armed bands of soldiers meet you at every corner;
while one person here, and another there, with an
arm or a leg off, are seen in every street. The
IsTaval Academy, and almost all of the fine public
buildings serve as hospitals for sick and wounded
soldiers, who arrive from the cruelties of rebel dun-
The population is made up of various classes.
There are a few ladies, who turn up their noses in
a very unladylike manner at the sight of a Union
soldier, and who delight to spit on the American
There are multitudes of negroes of all ages, sizes,
colors and conditions, who are indebted to the war
for freedom. You may see a few men who put on
airs, and declare themselves southern born ; a
sprinkling of mean whites, plenty of hungry, thiev-
ing sutlers, who would sell their country for gold,
besides a host of honest Union soldiers.
The Iron Hearted Regiment. 33
no! FOR BALTIMORE.
On the morning of September 25tli, all the Har-
per's Ferry troops received orders to proceed to
Chicago, HI. Our brigade broke camp at 8 a. m.,
and marched to the dock, were a barge was waiting
to convey us to Baltimore.
" My Maryland" was waving in her richest
green, blossoming in her sweetest flowers, and
resplendent in all the glories of nature ; yet we
gladly bade her adieu.
"We traveled in " style." Soldiers generally do.
Twenty-five hundred of us were packed on board
of a small Hudson river boat, like herring in a box,
and when one of the ofiicers ventured to remind
the captain of the boat that she was too heavily
loaded, he laughed, and said: " That is nothing,
she took 3,000 the day before."
In the course of time, with bands playing, flags
floating, and men cheering, we left the capital,
plowed through the blue waters of the Chesapeake
for two or three hours, when we cau2:ht sio-ht of
Baltimore. Spires and monuments looked down
upon the city. A forest of masts clustered around
the harbor, and frowning batteries and heavy guns
looked threateningly upon us. The dock was soon
reached, the ropes made fast, and the men soon
filed ofi* the boat in anything but military order.
Silently, sadly, and with heavy hearts, we trod the
streets of the southern metropolis. The column
moved like a long funeral train, while each heart
84 The Iron Heaeted Regiment.
beat true to the music of the Union, and we loved
the " starry flag."
'No wonder that we should mourn ; no wonder
that we should weep for our country in her darkest
hours, and pray for heaven's richest blessings to
descend upon her.
At last, we reached a large building. A thousand
lights flashed from its windows, and the flag of our
country waved proudly from the roof. It was
called the ''Soldiers' Eest;" one of the noblest
institutions of the city ; for there, every regiment
passing through, received a good meal. Our men
were veiy hungry, and partook of a hearty supper.
We left for the west in thirteen long trains of
freight cars, and the magnetic telegraph flashed the
news of our approach to every city and village
through which we were to pass.
On September 26th, we passed through the city of
York, and the pretty villages of Perrysville, Mifilin
and Altoona, Pa. At every station we received
a hearty welcome. I^ever in all our days did we
see anything to equal it. It was one continued,
Altoona spread out her flags, and opened wide
her doors of hospitality.
New Brighton poured forth her concourse of
beauty, and we reached the depot to receive a storm
of kisses, and to hear the thunder of applause.
All through Pennsylvania, day and night, ladies
The Iron Hearted Regiment. 35
crowded up to the cars with pails of hot coiFec and
tea, baskets of cake, pie, chicken, biscuit, apples,
and in foct, everything which the appetite could
crave, or the heart desire. Young ladies and old
ladies, young men and old men, took hundreds of
the soldiers captive, and gave them hearty and
even splendid meals in their own homes.
The dwellings, stores, and hotels along the road
were thrown open. Mothers took their last loaf
from the oven, daughters carried jars of jelly and
nice preserves from the cellar, and with tearful eyes
begged their acceptance. As the cars moved from
each station, the fair sex showered apples, peaches,
pears and oranges among the men like rain.
In the afternoon we passed through two long
tunnels, over the Alleghany Mountains, and struck
the coal and iron mines at dark. We reached the
city of Pittsburg about four hundred miles distant
from Baltimore, at 4 o'clock on the mornino: of
the 2Tth instant.
We breakfasted at the Soldiers' Relief, a magnifi-
cent buildino: in the heart of the city of Pittsburo;.
We had coffee, crackers, and sausage.
A banner was suspended at our end of the hall,
bearing these words :
" Pittsburg welcomes her Country's Defenders."
