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Title: Our campaign around Gettysburg - Being a memorial of what was endured, suffered and accomplished by the Twenty-third regiment (N. Y. S. N. G.) and other regiments associated with them, in their Pennsylvania and Maryland campaign, during the second rebel invasion of the loyal states in June-July, 1863
Author: Lockwood, John, 1826?-1901
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Our campaign around Gettysburg - Being a memorial of what was endured, suffered and accomplished by the Twenty-third regiment (N. Y. S. N. G.) and other regiments associated with them, in their Pennsylvania and Maryland campaign, during the second rebel invasion of the loyal states in June-July, 1863" ***

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Libraries.)



OUR CAMPAIGN

AROUND

GETTYSBURG:

BEING

A MEMORIAL OF WHAT WAS ENDURED, SUFFERED
AND ACCOMPLISHED BY THE

_Twenty-Third Regiment_

(N. Y. S. N. G.,)

AND

OTHER REGIMENTS ASSOCIATED WITH THEM, IN THEIR
PENNSYLVANIA AND MARYLAND CAMPAIGN,

DURING THE

_Second Rebel Invasion of the Loyal States_

IN JUNE-JULY, 1863.



"Quaeque ipse miserrima vidi,
Et quorum pars * * * fui"



Brooklyn:
A. H. ROME & BROTHERS, STATIONERS AND PRINTERS,
No. 383 Fulton Street.
1864.



To William Everdell, Jr.,

Late Colonel Commanding 23rd Regiment
(N.Y.S.N.G.)

IN TENDER REMEMBRANCE OF HIS HIGH SOLDIERLY BEARING AND NEVER-FAILING
COURTESY TO THE LEAST OF HIS COMMAND; OF HIS WATCHFUL SOLICITUDE THAT
NEVER SEEMED TO SLEEP; OF HIS EMINENT DEVOTION TO HIS MEN,--SEEKING
OUT THE OVER-FATIGUED ON THE MARCH IN ORDER TO RELIEVE THEM OF THEIR
BURDENS AND CHEER THEM WITH KIND WORDS, HELPING THE EXHAUSTED AND THE
SICK TO PLACES OF REST, AND SHARING WITH THE REGIMENT THE EXPOSURE AND
DISCOMFORT OF THE BIVOUAC HOWSOEVER MISERABLE; THE GALLANT COMMANDER
AND THE SOLDIER'S FRIEND,

This book is gratefully inscribed.



PREFACE.


If any one, taking up this book casually, should wonder why it was
written, it may suffice to observe that "Gettysburg" is probably
destined to mark an Epoch of the Republic;--as being one of the very
few decisive battles of the Great Rebellion. Accordingly, whosoever
took any part in it may hope to share its immortality of glory.

But, says one, the militia were not engaged in the battle. True;
neither was the reserve of eleven thousand men, under General French,
at Frederick and elsewhere. Yet who would withhold from these veterans
the honor of having been participators in the great struggle? They had
their part to play--not so direct, nor conspicuous, nor important a
part as they played whose valor won the day, yet important withal.
Enough for the militia, they offered their lives for the Fatherland,
and stood instant, waiting only for orders to hurry into the front of
battle.

To the militia force, mainly of the cities of New York and Brooklyn,
was from the first entrusted the defence of the valley of the
Susquehanna. The Army of the Potomac could afford no protection to
Harrisburg and the rich agricultural regions lying around it. For
General Hooker, notwithstanding his vigilance and activity, had not
prevented the advance corps of the enemy, under General Ewell, from
penetrating to the very banks of the Susquehanna. Whether or not he
cared to prevent it, is not here considered. A little later, to be
sure, Lee became evidently alarmed on account of his extended line and
made haste to contract it. But during the few days of panic that
intervened between the first appearance of the enemy along the
Susquehanna and their hasty departure therefrom, nothing stood between
them and Harrisburg save the militia, whom General Halleck in his
Official Report reviewing the military operations of the year 1863, saw
fit to allude to as follows:--

    "Lee's army was supposed to be advancing against Harrisburg, which
    was garrisoned by State militia, upon which little or no reliance
    could be placed."

York had fallen; and, notwithstanding the Mayor of that city--be his
name forever buried in oblivion--went out to meet the enemy hoping
doubtless to secure his favor by craven submission, a heavy ransom had
been exacted for its exemption from pillage. A rebel detachment had
fallen upon and put to flight the force guarding the bridge over the
Susquehanna at Columbia, and thus compelled the burning of that fine
structure; while Ewell with the main body of his corps was moving
cautiously up toward Harrisburg. Finally, when within five miles of
Bridgeport Heights, having driven in the force of skirmishers
who--militia, be it observed--had for several days gallantly held in
check the head of the advancing column, he halted. The state capital
was a tempting prize, but scarcely worth to him the risk of a desperate
battle. The gates of the city were shut, and Ewell hesitated to hurl
his masses against them. It is not now pertinent to enquire what might
have resulted had he chosen to attack. He did not attack, and the
capital of Pennsylvania was spared the shame of having to pass beneath
the yoke of a conqueror. To the militia of New York and Brooklyn, in
the main, is due the praise of having saved her that humiliation.

The reason which prompted this bold and enterprising commander to
observe unusual circumspection in his advance up the Cumberland Valley
is obvious. He held the extreme right of the rebel line, whose left
could not have been much short of fifty miles distant. The militia of
Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey and New York, had been summoned in haste
to the border, and for ten days they had been pouring down in unknown
numbers. Thus Ewell found himself confronted by an unreckoned host,
whose numbers would naturally, by one in his exposed situation, be
magnified. The position of defence was a strong one, and to have failed
in an assault upon it might easily have involved his destruction, and,
as a consequence, the destruction of the whole rebel army. Could he
have had a day or two longer to enable him to gain correct information
of the strength of the works, and of the garrison, he would not
probably have hesitated to attempt the capture of the place. But the
action of the great drama was now moving forward with startling
rapidity. Meade was concentrating on the flank of Lee, who saw that not
a day was to be lost in distant and secondary expeditions. Ewell was
accordingly recalled with all haste; and happy had it been for the
Union cause had the General commanding the Department of the
Susquehanna been early enough apprised of the hurried withdrawal of the
enemy to make the services of the militia available at Gettysburg.

But the defence of Harrisburg, which was the main objective of General
Lee in his raid up the Susquehanna Valley, is not the only title which
the New York Militia hold to the gratitude of Pennsylvania and of the
Nation. Who shall undertake to say how far the result of the battle of
Gettysburg was determined by the fact of Union militia reinforcements
being near at hand--their strength vastly over-estimated, there is no
doubt, by both armies? Indeed there was reason to suppose, and many
believed, while the battle was raging, that they had already come up
and were actually engaged. The moral effect of such a report circulated
through the ranks of contending forces, and even half credited, is
immense. The one it fills with enthusiasm and animates to heroic
endurance, for it summons them to victory; the other it fills with
terror, and makes effort seem useless, for it is to them the omen of
coming defeat. Nevertheless there can be little doubt that at the close
of the third day of conflict the rebel army was still a powerful
host--its organization not irreparably broken, its numbers equal if
not, indeed, superior to those opposed to it. True, it had been
repulsed with terrible slaughter, but it was far from being vanquished,
for it was made up of hardy and oft victorious veterans, to whom
repulse was not defeat. General Meade did not feel strong enough to
assume the offensive; and who shall undertake to say that there had yet
arisen an imperious necessity for the withdrawal of Lee across the
Potomac, except as involved in this very matter of reinforcements?

With regard to the ungenerous disparagement contained in the remarks of
General Halleck it is quite likely that he merely meant to say that the
troops hurriedly collected at Harrisburg were untried, and therefore
ought not to be entrusted with any critical service. But the words, as
they stand, carry with them a sweeping detraction and are nothing less
than calumnious. The Brooklyn Twenty-Third--or rather the Division,
taken as a whole, with which it was incorporated--has only to point to
its record as given very imperfectly in the following History, and
especially to the farewell orders of General Meade, and of the
commander of the Division, Brigadier General W. F. Smith, to whom the
nation is now looking as a military chieftain of great promise, for a
vindication of its fair name.

But it is not on account of any supposed historic value attaching to
the story it tells, that this book has been written. It was undertaken
rather as a memorial of the campaign of the Twenty-Third Regiment and
of other regiments with which it was from time to time associated,
interesting chiefly to the men who participated in the events
described, and to their friends. These will find herein a portraiture,
faithful so far as it goes, of the daily life they led amid the
monotony of the camp, the excitement of the siege, the perpetual worry
of the bivouac; of the martial achievements they performed, and some
they narrowly escaped performing; in a word, of the sum total of the
services they rendered to the Nation during those momentous Thirty
Days.

The statistics of the book have been compiled with care and fidelity.
The distances of that part of the line of march which lay in
Cumberland, Adams and Franklin counties, Pennsylvania, have been
measured off carefully on elaborate county maps, kindly loaned for the
purpose by Colonel Everdell. For the remainder of the route, no similar
guides being accessible, only approximate results were attainable. If
any one is disappointed to find these distances shorter than his own
rough estimates, he is reminded that the reckoning is made in those
tantalizing "Pennsylvania" miles--probably the longest on the
globe--with which we became so painfully familiar.

Having for the sake of the general reader scrupulously avoided
throughout the following narrative all allusions of a merely private or
personal interest, I should be wanting in good feeling, were I to let
this opportunity pass without paying my respects to those of my
companions in arms, to whom I am indebted for friendship, for kindness
and for sympathy. I am the more incited to make this acknowledgment
from the belief that I am not alone in cherishing such grateful
recollections--that many a heart will respond tenderly to all I shall
say.

Who of my company can soon forget the tender solicitude of Acting
Captain Shepard for his men--on the march, helping the weary by bearing
their burdens at the expense of his own strength, itself delicate; at
the bivouac, providing suitable care for the sick; and ever prompt to
spend himself for his command in a hundred delicate and unnoticed ways?
Or, the intelligent activity of Acting First Lieutenant Van Ingen, the
thorough disciplinarian and dashing officer; to whose energy and
forethought the company were primarily indebted, at the end of many a
hard day's march, for an early cup of hot coffee, and a bed of rails
which otherwise had been a bed of mud? Nor should I do justice to my
emotions did I fail to bear record to the prudence and sagacity of
Acting Second Lieutenant Hunter, whose dignity of character, finely
blended with genial humor, at once commanded the respect and secured
the attachment of his men; who was watchful against danger and cool in
the midst of it; who knew his duty as a soldier and loyally discharged
it, however distasteful it might sometimes be to himself or his
command.

Nor can I forget the genial and capable Sergeant-Major Ogden, as ready
to surrender his horse to a foot-sore soldier as to cheer the drooping
spirits of his company by his patriotic and exuberant singing while
"marching along"; Dr. Bennett, the amiable and popular Assistant
Surgeon; Story, the ever-punctual and faithful Orderly, who had the art
to soften distasteful requirements by a gentlemanly suavity; Sergeant
Blossom, self-respecting and respected, perpetually finding something
to do to render the general hardships more endurable, and going about
it with so little ostentation that it too often passed unappreciated;
Hazard, genial, impulsive, generous; Howland, who, on the march, bore
the heaviest burden with the least murmuring; and with exemplary
fidelity was ever to be found in his place as the guide of the company,
plodding along unfalteringly; Corporal Hurlbut, snatching from an
exhausted comrade the musket which was dragging him down, to bear it
upon his own weary shoulders; Thornton, whose common sense and merry
wit and kindly disposition gave him an entrance to every heart; Allen,
modest, amiable, faithful in duty; Deland, with a heart big enough to
contain the regiment; Van Ingen, tender of sympathies as a girl, and
strong in every manly virtue; now greeting with kindly recognition some
neglected and unnoticed soldier; now helping another to bear his
burden, though struggling wearily under his own.

Green be the memory, too, of Shick, who kept the pot boiling while the
rest slept, on many and many a dismal night, that they might have
cooked rations for the morrow's journey; and Wales, the intelligent
counsellor; and Stevens, spirited, attentive, generous, and a model of
personal tidiness; and Hubbell, who hid beneath a mask of indifference
a warm and generous heart; and Lockwood, the upright, trusty and solid
soldier; and Palmer and Johnson and Burr--members of the regiment only
during the campaign--who won the praise of all by their affable manners
and their assiduity in whatsoever capacity. And finally, I greet with
grateful remembrance thee, O youthful Hood, whose winning manners early
gave thee the key to my heart; and thee, Oliver, handsome as Apollo and
a thousand times more useful, the mirror of virtue and refinement,
whose praises were on every lip for every soldierly quality.

Would that I might add to this pleasing roll of personal acquaintance
and friendship the names of others of my comrades, as genial, true and
gallant, doubtless, as the regiment affords, but whom it was not my
happiness to know.

I must content myself, in closing these prefatory remarks, with
expressing my thankfulness for having been permitted to share in a
glorious service with as noble and gallant a regiment as ever offered
itself, a free sacrifice, on the altar of Country and Liberty.

It is due to the Twenty-Third Regiment that I should not conclude
without observing that the memorial which follows is not in any sense
to be considered as representing that regiment. Having been connected
with the Twenty-Third only during its absence, it would be simply a
piece of impertinence in me to claim to speak for it. And this very
circumstance of being an outsider has given me an advantage. For,
unconscious of any motive except to tell the truth and render praise
where I believed it to be due, I have felt at liberty to say many
things which modesty would have forbidden a member to say, as well as
some things which one representing the regiment might have thought had
better been left unspoken. I have aimed to give, simply, truthfully,
the story of the life we led, in all its lights and shadows, as far as
my limited opportunities furnished the materials.



I.

OFF TO THE WAR.


The Pennsylvania Governor, Curtin, cried to us for help; the President
called out from the White House that he wanted us to come down to the
Border; our Governor, Seymour, said go, and accordingly we hurriedly
kissed those we loved best, and started for the wars. Let us look at
the record in order:--

_Monday, June 15th._--News comes that the rebel General Lee is on the
march for the free States. The President issues a Proclamation calling
immediately into the United States service one hundred thousand men
from the States of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland and Western Virginia;
supplemented by a call on New York for twenty thousand more, all to
serve for six months, unless sooner discharged. To this proclamation
the various brigades of New York State National Guards respond with the
greatest promptitude and alacrity. Special orders leap from numberless
head-quarters, while armories and arsenals are quickly alive with the
first nervous movements of excitement.

_Tuesday, 16th._--The whole city is moved with a common impulse. The
rebel invasion; the startling call of the President; the alarming cry
of Governor Curtin on New York for instant help; the energetic action
of our State authorities; the thrice-tried patriotism of Massachusetts,
reported as springing again to the rescue of Government with all her
available militia force--all these conspire to animate every patriotic
bosom with a fresh "On to Richmond" zeal. Militia men lose no time in
reporting for duty, and volunteers bustle about to secure places in the
ranks of their favorite regiments. A dozen regiments are under marching
orders--a good deal of excitement and chagrin is caused by the rumored
passage of the famous Massachusetts Sixth through the city, bound for
the seat of war, beating New York a second time. The rumor proves to be
unfounded. Orders are issued by Brigadier-General Jesse C. Smith to his
Brigade, now comprising the 23d, 57th, 52d and 56th, to make instant
preparations to leave for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for short
service--three months or less, according to the emergency; there to
report to Major-General Couch, commanding the Department of the
Susquehanna.

_Wednesday, 17th._--The gallant Seventh is the first in the field from
the State, as is fitting. They are off at an early hour of the day,
followed in the evening by the Eighth and Seventy-First. Martial
enthusiasm pervades all classes, welling up from the several armories
and overflowing the twin cities.

_Thursday, 18th._--The Brooklyn Twenty-Third are ordered to assemble at
their armory, corner of Fulton and Orange streets, at 7 o'clock, A.M.,
fully armed and equipped, and with two days' cooked rations in their
haversacks, to march at 8 o'clock precisely. The gallant fellows are up
with the larks: a hundred last things are done with nervous haste;
father and brother give and receive the parting brave hand-grip; mother
and sister and sweetheart receive and give the last warm kiss; and
with wet eyes, but in good heart, we set out for the rendezvous. There
is remarkable promptitude in our departure. At the instant of 8
o'clock,--the advertised hour of starting,--the column is moving down
Fulton street toward the ferry. The weather is auspicious--the sun
kindly veiling his face as if in very sympathy with us as we struggle
along under our unaccustomed burden. From the armory all the way down
to the river it is a procession of Fairy-Land. The windows flutter with
cambric; the streets are thronged with jostling crowds of people,
hand-clapping and cheering the departing patriots; while up and down
the curving street as far as you can see, the gleaming line of bayonets
winds through the crowding masses--the men neatly uniformed and
stepping steadily as one. Bosom friends dodge through the crowd to keep
along near the dear one, now and then getting to his side to say some
last word of counsel, or to receive commission to attend to some
forgotten item of business, or say good-bye to some absent friend. As
we make our first halt on the ferry-boat the exuberant vitality of the
boys breaks out in song--every good fellow swearing tremendously, (but
piously) to himself, from time to time, that he is going to give the
rebels pandemonium, alternating the resolution with another equally
fervid and sincere that he means to "drink" himself "stone-blind" on
"hair-oil". What connection there is in this sandwich of resolutions
may be perhaps clear to the old campaigner. To passing vessels and
spectators on either shore the scene must be inspiriting--a steamboat
glittering with bayonets and packed with a grey-suited crowd plunging
out from a hidden slip into the stream, and a mighty voice of song
bursting from the mass and flowing far over the water. To us who are
_magna pars_ of the event, the moment is grand. Up Fulton street, New
York, and down Broadway amid the usual crowds of those great
thoroughfares, who waved us and cheered us generously on our patriotic
way, and we are soon at the Battery where without halting we proceed on
board the steamboat "John Potter" and stack arms. There is running to
and fro of friends in pursuit of oranges and lemons--so cool and
refreshing on the hot march--and a dozen little trifles with which
haversacks are soon stuffed. One public-spirited individual in the
crowd seizes the basket of an ancient orange-woman, making good his
title in a very satisfactory way, and tosses the glowing fruit
indiscriminately among the troops, who give him back their best "Bully
Boy!" with a "Tiger!" added. Happy little incidents on every side serve
to wile away a half hour, then the "all a-shore!" is sounded, the final
good-bye spoken, the plank hauled in, and away we sail. A pleasant
journey _via_ Amboy and Camden brings us to Philadelphia at the close
of the day. There we find a bountiful repast awaiting us at the
Soldiers' Home Saloon, after partaking of which we make our way by a
long and wearisome march to the Harrisburg Depot. At night-fall we are
put aboard a train of freight and cattle cars rudely fitted up, a part
of them at least, with rough pine boards for seats. The men of the
Twenty-Third Regiment having, up to this period of their existence,
missed somehow the disciplining advantages of "traveling in the
steerage," or as emigrants or cattle, cannot be expected to appreciate
at sight the luxury of the style of conveyance to which they are thus
suddenly introduced. But we tumble aboard and dispose ourselves for a
miserable night. A few of us are glum, and revolve horrible thoughts;
but the majority soon come to regard the matter as such a stupendous
swindle as to be positively ridiculous. They accordingly grow merry as
the night waxes, and make up in song what they lack of sleep.

_Friday, 19th._--The darkest night has its morrow. We reach Harrisburg
thankfully a little after daybreak, and bid adieu, with many an
ill-suppressed imprecation, to the ugly serpent that has borne us
tormentingly from Philadelphia. Just sixty-four hours have elapsed
since the orders were promulgated summoning the Brigade to arms. We are
marched at once to Camp Curtin, some three miles out of town, and in
the afternoon countermarched to town and thence across the Susquehanna
to the Heights of Bridgeport--the latter being accomplished through a
rain storm. As we enter the fort the Eighth and Seventy-First,
N.Y.S.N.G., which had got a few hours' start of us, move out, taking
the cars for Shippensburg on a reconnoissance.



II.

CAMP LIFE ON THE SUSQUEHANNA.


In hastening thus to the rescue of our suddenly imperiled government,
we gave ourselves to that government without reserve, except that our
term of service should not be extended beyond the period of the present
exigency. Ourselves stirred with unbounded enthusiasm as we fell into
line with other armed defenders of the Fatherland, we expected to find
the inhabitants of the menaced States, and especially the citizens of
Harrisburg, all on fire with the zeal of patriotism. We expected to see
the people everywhere mustering, organizing, arming; and the clans
pouring down from every quarter to the Border. At Harrisburg a camp had
indeed been established as a rendezvous, but no organized Pennsylvania
regiments had reported there for duty. The residents of the capital
itself appeared listless. Hundreds of strong men in the prime of life
loitered in the public thoroughfares, and gaped at our passing columns
as indifferently as if we had come as conquerors, to take possession of
the city, they cravenly submitting to the yoke. Fort Washington, which
we were sent to garrison, situated on what is known as Bridgeport
Heights, we found in an unfinished state. In the half-dug trenches
were--whom, think'st, reader? Thousands of the adult men of Harrisburg,
with the rough implements of work in their hands, patriotically toiling
to put into a condition of defence this the citadel of their capital?
Nothing of the sort. Panic-stricken by the reported approach of the
enemy, the poltroons of the city had closed their houses and stores,
offered their stocks of merchandize for sale at ruinous prices, and
were thinking of nothing in their abject fear except how to escape with
their worthless lives and their property. In vain their patriotic
Governor, and the Commander of the Department of the Susquehanna--his
military head-quarters established there--sought to rally them to the
defence of their capital. Hired laboring men were all we saw in the
trenches! What a contrast to this the conduct of the Pittsburghers
presents! They too had a city to defend--the city of their homes. The
enemy threatened it, and they meant to defend it. Their shops were
closed; their furnace and foundry fires, which like those watched by
the Vestals had been burning from time immemorial, were put out; and
the people poured from the city and covered the neighboring hills,
armed with pick and shovel. "Fourteen thousand at work to-day on the
defences," says the Pittsburg _Gazette_ of the 18th June. Such a people
stood in no need of bayonets from a neighboring State to protect them;
while the apathy of the Harrisburgers only invited the inroads of an
enterprising enemy.

And so the Twenty-Third was ordered into the trenches! This was so
novel an experience to the men that they took to it pleasantly, and for
two days did their work with a will. It must have been amusing,
however, to an on-looker of muscle, in whose hands the pick or spade is
a toy, to watch with what a brave vigor hands unused to toil seized and
wielded the implements of the earth-heaver; and how after a dozen or
two of strokes and the sweat began to drop, the blows of the pick grew
daintier, and the spadefuls tossed aloft gradually and not slowly
became spoonfuls rather. But we rallied one another and dashed the
sweat away; and again the picks clove the stony masses damagingly, and
the shovels rang, and the parapets grew with visible growth. Gangs of
men relieved each other at short intervals; and in this way we digged
through Saturday and Sunday.

