S. Millet Thompson.

Thirteenth regiment of New Hampshire volunteer infantry in the war of the rebellion, 1861-1865: a diary covering three years and a day online

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Online LibraryS. Millet ThompsonThirteenth regiment of New Hampshire volunteer infantry in the war of the rebellion, 1861-1865: a diary covering three years and a day → online text (page 3 of 81)
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spection, Parade, Drill and Religious services, all to the same tune,
nearly, by the new Band, and after a long, busy day, about 5 p. m. re-
ceives orders to return at once to Camp Chase. Takes down its tents,
packs up, is joined by the incoming picket, and, about 6 p. m., marches
off at the top of its speed. Arrives at or near Camp Chase at 8 p. m.,
having marched the last five or six miles in an hour and a half. The
men are too tired to pitch their tents, our old tents which arrive late,
about 10 p. m., and make their camp for the night anywhere and anyhow.
The night is very cold, raining in the evening and freezing tovv^ard morn-
ing. About 100 men off duty, more or less sick. The night is enlivened
by a magnificent mule-chorus, sung by the Division teams.

Oct. 20. Mon. Very cold. JMany men rose this morning very
sick. (The writer, and several others, did not recover from the bad
effects of last night's exposure until after the march to, and the battle
of, Fredericksburg in December. Their discharge from the service was
repeatedly offered them, but as often refused.) The Reg. moves this
morning about a mile and stakes ground for a new camp, about half a


mile from oui* first camjjing ground near Arlington Heights. By night
our tents are ujj and we begin to be settled again, but upon an abominable
camping ground. About the only fence we have seen standing in Vir-
ginia was a few rods of it near Fall's Church. Houses, groves, or-
chards, shade trees and fences have been destroyed or leveled for miles
on miles around.

'• We turned in late last night, and after a few hours' rest I was called
out about 4 a. m., with all of Company F, and was hurried down with
Lieuts. Hall and Dustin to guard the Virginia end of the Long Bridge.
We had no rations, and when breakfast time came along, I went to a
Sutler's tent near by to purchase something for myself and the men of the
Company to eat, but found that I did not have a cent of money with
me ; I had lost somewhere that morning my pocket-book containing over
$800, belonging in part to myself and the rest to the men of my Com-
pany. I could not return to camp without a permit, so I hurried across
the bridge to Gen. Casey's Hdqrs. in Washington, stated to him the cir-
cumstances and obtained permission to return to camp. I then went to
our camp with Lieut. Hall, and we hunted for the lost pocket-book for a
long time but without success. While we were talking about the matter,
and devising plans to recover the money, it incidentally occui-red to Lieut.
Hall to see if his own money were safe. Thrusting his hands into his
pockets, he drew forth not his own pocket-book, but the very one I had
lost. We sat down then and there, counted the money and found it all
right. Lieut. Hall was surprised beyond measure. While dressing in the
morning, in the hurry and darkness, we had exchanged pantaloons. That
exchange caused me several hours of worry, and a tramp of nearly ten
miles done at the top of my speed. On the whole the hardest morning's
work I ever did in my life before bi'eakfast." Lieut. Young.

Oct. 21. Tues. Fair. Yesterday's work all for nothing, excepting
practice ; and the Thirteenth moves half a mile nearer the Potomac, and
pitches its tents again ; " A " tents, and six men crowded into each tent.
The Upton's Hill expedition was very damaging to the health of the
men. The experiment is tried to see how quickly the Reg. can assem-
ble, pack and be ready to march ; it is accomplished inside of fifteen
minutes. There is rarely a more stirring scene in the army ; men and
officers are moving in every direction ; laughter, jokes, commands, in-
quiries, are heard everywhere ; wagons loaded, rations distributed, knap-
sacks packed. Every one hurries in perfect order, because every man
knows exactly what work he has to do. .

Oct. 22. Wed. Fair. Thirteenth drilling, seven hours a day.
Many men off duty. Lieut. Penrose, Drill-master, is desirous of en-
forcing a more strict discipline, and threatens to " recommend all officers
for immediate resignation," who do not cease from all familiarity with
their enlisted men. This caste system is regarded as necessary, and is
compulsory. Reg. drawn up in close order and lectured most emphati-


cally. John J. AVhitteinore is sick, and Royal B. Prescott is emiiloyed
as Acting Hospital Steward.

Oct. 23. Thurs. Fair. Every one cautioned to be ready for an-
other move. Officers' school in full figure ; they are compelled to study
the Tactics very closely, also the Army Regulations, and to perform all
to the letter. Assistant Surgeon John Sullivan joins the Reg. He has
been in the service since June 1861, as a private in the 2d N. H., and
Medical Cadet, U. S. A.

Oct. 24. Fri. Warm. Thirteenth divided between picket, shovel-
ing and camp duties. Officers' messes being organized. A cook stove and
mess-chest costs about $35, and a good appetite costs eighteen hours of
hard work per day.

Oct. 25. Sat. Cool. About these days an enterprising Lieutenant,
in the Thii'teenth, discovers a lot of rebels near a neighboring outhouse,
and prepares for their capture or annihilation. After creepings and cau-
tions enough to take a city, wonderful generalship and unheard-of strategy,
he, with his men, surrounds, surprises and captures them all — and they
prove to be men of the Thirteenth making a night raid on a hencoop !
The more it is mentioned, the less that Lieutenant is happy. The 13th
ordered to furnish a guard for Fort Runyon and Long Bridge, consist-
ing of two officers and 80 to 100 men in all.

Oct. 26. Sun. Very rainy, cold and disagreeable. The Surgeon's
tent is nuich frequented. During a severe shower of rain to-day a large,
new regiment marches into camp with their colors flying, and their Band
playing " The Cam})bells are Coming." They make a fine display.
Enlistments are being made, among the volunteers, for the Regular Army,
and the Navy. None but "No. 1 men" need apply. Inducements: 30
days furlough every year, $50 bounty, $17 per month in pay. The fur-
lough to immediately follow enlistment, transportation free. We have
thus far moved five times, and each succeeding move for the worse.

Oct. 27. Mon. A hard rain storm. Cleared toward noon cold and
blustering. Camp very wet and muddy. About 80 men sent on guard
to Long Bridge, under Capt. Stoodley. An outrageously cold business.
Rest of the Reg. in camp and doing nothing. Long Bridge is about 2^
miles from our camp, is about 1^ miles long, and is the only bridge for
the passage of teams across the Potomac into Virginia. Immense wagon
trains are continually passing, often covering the whole bridge and its
approaches as far as we can see. No person is allowed to cross either
way without a pass, and the labor of the picket officer in examining
these passes is very hard and trying.

Oct. 28. Tues. Fair, very cold. Detachment returns from Long
Bridge at evening. Thirtieenth reviewed, with eight other regiments, by
Gen. Casey. A storm blows tents over and bui-sts them open, and the
rain pouring in makes the ground very wet and muddy. Half the Reg.
are thoroughly drenched.

Oct. 29. Wed. Pleasant day, night chilly and cold. Details go to























Online LibraryS. Millet ThompsonThirteenth regiment of New Hampshire volunteer infantry in the war of the rebellion, 1861-1865: a diary covering three years and a day → online text (page 3 of 81)