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fast. The army seemed to melt away like a frost in the
July sun. We were located where we could not advance



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So NUGGETS OP EXPERIENCE

further, neither oould we retreat without exposing the com-
mand or ascending a rise of ground which would expose us
to the enemy.

Captain Ludden had led the Company in the charge,
and in the present exposed condition ordered us to lie
down. Lying close to the ground, some of us loading and
firing, while others passed rails from an old fence which
chanced to be a few rods in the rear, we placed the rails in
line in front of us; then, with bayonet, knife or any other
implement to be had, dug a trench, throwing the earth onto
the rails as a protection against the enemy's musketry.

In the afternoon when the firing was more quiet, Cap-
tain Ludden ventured in front of our little works to see
what the Johnnies were about. He had gone but a few
yards into the brush when he discovered them, pointing
their muskets in his face and claiming him for a prisoner.
The Captain, not wishing to accept from the generous John-
nies an invitation to visit the Confederate capital and Libby
prison, sprang into a clump of underbrush near by, the
Johnnies sending a volley of musketry after him. Seizing
the opportunity, he ran into our works, reaching us un-
injured but in the midst of a shower of bullets. While in
Chicago, in the fall of 1890, I met Major Ludden, (for-
merly Captain), and as we were talking of the days of the
war, and the circumstances at Cold Harbor were mentioned,
he remarked, "On that day I was a prisoner for just three
minutes."



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NUGGETS OP EXPERIENCE 51

We remained in the hot sun, crouched down in the
little works we had constructed, so close to the enemy as to
be unable to get to the rear for water or any necessaries of
life without a volley of musketry after us. We ourselves
were equally watchful of them. Sharp skirmishing was a
frequent occurrence on any part of the line, and no man
could stand erect one single moment without forming a
target for the enemy's guns. Our army struggled, perse-
vered and constructed works to water. And here was con-
ceived the idea of the Zigzag Trenches, through which,
when complete, we returned to our original line.

For ten days and nights, in conversational distance,
the Army of the Potomac confronted the flower of the
Armies of the Confederacy, protected by its strong barrier.
Yet our men were cheerful and joked at the enemy's shot
and shell that passed over them and sped on its way,
possibly to disturb a chance coffee cooler far in the rear.

Our regiment suffered severely in this engagement.
Colonel Porter was killed early in the fight while leading
the regiment in the charge on the enemy's works. General
Tyler was wounded and carried from the field. Nearly all
of the officers of the regiment were killed or wounded. Of
the four lieutenants of Company L, we had not one— Cap-
tain Ludden alone was with us. The loss to our regiment
at the next roll call was reported six hundred and eighty-
four; later the official report gave it as five hundred and
five.



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52 NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE

Horace Greeley, in his " Great American Conflict,"
pays this fitting tribute to Colonel Porter: "Colonel Peter
A, Porter, of Niagara Palls, (son of General Peter B. Por-
ter, who served with honor in the war of 1812 and was
Secretary of War under J. Q. Adams), in the prime of life
and in the enjoyment of everything calculated to make life
desirable, volunteered from a sense of duty, saying his
country had done so much for him that he could not hesi-
tate to do all in his power for her in her hour of peril.
When nominated in 1863 as Union Candidate for Secre-
tary of State, he responded that his neighbors had intrusted
him with the lives of their sons and he could not leave them
while the war lasted. He was but one among thousands
animated by like motives; but none ever volunteered from
purer impulses or served with more unselfish devotion than
Peter A. Porter."

I wish to say at this point that I have kept in memory
the valuable services rendered on that battlefield by Ser-
geant Joseph Shaw, of Company L, of the Eighth New
York Heavy Artillery. It was he who, when others were
reluctant, posted the pickets on those dark nights, not only
of our own regiment but also the pickets of other regiments.
The daring and efficient services bravely performed by him
in the proximity of the hostile army should have entitled
him at least to consideration of meritorious service.

This campaign was one of hardship to us all, but much
more fatiguing to the Artillery regiments than to the
Veterans who were accustomed to field service, by reason of



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NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE 53

their having so long done garrison duty. The Artillerists
were totally unaccustomed to marching and outdoor ex-
posure. Our labors were unceasing; marching, maneuver-
ing, skirmishing and battling was the order of the day and
night. It seemed very clear that we were going to fight it
out on this line if it took many summers.