On our arrival at the fort we found tents pitched ready to receive us,
just vacated by the New York 8th, and 71st, before alluded to. But we
were ordered to shift camp a day or two afterward and accordingly had
the work of camp-making to do over. The site selected was a rather
steep hillside, where the pitching of tents involves a good deal of
digging. First, you must level off a rectangular plot some six feet by
seven as a foundation for your structure. (This description refers to
the "A" tent, ours being of that pattern.) Then you must set your
tent-poles in such positions as that the tent, when pitched shall
preserve nicely the rectilinearity of the street and its own equipoise.
After that the canvas is stretched into proper position by means of
pegs driven firmly into the ground on every side. Then follows
carpentry work. Three or four joists, if you can procure them, are laid
flat on the ground and half imbedded in the soft earth, and across
these is fitted a board flooring. A pole is next adjusted close under
the ridge-pole of the tent to accommodate a variety of furniture, whose
shape or appendages suggest such disposition. And finally, a rack or
framework is set up next the rear wall of the tent, for the support of
the muskets of the mess.

Thus furnished, a tent has all the essential parts which belong to it
in a well-ordered camp, according to the domiciliary fashions
prevailing in the Twenty-Third Regiment. But beside these there are
certain other constructions that seem to spring with the ease and grace
of spontaneity from the hands of an ingenious and experienced contriver
of a tent-home,--if so sacred a word may be used in so profane a
connection. Not a little ingenuity is called into play in disposing
advantageously about the tent the necessary personal paraphernalia of
the soldier, not to mention the dozen little conveniences that
incommode everybody, but which, nevertheless, silently accumulate by
virtue of the volunteer's perpetual outreach after the shadow of his
accustomed home comforts. Room must be found for four to six muskets,
according to the number of the mess, and as many knapsacks, haversacks,
belts, blankets, rubber-cloths, canteens, sets of dishes (!), boots or
shoes, and a box to hold blacking and brushes, soap, candles, etc.
Beside these, there is apt to be--unless the mess pass, as they ought
to do, a prohibitory law on the subject--an assortment of towels,
handkerchiefs, stockings and other articles of apparel which the owners
thereof have lately washed, or have gone through the motions of
washing, and have hung up overhead to dry, where they are forever
flapping in your face when you stand upright in the tent. The blankets
and knapsacks are at night used to eke out the appointments for
sleep,--the first to soften the floor to the bones of the sleepers, the
second to serve for pillows. These, especially the former, are looked
upon by the genuine soldier as effeminate; while the greenhorn bitterly
complains of them as a very satire on helps to sleep.

There are nooks in a tent, as there are in every builded house, that
seem to be just the places for some little oddities of contrivance or
other. But there is one appendage in particular which is quite apt to
possess the mind of the greenhorn. He is early disgusted with the
dirty, grovelling life of your easy-going, shiftless, contented old
campaigner, and inwardly resolves to adopt a genteeler regimen. So he
builds him a cellar for the cool deposit of wines, butter, milk, eggs,
and whatever other delicacy his dainty stomach may require. In the tent
flooring he cuts a trap door admitting to the sacred enclosure. You are
reclining perhaps in your domicile opposite, dreamily coloring your
meerschaum, and watching Mr. Greenhorn. As his work develops itself to
your comprehension you wrinkle your face with mischievous merriment,
wondering whether he does not see, as you do, that there is a laugh to
come in there by and bye. The day passes and time wags merrily on. A
day or two afterward, at a certain "fall in for rations!" you notice in
your enterprising neighbor an unusual nervous restlessness and a
disposition, now for the first time shown, of winking slily at you
without provocation, and chucking you in the ribs. You know at once
that there is something in the wind, and suspect that the aforesaid
laugh is to come in pretty soon. Instinctively connecting his conduct
with that cellar which so much amused you, you are curious enough to
follow up the thread he has unwittingly slipped into your fingers.
Accordingly when he returns to his tent with provender in hand you
watch him closely. He lifts the trap door and draws out a crock of
butter, enough to last the mess a fortnight. With this unctuous gold of
the dairy he overspreads his tough hard tack and shares his happiness
with his messmates. You slily give the alarm to the street, and in a
minute there is poking in at the tent door and overhanging the festive
party a struggling crowd of hands, each bearing in its fingers a hard
tack, or fragment thereof, clamorous to be buttered. You return to your
tent roaring with laughter, and subsequently observe that your dismayed
neighbour is spared the trouble of returning the crock to the cellar!
The same cruel fate awaits a crock of milk which he was lucky enough to
get of the old woman under the hill, but so impolitic as to expose in
broad daylight on the company parade. His wine--for it is evident there
is something of the sort in reserve,--he resolves--so you infer,--to
manage more astutely. Accordingly in the sly of the evening, the flaps
of his tent closely drawn, though not so closely as to keep out a
mischievous eye, the stump of a tallow candle shedding a forlorn,
nebulous light on the assembled mess, he draws forth a bottle of fine
old sherry. It is not long before sounds of merriment, of singing and
shouting and laughter, betoken an unusual cause of excitement within
that tent. There begins to be a movement among outsiders, and you
proceed presently to make an investigation. You peep in; another joins
you; then another; and soon there is a crowd. All make themselves at
once quite at home, sitting down on the edge of the tent, on each
other, on the ground, anywhere. The master of the feast is by this time
overflowing with the milk--the wine rather--of human kindness. He feels
no dismay now at the sight of his uninvited guests, but greets them
with cordial and good humored welcome, not noticing in his mellow mood,
as you do, coolly surveying matters, that another of the aforesaid
laughs will come in presently. His self-love all a-glow with
satisfaction, he offers you a "glass of wine," (in a tin cup). You take
the bottle also, and pass it around. He makes absurd speeches at which
he laughs with boisterous glee, and at which you laugh too, and all
laugh. He sings absurd medleys for which you improvise absurd choruses
which make things go along as pleasantly as possible. Meanwhile the
bottle is returned empty. He takes it, insists upon re-filling your
"glass" from it, and tips it up over your cup. Then with a comical leer
at you at the idea of attempting to pour wine from an empty bottle, he
turns, dives into his cellar and fishes up another. You bid him go on
with that capital song, offering to save him the trouble of unsealing
and dispensing the jolly red wine. All grow rapidly merry, and so flows
with a like looseness the song and the solace, till both are exhausted;
and as the hour of "taps" approaches you bid your duped and fuddled
host good night. The crowd follows suit, and soon the five small
strokes of the drum find the company street deserted, lights
extinguished, and each tent tenanted by its own for the night, though
there still lingers in the air a suppressed murmur of drowsy song and
laughter. (_Moral_:--A knowing campaigner never builds him a wine
cellar.)

To our tent city we gave the name of Camp Couch in honor of our
aforetime fellow-citizen of Brooklyn, the distinguished Major-General
commanding the department. In acknowledging this honor the General
remarked that he "was not unmindful of the great service rendered by
our regiment and the troops of New York in so promptly responding to
the call of our commanders to assist in repelling the threatened
invasion of Pennsylvania." The life of duty we led there is well
outlined in the following programme for each day, published in General
Orders:--

"4.50 A.M. Drummer's call.

5.00 A.M. Reveille:--when roll will be called by the First Sergeant,
(superintended by a commissioned officer,) on the company parade,--the
troops parading without arms. Captains will report absentees without
leave, to the commanding officer.

5.30 A.M. Police call:--when the quarters will be policed, as also the
grounds immediately around them.

7.00 A.M. Breakfast call.

8.00 A.M. Guard mounting:--at this time the police party will parade
without arms and police the grounds.

8.30 A.M. Surgeon's call:--when the sick will be paraded (!) by the
First Sergeant and marched to the Surgeon's quarters to be examined
(!).

9.00 A.M. Drill call:--for company drills.

12.00 M. Dinner call.

4.00 P.M. Drill call.

5.30 P.M. Assembly.

5.45 P.M. Evening parade, when the weather permits; at which time there
will be by company an inspection of arms, cartridge boxes, and cap
pouches. "Retreat" will beat off at every parade, and orders will be
published.

9.00 P.M. Tattoo:--roll call without arms;--any special instructions to
troops published.

9.30 P.M. Taps:--when all lights will be put out in quarters except the
Guard House, the quarters of the Officer of the Day and Head-Quarters.

When the long-roll beats every one will repair without delay, armed and
equipped, to his company parade ground.

All firing except by sentinels in enforcing orders and giving alarms is
strictly prohibited. All loaded muskets will be kept at half-cock and
great care taken in disposing of them and handling them. No troops will
carry arms with fixed bayonets either in or out of quarters."

Our stay at Bridgeport Heights was so brief that the daily recurring
camp duties had not time to crystallize into wearisome routine. Each
day was enlivened by some novelty or amusing incident or other, which
served alike to break the monotony of our work, and to hurry forward
the hours with pleasing animation. Besides, the spot itself was pretty,
and the views from it as beautiful as woods and water and mountains and
far-spread blooming valleys, could well conspire to produce.

Toward the river the hill descends by a double slope,--the upper
gentle, the lower abrupt. The camp was spread upon the former,--the
company streets looking off toward Harrisburg and terminating at the
brow of the bluff. The latter was covered with timber, but so thinly
toward the top as not to intercept the view. Looking down from the
crest of this bluff the eyes rest upon a ribbon of land one hundred
feet below, dotted over with small white houses and little plots of
garden, and divided lengthwise by a country road. Beyond is the river,
in the midst of which lie four or five wooded islands. One of these
stretches up and down for a mile or more, and is made picturesque by
cultivated fields and a farm house nestled among trees. The river is
moreover broken in the present stage of the water by innumerable
shallows where tall grass grows. These green islets appear to be Meccas
to the neighborhood cows; for you may see them daily in solemn file
making pilgrimage thither by the fords. The opposite shore spreads out
in a plain on which stands Harrisburg clustered about its looming
capitol. The landscape up the river is bounded by the Blue Ridge, five
miles off, which melts away behind the city in the far distance.
Through these mountains the Susquehanna has broken its way, forming a
gap whose abrupt sides finely relieve the monotony of the range. From
the summit of the camping ground the view down the river is even more
charming. There the eye wanders over an immense region warm with
ripening wheat fields and white farm houses, and cool with hills, woods
and water. In the distance the winding river, alternately hidden and
revealed by jutting headlands and retreating intervales, loses its
proper character and becomes to the eye a cluster of lakes embosomed in
woods. Of these lakes you may count ten or a dozen.

In the first days of our tent life, before the hillside had become a
nuisance, it was pleasant, of a warm forenoon, after the morning drill
was over, to sit under the trees at the foot of the camp, and catch the
cool breeze as it crept up the bluff. Here the news was read; here the
rations were eaten and the siesta enjoyed,--though stay-at-homes may
think the latter an absurdly superfluous luxury, taking into
consideration the quality of the former! Here the letters from home--so
welcome to the soldier--were devoured again, and with his inverted
plate for a writing desk, roughly answered. Here some dreamed reveries,
and gazed across the river anxiously homeward, remembering the
advancing columns of the enemy and the perils of our situation. Here we
discussed the cupidity and poltroonery of the Harrisburgers, the
ever-shifting probabilities of the campaign, the loveliness of the
landscape, the demoralizing influences of camp life, be it never so
guarded, and the vivid contrasts of home comforts and refinements with
the coarseness and discomforts of our present lot.

It would be pleasant to rehearse the many scenes and events which
filled up our days in camp:--the duties of the guard, alternately
roasted under the glaring sun of the parapet, and suffocated in the
crowded guard-tent; the varied employments of the police,--the
scavengers and involuntary retainers of the day,--now scrambling in
irregular file down the bluff carrying pails and canteens for water,
now bearing from the commissariat huge armfuls of bread, or boxes of
hard tack, or quarters of fresh beef, or sides of less appetizing
bacon, now "putting things to rights" in the street of the company, and
called on all day long for multitudinous odd little jobs; the foraging
parties dragnetting the country round for sheep, poultry, eggs, milk,
and the like,--and this not to the owner's loss be it remembered; the
morning wash in the Susquehanna; the evening swim; the drills and dress
parades; the half-holiday in Harrisburg, whose baths and restaurants
and shops, whose fair ladies, (where there were cherry-trees in the
garden!), whose verandahs with easy chair and a Havana and quiet, made
the place to us a soldiers' paradise; and this notwithstanding the mean
spirit of the people made us despise them. Nor should mention be
omitted of the benevolent visits of Harrisburg matrons to our hospital,
bearing to the invalid sympathy with timely comforts.[1]

      [1] And here it seems no more than common gratitude to mention a
      name, though to do so is to "break the custom" of this history.
      Through all those days and nights of terror there was one house
      in Harrisburg--and it is to be hoped many others, also--from
      which the starry banner was ever kept flying. The noble lady of
      this house solicited the privilege of receiving into her family
      any of our men who might be taken seriously ill. Her generous
      wish was complied with, and one of our number--how many others I
      know not--owed, doubtless, to her kind nursery, the blessed
      privilege of getting home to die in the bosom of his family. The
      regiments ought not soon to forget the name of Mrs. Bailey.

It would be pleasant to linger around the doors of the tents in the
hush of a beautiful evening, when, the work of the day ended, a sort of
vesper service would be improvised, and melodies commemorative of love,
home, patriotism and human freedom sung; or a box, enticingly suggestive,
just received from home, would be opened, and its contents of various
dainties distributed with open-handed liberality to regale a score of
comrades. It would be pleasant to recall, incident by incident, the
evening meetings under the open sky for prayer, the affectionately
pleading and encouraging words of our gentle chaplain, the hymn of
trust and hope, the supplication of the volunteer whose lips were
touched with tender remembrance of loved ones far away, into whose
faces he might never look again. But important events await our
narrative and we must hurry forward.

While we were thus quietly encamped, our gallant comrades of the
Seventy-First and Eighth Regiments N.Y.S.N.G., whose places we had
taken on our arrival at Bridgeport Heights, were having an active and
arduous campaign at the front. On the evening of the 19th these two
regiments under command of Colonel Varian, of the Eighth, proceeded to
Shippensburg, "for the purpose," says Col. Varian in his report,
quoting from the orders he had received, "of holding the enemy in
check, should he advance; but under all circumstances to avoid an
engagement; but if pressed too hard, to retire slowly and harass him as
much as possible; the object being to give our forces at Harrisburg
time to finish the fort and other defences, and be in readiness to
receive the enemy should he advance to that point." On the 28th they
arrived back in camp, having satisfactorily and most gallantly
accomplished all they were sent to do. "It was," as General Couch
remarked in a congratulatory order, "one of the most successful
expeditions he had ever seen accomplished, according to the number
engaged in it: viz., advancing fifty-two miles beyond all defences and
support in case of an attack, and holding the enemy in check for a
period of six days."[2]

      [2] The following thrilling incident is narrated by Col.
      Varian:--"Upon arriving within a mile of Chambersburg, I received
      intelligence that our cavalry pickets had been driven in, and the
      enemy's cavalry were about entering the town. I halted my
      command. *** loaded the muskets, and started for the town.
      Marched down the principal street in column by companies *** amid
      the enthusiastic plaudits of the whole population,--they looking
      upon us as their deliverers, and receiving us with a welcome that
      must be seen and felt to be properly appreciated, entertaining
      the entire command with such refreshments as could be hastily
      procured. *** And amid the general congratulations the Stars and
      Stripes were run up the flagstaff amid the wildest enthusiasm."

_Friday, 26th._--Commandants of regiments ordered to have their
commands in immediate readiness to move or attack. Commandant of
artillery in the Fort to see that his guns are in position, and that he
has the requisite amount of ammunition.

Our camp, like every community, had its share of alarmists, who daily
saw or heard of the enemy within five miles, ten miles, fifteen miles
of us; at Carlisle, just beyond Carlisle, or wherever the thermometer
of their fears placed him. Indeed the above orders, so closely
following each other, had a decidedly threatening look. Still the
opinion of those who had most faith in General Hooker, notwithstanding
the tangled rumors of the hour, was that we should not see the enemy
unless we went in pursuit of him; and to this pass we quickly came. It
appears that information had been received at head-quarters, that the
invaders had reached the vicinity of Carlisle, some eighteen miles west
from Harrisburg, our small force having fallen back before them. They
were said to have anywhere between five thousand and twenty thousand
men, and to be advancing rapidly. These transpiring events, if true,
were stirring enough, and gave a fine edge to an order on Friday for a
reconnoissance by the whole regiment. We marched out of the fort with
very uncertain feelings. The rain was falling, but we thought little of
that: the roads were heavy--that troubled us more.

When the head of the column had reached a point some four miles or more
out, we were halted. There were two parallel roads, a short distance
apart, to be guarded. On these barricades were erected. Pickets being
posted, the remainder of the regiment rested for the night in barns,
sheds, or whatever offered shelter. Lively sensations must have coursed
through the breasts of those who were now for the first time called to
perform the duties of the night picket--a duty always trying, and
particularly so now, in that we supposed we were in the near presence
of a watchful and enterprising foe, who was advancing in force against
us.

_Saturday, 27th._--The night passed without excitement beyond what the
imaginations of those on duty may have experienced. No rifle shot was
heard; no skulking foe, suddenly detected, was caught trying to
escape;--though many a wind-shaken bush, doubtless, was taken for a
dodging rebel, and many a stump threateningly ordered to halt! Some
four miles out, on the Harrisburg and Carlisle railroad is a little
settlement called Shiremanstown which was the scene of an adventurous
incident. There, on Saturday, a small picket force was stationed. It
was an outpost, selected on account of its commanding a view of the
Carlisle road for some distance. The village contained a church which
supported a steeple; and in the top of that steeple three or four of
our men were posted as sentinels, to keep a bright lookout for the
enemy; and, the moment the latter showed themselves, to ring the church
bell for an alarm, and then take to their heels! However illy this
skedaddling programme may have suited the men, it is not to be doubted
that they would have performed their part well--both the skedaddling
and the ringing. Each, doubtless, looked sharply to be the first to
catch sight of the expected cavalry troop, coming tearing up the road;
and each stood ready on the instant to give the preconcerted signal,
and then to pick their way down the uncertain passages of the steeple
and trust their safety to the loyalty of their legs. The position was a
trying one, and the brave fellows who performed the duty have in their
memory at least one animating picture of patriotic service. No enemy
appeared, and the skedaddle was spared. Different was the fortune of
the pickets who relieved ours if we may believe what some of our men,
who visited the place some days afterward, were informed by the
villagers. During the night the enemy made their appearance, the bell
was rung and the skedaddle enacted! Rebel troopers coming up were in
hot rage against the innocent residents, charging them with sounding
the alarm, seeming not to suspect that the pickets of the Yankee
militia could have shown such audacious enterprise. After dark we
returned to the fort, reaching it about midnight through rain and mud,
wet, hungry and weary.

_Sunday, 28th._--A day of animation in camp, and to the timid few one
of excitement and alarm. The troops in the fort are drawn up in line of
battle, and assigned positions at the breastworks, where arms are
stacked. The now dangerous guard-duty on the parapets is performed with
the usual alacrity and promptitude, some of us perhaps not realizing
the near presence of the enemy. There is great activity on every hand
to perfect the defences, and guard against sharpshooters. Squads of men
are sent out to cut down trees and destroy whatever may afford cover to
an enemy. A lady-resident sends up word that she does not wish to have
the trees about her house cut down, as she intends to stay, and wants
the trees to protect her against the shot. Our engineer, without
arresting the destructive process, sends back his compliments and
advises the unterrified female to remove herself and traps to the other
side of the river as expeditiously as possible.

It is an animating sight to watch from the parapet all these various
operations going on. The crackling of branches draws attention to
yonder tree which comes tumbling to the ground with a crash--others
follow rapidly and the axmen's blows resound on every side. On yonder
knoll a company of mowers are rapidly leveling the tall wheat. Here
inside the fort an artillery officer is drilling a squad in artillery
firing: and there a gang of contrabands, now for the first time, very
likely, receiving wages for their labor judging by the spirit they
throw into their work, are putting the finishing touches on the ditch
and parapet. Outside yonder a squad of men is tearing in pieces a twig
hut which workmen have built for their tools. And so the final work of
preparation goes on with great spirit, and is soon completed. There are
still no signs of the approach of the enemy except what we observe
about us in a sort of expectant air among the officers, and in the _qui
vive_ of the whole garrison. The skirmishers have all been driven in
however, and we are liable at any moment to be startled by the roar of
the enemy's artillery, opening an assault.

While affairs were thus culminating in the fort, an exciting spectacle
was presented outside. For several days previously we had seen,
whenever we went down to the river-side to bathe, or to draw water from
the well, a stream of people with farm and household properties, coming
in by the Carlisle and river roads, and pouring across the long bridge
into Harrisburg. By day or night this living stream seemed never to
cease. Men, women and children, white and black, some in carriages,
some in wagons, some on horseback, some on foot, hurried along. Their
horses and cattle they drove before them. A portion of household
furniture--such evidently as could be hastily removed--went jolting
along in heavy field wagons into which it had been hurriedly tumbled.
Loads of hay and grain, of store goods, and of whatever property of
house or field was thought to be in danger of appropriation or
destruction by the rebels was taken with them. Some had come from
beyond Mason and Dixon's line, as was evident from the color and style
of their servants. Of the unmistakable genus "Contraband" there was a
large assortment also. They came along in straggling companies, their
personal goods and small stock of cabin wares usually tied up in
bundles and slung upon a stick across the shoulder. In fact the whole
valley was literally pouring itself out northward, and in wild
confusion. If in that motley crowd of fugitives there was one brave
heart worthy to enjoy the free institutions which the starry banner
symbolizes, he must have hung his head in shame as he passed under the
shadow of the fort whose protection he sought, where he himself should
have been, one of ten thousand ready at command to be hurled against
the invaders. Time enough had elapsed since the danger first threatened
for the removal to a place of safety of the greater part of the
property which the enemy most coveted, and the subsequent marshaling of
the farmers for defensive battle. But relying on the hope of the enemy
being turned back before he could reach them, they had consulted only
the interests of the harvest, and had gone on "gathering into barns."
Those were trying days, it is true, and much sympathy ought to be felt
for the citizen taken thus at disadvantage; but the cry of alarm had
been raised, the Governor had summoned the people to arms, the central
government seemed helpless to defend Harrisburg except as it was
defended indirectly by the army of the Potomac then covering
Washington, and the only certain reliance for the safety of the valley
was the hastily raised militia, chiefly from a neighboring State.

