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Title: My First Campaign
Author: Grant, J. W.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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 MY FIRST CAMPAIGN.



 BOSTON:
 WRIGHT & POTTER, PRINTERS, 4 SPRING LANE.
 1863.



PREFACE.


At the earnest request of many of my comrades of the Twelfth Rhode
Island Volunteers, I am induced to publish this narrative, which, with
very little addition or alteration, I have copied entire from my private
journal. This was written under many disadvantages during a campaign of
unusual hardships and privations. Hoping it may prove of use, as a
reference, to many of my companions, who from the very nature of the
campaign, found it impossible to keep a record, is the only apology I
have to offer for publishing a work of this nature.

 DIAMOND HILL, R. I., August, 1863.



MY FIRST CAMPAIGN.



CHAPTER I.


On the 16th day of September, 1862, the author of this narrative was
duly enlisted as a volunteer in the service of the United States; and,
on the 22d of the same month, reported at Camp Stevens, Providence, R.
I., for duty. At this place, the Twelfth Regiment Rhode Island
Volunteers was organized; and in this city, on the 13th day of October,
1862, it was mustered into the service of the United States, for a
period of nine months.

As a member of this regiment, your subscriber was duly elected, and from
the 13th of October, 1862, until the 29th of July, 1863, was known as J.
W. Grant, private, Company F, Twelfth Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers.
Our regiment was under the command of Colonel George H. Browne, and as
yet no lieutenant-colonel or major had been assigned us. The following
were the company officers:

      _Company A._--Captain, Edward S. Cheney; 1st Lieutenant,
      ----; 2d Lieutenant, John S. Roberts.

      _Company B._--Captain, James M. Longstreet; 1st Lieutenant,
      Oscar Lapham; 2d Lieutenant, Albert W. Delanah.

      _Company C._--Captain, James H. Allen; 1st Lieutenant, Jales
      Macharet; 2d Lieutenant, Matthew M. Chappell.

      _Company D._--Captain, George C. Almy; 1st Lieutenant,
      William H. King; 2d Lieutenant, George H. Tabor.

      _Company E._--Captain, John J. Phillips; 1st Lieutenant,
      George F. Bicknell; 2d Lieutenant, Christopher H. Alexander.

      _Company F._--Captain, William E. Hubbard; 1st Lieutenant,
      George F. Lawton; 2d Lieutenant, George Bucklin.

      _Company G._--Captain, ----; 1st Lieutenant, William C.
      Rogers; 2d Lieutenant, James Bowen.

      _Company H._--Captain, Oliver H. Perry; 1st Lieutenant,
      ----; 2d Lieutenant, Edward P. Butts, Jr.

      _Company I._--Captain, George A. Spink; 1st Lieutenant,
      Stephen M. Hopkins; 2d Lieutenant, Munson H. Najac.

      _Company K._--Captain, ----; 1st Lieutenant, Edmund W. Fales;
      2d Lieutenant, James M. Pendleton.

John L. Clark, of Cumberland, was appointed Quartermaster, and John
Turner, of Bristol, Adjutant.

On the 21st day of October, at six o'clock, P.M., the Twelfth Rhode
Island Volunteers formed for its last parade, on Camp Stevens, and at
seven, P.M., of the same day we were aboard the cars, and hurrying on
our way _en route_ for Washington, by way of New York and Baltimore.

We reached Groton at half-past nine, went aboard the steamer Plymouth
Rock at this place, and at eleven were moving down the Sound.

It was rather an unpleasant night; the wind blew fresh from the south,
rolling up the clouds in heavy masses, with every appearance of its
raining immediately. However, at daybreak, the wind changed to the
north-west, the clouds began to disperse, and at sunrise the sky was
perfectly clear.

Just beyond Hurl Gate we passed the steamer Great Eastern lying at
anchor, and had as good a view of her as we could desire to have. She
appears to be a beautifully modelled vessel, of tremendous size and
power.

We arrived in Jersey City at eight, A.M. Disembarking from the Plymouth
Rock, we reëmbarked on the steamer Kill Von Hull, and at ten, A.M.,
were steaming towards Elizabethport, the wind blowing a gale, dead
ahead. Passed by Staten Island, which by the way is one of the most
beautiful places I have ever seen. The land rises from the bay to a very
great height, and is covered with groves of beautiful trees,
interspersed with houses here and there. I should think, from the
appearance of Staten Island, that it must be a delightful place. As we
sailed along, close by the shore, the people came from the houses to
salute us, waving flags and handkerchiefs; in the groves and upon the
house-tops we saw and heard them cheering us. We arrived at
Elizabethport about twelve o'clock. I should think it to be a place of
some importance as a depot for the shipment of coal, there being every
convenience in the line of railways and wharfs. It is a small place,
however, nothing doing except in connection with the coal trade. We
started from this place at three, P.M., _en route_ for Baltimore, by
way of Harrisburg. The soil at Elizabethport, and all the way through
New Jersey, by rail to Phillipsburg, Penn., is a reddish brown clay, and
for the first twenty-five miles beyond Elizabethport the country appears
quite monotonous, a vast level plain, with here and there a shrub, and a
few houses, but no good farms. The only fruit trees I saw worth
mentioning were quinces; these were of large size, and many of them were
loaded down with fruit. I should suppose this road ran through the most
barren part of Jersey, as I could see no signs of thrift and industry.

Upon entering Phillipsburg we came upon a most beautiful country,
abounding in hills and valleys, covered with forest trees, with here and
there an excellent farm. The hills are high and smooth--no rocks to be
seen upon the surface--thereby affording some of the finest situations
for farming I ever saw. The scenery is most beautiful all the way
through Pennsylvania on this line. In consequence of the unevenness of
the surface through this part of the country, the railroad cuts are very
frequent and extensive, some of them extending for a mile or more, and
so deep that we could hardly see the top of the bank from the car
window. The road, also, of necessity crosses ravines, some of them one
hundred and fifty feet in depth. We arrived at Phillipsburg at five
o'clock, P.M.; halted the trains, filled canteens, and relieved four or
five apple trees of two or three bushels of fruit. Stopped at
Phillipsburg until after dark, to allow trains of coal to pass, this
being the great thoroughfare over which vast quantities of coal pass to
Elizabethport, from the coal districts of Pennsylvania. After starting
from Phillipsburg we moved along very slow, stopping often, and passing
frequently tremendous long trains of coal, drawn by powerful
locomotives, two locomotives attached to many of the trains.

We arrived at Easton at nine o'clock Wednesday evening. Here I saw canal
boats running for the first time, passing and repassing one another, and
learned we were upon the Schuylkill River,--and crossed this beautiful
stream immediately after leaving this place.

After leaving Easton, we slept in the cars, as well as we could. Passed
through Reading in the night, and the next morning found ourselves close
by, and at sunrise entered Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania. It
is not a very large place, but it is pleasantly situated, the
neighborhood abounding in beautiful scenery. Stopped at this place, got
out of the cars, crossed the canal, and formed in line; called the roll
in the streets of Harrisburg, went immediately aboard of the cars
again,--and, after a series of running ahead and backs, into and out of
the depot, finally started, changing direction for Baltimore. The
bridge crossing the Susquehanna at this place is a very fine structure;
I should think it to be nearly a mile in length, and crosses the river
at a height of nearly seventy feet above the surface of the water. The
road lay close by the river for a long distance, affording us a fine
view of this celebrated stream. I looked forward, with a great deal of
interest, to the time of crossing the line into Maryland, expecting to
see quite a change in the looks of things upon entering a slave state,
judging from what I had heard. We crossed the line about twelve o'clock,
and I found myself agreeably disappointed in the appearance of things.
Instead of seeing an abundance of negroes I hardly saw one. The houses
are small and cheaply built, most of them, as they are indeed all the
way from New York, but I could see no difference in the people; all I
saw, on the whole route from New York, were not as well dressed, or as
neat in appearance as they are in New England. The scenery, all the way
to Baltimore, continued to be most beautiful, and the country appears to
be well adapted, in all respects, to farming operations. I saw quite
extensive fields of corn in Maryland and Pennsylvania; the corn was
being carried outside of the fields, to be husked there, most of it, I
should think, as I saw men busy in many places stripping off the husks
and carrying it away. They manage to get their corn off in time to sow
the same piece to grain. Several of the fields were already cleared of
the corn, the grains sown and already up two and three inches high.
There seems to a New Englander a great lack of barns and other
outbuildings in these States, but with the crops they raise perhaps they
are not necessary.

We journeyed along very slow after leaving Harrisburg, stopping often
for wood and water, also for trains to pass by us, &c. The road we found
to be strictly guarded, long before we came to Baltimore, passing
company after company on picket duty along the road, who cheered as we
went past. Feeling our way along, we came into Baltimore just at dark,
Thursday evening, the 23d. Got out of the cars, the regiment was formed,
and we proceeded through the streets of this city to our resting place
for the night. Halted at the general rendezvous for soldiers long enough
to take refreshments; sat down, unslung knapsacks, and commenced our
supper, which consisted of coffee, white bread, beef, ham, tongue, sour
krout, &c. Slung knapsacks, went from there to the depot, unslung
knapsacks again, and camped for the night upon the depot floor. Drums
beat at six o'clock, A.M., the 24th, for roll call; tumbled out of
_bed_--the regiment was formed, and we went to breakfast, at the same
place where we took supper the night before, which was but a short
distance from the depot. After breakfast we marched back, formed in line
in front of the depot; rested there until ten o'clock, then marched
through the principal streets of the city; visited Washington Monument,
a beautiful structure of white marble, surmounted by a statue of the
_Great Chieftain_. Halted to rest around the base; then marched back,
visiting the monument erected to the memory of those who fell at Fort
McHenry in 1812, and formed in line where we started from, to wait and
take the cars for Washington. Baltimore is indeed a fine place--no
wonder the rebels envy us the possession of it. I saw some splendid
buildings in the Monumental city.

We finally got aboard of the cars, and started for Washington, at five,
P.M. Just before dark passed the "Relay Station," where the
Massachusetts Eighth were encamped in 1861. Passed picket after picket,
guarding the road, their camp fires burning, lighting us up as we passed
along, and finally reached the great capital, at eleven, P.M. We
proceeded immediately to our quarters, unslung knapsacks, then marched
about forty rods to the "Soldiers' Retreat," where we took supper; then
marched to our quarters, and at one o'clock, A.M., turned in. At
half-past six we arose to look about us. It was indeed a pleasant
morning, the sun was shining brightly, and every thing betokened a
pleasant day. The first object that struck my eye was the Capitol, not
more than quarter of a mile distant. It is yet unfinished, but nearer
completion than I supposed it to be from what I had heard. At nine, A.M.,
with a few others, I went inside; stopped in the rotunda a while, to
look at the paintings, and then passed up a flight of marble steps
leading into the right wing of the building, to get a view of the House
of Representatives. We passed through entries, and by reception rooms,
the floors of which were of "stone mosaic," looking to all appearances
like beautiful carpeting. The ceiling overhead was supported by marble
pillars of exquisite design and finish, situated just inside of niches
in the walls. The "House of Representatives" is a magnificent room,
entirely beyond my powers of description. From thence we proceeded to
the rotunda, and entered the left wing of the building by a flight of
stairs, corresponding with those we had just left, the style of finish
being the same along the whole passage as of that leading to the House,
in the other wing. This passage leads to the "Senate Chamber." This room
is somewhat different from that of the House, but rather plainer in its
general appearance. The pillars supporting the galleries and ceiling are
very numerous, of Egyptian marble, or something similar in appearance.
The walls and arches overhead are covered with fresco paintings, of
great beauty and variety. We had but a short time allowed us to visit
this place, and consequently did not see but a small portion of it. I
had understood, that apart from the Capitol, the city was a miserable
looking place. I do not see it in that light. There is certainly a great
deal to do--a great deal yet unfinished--but it is certainly more of a
place than it has been represented to be. A few years more and this will
be a beautiful city; the present war already begins to tell upon it.
The business doing here necessarily in carrying on this war is creating
a stimulus; buildings are going up, improvements are being made, and men
of real business talent are encouraged to come here. The ball is set in
motion, and this place, in a few years, will present a far different
appearance from what it does at the present time.

I was hoping we might stop in Washington two or three days, but was
disappointed. At eleven o'clock Saturday, the 25th, we formed in line,
passed in front of the Capitol, down Pennsylvania Avenue, turned off to
the right in the direction of Long Bridge, passed Washington Monument,
leaving it to the left of us, and forming in line opposite General
Casey's head-quarters, to whose division we were assigned, gave him
three hearty cheers, and at twelve o'clock passed on to Long Bridge, and
into _Dixie_.

The Potomac is very broad and shallow at this place, except in the
channel. It has the appearance of the flats on the sea coast, the water
being but about six inches or a foot deep at the time of our crossing,
showing a smooth, muddy bottom, covered with weeds, &c. After crossing,
we proceeded about a mile up a hill, and came to a halt upon a plain. It
was quite a warm, dusty day, and a rest at this time was very acceptable
to us. Stopped half an hour, started again, proceeded about a mile
farther, filed to the right, and forming our camp upon an eminence
within sight of the dome of the Capitol, we pitched our tents, Saturday
night, just in time to shelter us from the rain, which the next day
(Sunday the 26th) commenced pouring in torrents, and continued through
the day and night.

We had twenty-two in our tent Sunday night; two of them slept
immediately in the centre of the tent, just under the "cap." This "cap"
is a circular piece of cloth (peculiar to the "Sibley Tent") ingeniously
contrived for the purpose of ventilation; it is easily moved by means of
ropes which hang upon the outside, and the aperture which it covers can
be made larger or smaller, at the pleasure of the occupants. As it
happened it blew a gale in the night, and the "cap" not being properly
fastened on, blew off, and the rain came down upon T----n and J----s,
who turned out in the morning in rather a dilapidated condition.

Monday the 27th the storm blew over; at noon the sun came out; we dried
our blankets, and Tuesday, the 28th, re-pitched our tents in regular
order.

Sunday, November 2d, we received orders to move. Packed knapsacks, and
at eleven, A.M., bade farewell to "Camp Chase," filed out into the
road, and turning to the right, passed on up a hill, and continued on in
the direction of Fairfax. Passed the Seminary buildings at twelve, M.
These buildings, so often spoken of in connection with this rebellion,
are built of brick, with some pretension to beauty in their
architecture; connected with the main building is a fine looking tower,
from the summit of which the country can be seen for many miles around.
Upon an eminence, and almost hidden from view by the thick grove of
trees surrounding them, they stand objects of interest to all acquainted
with the history of this war. Six miles to the north of here, and partly
in view, is the capital, from which place the course of the Potomac can
be discerned for many miles, as it bears away to the south and east of
us.

Leaving this place we descended a hill, and passed the Common, which is
a short distance south-east of the Seminary. This Common is now used as
a burial place for soldiers. Each grave has a neat wooden slab, with the
name of the deceased, the regiment and company to which he belonged
painted upon it. Continuing along one-half a mile farther, we filed to
the right up a steep hill, and at two, P.M., formed our camp again, and
pitched our tents upon the top of it, on a level space directly between
two large houses, the owners of which are now in the rebel army, having
left this beautiful situation to be occupied by our troops, and their
houses to be used as hospitals, for the comfort of our sick and wounded
soldiers. The road from "Fairfax Seminary" passed along close by, on the
side of the hill, our camp facing it towards the east. The city of
Alexandria is one and a half miles to the east of us, and partly in
view. The great highway from Alexandria to "Fairfax Court House," and
Manassas, passed our camp, running east and west, not more than fifty
rods south of us, at right angles with the road passing from the north,
and connecting with it. This road was lined with ambulances, baggage
wagons, &c., going to and from Alexandria, Fairfax Court House and
Manassas, in the vicinity of which a portion of our army were at that
time encamped. The railroad from Alexandria to Manassas was half a mile
to the south of us in the valley, and ran parallel with the wagon road
for two miles--then bore away farther to the south, as it rose the hills
beyond. The trains were running night and day, carrying reinforcements
and stores to our army. These roads were in full view of our camp for
three or four miles. We could see the trains as they started from
Alexandria, and could watch them as they continue their journey far to
the west of us. The level space on the top of this hill covers an area
of perhaps six or seven acres, of an irregular shape. Our tents were
pitched upon the southern point, and those of another regiment upon the
northern part of the space, at an elevation of perhaps two hundred feet
above the level of the Potomac, which flows along in full view of us.

Across a deep valley to the north-west, and perhaps half a mile distant,
was Fort Worth, and to the south of this fort, upon the wagon road, were
"Cloud's Mills," so often spoken of during this rebellion.

The descent of the hill, towards the south and west was very steep. Its
side was covered with springs, which afforded us plenty of water; and at
the bottom of the valley, to the west, was a fine stream, running
towards the south, originating in a spring at the foot of the hill,
south of the Seminary buildings. The Seminary, Fort Worth, and our camp,
were all on about the same elevation, forming half of a circle--the
Seminary at the north, our camp on the south-eastern, and Fort Worth on
the south-western point. Taking into consideration the surroundings and
associations connected with the situation, I think we could not have
chosen a more pleasant or interesting place for our camp.

