to retreat. I have noticed that the newspapers have said all along that his force was not strong enough for the work that it had to do. Gen. Hunter has 64. been assigned to the command of West Va. and may be able to help matters some.
May 24th, 1864
It is two o’clock and I sit here after dinner with my blowse off trying to write this hot day. We have had a good dinner of rice roast-beef and potatoes. The beef cost 10 cts per lb. and we officers can have the best steak if we send word to the government butcher that it is for officers. I suppose there is not much difference between that and ham at 15cts per pound as far as cost is concerned.
Bacon is about 10cts I think but we do not like to eat it much this warm weather and like something a little better though we are all very short of money.
65. May 24th
This morning walked up to the fort on the hill north of town got a breath of fresh air and came down again. It is an excellent place to go when exercise is needed but it is so steep that the coming down is torture to me unless I should lie down and roll and even that would be a poor way as I am not so fleshy as some folks and the number of revolutions I would have to make would sure to make me dirty even if I did not come to a sudden stop against some big tree. I might indeed come down with a few bounds by going “heels over head” but do not care to risk my slender neck. I was disappointed in the 66. view of the country that obtained from the fort on account of the mist or haze that covers everything a little distance off. Every morning the sun looks like a red hot cannon ball for more than an hour after it is risen.
After I returned I wrote to Mother and Georgie and sent some of my diary. I am tired of waiting for my bounty and have most given up the hope of ever seeing it. Wish I had some friend in Philadelphia that I could get to see to it.
I bought some mess provisions today. Yesterday Lieut. Walton rec’d a box of cakes and provisions from home. He had been expecting it for some time. It is afternoon and is raining.
67. May 26th, 1864
Last night just before going to bed I noticed that the boys at the quarters had a light burning after the time to put it out and started to go and order it put out. The path is good being made of tannery bark or something of that sort so I started to run but there was a cow lying across the path and as it was of a dark color I did not see it but pitched right over it, turning two summersaults and got up to find my cap which had fallen off while the old cow probably more astonished than even myself jumped up and ran off. As the path was not muddy there was no harm done but it was one of the most ludicrous things that I ever did.
Today we have found a good place 68. to go swimming and I hope to improve myself in the exercise if we remain here without much to do. I have been in today but cannot swim far without resting. We shall get commutation for quarters the Col. Says and I hope so for it will be 16 dollars per month in my pocket and I hope we can get it at the end of this month which we can do if the quartermaster has any money at that time. I am pretty short now having the sum of sixty-five cents after paying for the provisions day before yesterday, however the other Lieuts. Have some yet and I can get along.
Last night the boys 69. had a supper given them by “Ladies of color” who live in the place and this morning the sergeant brought us some cake &c probably so we would say nothing about it. We knew of it last night but the commanding officer thought it best to say nothing about it as it would do no harm to our cause in town.
We have last week’s Tribune which says that Gen Burnside’s Colored Troops were engaged on the 19th inst and fought bravely.
It is evening and the others have just gone to bed. I have just been reading the 12th chapter of Luke. It is indeed a wonderful chapter so complete and full. It seems as though everything was contained in those 59 verses that a man needs to fit him for life or death I think.
70. I have some desire to live by the precepts and commands of the Bible but find myself so dull and cold in serving God that I fear lest I am deceiving myself and only living for the present. Wonder if they pray for me at home. It is about time for family worship and wish I could be there for a moment if no more. It is a comfort to think that God is as willing to listen to our prayers in one place as in another and we should be well content if we are right in his sight.
I have begun a letter to Aunt Parsons. Rec’d a letter from home today with ten dollars, some silk, and a letter from Eben. The discrepancy in my accounts is explained but Father seems very much afraid lest I 71. should feel bad about it.
I went to the Presbyterian church today. The day has been pleasantly warm and tonight it is raining. I have finished the letter to Aunt P and shall send it in the morning.
It is half past ten o’clock. I have just finished a letter to Eben. The rest are all asleep and nothing is stirring but a mouse in the corner who seems much interested in a board there unless I except the flea that is biting me with great vigor. My eyes are well and the red spot is gone.
I have sent a letter to Mr. Flemming to inquire about my bounty. Mother tries to flatter me, I am afraid, by telling 72. me that every word I write is interesting but I am too lazy to keep much of a diary and shall find it pretty hard work when I have all I can do from morning till night but shall be glad when it comes. I have heard today from Lieut. Edwards, he has enlisted 19 men.
Today the weather is pleasant and Lieut. Roberts has gone with one of the boys to a place said to be five miles off where the boys say there are some darkeys that will enlist. He has never been out recruiting before for his knee has troubled him and he has been acting QM. but his knee is better and he thinks he can stand 5 miles and back. If he don’t find it nearer ten miles than five I shall be mistaken for the darkeys don’t seem to know anything about distances.
