January 9 and 10. â€” The usual guard duty ; had
the same battalion, company, and squad drills;
went through the manual of arms, the wheels, the
facings, the loadings and firings, until our bones
Ate our "Virginia shingles " with a keen relish,
and drank our cups of coffee with a good grace.
January 11 to 15. â€” Drilling hard, and engaging
in target practice.
January 16. â€” Two rebel cavalrymen deserted to
January 17. â€” Brigade review, and company in-
spection. The following regiments w^ere on review:
115th Kew York, 172d Pennsylvania, 176th Penn-
sylvania, and 179th Pennsylvania.
January 20. â€” At night we experienced a genuine
southern storm of wind and rain. Many of the
tents blew down. Our hard wood ridge-pole
cracked like a pipe-stem, and it required the united
strength of two to hold the tent down.
January 21. â€” Marching orders. Began to pack
January 22. â€” Struck tents at 10 a. m., and had all
The Iron Hearted Regiment. 51
the stores on the dock at 2 p. m. The reii-iment
marched to the residence of Major General Keyes,
who appeared on the piazza, and addressed them
briefly as follows :
Officers and Soldiers of the ll[)ih: I must say tliat
I sincerely regret to part with such a fine body of
men, but you are ordered elsewhere, and I know
that you will always do your duty.
Col. Sammons replied in a feeling speech, when
the men cheered, the band played, and the pleasant
Just before evening, we embarked on the iron
transport Matanzas, and lay at anchor in the stream
January 23. â€” Sailed for Fortress Monroe at day-
light. On reaching there, we anchored off the Rip
Raps, and the Colonel reported to General Dix for
orders. Received sealed orders to report to Gen-
eral Hunter at Hilton Head, South Carolina.
WHEBE ARE WE GOING ?
was the inquiry that went from lip to lip, for
none of the soldiers knew. Some of them declared
that we were not exchanged, never would be, and
were going to Xew York to be mustered out of the
Others affirmed that they heard a man say that
he heard one of General Ke^^es's staff inform an offi-
cer that the 115th were going to Washington to do
guard duty. Little did the brave men then imagine
52 The Iron Hearted Eegiment.
what trials, suffering, and insults awaited them.
Little did thej dream that those sealed orders con-
tained a sentence of cruel banishment. It was well
that they did not.
THE MATANZAS DUNGEON.
Eight hundred of us were crowded, packed and
pressed into the dark, dismal, and suffocating hold
of the Matanzas. The crowded hunks were swarm-
ing with vermin, and not a single breath of pure
air ever reached that dreary dungeon. Almost
all of us were deathly sea-sick for forty-eight hours ;
cared not whether we lived or died, and were unable
to walk a single step. We had to vomit on the
floor, and the stench was almost beyond endurance.
THE PANGS OP HUNGER.
While the soldiers were sea-sick, they needed
nothing to eat, and could not bear the sight of food ;
but as soon as they recovered from their sickness
they had ravenous appetites. To their sorrow they
had little to eat. A few dry hard-tack, a small
piece of half rotten bacon, and one cup of milk-
warm coffee was the daily allowance. This of
course, did not begin to satisfy the cravings of hun-
ger, and was barely sufficient to keep body and soul
Three times each day, tables filled with plenty and
groaning with luxuries were spread out before our
longing eyes ; yet we could not procure a single
morsel for love or money. When the perfumes of
The Iron Hearted Eegiment. 53
roaet-beef and boiled potatoes floated past us, it
made our eyes swim, and we longed for a few
crumbs of bread from the tables in our northern
the chaplain preached in the dining-room of the
vessel. But few attended. A dense fog covered
the water, and we anchored until morning.
Schools of porpoises rolled in the water near by,
and hundreds of sea-birds of large size flew close
to the ship.
PORT ROYAL HARBOR.
The land ! the land ! the land ! shouted many of
the soldiers at once ; and sure enough, the palmetto
groves and sandy islands of South Carolina were
Every heart was light, and every eye sparkled
with pleasure at the prospect of setting foot on land
We steamed into the beautiful harbor of Port
Eoyal at 11 a. m., on the 26th of January, 1863,
and found no less than a hundred vessels carrying
the American flag. At 4 p. m., we disembarked,
and marched through the streets of Hilton Head.
A halt was made outside of the fort, arms were
stacked, and beds made on the sand, when all lay
down for the night.