Monday, November 3d, the next day after forming our camp, we packed
haversacks, and had our first experience in picket duty, our Company and
Company G being detailed for that purpose. At half-past eight we filed
down the hill, turned to the right, on the road to Manassas; passed
"Cloud's Mills" at nine, A.M., and continued on as far as "Bailey's
Cross Roads," a place become familiar to us all in the history of this
war. At this place we stopped, and fixed our quarters; posting our
pickets along the road. We were fortunate in having pleasant weather
while we were upon this duty.

The next day, at eleven, A.M., the reserve formed in line to receive
the "New Guard," and at twelve o'clock we started for camp. Stopped when
within half a mile, and discharged our pieces, which were heavily loaded
with ball and buckshot, and at two, P.M., arrived again in camp,
bringing in two prisoners, who by the way, however, proved to be loyal
soldiers, without passes.

Our camp was named "Camp Casey, near Fairfax Seminary," and we, with
three other regiments, were encamped close to one other, formerly the
first brigade of General Casey's Division, commanded by Colonel Wright,
acting Brigadier-General. Our regiment was engaged in drilling, doing
fatigue, picket and guard duty, which kept us busy. Fifty of our
regiment were detailed November 7th to do fatigue duty in Fort Blenker,
digging, shovelling, &c. The boys going out, came in at ten, A.M.,
driven in by the storm which was raging there. It commenced storming the
6th, and at ten, A.M., the next day it had culminated into an
old-fashioned New England snow storm. The wind blew a gale; the air was
very cold, and the snow, whirling about us, made our situation very
uncomfortable, especially to those who were on guard, and exposed to its
fury. B. was the only one from D. H. happening to be on guard, except W.
S., who volunteered to take another man's place for $1.25. I think he
earned his money.



CHAPTER II.


The snow storm of November 7th came upon us quite unexpectedly, leading
us to think we had journeyed in the wrong direction, and instead of
being in "Dixie" had approached the north pole, and were already in the
immediate vicinity of it. There were some wry faces about the camp,
though most seemed amused at this unlooked-for event, joking among
themselves at the idea of making snowballs in Virginia before Rhode
Islanders could get the necessary material--"enlisting under false
pretences," &c.

From November 8th to the 12th, nothing of unusual interest occurred, our
time being taken up in drill, and in other necessary duties connected
with camp-life. November 13th, the entire regiment was ordered to be in
readiness the following morning, for picket duty, with two days'
rations. The appearance of the sky, the night of the 12th, was
threatening, making us already feel, in imagination, the discomforts of
this duty in a storm, with no other shelter but the broad canopy of the
heavens, excepting, perhaps, a paltry one of bushes, affording indeed
but little protection from the pitiless storm.

The morning of the 13th came; the roll of drums at six o'clock, aroused
many a drowsy soldier of the Twelfth from his humble couch, and
interrupted many a pleasant dream of home, to awake him to the stern
reality of other duties and associations. It did, indeed, rain in the
night, which proved a benefit to us, raining just enough to lay the
dust. The morning broke upon us with the assurance of a pleasant day.
With cheerful hearts and willing hands, we began our preparations. We
took breakfast at the usual hour, half-past seven, filled our haversacks
with beef and hard crackers, our canteens with water, strapped our
blankets about us, buckled on our equipments, and at eight o'clock,
formed in line in the Company Street, and at half-past eight, the
different companies passed Gen. Wright's head-quarters. The regiment was
formed for "guard-mounting," directly in front of his residence, went
through the manoeuvres, listened to the music from the Brigade Band,
(which, by the way, discoursed finely,) and at quarter to nine, filed
into the road, and taking the direction of Fairfax Court House, were
fairly on our way. Every thing was favorable; a cool breeze from the
north-west, adding to our comfort, as we "marched along." We were
accompanied by nearly all our officers, a few being left behind, as is
customary, to protect our camp. After passing Cloud's Mills, and
ascending the hill beyond, we came to a halt, and the regiment was
divided into parties of 108 privates, each division to be commanded by
their respective officers. These divisions are called "supports," and
numbered first, second, third, &c.

As soon as our "support" was formed, we continued our march. Passed the
road leading to Bailey's Cross Roads, kept along on the direct road to
Fairfax Court House, for about a mile beyond this turn, then filing to
the left, entered the woods, followed a cart-path for about half a mile,
and at eleven, A.M., found ourselves at the end of our journey. There
were plenty of good shelters where we were to encamp, already erected by
those there before us, and gladly vacated by the Twenty-Seventh New
Jersey, who turned out to receive us upon our arrival. Our "support" was
immediately divided into three "reliefs," of 36 men each. Each "relief"
to stay on four hours, the first going on to be relieved by the second,
&c., giving each "relief" eight hours rest at the general rendezvous.
The "reliefs" were arranged in two ranks, and numbered as they stood,
from right to left, each man to remember the number assigned him, and
when called upon, place himself in the ranks accordingly. I found myself
in the first "relief," number 21, armed and equipped as the law directs.

As soon as our "relief" was formed, we started for our posts, marched
back to the road we had just left, continued on half a mile farther, and
came upon Post No. 1. This post was on the main road, and close by the
ruins of what was once a large building, destroyed, probably, since the
war commenced, nothing being left now but a mass of brick and stone.
Upon relieving this post, we left the road, which here runs nearly east
and west, and struck across the fields towards the south, for Post No.
2.

The posts were perhaps thirty rods apart; three men being stationed on
each post, and one sergeant or corporal, in charge of every three posts.
The first three men, as numbered in the ranks before starting from the
rendezvous, to take the first post, the next three the second, &c. The
orders were for one man to remain at the post, while the other two were
to move to and from the post, in opposite directions, a certain
distance, or perhaps farther, occasionally, if the sentinel from the
posts adjoining, should fail to meet him at the end of his beat, thereby
keeping up communication throughout the entire line. The men to have
their pieces loaded, and bayonets fixed, with particular instructions to
be on the alert, to build no fires, light no matches, smoke, nor indulge
in loud conversation.

The line of pickets ran nearly north and south, the first "support"
being on the right of the line, commenced in the vicinity of Bailey's
Cross Roads, and connected with the second "support," at Post No. 1. The
line of our "support" ran from the main road, towards the railroad, the
distance between the two, at this place, being perhaps one and a half
miles, our "support" reaching two-thirds of the way to the railroad,
there to connect with the third, and so on to the last "support," our
regiment guarding a line of several miles in length. Our path led over
level spaces, up and down hills steep as the roof of a house, along
side hills where it required the greatest care to preserve our
equilibrium, through tangled thickets of bush and brier, and over every
conceivable obstacle in the shape of stump, stone, bog, &c. The place
falling to my lot, to help guard for the next forty-eight hours, was
Post No. 7, just in the edge of a grove of small evergreen trees, on the
side of a hill, overlooking what must have been once a large farm,
situated in a valley opening to the south, and enclosed on three sides
by woods. Our post was on the eastern side of this clearing; the hill on
the opposite side, rising to about the same height, was covered with a
heavy growth of timber, affording a good shelter for sharpshooters, if
they had happened to have been in the vicinity, and had been disposed to
annoy us. The distance across this clearing being about one-third of a
mile, a good distance for rifle practice.

This clearing was perhaps fifty rods in width, and nearly one-third of a
mile in length, bounded on the north by a swamp, and opening to the
south upon a vast plain of bog, with here and there a bunch of stunted
trees or bushes. Quite a large stream issues from this swamp, and runs
the entire length of the farm, emptying into a larger one, which runs
into the Potomac, along the valley through which the railroad runs from
Alexandria to Manassas. The ruins of a large farm-house lay in the
valley to the left of us. I will not omit a description of the "beat"
over which your humble servant kept watch and ward, until every foot of
ground became familiar to him. The path alongside this clearing had been
lately cut through, without much regard to convenience of travelling, or
risk of life or limb, the stumps sticking up invariably from three to
six inches from the ground, requiring the utmost care on our part,
especially in the night time, or the privilege of trying, if we chose,
the sharpness of these stubs, upon various parts of our body, or the
hardness of our heads against the trees by the wayside, experiments in
tripping and plunging not likely to find favor with your humble servant.

We were very fortunate in having pleasant weather again for this duty.
We took our posts at twelve, unslung our blankets, haversacks and
canteens, and loaded our pieces. We were relieved at four o'clock, and
arrived at the rendezvous in time to make our coffee before dark, eat
our supper, spread our blankets and turn in.

Slept soundly, and at midnight, when we were again called upon, marched
to our posts, to remain there till four o'clock. The night was warm and
pleasant; the moon was just rising as we took our posts, which made our
duty much easier; our four hours passed quickly by, we were relieved
again, and at half-past four were again at the rendezvous. We had
anticipated having another nap before breakfast, and were getting ready
to turn in, when we were ordered to form in line and stand until
sunrise. Our colonel represented it as necessary, to guard against
surprise; as the enemy usually make attacks at this hour--a watchfulness
much to be commended, in the vicinity of the enemy, but as our picket
was of importance only as a guard to intercept deserters and stragglers
from our army in front, we, with our sleepy eyes, could not see the
_point_. Many of the men, without much deference to the opinion of our
brave colonel, thought it simply ridiculous; some cursed, others laughed
and joked. I did not regret losing my nap, as I was amply repaid,
listening to the witticisms of the party. Morning broke at last, and we
were relieved. We kindled our fires anew, made our coffee, and after
breakfast some of us turned in to sleep; others played cards, or amused
themselves as they chose, until twelve, when we took our posts again.
The weather continued fine, and we passed the time pleasantly.

Another night passed; another pleasant day opened upon us, nothing
remarkable occurring in connection with our duties, unless we except a
visit from General Casey, who rode along the line, accompanied by his
staff, on a tour of inspection. At eleven o'clock, A.M., the 15th, we
formed in line to receive the new guard, and by twelve our last relief
was in, and we started for camp. We reached it about two, P.M., all of
us in good spirits; found our dinner of soup and hot coffee waiting for
us, to which we immediately paid our respects.

The next morning, Sunday, the 16th, we cleaned our muskets, brushed our
clothes, and at eleven, A.M., attended divine service, the chaplain
holding forth from the steps of the building which adjoins our camp on
the north, the regiment forming on the lawn in front. This building is
very large, and is now used by the colonel, he taking up his quarters
there, the post-office, hospital and quartermaster's department being
included in the same building; giving our field and staff plenty of room
and good accommodations.

Monday, the 17th, was not as pleasant; quite a strong wind from the
south-west, cloudy and misty, making it rather hard to turn out and
drill. Tuesday, the 18th, was a complete pattern of the 17th; a thick
fog, just enough to make it unpleasant; drilled through the day,
however, and at dress parade had orders to be in readiness the following
morning to march to Fort Albany, to be reviewed by General Casey.

The wind continued blowing strong from the south through the night, and
the next morning the black, heavy clouds rolling up, showed certain
signs of a wet day. At eight o'clock the company formed in the street,
marched on to the parade ground; the regiment was formed, and at
half-past eight filed into the road and started on our journey. Stopped
opposite General Wright's head-quarters for the other regiments to take
their place in line, it being a review of the whole brigade.

At quarter before nine the Fifth Connecticut came in ahead, the
Thirteenth New Hampshire formed in the rear, and we started on. After
proceeding two miles, the order was countermanded, and we hurried back
just in time to escape a drenching rain, which poured in torrents
immediately after our arrival in camp. The government having furnished
us with stoves, and plenty of wood, we kept our tents, and contrived to
make ourselves comfortable.

The next day, the 21st, our turn came for picket duty again. One of the
regiments belonging to our brigade, the Twenty-Seventh New Jersey,
having been taken from us, our turn came two days sooner than we had
anticipated it would, when on before. It continued raining throughout
the afternoon, and towards night the wind, which had been blowing from
the south, came round into the north-east, much against our wishes; and
it continued raining through the night. In the morning we found the wind
had hauled into the north, the rain had nearly ceased, and at eight
o'clock our regiment were in line; and at half-past eight were on their
march. By eleven, A.M., the sky was clear, and the Twelfth Rhode
Island Volunteers were again favored with pleasant weather. While the
other regiments of our brigade had to contend with storms and unpleasant
weather, while on this picket duty, the Twelfth thus far escaped. Having
some work of my own to do, I stopped in camp this time, and did not
accompany the regiment. Saturday, the 22d, it was very warm and
pleasant; but Sunday, the 23d, the sky was partially overcast with
clouds, the air was raw and chilly, and the wind blew a gale from the
north-west.

At two o'clock, P.M., our regiment came in, all in good spirits, but
glad to get into camp. Monday, 24th, we had a pleasant day again, and a
fine time drilling. The mud had dried up, the ground had become hard,
there was no dust blowing, and the men were in fine spirits, and fast
improving in the drill and discipline necessary to make the soldier.

The Twelfth as yet continued to be in remarkably good health, compared
with the other regiments encamped about us. The Thirteenth New Hampshire
and Fifth Connecticut, coming here at the same time with us, had already
lost several men since encamping here, and had then quite a number sick
in the hospital. Our fare continued good; we had excellent bread, and
plenty of it. It was baked at Alexandria, and we got it fresh, and
oftentimes warm from the oven. We had hard crackers occasionally, twice
a week, perhaps, instead of soft bread. The hard bread we had here was
entirely different from what I expected to find it. It appeared to be
made of the best of material. Our salt beef was fat, of good quality,
and when properly cooked, was as good as we could ask for. It is cured
differently from that at home, there being much saltpetre used in curing
it; requiring a great deal of pains, on the part of the cooks, in order
to make it palatable. We had fresh beef twice a week; this was made into
soups. Our company finally procured a large sheet iron pan, six feet
long and two feet in width, to be used as a frying-pan, and after that
we had fried beef once or twice a week. We had tea or coffee twice a
day, (with our breakfast and supper,) with plenty of sugar to accompany
it. We had rice, and sugar-house syrup, bean soup, &c. Any one finding
fault with our fare at this time would be apt to be dissatisfied
wherever he were placed.

Tuesday, 25th, was a cloudy, misty day, and in the night it rained quite
hard. Wednesday morning it cleared off in time for us to drill. It had
rained just enough to soften the clay, the mud being shallow and as
slippery as grease--a peculiarity in the mud about here. You can
appreciate this kind of travelling by spreading lard an inch thick upon
a plank, and then attempting to walk upon it. One advantage in this kind
of soil is that when it dries it becomes as hard as a cement floor,
which made it easier for us than to have been wallowing through sand.
The weather continued pleasant, no dust blowing about and into every
thing; the ground was hard, in the best condition for drilling, and our
regiment improved it.

The 27th was Thanksgiving Day in Rhode Island, and also duly observed by
us in camp. We were relieved from drill, attended divine service at
eleven, A.M., and had a little recreation, walking about the country,
&c. Our bed-sacks were now given out to us, with plenty of clean straw
to fill them with. (These sacks were made of stout ticking, and were,
perhaps, seven feet long and five feet wide, after they were filled;
amply large enough, each of them, for two to lie upon.) The regiment
were all provided with these sacks, and had lain upon the ground long
enough to know how to appreciate them. The 27th was a beautiful day, and
having never been to Alexandria, I took this opportunity to visit the
place. Procured a pass, and in company with one of our mess, at eight,
A.M., started. We struck a "bee line" directly for the place; passed
over the road leading from Fairfax Seminary, and continued on, up hill
and down, our path being parallel with the Alexandria and Manassas wagon
road, and just to the north of it. I found I had underrated the distance
from our camp to Alexandria, it being nearly two and one-half miles from
our camp. We passed the Convalescent Camp, which was situated on the
heights to the west of Alexandria, and to the north of Fort Ellsworth,
on the same eminence, and in the immediate vicinity of it. It was used
as a rendezvous for convalescent soldiers. In the vicinity of this camp
was the Stragglers' Camp and the Recruiting Camp, &c.; making, in the
aggregate, an immense collection of tents and occupants.

Passing down the road leading from this camp to the east, we came into
Alexandria; the distance was, perhaps, one-half mile; the descent being
as steep as the roof of a house. From the heights we had just left, we
had a splendid view of the country for miles around. The city of
Washington, to the north of us, was in full view, the Capitol looming up
in the distance. Fairfax Seminary was two miles to the north-west of us,
from the tower of which the rebels observed our movements, and signalled
them to the enemy, while making our first advance to and inglorious
retreat from Bull Run, in 1861. The city of Alexandria was a short
distance to the east, and perhaps one hundred feet beneath us. We had
also a good view of the Potomac from this height. Aquia Creek being the
base of Burnside's operations in Virginia, this noble stream was covered
with vessels of every size and description, plying to and fro, between
Aquia Creek, Alexandria and Washington. I stopped in Alexandria until
half-past two, P.M.; went down to the wharves, visited the Slave Pens,
once used as a rendezvous where slaves were bought and sold, but at the
time of my visit used as a place of confinement for deserters, and
others who might be found without passes, by the police. I also visited
the Marshall House, where Ellsworth was killed; and started from there
for camp.

I arrived in time to attend the funeral of one of our boys who died in
the hospital the day before. This was the first death that had occurred
in our regiment since we arrived in Washington, and the third since the
regiment was organized; the other two being killed, first, the drummer
of Company D, from Newport, in a fray at Camp Stevens, the second of
Company C, on the cars, between Harrisburg and Baltimore. There were but
few of our regiment now in the hospital, and none of them dangerously
sick.

Saturday, the 29th, was a pleasant day; the night was still and cold.
Sunday morning, the 30th, we found the ground slightly frozen, and ice
in the tubs about camp one-half inch thick. The weather continued fine
as yet. We had fine mornings here, the air was still, and every thing
seemed delightful. The smoke from the numerous camp fires, made the
atmosphere hazy, reminding one of our Indian summer in New England.



