Alfred Davenport.

Camp and field life of the Fifth New York volunteer infantry. (Duryee zouaves.) online

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One night after the regiment had gone into camp, one
of the Zouaves ventured on a private errand as provider.
He went to a house near by, and, without ado, approached
and knocked on the door. " Come in," cried a manly
voice. He thought it an encouraging summons, and forth-
with opened the door; but much to his astonishment, he saw
Colonel Warren and Captain Partridge warming themselves
over the fire. If he ever disobeyed an order of his com-
manding officer during his two years' service, it was on this
particular occasion. He not only refused to obey, but rudely
closed the door and beat a hasty and disorderly retreat around
the corner of the house. Seeing a cellar-door open, his first
impulse was to disappear down that way ; but luckily for his
second thought, he did better by tumbling head over heels
into a pig-sty conveniently near, regardless of pigs or mire.
Out rushed the officers, who saw the cellar-door open, and
concluded that the rascal had gone below. The Captain
rushed back to get a light, while the Colonel stood guard,
saying that he would cut the scoundrel down if he attempted
to dash by him. Soon tlie Captain appeared with the light,
and while they were looking iiito the cellar, " Phil" got out
of the other side of the sty and made extraordinary time
back to camp, thanking his stars for his narrow escape.
"Phil" is now one of the shining lights of the New York
Ear.

Two men, who afterward confessed that they had been
officers in the Confederate army, after drinking freely, met
some unarmed Zouaves out of camp, drew their pistols and
pointed at them. They were arrested, and taken be-
fore Colonel Warren, confined for the night in comfortable
c^narters, and supplied with substantial iDeals frou) his own
table ; blankets were also furnished, and a good fire made
fur them. In the moming, when they were sober and pen-
itent, and ashamed of their conduct, the Colonel explained
to them the principles and the cause he was t^-hting for, and



A -. : ■■ {'■.f .:mi



The Eastern Shore — Life at Baltimore. 129

the madness and fully of their own false position, serenaded
them with the " Star Spangled Banner," and dismissed
them.

IVt'dfiesday, November 27. — Colonel Warren invited a
number of gentlemen known to be bitter secessionist?,
some of whom were formerly rebel officers, to witness a
drill and parade of the Fifth, and afterward join him in a
soldier's supper. At the appointed hour they came in fine
equipages," for they belonged to the wealthy and influential
classes.

The Zouaves were encami)ed in a dense pine forest near
the village of Eastville, adjoining which was a large and
level meadow, which made an admirable parade-ground.
The movements were performed under the order of the
Colonel, in a most successful manner, and the gentlenien
were astonished, never having witnessed anything like it be-
fore ; afterward they had a splendid supper around a roar-
ing fire. They were stretched in a semicircle about it, sit-
ting and reclining on red blankets laid upon pine boughs,
from which they could see the Zouaves flitting about their
camp-fires in the pine woods across the meadow. TliC
scene in the dusk of evening was enchanting and like a
vision of fairy-land. After the bountiful repast, the Colonel
sent for so:ne fine singers of the regiment, and they were
entertained for an hour by their performance. They then
sung " The Red, White, and lilue," and the finale was the
'• Star Spangled Banner," in which all joined with great
effect. The secession visitors got e.xcited, and sang louder
than any of them, swinging their hats in the air ; after which
Ihey declared that, after all, they had an interest in the old
flag — that one-half of it belonged to the South, and it was
a shame to divide it. They wound u[) by iMoposin^, and
joining in, cheers for tlic tlig, fur the 5th New York, and
tur the Union.

'I'attoo, with " Yankee Doodle," played with fife and tlruni,



130 Fifth Neio York Vohcttccr Infantry.

cut short the entertainment. This little incident did more
to overcome the secessionists, in spite of themselves, than a
hard battle would have done.

Col. Warren invited Gen. Lockwood to witness a d-ill of
the Fifth a {•iw days afterward, as iie did not seem to entertain
very cordial feelings toward the Zouaves. But whether the
question, "Who stole that goose?" which became prover-
bial in the regiment, had anything to do with it, has never
been determined.

The regiment went through the movements with automatic
precision in quick and double-quick time. The General was
astonished, and said that he had never seen anything like it
in the whole of ^'■Delaware,'' and that it could not be
excelled.

Monday, Dec. 2. — ^farched to widiin seven miles of Pona-
teague, covering twenty-one miles, where more deserted in-
trenchments and obstructed roads were discovered.

