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Diary of George Washington Whitman, September 1861 to 6 September 1863

Mustered into [   ] by Capt [Hayman (?) at] New York [on] the 18th [of] Sept 1861,1 as a private in Co. G. 51st Regt. N.Y. Vols. and appointed Sergt. Major, of the Regt the [next] day by Colonel Fe[rrer]o2

[Left]  New York Oct 30th 1861 for Annapolis Md. by way of Philadelphia and Perryville. Arrived at Annapolis Oct 31st and took up our Quarters for a couple of days in the Academy Buildings in the Town, and then [   ] first camp in a field a[bout] a mile from the Villiage, and went to work, drilling and getting the Regt in shape for Service. After being in [charge?] a couple of months I [was?] taken sick with the [   ] Fever, and went down Toun to board with a family named Brigs where I stopped two or three weeks, when I was comeing around al[l] right  I went back to camp and was soon entirely [well]

[On] the evening of Jan 5th/62 received orders to strike tents at day light next morning, and immediately all hands went to work packing up and [   ], and at sunrise [on] the morning of the 6th our handsome camp of the day before was a heap of ruins. About 7 O clock in the morning the order was given for the Regt. to fall in and we marched down to the dock where we were kept standing until late in the afternoon, when we went on board the vessels, the right wing of the Regt going on board the Transport Lancer and the Left on board the Ron[c]er,  [   ] at night we hurried out [to] the Stream, where we lay untill Jan 8th when the signal was given to get under weigh, and we started for our (to us) unknown destination

Arived at Fortress Monroe Jan 10th and came to anchor. Jan 12th the signal was given to get under weigh, and the old [R]oncer, on board of which I was, steamed up and we were off again  We [kept] close in shore [fa]irly all the way and reached Hatteras Inlet on the 14th, but the Lancer had stood well out to sea (as her capt. was an old sea dog and wanted plenty of sea room) and did not reach the Inlet until some days after our arival. We found very few of our fleet had reached Hatteras before us, but they soon began to come in and as the wind blew a perfect hur[rica]ne nearly all the time, and the anchorage was bad, and the fleet crowded for room (as we had to [pay?] between two sand bars),  there was the very devil to pay with vessels draging their anchors, and running afoul of each other, the weather being so bad we could not attempt to cross the bar which separates [Hatteras] Inlet from Pamlico Sound. The bad weather continued so long that all began [to] get discouraged [   ] the vessels were not large enough to accomodate the number of troops they had on board, and the rations began to get short as the weather was so stormy we could not get to the Storeship, to renew our supplys. [The water also] gave out and we were obliged to rig up sails to catch rainwater to drink. The water that fell on [   ] decks, and in the boats hanging at [   ] the davitts was carefully sc[oop]ed up and considered quite a [blessing]  Almost every monring on comeing on deck we were greeted with the sign of flags of distress flying from some of the vessels that had been damaged during the night. Two or three of the vessels belonging to the Fleet were sunk and entirely destroyed, and at this time our prospects [lo]oked so discouraging that I felt satisfied that the Burnside Expedition3 would prove a failure.

Abo[ut] the 1[st] of Feb. the weather began to get better and some of the lighter draught vessels crossed the bar, and by the 5th we were all across and ready to proceed. On the morning of the 6th we [   ] got under weigh and ready to proceed. On the morning of the 6th we [   ] got under weigh and started for Roan[oke] Island. The fleet consiste[d] of 10 or 12 Gunboats, 12 or 14 Armed Transports (carrying 3 or 4 each [?]) and about 60 river steamers and Schooners with Troops, Coal, provision [   ] Coast  All the vessels proceeded in regular order, and it was a splendid sight, the Gunboats leading the way and the rest, all seeme to be straining to keep up, and not seem lazy, and anxious to [fall be]hind. Altogather, it was one of the finest sights I ever saw, the ships with all their flags flying and I began to think the Burnside Expedition was not quite played [ou]t after all, as it looked much more formidable, than when lying at Hatteras Inlet.

On the night of Feb 6th we came to anchor in the sound, some 15 or 16 miles below Roanoke and on the morning of [the] 7th we proceeded on our course. On ariving with[in] 3 or 4 miles of where the rebel batteries were suppos[ed] to be  the Transports halted and the Gunboats went ahead to reconn[irtue?]

About 10 O clock a.m. one of the Gunboats opened the fight by sending a shot at the rebel Batteries on the shore. The rebels promptly replyed from their batteries and our Gunboats were soon well engaged. The rebel fleet consisting of 4 or 5 Small Gunboats kept blazing away at our boats, their intention evidently being, to get our vessels to try and capture them which would have brought our boats, right under the guns of a large earthwork that so far had kept quiet. It was quite amusing to see the rebels sail up to our fleet as close [as] they dare, fire a few [   ] and then turn and [   ] back and try and coax our folks to follow them, but the dodge wouldent work as our folds seemed to know the rebs were trying to lead them into a trap, so they kept [peging?] away at the batteries and paid very little attention to the rebel fleet. Early in the morning the troops were all taken off from such of the Transports as carried guns, and placed on board of small, high [d]raught vessels, that could run in close to shore to land troops. As soon as the action had fairly commenced all the Transports that had been relieved of their Troops sailed in and took a hand in the fight, and the way our felet made the sand fly around the rebel works was a caution to eyes

The bombardment was [k]ept up all day, without any great damage done on either side, as far as we could see. About 4 Oclock in the afternoon the signal was given for the troops to land, and a small boat was sent off with an Officer, and [   ] 6 men to pick out a good landing place, but on geting in near shore the party in the boat was fired on by a party of rebels, who were concealed in the tall grass on shore and one or two of them wounded, so they were obliged to come back and one of the gunboats ran in close to shore and shelled the woods and every where else where the enemy could conceal themselves.

As soon as we received orders to land the old stern wheel steamboat with our Regt on board starte[d] for the shore and our Regt, and several others reached the shore about the same time and without seeing any thing of the enemy. We found the shore very boggy and covered with coarse grass about t[wo] feet high, and every time we [steped?] we [sank?] in mud and water half way up to our knees. As soon as we reached the shore we formed the Regt and pushed ahead about half a mile untill we came to dry ground, and here we were ordered to bivouac for the night. One Regt. of our Brigade (the 21st Mass) was sent out on picket and the rest of us after eating a hearty supper of [h]ard tack and crackers began to make preparations to retire. At this time there were Only two Brigades on Shore, the first commanded by Brididier Gen. Foster4 and consisted of the 23d, 24th, 25th, and 27th Massachusetts, and our Brigade commanded by Brigr. Gen Reno5 and consisting of the 21st Mass, 51st N.Y. 51st Penn. and 9th New Jersey.