CHAPTER III.


December 1st, we had orders to march immediately, and at twelve o'clock
our brigade were on the move. We passed through Washington just at
nightfall, over the bridge which crosses the east branch of the Potomac,
and encamped about two miles beyond the city for the night. In the
morning we continued our journey along the Maryland side of the Potomac,
and so on, from day to day, until our arrival opposite Aquia Creek, on
the 6th inst.

We had fine weather until Friday the 5th, when it commenced raining, and
at night turning to snow, made our encamping exceedingly unpleasant. We
expected to have reached the Potomac Friday night, but the rain
softening the road, made our marching extremely difficult and tedious,
and at three o'clock we turned into the woods completely jaded, and
commenced to pitch our tents, and make ourselves as comfortable as we
could, under the circumstances. I could indeed appreciate the
discomforts of our situation. I was fortunate in finding some poles in
the woods, already cut, and with the help of the boys, made a shed, and
covering it with our tents, with the addition of a lot of dry husks,
procured from a barn close by for our beds, managed to pass the night
quite comfortably. It stopped snowing early in the night, and at ten,
A.M., the next morning, we were on the march again. It was a delightful
morning; the mud had crusted over, bearing us up, as we marched, and the
sun shining brightly, gave the evergreens by the roadside, covered with
snow as they were, a beautiful appearance. At twelve we were upon the
banks of the Potomac, with the rest of our brigade, waiting our turn to
be ferried to Aquia Creek. It came at last, and at five, P.M., we were
aboard of the boat and on our way. At seven we were alongside the wharf,
and at eight were off the boat and in line upon the pier, waiting for
orders. It was a bitter, cold night, and much impatience was manifest in
both officers and privates, at being obliged to wait in this place so
long, before moving to our camping ground. At half-past nine we finally
received orders to march off. Passed up the railroad from Aquia to
Fredericksburg about two miles, filed to the left, continued on from
the road about one-third of a mile, and after another delay of perhaps
half an hour, our colonel selected our camp, and we formed upon it, to
pass another unpleasant night. The spot selected was in the woods, upon
the side of a hill. The heavy wood had been cut, and most of it taken
off, but all of the tops, and some of the largest logs were left, all
covered with the snow which fell the night before. Every thing being
wet, it was some time before we could start our fires. But little sleep
could be had that night; the most uncomfortable one that the Twelfth
Rhode Island Volunteers had experienced. The place we christened Camp
Smoke, a most appropriate name for this place. The first night and the
following day it was impossible for us to escape the smoke from our
numerous fires, half of it passing into our eyes, and down our throats.
We would pass around our fires, the smoke following our coat-tails as we
moved along, and fastened to us soon as we stopped; it was impossible to
escape it. We stopped at this place until Tuesday morning, the 9th, when
the brigade again took up their line of march. We arrived opposite
Fredericksburg Wednesday, the 10th, and encamped for the night
alongside the Seventh Rhode Island.

The signal guns, ominous of the coming battle, were first fired at five,
A.M., the next morning, and at intervals until sunrise, when a fierce
cannonading commenced along the whole line in front of the city. At
nine, A.M., we received twenty extra rounds of ammunition, three days'
rations, threw our knapsacks and extra luggage into a pile, slung our
blankets over our shoulders, and moving to within three-quarters of a
mile of the city, formed in line of battle, and rested on our arms,
ready for the emergency.

In trying to throw the pontoon bridges over, our forces met with
determined resistance, and were obliged to shell the city, in order to
dislodge the enemy. Being satisfied of the impossibility of crossing the
river this day, late in the afternoon we returned to camp. Early in the
evening, the cannonading, which had continued through the day, ceased;
and two or three regiments crossing over in boats, after a fierce
conflict in the streets of the city, finally succeeded in dislodging the
enemy, and the bridges were completed. Early in the morning of the next
day, the different brigades commenced crossing the river, and occupying
the city, ours among the rest.

The main streets of this city run parallel with the river. We took our
position opposite the pontoon bridge, in the rear of the second street.
This part of the city suffered severely during the shelling of the place
the day before, as the fire from the different batteries was directed in
this vicinity, in order to demolish the buildings, which were occupied
by the enemy's sharpshooters, who were firing upon our troops, rendering
it necessary to dislodge them, to complete the bridge. We were fired
upon by the enemy while entering the city, their shells bursting about
us, but fortunately doing us no injury. They continued firing through
the day, throwing an occasional shell as a regiment approached to cross
into the city. From their batteries, they had a good view of the
opposite bank of the river, and could see every regiment, as one by one,
they approached the bridge. There were quite a number of casualties
during the day, in the city, from the bursting of the enemy's shells.
They might have done us infinite damage this day, if they had felt
disposed to have directed their fire upon the city. Our position during
the forenoon, was directly in range of the enemy's batteries, as they
fired upon the troops coming over the bridge.

From the place where I stood in the ranks, I could see two defunct
rebels, who were killed the day before, while our batteries shelled the
city. I took the liberty to go close, and look at the one nearest me. A
shell had struck him in the head, cutting the top of it completely off,
leaving nothing above the eyes; killing him of course instantly.

From this place I continued on to another street, to see a group of dead
bodies. There were sixteen of them, all belonging to a Massachusetts
regiment, and who fell the night before, while engaged in dislodging the
enemy. They were laid in a row, and buried close where they fell. I
could not help thinking, as I gazed upon the mournful scene, of the
loved ones at home, who were waiting, watching, and praying for the safe
return of these poor men, who, in the dispensation of a mysterious
Providence, they never more could see on earth.

I turned away from the sad spectacle to become acquainted with other
features of this cruel war. I had passed along several streets, when
the rapid firing of the enemy warned me to return to my regiment. The
shells were bursting all about us, and I found the regiment on my return
already in line, and soon after we moved and took a position in a less
exposed situation, where we remained through the night. I went to a
house close by, found some boards, returned to the street, where we were
ordered to remain, placed one end of these boards upon the sidewalk, the
other end resting in the middle of the street, and finding some straw in
the neighborhood, made my bed upon these, and "laid me down to sleep."

Early in the morning, the different regiments were all astir, preparing
for the coming battle. The different companies of our regiment were
drawn up in line, our haversacks were filled with three days' rations,
which consisted of crackers, pork, sugar and coffee, our canteens with
water, and moving some half mile farther down the city, we rested on our
arms, in readiness to take the part assigned us. While in this place, we
were somewhat sheltered from the enemy's shells, which were thrown at
different intervals, several of them dropping and bursting in the river,
directly in front of us, causing much dodging and twisting, throughout
the different regiments.

There was a space directly in front of our position, upon which there
were no buildings, close upon the river. This space was occupied early
in the forenoon, by the Irish Brigade, and I saw for the first time,
Thomas F. Meagher, the general commanding this brigade, well known as
the Irish patriot and fighting general. This brigade were called into
action early in the day, and moved to the front at once. This was at
about ten, A.M.

The booming of cannon and the sharp cracking of the musketry, soon told
us that the "ball had opened," and at twelve o'clock, M. we were called
upon. Our line was quickly formed, and we moved on. Filing to the left,
we passed up a steep hill on the "double quick," and soon came in sight
and within range of the enemy's guns, who immediately brought them to
bear upon us. The firing becoming too hot for us, we were brought into
line, and ordered to lie close to the ground. Down we went, accordingly,
into the mud, and the firing partly ceased. Again we rose, and rushed
ahead, the artillery playing upon us more furiously than ever. Gaining a
trench, a short distance ahead, we again came to a halt and formed our
line anew. Being partially sheltered from the enemy's fire, we stopped
long enough to catch our breath, then throwing off our blankets, passed
up the bank, and hurried on. Some twenty rods ahead of this trench, the
railroad from Fredericksburg to Richmond passes, making a cut some
twenty feet deep. Expecting to find a shelter in this from the enemy's
fire, we sprang ahead. Upon gaining the bank, with one spring I ploughed
to the bottom. I had hoped to find another breathing spell here, but
found myself disappointed in this, as the enemy had a battery in
position from which they threw shot and shell the whole-length of this
cut, and it was here we first came under the fire of their musketry. We
were ordered to gain the opposite bank as soon as possible. The ascent
was very steep, and being out of breath, it required much effort on our
part to reach the top. I never in my life strove harder than I did to
gain the top of this bank. The distance from this place to the position
we were to gain, was perhaps forty rods. And this under a scorching fire
of musketry and artillery, at short range. We hurried ahead as fast as
possible, knowing this to be no place to make long stops. Our regiment
at this time was partially broken up, every man knowing the danger,
exerted himself to escape it; and by a "double quick," which at this
time had become a run, we were fast gaining the position already
occupied by the rest of our brigade, which was partly sheltered from the
fire of the enemy.

The report of the cannon, the shriek of the shell, its explosion in our
midst, the sharp cracking of the musketry, and the whiz of the Minnie
ball, (the different missiles ploughing and cutting up the ground in
front of us,) furnished a terrible ordeal, through which the Twelfth
were called upon to pass.

Thus we hurried on until we gained the position assigned us. Here a
hillock, running parallel with our lines, and slightly elevated above
the surface of the plain, intervened between us and the enemy. This
afforded us some protection, and here within two hundred yards of the
enemy's redoubt, our forces came to a halt, and it was only after our
arrival here that we could bring our muskets to bear upon the enemy. Our
regiment was brought into this action under many disadvantages. It will
be remembered, that up to this time we had been in the service but
eight weeks, had journeyed from Rhode Island, had established two
different camps in Virginia, and just completed a march of one hundred
miles. Tired and worn out with our long and weary march, and before we
had time even to form our camp, or obtain any thing to eat, beside
"marching rations," (hard crackers and salt pork,) upon which we had
subsisted for the two weeks previous, and in all our inexperience as to
how we should render our compliments to the foe, we were invited across
the Rappahannock, and introduced to the enemy. Upon the first start, on
going into action, we ascended a hill where scaling ladders would have
been an advantage to us. Then followed a feat of fence jumping, passing
barns, brick kilns, &c. Through these gymnastic exercises we were
conducted by our colonel, ably seconded by our gallant major. The
regiment passed these obstacles in good order, and under a heavy fire
reached the first trench, where the line was formed anew. Here our
gallant major unfortunately received a severe wound, was placed on a
stretcher, and carried to the rear. This threw the whole command upon
our colonel, who without assistance, found it extremely difficult to
bring the regiment into action in a manner suited to the notions of
some of our military brethren, who felt disposed to criticise us. This
class of warriors, with a knowledge of military tactics that would
hardly enable them when in four ranks to file right and left without
blundering, in their criticism showed little judgment and much
injustice, towards a brave and loyal regiment.

We retained our position until nightfall, when, having spent our
ammunition, we were drawn off the field. It was nearly dark when we were
ordered to fall into line, with strict orders to keep as quiet as
possible, so as not to attract the attention of the enemy. We
accordingly fell in, and moved quickly off. Upon approaching the
railroad, the firing which had ceased commenced anew, and raged
furiously. Our troops having charged upon the enemy's works, were
endeavoring to carry them at the point of the bayonet, but were
overpowered and driven back. As we were in range, this charge brought
the enemy's fire directly upon us, as we were passing into the railroad
cut. We hastened ahead, threw ourselves down and lay as close as
possible, waiting for the storm to pass over. As soon as the firing
slackened, we hastened to our feet, and hurrying along the track, soon
entered the city and were out of danger, and thus ended a day ever to be
remembered in the history of the Twelfth Rhode Island Volunteers.

Having as great a dread of going off the field without a blanket,
(having thrown mine away upon going into the fight,) as of the few balls
that were following us up, I lingered in the rear and managed to secure
one. I found a large pile a short distance from the railroad depot,
which our regiment in their hurry to escape passed without securing.
They had a perfect right to have taken them, if they had chosen to. They
suffered severely afterwards for the want of them, and I think if they
should go into a fight again under circumstances that should cause them
to throw away their blankets, especially in mid-winter, they will take
good care to secure another when they come off the field. While getting
my blanket, the regiment passed out of sight and hearing, and coming off
the railroad into the street, the only one I could find whom I knew, was
A. W., who had halted to catch his breath, having become nearly
exhausted in trying to keep up with the regiment. As we could see or
hear nothing of the regiment, I persuaded A. to go with me and get a
blanket, he being also without one. We then returned to the city, and
after awhile found our regiment, in the same place where we started from
in the morning, and in this place we stopped for the night.

In my wanderings the day before the battle, I found an unoccupied house
a short distance from where our regiment passed the night, and not
relishing the idea of lying on the ground in the street, after our hard
day's work, with three others with me, I made for it. We found a room
furnished with a bed and sofa, and fastening the doors, we appropriated
these luxuries to our own particular use, and slept soundly through the
night.

In the morning, I went below to the basement of the house, and found
quite a number of our boys busy cooking. There was a large cooking-range
in the room, and plenty of wood, and finding a barrel of flour in the
house, they were having a feast. I also engaged, and mixing up a batter,
I contrived to cook me a good breakfast. The regiment remained through
the day of the 14th, upon the street, in quiet, and we occupied the room
where we passed the night. There was a piano in the room, a large easy
chair, beside other furniture, and we had a good time "house-keeping" in
our new tenement.

In the morning, finding plenty of soap and water, I took a good wash,
and began to fancy myself at home again. I tried to get S. to wash
himself. The answer he made was, that he should not until he knew
whether his head belonged to himself or to "Uncle Sam." I was quite
amused at the idea. It was plainly evident a little water would not hurt
S., as he was looking very much like a contraband. We passed the day
(Sunday the 14th) quite comfortably. At night, thinking it best to keep
with the regiment, we took quarters in the garret of a house, with the
rest of our company. We were ordered to lie upon our arms, keep quiet,
and be ready for action at a moment's warning. Towards morning our
pickets had a skirmish with the enemy. We were aroused, but the firing,
which was quite rapid for awhile, ceased, and we turned in again. In the
morning we arose, and were privileged in having another day of rest.
This night, as soon as it became dark, the evacuation of the city
commenced. This fact we were all of us ignorant of at the time, and
from the disposition of the regiment, supposed we had more fighting to
do. At dusk we were formed in line, and as soon as it became dark moved
down the city, taking the same street we did on the morning of the
battle. We ascended the same steep hill, and proceeded quietly to the
front. This made some of us catch our breath, as we thought of what we
had already passed through while on the same road. Just inside our
pickets, and under cover of a slight eminence, we laid ourselves down. A
detail of men was made from the regiment, for picks and shovels, and
upon the arrival of these, the whole front rank were called upon, and
proceeding to the top of the eminence, commenced throwing up an
entrenchment. This, we afterwards learned, was to deceive the enemy,
making them think we intended holding the position. About twelve o'clock
the front ranks were called in, and forming in line, we quickly and as
noiselessly as possible hurried into the city again. It was evident
enough to us as soon as we entered the city that it was being evacuated.
When we left, a few hours before, the streets were full of soldiers,
regiment after regiment, and battery after battery; now hardly a man
was to be seen as we passed through the streets. The hurried tramp of
men and horses in the direction of the pontoon bridges told us our
destination. We hurried along, and at one o'clock the morning of the
16th recrossed the bridge, passed up the hill, and proceeded to our
camp, where we left our luggage the morning of the 12th. Our major, whom
I had not seen since the fight, suddenly appeared upon our arrival in
camp, and taking charge of the regiment, placed them in position, giving
off orders in a loud tone of voice, which assured us that though
severely wounded, he was fast convalescing. The next day I saw the major
again. I could not discover that he was hurt at all from his appearance;
I think he bore up remarkably well. Since then, I noticed at the
inspection, and in the presence of the brigadier-general, he limped, and
seemed quite lame. I could not help thinking of our able major, who
endures his sufferings without a murmur, though severely wounded, and
contrasting this self-sacrificing spirit with some I hear of who, though
loudly defiant, and anxious to lead their men against the enemy, were
known to have run from the field in a "Devil take the hindmost" style,
reminding me of a passage in Shakspeare--a piece of advice suited to
their case--to wit,--

            "Just doff that lion's hide,
    And draw a calfskin round thy recreant limbs."



CHAPTER IV.


After the action of the 13th, our regiment selected a camping-ground a
short distance north of the spot we occupied the night before the
attack. The spot chosen was in a shallow valley, opening to the south,
among the stumps of trees, which had been lately cut by the different
regiments encamped in the immediate vicinity. We pitched our shelter
tents at first, but knowing the necessity of more adequate protection in
case of a storm, as soon as we recovered a little from the fatigues of
the past fortnight, we commenced to improve our situation as best we
could. Quite a number of the regiment had lost their tents in the fight.
The quartermaster managed, some ten days after, to get a few, and
distributed them. Still one-fourth of the regiment were without a
shelter. This class set to work, and made them a shelter of pine boughs,
which, though of little use in case of a storm, (which, by the way, held
off wonderfully,) were made very efficient while the dry weather
continued. Here, in camp, you might see some curious styles of
architecture, some of the men showing an appreciation of a comfortable
home, and a good deal of ingenuity in its construction. Others were
content with any thing, hardly making any effort at all, seeming to have
no anxiety or fear of storms, that might be expected at any time, and if
coming upon us at this time, would have caused an infinite amount of
suffering among this particular class, who, I am thinking, almost
deserved to feel the gripes, to repay them the want of a little anxiety
and forethought, in a matter evidently so necessary for the protection
of their very valuable lives.

