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Title: The Campaign of the Forty-fifth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Militia - The Cadet Regiment
Author: Hubbard, Charles Eustis
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)



[Illustration: Camp Meigs at Readville, Mass.]



  THE CAMPAIGN
  OF THE
  FORTY-FIFTH REGIMENT
  MASSACHUSETTS VOLUNTEER MILITIA.

  "THE CADET REGIMENT."

  [Illustration]

  BOSTON:
  PRINTED BY JAMES S. ADAMS.
  1882.



PUBLISHED BY THE "COMPANY A ASSOCIATES" OF THE FORTY-FIFTH REGIMENT,
M. V. M.



PREFACE.


Not long after the return of the Forty-Fifth Massachusetts regiment
from North Carolina, an informal meeting of some of the members of
Company A was held in Boston, which resulted in the formation of a
permanent association, known as the "Co. A Associates of the 45th Regt.
Mass. Vol. Mil."

This association has proved a constant source of pleasure to its
members, and has served to keep in fresh remembrance the many and
varied experiences of our campaign. The annual reunions are held on the
anniversary of the expedition to Trenton, and from year to year the
friendships which were formed in the service so many years ago, are
renewed. The presence of some of the officers as invited guests often
adds to the pleasure of the occasion.

Not a little of the success of these yearly meetings is due to that
warm friend of the company and regiment, Colonel Edward W. Kinsley. As,
in the old war time, no guest was ever more welcome than he, whether
in camp at Readville, on the deck of the "Mississippi," in the city of
Newbern, or on the sand-plains of North Carolina, so it has been in
the time of peace at our reunions. Elected an honorary member of the
"Co. A Associates," the meetings would be incomplete, indeed, without
his cheery presence to enliven us with reminiscence or song, or, better
still, to give us a bit of the inner history of the dark days in '62
and '63, with which he is so familiar, and in which he played so
important a part.

The question of publishing a history of the campaign of the 45th has
been often discussed at these Company A meetings, and a committee was
even appointed to consider the matter. The subject has also been under
consideration in the Regimental Association, organized some years
since. But nothing was done by either association, until at the meeting
of the Co. A Associates, held in January last, it was definitely
voted to publish a history of our campaign, with illustrations, and a
committee was chosen for this purpose. This book is the result, and in
offering it to the members and friends of the regiment, the committee
desire to make this explanation.

Shortly after the regiment was mustered out of the service, one of the
members of Company A wrote a brief history of the campaign, not with
any view to publication, but for his own private gratification, and
to preserve the leading incidents of his army experiences. He induced
another member of the company, now a well-known Boston artist, to
illustrate the manuscript with drawings copied from sketches taken
during our army life.

This history has been read with interest by different members of the
regiment, and the committee were convinced that it would be far better
to obtain, as they have done, permission of the writer and artist to
publish, without alteration, this illustrated story of the campaign,
written when the scenes described were fresh in the mind, than to
attempt the publication of an elaborate history of the regiment, even
if it were possible to induce any member to undertake such a task at
this late date.

In justice to our comrades who have kindly granted us this privilege,
the committee feel sure, if any apology is needed, that the reader will
bear in mind the fact that this joint effort is the production of their
youth, and not the work of to-day.

  BOSTON, June, 1882.



CONTENTS.


  CHAPTER.                     PAGE.

     I. CAMP LIFE AT READVILLE,    1
    II. THE VOYAGE,               11
   III. CAMP AMORY ON THE TRENT,  21
    IV. ON THE MARCH,             31
     V. OUR BATTLES,              39
    VI. THE RETURN,               49
   VII. A TRIP TO TRENTON,        57
  VIII. LIFE IN NEWBERN,          67
    IX. THE GRAND REVIEW,         77
     X. THE FOURTEENTH OF MARCH,  87
    XI. A TRIP UP THE RAILROAD,   97
   XII. CAMP MASSACHUSETTS,      107
  XIII. HOMEWARD BOUND,          117



ILLUSTRATIONS.


                                               PAGE.

  CAMP MEIGS AT READVILLE, (_Frontispiece_).
  OUTWARD BOUND, FORT MACON, ETC.,                11
  CAMP AMORY ON THE TRENT,                        21
  BATTLE OF KINSTON,                              31
  KINSTON SWAMP AND PLAN OF BATTLE-GROUND,        39
  BATTLE OF GOLDSBORO,                            49
  RESERVE PICKET-STATION, BLOCKHOUSE, ETC.,       57
  QUARTERS OF CO. A., NEWBERN, (Front View,)      67
  QUARTERS OF CO. A., NEWBERN, (Rear View,)       77
  FIELD AND STAFF, 45TH M. V. M.,                 87
  UP THE RAILROAD, DOVER CROSS-ROADS, ETC.,       97
  NEWBERN, CAMP MASSACHUSETTS, ETC.,             107
  COMPANY A AT READVILLE,                        117



ROSTER
OF
FORTY-FIFTH REGIMENT, M. V. M.


  CHARLES R. CODMAN,                         _Colonel_.
  OLIVER W. PEABODY,              _Lieutenant Colonel_.
  RUSSELL STURGIS, JR.,                        _Major_.
  SAMUEL KNEELAND,                           _Surgeon_.
  JOSHUA B. TREADWELL,             _Assistant Surgeon_.
  DANIEL McLEAN,                   _Assistant Surgeon_.
  GERSHOM C. WINSOR,                        _Adjutant_.
  FRANCIS A. DEWSON,                   _Quartermaster_.
  ANDREW L. STONE,                          _Chaplain_.
  HENRY G. WHEELOCK,                  _Sergeant Major_.
  ARTHUR REED,                _Quartermaster Sergeant_.
  CHARLES F. RICHARDSON,         _Commissary Sergeant_.
  EDWARD WIGGLESWORTH JR.,          _Hospital Steward_.
  THEODORE PARKMAN,                   _Color Sergeant_.

COMPANY A.

  GEORGE P. DENNY,                           _Captain_.
  GEORGE E. POND,                     _1st Lieutenant_.
  EDWARD B. RICHARDSON,                _2d Lieutenant_.

COMPANY B.

  JOSEPH M. CHURCHILL,                      _Captain_.
  WILLIAM S. BOND,                   _1st Lieutenant_.
  ABIJAH HOLLIS,                      _2d Lieutenant_.

COMPANY C.

  EDWARD J. MINOT,                          _Captain_.
  HARRISON GARDNER,                  _1st Lieutenant_.
  LEWIS R. WHITTAKER,                 _2d Lieutenant_.

COMPANY D.

  NAT'L WILLIS BUMSTEAD,                    _Captain_.
  SAMUEL THAXTER,                    _1st Lieutenant_.
  CYRUS A. SEARS,                     _2d Lieutenant_.

COMPANY E.

  THOMAS B. WALES, JR.,                     _Captain_.
  ALPHEUS H. HARDY,                  _1st Lieutenant_.
  J. FRANK EMMONS,                    _2d Lieutenant_.

COMPANY F.

  EDWARD F. DALAND,                         _Captain_.
  SAMUEL C. ELLIS,                   _1st Lieutenant_.
  THEODORE C. HURD,                   _2d Lieutenant_.

COMPANY G.

  JOSEPH MURDOCH,                           _Captain_.
  THEODORE A. THAYER,                _1st Lieutenant_.
  BENJAMIN H. TICKNOR,      _2d Lieutenant_, promoted.
  M. EVERETT WARE,                    _2d Lieutenant_.

COMPANY H.

  LEWIS W. TAPPAN, JR.,                     _Captain_.
  ALFRED WINSOR, JR.,                _1st Lieutenant_.
  ALFRED K. POST,                     _2d Lieutenant_.

COMPANY I.

  CHARLES O. RICH,                          _Captain_.
  J. DIXWELL THOMPSON,               _1st Lieutenant_.
  EDWARD R. BLAGDEN,                  _2d Lieutenant_.

COMPANY K.

  GEORGE H. HOMANS,                         _Captain_.
  CHARLES A. WALKER,                 _1st Lieutenant_.
  JOHN H. ROBINSON,                   _2d Lieutenant_.



ROLL OF COMPANY A,

FORTY-FIFTH REGIMENT, M. V. M.


  GEORGE P. DENNY, CAPTAIN.

  GEORGE E. POND, 1st Lieutenant.
  EDW. H. RICHARDSON, 2d Lieut.

  CHARLES W. BARSTOW, Ord. Sergt.
  GEORGE H. WATSON, 2d Sergeant.
  WILLIAM R. BUTLER, 3d Sergeant. (Died Jan. 26, 1867.)
  WM. E. WHEATON, 4th Sergeant.
  GEO. F. WOODMAN, 5th Sergeant. (Promoted.)
  CHARLES B. SUMNER, 5th Sergeant.

  LUTHER F. ALLEN, 1st Corporal.
  AUGUSTUS S. LOVETT, 2d Corporal.
  CHAS. EUSTIS HUBBARD, 3d Corporal.
  ERROL GRANT, 4th Corporal.
  HENRY K. PORTER, 5th Corporal.
  ALBERT A. CHITTENDEN, 6th Corp'l.
  WILLIAM F. SHAW, 7th Corporal. (Died Nov. 15, 1871.)
  WILLIAM B. STACY, 7th Corporal.
  HENRY E. MERRIAM, 8th Corporal.

  SAMUEL L. ALLEN.
  NATHANIEL ANDREWS.
  WM. B. ATKINSON.
  CALEB L. BATES. (Died Oct. 15, 1864.)
  CYRUS H. BATES.
  WILLIAM H. BECKET.
  CHARLES H. BENNETT.
  WILLIAM H. BERRY.
  JOSEPH H. BINGHAM.
  HENRY S. BLISS.
  CHARLES H. BROOKS.
  GEORGE BROOKS. (Died Feb. 10, 1863.)
  ELIAS W. BOURNE.
  LOUIS H. BOUTELLE.
  EDMUND W. BUSS.
  MOSES J. COLMAN.
  EDMUND P. DAVENPORT. (Died 1878.)
  FRANKLIN H. DEAN.
  REUBEN EDGETT.
  JOHN B. EDMANDS.
  GEO. W. ESTABROOK.
  FRANK A. FIELD.
  CALVIN W. FITCH.
  JOHN W. FOWLE. (Died July 8, 1863.)
  GEO. E. FOX. (Died Jan. 10, 1863.)
  JOSEPH V. FREELAND. (Died May 10, 1872.)
  RUFUS P. FURGUSON.
  STEPHEN A. FURGUSON. (Died July 17, 1863.)
  GARDNER GILMAN.
  CHAS. P. GOLDSMITH.
  ELBRIDGE GRAVES. (Died Dec. 17, 1862.)
  CHAS. H. GRIFFIN.
  CHAS. A. GROSS.
  ABRAHAM G. R. HALE.
  E. THOMAS HALE. (Died Sept. 7, 1868.)
  MILO T. HARDY.
  FRANCIS P. HASKELL.
  ROBERT HASTY.
  HORACE HOLMES. (Died Aug. 19, 1864.)
  CHAS. A. HOWARD.
  RODOLPHUS K. HOWARD.
  LEVI D. JONES.
  THOMAS KINSLEY.
  SILAS W. LANG.
  CHARLES H. LEONARD.
  RICHARD H. LINCOLN.
  STEPHEN LINCOLN. (Died June 30, 1863.)
  JEREMIAH R. LORD.
  EDMUND S. LUNT.
  ALBERT W. MANN.
  JAMES H. MASON.
  JOSEPH A. MORGAN. (Died July 3, 1863.)
  EDWIN T. MORSE.
  JOHN R. MORSE.
  HENRY D. NORTON.
  GEO. B. PARKER. (Died ----.)
  DANIEL PERT.
  FRANCIS B. PERT.
  WM. J. PERT.
  WM. P. PLIMPTON.
  WM. POLAND.
  WM. H. PRATT.
  FRANK L. PUTNAM.
  WM. A. RICHARDS.
  SWARTZ RICHARDSON. (Died Dec. 1, 1872.)
  OSCAR W. SARGENT.  (Died Oct. 19, 1877.)
  HENRY B. SCUDDER.
  FRANK H. SHAPLEIGH.
  SAMUEL B. SHAPLEIGH.
  THOMAS W. SHAPLEIGH.
  RUFUS S. SMITH. (Died ----.)
  JEFFREY T. STANLEY.
  HENRY R. THOMPSON.
  EDWIN E. TIFFANY.
  GEO. W. TOWER. (Died Jan. 20, 1871.)
  CHAS. A. VINAL.
  JOHN H. WATSON. (Died Oct. 22, 1873.)
  ISAAC G. WHEELER.
  L. HENRY WHITNEY.
  ISRAEL D. WILDES.
  LYMAN D. WILLCUT.
  GEO. WILLMONTON.
  HENRY T. WINSLOW. (Died June 30, 1863.)

  _Honorary Member._
  EDW. W. KINSLEY.



  THE FORTY-FIFTH.



CHAPTER I.

CAMP-LIFE AT READVILLE.


Shortly after the President's call for three hundred thousand nine
months' men, in the summer of 1862, a meeting was held by the
Independent Corps of Cadets, in their armory in Boston, to consider the
expediency of organizing a nine months' regiment, of which that corps
should be, as it were, the nucleus. The proposition being favorably
received, application was speedily made to Governor Andrew by various
members in favor of the movement, for permission to recruit for such a
regiment, under the title of the Cadet Regiment, but officially to be
known as the Forty-fifth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Militia.

Charles R. Codman of Boston, then adjutant of the cadets, was selected
as future commander of the regiment, subject, however, to the approval
of the line officers, who were themselves to be elected by their
respective companies in accordance with the militia law of the state,
prior to receiving their commissions from the governor. Recruiting
officers canvassed the state, and the companies ranked in the order in
which their respective rolls were filled.

Readville was selected as the rendezvous and camping-ground for the
regiment, and on the twelfth of September, Company D went into camp
at that place, followed at intervals by the other companies as they
severally attained a size which would warrant a respectable appearance
on drill and parade.

The camp was pleasantly situated on high ground, surrounded on three
sides by other camps, while the fourth was skirted by woods, back of
which, as a fitting background, rose the blue hills of Milton in all
their beauty.