About 10 O clock at night it commenced to rain and continued showery all night. About 9 O clock in the evening quite a brisk fire was opened on our Pickets, by the rebs and we were ordered to fall in. The men sprang quickly to their places, but the fireing slackened and we again broke ranks and tried to get a little sleep but it soon commenced to rain, so we passed [altoga]ther an [un]comfortable night. We were up bright and early in the morning (as in fact the most of us had been up nearly all night as we were completely soaked through with the rain) and found the 3d Brigade (commanded by Brig. Gen Parke6 and consisting of the 8th 10th and 11th Conneticut and 9th N. Y. Regts) had landed during the night. so that we had quite a respectable force on shore. About 6 O clock on the morning of Feb 18th the whole force fell in line and comenced to move forward except part of the 3d Brigade which was left to hold a [   ] landing. The 1st Brigade took the lead and we soon heard fireing in advance and we knew that our advance was engaged with the rebel skirmishers

In the meantime our fleet, who had ceased fireing at dark the night before, had commenced again at day light, and as the land force was now going in pretty sharp it sounded to us like a pretty [   ] fight,  soon the wounded began to be brought by us, on their way to the rear, and things began to look a little like war  Our Regt pressed ahead as fast as they could, the rebs retreating and our boys following them up, for as yet the 1st Brigade was all the troops engaged on our side, as the ground was such that we could not get to the front,  After falling back about [a mile?] and a half the rebs reached their battery where they made their final stand,

The batteries was thrown up across the road, and was flanked on each side by swamps that they (the rebs) thought impossible  The 1st Brigade was ordered to attack in front while part of our Brigade was ordered to force a passage through the swamp and attack on the left [a]nd part of the right

Our Regt filed off to the left, and although we toiled hard, we made slow headway as the mud was up to our n\knees and the bushes, so thick that we often had to stop and [get away?] with our swords before we could get through. We were within easy rifle shot of our enemy's works but we could not see them nor they us alth[ou]gh they must have known we were there, as they kept up a pretty sharp fire on us all the while but as they could not do us much damage as most of their balls passed over our heads. After working two or three hours, the right of our Regt. succeeded in getting within sight of the rebel battery and our boys commenced to send the lead in there, in right good earnest, so that the rebs could not work their guns and as soon as they saw they were flanked they began to skedaddle  Just then the order was given to charge the works, but [the] rebs dident stop to receive the charge, and when we got inside the works all the rebs, except the dead and wounded had gone. We found the battery mounted 3 guns 10 or 12 [Powder?] brass peices [w]ith caisoon and every thing complete,  it was supposed from what we could learn that the enemy had about 1500 men behind these works. Our colors were first planted on the works, but some of the other regts were in almost as soon as we were  After stopping a few moments, we again formed line and started in persuit of the enemy. The road was strewn [wi]th Knap s[ac]ks, blankets guns and coats that had been thrown away by the enemy in their retreat. After marching 3 or 4 miles we came to the shore and found the 9th N.Y. had got there before us, and had taken quite a number of prisoners and among the rest was the Son of Gov Wise, who was badly, and as it turned out fatally wounded.7

As we came within sight of the shore we saw several vessels filled with rebel troops who had just escaped but they were far beyond rifle shot and were making there way across the Sound to a place called Nags Head. After resting here a short time we again started off through the woods, and after marching 3 or 4 miles more we came to a large place that had been clear[ed] of woods and filled with barracks built of boards, and logs and on which the rebs had expended a great deal of time and [labor?]  On our arrival here we learned that all the forces on the Island had surrendered and we at once proceeded to take possesion of the barracks and make ourselves comfortable. Next morning we found we had ful[l] posession of the Island (which the [rebs] seemed to have intended for a sort of depot for the collection of troops) and had taken some 35 Canon and near 2700 prisoners,  the prisoners were mostly North Carolinaons but some, were from Georgia and Virginia  The North Carolinaons and Georgians were regular buternuts, gaunt long haired and long leged chaps  most of them dressed in Butternut clothing, but the Virginians wore a neat, grey uniform, and belonged to the Wise Legion8

After takeing posession of the Island we settled quietly down and took things easy, until March 11th when we again went on board of Transports and left Roanoke and started back towards Hatteras Inlet. Arrived at Hatteras just before dark, and came to anchor. Early next morning we were under weigh again, and at night, we came to anchor in the Nuese river about 16 miles below Newbern. Early on the morning of the 13th the troops commenced to land at the mouth of a small stream called Slocums Creek, between 9 and 10 Oclock in the morning  the last of the troops came on shore, and we took up the line of march towards Newbern. after marching along the ban[k] of the Neuse river 2 or 3 miles, we struck off through the woods and soon came upon what had been, a [farm house?] before, a rebel cavelry camp, passing along 4 or 5 miles further we came to quite an an extensive earthwork apparently just about finished, and as we heard, just evacuated by the rebs,  pushing ahead we soon came to the railroad track and after tearing up a portion of the track we stacked arms and had a short rest

We soon moved on again in three colums  the first Brigade takeing a road running paralel with the railroad track and about ha[lf] a mile to the right of it, Our Brigade marching on the track, and the 3d brigade takeing a road left of us but the road on which the 3d Brigade were soon crossed the railroad and they fell in just behind us and were about to act as a reserve either to us or the 1st Brigade, whoever most needed their help. Just before dark we were ordered to file into the woods on the left of the railroad track and biouvack for the night  The weather had been showery all the afternoon and continued so all night, part of the time raining pretty hard but I managed to get a little sleep as I was pretty tired. We were up at daylight in the morning and after haveing the men discharge and reload their peices we pushed on again,  after marching 3 or 4 miles we heard [sharp firing?] just ahead of us, and we knew that our skirmishers were buisy with the enemy. The 1st Brigade first engaged the enemy whome they found posted in rifle pitts, that stretched from the river to the railroad (about ¾ of a Mile) while our Brigade made an attack on the entrenchments, on the left of the railroad and runing to a swamp, that it was impossible to get through. The fight on our side of the railroad, was kept up with much spirit, for about 4 hours when the fire from the rebel works began to slacken, [an]d we could see the greybacks leaving there works and runing through the woods, and soon their works were deserted by them, and occupied by us.

In this battle we took about 100 prisoners and some 35 peices of canon. The Rebels retreated towards the Town of Newbern which is sepperated from the battle field by the Neuse river,  ther[e] was a Railroad bridge across the river and this bridge the enemy entirely destroyed by fire after they had all crossed

After getting posession of the rebel works our forces again formed in collums and followed up the retreat untill we came to the burning bridge, when we could go no further untill, an old fery boat (that had done good execution as a gunboat and belonged to the fleet) came up and carried across the First brigade, which took possession of the Town. The rebels had set fire to the Town in two or three places, but by the exertion of Soldiers and citazens only 12 or 15 houses was burned. Our Regt stoped for the night on the bank of the river and next morning we moved down to a lot of barracks that had been erected by the rebs and took posession of them. While the fight was going on between the land forces, our fleet was not idle but rendere[d] great service in silancei[ng] the shore batteries, which the rebs had erected with considerable skill along the river.

After the fight was over, and we had a chance to look around, everyone was surprised at the extent and completeness of our victory, and to look at the preparations that had been made for the defense of the place, no one would have believed it could have been taken by the small force that Burnside had under his command  The loss of our Regt was pretty heavy, (heavyer I believe than any other Regt engaged) and amounted to about 100 killed and wounded, including quite a number of office[r]s  among which was Capt Johnson,9 Lieut Allen,10 Chaplain Benton,11 and Ordly Sergt Robert Smith killed  Act Lieut Carrington was badly wounded and had his leg Amputated but it did not save his life and after great suffering he was sent home to New York and died the next day after arriving there  Among the wounded was Lieut Col Potter,12 shot through the side  Major LeGendre13 (rifle ball passed through his cheek and came out of the back of his neck below his coat collar)  Just after the battle I found Major LeGendre on the battle field perfectly unable to move  I took the blankets that I have strapped to my back, laid him on them, and got some men and had him carried to the rear where the Surgeon was at work. Lieuts Tryon14 and McKee15 were also badly wounded in this fight.16