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CHAPTER V



IN THE SHADOW OP THE WILDERNESS — THE DAWN — GENERAL.
GRANT'S STRATEGY— SHERMAN AND THE WESTERN BOYS—
SHERIDAN IN THE SHENANDOAH— HISTORIC MARCH-
CHARGE THE ENEMY'S WORKS AT PETERSBURG — DEATH OF
LIEUTENANT COLONEL BATES— CAPTAIN LUDDEN, A PRIS-
ONER, GOES TO RICHMOND— CAPTAIN LUDDEN *S RETURN
TO THE REGIMENT — COLONELS MURPHY AND MCIVER —
THE BOYS IN THE BLUE AND THE GRAY.

At the beginning of my soldier life I had not the
slightest conception of the magnitude of the war; and as
we now seemed to be struggling between life and death
for the supremacy, without perceptible gain, I had no
thought of the end. No matter where we went, the enemy
would be found, bristling out before us in his strong forti-
fications.

Information was not easily obtained and it seemed to
me we must go on in this way to the end of time. I was
deep in the shadow of the wilderness, yet the darkest hour
was before dawn. We were continually moving to the left
and around the enemy's right, each move carrying our
lines farther South and pressing General Lee's army more
closely within the last strongholds of the Confederacy.



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NUGGETS OP EXPERIENCE 55

General Grant was drawing his lines around the Rebel
armies, like the coiling of Time around the human heart,
Sherman, with his stalwart western boys, was successfully
preparing the way for his march to the sea; and the dash-
ing Sheridan, with his troopers, was soon to sweep like a
cyclone the foe from the Shenandoah Valley and render it
untenable for the life of a single crow.

On the night of the 12th of June, we left Cold Harbor
and started on the famous and historic march for the south
side of the James River. This gratified one of my greatest
desires. It was the one opportunity during my time as a
soldier in the United States service to see the Grand Army
of the Potomac in motion.

From the Wilderness to Cold Harbor there was more
or less skirmishing and fighting. Our movements were
mostly under cover of heavy timber. We were unable to
see a large portion of the army at any one time. From Cold
Harbor to Petersburg we moved over an extensive open
plain. At one elevated point I looked forward aind back
as far as the eye could reach. I was charmed with delight,
and gazed intently upon the vibrating movements of that
living column. It resembled the rippling waters of the
restless ocean, or the undulated appearance of endless grain
fields, ripe in the head, in the gentle breezes of summer. I
regarded this sight as one of the greatest incidents of my
life.

On the morning of the 16th of June we were in front
and south of Petersburg. We had been marching three



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56 NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE

days and nights. On the fourth night, the 15th of June, we
were moving through heavy timber, feeling our way to
Petersburg. We would stop, then march a little and stop a
few minutes, then march again. I was very tired, and
with two comrades I left the ranks and went into the woods,
where we were not disturbed and enjoyed a good night's
sleep. The regiment moved on about a mile and went into
camp. We went up early in the morning. On our way we
discovered a Confederate potato patch which the Yankee
boys had not yet visited ; the potatoes were Irish, but they
were raised in America and were fine ones. I helped my-
self to a good supply, which I carried into camp and with
them compromised matters with the Captain.

From the time of the arrival of our regiment in front
of Petersburg we lay on the south side of a deep ravine,
in which there was a good deal of dead and fallen timber,
until late in the afternoon. A line of battle was formed;
our regiment fell in, marched to the left and formed in line,
Lieutenant Colonel Bates commanding.

Immediately in our front the ground which we must
pass was open, with a gradual descent to a shallow ravine or
dry run. This was about three hundred yards from us,
with a bank on the opposite side, a few trees lining its edge,
and beyond, an old cornfield. Along this ravine, under
the protection of the trees, the Confederates had posted a
strong skirmish line, under whose continuous musketry
fire our battle line was formed.



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NUGGETS OP EXPERIENCE 57

At six o'clock the signal for the advance was given.
Captain Ludden, with a smile, stepped in front and led
the charge. We went on a run, not firing a shot until reach-
ing the Confederate skirmish line, but swept over the de-
scending ground like an avalanche. We crossed the ravine
and gained a position on the cornfield. The Confederates
fell back behind their strong works and kept up a brisk
firing for some hours.