I was fortunate in having a piece of a tent, and in company with some of
the boys, who also had them, we together went to work, and measuring off
a space large enough for us, dug into the ground eighteen inches
perhaps, and cutting logs, placed them against the bank, and continued
them up three feet from the bottom of the ground. We also built a
fireplace in one end of our house, making our chimney of logs closely
fitted together, and plastered with clay, topping it out with a
pork-barrel. We placed a ridge-pole lengthwise, at a sufficient height
to clear our heads, and passed our tents over this, fastening them to
the sides. Some of our party had rubber blankets, which we placed over
these, and the rest receiving theirs; soon after, we felt quite secure
against wind and weather.

We found our fireplace very useful in keeping our house warm and dry,
and as we sat and watched the fire, we could almost imagine ourselves at
home again. We cast anchor in this spot Tuesday, December 16th. Friday,
the 19th, our regiment was appointed to do picket duty, the right of our
line to rest at Falmouth, and the left opposite Fredericksburg, along
the banks of the Rappahannock, our head-quarters to be at the De Lacey
House, opposite Fredericksburg.

The enemy occupied the heights opposite us, a mile back from the river,
and threw their pickets out opposite ours, and in some places within
speaking distance. At first some fears were entertained, lest the
pickets might be tempted or provoked to fire upon one another. Instead
of this, neither party seem inclined to communicate in this hair-on-end
style, but, on the contrary, although strictly forbidden to do so,
sometimes held friendly communication with one another. The distance
from our camp to the banks of the Rappahannock, was perhaps two miles.

We went on picket regularly, every Friday morning, and remained on
twenty-four hours, then returned to camp again. This duty was not very
arduous, as our regiment guarded a line of not more than a mile in
length, along the river, and held heavy reserves, to repel any force
that might attempt to cross from the opposite side. In the daytime, no
danger being apprehended from this source, some of the men procured
passes, and were allowed to go to Falmouth, where, if they were so
fortunate as to have the means, and felt so disposed, could, by paying
exorbitant prices, get the wherewith to refresh the inner man.

There is a large mill in this place, which is capable of turning out
large quantities of flour and meal. There are twelve sets of stone in
the building, six for grinding wheat, and six for corn. I visited this
mill, and for the first time, witnessed the operation of grinding,
bolting, and packing flour. There were only two sets of stone running
for wheat, at the time I visited the mill. There were also two sets
grinding corn. Having seen no Indian meal for sometime, I bought half a
peck, paying at the rate of two dollars per bushel. There seemed to be a
scarcity of provisions among the people of Falmouth, the boys paying
fifty cents for a breakfast of warm Johnny cake and coffee. I went to
Falmouth in company with Lieutenant Bucklin, who determined to have a
breakfast before leaving, and by hunting awhile found a place, and by
teasing, obtained a seat at the table, and for once we ate our fill. We
had fried pork steak, hot biscuit, hot coffee and syrup, as much of each
as we wished.

In talking with Falmouth men, they tell me that last winter was
unusually severe, with large quantities of snow and rain. They told me,
also, that this winter had been very mild thus far, but that every sixth
or seventh winter was apt to be severe, like that of '61 and '62, but
that this winter was a fair type of what they usually are in this part
of the country. I told them I was surprised to find the weather
continuing so mild, with so little rain. I had noticed one feature of
the country that gave me some little uneasiness. This was the deep
ravines with which the face of the country is indented, and which I
supposed were caused by the heavy winter rains, and expected to see an
illustration of this kind of drenching and washing, much to my own
particular inconvenience. I was told they have their heaviest rains in
the summer; this information relieved my mind of that which I had the
greatest fear of.

The village of Falmouth is an old, dilapidated looking place,
containing, perhaps, one thousand inhabitants. It is situated at the
head of tide water, on the Rappahannock, three-fourths of a mile above
Fredericksburg, and is connected with the opposite side of the river by
a bridge, which crosses directly opposite the centre of the village;
half of the bridge, on the Falmouth side, remains uninjured, the rest of
the way nothing but the piers remain standing. The length of this bridge
was about forty rods, and crossed the river at a height of perhaps
thirty feet. It was a wooden structure, and rested on piers of logs and
stone. There is a considerable fall in the river, opposite and above
Falmouth, the bed of which, at this place, is one mass of rough, broken
rocks, extending up the river as far as I could see. Owing to the long
continuance of dry weather, the river is very low, and could be easily
forded, I should think, any where in the vicinity of this place. I
believe it is generally acknowledged to have been a great mistake, in
not crossing the river and occupying the heights, now in the possession
of the enemy, which could have been easily done at the time our first
detachment arrived here. I think one with a good pair of boots could go
over dry shod. The bridges were burned at the time of Burnside's
occupation last summer. Since then the people about here habitually
crossed and recrossed the river with their teams. Our Generals, having
had experience last winter, which was unusually rough and stormy, had
fears, no doubt, of having their communication cut off if they crossed,
through the rise of the river alone, and thus find themselves in a tight
place before the railroad bridge could be completed. The banks of the
Rappahannock, at Falmouth and beyond Fredericksburg as far as I could
see upon the northern side, are very high and precipitous,--I should
think, upon an average, sixty feet above the level of the river. On the
Fredericksburg side the bank is not as steep. The heights back of the
city, and occupied by the enemy as their first line of defence, and
three-fourths of a mile from the river, are but very little higher than
those occupied by our batteries immediately upon the bank.
Fredericksburg, as we stand on the bank opposite, seems almost beneath
our feet, and, of course, at the tender mercies of our batteries. There
is a wagon-road between Falmouth and Fredericksburg, upon the northern
side of the river, running close by the edge at the foot of the bank.
Along this road our line of pickets are stationed. Upon the opposite
side, along the river, is the wagon-road occupied by the pickets of the
enemy. Our repulse at Fredericksburg somewhat discouraged the soldiers,
but as time passed by they gained courage again. Immediately after the
battle, newspapers in opposition to the administration appeared in camp
and were sold in large quantities. These scurrilous sheets were eagerly
sought after and read by the soldiers of our regiment, who fed upon them
like crows upon _carrion_, not considering the object of this abuse of
the administration,--namely, _political chicanery_. Some of the men who
had enlisted for nine months, no doubt hoped to escape without getting
into a fight; but, having seen the _elephant_, and partly caught a
glimpse of his gigantic proportions, they were ready to make a
sacrifice of every principle of right and justice rather than to expose
their _precious lives_ again.

Many of these men were those who, at home, were ready to make every
sacrifice, denouncing the rebels in no unmeasured terms, shouldering the
musket with an alacrity worthy of the cause to which they pledged their
"lives and _sacred honor_;" who, after a little experimenting in shot,
shell, and gunpowder, were ready to make any sacrifice, or compromise
with the enemy, that would relieve them, fully illustrating the old
saying that "distance lends enchantment to the view;" also, that
"self-preservation is the first law of nature." I became utterly
disgusted with this class of croakers and grumblers, whom it was
impossible to escape, and who greedily fed upon every thing
discouraging, namely, "the impossibility of conquering the enemy,"
"ruinous state of the finances," "depreciation of paper currency," &c.,
endeavoring to hold an argument upon matters they evidently knew nothing
about. They at this time flattered themselves that a general feeling of
dissatisfaction among the soldiers would go towards putting an end to
the war, and used their influence accordingly, swallowing and
disgorging all things of a discouraging nature, and that with an avidity
which would do credit to a flock of buzzards feeding upon a defunct
mule. Those were trying times; but the same principle which prompted me
to enter the service still upheld me. I had faith to think that, as the
war progressed, partisan feeling would be destroyed, the North would
become more united in purpose, able leaders would be found, and this
rebellion would eventually be crushed.

I was very fortunate in being permitted to enjoy good health thus far. I
had not as yet been reported sick, or been excused from duty on account
of sickness, and by a little care escaped the tender mercies of our
hospital. Sickness at this time, January 19th, began to tell upon the
regiment. Quite a number had died in the hospital within a week. Stephen
Clissold was the first man of our company who had died in the hospital
up to this time. He received a severe wound in the head while in action,
December 13th, which I think was the ultimate cause of his death. I am
afraid much sickness in this regiment was brought about through the
neglect of men, in not being mindful of a few simple things, which go
far towards preserving their health. I know some of the men suffered
for the want of clothes, through their own carelessness. This particular
class, not considering the irregularity of supplies, especially in
connection with so large an army as we had in our immediate vicinity,
and the impossibility of keeping a supply constantly on hand, of all
kinds, and the necessity of economizing, and keeping in good condition
what they had, until they could get more, found themselves uncomfortably
short.

Immediately after the battle of the 13th, for two or three days, we were
somewhat short of provisions, but had enough to satisfy our hunger. As
we became established in camp, we began to live again. At first we had
hard crackers. This is the staple article. Then pork, coffee, sugar and
beans. After being here two weeks, we drew rations of fresh beef,
drawing it regularly since, once a week. We had potatoes two or three
times, and onions, also.

January 14th, we drew rations of salt beef; this was the first we had
seen since we left "Camp Casey."

January 15th, we drew rations of dried apples, but hard crackers, salt
pork and coffee, are the staple articles. These we had at all times, as
much as we wished; when on the march it is all we have. Beans and rice
we usually had at all times, as they are more easily transported. Beef,
potatoes, onions, &c., we began to class among the luxuries of a
soldier's life, it being impossible to supply us with these, at all
times, during an active campaign. Sutlers, who had not been seen for
sometime, began to come among us again. I will give the prices of some
of their articles, as they were sold at that time: Tobacco, $2 per lb.;
butter, 75 cents per lb.; cheese, 50 cents per lb.; pepper, $1 per lb.;
apples, 5 cents apiece; cookies, 25 cents a dozen; boots, $8 and $10 per
pair, that retail at home for $3 and $4, and other things in proportion.
Soft bread was among the things gone by; we had not seen any since we
left "Camp Casey."

January 17th, we received marching orders. Packed our knapsacks
accordingly, filled our haversacks with rations, and prepared to march
at an hour's notice. All things seemed to indicate a speedy move.
Sunday, the 18th, passed by. Monday, the 19th, regiment after regiment
passed our camp. Tuesday, the 20th, it was evident the "Grand Army" of
the Potomac were in motion. This day, at "dress parade," an address
from General Burnside was read to us, calling upon us once more to face
the enemy. Our colonel had orders to move the regiment that night, or
the following morning. At nightfall, the wind, which had been blowing
from the south-east for two days, threatening rain, suddenly veered to
the north-east, and culminated finally in a storm; consequently we
remained in camp. It continued raining until the morning of January 23d,
when it finally ceased.



CHAPTER V.


Since the storm of January 20th, 21st, and 22d, which will be remembered
as defeating the plans of Gen. Burnside in his attempt to cross the
Rappahannock, we had much stormy weather, pleasant days being rare
curiosities. And although having been wonderfully favored with pleasant
weather up to that time, it became certain we were to have the reverse
of it, thereby making the old adage good, that "one extreme begets
another."

It got to be a saying among us, that when the 12th Rhode Island
Volunteers move, the storm ceases. The 23d was the appointed day for our
regiment to go on picket. In the morning it rained, and showed no signs
of clearing off, but immediately upon our regiment's moving the clouds
began to disperse, and when we reached Falmouth, the sun came out; and
at two, P.M., not a cloud was to be seen. We took up our quarters in an
old meeting-house, on the heights of Falmouth, a situation overlooking
the entire village, the city of Fredericksburg, and the river, for one
mile in either direction. The village of Falmouth abounded at this time
in sutlers, who still held their goods at exorbitant prices. The troops
commenced their retrograde movement the morning of the 23d, and the road
was thronged with batteries, baggage wagons, ambulances, and soldiers,
moving to their old quarters. Just at nightfall I was in the village,
and at that late hour, battery upon battery, ambulance upon ambulance,
lined the street, hurrying back to their respective quarters. One need
but to have seen this immense amount of war material on exhibition, as
we were permitted to, to have been assured of the great strength and
effectiveness of the Army of the Potomac, if properly directed. As the
enemy were opposed to us at this place in large force, and disposed no
doubt for desperate efforts, we expected soon a bloody struggle.

It was deferred by the interposition of a merciful Providence, through
the agency of the "God of storms," until a more favorable time. Still I
had faith to think that the enemy at this place would be obliged to
yield to the immense force we were able to bring against him, and
patiently waited the time that would bring shame and defeat to the
enemy, and crown our arms with victory. Then can we in the fulness of
our hearts and in all truthfulness say, that

    "The star spangled banner in triumph does wave,
    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave."

In the knowledge of the immense amount of power brought into action by
both parties, in this sanguinary struggle, when the science and genius
of nearly the whole world are turning their thoughts in this direction,
forsaking other and more useful pursuits, some thoughts naturally
suggest themselves.

I could not help thinking, that from time immemorial the differences of
men upon approaching a certain point, when "forbearance ceases to be a
virtue," have always culminated in this summary way of cutting,
slashing, and braining one another. Still it seems very unfortunate that
these things cannot be settled by other means. History makes no mention
of other ways provided, so I trust we are following the appointed way,
by laying on "tooth and nail."

From Saturday, 24th, to Tuesday, 27th, the weather was quite warm, with
occasional showers of rain. Wednesday morning we found it snowing, the
air extremely cold, the wind from the north-east, blowing a gale, which
continued through the day, making it the most uncomfortable day we have
yet experienced. Thursday, 29th, was sunny, warm and pleasant, and we
had no more rain until Sunday, February 1st, when we had to submit to
another rainy day, which though unpleasant to us, was the means of
clearing off what little snow remained upon the ground. The day before,
we were visited by the U. S. Paymaster, and received our pay from the
date of enlistment, up to October 31st. Some of the boys were hoping to
get their pay up to the 1st of January, but getting it from the date of
enlisting, which was more than they expected, (as they thought of
obtaining pay only from the time of mustering in, October 13th,) they
rested satisfied and waited, if coming short, for the next pay day.

Monday, February 2d, I had a visit from Joseph S. Davis, of the
Twenty-Ninth Massachusetts, whom I had not seen before for years, the
same contented good-natured fellow, full of his jokes as ever. Found him
minus two fingers, and since then, I hear, by the accidental discharge
of his piece, he has mutilated his hand in such a manner as to lay him
up for the present. He is now in the hospital at Washington.

Tuesday, the 3d, was severely cold, the wind blowing strong from the
north-east, with frequent snow squalls.

Thursday, 5th, rumors were afloat that we were soon to be removed from
our present situation.

Sunday, the 8th, had orders to prepare for a march, with three days'
rations, to proceed to Aquia Creek, and from thence by transports to
Fortress Monroe. Monday opened upon us pleasantly. This day, at three,
P.M., we struck our tents, and bade farewell to "_Camp Mud_." At
half-past four, P.M., we stacked arms, and rested close by the depot,
in company with other regiments, awaiting their turn to go aboard the
cars. At half-past five, P.M., we hurried aboard, and after the usual
delays, we finally started. We proceeded most of the way slowly, and did
not arrive at Aquia Creek until ten o'clock in the evening. As soon as
we arrived at this place we unloaded from the cars, the regiment was
formed upon the wharf, and went immediately aboard the steamers
Metacomet and Juniata, that were waiting to receive us. As soon as the
regiment were aboard, they hauled into the stream, where we passed the
night.

The morning of the 10th dawned upon us, promising a pleasant day. The
long-looked-for schooner Elizabeth and Helen from Providence, we learned
had arrived during the night, and was laying in the offing. I had just
had her pointed out to me, and was looking at her, imagining what might
be aboard for me, and wishing for half a bushel of apples to grind on
our trip, when I saw a boat put off, and could just discover the head of
our colonel above the bow of the boat, making for us. He brought a few
boxes for himself and staff, and two barrels of apples for the regiment.
The apples were distributed among the men, and were very acceptable; I
got two small ones for my share. At half-past eleven, our
quartermaster's stores came alongside, were taken aboard, and, weighing
anchor, we started down the river. It was a most beautiful morning, and
all were in good spirits. I could not help comparing our present mode of
transportation with that allowed us while on our march from Alexandria
to Fredericksburg, by the way of Maryland and Aquia Creek, two months
before.

The Potomac is indeed a beautiful river. Although it is laid down on the
maps as being broad and large, still, I had no idea of the magnitude of
this noble stream. I should judge that this river, from Aquia Creek to
the Chesapeake Bay, was, upon an average, five miles in width. Our
steamer, the Metacomet, proved a fast sailer. The Juniata, which passed
us before we started from Aquia Creek, we soon overtook, and as we
passed Point Look-out Hospital, at five, P.M., and entered the broad
waters of the Chesapeake, the Juniata could just be discerned from the
stern of the boat. Soon darkness enveloped all, and at nine I turned in.
At twelve, by the motion of the boat, I was satisfied that we had
reached our destination.

At six, A.M., the 11th, I turned out to ascertain our whereabouts and
look upon new scenes. I found the wind blowing fresh from the east, a
cloudy sky, and threatening rain. I found we were in Hampton Roads,
close in shore, and within three-quarters of a mile of the village of
Hampton. There were quite a number of vessels in the Roads--steamers,
schooners, gunboats, &c. Our companion, the Juniata, lay a short
distance from us, having arrived a few hours later than we.