Tuesday, Dec. 3. — Left the camping ground, and reached
the steamer Star^ lying at Ponateagiie, on the Chesapeake
Bay, about noon.

Wednesday, Dec. 4. -^Started about 6 A.^r. on board the
steamer Star, for Federal Hill, arriving at the fort on the
morning of the 5th, after an absence of twenty-three days.

The companies had marched on this expedition over 160
miles, in heavy marching order, besides having severe drills
while lying in camp. They found the majority of the peo-
ple to be poor and ignorant, many of the women having
neither shoes nor stockings, with tlieir dresses unfashionably
short. The negroes were allowed one coaf, one pair of
shoes, two siiirts, and one pair of trousers for the year, and
some of their clothes were so much patched that the)- looked
like beJ-q'.ii'r;. At first the ncL'rocs wcxc very nnirli alarm-
ed, an.; kept aloof. biU having caii^lu one. and gi\-t'n l;ini a
Union drill, by tossing liim in a blanket, they soon had their
hands full. They said that their masters had told them that



The Eastern Shore — Life at Baltimore. 131

the Yankees would cut their arms and legs off. They were
greatly surprised and gratified to find that instead of being
treated in that way, they were welcomed with " Union
drills."

To sum up, tlie expedition seized ten cannon, eight of
which were new, a thousand stand of aims, flags, etc.. be-
sides disbanding the drafted militia, restoring confidence to
the Unionists, and demoralizing the secessionists.

Colonel Warren was much oi)i)osed to the policy of delay
pursued by General Lockwood at first, and offered to take
his battalion and Xims' battery, and push through to the end
of the Peninsula. Had he been allowed to do so, there can
be little doubt that Colonel Smith, the Confederate leader,
would have ueen captured.

On the evening of Friday, Dec. 6th, the officers being
again "at home," had a "sociable," in the Colonel's quar-
ters, which were in a brick building, formerly used as a
hotel, which was allowed to remain when the fort was built,
and was situated inside the works, near the western embank-
ment. The men also had an improvised concert, the band
played at intervals, cheers were given for Colonel W.irren,
and expressions not very complimentary to General Lock-
wood or his military sagacity, were indulged. Altogether the
entertainment was worthy of the occasion.

The following day, the weather being propitiously beauti-
ful, all of the command that could be spared, marched out
for a parade through the city, bearing the Confederate flag
that was seized on the late expedition, upside down. .

It was publicly presented to General Dix, at his head-
quarters in the city, after which the men gave three tre-
mendous cheers for General Dix and the American Union.
I>oubtless the rebels growled and gnashed their teeth at the
«-i - -rincc C'f ih<;ir riag.

On Fridav, Dec. 13th, several of the officers and a few of
the men were sent to New York to obtain recruits.



I 132 FiftlL Nczv York Voluv.tar bifantry.

I It may seem strange, that regiinei.ts in the service, when

[ they have not lost many men in battle, are obliged to recruit

f so often. The reasons are, that all comparatively new or-

\ ganizations lose many men, who, when first enlisted, pass a

jiiedical examination, but have not the stamina to endure the
hardships and exposure to which they are subject. In addi-
tion to this, many desert. It is a hard school, and puts to
i the test all that there is in a man in the way of fortitude, pa-

1 tience, endurance, and all the hardier qualities, as well as mor-

j al courage. After the weaker ones are sifted out, there remains

a body of strong, enduring soldiers, who can perform any
duty, and submit to any hardship, who do the hard fighting in
[ a battle, and are "mustered out" either by death on the

I field of battle, or vv-ith honor at the end of their-tenn.

[ The attendance at divine service on Sundays was small,

[ seldom exceeding over twenty ; last Sunday quite a large

I number assembled, on account of some remarks made by

Colonel Warren on the subject, and the men were drawn
together at his request.

A few evenings since the men gave a concert, in one of
\ the nearly finished barracks. A stage was erected at one

I end, and decorated as tastefully as the means at their com-

; mand would allow ; seats of plain boards were arranged for

i the audience, with camp-stools, borrowed for the occasion,

I to acconnnodate the officers. There were recitations and

\ scenes from " Afacbeth," etc., which were acted out in the

\ most tragic manner. The Drum-Major gave an exhibition

i of his skill on the drum, and he made it speak in his hands.

I The good voices selected from members of the regiment,

j gave some very harmonious music, and the Colonel and

• officers were very much entertained and gratitied.