73. It is evening and quite warm. Contrary to any opinion, Roberts returned by noon and brought four men with him besides those who went with him, but this afternoon the owner of one of them came in and claimed him as he said the man did not know what he was about when he enlisted and though the fellow said he understood it yet the Col. Gave him up although he was properly enlisted. Under the same plea I don’t see why most all the men we have could not be taken away. From us. I suppose the Colonel gave him to save trouble but if it don’t make more trouble this way I shall think it strange. I expected that we would be disliked in this place but did not think we would give them good reason to despise us. I believe they threatened to bring suit against the enlisting officer but Roberts did not care and was mad because the Col. gave him up.
This morning I thought the other three were going to get off. Our letting the other one go discouraged them and they began to whine 74. about not understanding it and they would not be able to stand it at all. The Col. Left word to let them go if we could not persuade them to stay and we had about concluded to let them go when the Colonel stepped into the room told them they sere properly enlisted and were big fools if they thought he was going to let them off in that way and then told us to uniform them which we did with pleasure. What changed the Col ideas so suddenly we have not learned yet. Probably the surgeon and Capt. gave him a piece of their minds.
75. June 2nd
I sent a letter home this morning with diary to June 1st. A few days ago Lieut. Walton rec’d word from home that Devitt & Co would obtain his city bounty for him and that they were doing so every day for officers and that the papers were on the way to him. So I have some little hope to hear favorable news from Mr. Flemming. We have had some rain it came on in the night and it is cool today. The Surgeon medicine chest was received today and he has placed it in this office. I really hoped to get a letter from Sarah today and was 76. disappointed at not receiving one. We have enlisted no more men (I most always spell that word wrong). Privately I might say that the Lieuts. don’t like the idea of going round the country persuading men to enlist when their copperhead masters can come and take them away if they happen to want them to do a little more work. Still I think it will not happen so again and I would be willing to start out any time if I knew of any men that I could get.
Last night just as I was going to bed one of the men came up from quarters and said one of them was sick. I went down and found that he had a bad cold and was uncon----- with what little mind he had wondering. So I told the Surgeon and he came over to look at him (though he told me I had better come earlier in the evening when I had a sick man) and said he would probably get over it by morning. He seems better this morning and will get along without more trouble.
Today I took a walk on the road to west Milford. The road crosses a bridge on the southwest corner 77. of town and we found guards stationed on it. I had my blowse on without shoulder strips. They accordingly halted me and turning to Walton said, “Do you pass this man?” He replied that he did and they suffered me to proceed but Walton hasn’t stopped talking about the white private of the 45th C.T. since. We thought to go to West M. if it was not far and when we had walked a mile we asked a man how far it was he said 7 miles, walked a mile farther and another man said it was 8 miles. So we concluded we had been walking backwards but in a little while we were told it was 6 miles , at last we came to a post that said 4 miles to Clarksburg and 6 to West Milford. Walton thought we were far enough so we came back, for my feet were sore and I believe I have a corn or something like it on my little toe. This evening we have been talking about temperance. Roberts is strong for temperance and says he will be a lecturer.
Walton left home to get away from the set of boys that it was impossible to keep away from while he stayed in the city and with whom he says it is impossible not to drink and play cards. I am afraid he will find temptation in camp just as hard to resist and will find 78. that he is exposed to a good deal of danger as long as he holds to the opinion that a man is compelled to do as those around him do.
This morning at 3 o’clock I was awaken by someone knocking at the door and on getting up I found Lieut. Edwards who had just arrived from Charleston in the Kanana Valley with 25 men. They were made comfortable and we returned to bed but did not sleep much more till morning. Evening: They have been examined by the Surgeon and we have given out clothing.
June 5th Sunday
Today I have not been to meeting for good reasons at least I think so. There has a man come in and enlist from beyond Sumberport. At last this inaction is going to end we are to report at camp Wm. Penn. near Philadelphia and will probably have enough 79. to do when we get there. I suppose the Colonel is going back to his Reg’t but do not know. I think it is a good move but wish it had been made two months ago we shall probably start Wednesday. I believe it has been affected by Senator Wilson with whom the Col. corresponds and who is one of the main supports of the Colored Troops movement. Evening: Have just returned from Methodist meeting where I heard a good sermon. We are to start Tuesday and the Colonel is to return to his Reg’t. The man who made us so much trouble a few days ago has come in again and 80. enlisted and will not get away again. The men do not know that they are going and probably will not till they start, as we do not mean to let anybody know it till we are ready.
