asked him to attend to the baby. He took the quill, looked at
it, asked about it, and said, "T will come to-morrow morning;
I never saw anything like this," and took the (luill away with
him. He came the next morning and vaccinated the baby with
the little particles from the tube. It did not take, and when
we asked about it, we found that he had used the sand that
PERSONAL EXPERIENCES OF THE CIVIL WAR. 397
the little glass tube of virus was packed in. Fortunately, baby
did not take the small-pox.
Our camp at Fort Mansfield was located in the rear of the
fort. It was laid out in company streets, the men's tents fac-
ing each other about thirty feet apart, the respective company
oflBcers" tent.s facing each street. Then came the staff officers'
tents, then the headquarters tent, and back of that and facing
it our log-cabin, connected by a corduroy walk through the
mud. We had very jolly times in our little house; entertained
the officers and wives, two at a time, as our table would hold
only four, and many an evening we played whist and euchre
with Major Taft and Quartermaster Knowles, Xelly fast asleep
in her cradle in the corner of the room. I never thought of our
voices disturbing her, and I do not remember that they did.
One Sunday morning I happened to look out of the door, and
was surprised to see my husband coming up the company street,
and a soldier running after him. I was just about to scream
to him, as the man looked very angry, when the guard ran and
grabbed the soldier by the collar. My husband turned, looked
at them, then walked over and handed me a loaded pistol, and
then went back. It seems that the poor soldier was crazy
drunk and had held off several of the guard who were trying
to arrest him. They were all afraid of being shot, so they sent
for the colonel, who asked the man to hand him the pistol,
which was cocked and pointed at him, but received in reply
these words, "Don't come near me, Colonel Seward; I would
rather shoot any man in the regiment than you ; but, damn you,
I will shoot you if you lay hands on me." The colonel looked
him straight in the eye, saying kindly. "I know you will not
shoot me; give me your revolver." And the man did instinct-
ively as commanded, and handed him the weapon. I have
heard ray husband say that he felt that he came nearer being
killed by that man than in any of the battles.
We had a great many callers from Washington and Auburn
at different times â€” the president, members of the Cabinet,
foreign ministers and others, all curious to see how we lived in
camp. I wish I had thought to have kept a record of them.
Early in February, 1863, I went into Washington with Nelly
to visit Mrs. Seward, while my husband was sitting on court-
martial, which took him away from camp the most of the time.
While there he was sent for one morning by the president, and
398 NINTH NEW YORK HEAVY ARTILLERY.
ordered to leave that night on an important secret mission to
Louisiana. He was gone about three weeks. We did not hear
a word from him until he arrived back in New York, nor could
we tell where he had gone. Oh ! how glad we were to get back
to our little cabin again.
As long as the roads were good, Mr. and Mrs. Seward came
out every few days to see the baby, but in the spring the roads
were so cut up by the heav.y army-wagons, and the mud was
so deep, that nothing but an array-wagon or a horse alone could
get through them, and for six weeks they could not get out
to see us, nor I in to see them. Then there came a very beautiful
day, and my husband proposed that I should go in on horse-
back, as he and the quartermaster were going; so I did, but oh,
what a ride! Our horses had to walk all the six miles, most of
the way by the fences on the grass, or sinking in the mud to
As the warm weather came on, I was surprised one day to
find a soldier making a garden at the side of the house, which
he filled with wild flowers. I went out to admire them and
thank him, when he said, ''You don't remember me; I used to
make garden for your mother, Mrs. Watson; and what a pretty
garden she had!" Many a morning I would find a new wild
flower planted before I was up. After the flowers were gone
and the sun was strong, we having the shade of only one old
apple-tree, on the east side of the house, the men cut and set
around the house evergreen trees. Their shade was very grate-
ful to us. The soldiers were all fond of the baby, and brought
all sorts pf things for her amusement. One day it was a young
crow, which Banty and I succeeded in taming so that he would
hop in and eat with us at the table. This was great fun for
There were constant rumors that the enemy might attack
the Chain Bridge, which was only a mile from us, and they were
making frequent raids, so one afternoon in May, just about
sunset, the long roll, the signal of an attack, was sounded.