We lay on the ground among the old corn hills, under
the artillery and musketry fire, until night spread its man-
tle of darkness over the field. When all was still save the
picket firing, we began building breastworks. All night the
men worked with pick and shovel. Not a word was spoken;
not a whisper did I hear. When the sun arose next morn-
ing it shone brightly on the resulting works, a brief protec-
tion for our heroes, all along the line.

The casualties in this charge were less numerous than
in previous engagements. Lieutenant Colonel Bates was
killed in the advance, being the second regimental com-
mander the Eighth New York Heavy Artillery had lost
in the past thirteen days. Some soldiers were killed and
a few were wounded.

The following day, June 17th, we again moved for-
ward, established a line and built new works where we had
a view of Petersburg's church spires.

On June 22d, while recannoitering the enemy's posi-
tion farther to the left, Captain S. D. Ludden was captured
and taken to Richmond and confined in Libby Prison, from



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58 NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE

which he escaped twice, and after tramping (as later the
Major related to me) three hundred and forty miles in
the enemy's country, concealing himself in the woods and
brush through the day, depending on the slaves for some-
thing to eat to keep life in, and to be guided on his way at
night by them, he succeeded in reaching the Union lines;
he went home to his people in the State of New York, where
he visited a few days, and then returned to the regiment
for duty September 8th, 1864, the regiment then being
near Petersburg.

In the latter part of the summer of 1864, by reason
of hard service, and our number being greatly reduced, (to
438), we had no officer left us ranking higher than Captain.
The responsibilities of our regiment were then entrusted
to the care of Colonels Murphy and Mfelver, who com-
manded alternately, though I have no recollection of either
of these Colonels commanding the regiment in battle, but
we more frequently saw Mclver than Murphy.

Now, I would not say that Murphy was not an Irish-
man, but Mclver was a typical son of the Emerald Isle; he
was said to have been a schoolmaster somewhere in the State
of New. York before the war, and a Governor's appoint-
ment to the army. However, there was one distinctive qual-
ity in his makeup we could safely bet on,— that he always
maintained a magnificent appetite for the Commissary's
beverage and we seldom, if ever, saw him without its influ-
ence ; it was a common occurrence with the boys to express
a desire to share the Colonel's sickness and medicine.



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NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE 59

On one particular occasion he went with the regiment
into the forest for the purpose of slashing and felling tim-
ber to entangle the footsteps of the Johnnies should they
attempt to come in at our left rear. 'We had been working
some hours when we were ordered to discontinue the work
and return to our guns. When we lined up behind our
musket stacks it seemed very clear to us, that during our
absence the Colonel had had a spirited engagement with his
beloved Commissary Department and the beverage had got
the better of him. Unsettled in his saddle he appeared be-
fore us, reeling from side to side of his horse. He com-
manded: "Now lit yiz fall in! Now lit yiz stand fasht!
Now don't lit yiz stir! Don't lit yiz break the stacks till
yiz take arms!"

Sometimes the Colonel would be more heavily bur-
dened than others, and occasionally he would take on a
hypnotic jag; at such times he would be confined to his
tent, and his loud and profanely educated voice would fur-
nish a sufficient entertainment for the entire camp. Later
the Colonel passed from my sight, and I do not remember
seeing him in my last days with the regiment.

The Siege of Petersburg was long and laborious. We
were ever on the alert, and we cannot forget that our time
was fully occupied with the many requirements, —strug-
gling for position, trenching and mining, advancing the
line, building new works and maning them, with an oc-
casional excursion to the Wheldon and Southside Railroads.
Yet, notwithstanding the loog and continuous contest about



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6o NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE

Petersburg, the determination exhibited in battle and the
tenaciously held positions, there was presented between the
battles an inclination to friendliness,— ay, there existed a
sympathy towards each other never known before in the
history of the wars, among soldiers of two hostile armies.
We talked freely back and forth on politics and of the
aspiring candidates, and the flying of white flags on our
earthworks became a frequent practice with us. So close
were the opposing works in those days of long ago, that we
often enjoyed exchanging visits midway between the lines,
when friendly salutations were exchanged and good feeling
manifested.

