As beautiful a morn as ever dawned. I officiated at guard mounting for the 1st. time this morning and got through without a blunder. Our 1st. brigade drill by our new commander today. It was a little dull but we think he is all right. The late war news from the Southwest cheers the whole army and ‘why don’t we move’ is often asked. The new Regts. have been loosing men by disease. They do not seem to be as hardy as the old troops. Dysentery and rheumatism are the prevailing diseases. Many are being discharged who have been wounded in the various battles in which our Regt. have been engaged. I have been washing today. 2 shirts, a pair of drawers, pants and socks are now hanging up to dry. Last night was the coldest yet. Ice froze over our kettles and the spring is freezing today, but our quarters are fairly warm. I have less to do since the new Adjt. has taken charge.
Yesterday evening I was detailed to act as Sergt. Major at guard mounting till farther orders. We all have now quarters fit for winter, but when we have visitors we have not the satisfaction we do under other circumstances. Our quarters are too small to be pleasant. Much visiting is being done and many have come from their homes. We have some excitement daily because of rumors to move, of foreign interference, of officers of peace by the Southern congress etc., perhaps all to be contradicted next day and something else to take its place. The RR is very busy and many contrabands, (negroes) are kept at work unloading cars.
Today we are reminded of what occurred just a month ago. The papers have had their say. We see some Regts. have been highly applauded while others are not mentioned. The new Regts. have been puffed up big for their valor (?) shows, while the old Regts,. such as the 20th. Ind. and the 63rd. Pa., who went with them and made no blunders, were not mentioned. While the new Regts. often blunder. I’ll mention one that I think I spoke of before. When we charged at Fredricksburg the 114th. Pa., Colliss Zouaves, did not fix bayonets, it so happened that the enemy fled but had they stood, what a fix they would have been in. The old troops noticed it and now bore the zoozoo’s unmercifully about it. The enemy still fear a new attack and have thrown up earthworks all along their front on the opposite side, close to the river.
A heave fog enveloped everything this morning. It is no uncommon thing to hear flys buzz and see worms and insects crawling. The woods are quite cut away for miles around. We must move soon or be unable to get a supply. Dried peaches or apples are issued now. Guard houses have been put up by all the Regts. They are made by making a square of logs, then putting timbers across on top, then pine brush, then dirt, then a coat of mud morter. A very good shelter. Many privates in the infantry service are joining the cavalry, a privilege given them. I do not think they better their lot in the least but just as they fancy.
Weather cold and growing colder. The wind so high and strong that some of the shelter tents, covering the little huts, have blown off. I could hardly sleep last night for fear my tent would capsize. It fluttered and bent but stood the storm. On the 14th. we had flour issued instead of hardtack and now we realize the wisdom of the government in furnishing us with four backed instead of in its natural state, for no sooner had the boys got the flour than they began to bake short cake, long cake, pan cake, flannel cakes or boil as dumplings or fry it as doughnuts etc., of which all ate heartily and then began to complain of pains of stomach etc. I and my mess, mixed the flour with water and salt and baked it as pancakes in a skillet. Now this was not, I’ll confess, a fancy dish yet having eaten hardtack so long the taste was very pleasant, and, shameful to tell, I overloaded my stomach and had a pain too. I grinned and bore it till near sunset, then I went to the Dr., stated my trouble and got a pill and took it at bedtime and now I am restored to perfect health, s well as being admonished to beware how I indulge in ‘wheat cakes’, without rising or sal-a-rat-us in the future. Col. McKnight has acted as president of a court martial which has been in session at Gen. Berries headquarters for the past 2 weeks and this morning we had the results of 2 cases in our Regt., which we were not aware of till now. We did not know that anyone of our Regt. straggled, when going into the fight on the 13th., but the recent investigation shows that Hoffman of Co. K and Wycoff of Co. D, skulked and did not go in. This morning, sentence was passed on them as follows. At 8 O’clock this morning, the assembly was sounded and the Regt. formed in line and afterward, the close column, by division and the 2 culprits were brought out and their sentences read by the Adjt. which was that these 2 men, for leaving their Co. while going into battle, should forfeit all pay due them now or will become due in the future while in the service of the U.S., that they should serve the balance of their time at hard labor on the Rip Raps or any other place the govt. my place them and the last named be caused to pass under guard along the lines with a placard fastened on his back, with the work ‘coward’ in large letters on it. Strange to tell, they did not show any signs of shame, but were inclined to joke on the matter. To me it was the most disagreeable sight that ever occurred in the 10. The first had 10 months pay due, and the last, 6 months. Hard as the punishment may seem to outsiders, to us it is received as a just punishment well merited. Death itself should punish all such willful acts. Orders came last evening to be ready with 3 days cooked rations to go at 1 O’clock tomorrow. The Rebs have left their works across the river. The want of fuel will compel us to move soon anyway. There was another sentence from the late court executed yesterday P.M. on James Parkis of Co. i, 63rd. Pa. His crime was desertion. He had left his Co. and Regt. at Harrison Landing and gone over 4 months and was arrested and brought back. He was sentenced to lose al pay due him or might become due him, from the govt., to have his head shaved, the letter D to be branded on his hip and then be drummed out of the service in the presence of the whole brigade, practically all of which was done yesterday in the following manner, viz., our brigade was ordered out under arms with fixed bayonets at 2:15 P.M. and marched to the parade ground. Here we formed in 2 parallel lines, 3 Regts. a side facing inward. The culprit was brought out under a guard of 12 men and a Sergt. and placed near the center of the lines, which happened to be almost directly in front of me. A fire was built here and a horse shoe nail rod with the letter D formed on the end was heating in it. He was ordered to take off his cap, exposing head shaved clean of hair except an occasional tuft. In this position he stood while Capt. Burney, the A.A.Gen. read his crime and sentenced in the hearing of us all. The U.S. buttons were then cut from his clothes and his right hip exposed and our blacksmith applied the red hot iron with the letter D on to the exposed hip. The smell of burning flesh, followed. He squirmed and let out a quick oath but made no outcry. The bands played the Rogues March and he was put in front of the guards with head still uncovered, who with fixed bayonets and a drum Corp following, marched him the whole length of lines on both sides and then chased him away toward the river and let him go. He exhibited the utmost indifference during the whole affair, chewing tobacco and squirting the juice at almost every step. I am since told that some of his comrades, as soon as the guards left, supplied him with a good citizens dress out and out and a plush cap that hid his shaved head and gave him money to get back to Pittsburg or where he wished to go. He had enlisted2 or 3 different times getting a bounty each time and then deserting to work it over again. He well deserved all he got. I was relieved by the Sergt. Major of the 20th. Ind. Regt. from serving at guard mounting. We serve one week at a time and my time was up. This will lessen my duties till all the rest have served their week. Men…(text unreadable)
Orders to move today. I believe we are to cross the river again. God grant it may be to some purpose and that He may give victory to the right. Weather more mild with indications of rain. All is activity. Have no time to write more now. All in good spirits and willing to move.
January 23rd. Camp in the woods near the Rapahanock river.
At 11:30 A.M. on the 20th. we and the whole brigade broke camp and took up the line of march, going up the river in advance of the entire army. After going some 5 miles back on the road we had taken coming from Warrenton to Falmouth, we were moved directly to the left toward the Rapahanock river, going down a road very recently cut and were halted within 1 mile of the river. It was dark when we got here. We were not allowed to make any noise and ordered to bivouack without a fire. A little after dark it began to rain and continued all night and most of the next day (the 21st.), so that the roads were almost impassible, yet the pontoons and various batteries were being hurries forward and every effort possible was apparently made to throw the entire army across at this ford, known as Banks Ford. Franklins grand division arrived here the morning after us and continued coming in till near 3 O’clock A.M., when locomotion almost entirely ceased. Burnsides grand army was literally ‘stuck in the mud’. Large details of men from various Regts. were made to help up with the pontoons by pulling at long cables attacked to either side, but all to no purpose for on the morning of the 22nd. all further efforts ceased to bring forward troops, pontoons, batteries or aught else. After the 1st. night we were allowed to build fires, dry our clothes and make coffee etc. since the intended surprise and quite played out. On the 22nd. most of the men were set to building corduroy, ie. Bridging the roads with small logs and pine poles. I could see and can now see all kinds of army vehicles stuck in the mud all along the road, though many have been removed. The rain quite ceased yesterday evening, but the sky is still clouded. The men have suffered severely from the effects of the cold rain and the necessity of sleeping without fires, in the cold rain, on the wet ground and no shelter, save what the tress gave us. Last night, a little before dark, a ½ ration of whiskey was issued to each man in our brigade. (1/2 gill was a ration). It was the first issued since we left the peninsula. It may have done some good, I doubt it. It surely served me badly, as I had to measure out the quantity each Co. was entitled to. As the head of the barrel was knocked in and I stood over it and dipped it out into Co. kettles with a 2 qt. dipper. The fumes were very strong and made me sick at the stomache and caused my head to swim. Our orderly Sergt., O.C. Redic, coming up I told him how I felt. He advised me to take a swallow, but I thought if I did it would cause me to vomit, but as I could hardly stand, he urged me hard and I took a swallow and to my surprise it straightened me up at once. This morning, although the roads were only partially finished, the whole army, batteries, wagons and troops are taking the back track. The expedition is doubtless abandoned for the present. At least 70 of our Regt. are at work on the roads today. Had we succeeded in getting the pontoons up before the rain set in and the weather continued favorable, our division and our brigade in particular would have had hot work as we had been set aside for the ‘forlorn hope’ to lead in the attack and effect the crossing. The 1st. night we got here I had just lain down and begun to doze when I was aroused to go to headquarters and there I had to stay until 4 A.M. awaiting orders. There was no shelter from the cold rain save what was afforded part of the night by a wagon that stood near by, under which I crept and slept awhile, but the water soon began to run in and I to run out. It is very disagreeable sleeping in a stream of running water or even trying to sleep. Our Gens. cannot be blamed for not making an attack. Had the weather continued favorable we hardly doubt for a moment but that we would have been successful, yet providence has ordained otherwise and may all be for the best. I will not murmur since ‘Man seeth not as God seeth’. To get the pontoon train out of the mud will next be considered. They lay on the flat or bottom near the river, the wagons bug deep, but the roads will be completed today. We have just got orders to move back to our old quarters at noon today. I now write by the side of a log heap all ablaze at headquarters of the Regt. A few brush and a little time I was under the wagon is all the shelter I have had since we began to move. The rain has entirely ceased.
January 25th. 1863.
At the time appointed we began to move toward the old camp, which we reached about dark, half covered with mud. We found ½ of our house wrecked. The staves used for a bed gone, so I was forced to lie another night on the wet ground. We got out tent and put it up but for want of wood could make no fire, so that this night was nearly as bad as the last 2. The rest of the boys, with very few exceptions, were no better off than myself, yet all tired and muddy as we were, all seemed in good spirits caused by the knowledge that Pay Master, Major Newell, as here awaiting our return. A gill of whiskey was dealt out to each man. My mess drew none was we concluded we would derive no benefit from its use. In its stead I went to the guard house where was a small fire and made a pot of hot coffee. On Saturday the 24th. we were all busy cleaning up, rebuilding our quarters and getting wood etc. This Sunday, the 25th. of Jan. was the busiest I ever spent in my life. Early in the morning I received my commission from Geo. A.G, Curtain, as 2nd. Lt. of Co. i 105th. Pa. Vol., dating from Jan. 1st. 1860. This will entitle me to the Kerney badge of honor. All commissioned officers are allowed it, who receive their commissions up to Jan. 1st. 1863, and served in Kerneys old divisions but not those who may be commissioned afterward. About 10 A.M. Major Newal began paying our Regt. with greenbacks and postage stamps. We get 4 months pay, but all men who had drawn over this yearly allowance of clothing must reimburse, to that amount, the govt. I am square with the govt. on that ‘score’, but some of the boys had $20 to $30 deducted for over drawn clothing. S.S. Jackson has just left word that his brothers, Andrew and David, are with him in camp. I have received $84 as Sergt. Majors pay.
Yesterday I got a pass and took the Adjt’s horse and started to see cousins Andrew and David and Schuyler, but met them coming over to visit me, so I returned and spend one of the most pleasant days with them that I have had while in the service, visiting them. After dinner we went down to the bank of the Rapahanock river and had a sight of Fredricksburg and Falmouth and also of the Rebels and their works. On our return they left me, with the promise that they would return again, if possible, but is raining now and it may deter their returning. This is the 1st. rain since our ‘stick in the mud’. We have just learned of Burnsides resignation. Gen. Hooker, know as ‘fighting Jo’ is now in command. Who comes next? We are surprised at nothing.
Rained very hard all night and this morning snow is falling and is now 2 inches deep but very soft and so is not likely to lie long. I have my (text unreadable) The army will suffer some if we have a long cold spell, for want of wood. The Jacksons have not returned and I fear they will return home without my seeing them again. I intended to send my commission home by them but will now send it by mail. The weather this evening is worse than anytime this winter.