We were quartered in barracks, long wooden sheds running parallel to
each other, and perpendicular to and facing the parade-ground. Back
of each barrack, and separated by a street some twenty feet in width,
were the little cook-houses, while still farther to the rear were the
officers' quarters, quartermaster's department, etc.

The first night in camp was a novel one to most of us, and formed the
entrance to a new phase of existence, a military life. We marched from
the depot and were received with shouts of welcome by the companies
already in camp. Halting in front of the barrack assigned us, the order
to break ranks was the signal for a simultaneous rush of all to take
possession of the movable bunks, which in two tiers lined both sides of
the building, followed by another stampede after straw to fill them.

My first military duty was the scouring of sundry rusty pots and pans
preparatory to the evening meal. All the true patriots came into camp
with empty haversacks, determined to brave the soldier's fare at the
outset, and our pride was at its height when, formed in line, we
marched single file to the cook-house, and had doled out to us from
its window, the huge slice of bread and dipper of coffee or tea.

"Truly, we are serving our country at last," we said, and ate our
rations without thought of what we had left behind; but that slice of
bread, varied often by hard-tack, so often, indeed, that the bread was
the exception, and the dipper of coffee soon became an old, very old
story, and the good things at home would rise in our memories, the
ghosts of better times, and would not down at our bidding, nor would
the hard-tack, either.

The interval between supper and roll-call was wisely spent in making
our bunks comfortable for the night; and that first night the custom
was instituted by our captain, of reading the lesson and prayers
for the day after morning and evening roll-call; and was faithfully
continued until the regiment went into tents, some seven months later.

Punctually at nine, taps sounded and the lights were extinguished, and
as reveille was at half-past five, we naturally desired and expected
to lose ourselves immediately; but alas! for the fallacy of human
hopes, not an eye in that barrack was closed in sleep a moment before
midnight, except, perhaps, that of one of our number, afterwards
discharged for deafness. The evil one himself was, without doubt, on a
rampage that night, and raised a very bedlam in our midst.

In vain did the orderly threaten; in vain did the officer of the day,
encircled by that mysterious sash at which we raw ones had gazed with
awe, command silence. For a moment there would be a lull in the storm,
deluding the sober-minded into a belief that quiet was at length
restored, when, with a laugh or a jest, the uproar would burst forth
with redoubled vigor. Even after sheer exhaustion had quieted the
unruly ones, it was hard to sleep as we lay thinking over our strange
situation, and at intervals through the night caught the distant
challenge of the sentry at the approach of the welcome relief. But the
longest day must have an end, and at last our weary eyelids were closed
not to open again till the loud beat of the drum summoned us from the
land of dreams.

With the return of the day our new duties commenced; some were detailed
for camp guard, others for police duty, but most of us were marched out
to drill, and during our nine months' service this proved an unfailing
source of amusement and occupation, and was improved to the utmost by
the officers.

Police duty has a mysterious sound to the uninitiated, and those first
detailed for that service had their expectations raised to a great
height, but the fall was so much the more severe. Some were set to
work digging wells, others to sweep up the camp with brooms of their
own manufacture, and one squad were assigned the task of emptying
the barrels in the rear of the cook-houses, filled with the refuse
of the men's rations; police duty is, in fact, to enact the part of
general scavenger for the camp, a very necessary, but at the same time
disagreeable, business.

Our first day's guard duty was an experience never to be forgotten.
The solitary march back and forth, back and forth, in the same narrow
path, rain or shine, warm or cold, can only be appreciated after actual
trial. Never did time fly with such tardy wings as in the night-watches
of those dark, wet, fall nights, when the approach of the relief was
to the weary sentinel like a release from imprisonment. But those first
experiences had their comical side as well. The awkward manner of
handling the guns, the stupidity displayed in learning the instructions
and duties of the post, and the various mistakes constantly occurring
were laughable to witness.

One day there was a more than usually difficult subject, whose mistakes
furnished a fund of amusement for the whole guard. After innumerable
blunders during the day, at nightfall he was carefully and at great
length instructed with regard to the countersign, its object, nature,
etc., until the lieutenant of the guard thought he would be able to
pass muster under the ordeal of the grand round, but the officer, by
skillful questioning, discovered that the countersign was in his belief
a sort of counterfeit bill, which was to be passed on delivery,--to say
the least, an original interpretation of the meaning of the word.

But the mistakes and blunders were by no means confined to the men,
for the officers could, without breach of modesty, lay claim to their
full share. One was particularly noted for his ignorance of military
knowledge, and had earned, among the men, the soubriquet of "Right
Backward Dress," from his repeated blunders in reference to that order;
while another, having occasion to salute the commandant of the post,
managed to bring his guard to the "present," but then gave the order
"stack arms," quite regardless of the intermediate orders essential to
a proper execution of the manoeuvre.

On pleasant days, guard duty at the camp entrance was by no means
disagreeable, for on such days the stream of visitors was unceasing
from morning till night. How we all enjoyed those visits! and the sight
of a friend in the distance was a never-failing pretext for an excuse
from drill or parade. We were always ready to relieve them of the
baskets and bundles they labored under, and of course they must inspect
the barracks, admire the various decorations and inscriptions that
ornamented the different bunks, and wonder how any mortal could ever
sleep in such boxes.

One afternoon, two of us were made happy by the arrival of a
carriage-load of friends, who had come to dress-parade. We both
noticed several mysterious-looking baskets stowed away in the depths
of the carriage, but of course no remark was made as to their probable
contents. After witnessing and duly admiring the parade, at the sound
of the supper-call, the ladies invited us to take supper with them,
if we could for once deny ourselves the pleasures of the government
commissariat. So, nothing loath, we were armed with the above-mentioned
baskets, and took up our line of march toward a grassy knoll, back
of the camp and outside the lines, to avoid intrusion, and there,
stretched out on shawls and blankets, we had a supper worthy of the
name.

As we lay about the grass, taking our meal, the full moon rose in all
its beauty from behind the Milton hills, and lit up the quiet October
evening till the camps and hills were flooded with the silvery light.
The growing dampness warned us at last to shorten our pleasure, but
on taking refuge in the barrack, we were agreeably surprised by an
impromptu concert from visitors and hosts, and as our regiment boasted
some very good voices, the singing formed an appropriate ending to
such a delightful evening. We enjoyed one or two moonlight evenings in
rather a different way, marching about the camp, headed by the band,
and blundering through some of the simpler battalion movements for the
colonel's benefit.

Our battalion drills in those days were very amusing, for though in
company drill the men got the blame for all mistakes, yet here the
burden of reproof was shifted to the officers' shoulders, and this
was in some measure a recompense to us, for the laugh was now on our
side. The tortures undergone by the colonel, in those early days, in
witnessing the officers' oft-repeated blunders, must have been truly
excruciating. Now one, then another, would fall the victim of his
censuring tongue, until, bewildered by the flying sarcasms and the
complication of manoeuvres, their confusion became worse confounded,
and we of the file, rejoicing over the misfortunes of the rank, would
hail with delight the welcome command of "Drill is dismissed," screamed
forth by the colonel, half an hour before the usual time.

Nor did we depend on visitors or drill for our whole stock of
amusement. Bathing formed a part of the daily routine while the weather
permitted, and foot-ball was a favorite occupation during our leisure
hours. Our evenings passed quickly in a quiet rubber of whist, or in
listening to the music with which the singers often favored us, usually
in the barrack, but occasionally on the mild fall evenings, in the open
air, stretched lazily on the grass before the door.

But the crowning feature of our life at Camp Meigs was the
dress-parade, and this would be an incomplete history indeed, had that
been omitted in the tale. Very modest in appearance at the outset, with
thin ranks, but two or three drummers and those far from perfect, and
more than all, no guns for the men; they were gradually improved, now
by fresh recruits, then by the addition of the band, and the arrival of
our Springfield rifles, until, under this combination of improvements,
we were enabled to present a very respectable appearance.

It seems like a dream to recall the two long rows of people which night
after night stood facing each other in front of the barracks,--the
actors and spectators. We come to parade-rest, and the performance
commences. Three groans from the band, then the inevitable--the show
tune of the band; and as they come slowly marching down the line, we
see a familiar but ever novel sight. A little in advance of the band,
monarch of all he surveys, and the "cynosure of neighboring eyes,"
struts Mariani, the drum-major, pride of the regiment, twirling his
baton, token of empire, giving that finish to the show which even our
rival neighbors are prone to admire. Never afterwards did the band play
that familiar old tune, No. 45, on the sand-plains of North Carolina,
but a smile ran down the line; and as our thoughts reverted to the
pleasant dress-parades at Readville, we longed for that opposite row of
faces, that we might show our friends what a good parade was like.

The twenty-sixth of September, eight companies were mustered into
the service of the United States; and on the eighth of October, the
remaining companies,--together with the field and staff officers,--and
we became an organized regiment under the United States, though
constituting a part of the state militia.

It had been supposed all along that the Army of the Potomac would be
our destination, but when the 44th sailed for Newbern, it became a
settled fact that North Carolina was to be our arena also, and as the
day of departure drew near, every hour of our short furloughs became
precious and the visits of our friends even more frequent and pleasant
than before.

The last Sunday but one, about half the regiment marched to Milton,
and there took the cars for Boston, where we attended service at Park
Street Church, the church of our chaplain, Rev. A. L. Stone, D. D.
After an appropriate farewell discourse, we returned to camp much
pleased with our trip, with a good appetite for the regular Sunday
dinner in camp of baked beans.

On Saturday, the first of November, the colors were presented to the
regiment by Governor Andrew, and were received by Colonel Codman in
our behalf. It was a gala day in camp, and the grounds were covered
with visitors, many present for the last time, as the regiment was
under marching orders. In the evening an impromptu mock dress-parade
was quite successfully carried out, much to the amusement of the
spectators, who still lingered, reluctant to say good-bye.

The last day or two was full of bustle and confusion and all who could
obtain furloughs were at home, leave-taking and making their final
arrangements. Wednesday, the fifth of November, dawned on us at last,
raw and disagreeable, and with full knapsacks and full hearts as well,
we bade farewell to old Camp Meigs, where we had passed a month and
a half so pleasantly. Perhaps at the time we did not realize fully
all our advantages at Readville, being new to the life, but we have
certainly appreciated them in the retrospect, and those of our number
who may take the field again will reap the full benefit of their early
experience.

Leaving the cars at the Boston depot, we formed our line, and escorted
by our patrons and godfathers, the Cadets, marched directly to the
Common, where, on the Beacon mall, a collation was spread to which
ample justice was done.

After receiving our remaining colors from the hands of the governor
(the regiment carried three flags, United States, State and
Regimental), and hearing addresses, very appropriate, no doubt, but so
long that we were ready to drop with fatigue, loaded down as we were
with full equipments, the last good-byes were said, and we started en
route for the wharf.

It was, indeed, a proud moment of our lives, the march that day through
the crowded streets of old Boston, elate with the consciousness that we
were embarked in a righteous cause, and determined to play our parts
like men.

[Illustration: OUTWARD BOUND
FORT MACON N.C.
MOREHEAD CITY N.C.]

[Illustration: THE HALT]



CHAPTER II.

THE VOYAGE.


The mere recollection of the nine days passed on the steamer
"Mississippi" is painful, but it occupied too prominent a position in
our experience to be omitted in this sketch.

After the usual delay on the wharf, attending the embarkation of a
large body of men, we filed on to the steamer, and were ushered into
our respective quarters. Our company, with five others, were consigned
to the stern of the vessel; so, passing down the companion-way, deeper
and deeper, darker and darker, until we could, at least, claim a nearer
proximity to China than ever before, we arrived in the hold. As light
was never known to penetrate that quarter, for two dim lanterns and
three air-holes covered with gratings could hardly be said to afford
light, it will be impossible to describe its appearance. As well as
could be ascertained by touch and smell, the whole available space was
fitted up with bunks, three tiers deep and of different capacities,
holding from one to four occupants, those comfortably crowded with
three being intended for four, and so on down to the single ones. All
this we learned by the touch, and at least we will give them credit for
making the most of their room; but our olfactory nerves had another
story to tell; however, we will not particularize.

The other companies were stowed in the forward part of the vessel,
between decks and in the hold, the band lying wherever they could find
space enough. In addition, five companies of the 46th Regiment were
entrusted to the tender mercies of the "Mississippi," and where they
were packed is beyond the power of man to say--one company, at all
events, was located on the quarter-deck.

Now all this would have been well enough had we sailed that night, as
was intended, and made the four-day trip to Beaufort; but no such good
luck was in store, and our initiation was not to be quite so easy. A
heavy northeasterly storm set in, soon after we had hauled into the
stream, and for five days, a tempest of rain, hail, sleet and snow
raged with unceasing fury.

Colonel Codman declared the vessel should not sail in such a crowded,
filthy condition, and the captain said he could not sail if he would,
on account of the storm, and more than that, there must be a convoy to
protect us from the "Alabama," at that time reported off the coast. So
there we lay at anchor, tossing and pitching, in plain sight of the
city, which only served to aggravate us in our wretchedness, while near
by, lay our companions in misery, the 43d and the remainder of the 46th
on our consort, the "Merrimac."

Our drinking-water was condensed from salt water by an apparatus
connected with the engine, and was always in a lukewarm, yellowish
state, enough to make one renounce water forever, and before which
Gough himself would have stood dumb. A guard, also, was always
stationed over the cask to prevent the men from drinking too much;
whether because the process of condensation had rendered it more
precious than common water, or from a fear of the men sickening from a
too free use of the vile liquid, is still an unexplained mystery. May
the inventor be condemned to have it for an eternal drink!

The food given us baffles all attempt at description. The filthy messes
of soup, salt-junk and burnt rice were boiled in the same huge caldron,
and the sight of the dirty cook added to one taste of the unknown
compound, called by some familiar name calculated to deceive us, was
enough to make one eager to die of starvation. It was so pleasant, just
before dinner, to be ordered below to await our turn in the long line,
and on the way down, catch a glimpse of the cabin table, covered with
delicacies fresh from the Boston markets, and when our company was
called, to ascend from the depths of the vessel, cup in hand, eager for
the sumptuous repast doled out from the great boiler, which, like the
magician's flask, furnished tea, coffee, soup, etc., as desired. Yet
all this was on a first-class transport;--may heaven take pity on the
poor wretches whose hard fate consigns them to vessels of an inferior
class!