The companies all rushed to arms, and Mary and I received or-
ders to pack up and go into Washington. We started in a
little one-horse wagon tliat we had been using, and a soldier
drove us in by the light of the full moon, taking pains not to
forget the countersign, that we gave to the pickets, as we passed
them. Upon arriving at the house, we astonished and fright-
PERSONAL EXPERIENCES OF THE CIVIL WAR. 399
ened the family, by the news that we were running from the
eneniT, but quieted their fears by saying that the men were
getting so careless and lazy that the lieutenant colonel gave
them the alarm, but had to send his family in to give it the
effect of reality. I did not go back to our dear little cabin,
much to my regret, as there were frequent alarms, and raids
by the guerrillas, as well as rumors that the regiment was to
be moved soon, and it was getting too warm to stay in the
We came back to Auburn, staying with Mrs. Seward. As
we were women alone, the front of the house was closed, the
family living in the north side and back of the house. It was
Mrs. Seward's custom during the summer to rise early and read
and write by a window in the north room upstairs, so the blinds
were always open. One morning she was not as early as usual,
but when she went in a large stone was in the middle of the
room, and broken glass was on her chair and the floor. The
stone had been thrown through the window, and if she had
been sitting in the chair she would have been htirt. When she
came to tell me about it. she said, "You had better take baby
and go to your mother's; we may have the house burned, or
something worse." "'No," said I, "I will not leave you alone."
Then she said, "If you have anything very valuable, you had
better take it away." So that afternoon I took my husband's
photograph down to my mother's house, it being, to my mind,
the most valuable thing that I jiossessed. This was at the time
that the copperhead element was very active in the North, and
we were frequently threatened with violence.
My husband was sent in August, 1863, with four companies
of his regiment down on the Potomac river twenty miles to a
place called Rozier's bluff, where they built a fort or earth-
works, called Fort Foote. It was a high bluff on the river, but
back of it was a low marsh, known as "The Graveyard of Prince
George County," and that, with the turning of the earth dur-
ing the hot weather, caused a great deal of sickness among the
men. Out of 600, 300 were sick with fever. In September I
was making my mother a visit, and went one afternoon to the
milliner's with my sister, Mrs. Pomeroy. While there I re-
ceived a telegram from Mr. Seward saying. "William very sick;
come immediately with his mother." I hurried home, while
Mrs. Pomeroy went to Mrs. Seward with the despatch. We
400 NINTH NEW YORK HEAVY ARTILLERY.
packed up, and in a few hours were on our way, accompanied
by Mr. Pomeroy. What a hard night's ride that was. We went
by the Northern Central road, so we could get there sooner.
There were no sleeping-cars, so we all sat in the hard, straight-
backed seats all night, two in a seat, Mary and I taking turns
holding the baby. We arrived in Washington early in the
morning, so thankful to find our dear one alive, a little better,
but desperately ill with dysentery. He was taken sick two
days before, and the doctors said that he could not live; sent for
his father, who had him carried on a stretcher to Washington,
accompanied by his faithful regimental surgeon. Dr. Cham-
berlain, who never left him until he commenced to get better.
Sir Henry Holland, physician to Queen Victoria, was at the
time visiting Mr. Seward, and hearing how sick his son was,
asked to see him. After he had carefully examined the patient,
he said to Mr. Seward, "The young surgeon is doing well; I
think your son will recover with careful nursing; give him only
mutton broth; it is the most soothing nourishment in his dis-
ease." I remember how pleased we all were with Sir Henry,
he was so kind and interested for us.
With the good care of the doctors and his mother, my hus-
band was well enough to come home in October. We had been
here only about a week when he was taken with typhoid fever,
and for three dismal mouths he had a hard fight for his life.
There were no trained nurses then. His mother and I took all
the care of him. Dr. Horatio Robinson watched him day and
night, and with his constant care and Dr. Robinson, Sr.'s,
counsel, he finally recovered.