SAD TIDINGS GOOD NEWS.
The regiment was terribly shocked on the morn-
ing of January 28th, to learn that it was under ar-
rest for burning barracks at Camp Douglas, Chica-
We learned for the first time why we were ban-
ished to a sandy island of South Carolina, and
why the camp was pitched so that the guns of the
fort could blow us in pieces.
The Iron Hearted Eegiment. 55
The cruel sentence declared that all pay and al-
lowances would be stopped until further orders,
and the meanest kind of work was given the men
to do. All felt badly, yet they were conscious of
being innocent, and felt sure that truth and justice
would finally prevail.
Enemies brought those infamous charges for-
ward; and without the knowledge of any in the
regiment, tried them, and passed the wicked sen-
The duties imposed were of the most laborious
kind; and officers and privates were daily insulted
by those who ought to have known better.
After a short time, the regiment began to suffer
for the want of money. The officers had equipped
themselves, and had never received a cent while in
the service. The men received but small bounties,
and they were all expended long before.
Some received sad letters from home, saying
their dear ones were suffering for the want of bread.
One lady wrote to her husband, that herself and
her children went to bed without any supper the
previous night, because they had not a penny to
purchase a morsel of food,
Others wrote they must soon go to the poor-
house or starve, unless relieved. It was at last
decided, that a great effort must be made to relieve
the regiment. For that purpose, Col. Sammons
after much trouble, was allowed to proceed to
"Washington with an address from the regiment,
to the Government.
56 The Iron Hearted Kegiment.
Upon reaching there, he was at first refused a
hearing at the War Department, but by continued
perseverance, at last succeeded in having the mat-
ter investigated. The regiment was found to be
innocent of all the charges brought against it, and
ordered to be instantly released from arrest, and
placed on an equal footing with any troops in the
service. The Secretary of War complimented them
for good conduct, dispatched a special paymaster
on the first steamer to pay every man to the latest
date, and gave them the choice of remaining in
South Carolina, or returning to Virginia. As
active operations were about taking place around
Charleston, the regiment volunteered to remain.
A CHAPTER ON SNAKES.
Snakes of many varieties are to be found on Hil-
ton Head. Some of them are of the most poison-
ous and deadly species. Among the number may
be mentioned the Moccasin, Copperhead, Rattle,
Adder, Black, &c., &c.
The water Moccasin was considered the most
venomous, and all stood in great fear of them, as
their bite was declared to be sure and speedy death.
A soldier killed one measuring eighteen inches in
length, and placed it in the road. Shortly after-
ward, a party of negroes came along, and were
about to step on the serpent, when one of the num-
ber saw it ; and supposing it to be alive, gave a
scream of terror, and ran from the spot followed
by all the others, who cried, " A Moccasin !"" A
The Iron Hearted Regiment. 57
Seeing that the negroes were so much afraid of
them, the soklicrs were very careful when travel-
ing through tlie swamps. A snake called the
Wood Rattle abounded at Braddock's Point, and
the soldiers made great slaughter among them.
Many measured seven feet in length, and but few
were seen less than five. One of our pickets upon
awaking in the morning, found a huge snake coiled
up in his blanket fast asleep, "Not liking such
bedfellows, he beat his head to a jelly with the
butt of his gun.
Along Broad river, close by a picket post, we
used to call Xo. 1, was a den of snakes ; and
the soldiers on duty there amused themselves hours
at a time in shooting them as they crawled out
to bask in the sun.
A JN'ew Hampshire officer found a black snake
seven feet long, in bed with him one night; and
after that he built his bunk up from the ground, so
that the reptiles could not reach him.
A cavalryman sabred two snakes in front of my
tent door, and when one of them was cut in halves
the head part ran off into the bushes and escaped.
A hollow log was brought into camp one day for
fuel, and when it was split, a black snake six feet
long rolled out, much to the terror of the chopper,
but to the great amusement of the other soldiers;
who, taking it by the tail, threw it high in the air.
A member of Co. II was out in the woods one
day, and while there, was attacked by a monstrous
adder eight feet in length. Having no weapon to
58 The Iron Hearted Regiment.
defend himself he shouted for help. A soldier
who happened to be near by, with an axe, cutting
tent poles, upon hearing cries of distress, ran to the
spot, and after quite a struggle dispatched the
Long, slender snakes, as green as grass, and
some as red as blood, were seen on the roofs of the
INSECTS AND REPTILES.