At about nine, A.M., we started for Newport News. We passed close by
the Rip-Raps, a ledge of rocks half way between Fortress Monroe and the
opposite shore. Since the war commenced this place has been strongly
fortified, and is becoming celebrated as a place of confinement for
those incurring military displeasure. We arrived at Newport News,
landing at twelve, M., and proceeded immediately to disembark. The
appearance of Newport News, I should think, was very much like that of a
California seaport. There are two piers built out from the shore, each
one perhaps 300 feet in length and 10 feet in width, consisting of
spiles driven into the sand, covered with plank, with a railing upon
either side to help preserve one's equilibrium.

We filed off the boat upon the pier, passed the length of it, came upon
terra firma, proceeded up the road, gained the top of the bluff, and
filing to the left a short distance, stacked our arms; and, while our
colonel went to report himself to his commanding officer, we took the
opportunity to become acquainted with the sights and scenes of Newport
News.

The Cumberland, sunk a year ago by the Merrimack, lies opposite the
landing, a short distance off in the stream. Her three lower masts and
bows are all there is remaining in sight of what was once considered one
of the noblest vessels in the service. The hull of the Congress lies one
mile below, the top of it being plainly visible. It was fortunate the
Monitor made her appearance as she did, thus putting a stop to the
mischief.

This place is of no importance, only as a military post, having been
built up since the war commenced. Opposite the landing, the buildings
extend from the beach up the bluff, and on to the level space above. The
height of this bluff is about 40 feet above high-water mark for a mile
or two in either direction from the village, and extending back from
this is a level plain, half a mile in width, and in length as far as the
eye can reach; and in one continuous line along the bay, upon this level
space, the different regiments are encamped, presenting a very fine
appearance. The space in front of our camp, one-fourth of a mile in
width from the edge of the bluff, is used for drill and parade. The
ground from the top of the bluff to the rear descends gradually. Forty
rods to the rear of our tents we get plenty of good water.

Our wells are made by digging a hole and inserting two barrels, minus
heads, one above the other. There were also ditches, dug parallel with
our camp, to the rear of the wells, and being at that time partly filled
with water, we had every convenience for washing, and no excuse for
dirty faces. In the rear of these ditches at a short distance, are the
woods upon which we depended for our fires. Although for the past two
years the woodman's axe had told effectively upon these noble forest
trees, still there was a good supply left standing. We also depended
upon these woods for our music, when all other kinds cease. This being a
permanent institution, the denizens of the forest, which included peep
frogs and owls, made melody far into the still watches of the night.

The camp of the Twelfth Rhode Island was one-fourth of a mile from the
landing, to the north-west. The village of Newport News is enclosed upon
the north and west by a palisade and ditch, intended to repel an attack
from the rear. In this enclosure were the barracks for the men and the
usual space allowed for drill and parade. Outside of this enclosure,
upon the east, other barracks have been built. Nearly all the buildings
are built of logs; some of them, built for traders and quartermasters'
use, are of rough boards, evidently not intended for any thing
permanent. In extent, these buildings are scattered over an area of half
a mile in width and one mile in length along the shore of the bay. The
bay of itself is a beautiful sheet of water, and opposite us was perhaps
four miles in width. As we stood upon the bluff, facing the bay, just
below upon the opposite side we could discern the opening leading to
Norfolk; to the right, we could see the mouth of the James River; and
directly at the entrance could be seen one of our gunboats, keeping
watch, ready to apprise us of any danger approaching from that
direction. In front of us scattered along, were a few craft, whose
general appearance bespoke their calling. The Galena, which will be
recollected as taking part in the attack upon Fort Darling, last summer,
lay in the bay opposite us. Although pierced at that time by
twenty-eight balls, she still existed, and, judging from her appearance
and reputation, would, when called upon to engage the enemy, be able to
give a good account of herself.

The Minnesota lay one and one-half miles below us. If the Monitor had
not come to the rescue, instead of the noble vessel lying now before us,
in all her beautiful proportions, she would have presented the same
sorry figure as the Cumberland and Congress, undoubtedly sharing the
same fate.

Included in the fleet were three gunboats, of the Monitor pattern. These
boats need no praise, and are particularly expected to speak for
themselves.

February 12, the next day after our arrival here, being warm and
pleasant, we went into the woods to cut and split logs for our house.
The 13th and 14th was occupied in this business. The 15th, those in the
tent with me gave out; this brought things to a stand before our house
was completed. The 16th it commenced storming; this, of course, put a
stop to operations. This day I received a box of apples from home. The
17th, received one-half barrel from Jason Newell. These came in good
time.

The storm continued until Friday, the 20th. Saturday, 21st, our colonel
ordered all log-huts to be levelled and taken off the ground. This was
done. New "A" tents were issued and put up at once. The next day we were
to have _straw hats_. (This, I will allow, was mere conjecture on my
part.) However, we had just time to pitch our tents before it commenced
raining. In the night it snowed; and the following morning we found it
raining again, which continued through the day, making it very
disagreeable. Upon the whole, the regiment were the better off for the
new tents, as many of the boys would make no effort towards building
them a house, and having nothing but the "shelter tents," were poorly
provided for. But for those who were used to better quarters, the change
was submitted to with an ill grace.

Wednesday, the 25th, the 9th Army Corps passed in review before Gen.
Dix.

Saturday, March 14, we had a sword presentation, Company F presenting
Capt. Hubbard with a beautiful sword, pistol, sword-belt, &c. The money
was raised in the company, by subscription, and the articles were
purchased and brought on by J. L. Clark, our quartermaster. F. M.
Ballou, who had lately received a second lieutenant's commission, and
was assigned to Company F, was also presented at the same time with a
sword, pistol, sword-belt, cap, and other things, from friends at home.
These were also brought on by J. L. Clark, who had just returned to the
regiment, after an absence of two weeks.

The camp of the Twelfth Rhode Island Volunteers, at this place, was the
finest looking camp on the ground. The streets were well laid out, and
were kept swept clean. The tents were new, and presented a neat, uniform
appearance.

There was a great improvement in the regiment after coming here. We were
well clothed, and as finely equipped as any regiment in the field. We
also had the Springfield rifled musket, which is considered the best in
the service.

While at this place we had a fray in camp, which came near being a
serious affair. I was in the quartermaster's tent the evening of the 5th
of March, when at eight o'clock our orderly came in, telling us our
company had received a visit from the 48th Pennsylvania, a regiment
adjoining, who came provided with clubs and stones, to settle some
difficulty which had occurred between them and some of our boys. We had
some rough fellows in our company, and upon the Pennsylvania boys making
their appearance, at it they went. After a few rounds the intruders
retreated. No one of our company was dangerously wounded; a few slight
cuts about the head and ears included the whole list of casualties. Soon
after this affair I returned to my quarters and turned in, hoping to
have a good night's rest. In about half an hour we were apprised of
another visit from our neighbors. Out our boys rushed, crying _Turn out!
turn out! drive 'em! drive 'em!_ At the same time, we could hear the
clubs strike against the sides of our tents. Immediately after I heard
Captain Hubbard rush along, and soon after the report of a pistol, one,
two, three, followed by the report of a rifle, assured me that it was
time to pull on boots and prepare for battle. Upon coming from my tent I
found the tumult had subsided. Our lieutenant-colonel came along, we
were all ordered to our quarters, and the guard being called upon, this
fray, which promised something serious, was finally quelled. I did not
hear that any one was seriously hurt.

The next morning, as I lay in my tent, looking out upon the street, a
party of three or four stopped in front for a talk. Soon one of them
began to show symptoms of a strange nature, and directly over he went
upon his back. In connection with the affair of the past night, I began
to think things were coming to a crisis. However, the man, who to all
appearance was dead, by dint of hard rubbing, applied by those gathered
around him, was at length brought to and carried off.



CHAPTER VI.


March 18th a cold, disagreeable storm commenced, lasting till the 21st;
it commenced with a drizzling rain, which finally, however, turned into
a stiff snow storm, and on the morning of the 21st it cleared off, the
snow lying on the ground six inches deep. All were now looking forward
to the time when we should pull up and leave for other parts.

March 23d, the snow had disappeared, much to our satisfaction. This day
was spent in issuing clothing to the regiment. They were now fully
prepared for the journey before them. The Twelfth at this time was the
largest regiment in the entire corps, and the finest in its general
appearance, as regards the men, their clothing, arms, equipments, &c.

Wednesday, 25th, we received marching orders.

Thursday, 26th, at seven, P.M., we struck our tents and remained in the
streets, waiting for orders to fall in. Meanwhile, fires were kindled,
and a general bonfire ensued; sticks, poles, boxes, and every thing
that would burn was scraped up and added to the flames. It being a cold,
chilly night, these fires proved very cheering and comfortable. At
eleven in the evening we were called upon to fall in. This was quickly
done; the regiment was formed, and we immediately proceeded to the
landing, and went aboard the steamer Long Island, and were soon on our
way, bidding farewell to Newport News, where we had spent many pleasant
hours, much to our own comfort individually, and with profit to the
regiment. The morning of the 26th we were steaming up the Chesapeake,
_en route_ for Baltimore.

Left the Chesapeake at six, P.M., entered the Petapsco, and at seven
were brought alongside the wharf, where we passed the night.

At six o'clock on the morning of the 27th we were ordered to sling
knapsacks. This done we filed off the boat, the regiment was formed, and
marching through the streets of the city, we stacked our arms opposite
the depot, and were to go aboard the cars as soon as the necessary
arrangements could be made. The boys were allowed to leave the ranks and
go where they chose. I went down street, and found there was plenty of
liquor to be had, and also that it was in _great demand_; many of the
boys were getting their canteens filled, &c.

The people of Baltimore were very friendly to us. As we marched through
the streets we met with cordial greetings; handkerchiefs were waved,
flags were displayed, &c. This was reciprocated by the regiment, who
answered back in deafening cheers.

We had our hands full after starting from Baltimore, in consequence of
the boys indulging too freely in "whiskey libations." They had seen no
liquor for some time, and seemed determined to make the most of this. At
twelve we commenced entering the cars, and at one P.M. the regiment
were all aboard. Some of the men were picked up and brought on in a
dilapidated condition, having been engaged in turning _somersaults_,
evidently having had help in this game, judging from the countenances of
some of them, which had materially changed, showing marks where the fist
had been too closely applied for the good of the recipient, resulting in
_crawls upon all four_, and other demonstrations of a like character.
With three or four exceptions, all of our company came aboard without
help, though I am sorry to say many of them were full of fight, and
commenced operations soon after entering the cars. It fell upon me to
stand at one end of the car, with orders to allow no one to go out,
under any pretence, as in the present condition of the men the result no
doubt would have been disastrous. Soon the uproar commenced, which
continued until darkness put a stop to it. There would be an occasional
lull in the tempest, as parties became exhausted.

Towards night, those who were brought aboard insensible, and who were
indebted to a few of us for their preservation--as the chances were that
they would have been stamped to pieces if we had not exerted ourselves
to save them--came to and _sailed_ in for their share. Such an uproar I
never heard among human beings, and it required our utmost exertions to
keep them from annihilating one another. Darkness came upon us at last,
the uproar partly ceased, and comparative quiet reigned in this
_menagerie_.

The train was started at two, P.M., and proceeded slowly throughout the
afternoon. Late in the evening we stopped at Little York, Penn., where
hot coffee and bread were served to such of the regiment as felt
disposed to partake. We were now fairly on our way, _en route_ for the
West, via Harrisburg. After leaving Little York we proceeded rapidly,
and the next morning, at eight o'clock, stopped at Lewistown, Penn.,
sixty miles to the west of Harrisburg.

March 28th, at half-past one, P.M., stopped at Altoona, where hot
coffee and white bread were served to us. At quarter-past two commenced
the ascent of the Alleghany Mountains. Our train consisted of thirty
cars, drawn by a powerful locomotive. Upon commencing the ascent of the
mountain, two more were attached, one to the rear of the train, and one
ahead. The road is very crooked, and the train, as it moved slowly,
winding its way along the numerous curves, like some huge serpent,
presented to the eye of the beholder a novel and beautiful spectacle. In
many places we could look down into ravines several hundred feet in
depth, close beside the track, the sides of which were nearly
perpendicular; and upon the other hand the mountains would rise as high
above us. All along the road the mountains were covered with a heavy
growth of timber. Millions of logs, of all sizes, lay rotting upon the
ground, seeming ready to tumble upon us at any moment. This crossing
the Alleghanies presented features of a kind new to Rhode Islanders, and
was enjoyed by all who could appreciate the beauties of nature.

At half-past two, P.M., we passed through the tunnel at the summit and
commenced our descent. Passed Johnstown at six, and at twelve entered
Pittsburg. At half-past twelve, the morning of the 29th, the regiment
left the cars and marched to the City Hall, the general rendezvous for
supperless soldiers. We here found supper awaiting us, to which we
quickly introduced ourselves. Had white bread and butter, crackers,
pickles, apples and hot coffee served to us. We were also treated to
music from one of the city bands. Stopped an hour in the hall, when the
colonel, making a speech, thanking the Pittsburgians for their
hospitality, &c., we left, highly pleased with our entertainment. From
the hall we marched a short distance and _took lodgings_ under the
shelter of a large shed adjoining the depot, where some of us were so
fortunate as to get a short nap.

At six, A.M., rose from my downy bed, visited a saloon close by, had a
good wash, and through the kindness of a friend, a good breakfast of
potatoes, hot biscuit, beefsteak, coffee, &c. At half-past nine, A.M.,
the regiment entered the cars, and at ten the train started, crossing
the Alleghany River, _en route_ for Cincinnati, via Steubenville and
Columbus. I improved the little time I was in Pittsburg in looking about
me. I was somewhat surprised at the general appearance of the city. I
had often heard it spoken of as a dirty place. We often hear it called
the city of "Eternal Smoke." This proceeds from the numerous forges,
furnaces, and so on, which abound in the city, its principal business
being the working of iron, for which it is celebrated. In connection
with its business I had pictured in imagination a collection of low,
heavy buildings and dilapidated houses, all of the color of smoke.
Instead of this, I found a place of great beauty and interest. Many of
the buildings in the business portion of the city were four and five
stories high, brick and stone being the material used. All of the
buildings were neat in appearance, and many of them models of taste and
beauty in their architecture. I saw very fine looking churches in this
place. Owing to our short stay here, I cannot enter into a description,
but judging from what I saw, should think it a place of great wealth,
uncommon beauty and interest. We passed through Steubenville, Ohio, at
two, P.M. At the village of Means, a short distance beyond, halted for
coffee. Halted again at the village of Newcomerstown, at seven, P.M.,
at the village of Cheshocton, at nine, and at the city of Newark at
twelve. All along through these villages we were warmly welcomed by the
inhabitants. The ladies ran to meet us as we came to a halt. Many of
them brought bread, pies and apples to the soldiers. Some of the boys
were the recipients of little tokens of affection, in the shape of
kisses. Relative to the kisses, "Freely as you receive, freely give,"
was the rule on the part of the boys. While passing through these
villages, for my share, I received an apple and a slice of white bread
and sauce.

Monday, 30th, at two in the morning, the train came to a halt again, and
upon making inquiry, I learned we had arrived at Columbus, the capital
of the State. Here we found refreshments for the whole regiment awaiting
us. White bread was brought into the cars and given to those who wished
it. Before the coffee could be brought to us, our colonel, thinking the
regiment needed rest more than coffee and bread, (many of them being
asleep at the time,) ordered the train to pass on. Not having a good
chance to sleep myself, I being ready to eat and drink all I could get,
I secured four loaves of the bread, and finding the coffee was in the
depot, I hastened from the cars and was in time to fill my canteen.

At seven, A.M., we passed through Zenia, where the train stopped long
enough for us to wash up and look about us. Starting from here, at ten,
A.M., we made a halt in Miami Valley, at a little village, where we
remained until noon. At the village of Morrow we stopped four hours.
This delay was owing to a train ahead of us smashing up, obliging us to
wait till the track could be cleared. At five, P.M., we started again,
and at seven entered the city of Cincinnati. After a delay of an hour we
alighted from the cars and soon after proceeded to the Fifth Street
Market, where supper was provided us. Our refreshments were the same as
those we had at Pittsburg minus the music. At nine, P.M., we retired
from the hall, after acknowledging our thanks by three deafening cheers,
and marched immediately to the boat, which we found awaiting us, and at
ten, P.M., were across the Ohio and standing on Kentucky soil. We
landed in Covington, a place opposite Cincinnati. At eleven, we turned
in for the night, occupying the floor of an old, dilapidated shed, near
the depot.

Tuesday, 31st, our colonel endeavored to get us a breakfast for the
regiment at this place, but was unsuccessful. Our haversacks furnished
us a breakfast at this place. We were delayed here until one, P.M.,
when we again took the cars and were soon hurrying on, _en route_ for
Lexington. Passed through the town of Belmont at four, and arrived at
Lexington at nine in the evening. Here we had arrived, we learned, at
the end of our journey. We took up our quarters for the night in the
cars and about the depot.