The city boasts of the finest meat markets in the
U. S., also the most extensive iron foundries.
We left on the Pittsburg, Fort Wayne k Chicago
R. R., at 9 A. M., on the 27th instant.
36 The Iron Hearted Eegiment.
THROUGH OHIO, INDIANA AND ILLINOIS.
September 28th was a noisy Sunday for us. At
Fort Wayne, Indiana, the whole population came
from the various churches to welcome and feed the
soldiers. Long rows of tables spread with pure
white table-cloths, were arranged along the track,
and filled to overflowing with everything good. A
committee of two hundred young ladies had charge
of the aflair.
Thousands blocked up every avenue leading to
the cars, and the greatest excitement and interest
prevailed. Chicago was reached at 9 o'clock in the
evening. It was very dark, and the men were about
worn out. As soon as the train stopped, the con-
ductor ordered every man to leave the cars imme-
diately. As we were strangers in that part of the
world, the majority of us concluded to camp in a
field close by until morning. In an hour or two
it began to rain, and by midnight it poured down
We were drenched to the skin, and upon con-
sultation, we resolved to separate into squads and
go in search of shelter. Seven of us started off
together, but made wretched slow progress through
the mud and thick darkness.
At last, we saw a light flickering from the win-
dow of a small shanty, and we made for it.
The Iron IIeakied Eegiment. 37
I'll kill every mother's son of ye.
The stoop of the shanty was reached, and one of
the party knocked loudly at the door ; and in a
moment a bolt was pulled back, the door opened,
and Bridget stood before us, while Pat lay drunk
upon the floor.
The following amusing conversation then took
place, while we were soaking in the rain.
Soldier. ''Mrs., can we stay in your barn over
iiio'ht ? We are wet to the skin."
Bridget. "Och ! 3'es, of course ye can, and may
the Lord have mercy on yee's."
Husband. " Il-o-o-l-d your tongue, Biddy. By
the powers of Saint Patrick, I'll kill every mother's
son of yee's if ye dont be after gettin' out o' this,,
ye murderin' spalpeens."
Bridget. "Be aisey my darlint, the boys must
have some shelter. Soldiers go in the barn and lie^
until mornin,' an' meself '11 take care o' Pat."
Husband. " B ad 1 u ck to ye e ' s . "
Soldier. " Good night, Ma'm. We're much obliged'
to you for your kindness, but that old reprobate-
on the floor there needs tanning."
The party went into the barn, but as it leaked]
badly, and there was no floor in it, we shivered
until morning, and did not close our eyes in sleep.
In the morning all hands wrung out their wet
clothes, and warmed themselves by Biddy's fire.
We gave her postage stamps (common currency
then) for milk and bread, and then left, thanking
the good old lady for her kindness.
38 The Iron Hearted Regiment.
CAMPED IN HORSE STALLS.
Almost all of the regiments were quartered in
Camp Douglas. But the 115th, 39th ]^. Y. (Gara-
bakli Guards), and the 9th Vermont, occupied horse
stalls, in the Illinois state fair grounds.
From four to sixteen men were placed in each
stall. The camp was named " Tyler," in honor of
our Brigadier, but it ought to have been named
"starvation," in honor of Chicago rations.
SICKNESS AND DEATH.
Owing to the damp quarters, poor rations, and
little care, almost all of the regiment were more or
less sick by the first of November, and large
numbers soon died. The hospitals were crowded
to overflowing ; and none of the poor sick soldiers
were carried from the wretched horse stalls, until
death was close at hand. Each company had from
twenty to forty sick with the fever.
The dead house was always full, and the dead
cart constantly moving. Six weeks saw at least
forty of the regiment placed beneath the sod.
By the 20th of IlTovember everything began to
look hard at Camp Douglas. The troops were
badly treated, and half starved, liations were fur-
nished by contract, at 10} cents per day.
The bacon was alive with maggots, the bread
hard, sour, and black, and the sugar the color of
The Iron Hearted Regiment. 39
mutiny, riot, and arson.
At last, almost all of the men refused to do -guard
duty, or take a gun in their hands ; and those who
were better disposed were overawed by the major-
ity. At one time, the 115th regiment alone, did not
refuse to take guns ; and during all the trouble and
excitement, they remained firm for the right.
Although threatened by the other troops, they
never refused to do duty, and even assisted in put-
ting down mutiny in the other regiments. A heavy
detachment that undertook to preserve the peace
and perform guard dut}^ at Camp Douglas, were
pelted with clubs, brickbats, and stones, but held
their ground until ordered away. Scenes of riot
and arson were of frequent occurrence, and a regi-
ment's barracks were burned up nearly every night.