During that never-to-be-forgotten Sabbath day, so strangely "kept,"
there was no flurry among the garrison, judging by the men of the
Twenty-Third, nor any fear shown at any time among those upon whose
courage the fate of Harrisburg seemed likely to rest. While in that
threatened city the chief authorities were staggering under the
herculean work of organizing an unwilling or at least an indifferent
people into a disciplined force capable of resistance, and of infusing
into them somewhat of the patriotic zeal which shone so brightly in the
conduct of their fellow-citizens of Pittsburg; while in that city there
was feverish alarm on every hand, and families were ignominiously
flying with their household goods, crowding the railway trains and the
common highways in their eagerness to escape; while the State officers
were sending off to Philadelphia the archives of the capital, and were
themselves hastening or preparing to remove to the metropolis, which
was to be the provisional capital on the fall of Harrisburg; while
there existed on the opposite side of the Susquehanna these symptoms of
alarm, there prevailed among our untried but trusted men, coupled with
animated speculations concerning the enemy, the calmness of a summer
evening. And this when it was evident to most that there was an enemy
just outside our ramparts whose strength was supposed to be many times
our own, and whose valor was renowned, waiting for the signal to be
launched against us.

There may have been among the general officers of the militia a feeling
of anxiety. Indeed it would be strange were it otherwise. But this
anxiety was doubtless due to the novelty of their position, together
with their sense of the solemn responsibility which a commander bears
in the hour of battle--a sense undulled in them by familiarity with
scenes of carnage. But among the men there was the repose of confidence
and courage. Whether hastily called to the breastworks and formed into
line, expecting, it may be, to see the enemy drawn up on the distant
hills; or dismissed with orders not to leave our company parade, and to
lose not an instant in "falling in" at the first tap of the "Assembly,"
as the signal for regimental muster is called, or at the more ominous
and alarming sound of the "Long-Roll;" whether retiring to our tents
for the night, ordered to sleep on our arms; or awakened suddenly by
the sharp "Halt! Who goes there?" of the passing sentinel; there seemed
to cover the camp of the Twenty-Third--and the same was probably true
of every other camp in that menaced stronghold--a mantle of repose such
as they feel who fear no evil. Nevertheless had an assault been made
with one-half the force, say, which carried the works of Winchester a
few weeks previously, and with the same impetuous valor, there can
hardly be two opinions as to the result. We should have resisted
bravely and hurled back the enemy, green though we were; but a resolute
persistence of assault by so superior a force would have compelled us
to fly. For though our position was naturally strong its defences
appeared to the uninitiated to be wretchedly inadequate. The number of
mounted pieces was only thirteen, nearly all of which were three-inch
rifles, carrying about a ten-pound bolt, manned, in part at least, by a
militia company, tyros in the service of that arm, though as brave,
patriotic and intelligent a set of men as the militia call had summoned
to the field. Of the infantry only three or four regiments had been
under fire, and these only in light skirmishes. Besides, the
construction of the defensive works appeared to some of the
unprofessional of us to be extremely faulty. The soil of the place is a
slaty clay known geologically as _shale_. This being thrown up to form
a breastwork constituted, as was thought by some of those whose duty it
was to be to stand behind it and deliver their fire when the order
came, a source of greater danger to them than rebel shot or shell. A
ball striking the parapet near the top would have scattered a shower of
stones into the faces of the men standing behind it, thus acting with
almost as fatal effect as a shell bursting in the very midst of them.
But it is to be presumed the fortifications were constructed on
scientific principles by men specially trained for this business. At
any rate, we were fortunately spared the experimental test of the
theory.

Peculiarly impressive were the religious meetings we held, one in the
forenoon and one at dusk, at which brave resolutions were reaffirmed
with mutual plight, while the dear ones at home were remembered
tearfully, and commended tenderly and trustingly to the Father's care.
And it is pleasant to remember how, when the critical hour seemed to be
at hand, our femininely sympathetic chaplain passed along the lines
with a beaming countenance, bidding us rely on strength from above, and
commending us with words of christian cheer to the divine protection.

Our greatest distress on that memorable Sabbath day was on account of
our friends at home, stricken with fearful solicitude by reason of the
dangers that impended over us, even tormented with skeleton rumors, as
we learned, of "the enemy having engaged us;" of "our being cut to
pieces;" of "crowds of wounded and dying troops being brought into
Harrisburg from across the river." These lying reports we could not
correct, since telegraphic and all other communication between camp and
Harrisburg was at that time interdicted.

Had we known positively the intention of the enemy as since brought to
light by the report of General Lee,[3] and that the famous old corps of
Stonewall Jackson was but a few miles off, preparing to pounce upon us,
we should not have felt so composed, nor lain down at night with so
little anxiety about the morrow. As it was, many a lad wrapped himself
in his blanket that night for a little uncertain slumber, expecting
surely to be awakened by the "Long-Roll," and to be led forth to
battle. But we slept tranquilly till the morning muster-call broke our
dreams. The double force of sentinels that kept watch all night saw
from the walls nothing more alarming than branches of trees or bushes
nodding in the wind; though there is no witness to testify how often a
stump or rock was challenged by them in their sleepless scrutiny of
every suspicious thing around them.

      [3] "Preparations were now made to advance upon Harrisburg; but
      on the night of the 29th, information was received from a scout
      that the Federal army, having crossed the Potomac, was advancing
      northward, and that the head of the column had reached South
      Mountain. As our communications with the Potomac were thus
      menaced, it was resolved to prevent his further progress in that
      direction by concentrating our army on the east side of the
      mountains. Accordingly, Longstreet and Hill were directed to
      proceed from Chambersburg to Gettysburg, to which point Gen.
      Ewell was also instructed to march from Carlisle."--_Extract from
      Gen. R. E. Lee's Report of the Battle of Gettysburg._

_Monday, 29th._--It was bruited about camp that the Twenty-Third would
be called on to furnish a detail of men to go out as scouts, and many a
breast fluttered with anxious debate upon the subject. Without, was
danger and honor; within, security and shame. Who had the courage to go
out to the very advance, taking his life in his hand, with no more than
musket range between himself and the enemy? We had already been drawn
up in line of battle, solemnly awaiting the enemy who was expected to
open fire on us at any moment, and there had been no flinching. But
then we had the moral support of numbers to keep up our courage. The
whole regiment stood shoulder to shoulder and each man felt the safer
for having his comrades all about him. But to go out from the presence
of these comrades, to march out of the carefully guarded fort, where
all were friends and defenders together, into the open country which
the imagination filled with enemies; to take position alone in some
distant covert perhaps, warily lying in wait like a wild Indian for the
equally wary foe, when the pushing aside of a twig or the crumpling of
leaves beneath the feet might betray you to your instant death; and so
to watch for hours together whether by day or by night, in storm or in
shine--this was something to try of what stuff we were made.

We were ordered up in line early in the day, and a call made for
volunteers. Instantly five times the number needed stepped forward
eager competitors for the post of danger. The squad was at once formed,
and in company with similar detachments from the Eighth and Fifty-Sixth
N.Y.S.N.G., marched out of the fort amid a tempest of cheers. When we
saw that our brave comrades were really gone we turned back with heavy
hearts, for it seemed to our imaginations that as their object was to
spy out the enemy, they would not fail to find him, and that then there
would be unavoidably an action, which meant death to some. We
conjectured sadly which one of these brave fellows it might be upon
whose living face we had looked for the last time; who, the first of us
all, should have bound about his brows the laurel wreath of glory. At
night-fall the Seventy-First returned to the fort from the front.

_Tuesday, 30th._--During the forenoon did little else than hold
ourselves in readiness, keeping a bright lookout for the enemy; till at
length we began to think--many of us with a speck of disappointment
mingled with a sort of settled indifference--that we should lose the
chance of giving him a taste of our quality. After noon we were ordered
to shift camp. This augured serious work, inasmuch as the object of the
movement was to contract the camp limits, and thus make room for more
troops within the fort. After the order was issued directing us to
prepare for removal it was curious to note what a change a few minutes
produced in the appearance of the company streets. The first step was
to clear tents. Before each door arms were stacked, and on a blanket
spread on the ground were rapidly piled knapsacks, haversacks,
blankets, boots and shoes, tin-ware, rough boxes, shelving, and an
indescribable variety of loose matter; altogether an astonishing mass
of tent furniture, considering that these canvas houses, some five feet
by six in dimensions, accommodated--if so satirical a remark be allowed
in sober history--four to six persons besides, according to luck and
court favor. Next followed the order to strike tents. In a twinkling
the white walls collapsed, and the sun glared down upon a field flat
and waste. Each mess, directly on having their new site assigned them,
went to work like beavers to rehabilitate their domicils, but it was
dark before the new village was fairly settled. There remained,
besides, for the morrow many supplementary items of work, among which
was the building of company kitchens. Where the ground is level no
preparation of it is needed for this purpose; but on a steep slope a
good deal of digging is necessary. Indeed where there is any
considerable slope whatever, it is better to level the ground. Labor in
constructions for the benefit of your culinary corps is most
judiciously invested. A broad and level plat with convenient
arrangements for boiling the pot and preparing the rations, the whole
covered with a screen of some sort from the sun and the weather, will
give you better coffee, better soup, better everything--not to speak of
the occasional substitution of a bake or a roast in place of the
inevitable boil--than if you have failed to provide for the comfort of
your cooks. All this can be done easily where there are so many
interested hands to help. An enterprising head to manage and direct
operations is the common want. Possessing that a company is pretty sure
to have a successful culinary department; and just this makes all the
difference between excellent and execrable rations. The commissary
supplies of the army, judging by the experience of the Twenty-Third,
are abundant and good; better, it is believed, than the average fare of
American farmers, except in the matter of fresh vegetables; but bad
cooking spoils the best rations.

To construct a plat on a steep slope for the kitchen: lay out a square
of liberal dimensions--eight feet on a side should be a minimum
perhaps. Along the lower side and half-way up the adjacent sides firmly
drive stiff stakes, sixteen or eighteen inches apart, reaching a little
above the destined level of the plat, and pile bushes or twigs against
them on the inner side, interweaving them as much as possible, and
making a matted wall. Then with pick and spade dig down along the upper
side of the square, and half-way along the adjacent sides, tossing the
earth against the twig wall, and packing it well down, till you have a
level to suit you. There will be subsequently a gradual subsidence of
the loose earth to some extent, against which you must provide. The
centre of course must be the highest part in order to shed rain. If the
soil be clayey, you will have a sticky mud with every fall of rain
unless you put on a covering of gravel, slate, or the like. On one side
steps should be dug out leading down from the table where rations are
dispensed. Stakes should be driven at the extremities of the steps so
as to hold firmly a stiff limb of a tree or a stick laid against them
and along the edge of the step. Without this precaution your steps will
not last longer than a day or two. If boards for a shed are not to be
had, a bower can be constructed of branches of trees, such as any old
soldier knows how to build.

_Wednesday, July 1st._--Picket force returned without loss; but they
had met the enemy, as the following report of the Officer Commanding
will show:--

    Fort Washington, Harrisburg, Pa. }
    July 1st, 1863.                   }

    COLONEL WM. EVERDELL, Jr.,
    Commanding 23rd Reg. N.G.S.N.Y.

    COLONEL:--

    I have the honor to report that in compliance with General Orders
    No. ---- of June 29th, from Gen. Knipe, commanding Second Brigade
    of First Division of the Army of the Department of the Susquehanna,
    I assumed command of a detachment composed of three companies,
    viz.: one from the 8th, one from the 23rd, and one from the 56th
    regiments of the N.G.S.N.Y.--in all about 150 men--for picket duty
    at Oyster Point Station; this being the advance post, and about
    three miles to the front and west of Harrisburg. Before arriving at
    the front I heard heavy cannonading at intervals of from five to
    ten minutes. Fearing a sudden attack, and not knowing the strength
    or intention of the enemy, I hastened without loss of time to
    establish my pickets, detaching for that purpose a portion of
    company ----, 8th regiment, commencing from the Carlisle turnpike
    in a direction due north across the fields and beyond the railroad;
    and establishing in a like manner a portion of the 23rd regiment
    from the Carlisle road due south, under command of Lieut. ---- of
    company ---- 23rd; thus guarding the main roads and entrances to
    the city of Harrisburg.

    While thus engaged in throwing out my sentries the firing from the
    enemy increased, and became more rapid, evidently with the
    intention of shelling us from our position. I therefore, as soon as
    practicable, deployed the companies of the 8th and 23rd regiments
    as skirmishers, keeping the remaining company as a reserve.

    To gain a better position, and to obtain a clearer view of the
    enemy's location, I advanced over a corn-field to a small wood
    situated on more elevated ground. But on entering this wood we were
    exposed to a constant fire of shot and shell from the rebel
    batteries. Fortunately none of our men were disabled or wounded.
    The skirmishers advanced about the distance of a mile, keeping up a
    steady fire. At 4 P.M., firing gradually ceased, and scouts
    returned reporting the enemy having fallen back.

    Late in the evening I was informed that small groups of rebels had
    been seen in the immediate vicinity; and to guard as much as
    possible against being surprised, I sent out a squad of the
    reserves of the 56th regiment as videttes, doubled the guards, and
    carefully reconnoitered to the front, and north and south of the
    Carlisle and Chambersburg road, but failed to discover any enemy in
    our vicinity, until 3 A.M. of Tuesday, the 30th, when two of their
    scouts were seen endeavoring to get inside our lines. Our pickets
    fired upon them and wounded one through the knee, and took him
    prisoner; the other escaped. The prisoner stated that he and his
    companion belonged to General Jenkins' Brigade of Virginia troops,
    and that they were bearers of despatches to that rebel general. At
    9 A.M., I received a communication from Gen. Knipe ordering me to
    return with my command to Fort Washington.

    I cannot speak in too high praise of both officers and men *** for
    their willingness and alacrity to execute every order issued, for
    their watchfulness and vigilance, and for their determination
    displayed while momentarily expecting to be attacked by the enemy.
    *****

    Yours respectfully,

    JOHN A. ELWELL,
    Lt.-Col. 23rd Reg. N.G.S.N.Y. Com. Detachment.



III.

FORWARD!


We had just got settled in our new quarters when, on the afternoon of
Wednesday 1st of July, came marching orders. The enemy was retiring and
we were to give chase. We were ordered to provide ourselves with two
days' cooked rations and to move completely equipped, with packed
knapsacks, blankets, and all the paraphernalia of a marching column.
This included a square of canvas, two of which buttoned together,
constitutes what is called a shelter-tent, for the accommodation of two
men. This pointed plainly enough to a vigorous campaign, and every man
was pleased with the prospect. It was toward evening when we left the
fort, taking the Carlisle road. Though the day was warm we kept up a
brave spirit for some two or three miles, singing and shouting,
stimulated by the exciting expectation of meeting the enemy face to
face, and animated by the beauty of the country through which we were
passing. But after an hour or so our heavy burdens, the still hot sun,
and the roughly macadamised road began to tell on us. Some becoming
exhausted were relieved of a part of their load by officers, or by
comrades who were stronger; field and staff officers in several
instances gave up their horses to the o'erwearied ones; while other
riders piled up knapsacks and blankets before them and behind them till
they were almost sandwiched out of sight. One fellow was noticed who
had been so lucky as to pick up a small hand-cart on which he had
packed his luggage, and had induced, by means of an emollient of
greenbacks, a small boy to drag it along. In such ways as this, and by
rendering each one to his neighbor a little timely help now and then,
we managed to reach Trindle Spring Creek, a small stream which crosses
the road about seven miles out from Fort Washington; though when we
think of the weight we bore, of the warm afternoon, and of our being
totally unused to such hardships, it is a little remarkable that we got
through so well. The following tabular statement exhibits the actual
avoirdupois weight of our equipments--a fair average being taken, some
being more and some less than the estimate.

                                                lb. oz.
    Musket,                                     10   8
    Belt, etc.,                                  1  10
    Forty rounds ball cartridges,                3   6
    Knapsack, packed,                            9   0
    Haversack, containing two days' rations,
       with a few trifling extras,               2   0
    Woolen Blanket,                              5   8
    Rubber Blanket,                              2   8
    Canteen, half-filled,                        2   8
    Overcoat,                                    5   0
    A half shelter-tent,                         2   0
                   Total,                  44 lbs.

This is about the weight of a healthy boy, eight years old. Some
carried even more than this, viz.--an extra pair of heavy government
shoes, together with an assortment of tins, such as cup, plate, teapot,
etc.

We were halted in a clover field a little after ten o'clock. The night
was dark, the sky being overcast; and here we had our first bivouac. No
sooner had we reached the spot than we saw what convinced us that we
had entered in good earnest upon the business for which we professed to
have left our homes; for far away to the front rose the heavy boom of
artillery firing, and a bright light reflected from the clouds
indicated that a conflagration was raging in the same vicinity,
probably at Carlisle. This proved to be a demonstration of the rebel
General Fitz Hugh Lee against the small force of militia under General
W. F. Smith then holding Carlisle. The former it appears was escorting
a train which was on its way toward Chambersburg, and fearing an attack
from General Smith made a show of taking the offensive and demanded a
surrender of the place. This was refused; whereupon the rebel officer
contented himself with shelling the town, which resulted principally in
the burning of the government cavalry barracks situated there. At
length having by his audacity gained security for the train he
withdrew. In recognition of the service rendered to Carlisle by General
Smith on this occasion of alarm, some ladies of the place have since
presented to him the compliment of a silver urn:--the only instance, by
the way, which the citizens or government of Pennsylvania is known to
have furnished of their appreciation of the service they received at
the hands of the New York Militia.

On coming to a halt in the field of our bivouac, our officers were
considerate enough to spend but little time in getting us into line and
stacking arms. Straps were unbuckled and luggage tumbled, a dead
weight, to the ground in less time than it takes to tell it. We spread
our rubber blankets upon the wet grass, and drawing on our overcoats
dropped down to rest, each man behind his musket. Some of the less
weary went in search of water to drink, and some had the wisdom to
bathe their hot, overworked feet in the neighbouring brook.

It was a new experience to most of us--this lying down with the clouds
for our coverlid, and serenaded with the music of distant battle.
Though we did not wrap ourselves up sentimentally in the dear old flag,
it seemed as if the God of battles looked down from on high upon our
shelterless condition, and folded us in his own more glorious banner of
clouds. If our anxious mothers could have seen us at that moment lying
down to sleep without protection from the night air and the rain which
threatened, they would have most piteously bewailed our lot. Many of us
expected that the morning would find us coughing, sneezing and
wheezing, or moping about feverish on account of broken sleep, if not
pinned to the ground by the sharp needles of rheumatism. But
notwithstanding the strange sounds which filled our ears and our
imaginations, we hardly had time, after stretching ourselves upon the
ground, to review our situation before sleep caught us: and we slept
gloriously well. Not a man of us, it is probable, who made a prudent
use of blanket and overcoat, but rose next morning refreshed.

Now that the stirring events of those days are history it may be
interesting to notice as we go along the rapid evolution of the drama
of Gettysburg, which we, so lately menaced in our stronghold at Fort
Washington, little dreamed was being consummated with such tremendous
suddenness. It was so lately as the Sunday just passed that we were
kept under arms all day expecting an assault from Ewell, who was known
to be threatening Harrisburg with the greatest part of his corps. On
Monday the reconnoissance had developed the presence of the enemy still
investing our position. But on the night of Monday, 29th, Lee first
learned with surprise of the dangerous proximity of Gen. Hooker,
threatening his communications, and resolved to concentrate his now
somewhat scattered army eastward of the South Mountains. Accordingly
Ewell must have moved off from our front the same night, or early on
Tuesday morning, since he re-appears upon the scene on Wednesday
afternoon at Gettysburg, where he arrived between one and two o'clock,
P.M.--just in time to check, with the aid of other reinforcements, the
advance of General Reynolds and to drive him back with heavy loss.
These reinforcements must all have made forced marches and they could
have been in no condition to follow up the advantage gained. Lee was
doubtless well content to have turned back, with his fatigued
battalions, the rising tide of victory, and _nolens volens_, left
General Howard, who succeeded to the command of the field on the fall
of the lamented Reynolds, at liberty to establish himself unmolested on
the now famous cemetery heights. It is interesting and instructive to
notice further, that this corps of Ewell, whose reported withdrawal
from the investment of Fort Washington was apparently the signal for
our advance, reached Gettysburg, and was there instrumental in
snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, absolutely before our
movement began!

_Thursday, July 2d._--At 3 A.M., we are aroused from sleep by a
whispered summons to get ready to move at once without making the least
noise! This looks like work. The reflection of the fire in front has
disappeared, the cannonading is hushed, and all is still. What does it
mean? A report comes flying through the field that the enemy have
driven back our advance and that these are falling back upon our lines.

We waited under arms, looking as we stood there under the star-light
drawn up over the whole field, like a spectral host. Was there a rebel
ambuscade over yonder in the woods, watching for us to take up our
unsuspecting march toward Carlisle in order to swoop down upon us
unawares? A cowardly suggestion, but still one which occurred very
naturally to raw troops thrust in this way into what, for aught they
knew to the contrary, was the very front of danger. This was the first
feeling; but soon we grew calmer and remembered that even if our
advance had been compelled to fall back, they were still between us and
the enemy; and that moreover if they had met with disaster, there would
be fugitives enough very soon to tell the story.

We waited impatiently for orders to march; and waited, and waited, till
at length dawn began to flush; and by and bye, when it was quite day,
the column moved.

    "The King of France, with twenty thousand men,
    Marched up the hill and then--marched down again."

Back toward Harrisburg--one mile--two miles--three miles nearly; and
there by the road-side we halted. Was the enemy in pursuit? Were we
falling back to Harrisburg? Or what was the matter? Whether the halt
was for five minutes or for all day every one was in blissful
ignorance, including, very likely, our commanding officer himself,
Brigadier-General Knipe.

We were in a tributary vale of the renowned Cumberland Valley, a
beautiful farming country. Farm houses lay scattered along the road,
almost within hallooing neighborhood of one another. Although the order
was, on leaving the fort, that each man should provide himself with two
days' cooked rations, yet some, in the hurry and excitement of
departure, had been careless about it; while others had used their
supply improvidently. Thus it happened that on this the very first
morning after setting out, there were not a few hungry stomachs that
had to trust to luck for their needful provender. Beside this there was
a prejudice with many against "hard tack" and cold meat with spring
water to wash them down; particularly when brought into competition
with the possible supplies of a prosperous farmer's garden, cellar and
field. It was not strange therefore, that there were eyes which rested
greedily on every house we passed, nor that some of the men should
improve the earliest moment when we came to a halt, to run for a call
upon the nearest housewife.