In the course of a few days our Regt moved across the river and encamped and preparations were at once made, to receive the enemy, should they think worth while to come and try to regain posession of the place,  Large earthworks was constructed, woods cut down so that the Gunboats would have a chance to work, but with the exception of squads of cavelry that somewhat annoyed our Pickets the enemy kept very quiet and we were not disturbed  On the morning of July 2d 1862 our Brigade went on board Transports and sailed from Newbern as we were supposed to reinforce McClellan17 who was there fighting on the Peninsular,  After reaching Hatteras Inlet on the morning of the 3d news came to us (from some quarter) that McClellan was in posession of Richmond and we were ordered back to Newbern where we arived on the same evening and went back to our old camping ground, but on the 5th we again went on board of Transports (it haveing been found out that McClellands being in Richmond was a hoax) and off we started again,18  On our arrival at Fortress Monroe we found the fighting on the Peninsular was over as McClellan had been obliged to fall back to the James River under the protection of his Gunboats, and we were ordered to Newport News where we went into camp and stopped until August 2d when we struck camp and went on board Transports again. We sailed down past Fortress Monroe and entered the Mouth of the Potomac River on the afternoon of Aug 3d. Proceeding up the Potomac we arrived and landed at Aquia Creek on the evening of the 4th and at once went on board the cars and started for Falmouth where we arrived about 9 Oclock P.M. and bivouaced for the night in a field near the Lacy House. Next morning we pitched camp and took things easy. Here we found the 14th Regt of Brooklyn19 among which I met many friends, among the best George Davy.20  August 11th We received orders to march next day. So about 7 Oclock in the afternoon of the 12th we started over a terrible muddy rocky road and kept marching untill 4 Oclock on the morning of the 13th when we turned off in the fields and had a few hours sleep. Started again at 8 O clock A.M. and marched untill 8 O clock P.M. (only stopping 1 hour for dinner) when we bivouaced for the night  Started at 6 Oclock next morning, and about 9½ Oclock A.M. arrived at Bealton Station on Orange & Alexandria R.R. where we took cars for Culpepper. Arrived at Culpepper Station in the afternoon  marched a couple of miles and bivouaced  rained all night.

Aug 15th marched about 7 miles and bivouaced at the foot of the Mountains at a place called Cedar Run. There was said to be a large rebel force lying jus the other side of the Mountains, and I think Gen Reno, who had command of us at this time (Gen Burnside  haveing been left in command of Fredericksburg) though it wouldent be healthy for us to stay there any longer, so on the evening of the 18th after building camp fires to deceive the enemy we quietly formed the Regt in line of battle and lay down untill about 1½ Oclock on the morning of the 19th when we were ordered to move

We pushed ahead only stopping occasionaly for a few moments rest untill Noon when we halted for a couple of hours, when we moved on again and reached and forded the Rappahanock River a[t] a place called Keleys Ford and bivouaced, all pretty well played out with our long and rapid march. It was supposed there was a large rebel force under Jackson21 that was makeing for the crossing at Keleys Ford to cut us off, which was the reason of our hurried march.

August 21st  Rebel Cavelry showed themselves on the opposite side of the river in considerable force and seemed to be feeling for a crossing. Soon some of our Cavelry went over and had quite a lively skirmish with them and finaly dispense[d] them and drove them away,  our Regt was on Picket duty along the bank of the river so that we had a good sight at the cavelry Scrimmage.

Aug 22d  our Regt and a Battery of Artillery took a position to dispute the enemys crossing the river, the rest of the Brigade mooving somewhere further up the river. Col Potters orders were to hold the Ford while we had a man left. and well we knew he would obey the order. During the day several prisoners were brought in, by our Cavelry, who reported the enemy moveing away. During the night a good watch was kept  the Regt sleeping on their arms, but no enemy appea[r]ed and at 8 Oclock on [the] morning of the 23d we [left?] Keleys Ford and started towards Rappahanock Station and joined the rest of our Brigade  we passed the station and marched through the mud and rain untill 6 O clock P.M. when we halted for a few hours to give the men a chance to rest and make coffe  Started again at 9 P.M. and after going 3 or 4 mil[es] halted and ha[d] a [   ]  Aug 24th  [started?] at 2 O clock A.M.  reached sulphur Springs about dark and bivouaced. Aug 25  left Sulphur Springs at 4 Oclock A.M. and went into Warrenton halted near the Villiage and began to make coffee,  just as the boys got their fires started the order was given to fall in lively. We fell in line at once and moved about ½ a mile an formed in double collumn at ha[lf] distance,  expected from the movements that we were going to have a fight sure, but no enemy appearing we took up the line of march just before dark, towards Warrenton Junction  After a very heavy march over awful muddy roads came to within 3 miles of Warrenton Station and it being almost morning we bivouaced

Aug 26th  marched to Warrenton Station and bivouaced,  Aug 27th  left camp at 8 A.M.  marched 3 miles back towards Warrenton on the same road that we came the day before, when an aid rode up to the Col with dispatches, and we were ordered to bout face and march back again, when we took the road towards Monassas junction,  about 12 O clock M we turned off the road and march[ed] behind a wood and formed in line of battle and lay for about 3 hours, and then started on, to Gainsville and bivouaced, Aug 2[8th?]  left at 5 A.M.  marched along the R.R. and reache[d] Mannassas Junction about 11 A.M.  found the enemy had been there the night before and burned the Depot, torn up the track, captured and burned 2 trains of cars  took quite a number of prisoners who were guarding the Depot, and raised the devil generaly  Stoped there 3 or 4 hours and started on in the direction the rebs had taken, bivouaced in a field at 8 P.M.

Aug 29th  Started at 5 A M  arrived on the Bull Run battle field, found the fight going on  rested a short time and then unslung knapsacks and went up to the front, were ordered to support a Battery that was planted on a hill, and engaged Shelling the wood were the enemy were concealed, lay there until just about dusk, when we were ordered down to the edge of the wood were we lay in line of battle until dayligh  Next morning when we went back to support the battery. Considerable fighting had been going on all the day before but all the morning of Aug 30th there did not seem to be any very heavy fireing untill along in the afternoon when a very heavy Collumn of the enemy made an attack on the left of our line (where McDowell's22 troops were posted) forced our line back, and were in a fair way to capture our Artillery and baggage train, and our Brigade were ordered to go and try and check his advance  We started off on the double quick  went about a mile through fields and as the enemy were advancing up through [   ] of woods which perfectly concealed them, we advanced to within 200 feet of the enemy before we knew where they were  all at once the enemy poured a volley into us, doing terrible execution and throwing the left of our regt into momentary confusion  in a moment however the men rallied and we formed line of battle and the way we poured the pills into them fellows was a caution  our men fought like devils and the enemy soon fell back but they came back again when we had another Short, sharp fight, when the enemy again fell back and we advanced a short distance and waited for them to come on again if they felt disposed,  we staid there untill about 10 O clock P.M. when we quietly marched off the feild in Collumn of companies and I had no idea that we were retreating untill we got out on the road and found that we had been holding the enemy in check untill our Artilery and baggage train could get away  we marched untill daylight on the morning of the 31st when we arrived at Centerville and bivouaced,  we found the loss of our Regt was 60 and the company that I was in lost 13 men out of 30 that we took into action.  Sept 1st  Left at 5 A.M.  marched about 2 miles to a place where we were told we would stay for a couple of weeks,  we went to work and put up our tents and thought we were going to have a good rest, but about 4 O clock P.M. word came for us to fall in in a hurry and started in the direction of Fairfax Court house,  after going about 2 miles we found quite a sharp fight going on. It seems that a strong force of the enemy had passed through the coun[try?] to the left of us, utnill they got between us and Alexandria when they made there appearance on the road [on?] which our Artillery and trains were retreating with the evident intention of cutting them off and destroying them. As soon as our regt arrived on the ground we were ordered into a thick peice of woods were the enemy were supposed to be in considerable force,  We forwarded in line of battle driving out the enemys skirmishers and sharpshooters. Soon after we entered the woods it began to rain very hard and as the woods [was] very thick we could [hear?] the enemy, snapping caps at us, seemingly not more than [100?] feet off  yet we could not see them. after thourily cleaning the woods of the enemys skirmishers we were ordered out of the woods, as the enem[y] had fell back, pretty severly punished, and after waiting until our trains had all passed we started on towards Fairfax Court House  the loss of our regt in this fight (which was the battle of Chantilla) was 10 wounded, but the 21st Massachusetts who were in our Brigade and who had stood side by side with our regt in every battle ever since we had been in the feild, were terribly cut up,  General's Kearny and Stephens were killed in this fight.23