After strenuous exertions by our colonel and some good friends of the
regiment in the city, another steamer, the "Saxon," was provided for
the 46th, and our own vessel underwent a partial cleansing. We were
also visited by some of the more enterprising of our friends, who
ventured down the harbor in a tug during the lulls of the storm, and
having received an invoice of lanterns, books and eatables, we were
enabled to make ourselves rather more comfortable.

We embarked on Wednesday, and on the following Monday, accompanied by
the "Merrimac," "Saxon," and the gun-boat "Huron," we steamed down the
harbor just at sunset, overjoyed at the prospect of a quick voyage and
a speedy release from our uncomfortable quarters. Two or three of us
had, in the course of our wanderings, discovered a cosy little nook in
the extreme stern of the vessel, in close proximity to the screw, and
here, away from the forlorn, grumbling crowd, which thronged the decks
and holds, with our lanterns, books and cards, we managed to while away
the weary hours quite pleasantly.

The storm had completely exhausted itself, and the weather was all
that could be desired; and though the slowness of our consort, the
"Huron," delayed us somewhat, yet after we were once fairly started on
our way, nothing occurred to mar the voyage, and on Friday morning,
the 14th instant, the lights of Beaufort harbor were visible, and our
trials on shipboard were at an end. Our decks were crowded with a
happy company, and an exciting race ensued between the "Mississippi"
and the "Merrimac," for the pilot-boat which lay off the entrance of
the harbor, awaiting our approach; but, to the chagrin of our captain,
and in fact of us all, the "Merrimac" came out ahead, and having been
boarded by the pilot, proceeded slowly in advance, the "Mississippi"
following closely in her wake, without delaying for a second pilot.

It was a perfect morning, and the soft, fresh breeze was very different
from the cold wintery blasts we had left behind us in Boston harbor.
Every object visible was scanned with curious eyes as we entered
the bay and began to thread the channel, rendered very intricate by
the low sand-bars which lay in every direction. These were covered
with sea-fowl of every description, while the myriads of ducks which
blackened the water, made us wish for gun and dog with unceasing and
unsatisfied longing.

Two or three gun-boats were riding at anchor in the harbor, and their
sides were lined with a row of bronzed faces, whose owners cheered us
heartily as we passed slowly by. Fort Macon, of Burnside fame, soon
made its appearance on our left, its guns commanding both land and
water in all directions, and its ramparts dotted with the garrison who
welcomed us as we drew near. The fort is apparently on an island, but
is really on the point of a long neck of land running back for some
miles before uniting with the main. It has been greatly strengthened
since it came into our hands, and, in conjunction with the gun-boats,
bids defiance to any foe.

Beaufort lies on the opposite side of the harbor, and presents a very
pretty appearance as seen at a distance from the water, but does
not improve on a closer acquaintance. The attention is immediately
attracted by a large white building standing on the very edge of the
water, resting under the shadow of the Stars and Stripes. Formerly
the hotel of the place and the summer resort of North Carolinians,
it no longer echoes to the tread of the _élite_ of Newbern, but as a
government hospital is filled with the poor fellows parched with the
fevers which all summer infest the sand-plains on the Neuse, and who
doubtless enjoy the cool breezes from the Atlantic, and the delicious
sea-bath quite as much as those who formerly thronged the place.

Soon the depot came in sight, and there stood the long train of
platform cars, waiting to convey some of us to our destination. The
idea of spending another night on the water was almost unendurable, but
suddenly we perceived quite a commotion on the decks of our leader, and
to our great delight it was soon evident that she was aground. Feeling
our way, as it were, step by step, we drew nearer, and a perfect yell
of exultation went up from our vessel as we glided by our discomfited
rival, and, rejoicing over our victory, steamed alongside the wharf
of what was once the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, but now is
known as the United States Military Railroad.

We were quickly disembarked, and soon closely packed on the open
freight cars, rather a novel mode of conveyance to most of us, but
one to be recommended as admirably adapted to sight-seeing, and in
pleasant weather both airy and agreeable. Leaving the 43d and 46th
to pass another night on shipboard, our train was soon on its way to
Newbern, distant about forty miles. Our first stop was at Morehead
City, though why called "city" it would be hard to say, as it contains
but a few miserable houses and a forlorn-looking hotel, famous as the
residence, for a time, of Company C of the 45th, who were quartered
there as garrison. Every little while a picket-station would come in
view, and now and then a camp whose occupants greeted us with shouts of
welcome and inquiries as to our State, number of our regiment, latest
news, etc. A blockhouse commanding the bridge over a small creek was
a novelty, and, as long as daylight lasted, we found enough that was
new and interesting to keep our eyes fully occupied. The country itself
through which the road passes is wholly devoid of interest--in fact, a
vast swamp covered with pine forests, which extend over a great part
of the eastern section of the state; tar, pitch and turpentine being
correctly given by the geography as among the principal productions.

It was quite dark when the train drew near the town of Newbern, and
slowly crossing the long bridge which spans the river Trent, passed
up what we afterwards discovered to be Hancock street, lighted, to
our great astonishment, with gas. We finally came to a halt before a
long freight-house, where a quantity of oats was stored in bags. This
building was assigned to the right wing as their quarters for the
night, and after our cramped bunks on shipboard, we found the oat-bags
very acceptable. The left wing passed the night in some vacant tents
near at hand.

As we were decidedly cold and hungry after our ride, the arrival of
some of the 44th Mass., with pails of hot coffee, was very opportune,
and we regaled them with the latest news from home in return for their
kindness. Their description of the hardships endured on the Tarboro'
expedition, from which they had just returned, did not tend to heighten
our already very far from pleasant impressions of North Carolina as a
place of abode.

As we were taught the productions of North Carolina in our youth, the
negro stood first on the list, and certainly we had seen no reason
to belie that statement. We had not ceased laughing from the time we
landed, at the comical figures which met us on every hand. It was the
first object to meet our eye at the wharf, and I doubt not the last
thing visible as we left the shores of Beaufort on our return. We no
longer wondered where the minstrels at the north procured their absurd
costumes; here was material for an endless variety. It was better than
any play simply to walk about and examine the different styles of
dress, for this was before anything had been done at the north for the
contrabands, and they appeared in the rags they had brought from their
plantations. It was amusing to listen to the questions which greeted
them from all sides, the bright answers often displaying more sense
than did the questions. Some of our men seemed to have taken it for
granted that all the tales they had read of the horrors of slavery were
the general rule, and that the great aim and object of every master's
life was to abuse and maltreat the slave in every possible way. The
erroneous and absurd notions at first entertained by them of the state
of southern society, could only be equalled by the opinions of our
southern friends about the north. One question asked will serve as an
illustration. We were grouped around a fire that first night, talking
with some bright little contrabands, when one of our number asked one
"If his master ever let him stand by such a nice fire as that," which
in that land of pines certainly was rather ridiculous, and, for a
Boston boy, rather an insult to his bringing up.

We employed the two or three hours of leisure the next morning in a
tour of inspection through the town. With our eyes still dazzled with
the bright effulgence of the New England metropolis, and unaccustomed
to the darkness of that benighted land, we unhesitatingly pronounced
it the meanest, dirtiest spot we had ever set foot in. But it did not
take many weeks of camp life, where the only houses visible were the
barracks and a few miserable negro hovels, to create a very decided
change in our views upon this subject, as well as on many others of
like nature.

The town is very prettily situated at the confluence of the Neuse and
Trent, the former between one and two miles wide at this point, the
latter something less than a mile. It is laid out quite regularly and
abounds in elms and flower gardens, many of them very beautiful, and
relieving the otherwise ugly streets. We became better, in fact most
intimately, acquainted with the place when we were quartered there,
and a more minute description will be found further on. Our first
impressions received that morning were, however, certainly the reverse
of pleasant.

[Illustration: CAMP AMORY ON THE TRENT, DEC. 1862.
A BUNK IN THE BARRACKS.]



CHAPTER III.

CAMP AMORY ON THE TRENT.


Returning to the freight house where the night had been spent, we
shouldered our guns and knapsacks and started en route for our new
home. Passing through the town, and recrossing the railroad bridge, we
left the line of the railroad and took the road running along the edge
of the Trent. After toiling through the sand for about a mile, we came
upon a negro settlement and a long row of stables, once rebel cavalry
quarters, now used for government team horses and as a sort of wagon
station. An old canal boat, mounting two heavy guns, commands the spot
as well as the surrounding country, which has been cleared of trees on
both sides of the river to give free range to the artillery.

Shortly after leaving this dirty village, the barracks assigned us
came in view, about half a mile up the river, a most welcome sight,
for the day was hot, the road very sandy and our load heavy. The 17th
Mass. were encamped in tents near by, and as our regiment approached,
they turned out to meet us and give us welcome. Poor fellows! they
looked forlorn enough, thin and pale, almost all of them having had the
chills or some fever through the summer, from which they were just
recovering, a great part of the regiment being still in hospital.

On reaching our destination, knapsacks were quickly unslung, and we
hastened to inspect our new quarters. The barracks--unlike those at
Readville--consisted of two long buildings, each arranged for five
companies. They were at right angles with the river, and parallel to
each other, some three hundred feet apart. The hospital tents were
located midway between the buildings, but after a time the hospital
was transferred to the barracks, rendered vacant by the detail of two
of the companies. The officers occupied tents, which were pitched
away from and opposite the river, facing and forming one side of a
quadrangle, enclosed by the river, the barracks and the tents. Beyond
the officers' quarters was the parade-ground, while the drill-ground
lay in every direction.

Directly in the rear of the north barrack, ran the main road from
Newbern south to Beaufort, crossing the Trent at this point, on what
is called the County bridge. The bridge was commanded at that time by
a little earthwork, called Fort Gaston, which mounted two guns, to all
appearance more dangerous to those in their rear than in their front;
this celebrated fort was for a long time garrisoned by one man detailed
regularly from the camp guard.

An immense plain stretched out in front of us, some two or three miles
in length, and a mile in width, bounded in our rear by the river, and
skirted on all sides by fine forests. For the last two or three years,
these have been gradually disappearing before the axe of the pioneer,
thus leaving the approach to the city from this direction wholly under
command of gun-boats on either of the rivers.

On the edge of the woods, on the opposite side of the plain, gleamed
the white tents of the 23d Mass., just relieved from provost duty. The
43d went into camp a short distance beyond us, and not many weeks after
our own arrival, the 51st Mass. were quartered in the barracks next
beyond ours.

The camp took its name from Colonel Amory of the 17th Mass., who had
command of our brigade, composed at first of the 17th, 23d, 43d, and
45th Mass. Later, the 51st Mass. took the place of the 23d, when the
latter regiment was ordered into another department.

The first day or two was spent in establishing ourselves comfortably
in our new quarters, writing letters, undergoing an inspection by our
corps commander, Gen. Foster, and strolling about the adjacent country,
seeing the sights and making friends with our neighbors, black as
well as white. The camp swarmed with contrabands of all ages and both
sexes, some with eatables to sell, apples, pies, cakes, biscuit and
sweet potatoes, others wanting to take in washing. The boys wished to
hire out as servants, and at such cheap rates that we all immediately
had one attached to us, as a sort of body-guard, to run errands, draw
water, wash dishes, and live on our leavings.

The negro huts in the vicinity of the camp were often visited by the
curious, and the mode of life in them afforded us much pleasure, as it
was at the same time novel and amusing. "Ole Aunt Gatsy" was quite a
favorite with a select few who had discovered her various excellencies,
and we were indebted to her cuisine for many a nice meal. Her method
of cooking seemed very strange to eyes accustomed to ranges and stoves,
and is worthy of mention. All the cooking is done at an open wood fire,
the chimney always standing outside the house. The principal implement
of cookery is an iron pot with short legs and a flat iron cover,
somewhat larger than the mouth of the pot. After raking out a nice bed
of coals, the food, no matter whether a bake, roast or boil, is placed
in the pot over the coals, and the cover is kept constantly sprinkled
with fresh coals until the contents are cooked. They also use the
ordinary stew-pan, and earthen ovens in which they build huge fires,
and, after the earth is thoroughly heated, put in the meat or whatever
it may be, close both door and chimney, and in due time produce a
joint of beef, or a dish of baked beans fit for the most epicurean New
Englander.

We soon settled down into a quiet, monotonous life of drill and guard
duty, more wearisome than arduous. The broad expanse of plain which
stretched out before our camp was large enough for an army to manoeuvre
upon, and the officers certainly made the most of their opportunity,
for company, battalion and brigade drills followed one another so
closely that one had scarcely time to think in the intervening moments.
A very semi-occasional visit to town served as a pleasant little
episode, by giving us a glimpse of an approach at least to a civilized
existence, thereby preventing us from wholly lapsing into barbarism.

Nor were our Sundays by any means days of rest; for as regularly as the
day itself, the weekly inspection of both quarters and men came round.
The amount of cleaning done every Sunday was something awful. Guns
had to be taken apart and made to look better than when they left the
armory, brasses to be polished, shoes and equipments blacked, and bunks
and barracks put in perfect order. This was varied occasionally by a
knapsack inspection, which consisted in standing in the hot sun for an
hour or two, our knapsacks on our backs, apparently filled with all our
worldly goods; but appearances are sometimes deceitful, and so were our
knapsacks, but if they only looked full, we were perfectly content.

In the afternoon we formed a hollow square and had a regular New
England service, with a clear, practical sermon from the chaplain,
finishing the exercises with the Doxology, in which both band and
regiment were wont to join. The day closed with the usual dress-parade
and a prayer meeting in the evening conducted by the chaplain.

Thanksgiving Day being close at hand, most of us began to busy
ourselves making preparations for a proper observance of the day.
Mysterious trips to town, frequent visits to Aunt Gatsy's, and a great
scarcity of ready money were the most observable features. Thanksgiving
eve arrived at last, clear and cold, and after the labors for the day
were ended, we built a famous large fire in our barracks, and long
after taps remained grouped about it, talking of home and former times
in old Massachusetts when this anniversary came round. One by one
the men dropped off to bed, until but four of us remained, when one
of our number proposed whist by fire-light. The cards were quickly
produced, and an impromptu lunch of crackers and cheese, apples and
lemonade, contributed from our private stores, and there we played
till the waning light of the fire warned us that our supply of wood was
exhausted, whereupon we crept noiselessly to our bunks, not daring to
think how soon the inexorable reveille would break in upon our slumbers.