Five minutes--ten minutes--half an hour--an hour; and still no move.
It is evident the halt is more than a rest. Shelter-tents and
rubber-cloths begin to appear along the fences, spread for a screen
from the sun. Every near tree has its crowd of loungers underneath. At
first it was only by the road side, but now the adjoining fields too
must furnish their contribution of shade. Further off yonder a company
of fellows are mixing promiscuously and socially among a herd of cows;
in fact there is amateur milking going on, it is evident. Do you see
that farm house three-fourths of a mile over yonder, glancing white
among thickly clustering trees? and that string of lads along the fence
down there, on their way toward it? They are bound thither, doubtless,
in search of a comfortable breakfast. But they are not good soldiers to
venture so far now. If the column should be ordered forward again
before they return, they will be in trouble unless their officers fail
to do their duty in the matter.

Another hour passes--it is ten o'clock--it is eleven o'clock--it is
noon. By this time every man in the brigade has taken thought doubtless
how to dispose of himself pleasantly or at least comfortably for the
rest of the day. All are indifferent as to marching--everything about
us having apparently come to a dead stand-still. The most absurd rumors
have been flying about all the forenoon, the members of the
Twenty-Third having nothing to do in their yawning idleness but to toss
them back and forth like shuttlecocks. Among other luminous
reports--the more alarming the more likely to be believed--is one that
the rebels have struck in upon our line of communication by the flank
and taken Fort Washington, ensuring the capture of the whole brigade.
This ridiculous story finds credence in some coward bosoms, the wish
being father to the thought; since capture means parole, and parole
means home perhaps. Some one proposes to send out a party to gather up
all the rumors that come floating in like drift wood and have them
burned. It is needless to say that the proposition is handsomely
received, but there appears to be practical obstacles in the way of
carrying it out.

Some venturesome and enterprising foragers bring in word of a beautiful
river one-third of a mile off; and as we have no orders against
rambling, and as the provost guard is withdrawn, one squad after
another breaks away, till there is hardly a corporal's guard left in
charge of the arms. A few turns down a narrow little-traveled road
edged with shade trees, bring us suddenly full upon a charming stream
of water. It is a hundred or a hundred and fifty yards wide, swiftly
flowing, and heavily wooded on the opposite side. On the hither bank it
is bordered by a single row of gigantic oaks and willows, four to six
feet through, standing within four to eight feet of the water, and
almost on a level with it. Beneath these magnificent trees runs a
country road leading to farm houses, suspected not seen, along the
river. This stream rejoices in the euphonious name, as one of the
residents there tried in vain to inform some of us, of the
Conedoguinet.

Let us go close to the water. How charming! The grass grows heavy and
green from the road-side under the dense shade of the oaks and willows
to the very lips of the water; and the ground under our feet is so
level and smooth that we have as perfect a walk as the Central Park can
offer; and this is all the work of Nature. How clear the water is! We
can see everything on the bottom with perfect distinctness. Rich green
water plants bend their limbs gracefully to the force of the current.
Old dead sticks lie stiff and stark, that once were living branches
swaying and singing above their present burial places, not dreaming of
death and decay, so beautiful were they. Great rocks heave their brown
backs up to the very top of the water. Beds of gravel still and clear,
glisten in the depths. Here the cool shade, there the warm sunshine.
Here the smooth water, there the troubled current.

The temptation is great; dive in we must. The water, how cool it is and
refreshing! But so shallow that in attempting to swim there is danger
of abrading the knees against the bottom. We wash, we splash about with
rollicking freedom, we lie down flat letting the water cover us and
lift us again buoyant on its bosom, and bear us on with its current.
What an infinite charm resides in the water about us! Beautiful the
great trees under whose shade we lie. Beautiful the grassy bank--but
lo! a small heap of dirty clothes on the greensward! We turn away with
disgust and laughter. Insignia of glory!--a shilling's worth to the
rag-picker. What a contrast they present to the loveliness of the
common things around us!

Yonder other wanderers are having a more various enjoyment. They have
fished out of the mud an old dug-out, leaky and every way disabled. But
by dint of skillful engineering they have got her afloat and are
pulling and paddling about, as happy, as free from care, and to
complete the picture, as naked as any South Sea Islander in his
merriest aquatic mood. Hither and thither, up and down, they float at
their own sweet wills, having no orders from superior officers to obey.
And this is part of a column supposed to be watching a vigilant and
powerful enemy! What if the assembly should beat suddenly now! There
would be a pretty scampering truly.

Crawling reluctantly ashore again, we transform ourselves into United
States soldiers, and trudge along the road by the river bank for a
further reconnoissance. Others are going the same way; some are
returning. We come to a farm house presently. A crowd is there; among
them a bevy of girls--healthy-looking, fair-skinned daughters of
Pennsylvania farmers. They have been baking all day for the soldiers
who never ceased coming, the stream increasing rather as the day
advanced; and as they must stop sometime, they have concluded to stop
before they reach the bottom of the flour barrel. So we get nothing.
They tell us there is a house on the other side of the river; and at
the foot of the lane just down yonder we may find a boat to take us
across. The boat is found, the ferry accomplished, the house reached,
and there behold another crowd! It would be interesting to know what
farm house for miles around the central halting place was unvisited on
that day by some representative of the New York or Brooklyn militia. We
find our comrades seated decently at table, positively eating with
knives and forks, and drinking tea whitened with real cream! The turn
of our crowd came soon. Fresh bread and butter, ham, sweetmeats,
pickles, tea, and all without stint; and besides, clean white dishes to
eat off! It seemed ridiculous; nevertheless, war or no war, enemy or no
enemy, there was the staring fact! The thrifty housewife seemed
disposed to be sociable while we were regaling ourselves, but not
knowing how to go about it, was silent. Thus the onus fell upon us. So
we began;--the crops, the weather, the soil, the neighbors, the
invasion, the Great City. We had to ransack our heads for topics, each
being quickly exhausted. We ate all our sharp appetites asked for;
sharp they were, for it was now the middle of the afternoon, and we had
been up since 3 o'clock A.M. Rising to go we offered money but the
patriotic lady refused to look at it,--we were welcome to all she could
do for us. So we addressed ourselves to the small fry of the family,
and distributed little souvenirs among them. In this way all were made
happier; and with a feeling of immense satisfaction we saluted our
hospitable host adieu and made our way back without further delay to
the regiment. The column was already moving,--their faces still turned
toward Harrisburg. Accordingly we climbed under our fifty pounds of
lumber again, and plunged along after with renewed vigor.

This absolute freedom of the country which appears to have been at the
disposal of all, and indulged to such an extraordinary degree, may seem
to cast a grave reflection either upon the discipline of the division
or upon the efficiency of regimental officers. But it is plain that no
blame justly attaches to either. For, the halt was made as a simple
rest; and when, as the minutes multiplied, a provost guard was at
length set, the men had already begun to straggle off little distances
by ones, twos, and threes, to get better shade, or to fill canteens, or
to seek better provender; and so the precaution came too late. Besides
we had not yet established disciplinary habits as a moving column; and
in the absence of all instructions or cautions on the subject from
head-quarters,[4] no regimental officer, however intelligent, and
however familiar theoretically with his duties, could be expected, if
devoid of experience in active service, to foresee the exigincies of
such an unusual occasion. The day in all its aspects was a surprise and
an enigma to officers and men alike.

      [4] On the next day Major-General Couch wrote the following order
      upon this important subject, which, strangely enough, was first
      promulgated, at least to the Twenty-Third, while we were lying at
      Waynesboro; indeed it was not published to the 52d until July
      16th. This fact is a striking evidence of the vigor of the
      campaign on which we were entering.

          Head-Quarters Department of the Susquehanna, }
          Harrisburg, July 3d, 1864.                   }

          GENERAL ORDERS NO. 5.

          The General commanding calls the attention of all the
          officers and soldiers in this Department to the vice of
          pillaging, which as yet exists only to a small extent. He
          trusts that all will unite in frowning upon the disgraceful
          practice, and in a determination to put an entire stop to it.

          All military organizations of whatever extent, whether Army,
          Corps, Regiment, or Company, must remember that in order to
          gain for themselves a good reputation, it is essential that
          they preserve their record free from such stains.

          Commanding officers will be held strictly accountable that
          private property is sedulously respected by every officer
          and man under them. They will also see that there is no
          straggling permitted on the march, or from the camps. If
          soldiers or officers fail in their duties, they should be at
          once arrested and reported to these Head-Quarters; and
          besides the military punishments provided, their names, with
          the number and designation of the regiment to which they
          belong, shall be furnished as a further disgrace, to the
          Adjutant-General of the State to which they belong.

          By command of

          MAJOR GENERAL D. N. COUCH.

         JOHN S. SCHULTZE, Ass't-Adj't-Gen'l.

The column continued its retrograde movement and about sunset turned
down a road that crosses the Conedoguinet at a place called Orr's
Bridge, not far from a mile distant from the spot where we had lain all
day; and on the hither bank of the river stacked arms for the night. It
was a pretty place for a bivouac. The river, a hundred yards or more in
breadth, here makes a sweep forming an arc of water, one-third of a
mile long, which flows placidly. The opposite shore, forming the inner
curve of the arc, is tame, being covered for the most part with a
straggling growth of timber; but on this side the river is flanked by a
ridge along the top of which runs the Harrisburg and Carlisle pike. In
the near distance, now lengthened by the deepening twilight, this ridge
melts off into rolling hills, embrowned with ripe standing grain; while
where the Twenty-Third made their bivouac it rises rough and
precipitous, and is thickly wooded. All along the water's edge lies a
narrow belt of lawn, thirty to forty feet wide, beautifully green and
level, on which the brigade was halted. About midway of the arc of
water, the stream is spanned by a bridge. As the darkness crept on, the
picture presented from our bivouac was in the highest degree charming,
and might be supposed to realize some sylvan poet's dream.

    "No bird-song floated down the hill,
    The tangled bank below was still.

    No rustle from the birchen stem,
    No ripple from the waters hem.

    The dusk of twilight round us grew,
    We felt the falling of the dew."

The lawn on which we sat down was in such harmony with the smooth water
on one side, and in such contrast with the unsightly rocks on the other
that one might be led to wonder whether some dreamer of old did not
plant the spot for his evening walk and musing; nor was it strange that
Fancy should bear us on her wings far back to the Golden Age of Story,
and that we should dream of wood nymphs and water sprites, and the
clime of Arcady.

Looking up stream the centre of the picture was occupied by the bridge,
one hundred and fifty yards distant, with woods at either end. In the
left foreground lay massed by foreshortening the long lines of stacked
arms, with crowds of figures, some moving but most of them at rest. In
the distance, under the bridge, this line bent gracefully around to the
right of the picture. Half a hundred fires were blazing along the edge
of the water, growing brighter every minute as the darkness thickened.
Directly over the bridge hung the planet Venus, now moving in that part
of her orbit where she shines with the greatest splendor. There were no
clouds, the wind had fallen, and the air was delightfully cool. Supper
being over we had sat down in companies upon the grassy bank to smoke
and enjoy the incomparable scene. Every present influence tended to
make us forget the enemy, and to call to mind only associations of the
beautiful. Under such inspirations it was impossible to resist the
impulse to sing. It was a thing of unsophisticated nature. Music came
to our lips as if it were an instinct, as if it were the very condition
of our being, just as if we had been birds. It will be difficult for
any one not of that company to realize with what tender, touching
pathos the simplest home melodies melted over those waters, though the
words and airs might be trite and even trivial.

Some one started Morris' popular song of "Annie of the Vale";--

            "The young stars are glowing,
            Their clear light bestowing!
    Their radiance fills the calm, clear summer night!
            Come forth like a fairy,
            So blithesome and airy,
    And ramble in their soft mystic light!"

The chorus, by spontaneous impulse, welled out tenderly yet with grand
effect:--

    "Come, come, come, Love, come!
    Come, ere the night-torches pale!
        Oh! come in thy beauty,
        Thou marvel of duty,
    Dear Annie, dear Annie of the Vale!"

Then all was hushed to listen to the melody again:--

            "The world we inherit
            Is charmed by thy spirit,
    As radiant as the mild, warm summer ray!
            The watch dog is snarling,
            For fear, Annie darling,
    His beautiful young friend I'd steal away!"

And the chorus broke in as before. A pause--and like a variation in
the song of the nightingale, rose the pathetic air of the "Poor Old
Slave";--

    "'Tis just one year ago to-day
        That I remember well,
    I sat down by poor Nelly's side,
        A story she did tell;
    'Twas about a poor unhappy slave
        That lived for many a year,
    But now he's dead and in his grave,
        No master does he fear."

All joining with subdued voices gave the chorus:--

    "The poor old slave has gone to rest,
        We know that he is free;
    Disturb him not, but let him rest
        'Way down in Tennessee."

There were several favorite melodies which we had often sung in camp,
when, as on a pleasant Sunday evening, we were met together in little
knots, to mingle our emotions in plaintive song, thinking of dear
friends at home. One of these was a simple ballad describing the
following incident--one of the most touching of the war. A youthful
soldier from the state of Maine died in New Orleans, with none but
strangers--as has been the lot of many--to watch over him in his dying
hours, or to perform the sad rites of burial. When the funeral service
was over, and the coffin was about to be closed, an elderly lady
present approached the remains, saying: "Let me kiss him for his
mother."

"Let me kiss him for his mother, Let me kiss his dear youthful brow; I
will love him for his mother, And seek her blessing now. Kind friends
have sooth'd his pillow, Have watched his ev'ry care; Beneath the
weeping willow, Oh! lay him gently there.

    CHORUS: Sleep, dearest, sleep;
              I love you as a brother;
            Kind friends around you weep,
              I've kissed you for your mother."

The words and melody harmonised with our feelings and lent them a
deeper tone as our united voices floated out upon the soft, still
evening air.

With songs of pathos, of love, and of home we mingled strong patriotic
airs. But it was curious to observe how by a common instinct everything
like coarseness and drollery was avoided. The absurd rollicking songs,
most popular on the march, were now scarcely hinted at. And in this way
an hour passed into oblivion as softly as if we had been asleep
dreaming of home which then was heaven, or near it. The bridge had
become shadowy in the gathered darkness, the curve line of the bivouac
was invisible except as it was dotted out by the blazing fires, the
water gleamed with the dancing images of flame, and overhead thousands
of stars had come out to be witness of our flow of soul. And now as the
spirit of stillness was creeping over the enchanted valley, we spread
our rubber blankets under the trees or the open sky, drew on our
overcoats, and lay down to sleep.

Looking back over the events of that day of waiting, and our
rose-colored bivouac in that lovely valley of the Conedoguinet, it is
curious and instructive to observe how pretty a trap we had walked into
unconsciously. It is suspected that the commander selected this spot
for our bivouac from its cage-like character, being prompted thereto by
the provoking experience of the day. However that may be, it is plain
that had the enemy been as near us as we were led to suppose, and had
they known our position, they might have captured the whole column
without firing a shot. The ribbon of land on which we had our bivouac
could be swept by a battery planted at the head of the bridge--which
was the only way of egress, while the place was too narrow to maneuvre
a platoon even. A small detachment of cavalry dashing through our line
of pickets might have sprung the trap upon us before we could have
extricated ourselves. But as good luck would have it the enemy were
nowhere near us, being well on their way to Gettysburg. Though the
force whose presence near Carlisle alarmed our commander and induced
him to countermarch the column, was, as already stated, no more than a
small cavalry escort of a rebel train of plunder on its way to the main
rebel army, yet it is probable that the large cavalry force of General
Stuart was not far off; for Stuart had been detached, as General Lee
states in his report of this his second Cis-Potomac campaign, "to
follow the movements of the Federal army south of the Potomac after our
own (rebel) had entered Maryland."

On that Thursday afternoon while our small column was loitering on the
Carlisle road, our backs turned upon that city, the terrible struggle
was renewed at Gettysburg, closing at sunset--about the time we came to
a halt in the romantic vale of the Conedoguinet for our night's
bivouac, supposing the enemy to be within striking distance of us!

_Friday._--Up at half-past three o'clock, and on the march at five,
after having braced ourselves for a solid day's work with hot coffee
and bread, or hard tack and butter--the bread and butter being the
fruit of yesterday's foraging. Some even fared on chicken, goose, lamb,
etc., though it is feared the rightful owners thereof were not always
invited to the feast.

Emerging from the valley we set our faces again toward Carlisle; and
being disencumbered of knapsacks and woolen blankets, which were
ordered to be brought forward in wagons, we jogged along in fine
spirits. This light marching order, as the phrase is, involves a weight
of some thirty pounds, musket included. At ten o'clock, having advanced
some seven miles, our regiment was halted in a grove just out of the
village of Kinston, for a noon-rest. By the persuasive force of
greenbacks the villagers and outlying farmers were induced to unearth a
goodly supply of bread, butter and eggs, hidden relentlessly doubtless
from the holders of confederate shinplasters during the late sojourn of
King Jeff's hungry subjects. Cherry pies were also added to our
regimental bill of fare, which was due to the energies of an
enterprising officer who had them baked for us and brought in hot!
There had been no issuance of rations since we left Bridgeport Heights,
and accordingly each company had to depend for supplies on its
enterprise in foraging. This was a lesson easily learned and daily
improved upon, though many a poor fellow, doubtless, of less adroit
companies, had spare diet oftener than he considered was healthy. We
sprinkled ourselves over the grove in knots or alone, and slept, sang,
read, wrote, rambled, ate and drank, or did whatever other thing was
most pleasing to ourselves.

About one o'clock we again took up our line of march. The sun was
blazing fiercely, there was but little breeze, and the danger of
sunstroke to many of us was imminent. But as the emergency was pressing
and orders peremptory, the column was pushed along with but short
rests, and we made Carlisle safely at sunset, having travelled since
morning some thirteen miles. We were halted in a field near the town,
and found no other traces of the visit of an enemy than the ruins of
the United States barracks, and a few carcasses of horses near us. The
condition of these latter made it necessary as a sanitary precaution to
cover them with earth. Accordingly spade parties were quickly detailed
for this service.

"The Valley"--as this whole region is known to the inhabitants
thereof--through the midst of which our road lay, is one of the most
beautiful farming countries imaginable. Vast reaches of level, now
golden with grain, stretch from the Blue Ridge on the west to the Blue
Mountains on the east, eight to ten miles apart. Looking over the
country from any point of the road the things one sees at this period
of the year which fix themselves in the memory, are grain, granaries
and mountains; the whole scene suggesting the Happy Valley of Amhara,
the prescriptive residence of Rasselas and the other princes of
Abyssinia. The barns are surprising structures, though of a piece with
the country. Such fields need and presuppose such granaries. They are
usually built of brick or stone, of huge dimensions, having sheds near
the ground as a cover for cattle. In the distance they loom up like
vast warehouses, completely dwarfing the adjacent farm-houses. Many of
the residences we found deserted; and of those that were occupied but
few gave us greeting. But the welcome of this few was so hearty and
substantial as to put us in a humor to forgive the meanness of the
rest.

While we were making our morning march, the hostile armies at
Gettysburg were ordering their lines for a resumption of battle; and at
the moment of our emergence from the woods where we had our delightful
noon-rest, that tremendous fire of artillery from "over one hundred and
twenty-five guns," opened upon the Union army, preparatory to the last
grand assault, which was made while we were on our way to Carlisle; the
disastrous repulse of which terminated the contest, and left the heroic
Army of the Potomac master of the field.

_Fourth of July._--At 3 A.M. we were called up to resume our march. The
previous day had been a trying one to us, and our bivouac was
refreshing accordingly. As we marched through Carlisle we greeted the
day with patriotic airs without exciting the slightest demonstration
beyond an occasional waving of a handkerchief. The people gathered to
see us pass, looking on listlessly. We did not notice a rag of bunting
flying except our own colors, though it was the nation's birth-day!

We turned down the road leading to Mount Holly Gap, a pass in South
Mountain. Five miles out we got a fine view of the range we were to
cross. It rose a couple of miles ahead of us, like a Cyclopean wall,
running directly athwart our path. At the base of it nestled Papertown;
but as yet only the brown church spire and a few house-tops were
visible against the back-ground of the blue mountain. At this village
we were greeted for the first time on our march with cheers! But
perhaps the people had an especially strong motive for feeling
patriotic and demonstrative, Stuart's cavalry having passed through a
day or two before, on its way to join the main rebel army at
Gettysburg. The road was paved with their hoof prints.

Entering the gap we shortly came upon a mountain stream which flowed
along the road-side, and here we were permitted to stop and bathe our
travel-bruised feet. But our business was urgent, and we were soon in
line again pressing on up the mountain. When eight or nine miles
distant from Carlisle we halted for a noon-rest. At this point the two
lips of the gap approach at the base within one hundred feet of each
other--two-thirds of which space is occupied by the brook, and the
remainder, for the most part, by the road. This place is a Thermopylæ
but being only a side-door of the State of Pennsylvania, no step had
been taken to close it against invaders. The day was beautiful, and we
stretched ourselves along the shady bank to rest, sleep, write, nibble
on our hard tack, or do whatever pleased us best. All about us being

"A forest primeval,"

there was no near chance for foraging, and so we all rested. Some with
surprising versatility improvised hook and line, and went
a-fishing--their luck ranging from a nibble to the smallest variety of
minnow. Others equally enterprising hunted for blackberries in places
where a blackberry would have been frightened to death to find itself
growing--whether they climbed trees for them is not positively known.

Reports now began to come in of a great battle going on, of which we
had abundant proof before the day was ended. Up to this time our
campaign had been quite an innocent one; and though we had had some
wearisome marching, yet benignant skies had uniformly attended us. But
now all was to be suddenly changed. First came the hot rumors of
battle, and we realized the urgency of the moment, and wondered whether
we should be in time to help in our feeble way to win the great victory
we hoped for, little dreaming that the contest was already decided--the
great victory already won. Next came clouded skies; and as we rested,
there rose to our ears the distant mutter of thunder, and soon big
drops began to fall. Presently a mist was seen to gather around the top
of the mountain far above our heads; and soon the top disappeared in
the shroud which crept ominously down, down the mountain side. We began
to think of shelter, and unrolled our overcoats and rubber cloths. The
thunder grew louder, the lightning flashed more and more vividly and
the rain fell in torrents. A poor little cabin on the road-side gave
shelter to a few. A leaky shed treacherously invited others. Some
seemed to think it unsoldier-like to shrink before the elements, and
doggedly grinned and bore it. But the greater part of us crouched to
the ground under the trees, hauling our rubber blankets over our heads
so as to shed the rain. Like the victims of the first deluge, we
suspected it would not be much of a shower, and were only less mistaken
than those wretched beings.

Over against the mountain wall before and above us there hung in
mid-air a vast sheet of water which the howling wind flapped to and fro
in the gorge terrifically; while the blinding lightning and crashing
thunder seemed to issue together from the mountain itself. The creek,
before clear and placid, quickly became turgid and agitated. It began
to creep up the banks. Presently a dark, strange-looking mass came
floating down--it was a soldier's knapsack! The rain fell, if possible,
in increased torrents. The stream continued to rise rapidly. Other
knapsacks came floating down. It was not long before the water stood
two feet above its former level. Would it keep on raining till it
flooded the road and us? For two hours the rain poured down with only
momentary abatement to renew itself as furiously as before. The calm
mountain brook had become a raging torrent, threatening the whole gorge
with overflow, carrying angrily down a stream of knapsacks, officers'
valises, etc. As we afterward found, the torrent had caught them where
they had been piled together; the rising water having isolated them and
put them beyond the reach of their owners.