In February, my husband went back to his command at Fort
Foote. Houses had been built there for the otKcers. Major
Taft, who had been in command during the lieutenant colonel's
absence, was occupying the colonel's house while one was build-
ing for him, so I had to remain in Washington for the plaster
to dry in the major's house; but it took so long that finally I
moved down with my mother, who had come on to make me a
Our house at Fort Foote was built of boards battened and
painted di'ab. There was a large room in the centre, with a
front and back door, a stairway going up to a loft over this
room and a pantry under the stairs. On each side was a small
bedroom, with doors opening on the front as well as into the
PERSONAL EXPERIENCES OF THE CIVIL WAR. 401
room. The major, his wife and three children occupied one
room until their house was finished. Mother and the nurse,
Mary Shiels, occupied the loft, and were very comfortable
excepting when the rain came through the board roof. A tent
at the back served as a kitchen, where Banty Fowler con-
tinued to cook us good things. His buckwheat cakes were fine,
and the oysters and shad that he brought from the fishing boats
that came up the river were the best that I ever ate. The shad
were so fresh that Banty used to say they turned over in the
pan while he was cooking them.
We were much more stylish at this fort, and had more com-
pany. Major Taft and Quartermaster Knowles had their fam-
ilies, and several of the captains their wives with them. Many
general otHcers as well as citizens came down to see the fort,
and we entertained the most of them.
Fort Foote was the largest and most complete earthwork that
was built for the defense of Washington, and I believe is still
standing. It commanded the approaches by the river for sev-
eral miles, and its great guns would make it exceedingly dififl-
cult for an enemy to get past it. There had never been such
large guns mounted before as it contained, and it seemed to me
that the soldiers (it took three or four hundred at a time) would
never be able to get them up the bluff and into position. The
balls fired from them were so heavy that I could not even turn
one over on the ground, each weighing 500 pounds, and re-
quired 100 pounds of powder to fire them. When fired, the men
were instructed to raise on their toes and open their mouths to
lessen the effect of the concussion.
One day there came down the president, secretary of war,
and several general officers, with their wives, to see the guns
fired. Careful preparation and distance measurements had
been made for the experiment; a large target placed upon a raft
had been anchored near the Virginia shore, about two miles
below. The men had practiced until they felt sure of their
aim. Just as the party were assembling to witness the smash-
ing of the target with one of the great balls, the colonel was
astonished and chagrined to see through his glass a small party
of rebels row out from the shore, cut the anchor ropes, and
quickly tow the target around a bend of the river out of sight;
so the firing had to be made at other objects of an unmeasured
402 NINTH NEW YORK HEAVY ARTILLERY.
I gave them lunch, setting the tables in one of the great
bomb-proofs, as the house was not large enough, and then took
the ladies all about the quarters. The view from our window
was very beautiful, overlooking the river and the Virginia shore
opposite. About five miles below was Fort Washington, very
picturesque, but regarded nearly useless, as stone forts had
been proved not strong enough to withstand modern artillery.
It was, however, garrisoned at this time.
We officers' wives made many excursions about the country.
1 remember once we went by boat (there was a small tug at all
times in service at our fort) to Alexandria, there took ambu-
lances and went to Arlington House, Contraband Camp, Sol-
diers' Best, and several other places in Virginia.
At another time we went to Mount Vernon, but were very
glad to get back in our own little boat without being fired
upon. Mount Vernon was considered neutral ground, but the
river on each side was infested with rebel guerrilla bands that
made the trip dangerous. Another time we went to Fairfax
Court House, crossing the river, and using an ambulance on
the Virginia side.
The only time my baby was sick in camp was at Fort Foote.
She was seriously ill at midnight. We called the young sur-
geon. Dr. Chamberlain, but felt that he didn't know much
about babies, being a very young man. (He confessed to me
privately afterwards that this was the first time that he had
been called upon to attend a baby.) At daylight my husband
started with the little tug-boat for Washington for Dr. Verdi
and his mother. He arrived while the family were at break-
fast. He told what was the matter, and said, ''Where is
mother?" His father answered, "She has been sick in bed for
a week." "I am so sorry,'' he said, "I wanted to take her back
with me." "She will go," was the reply. "But she can't if she
is sick in bed." "I am sure she will go when she learns Nelly
is sick," said his father. And sure enough, when my husband
went to her i-oom, he found her in bed, but when he said, "Nelly
is sick; I have come for Dr. Verdi," she got right up, saying,
"I shall go with you," and in less than an hour she and the
doctor were on the little boat hurrying down the river in a
heavy storm, which tossed the boat about and drenched the
occupants. Sucli was her beautiful, unselfish character, put-
ing aside her own ills when she could help the other members
PERSONAL EXPERIENCES OF THE CIVIL WAR. 403
of her family. You can imagine how relieved I was when she
and the doctor came in at the door.