It snowed all day yesterday and all night and there is fully 3 inches snow on the ground. The wind high and weather very cold. The sun shown out the past few hours and it is getting wet and sloppy. Since we have been paid everything saleable is being exhibited by the sutlers, and prices are as high as at Harrisons landing. Cheese 40¢, butter strong at 60¢ lb., apples 5¢ each and everything, as a luxury, in proportion, but the soldiers do not indulge in these things as extensively as heretofore. They seem to economize more closely and sent their money home or to places of safety, some gambling but by no means common in our Regt.
Weather clear and pleasant with a warm wind from the south. No excitement, no stir, no anything to enliven the dull routine of camp life. Just our daily duties over and over and the slop, slop, makes even that disagreeable. We expected to move our camp so as to procure more wood easily, but it seems they would sooner haul it as great distance than to break our present quarters. The Sutlers tents continue to be the great center of attraction. There is a big difference between the Sulters prices and the govts. Commissary prices for the same articles, for instance, sugar is sold by the govt. at 13¢ a lb. while the Sulters price is 30¢ to 35¢. You may ask why they don’t all buy of the govt. I will explain. The commissary tent is a store room for the govt., where is kept the things necessary for the troops and officers. We have brigade commissary, Regt. commissary and even often, a Co. commissary. There is a Regimental quartermaster who gets supplies for the Regt. and cares for them. A Regt. of men draw rations according to their No. of men and the Co. quartermaster draws for his Co. and delivers so much to each man (which is almost always enough), but no enlisted man can buy an ounce of anything form the different Qms., for fear of speculation, but the officers, commissioned officers only, can buy to any amount if they certify that it is for their own use, in fact all they get they must buy 0and their either pay for it or get it charged against next payday. The govt. keep on hand, for the officers, ham smoked or pickled, dried fruits, potatoes, onions etc., which are seldom, if ever, dealt out to the men as rations, but which the officers can procure at anytime. The prices at the commissary now are, for dried apples 8¢ to 10¢, potatoes 4¢, onions 3¢, smoked ham 16¢ lb. Everything is sold at the same price the govt. pays for it. Now articles are out of reach of the privates and anything they want besides their rations, they must buy of the Sutler or do without. We draw now a little over 350 rations and have 227 men able to bear arms. The rest are in the hospital or on extra duty outside the Regt. The hospital is supplied with every luxury the govt. can supply.
Cool nights and warm days has been the order since last writing, but yesterday it began to spit snow and by night, was an inch and a half deep. It moderated this morning and began to rain but now at 4 P.M. the sky is clear and the earth resembles our Pa. weather after a nice spring shower. On Wed. the 4th. Crossley and Kimple and I went over to division headquarters to be mustered in as Lts. of our respective Co’s., but the mustering officers were absent and (text unreadable) As any officers in the regular USA can act as mustering officer, we today applied to Col. Hayman and were sworn in. I have been notified to take my position as Lt. of my Co. tomorrow, after guard mounting. A Mr. McCowen of Co. C not clerking at brigade headquarters will, I hear, be my successor as Sergt. Major.
Yesterday P.M. I moved from Regt. headquarters to the headquarters of Co. i, with Lt. I.N. Tuller. I took my place last night at dress parade for the 1st. time and this morning I commanded the Co. on inspection, as Lt. Tuller had been appointed inspection officer to Co’s. D and E. I was under the constant eye of the Col. and I believe, made no error. The ground freezes every night and thaws out during the day. Sun very bright and warm today. Gen. Stoneman, our Corp commander, leaves us this morning and the officers of this brigade are invited to wait on him at 9 A.M. today at division headquarters where he will take his leave. The Gen. had been reappointed Chief of cavalry and will assume that duty at once and Gen. Burney will be in command here in his place for the next 10 days. I have not learned who our new commander may be. The cars are filled daily with troops going to some other point and several divisions from our right have gone already.
Weather fine and large No’s. of troops leaving daily in cars. We expect to remain. The balloon is up today. I have not yet ascertained the exact condition and strength of my Co., but will soon. I was today, with Lt Clyde of Co. A, over to the 123rd. and 155th. to see Lt. Brown, who is reported very sick. We met him coming from the hospital, where he has been for some weeks. He thinks he is some better, yet he looks quite ill. On the way back I visited Stonemans station where we saw large iron ovens ready to put up and kneading troughs, to furnish the bread for the troops that may remain. There are many ‘contrabands’ employed here by the govt. They unload cars, saw wood etc. I will try next time I write to give you an account of y new mode of living. The 9th. Corp-De-army are all gone. We may go on picket in the morning as our turn has come. It will be some 5 miles up the river.
February 14th. 1863. Camp Pitcher near Falmouth.
As promised, I’ll endeaver to give present strength etc. of Co. i and my present way of living. Our Co. numbers all told, sick and well, present and absent, 59. We have present for duty 2 Lts., 3 Sergts., 3 Corporals and 21 privates and have, absent, sick or wounded, 1 Capt., 1 Sergt., 1 Corporal and 16 privates. On detached service, 1 Sergt. and 2 privates and 2 privates sick in our hospital. Our original number, when the Co. was 1st. organized, was 102 men and officers. And now as to my way of living. Each commissioned officers is allowed 1 wedge tent, when wall tents can not be had. We have now 2 wedge tents joined together that give us a floor space 6ft. wide and 10 or 12ft. long. By the side of the door is a fireplace made of sticks covered with clay morter. The chimney of the same material, with a barrel added to the top. At the back of the tent we have a rude table on which I am now writing. Our bed on the ground made by placing 1st. a poncho (an oil cloth or sheet), then 2 shelter tents made of brown drilling, then 3 woolen blankets. To cover us we have a double shawl and 4 blankets. This keeps up warm and we sleep very comfortably in coldest weather. We have 1 earthen plate, 3 knives and forks, 3 tin cups, 4 tin patty pans, 2 coffee pots, 2 small tin buckets with covers, about 1 ½ gals. Each of these with a common messpan, completes our household ‘fixtures’. We have a colored boy one, Ethan Dickerson, who officiates as servant, cook etc. Our dinner will illustrate what we eat (but thank fortune not how much). As I have just eaten, here is the bill of fare: Nice fresh break, pork and beef, both fried, potatoes boiled with skins on, sugar, molasses, and butter, he last not often, gravy made of fryings and flour, condensed milk and coffee. For a change we can have beans, rice, dried apples or peaches, all these things we buy at govt. prices at brigade commissary at these prices. Bread 6 ½, beef 8¢, pork 5¢, potatoes 25¢ for 15 lbs., dried apples 8¢, sugar 13¢, coffee 16¢. On the 10th. our Regts. went on picket and we were gone 3 days and nights. We had several ‘right smart’ showers, but generally had a good time and were not disturbed in the least although a sharp lookout was kept. While out, I was detailed as officer of the guard and served for the first time. Our picket lines are very strong. Convalescent men of our Co. arrive almost daily. Dan’l Freedline of my Co. and Peter Slegle of Co. G came in while we were out. I could but rejoice at their return, and yet to them it is a return to danger, hardships, privations and perhaps death. Last night I took the Co. out on dress parade and did it properly. It is no small thing to do such things without practice. Each morning while on picket, the birds filled the woods with song. It appears so much like spring it is indeed like our early springs in Pa. Fred Swentael of my Co. has just been detailed for duty at brigade headquarters. We now receive fresh bread daily from the division bakery. Officers school was again resumed by special order this morning.
I spent most of Sat. 14th. getting wood and provisions. All commissioned officers must buy tickets at brigade headquarters before we can get bread at the bakery. The tickets are the same as orders and are for 1, 2 or 5 flour rations, which is the same as a loaf. 1 loaf is intended for 3 meals for a man. We had officers school every morning except Sunday and batallion drill on Monday. Our tents have been set on the ground, which gave us little room, so on Monday I got the ox team and cart, which by the by, has been with the Regt. since our march here form Leesburg and with the help of the boys I got a load of pine logs 4 to 5 inches in diameter and built up 4 logs high ‘Log cabin’ style and over this we placed our 2 wedge tents with chinking and clay morter I closed the cracks. The next morning at daylight the worst snow storm of the season was on us and kept us in all day, but not me. Wood had to be gotten and my turn had come to take charge of the detail and I had a rough day of it. Yesterday was warmer but it rained all day. This morning the rain had ceased and I completed what was lacking on my cabin. Day before yesterday I was some what surprised to be called to the Cols. quarters and more surprised when he told me to make application for a 10 days leave of absence if I still wished to visit my home. You may imagine I felt greatful and lost no time in placing in an application which is now on the way to Corp headquarters for approval or rejection. I dare hardly build a hope for fear I may be disappointed. I had previously requested the Col. to let me go whenever he thought it proper and he had not forgotten my wish and when he though the time had come he was prompt in telling me. if an officer overstays his time when on leave of absence, even 6 hrs., he is liable to be courtmartialed.
The day is clear and warm as a mayday. B. F. Lerch, a private of our Co., has been gone on a furlough 10 days, this morning has over stayed his time. Capt. Kirk Co. F and Lt. Col. Craige are also absent overtime. Many officers and men are applying for leaves and furloughs. Details of men have been made out of our Regt. today to work on fortifications up the river to defend some fording. In the absence of war news, many strange rumors are afloat of doings in Congress etc., but one thing I find is spreading like wildfire and that is a feeling of intense hatred against the conservative men and copperheads in the north. They are considered by us all as so many balls and chains to the legs of the army and the administration. They are to traitorous to come to our help and to cowardly to go to the direct aid of the south. The neither wish to preserve the govt. or allow others to attempt to do so. 4 O’clock P.M. At 2:30 this P.M. it began blowing very hard and as I write, it threatens to up tip our tents. Our camp is being thoroughtly policed ie. cleaned up. The army seems quiet everywhere. Troops are generally healthy, only 4 or 5 patients in our hospitals. The parolled prisoners of our Regt. are returning daily and are kept in the guard house till inquiry can be made as to their absence so long after they were informed of their exchange. Some of them may be tried and perhaps punished unless they give good reasons for remaining so long away from the Regt.
March 8th. 1863. In camp near Brooks Station and Potomac creek bridge Va.
So long a time has passed since I last wrote, that I shall hardly be able to give even a brief account of all that has transpired since Feb. 20th., the date I last wrote. I think over the past 2 weeks and it all seems but a mere dream to me, but a brief account I’ll try to give. On the 21st. I was put in charge of a ‘wood detail’. The day was warm and pleasant. On my return in the evening, to my surprise, my leave of absence was handed to me and I began preparing to leave immediately. I got a pass to Aquia Creek, thinking to gain a day but was foiled in this as Sun. morn, the 22nd., proved to be the stormiest of the season. During the night it has snowed, covering the ground 6 or 8 inches and still falling fast when I left and the wind blew fiercely all day so that the boats could not start out and I had to remain till the morn of the 23rd., with many others in the same fix. Among us was a preacher who gave us an exhortation, a prayer and then began to sing. In this nearly all the soldiers joined and showed much feeling in al the exercises. The preacher was sent by the sanitary commission. The boat left for Washington at 9 O’clock A.M., which we reached at 3 O’clock P.M., where I had to remain till the 6 O’clock train started. While waiting I bought an officers suit of clothing. While trying them on I had laid my sword and belt on a settee near by, I found they had been stolen in my absence. I reported the loss at once. An army scout heard me tell my loss and immediately ran out to a train that was just ready to pull out and soon returned with sword and belt. He explained that he had seen a fellow when he came into the store running out with a sword and a belt and it aroused his suspicions that something was wrong and when he heard me tell of my loss he went for the fellow and luckily found him on the train and on the scouts demand handed it over. I was sure glad to get them again and the scout and all seemed as pleased as I. I offered a reward but he would not accept it. My suit cost $48 with cap, but not including shoes which I did not need. I reached Baltimore at 7 and Harrisburg about midnight. At Altona we stopped for breakfast just before daylight. In my excitement I had forgotten to eat but when the hucksters surrounded the train with their pies, sandwiches, and other eatables I realized I (text unreadable) with a basket of pumpkin pies, I beckoned her to come to the window and I bought 6. They were fine. I even thought they were better than mother used to bake. I ate them all and thought I really had room for more, but the train was steaming on. Reached Indiana Town about 2 O’clock P.M. I went at once to the home of Uncle Stephen Jackson where I was royally received and he began at once to fit me out for my 40 mile or more overland journey home. In less than an hour I had eaten a sumptious supper and he had his horse saddled and bridled and at the door ready for me to mount. How I wanted to fly. I urged the horse, which was a fine one, as hard as I dared and to save his strength and wind, I would dismount and walk or double quick up many of the hills. The roads were rough and there was no moon, but the constant thought of those whom I would soon meet in home sweet home spured me on with constant increasing speed and about 2 O’clock in the morning of the 25th. I joyously called the unconscious sleepers who were innocent of my coming. I will not attempt to describe the joys I felt in meeting and the pleasures of those 3 days are constantly before me and sweeter than the sweetest days of youth. On Monday the 2nd. day of March I tore myself away from that loved place and the pale and tearful faces of a dear mother, father, brothers and sisters and all my loved ones to again face the deadly perils of war. My old time friend and fellow teacher, let me his horst and buggy and bro. Jno. McFarland rode Uncle Stephen Jacksons horse and so wife and I were on our way back to the town of Indiana where I could get the train. We stopped all night at Wolfs Tavern. We reached Uncle Stephans after a 5 mile ride, early in the morning and spent the day until 4:20 P.M. After another sad parting I was again among strangers, speeding away for Washington and the army. Reached Harrisburg at 4 O’clock A.M., 8 minutes to late for the through train and had to wait till 9:30 A.M. Then through to the Capitol without further trouble. The next morning at 8 I took the boat for Aquia creek, which we reached at 11 A.M. on the 5th. and took the cars for Falmouth. Found our old camp vacated. The brigade had moved about 4 miles back, to near Potomac creek. Walking back I found the Regt. in a wood on the side of a hill. My time was up at 8 that morning but as the Regt. had moved it was kindly overlooked by the Col. Most of the boys had their quarters quite finished but mine had not been touched. All seemed glad to see me and flocked around to hear the news. On Friday I, with my darkey, prepared timber for my tent and got it hauled the same day but to late to set up. I intended finishing it yesterday but was detailed to take charge of ‘fatigue party’ to build a bridge. This was done to my satisfaction but the day was gone and today being Sunday I’ll not on at it. The day I returned frogs were holding concerts in every swamp from the landing up and kept it up till yesterday with short recesses. I hear none today. It rained last night and is a little cooler today, which may account for it. There is wood enough here to last 4 or 5 months. The roads are to soft to move. It is now rumored that neither leave of absence or furloughs will be granted in our Regt. for some time to come. Sergt. Stauffer has failed to come back on time. We heard he got drunk and was locked up in Harrisburg for overstaying his time. Col. McKnight is away. Capt. Duff of D and Lt. Barr of B will leave in the morning on a 10 day leave, but no furloughs can be granted till all the enlisted men have returned. Col. Collis of the 114th. Pa. is now commanding the brigade. The 20th. Ind. and the 67th. Pa. have changed places.