The soldiers blocked up the road with lumber,
so that the steam fire engines from the city could
not reach the flames. All this took place at Camp
Douglas, half a mile from the stalls occupied by the
115th. The X. Y. refused to take guns, declar-
ing that their paroles would n*t allow it. But the
General commanding thought difl:erently, and de-
termined to bring the mutiny to a speedy close.
For that purpose, the llotli were ordered to prepare
to form line, and a certain length of time to be given
to the to obey commands. The General ad-
dressed them in the meantime, telling them that
unless they submitted, he would have the last man
of them shot, and place all of the officers in irons.
40 The Iron IIeahted Regiment.
Tlie th concluded to accept the terms ; so they
declared themselves ready to take guns.
Soldiers from the regular army were finally sent
to Camp Douglas to do guard duty, and they
received orders to shoot any man who attempted
to cross any of the beats without a proper pass.
Some of the soldiers did attempt to pass, contrary
to orders, and one or two of them were shot. This
incensed the soldiers so much, that they threw
stones and chibs at the Regulars, and hooted at
each one showing himself Things went on from
bad to worse until November 20th, wdien orders
icame for the Harper's Ferry troops to report at
A SAD CONFLAGRATION.
A very unfortunate occurrence took place, just
as the 115th were about leaving camp to take the
cars for Washington, which afterward came within
a hair's breadth of destroying the entire regiment.
They had abandoned the stalls, when suddenly
flames burst out from half a dozen different parts
of the late barracks ; and in a very short space of
time the whole of tliem were a heap of smoldering
ruins. The cause of the fire was this : A large
number of the 115th had stoves in their quarters ;
and as soon as they left, hundreds of soldiers from
other regiments rushed in and took possession of
the stoves for their own use, emptying the ashes
and live coals in the straw. The result of course,
was a fire, which destroyed the Avholc concern very
The Iron Hearted Kegiment. 41
quickly. The officers of the 115th had taken every
precaution to prevent a fire. After the regiment had
entirely abandoned the quarters and were formed
on the color line several hundred yards away, the
roll was called in every company, and each man
found to be present. One officer from each com-
pany passed through the vacated company quarters,
and found everything in proper order. Consequently
no member of the 115th could have had anything
to do with the fire, in any shape or manner what-
ever. Yet strange to say, they were afterward
charged with the crime, and suffiared terribly for it.
Colonel Sammons offered to take the regiment
and put out the fire, but one of General Tyler's
staff officers ordered him to march them to the
cars mthout delay.
GOOD BYE CHICAGO.
We bade good bye to Chicago with few regrets.
Farewell "paradise of mud," "City of stairs, rats,
and lager beer saloons." Good bye shivering
fevers, wretched horse stalls, . and rotten bacon.
To a few kind and noble-hearted young ladies of
Chicago, we all owe thanks while we live, and may
heaven bless them, is our prayer.
The regiment reached Baltimore at sunrise, on
Sunday morning, 'Nov. 23d. • We had breakfast at
the late hour of 11 o'clock, and stood in the street,
waiting for the cars, until 2 p. m.
42 The Iiioj;r Hearted Eegiment.
A number of Baltimore re'bels gathered around
us, and one began to declare that we were not
•exchanged, and advised the men to desert. Captain
overheard the remarks, and springing forward,
quickly struck the fellow over the head with his
sword hilt several times, telling him to learn better
manners. The remainder of the party then sneaked
off. ^ ^
We embarked on board hog cars for thel^ational
Capital. It was a cold day, and snow fell quite
fast, while the wind blew almost a hurricane,
searching through the open cars, and obliging us to
rush from one end of the car to the other, to keep
warm. We arrived at Washington at 7 p. m., and
marched to the Soldiers' Eelief, where we partook
of supper and then bunked on the floor for the
A COLD NIGHT ON ARLINGTON HEIGHTS.
On the morning of :N'ovember 24th, we took
breakfast at the Relief, and at 11 o'clock received
marching orders. The regiment was soon proudly
tramping through the streets of the Federal Capi-
tal, and large numbers of people lined the streets,
asking all sorts of questions; where we were from,
where we were going, what regiment it was, &c.,
&c. ; and frequently we overheard such remarks as
follow : ''A fine lot of men," ''l^oble lookino- fel-
lows," ''Good stuff there, "&c. We crossed the long
bridge and trod the sacred and bloody soil of Virginia
once again. We made a halt at Camp Seward,
The Iron Hearted Regiment. 43
Arlington Heights, where we remained for the night.