Spet 2d  encamped in the afternoon in a feild 21 miles from Alexandria, where we staid until about 8 O clock P M Sept 4th when we started for Washington  marched through Alexandria  crossed the long Bridge and arrived in Washington just before daylight on the morning of Sept 5th and bivouaced at a place called park garden in 7th street where we staid untill the morning of the 7th when we marched to Leesboro Md and bivouac[ed] staid here untill the morning of the 9th when [    ]  commission as [1st] Lieut from to day  Sept 10th  we marched to Brookville and bivouaced  Sept 11th  left Brookville and went to Damascu  passed through the villiages of Monrovia, Unity, New Market, and bivouaced near Frederick City.  Sept 13th  Started at 4 P.M.  passed through Frederick City and bivouaced at Middletown about 4 P.M.  Sept 14  started about 10 A.M. [   ] marched about [   ] arrived up [    ] the front about 5 O clock P.M.  found the enemy posted in a very strong position on a range of steep hills called South Mountains. [   ] Division of our Corps were sent way down to our left, and [turned?] the enemys right flank [   ] but we had only been there a few moemnts when an aid from Gen Burnside rode up to Gen Reno and told him to look out for a strong collumn of the enemy who were advancing through a sort of a [   ] to get possession [   ] who were concealed on a peice of woods just in advance of us. We were ordered to lay down and not [fire?] a shot untill the enemy advanced out of the woods so that we could get a good chance at them and there we lay for about half an hour  the enemy blazing away at us but doing very little damage as the balls passed over us and as it was certain that the enemy were determined not to come out of the woods we were ordered to rise up and commence fireing which we did in such good earnest that the rebel fire quickly began to [   ] and [   ] that the enemy skedaddled during the night. The loss of our Regt in [Thursdays?] [   ] (called the battle of South Mountain) was about [15?] killed and wounded  Gen Reno who had command of our [   ]24 I took a walk over [a?] part of the battle feild and I never saw such sights [   ] to be seen [   ]  in some parts of the feild the ground was [   ] covered with dead rebels [   ]

Sept 15th  Started about 10 A.M. and march[ed] about 7 miles on the Sharpsburg road towards which the rebs had retreated  Sept 16th  Artillery fireing in advance, showing that the enemy were going to make another stand  Marched about 3 miles and bivouaced there  Enemys shells flying over us pretty lively  Sept 17th  fell in about 6 Oclock A.M. and waited for orders. The fight had been going [on?] since early in the morning and seemed to be very heavy on the right of us, where Hooker25 was engaged,  about 9 A.M. our Division was ordered to take a bridge which crossed Antietam creek and which w[as] defended by temporar[y] breastworks. The enemy had a very great advantage over us, as the bank on their side of the creek was very high and very steep. Our first Brigade was sent down to make the attack, and our Brigade was ordered to support them, but the first Brigade did not seem to get along very well, as they rather held back, and did not seem inclined to cross an open feild that had to be crossed before they could reach the Bridge and our Brigade was ordered to advance and see what we could do. We advanced on a double quick under heavy fire from the enemy, from which we suffered considerably, passed by the first Brigade, and formed close down to the edge of the creek  the 51st Pennsylvania forming just above the bridge and our Regt just below,  after fighting here about 2 hours the order was given to charge and away we went,  the 51st Penn haveing just about as far to go as we had, we both reached the bridge and crossed at the same time, as soon as we commenced the [charge?] the enemy commenced to leave. the enemy had a battery posted just up on the hill but when we charged  the battery skedaddled and the whole rebel force fell back about ½ a mile where they were protected by stone fences, and here they made another stand  Our third Brigade had been sent way down to the left to cross the creek and make an attack on the enemys flank but after a splendid charge on a rebel battery they were badly repulsed and fell back in considerable disorder,  after we had crossed the bridge and got possession of the heights we formed in a road and waited for orders and as soon as the 3d Brigade was driven back we were ordered to advance  we forwarded up to within 500 yards of where the rebels were concealed when we halted and commenced fireing but as our ammunition had nearly all be expended in the morning at the bridge (and there was not more to be had just at that time) we were soon out of ammunition and had to lay down and let the enemy blaze away at us while we hadent a shot to give them in return. We hunted all around and took all the cartridges out of the boxes of the killed and wounded and then we had to lay quiet  the rebels seemed to be very much puzled to why we kept so still  they seemed to think we were trying to get them into some kind of a trap, as they did not advance at all but kept up a pretty severe fire which of course we had to lay and take for about an hour when another brigade was sent in to relieve us and we were ordered back to the road where we were protected by a hill and after getting a fresh suply of ammunition we lay down and slept untill morning. Sept 18th  Slight Skirmishing going on all day, but we were not called on although we lay in line of battle and ready to advance at any moment if we had been called on. About 4 P.M. another Brigade came across the bridge and relieved us, and we fell back across the creek and bivouaced. The loss of our Regt. in this battle (of Antietam) was about 100 men killed and wounded. Sept 19th  Found the enemy had skedaddled during the previous night and about 9 O clock A.M. we were ordered to fall in, when we recrossed the bridge  passed over a part of the battle field, found quite a large number of dead rebels, went about 2 miles, no signs of the enemy, so we bivouac[ed] Sept 20th  put up Shelter tents and made ourselves as comfortable as possible untill Sept 26th when we changed our camp to the opposite side of Antietam creek,26