Today we have been busy turning in Quartermaster stores, attending to the rations, &c. The weather has been very warm with a shower this afternoon that has made it warmer than before it anything. It is not certain that we shall start tomorrow, Lieut. Edwards went to Wheeling Saturday night and has not returned though he may tonight.
It is seven o’clock at night. I sit by the fire that I have made to see by which is cracking and snapping so that it must disturb 81. the three Lieuts. who lay asleep on the floor beside me. There, one has just turned over and said you will set the house afire but I think it won’t hurt him. It is some of the barrelheads and little pieces of board that are left in the room. We are to go in the 1 o’clock train. Lieut. Edwards returned from W. last night but did not make his appearance this morning till 9 o’clock and we could not go in the half past ten train. He has command of the recruits so I am going to take it easy. Have said good bye to Col Oakman and given him a letter to Eben. He is going to his Reg’t but I should not be surprised if he were our Col. yet. Senator Wilson is working very hard for him I hear. Hope he will see Eben for I suppose he has not heard from 82. me in two months unless he has rec’d the last letter that I wrote May 3rd. the folks at home are all in bed and asleep by this time and I shall sleep when I get on the cars with nothing to trouble me till I get to Baltimore. I forgot to say that I received a magazine from home today. I was to busy writing for some time after it came that I did not open it at once and so had plenty of time to think how lucky it was for me to get it just in time to have something to read on the road. At last I got the blanks for commutation of quarters and transportation made out and turned to the magazine when image my sorrow and surprise to find that I had read it all through before hearing borrowed
that we were to leave here next week but nothing definite and I think there is nothing to it. We would find it rather difficult to move without present number of officers and will probably remain here till the other companies are ----.
If I don’t answer your letters as completely as you wish you must punch me with your pen the only instrument that will reach me at present.
The orderly Serg’t of Co. B I hear is at camp Wm. Penn. having been caught, the fellow that slipped from us in Washington was brought out today under guard, having been arrested. That 2nd Serg’t is act’g Serg’t of our Reg’t today and for the present but has been reduced to the ranks most of the time for misbehavior and Absence without Leave while at camp Penn. Am sorry to hear bad news from Mr. Tuttle, would write to him if I had time but cannot just now. Thank you for Stuart’s letter which I return. Tell Sarah I will send back that photo when I get it from Camp Penn.
Ever Your affectionate Son,
112. he rec’d his discharge yesterday. Both had been much in hospital and among the wounded and told many touching things of the ------ soldiers.
The weather was fine on the 4th and camp saw a lively time. At 8 o’clock we formed the Brigade consisting of the 43 & 45th Reg’ts and marched to Jenkentown about two and a half miles east of here and raised a flag pole and then listened to speeches till noon when we marched back another way. Everyone spent the P.M. as they pleased until Dress Parade. After that the boys amused themselves by climbing a greased pole and playing catch with eyes blindfolded in doing which they had a rope stretched for the boundary and then several would be blinded and chase one who had a bell to ring when he pleased and had five or six bags of hay lying round in the 113. circle. It was amusing to see him stand behind a bag and ring his bell and then spring away while 3 or 4 would go tumbling over the bag and pile themselves up in heaps on the other side. Then two blinded would touch each other in passing and simultaneously make a grab for each other while each would feel for the handkerchief of the other. Lt. Roberts had stepped into the ring to bind their eyes and was standing there when he was suddenly seized by a big nigger and the crowd set up such a shout 114. that he thought he had certainly got somebody and the more Roberts tried to get away the tighter he was hugged while the fellow proceeded to feel for the handkerchief and not finding that concluded that he had done it up brown and got the man he was after but at last woke up to the fact that he had hold of the wrong man and very kindly let go his hold before he had quite crushed him. Roberts said he was well squeezed but had furnished more amusement than any other man 115. in camp. In the eve we had some grand fireworks outside the camp and though I expected that some of the men would be missing we did not lose any from our Reg’t. Altogether it was a very pleasant 4th.
I met one of my old Military School friends and the first thing he said was to ask if I had been sick. I looked so thin and poor. When Mr. Webster saw me since I returned he said I had improved amazingly, I was not the same round faced boy that I was when I first came to the school.
116. Today I went to town again to hear the final result about the bounty and instead of the money the answer was Rejected by the Adjutant General at Washington, as he says I was not accredited to any part of Penn. This after being properly mustered for the bounty, paying more than $12.00 on it and being bothered three months with it is most too bad and I think if Devitt & Co had been any ways smart I could have been $250.00 richer than I am. But I can’t help it and don’t feel like writing 117. so I will stop. Rec’d a letter from Eben yesterday.