" The Yanks gave the Johnnies coffee,

Which they declared for months they had not seen;

The Johnnies gave the Yanks tobacco in return,

And in a brotherly way,

The boys in the blue and the gray

Drank from the same canteen."



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Battle of Ibatcber's Hun

(JSos&ton TCoafc)
October 27tb an& 28tb, 1864



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CHAPTER VI



LEAVING THE LINE IN FRONT OF PETERSBURG — MY DIFFICULr
TIES — THE NEW RECRUIT — ON THE FLANK — CAPTAIN
LUDDEN IN COMMAND OF THE REGIMENT— DEATH OF
LIEUTENANT FELLOWS — OFFICERS A SSEMBLE — REBEL BAT-
TERY OPENS FIRE ON THE HOUSE — THE BOYS ON HORSE —
WE CHARGE THE ENEMY — THE REBEL PRISONER — TWO
BRIGADES TO THE REAR—MEMORIES OF GENERAL GRANT—
BILLY MCCABE— THE RETROGRADE MARCH— THE WOUNDED
LIEUTENANT — RETURN TO THE LINE IN FRONT OF PETERS-
BURG.

It was my good f ortune as a soldier to be a member of
the Eighth New York Heavy Artillery, but I am not egotis-
tical enough to think our regiment did the most effective
service of all regiments, neither do I think the war would
not have successfully terminated without us, but I do think
we had, in every respect, a splendid collection of moral
young men, who were of good families; that we did our
duty as well as we could, and averaged fairly well with
other regiments as volunteer citizen soldiers.

On the evening of the 26th of October our regiment
left the line in front of Petersburg and made a forced
march toward Hatcher's Run, the object being to join our



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64 NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE

corps, (the Second), and participate in a flank movement
to the left for the capture of the Sonthside Railroad, which,
if successful, would completely block the Confederate com-
munications with the farther South, and would prevent
General Lee from sending reinforcements to General Hood,
whose army was then being driven about promiscuously
through Georgia by General Sherman.

I had been stricken with fever, and although I had
for a number of weeks performed the general routine, and
my allotted duty with the regiment, I was greatly emaciated
and seemingly could regain no strength. The fever had
settled in my limbs, and my legs refused to carry my body.
When passing over uneven or descending ground with
necessary accoutrements, I was sure to fall to my knees,
and my comrades often remarked my awkward appearance.
So severe were my sufferings on that march, with my weak
and painful joints, that I found it an agonizing difficulty
to keep position and pace with the rapidly moving column.
Had we been compelled to run to avoid capture, I would
certainly have become a victim of Andersonville, or such-
like horror, and suffered the fate of many and many a
Union soldier who perished, inch by inch, under the in-
human cruelty of the system practiced in the Rebel starving
corrals. A kindness of Captain Ludden greatly aided me
through that fatiguing expedition. I had been a close
friend of Captain Ludden 's from our first meeting. I never
knew him to use or handle liquor and I was not a liquor
drinker myself. On this occasion there was procured and



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NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE 65

carried with the Company a canteen of liquid,— which I
thought was not all water; the medicine was administered
to me (and one other sick boy) in homeopathic doses; it
seemed to so strengthen my weakened body as to enable me
to endure the hardship.

We hurried along over the narrow roads, hastily cut
through the timber by the pioneers, and when night fell it
was very dark in the deep forest. It was late when a small
clearing was reached, where we were allowed to lie down
for rest. Oh, how sweet were the sleeps of those vigilant
and toilsome times! We were called before light to arise
and cook coffee before recommencing our march.

We had with us a new recruit who had recently joined
the Company. He had never before been on a march with
us and evidently he had neglected to acquaint himself with
the short order meal system. Most of us had drank coffee
and were ready for duty when the order came to fall in line,
but our new recruit had only begun to gather fuel to cook
his coffee. The Sergeant called to him to fall in line, when
the recruit exclaimed, "I can't go this time ! I haven't had
a bit of breakfast yet!" This brought a laugh from the
boys and the recruit got quickly into line. The Company
was soon in its place, and the regiment was on the move.