After a sermon in the morning from the chaplain, in accordance with the
good old custom of New England, the day was given as a holiday, and
thanks to Old Aunty, our little party of six sat down to a repast which
would not have disgraced any board in the land, and all agreed that we
had rarely enjoyed a dinner more.

About this time, Colonel Codman received orders to detail two companies
for special service, and for several days quite an excitement prevailed
as to which they were to be. The question was settled by the departure,
on the first of December, of Company C, for Morehead City, and on
the next day, of Company G, under command of Lieutenant Thayer, for
Fort Macon. Several of the officers and many of the men were also
detached from the regiment about this same time. Captain Murdock, of
Company G, went on to Colonel Amory's staff, as aide, and Lieutenant
Dewson as Brigade Quarter-Master, his place being filled by Lieutenant
Emmons, of Company E. Lieutenants Richardson, of Company A, and
Blagden, of Company I, went into the Signal Corps, and never rejoined
their command. The men were variously distributed, some on signal
service, many as clerks at the various headquarters, assistants in the
hospitals, teamsters, etc., thus materially weakening the regiment in
point of numbers by these heavy details.

The first time the men went out on picket they made preparations enough
for an expedition, and bade good-bye as if at the very least they were
sure for Richmond, instead of simply bivouacing for a night across the
Trent. The truth is, that so far from resembling that on the Potomac,
picketing was with us rather a pleasant diversion than otherwise. There
were six stations, all on the other side the Trent; the outermost
station directly on the river, the others at intervals along the road.
Each station was under command of a corporal; and the guard, equipped
with blankets and rations, went out one morning and were relieved the
next. Intended as a safeguard, and rather for practice than from any
real expectation of an approach of the enemy in that direction, we had
nevertheless, one night, an example of the practical working and great
advantage of the picket guard. One of the outermost station fired upon
what in the darkness he took to be a body of rebels, and the alarm was
immediately communicated to the camp guard. The drummers beat the long
roll, and in a very short time the whole camp was aroused, the regiment
in line, and in readiness for the enemy whenever he saw fit to come. It
was well for us, however, that we did not wait till he did come, but
after standing shivering in the cold night air for about an hour, went
back to the barracks, otherwise we might have stood there to this day.

The road to Newbern was considerably altered in appearance by the
arrival of General Wessel's division of New York and Pennsylvania
troops from Suffolk, Va., which encamped about half a mile from us;
and as every day brought news of fresh arrivals, it was very evident
that some movement was on foot in our department. Rumor was very busy
about these times, and the camp was full of reports and stories.
Charleston, Wilmington, and even Richmond itself were named as our
destination. Nothing was thought, talked, or dreamt of, but the
probable expedition, and if it had ended in talk, our loss under the
influence of undue excitement would have been very heavy. But about the
eighth of December, our feelings were somewhat relieved by the reading
of marching orders to the regiment, three days being given to prepare
for the march.

The note of preparation sounded through the camp, and all was bustle
and confusion. Knapsacks were filled to overflowing with all our
worldly possessions, and stowed in a schooner which came up the river
to receive them, so that in case of an attack or fire in our absence,
they at least might be secure, and indeed such good care did those on
board take, that they have kept some of our things to this day.

It fell to my lot to be detailed on picket the last day, and so
entrusting my property to the tender mercies of my chum, the guard
started for the other side of the river, wholly ignorant as to whether
they were to be left behind or not. However, having three old whalers
from Nantucket as companions in misery, the day passed away very
quickly, listening to their tales of sea life, its pleasures and
dangers, but above all, its superiority to the life of a soldier. But
my special wonder and admiration was excited by witnessing the relish
with which they devoured the salt junk at their dinner, actually
preferring it to fresh beef, to me a most unaccountable taste.

The night was bright and clear, and the moonlight glimmering through
the tops of the old pine trees, lit up the scene just around us, but
deepened the blackness of the shadows which hid themselves in the
surrounding forest. As we sat round the smouldering embers of the
deadened fire, wondering as to our probable fortune, whether the morrow
would behold us on the march with the regiment, or ignominiously left
behind to guard the camp, our doubts and fears were set at rest by the
arrival of the lieutenant of the guard. He informed us that at ten
o'clock the pickets were to be taken in, and at that hour we were to
proceed to the barracks as quietly as possible. The hour came at last,
and rolling up our blankets and shouldering our guns, before long we
were once more in camp.

During our absence all our goods had been removed, rations distributed,
and ammunition given out; while in anticipation of the hard work before
them, all were sleeping quietly in their bunks, some poor fellows for
the last time. Making all our preparations for the morrow as speedily
as possible, we crawled upon the boards, and soon forgot our trials in
the land of dreams.

[Illustration: HELIOTYPE PRINTING CO. BOSTON.
BATTLE OF KINSTON.]



CHAPTER IV.

ON THE MARCH.


The first tap of the drum at early morn of the eleventh instant,
aroused us with that faint consciousness of something important
before us, with which the sleeper always wakens on the day of some
long-expected event. The last preparations were gone through, blankets
rolled, canteens filled and lost straps found, while hurry and
confusion reigned supreme in the various quarters.

At last, everything was in readiness, and as the impatient drums
sounded the assembly call, we marched out on the parade-ground as if
for a review. The line was formed, with the pioneers in advance, and
with band playing and colors flying, the 45th started on its first
expedition, their hearts beating high with hope and enthusiasm. On
every side of us trooped our contraband camp followers, laden down with
all manner of strange things, such as the ingenuity of an inexperienced
officer's mind could suggest as likely to contribute to his wants and
comfort, from a cooking-stove to a shoe-brush. The two miles of sandy
road which lay between the camp and the town, served in a measure to
dampen the ardor of some of the more demonstrative ones, and more than
one armor vest, which the kind but injudicious care of friends had
provided, was left to rest by the wayside before the end of those first
two miles.

On reaching the city we found the streets crowded with troops of every
description, infantry, cavalry and artillery, massed together in almost
endless confusion. But after two or three hours delay, the different
commanders began to find their proper positions in the line of march,
and about eleven o'clock of the eleventh of December, the long column
moved forward.

Past Fort Totten, out on the Trent road, the line for a short time
presented an orderly appearance. But soon there was a bridge to cross,
a great puddle to pick your way around or go splashing through, as
inclination directed; then a stream, whose bridge was a log on one
side, admitting only of single file, the water, yellow and dirty,
looking suspiciously deep for wading. The unfortunates in the rear had
to make up for these delays by frequent double-quick, until at length
all distinction, not merely of regiments but also of companies, had
disappeared. The march subsided into a mere race between individuals,
all making for some unknown object ahead, at the highest rate of speed.
On! On! Will the column never halt, or have the advance suddenly become
possessed of cork legs, which like those in the song, will never stop,
thought the poor fellows on this first morning of their march, when
those fell enemies of the soldier, sore feet, lame backs and aching
limbs, became clamorous for their victims.

At last, came the halt for dinner, and most of us experienced a full
realization of the blessedness of rest, while our hard-tack and coffee
was like the milk and honey to the Jews. But time and our leaders are
inexorable, and already the lengthening shadows reprove delay, so once
more the hurrying, tearing pace begins. But now our colonel has made a
wise rule, that on passing any obstacle tending to delay the rear, the
head of the regiment shall halt until the last company has passed. This
prevents the recurrence of intervals so disheartening for those in the
rear to see opening before them, and requiring an extra effort to make
up the lost space.

We had little leisure that first day to examine the country about
us, but every now and then a deserted house, the forlorn, desolate
appearance of those still occupied, and the looks of the miserable,
half-starved creatures, who, with undisguised hatred in their eyes,
stood gazing on the moving tide of Yankee soldiery, gave but too good
evidence that the iron hand of war had been laid very heavily upon this
people. Truly, they were suffering for the sins of their leaders, and
their hatred of the Northern troops was not to be wondered at, when
they slaughtered their cattle, seized their horses, plundered their
poultry yards, and even entered their houses and snatched the food from
their mouths, without so much as a "by your leave."

Our progress became slower as evening drew near, and several times the
column was obliged to halt to allow time for the rebuilding of bridges
which were destroyed by the enemy on our approach. Darkness soon
enveloped us, but the weary train still pressed on. At last, however,
our hearts were gladdened by the distant gleam of light flashing in the
horizon, for we soon learned that it was caused by the fires of our
advance guard.

Our burden grew lighter as we hurried forward, refreshed by the sight,
and when at last, descending a hill, we emerged from the woods which
skirted its brow, a scene burst upon our startled vision which, in its
picturesque beauty, almost repaid us for the long and weary way we had
traversed before reaching it.

A large field, stretching for nearly a mile to the left of the road,
was streaked with long rows of fires, made of dry pitch-pine rails,
and as the figures flitted about midst the fires, weird shadows were
thrown against the black woods and sky beyond. It seemed like a glimpse
into some other world, and when our regiment, and the many others in
the rear, reached the fairy spot, and added their fires to the grand
illumination, the heavens became red with flame.

Most of us were through with work for that night, and had no harder
task to perform than to collect a few rails, boil some coffee, and
after supper make ourselves comfortable for the night. But all were not
so fortunate, for some were detailed for picket duty, and as for the
poor pioneers, the enemy, in their retreat, had laid out several hours'
work for them, by felling trees across the road for nearly half a mile,
rendering it impassable for the artillery. The choppers had almost
completed their job, and had left one huge old pine, beyond which,
preparatory to commencing the attack, they had built a roaring fire in
the middle of the road. Suddenly, up rode one of the 3d N. Y. Cavalry,
leading a second horse, laden with a foraged bag of grain. He was very
impatient to rejoin his comrades, encamped some distance in advance of
the main body, and all advice to wait for the removal of the obstacle
proved of no avail. Wheeling about, and riding back a few rods, he
started the two horses on the full gallop, leaped the tree, directly
into the fire, dashed on, and was quickly lost in the thick darkness
beyond.

Refreshed by our night's rest, we were roused at early dawn by the
reveille-call of the bugle, and soon the whole camp was astir.
Breakfast, which, like both the other meals, consisted of hard-tack
and coffee, except when a successful foraging tour increased our
commissariat, was soon disposed of, and we started on the second day's
march. Wading a broad stream, at the very outset, relieved us from all
fear of wetting our feet, and enabled us to travel regardless of mud
and water. We were all becoming more accustomed to the work before us,
though whether that proved of any practical benefit in rendering the
labor easier, is still an open question.

As we had loaded our guns before starting that morning, we confidently
expected to meet the enemy before the close of the day; but, though
occasional firing was to be heard at the front, the skirmishing of our
advance with the rear of the enemy, nothing of the foe was to be seen,
except some prisoners captured by the cavalry, several of them wounded.
It was a sad spectacle, the sight of the poor rebels in their forlorn
condition, so gaunt and filthy, most miserably clad, and above all,
wounded and captive. The horrors of war were indeed becoming a dread
reality and no longer mere printed words. Another sad sight was to see
the men straggling. Poor fellows, who, reduced by fever in the summer,
and but scarcely dismissed from the hospital, lined the road, utterly
exhausted and unable to drag one limb after the other. Others, from
our own ranks, unaccustomed to such hard work, and used up by the march
of the day previous, were compelled to fall out and rest, after an hour
or two of vain attempts to keep up with the hurrying crowd.

The country grew pleasanter as we advanced, and food seemed much more
plentiful; the woods swarmed with wild pigs; cattle and poultry were
quite abundant, and occasionally a hive of honey was discovered, and
quickly dismounted and robbed, regardless of its fiery occupants. Halts
were more frequent that day, and as the camping-ground was earlier
reached, the bivouac was so much the more comfortable. The night was
quite cold, and the ground stiff and frozen in the morning, but we
soon thawed ourselves out before the rekindled fires. Some of the
improvident ones awoke to a sense of their folly, in having emptied
their haversacks at the end of the second day, not having considered
the simple problem that if three days rations are eaten in two days,
the third day they must either beg or starve.

We had a very easy day's work on the thirteenth, for after marching a
few hours, firing commenced in the front, and orders came for us to
hurry forward, as the enemy had made a stand. As we pressed eagerly
onward, the cry was passed along from the rear, of "Give way, right and
left, for artillery!" We were marching through a long, level stretch
of pine forest, and as the men fell back on each side of the road,
we could see the batteries approaching in the distance. As they drew
near, the leader shouted, "Gallop!" and on they came, the horses on
the full run, the guns rattling and jumping, the men clinging to their
seats for dear life, to prevent being dismounted by some extra jounce,
but smiling as if going to parade. Cheer after cheer greeted each
successive piece as it rushed through our ranks on to the front, and we
all felt sure that with such support we could brave any foe.

Leaving the main road, the regiment filed into a cleared space, where
the advance had halted and was drawn up in line of battle with the rest
of the brigade. The skirmishers advanced and disappeared in the woods,
and we awaited anxiously our orders to move; but after a few shots from
cavalry and skirmishers, the enemy fell back, leaving in our possession
two small pieces of artillery. It was decided to halt for the night, to
give the men a good rest, as our proximity to Kinston made a fight the
next day almost inevitable.

[Illustration: KINSTON SWAMP]

[Illustration: The 45^{th} At Kinston N. C. Dec 14, 1962.]



CHAPTER V.

OUR BATTLES.


The quiet afternoon and long night's rest refreshed us most
wonderfully, and we woke the next morning, Sunday, the fourteenth,
free from all fatigue. It was a bright, beautiful day, and we broke
camp in high spirits, ready for whatever might happen, and yet with no
conception of the dread realities actually before us, and in which we
were to enact a part.

After marching two or three miles, firing once more commenced at the
front, and hurrying on, the regiment was halted at the corner of a
road which ran directly to the river Neuse. Presently, a section of
artillery arrived, and passing into a field just before us, began to
shell the woods.