On Afondiiy, the ;,V'? t'^*- "'"-''i struck tents, and moved

into the l).ir!\;r.k-. "TlK'y were largo and roomy, two stoiies

! high, with double verandas, supported by blight piiLus, and

facing inward toward the scpiare. They occupied tlnee



The Easter }i Shore —Life at Baltimore. 133

sides of the quadrilateral, within the high eiiibanktuents, and
upon the fourth are situated a neat cottage of brick, com-
monly called the Colonel's quarters ; a guard-house, and an
unimposing building which alfords ample accommodation
for the commissary and quartermaster's departments.

" One building is occupied by the officers, and the others
are divided into rooms ninety feet in length, each division
furnishing ample accommodation for one hundred men.
Three tiers of bunks occupy each side of the company
quarters, and are arranged in the most convenient and ap-
proved manner. Company kitchens also occupy the ends
of the large center building, and there are rooms in the same
building for the band and the sutler. The buildings inclose a
large parade-ground, sufficient in extent for ordinary military
purposes ; and the square is ornamented with native trees,
which please the eye and afford an agreeable shade."

The company rooms were each heated by two stoves,
which stood at either end, and the comfort of these (inarters
contrasted favorably with that of the cold and crowded tents. j

The day before moving was dreary aixl rainy ; the wind j

blew a gale, and the tents api)eared to lie in a morass of j

nuid and water. It is needless to say that the change was j

immensely for the advantage of the men for health as well \

as comfort. The boys enjoyed themselves extremely in j

their new quarters, and after camping out so long, we felt j

soniewhat domesticated in our new surroundings. 1

Thursday, December 26. — Our works have been named \

and are to be made historical by the title of '• Furt l-'ederal j

Hill." The armament of the fort is six 8-inch columbiads ;
two lo-inch mortars ; two 8-inch S. C. howitzers ; twenty- |

three 32-|)ound guns; five 24-pound howitzers (rlank de- 1

f»'n^e). and several 6-pound brass pieces. Stored in the :

"iiee magazines v/ere 10.000 pounds ot^ cannon pcjwder and '■.

^coo hand grenades. \\\ addition there was in the fort
over 4,000 solid shot, shell, grape and canister shot.



~ I



:/ .: V!



134 Fifth Nc-iv York Volunteer Infantry.

The Confederate flag captured in the late expedition to
the eastern shore of Virginia, and presented to (General Dix,
was sent by him to the Mayor of the city of New York.
The following is from the New York Times of December
27, 1861 :

Mayor's Office, December 26, 1861,

To THE HOXORABLE THE COMMON COUNCIL :

Gentlemen : — I have received a communic^ation from Major-
General Dix (a copy of which is annexed), accompanying' a se-
cession flag, captured in Virginia by the 5th Regiment of New
York Volunteers (Duryee's Zouaves), under his command.

In compliance with the desire of Major-General Dix, it be-
comes my pleasant duty to transmit this trophy of a New York
regiment to the appropriate custody of the municipal authorities
of the city to which this gallant corps belongs. New York will
preserve this relic with pious care, as a proof of the courage of
her sons and their patriotic devotion to the cause of the Union.
Let us receive it as an auspicious token, and as an earnest of the
restoration of peace and the triumph of that Constitution which
is the only safeguard of the true glory and happiness of our coun-
try. I recommend that the Common Council, in receiving the
flag, pass resolutions congratulating the regiment of New York
Zouaves for their gallant spirit, and thanking General Dix for his
kindly remembrance of the city.

Fernando Wood, Mayor.

On the receipt of the above message, the Common Coun-
cil adojned a resolution returning the thanks of the city to
the Fifth Regiment for the flag.

Friday Jan. 3, 1862. — With the opening of the new year
winter had fully set in, and in the morning the air was very
keen. The season was cokl, and in addition we had the full
force of the north winds on the elevated position we occu-
pied. The surgeon, or "0[)iain Pills," as the men called hiui,
whatever may have been his scicntihc attainments, was not
fortunate as an ot'ficer or a humanitarian. lie was tyranni-
cal and cruel. It was his custom when the sick came before



•■•■^.'<.• Life at Baltimore. •■ 135

him, to commence business by asking his steward to bring
him '' some of those bitters," which was evidently nothing
less than about five fingers of raw whisky. His loaded re-
volver was laid on the table at his side, and for some imagi-
nary provocation he would fly into a towering passion, bring
his fist down on the table with an oath, upsetting the ink and
everything else, and either kick some poor fellow out of the
room, or seize his revolver and threaten to blow somebody's
brains out. One of the officers, Quartermaster Wells, took
him at his word one day, much to the joy of the men.
There had been some trivial dispute between them, and the
surgeon (V.) challenged the Quartermaster. But he found
that he had a new patient to deal with, and not a list of sick
})rivates who could not resist his brutality. The challenge
was accepted, the Quartermaster being a dead shot, and ac-
customed to making his fire tell, and the imperious surgeon
was obliged to retire his challenge, and retire himself, by
resigning his commission.