Oct 5th  Reviewed by Prest. Lincoln and Gen McClellan. Oct 7th  crossed over Maryland heights  marched about 8 miles (weather very hot) and encamped in Pleasant Valley Md where we kept very quiet untill Oct 25th when we got orders to march the next morning with 2 days cooked rations  Oct 26th  Rained hard all day, marching orders countermanded for to day.  Oct 27th  Struck tents at 8 AM  went through Knoxville Md  crossed the canal  went to Berlin  crossed the Potomac on pontoon Bridge (How are you old Virginia again) marche[d] to Lovettsville and bivouaced  Oct 28th  lay in camp all day  Oct 29th  started about 4 P.M.  marched until about 7 P.M. and bivouaced.  Oct 30th  started at 6 A.M.  marched to Wheatland, Va. and encamped  staid untill Nov. 2d  Started at 8 A.M.  marched all day and bivouaced near Purcerville  Nov 3d  Started in the afternoon marched through Bloomfield and bivouaced.  Nov. 4th  marched to Upperville and bivouaced  Nov 5th  Started in the morning  crossed the Rail Road at Piedmont and bivouaced near Paris.  Nov 6th  Started in the morning  marched untill 7 P.M. and bivouaced  had quite a snow storm this afternoon  weather very raw and cold  devilish rough bivouacing.  Nov. 7th  Started at 3 P.M.  passed through Orleans, took a road that ran to the right of the main raod, said to be a near cut to where we were going to, marched 2 or 3 miles over a most horrible road  came to the Rappahanock river, no bridge, river to deep to ford, had to bout face and march back to the main road, some tall swearing, took the main road  marched about 2 miles and bivouaced,  had been snowing lightly all day, at night had to scrape the snow away  Spread our blankets and lay with our feet to the fire.  Nov 8th  Started in the morning  crossed the Rappahanock and arived at Jefferson in the afternoon and bivouaced,  Nov 9th  laid in camp, short of rations, no crackers to be had,  Nov 10th  Still in camp  grub mighty scarce, awful poor country but boys managed to steal a chicken now and then27  Nov 11th  A few rebels showed themselves in front of our Pickets so our Regt. and 2 peices of Durrells28 battery were sen[t] on a reconnoitering expedition, went out a couple of miles  couldent find the rebs in any force, battery sent a few shells into the woods, and we came back to camp,  Nov 12th  was woke up about 12 O clock at night and ordered to strike quietly and get ready to march,  the enemy were supposed to be in strong force within 10 miles of us and it seems they just began to find out that we were weak in numbers as our Division [w]ere the only troops across the river, and our other Brigade was way off to the right of us some 6 or 8 miles.  We started about 3 Oclock A.M. (leaving a Cavelry Picket with orders to stay until driven away by the enemy) and fell back across the Rappahanock river to Sulphur Springs and bivouaced  Nov 13th  The enemy29 drove in the pickets that we left at Jefferson and followed them almost to the bank of the river when our batteries opened on them, which made them [right?] about and leave in a hurry  rations of crackers and coffee and sugar served out to day  the first we had for five days.  Nov 15th  Left camp at 7 A.M. Infantry takeing the lead, Artillery following, and baggage train bringing up the rear,  we took a road runing near the bank of the river and as soon as our Infantry and Artillery had all passed, a force of rebel cavelry and Artillery made their appearance on the opposite side of the river and commenced Shelling our baggage train  a couple of our batteries were ordered back to engage the rebs and our Regt were ordered to support them,  we went back and our batteries took posish but as our guns were only 12 pounders while the rebs had 20 pounders of course they had altogather the best of the fighting and threw shot and shell among us pretty lively while our guns couldent reach them. Our Regt. lay just behind our batteries, but were protected by a hill so that they could not do us much damage although they threw shell over us and all around us  After laying there about 2 hours our First Division came along with [Ben?]jamins Battery of 20 pounders, who ran up on the hill  took position, opened fire, and soon made the rebs get up and get, and we went on 4 or 5 miles and bivouaced.  Nov 16th  Left camp at 7 A.M. passed through Fayettville and bivouaced  Nov 17th  Started in the morning  marched all day and bivouaced  Nov. 18th  lay in camp  Nov 19th  Marched to [Fal]mouth and encamped [at?] the Lacy House  [Here?] we lay untill Nov 22 [whe]n we moved camp to the Bell Plains road where we lay untill Dec 10th when we Recd orders to keep 5 days cooked rations on hand and be ready to move at an hours notice, tents to be left standing  Dec 11th  Was woke up about 4 Oclock in the morning, by the most terrible Artillery fireing I had ever heard,  the Regt fell in about 7 A.M. and marched down to [the] Lacy House where [we] lay all day  heavy [   ] fireing all day,  the [   ] had been trying all day to lay the Pontoon Bridge but the enemys fire had been so hot that up to 4 P M the bridge was unfinished  about 4½ P.[M.] our Brigade was ordered back to camp but when we were about half way, orders came for our Regt. to go down and assist in laying the bridge (I heard one [of] Gen Burnsides Aides [say?] that, one of the officers [of the] Engineer Regt, that [was] engaged in laying the bridge came to Burnside [an]d said that the fire [of] the enemy was so hot that [it] was impossible for his [m]en to work,  The aid said that Burnside turned to one of his officers and told him to send for the 51st N. Y. and let them finish it) but before we reached the river word came that the bridge was finished and we were ordered back to camp  pa[rt of] our forces crossed [the] river during the [   ]  Dec. 12th  Fell in and [went] over the Pontoons [to] Fredericksburg, halt[ed] [   ] the bank of the river  stacked arms and [   ] all day and night [   ] enemy throwing shell over our heads when ever they saw any one comeing across the river.  Dec 13th  Fell in about 8 A.M. and went to the back part of the City where we halted about an hour waiting for orders when the rest of our Brigade was sent up to the front and our Regt, was ordered to support a battery which took position on a small hill about 500 from the enemys works,  the enemy completely swept the position with grape and cannister and our battery was soon obliged to haul off with nearly half of their men either killed or wounded,  Our Regt was then ordered up to the front line of battle, and went in by the flank untill we were about opposite the position we were to occupy when we forwarded in line of battle over a plain about 200 Yards wide that was entirely swept by the enemys guns and we received the most terrific fire of grape, cannister, percussion Shell musketry and everything else, that I ever saw. The Regt strugled on to the front, and opened fire and kept it up untill they expended their 60 rounds of ammunition, and there we laid down, as fresh troops came in and releived us, but as it was getting late in the afternoon it was thought best to leave the regt where it was untill dark as it was much safer there, than passing over the open feild again (in daylight) to go out as we were somewhat protected by a rise in the ground while we staid there. As soon as it was dark we went back to our old place by the bank of the river, and bivouaced  We found that our loss was 63 men killed and wounded and 6 officers wounded  I was hit by a peice of shell which struck me in the face cutting through my cheek but doing no serious damage30  Dec 14th  Some skirmishing going on in front, but no serious fighting  About 10 Oclock P.M. we fell in and went out to the front on picket  we were in almost the same spot where we were fighting the day before  had two or three alarms during the night and there was some fireing but no harm done on our side.  Dec 15th  Spent a most miserable day  we were laying in a place where the ground just protected us from the enemys shot if we lay down flat, but if we raised our heads the least bit, the enemy, who were behind the rifle pitts would blaze away at us and we could hear the bullets whiz all around us. it was devilish aggrevating to a fellow to be obliged to lay there flat on the ground and hear the rebs moveing about behind their works talking and whistling and apparently enjoying themselves first rate,  during the afternoon they amused themselves by fireing at us with Artillery, first they tried a solid shot, that just skimed the ground in front of us, and passed a few inches over our heads, next they tried a percussion shell but they could not depress their guns enough and the shell struck and exploded just to the rear of us  they next fired a fuse shell but they dare not cut the fuse short enough (for fear the shell would explode in the gun) and it passed over our heads doing no damage,  finaly they tried a charge of grape but were just as unsuccessful as they were in their other kind efforts, and they gave it up in despair. We lay there untill about 12 Oclock at night when we fell back crossed the pontoon bridge and went back to our old camp on the Bell Plains road,  During the night all the troops retreated across the river to the Falmouth side, bringing all their Artillery and Baggage, and so ended the great battle of Fredericksburg which was lost in my Opinion soley throug incompetant Generalship  for I am certain, never did men fight harder or better.31  Dec 16th  fixed up our old camp and took things quietly  the whole regt going on picket along the Rappahanhock once or twice a week, and the rest of the time laying around camp with nothing to do untill Jan 16th when we received orders to cook 5 days rations and be ready to move at any moment,  Jan 17th  Pontoon trains began moving up the river, Raining and Snowing continualy  terrible muddy  Artillery all stuck in the mud  Burnsides 2d Movement a perfect failure on account of the storm and mud32  Jan 19th  troops all moved back to their old camps and everything quiet again, except when our turn came to go on picket  Lay in camp untill Feb 9th when we struck tents and fell in and marched to cars, went to board, and went to Aquia creek, then went on board a schooner and was taken in tow by a steam tug and Started for Newport News, whch place we reached, Feb 11th and went on Shore and pitched camp.  Feb 12th  fixed our camp and buiseyed ourselves with building log houses and makeing ourselves as comfortable as possible.

Feb 23d  Had a new flag presented to us by Col Shepard33 in behalf of the Ladies of the City of New York  Col Shepard made a great speech. Col LeGendre responded and we had quite a time

Feb 25th  Our Army Corps reviewed by Gen Dix.