There being no signs of the storm abating the order came to "Forward."
We fell in resignedly and even with good humor, having by this time got
pretty thoroughly soaked--every expedient of shelter failing; indeed we
had given up trying to keep dry, and many of us had taken to sauntering
up and down the road watching the baggage drift by, and laughing to see
one another's forlorn appearance. With trailing arms we marched
cheerily up the mountain, singing with infinite gusto, "Marching
along," "John Brown" and kindred airs--our choruses sounding out
grandly in that wild place, and amid that terrific storm. A little
further on we came to a manufacturing hamlet in a sort of cup of the
mountain, the stream on which the mill stood flowing over the edge of
the cup at one side as it were. At this point, or near it, we left the
Carlisle pike and took the mountain road on our right, following up the
course of the Mountain Creek. We now began to fall in with a stream of
men, dressed in U.S. uniform, but without arms. They reported
themselves to be paroled prisoners captured in Wednesday's battle of
Gettysburg. They told us the battle was still raging and that we should
soon be in the midst of it. This was definite, the first definite
information we had had from the Army of the Potomac, since we began our
march. We were now convinced that a great battle was going on, or had
just been fought, and whether lost or won, we felt we must be needed.
This news animated every bosom--some with anxiety--some with courage;
and we pressed on with renewed vigor.

Two miles further on, at the point where Hunter's Run crosses the road,
the column was delayed on account of some obstruction in front. Working
our way along slowly we presently came in sight of the trouble. It was
a sea of water, covering the road waist-deep, in which men and horses
were seen to be floundering promiscuously. A portion of the column
succeeded in getting through, though at imminent peril of being washed
away and it was thought prudent to postpone further attempts at
crossing till the water subsided. A countermarch was accordingly
ordered to the paper mill, which being deserted gave us ample quarters.
It was an extensive establishment, and looked as if work had been
suspended unexpectedly and suddenly. Here were great bins of rags
washed and sorted ready for conversion; here vats of bleached pulp,
like snow-drifts; here piles of white paper, as it dropped from the
calender, with a sheet hanging half issued. We built fires, dried our
clothes, cooked coffee--the little we had left--and regaled ourselves
as best be could with the assistance of a morsel of hard tack which the
rain had reduced to semi-pulp--though of this delicious viand many of
us had not a sample. The hamlet could furnish us but a very limited
supply of creature comforts, the rebels having got there ahead of us,
and made themselves quite at home in kitchen and larder. About 5 P.M.,
the rain having ceased, though the skies still threatened, we again
took up the line of march, leaving behind several poor fellows, whom
the march had put _hors de combat_, quartered among the good people of
the place.

On again reaching the point of danger we found the water had subsided
but little; but orders were imperative, and we plunged in. The passage
was perilous. The road lay along the side of the mountain down which
the stream poured in a torrent, unseen till it came roaring out of the
forest at the road-side, surging furiously across the road, and
disappearing down the tangled wood on the opposite side with the roar
of a cataract. A distance of not more than a hundred feet of its course
was visible. We heard it coming, saw it rush by us, and heard its awful
leap into the depths of the wilderness again. It was the leap of a
tiger from covert to covert across a traveller's path; or like a hyena
at night, disclosed only by the glare of his eyeballs.

We followed the trail cautiously feeling our way along, and not daring
to look to the right or left--our ears filled with the din of the
waters, and half carried off our feet by the impetuous flood. Crossing
a gully--probably the natural bed of the stream--by a foot bridge,
which our engineers had doubtless thrown across, we saw beneath us with
a start and a shudder of horror the head of a drowned horse and the
pole of a wagon sticking up above the torrent. All else was out of
sight. It proved to be a loaded commissary wagon with its team, which
had been swept away! A number of muskets were lost, and a drum or two;
but excepting these casualties we all got across safely with no other
ill fortune than to be wet again to the skin, which, as night was
falling gave us a comfortless prospect. The drum corps of the
Twenty-Third was at this point sent back to Carlisle with the remainder
of the drums, thirteen in number.

In this part of the mountain the road runs level for several miles
along its slope, and being cut down on both sides is for long distances
little better than a ditch. The soil being a stiff clay, the tremendous
rain-fall having insufficient escape converted the road into a
canal--six inches to a foot of water overlying six inches to a foot of
mire. And into this infernal passage we plunged as night closed upon
us. For a couple of hours we floundered along with desperate energy,
losing shoes sucked off by the tenacious slime, and some even throwing
away their blankets. It was pitch dark; it had begun to rain again; we
were hungry--having had nothing but a little wet hard tack and one
small ration of coffee since we left Carlisle--and many, many of us not
so much; we were very jaded, having marched already a dozen miles, much
of it up the mountain, and much of it through mud that would challenge
the admiration of a veteran of the Army of the Potomac; and the floods
of air and earth had soaked us to the skin. Still we kept up our
courage and pressed forward; for now we had reason to believe that a
great battle was raging, which would, we hoped, be decisive of the
salvation of the Republic, and we prayed that if any exigency had
arisen or should arise--which seemed not improbable--in which the
militia reserve should be needed to turn the fortunes of the day in
favor of our arms, we might not be too late.

Some three miles beyond Hunter's Run we passed a poor cabin--the first
human tenement we had seen since leaving the Mount Holley paper mill.
Pitch darkness was now fallen upon us. Here were gathered a motley
crowd of stragglers--thirty or forty in number--from regiments in
advance of us. They had built fires in different parts of the premises,
and looked, as they sat and stood huddled around them, like
gipsies--their faces red in the ghastly fire-light. Some were moving
about under the trees of the door-yard, like phantoms. At a short
distance in rear of the cabin thin parallel streaks of light were
visible, as if shining through the chinks of a barn. Here, it was
evident, another squad was quartered. As we passed this group of
shadows, and plunged again into the gloomy darkness, the spectral
sight, as we looked back, seemed like a phantasmagoria of Hades.

A mile further and we halted--a thicket along the road-side offering a
retreat only less forlorn than the miry road. Rubber cloths were spread
and we lay down for a little sleep. But the work of the day was not yet
ended. About midnight we were roused again by the order "Forward
column!"--a forced march indeed! The exigency, it was evident, must be
great! On, on, through rain and mire, one mile, two miles, three miles
to the hamlet of Laurel Forge, indistinguishable in the darkness, which
gave refuge to all that remained of what was twelve hours before a
proud regiment, filling the mountains with the echoes of its fervid
patriotic song, now a forlorn, exhausted handful of men clutching
greedily the shelter and the hope of rest which the grimy forge
offered. From this category must be excepted one company which,
occupying the right of the column, had forced the passage of the flood
at Hunter's Run when we first reached it on our march, the imminent
peril attending which had caused the order of countermarch to be given
to the rest of the regiment. They reached the dusky hamlet before dark
and passed the night in comparative comfort.

Thus closed at Laurel Forge--now forever associated in our memories
with the Valley Forge of the Fathers by reason of a common
suffering--our Fourth of July in the wilderness. If those immortal
patriots who gave us the day fared worse for our sakes, we who kept the
day are content to know that we fared about as badly as was in our
power for the sake of those who are to follow us. To think of friends
at home setting off rockets and the like in honor of the day, and very
likely in our honor too, seemed so ridiculous in connection with our
sorry plight as to provoke laughter irresistibly. It was like trying to
cheer a mourning friend at a funeral by telling him stories.

To sum up our Fourth of July work:--Distance travelled, including the
countermarch, half of it through frightful mire, _seventeen miles_;
weight carried, allowing for the additional weight given to overcoat,
tents and clothes by their being soaked through and through a good deal
of the time, _thirty-two and a half pounds_; with insufficient food,
and bad feet under most of us.

At Gettysburg there was a cessation of hostilities throughout the day,
both armies remaining in position, apparently taking a breathing spell
preparatory to renewing the struggle on the morrow. During the night,
however, the rebel retreat began by the Fairfield road. The rear of the
column did not get away till after daylight on the 5th.

_Sunday, July 5th._--In the early morning, which it were a satire to
call the Sabbath day, as it had seemed ridiculous to us to think of the
day before being the jubilee day of our boyhood, we scratched open our
eyes and looked about us to see what sort of a place it was we had
fallen upon. Half a dozen small, unpainted, dingy wooden cabins stuck
along the road-side, an iron furnace and a few other buildings,
appendages of the latter, or non-descripts, greeted our sight. But
there was one thing we saw which made us glad--a fine mill-stream,
where though the water was turbid and yellow we bathed, and washed the
mud and grit out of our clothes. Some of us found in the miserable
settlement a little coffee and some flour, the latter of which we were
at no loss how to use--for what soldier has not heard of flap-jack?
Entering a cabin, and taking possession of the family cooking
stove--the women of the establishment meekly withdrawing--a small party
of us prepared our repast. One brought water from a neighboring spring;
another mixed the dough; another fed the fire from the wood-pile in the
corner; another found a dish-cloth and swabbed off the top of the stove
preparatory to laying on the dough; for we thought of our sweethearts,
and our mothers and sisters, and could not endure the idea of dirty
cookery! Then we spread out the ready paste flat on the place appointed
to receive it, where it went to cooking at once with most obliging
promptitude. We sat around the stove, on the wood-pile, on chairs, on
stools, on baby's cradle, on the floor.

Another crowd, having no pecuniary interest in the transaction, formed
an outer circle, accommodated with standees. All watched the growing
prodigy in silence and with greedy eyes. First it began to brown around
the edges. Then it began to puff up. After that the swelling went down
again, leaving the surface all wrinkled like the face of a monkey. Then
a fine smoke rose from it, as it were, incense. Could it be "done"? and
was this the sign from the gods? Perhaps; at any rate it was the sign
of something; probably the sign of scorching on the under side. Then it
ought to be turned. But how turned? Ah, how, indeed! It had been easy
to spread it on--but the turning!

                "Facilis descensus Averni;
    Noctes atque dies patet atri janua Ditis;
    Sed revocare gradum, superasque evadere ad auras,
    Hoc opus, his labor est."

A knife was brought; too short and too narrow. A spoon; better, but
still inadequate. An outsider suggested that all hands lay hold of the
thing on one side and flop it over suddenly. But the jealous
proprietors demurred, fearing that the movement might not be
simultaneous and that thus a flap-jack rupture might ensue, followed by
possible skedaddling of the shrewd operators bearing off the spoil.
Meanwhile the smoke was alarmingly on the increase and something must
be done at once. While we were in this quandary, the principal partner
in the concern, a long, lank fellow with tong-like fingers, in a fit of
desperation seized the thing in one hand with an old rag, and over it
went k-e-r-f-l-o-p! The danger was past, and we congratulated the
skillful operator and one another on the auspicious result. Mr.
Flapjack after that proceeded soberly to do himself brown, whereupon we
all partook, smearing each mouthful with molasses which a miraculous
cupboard furnished, and pronounced it good--in fact excellent. At home
not one of us but would as soon think of eating the stove itself, both
as to cleanliness and digestibility.

While we were recuperating at Laurel Forge on that strange Sabbath
morning a constant stream of stragglers and fragmentary companies of
different regiments were coming in. One of them reported meeting a
party on the road whose situation very fairly represented the degree of
wretchedness which all--officers and men alike--underwent on that
eventful day and night of the Fourth of July. It was just at daybreak.
The men were wading along through the mire as a staff officer rode by
and drew rein at the road-side a little ahead of them, in front of a
party of some three or four officers who were evidently having their
bivouac there in miserable isolation. The officer whom the messenger
saluted as his superior was bare-headed, having evidently just risen
from the ground where his rubber cloth and blanket still lay. His dress
was wet and begrimed with mud; his hair was frowsy, lying in ropy
tangles upon his head and hanging over his brows; and his face was
haggard with anxiety and suffering. It was Brigadier-General ----; and
here in this solitary wilderness had actually been his bivouac, in
company with a few of his staff. Taking what was overheard as a clue,
something like the following colloquy passed between the messenger and
the General:

"General, a complete company, or anything like it cannot be found on
the road--much less a regiment of the brigade. They are scattered
everywhere--sick, exhausted, famished; and if they were together, they
could not be fed." "Where are the wagons?" "Stuck in the mud, sir,
miles back. The teams are broken down and others cannot be procured. I
don't see how we can possibly get the wagons up." "Ah, *** h'm, *** Did
you see no farmers' houses around anywhere?" "The country here, sir, is
a perfect wilderness. The only habitations are a few cabins of poor
people, scattered along the road at long intervals; and even of these
there is but one for the whole seven or eight miles between the paper
mill and Laurel Forge."

It was palpable enough that the situation was alarming. The column
broken up into a vast stream of stragglers--regiments and brigades
mixed promiscuously together--men and officers half-famished, jaded
out, buried in the depths of a mountain wilderness--the subsistence
trains mired far in the rear and no prospect of their getting up; all
this rushing at once upon the mind of a conscientious commander wholly
unused to the hardships of real campaigning, and before he had had time
to throw off the incubus of the dismal night he must have endured, was
enough to crush any but a heroic spirit.

The skeleton of the Twenty-Third having gone forward early in the
morning, our little private "breakfast party" hastened its departure
from the now to us historic hamlet of Laurel Forge, after gratifying
the poor woman who presided over the dingy domicil with the sight of
more money in her hands, doubtless, than she was accustomed to seeing
at one time. The road now began to improve at once. We were getting
"out of the wilderness" apparently. A few miles brought us to Pine
Grove, another settlement with its furnace and shops. Then shortly
after we began to ascend again; and we wondered with fear and trembling
whether we were entering upon a second mountain road which it would be
our wretched fate to climb. There rose indeed before us, two or three
miles off, a formidable range whose crest must have towered well nigh a
thousand feet above us; and though it did not lie directly across the
path we were going, the road bent suspiciously toward it. We had little
strength left for such a renewal of our toils. Up--up--up; nearer and
nearer the crest of the mountain, till it became at length evident that
we were actually on its flank, and that our road lay over its very top.
The rain had ceased, the sun was fighting his way out from among torn
clouds, and the air was sultry. The road was filled with a vast stream
of stragglers intermixed with officers on horseback, and wagons. Along
the road-side weary soldiers were resting. Here one had fallen out
alone, exhausted and disheartened, and another coming up had sat down
beside him on the greensward for a moment, though wearing the uniform
of a different regiment. The latter, with a true soldier's feeling, was
giving the poor fellow a drink from his canteen, and administering the
cheap but precious solace of kind and encouraging words, while big
tears rolled down the cheeks of the other. Such scenes were frequently
observed. Common sufferings had broken down all barriers and we felt
for one another the tenderness of brothers.

Slowly and wearily we toiled on--one mile--two miles. The road
stretched up steep and stony. It was a comfort to be rid of the mire,
but the stones were afflicting enough to our bruised feet. How the
batteries were ever dragged up that mountain road so soon after
emerging from those miles and miles of mire is one of the wonders of
equine endurance. But so it was. We found on the summit that
incomparable Philadelphia Battery which had accompanied us from the
fort, and had won golden opinions from all by the unfailing promptitude
and uncomplaining endurance with which the little company had borne
more than their share of toil and privation. At the top of the mountain
the road was blocked up for long distances with infantry and artillery
at a halt; and here a good portion of our stragglers came up with the
now rehabilitated regiment. The enemy was reported to be near. What
enemy or in what force we could not learn. This much, however, was
understood;--the Eleventh Brigade, or all that was left of it was
ordered to the front! At length the order "Forward" ran along the line,
and on we marched again. We soon came to a cross-roads in an open wood.
Here cannon were planted to command both approaches, hid in front by
leafy branches of trees laid up against them. These were masked
batteries, and it was to be our duty to support them. This looked like
business. One hundred rods or so further brought us to a pretty opening
where we were halted and ordered to pitch tents in the adjoining
timber. Foragers were at once despatched, great fires built, tents
pitched, and preparations made for such supper as was possible under
the circumstances, just as if our pleasant arrangements were not liable
to be stopped at any moment by the appearance of the enemy. But we were
too exhausted to feel nervous with anxiety. At length the foragers
returned with gratifying reports, the substantial fruits of which were
fresh bread and butter, together with a supply of live stock next
morning. During the night the commissary wagons came up, and in the
morning we had coffee once more, and new rations of hard-tack were
given out.

The 5th was spent by Lee at Gettysburg in making good his escape, a
large portion of his immense trains moving by the Cashtown road guarded
by a force of cavalry under General Imboden. As soon as General Meade
discovered the enemy's retreat he sent General Sedgwick with the Sixth
Corps in pursuit; but the latter was not able to accomplish much.

_Monday, 6th._--Our approach and preparations to meet the enemy had not
developed his presence, though some straggling rebels were brought in
who had been picked up by our scouts in the mountains, to whom they had
given themselves up without resistance. Accordingly about the middle of
the forenoon we were ordered to advance again. Some of us had cherished
the hope that we would be permitted to rest over Monday; for we sorely
needed it, and felt that, should we be marched then into the van of
battle--what with our physical exhaustion and our wasted ranks--we
could make but a poor show of fight. But it seemed the exigency was too
urgent to admit of delay. We therefore pulled up stakes again, strapped
our luggage to our backs, shouldered our pieces, and marched forward in
the direction of Gettysburg.

A hard march of fifteen miles over a rough mountain road that pretty
much all the time went up or down, and occasionally by long stretches,
brought the column to Cashtown, a cross-roads settlement, ten miles
north-west from Gettysburg, where the mountain road meets the
Gettysburg and Chambersburg pike. Here we bivouacked in an orchard.
This place is memorable to the Twenty-Third regiment on account of a
sad disaster there befalling, in which one of our number was the
unhappy actor. He fired off a musket charged with ball cartridge,
supposing he was only snapping a cap, directly into the ranks of the
Twenty-Eighth regiment of our brigade, wounding two men--one of them
mortally. No sooner was the lamentable event known to the regiment than
they took instant steps to make the only reparation in their power.
They subscribed on the spot a purse of some twelve hundred dollars,
which they duly paid, for the relief of the families of the victims.

We had thought to make this spot memorable in a very different and
happier way, viz., by the capture of the rebel train bearing the
precious spoils which the enemy had taken from our people. But we were
too late; it had all got safely past before we came up. That furious
storm which had broken over us in the mountains, rendering the roads
impassable or extremely difficult, had been the agent of Providence to
hold us back. However disposed on the spur of the moment and in the
vexation of disappointment we may have felt to regard our delay as an
unmitigated misfortune, depriving us of a golden opportunity of earning
a direct share, however small, in the glories of Gettysburg, still we
may be sure a wiser hand than ours guided the issues of those memorable
days. It is probable that the cavalry force of Imboden, guarding that
important train, was large; at any rate large enough to have trampled
out our handful of men had we made an attack. Had the skies favored we
could hardly have reached Cashtown a day sooner than we did without
making forced marches; much straggling must have ensued; and the column
thus reduced would have come up in an exhausted condition. To be sure
we might have harassed the enemy, caused confusion among the teams, and
perhaps destroyed or compelled him to destroy a part of his train. But
we were too late, and speculation or regret is now unavailing.

When General Meade despatched Sedgwick's corps in pursuit of the flying
enemy on the Fairfield road, he sent at the same time a force of
cavalry on the Cashtown road to capture or destroy the rebel train.
They "captured," in the words of Lee himself, "a number of wagons and
ambulances; but they (the rebel wagon train) succeeded in reaching
Williamsport without serious loss." Sedgwick appears to have been
unsuccessful in seriously harassing the retreat of Lee, the Fairfield
pass, up to which place he pushed the pursuit, being so strong a
natural position as to enable a small force holding it to check for a
considerable time any pursuing foe. General Meade remained at
Gettysburg with the bulk of the army during the 5th and 6th, "engaged
in succoring the wounded and burying the dead."

_Sunday, 7th._--Our attempted exploit of capturing or destroying the
enemy's train having thus miscarried, we resumed the chase, taking the
Chambersburg pike. In thus turning our backs upon Gettysburg, whither
we supposed we were bound, we might naturally wonder "what next?" That
this supposition was correct, witness the following order:

    (Pine Grove), July 7th, (6th), 1863.

    In compliance with Division Orders this command will take up line
    of march for Gettysburg forthwith.

    This Brigade will take the advance--regiments in the following
    order:--7th, 8th, 56th, 52nd, 23rd.

    ******

    By order of

    J. C. SMITH,
    Brigadier-General Commanding.

We followed the Chambersburg pike as far as Greenwood where we turned
to the left down a road leading southerly. The remains of a caisson and
a forge which had been knocked to pieces so as to be unserviceable to
the finder, and unused rifle shells scattered along the road indicated
the haste of the retreat of the enemy. To facilitate their escape they
had moved in two columns, one by the road, the other through the
adjoining fields, where the ripe grain for long distances lay trampled
for the breadth of the line.

About 4 P.M., we came to a halt in a grove just out of the little
village of Altodale, (erroneously called Funcktown by Col. VARIAN of
the 8th and Col. TRAFFORD of the 71st in their published reports of the
campaign), having accomplished a distance of some fourteen miles from
Cashtown. Here we realized more keenly than we had yet done that we
were coming upon classic ground. Through the grove flowed a brawling
brook named the Little Antietam. The waters which there soothed our
travel-bruised feet and refreshed our weary limbs were destined to
bathe the historic field where the patriot army hurled back the first
rebel invasion. But the neighborhood is itself memorable for a prior
transaction, connected with one of the most pregnant events in the
history of the country. Near the place of our bivouac, John E. Cook,
one of the unfortunate confederates of John Brown of Harper's Ferry,
was arrested. Cook, it will be remembered, escaped from Harper's Ferry
by taking to the mountains of Maryland on foot; and after having
reached a spot where he expected to find sympathizing friends, was
treacherously seized by one Logan, and sent back to a Virginia gallows.
This execrated wretch now lives, poor and despised by his neighbors, in
this village of Altodale. But it is pleasant to be able to say that his
wife, as if an atoning angel, opened her doors, (Logan was absent on a
distant journey at the time), and showed to our men--they being
ignorant of who their entertainer was--a generous hospitality. She fed
the hungry and nursed the sick with christian charity.

On this Tuesday morning the entire rebel army reached Hagerstown; and
at the same moment General Meade set on foot from Gettysburg a flank
movement by way of Middletown.