Passes to the city are again restricted, only one for each
company being allowed every twenty-four hours. In conse-
quence some of the men resume their guard-running prac-
tices, with the risk of being fired at by the sentries, besides
being court-martialed when caught, or if they missed a roll
call.

No harm will come now to any one to tell where the run-
aways often spent their time, and where the guard could
have made a good capture not very far from the fort. The
'• Zouave House " will never be forgotten by the Fifth. A
convenient trap-door led down into a dark cellar, where the
carousers found refiige when their pickets gave tlie alarm ;
the trap was then covered over with the carpet, and a piano
stood over the sjiut. It was a long time before tliis rcrer
'•''■AS ,hu-ovcred and our musical masked battery was aban-
doned.

lyolncsday, January 8.— To-day there are about fifty boys



1 30 Fifth Nciv York Volunteer Infantry.

enjo\ ing tlieinselves omside tlie fort, coasting down the liill
■with t!ieir sleds. Scr.,'cant F., feeling disposed to participate
in the sport, borrowed a sled from one of the boys, and was
soon going down the hill as fast as he conld desire ; but iin-
fortin.atcly for him, when he was about half the distance, he
and his conveyance puled company ; he slid about twenty
■feet ill o\-\c direction and his sled in another, niaterially mar-
ring the beauty of his countenance. The men standing on
the parapets of the fort gave a shout at his mishap, and
he ever after bore the name of " Hunkey Slide."

The iDen had become very proficient in their drill, and
were fa!!;iiiar with boiii the heavy and light infantry manual,
bayonet exercise, heavy and light artillery, street firing, etc.,
and in addition oiie man was detailed daily from each com-
pany to learn the art of making cartridges. They were
again allowed their full complenient of passes to the city,
and guard-running coiisequentiy decreased.

On Tliursday, l'"ebiuary 6th, the regiment was compli-
mented by the presentation of a beautiful garrison flag, pre-
pared by the ladies of South Baltimore. Although the
■weather wa? not very favorable, a large assembly was
gathered within the fort, the ladies of South Baltimore, who
manifested great interest and pride in the reginient that had
built Fort Federal Hill, forming the principal part of the
throng. The interior of tlie fort was placed in excellent
order, and notwith.-tancling the alternate storms of rain and
snow, afforded a fiir proiuenude-ground for our fair visitors.

Tiie fallowing account of the presentation is from the
Baltiinoye American of February 7, 1862 :

"At half past two 'the assembly' was heat, and the regi-
ment formed as for dress parade on tiiree sides of the parade-
grour.u. Alter foniKi'LinM, the rcgiinent w.is closed at iiaif-dis-
tance in iioiit of the hi-;ui([uartL-rs, Colonel Warren in front of
his cumniand, and the ceremonies of presentation commenced.
The ll.i;^ was brought f irv.-ard by Messrs. Edward H. Price and



• / Life at Baltimore. 137

Joseph Brooks, the committee of arrangements on tlie part of
the ladies.

"John Willis, Esq.. was introduced, and delivered the fol-
lowing presentation address :

" To THE Officers and Soldiers of the Fifth New
York Zouave Regiment:— I have been honored with the
privilege, by patriotic ladies residing within the southern section
of Baltimore, of presenting, in their name and on their behalf,
to your regiment, the 5th New York Zouaves, this beautiful en-
sign of our country's nationality. Soon as man emerges from
barbarism toward civilization, even in its rudest form, we find
him naturally seeking some congenial association. It is not
meet that he should live alone, as the fair donors of this exquisite
gift would willingly attest.

" Combining thus for the better preservation of his own and
his neighbors' rights ; looking also through the light of reason,
and in the exercise of those attributes which distinguish him
above all other animate beings, he seeks the enjoyment of con-
solidated advantages vouchsafed in unity of purpose and of
power.

"Associations thus formed naturally adopt their insii^nia,
their mottoes, their emblems of faith, until each representation
becomes the reflective index of an embodied principle. Thus
from the small beginning of a rude circle, allied in plighted faith,
looking toward the grand ultimatum of human happiness, we
behold traced out the progress of civilization, until mighty na-
tions have sprung into being, mapping the great globe congenial
to their desired nationality.