Wednesday, April 1st, turned out at an early hour, kindled fires, made
coffee and took our breakfast. The regiment was not called upon to fall
in until half-past eight, A.M. Meanwhile I took the opportunity to
visit the grave and monument of Henry Clay, which are in the cemetery a
short distance from the depot. The monument is very large, and upon the
top of the tall shaft stands a statue of the departed statesman. His
grave is about forty rods from the monument. It was pointed out to me by
one familiar with the spot. It is ten feet north of the monument erected
by him to the memory of his mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Clay, formerly
Watkins. There are no stones to mark the spot where he lies, as his
remains will undoubtedly soon be removed to the vault prepared for them,
at the base of the monument. Finding some coffee beans, as they call
them here, upon the grave, and which grew upon a tree overshading it, I
secured them for a memento. I also visited the place allowed for the
burial of soldiers who die in the hospitals here. The space allotted is
upon an eminence, and the manner of burying is novel and interesting.

The graves were arranged in circles, the first circle enclosing a space
twenty feet in diameter, with the foot of the grave towards the space,
and the head outwards. The second circle outside of this, and so on.
There were several circles already finished. The space is reserved for
the erection of a monument at some future time. There are many fine
specimens of sculpture in this cemetery, and monuments in great
profusion. At half-past eight we were called upon to fall in, and
immediately marched to our encampment. This was situated upon the Fair
Grounds, three-quarters of a mile from the city. It was a beautiful
situation, amid a grove of black walnuts and maples, commanding a fine
view of the surrounding country, which includes many interesting
localities. The Ashland Estate, well known as the residence of Henry
Clay, is but a mile from our camp. This estate is very large, comprising
originally one thousand acres.

Thursday, April 2d, I started on a visit to this place. Just before
reaching the house we came upon two children, a boy and a girl, who were
playing in a grove adjoining. They were about ten or twelve years of
age. Upon coming up to them to make some inquiry, I noticed in the
features of each a striking resemblance of the man whose memory we hold
in reverence. Upon making inquiry, I learned they were grand children of
Henry Clay. Their father, James Clay, was absent, holding a high
position in the rebel army; his family occupying the homestead. It was a
very warm, pleasant day, and the whole family, which consisted of the
mother and two other younger children, were busying themselves
out-doors, and looking at the men who were employed at the time of our
visit, in the garden. The wife of James Clay is a woman apparently about
thirty years of age, in height rather below the average; has black eyes
and hair, is of a dark complexion, and without doubt in her younger days
was considered handsome. Her countenance bears the traces of grief, and
in the absence of her husband, she is no doubt seeing trouble. I had a
talk with one of the men respecting the family. He showed me the house
he lived in, which is situated on the estate, and was rented to him by
Mrs. Clay the year before. He said he was a Union man, and thought it
best she should understand it so, before he occupied the premises. He
therefore told her. All she told him was that she rented the house for
the money. Whether her husband's course is approved of by her or not, he
could not ascertain, as she keeps her own counsels. I was told the whole
family since the death of the honored parent, which occurred some eight
years ago, have dressed in black. Mrs. Clay was dressed in a full suit
of deep mourning. In connection with her husband's position at the
present time, I thought the dress very appropriate.

We were allowed the privilege of going about the premises. I learned
that the house occupied by the elder Clay had, since his decease, been
removed, giving place to one more modern in its style of architecture.
There has been no alteration made in the outbuildings, of which there
are quite a number. The house is a very fine building, built of brick,
with free-stone cornices, window caps, &c. The lawn is very spacious;
around the outer edge is a carriage road, and upon either side of this
is a row of trees. The principal kinds are hemlock, firs and black
walnuts, most of them of large size. Scattered about the lawn in great
profusion are others of different kinds. Alongside the carriage road
were a few neglected flower beds. Finding some of them in bloom, I
culled one and sent it home as a memento of my visit to this celebrated
estate.

After a short stay here, we returned to camp. On our way back we passed
the residence of John Clay, and took the opportunity of visiting his
stables, and seeing the horses owned by him, he being reputed the owner
of some of the finest horses in the State. We found the stables easy of
access, several negroes being in charge, who were willing to show us
about the premises. This Clay is quite a sporting character; has a race
course of his own, and makes a business of rearing and racing horses.
Those we saw were the finest he had. One of them, a bright bay mare,
named Edgar, is said to have run her mile in one minute forty-six
seconds. Those I saw were all trained to running. On our way from the
stables we passed the house. Being hungry, I inquired of a negro if he
could find us something to eat. He took us up to the house and asked the
inmates of the kitchen, which consisted of three negroes, one man and
two women, if they could do any thing for us. The man said that Mr. Clay
was sick, and had refused several before us. Finding we would accept of
a johnny-cake which was cooking upon the stove, he took it off and gave
it to us. The widow of Henry Clay resides at this place with her son.
She is now in her eighty-third year, is very feeble, and will soon
follow her lamented husband to the tomb. From here, returning to camp,
we stopped to see a herd of mules that had just been turned loose, and
who were capering and cutting around at a break-neck rate. Occasionally
one would stop and let fly a pair of heels, making all crack again. I
could not see as there was any damage done, however. Oftentimes two or
three, while upon the full run, would go down upon the ground, and
coming up again, run as fast in another direction. Such thumps as they
gave one another would kill any thing but a mule. At one, P.M., I
reached camp, much pleased with my journey.

Sunday, April 5th, I attended church in the city, in company with two or
three hundred of the regiment. Monday, 6th, signed pay-roll, and the
next day, the 7th, were paid off, receiving our pay up to the 1st of
March. We had been in camp here a week, and were getting pretty well
established. Our quartermaster, J. L. Clark, was left at Newport News to
settle up affairs there, and then was to follow us with the major part
of the luggage. At this time, April 7th, he had not reached us. Through
some one's fault, we were on short allowance while at this place, and as
we begun to live again, received marching orders.

Wednesday, the 8th, broke camp, and started on our march at eight, A.M.,
accompanied by the rest of the brigade. It was a warm, pleasant
morning. We passed through the city, and took the road in the direction
of Winchester, and after a very severe march of twenty-two miles, we
reached our encampment, which was situated two miles south of this
village, at half-past seven in the evening. This was a hard day's march
for the first brigade. The road over which we passed, ran in a
south-easterly direction from Lexington, in a straight line. Underneath
the surface of the ground are ledges, which abound in this part of the
country, of slate and sandstone. These are easily worked, and are the
material used in making roads. The stone is broken in small pieces,
which in course of time become fine, making an excellent thoroughfare.
The road throughout its whole length was made after this manner. Owing
to the material used in making and repairing, (every little way having
to walk over stones lately carried on,) it was very hard for the feet. I
have not been able to learn that there was any necessity of our making
this two days' march in one, except perhaps to gratify the caprice of
Col. Griffin of the Ninth New Hampshire, who commanded the brigade in
the absence of Gen. Naglee. But a small portion of the brigade managed
to reach camp the night of the 8th. Many of the men carried heavy
knapsacks, and were obliged to fall out. After marching a few miles, I
judged from the motion of things that they were intending to make the
march in one day. I therefore fell out, took off my boots, and put on a
pair of "whangs," so as to march as easy as possible.

Just before taking my place in the ranks again, I came across my chum,
who had dropped out to rest, his feet already blistered. As it would be
easier to march in the rear of the regiment, thereby avoiding the dust,
(it being a very dusty road withal,) and rest at his leisure, he had
made up his mind to do so. Our things being together, I kept him
company. After marching some sixteen miles this way, my companion, who
was about used up, halted until the baggage wagons came up with us, and
contrived to get his knapsack into one of them, and soon after found a
place for mine. This made it easier for us. The wagons belonged to the
brigade, and I was fortunate in getting my knapsack on one containing
baggage of the Twelfth Regiment. My companion, after our arrival in the
village, took his off and slung it on his back again. Finding the wagon
containing mine was to accompany our regiment, I concluded to let it
remain there. As soon as the wagon started, I seized hold of it, and by
that means contrived to keep up, the team some of the way going upon the
trot. We finally reached camp. I was about five minutes getting my
knapsack off the wagon, my blankets out of it, and in turning in. My
chum turned in for the night under a fence, about quarter of a mile in
the rear, being pretty much "played out."

Kentucky is the finest country I have seen yet. It had the same
appearance all the way from Lexington to Winchester. The soil to all
appearance is excellent, and easily cultivated. The surface of the
ground undulates in hill and dale, just enough to give relief and beauty
to the scenery. No stones upon the surface to add to the labor of its
cultivation. There are no underbrush growing in the woods here. This
adds greatly to the beauty of this country, every forest having the
appearance of the most beautiful groves, underneath which grass grows in
abundance. This gives Kentucky the advantage over any State thus far,
that I have seen; and the first in rank, as a cattle producing country,
as every forest affords excellent pasturage for the herds of cattle,
mules, &c., which abound in this State. The fields are laid out large,
are well fenced, and a large part under cultivation. The houses are
scattering, being from half a mile to a mile apart, suggesting to a New
Englander the idea of others between, in the event of the war coming to
an end, together with the institution of slavery. God forbid that this
fair land should longer be blighted by this curse.

    "Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
    Let this be our motto: 'In God is our trust.'
    And the star spangled banner, in triumph shall wave,
    O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave."



CHAPTER VII.


Our brigade comprised the Second Maryland, the Ninth New Hampshire, the
Seventh and Twelfth Rhode Island Volunteers, and the Forty-Eighth
Pennsylvania regiments, and were under the command of Gen. Naglee. The
Forty-Eighth Pennsylvania were assigned to Lexington, to do provost
duty, and were left behind. By the way, while at Newport News we had an
abundance of all things which it is possible for a soldier to expect.
The schooner Elizabeth & Helen, of Providence, R. I., which arrived at
that place February 16th, laden with vegetables, added to our health and
comfort, and the condition of the regiment improved very materially.
After leaving Newport News, and up to this time, April 14th, we had
nothing but "marching rations," (hard crackers and salt pork,) excepting
what was issued at Lexington April 6th, and what we had been able to
buy.

The commissary department of the First Brigade was now in working order,
and ready to issue rations, April 13th, but our regimental commissary
was tardy again, as at Lexington, and our officers slumbered. We had
plenty of "hard crackers," but these had become a drug with us,
consequently we were tempted to buy what was brought into camp, for
which we paid exorbitant prices. The Kentuckians here were aware of our
coming, and seemed determined to make the most of us. Some of our
officers, whose business it was to attend to these matters, did not
consider that the soldier in the ranks might be obliged to study
economy, and consequently desire the prompt issue of rations, and some
little degree of care and ingenuity in their preparation; thereby saving
them the expense of paying out here and there so much for these
luxuries. They did not seem to consider the responsibility resting upon
them. Perhaps they did not care. The thing was just here. In each
company were from fifty to seventy-five men, whose case was made better
or worse, according as their officers were watchful or slumbering. If
they had been awake, rations would have been drawn with promptness, and
properly cooked; and the consequence would have been that having enough
to eat from their own kitchen, the men would have bought the less
outside; thereby saving in the aggregate, a large sum which in many
instances was needed at home.

Chickens, weighing two and three pounds, were sold here a year ago for
one dollar per dozen. This year they sell for two dollars per dozen.
Poultry brought into camp in small quantities, sold readily at prices
varying from twenty-five cents to one dollar and fifty cents apiece.
This included the chicken of two pound and the turkey of eighteen
pounds. Small quantities of eggs were brought into camp, and sold at
prices varying from fifteen to forty cents per dozen. They were in
demand and commanded any price. Pies were brought on in great abundance;
they were made of peaches and apples, and sold for twenty-five cents
apiece. Some, having a little mercy on the soldier, sold for ten and
fifteen cents. Peaches are very plenty in this part of Kentucky, and are
preserved and dried in large quantities.

The morning of April 15th finding nothing to eat but hard crackers and
pork, and no coffee cooking, I determined to act as commissary for one
day at least. I called on A. W., of Company H, and together, at seven,
A.M., we left camp, and started off across the fields. We passed the
houses nearest camp, and after going about a mile, stopped at a log
shanty. This was occupied by a negro family, who were owned by the
occupant of a house adjoining. The owner was absent, and the negroes had
no authority to sell any thing. We were hoping to have found something
to eat here, but having nothing on hand cooked, we concluded to go
farther. However, we prevailed on them to cook us some cakes, which we
were to call for on our return. Half a mile further on, we came to a
large house. The only person we could find here was a negro woman. She
could sell us nothing. The next place we called at was owned by one Dr.
Evans. Here we found the family at home and busy, preparing to go to
camp, with a load of pies, cakes, chicken pies, &c. We intended to have
got a breakfast at this place, but the family being very much engaged in
their speculation, we continued on.

Espying a house to the right, off some half a mile from this place, we
made for it. We were greeted upon our arrival by about half a dozen
negro children, who looked upon us with as much curiosity as boys would
at home upon the "horned owl" on exhibition. We asked for the woman of
the house. She happened to be out of doors at the time, and was pointed
out to us. We introduced ourselves, and asked her if she could get us a
breakfast. She answered in the affirmative, and asked us into the house.
This was a large log-house, and was the one occupied by the owner of the
premises. The negroes occupied two or three smaller ones in the same
yard, and some five rods distant from the main building.

This is the way the buildings are arranged by the country farmers in
this part of the State. The negroes all occupy log-houses. Some of the
owners have nothing better, and inhabit the same; but most of them have
frame houses, and many of these are large and elegant. The negro women
have charge of all the children, both white and black, and the cooking
for all is done in the out-houses. We were well entertained at this
place. The woman of the house was apparently about seventy-five years of
age, and was very intelligent and sociable. Her husband owns a large
farm, and some fourteen or fifteen negroes. They raise hemp, keep sheep,
spin and weave, as our folks did at home fifty years ago. They have
suffered from the raids of the enemy, principally in the loss of
horses, not having enough left to cultivate their farms. This is indeed
a serious loss to them.

After the lapse of half an hour, our breakfast was brought to us. We had
hot biscuit, fried bacon, johnny-cake, butter and milk. We bought five
pounds of butter at this place for twenty-five cents a pound, and four
dozen of eggs, for which we paid twenty-five cents per dozen. We went
beyond here one mile, and procured three dozen eggs more. From here we
started on our return to camp. Stopped at a house, and finding the owner
absent on an expedition to camp, I prevailed on the negroes to bake us
some cake. Here we stopped three-quarters of an hour, during which time
the women cooked enough to fill my haversack, for which they charged me
twenty-five cents. Leaving here, we called at the place we first stopped
at in the morning, and found our bread awaiting us--one large
johnny-cake, and one loaf of white bread. This finished our load, and at
one, P.M., we arrived in camp, prepared to live again.

We had a most beautiful camp at this place. It was situated in a grove,
at a spot where we had every convenience necessary in the shape of wood
and water, with plenty of grass to roll and tumble upon. The trees in
this grove were perhaps forty feet apart from one another on an average.
These consisted of maple, cherry, black walnut, and the common
shell-bark, and many of them were of large size. The ground underneath
was swept clean, and all brush, chips, &c., removed.

We had "brigade guard mounting" here at nine, A.M. The band would
strike up at precisely nine o'clock, and as we watched the movements of
the guard as they approached simultaneously from their different
regiments to take the place assigned them, we were struck with the
beauty of the scene. The guard approaching, take their places, and the
music ceases. The "camp guard" upon the right of the line, with nothing
but gun and equipments; the "picket" upon the left, with canteen,
haversack and blanket, in addition. The line being formed, the
sergeant-major, who arranges it, makes a "present" to the officer
commanding, and immediately takes his place upon the left. After he gets
his position, the order is given "front." Upon this, the commissioned
officers march twelve paces in front of the line, the sergeants eight,
and the corporals four. The officer in command advances and gives
special instructions to all the officers in person. He then returns to
his position, and gives the order, "officers and non-commissioned
officers, about face," "inspect your guards." The officers return; the
corporals take their places in line; the lieutenants inspect the front
rank, the sergeants the rear. The band play during inspection.
Inspection over, the music ceases, and the officers take their places in
line again. Then comes the order, "music, beat off." The band commences
playing a "slow march," and, coming to the front, proceed the length of
the line. After going through the manoeuvres, which bring them to an
"about face," they return playing a quickstep, and take their former
position. Then the order, "by platoons! right wheel! march!" Immediately
upon the completion of the half wheel, which brings them from line of
battle into column, the order is given, "pass in review! column forward!
guide right! march!" The band strike up, the first platoon make a left
half wheel, and march forward, preceded by the band. The other platoons
coming up, wheel upon the same spot of the first. After marching forward
a certain distance, another left half wheel is made. Marching straight
forward from this, they pass the "officer of the day," who takes the
position directly in front of the centre of the line, as it was before
moving vacated by the officer in command of the guard, who places
himself upon the right of the first platoon, and directs the movement of
the column. As each platoon passes in front of the "officer of the day,"
the officers in charge of their respective platoons come to a "present,"
saluting, and pass on,--the "camp guard" to the relief of the "old
guard," the "picket" to the place assigned them--the band cease playing,
and the review ends. The brigade guard mounting, of which I have
endeavored to give a description, is a beautiful and imposing spectacle.

Although the soldier endures many hardships and privations, still there
are many pleasant scenes and associations connected with a soldier's
life; and I think that should the war continue, many of the men, looking
back upon the pleasant side of their campaign, will have a yearning for
the scenes and associations in connection with it, and again enter the
ranks.

God grant they may! and with willing hearts and hands, and with the
assurance of the righteousness of the cause for which they contend, may
they consecrate themselves anew to the cause of Freedom.



CHAPTER VIII.