March 15. 1863.
Another week has passed. Another Sunday returned, but no movement of the army that I can notice. On Monday last, our brigade had orders to go on picket to remain 3 days. I rigged myself to go with them but the exertion caused a fit of coughing so severe that it was noticed by the surgeon and he came to me and ordered me to remain in camp, which is the first time I have ever been excused from duty for any cause whatever. I went to the hospital and took some medicine which the Dr. prescribed. I felt very ill all that day, but felt much better the next as my cough had loosened and so I began to fix my quarters. I had to work slowly on account of my cough but by the time the Regt. returned, I had the tent raised and a good chimney built and otherwise rigged up. The weather was raw, rough and cold all the time, but is now quite pleasant. On the 13th., Friday, I was detailed officer of the police or camp guard, which is the 1st. time of my acting in that capacity. I had heard no complaint, yet I know my conduct was watched. Rumors that we will soon break camp, are flying around. Strange to relate, we had a sermon today by a minister sent by the sanitary commission. They go from camp to camp and from Regt. to Regt. with religious reading etc., talking with, and praying for, and preaching to the soldiers and in my opinion do more good generally than the Regimental Chaplins appointed to the army. They seem more devoted to the Master service. They receive no pay but the reward of conscience. The Tract Journal, American Messenger, Christian Banner, with tracts on various subjects, small hymn books etc. constitute their principal reading matter, distributed by them. They also supply Bibles and testaments to destitute Regts. Heavy dark clouds and distant peals of thunder, the 1st. this season, is and heard this evening. We have had a slight shower. Brigade inspection was on this forenoon, out on the flat near the Potomac creek bridge. When I returned at noon I found the minister, above spoken of, awaiting me in my tent. We spent some time in conversation. Then he left to dine with the Lt. Col. who had invited him. Late this evening Capt. Steck of G and Lt. Neill and the men who had been absent in the recruiting service, returned to camp and duty. Col. McKnight also returned with them. Lt. Neill was loudly and heartily cheered by his Co. A. During his absence 2nd. Lt. W.J. Clyde was appointed and commissioned Capt. of the Co. over him, which created no little dissatisfaction in the Co.
It sleeted nearly all night and the ground is covered with snow. Orders for another inspection came this morning. All leaves of absence and furloughs, depend on this inspection. If all is well they may be granted, if not, they will be stopped entirely. Colds and fevers are becoming quite common again, owing to such sudden changes in weather. 2 of our Regt. were taken suddenly sick yesterday. After this storm is over we expect better weather.
March 20th. 1863. Headquarters Co. i 105th. Pa. Vols. Camp near Potomac creek Va.
We had a 2 hr. Co. drill last Tuesday Forenoon and 2 hrs. in the afternoon, also on Wednesday, and Regimental inspection. I had command of the Co. both day, Lt. Fuller being indisposed. Yesterday Regt’l. inspection again and Co. drill in the A.M. and brigade in the P.M. A report of the brigade inspection by Lt. Graves of Gen. Burneys staff on the 18th., gives our Regt. the praise of being the best in the brigade, which is composed of 5 Regts., which I have previously named. The 57th. Pa., ranked 2nd., and the 63rd. Pa., 3rd. best, but ours was declared the be in A No. 1 condition. The old Regts. outdoing. On the 17th. a snow storm that lasted all day. It is getting warmer. The last 2 days before this, we have heard the booming of cannon in the distant, quite distinctly. Our forces and the enemy are reported to have met some distance up the river and that the enemy were worsted badly. Several hundred prisoners falling into our hands. Supposed to be Rebel Stuarts cavalry. He made one raid to many. Capt. Duff D and Lt. Barr B have just returned from a 10 day leave. The cold I received going home, has quite left me, but dysentery has set in. I was much alarmed at first, but it is being checked now and I feel better. The camp dysentery is a pecular disease, being accompanied by no pain, but the patient soon becomes very weak and poor in flesh and thus becomes a ready victim to any pestilence that may visit the army. I have known men to have it for 6 or 8 months without intermission, reducing them to mere skeletons (if I may so speak). If taken in time it may be cured, but if let run for a month or so, it seems to baffle human skill. It is in reality a scourge in the Union army. Bad weather today and so no drill.
Sunday, with 1 ½ inches of snow. I was detailed as officer of the picket guard and today am officer of the camp guard. The picket guard is not to go out on picket, but is a guard to be in readiness for any unexpected duty that may arise. If not called we assemble 2 or 3 times a day, call the roll and go to our quarters, seldom if ever leave the camp and not required to be up nights, but on camp guard we are up under arms night and day. The morning was foggy but at 3 P.M. the sun is bright and clear, the robins sporting and singing all about us. As I write there is preaching in the Regt. and a large attendance, but as Sergt. Davis will leave for home in a few moments I am not there as wish to send this letter by him. I have quite recovered my health. The roads are unusually muddy. The Orderely Sergt. of our Co., O.C. Redic, started home on a furlough this morning. Six men are now absent and Davis will be the 7th. Pretty good for the 105th., it being more than her share. So ends this chapter.
March 23rd. 1863.
I have more to tell you of the death of another friend and comrade. A brave soldier and worthy, and a moral young man, William S Perry of Co. A. I had just sent my last letter and journal and joined my guards, when word came that he was dead. 2 hrs. before, he with the aid of a comrade, passed on their way to the Regt’l hospital. I spake to him as we passed and asked if he was in much pain. No, said he, but Rob. I am a very sick man. He was on his feet walking a half hour before he died. I could not think it possible. The day before in the full vigor of manhood and in less than 24hrs lifeless clay. He was loved by us all and no man could charge him with cowardice or disloyalty on any occasion. Congestive fever, the Dr. said, caused his death. Every effort in the surgeons power was made to restore him, but to no purpose. His body will probably be embalmed and sent home to his sorrowing friends. So brave and dutiful a soldier must be loved as a son and brother. Brother Willie, Farewell.
March 25th. 1863.
It rained hard yesterday P.M. and last night, but this morning the sun is out bright and warm and the whole frog kingdom are having a grand concert, judging from the hideous noise they make. Brigade inspection yesterday and now orders for a division review about noon. On account of the mud this has…(text unreadable)…We waited long on dress parade this evening expecting Gov. Curtain to meet us, but he failed to make his appearance. The army here is, I think, in better discipline and better order than ever heretofore. Every man is prepared for battle at any moment. Not more than 6 or 7 sick in Regt’l hospital.
Rain and quite cold. These sudden changes cause colds, coughs and fevers oftimes, as in the case of Scott Perry, causing death in a few hours. Our division was marched out near our old camp ground this P.M. and reviewed by Gov. Curtain and Gen. Burney. Our brigade being almost an entire Pa. brigade, the Gov., after the review, came to where we were moved in close column and entertained us for 15 min. or more with a little Big speech. After complimenting us etc., he said that Pa., being the first to take the field against the enemy, would be the last to leave. He deplored the conduct of those who, at home, by their language were daily aiding the Rebels in their accursed work, but he was joyous over the fact that Pennsylvania’s sons who were now in the field had the work at heart and had determined to see it our to the bitter end. He also encouraged us with the assurance that from thousands of firesides, prayers were daily offered up in our behalf and finally bade us farewell with his best wishes and invoked the blessing of God to rest upon us. He was heartily and loudly cheered by us all. He was perhaps the tallest and heaviest man on the ground. Coarse featured, but withal pleasant in his manner. The whole affair was far more pleasing to us than is usual on such occasions. He passed through our camp on his return. Gen. Graham, formerly Col. of the Brookline Phalanx, came this day to take command of our brigade, in place of Col. Collins of the 114th. Pa., Zouaves, who resume command of his Regt. The clouds dispersed at noon today and this evening the stars are shining. It will likely freeze a little.
I was detailed today to take charge of 21 men and report to Lt. Bristoe, of Gen. Burneys staff, on the ground near our old camp, where they have been preparing a race track for some time. On reporting I found the work they intended us to do, quite completed. When we finished we were ordered to be near or on the stageing till all was over. What was done I will give in the next chapter.
March 30th. 1863.
We prepared a few hurdles, a light brush fence about 3 ½ ft. high and 3 or 4 yds. long, put up for the horses in the race to leap over, smoothed the race course in a few places and then with my detail took a position on the stage, assigned by Lt. Briscoe, to be in readiness to put up anything which might fall by accident or otherwise, but we were not called out during the rest of the day and were dismissed at its close. From the position we held we had a splendid view of all that passed during the day. Close on my right stood Gen. Hooker with part of his staff and Gen. Burney, Barry Ward and many other Gens. and 40 or 50 ladies who are visiting and were present to witness the performances, the judges of the race. I shall give just a skimming account of the affair. Soldiers and officers of all grades could be seen coming in from all points, from 9 A.M. till noon. 2 Regts. had been detailed as guards and were posted a few feet apart all around the course, to keep the ring clear. Long before noon the ring which was at least 1 ½ miles in circumference, was surrounded by the crowd, 6 or 8 lines deep. At 11 A.M. the racing began, 8 or 10 horses starting. Capt…(text unreadable)…McKnights horse, which was by the by the finest looking in the lot, but could not be kept from breaking, which lost him the race. He was, however, the most fleet of all as he would out strip everything until he would break and leave the course. The racing was kept up till 2 P.M. It then ceased but was quickly followed by several very comical performances, consisting of men tied up in large sacks, the mouth of the sacks being tied close around their necks. They did some big tumbling and it was really laughable to see them jump and waddle. Then a pole was set up in the ground after having been peeled of its bark, made smooth and cleaned and thoroughly greased. It was about 18ft. high. On top was placed a $10 greenback and a 30 day furlough. A great many tried in vain to reach it. Some would almost reach it and then down they would slip after having squirmed and twisted until completely exhausted. Finally, as much of the grease had been rubbed off by the 1st. trials, a man did succeed in reaching the top and secured the much coveted prizes and was loudly cheered. Then there were foot races for prizes from 2 to 5 dollars. Lastly a cock fight was put on in the following manner. 2 men had their hands tied together in front of them, then squatting down a stick was run through at the bend of the elbow and under their knees. They were then set on their feet close to each other and butt with their heads and shoulders till one would fall. I forgot to state that Gov. Curtain was also with us. At 5 P.M. the crowd began to disperse. As the various Gens. were leaving with the ladies, I had a fair view of Gen. Sickles and his lady (?) of the Keys tragedy, as they passed down the gangway, brushing me on the way. I have seen more beautiful women in many of the humbled homes in Pa. farm houses. I got to camp about 4 P.M. tired and hungry and rather disgusted as I thought the days doings over. The day was fine and few accidents. One man only, badly hurt, but Col. Collis was thrown from his horse into the mud, which covered his head and half his body, making a very laughable appearance and hurting his pride. Next day it rained. Sunday 29th. I was on guard. The day fine and so is today, but quite cool.
March 31st. 1863.
Snowing and raining both this morning. Last night several of the boys of the Regt. who were captured and parolled at Manassas but had been home on ‘French leave’ came back. Among them was my friend Emanuel Eisenhart of Co. G. We are now ready to march at an hours notice. Officers have their baggage reduced to 20lbs. each, all of their other baggage being sent to Washington. I only sent away 2 blankets and a box, with Capt. Clyde of Co. A. The rest I can carry, with the help of my colored servent. All expect to move as soon as the roads will permit. All the ladies visiting are now being sent away. The weather is growing warmer and all seem to be in the best of spirits. Today ends Lincolns grace to deserters.