" The revolutions of ages have brought us to the present mo-
ni'-ntous epoch in the world's history. The whole habitable face
ot our green earth is marked and countermarked with geograph-
ical and national divisions. These seem to have been the natural
and almost unavoidable results of maturing and matured ex-
perience .

" Having therefore risen to the high dignity of nations, each
■•'•ih its intfgral th.nigh consolidated millions, lias, in some
!o:-;a oi other, atlojited the ensign of its faith, not only to be
''^•^|)eoted at home, but to command respect abroad.



138 Fifth Nczo York Voliuitccr Infantry.

" There are some, in an individual point of view, whose patriot-
ism, I regret to infer, has been so mildewed as to divert their
mental visions from a true perception and translation of the real
sentiment embodied in such ensigns.

" Looking, as they are prone to look, at our precious Star
Spangled Banner under existing unfortunate circumstances, their
frigid philosophy misleads them to pronounce it an unmeaning
combination of colors and shreds.

" We envy not the heart from whose cold recess has vanished
the sacred memories of this our country's ever-glorious flag.
Would that the gladsome period be not distant when all such
sluggish pulsating organs may be enabled to throb afresh wiih
renovated patriotism, and that the bright image of this starry
emblem may again live there to flourish, and blossom and bloom
as the rose in the wilderness.

" The rainbow, with its tinted colors, in arching beauty spans
the blue vault. We behold it with admiring eyes, are awe-stricken
with its grandeur, and venerate Him who sprung it in the heav-
ens. Nor this alone ; for faith points to it standing there as
an everlasting pledge of fidelity from God to man.

" It is not, then, the simple colors, so gorgeously blended,
which fade, perchance, with the passing cloud, but our knowl-
edge of their return to represent a sure pledge— a living- eternal
principle — that enchains the beholder's admiration.

"The golden-orbed sun i.,vites us to his sinking in the purple
west, leaving earth overshadowed with darkness and gloom ; but
hope points steadily to an auroral morn when he will arise again
with the same promethean fire to assume meridian splendor.
The moon and stars are hidden from visu i;ji-e, yet they anon
come forth, fresh as when first created, to illumine Niobc's path-
way across the spangled heavens.

" It is the living embodiment of a sublime principle contained
within the silken folds and clustering stars of this our nation's
proud banner that wins our hearts and bids us reverence its
holy memories. In youth we learned its history; in manhood's
earlier vears, its name was as an huuschold w..rd ; in life's Indian
summer, it gained deeper reverence; and as wintry age grows
apace, the old heart becomes perennial in contemplating- its



Life at Baltimore. 139

plories. The Revolutionary patriot, and those who followed it
throu_2[h dang-er to victory in later struggles, never forgot, and
tinker can forget, so sacred a thing- as their country's flag-.

"To us it is a legacy bequeathed from sire to son. It was
baptized in the sacred blood of freedom, and still waves an em-
blem of untainted liberty.

" Almost a century has passed since our Revolutionary fathers
proclaimed their independence and gave us this pledge of the
wisdom, the power, and the grandeur of republican liberty. On
land and sea, in storm and in sunshine, at home and abroad, in
fcTtile valleys and on mountain tops, on lake and river, plain,
Uland, or desert, we speak in reverence of Mount Vernon's holy
shrine where Washington sleeps! Wherever ci\ilii:ation has
planted this banner and fixed these stars, they are the faithful
sentinels of human happiness.

" Under them we have grown up from partial obscurity to in-
comparable greatness, from seeming weakness to unconquerable
strength ; so that this day, under this banner, in its true constitu-
tional meaning, it is ours to hold the world in admiration and in
awe. No such word as deleat ever stained its folds, and, if we
prove true to ourselves, never can.

" Pursuing the pathways of science in the light of its encour-
aging spirit, we have taught kingdoms and empires of the Old
World, grown g-ray in years before ours had an existence, lessons
of practical wisdom. That all-pervading subtle principle of elec-
tricity which tills the universe has been called from the thunder-
cloud by American genius, and now speaks from these shores to
our praise in all parts of the civilized globe.

" We have placed steam upon the mighty dee[) to plow its
trackless billows, and ^ven it locomotion on the outsiretchctl
arms of our countless railways. Genius in innumerable forms,



Online LibraryAlfred DavenportCamp and field life of the Fifth New York volunteer infantry. (Duryee zouaves.) → online text (page 11 of 39)