It is 5 o’clock in the morning and I’m here in the Guard House feeling sleepy and lazy and have been thinking that the folks at home would perhaps like to hear from me pretty soon. I rec’d a letter from Sarah a short time ago and a bunch of papers Saturday also a letter from Eben on Friday dated July 1st. Our Capt. came last Thursday. I like him very well and think he will be a good officer. The night passed without much of interest. One man was caught trying to run into camp after he had run out and got drunk and was caught. 118. Another one got in and hid himself and the guard inside the prison whose place is the most responsible of the post went to sleep at 11 o’clock and gave the prisoners a good chance to seize his gun, shoot the other sentinel get the arms of the guard and escape. However it did not happen and he now has the (dis)pleasure of being with the prisoners he should have guarded better.
Somehow I don’t feel like writing It was not my turn to come on guard but Lt. Stacy, 43rd Reg’t, wanted to go to Harrisburg Saturday and promised if I would take his place now he would take mine when it came. So I did it to accommodate him but wish I had not for in the first place he had no 119. business to ask anyone to take his place in such a case as his Reg’t is to move from here I am told today or tomorrow so I shall probably have to come on tomorrow again which is not quite fair in him, and then he is not such a friend of mine that he need expect it for I am against drinking liquor and he is for it strongly.
I believe I have never sent a description of this camp and perhaps I will draw it on the next page though I promise that it shall not be much.
120. this page not copied
121. this page not copied
122. this page not copied
…but necessary drill in loading and firing with blank cartridges. We had a tedious and tiresome march through town and walked so far on the round stones with which the streets are paved made my feet ache badly. Before starting I put on a pair of government shoes (sewed) and have found them the most comfortable that I have ever worn. We got to the Balto depot at Phila. at ten o’clock and started from there by rail two hours afterward. We lost our Orderly Serg’t while marching through town he having stepped out of ranks to fix his knapsack and failed to step in again. In the morning found ourselves in Perkinson’s across from “H---- de Grace.” We got off, cooked breakfast, and issued 80 rounds of cartridges to the men and at ten went on board two transports bound for Baltimore arriving at 8 o’clock P.M. or rather arrived off Fort McHenry where we cane to anchor and at midnight disembarked and lay down on the ground till morning when we got breakfast and returned on board were towed to the city and after disembarking marched through to Belger Barracks where we stayed till the next morning when word came for us to go to Washington. Started from camp at 8 o’clock and marched to the other end of town about 4 miles stopping for the men to eat dinner at the Gov’t eating rooms and left town.
On the Washington train at 3 o’clock P.M. 14th ist. The road was crowded full of trains carrying troops to W. and the train we were on did not arrive in W. till ten P.M. though the distance is but 41 miles about sunset it stopped for a passenger train to pass and while waiting I got off and picked as many blackberries as I could eat in the time which is almost the only fruit I have had this season. While at B. Barracks I saw Lt. Foster of the 30th U.S.C.T. and he told me that the Reg’t was back again guarding wagon trains. He was there at one of the forts around Baltimore with Capt. Butler. I saw the Capt across the way but did not care to speak to him. We stayed in the cars all night and in the morning found ourselves just north of the Capital and about one fourth of a mile away. There we found that another man had deserted in the night after getting into W. Capt. Martin of the 43rd had his valise stolen from the car where we were all sleeping and lost in it $350. a complete uniform, and – of clothing with all his Co. papers. It would be impossible to steal a great deal from me for I brought only a woolen and rubber blanket, a haversack containing a couple of handkerchiefs, a towel, knife and fork and spoon and a change of underclothes that I put in Capt Lufkins valise. In the pocket of my blowse I carry this and another blank book, one letter rec’d from Eben, the other day a pocket looking glass and a bottle of ink. Which equipment is considerably lighter than the one written out for me in his last letter. this morn the Col. rode to head quarters of Gen Halbek for orders rather expecting to be sent back to the camp Wm. Penn. with at least the 45th Reg’t even if the 43rd did join the rest of their Reg’t in the field. But at noon he came back with orders to go to Camp Casey and await further orders. So we are here. We may leave here in the morning or we may stay here for weeks but that we shall see camp Wm Penn. again is considered doubtful. Just before starting from the depot this noon I was sent with a Corporal and two privates to find that deserter if possible and the report at Camp Casey, the position of which I was profoundly ignorant. However I was told that it was across the long Bridge and so found my way easily but did not succeed in catching my man though we visited a good many dens.