April 2nd. 1863.
Yesterday we received orders to prepare 3 days rations immediately. The order was read at 4 P.M. and before daylight we were ready to march, but no orders came and all is quiet. The wind has blown hard the past 2 days. We have now 4 hours drill each day besides inspection and dress parade. Yesterday P.M. my orderly Sergt., O.C. Redick, returned form his 10 day leave.
Yesterday P.M. I had charge of the Co. on batallion drill for the 1st time. Today we were marched over to Gen. Burneys headquarters and put through the various evolutions the manuel requires in the drill of troops. The Gen expressed himself as highly pleased.
We were this day put through a very rigid inspection, not only of clothing etc., but drills and everything pertaining to our wants officiently for duty by Capt. Levi Bird Duff of Co. D, our Regt., who is now assistant inspection Gen. of our brigade. Weather clear but cold.
I have just returned from picket with the entire brigade. We got orders the evening of the 4th. and started the next morning early to remain 3 days. The morning was very stormy, it had snowed most of the night so the ground was covered 3 or 4 inches with snow, but all started in good spirits. We marched some 8 miles up the river, getting on the line about 1 P.M. and before sundown, had quite comfortable quarters put up. I was obliged to be on duty, as I was alone in charge of the Co., ½ of the day and ½ of the night. We were relieved about noon today, the 9th. On our way back we passed through the camps of the 155th., 123rd. and the 148th. Pa. Regts. I learned for the first time that Lt. David Brown had just resigned and gone home and I am glad of it for he was surely disqualified physically for army service. Cousin S.S. Jackson, I learned, was out on picket. All of the others of my acquaintances were generally well.
A fine day and all are making preparations to receive President Lincoln and Gen. Hallock, who have sent word that they would be here to see us today, since they missed seeing us on the review of the army, in our absence. Sergt. Jno. McGiffin and private David Criswell returned to the Co. today. We are to be mustered today for the purpose of getting our true number of men, so that we may be filled up by the draft that is soon to be made. This, I think, will put a stop to consolidation of old Regts., as has been suggested.
April 12th. 1863.
As expected, the President with Mrs. Lincoln and Gen. Hooker, not Hallock as I had heard, made their appearance about 11 A.M. on the 10th. The whole briage was formed in open ranks on either side of the road. First came ‘Tad’ on horseback accompanied by an officer and Gen. Kerneys Boy Bugler, also mounted. Next a covered carriage containing the President and his wife and 3 gentlemen unknown to me. The President sat on the back seat with another man and Mrs. Lincoln on the front seat with a gentleman. Close following behind the carriage was Gen. Hooker and his staff, of course mounted. I never saw the Gen. looking better. Behind them came other officers and a troop of lancers, a body guard to the President. Mrs. Lincoln was dressed in black, a very pleasant looking lady, light complexion, black hair and eyes rather large and very lusty (resembles Mrs. R. T. Perry, but more lusty). We did not have a good view of the President as he was to far back in the carriage. To me he looked a good deal care worn. As the party passed, the various Regts. gave 3 loud hearty cheers for the President, 3 for Gen. Hooker, 3 for Mrs. Lincoln and a tiger for the boy, that made the welkin ring and could it have been heard over the south, would have shown the natives what the norths intentions are, more forceably then the press or aught else. On the 11th. I was detailed as officer of the day for the 1st. time and it is the 1st. 2nd. Lt. I have ever known to fill that position, yet all Co. commanders are subject to that duty and I am alone, the only commissioned officers now with the Co. Weather has been fine since we came off picket. We…(text unreadable)…
The cavalry left one some expedition yesterday morning early, also several batteries of artillery and we received orders this morning to be ready to march at 5 O’clock this day. We carry no blankets, only an overcoat and 1 shelter tent or poncho, but are supplied with 8 days rations, 3 in our haversacks and 5 in our knapsacks. We know not what course we may take, but such light marching orders indicates big marching in some direction. We have everything ready. Each take 1 shirt, 1 pr. drawers and 1 pr. socks. I have just packed my ink and so must finish with pencil and I will mail this. Go or not, camp is full of rumors as to our destination, but more hopeful than ever of success, we carry provisions enough to take us to Richmond. Each knapsack was inspected today to see that the men had indeed all the rations ordered. We realize that the summer campaign has opened in earnest. We are not anxious to but are determined to walk in and end this sad war if possible, this summer. The anticipated move does not stop the furloughs, as 6 or 7 leave our Regt. tomorrow morning. All seem merry tonight over the prospect of taking the field once more. The ground begins to look green again, peach trees in bloom and all common to our climate have made their appearance. In the inspection today they were very particular that every man had his 8 days rations of salt (perhaps to be used of captured beef) and all other assigned rations. Some are counting on a diet of chicken as we pass through the enemy’s country.
April 18th. 1863.
Yesterday all of Kerneys old division were ordered by a general order, the red or scarlet cloth as a badge on top of their caps, both officers and men. As I write tonight by the light of my candle, I can hear lively music of a violin and dancing. One man calling off at the top of his voice, ‘Balance all, ladies to the right, double in center all hands round, swing your partner down the center, promenade all’ etc. All thoughts of the great Giver of life seem to be forgotten in the excitement of our present life. At dress parade last evening Gen. Graham and lady and Gen. Sickles came to witness our Regt. go through the manuel of arms and bayonet exercise and we did ourselves proud. The Gens. expressed themselves as highly pleased, and acknowledged it the best they had ever seen. They, with Mrs. Graham (who by the by is a very pretty woman), honored the Col. by their presence in his tent for a short time. Mrs. Graham was greatly taken, to see the Cols. cock and hen. She said it was a novelty to see them in camp. There are songs by a collection of men from various Regts. every night. The songs are not vulgar ones and the sound and effect in the open air is most lovely and cheers us in our lonliness and brings to our minds thoughts of like sounds and scenes in our far off homes, but the movies now so gaily singing may soon be hushed in the silent sleep of death.
April 19th. Sunday.
We were reviewed this P.M. by Gen. Sickle and staff. As we were assembled on our color front we gave then 3 cheers. The sick have all been taken away. We have several very prettily decorated camps. Over the streets are arched of evergreen, which shows off fine effect, Tents etc. are also decorated as we decorate our school house for a ‘Gala day’. It sets a camp off to good advantage. Our bake ovens are gone and we are back to hardtack. Today I bought some flour, got a little soda and vinegar, and baked as good a batch of pancakes as ever graced a soldiers table in the 105th, if I do say it myself. Capt. S.J. Marlin of the 148th. made a short call this P.M.
I got a short leave today and borrowed surgeon Wingeer’s, Asst. surgeon, horse and galloped over to the 123rd. Pa., 3 or 4 miles away, and spent a few hours with S.S. Jackson and other acquaintances of Duquesne Borough. After dinner I rode over to the 62nd. Pa. and spent a little time with Henry Slegle, Wm. Depp and my old schoolmate and roommate Jesse Y Smith and Geo Campbell, now Q master Sergt. We had a cigar together and talked of past old times. Then I returned, had a lovely ride and a very pleasant time. The 123rd. have but 12 days more to serve. They are quite jubilant over the shortness of their time, however after a short time at home, from their talk, most of them will reenlist. Union songs are all the go, here in camp. As I write, a large crowd are singing with a will ‘The Battle Cry of Freedom’. I must join them.
April 23rd. Camp Sickles Va.
Rain with little intermission since the 20th. On the 21st. I was again detailed as officer of the day. Inspection A.M. yesterday, P.M. batillion drill. The inspection was by Gen. Graham in person. 8 days rations are still the order. No drill or aught else today because of rain. There is some trouble with certain N.Y. Regts. whose term of service is about expired. A Co. of Colliss Zouave Regt. was ordered as guards to Gen. Burneys headquarters, to remain till the trouble is over. We think it us only a slight misunderstanding. The above name has been given to this camp as ‘Comp’ to Gen. Sickles and highly endorsed by his men and bro. officers.
Truly we know not what a day may bring forth. The weather has been fine since the 23rd. and rations have been kept ready, but no word to move till last night. Orders came to move at 6 O’clock this morning but morn came with a cloudy sky and in the P.M. it was raining hard, which may hold us here yet for sometime. ‘Man proposes but God disposes’. In the meantime drilling has been continued. On the 25th. the pay master, so long looked for, arrived and began to pay the troops. This added new life to everything. He paid from noon till late at night. I was not paid till this morning owing to a late order concerning enlisted men. That hit me and 2 others, but this morning, with much difficulty, we were paid as 2nd. Lts. from the 1st. day of Jan. to the last day of Feb. and as Sergt. for 2 months. All commissioned officers are taxed so that they, 2nd. Lts., receive a little less than $100 per month. I received $42 as Sergt. Maj. And $202.33 as 2nd. Lt., total $244.33. heretofore we have always had an idea, and a pretty correct one, as to which way we are to march, but now we are completely in the dark as to our course. Some say one way and some another and this diversity of opinions tells plainly that we are completely blinded in spite of our 8 days rations. I can’t think our march will be a long one unless we go by water. That is out of the question as there are to few boats here. Yesterday we were marched out, some 4 miles, and reviewed by Gen. Hooker and our Hon. Secty. of State, H Seward and many other noted persons. It was as pleasant an affair as I have yet attended and all passed off very satisfactorily. We got back about 1 O’clock P.M., cheered by the paymasters presence. Not Mar. Newel but Maj. Johnson in his place, who I fear is not a very trusty servant of the U.S. as he seems to be, most of the time, under the influence of liquor. Our extra blankets and clothing have gone as before to division headquarters. The boys are hard pressed for a way to send their money to their friends as there is no express office here and…(text unreadable)…’land office’ business. Cakes, pies, apples, canned fruit of all kinds seem to be literally on the move down the throats of the greedy soldiers, which is feared will increase the sickness. Liquor, too, begins to flow since all are flush. How it got here I can’t clearly see.