As we waited there, momentarily expecting to enter the fight already
begun, one of our number, amid the roar of artillery and occasional
roll of musketry, began the hymn, forever associated in the minds of
those present with that scene, "Ye Christian Heroes go Proclaim," in
which we all joined. It was his last song upon earth, but how nobly did
he earn the title of "Christian Hero," and what death more glorious
than with such words yet lingering on his lips, to freely surrender
his life at the altar of his country's liberty. His name will ever
be cherished with love and reverence by all who knew him, and we can
rejoice with his friends who mourn his loss, that he is enjoying his
fit reward, an immortal crown of glory.

Soon the order came for the 45th to advance; so, marching by the right
flank, we left the road and entered the woods, passing directly in
front of the battery, and most unfortunately in its range. Before
notice could be given to the officer in command, two successive shells
had killed three of our number, besides slightly wounding others. It
was a sad omen with which to enter the fight, but on we pushed and soon
faced to the front and advanced, deployed as skirmishers.

We quickly found ourselves in the midst of a regular North Carolina
swamp, which in ordinary times would be considered impenetrable. Mud
and water waist deep, how much deeper none stopped to see, roots to
trip the careless foot, briers innumerable to make havoc with our
clothes, to say nothing of an occasional stray bullet, which, finding
its way through the trees, whistled over our heads, and contributed
to the pleasantness of the position. But it needed more than mud
and water, or even a stray bullet, to check us, and so on we crept,
crawled and waded, the bullets becoming thicker as we advanced, until
we conquered the swamp and gained a position where the ground rose
slightly towards the enemy, and was thinly covered with young oaks and
underbrush. Here we quickly obeyed the order "Lie down!"

The regiment formed in a sort of semi-circle around the edge of the
woods, but the line was too much extended to be efficient in a charge,
as we soon found. We retained this position for about an hour amid
an unceasing storm of bullets, shot and shell, which, thanks to the
elevation of the ground, passed in a great measure just above our heads
and riddled the trees in our rear. Too many, however, found a resting
place in a soldier's body, and the dead and wounded lay in every
direction. We fired at will, as we found opportunity, our regiment, the
10th Connecticut and 103d Pennsylvania, who following in our footsteps
had gained the same position, all lying together, regardless of company
or regiment.

At last, the order came to fix bayonets, and then to charge. The left
wing, together with the Connecticut and Pennsylvania troops, sprang
to their feet, and with a loud cry broke from the cover. At the
same moment, the enemy gave way and retreated post-haste across the
bridge which leads to Kinston. But the extended line of our regiment,
scattered as it was through the woods, and the impossibility of
conveying an order in the din of battle, simultaneously to all parts of
the line, prevented a united movement, and those who had received and
obeyed the order to charge were soon halted, to enable the scattered
ranks to reunite.

But the day was won, and the rebels, in full retreat across the river,
received an occasional reminder in the shape of a shell from our guns,
which hastened their speed till it became a run.

We discovered, on emerging from the woods, that the enemy had been
sheltered behind fences on both sides of the road. This enabled them
to concentrate upon us a cross fire. An old barn-like church had also
served to protect them in a measure. It was perforated with holes
of all sizes, from that of the Minie-ball to the one caused by the
thirty-two-pound shell. Dead bodies lay scattered about the floor, and
our surgeons immediately appropriated it for a hospital.

After a time, we marched down the road to the river, and turning down
the Neuse road in the direction of Newbern, went into camp a short
distance from the bridge. Expecting to bivouac here, we commenced our
preparations for the night. Some of us, meantime, returned to the swamp
to recover our blankets, overcoats and haversacks, cast aside at the
commencement of the fight, and were fortunate enough to recover most of
them. The dead and wounded lay scattered through the woods, and with
sad hearts we rejoined our comrades, thankful that our lives had been
spared. But our day's work was by no means ended, for scarcely had our
party returned to the camping-ground, when the order came to fall in,
and off we started across the bridge, which the rebels had made a vain
attempt to burn in their retreat, and marched along the banks of the
Neuse, till we reached the town of Kinston.

The strategy which enabled General Foster to win this battle as easily
as he did, was apparent when we came to understand the nature of the
country and the works of the enemy. The rebels had evidently expected
us to advance by the Neuse road, which runs along the riverside; for,
some distance from the bridge, a strong earth-work had been thrown up
directly across the road, flanked on one side by a pond, on the other
by a swamp. A long earth-work had also been erected on the Kinston
side of the river, commanding both roads and the bridge.

The road taken by General Foster rendered the first mentioned work
wholly useless, and the garrison was compelled to abandon it to prevent
their separation from the main command. The road taken by the main body
of our force makes a bend, which brings it to the bridge at right
angles to the river. Nearly a quarter of a mile from this bend, a small
cross-road connects with the Neuse road, thus enclosing a square, in
which the enemy made their stand, compelled to fight on what, to them,
was the farther side of the river, and thus they were made dependent on
the bridge for a means of retreat.

The plan was to divide our force, the main body keeping straight
forward, towards the bridge, and thus bring on a general engagement,
while meantime, a strong force was sent down the cross-road, in order
to gain possession of the bridge, and so cut off their sole means of
escape. This manoeuvre was only partially successful, as the rebels,
discovering their imminent danger, gave way before the flanking force
had reached the bridge. However, some five hundred prisoners were
captured, as it was, and eleven cannon fell into our hands, to say
nothing of small arms and commissary stores.

Some seven thousand of the enemy, under command of General Evans, were
engaged, and not many more on our side, as many of our regiments took
no active part in the battle. When compared with many other battles
of the war, it was a mere skirmish; but veterans from the seven-days
fight before Richmond, from Roanoke, and from Newbern, were unanimous
in pronouncing the fire that day, to have been sharper than was
experienced by them in any former battle. General Foster, in his
despatch, speaks of the "terrible fire" to which we were exposed.

Kinston is rather a pretty place, regularly laid out, well shaded, and
altogether very New England like. It is built directly on the Neuse,
whose banks are high and steep at this point. We marched through the
town, and halted at the outskirts, on the line of the railroad, which
runs from Newbern to Goldsboro, and on which most of the enemy made
good their retreat.

After the camp had been selected, and our goods and chattels deposited,
the band gave an impromptu concert, in honor of the victory, after
which most of us started on a foraging expedition, seeking what we
might devour. In this quest we were eminently successful. Our mess
supped on broiled chicken and apple-jack, and others fared even more
sumptuously. A large quantity of tobacco was also discovered and
speedily confiscated.

Hardly had we finished supper, and laid ourselves out for the night,
when the order came for four companies to "fall in," and patrol the
town. A house in the middle of the town had been fired, and as the
flames had extended to one or two of the surrounding buildings, there
was a fair prospect of seeing the whole place in ashes before morning,
unless the progress of the fire was arrested. Fortunately there were
enough firemen to check any further spread of the mischief, and it
devolved upon us to pass the greater half of the night patrolling
the streets, preventing all disorder, and returning stragglers to
their regiments. We found one fellow in a most happy frame of mind,
seated in a horseless chaise, evidently enjoying his ride intensely,
and urging on the imaginary steed, as if on a race track, apple-jack,
without question, having got the better of him.

The moon came out in full splendor, to light us on our weary
pilgrimage, as we traversed the streets back and forth, round and
round. The captain occasionally coming to a halt, some of us employed
the time by taking a nap on the sidewalk, or in the road, just as
it happened. A colored gentleman accompanied us during part of our
wanderings, showing off the place, pointing out the slave market, and
other objects of interest. However, our desire for a more intimate
acquaintance with the town was not so great but that we were ready
to return to camp, somewhere in the small hours, and wrap up in our
blankets for a short nap, after our day's work.

We were up bright and early the next morning, and to our surprise, and
the enemy's as well, Kinston was abandoned, and the river recrossed.
The rear guard destroyed the bridge, which had cost us so much effort
to save the day before, and we started once more in the direction
of Goldsboro. It was very warm and dusty, and the march long and
wearisome, but the country grew pleasanter the further inland we
advanced, and the plantations appeared much more flourishing, so that
we were more than usually rejoiced to reach the camp that night, and
rest after our two days of hard work.

After marching three or four miles the next morning, Tuesday, the 16th,
the boom of cannon, now quite familiar, was heard in the distance, and
orders came for the 45th to hasten forward to the scene of action.
The road runs for some distance parallel to the river, through a large
clearing, and then turns abruptly towards a bridge which spans the
Neuse, leading to the town of Whitehall. The land rises to some height
on the left side of the road, the brow of the hill being thinly covered
with forest trees, while on the right it slopes to the wooded bank of
the river.

On the approach of our cavalry advance, the previous night, the rebels
had crossed the river, destroying the bridge in their retreat, and the
fighting was now going on at this point, the apparent object being to
rebuild the bridge, and cross the river. The part taken in this fight
by our regiment was rather passive than active, but none the less
trying for that reason.

A portion of a New York battery being put in position on the rise of
the hill, we were ordered to their support; so, marching along the
road till opposite the battery, we formed in line of battle, and then
lay down, facing the river, and not many rods distant from it. Our
situation was anything but an agreeable one, for not only did the rebel
shot and bullets fall thick around us, but the shell from our own guns
behind, passed so near as to render a recumbent posture very desirable.
An hour passed in this condition, without firing a gun, seemed, from
the very inaction, much more like two or three; but at length the order
was passed along the line to fall back to the other side of the road.
So, crawling through, or scrambling over the fence which separated us
from the field, we took up a new position, two or three rods further
back, and directly the 3d Rhode Island Battery came thundering down
the road, and unlimbering on the spot we had just vacated, began to
pour a deadly fire across the river. While we occupied this position,
our gallant Color Sergeant, Theodore Parkman, was struck in the head
by a fragment of a shell, and almost instantly killed. But before the
colors fell to the ground they were seized by the colonel himself, and
though a mark for the deadly missiles of the sharp-shooters, which
whistled close around him, he supported them till relieved by one of
the color-guard.

It is true we accomplished the destruction of a gun-boat, which was in
process of construction at this place, but all this apparent effort
to cross the river was merely a feint to occupy the attention of the
enemy, and thereby cover a raid of the cavalry upon the Goldsboro and
Wilmington Railroad. It was most successful, for a battalion of the
3d New York having struck the road at Mt. Olive Station, took the
people wholly by surprise. They came upon a crowd of passengers waiting
for the train, which was, however, unavoidably detained on that day,
at least, as they destroyed the track and telegraph for some miles,
rejoining the main command without the loss of a man.

We marched on some hours after the fight was over, finding the country
much more hilly, and decidedly pleasanter. The latter part of the day,
a few of us, wearying of the monotony of the march, started ahead on
our own account, passing regiment after regiment. An occasional meeting
with old friends among the Massachusetts troops, with whom we rehearsed
the events of the past two or three days, created quite a pleasant
diversion, and relieved to a great extent the tedium of the way.

[Illustration: HELIOTYPE PRINTING CO. BOSTON.
BATTLE OF GOLDSBORO.]



CHAPTER VI.

THE RETURN.


Up to the last day's advance, our brigade had been one of the first in
line of march, but that last day the 45th was detailed as guard over
the baggage train. We were consequently prevented from participating in
or even witnessing the battle at the bridge where the railroad crosses
the Neuse, a short distance from the town of Goldsboro, which resulted
in the destruction of the bridge.

Our regiment was drawn up in line by the road-side, awaiting orders,
when General Foster and his staff came riding up from the scene of
action. The general himself announced the successful accomplishment of
the object of the expedition, which good news was received with loud
cheers, followed by a salute from the band.

At nightfall, on the return march, we had just reached the bivouac of
the previous night, when firing was once more heard in the direction
of Goldsboro, and presently an orderly dashed up with orders for us
to hurry back, as an attack in force had been made by the enemy on
our retiring column. This was anything but agreeable, as we were
anticipating a good supper and a quiet night; but war is inexorable,
and so we faced about and hurried off on the back-track. At the end
of four miles, the firing ceased, and soon word came that we were not
wanted, and might once more turn our faces homeward.

By this time it was quite dark, and the men very naturally felt cross
and tired, and did not execute some order of the colonel as promptly as
he thought right. Whereupon, he treated us on the spot to a drill in
the manual, full fifteen minutes long. Our way back to camp was lit up
by the blazing fences and pines which had caught from the fires made by
the troops along the road at the various halting places, and presented
a beautiful appearance, yet at the same time the scene was not wholly
free from danger, as the burning trees were falling in all directions.
The sky was red with the blaze, and it was a grand sight to watch the
fire creep slowly up the trunks of the old dead pines, towering high
above the other trees, and gradually envelope them in one sheet of
flame.

The next day we were fully initiated into the mysteries, as well as
duties, of baggage guard. Four men were detailed to a wagon, two on
each side, and off start the teams, most of them empty, at a rate of
about ten or twelve miles an hour. Running beside the wagon was rather
severe exercise, and sitting with the driver almost an impossibility,
strict orders being given by the wagon-master to allow no one to
ride. There was, therefore, nothing to be done but let them go their
own gait, or else climb up and cling to the inverted trough, used in
feeding the horses, which hangs at the back of most army wagons. The
wise ones chose this latter course, and by constant practice acquired
great expertness in getting on and off while at full speed. At length,
by judiciously walking up the hills, occasionally presenting ourselves
at the front of the wagon to show the driver we were on hand, and
assisting in watering the horses, we worked on his feelings to such an
extent that a seat by his side crowned our efforts. Our good fortune
was, however, but short-lived, for the wagon-master, on discovering
our comfortable position, most unceremoniously ejected us therefrom,
leaving us to finish the journey on foot, for which kind act he has our
grateful maledictions. Rations began to run very low about this time,
and the houses on the road were very thoroughly searched and stripped
of all things eatable.

Our column presented a most singular appearance on the return march,
for each one seemed to be his own commander, and all thoughts of
company or regiment were wholly thrown aside. A most motley appearance
we must have presented. Here comes one mounted on a nice horse, with a
halter for his bridle, a blanket for his saddle; another has found a
home-made cart, into which, by dint of rope and strap, he has fastened
some old Rosinante, a perfect match for the vehicle, and thus rides
in state in his own carriage. There is a mule, which in its obstinacy
causes the rider much more trouble, and consumes more time, than an
equal amount of walking; while a strange crowd on foot, their faces
black with the accumulation of nine days' dirt, armed with plunder
of every shape and kind, from a sauce-pan to a feather pillow, hurry
along, each one suiting his own convenience and acknowledging no other
leader.