The skies threatening we pitched tents for the night along the Little
Antietam. Toward morning the rain fell furiously. It dripped through
the canvas above us, it crept in under the edges of the tents, and
soaked the rubber cloths on which we lay. When our situation under
cover had become sufficiently miserable, seized with insane impatience
we crawled out into the open air, only to find that our neighbors had
been as insane as ourselves. It was then early daybreak. You could
dimly see, gathered around the faintly burning embers of the company
fires, a few strange-looking objects, black and utterly shapeless
except near the ground where a pair of legs protruded. As you moved
through the wood you everywhere met forms like these wandering about
aimlessly and in moody silence. Squat on the ground were others--mere
black shapeless heaps. Some were collected around the trunks of trees.
Some were scattered about on rocks and stumps. Wherever you went they
were directly in front and on either side of you. As the beams of
morning crept through the grove the phantasmagoria became still more
striking. Distant objects were brought to light, and those near you,
faintly descried or not observed before, became distinct. The whole
extended wood was seen to be filled with these black shapeless heaps,
strewn on the ground indiscriminately everywhere. They encircled the
smouldering fires, which ever and anon would shoot up a sparkling blaze
as if some one had stirred them. Some taller than the rest were moving
about slowly and solemnly. Here and there were commissary and
quartermaster wagons, the teams unhitched and turned about like
Barnum's equine monster--their heads where their tails ought to be--and
looking demurely into the wagons, where, on boxes and barrels, were
other dismal black heaps. Observe one of these. It is crowned with a
soft felt hat, the rim bent down all around, from which the water is
dripping drearily. Looking under it you see the large, sad, careworn
visage of Colonel Everdell, ever watchful of his men, and now sharing
with them this extremity of discomfort and exposure.

As the morning waxes light the camp-fires flame up stronger if not
brighter, and now you see real human figures moving about. These
ominous black heaps scattered everywhere are, as it were, eggs, and out
of each of them will crawl in due time a full-fledged biped. See yonder
by that fire; one of them is even now in violent motion--evidently in
the pangs of birth. Presto! a man emerges from it as it collapses to
the ground. He goes straight to the fire, stirs it up, blows the sick
embers, cuts slivers for kindling and lays them on, takes the axe,
splits a rail in pieces which he piles on the now quivering spires of
flame, and goes to other black heaps and shakes them with reproachful
summons. Lo, these too split apart, and out from each appears a man!
These take black iron pots and go off. Presently they come swinging
back with the pots filled with water. Meantime the fire is finely
started, the pots are slung astride a long pole set over the fire, the
wood crackles, the flames shoot up wrapping the pots around. And now
the camp is all astir. The black objects are twice as numerous as
before, moving about with increased animation. You imagine Little
Antietam to be the Acheron of fable, and all these to be poor ghosts,
strangely clad in the mortal habiliments of woe, crowding the banks of
the fateful river, and waiting, sick with hope deferred, their turn to
cross; and your eyes wander curiously along the swollen, dashing stream
to catch sight of the unclean grizzly beard, Charon, the ferryman, and
his crazy skiff:--

                          "There stands
    Charon, who rules the dreary coast--
    A sordid god: down from his hoary chin
    A length of beard descends, uncomb'd, unclean:

                    *      *      *

    He spreads his canvas; with his pole he steers;
    The freight of flitting ghosts in his thin bottom bears

                    *      *      *

    An airy crowd came rushing where he stood,
    Which filled the margin of the fateful flood--

                    *      *      *

    Thick as the leaves in autumn strew the woods,
    Or fowls, by winter forced, forsake the floods,
    And wing their hasty flight to happier lands--
    Such and so thick the shiv'ring army stands,
    And press for passage with extended hands.
    Now these, now those, the surly boatman bore:
    The rest he drove to distance from the shore.

                    *      *      *

    A hundred years they wander on the shore;
    At length, their penance done, are wafted o'er."

Then you fancy them a collection of howling dervishes; or a
congregation of monks in Purgatory, the figures about the fires being
the working devils preparing to roast the poor monks for their
morning's course of expiatory torment.

While you are trying to drown your misery in this sort of musing the
fire is doing its work, and soon the pots boil, the fixens are tossed
in, and the coffee. Near by your own company fire--that is what most
interests you now--there is spread on the ground a rubber cloth, whose
irregular protuberant shape suggests agreeable things. The busy figure
at the fire approaches the mystery, raises the covering at one end and
draws forth bread, which he cuts in chunks, loaf after loaf; a crock of
apple butter--a Pennsylvanian Dutch dish somewhat analagous to the
apple sauce of the Yankees; and a can of brown sugar--a luxury which
only the prudent forethought of enterprising officers rendered
possible, intended doubtless for their own mess, but generously devoted
to the comfort of the company, now struggling under the terrible triple
load of fatigue, privation and exposure. For be it remembered that,
although we had had fresh meat rations served out to us only
forty-eight hours previously, sufficient to last us a couple of days if
not wasted, yet the unexpectedness and suddenness of our resumption of
the march had prevented us, in our inexperience, from availing
ourselves of the provision. Indeed it rarely happened that we carried
in our haversacks from bivouac to bivouac anything more than half a
dozen hard-tack, if so many, which we snatched up hastily as we fell
into line for the forward march. So that the only real refreshment we
found within our reach at the end of each day's march, when, weary,
hungry and sore we dropt down on the rough ground of bivouac, was night
itself and its sweet gift of sleep. Whatever may be the theories of
physiologists on the subject, we felt, as a matter of daily experience,
that a good, wholesome, appetizing meal half an hour or an hour after
coming to a halt would have enabled us to endure much harder marches
with much less fatigue than is here recorded.

All being ready, the boiling pots are slipped off the fire, and the
viands set on the ground in order before the master of ceremonies. A
shout goes forth, "Fall in for rations!" But the call is needless. For
the last half hour fifty pairs of eyes have been following every motion
of the cook and his volunteer aids, and tin plates and cups been giving
forth their dulcet strains. A long cue of black headless devils stands
merry before the flourishing disciple of Soyer. He dips into the
smoking pot of stew and raises a cupful, dripping and delicious; a
plate is ready to receive it. He dips again; another is ready. The
supernumeraries dispense the coffee, bread, apple-butter, and
sweetnin'. The black cue shortens one by one till the last hungry devil
is supplied, and all have assumed the squat posture, and the grove is
filled with black heaps again. But not now as before. Then all were
glum, silent, motionless--the rain pelting them remorselessly. Now
every one is alive with movement and talk. By and bye the weather
clears up a little. One after another, human forms reappear upon the
scene. The drummers sound their call;--it is the Assembly--the summons
to forward march. Tents are struck quickly; luggage rolled and
shouldered; arms taken; and away goes an army of brave youths, three
short hours ago utterly and miserably "played out", now ready to make a
long day's march, or to move upon the enemy, singing as they pass under
Logan's windows, "Marching along," "John Brown," etc., ignorant at the
moment of the poetic justice which their mighty chorus celebrates.

A member of the Twenty-Third left behind at Altodale, sick and in care
of a kind mater-familias, related an amusing experience which
illustrates the semi-civilization of the people of those regions. His
bed was provided with but one sheet; and the hostess kindly enquired
whether he would rather have a counterpane or a blanket next him--"some
people prefers one, and some the other!" she remarked. He thanked her
blandly and chose the counterpane. During the two days and nights of
his stay he did not hear the sound of a piano, nor a note of music from
the inhabitants, though he was in the heart of the village, and at
twilight saw young ladies promenading the street. In lively contrast to
this neglect of the divine gift of music, he heard, on the second
evening, a company of soldiers who were dallying in the place, singing
patriotic songs, which were received by their comrades with a familiar
"Hi! Hi!" This sudden irruption of democratic New York into a
Pennsylvania Dutch village, whose only idea of the great city was,
doubtless, what had been derived from rose-colored descriptions and
fanciful pictures of its great hotels or its streets of palaces, must
have seemed to the inhabitants about as strange as the unheralded
appearance on Broadway, some fine afternoon, of a caravan of Bedouins
from Arabia.

Another instance was narrated to show the primitive taste of the
villagers; one more to the point than that just recorded, which may
have been accidental. Opposite the room where he lay sick was the
residence of one of the rich men of the place. His house was of brick,
commodious and painfully plain. The roadway extended to the very door,
the only marks of division between the portion to be used for vehicles
and that intended as a walk being a locust tree and a bridle post. The
door was raised some two feet above the ground, and was reached by a
partly hewn log, from around which the rain had washed away quite a
depth of gravel, so that it now presented an awkward step for a lady.
Though there was abundant room for a door yard there was no enclosure,
no sign of shrub or flower. Here dwelt one of the upper-tendom of
Altodale.

This same soldier, on his way to rejoin his regiment met a Pennsylvania
youngster with whom he had the following colloquy:--

"Many more back?" inquired the boy, who evidently wanted to know
whether there were many more troops coming forward. Carlyle might envy
such terseness of language.

"No, not many. Did many pass here yesterday?"

"No, not so very many. But last night there was quite a _drove of
'em_."

This language was either not complimentary to the discipline of the New
York militia while on the march, or not complimentary to the
school-masters of Franklin County, Pa. Imagine such a conversation in a
rural district of Massachusetts!

As an offset to this promising lad, he heard of another who was
chopping wood by the road-side when the rebel army was passing. One of
the rascally tatterdemalions coming close to him made a grab for his
hat--it was a fashion they had of helping themselves to the head-gear
of everybody they passed--but missed it. The boy turned, raised his
axe, and "dared" the rebel "to try that again!"

From Altodale the column followed the course of the Little Antietam in
a south-westerly direction to Waynesboro', and came to camp two miles
beyond on the Waynesboro' and Hagerstown pike. The day was pleasantly
cool, and the march of eleven miles was made in comparative comfort,
notwithstanding the roads were heavy and our wet luggage and clothes
added greatly to our burden, As to rations we were learning to get
along with the scantiest supply, like the horse of the enterprising
economist which was trained to subsist at last on one oat a day, and
was on the point of getting along on nothing when he unexpectedly gave
up the ghost. Whether our lot would have been similar had our term of
service continued a few days longer can never be positively known.

At Waynesboro' we fell in with the Sixth Corps of the army, which, as
before mentioned, had been despatched by General Meade from the field
of Gettysburg, on the 5th instant, in pursuit of the enemy by the
Fairfield Road--their line of march being thus nearly parallel to ours.
Here we were, then, in the midst of the world-renowned Army of the
Potomac--in fact incorporated with it, being now subject to the orders,
as we understood, of that gallant soldier, Major-General Sedgwick, who
fought his corps so splendidly at Fredericksburg in Hooker's
unfortunate Virginia campaign. We felt a genuine soldierly pride in
such an association. We were now the comrades in arms of men whose
business was fighting, and who attended to their business like men; and
them we trusted to show us the way we were to follow. Our expectation
that, notwithstanding all our forced marching, we were destined to
return home without getting sight of the armed enemy was partially
dissipated; and now that a live fighting man had got us in hand, there
were few of us, it may well be supposed, who were any longer "spilin'
for a fight." The veterans regarded our grey suits curiously, and
advised us to exchange them for Uncle Sam's blue before we went into
action; otherwise, we should most likely be taken for Grey Backs, (as
the rebels were sometimes called by the Union soldiers from the color
of their dress), and be shot by our comrades. This was not an
over-pleasant suggestion; still, in the absence of present danger, we
tried to "borrow no trouble".

General Meade, in his report of the Battle of Gettysburg, makes the
following allusion to our arrival, though he erroneously makes
Boonesboro' instead of Waynesboro' the place where we first joined
him:--

    "It is my duty as well as my pleasure to call attention to the
    earnest efforts at co-operation on the part of Major-General D. N.
    Couch, commanding the Department of the Susquehanna, and
    particularly to his advance of 4,000 men under Brigadier-General W.
    F. Smith, who joined me at Boonesboro' just prior to the withdrawal
    of the Confederate army."

We pitched our tents in a pleasant hillside grove, where we rested the
next day, employing our leisure in putting our arms in order. The
morning report gave 519 officers and men as present and fit for the
duty in the Twenty-Third regiment; the strongest muster the regiment
could show during the campaign. Many of us got passes to go to
Waynesboro' where, notwithstanding the rebels had, a few days before,
seized all they could lay hands on, we found pretty much all we wanted;
and having just come "out of the wilderness", we wanted pretty much
everything that soldiers can use at once, or can carry away with them.
The Little Antietam still kept us company, and bathing in its waters
greatly refreshed our wearied limbs.

_Friday, 10th._--Ordered out on a reconnoissance with the New York
Seventy-First. The column moved out on the Waynesboro' and Greencastle
pike, and took position on a bare hill some two or three miles east of
Waynesboro'. Here we stacked arms and roasted in the sun all day; at
night returned to camp.

_Saturday, 11th._--Rested again, though we were on the _qui vive_ all
the afternoon for a forward movement, the following order having been
promulgated:--

    Head-Quarters First Division, }
    Department of the Susquehanna, }

    Waynesboro', July 11th, 1863.

    The Brigadier-General Commanding calls the attention of the command
    to the certainty of an early engagement with the enemy, and it is
    strictly enjoined upon Brigade, Regimental and Company commanders
    to attend at once to the condition of the arms and ammunition of
    the men under them.

    No time is to be lost in putting the arms in perfect order and
    seeing that the boxes are filled with cartridges.

    The rations on hand must be cooked and put in haversacks, so that
    no detention will ensue when the order to march is given; and also
    that the men may not suffer for food, when it is impossible for the
    supply trains to reach them.

    By order of

    Brig.-Gen. W. F. SMITH.

It was found that few or none of us had the full complement of forty
rounds of ball cartridges in good order, our stock never having been
replenished since we left Fort Washington. Our ammunition pouches being
of insufficient capacity we had been obliged to carry a portion of the
cartridges in our haversacks, which, in common with the clothes we
wore, had been repeatedly soaked by the rain.

About the middle of the afternoon we heard distinct cannonading, which
proved to proceed from a skirmish arising out of the movement of
General Meade toward the front of the enemy's position at Williamsport.
Reports were current, and credited, of another general battle on
yesterday, in which Lee had been worsted, and it was expected that it
would be renewed to-day. Thus we had on the whole a good prospect of
being present, and having a share, in the enactment of another scene in
the glorious drama. Toward sunset came marching orders. We proceeded in
the direction of Hagerstown. Some two miles or more out the road
crosses the Antietam, the bridge over which the rebels had destroyed.
We waded the stream without wetting our trowsers, and marched our feet
dry before coming to a halt for the night, some three or four miles
further on. We were now on the soil of Maryland, the bridge over the
Antietam being a little south of "Masonandicksun"; and we accordingly
set up the air of "Dixie" with Yankee variations and a rousing chorus.

Just at dark we turned into a clover field and bivouacked noiselessly,
spreading our rubber cloths and lying down, each man behind his piece,
ready to seize arms instantly on an alarm. No fires were built, no loud
talking allowed. It was like the crouching of a tiger making ready to
spring upon its prey. These hints of the proximity of the enemy were
quite enough to satisfy our curiosity on the subject, particularly as
the Twenty-Third had the right of the line. Still we stretched
ourselves for sleep without alarm, though not without emotion, and
perhaps, anxiety. A few rods off, in a hollow of the field, a cloud of
fog lay along the ground--its ominous grey just visible in the
deepening twilight--and it was plainly creeping up to envelop us in its
chilly arms. The night bade fair to be a foul one--to use a
hibernicism--and none of us coveted the post of the picket in those
black woods in front of us. But some one had to perform that trying
duty; and it fell to the lot of Company "B" of the Twenty-Third to be
detailed with others to the service, the command of the detachment
being entrusted to Captain Goldthwait. The delicacy and danger of this
service are well told in the words of the captain commanding:--

    Cavetown, Md., July 12th, 1863.

    COLONEL:--

    In compliance with your orders I left the bivouac of the regiment
    on the Hagerstown road beyond Lietersburg last evening, and
    reported to General Knipe for picket duty. Upon filing into the
    road we found a company of the Seventy-First, N.Y., and a squad of
    the Third Pennsylvania Cavalry awaiting us. Reporting to the
    General we took the right of the Seventy-First, and with the
    cavalry in advance moved out on the Hagerstown road across a stone
    bridge to a point designated on the diagram by a haystack, at which
    point, by direction of the General, the reserve was stationed.
    After giving me instructions as to the direction in which he wished
    the line of pickets extended, and orders to hold the point to the
    latest possible moment, and under no circumstances to lose the
    bridge in our rear, the General returned to the brigade, and I
    proceeded to post the picket line.

    The cavalry in the mean time had pushed forward on the road to hill
    (No. 1 on the diagram) when they encountered a vidette of the
    enemy's cavalry, which they drove from the position.

    The hill being an excellent point for observation, a vidette of our
    cavalry was posted at that point. A chain of infantry pickets was
    thrown out on either flank towards the woods on our right and left,
    the sentinels for which were furnished in due proportion from my
    own and the company of the Seventy-First. The cavalry vidette
    reported that the rebels could be heard moving about all night.

    At daylight we stood to arms, and the cavalry were sent out as far
    as the second hill, but found no enemy in sight.

    I learned from a man living just beyond our line that the rebels in
    force, of all arms, had passed, the afternoon before (the 11th), in
    two columns, one keeping the road, and the other following the
    fields in a line parallel with the road. From this and other
    information obtained, I have no doubt that the main body of the
    rebels were last night in and around Hagerstown, which is about
    four miles from where our pickets were posted. At six o'clock this
    morning I was ordered to draw in the pickets and return to the
    column, which we found lying in the road where we rejoined it.

    In closing this brief report, Colonel, I beg leave to say that
    while I never had a doubt as to the behavior of the Twenty-Third as
    a regiment, I was unprepared to meet with the cheerful obedience to
    orders which sent individuals into almost isolated positions where
    they had every reason to suppose that the enemy was within a few
    rods of them, and where the darkness was so intense as to limit the
    vision to a space of a few feet.

    Very respectfully,

    C. E. GOLDTHWAIT,
    Capt. Co. "B", 23d Reg. N.G.S.N.Y.,
    Com'g Pickets.

Recalling to mind all the circumstances of the case, there is something
in the thought of that night's bivouac which is awe-inspiring;--three
or four thousand men massed in a field sleeping; their stacked arms
standing over them like sentinels; a thick fog encompassing them, and
affording cover to an enemy to approach unseen; that enemy within easy
striking distance, at bay, and watching doubtless for an opportunity to
strike a sudden blow. The night passed quietly however, nothing being
heard of the enemy, and we slept pretty well with the ghostly fog for
our coverlet.

_Sunday, 12th._--About six o'clock, after breakfasting very soberly
and contentedly on hard tack and water, we got in motion again. A
countermarch of a mile brought us to Lettersburg, a poor village of a
dozen indifferent houses, through which we passed the evening before
almost without noticing it. Here we turned off to the right, taking
the Cavetown road. We crept along, continually halting, and reached
Cavetown at noon, some seven miles south-east of Lettersburg, our path
for the last mile being across fields and up hill to an extended
plateau overlooking the village. Here, while resting, we were overtaken
by a fierce thunder-storm. Six or eight miles in front of us to the
eastward, South Mountain stood out in bold relief; and the peals of
thunder reverberating against its sides made the valley ring again. The
place takes its name from a natural cave near the spot where we were
halted, and which afforded shelter to some of us from the shower. Here
a cow, as wise as ourselves in this particular, had taken refuge, and
kindly supplied us a few drops of milk. The art of extracting this
nutritious liquid we learned at the outset of our campaign, and found
the knowledge useful not unfrequently as we went along. Hard tack was
no such delicious viand as made us despise the free gift of the cow. We
found in the cave also what refreshed us almost as much--pure cold
water. It was held in honey-comb cells or cups formed in the rock,
twenty or more in number, holding three to six gallons each, the whole
together forming an irregular shelf along one side of the cavern. There
were dark passages and mysterious inner chambers, vaguely reported
to be half a mile in extent, but we had no time to make further
explorations. Before the shower ceased we were ordered to move, and
proceeded down the face of the hill to the selected halting ground on
the Hagerstown pike, a little out of the village. Here the column made
bivouac, and guns were planted commanding the road to the front.

The rain continued to fall, and in such torrents as to inundate the
camping ground. The air was filled with electricity, the crashing
thunder reverberating almost incessantly for half an hour through the
valley; and mournful to relate, some poor fellows of the Fifty-Sixth
Regiment, N.Y., who had imprudently taken refuge under a tree, were
struck by the electric fluid, and one of them killed.

The state of the ground compelled us to improvise dry beds, which we
did by taking fence rails and laying them side by side on the ground.
The idea of lying down to sleep on such a style of mattress was
preposterous to most of us; still we could not deny that it had the
first requisite of a bed, viz., dryness. Any one who has slept directly
upon ploughed, stony ground, as was often our lot, knows how difficult
it is to adjust the weary body to the crags and cañons of the
surface--for the irregularities grow to be such before morning--and how
the rest continues to be broken, night after night, until the flesh has
become ferruginous, and the nerves indifferent to the welfare of the
body, which no longer demands a nice adjustment of particulars, but
finds sound sleep on a pile of big stones with the head resting on a
stump. As we were most of us yet in our infancy as campaigners, we had
not reached this perfection of indifference; and accordingly were
delighted to find how nicely we could fit ourselves in among the rails.

Our sole reliance for rations appearing now to be upon the hard tack in
our haversacks, eked out by an occasional loaf of bread, a jar of
butter, apple sauce, or plum sauce which the company foragers were
lucky enough to pick up, there was great temptation whenever we came to
a halt to indulge in a little desultory foraging on private account;
and as we were now in a farming country there was considerable of this
done. But if the sight of a distant farm house, with the hope of
chickens and cherry trees swimming before the mind, tempted any of us
to indulge without leave in this agreeable recreation so long as to
miss a roll-call, we had a vivid consciousness of sundry extra detail
duties of police or guard awaiting us on our return. This gave a zest
to the enjoyment of the stolen furlough, though it was not apt to be
considered a severely "healthy" termination of an hour off duty. These
penalties were a wiser disciplinary regimen than a rigid system of
provost guards would have been, since it saved the strength of the
regiment for the next day's march, and put the drudgeries of camp duty
upon those who had fairly earned the right, and were also best able to
perform them.

Before the afternoon had passed, however, our commissariat was amply
provided for. Several fat steers were driven into camp, slaughtered and
divided up among the hungry regiments; while the company cooks were not
slow in doing their parts. Some of us had got by hook or by crook a
cake of chocolate, and some a little coffee or tea, which gave rise to
a good deal of lively cup and kettle boiling on private account, which
kept the fires going briskly till dark.