We had not gone more than a quarter of a mile when
I heard the right of the regiment skirmishing sharply for
a few moments. The rear companies pressed forward as
rapidly as possible through the narrow road in the thick
underbrush, but slightly cut. What the obstruction was I

6



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66 NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE

did not learn, but the right of way was secured and the
regiment moved on.

We soon passed out of the thick timber onto an opening
thickly dotted with low pine shrubs. Company L was the
extreme left of the regiment, and its rear platoon, under
command of Sergeant Joseph Shaw, was ordered into the
woods to guard the left flank and I was consigned to respon-
sibilities of the most advanced picket post. Captain Lud-
den was assigned to command the regiment during the bat-
tle, and Company L was under the command of Lieuten-
ant Darwin Fellows. Fellows was the first Orderly Ser-
geant of the Company. He was young and possessed fine,
manly qualities ; always cheerful in his duties, his smiling
face and genial appearance never failed to bring sunshine
among his associates. He had been wounded early in the
campaign of that year and had returned to the regiment for
duty but a few days before starting on our Hatcher's Run
raid, and with this eventful day terminated his soldiering
on earth. On that bloody field he fought his last battle;
he passed to the Beyond and joined the silent majority.

We remained on the flank until near midday, when we
received orders to call in the pickets and join our com-
mand, which was soon to take part in a general forward
movement. After arriving on the battle line we were stand-
ing awaiting orders, when the officers on horseback, as
many as ten or twelve in number, assembled for consulta-
tion near us and in the rear of a small dwelling house. A
Confederate battery immediately opened fire on the house,



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NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE 67

when the officers were compelled to quickly fly in all direc-
tions. I think there were no officers hurt; a few soldiers
and some of our regiment who were near the house were
killed, and some were wounded, and we all went to the
ground. Sergeant Ewell, of Company L, had an arm
severed at the elbow, which resulted in his death a few days
later.

Our line of battle was formed athwart the Boydton
Road. This road was a public highway in time of peace and
was protected on each side by an old-fashioned rail fence.
The land at the right and left of the road for some dis-
tance, and to the Run in our front, was clear. We formed
in line at the right of the road between the house I have
mentioned, a small, unpainted house on the left, and a small
rough looking barn on the right of the road, and about one-
quarter of a mile from the bridge where the Boydton Road
crosses the Run, and where the Confederates held their
works.

Hatcher's Run is a small stream rising at or near the
Southside Railroad, and when it is supplied with a sufficient
amount of water it flows in a southeasterly direction and
empties into the Rowanty Creek, a tributary of the Nott-
away.

While we were lying awaiting orders, the Confederate
skirmish line advanced and commenced firing on us. With-
out orders we fired on them. A squadron of cavalry was
then brought up to hold the skirmishers back, but it ap-
peared to me they were not anxious to participate in the



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68 NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE

game. These cavalrymen, for some mysterious cause,
seemed reluctant to go forward; though they were once in-
duced to go out in front of the barn, they could not be got-
ten into line nor to deploy as skirmishers, and the man who
seemed to be in command was not more eager to combat
than were the others. When his men were crowding like
a flock of scared sheep with wolves on all sides, I heard him
say to them, "Now, hold the line firm I " He then put spurs
to his horse and galloped to the rear. One trooper re-
ceived a slight woun<I and the entire squadron helped the
wounded man back behind the lines, and I saw them no
more.

My dear Comrades, I have never doubted the bravery
and good soldierly qualities of those men under the com-
mand of a gallant and efficient officer, and in noting these
details I would not have one feel that I would censure the
cavalry. It was an act in the drama, and to me it was an
amusing incident. So deeply was I absorbed in the maneu-
vers of those boys on horse, that I sat intently watching
them, and had forgotten the Rebel skirmishers, until I was
aroused from my reverie by the flying bullets about us and
the knowledge of wounds received by two comrades who were
very near me. I have no inclination to speak disparaging-
ly of my comrades; I only wish to mention what I saw while
we were there under fire. I am grateful to the cavalry for
their unfailing devotion to the cause ; I know that arm did
a great deal of effective service and much to hasten the end
of the conflict.



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NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE 69

When the cavalry left our front, the Confederates had
advanced within about one hundred yards of us and we
were ordered to charge them. We moved forward at the
right of the road, firing as we went. The Confederates
made a brief stand, but as we drew nearer they ran away


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