March 7th Received a leave of absence for 10 days, left in the afternoon for Home by way of Baltimore and Philadelphia,  leave of absence dateted the 8th  arrived home about 11 p m March 8th  had a good time and started to rejoin the Regt March 17th34  arrived at Newport News March 19th and found the regt getting ready to start off on a tramp.  March 25th  Got orders to cook 5 days rations  March 26th  Went on board the steamboat John Brooks and started for Baltimore  March 27th  arrived in Baltimore, landed at Long dock and marched to Rail Road Depot, had to wait there untill about 9 O clock P.M. as there was no cars ready for us,  finaly started about midnight  March 28th  Stopped at a place called Miff[li]n in the state of Penn, where the men were served with coffee. Arrived at Altoona Penn. about dark where the men were again served with coffe  March 29th  Arived at Pittsburg Penn about 9 A.M. Marched to the Town Hall where the citazens had prepared refreshments for us, had a good feed, and then marched to the Depot of the Fort [W]ayne, Pittsburg and Chicago R.R. and went on board the cars and started again  March 30th  Arrived at Columbus, Ohio about day light and had coffe  one of the members of Co. H. named, Norris fell from the cars and was instantly killed  Arrived at Cincinnatti Ohio about 8 P.M.  had a fine supper in the Market home furnished by the citazens, Staid there in the street untill about 12 Oclock at night (as no one seemd to have a very clear idea where we were to go or what was to be done with us) and then marched down to the Ferry and went on board the boat, and crossed the Ohio river to Covington Ky, marched to the Car Depot  took posession of a train of cars and went to sleep  March 31st  turned out about daylight  went to a Hotel and had some breakfast, left Covington about 4 P.M. by the Kentucky Central R.R. Staid in the cars all night and in the morning we found ourselves at a place called Paris,35 where we left the cars, marched about a mile and pitched our tents, as we were told we were to stay here, but on the evening of April 2d we were ordered to be ready to march early the next morning  April 3d  struck tents and started about 8 A.M.  passed through the Villiage of Middletown and bivouaced about ½ a mile from the Villiage of Mt. Sterling about 7 P.M. haveing marched 22 miles to day.  April 4th  Marched through the town and encamped about a mile on the other side of it, where we staid doing picket duty until April 14th when we had a little excitement in the shape of rapid marching. As I was sitting in my tent writing (about 12 O clock at night) I heard one of Gen Ferreros staff ride into camp and give the Col. orders to have his men ready to move, with one days rations and in light marching order in an hours time. In five minutes all was bustle in the camp and about 1 A.M. on the morning of the 15th we fell in and started  after going a short distance we were joined by the 51st Penn so that we were all right for anything that might turn up. No one knew where we were going, but we all surmised that we were on a hunt after Guerrilas, a kind of animal that we were all curious to see,  we had a native guide to conduct us and just about daylight we halted to rest a few moments just outside the Villiage [of] Sharpsburg, as we had marched about 12 in 4 hours,  After resting a moment, we started on again  throwing out a company of skirmishers and after we reached the Town, our Regt. went along the outskirts on one side, and the 51st Penn on the other, leav[ing] pickets every 200 feet until we met in the rear of the town, so that when the citazen[s] woke up in the morning they found the place completely surrounded but nary Guerilla could we find in the place. We arrested quite a number of citazens, who were noted secessionists,  all those that [were] willing to take the [oath] of aleagance we [   ] but several who [refu]sed we brought away [an]d I believe they were sent to Cincinnatti, to Gen Brunsides Head Quarters. About 5 P.M. we started back to camp where we arrived about 9 P.M. pretty well tired out, It seems that from some information they received the Union people of Sharpsburg supposed that the rebel Guerillas were about to make a [raid] on the town (duri[ng] the night of our visit) a[s they] had done several ti[mes] before. April 17th  left Mt. Sterling about 4 A.M. and marched 15 miles and encampe[d] near Winchester Ky  April 18th  Received our pay for the months of Nov, Dec, Jan & Feb  April 19th  Receiv[e]d notice from Col. LeGendre that it was the wish of the men that I wou[ld] take the money (that they wished to send home) to Lexington and Express it for them,  April 20th and 21st  I was kept buisy receiving the mens money and takeing the directions of the persons they wanted it sent to  April 22d  I started about 5 p.m. on horseback, with about 11000 dollars  went as far as the villiage, sent the horse back to camp  stopped at the Hotel all night and about 7 A.M. on the 23d I took the stage for Lexington  after riding about 18 miles reached Lexingto[n] went straight to the Office of the Addams Express Co had my money put in the safe  got a receipt for it and then went to a hotel and got dinner, then went back to the Express Office and commenced putting the money up in packages. found it was going to be a pretty heavy job as the money had all to be put up in packages of from 10 to 50 dollars, directed and receipts taken for each seperate package  I had a clerk to help me and we both worked hard untill dark, when I went to the Broadway Hotel, had supper, went to the Theater (a one horse affair) came back and went to bed  April 24th  After breakfast went to the express Office and went to work, worked until 1 O clock, then went and had dinner and then went back to the Office and worked untill night,  after tea took a short walk about the City and came back and went to bed,  April 25th  went to the Office again and finished putting up the money. Straitened up my receipts  found the money all came out right to a cent, took a walk about the City  was quite surprised to see it so much larger than I expected, liked the place first rate, bought a few things that I wante[d]  went back to the hotel  had dinner and about 2 P.M. took the stage back for Winchester  the farms along the roads were the finest I have ever seen, and the crops looked splendid  in a great many fields were droves of young horses mules and cattle in the best kind of order36  Arrived back at camp about 6 P M.  April 30th  Had a review by Genl Sturgis.37  May 4th  Struck tents  marched 13 miles towards Lexington and bivouaced  May 5th  Passed through Lexington  marched 14 miles and bivouaced [61/2?] miles from Nicholasville  May 6th  Passed through Nicolasville  marched about 16 miles and bivouaced  May 7th  Marched about 13 miles and bivouaced one mile from Lancaster,  May 8th  Marched 11 miles to Lowell and bivouaced.  May 10th  Left Lowell  went back (by the same road we came on) towards Lancaster and bivouaced about a mile from town.  May 12th  Moved camp, about a mile on the other side of the town  our regt doing provost duty in the villiage until May 23d when we left camp  marched about 12 miles to Crab Orchard and bivouaced May 25th  Left Crab Orchard  marched 10 miles to Stamford and bivouaced May 26th  Marched 9 miles to Hustonville and encamped about 9 Oclock P.M. and just after we got our tents pitched, word came to us (said to be from Gen Carter38) that the enemy were in strong force about 7 miles from, and marching towards us and we were ordered to Strike tents and get ready to move at once,  We pulled down our tents  loaded everything on the wagons, and then the regt. fell in  marched about a mile, lay down on the road and slept untill daylight and then marched back and put up our tents again and staid there doing Provost and Picket duty until June 4th when we left Hustonville39  Marched 9 miles and bivouaced  June 5th  Left at 6 A.M. and started for Nicholasville  marched about 5 miles, when we were overtaken by a large train of Army wagons that were going to Nicholasville [   ]. We took possession of the wagons  got on board and rode to Nicholasville where we arrived about 4 P.M. haveing come over 20 miles to day  June 6th  Left Nicholasville at 5 P.M. on board the cars, and arrived at Covington at 6 A.M. on the morning of June 7th and crossed the Ohio river to Cincinnatti where we had refreshments  then marched to the Depot of the Miss. and Ohio R.R.  went on board the cars and left Cincinatti  June 8th  passed a part of the State of Indiana and arrived at Landoval Ill. where we changed cars, taking the Illanois Central R R and arrived at Cairo Ill about 10 P.M.  June 10th  went on board the steamboat Rocket and started down the Mississippi river  stopped a couple of hours at Island No. 10  June 11th  arrived at Memphis Tenn. about 11 A.M. went on shore  took a look at the City and staid there untill about 4 A.M. on the morning of the 12th when we again got under weigh, stopped a couple of hours at Helena Arkansas, went on shore  had a look at the place and then started on,  June 13th  Stopped an hour at Millikens Bend where we saw quite a number of Niger Regts encamped.  June 14th  Arived and went on shore at Shermans Landing, Louisana (about 4 miles below Vicksburg.)  could see the Mortar Boats blazing away at the City  it was a splendid sight at night as you could see the shells from the time they left the boats untill they exploded.  June 15th  Left at 5 A.M. marching about 3 miles (across the narrow neck of land where the great Canal that was to leave Vicksburg an inland town had been attempted40) untill we struck the river below Vicksburg, went on board the boat  crossed the Mississippi river landing at Warrenton Miss, about 3 miles from Vicksburg  had a sight of the city as we were crossing the river  Staid at Warrenton about 2 hours when we were ordered back to Shermans landing. recrossed the river and marched back to the landing where we arrived about 9 P.M.  June 16th  Went on board the steam boat John H Dickey. Sailed up the Yazoo river about 14 miles and landed at Snyders Bluff, Miss.  June 17th  Went on shore  marched about 2 miles and encamped, heard Artillery fireing constantly at Vicksburg, Sometimes very heavy,  Our Camp was situated about 8 miles in the rear of Vicksburg, and between the Yazoo and black rivers. Our whole Corps encamped about here and immediately went to work fortifying and getting ready to receive Johnson (if he should attempt to make his threat good of raising the Seige of Vicksburg41). We dug miles of rifle pitts, cut down a great deal of timber  made breastworks and Redouts for Artillery, and fixed things in such a shape that had Johnson dared to attack us I feel confident we would have either killed or captured his whole force.