God having, in his mercy, preserved to me my life, I shall endeavor to briefly narrate the scenes through which I passed the last 8 or 9 days. Immediately after mailing my last journal of April 28th., we were ordered to strick tents and march. We were soon on the move. Marching down the Rapahanock river, 6 or 8 miles we were quietly bovouacked for the night and no fires were allowed after the men had made their coffee. In the early morning we were moved to near the river, where we had crossed in the attack on Fredricksburg, Dec. 13th. Here we lay till the P.M. of the 30th., when we were faced about and marched up the river at a rapid rate to within 4 miles of U.S. ford, a distance of 16 or 18 miles, taking until nearly midnight. Camping in a large field we lay down till morning, making a hasty cup f coffee we were again put in motion, crossing the river at the above ford about 9 A.M. We passed on with now and then a few moments rest, to a plank road near a large brick house that we learned was known as the Chancelor house. We lay here a few hours and were then moved along the road about 2 miles to give support to the 11th. Corp. As the sun was going down we were brought to the right of the brick house, they enemy pressing us hard. Here we formed in line of battle and prepared to meet them, but after shelling us a short time they drew off and we lay there all night on our arms. On the morning of the 2nd. we were placed out on picket and remained on the line till 3 P.M. Then with our division we were called in and rushed to the front in great haste on the left of our line. Many prisoners were being brought in as we advanced and we pressed on in high glee and when near the enemy we were double quicked to intercept a large body of the enemy, but they had escaped and we returned to near, but in front of, the brick house. The enemy, in the meantime, had moved a large body of troops to our right and struck the 11th. Corp in the flank, who I learned, ran shamefully, leaving our division quite cut off from the main army. It was now quite late and we lay there the rest of the night on our arms, the enemy shelling the woods in our front most of the night, which kept us awake much of the time, but did no harm as far as I could learn. A slight rise in the ground in our front quite protected us. A very short distance on our right there was quite a fusillade of musketry in the night, of short duration, but we learned that the Rebel Gen., Stonewall Jackson was killed by either our men or their own. As he, with his staff were arranging their line they came, unexpectedly, on to our pickets and both sides began firing. At daybreak we expected an attack and right soon it came. We held them back long enough to build a bridge, across a swampy spot of ground, for our artillery to pass over, when we were drawn off to the right but close to the brick house. Here our brigade was formed in line of battle and ordered forward to meet the Rebs, who had not ceased to fire on us, however with little effect. On reaching the woods we opened on them with a telling volley and then lay down, but as our volley had caused them to waver, the command to charge bayonet, forward double quick, came down the line. The Col. who was lying close to my side on the right said in my ear, ‘This is a hot place but the men seem cool’, sprang to his feet and with his cap in his left hand and his sword raised in his right called attention, repeated ‘charge forward double quick march’ with this last word uttered he fell his face to the foe. A minnic ball struck his sword…(text unreadable)…and passed through…(text unreadable)…His death was fully avenged. The enemy broke and fled from the breastworks with bend bodies. They ran through the slashing of trees that had been cut down, to a slight hill beyond, while we fed them on yankee pills as fast as we could load and fire. On the hill they were being halted and formed in line by an officer on horseback, who rode in plain view all along their line. I pointed him out to the men and told them to fire on him, as he was doing more than all in thus rallying the men. Horse and rider plunged to the earth to rise no more. I felt that a brave man had fallen. We continued firing till our ammunition was exhausted. I got the ammunition from the wounded and dead and gave it to the men. One man that I thought dead, I was rolling over to get at his cartridge box when he opened his eyes and looked at me, seeming to want to know what I wanted. I said, I want your ammunition, and he, with the last effort of his life, tried to turn so I could reach it. The act touched me greatly. Will Chapman, one of my men, told me the day before, when we were washing our socks at a brook, that he believed he would be shot in this battle and wanted me to take his money ($100) and send it to his father. He fell dead almost in my arms, but with the commanding, alone, of my Co. I forgot his request. I had tried to explain to him that I was as likely to be shot as him and would not take his money. As we moved back I thought of it but it was to late. Lt. Patton fell close to my right hand, shot through the heart. Many of the Rebs lay sheltered close under the breastwork on the other side. Our boys reached over and catching them by their long hair, pulled them over to the Union side and sent them to the rear. But how can I find the language to express to you the noble, cool, courageous conduct of my men and of those who came from our neighborhood. Sergts. Redick, Galbraith, Davis and Kinnier. Corporals H.J. Kennedy and Fred Trapp, with privates W.H. Gray, Jno. R.D. Say, David Criswell, J.K. Shaffer, Mat Thompson, Wm. Chapman, Enos Shirts, Mat Manners, Jno. Douglass and B.F. Lerch of my Co. can never be forgotten while memory lasts. They all fought as if they day depended on them alone. Besides Chapman killed, Davis, Thompson and Say were severely wounded while Galbraith, Shirts and Trapp were slightly wounded. Six men, 1 Corp. and 1 Sergt. of my Co., were exhausted and fell out when part way in this last fight and 2 men fell out on the march to the river. Peter Slegle, Jacob Frease, E Eisenhart and others I saw in the thickest of the fight. I could hardly restrain my feelings to witness such bravery in the very jaws of death. Our ammunition almost exhausted, we could still have held the works with our bayonets, but the enemy, encouraged by our slack firing, came with a new line and the right falling back before this new line, we were in great danger of being flanked and consequently were ordered to fall back with them. On the way I found Mat Thompson lying near the brook and he begged most piteously to take him along. I ordered Jno. Say to assist me and we picked him up, but the bullets were coming thick and we had gone but a few steps when Say was hit in the thigh and Thompson afresh in the other leg. Say was forced to leave him and with Galbraiths help barely made his own escape. We leaid Thompson close to the brook and ran with all our might to catch up with the Co. that had passed on into the woods. So thick was the underbrush they became greatly scattered. The Rebs yelled for us to halt, but we had seen the prisoners that had been returned from their prisons and preferred their bullets to their pend. I was under that hot burning sun. I gathered Sergt. Kinnier and 9 men and, seeing the Lt. Col. near the brick house, I joined him with my little squad and found parts of all the Cos. of the Regt. We again formed just in the rear of the house and lay down. The brigade Gen. rode up and the Lt. Col., who was close by me said, ‘Gen. and you…(text unreadable)…The enemy were coming up the hill in line of battle and I expected hot work indeed, but there was a battery of artillery in front of us and they poured the grape and canister into their ranks so heavy, they only got to the brow of the hill and halted, and then they began to play on us with grape, canister and shell, form several batteries, which rained like hail around us as we lay there, knocking the brick from chimneys and house, but doing us no harm. We lay there 15 or 20 minutes and were then moved several rosa to the right, in a wood. At this time there was an incessant peal of artillery that made the very ground tremble. Such shelling as we lay under here, I never witnessed before and hope I never may again. about noon we fell still farther back, perhaps a mile. Here our troops were busy throwing up light breastworks and here too, all our Regt. that were left got together and we were supplied with 60 rounds of ammunition. We lay here till a little before sundown, when the right wing of our Regt. was moved in front of the works, (my Co. belongs to this wing) but in the rear of the battery. The 148th. Pa. lay on our immediate left. We lay here all night and were furnished with 2 lbs. of fresh beef per man. It was while in the act of accupying this position that the brave Sergt. Galbraith was slightly wounded. He thought a ball had passed through the sole of his right foot. We all thought him badly wounded, but on examination he was only found to have the sole of his foot badly bruised by a spent ball and he soon joined us again. early the next morning we were taken back to our position of the evening before and lay there all day, the Rebels shelling us at intervals but not advancing, our batteries often replying, but before night, this day, our army were lying behind a very formidable line of breastworks and they getting stronger every moment. We lay here and on the morning of the 5th., we, without command, moved a little to the left and before night, had completely our 4th. line of breastworks. All these days, the sun had been scorching hot, but this evening the heaviest thunder shower of the season came upon us and it continued to rain all night. At dusk we received orders to recross the river at any moment. We could not help wondering at this order and I confess, felt dispirited, but was greatly cheered on opening my bible, to read my evening chapt. My eyes fell on the 41st. chapt. Of Isiah, 14th. verse. The night was cold and we were wet to the skin, but we had the stand in that rain till day break before we could start. We were the last to leave the breastworks. When we started, it was on the double quick. We passed the 5h. corp on our way. I went over the day before, a few moments, to the 123rd. and had a short talk with S.S. Jackson and found that many of the Regts., with his, were on the eve of being mustered out, their term of inlistment having expired. We left a line of skirmishers behind us, but were not molested. On reaching the river we found the rains had swollen it bank full. I almost expected to see a floating battery, in the shape of large trees, sent down by the enemy against the pontoon bridge, but they came not as we passed safely over and moved up through a deep defile, into the country beyond. It was still raining and a heavy fog was hanging around and over us. Going a few miles, we were halted for our breakfast of hardtack and coffee, the last made over smokey fires nearly drowned out by the incessant rain. After we had eaten, we were ordered to report at our old camps. We waded through mud almost knee deep, but were not troubled with wagon trains as supplies had been taken over on the backs of mules. About 4 P.M. we reached camp, on the 6th., tired, foot sore, weary, yes more weary than I had ever been on any former march. Our uncovered walls of tents were wet but before night we had the roofs on and a fire built in the fireplace. A whiskey ration was issued and we arose the next morning much refreshed, but stiff and sore, but we felt blue to get orders to be ready at once with 3 days rations, to…(text unreadable)…orders to march received. It rained all day and we remained in camp and slept there all night, however, expecting orders to march at anytime. On the 8th. at 2 P.M. orders came to march and we went as far as Gen. Sickles headquarters, where orders were countermanded and we returned to camp and slept another night. In the meantime I was very busy making out payrolls and reports of various matters concerning the Co. requisitions for clothing etc. The morning of the 9th. opened fair and we all began to feel right side up again, being thoroughly rested. In the P.M. orders came to march immediately. By 3 P.M. we were ready and did go some 8 or 10 miles and bivouacked for the night, close to the picket line. At 5 A.M. of the 10th. we relieved the other pickets. I was placed, with my Co. about three fourths of a mile from the river and made my headquarters close to a cool spring, under the shade of a large poplar tree, where I am now writing. I have 3 outposts and my men (13), 2 corporals and 2 Sergts. in 4 reliefs of 3 men each.
May 12th. 1863.
The last 3 days have been clear and warm, yes hot. Grass 3 to 4 in. high. I have received 5 mails since our return from the battlefield, 3 of which came in one day. One letter from you, 1 from Lyman, 1 from home, 1 from M.H. Shannon, 1 from Jno. McFarland, which last came the day we marched down the river and several from absent members of my Co. Most of them answered. No papers have come to camp since our return. We don’t, any of us, feel that our forces have been worsted in the late encounter. The Rebs seem very uneasy on the other side of the river, moving camps etc. like a nest of bees just stirred up. They seem mad yet and pop away at our pickets whenever a chance offers, thinking perhaps, to accomplish wonders by now and then stinging a single man. Lt. McEninch was hit in the arm this morning by a Reb. picket. Ambulances are passing us on the way to Banks ford to bring off some 800 of our wounded, now lying there. The Rebs by a flag of truce, said they were unable to care for them, being destitute of hospital stores and provisions and their way to supplies cut off. Poor cusses and blinded, they can’t see the fate that awaits them. Our entire army seem in the best of spirits and confident of future success. God grand that peace may be speedily restored and we be permitted to return to our home to enjoy its sweets which we now have, sadly, learned to appreciate.
May 19th. 1863.
Since the 12th. we have lain in camp. The usual drills resumed 4 hrs. each day to give exercise and promote health. Our return from picket was a warm, hot march. Many fell out on the way but all got in a little before dark. I was in at 3 P.M. By an Order, all camps are being thoroughly policed, ie. cleaned, of all filth. On Sunday the 17th. I was detailed as officer of the guard and all passed off quietly till afternoon, when I noticed that many of the men were under the influence of intoxicating drink of some kind. We soon learned that the Sutler of the 68th. Pa. had got on ale and several boxes of bottled whiskey and peaches preserved in whiskey, in glass jars, as he stated, for the officers alone, but the men by writing orders and signing some officers name could get it too, which was done and before the middle of the P.M. several men under the influence of these drinks, began to act in a very disorderly manner as drunken men do and soon the Col. or rather the Lt. Col. came to me and ordered me to arrest all disorderly or drunken persons and named one, Henry Micheals a private in Co. C, whom I was to arrest immediately. Assembling the guard I ordered a Corp. and 3 men to go to his quarters, where we could plainly hear his drunken yells, and bring him to the guard house and place a guard over him. Michials heard of the guard coming to arrest him, took his gun and fixed on his bayonet and stood by the hole that was used for a door with loud curses, dared any man to come in and take him. The Corp. reported this to me at the guardhouse and I started for his headquarters. The door was low and small like the door of a pig pen and he stood with the butt of his gun ready to crack the head of anyone that might put his head in. I was somewhat angry and seeing the butt of his gun a little to one side, I darted in by the side of it, receiving a slight blow on the side of my head. He was a little off his guard and I was to quick for him. As he raised his gun I followed it up and catching him by the throat, ran him back into a corner. He was a strong fellow but I had him at vantage and held him till the others came in. he had changed color no little when I let loose and was soon secured. By this time the camp had become quite excited, with a ½ dozen other fellows on the streets yelling, singing or cursing. I had more than I could handle and so called on the officer of the day for more guards and 20 more were immediately furnished. Before dark I had all quieted and 6 of the worst fellows under guard, 2 of them with hands tied. One of the, Jno. London, had drawn a knife to resist the guard. I drew up a man on each side of him with fixed bayonets, with orders to use them if he resisted. He then succumbed and allowed himself to be tied. Yesterday Capt. Conser and I preferred charges against 2, and they will be courtmartialed. But curses on the Sutler that, against orders, brought in the accursed drink. Last evening J. Swisher, O.C. Redic, J.F. Hawthorn, Sergt. Murray (Co. A), D Criswell, J Smith, Sergts. Galbraith and McGiddin and myself and others went outside camp and had a prayer meeting. I felt it was good to be there. We intend to meet oftener hereafter if possible and join in worship of the ‘Most High’. Weather lovely.
May 26th. 1863.
I can only note the monotonous routine of camp life since my last writing. Weather warm. This is not the world I’ll say HOT. A light shower has cooled the air so it is more pleasant as I write. On the 22nd. I was again officer of the guard. Lt. Col. received his commission as Col. yesterday and Greenwalt as Lt. Col. and Capt. Duff of D Co. as Major. On the evening of the 22nd. the line officers of the Regt. were invited to a social party at the new Cols. tent. We assembled early and passed a very merry and pleasant evening. Champaign cider and lemonade was served (drinks that cheer but not inebriated) all at the Col’s. and Lt. Col’s. expense. About midnight we dispersed, I to my guards and the others to their quarters, wishing our hosts success and long life and greater honors. The new Major was not with us as he is still on Gen. Grahams staff. On Thursday A.T. Pontious of Dayton, one of my old school mates at the academy, came to visit me and we spend several pleasant hours together. He gave me a very interesting account of the capture of Fredricksburg heights, by Gen. Sedfewicks Corp and of their recrossing of the Raphanock. He is a member of the 139th. Pa. I have the Co. business quite finished up to date, still each day brings its work and duties. Unexpectedly, too, Robt. Reed, know at home as Bob Redly, came into our camp, he is in the 49th. Pa. In the Sergts. tent he sang as he used to sing, many of the old songs, which made so popular at home. How vividly it brought back to me memories of the old days, when we sat together listening to his singing. We are ordered to attend brigade parade for the purpose of presenting the Kearney medal or badge to those non commissioned officers and men of his old divisions, who have by their bravery and good conduct, merited the gift. I was released from guard duty for a short time to witness the presentation. Sergts. O.C. Redick and Jos. Kinnier were the oens whose named I presented of my Co. as most worthy. Mary Tepe, who we have styled ‘Zouave Mary’ and miss annie Etheridge, both, received badges for their care of the wounded and sick. They have been with us in nearly all our marches. Bakeries were erected today and we have just received our 1st. bread baked in them. Our bread has heretofore been shipped form Washington or Alexandria and would be 2 days old, at least, before it could get to us. Gen. Sickles made a nice presentation speech, short but right to the point. My Capt., Jas. Hamilton, arrived in camp this P.M. He has a 5 days leave of absence from the hospital. He is not yet fit for duty, as his arm is not healed, otherwise he looks hearty.