During the summer, the gnat, the musquito and
and the sand ilea, are among the soldier's greatest
enemies. The gnat is about the size of a pin
head, and swarms around every tree b}- the million.
Pickets and guards stand in great dread of them;
for they light on their faces and necks, and get into
their hair in spite of everything that they can do ;
and nothing but tobacco smoke will drive them
The red sand flies are the worst of all. They
will get into a person's stockings and clothes, and
murder by inches. At night they cover the sol-
dier's blanket, and keep him in agony until morn-
ins^. Some of the regiment were so badly bitten
that their legs and bodies were bleeding sores.
Insect powders are a partial preventative.
The musquito also pesters the soldier considera-
bly, and some regiments use musquito nets, fixing
them around their beds in a frame.
Alligators also, are to be found on Hilton Head.
A party of soldiers from Companies H and K,
The Ikon Hearted Regiment. 59
were out one day cutting tree tops for an abattis,
wlien they thought Bomething was paddling in a
swamp close by. On going to the Hpot, an alligator
was obnerved, slowly moving around. None of the
Boldiers had guns, bo one of them ran to camp and
The piece was fired, and the reptile badly wound-
ed in the head, but as none cared to tackle him even
then, a noose was fixed and thrown over his head,
and the soldiers pulled him on dry land. The alli-
gator showed fight, and swept his ugly tail around
in all directions, with a force that would have cut a
man in two, had he been within reach.
yANK?:E ENTERPRISE. HILTON HEAD.
When the Union troops first landed at Hilton
Head but one or two buildings were to be seen ;
but since the "Yankees" have gone there whole
streets of stores, saloons, and other places of busi-
ness have been built; and when the runaway plant-
ers come home again, they will, no doubt, be a
little astonished at the vast improvements.
The government buildings alone, are a mile in
length, and it is said, contain provisions enough to
feed an army of 25,000 men for five years. The
arsenal is of immense proportions, and contains
Bhot and shell enough to rain an unceasing stream
of iron upon any city for months.
Port Royal harbor is one of the finest in Amer-
ica, yet previous to the war, a vessel was seldom
seen in her waters. Now, at least an hundred
60 The Iron Hearted Regiment.
vessels of all kinds, lay at anchor between Hilton
Head and Beaufort.
In the city, rail roads run from the dock to all
the store houses and the arsenal.
Steam saw-mills and bakeries are carried on by
the U. S. ; two newspapers with a large circulation
enlighten the public, and the sandy streets are
generally crowded with people. Some of the mer-
chants sell an incredible amount of goods, and I
need not say, realize large profits.
On Thursday morning, March 12th, 1863, the
rebels crossed Broad river in row-boats and attack-
ed Spanish Wells. They marched boldly up to the
picket line, and when halted by the sentinel replied
that they were friends with the countersign. The
sentinel, thinking that they were a party of Union
troops, ordered tbem to halt, and allow^ed one of
the number to advance to the point of his bayonet,
so as to receive the countersign.
Several of the rebels slipped past, unnoticed in
the darkness, and in an instant presented a couple
of revolvers to his head and soon put him out of
The daring raiders then marched for the signal
station, and although there were 10,000 Union troops
a short distance away, before any alarm could be
given, they were making tracks for the main land
with the entire Signal Corps prisoners.
The Iron Hearted Eegiment. 61 -
Some of the gang fired the lookout, and it was
burned to the ground.
All the trofl^Tps on the island were under arms as
soon as the alarm was sounded ; hut hj that time
the rebel crew were safe in their retreat.
The 115th marched some miles, but came back
to camp without seeing a Johnny.
DUTY AT HILTON HEAD.
The regiment engaged in every variety of duty.
Large details of men were working on forts and
magazines, loading and unloading vessels, provost
duty, picket, guard, and in fact every variety of
work that soldiers are called upon to perform. Five
months were occupied in that way.
SCENES IN THE PROVOST QUARTERS. â€” CAPTAIN GLADDING.
A rebel ofiicer confined in the provost quarters
breathed his last during the evening of June 25th^
1863. His history is a sad one, and ought to be a
solemn warning to those in rebellion against the
best of governments.
Before the war he was a wealth}^, respected, and
worthy merchant of the city of Savannah, Ga.