My health has been good and I have enjoyed the trip if it can be called so very well but I am loosing flesh some since I came from West Va. which is a good thing I suppose. Yesterday a man of Co. A (the 2nd man enlisted in West Va) said to me that I had grown up --- he would hardly know me if I was not with the Reg’t. But Capt. Lufkin who started for the city on foot at sundown has returned and I will close as it is most 11 o’clock If I should never return to camp Wm. Penn. or home most of my things are in my valise which I left in care of 1st Lt. Daniel Hitchcock Co A 45th Reg’t U.S.C.T who was left to guard the Camp in the absence of the troops and my things may be divided in case of my death, just as the friends I leave may think proper giving to Mother, Eben and Jane liberty to take what they please. If there is more money than enough to pay debts Father will use it in any way for the benefit of the family. A short will and one over which I hope there will be no contention if I should never return again. X
…and says that Co D & E are full and F half full and will probably be sent here soon. The Major of the Reg’t is in Washington it is said and 4 more Capts. have been appointed. I Hope some officers will come soon for it is hard to go on guard once in three days and command one or two companies all the time besides. There are 4 line officers of us and we have 4 Cos. besides 180 men that belong to other Reg’t that we have to command for the present. Of the 3 Lts. one of is sick and he says he is going to leave the other Lt. and myself to do the Guard duty after this and one of the officers has to go to town every morning to carry the –ur-ing Report to Gen. Casey’s HeadQrs. I have had a cough for a week and thought it would be worse after last night but it is not as I can see though it troubles me some.
I have just read what I wrote on the other side of this leaf a week ago and find it not worth reading. It was the beginning of something interesting I have no doubt but I got sleepy before it was written and so it is lost!!!
Last night the third time I have been on picket Was not so pleasant. At ten o’clock it began to rain and kept it up till morning not stopping indeed till ten o’clock this A.M. I had two rubber blankets and put one under and one over me and thought I could keep dry but after a while found that the rain ran off from the upper one and caught on the other and then of course ran to the center of the blanket and so soaked me before I knew what was the matter. Then I managed to tuck in the edges of the under one so that no more came in but the mischief was done and I was wet. However I slept most of the night in spite of that for I was on guard the night before and walked to Washington just before that. Tonight I am at home that is in the house. Tomorrow night I shall be on guard again but will not probably have any more picketing to do at this camp as Col Yoman who has thaken command of the camp today thinks it is not necessary. Our Sergeon and Co J 48th Reg’t are here having arrived from Gunfendes Brigade this P.M. Col Yoman belongs to the 43rd and came yesterday bringing word that 4 Lts for the 45th had reported at camp Wm Penn also the Lt Col
Guard House Camp Casey July 26th 1864
11 o’clock P.M. I was just looking at the last letter –ld from home written by Sarah June 30th and begin to think it is a long time since and to with to hear again. I have written three --- --- starting from Camp Wm. Penn. but perhaps they would not write till my last was --- as I did not give them directions in the others. The last was to Jane but am sure I do not know what I wrote. I marked out a map of the camp on a piece of paper to read with that letter but found it several days after in my pocket so don’t know as I wrote anything that I wanted to. Col Yoman is commanding this camp now He is Col of the 43rd the other company of which returned to us yesterday accompanied by our Sergeon. they went to Sunfounder Creek when we came to Baltimore to guard the bridge there. The Sergeon has been back to camp twice since but does not know where our officers and things are coming out.
…but tonight after supper he was playing ball with the officers of the Reg’t here. After a while he got tired of it and the next thing we saw was him taking a very tall man about the camp for the boys to laugh at. He had put one man on anothers shoulders and by putting a blanket over both it looked very much like a very tall and slender man. Oh what a hubbub there was as he went round and made immense bows to them. Every fellow seemed to stretch his throat to its utmost capacity. After that had been around he sent another one which was “the elephant” and --- mistake. He was made by two men who stood one behind the other and bending down till their backs were horizontal they threw a blanket over them and made some kind of a trunk to hang down from the first one’s head and then the elephant waddled around swinging its body to and fro in a manner that called out immense applause from the spectators. After that he watched then the boys run races &c till dusk. I like him first rate and I think everybody else that knows him does.