June 18th to July 4th  heard heavy fireing at Vicksburg every day and sometimes all night. Nearly every day we had all sorts of rumers about the Rebel Gen Johnson,  sometimes we heard that he had crossed the Black River with 40 or 50,000 men and was marching to attack us, and then again he was collecting a terrible force at Jackson, and was soon comeing down here to eat us all up but we paid no attention to these stories but kept steady at our work and minded our own buisness  July 4th  Got the news of the surrender of Vicksburg and about 12 M received orders to be ready to march a 4 P.M. with 10 days rations  3 days to be carried in haversacks and 7 in wagons.

Started at 6 P.M.  marched about 7 miles and bivouaced  Weather terrible hot and roads awful dusty  July 5th  Marched about 10 miles and bivouaced within a couple of miles of the Big Black River. Dust horrible and weather hot.  July [6th?]  Laid in camp all day waiting for the pioneers to build a bridge across the river as it was found to be to deep to ford, as we had intended the rebel pickets who were posted on the opposite side of the Big Black river (a small muddy creek about 150 ft wide)  fell back as soon as our forces came in sight.  July 7th  Started about 2 P.M.  crossed the river weather very hot. Several men sun struck and two or three died from the effects of the heat  men suffered considerably from the scarcity of water, about 8 P.M. had a terrible thunder Shower  never saw such sharp lightning almost blinded a fellow  it was so dark you could not see an inch before you and we had to halt in the road, and stand and take the whole of it. About 9 P.M. it stopped raining, but the dust that had laid in the road like flour 4 or 5 inches deep was now made into mortar and we strugled on for a mile or two and then had to give it up, and turned off by the side of the road and bivouaced  we were all soaked through and through so we built a fire and dried up a little and then sat down on the ground and went to sleep.  July 8th  Left in the afternoon and marched untill 3 Oclock on the morning of the 9th  was on the road nearly all day but the weather was so hot we could not get along much.

July 10th  marched nearly all day  heard Artillery fireing ahead,  arrived within sight of Jackson (where we supposed we were going to have a big fight with Johnson) about 4 P.M. and halted untill about 6 Oclock P.M when we went up to the front and took position and lay down in line of battle and slept, all night.  July 11th  went up to support skirmishers  changed our position about 1 P.M. went to the extreme left of our line,  my Co and 3 others were deployed as skirmishers  we forwarded about 500 yards untill we were on a line of the other regts and then halted, and kept a bright look out for the rebs but as we were in a wood we could not see the enemy although the bullets flew around quite lively,  had quite a shower just before night, got wet through  had nothing to eat since early in the morning but for my supper I borrowed a cracker, and made believe I had a good supper, although the prospect was not very fair for passing a comfortable night as I was wet to the skin  tired hungry and on picket, in the woods and the night was so dark you couldent see an inch from your nose,  we had one man wounded to day.  July 12th  My Co was releived at 8 A.M. and were to act as a reserve for the other skirmishers  that is we fell back about 100 yards to a place where we were protected by a high bank but we had to keep all our equipments on and be ready to assist our skirmishers if they were hard pressed. Our batteries worked pretty for a while to day  July 13th  Our Regt was releived at daylight by the 9th New Hampshire and our whole regt was held in reserve,  we had several alarms during the day and two or three times at night we had to fall in, when the fireing was heavy.  July 14th  our regt was releived this morning and we marched about a mile to the rear and encamped.  July 15th  Went down to a pond  took off my clothes  washed them  wrung them out and put them on to day. When we left camp we only took the clothes we had on us  every thing else had to be left in camp.  July 16th  Our regt. went up to the front again at 2 Oclock this morning, takeing our old position  heard the sound of heavy wagon trains during the night and made up my mind the enemy were either skedaddling or moveing Artillery down to the right of their line (in front of us) I couldent tell which)  July 17th  About 2 Oclock in the morning our regt was ordered to change their position and we moved about ¾ of a mile to the right and were ordered to support the 35th Mass. who belonged to our brigade and were posted in rifle pitts that they had dug during two or three nights they had been there. Just about daylight a white flag was hoisted on the rebel breastworks (as we afterwards found by the citazens) and we found that the enemy had all left during the night and we marched in and took posession of the Town.  The 35th Mass, being the first and our regt being the second inside the rebel works42  quite a number of houses were on fire (supposed to have been set on fire by our Shells) and the place looked pretty hard, for the Capitol of a state,  still you could see that it had been a very handsome place,  The state buildings were standing but they looked as if they had seen hard times lately. Most all of the houses were deserted and closed and although we put guards on a good many of the houses, the place was completely ransacked as soon as the western troops came in there.  We took 2 or 300 prisoners and found that the rebs had left (in their hury to get away) quite a number of rifles  a large amount of ammunition and 2 seige guns,  about 4 P.M. the 16th Corps took posession of the town and we marched back to our old place and bivouaced.