Our tug went once each day to Washington for the mail and
supplies. My windows overlooked the winding road down the
steep bluff to the river, and we were always interested to see
who was coming and going, but saddened when we beard, as
we frequently did, the beat of the muffled drum, and watched
the solemn procession, marching down to the boat, with flag
furled, guns reversed, and slow step, following some soldier
who had finished his service for his country.
One day in April Major Taft came and asked me if I could
keep a secret, as he needed my assistance. The officers were
going to present the lieutenant colonel with a sword. I kept
the secret, and assisted in making the arrangements. On the
24th of April, I wrote to my mother, expressing regret that she
had been obliged to go home before the presentation, saying:
"Will never suspected a thing. Colonel Haskins, a one-armed
Mexican veteran, in command of our division, and party came
down about 12 o'clock. Cornelius Underwood and daugh-
ter and Mr. Patty arrived on the mail-boat. I did not see much
of Mr. Patty, he is so shy, but he had Nelly in his arms during
the presentation. After that, the companies were formed into
a hollow square. Will was standing near Colonel Haskius,
and I near him. We were all by the house; had seats under
the trees. x\s the square was formed, two men started
from headquarters, one with a table, the other with the box.
When Will saw that, he said, 'Well, what is all this about?'
Colonel Haskins said, 'I think it is time you knew; there is to
be a sword presentation here to-day; that's what it all means.'
Then I asked Will if he didn't know about it. He said, 'No,
this is the first.' We were all invited inside the square, and
Captain William Wood made a very handsome presentation
speech. Will appeared perfectly cool and self-possessed, re-
ceived the sword very gracefully, and made a neat little speech
in return. I was so sorry you were not here. I know that yon
would have been as proud of Will as I was. He commenced
by saying he was perfectly surprised, although he knew an
officer should never be surprised, but they must make allow-
ance for him, as he was only a volunteer. After that the sword,
sash and belt were put on, and Will conducted a short drill,
after which I invited all in to lunch. We had sandwiches,
404 NINTH NEW YORK HEAVY ARTILLERY.
oysters, raw and stewed, coffee, cake and pickles. We enter-
tained, I should think, about forty people; had plenty for them,
and everything was satisfactory, the guests leaving between
4 and 5 o'clock. It is so warm now that we do not need fires.
Nelly is out of doors most of the time. The trees at the back of
the house are nearly in full leaf. It seems to me as if I could
see them open."
On May 10th, about 9 o'clock in the morning, came orders
for my husband, with his command, to report to Colonel Well-
ing, at Arlington, Va. As soon as possible, we packed up as
many things as we could take, leaving the rest. I wrote, "I
came up to Washington on the tug-boat at 2 o'clock, leaving
just as the companies marched down to take their boats. It
is real hard to leave such a pleasant place, although I had
been expecting it for a week."
Our regiment was sent from Arlington to Fort Richardson,
and from there to Fort Reynolds, where the lieutenant colonel's
headquarters was in an old-fashioned farm-house. Soon after,
the regiment being ordered to the front, my husband came for
me one morning with an ambulance, and we went to Alexan-
dria and purchased such necessary articles as he thought he
could carry with him, packing them in a small mess-chest.
One thing I remember was a piece of dried beef, which he after-
wards tied to the bow of his saddle, and carried as long as it
lasted, cutting off a piece occasionally on the march. I went
back with him to the old farm-house, staying until the next
day. While there, I sewed his two army-blankets together,
making a sleeping bag, which he afterwards used most of the
time when they were without tents.