It was a pretty hungry time for a day or two, and for one forty-eight
hours but four hard-tack to a man were issued by the quartermaster,
and those who were unsuccessful in their foraging went very hungry.
The officers fared no better than the men, as the following incident
certainly bespeaks a most sharp and craving appetite. After we had gone
into camp, on one of these nights of scarcity, a lieutenant in our
regiment was prowling supperless about the staff headquarters, and in
the course of his wanderings came upon a contraband making a supper off
the remains of the mess-table. Called away for a moment, he laid down
his dish, leaving on it a bone not thoroughly picked; but alas for the
poor darkey! when he returned, the bone was gone, and his feast was
over, while the lieutenant alone remained to tell the story.

Our expedition had its pleasures as well as its pains, and though
perhaps not as numerous, yet they were all the choicer for their
rarity. Passing through a strange country, where houses and people
differed from what we were accustomed to, every object was novel and
full of interest. Foraging was full of charm, not only because of
the excitement it afforded, but from its utter lawlessness. It was
something so entirely opposed to all civilized proceedings, to boldly
enter a house and demand and take something to eat, or deliberately
walk off with a goose or chicken, without so much as "by your leave" to
the owner.

Then this wild, out-of-door life; lying close to old Mother Earth,
with the blue canopy of heaven for our covering; the merry camp-fires,
surrounded after a day of toil by a circle of weary but contented
faces, busy preparing supper. The more enterprising ones, who had
been successful in their foraging, cooking their chicken or hoe-cake,
or perhaps a bit of bacon filched from some smoke-house, while the
unlucky or lazy ones have only to boil their coffee and make a meal off
of hard-tack, when they have any. Every little while a shout of dismay
is heard as some luckless wight stumbles over the end of the long rail
which stretches out into the darkness, but on whose fire-end are nicely
poised two or three cups of coffee, almost ready to drink, and their
unfortunate owner sees the precious contents spilled into the fire. It
was no small trial of temper, after going perhaps half a mile at the
end of a wearisome march to fill your canteen with water, to lose both
water and coffee by the awkwardness of some stupid fellow. The only
equally provoking accident is, to have your blanket-straps give way
while wading a mud-puddle, and see the blankets fall into the mud.

The fine weather, with which we were favored, was another pleasant
feature of the expedition. The nights were cold, to be sure, but the
air was clear and bracing, and we were spared all the discomforts of a
stormy campaign. We learnt more of the true character of our comrades
also, for nothing brings out the real worth of a man more than such
an experience. Some, who had been very stout and bold-hearted in the
anticipation, sank utterly under the reality; while others, from whom
little had been expected, now appeared as lively and active as if on
a pleasure excursion, and occasionally you would see a noble-hearted
fellow carrying two guns, or an extra set of blankets, but for whose
kindly assistance some poor fellow would have given up in utter despair.

One of the saddest sights of the march was the great number of
stragglers. We read in the newspapers of so many stragglers picked
off by guerillas, or captured and missing, and one naturally supposes
that these unlucky ones have wilfully strayed from the command, and
suffered the penalty for their carelessness and disobedience. But what
is the reality? As the column goes hurrying by, you catch a glimpse
of a pale face lying by the road-side, faint and weary; a few steps
farther on, one with his shoes off, bathing his blistered feet; here
is a poor fellow whose summer has been spent in hospital, sick of a
fever, and whose little stock of strength is soon exhausted; these
are the stragglers who reach the camp long after the others have made
themselves comfortable for the night, and, after a restless night, they
start off the next morning with a like prospect before them, until
human endurance can hold out no longer.

On the tenth night we found ourselves but eight miles from Newbern,
and the next morning we started for the barracks with happy, thankful
hearts. About noon of the eleventh day, after a march of more than
one hundred and fifty miles, a motley crew, some with faces which had
known no water during our absence, and all unshaven, tattered and
torn, we once more set foot in Camp Amory on the Trent. After the
luxury of a bath and change of clothes, we had a great treat in the
budget of letters and pile of boxes which had been awaiting our return,
suggestive of numberless feasts, to make up for the scanty fare on the
march. Such was our first experience of the stern realities of war. Out
of the eight companies who went on the expedition, seventeen men were
killed and sixty wounded,--one in every ten of the command.

We soon fell into the old routine of camp life, the regimental library
furnishing a supply of reading for the evening hours, and when reading
and writing failed, whist was always on hand, a never-failing resource.
Not long after our return to camp, the regiment, in common with many
others which were quartered in barracks, was visited by a deadly
malaria, which carried off several brave fellows who had escaped the
dangers of the march only to fall victims to disease. As one after
another was stricken down, and in a few short hours lay cold and
still in death, a shadow fell upon us all, for none could tell whose
turn would come next. We entered the service with the dangers of the
battle-field distinctly before us, but this was a foe against which
mortal might was powerless. There is a glory in a death in battle,
but equal honor and equal praise is due to him who suffers for his
country's good in a different way, and at her call gives up his life on
the sick-bed, with a heroism equal to those who shed their lifeblood in
the fight. All honor and praise be to both.

Being exempted from drill the day after guard duty, we used to make
little excursions about the country; through the woods on the opposite
side of the river, hunting after brier-root to make pipes, and also to
collect logs for the barrack fire; to the old brick house, once the
mansion-house of the plantation upon which our camps were situated, now
torn down, and the bricks converted into chimneys and ovens for the
barracks, while the surrounding grove has fallen before the axes of
the pioneer. Still farther off, stood the blockhouse on Brice's Creek,
the outpost in this direction, a favorite resort, while near by was a
signal-tower, from which a fine view of Newbern and the vicinity could
be obtained.

Christmas came, marked by an absence of drill, and an extra dinner,
followed by the New Year's day, so memorable on account of the
Emancipation Proclamation that day given to the world. But a very
important event, and one long looked for, occurred early in January,
which sent a thrill of joy throughout the department,--that was the
arrival of the paymaster and our first pay-day. He had been coming
every day for many weeks; and some regiments had not been paid for more
than six months, and their families were suffering for want of this
dearly-earned money. But come he did, and a happy set of faces filled
the long line as it filed by his table, receiving the first earning in
Uncle Sam's service. But transcendent in his joy was the sutler, who,
seated by the paymaster, eyed the crisp bank-notes, and speculated how
soon they would find their way into his rapacious maw.

[Illustration: HARDTACK AND COFFEE.]

[Illustration: BLOCK HOUSE.]

[Illustration: RESERVE PICKET STATION.]



CHAPTER VII.

A TRIP TO TRENTON.


We had but fairly settled down to the old story of drill and parade,
our lameness healed, and the excitement of the scenes through which
we had so lately passed somewhat allayed, when rumors of another
expedition began to float about the camp. These were vague at first,
but increased in strength from day to day, until we became convinced
of their truth by the announcement at dress-parade of the order to be
in readiness on a certain day, with three days' rations ready cooked.
Having learned wisdom by experience, we understood better how to
prepare for a march. My first care was to procure a body-guard in the
shape of a stout contraband youth, to relieve me of my blankets and
look after my interests generally; the next was to make some provision
for the inner man, additional to that of government, which had failed
us before in the hour of need. Thanks to a box from home, a ham, not
quite demolished, made an excellent substitute for salt junk, and a
package of rice also found its way into our haversack. This possessed
the double advantage of furnishing great nourishment and occupying but
a small space in the bag.

Several gentlemen from Boston, who had arrived shortly before our
departure, had an opportunity of seeing the regiment leave camp on
an expedition. Our force consisted of one brigade of infantry,--1st
Brigade, 1st Division, 18th Army Corps,--a squadron of cavalry, with
a small howitzer, and a section of artillery, all under command of
Colonel Amory, our brigade commander. Two or three unsuccessful
attempts to start had been made, as a storm prevented, but Saturday,
the 17th, dawned, a clear, cold January day, and shortly after
breakfast we left camp and were soon fairly on our way. While awaiting
the arrival of the detachment of cavalry and artillery which was
to accompany us, a very amusing scene occurred, in the shape of an
extempore drill by some of the contrabands--our camp followers--under
the leadership of a deep-voiced darkey, whose orders were, to say the
least, remarkable: such as, "In three ranks count twos, Right smart,
Git!" while the execution of these manoeuvres was, if possible, even
more ludicrous than the orders themselves.

The first day's march was through an uninteresting section of country,
very sparsely settled, and more hilly than any we had passed through
before. The march was quite reasonable, bringing us to the village of
Pollocksville, distant a little more than twelve miles from Newbern.
The town comprised only about half-a-dozen houses, remarkable solely
for their homeliness. The place, however, once boasted a private school
of some pretensions. The large white building, not far from the town,
standing a little distance from the road, immediately attracted our
attention, and a halt occurring just then, we made an inspection.
Some circulars were found setting forth the merits of the school, and
advising parents not to let the distractions of war interfere with
the education of their children. But teachers and scholars had alike
disappeared long since, and the building alone remained, forlorn and
desolate.

As we entered the village, two or three men were seen in the distance,
and some of the cavalry immediately dashed off at full run in hot
pursuit, but, having gained the woods, they made good their escape. The
half-dozen houses were mostly deserted, and extensive levies were made
upon them for boards, which, covered with a sufficient number of weeds
and stalks, made a bed fit for a king, and almost too luxurious for
a soldier. Taking it quite leisurely the next morning, as some trees
felled across the road caused delay, we started _en route_ for Trenton,
leaving part of our force to guard the baggage-train which remained at
Pollocksville.

This day's march was, without exception, the pleasantest in all our
experience. We were not hurried, as always before, and had some
opportunity to look about and see the country through which we were
passing. This section had been very little disturbed by raiding
armies; the plantations grew larger the further we advanced, and the
houses had a very comfortable, hospitable appearance, but as foraging
was strictly forbidden, a close inspection was out of the question.
For some distance the road skirted a cypress swamp, a most desolate,
gloomy spot, the old trees, hoary with the long gray moss which hung in
festoons from every limb, and surrounded with slimy water, suggestive
of snakes and horrible reptiles,--secure retreat for the fugitive.

Our command entered Trenton without opposition, a small force of the
enemy retreating in hot haste on the approach of our cavalry. After
going into camp and disposing of our luggage, we wandered about the
town, seeking what we might devour, but finding little to reward us for
our pains. The town is prettily situated on the river Trent, but the
houses and people were forlorn and dirty enough. The post-office was
ransacked, but little besides recruiting bills was to be found. One
great object in coming to this place was to destroy the bridge across
the Trent, and so prevent any advance on Newbern from this direction.
Our arrival was a happy event for the slaves in and about the town, and
they spent the night in preparation for their exodus from the land of
bondage. The bridge burned, we started on the back road, accompanied
by a long train of contrabands. A mill at the entrance of the town was
fired to prevent the use of its timbers for the reconstruction of the
bridge, and as the groan of the machinery rose above the roar of the
flames, we could imagine it some huge creature awaiting in agony a
fiery death.

The next night we spent at our old camp at Pollocksville, and very
narrowly escaped quite a serious disaster; for the grass in the
large field where we encamped, being quite high and dry, took fire,
and burned with such violence that it was only by great exertion
that we saved our guns and traps from destruction. With replenished
haversacks, we made a fresh start the next morning in the direction of
Onslow Court House, following in the tracks of the cavalry, who had
started the previous afternoon with two pieces of artillery. Early
in the afternoon we reached a place called Young's Cross Roads, where
the cavalry had captured an army wagon and a few prisoners. Here we
bivouacked, and as the sky looked threatening, made preparations for a
stormy night, for we were to await the return of the cavalry, or, if
needful, go on to their support.

While hard at work, making as good shelter as possible with boards
and rubber blankets, round came the orderly with the detail for
picket duty, our name among the rest; so, dropping rails and boards,
and once more donning our harness, we reported with our squad to the
officer of the guard. The road we were detached to guard led to some
mills,--Packard's, by name,--and every little while three or four men
were dropped off under charge of a corporal, until the lieutenant
announced that the next station would be the reserve, with a guard of
twenty. Such of our company as were detailed on guard, were among this
lucky number, and we quickly set to work to prepare our camp.

Fortunately the spot selected was opposite to a clearing where
there were several large piles of rails, ready for use. These were
immediately appropriated and rigged up for a roof and floor. Meanwhile,
some of the party, sent on a foraging expedition, returned with a
supply of sweet potatoes and their tin cups filled with delicious
honey. As we were at work, an old darkey came along in an ox-team with
meal from the mill, and the poor fellow was unlucky enough to have
on a rebel overcoat, the buttons of which quickly disappeared under
the knives of trophy seekers. On coming to the main camp the meal was
confiscated, so the old man decided that he would rather go with us to
Newbern than face his master's wrath.

As night came on, the sky grew blacker and blacker, and at length the
storm burst upon us in all its fury. For a time our arrangements worked
nicely, and our rubber blankets formed a good protection overhead, but
after a while the rain discovered the weak spots, and little streams
of water began to trickle into our faces and run down our backs. Sleep
was out of the question, so we all got up and huddled about the embers
of the smouldering fire, but to little purpose. The heavens seemed
literally to have opened their flood-gates, and the floods descended.
If we stepped off the rails we immediately sank knee-deep in mud, and
our beds would have delighted the soul of the most fastidious porker;
drenched from head to foot, with no prospect of even a wink of sleep,
we waited as patiently as might be for the coming day.

Towards morning the storm abated in violence; so we built up a roaring
fire, and made ourselves comparatively comfortable, our spirits
returning with the light, and by ration time we were as bright as if
we had passed a most delightful night. Having dried our clothes and
blankets as well as the circumstances permitted, about nine o'clock we
rejoined the regiment, most of whom had been drowned out in the night,
and suffered an experience similar to our own. The cavalry had returned
in the night, after riding about thirty miles, their progress having
been stopped by the burning of a bridge near Onslow Court House. They
were followed back by a long procession of contrabands, with faces
turned eastward.