Thursday, 16th. At five, P.M., we received marching orders, with
instructions to "pack knapsacks," and be ready to march immediately. At
six, P.M., we struck tents, and in half an hour were marching, in
company with the rest of the brigade, in the direction of Boonesboro';
and, after a short march of five miles, encamped for the night on the
heights which form the banks of the Kentucky River, at nine o'clock in
the evening.

Friday, 17th. We did not move from our camp until ten, A.M., owing to
the delay necessary in crossing the river. The cavalry accompanying us
commenced crossing early in the morning, and at ten, the Twelfth were
ordered to fall in. After a march of a mile, we came upon the edge of
the river, at the place of crossing, in time to see the last of the
cavalry pass over. The river at this place was, perhaps, fifty rods in
width, and the convenience for crossing were two scows, in each of which
forty men could be taken over at once, and so shaped that our teams
could drive on or off at either end. The river was not deep at this
place, and the mode of propelling was by pushing with poles.

Some very amusing incidents occurred in connection with our passing over
the Kentucky River. Some of the teams, consisting of a government wagon
and four mules each, were in readiness, and crossed at the same time
with our regiment. This was accomplished by ending the scow on shore,
and driving the team on and into the forward part of the boat. The
remaining space was filled with soldiers. The scow was pushed across,
and, landing end on, the team was driven off. The manner of driving a
mule team is this: The driver sits upon the near wheel mule, uses one
rein, and by dint of some little hallooing,--understood only by those
versed in muleology,--manages his team. The scows were barely wide
enough to admit the wheels of the carriages, and it required no little
degree of skill to drive on and off without accident. While driving one
of the teams off, the near wheel mule, being crowded, jumped off the
scow, throwing his rider head and ears under water. The man, upon
gaining the surface, was soon ashore; and the mule, after floundering
awhile, got a foothold on shore, and the wagon was drawn off. No harm
done as we could see to either the mule or his driver.

The next team that crossed, the rider, hoping to profit by the
misfortunes of the one in advance, dismounted and attempted to lead his
team off. This time, crowding again, over goes one of the mules into the
stream, back downwards, hanging in the harness, its head just out of
water. This looked like a desperate case of broken legs, and death by
drowning. After some little effort, however, the mule was loosed from
the harness, the carriage was drawn off by the remaining three, and the
unlucky one, through the combined efforts of half a dozen men, was
finally drawn from the river, thoroughly drenched, otherwise, to all
appearance, not damaged at all.

Ours was the third company across, and passing up the bank, we continued
on half a mile, and rested there until the rest of the regiment joined
us.

The Kentucky River at this place is bounded upon either side by a range
of hills, near akin to mountains. As we approached the river previous to
crossing, many novel and interesting scenes presented themselves to our
view, reminding us of our journey across the Alleghanies, our first
experience in such mountainous regions. From our camp, where we passed
the night, upon the heights, the road to the ferry wound along the sides
of the hills, and through ravines. In this way the river was gained by
gradual and easy descent. As we left camp, the beautiful fields, the
green hills, and grassy vales, disappeared; giving place to rough,
precipitous hills, whose rocky sides presented quite a contrast to the
scenes we left behind. As we neared the river, directly in front of us,
and to the left upon the opposite side, was a ledge of limestone, rising
from the surface of the water which washes its base, to a height of
three hundred feet, in a nearly perpendicular line, its surface, with
the exception of seams and _crevasses_, smooth and white as marble. This
was an approximation to the grand and sublime, and to us, inexperienced
in such scenes, a beautiful spectacle. The river rolling sluggishly
along at this place, deeply imbedded in the hills, could not be seen by
us until we were upon its very edge. At the place of crossing the road
terminates; and at the opposite side is the terminus of the road, which
approaches from the opposite direction. As we came upon the river, upon
the same side are two or three houses, with barely arable land enough
adjoining to make a garden spot for the occupants. Upon the other side,
we found more buildings, and in the immediate vicinity of the ferry
considerable land under cultivation.

While here, I learned we were in the immediate vicinity of where Daniel
Boone lived. And it was here the first settlement of Kentucky by the
whites commenced. I saw the spot where he built his fort, and where he
managed to resist the attacks of the Indians, who had determined to
eject him from his hermitage. I also filled my canteen from Boone's
Spring, so called in honor of the old hero. And as I took a draught from
its clear waters, I thought how often he had visited the spot for a
similar purpose, and wondered at the courage and perseverance of the
man, who could exist in this lonely place, surrounded by hostile
Indians; dependent alone upon his own resources, even for his own
existence, with no other earthly reliance than his own strong arm, and
felt I could do homage to the undaunted bravery and perseverance of the
Kentucky pioneer.

We stopped one hour for the rest of the regiment to join us, and then
began the slow and toilsome work of ascending the hills. It was a very
warm day, and though resting often, the march was a tedious one. Before
reaching the top, we halted for the rest of the brigade to come up. This
was about two, P.M. Starting again, we soon reached the summit of the
hills, and emerged once more into a country beautiful as the one we had
left behind us. At the junction of the river road with the Lexington and
Richmond pike, we rested two hours. At this place, Gen. Naglee and staff
passed in advance of us, and selected our camp ground for the night. The
spot selected was about three miles from this place, and four from
Richmond. We reached it at seven, P.M. At six, P.M., while on our way,
the Fourteenth Kentucky Cavalry passed us, begrimed with dust, and
looking like war-worn veterans, as they really are. Their experience has
been with the guerrillas that invest this State, and whom they fight
with a vengeance. They had a look of determination, and I have no doubt
rebels falling into their hands, find themselves in a tight place.

Saturday, the 18th, at seven in the morning, we started again, passing
through Richmond at ten, A.M., and at eleven were resting on our
camping ground, two miles beyond. Upon this ground, and in the vicinity,
the battle of Richmond was fought, August 30, 1862, in which the
Federals were defeated, losing 150 killed and 350 wounded. Gen. Munson
was taken prisoner, and Gen. Nelson was severely wounded in this
engagement. The trees about here bore marks of the struggle which
ensued. Many of the branches were torn off, and in the trunk of one
large cherry tree, I counted seven ball holes. It was a desperate
struggle against odds, the enemy outnumbering us four to one. One of the
boys, while we were here, brought a shell in, which he picked up in the
vicinity of our camp. It was quite a curiosity, suggestive of the time
when it was sent on its murderous errand, eight months before. We were
pleasantly situated here, and enjoyed ourselves.

Just after our arrival here, two sutlers commenced visiting us, and in
the absence of competition, charged exorbitant prices. One day seeing a
large crowd around one of the teams, I went up. Found the owner busy
selling oranges at ten cents a piece, and cider at ten cents a glass.
Apples in the same proportion. And while delivering from the front of
the wagon, the soldiers, unbeknown to him, at the same time had tapped a
barrel in the rear, and were doing a brisk business, filling canteens,
&c. Soon after I heard an uproar, and was just in time to see his wagon
tipped over, and his groceries distributed. Knowing the other sutler was
in camp with gingerbread, the price of which was twenty-five cents for
three pieces, about the size of my hand, I felt anxious to learn his
fate. I had not long to wait, as I soon saw one side of a wagon rise in
the air, the owner jump from it, and gingerbread flying in all
directions. This had a tendency to lower the prices, and since then no
outrages of the kind have been perpetrated, as it has not been necessary
to repeat the experiment.



CHAPTER IX.


How often at home, when with the toil and care incident upon the life of
those who "earn their bread by the sweat of the brow," have we as
Saturday night approached, and with it the labors of the week were to
cease, looked forward to a day of rest. A thousand miles from home, the
plough exchanged for the sword, the awl for the bayonet, in the face of
a desperate enemy, and the thing is changed.

The Sabbath comes as at home, but unfortunately, is more "honored in the
breach than the observance," and seems to be a day specially appointed
by military authorities, for fighting and marching. We received marching
orders Saturday, 2d, and were to be in readiness to march the following
morning. As is usual with us the night before a march, all was bustle
and confusion. Some were busy packing their effects, others talking,
each man having to express his opinion as to where we were to go, the
chances for a fight, &c. Another portion, who at other times deny
themselves, were indulging in liquor, the result of which was a general
howling, extending into the small hours of the night.

The night before our march from Lexington, a portion of the men went to
the city, had a plenty to drink, and some of them returned with canteens
filled. The consequence was, a riotous night, and but little sleep was
to be had. The men quarrelled among themselves, and to cap the climax,
at two in the morning, one of the men from the company adjoining,
visited Company F, and indulged in a little shillalah practice. Swinging
to the right and left, much to the discomfiture of one of our men, who
received a blow on the top of his head, which, judging from the sound,
might have felled an ox. He was rendered _hors de combat_, and taken to
the surgeon; and after this salutary lesson, the boys thinking best to
keep still, we got a few hours sleep. The noisy ones of Company F were
christened "lions." The name originated in Camp Casey, where they
occupied two of our Sibley tents, on the left of the line, and by their
continual howling, made "night hideous."

Saturday, May 2d, at nightfall, the uproar commenced as usual. At ten I
turned in. I kept napping, waking, and sleeping by turns, until two in
the morning. At this time, a party in front of my tent were having an
altercation which threatened to terminate in a fight. I thought best to
see what was going on. Looking out of my hotel, I saw J. R., the same
individual who officiated at Lexington, with club raised, threatening to
lay it about the ears of his opponent, who was daring him to come on.
Friends interfered, preventing them from coming to blows, and after a
bad amount of cursing and hard talk, during which the whole regiment
were disturbed, they were separated, and quiet reigned again. The
immediate results of this night's carousal, were visible to all in the
person of one of our drummers, who had indulged beyond his strength, and
was found lifeless in his tent, the morning of the 3d, having "shuffled
off this mortal coil" in the melee.

The morning of the 3d of May found us busy, preparing for the march,
regardless of the storm, which was evidently about to open upon us. At
eight we were on our way. It commenced raining slightly before we left
camp, and after our first rest outside of Richmond at ten, A.M., it
commenced in earnest. We hurried on, and at one, P.M., were encamped
at Point Lick Creek, having marched a distance of thirteen miles in four
hours. Some of the time while on this march, the rain poured in
torrents, and we reached camp thoroughly soaked. Soon after our arrival
the sun came out, the clouds passed away, and we had a pleasant
afternoon. This gave us a chance to roll and tumble upon the grass, dry
ourselves, and put up tents at our leisure. Our camp was situated on the
road which runs from Richmond to Lancaster, and was about midway between
the two places. It was evident our stay here would be short, as the
usual care in laying out camps was not observed here, our tents being
pitched in all conceivable ways. Our general formed his head-quarters
some twenty rods east of our camp, close by a church. This edifice had
been built but a short time, was small, of modern style, without a
steeple, and very much resembled a New England school-house.

From the time of our arrival here, up to Saturday the 9th, the weather
was very disagreeable. Considerable rain fell, and for six days we were
enveloped in clouds and fog. But in spite of all this, our general and
his staff had frequent visits from the fair ones of Richmond, whose
acquaintance they formed during our short sojourn there. They came in
groups of half a dozen at a time. The band was called on to serenade the
fair visitors, who forming with our officers upon the green in front of
the church, joined in the mazy dance, and "tripped the light fantastic
toe."



CHAPTER X.


Sunday, the 10th, at three o'clock in the morning, we again received
orders to march. At eight, A.M., the brigade was moving in the
direction of Lancaster. Our company this time were detailed as rear
guard, and having to wait until all the teams were under way, did not
start until ten, A.M. The day was very warm, but having the advantage,
as guard, of stopping often, we made an easy march of it. At two, P.M.,
we arrived in sight of our camp; the brigade encamping upon a hill,
within one-half mile of the village of Lancaster--a situation commanding
a view of the country for many miles around.

A source of amusement heretofore denied us, we had the privilege of
indulging in here. A small pond in the same enclosure with our camp,
abounded in fish, some of which, when full grown, reach the enormous
weight of one-fourth of a pound. Hooks and lines were in demand, and
piscatorial pursuits were the order of the day.

_The Twelfth Regiment in white gloves, through the generosity of our
Sutler!_--_Three cheers for H. S. Patterson!_--On the afternoon of May
18th, each man was called in front of his orderly's tent, and received a
pair, and at dress parade the Twelfth were encased in white gloves. Some
suggested the old saying that "puss in gloves catches no mice." From our
improved appearance others prophesied the speedy downfall of the
rebellion. Much querying occurred in the regiment, about this time, as
to when our term of service would expire. One of our men claiming his
time as up, it being nine months since his enlistment, hoping to find
out when the regiment were to start for home, went to the colonel and
thus accosted him:

"Well, Colonel, I suppose my time is out."

Says the colonel, "What are you going to do about it; are you going home
now, or are you going to wait for the rest of the boys?"

Says the fellow, somewhat abashed, "I think I will go home with the rest
of the boys."

"Well," says the "old colonel," "I guess you had better; we are all
going home pretty soon."

The fellow retired, much chop-fallen at the result of his interview.

May 20, at dress parade, was read to us the farewell address of General
Naglee, who had resigned his command and was about to return home. He
was suffering from an affection of the heart, and found himself unable
to continue longer in the field. He was to leave us the 21st, and
extended an invitation to all of us to call on him. The evening of the
20th, at sunset, the band formed in front of his quarters, commenced
playing, and in a short time a good portion of the brigade assembled, to
hear the parting words of the general. We found him sitting in front of
his tent, rising occasionally to salute the officers as they came in
groups from the different regiments.

The band played a few pieces, when the general, stepping in front,
addressed them a few parting words, then, taking them each by the hand,
he bade them adieu. Then turning to the soldiers, he made them a short
speech, bidding them farewell, saying he would be glad to shake hands
with all who chose to come forward. The band played "Home, Sweet Home,"
at the conclusion of which we all retired to our quarters.

Colonel Griffin, of the Sixth New Hampshire, succeeded General Naglee in
the command of the brigade at this time.

May 21st, the enemy were accumulating on the Cumberland, and occupied
the south bank of the river, where their movements were closely watched
by our forces. Some few days before, they had contrived to throw a force
across. This brought on a fight, in which they were repulsed and driven
back. We were under marching orders at the time, and held ourselves in
readiness to march at short notice in the event it should have been
found necessary to have sent reinforcements.

May 22d, at nine in the evening, we received orders to march. At seven
the next morning, the first brigade were on the march, accompanied by
the second, who followed close in the rear. Taking the Somerset road, we
were soon fairly established in all the privileges and comforts of a
march on a hot, dry, dusty day. At eleven, A.M., we stopped for dinner,
having marched nine miles. We started again at half-past two, P.M., and
at four, P.M., encamped near Crab Orchard, twelve miles from our late
camp, near Lancaster.



CHAPTER XI.


Upon our marching from Lancaster, one of my acquaintances, whom I
thought from his intercourse with the officers might know our
destination, informed me that we were to march but three or four miles,
and were to encamp in an oak grove. The spot had been selected the day
before by our general, and was indeed a beautiful place, abounding in
excellent springs of water, and in the immediate vicinity of a river, an
admirable place for bathing, &c. It was a very warm day, and as the
roads were dry and dusty it made our march unusually severe, and instead
of the oak grove, but four miles distant, with all its beautiful
surroundings, we made a march of twelve miles, and found ourselves at
last located in a thicket of briers, one and a half miles north of the
village of Crab Orchard, a spot devoid of every thing green, if we
except blackberry bushes and pennyroyal, and abounding in all manner of
creeping things. The evening of the 25th, information having been
received that the enemy were in the neighborhood of Somerset, and might
make a raid in our direction, we were ordered to be on the alert.
Company I was detailed for extra picket duty, and all precaution taken
against an attack. The afternoon of the 26th, at six o'clock, the
Twelfth struck tents, and moved forward one-half mile beyond the village
of Crab Orchard, to the support of the Second New York Battery, which
had taken position the night before in a field commanding the Mount
Vernon and Somerset roads, which meet at this place. Here we encamped
again for a short period.

June the 1st we received orders to put ourselves in light marching
condition, and hold ourselves in readiness to march at short notice.
Accordingly, the morning of June 2d, all boxes and barrels available
were scraped up, and overcoats, and all other superfluous luggage, was
packed and sent to the rear. Many of the boys had flattered themselves
that our fighting days were over, but since this last order, begin to
think that the "end is not yet."

The evening of June the 3d, at "dress parade," our colonel made a
speech, wherein he congratulated the Twelfth, telling them that in all
probability they would again soon have a chance to meet the enemy on a
fair field. He hoped to have the privilege of leading them again, and
had no doubt they would acquit themselves with credit, and return home
an honor to the State they represent. In a short speech of ten minutes
we were all impressed with the certainty of a conflict near, and in our
imagination could almost hear the din of battle and see the "bloody
12th," eager for the fray, rush into the thickest of the fight, driving
all before them. Soon victory crowns our efforts, and descending from
the heavens, the eagle, the emblem of our nationality, perches upon our
banner! Our history is to become immortal! Laurel wreaths encircle our
brows! Roses shower down upon us, and in the whirling mists, an
everlasting halo of glory encompasseth us. Rumor said that our colonel
was about to issue to every man in his regiment a tunic, something after
the manner of a butcher's frock, and throwing aside every other article
of clothing, we were to start at once, and annihilate the enemy in his
strongholds. The evening of June 4th we received orders to be in
readiness to march the following morning, at half-past four, each man to
be provided with sixty rounds of ammunition, and eight days' rations.
At five o'clock the next morning the regiment were in line, and in
fifteen minutes we were passing through the village of Crab Orchard,
taking the Lancaster road, accompanied by the rest of the brigade. At
ten, A.M., when within one mile of Lancaster, we turned aside, and
halted until half-past two, P.M. Here it became generally known that we
were to march to Nicholasville, as soon as possible, there to find
transportation to some place as yet unknown to us. Various were the
surmises as to where we were to go. We soon became convinced that the
first brigade were to report at Vicksburg. Then the question arose,
would the Twelfth accompany them, or be detached and dropped on the way.