;N'o tents were put up, and the night was bitter cohl,
so that but few slept at all ; and almost all of the
men walked about to keep from freezing. Fuel
was scarce, but some small fires were kindled which
helped somewhat. At last, although it seemed an
age, the welcomed daylight appeared and every
heart was made glad. Six soldiers in a camp near
by froze to death.
SIXTEEN DAYS ON ARLINGTON.
On the 25th, each man received a spoonful of
sugar and coffee, and a small piece of pork ; the
first rations furnished in twenty-four hours.
At noon of the same day, tents were struck and
the men carried them on their backs to Camp Chase,
where our camp was again pitched. From the 26th
of i^ovember until the 12th of December, the regi-
ment labored very hard. They worked on unfinished
forts, and engaged in putting up comfortable winter
On Sunday, E'ovember 30, Enfield rifles were
given to the regiment, and an order of exchange
read. Chaplain Clemens preached a sermon in the
On the 4th of December, many of us obtained
passes to Washington. "We visited all the places
of interest, including the Senate Chamber and Hall
of Representatives. All \vere deeply impressed with
the necessity of defending Washington against every
44 The Iron Hearted Regiment.
December 6ih. — Snow fell to tlie depth of several
inches, and nearly all of the men manufactured
stoves out of old camp kettles, to keep warm.
Sunday, the 7th, was a bitter cold day, and all
On the evening of December 9, news came, that
Burnside had burned the city of Fredricksburg.
The soldiers from all the camps turned out in large
force, and formed a procession headed by the brig-
ade band, celebrating the event in grand style.
A HARD MARCH TO HUNTER's CREEK.
On Friday, December 12, the regiment was
again under marching orders. Eeveille sounded at
5 A. M., and at 8 o'clock they were on the march.
The whole brigade moved together, and con-
sisted of the following regiments :
111th ISTew York Vols., 115th New York Yols.,
4th Delaware Yols., and the 27th Maine Yols.
The roads were horribly muddy, and those who
were unfortunate enough to wear shoes, left them
buried in their tracks. In some places mud was
knee deep; and the perspiration rolled down in the
eyes of some, rendering them blind, while others
were exhausted, and at least one unconsciously let
his gun drop from his shoulder.
At 11 o'clock A. M., a halt was made for a lunch,
and at noon we passed through the city of Alexan-
dria, reaching our destination at Hunter's Creek, at
sundown. We relieved the 2d Yerniont Brigade
of nine months troops ordered to the front.
The Iron Hearted Regiment. 45
Company II, 9th YorDiont, made Company II,
115tli ITew York, some hot cotfee, when the latter
gave hearty cheers for the Green Mountain boys,
and a tiger for the coffee.
TniUTEEN DAYS AT UUNTER's CREEK.
On the IGth, the regiment began buikling winter
quarters for the second time.
On the 1.5th, a furious storm of wind and rain
lasted the entire night, and hirge numbers of the
tents were blown down.
On the 17th, the regiment took four days rations
and went on picket ^ve miles from camp.
"Winter quarters were nearly completed, and more
than two hundred neat log houses stood there on
On the 24th, we received orders to be ready to
march within thirty-six hours. Arms were inspected
for the first time.
TO YORKTOWN, VA.
Decemher 26. — We marched from Hunter's Creek
at noon, and reached the dock at Alexandria, at 2
P. M. Embarked at dark on board the steamers
Hero and Robert M4Drris; and after proceeding a
few miles down the Potomac, anchored until morn-
On the 27th, we made slow progress, passing Mt.
Vernon, the grave of "Washington, Fort Washing-
ton, and Acquia Creek. We anchored at night under
46 The Iron Hearted Regiment.
the guns of a Man-of-war, it being dangerous to
proceed in the dark.
. On the 28th, we sailed into the Chesapeake bay.
The wind blew fresh, the waves rolled up pretty
strongly, and some of us were sea-sick.
Fortress Monroe was reached at noon, and Gen-
eral Dix ordered the Regiment to report to General
Keyes, at Yorktown. The boats immediately^ sailed
up York river, and were made fast to the dock at
Yorktown, by 3 p. m.
We marched one mile outside the fort, and occu-
pied the beautiful camp of the 29th Maine.
The breastworks and rifle-pits erected by McClel-
lan, stood out in bold relief on all sides.
YORKTOAVN AND THE SURROUNDING COUNTRY.