I have not yet sent this letter so write a line more. I am tired for am quite busy and yesterday I went to the city twice making a pretty long walk. For several reasons I feel immensely depressed today the bad news and other things. I should like to be assured that Eben is safe. The part of the 43rd who are before Petersburg was badly cut up but have not heard of the 30th. I had several friends in the 43rd and probably some of them were killed. I read a letter from Eben last night dated July 27th but it did not say much about the situation except that his Reg’t was in the main line on the left of the 9th A.C. I have heard bad news from one of the students that went to the Military School at the same time with myself. It was Lt. Col H F-land condemn --- for cowardice and was sentenced to be labeled “coward” and drummed before his Reg’t with his Stripes and buttons taken off and his head shaved. It seems almost impossible to believe it for he had seen a good deal of hard service before and had been badly wounded once or twice. He was probably the smartest with one or two exceptions of all that attended the school and I often thought that I should be glad if he were appointed to our Reg’t. It seems a great pity that he should be ruined for life and it must have been a very aggravated case that would condemn him. The part of 43rd Reg’t that was here, left yesterday for City Point. I was away from camp when they left and so did not see them off which I was quite sorry for as they belong, I think, to the same Brigade as Eben and I could have sent a message by one of them easily. I was burying a man of Co. C the first belonging to the Reg’t that has died. Our Reg’t have the camp to ourselves today except a few recruits and the guard details are heavy. Lt. Brook is excused from duty so Lt Graham and I can take turns at guard mounting until some indefinite time in the future when some more Lts. report here to help us. I have sent bring reports
1. Tuesday Eve Oct 18th 10 o’clock
We are now just leaving Fort Monroe behind us and standing out to sea Capt. Holmes says we shall be to sea by 12 o’clock. Now I will begin back at 10 o’clock Sunday night I rec’d word that I was to start to Hilton Head the next day with the men for the 32nd and 102nd Reg’t that is if I was well enough for I had been sick all the P.M. with a sort of colic which however passed off at night and I said I could go thus disappointing Sr. Brooks who wished to go in my place. It was so late that I did not do anything that night except complete my unfinished business and get my things ready as much as I could. As a squad of 42 men were put into the 4 companies that day and as I was responsible 2. for their things I had to make out the papers to turn them over as I had neglected to do so in the morning as I considered it unnecessary to do. So on Sunday as there was little prospect of my leaving soon so that with my other business kept me up till after 12 o’clock.
The squad of men filled the 4 companies to 100 men each and they are all excellent men from Ohio who can read and write and some of whom have graduated at Oberlin. The 8 men put into Co. B can read and write so we are provided for without depending on rascally Serg’ts any longer. The two smartest of whom were reduced to the ranks about 2 weeks ago. The 42 men form the most intelligent squad of men that I have 3. seen but are as awkward as Shanghai chickens whom they resemble more in length of limb than is size of body. Well! I slept till 5 o’clock Sunday A.M. and then began to stir myself. Found I was to take rolls for 90 men in one squad and 40 in the other but also found that in the three days that passed since the 90 came from Washington where they were drafted or substituted there were 16 deserted so I did not bring quite so many as was expected that I would, having in all 112 men. As I was to leave Alexandra at 12, I had to stir round but it was nothing compared to my other trips to the front for I had the men on my hands before and the rolls were all straight so at 10:30 A.M. we started off with everything 4. snug and right and I myself feeling that I was all right and had control of the Squad. As the 90 squad had not rec’d their bounty, Col. Geoman determined to not pay the men the whole but to send it by me to be paid at the end of the trip so as to keep them from deserting and so they would not be cheated out of it before starting. So I have charge of over 2700 dollars for them. We did not start from Alexandria till 3 P.M.
The propeller Idaho goes with nothing but our squad and one white Serg’t who belongs to a N.Y. Reg’t that is down there. So we have plenty of room. I am the only officer on board and there are are no other passengers so I have as good as the boat can afford in the way of accomodations which is a good state room and a good saloon. Besides that the Capt is a
–rm—tient man from New London 5. and his wife and child are on board with him having come on to Balto to visit him and determined on taking a cruise. Mrs Holmes is a very nice woman so much like mother but not quite so old I think. The child is about 11 years old and is a good deal like Jane only not so bashful. The Capt is a fine man and is like Mr. Kimball. In fact they are New England people that have been outside of New England and make it as like home as can be especially when Mrs. Holmes comes on the upper deck with her green sunbonnet on just such as mother used to wear as long ago as I can remember. The Capt wanted to get out to sea by noon today but the Pilot would not run on the river last night though every one else did and there was so full a moon. He predicted a northeaster and the wind is already with. 6.But we must be getting to sea for I can feel it roll somewhat and will go out to look and then go to bed expecting to wake up Oh! so sick and will tell about it some other time. I was told that Capt. Casey was going down with me but he did not come on so he is not here. I must hurry or I shall be sick before I go to sleep so good night.