July 20th  Started at 6 A.M. for our old camp at Milldale  passed through Clinton and halted for 3 or 4 hours and then started and went 5 or 6 miles more and bivouaced  Marched to day about 16 miles  July 21st  Started at 4 A.M.  passed through Brownsville. weather terrible hot and roads terrible dusty,  men suffered considerably from the heat and want of water to drink  passed 7 men in going a mile, that were lying by the road sunstruck  bivouaced at night near the Black river in a large corn field containing 5 or 600 acres  July 22d  Went to a pond and washed my clothes  About 4 P.M. started on the march  crossed the Big Black, had a terrible shower  got wet through and through, horrible marching  mud about 6 inches dep, went about 6 miles and bivouaced,  July 23d  Started about 6 P.M. and reached our camp about 10 P.M. found our tents all standing just as we left them, had a good wash  changed my clothes, and took things comfortably as we were all completely tired out, and I made up my mind that takeing into consideration the hot weather that since we left camp on the 4th of July it had been about as hard a 19 days as I had seen since I had been in the Army43

From July 23d to August 6th lay in camp at Milldale  August 6th  struck camp at Milldale Miss at 2 P.M. marched down to Snyders Bluff (on the Yazoo River) and went on board the steamboat Planter. left the dock about 9 ½ P.M. and sailed down the Yazoo and into the Mississippi river  passed Millikens Bend during the night.  August 8th  reached Helena Arkansas, about 11 ½ P.M.  stopped a few minutes and then went on up the river reached Memphis Tenn about 3 P.M. Aug 9th  left Memphis at 12 ½ P.M. Aug 10th  Aug 12th  reached Cairo Ill. about 6 A.M. and went on board the cars of the Ill. Central R.R. and left for Cincinatti at 6 P.M.  Aug 13th  arrived at brestoline Ill about 4 A.M.  stopped a couple of hours, had coffee and then started on  reached Landoval Ill. about 6 ½; A.M. changed cars taking the St Louis and Cincinatti R.R.  passed through the following villiages  all pleasant little towns on the Prairie  Odin, Salem, Xenier, Flora Clay City, Olney, and Bridgeport. all in Ill  crossed the Wabash river and passed through the following towns  Vincennes Indiana, Washington.  Aug 14th  passed through Salem  Vernon and lots of other Small Towns, reached Cincinatti at 3 P.M.  marched up to the Market house where the citazens had a first rate dinner prepared for us.44 After dinner marched down to the Ferry and crossed over to Covington Ky where we encamped untill Aug 26th when we struck camp and took the cars and bivouaced in the road. Aug 27th  marched about 3 miles on the Lancaster turnpike and encamped.45

Sept 6th  Paid by Major Walker for Months of July & August


  • 1. From sometime in September 1861 until September 6, 1863, George Whitman recorded his war experiences in a pocket diary.  After he was captured on September 30, 1864, the diary was among the contents of a trunk sent on to his mother's home in Brooklyn, where it arrived on December 26, 1864. Walt Whitman read the diary and recorded the following thoughts in his own diary for that day:"It is merely a skeleton of dates, voyages, places camped in or marched through, battles fought, &c. But I can realize clearly that by calling upon even a tithe of myriads of living & actual facts, which go along with, & fill up this dry list of times & places, it would outvie all the romances in the world, & most of the famous histories & biographies to boot. It does not need calling in play the imagination to see that in such a record as this lies folded a perfect poem of the war comprehending all its phases, its passions, the fierce tug of the secessionists, the interminable fibre of the national union, all the special hues & characteristic forms & pictures of actual battles with colors flying, rifles snapping, cannon thundering, grape whiring, armies struggling, ships at sea or bombarding shore batteries, skirmishes in woods, great pitched battles, & all the profound scenes of individual death, courage, endurance & superbest hardihood, & splendid muscular wrestle of a newer large race of human giants with all furious passions aroused on one side, & the sternness of an unalterable determination on the other" (Manuscripts of Walt Whitman in the Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University; reprinted in the Introduction to Roy P. Basler, ed., Walt Whitman's "Memoranda During the War" and "Death of Abraham Lincoln" (1962), p. 17. [back]
  • 2. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from April 12, 1862. [back]
  • 3. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from February 9, 1862. [back]
  • 4. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from February 9, 1862. [back]
  • 5. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from February 9, 1862. [back]
  • 6. John Grubb Parke (1827-1900); see George Washington Whitman's letters to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from July 23, 1863 and June 18, 1864. [back]
  • 7. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from February 9, 1862. [back]
  • 8. A parallel account of George Whitman's experiences in the battle of Roanoke Island appears in George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from February 9, 1862. [back]
  • 9. David R. Johnson was wounded in action on March 14, 1862; he died on March 19, 1862. [back]
  • 10. George D. Allen was killed in action on March 14, 1862. [back]
  • 11. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from March 16, 1862. [back]
  • 12. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from March 16, 1862. [back]
  • 13. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from March 16, 1862. [back]
  • 14. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from September 30, 1862. [back]
  • 15. See the letter from George Washington Whitman to Walt Whitman of April 29, 1864. [back]
  • 16. A parallel account of Whitman's experiences in the battle of New Bern appears in George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from March 16, 1862. [back]
  • 17. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from April 27, 1862. [back]
  • 18. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from July 11, 1862. [back]
  • 19. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from August 17, 1862. [back]
  • 20. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from September 5, 1862(?). [back]
  • 21. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from August 17, 1862. [back]
  • 22. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from September 5, 1862. [back]
  • 23. Philip Kearny and Isaac Ingalls Stevens; a parallel account of Whitman's observations in these two battles—Manassas and Chantilly—appears in George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from 5 September 1862 and George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from September 5, 1862(?). [back]
  • 24. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from September 19, 1862. [back]
  • 25. Joseph Hooker (1814–1879); see George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from April 2, 1863. [back]
  • 26. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from September 19, 1862 and George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from September 21, 1862 for parallel accounts of the battles of South Mountain and Antietam. [back]
  • 27. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from November 10, 1862. [back]
  • 28. Unidentified. [back]
  • 29. The following note appears at the top of this page in the diary: "[re]ceived my commission as [first lieutenant No]v 15  date of commission Nov 1st" [sic]. [back]
  • 30. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from December 16, 1862. [back]
  • 31. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from September 5, 1862(?). [back]
  • 32. See the letter from George Washington Whitman to Walt Whitman of February 12, 1863. [back]
  • 33. Elliot F. Shepard, organizer of the Fifty-First Regiment of New York Volunteers; see George Washington Whitman's letterx to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from February 9, 1862 and April 12, 1862. For General Dix, see George Washington Whitman's two letters to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from February 25, 1863, available here and here. [back]
  • 34. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Charles W. LeGendre, February 27, 1863 and to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from April 2, 1863. [back]
  • 35. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from April 2, 1863. [back]
  • 36. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Thomas Jefferson Whitman, April 22, 1863. [back]
  • 37. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from September 21, 1862. [back]
  • 38. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from May 29, 1863. [back]
  • 39. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from May 29, 1863. [back]
  • 40. General Thomas Williams, who had been in command of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and who was killed August 5, 1862, had in the early summer of that year made a survey of the stronghold at Vicksburg, and had projected a canal across the neck of land opposite Vicksburg, with a view of turning the channel of the Mississippi River into a new route—which would have left Vicksburg an inland town, or at most one with a deep and sluggish bayou in front of it. The plan failed because the canal built for this purpose was inaccurately located. Later, Grant made similar attempts—including the construction of a canal that began at Milliken's Bend, about twenty-five miles above Vicksburg and Grant's headquarters during the Vicksburg campaign. Heavy rains, however, defeated this attempt as well as others. Schmucker, pp. 566-67. [back]
  • 41. Johnston; see George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from July 23, 1863. [back]
  • 42. See George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from July 23, 1863. In his letter to the New York Times, published October 29, 1864, Walt Whitman wrote: "June and July, 1863, found the Fifty-first in the forces under Gen. Grant, operating against Vicksburgh. On the fall of that stronghold they were pushed off under Sherman as part of a small army toward Jackson, the capital of Mississippi. This was a tough little campaign. The drought and excessive heat, the dust everywhere two or three inches thick, fine as flour, rising in heavy clouds day after day as they marched, obscuring everything and making it difficult to breathe, will long be remembered. The Fifty-first was the second regiment entering Jackson at its capture, July 17, 1863." (Emory Holloway, ed., The Uncollected Poetry and Prose of Walt Whitman [1921], 2:39. [back]
  • 43. A parallel account of this experience appears in George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from July 23, 1863. [back]
  • 44. The following note appears at the top of this page in the diary: "Aug 16 paid by Maj [Rees?] for the Months of June & July." [back]
  • 45. See George Washington Whitman's letters to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from August 16, 1863 and September 7, 1863. [back]
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