On the 18th of May, 1864, the 9th Artillery came together
and marched to Belle Plain. Nelly and I were with Mr. Sew-
ard in Washington. I was sure to stay in the house, fearing
that my husband might come and find me away. He did come
on the afternoon of the 21st of May, saying that they were
ordered to join the Army of the Potomac, and that Colonel
Welling had come up with him and resigned his commission,
as he would not go to the front. After he had finished his
business with Colonel Welling at the War Department, he had
time only for a hurried dinner; then Mr. Seward and I went
with him to the river, where we found the boat that had
brought him up waiting, and he left us.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCES OF THE CIVIL WAR. 405
TLe next day being Sunday, Mr. Seward took Fanny and nie
with several friends down the river, to go, as he said, "to Belle
Plain to see William." It was a bad day, the river was rough,and
when we arrived, it was too rough to make the landing, and
much to my grief, the boat turned and we started back. Fanny
and I strained our eyes looking, but could not see even a tent,
so we sat out of sight of the rest of the party and had a good
cry, we were so disappointed.
The next day we found that the regiment had left Belle
Plain early Sunday morning, so we could not have found them
had we landed.
Soon after this, my husband was appointed colonel, receiv-
ing his commission just as he was going into the battle of Cold
Harbor. We did not even hear from him for weeks. After
dinner I always went upstairs and stayed while the nurse went
to her dinner. On the evening of the 1st of June, while
sitting in the twilight, I heard my husband call "Jenny." I
jumped up, listened, and heard again, "Jenny," so distinctly
that I went into the hall, and again came the voice, "Jenny," so
plain I looked over the railing, fully expecting to see him coming
up the stairs. There was no one there, and I went back dis-
appointed, thinking how strange it was. Afterwards, I found
that this occurrence took place at the very hour that he was in
the Battle of Cold Harbor, and came very near losing his life.
I stayed in Washington, hoping to hear from my husband,
until the weather was so warm that Nelly became ill, and Mr.
Seward said, "My daughter, it is not safe to keep that little
girl here any longer; I promise you I will send you the news
of William immediately we receive any." The nurse and I
packed our trunks, and John Butler, a trusted colored servant,
went with us to New York, and put us on the train for Auburn,
after spending the night at the Astor House.
Oh! what a dreadful long waiting that was! No word, only
news of terrible battles every day. The first news that we re-
ceived was a few words written on a piece of brown paper from
Colonel MacDougall, saying, "I have just seen Will at Cold
Harbor, and he is all right. Had a hard fight, in which most
of his clothes were torn from him."
A letter from Quartermaster Knowles, written June 4th,
1864, received two weeks later, said, "I left there after their
first day's fight, June 1st. It was a very hotly contested bat-
406 NINTH NEW YORK HEAVY ARTILLERY.
tie. The colonel and Major Taft got through all right, and
were so up to 8 o'clock to-night. The colonel got a rap over the
head with a rebel gun or sword, and had one leg of his pants
torn off, and his satchel stolen from Banty off his horse that
night, as all officers were ordered to dismount and send their
horses to the rear. We have been assigned to the 2d Brigade.
3d Division, 6th Corps, which is his address. Pardon the lib-
erty I have taken, and be assured you have my best wishes and
constant prayer for the success and safety of our dear colonel
commanding, and accept the assurances of my sincere regards
and sympathy for yourself, from one who feels sincerely and
truly your friend. Henry P. Knowles."
All of our letters were a long time in reaching us. One I
have dated June .5th, was received by me on the 20th. Of
course, our letters were equally long in reaching the camps.
I think you will be interested if I tell you how our regiment
on one occasion threw up their breastworks. My husband
wrote a letter dated "In the field about three miles south of
Petersburgh," saying, "Orders were then received for the first
line of battle to intrench themselves. My regiment being
larger than all the rest of the brigade, we composed the front
line, and to throw up breastworks without a single tool of any
description was not an easy matter. I, however, divided the
regiment into two single lines, and had the first loosen the
earth with their bayonets, and the second line throw it up in
the form of breastworks, using their tin cups aud plates in
place of shovels. In one hour from the time I received the
order, we had a fine work at least five feet high. The continual
shower of rebel bullets accelerated the work."
On Sunday morning, July 10th, I was staying at my mother's,
when about noon, my sister, Mrs. Pomeroy, and her husband
came in. Mr. I'omeroy said, "There was a battle at Monocacy,
Maryland, yesterday." I said, "Will could not have been in
that, as he is down in front of Petersburgh, Va." "No," he re-
plied, the 9th Artillery were in the battle." I looked at him
startled, and he then said, "It is reported that Will is wounded
and taken prisoner."
At the request of Mr. Pomery, the telegraph office was kept