About half-past nine that same morning, we started on our return
march. The rain had subsided into a fine drizzle, and the roads were
somewhat inclined to be muddy. The head of the column pushed along as
though hotly pursued by the enemy, stopping for about twenty minutes at
the end of the first five miles. We hurried on through Pollocksville
without halting, taking a breathing spell and dinner just beyond the
village, and then the fun commenced. Mud was king that day. Not like
our New England mud, barely deep enough to soil your boots, but real
old Southern mud, fathomless, immeasurable. Every little while we were
greeted with solemn farewells by unfortunate ones disappearing rapidly
from view, bound on a terrestrial voyage to China by the air, or
rather earth, line. One poor wretch, stepping into a deceitful puddle,
descended to his waist; then, unable to proceed either up or down,
concluded to remain where he was, for want of a better place, until,
having furnished much sport to the crowd, two of his comrades, taking
pity on his helpless condition, seized him by the shoulders, and landed
him once more on _terra firma_.

Every mile or two, streams, intended for peaceful, babbling brooks,
but which, swollen by the rains, had became raging torrents and angry
rivers on a small scale, crossed the road. Some we forded, others we
waded for lack of better means of transit. Occasionally rail bridges
spanned the stream at the side of the road, tempting the unwary one,
and some unlucky one would now and then disappear from them into the
roaring flood, and emerge looking quite moist and crestfallen, with
his gun in excellent order for use. Little streaks of clay cropped up
here and there along the road, holding the feet as in a vice, and he
was lucky who retained his shoes in the struggle. Still, on rushed the
van, as if life itself was at stake, if camp were not reached at an
early hour; so, resigning ourselves to our fate, we tumbled along with
the rest. The column must have resembled in appearance the army in the
stampede of Bull Run. Every man running a race with his neighbor, all
discipline thrown to the winds, and the one who reached camp first, the
best fellow.

Although, without exception, the hardest day in all our campaign, we
never had a merrier one. There were more jokes in that afternoon than
in an ordinary month; and it may be set down as an axiom, that, in the
army, the harder the work, and the more dismal the circumstances, the
better humor the men will be in. But all misery has an end, and so
did ours; for, about five o'clock that Saturday afternoon, we found
ourselves safe and sound in the old barracks, without having fired a
gun or lost a man. So ended our second expedition, we having on this
last day marched, in a little more than seven hours, including all
halts, twenty-one miles, on the muddiest road it has ever been our lot
to see, or hope to see, disfigure the face of the earth.

In addition to the letters from home, pleasing rumors greeted us on
our return, to the effect, that, for a time at least, we were to know
no more expeditions, but were soon to take up our quarters in Newbern
as provost guard. After time to rest and discuss this good news in its
every possible feature, we were rewarded for past labors by the reading
of the order for the 45th Mass., Colonel Codman commanding, to relieve
the 17th Mass., at Newbern, on the 25th instant. The intervening
time was spent in preparations for departure, collecting our numerous
movables, taking down shelves, hiring donkey-carts, etc., and on the
24th we retired to our bunks in old Camp Amory for the last time, the
anticipation of the morrow engrossing every thought, and rendering
sleep of little moment.

[Illustration: HELIOTYPE PRINTING CO. BOSTON.
QUARTERS OF COMPANY A, AT NEWBERN.]



CHAPTER VIII.

LIFE IN NEWBERN.


At an early hour on the long-expected day, the detail for guard left
the camp, and soon after breakfast, the rest of the regiment started,
in the best possible spirits, for its new quarters, making quite a
triumphal entry into the captured city, with band playing and colors
flying. Crossing the railroad bridge, we marched directly to Broad
street, the parade-ground of all troops occupying the city. There the
out-going regiment, the 17th Mass., were drawn up in line to welcome
the new-comers; and after the customary manoeuvres required by military
etiquette, the command of the city was tendered to Colonel Codman, and
the companies ordered to their respective quarters.

The lines of Company A had ever fallen in pleasant places, and our
good luck did not desert us, for we found ourselves in possession of
the nicest of the houses assigned to the regiment; in fact, one of the
prettiest places in the town. It was a two-storied, wooden building,
on Pollock street, the principal street of Newbern, lighted with gas,
but of course wholly destitute of furniture. It had flower-gardens in
front and on both sides, while in the rear were one or two acres of
land covered with various kinds of fruit-trees, several fig-trees among
the number. There was also a cook-house, barn, and out-buildings, all,
except the barn, fitted up with bunks for the accommodation of those
who could not obtain a corner in the main building.

All the rooms in the house, excepting those reserved for the officers,
were lined with bunks, the parlor alone having seventeen occupants. The
name of "Pierce" still adorned the front door, and we would embrace
this opportunity to tender to the individual rejoicing in the name of
"Pierce," our most sincere thanks for the noble manner in which he
retired to the country and generously yielded up his house and grounds,
rent free, to the use of the Yankee soldiery.

Company K occupied the next house, and opposite them were the quarters
of Company D, while across the street was the house occupied by General
Hill, the rebel commander, for his headquarters when in the city. Just
below, on the next corner, was the building employed by the provost
marshal, and the headquarters of the provost guard. The companies were
somewhat scattered, for the greater security of the city.

The duty of the provost guard was somewhat as follows. The city was
divided into three districts; the first district was the south-eastern
part of the town, and embraced the business quarter, having its
headquarters at the provost marshal's. Here was the guard-house,
where all persons arrested were kept till examination was made and
sentence passed over them,--like the station-house of the police.
The second district comprised the northern portion of the town,
having its headquarters in the old office of the Atlantic and North
Carolina Railroad. This was situated next the depot, and the desk and
safe of the company remained in their old places. General Foster's
headquarters, and the house occupied by his family, were in this
district, and under the especial care of the guard. The third district
covered the remainder of the town, the south-western portion, and was
the least important of the three.

The daily detail for guard was as follows: One captain, three
lieutenants, three sergeants, ten corporals and one hundred and
ninety-seven privates. The absence of two companies, G and I, and the
large number of men on detached service, rendered the duty of the
privates quite arduous, as the large detail necessitated their going
on guard every other day, with an occasional interval of two days; but
the officers, non-commissioned as well as commissioned, had a very easy
time of it.

Guard-mounting took place on Broad street, every morning at eight
o'clock, and was quite an attraction for idlers, the band always taking
part. After the customary manoeuvres, each lieutenant marched his guard
to the district assigned him, so that it was nearly ten o'clock by
the time the old guard was relieved and returned to quarters. The men
at the head of the line were assigned to the first district, and as
that was the most popular of the three, there was a regular race every
morning for the first place, and sometimes an enterprising company
would be on hand half an hour before the required time. But, after a
while, the companies alternated in their position in the line, and so
all competition was at an end.

The guard was divided into three reliefs; the first being on duty from
nine to one, both morning and night; the second from one to five, and
the third from five to nine. The first relief was through with its
labor at one o'clock A. M., while the third had the whole night from
nine to five to sleep, and the day to loaf, so the choice between these
two was about equally divided, but the second relief, being a sort of
nondescript, was scouted by all.

There were two detached stations, both under command of a corporal,
which were very much liked by the men. The first was at the railroad
bridge, which, as the main entrance to the city, for all on foot or
horseback, was an important point. More than one poor corporal lost
his stripes when at this post, for some slight dereliction of duty.
There were sentry-boxes on the bridge for stormy weather, and a cosy
little guard-room with a nice bed of shavings, much more comfortable
than the hard boards in the other guard-rooms. No one was allowed to
pass over the bridge in either direction without a permit, and special
instructions were issued against allowing any vehicle to cross without
an order from department headquarters.

The other station was at the Pollock Street Jail,--jail in name, but
nothing but a large wooden dwelling-house. It was occupied by rebel
prisoners, disloyal citizens, and occasionally by a United States
officer under arrest. The jailer was a great burly corporal of the 23d
Massachusetts, who was afterwards promoted to a lieutenancy in the
North Carolina native regiment. The guns of the sentries here were
always loaded, and the orders were to shoot on the slightest attempt
to escape,--a very necessary precaution, where but two men kept guard
over a house having at times as many as sixty prisoners. Their fare
was the same as that furnished to our men, and often better. The
prisoners brought in were for the most part a wretched-looking set of
men; dirty to filthiness, ragged, ignorant and stupid, many of them the
clay-eaters of North Carolina. There was a rebel surgeon confined there
for a long time, an intelligent, educated man from New Orleans, with
whom we had many a talk on the topics of the day, upon which he kept
himself well informed.

There was a great choice in the sentry-stations over the city, and
the men very quickly became acquainted with their various excellences
and respective merits. Some were under cover, others were not needed
at night; at this one a breakfast was furnished by a kind neighbor,
at another, the guard was sure of some dinner, while some were wholly
undesirable, being on some bleak, unprotected corner, exposed to wind
and rain.

Guard duty had sufficient variety to relieve it from monotony, and
while many a ludicrous scene happened, occasionally, occurrences not
wholly devoid of danger, served to keep us alive. Some one would
report a disturbance, and ask for a guard to restore peace; whereupon
volunteers would be called for, and two or three start off, ready
for anything that might turn up. Some drunken soldier has, perhaps,
made himself at home in a house, to the obvious discomfort of the
inmates, and refuses to be dislodged; but the ugly look of the bayonet
soon brings him to terms, and he is marched off to the guard-house,
and allowed an opportunity to consider his evil ways, in solitary
confinement. Occasionally, one with enough liquor to make him ugly,
refuses to show his pass, and even attempts to seize the gun of the
guard, when most unexpectedly, he receives the butt of the musket in
his face, and, beginning to realize that "discretion is the better part
of valor," submits, and is led off, a soberer and wiser man.

When some of the old New York and Pennsylvania regiments were encamped
near the town, their men were very apt to make trouble during their
visits to Newbern, and it often ended in their passing the night at the
guard-house. One afternoon, two six-foot Irishmen came over the bridge,
and on entering the town, refused to show their passes. Both had
guns and bayonets, and threatened to kill any one who should attempt
to arrest them. It was not until aid arrived from the guard-house,
and they had been stretched out with the butt of a pistol, that they
quieted down and consented to go and be locked up. Once we were stopped
in the street by a native, and asked to come and arrest a drunken
fellow, who had threatened to stab his wife, the niece of my informant.
Although unaccustomed to interfere in family troubles, such a summons
could not be neglected. The man was a citizen of Newbern, and on our
arrival was asleep on a sofa, while the poor wife was weeping in the
cook-house. Arousing him, we made known our errand; and the accusations
and tears of the wife, together with the maudlin stupidity of the man,
were pitiful to witness. It is to be hoped that three day's solitary
confinement, on bread and water, brought him to a realizing sense of
his conjugal duties.

One day, a person just arrived from Fortress Monroe, made complaint
at the provost marshal's, of the theft of some of his baggage by one
of the hands employed on the steamer. A guard was immediately sent to
the steamer to arrest the criminal, and a portion of the stolen goods
was found among the effects of one of the firemen, but the man himself
was missing. Feeling convinced however, that the fellow was concealed
somewhere on the vessel, they commenced a search, high and low, for
the guilty one, and just as they were about to give up in despair,
one of the guard chanced to look under one of the boilers, and there
discovered the culprit, squeezed in almost out of sight. On being
requested to come forth, he refused flatly, and being out of reach
he could not be dragged out. A loaded pistol was produced, and aimed
at his head, when some one suggested the hose, and a stream of dirty
water was quickly brought to bear on the hapless victim. In vain did he
squirm and writhe; he had to succumb, and finally crawled out from his
hiding-place more dead than alive, and was carried in triumph to the
guard-house to answer for his sins.

We were by no means idle on the days off guard. Four times a week,
when the weather permitted,--and the days were rare when it did not
permit,--we were indulged in the delights of brigade drill. Coming
off guard at ten o'clock, the order would sound through the yard,
immediately after dinner, which was earlier on those days, "Fall in
for brigade drill, blouses and caps!" and at noon we formed regimental
line on Broad street, and from there marched a long two miles over the
railroad bridge, to the plain near our old barracks on the Trent. Here
we were joined by the 17th, 43d and 51st Mass., and manoeuvred by
Colonel Amory for two or three hours. "Echelon by battalion at forty
paces," "form line of battle on third battalion, right in front," etc.,
became as familiar as household words, and all of us felt competent
to handle a brigade. Still it was always a happy moment when we saw
our commander sheathe his long sabre, and no order was obeyed with
such celerity and precision, as the one which invariably followed this
action, "march off your battalions." The men were always in the best of
spirits on the march back to town, and many a song and joke beguiled
the weary way.

Twice a week, also, we had battalion drill, sometimes in the streets,
and occasionally in one of the fields on the outskirts of the town.
As we were very apt to have spectators during our street drills, the
colonel was especially vexed at any blunders committed by the officers,
and woe betide the unfortunate one who incurred his censure on those
days, for he spoke his mind on the spot, to the great delight of the
file, and the discomfiture of the rank.

But all this drill was not thrown away, and for accuracy and quickness
of movements, we yielded the palm to no regiment in the department.
The great feature of the day, however, was the dress-parade. Every
afternoon, a little before five o'clock, there was a general struggle
for blacking and brushes, "dress coats and hats" being the countersign
for the hour. Nightly, with our white gloves and good clothes, we
formed company in the back yard, where we had a preliminary drill in
the manual, to get our hand in for the show performance. Then off we
marched to the parade-ground on the next street, occasionally going
through with a battalion drill, on our own account, while on the way to
our place in line.

The regiment stretches along the north side of the street and the
colonel takes his station on the opposite sidewalk, which is regularly
occupied by a long row of lookers-on. Here, as elsewhere, our company
was in good luck, having the centre of the line, and as the best
drilling was to be seen there, it was accordingly directly opposite
the fair faces, who deigned to grace our parade with their presence.
Many thanks, fair ladies, for the innocent pleasure your bright faces
afforded us poor fellows, many of whom, for eight weary months, did not
so much as speak to a lady. Nor was your presence simply a pleasure but
a benefit to the regiment; for what man could look aught but neat and
tidy with such eyes to criticise? who would not excel in drill to win
applause from such lips?