The principal ingredient of some of the beverages which tasted so
deliciously on that occasion, as well as some of the soups, etc., it
may not be amiss to reveal, now that it is all past; though at the time
it was judiciously kept a secret, doubtless. In a field near by there
was a pretty brook half hidden among grass and bushes. The men of
various regiments soon spied it out, and straight-way it was lined with
bipeds, of whom it is enough to say that they were travel-stained, who
stood washing in it their persons and their clothes. Its course lay
across the field to the road, where it was caught in a horse-trough. To
this trough came file after file of men with great black kettles to be
filled. The color of the water was such as to excite the indignant
protest of every one who came there to draw, against the scores of
animals in United States uniform who went above the trough to wash,
instead of below. But it was of no avail; the fringe of washers was
constantly replenished by fresh comers, and the water was constantly
drawn below; and there was made of it, no doubt, excellent soup,
coffee, tea, chocolate, and whatever other delicious thing the
regimental or private commissariat afforded. But lest some reader
should be offended by this peep behind the scenes, it may be stated
that there was another fountain whence some of the regiments drew,--a
well at a neighboring farm-house which gave pure water, until it was
pumped dry!

By this time General Meade with the bulk of his army was confronting
the enemy, who had taken up "a strong position on the heights near the
marsh which runs in advance of Williamsport". Lee had been busily
engaged securing his retreat by rebuilding the pontoon bridge at
Falling Waters which General French had partially destroyed, and was,
no doubt, anxiously awaiting the subsidence of the Potomac to enable
him to use the fords so as to escape suddenly under cover of the
darkness.

_Monday, 13th._--We were up bright and early, none the worse it is
believed for the rough accommodations of the night; some of the most
ailing, indeed, having had furloughs granted them till early morning,
and having succeeded in finding more comfortable quarters in barns, or
in the houses of the village. The rain having ceased we got our things
well dried before the fires, and broke camp at 6-1/2 o'clock, setting
out in the direction of Boonesboro'. The morning was comfortable, the
sun was obscured, and a cool breeze was blowing. Before noon we came to
a halt in a wood, having made some six miles. Here a pleasant sight
greeted Company A, of the Twenty-Third. Foragers had been sent out in
advance when we broke camp, one or two for each company it was said.
One of these now made his appearance, having in company a poor farmer
whom he had found up in the mountains. He was dressed in jean blouse
and overalls, wore a slouched hat, and sat astride a small imitation of
a horse, which bore also two well-filled bags slung across his back,
before and behind the rider. These bags disgorged lima beans, onions,
radishes, a pile of fresh bread and a crock of butter; none of which,
it may well be believed, were wasted. On this halt we were treated to
our usual daily ration of shower--the only ration we received
regularly. It rained for several hours, wetting us enough to make us
miserable. Early in the afternoon we got started again, much to our
relief.

As we were now entered upon the last week of our term of service, and
as there did not appear to us to be any immediate prospect of further
fighting--at least of fighting in which we should be engaged--we had
been thinking all day that our faces were at length set toward home,
and that Boonesboro' was to be the next stage of our journey; then some
point between Boonesboro' and Frederick; then Frederick, where we
should find railroad transportation direct for Baltimore, Philadelphia
and New York. This was a pretty fancy, and we discussed it with great
vivacity. It beguiled the march and helped us amazingly over the
abominable roads and through the more abominable rain. There was but
little singing, however, "Homeward Bound" being as yet far from _fait
accompli_. Besides, we had not been in singing mood, as a general
thing, these many days--marching along usually with a quiet, dogged,
philosophic endurance of discomfort.

But these visions of home with which we had filled one another's hearts
we knew hardly deserved any better name than day-dreams; for though we
were marching toward home, we were also marching toward the enemy,
General Meade being at that very moment, though happily for our dreams
we knew it not, feeling the enemy and preparing for a vigorous attack
upon him on the morrow; in which prospective event we were doubtless
looked to as a portion of the reserve force. This tended to sober the
exuberance of our hopes. It was interesting to watch in the spirit of
the men the play of this struggle between hope and fear. We had marched
but a mile or two from the wood when we made another halt in a field by
the road. In a certain part of the line a little company fell together
worthy of brief mention. One, a singer, had spread out his rubber cloth
upon the wet ground, and was reclining upon it. Eight others had joined
him, also singers, sitting down on the edges of the cloth; and they
were singing together. A row of listeners sat perched on a rail fence
five or six feet in front of them, and others were ranged around in
various picturesque situations and attitudes. These swelled the
choruses and joined in the melody according to their skill and
knowledge. And what did they sing? "Gideon's Band"? "Hail Columbia"?
"Kingdom Coming"? or any of those songs with which we were wont days
before to greet the larks and the freshly risen sun when resuming the
march after an uncomfortable bivouac? No, nothing of the sort. But in
soft low tones they warbled the most plaintive songs. Because of our
hope, we counted over and over again the remaining days of wandering
allotted to us by the terms of our enlistment, and beguiled one another
with scenes of home revisited. But because there was fear and
uncertainty mingled with our hope, we thought of that home tenderly,
and were in no mood of exultation in our singing. Those who remember
that little chance way-side festival will have no difficulty of
recognising the spirit which animated it in the following melodies,
which were always great favorites with us when we were in a plaintive
mood:--

    Why am I so weak and weary?
      See how faint my heated breath!
    All around to me seems darkness;
      Tell me, comrades, is this death?
    Ah! how well I know your answer;
      To my fate I'll meekly bow,
    If you'll only tell me truly,
      Who will care for mother now?

    CHORUS: Soon with angels I'll be marching,
              With bright laurels on my brow;
            I have for my Country fallen,
              Who will care for mother now?

    Who will comfort her in sorrow?
      Who will dry the falling tear?
    Gently smooth her wrinkled forehead?
      Who will whisper words of cheer?
    Even now I think I see her
      Kneeling, praying for me! How
    Can I leave her in her anguish?
      Who will care for mother now?

    Let this knapsack be my pillow,
      And my mantle be the sky;
    Hasten, comrades, to the battle!
      I will like a soldier die.
    Soon with angels I'll be marching,
      With bright laurels on my brow;
    I have for my Country fallen.
      Who will care for mother now?

The following is inserted, like the rest not on account of any
intrinsic merit it may be thought to have, nor indeed on account of
any sympathy for the slave which it might have been employed to
express--though there was probably no lack of that--but because it
illustrates, in words and music, a certain sentimental vein of feeling
which found frequent utterance, not very soldier-like it must be
confessed, nor indulged when serious work was before us to do, but
quite natural to us now that we had caught half-visions of home, albeit
in the intervening sky there were omens of doubtful import.

    There's a low green valley on the old Kentucky shore;
      There I've whiled many happy hours away,
    A sitting and a singing by the little cottage door
      Where lived my darling Nelly Gray.

        CHORUS:

        Oh, my poor Nelly Gray, they have taken you away,
          And I'll never see my darling any more,
        I'm sitting by the river and I'm weeping all the day,
          For you've gone from the old Kentucky shore.

    One night I went to see her, but she's gone, the neighbours say,
      The white man has bound her with his chain;
    They have taken her to Georgia for to wear her life away,
      As she toils in the cotton and the cane.

    My eyes are getting blinded and I cannot see my way,
      Hark! there's somebody knocking at the door;
    Oh, I hear the angels calling and I see my Nelly Gray;
      Farewell to the old Kentucky shore.

        CHORUS:

        Oh, my Nelly Gray, up in heaven there they say
          They will never take you from me any more;
        I'm a coming, coming, coming as the angels clear the way;
          Farewell to the old Kentucky shore.

We had dropped down on the ground with our harness on expecting to hear
the "Fall in" at any moment; but it was in the edge of the evening
before we were summoned to resume the march. A mile or two further
brought us to camping ground in a rough, ploughed field within about a
mile of Boonesboro'. As dark was fast coming on all hands set to, on
breaking ranks, and brought rails for fires and bedding! It was
astonishing to watch the effect of this instantaneous assault upon the
fences. They melted away before the eyes very much like a flake of snow
does on the warm ground; it disappears while you are looking at it,
almost before you have half realized that it is going! The pots were on
in a trice, and by the time we had tents pitched we were saluted with
the "Fall in" for soup. The bustle over, we had time to look about us,
and then for the first some of us saw what caused a sudden change to
come o'er the spirit of our dreams. It was now dark. In the distance in
front and on the right appeared the gleam of camp fires; and on the
left far up in mid-air a bright light was blazing which we knew at once
to be a beacon on South Mountain, many miles distant, though it was too
dark to see even the outline of the range. That spot of fire, hanging
aloft there in the pitchy darkness like a great meteor, had in it
somewhat of portentous awe to us. It seemed the eye of a Cyclops
watching the foe. Our imaginations had not yet taken in the scope of a
vast army, nor the stupendous movements of a great battle like
Gettysburg. The apparition of extended camp fires and a great beacon
afar off came suddenly upon us as out of the very darkness. We had been
beguiling the day with visions of home, and cheating ourselves with the
dream that we were even then homeward bound; and now to have thrust
upon us without warning the spectral lights of a great army, and to be
set down in the midst of them was startling. But the surprise over, the
sight was exhilarating, Close about us lay encamped the several
regiments comprising our column, where a hundred fires were blazing.
Around them figures were moving like Indians, whose faces the flames
lit up with ghastly distinctness. The neighboring wood was made visible
and gloomy at once by the fires under the trees, the foliage reflecting
the light dismally. Elsewhere all was in darkness, and we lay down to
sleep wondering what the morrow would bring forth. Frederick City and
home were forgotten, and the thoughts that now possessed us were of
marching and counter-marching, of lines of battle, of reserves, of
battery supports, and the like.

General Meade had spent the day in making "reconnoissances of the
enemy's position and preparations for an attack" on the morrow; and
General Lee in completing his preparations to withdraw to the south
side of the river, which he expected to accomplish during the night;
but "owing to the condition of the roads the troops (rebel) did not
reach the bridge until after daylight on the 14th, and the crossing was
not completed until 1 P.M., when the bridge was removed."

_Tuesday, 14th._--The morning dawned but brought to us no appearance of
impending battle; and probably in the event of a battle, the first
intimation we should have had of it would have been the distant roar of
artillery. And this we heard about noon--doubtless the attack of
General Kilpatrick's cavalry upon the enemy's rear-guard at Falling
Waters, which resulted in the fall of the rebel general Pettigrew, who
was in command of the rear-guard, and the capture of two pieces of
artillery and fifteen hundred prisoners.

About this time we were ordered under arms again. By slow, short stages
we crept across the fields to the Boonesboro' and Hagerstown pike,
which we followed toward the latter city two miles. We passed a spot
where there had lately been a great camp--the fences all gone, the
fields one vast common and trampled foul, and the air loaded with
stench from putrid carcasses. There were some troops still remaining,
also a park of army wagons, hundreds in number, and a large drove of
fat cattle. When we thought of our starved commissariat, this sight
made us inclined to envy the lot of the soldiers of the Grand Army.

We halted in a field, through which runs a considerable stream called
Beaver Creek, a tributary of the Antietam, within thirty rods of where
there had been a cavalry fight a few days before. It was stated that
our men buried some bodies of rebel soldiers that afternoon. Toward
evening news came that put an entirely new face upon affairs.



IV.

HOMEWARD BOUND.


By late Baltimore papers we learned of the great riot in New York; that
Chief of Police Kennedy had been killed; that the militia, called out
in defence of the city, had been disarmed by the mob; that the office
of the _Tribune_ had been torn down; besides a great many other things
to match. This created somewhat of a stir in camp as may be imagined.
It was not pleasant to think of our firesides and our property and
those of our fellow-citizens exposed to the mercies of mob law, and we,
to whom the city was accustomed to look for protection against such
violence, unable to defend them. Under purely patriotic impulses we had
rushed to the rescue of an invaded sister state to do the little we
could toward destroying the great enemy of our country; and now to be
assailed by this dastardly fire in the rear made us turn with even a
sharper vengeance against the insurgents at home than we felt towards
the armed hosts which confronted us. Nor had home-sickness anything to
do with this feeling. It is true, the idea which was involved, of going
home, modified secondarily the tone of our spirits and made us
jubilant, without, however, diluting our eagerness to be seen marching
up Broadway with firm step to the rescue of our own dishonored
metropolis. During the remainder of the afternoon this news was the
staple of our talk, and we chafed to be off at once. Some of the
regiments appeared to be in possession of specially gladdening news;
for they filled the camp with cheering and hilarious singing. This
spirit was contagious, and a remarkably buoyant feeling quickly
overspread the whole encampment. But

    "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
      Gang aft a-gley;"

and like sensible men we put not our trust in princes. Accordingly the
opportunity of getting a fresh supply of delicacies being presented,
we availed ourselves of it precisely as if we understood that we were
to resume pursuit of the enemy on the morrow. Boonsboro' was only some
four miles distant, and men were detailed to go thither, and get what
they could, though the supply of store goods was extremely
problematical since the rebels, with maws more insatiable than ours,
had occupied the place but a few days previously, and must have
lovingly visited the shops. Commissions were given for the purchase of
all sorts of things--things to eat, things to drink, things to wear,
things to cook in.

Toward evening the chaplain held a prayer-meeting under a spreading
tree. These meetings which had been so acceptable to us while we lay at
Fort Washington were now grown almost totally into disuse. During the
severities of the campaign it would have been a forlorn task to meet
together either at the close or the beginning of the day for even the
solemn services of religion. Our strength was always near the point of
exhaustion, and it was doubtless the feeling of all who thought about
it that we were serving our Maker better by husbanding all our physical
powers for use against the armed enemies of law and order, of
republican government and personal liberty, of society and religion,
than we should be by spending in public prayer, singing and exhortation
the precious hours that would otherwise be given to rest. In silence of
the heart with brief and often painful ejaculations, and in the
nakedness of truth, which no public ceremony can so much as imitate,
did worship go up to heaven from every devout heart among us, during
those days and nights of suffering. The sharpness of our tribulation
was our best chaplain, pointing to us the way and helping our feeble
wills to walk in it. We needed then no other.

Under the inspiration of the morrow's hope there was a great
demonstration of joy in camp. Throughout the evening the air was filled
with cadences of happy song and with uproarious shouting; and all felt,
as we stretched ourselves in our tents for sleep that the morning would
bring us assurances that we were homeward bound.

_Wednesday, 15th._--Morning dawned through a dripping atmosphere as
usual. We piled together the half burnt fagots, and rejoiced with the
leaping flames in the expectancy of receiving immediate marching
orders. We cooked coffee and soup, the partaking of which was not
observed to result injuriously, strange as it may seem, and dried our
tents, blankets, overcoats, etc. But no marching orders came. Nobody
knew what was going to be done. We were packed and all ready for the
final word, but that final word seemed fatefully to linger. It was a
period of anxious suspense. We were yet a part of the Army of the
Potomac, and in the very midst of it. General Meade's head-quarters
were near. The enemy we supposed were still at bay in the mountains
this side the river. It was evident that now was the auspicious moment
to strike at him with all the might of the Grand Army. At that moment
Madam Rumor whispered that Lee had eluded us and slipped across the
Potomac! If this were true the golden opportunity was again lost, and
the campaign at an end. Perhaps the wish was father to the thought, but
we could not believe we were to be marched off into Virginia in
pursuit. And yet if it were intended to send us home what meant this
delay, during which the cool hours were fast slipping by. The camp grew
moody. Some threw themselves upon the ground in drowsy unrest; some sat
down against the shocks of wheat with which the field was strewn and
read the newspapers drearily, or with affected indifference went
napping; some wandered off to the stream, but quickly returned under an
irrepressible nervous anxiety. At length a feeling not unlike disgust
seemed taking possession of us, when shortly before eight o'clock word
came! It swept through the camp like an electric current. "Fall in!"
shouted the orderly. "Fall in!" shouted back the men. "Fall in! Fall
in!" echoed from every quarter. We jumped into our harness, quickly got
into line, and at eight o'clock were on the road with our faces toward
Frederick, this time homeward bound in sober verity.

With this change in our affairs our relations to the Army of the
Potomac terminated, and we were turned over to our own militia officers
by the following order:

    Head-Quarters, First Division, }
    Department of the Susquehanna. }

    Special Order No.--        July 15th, 1863.

    Brigadier-General John Ewen will take command of all the New York
    troops in this Division, and proceed with them to Frederick,
    Maryland, at which point transportation will be furnished them to
    New York City. In parting with them the General Commanding must
    express his admiration of the courage and fortitude with which they
    have stood the toils and privations of their late marches.

    By order of

    Brigadier-General W. F. SMITH.
    PRESTON F. WEST, A.A.A.G.

The tribute to our fidelity paid us in this hastily penned order will
lose nothing of its value when read in connection with the ungenerous
slur upon our trustworthiness contained in the paragraph, before
alluded to, of General Halleck's Review. Nor was General Meade
unmindful of what was due to us, as witness the following:

    Head-Quarters, Army of the Potomac, }
                         July 15, 1863. }

    Special Order, No. 190.

    The troops comprising the command of Brigadier-General W. F. Smith
    are released from further service with the Army of the Potomac, and
    will be reported back to General Couch for instructions. The
    Major-General Commanding thanks Brigadier-General W. F. Smith and
    his troops for the zeal and promptitude which, amid no little
    privations, have marked their efforts to render this army all the
    assistance in their power. ******

    By command of

    Major-General MEADE.
    S. WILLIAMS, A.A.G.

On the eve of our departure homeward there were signs in camp of a mail
having arrived with news from home. Beside the usual precious gift of
letters there flamed out from the persons of many of the
fellows--especially the younger men, quite an assortment of patriotic
and other symbols. One flaunted a pretty tri-color, jauntily pinned on
the breast of his coat, evidently just extracted from a dainty looking
letter which he was reading. Ah, I fear me, the delicate thought of a
sweetheart thrilled in that bosom, while coarser eyes only saw
fluttering on the outside a tiny badge of red, white and blue. Another
sported a miniature flag in the form of a pin; and other devices there
were according to the fancy of the fair correspondent. Did these highly
favored fellows know, I wonder, through what tribulations these
precious messages had passed to reach their hands? All knew how, owing
to our constant and rapid marches, and the impracticable condition of
the roads, we had been deprived, ever since we left Harrisburg, of all
means of communicating with home except as accident provided. The
chaplain of the Twenty-Third interested himself in forwarding our
letters whenever there seemed to be a reasonable chance of getting them
through. But we were all indebted more than once to the energy and
kindness of a gentleman of New York, not connected with any of the
regiments, for tidings from home and for the opportunity of sending
return letters.[5]

      [5] As this gentleman[5-1] in making his way to join us went over
      much the same ground that we did, his observations are
      interesting as showing how things looked in our wake. His
      adventures, moreover, are full of entertainment as well on
      account of their novelty and freshness as for the remarkable
      energy displayed in overcoming obstacles that would have appalled
      most men.

            [5-1] JOHN H. TRIPLER, Esq.

      On the fifth of July he obtained after great difficulty a pass to
      cross the bridge at Harrisburg; and having reached Carlisle the
      same afternoon by the cars, set out with one or two others on
      foot to overtake the column. At Papertown they halted for the
      night at a deserted house, where they found "some soldiers
      sitting around on the floor eating bread and molasses by the
      light of a dilapidated tallow candle." Next morning they entered
      upon the mountain road leading to Laurel Forge, which they found
      still nearly impassable. In the words of the narrator, "It was
      nothing but mud, mud, of the worst kind. Thus we travelled for
      many weary miles till we came to where a number of the
      Thirty-Seventh Regiment had been encamped with their teams. The
      road grew worse as we proceeded. We began now to pass a good many
      stragglers and wagons, some of them stuck in the mud, the
      soldiers with ropes assisting the horses to get through the
      well-nigh impassable mire. We came to a wagon that had broken
      down, belonging to the Thirty-Seventh, and found in it a barrel
      of hard-tack from which we filled our handkerchiefs and ate along
      the way, soaking it in the brooks to make it easier for our
      molars. We were told for our encouragement that the further we
      proceeded the less chance we would have of getting anything to
      eat; and we found it so. We had not gone far before we came
      across some hungry soldiers who gladly took some of our
      crackers." Our travellers were lucky enough to find a roof to
      sleep under that night but had to go to bed supperless.

      "On Tuesday morning we proceeded on our way hungry, being unable
      to procure breakfast: the poor man who gave us lodging having
      been robbed by the rebels, who had not left him enough for his
      own family. The roads being here lined with cherry trees, we
      followed the example of the soldiers and satisfied the cravings
      of appetite with this refreshing fruit. ** We at length reached
      Cashtown, where we found the main body of our New York and
      Brooklyn regiments encamped. ** We found a great many had letters
      to send home, which we volunteered to carry, there being no
      regular way of sending them. They soon had us pretty heavily
      laden; so with a soldier's haversack over each shoulder we
      marched along with the column when it moved."

      At Altodale our friend "after getting all the letters for New
      York" took final leave of us, and started alone to return.
      Thinking he might be molested on the road at night--for he meant
      to travel the greatest number of hours that his strength would
      permit--he armed himself with a pass from head-quarters. "I
      left," he continues, "about half-past eight o'clock in the
      evening intending to go as far as possible before resting. But
      the night being dark, there being some danger of falling into the
      hands of the rebels, and the few straggling soldiers with whom I
      was in company not being willing to proceed further, I concluded
      to halt at the first house I came to. I was up in the night
      several times from anxiety of mind, and about two o'clock in the
      morning, the moon having risen sufficiently to make the road
      visible, I roused the farmer, settled my bill and made my exit.
      No sooner had I got into the road than I was peremptorily ordered
      to 'halt!' The summons proved to proceed from a picket of the
      Thirteenth Regiment, who hailed a comrade and carefully inspected
      my pass by the light of a lantern. This proving satisfactory I
      proceeded on my lonely journey. A heavy rain soon set in which
      wet me through, adding to my discomfort." During the hours of
      darkness he stumbled upon various suspicious parties whom, being
      off their guard, having crawled under shelter from the rain, and
      being perhaps asleep, he managed to avoid, fearing they were
      rebels. One of these parties he learned to be Independent
      Pennsylvania Pickets _guarding the road_! "After a tedious
      journey," he goes on to say, "I arrived at Fayetteville about
      five o'clock in the morning. Arousing one of the storekeepers, I
      got all the information I could regarding my journey, and
      procured breakfast. The storm gave no signs of abating, but I was
      determined to proceed notwithstanding the roads were fast
      becoming impassable. I found the bridges washed away, and the
      roads over-flowed; but I soon got used to wading up to my waist
      in water. I at length came to a stream which I found unfordable,
      the bridge having been destroyed by the rebels. I was told that
      this was the heaviest freshet that had ever been known in those
      parts. Having engaged a boy to pilot me across the stream, I gave
      him charge of one of my mail bags and cautiously followed him. We
      found a temporary structure crossing the stream, along which we
      picked our way. But when we had got about half across the whole
      structure gave way and we found ourselves floundering in the
      water. After desperate exertions we managed to reach the shore,
      and I proceeded on my journey. I at length came to a railroad,
      or the remains of one. The rebels had torn it up, burnt the
      sleepers, and twisted the rails into every imaginable shape. ** I
      reached Shippensburg in time to learn that there was no train
      till next morning. Although tired out I concluded to push on to
      Carlisle in hopes of catching a soldier's train at that place. **
      About six o'clock in the evening I arrived at a small village
      where I got supper. About seven o'clock I started again for a
      night's tramp, not being able to obtain any conveyance. I walked
      on till dark by a very circuitous and muddy road, being at times
      bewildered; till finally my route seemed to lie along a large
      stream of water. I was now becoming scarcely able to stand from
      so many hours' severe walking, occasionally stumbled headlong, in
      danger constantly of walking into the river. It became very dark,
      and the mist rising from the river made the road and water all
      look alike, and I had to feel my way along step by step. ** A few
      miles further I heard the welcome sound of a locomotive which
      served as a guide to the Newville Depot, where I arrived about
      half-past eleven o'clock.[5-2]

            [5-2] Our self-forgetting traveller omits to give the
            distances of the remarkable journey he is pursuing. On the
            morning of the 6th he left Papertown; on the evening of the
            7th he parted with the troops at Altodale; and now a little
            before midnight of the 8th he is at Newville--having walked
            a distance which cannot be much short of NINETY MILES in
            some _sixty-five hours_; carrying for more than one-half of
            the distance about _one thousand letters_, whose weight
            could not have been less than THIRTY POUNDS--all this
            through drenching rains and over horrible roads; and
            fording or swimming streams whose bridges had been swept
            away by the flood!