I awoke yesterday morning without feeling sick but found that the sea was rough and as soon as I arose to dress I became sick so that I had to lie down again. However I got dressed at length and bolted for the side of the vessel. There I vomited 3 times in an hour and got over it by laying down till towards noon when it was smooth and I could stay up. I was not much sick except while 7. throwing up and that would last only a minute. Capt. said I got off very easy. The Seargant was sick all day and is not over it yet.. Mrs Holms and Annie were quite sick but were on deck last eve and are well today. For my part I have been sicker on shore but never quite in that way. They told me that I would wish I had never seen the ocean and think that I never would feel well again but I did not experience any such feelings and felt like laughing with the sailors at the funny appearance I presented to them. So I think I could make a sailor without much trouble, however it was not a storm. It was smoother towards night and tis morning when I came out of my room the water was almost as smooth as glass. A dolphin was 8. taken on hook this morning but I did not see it die for which I was sorry. We saw porposes in great numbers and some flying fish. At ten o’clock I went to the masthead and while up there a whole school of them came round the bows of the boat plunging and diving furiously. It was indeed interesting to see them so plainly sporting round the vessel. There was a shark seen yesterday and I think I saw one this morning. About 9 o’clock the Capt saw a something white about a mile to the right of us and turned the vessel course in that direction and on getting to it it was found to be a boat belonging to some man of war probably one of the -------fleet as it was abreast of Wilmington. It is in good order and worth 9. a hundred dollars the Capt says. That is about all that has happened yesterday and today except that we are now at 7 o’clock off Charleston and expect to be down to Hilton Head tomorrow morning. I think it likely that I shall go back in the same boat but cannot tell at present as they may start back in six hours after landing us.
On Friday we arrived at Hilton Head at ten A.M. and landed immediately. I reported to the Provost Marshal and found the HdQt of the32nd were 2 miles back of town but the adjt being in town took charge of the men and said he would send the receipt for the things in at once to the Provost Marshals. I concluded that I would not wait for them but would go at once to Beauford to the 102nd Reg’t 10. on the boat that went at 3 o’clock P.M. As I was going towards the wharf I met Capt Crissey who was going to B on the same boat. It seemed like meeting a brother and the more so as he thought of anything but seeing me. He said he had a good mind to kiss me right there in the street.
We went up and arrived at B at 7 o’clock though the –tainer was but 15 miles and found our way to the 102nd half a mile behind the town turned the men over and the next morning got the receipts for them. I expected to return to 8 o’clock A.M. but as Crissey stayed there till this morning I concluded to remain with him and see the town as I had till next Saturday before I could leave this part of the country I could see the whole s well as the part. There were 5 companies of the 11. 32nd there and five of us officers found a team and started for the Port Royal ferry to exchange papers under a flag of truce with the rebels but the Lt/ in command of the picket could not allow it so we were disappointed in that but saw the famous shell road for 10 miles and the country and cotton fields. One of the Capts knew a woman from Maine who carried on a plantation and we went to call on her. She is all alone near the outer picket with no white person near but a school teacher from the north and hassuccessfully carried on a cotton plantation and raised 2500 lbs of cotton in spite of the army worm which nearly destroyed it. We returned to town late in the evening hungry as bears and well satisfied with the day’s ride. This morning we came back to Hilton Head and I stayed here at the Provost’s barracks where two Cos of the 32nd are 12. with Capt Plumer a military Schol friend and who has always been very friendly to me. There are a good many in the Reg’t with whom I am acquainted and the rest are all friendly as I am introduced by Crissey. AHe calls me Henry and could not seem more like a brother if he really was so. I am going to the camp this morning and expect to enjoy myself well this week. This writing is a little mixed for some of it I wrote last night and now This morning which morning is Oct 24th and now at 2 P.M. I sit here at Crissey’s table in his wall tent to make this correction. I have just written a letter to Eben which I shall --- closed – present – as it must go north on the steamer with myself 13. next Saturday and I may have some more to write between now and New York if that expression is proper.
Oh, did any of you read the first article in the Oct Atlantic, “A Night in the Water”? I saw where it happened namely at Port Royal ferry by the Major of the 102nd who commands the picket there.