On December 29, several of us took a walk on
the banks of the York. We picked up a variety
of shells, tasted of the water flowing at our feet
(and were surprised to find it nearly as salt as
brine), and looked along at the fleet of oyster boats
dotting the noble river. Beautiful peach orchards
stood within a stone's throw of our camp, and all
the scenery around served to remind us of home.
We took much interest in visiting the spot
where the closing scene of #ie Revolutionary war
took place. The spot was pointed out to us, where
General Cornwallis surrendered his army of 7,073
men to General Washington. A cedar fence once
surrounded the place where the British general
handed his sword over to Washington, but it is
The Iron Hearted Eegiment. 47
now iu thousands of northern homes, preserved as
Everybody dined on oysters three times during
the day. They sold at forty cents per gallon, and
the soldiers ate them fried, stewed, and raw.
December 31. — Eegiment on guard at lEeadquar-
ters. Inspected, and mustered for pay.
January 1. — A happy new year! Many boxes,
barrels, and packages of mince pies, cakes, roast
turkeys, chickens and ducks, arrived from home.
The poultry was covered with ugly blue mould,
and spoiled, and extensive preparations were made
to bury them with military honors. Their lament-
ed forms, covered with mould, were placed in one
common coffin, when the funeral procession moved
through the various company streets to the burying-
ground in the following order, viz :
1st, A drummer bo"y slowly beating the dead
march, on a muffled drum.
2d, A company of soldiers marching with arms
3d, The coffin, borne by four soldiers, dressed
in deep blue.
4th, The venerable sexton, carrying a lon'g-han-
dled shovel across his right shoulder.
5th, The chief mourners and sufferers, who were
sadly weeping, with onions in their eyes.
The vast throng of spectators, except a couple
pairs of shoulder straps (pity such narrow minds),
split their sides with laughter. After all the dead
were decently placed beneath their mother earth,
48 The Iron Hearted Regiment.
the audience joiuecl in singing the following appro-
priate stanza :
Go tell Aunt Nabby,
Go tell Aunt Nabby,
Go tell Aunt Nabby,
Her old grey goose is dead.
One she's been saving.
One she's been saving,
One she's been saving,
To make a feather bed.
The customary salute was not fired by the escort,
for fear that the militia garrisoning the fort, might
think that the rebels were coming ; then they would
either shake to death with fear, or run to " Old
Pennsylvania " for dear life.
January 2. — A colored rebel spiked several of
the heaviest guns on the Yorktown fortifications,
and was caught in the act. He was tried by court-
martial, and sentenced to be shot to death with
musketry. A detachment of the 115th executed
the sentence. They fired at the condemned, and
he fell over dead on his coffin.
January 3. — After we retired for the night, the
heavy boom of the signal gun summoned us all to
arms. Instantly the long roll sounded in camp,
and the loud commands for the diflerent companies
to fall in, rang along the streets. The men fiew to
arms in a moment, and we were soon flying
towards the fort. Headquarters were reached,. and
we stood in line of battle awaiting orders. Col.
The Iron Hearted Regiment. 49
Sammons rode in front, and commanded in a loud,
clear tone of voice :
"Attention Battalion! Load at will, Load!"
General Keyes rode up at that moment and coun-
termanded the order; said that the alarm was a
false one ; thanked us for our promptness and readi-
ness for duty, and then retired.
It was found that from the time the first alarm
sounded, until we were in line of battle at Head-
quarters, was just twenty-two and one-half minutes.
The men had to dress, take a supply of ammuni-
tion, form on the color line, march over one mile,
and dress up a line upon halting; but did it all in
the short space of twenty-two minutes and one-half.
January 8. — Eighty volunteers from the regi^
ment, with a detachment of cavalry, embarked on
board three gun-boats at dark, and landed at West
Point at midnight. The infantry instantly sur-
rounded the town, and the cavalry swept around'
toward "White House, capturing much property.
The rear portion of a rebel baggage train was taken.
A quantity of pig lead which the rebels had in-
tended to mold into bullets for the purpose of
killing '' Yankees," fell into our hands. A rebel
sutler with all his stock in trade was snatched, and
he looked the picture of despair when ordered tO'
Yorktown. The commissary stores were visited,
and large quantities of oats, corn, and salt, de-
The rail road track was pounded to pieces with
cannon balls, and locomotives, cars and bridges,
50 The Iron Hearted Regiment.
left to the red flames of the torch. The troops
retarnecl to camp without the loss of a man. The
rebel Gen. Wise was said to have been very much
incensed against the regiment, on account of the
complete success attending the expedition ; conse-
quently, he offered a reward of $300 per head for
every officer of the 115th caught. He didn't get