When his state seceded he espoused the rebel cause
with all his soul, and devoted his ample fortune, his
rich talents, and his life to the south. He pur-
chased a fast vessel, loaded her with cotton, and at-
tempted to run the blockade ; but the ship was cap-
tured, and himself taken prisoner. After a while
he was exchanged; but instead of going home, pro-
62 The Iron Hearted Regiment.
ceeded direct to a foreign country ; and after load-
ing a powerful vessel with goods of great value, at
the south, attempted to run the blo&kade a second
time. As before, his vessel was captured and him-
self and crew taken prisoners. For sometime he
was closely confined, but at last was allowed the
liberty of a large room. He died of consumption.
The Union officers connected with the office, true
to their feelings of humanity, purchased a beautiful
and costly rosewood coffin, and in it forwarded his
remains through the lines to his family in Savannah.
This would have been a worthy example for the
rebels to follow, who were murdering our men by
thousands, but they did not.
STORIES OF REFUGEES.
Large numbers of refugees and deserters came in
from the rebel cities of Charleston and Savannah,
and gave quite interesting accounts of matters in
A deserter from the 4th Georgia Cavalry made
the following statement :
"I am a native of Ulster County, E"ew York, and
was south when the rebellion broke out. I was
forced to join the army. There are but few troops
in Georgia, nearly all having gone to reinforce
Pemberton at Yicksburgh. My regiment is badly
demoralized, and almost all of them are ready to
desert at the first opportunity. A large number
are northern men, and the remainder are heartily
sick of the cause."
The Iron Hearted Kegiment. 63
A refugee, who appeared to be a very intelligent
" I was a telegraph operator on the great southern
line for the Confederate government. I am a native
of northern Georgia, and my father is a large slave-
holder. I can, and am willing to pilot a body of
men to a point where they can cutoff all communi-
cation between Richmond and the cotton states. I
could give the strength of all the rebel armies now
in the field, and their respective locations. I have
important information for Gen. Gilmore."
Eight deserters came in from Fort Sumter, and
the reader will observe by the following account of
their escape, what men had to go through with who
managed to get away from rebeldom.
They were ordered on a certain island to build a
mortar battery. While thus engaged, they resolved
to desert. During the day they discovered a small
boat lying in the water and instantly laid plans to
escape that night.
Accordingly after dark, with the boat on their
shoulders, they stole away from their comrades and
soon reached the bank of a river. To their conster-
nation it was found that a heavy cavalry picket
were patroling the beach to prevent deserters from
reaching the Union lines. They secreted themselves
in the bushes, to avoid detection and certain death,
until a good opportunity presented itself. Then
four of the number placed the little boat in the
water, paddled off from the shore noiselessly, and
64 The Iron Hearted Kegiment.
soon left tlieir enemies in the distance. In due
time they reached the Union line at Folly Island,
when they wept tears of joy.
The other four who remained hehind hid them-
selves in a dense swamp for a couple of days, and
although hunted by blood-hounds and fiends in
human shape, at last stood on free soil, and under
the protecting folds of the Stars and Stripes.
" WE ALL YANKEE NOW.'^
On askinor a colored soldier of the 3d South Car-
olina Vols., if he liked to be a soldier, he made the
following characteristic reply :
" Oh yes Massa, we all berry willin' to be a soger,
we all Yankee now. I want a little fight and a
little rest. When my ole' massa, he heerd de
big Yankee gun, he took legs an run away. We
all prayed de Lord to hang up the Yankee peoples.
Den Colonel Montgomery he cum, an we ail j'ined
de Lincoln army, massa."
THE BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE.
A brave and noble-hearted soldier of the 3d
Rhode Island regiment was fearfully mutilated on
Morris island. Both of his arms were shot away,
and two mangled, bleeding stumps, were all that
remained. Both of his eyes were blown from their
sockets, and the sightless eyeballs were awful to
look upon. His face was mashed to a sickening
jelly, yet wonderful to say he lived â€” a monument
of the cruelties of war. Though racked with terri-
The Iron Hearted Eegiment. 65
ble pain and suiFering, lie boldly cheered for the flag
of his country, and said he gloried in his wounds.
His only regrets were, that he could fight no more
for the Union.
At one time, a rebel sergeant la}' on an adjoining
bed in the hospital cursing the Yankees, while our
hero was cheering the spirits of the Union boys by
singing patriotic pieces. That was too much for
the brave man to stand, so he requested to be
helped out of bed, that he might give the noisy
rebel a good thrashing.