At an early hour the morning of the 29th., we broke camp and by 10 A.M., reared our tents in a new camp 2 miles below Potomac river on a pretty knoll and have a pretty landscape view of water and land, hill and dale, wood and open country beautifully mingled. The only drawback is the fine sand dust that covers all this country and when the wind blows, fills our tents and cooking utensils, beds, nose and mouth and blinding us whenever we move in large bodies. We have wider streets and plenty of water for washing and bathing, only a short distance from camp. We can see the masts of the various vessels at Belle Plain landing. Before night of the 29th. I had a very roomy and respectable tent erected, made entirely of little shelter tents buttoned together forming walls and roof. Had prayer meeting 29th. and 30th. attended by many also from other Regts. Capt. Albert Thompson Co. K and T Templeton on a visit and Capt. Hamilton returned to Washington. We had a very close inspection by the Corp Inspector and all the line officers were examined as to their knowledge of army regulations. I found myself able to answer every question and the Inspector seemed well pleased with the appearance and drill of the Regt. Many of us were talking of our battle at Fair Oaks May 31st. and June 1st. 1862. It seemed big to us then but only seems an ordinary one as we now view it. Before day on Tuesday we got orders to go on picket at 5 A.M. with 3 days rations and we were ready at the hour. The wind blew directly in our faces. It kept us cool but nearly blinded us in the could of sandy dust which had drifted, in many places, like snow. We reached the picket line about noon, a very dirty outfit indeed, but the waters of the Rapahanock soon took the sand from hair, beard and person. Before we washed we looked like those who have fed a machine threshing dusty wheat. The Rebs are in strong force on the other side of the river and we see them plainly. We keep a sharp lookout for fear a dash may be made for our balloon, which is up every fair day, close by. The Rebs do lots of fishing and our men do some too, but no talking is allowed. A good many deserters come to us but they are fired on by their own men when they make a break for our lines. 2 got over to us just before we got here. Others would have come but a Co. of theirs was drawn up to fire on them and so they gave it up. We can hear their bands playing and their men cheer as we often do in our own camp. I got a canteen of milk yesterday at a house near by, paid 25¢ a qt. And not very rich milk either. Strawberries are ripe (wild ones) and yesterday I picked and ate a fine lot of them. Do you remember the berry feast we had one 4th. of July that mother prepared for us on our return from…(text unreadable)…
June 18th. 1863. Near Centerville Va.
One week ago today, the 11th., we got orders at noon to march immediately with 4 days rations in haversacks. In less than a half hour we were in line and a few minutes later were on the move, going direct to Stonemans station. Then we took the same road we had taken going to Fredricksburg from Warrenton. At 12 that night we were halted and bivouacked till morning. The day had been excessively warm, the roads very dusty and you may be certain that we were as tired a set of men and as foot sore as soldiers generally become and not give out completely. 3 of my men did fall out, but reached us in the morning. We were camped near a brick church. At 8 A.M., the 12th., we were again on the move and reached that day a point within 1 ½ miles of Bealton station on the Alexandria and Orangeville RR and here we camped all night and the next day. By order of Gen. Burney, our camp was named Camp McKnight in memory of our former Col. We did picket duty here by on the 14th. at 4 P.M. we were relieved and marched down to the station and with the entire brigade placed behind a battery near the station, as we feared a dash by the Rebel cavalry. Two locomotives, with a train of cars attached, started off with all the property there and a little after dark we were marched about a mile up the RR formed in line of battle and lay there till all the batteries and ambulances etc. had passed by us. This took till near midnight, when we again moved after the brigade that had preceded us, so we were alone bringing up the rear. We reached Warrentown Junction at daylight and then on to Cedar Creek, where we lay last year, a little after sunrise and here joined the rest of the brigade. We stopped here long enough for breakfast and again took up the line of march. There seemed to be no air stirring. I could not detect the slightest breeze, and oh so hot. I could not help imagining that flames would burst and cover the earth. Indeed I can’t find words to describe the intense heat and the suffering it caused us that day, it being more severe on us because we had been up all night before. Very many were sunstruck and fell senseless in the road. We stopped about 1 ½ hours at Bristow Station, passing close to and partly over our old battle ground, that night reached Manassas and bivouacked in a field of clover nearly ready to mow. Moved the next morning to within 1 ½ miles of Bull Run creek. We lay there that day and night and the next day till 4 P.M., when we took the road for this place, which is a little more than a mile from Centerville and in plain sight of it and we are now encamped on an old Rebel camp ground. Their mud chimneys etc., yet remaining. I would be loath, even if I could, to picture to you not only my suffering and of my men, but that of the entire army, on this march. Moving, as we did, in such a large body, it caused a constant cloud of dust which enveloped us continually. When near water, the men would start out in every direction to obtain it and long before our Regt., which was in the rear all the way, could reach it, the water would be as muddy as the water in the roads there after a hearty rain. The dust served to aggravate our thirst and the swallowing of so much water caused much distress. We realized on that march, all the horrors of thirst and fatigue and heat that we have read of as described by travelers on the deserts of Africa and the far west. Twice I was forced to lie down, a dizziness coming over me, and with great difficulty, apparently, that I could draw my breath. After lying a short time, I would feel somewhat refreshed and would again move on. I was never very far behind and was always up when we went into campt except on the 2 occasions above mentioned. One of my men fell out completely and was sent to Alexandria on the cars. When we reached Manassas, only 6 men out of my Co. of 20, was up with me, but all came in shortly after. Our Regt., it was conceded by all, did the best marching, by odds, of any Regt. on the march and was indeed often equal in number to all the Regts. of our brigade combined. So you may judge we were, much of time, a straggling army. I am now writing in the shelter of my dog tent, divested of all clothing save breeches. We all bathed in Bull Run creek, while lying there, which refreshed us so that now we are again in good trim and spirits as when we started. 40 men are reported as having died of sunstroke, while coming here.
June 30th. In bivouack near Tarreytown Maryland.
Halleluiah. We are in a land once more where we are surrounded by friends, smiled on and caressed by all classes and sexes. I’ll try and give a brief and necessarily brief sketch of our march here. on the morn of the 25th., orders came to move at 6 A.M. and at that hour we were on the road, going towards Leesburg 5 or 6 miles, we took a road leading east. We stopped for dinner, 2 ½ miles from Edwards ferry, at the mouth of Goose creek on the Potomac. At the last place we crossed the Potomac on pontoon bridges, between 2 and 3 P.M., passing into Maryland and marched close by our old camp at Poolsville. We camped for the night in a pretty grove 2 ½ miles from the mouth of the Monocacy. Have marched 22 miles. Early next morning we were again on the march, crossing the Monocacy on the aqueduct at its mouth, then in a northerly direction and bivouacked that night near ‘Point of Rocks’, close to the RR. The cars were running. I and Lt. McCartney of the 57th. Pa. went 2 miles from camp and got a capital supper, price 50¢, at a farm house where we were truly made welcome and cheered by the entire family consisting of Father, mother, 3 grown daughters and a son. Their name is Martin. The morning of the 27th. we again pushed on and at night were near Middletown and camped. This day was almost a Gala day with us. Just before passing through Jefferson, in column by Co. We passed a large brick house where a bevy of young ladies on the upper and lower porches, sang the truly patriotic song, Rally round the Flag, and cheered us. The thrill of pleasure it gave us will never be forgotten. Jefferson is a pretty little town, which we reached at noon. June 28th. we were again early on the road going through Middletown also in column by Co. This is quite a large town. Flag were flying from many houses, but, it being early and Sunday morning, there was but little demonstration. We reached Fredrick city a little after noon and such a greeting as we received by young and old. Flags flying, ladies waving handkerchiefs, all with a hearty ‘Good will’. The Col. was presented with a small flag, by a pretty young lady, on condition that he would carry it at the head of the Regt. in the next fight, to which he agreed. That night we bivouacked close to Walkerville, having crossed the Monocacy again between Fredrick and the last named place. In the morning we took another early start. I ate supper in the town and bought cakes in the morning as we passed through. The people were very kind and seemed to rejoice greatly at our presence. June 29th. we passed through a small village and farther on the town of Woodsborough. This last place we were told contained many secesh sympathizers and it looked like it, as we only saw 2 flags and few smiles, then to Middleburg, a pretty place about the size of Brookville. Here the people turned out enmass to give us a welcome. As the sun was setting we reached this place, Tarreytown, and were received with the greatest enthusiasm by all classes. The sidewalks were crowded. The ladies sang and talked to us, bidding us ‘God speed’. As I passed with my Co. in column, a pretty young lady at the head of a large number of other young ladies, proposed with a loud voice, 3 cheers for the tattered stars and stripes of our Regt. I turned to the boys and up it went, so long and loud and so hearty, but didn’t they cheer, joy pictured on every face. I am not telling half of the pleasing incidents that took place on the route through Maryland, it would take to long. The people did all in their power to cheer the ‘Noble defenders of our country’, as they termed us. Water and milk in buckets came to the roadside and half grown onions, torn from their gardens, and all given free to all that would take them. We all feel more ready than ever to do battle for our common country. A smile rests on every face and we feel proud to be counted among our country’s defenders. The whole army of the Potomac is coming up on the different roads. We have had rains, showers, ever since we have marched. We are in camp now, 3 miles south of the Pa. state line and a little beyond Tarreytown. June 30th. we again passed through Tarreytown, at 2 P.M., and when nearly through the town, turned to the right on the road to Emmettsburg and, marching 8 miles, we bivouacked in a field 1 ½ miles from the town. On the way a heavy thunder storm overtook us. The rain just poured down and kept it up most of the time till we got here and till noon of July 1st. then the sun came out scorching hot, when we again were ordered to march, going part way through Emmetsburg we turned to the right and stopped for some time near the town. At 2 P.M. we received orders to report at once at Gettysburg, 10 miles distant, in Pa. This march was a forced one and not being very well I wilted under that hot sun and fell out after going about ½ way and lay down. A surgeon, soon after, rode up to me, felt my pulse and administered medicine and told me to lie quiet for half an hour. I felt revived in a short time and in perhaps 15 minutes I resumed marching and when, within a half mile of the Regt. which had camped, I was met by some of my men, who had become worried, they said. I was about three fourths of an hour behind them. As the sun had gone down I was feeling quite well again and soon quite comfortable after I had taken a cup of coffee which the boys had prepared awaiting my coming. During the march we could distinctly hear the firing of the progressing battle. We built fires and dried, as best we could, our clothes and socks. In the evening it cleared up and the moon came out almost full, but the next morning it was quite foggy however. Very soon after daylight, July 2nd., we were moved back to near the road we had come in. we lay all night to the right of the road. As we came from Emmettsburg a little before noon, our Regt. was marched farther forward and companies H, F, D, i, and C were deployed as skirmishers to support the 63rd. Pa., already deployed in front of us and were keeping up a brisk firing on the enemy’s skirmishers, who could be seen behind the trees etc., watching us. We did not fire from where we were lying, yet Sergt. Doty of Co. F, who had raised his head and resting on his hand and forearm, was shot through the head. A little after noon we were called off and rejoined the brigade and lay till a little after 3 P.M., when the battle with us opened in earnest and were again moved up to the brow of a low hill near an orchard, Shefy’s peach orchard, with a house and a barn a short distance beyond. We lay behind a battery to support it if necessary. The cannonading was terrific and shot and shell flew thick and fast, killing and wounding over 12 of our men, in spite of the protection the rise of ground in our front gave us. We lay, perhaps an hour, when the enemy was seen moving in line of battle and in heavy force, upon us. We rose to meet them, forming in front of the battery on the Emmettsburg road and another road leading to our left and began firing as fast as possible on the advancing enemy. They soon forced back the line on our left and poured into our flank a most murderous fire and men fell like grass before the scythe. We fell back at once and formed a new line and held it a short time. The Rebs were to strong and we were ordered to fall back slowly and keep formed on the colors, firing all the while and even causing the enemy to halt and waver. We had reformed 4 times when a new line was formed in our rear. As we moved to form this new line, a minnie ball struck my left leg, just above the knee, crashing through flesh and bone, causing a comminuted compound fracture. So hard it struck, I thought it was a cannon ball, but looking, after I fell, I saw my leg still there. My sword was shaken from my hand and fell 5 or 6ft. away, which I resolved to recover and placing my fractured leg over the other I dragged myself forward to it and as I grasped it I was taken up by Sergt. Jno. McGiffin of my Co. and Sergt. Loix of Co. D and Philip Smith of Co. C, and carried to the rear. Smith was hit in the leg, a flesh wound, as they were carrying me off, which caused them to drop me, which caused me more pain than the shot. They passed to the rear of the new line that had formed and laid down in our rear and I was lain down behind a low, but large boulder, close to a running brook from which I could dip water. The men then left me and returned to the Regt. The last line the Rebs failed to force and one heavy volley that the new line rose and gave them started about face. I bathed my leg with the cool spring water and found that I was not bleeding bad. It was now dusk and all quiet. Capt. Maynard of our Gens. staff, riding by, saw me and inquired if I was having any attention. I said, no, and he wheeled his horse and rode away, but soon returned with an ambulance and Private Manners and others of my Co. with Capt. Patton, who lifted me in the ambulance, where 3 other wounded men and we were driven fast, over a rough road to the 2nd. Corp field hospital. Thus has ended my career as a soldier. God has been very merciful to me all along and preserved me through many dangers and now I will try to bear this affliction he has seen fit to bring upon me, praying that He will give me grace to bear it with Christian fortitude and patience, follow out my journal to the end and see His kindnesses to me and to all with whom I have been associated and let us not repine but rather praise His hold name for having done so much for us and now many days may elapse before I send you another leaf of journal, but I will still write as soon as I am stronger. If I am unable to join you I will send the journal, concluded.