Oct 28th On the 25th the Head Quarters of the 32nd was moved to Seabrook the west side of the Island and all the 10 Companies sent to that side to act as pickets. Capt Crissey and his company are thationed at HdQtrs. and in a very nice place. I went over there with him (it is about 6 miles from this side) and to do it we marched into town and took the boat instead of going overland for 14. a distance of 4 miles. It is the way they do in this Dept. After seeing how things are done in the army of the Patomic where they have about two teams to the reg’t it weems strange to see a company here provided with 8 or more teams to move their stuff but the reason of it is that the troops are recommended to floor their tents and raise them from the ground and then when the men have bought or stolen enough boards to do it with it is so it is picked up for them and goes to the new camp Capt broke up camp at 2 P.M. Wednesday and lay on the boat all night so that yesterday he was all day getting fixed up in the new camp. He had t go on Officer of the “Piequet” last 15. night and as he had two horses he offered one to me to go the rounds with him at 12 o’clock and I accepted it gladly. It was a beautiful night and we had a good time riding round to the posts through alternate patches of brushland and open fields. At the last post there were some ornage trees and we obtained some specimins left by chance getting a beautiful branch.of green oranges which I am taking with great care to one of his particular friends. I saw some fine palmettos with leaves longer than a man. I would have brought some of the leaves home but have my things nearly full now. Today I was expecting to come to town on a horse that the major promised to lend me but as an ambulance was coming in at 1 o’clock P.M’ I cane by that and getting 16. my things from Capt Plumer’s I came to the “Port Royal House” in time for supper and shall remain here for breakfast in the morning and then take the boat “Fulton” at 10 o’clock for N.Y. Capt R-auld have kept me there but he has the chills and fever and is somewhat crowded already So I could not make up my mind to trouble him any more. It is half past seven and I am in my room thinking over the past week which does not seem much like being in the war myself but nearly a spectator and is a vacation to me in which I have visited my friends and found a most hearty welcome and kindness from all in the Reg’t whose acquaintance I have made. Capt. C has been so like a brother to me that the time has passed pleasantly indeed. But I will close for the present and perhaps write a little more on board. ship.
It is one o’clock and I take my seat in my room and my pen in hand to write a few lines but that there is anything to write but because I almost promised to do so on board the ship and there will be no better opportunity than while waiting for dinner which is at two. We did not start from the Head till 2 o’clock yesterday and did not get dinner till 4 which rendered me hungry as I had not ate anything but some apples since supper the night before. Something that I ate at the “Port Royal House” or else the freshly parched peanuts that I ate in the day made me sick all Friday night and left me without appetite on Saturday morning. I think I played a capital joke on myself yesterday. I wrote a letter to leave and go by the next steamer and put it in a box in an office on the wharf just before 12 o’clock but as the vessel did not sail for two hours after, I think likely Father will be astonished by receiving that letter before hearing from me in any other way as I presume it was put on board this boat but I shall endevor to beat it by fast traveling when we reach N.Y.
The state rooms accommodate two persons and I had No. 13 but I changed with Lt. Whithington who had a friend in my roommate and in changing got in with a man who is act Y State Commissioner sent down to obtain the soldiers vote. There was a great deal of drinking going on yesterday on board and he seemed to be the ringleader of it. A great many had to retire before night but he kept up till late and then came to his room to drink with a friend. This morning he was up early and picking up his bottle of choice spirits he found he had drank it almost all up. He remarked that he believed he took almost all he could carry last night and I told him that I agreed with him. He tried hard to have me drink with him last night and was greatly astonished at my refusal but was so
Oct 30th On board the steamer Fulton
It is now evening and we are about half way on our voyage. So if nothing untoward happens we shall be in New York by Trusday morning. The wind has freshened this eve and the sea will probably be rough in the morning. So I am expecting sea sickness again. I have not described the boat and don’t think I shall attempt it but it is the largest and and best that I was ever a passenger on was formerly run between NY and ----- is elegantly furnished and I think has on board the largest number of drunk or drinking army officers that I have ever seen together. I have been talking this eve with a man who is carrying on a plantation on Lady Island near Beaufort. He has 83 hands the largest number employed by overseer on the island. He is a young man not much over twenty one years of age, was down here surveying and in March last bought a plantation paying about 6000 dollars. ¼ down and the rest at the end of 3 years getting this advantage by having been in the army. He planted 100 acres in cotton and the expenses have been between 5 and 6000 dollars. The crop this year averages about ½ being destroyed by the army worms or caterpillar. He will get seventeen thousand dollars for the crop but says his is better than the average. I was asking him what a man could do without capital to commence on and he told me it could be done by beginning small. There are chances to get in it a man only could watch for them. For instance he says there is a man on board who owns a large plantation who offered him a large sum of money if he would get him a man who would carry on the plantation next year. He will pay the expenses and I think he said put in 200 acres and let it on shares if he can the man who is reliable and will carry it on as if it was his own. If I was out of the army and had one or two thousand dollars I am pretty sure Father and I would try a trip south for two years or more.
This man that I was talking with said he could make 10,00 dollars out of that job on shares. I am told that a man can himself take car of 10 acres which at 150 dollars per acre is not to laugh at but seriously considered. the cost of getting down there and back and of living is pretty dear 50 dollars from N.Y. to Hilton Head and 12 dollars more for food and board. If I had a friend who had wished to go down I could have taken him as a servant I think without any trouble and what a grand opportunity it would have been if Father could have been in Washington at the time I started all ready for a short trip to the Dept of the South.