After many months he was well enough to be re-
moved from the hospital, and he joined his family
in his native state.
REBEL MODE OF PROCURING GREENBACKS.
Captain M , of the First South Carolina Eeg-
ular Artillery, with his entire company, were taken
prisoners on Morris island.
Like a great many other rebel officers, he was
devoid of all principle and humanity, and his chief
virtue consisted in his knovving how to curse and
"While a prisoner of war, a package of money was
sent to him by some friends South. One of our
officers visited his room, and proceeded to count out
the money for the purpose of seeing that the amount
was correct. It consisted of greenbacks, and hor-
rible to relate, the bills were all clotted together
with human blood; the blood of brave Union sol-
diers, who died defending their country's flag. The
66 The Iron Hearted Eegiment.
money had evidently been stolen from their bleed-
ing corpses, and was baptized with many hearts'
The Union officer was greatly shocked, and with
burning cheeks held up the bloody bills before the
rebel captain's eyes, and bade him look at them.
The rebel tm^ned deathly pale, and trembled from
head to foot at the sad sight. He was a cold-heart-
ed, cruel man, but could not stand that.
On one occasion he had the brass to address one
of our officers in a very insolent manner, and de-
manded to know why he was not exchanged and
sent through the lines like other prisoners ? The
officer replied in a manner that put a damper on
his insolence, and greatly shocked his southern sen-
''Sir," said the Union officer, "you are held
to await the doom assigned you by your own
brethren. If they" carry out their threats, and exe-
cute the negro prisoners in their hands, you are the
first man who will swing with a Yankee halter
around your neck."
When first captured he pretended to be very
proud and haughty, and put on far too many airs
for a prisoner of war. He would turn up his nose
and curl his lip disdainfully, declaring that he hated
the whole Yankee race. He got cured of such no-
tions before he left, for everybody laughed at him
for his pains.
His company, captured at the same time, were
mostly men from Troy, Boston, !and JSTew York,
The Iron Hearted Eegiment. 6Y
who went to South Carolina with a contractor to
build a rail road. When the war broke out they
were forced to enlist, and never received six months
wage's which was due them. They were but too glad
to get out of the rebel service ; and notwithstanding
the captain's threat of vengeance, took the oath of
allegiance, almost to a man.
The Free South, in speaking of the captain and
his company, says :
^'iSTearly the whole of Captain Macbeth's company
captured at Morris island have taken the oath of al-
legiance. He seems to chafe more over this fact than
ever. He one day remarked to a provost officer
that it was as much as a man's life was worth in the
rebel army to neglect any opportunity to hang an
officer of a negro regiment.
"It will be as much as your life is worth, if they
hang a single one," said the officer. "What! do
you propose to take me as a hostage for officers of
negro troops ? " inquired the indignant Macbeth, and
then added tragically, " Oh, brute ! brute! "
LARGE MORTALITY IN THE REGIMENT.
Owing to hard duty and warm weather, the regi-
ment had become very sickly, and by the 20th of
June the men began to die off at a fearful rate. It
was thought that Beaufort would be a healthy locali-
ty; so on the 27th of June they were released from
all duty and ordered to proceed there. Tents were
struck at 9 a. m. ; we embarked at 7 p. m.; and reached
our destination at lOJ p. m., on the 27th.
68 The Iron Hearted Eegiment.
At sunrise on the 28th, we marched through the
streets of -the "Saratoga" of South Carolina. Our
martial band played one of their finest pieces, and
it sounded sweet and beautiful beyond description
on that quiet Sabbath morning. The people were
captivated, the same as the regiment had often
been; and good judges of music living in Beaufort
declared that they had often heard some of the
best bands in our own country, as well as the finest
in the British service, but had never heard anything
to equal the sweetness of that piece. It was quite
a feather in Eipley's (our fife major) hat.
For a long time after our arrival in Beaufort
death continued to visit our ranks nearly every day,
and a long row of graves soon helped to fill up the
Typhoid fever and chronic diarrhoea made our
camp a great hospital, and everything wore a sad
and gloomy look ; and it was not until cold weather
came on that the tide of disease and death, was
November 28. â€” The enlisted men of the regiment
presented' Colonel Sammons with a fine horse and
equipments, valued at $400.
November 30. â€” Marched to Port Royal ferry, on