The hospital was simply a spot in the open field where the surgeons had placed 2 barrels on end and on them placed boards, thus forming a rude amputation table, close to which I was laid on a stretcher. The surgeons were very busy cutting and binding. The pieces cut from the wounded, legs, feet, arms and all other parts of mangled flesh, were thrown down between me and the table and soon the pile became so high I could not longer witness the operations. Some time in the night a man who was a member of the Christian commission, came to me with a warm cup of beef tea, which I drank gladly and felt greatly refreshed, as I had eaten nothing since morning. When near daybreak one of the surgeons passed near me and by the light of the candles noticed that I was a commissioned officer, stooped down and said, ‘Why Lt., what is the matter with you?’ I told him I had received a bullet through my left leg above the knee. ‘What’, said he, ‘and not attended to?’ No I said, and he kneeled down and ran his fingers through the wound till I thought they met. ‘Oh’, he said, ‘That is a bad fracture, very bad. We will attend to you pretty soon.’ I told him I was not suffering or bleeding much. I could easily wait. In fact I wanted to wait, for I had seen him place a bottle to his lips at intervals during the night and so feared to have him opperate, for I was sure he would amputate my leg and I wanted to get to our own hospital and our own surgeons if possible, so I lay quiet and they all, being very busy, did not disturb me farther. A little after daybreak, the Rebels began to throw shells at our batteries on the hill in front of us, which I afterward learned was Little Round Top. These shells often passed over the hill and fell bursting around and among us and as they came thicker and thicker, the surgeons, with their helpers, picked up their tools, barrels and boards and skedaddled over the hill back of us and the other wounded were carried off by their comrades, who were attending them. Of course many of the wounded could walk, but I could not and as no one knew me I was left alone with the dead that lay thick around me, that had died before or after being opperated on, or had died in the ambulances while being brought here from the line of battle. Not a living soul could I se and as the shells were falling thick and bursting all around me, I felt I could not escape being hit so, taking my passbook from my pocket, I began writing to my wife what I feared would be my last. I had written my name and where to send the book, when I heard voices and looking up, I saw 2 men coming down the hill toward me. Running and dodging from the big boulder, stump or tree to another in a zigzag course, trying to dodge the shells. A hope sprang up in my that if I could make them hear they might carry me to a place of safety. As they came within calling distance I tried to shout but found I had lost my voice and then they started away from me but a storm of shells at their front caused them to right about and run towards me again, and again I tried to shout, with a success that almost frightened me. They heard me and one says ‘That sounds like Lt. Boyington’ and stopping, they saw me wave my cap and heard my cry and come on the run to me. I can’t express the thrill of joy I felt when I heard them speak my name, but sure enough they were 2 boys of my own Regt. and from my own neighborhood. How and why those 2 men out of 80,000 Union men that took part in that battle should have come to me when all other earthly help had fled was a mystery to me then and has been ever since. Was it not Gods hand that led them? They had passes and were going to the rear to the provision trains for rations for the Regt. They took up the stretcher and carried me back to the foot of the hill. I was heavy and they set me down to rest, but seeing a pioneer with his leather scabbard and ax behind a large rock up on the hill, they left me and went up to him and forced, much against his will, to come with them and help them carry me up and over the hill and place me in a bed room in a large farm house out of reach of bullets and shells. I was much surprised to meet Major S.J. Marlin who was the Capt. of my Co. when I enlisted, on the front porch. He was munching a piece of hardtack and said he had been badly hurt but a rail that had been forced by a bursting shell against his foot. A lot of childrens clothes were hanging in the room. Hey boys took a lot of them down and wet them thoroughly with cool water and covered them over my wound, then filling my canteen, left me. I was then quite free of pain and went to sleep. Late in the P.M. an ambulance came with some of the boys and I was taken close to Rock Creek, where our Corp had established a field hospital. There I got food and lay all night. The next day, July 4th., I was carried to the amputating table not knowing what they intended to do to me, but I had a terrible longing to save my leg. I knew nothing of pensions to be given us and thought I would sooner die than to try to struggle through life with only one leg and so I began to beg as for my life to save to me my leg at all hazzards. Dr. Watson finally told me privately that if one of the other surgeons, there were 3 to examine me, Wenger and Lyman would vote to save my leg he would agree with him. This partly satisfied me and at once I began to inhale the chloroform. Afterwards I was told by J Hawthorn, our hospital steward who was present, that Dr. Wenger said that since I was so set and expressed so much anxiety to have my leg saved, that they had better wait 10 days or 2 weeks when perhaps I would become reconciled, if it became necessary to have it taken off, that I had a fine bone and a good constitution etc., but the brigade surgeon, Dr. Lyman, claimed that I was better able to stand the opperation than I would ever be again and that I would have to come off sooner or later anyway. Dr. Watson said if it was taken off now I could become melancholy. That he would agree with Dr. Wegner and wait. Dr. Lyman upbraided them and said they acted in a very unprofessional manner and let their sympathies carry away their better judgement, but it saved my leg and oh what joy I felt when I became conscious that my leg was still in its place. I was laid by the side of Sergt. Joseph Kinnear who was shot through the bowels, who hearing me rejoice and seeing me in the joy I felt, laughed with me yet when I asked him how it was with him said, ‘Oh Rob. I must die’. ‘Why, Why so Jo.’ Oh, he said, the contents of my bowels are exposed. Brave good Christian boy. Die he did some days after. When the leg of my pantaloons was cut off to expose my wound there was more than a pint of maggots wriggling in the blood below my knee. The surgeons removed all the loose bone they could find and bound clothes wet in cold water over my wound and I was told to see to it that they were kept wet. This now was the evening of the 4th. and as it began to rain we were all taken up the hill to a row of box tents that had been put up that day for our protection. It rained all night but I rested quite free from pain. The roar of cannon, shreaking shells and whiz of bullets had ceased. The moans of the wounded and the cries of the fierce pain only, were heard instead. There were 11 others in the tent besides myself. Except having our wounds constantly wet with cold water, no other attention was given them. Sunday July 5th. was a busy day with all the surgeons and their attendants, since thousands of the wounded of both armies had as yet had to medical or other attendance and in many cases hunger and thirst not satisfied to the helpless sufferers. Today was a great one, nothing to be heard save the moans of the wounded and prayers of the dying. Oh the horrors attending the end of a battle no tongue can express. Monday and Tuesday were more quiet but in the morning the bodies of those who had died in the night could be seen lying on the ground in the streets in front of the tents, waiting the coming of the wagons that were to take them to the trenches that had been dug to receive them. On Wednesday A.M. the 8th., it stirs me yet to write it, I was almost paralyzed with joy to see standing at the opening of our tent, my eldest bro. Lyman J Boyington. He stood with a small truck on his shoulder, speaking not a word, but I soon knew why for close following came my dear wife Mary, standing beside him. I will not, I cannot and dare not attempt to describe the thrill of joy that stirred my whole being as never before, as they looked down upon me and I up to them. They had gotten word, by Lt. Geo. Vanvliet, who was wounded in the hand in our fight on the 2nd., on Saturday and they started Monday. They had to go 40 miles to the RR at Indiania Pa. and had reached Gettysburg on Tuesday P.M. after dark, walking in the rain and mud 6 miles into the town, the RR having been torn up. Bro. tried to get supper and a bed for Mary, if possible, but the landlord told him he could get them neither for love nor money. Every house was filled with wounded. Putting the trunk up on end on the porch and lifting her on it, her clothes dripping wet, while he tried elsewhere, but failed to find any place better than the shelter the porch afforded, but while sitting there, 2 sisters of charity came down the stairs in the hall and out onto the porch and saw Mary sitting there all wet and raggled and surmissing she was from a distance, asked her if she had a place to stop for the night. She answered no, not yet. Well, they said, come with us and she went nothing doubling. They offered her their bed while they would sleep on the floor. This she would not take, wet as she was, but took the bed prepared on the floor and had a good nights sleep. Rising early the next morning, she changed her dress putting on dry clothes and leaving the sisters sleeping, she started back to the hotel to meet my bro. On the way she heard someone call Mary, but thought it was some soldier and so paid to attention, but the call came again, Mary, Mary McFarland, her maiden name, then looking to the man calling she was Mr. Huston a former merchant in her town and a favorite friend. He went with her to the hotel and both he and my bro. tried to procure a vehicle to take them 5 miles out to our 3rd. Corp field hospital where I lay, but no rig of any kind could be gotten and again they started on foot, Lyman carrying the trunk and Mary, her grip. On the way they passed long trains of ambulances loaded with wounded who could bear transportation to more northern hospitals, having a good fear all the way that I might be in one of them and so my bro. would call my name, hoping or fearing I might be in some one of them. They soon began to reach the field hospitals of the different corps and divisions. They kept inquiring for the 3rd. corp hospital and so finally reached us, a very tired couple. After our greetings were over, Mary opened trunk and grip and taking out a wash basin and towel washed my face, neck and hands from which the dust, smoke and powder of the battle had not been as yet washed away. I felt very much refreshed by it and she, seeing the anxious look of the others, proceeded to cleanse the others, washing off the dirty smoke and dust and combing their hair. One poor boy of my Co., Andy Edington, who lay opposite me watched her face as she cared for him and as she was combing his hair, burst out crying as if his heard would break. We feared his wound was paining him and asked him, but he would not answer. Finally his sobbing ceased and he told us no womans hand had cared for him since he left his mother, 5 years before. She had married a man as her 2nd, husband, who was very harsh with him and he had run away and when the call for troops came, had enlisted. Bro. and Mary then partook of Oyster soup, hardtack and coffee that had been prepared for us all, which was the first full meal they had eaten since the day before in Harrisburg. During the afternoon John Douglass and John R Johnson put up what we called a dog tent for Mary. The tent consists of 4 pieces of canvas or heavy muslin. Each piece 2 yds. square. All soldiers carried 2 pieces when on a march. Into this she had to crawl head first on hands and knees. This was her bedroom and toilet room for the first 3 weeks. We were then transferred to a wedge tent that had been put up close to the surgeons headquarters. By this time the cries of the wounded and moans and shrieks of the dying and her constant efforts to alleviate suffering and care for the wants of the sick and wounded and her new mode of living, so taxed my wifes health that she became quite sick, but a few days quiet in our new home and help the Dr. gave her, restored her to usual health. To show how her sympathies were aroused I will tell an incident that occurred the 1st. night we occupied our wedgetent. My leg had been fitted in a box this shape and a cord with a weight attached to my foot and left to hang down. This caused me great pain and I could not sleep. I lay on a bunk made my nailing barrel staves on 2 paralell poles and she lay on the opposite side of the tent on an army stretcher. A corral of mules had bene established some distance in the rear and sometime in the night one of them set up a cry as only a mule can. I think she had never before heard or at least noticed, the cry of a mule. It woke her up and she called to me ‘Rob. Do you hear that poor soldier?’ her voce all a tremble, which caused me to laugh loud and hearty. She sprang at once from her bed and lighting the candle, ran to me. I saw she was very pale and trembling. Why Mollie, I said, that was the cry of a mule. She sank down on her knees and I feared she would faint. She said when I broke into that loud laugh she thought I had gone crazy as many a poor soldier did just before death came to their relief. A few days before she had ridden over the battle field with the hospital steward, Jas. Hawthorn, whom she had known from childhood, and this I think caused her to be more nervous than usual for she talked to me a great deal of what she had seen and how the flies almost covered the ground, feasting on the carcasses of the horses and mangled flesh that lay there unburied over the battle field. Army rations were now plenty, but I wanted a change and as there was cod fish, wife knew I was fond of it, she got a fish and cooked part of it and laid the rest out on top of the tent as she could not bear the smell. When she went to cook the next meal she found her fish covered with maggots and there were flies everywhere. So thick were they that they covered the boards of a fence near by like bees swarming. You could not see the boards. Mary Tepe, an Austrian woman who had been with Col. Collins’s Regt., 114th. Pa., since its organization, had a tent near by and was caring for a wounded soldier of that Regt. She had been with a Regt. in her own country and understood army life thoroughly. When the Regt. was in camp she washed for the officers but in time of battle she would hardly wait till bullets ceased to fly, when she would rush out and give all the care possible, to the wounded of her Regt. She carried a small keg of brandy and canteens of water and bandages with which to help her ‘boys’, as she called them. While she was not choice in her language, she well knew when an insult was offered and always carried a pistol and well she knew how to use it. Gentlemen did not offer to insult her and others dare not. At first she feared the American woman would be jealous of her if she offered help, she told the hospital steward, but he assured her there was no danger as he knew my wife for years. That seemed to satisfy her so that she soon came over and after a short acquaintance, began tutoring my wife in all the mysteries of army life and cooking. For several weeks these 2 were the only women to be seen in camp. In the latter part of August, our hospital was moved to the RR east of Gettysburg and called the Letterman Gen’l. hospital, to which I was carried on a stretcher borne on mens shoulders. Here was a city of tents. We found