At half-past two, P.M., we were ordered into line again; at three
passed through Lancaster, and at seven arrived at "Camp Dick Robinson,"
having marched twenty-one miles. Here we encamped for the night. The
appearance of the sky betokened rain, consequently many of us took pains
to pitch our tents. This, together with making coffee and eating supper,
occupied our time until ten o'clock. About this time we turned in, to
gain what little rest we could before "reveille," which was ordered to
be beaten at four o'clock in the morning. At the appointed time, the
roll of the drums announced to us that our sleeping hours were up. We
turned out in haste, having barely time to eat breakfast and pack up
before we were called into line.

At half-past four we were on our way again. At seven, A.M., entered
Pleasant Valley. Here the scenery became most wild and picturesque, and
as we crossed Hickman's Bridge the grandeur of the scenery impressed me
beyond any thing I have ever witnessed. Mountains, hundreds of feet in
height, towered above our heads, in all directions. The bridge is a fine
structure; it was built in 1836, is perhaps two hundred feet in length,
and spans the Kentucky River, some sixty feet above its waters. After
emerging from this defile, and when within one mile of Nicholasville,
Colonel Griffin received a dispatch detaching us from the brigade, with
orders for Colonel Browne to report in another direction. At this time
we were in advance of the brigade. We immediately came to a halt, and as
the brigade passed by, we gave each regiment three parting cheers, and
commenced to retrace our steps. After going half a mile we filed to the
right, into a grove, where we passed the night. At five o'clock in the
morning we were drummed into line, and on the tenth day of June encamped
in Somerset, having marched, in six consecutive days, over one hundred
miles, under a broiling sun, with knapsacks heavily laden with rations
and ammunition, finding ourselves at last twenty-eight miles from Crab
Orchard, the place from whence we started June the 4th. Our encampment
was in a grove, quarter of a mile west of the village, on ground
occupied by Zollicoffer in 1861; here he prepared to make a stand
against the forces sent to repel him; trenches were dug, and large,
noble trees, cut at the time, lay thick upon the ground. His fate was
decided at Mill Springs, January 20th, 1862.

Nothing of note occurred during our stay here, most of our time being
taken up in fighting flies, which swarmed about our camp, and in trying
to make ourselves as comfortable as we could under the circumstances. It
was extremely warm during our sojourn here, and the flies seemed
determined to annihilate us.

June the 20th, at noon, received marching orders again, and at four,
P.M., encamped on the heights which form the banks of the Cumberland
River, in the immediate vicinity of Stigall's Ferry, seven miles from
Somerset. Having a desire to bathe in the waters of this celebrated
stream, I visited it for that purpose early the next morning, and
returned to camp just in time to take my place in line on our return
march. We reached Somerset at one, P.M., rested until three, when we
took up our line of march for Jamestown, whither we had been ordered. We
encamped for the night on "Logan's Old Fields," where the battle of Mill
Springs was fought, January, 1862. This place is distant from Somerset
nine miles, which made our day's march sixteen miles. Here we found the
32d Kentucky, Lieutenant-Colonel Morrow, who had started from Somerset
in advance of us, and who were to be our companions to Jamestown, the
two regiments to be under the command of Colonel G. H. Browne, the
senior officer.

At five, A.M., the following morning, the 32d took the lead, followed
immediately by the 12th. This day we reached Shady Creek, at eight,
P.M., where we encamped, having made a march of sixteen miles over the
roughest roads imaginable. At twelve, M., the next day, we passed
through Jamestown, and encamped in the immediate vicinity, having
marched ten miles over a road where it required the activity and
ingenuity of a red ferret to keep us on our feet. June the 24th our
teams started for Lebanon, sixty miles distant, to procure rations, and
it soon became evident we were not to remain idle here. Our scouts
reported the enemy as attempting to cross the Cumberland, and our whole
force was employed to hold them in check. Our brave colonel went to the
village and ground up his sabre, preparatory to cutting and slashing. A
large force was sent out three miles on the road towards Columbia, where
a rude fort was constructed and garrisoned, under the supervision of our
colonel. Bodies of men were sent in other directions to fell trees, and
otherwise obstruct the roads; and all things were made ready to give the
enemy a warm reception.

June the 28th, Colonel Woolford's Cavalry and Colonel Kautz's Brigade
joined us, since which time there has been constant skirmishing with
Morgan's advance. Our regiment at this time saw hard service. Heavy
pickets were kept out all the time; our rations were giving out, and, to
make it more disagreeable, it rained continually every day, some of the
time pouring in torrents. Our teams, that were expected the 28th, were
unfortunately delayed on their return by the presence of the enemy in
Columbia.

They had passed Green River Bridge, and were hurrying along, and had
nearly reached Columbia, before they were aware of the danger; upon
learning which, they immediately hurried back across Green River, when
meeting a force of thirty men, sent from Lebanon to protect them, they
concluded to make a stand here until morning. In the course of the
night, the bridge was carried away by the freshet, caused by the heavy
rains. There was no other alternative left them, but to reach camp by a
circuitous route, crossing the river at a ford some twenty miles to the
north. July 3d, when within ten miles of camp, they were attacked by
sixty or seventy of Morgan's Cavalry. The guard showing themselves equal
to the emergency, dashed among them with great fury, repulsing them,
killing one, and taking seven of them prisoners; the rest made good
their escape. Shortly after, the teams reached Jamestown, much excited
by their adventurous trip. Meanwhile we were expecting to be attacked,
and were twice called into line. The morning of July 4th quite a force
of the enemy came close upon us; the signal howitzers were fired, and
the long roll was beaten. The regiment turned out, took position, and
awaited their approach; but the enemy avoided us. Sunday, the 5th, it
becoming known that Morgan with his whole force had crossed the river,
and slipped past us, we were ordered back to Somerset. At nine, A.M.,
the stores were put aboard the teams, and we took up our line of march.

It was a very warm, sultry day, and the roads were in bad condition,
owing to the late rains, making our march extremely difficult. The poor
boys were sore pressed, and tents and blankets flew in all directions.
We reached Russell's Spring and made a halt there until four, P.M. We
had twenty-five prisoners with us, the fruit of our excursion to
Jamestown. At four, we started, when it commenced to rain and kept it up
till dark; much of the time it poured in torrents, and we made a march
of eight miles, with only two halts, of five minutes' each, and at dark
encamped one mile from Shady Creek, soaked to the skin.

The next morning, July 6th, we waited until nine, A.M., for the team
to come up with us, when we started again, marched eleven miles, and
again halted for the night. July 7th, reached Somerset at seven, P.M.

The next day, at five, P.M., marched again, _en route_ for Hickman's
Bridge, by way of Crab Orchard and Stanford. Marched six miles, and
halted for the night. July 9th, marched twenty-two miles, reaching Crab
Orchard at eight, P.M.

The next day passed through Stanford at ten, and halted for dinner one
mile from the village at eleven, A.M. Here our colonel was told he could
give his regiment a ride on the supply train, which was all ready to go
to Hickman's Bridge. Our colonel accepted the offer, and in one-half
hour we were aboard and on our way, much to the relief of the suffering,
sore-footed members of the Rhode Island "Itinerant" Regiment. The train
made a halt at Dick River, and we dismounted and encamped. The next day,
July the 11th, at one, P.M., we dismounted at Hickman's Bridge, marched
up the hill, and at two, P.M., halted at General Burnside's
head-quarters, for orders. Here we remained until nine, A.M., July the
12th, when we got orders to report in Cincinnati. We then marched to
Nicholasville, went aboard the train at two, P.M., and at eleven at
night arrived in Covington.

On the 13th, at seven, A.M., we crossed the Ohio, and stacking arms in
front of the Fifth Street Market House, waited there for breakfast. Here
we learned that the omnipresent Morgan was within a few miles of the
city, and advancing. Martial law was to take effect in the city at ten,
A.M. Companies were arming and organizing, and we were soon informed
that nothing but the presence of the Twelfth Rhode Island Volunteers
would save the city from utter destruction. This pleasing bit of
information was imparted to us after dinner, while laboring to get up
Vine Street Hill, to a new camp where we were destined to remain for a
few days longer. This was sorry news, and some of the boys were rather
riotous over it, the thought naturally suggesting itself to them,
whether the same necessity might not exist in Bungtown or in any other
place. By the way, the term of service for which our regiment was
mustered in, had already expired; and the Twelfth Rhode Island
Volunteers, weary and worn out, had hoped that we were finally on our
way home.

It was indeed disheartening to many of us, who had expected that upon
our arrival here nothing would occur to interrupt our journey. Little
did we think that even here in Ohio the presence of John Morgan would
render it necessary for us to rally again. About this time, also, the
New York riot was raging, and some apprehension was felt by the
authorities of a similar demonstration in Cincinnati. This was enough to
detain us, and at the junction of the two roads on Mount Auburn, on the
afternoon of the 13th day of July, the Twelfth Rhode Island Volunteers
established their camp, and on the same evening the "redoubtable John"
illuminated it by burning a bridge within three miles of us.

Sunday, the 19th, reinforcements having arrived, we were relieved, and
at seven o'clock, A.M., of that day we left Cincinnati for Rhode
Island; where, on the 29th day of July, 1863, we were mustered from the
service of the United States. The particulars of our journey, together
with our reception in Providence, I copy from the "Providence Evening
Press" of July 22d, at the conclusion of which is appended the Order
which General Burnside, in appreciation of our services, upon our
leaving his Department, issued to the regiment.


                  RETURN OF THE TWELFTH REGIMENT.

      This noble regiment returned home to-day from its arduous
      and protracted services at the seat of war. The unusual
      amount of hardship and exposure to which it has been
      subjected, the important duties it has performed, and the
      heavy losses it has sustained in the defence of the country,
      made it highly appropriate that it should be received with
      demonstrations expressive of the popular interest in all
      that concerns our brave soldiers.

      The record of this regiment will compare favorably with that
      of any nine months regiment which has been in the service
      during the war. In addition to long and frequent marches,
      they have spent seven months of their time at the front, in
      the face of danger, and where the duties imposed upon them
      have taxed their every energy to the utmost.

      The regiment left Cincinnati on Sunday morning, and
      proceeded by rail to Dunkirk on the Erie Railroad, and
      thence to New York, where they arrived at eleven o'clock
      yesterday morning. They started about one o'clock for
      Providence on the steamer Commodore, arriving about four
      o'clock a short distance below Nayatt, where they anchored.
      They came up to the city shortly afterward, and landed
      about seven o'clock. A salute was fired by the Marine
      Artillery.

      The Fourth and Sixth Regiments Rhode Island Militia were
      drawn up on Benefit Street to receive the returning
      veterans, and loudly cheered them as they passed through the
      opened lines. A crowd of expectant friends, who had
      assembled at the Point, immediately gathered around the
      gallant boys, and the short halt was improved in the
      interchange of the heartiest greetings.

      About eight o'clock the line of march was formed in the
      following order:--

                       American Brass Band.
                            Drum Corps.
                    Section of Marine Artillery.
         Sixth Regiment, R. I. M., Col. James H. Armington.
                            Drum Corps.
            Fourth Regiment, R. I. M., Col. Nelson Viall.
                            Drum Corps.
         Twelfth Regiment, R. I. V., Col. George H. Browne,
          Lieut. Col. James Shaw, Jr., Major Cyrus G. Dyer,
                    Adjutant Matthew N. Chappell.
         Co. B, Capt. James M. Longstreet, Lieuts. Albert W.
                 Delanah and Charles A. Winchester.
        Co. I, Capt. George A. Spink, Lieuts. Munson H. Najac
                          and John H. Weaver.
         Co. F, Capt. William E. Hubbard, Lieuts. William H.
                       King and Francisco Ballou.
         Co. K, Capt. Oscar Lapham, Lieuts. Edmund W. Fales
                        and Charles H. Potter.
       Co. E, (color company,) Capt. John J. Phillips, Lieuts.
              Luther Cole, Jr., and Edward V. Wescott.
        Co. D, Capt. John P. Abbott, Lieuts. George H. Tabor
                     and Henry M. Tillinghast.
      Co. H, Capt. Oliver H. Perry, Lieuts. Arnold F. Salisbury
                        and J. N. Williams.
        Co. A, Capt. Christopher H. Alexander, Lieuts. Edward
                F. Bacon and Joseph C. Whiting, Jr.
       Co. G, Capt. William C. Rogers, Lieuts. James A. Bowen
                    and Fenner H. Peckham, Jr.
       Co. C, Capt. James H. Allen, Lieuts. George Bucklin and
                       Beriah G. Browning.
      Quartermaster, John L. Clarke; Surgeon, Benoni Carpenter;
           Assist. Surgeon, Samuel M. Fletcher; Chaplain,
                           S. W. Field.
      Rear guard of twenty men detailed from all the companies.


The procession marched over the usual route to Exchange Place, where the
men stacked arms, and universal hand-shakings and congratulations were
the order of the day.

The streets were lined with people. Flags were hung out all along the
line of march; handkerchiefs were waving everywhere, and bouquets and
wreaths were scattered with a liberal hand. The regiments doing escort
duty turned out with very full ranks, and made a most effective
demonstration. A fine collation, served by L. H. Humphreys, was provided
for the troops in Howard Hall. There were eight tables running the
entire length of the room, neatly spread with most acceptable fare, and
presenting a most cheerful and inviting appearance. The officers of the
regiments were entertained upon the platform. About two thousand plates
were laid, and all three of the regiments were amply provided for.

The Rev. Dr. Swain, Chaplain of the Sixth Regiment, invoked a blessing
upon the repast, after which His Excellency Governor Smith came forward,
and in a very happy manner welcomed the regiment back to the State and
thanked them for the services they had rendered in the field.

Colonel Browne responded substantially as follows:

"In my own behalf, and that of the officers and soldiers under my
command, I thank you for the kind manner in which you have been pleased
to speak of us. Next to the approbation of our own consciences we prize
most highly the approbation of those we love. That approbation of
conscience we enjoy. To the utmost of our ability since we left this
State, we have endeavored to uphold her honor, and to labor for the
suppression of the rebellion. We prize this reception as an evidence of
your approval.

"Your words of praise show that our services have not been unmarked.
Still it may be well for me to advert briefly to some facts in our
history as a regiment. We have travelled over 3,500 miles, five hundred
of which has been on foot, literally carrying the houses we lived in,
the provisions upon which we were to subsist for six and even eight
days, and the arms with which we were to defend ourselves and oppose
the enemy.

"On the field of Fredericksburg one hundred and nine of my brave men
were lost to my command. Afterwards, when pestilence stalked through the
camp, and amid hardship and privation, one hundred and twenty more were
swept away in three short weeks; not all indeed to the silent grave,
since a few still linger in hospitals.

"But through the constant efforts of my officers to preserve cleanliness
and discipline in the camp, we are happy in bringing back to our friends
to-day over seven hundred of those who marched with me from Washington
to the banks of the Rappahannock.

"Our duties have been of the most varied kind. But through them all the
uniform kindness of the State has at all times watched over us. While we
were in camp where pestilence assailed us and want made us suffer, your
good ship Elizabeth and Helen brought us much needed supplies; and if
your bounty burdened our backs, it certainly lightened our hearts and
cheered us on the weary march.

"Let me in conclusion congratulate you, the officers who surround you,
and all our citizens, that we arrive at home at a time when every thing
is so cheering and prosperous. Gentlemen, nine short months more, and
you will see this country a re-united country--a mighty nation, whose
arms will be more a shield for every citizen than was ever Rome in her
proudest days."

At the conclusion of the collation, the military were dismissed. The
Twelfth Regiment were ordered to re-assemble in this city on Wednesday
next, at ten o'clock, A.M.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                  HEAD-QUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO,
                                    _Cincinnati_, _Ohio_, July 17, 1863.

GENERAL ORDERS, NO. 115.

On the departure of the Twelfth Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers, at the
expiration of their term of enlistment, the Commanding General wishes to
express his regret at taking leave of soldiers who, in their brief
service, have become veterans. After passing through experiences of
great hardship and danger, they will return with the proud satisfaction
that, in the ranks of their country's defenders, the reputation of their
State has not suffered in their hands.

 By command of Maj. Gen. BURNSIDE.
                                    LEWIS RICHMOND,
                                             _Assist. Adjutant-General_.


                                 THE END.



    +---------------------------------------------------+
    |             Transcriber's Note:                   |
    |                                                   |
    | Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the      |
    | original document have been preserved.            |
    |                                                   |
    | Typographical errors corrected in the text:       |
    |                                                   |
    | Page   6  Mathew changed to Matthew               |
    | Page  14  entrys changed to entries               |
    | Page  15  frescoe changed to fresco               |
    | Page  61  Frdericksburg changed to Fredericksburg |
    | Page  64  Fredricksburg changed to Fredericksburg |
    | Page  70  Suttlers changed to Sutlers             |
    | Page 122  begrimmed changed to begrimed           |
    | Page 125  it changed to is                        |
    | Page 140  senoir changed to senior                |
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