      "Learning that no train would start for Harrisburg till towards
      morning, I took a room and went to bed. About one o'clock I heard
      a locomotive whistle, and hastily dressing, hurried down only to
      find it was a soldiers' train going to Shippensburg; _but
      concluded not to go to bed again for fear I should miss the
      earliest train eastward_(!) I spent the balance of the night in
      an engine room of the station drying my clothes and the letters,
      and took a train in the morning for Harrisburg, and thence to New
      York, where I arrived about ten o'clock at night." On that night
      he sorted the Brooklyn letters, and personally delivered most of
      them early on the following morning!

      In a second expedition undertaken for a similar benevolent
      object, this resolute and indefatigable traveller recounts some
      amusing tribulations which he suffered in order to secure safe
      transit for a "large trunk filled with tobacco for the
      boys"--worth its weight in gold to the tobacco-famished
      regiments. Among other forwarding agents whose services he
      appropriated was one "Nat Wolf, who had recently been employed by
      the rebels in conveying dead soldiers", having been impressed by
      them when they passed by his manor. Nat showed what he called his
      "Pass", written on a piece of brown paper and signed by the rebel
      general Heath, which exempted him from further impressment into
      the rebel service on account of his "extreme poverty, and the
      unfitness of his horse and wagon to be of any further service" to
      their army! When it is considered what the exigencies of the
      rebel service are in the best of times, some idea may be formed
      of the prospective perils of the journey about to be undertaken
      by our traveller! But "Nat Wolf"--his wagon "tied together with
      ropes"--brought his rare freight through in safety, not to speak
      of dispatch. Collecting another "large mail", Mr. T. at once set
      out for home again, and delivered his precious charge at an early
      day, notwithstanding an alarming attack of sickness which
      overtook him at Frederick, Md.

      "Such zeal in the voluntary service of the regiments, and such
      extraordinary exertions to relieve at the earliest possible
      moment the anxieties of thousands of hearts for whom he had most
      precious messages, is deserving of more than this passing
      recognition."

Our march being now directed homeward it may be imagined that our step
was light, and our hearts also. The woods again resounded to joyous
singing which broke from all parts of the line.

During the wearisome and forlorn marches of the last fortnight silence
had for the most part fitlier expressed our emotions; or, if we sang,
the melodies were pensive and often sad. But now all was changed. We
saw that our painful trials were rapidly drawing to a close, and it is
only the truth to say that we rejoiced with exceeding joy.

The distance to Frederick where we expected to get railroad
transportation we understood to be upwards of twenty miles, a two days'
march at the rate at which we had hitherto moved. But the road was
good, though being macadamised it was hard for the feet, and we made
but few rests. During the forenoon we caught sight of an army wagon
train ahead of us in the distance, the white canvas covers dotting the
road for miles like flecks of wool. The solidity of these wagons, which
occasionally passed us singly, and the excellent condition of the teams
excited our admiration, they contrasted so strikingly with our own.
Each was drawn by four to six mules, fat, sleek, natty-looking
creatures, which are taught to obey the voice instead of the rein like
oxen. Though from what has been said of the staple of the soldiers'
vocabulary--and it may be imagined the teamsters were not a whit
behind--this use cannot be commended on moral grounds for the sake of
either man or beast.

At noon we halted an hour or more in a deep, wide dell by the
road-side, where we ate our rations of hard-tack which we carried in
haversacks, rested a little, rambled a little, foraged a little; cooked
coffee, chocolate or tea; partook together of delicate bits which some
had contrived to pick up; bathed our feet in a brook which threaded the
dell; and in one way or another refreshed ourselves for a speedy
resumption of the march.

The day throughout was favorable for a long march, the sun being
somewhat obscured by clouds and the heat not excessive. The column kept
well together, and it was a magnificent spectacle to watch the long
line winding over the hills and through the hollows in the far
distance. On reaching the crest of Catoctin mountain a sudden turn of
the road unrolled all at once before us a superb panorama of the valley
of the Monocacy and a vast spread of adjacent country, in the midst of
which we could just distinguish afar off the spires of a city which we
supposed to be Frederick. A little further on we beheld the city
completely revealed before us in the beauty of a most quiet landscape.
Our day's march, it was now evident, was not to terminate short of this
place, and we were not sorry; for we expected to find transportation
awaiting us there, and that we should be hurried on to New York without
an hour's delay.

It was amusing to observe the disposition among the men to collect
souvenirs of the campaign, from the rusty iron button which a paroled
rebel prisoner might be induced to cut from his coat, to a dog led by a
string tied round his neck. In the dog line nothing appeared to be
amiss. From a poodle pup to a raw-boned mongrel, whatever sort came
along was sure to be gobbled up as if it had been a creature of
superbest breed. It was not the value of the thing, but the
association, that made it precious. The fancy however was short-lived.
Perhaps the long march did not agree with the dogs; or their new
proprietors grew weary of facing the storm of laughter which greeted
them every little while when extricating their yelping charges from
between their own or their comrades' legs among which they were forever
getting tangled. Whatever the reason, the dogs disappeared, there being
only one poor, limp, fagged-out mongrel left, according to the writer's
observation, to enter with the stately column the city of Frederick. It
is not impossible that some might have turned up in the shape of soup
or stew, had our commissariat been subsequently in so suffering a
condition as on some days and nights we had passed. At such times dog
or cat or mule meat, well stewed, would have been accepted with
enthusiasm and voted an immense success.

We entered Frederick toward the close of the day, and halted there for
a couple of hours or more. The shops were instantly besieged for
eatables and drinkables of every description, but could do little
toward supplying the ravenous demand. At dark we buckled on our harness
again, having three miles yet between us and Monocacy Junction, where
we were to take cars. As we neared the Junction the screaming and
snorting of locomotives greeted our ears, and pleasanter sounds could
hardly be imagined. The idea of a train of cars flying across the
country had haunted us in many and many a toilsome march; and now to
know that such was to bear us over the distance that yet intervened
between us and our homes, and to hear its shrill greeting, and to catch
sight of its glaring Cyclops-eye, all this was indeed exhilarant.

This last three miles was to some of us, probably to all, by far the
severest part of the march; much severer than it would have been had
the rest at Frederick been shorter. The day's performance was certainly
a great feat, only exceeded in severity by our Fourth of July's march
from Carlisle to Laurel Forge through a sea of mud. The distance from
Beaver Creek to Frederick is something like twenty-two miles. We moved
with equipments complete, even cartridge pouches filled. What kept us
up was the near prospect of home which loomed glittering before our
eyes, the knowledge that this was to be our last march, and a belief
that a great emergency existed in New York requiring our immediate
presence. But even under the stimulus of these inspiring motives it is
remarkable that we kept up at all. One poor fellow, a member of the
Fifty-Sixth, N.Y., had no sooner reached camp than his o'erwrought
powers gave way, and he died in half an hour. He had the appearance of
a hardy workingman. Strange that Death, for that day's fatigue, should
have passed by men unused to severe toil, and lain his strong hand on
one of sinewy frame.

The place of encampment was a piece of woods near the railroad. The
ground was somewhat damp and the air heavy with mist; but too fagged
out to pitch tents, we spread our rubber blankets and dropped upon
them. Moreover we did not suppose we were to rest there during the
whole night, but expected to be called up soon to take the cars. In
that bivouac, our bodies overheated and their nervous energy exhausted,
there was peril, much greater peril than many of us thought of; but the
night passed quietly and uneventfully.

_Friday 17th._--The hours of Friday melted away one by one without
bringing any intimation of a further movement. But a little after
midnight following we were ordered into line to take the cars for
Baltimore. It soon began to rain, and so continued till dawn; during
all which time we remained under arms on the road, waiting, and got
thoroughly wet again. At dawn the Twenty-Third and Fifty-Sixth were
packed aboard a train of thirty cars similar to those which transported
us from Philadelphia to Harrisburg at the outset of our campaign, and
which we had thought so wretched. Some of them were provided with three
or four rough pine boards for seats, and the rest with nothing
whatever. But now our plane of view was shifted greatly; and the
thought that our long marches, our exhausting fasts, our comfortless
bivouacs were all ended, was so ravishing that we regarded the car as
an asylum from misery.

We reached Baltimore about 4 P.M., where we got refreshments, and
expected to take cars for Philadelphia at once, transportation having
been secured for the Twenty-Third by its officers. The brigade,
however, was ordered to proceed together _via_ Harrisburg; and we
accordingly marched across the city some two miles to the Harrisburg
depot where we embarked about midnight on a train similar in style to
that which had brought us from Frederick. Our progress was very slow,
owing probably to interruptions on the road, the rebels having burnt
the bridges and torn up and twisted the rails. Repairs were by this
time nearly completed, though several structures we crossed were
considered very unsafe for the passage of trains.

_Saturday, 18th._--We spent the day for the most part on the car-tops
which afforded a charming panorama of the pretty country we were
traversing. The train being more than one half the time at a
stand-still, some of us had the enterprise to build fires on the road
and cook coffee; some hunted for berries; some ran off, at no small
risk, to a neighboring farm-house for bread and butter, milk, cakes,
pies, etc.; some whiled the time away with playing checkers, the
squares being scratched on the tin roofs of the cars and small flakes
of stones being used for pieces. At York we found awaiting our arrival
a crowd of small venders of cakes, pies, etc., who brought their
commodities eagerly to us, which we as eagerly purchased at outrageous
prices.

Between York and Harrisburg we had a narrow escape of an appalling
calamity. A new bridge over a considerable confluent of the Susquehanna
gave way under a freight and cattle train only a few hours before we
reached the spot--the whole now presenting a frightful spectacle of
wreck. We crossed the stream--some by a light pontoon bridge, and some
clambering over the broken timbers and wrecked cars, and took a train
on the other side which brought us safely to Harrisburg by dark. Here
we were threatened with another delay, which was prevented, as we
understood, by the resolution of our regimental officers. After
partaking of lunch freely furnished at the soldiers' dining hall, we
proceeded without change of cars toward home. Our berths for the night
were somewhat promiscuously dovetailed together, not unlike a box of
sardines. But notwithstanding an occasional kick in the face, or the
racy smell of an old shoe not far removed from the detective organ, or
other like reminders of our situation, we slept and were refreshed.

_Sunday, 10th._--At Easton, Pa., we were met by a great concourse of
people loaded down with food for us. It was morning church time; but
they had heard of our coming, and that we had but little to eat, and
here, behold, was an earnest of their Christianity. It was certainly a
very beautiful spectacle:--men with piled up wagon loads of cooked
meats, bread, cakes, etc., driving alongside the car doors and
dispensing the viands with lavish hand; ladies toiling along under
heavy baskets to the nearest who appeared to be yet unprovided for;
nothing for money, all for charity. It may be guessed the stillness of
that Sabbath air was broken by many a ringing cheer for those good
Samaritans of Easton. The train stopped long enough to give us a chance
to prink up a little; and one fellow had the hardihood to go off and
get shaved. The shout of derision which greeted this youth when he
showed himself was only equalled by the laughter with which we saluted
the first man we saw carrying an umbrella!

At 3 P.M., we reached Elizabethport where we embarked in a steamer
which was in waiting. Landed at the Battery and proceeded directly to
the Armory where we were dismissed.


In the foregoing narrative I have not attempted to conceal or underrate
our eagerness to get home. It is a feeling common to all soldiers when
their term of service is drawing toward its close, and distant be the
day when camp-life shall have such attractions for the American citizen
as to make him indifferent to it. But now that our desire to see the
familiar faces and renew the associations of our daily life was
fulfilled, we felt a willingness to respond again to a similar call
upon our patriotism, even though it were certain that similar
sufferings were in store for us. The service we had rendered the
government we knew to be honorable and valuable, and we rejoiced in
having so rendered it as not to be ashamed to keep its memory green.
And thereunto I would cherish every memento. The knapsack and
haversack, torn, musty and rusty; the battered canteen; the belt and
cartridge pouch; the woolen and rubber blankets, most indispensable of
equipments;--these shall not be thrown aside among the rubbish, but
cherished with an ever-growing affection. Nor let me forget my shelter
tent. Ah that painful roll! with which I toiled, day after day, over
the worst roads, enduring the tormenting burden for the sake of the
rosy hope that at the end of the march it would repay me and perhaps
some wretched comrade beside, by its warm protection; and not having
despairingly thrown it away in those mountains of our sorrow I do now
and shall henceforth cherish it as among sacred recollections. Set up
in some quiet retreat of my garden, it may in after years serve to keep
alive the waning fires of patriotism, as beneath it will be rehearsed
the story of Gettysburg, never to be forgotten while the love of
glorious deeds remains among men, with that episode of the Great Battle
which the New York Militia enacted, insignificant only when compared
with the grandeur of the main story.



APPENDIX.

RESUMÈ OF THE CAMPAIGN.


_Tuesday, June 16th, 1863._--23d Reg. received marching orders.

_Wednesday, 17th._--Ready; waiting for transportation.

_Thursday, 18th._--Embarked early in the day. Weather pleasant.

_Friday, 19th._--Arrived, A.M., at Harrisburg, reporting to
Major-General Couch; and P.M. at Bridgeport Heights. Afternoon and
night stormy. Marched 5 miles.

_Saturday, 20th._--Details at work in trenches. Guard duty on ramparts.
Day cloudy and heavy rain throughout night.

_Sunday, 21st._--Work of yesterday resumed. New camping ground laid
out. Cloudy but no rain.

_Monday, 22d._--Captain Farnham, Company C, 23d Regiment, appointed
Acting Major of the regiment. 448 officers and men present for duty.

_Tuesday, 23d._--Brig.-Gen. William Hall assumed command of all the
troops in and about the fort. Col. William Everdell, Jr., placed
temporarily in command of the Eleventh Brigade, now consisting of 23d,
52d, and 56th Regiments. A squad of the 23d, twenty-two in number,
arrived from Brooklyn.

_Wednesday, 24th._--Usual routine of garrison duty.

_Thursday, 25th._--Brig.-Gen. Jesse C. Smith arrived and took command
of Eleventh Brigade, now comprising 1,124 officers and men. Last four
days for the most part warm and pleasant, though heavy fogs prevalent
night and morning.

_Friday, 26th._--Left with two days' cooked provisions on tour of
picket duty, to relieve 37th N.Y., Col. Roome. Rained in torrents.
Detachments posted on the various roads, from one to three miles out.
All quiet during the night.

_Saturday, 27th._--Pickets moved forward to Shiremanstown. Toward
evening the advance of 8th and 71st N.Y., who had been reconnoitering
at the front since the 30th, appeared. Reported the enemy slowly
advancing. Being relieved, returned, reaching the fort about midnight.
Day lowering, little rain.

_Sunday 28th._--Enemy constantly reported moving on our works. Garrison
under arms throughout day and night. Glacis and space beyond cleared of
trees and standing grain. Each company assigned its position at the
breastworks. Day filled with alarms but passed without anything more
serious. Guards doubled for the night. Cloudy and comfortable, but no
rain.

_Monday, 29th._--On the _qui vive_. Large detail from 23d for provost
duty at the wagon bridge over the Susquehanna. Volunteer picket force
went out composed of detachments from 8th, 56th and 23d, under command
of Lieut.-Col. Elwell, 23d. Pickets shelled, but suffered no loss.
Captured a rebel. Weather unsettled.

_Tuesday, 30th._--Still on the alert. 22d and 37th N.Y. ordered out to
reconnoiter. Expecting to return in course of the day left everything
behind except arms and ammunition, and thus passed through rest of
campaign! They moved along the Carlisle road to "Sporting Hill" where
had a skirmish, in which lost three officers and four men wounded. A
spatter of rain toward night.

_Wednesday, July 1st._--Advanced P.M. in pursuit of the enemy, fully
equipped, with forty rounds of ammunition and two days' cooked rations
per man. Muster-roll of 23d gave 506 officers and men present for duty.
Column consisted of the 8th, 11th, 23d, 52d, 56th, 68th and 71st N.Y.,
with section of Miller's Philadelphia Battery;--all under command of
Brigadier-General Joseph Knipe. Bivouacked on Trindle Spring Creek, at
10 o'clock, P.M. Weather pleasant. Distance marched, 7 miles.

_Thursday, 2d._--At 3 A.M., ordered up, and at daylight countermarched
two miles. Halted all day. Bivouacked in a cul-de-sac of the
Conedoguinet Creek, at a place called Orr's Bridge. Day warm and
pleasant. Distance 3 miles.

_Friday, 3d._--Resumed forward march, disencumbered of knapsacks and
woolen blankets. Reached Carlisle at 6 P.M. Afternoon hot and sultry.
Distance, 12 miles.

_Saturday, 4th._--Took Carlisle and Baltimore pike through Papertown
and Mt. Holly Gap. Severe storm. At Hunter's Run 23rd, the advance
company excepted, countermarched to Mt. Holly paper mill. Crossed the
run a little before dark. Regiment arrived at Laurel Forge in
detachments during the night, men covered with mud, and exhausted with
hunger and fatigue. Distance 17 miles.

_Sunday, 5th._--At 8 A.M., resumed march. At Pine Grove Iron Works
turned to the left and ascended a heavy mountain, on the summit of
which halted and bivouacked in support of a masked battery planted at a
cross-roads in a grove. Day sultry followed by rainy night. Many of the
men without food, and all with but a scanty supply. Distance 5 miles.

_Monday, 6th._--Rations furnished. About middle of forenoon moved
forward. Reached Cashtown, on the Chambersburg and Gettysburg pike,
about 8 o'clock. Bivouacked in an orchard. Nothing to eat. Day cloudy
and comfortable; roads heavy. Distance 16 miles.

_Tuesday, 7th._--Ordered to march for Gettysburg, but countermanded.
Proceeded in the direction of Chambersburg some seven miles, where took
road to Altodale, Pa. Halted near that village about 4 P.M. Day fair;
roads heavy; rations distributed. Distance 12 miles.

_Wednesday, 8th._--Rain set in again about 1 a.m., and soon grew to a
furious storm. The whole camp helplessly at its mercy. At 8 A.M., took
road again. Marched a little beyond Waynesboro', and formed a junction
with Army of Potomac. Day pleasant; roads very heavy. Distance 11
miles.

_Thursday, 9th._--Rested. Muster rolls of 23rd gave largest number
during the campaign, viz: 519 officers and men.

_Friday, 10th._--Out for reconnoissance in company with 71st N.Y. Under
arms all day in a bare field beneath broiling sun. Returned to camp
about dark. Distance 8 miles.

_Saturday, 11th._--P.M., column moved toward Hagerstown, the 23rd
having the advance. Bivouacked a mile beyond Lettersburg. Company B,
23rd, detailed for picket duty at the front. Evening pleasant. Distance
5 miles.

_Sunday, 12th._--Countermarched to Lettersburg where took the Cavetown
road, reaching the latter place about noon. Here encountered another
terrific thunder storm. Several men of the 56th N.Y., struck by the
electric fluid, and one of them killed. Fresh beef rations furnished.
Bivouacked in a field which the rain flooded and converted into mire.
Roads pretty good and morning comfortable. Distance 9 miles.

_Monday, 13th._--Marched toward Boonsboro'. Bivouacked at dark in a
rough, stony field, the fires of different encampments of the Army of
the Potomac visible in the distance. Rained much through the day; very
muddy. Distance 10 miles.

_Tuesday, 14th._--Crossed fields to Boonsboro' and Hagerstown pike.
Followed it toward the latter to Beaver Creek where encamped. Day
pleasant. Distance 5 miles.

_Wednesday, 15th._--At 7.30 A.M., started for home, taking the pike for
Frederick. Reached Frederick about 6 P.M., and Monocacy Junction about
10 P.M., where encamped in a grove. Weather comfortable; sky overcast
most of the day; road dry and pretty smooth, though hard for the feet.
A member of the 56th N.Y. fell dead on reaching camp from exhaustion.
Distance 25 miles.

_Thursday, 16th._--Waiting for transportation.

_Friday 17th._--Took cars for Baltimore. Arrived about 4 P.M. Marched
to the Philadelphia Depot, and thence to Harrisburg Depot. About
midnight took train for the latter city.

_Saturday, 18th._--En route for Harrisburg, which we reached about 9
P.M., and at midnight got under way again for Elizabethport, N.J.,
without change of cars.

_Sunday, 19th._--Halted at Easton, Pa., where citizens poured out en
masse to feed us. Reached Elizabethport shortly after noon, and at once
embarked on steamboat for New York. Landed at the Battery, and
proceeded directly to the Armory, where were dismissed at 7-1/2 P.M.


Grand total of distances marched during 15 days from July 1st to July
15th inclusive:--ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-FIVE MILES, or an average of
_nine and two-third miles_ per day; each man carrying an aggregate of
THIRTY POUNDS of luggage, except during the first day's march of _seven
miles_ in which each carried an aggregate of FORTY-FOUR POUNDS.

Largest number at any roll-call:--FIVE HUNDRED AND NINETEEN, including
officers and men.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Our campaign around Gettysburg - Being a memorial of what was endured, suffered and accomplished by the Twenty-third regiment (N. Y. S. N. G.) and other regiments associated with them, in their Pennsylvania and Maryland campaign, during the second rebel invasion of the loyal states in June-July, 1863" ***

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