the ground in our tent was covered with maggots and smelled horrid, so they placed us on the outside at some distance while they sprinkled it with chloride of lime and other disinfectants. None but commissioned officers were placed in our row of tents. The next tent adjoining ours was filled with Rebel officers and there were soon heated arguments filling the air. One of the Rebs was bragging how intellegent and refined their people were and when we told him we hadn’t seen a school house in all Virginia and said they must get their ‘larning’ from their niggers. This made him mad and he told us they didn’t do like we do, let niggers vote and hold office. We asked where he learned that niggers held officer in the north. Why, said he, ain’t your Vice President a nigger? We asked who he meant. He could not remember the name. We suggested Hanibal Hamlin. Yes, Yes that is the man. We knew he was a very ignorant man and asked him what studies they taught in the south. Oh sah same as yours. Do you teach arithmetic and grammer. Oh yes sah. And syntax? Oh Yes sah, that too, and we gave him the horse laugh. By and by it got so hot the surgeons had to move them to a tent beyond. Soon after we came here an order by the surgeon Gen. was issued that all ladies were to be excluded from the hospital except the regular nurses. This order caused much weeping and wailing and even gnashing of teeth, but so many lady friends of the wounded were now able to come in on the RR that they greatly impeded the work in the hospital, and besides there flocked in a great number of women of bad repute, but they all had to scatter. This order however did not exclude lady friends who only came to visit friends 24 or 48 hours, but they had to get passes stating time and when the time was up also had to go. We now had almost anything a sick or wounded person could want to eat or drink and Mary had found a family by the name of Herbst, on a farm not far from the hospital, where she could have a room and bed. As none of us was in need of night attendance she would go out after sundown and return before sunrise. Although Mr. Herbst’s sympathies had been with the south previous to the battle, he was now a strong Union man, for the Rebs had almost ruined him. They not only confiscated and took away anything and everything they could use, they also destroyed everything anyone else could use. He had flour in barrels for his years supply, they knocked in the heads of these flour barrels and then rolled them down the hill. That made him Union. The cooks at the cook house were generally women and were from almost every northern state and so were able to furnish food to the soldiers of the different states just such as mother or wife had cooked them in their homes. I had cod fish balls to my hearts content and Mary had her fill of baked potatoes. My wound now began to suppurate freely and in spite of all the care that could be given, flies would reach the wound and fly below it. The maggots would get into the wound so that when the surgeon would force an antidote into the wound at one side, the maggots would come squirming out the other. There was a constant fear that gangrene or blood poison would set in, but Mary in treating my wound would only use her own basin, cloths or sponge, so that I would not become infected from other wounds. My leg was often bandaged from thigh to end of toes to reduce swelling. One ply would be wound and that covered with a paste and then another layer the same way and finally a third, yet the pus would form and show through it all and give me so much pain that they would have to cut it off. 2 different incisions were made to allow the pus and loose bones to flow out, but the pieces of bone that would slough off were often so large that they had to be pulled out with nippers. Many things were done to interest and amuse us. A musical choir would often come out from the city and sing such songs as comfort and cheer the Christian heart and other with violins gave us patriotic and other songs. There is another nurse, a miss Dunstan sister of Lt. Dunstan who lies next to me and is shot through both hips and all surgeons say that he must die soon. The sister is a very indifferent nurse, she cares more for flirting than nursing. One day in the fall the authorities got up a great entertainment consisting in out door exercises such as climbing a greased pole for a price and a goose was hung head down to a rope stretched between 2 trees, its neck was thoroughly greased and horsemen would ride past and many other amusing stunts or tricks. The shut-in wounded were carried out on stretchers in front of their tents so they could, in part at least, see what was going on. The day was an ideal Autumn day and the outing was greatly enjoyed. My wound, when the running of the pus would allow, was dressed daily with simple cerate, a sort of salve. The days passed very monotonously, many dying but more leaving for their homes or other hospitals as they were able to go. As the weather became cold and chilly, preparations were made to place the patients in buildings, but before all were removed a snow fell 6 or more inches in depth, but other and warmer tents had been prepared and we were carried to them. Sheet iron stoves were placed in them and wood fires kindled so that their was very little suffering on account of the weather. The Herbst family became very friendly with Mary and showed their friendship by many little acts of kindness which she greatly appreciated. They made several visits with her in our tent and asked earnestly if they could be in any way instrumental in helping to alleviate my suffering or add to my comfort. About the 1st. of Nov. 1863 the Letterman Gen’l hospital was entirely evacuated. I was among the last of the wounded to be removed and as the surgeon advised I be taken to the nearest hospital, Little York was decided on. As a commissioned officer I knew I would have to pay my way in the hospital, or out of it, so 2 days before I was to be moved Capt. Sam’l McHenry who had been shot through the upper right lung hand who was with us but able to be around, went to Little York with Mary, where they succeeded in securing a fine large front room near the Gen. hospital on George St., and also board with a fine Pa. dutch family, Jno. Swartz by name. The family consisted of father, mother, 2 grown girls and a younger, Anna, about 12 years old and one boy, the youngest of the family. One thing I want to note is, the Rebel wounded and sick received the same treatment, the same rations and in every way the same care that I and all the other Union soldiers received, that almost every day they received visits from southern ladies or at least by women who were in sympathy with them and their cause and these same women took pains to express their hatred and disdain in look and language of everything northern and were particularly venomous when I contact with our northern ladies, yet they were allowed the same courtesy and priviledges accorded our own. Surgeon Gen. Palmer, who was in charge of the Little York hospital, called on us the next day and told me not to employ a surgeon that he had several that didn’t have enough to do to keep them busy and that he would detail one of them to attend to Capt. McHenry and myself and Surgeon Purcell of Indiania was appointed. He came down from the hospital to attend us once a day and oftener when it was necessary. He was a competent surgeon and an interesting talker. He would often remain with us a half day at a time and said he was very fortunate to get the appointment. The surgeon Gen. had assured us that there would be no charges made for his services. Purcell thought we ought to have something to do to amuse us and so break the monotony of our confinement, as he was an expert chess player, he proposed that we learn the game under this tutorage. This, wife and I had done and soon became quite proficient players and it did indeed help us greatly to while away the lonely days and he would stop and play the game for hours with us. Our landlord wove fancy bed spreads and made cigars of which last, the Dr. was very fond and as I had a box always open. He helped himself whenever he had occasion to smoke. We also received a great many visitors, men and women who lived in the city, who had done all they could to brighten the hours and cause us to forget our isolated condition, but in spite of all, a hungering desire was with us all the time for home and home friends. However we knew I could not be moved. The wound and the 2 incisions that had been made in my leg continued to exude pus that was caused by the loose bones and bones that were continually sloughing off and so we tried to be content. Still as the holidays were drawing near I knew the homesick feeling was taking a deep hold on Mary and so I proposed that she should leave me for a few weeks and go home. Capt. McHenry was preparing to go and she could go with him as far as the town of Indiania, where he lived. The 2 young ladies urged her to go also and promised they would care for me, which they had learned to do almost as well as she could and finally she concluded to go and began to get ready at once. Finally the day set to start came around and she had everything packed that she intended to take with her and with bonnet and cloak on she came to bid me goodby and that was the end of it. She broke down and weeping said she could not go and would not go, so taking off her wraps. The Capt. had to go without her. Her mind now at ease she became at once more cheerful and contented and we waited patiently for the day to come when I could stand the long wished for journey home. About the 1st. of Feb. I had so much improved that they told me I might try to get to the table and eat with the family. So one held my leg horizontally in front of me and 2 others supported me on either side so I hopped to the table, a proud man. When my leg hung down the blood would settle in foot and ankle and they would turn a blue black, and pain me greatly. I had a heavy wire placed on either side of my leg from which to end of toes, where a cord was attached and fastened to the top of the iron footboard, and so I could swing it from side to side. It was called a ‘Smiths Anterior splint’. Around this and the leg was wound bandages, one of more thicknesses holding leg and splint together. About the 1st. of March it was decided by the surgeons that I might stand the trip to my home if I was properly cared for. James K Shaffer, a member of my Co. who was in the hospital but now almost recovered of his wound, was detailed to go with us as far as Harrisburg, to see that I was carefully transferred to the Pa. RR that would take me to Indiania without further change. My wound was considered by all surgeons as severe and dangerous that few gave any encouragement that it ever would heal. So remarkable was the wound, to them, that they ordered me carried to a photographers gallery and had a photograph taken of it, to be placed among the hundreds of other photos taken to show was medical skill could do. When the bus was at the door and we were all ready to dive to the depot I was greatly surprised to have Dr. Purcell come in, in seeming great haste, and present a bill for $50 for having given me medical attendance. As surgeon Gen. Palmer had assured me that I would be treated free, I refused to pay it and I also knew that the army regulations forbade any officer doing anything for private gain. He then went to a justice of the peace to get a warrant to compel me to remain or pay the bill. This the J.P. would not give and although it was now near 9 O’clock in the evening, the J.P. came to me and told me not to pay it under any circumstances. However I told Purcell if the surgeon Gen. would say I should pay it, I would do so, but the S. Gen. was gone and it was close to train time. We bade them all a goodbye and started. Purcell, I learned, kept trying to get a warrant to stop us but was refused everywhere and was reprimanded often for trying. To finish this incident I will say that when I got home the postmaster brought me a letter that Purcell had written him inquiring if Lt. Boyington had got home and to have the P.M. Robt. Perry, to give him the name of the nearest J.P. This letter I enclosed in a letter I wrote to the surgeon Gen., who wrote me at once telling me not to pay the bill, that he was glad to for me what he had done and there was no charge and could be no charge. In a few weeks a Little York news paper was sent me telling that Dr. Purcell had been court-martialed for trying to compel a wounded officer to pay for medical attention and was convicted and discharged from the service and forbidden to practice in that division in the future. We got to Harrisburg without delay and I was safely transferred and made comfortable in another car and Shaffer bade us goodby and started back. As I lay in the car Gen. Harry White’s father, who lived in the town of Indiania, came to me and introduced himself and all that night watched over me and saw to it that I wanted for nothing. Waiting in the depot in Indiania was Capt. McHenry and other who kindly took me in charge and carried me to Uncle Stephen Jacksons residence, who with his wife did all in their power to make my stay pleasant and comfortable. Capt. McHenry, the 2nd. day after arrival, got a team and sled, as it was fair sleighing, and putting his bro. in charge, we started for our home in Ringgold. I lay on a feather bed and was very comfortable. That day we reached Charles Langs home. The weather turned warm and we found, the next morning, quite gone, but securing a spring wagon I was placed on the bed in it and reached home that P.M. The ride over the rough roads was a weary ride, yet we ended the journey feeling fairly well and so ends our hospital experience and we began to live again the life of an American citizen. My pay as an officer ended 4 months after my wounding, as an order by congress caused all officers to be discharged from the service after an absence of 60 days for any cause whatever. And so lying on my back unable to move without help, my living in the future was dark indeed. While Mary and I were discussing our future and wondering what we could engage into make a living, the son of the merchant in our town came in and proposed that we form a partnership and rent a store building that was then empty in a little village some 4 miles distance, called Langville. We talked the matter over for a few days with the young man, Mr. A.B. Lerch and his father, and came to an agreement. I was yet lying on my back unable to walk even on crutches, but Mary and young Lerch went and engaged the building and a small dwelling house. After which Lerch, who was well schooled as to the wants of a country store, store to Pittsburg Pa. and bought a very complete stock of goods and before the end of March I was moved on a bed to our new home and began our 1st. housekeeping. The good had to be hauled in wagons over 40 miles, but came in due time and we opened for business and made good at the business for over a year, then Amos Lerch wished to attend a commercial College in Pittsburg and I bought his interest in the store. After 2 years I took another partner, Willis Yaney, and kept on with fair success and now I could get around fairly well with the help of a cane. This year I was nominated for Co. treasure, but the whole state went democratic for the 1st. time in years and I lost out with the rest of the ticket, but received more than the full republican vote of my County.
An additional item written by Robert Boyington in 1912 said, “Items concerning our coming to our home in Okla. March 16th 1894, we arrived at Enid (North) on Thursday night, March 15th. On the next day 16th Mr. Hawks and Papa – came out to plan a place to put our goods (which came) with us from Washington Kans. The next wk began to prepare a tent & stable & begin the necessary work for a home. Digging a well & c. Carpenters came well digger’s masons &c. There was certainly no assersor that year we came here."