When, occasionally, the familiar face of some Boston gentleman appeared
in the crowd, it was pleasant to see the start of amazement with which
he greeted the first strains of music as the band beat down the line.
Could these be the same men who labored so hard at Readville to produce
some semblance to music? The band had indeed improved wonderfully,
and it was now a positive pleasure to hear them play. Guard-mounting
and dress-parade, from being a decided bore, had come to be really
enjoyable. Nothing is more enlivening and inspiriting than good martial
music; it relieves the monotony of all military parades, and refreshes
the weary both in body and soul. When one is exhausted with marching,
and to drag one leg after the other is a sore task, let the band strike
up, and the inspiring sounds infuse new life into the tired frame;
it makes the way look short and easy, which, but the moment before,
had seemed interminable. Nor were the duties of the band confined to
the department of music; for on the field of battle they did excellent
work as members of the ambulance corps, and all who had need of their
assistance will remember with unceasing gratitude their kind service
and tender care.

[Illustration: HELIOTYPE PRINTING CO. BOSTON.
REAR VIEW OF QUARTERS OF COMPANY A.]



CHAPTER IX.

THE GRAND REVIEW.


It was our good fortune during our stay in Newbern, to participate
in a grand review of the 18th Army Corps by our commander, General
Foster. We had due notice, and were gotten up in a state of blackness
and brightness well nigh bordering on perfection. Blackness having
reference to the state of our boots and equipments, brightness to our
guns and brasses. The cleansing and polishing and furbishing one does
in the army is beyond belief, for by the time you have come to the
end of the long list of articles which require touching up, the first
strap or brass, as the case may be, has become dull, and you begin
again;--but to return to the review.

The day was all that could be desired, bright and beautiful, and as the
regiment formed line on the parade-ground, looking so neat and nice,
with colors flying, and the band outdoing itself in the excitement of
the day, we felt proud of our State and the service which enlisted such
men in its ranks.

The review was on the south side of the Trent, the country there
affording splendid facilities for military manoeuvres on a large
scale, as it presented an unbroken stretch of nearly two miles in each
direction. We were well acquainted with the spot, having trodden
almost every foot of land thereabouts in our numerous brigade drills,
and were first on the ground that day, as befitted our position in
line, the Forty-fifth ranking as 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st
Division, 18th Army Corps.

It was a beautiful sight to watch the long line of troops which filed
over the bridge, their bayonets flashing in the sunlight, as regiment
after regiment came up and took its place in line. The line was formed
in brigades, four regiments deep, in the order of the brigades, our
brigade holding the right, the artillery and cavalry occupying the
extreme left.

The thunder of the artillery announced the arrival of our gallant
commander, Major-General Foster, and soon he appeared at our front,
finely mounted, and attended by his full staff. Drums are ruffled and
arms presented, while the band plays "Hail to the Chief," as he dashes
along in his inspection of each regiment, the music continuing while he
is passing through the brigade, then the next band takes up the strain.

After a long rest and a lunch by all who had been prudent enough to
bring a supply of hard-tack in their pockets, our turn came for an
active part in the proceedings of the day. General Foster had taken his
station on a slight eminence, and sat facing the centre of the line,
which, brigade deep, extended for full a mile. Surrounded by his staff,
he was the object of attraction of the crowd of spectators who thronged
about him, from Mrs. Foster and her brilliant staff of ladies, down to
the most ragged contraband in all that motley assembly.

As we wheeled by platoons and marched in review, the sight which
greeted us was one long to be remembered for its grandeur and
beauty. Line upon line of unbroken ranks stretched on as far as the
eye could reach. Over each regiment waved our beautiful flag, its
colors glowing with unwonted richness in the warm winter's sun, the
bayonets throwing back flashes of light, and the artillery and cavalry
relieving the scene from all monotony, while the Neuse, sparkling in
the sunlight, and its distant bank covered with the forest evergreen,
formed a perfect background for this gorgeous picture. Then there was
the long row of spectators, some, seated in vehicles of all sorts
and descriptions, others, mounted on animals ranging from the finest
charger to the scrubbiest donkey, while on foot was a crowd composed of
every age, sex and color. In their midst sat our commander, patiently
awaiting our approach.

As we drew near, the band filed off to the left, and took its position
directly opposite the general, where it continued playing till our
brigade had all passed, when it was relieved by the next band, and
once more took its place in line. As each platoon passed, the general
saluted, while he honored the colors by removing his hat, the band
also giving the customary salute. Battalion after battalion, battery
after battery, troop after troop, they came, till the first battalion,
making the complete circuit, came upon the rear of the last troop,
thus forming an unbroken circle. As each regiment reached the place of
starting, it halted until the long, glittering array was once more in
position, then again the artillery thundered forth the salute, and the
grand review was over.

Not long after this we were gladdened by the arrival of a party of
ladies and gentlemen, friends of the regiment, and those amongst us
who were not personally acquainted with any of the visitors, were,
notwithstanding, pleased to see the familiar faces, and witness the joy
of those who were made happy in their coming. We were favored on the
next Sunday by a sermon from Dr. Lothrop, of Boston, who was one of the
party, and it seemed strange indeed to listen to him there, preaching
in a southern pulpit to an audience of soldiers. The Presbyterian
church was the one occupied by us, and our chaplain held service there
every Sunday afternoon, the regiment and visitors filling the body of
the house. It was a plain, old-fashioned building, with a high pulpit
and small organ.

The Episcopal church was open in the morning, Major Sturgis, in the
absence of the rector, reading the service and a sermon. The singing by
a quartette of male voices, two from our regiment, and two on detailed
service in the city, would have shamed most northern choirs. The church
was built of stone, and was very prettily situated on Pollock street,
standing back from the street, in an old burying-ground filled with
elms and willows and moss-covered tombstones. The interior of the
building was finished in very good taste, and there was a fair organ,
which we often went up into the organ-loft to listen to, as one of the
musicians of our company had access to the building. A Sunday school
was also started during our stay in town, and was very successful,
increasing rapidly in size and influence.

But the most remarkable service it was our lot ever to witness, was
one held in the contraband Methodist church. A small party of us,
having obtained passes started one Sunday for the church in the
Second District, and on entering the building, found the galleries
were reserved for visitors and already well filled with soldiers,
drawn there, like ourselves, by curiosity. The body of the house was
crowded with the congregation of worshippers, the women occupying one
side of the church, the men the other. Every shade of color from that
of Erebus, god of night, to fair-haired Aurora, child of the morning,
was there represented, while the bright colors which adorned the female
portion of the house, added to the brilliancy of the scene.

The pulpit was unoccupied, but the leader of the meeting, an
intelligent looking man, nearly white, and with, what was remarkable,
sandy hair, sat in a chair in front of the pulpit. He opened the
service with singing, reading a line from the hymn, which was then sung
by the congregation; then reading the second line, and so on. Having
heard so much of the melody of the negro, and the beautiful singing
to be heard on the plantations, our expectations were highly raised,
but, alas! no sooner had the first note reached our ears, than our
hopes were dashed to the ground. Imagine some old psalm tune, screamed
forth, line by line, from the cracked throats of the old, and by the
shrill voices of the young, all singing the air, each voice pitched on
a different key, and some idea of their style of music may be formed.

Next came a prayer, in which the voice of the leader was for the most
part drowned in the vigorous groans of the congregation, except when it
rose to a shout and was heard above the din around him. The audience
having warmed to the subject, he began to exhort them to repentance.
Meantime, two or three women throwing their bonnets and shawls on the
pulpit stairs, evidently preparing for work, began with as many men,
pillars of the church, to move about among the congregation, addressing
a word here and there to enforce the preacher's remarks.

Several soon began to feel the arrow of conviction, and were led up
in front of the pulpit, where the girls were stripped of shawls and
bonnets, which were thrown in a heap on the stairs. The cause of this
strange proceeding soon became apparent, for the poor creatures,
excited and wrought into a state of frenzy by the words of the
speakers, began to scream and shriek, struggling with those who were
exhorting them, shouting, "Save me now," at the top of their lungs,
until they fairly went into convulsions.

One poor girl, not more than sixteen or seventeen years old, struggled
and screamed for more than an hour in a most frightful manner, until
at length she sank on the floor utterly exhausted by her violence.
It was the same on the men's side, though they were less violent in
their emotions, but when the excitement was at its height, it seemed
as though Bedlam itself was let loose. The scene was at once ludicrous
and saddening. It was sad to think these poor creatures could hope to
win salvation in such a manner, yet at the same time, the absurdity and
comicality of the whole affair was irresistible, and showed a phase of
negro character both strange and amusing.

As the season advanced, the weather became most delightful. The buds
began to swell and the flowers to peep up here and there, until we
soon found ourselves living in a great garden. Almost every house had
some land about it, and our own quarters were surrounded by rose
trees, violets and other plants too numerous to mention. The air teemed
with fragrance from the blossoms of the apple, peach and pear trees
which grew back of the house; little green figs began to make their
appearance, and the elms which filled the streets once more donned
their summer covering, while our ears were delighted with the song of
the mocking-birds and most of our northern songsters.

Every letter sent northwards was freighted with a little offering of
flowers, whose sweetness still lingered about the paper even after
their freshness had passed away, and gave to friends at home some
token of that summer we were enjoying, but which to them was still far
distant. Pitching quoits, or rather horseshoes, was the great amusement
of the day, and engrossed the leisure hours alike of officers and
men. Base ball also had its share of attention, and a small set of
gymnastic apparatus was set up in the yard. Some of us, occasionally,
passed a morning hour in teaching; for shortly after the arrival of the
chaplain's wife, a day school was opened under her auspices for the
contrabands. It was more especially intended for children, but was open
to all of a more advanced age, who were anxious to learn.

The school was held daily for an hour in the colored church on Hancock
street, the teachers being for the most part, men of our regiment,
assisted by two or three ladies, who interested themselves in the
work. The scholars were, as a rule, quite bright and very eager to
learn, and seemed much delighted with their primers and spelling-books.
Their progress in reading was quite rapid, their eagerness to acquire
the knowledge from which they had been hitherto barred, overcoming
all obstacles. The young ones were sometimes seen going over their
lessons at home for the edification of the older ones, who were unable
to attend the school, thus bringing a double blessing on the labors
of the teacher. After we left Newbern and once more went into camp,
the chaplain opened a school there for the benefit of the contraband
settlement near by, which was kept up till our departure, and was not
without good results.

The receipt of frequent mails and occasional boxes from home, served
as pleasant little episodes, oases in the desert of our life of drill
and guard. The joy which beamed on the countenances of those who read
their names in staring letters on the boxes found piled up in the yard,
on returning from drill, was amusing to behold, and showed that the
appetite for home cookery was not wholly destroyed by long neglect.

The mail steamers made known their approach by blowing three whistles
when some distance down the river, and, no sooner was the signal
heard, than cries of "Dudley Buck!" "Ellen Terry!" "Mail! Mail!" would
resound through the quarters, and some of the more enterprising ones
would travel down to the wharf to count the number of mail bags, for
our expectations were gauged by the number of bags. After two or three
hours of impatient waiting, the orderly would go over to the regimental
post-office, which was under the charge of the chaplain, and quickly
return loaded down with the precious freight.

Then the answers must be written immediately, for the mail boats made
but little stay, and the notice on the post-office announcing the hour
of mail closing, is frequently consulted, for it had a way of changing
from hour to hour, which was apt to be embarrassing. Permission to
keep the lights burning after taps is obtained, and the table in those
rooms that boast such a luxury, is surrounded by busy writers. The more
prudent ones, who have already mailed their letters, turn into their
bunks in the vain hope of profiting by their forethought by getting an
extra amount of sleep, but the light and noise prove too much for them,
and they amuse and revenge themselves by annoying and worrying the
writers. The result is, that a riot, in a small way, is pretty sure to
follow, which ends in the appearance of the captain, and the extinction
of the lights, when the prudent ones once more turn in, chuckling over
their triumph. Their rejoicing, however, is ill-timed, for the others,
baffled in their attempts to write, determine that no one shall sleep
till they see fit, and by noise and talk keep their poor victims on the
rack, till, wearied out at last, silence at last reigns over the scene
of confusion, and sweet sleep and dreams of home descend.

[Illustration: HELIOTYPE PRINTING CO. BOSTON.
THE FIELD AND STAFF, 45TH. M. V. M.]



CHAPTER X.

THE FOURTEENTH OF MARCH.


It was General Foster's intention to celebrate the anniversary of the
battle of Newbern, and the capture of the town, by a parade of the
troops in and about the city, and orders to that effect had been issued
to the different commanders. But a slight circumstance occurred on the
day previous to the anniversary, which caused an entire change in the
programme.

We had often heard from prisoners the boast that Newbern should not
remain in our possession for more than a year, and, sure enough, on
the 13th, the pickets were driven in, and, instead of a parade, there
seemed to be every prospect of a fight. All were actively engaged
in preparation for whatever the morrow might bring forth. Aides and
orderlies were galloping through the streets, and ammunition wagons
carrying supplies to the various forts, while the natives hung about
the corners with ill-suppressed looks of exultation on their yellow
faces, eagerly listening to the scraps of news which the passing
soldiers let fall. Cartridges were given out, and the guns of the
guard, contrary to custom, were loaded, and strict orders given to
arrest any who breathed even the faintest suspicion of treason.

After a restless night, we were aroused early on the morning of the
14th by the booming of cannon and bursting of shells, and quickly
started out to learn the immediate condition of affairs. The eastern
bank of the Neuse, for some miles above and below the town, is covered
with an impenetrable swamp. There is, however, one approach by a road
from Little Washington, which strikes the river about a mile above the
upper end of the town, and, in old times, a ferry-boat plied the river
at this point. This ferry had fallen into disuse, as our communications
with Washington were wholly by water, but the importance of securing
this approach, and preventing any surprise in that direction, had
not been overlooked, and, for some time past, there had been a
picket-station across the river. This was now occupied by the 92d New
York, who had been busily engaged in throwing up a strong earthwork,
commanding the road, but as yet no guns had been mounted.

We soon discovered that this camp was the point of attack, and nothing
but the cowardice of the enemy, and the bravery of the 92d, saved the
latter from capture or destruction. At an early hour, their pickets had
been driven in, and soon after daybreak the enemy appeared, about an
eighth of a mile from the earthwork, with a force of some five thousand
infantry and cavalry, and sixteen pieces of artillery. Imagine the
situation; between three and four hundred men armed only with muskets,
confronted by a force of more than ten to one. Protected, it is true,
by earthworks, but without a gun mounted, while behind them stretched a
mile and a half of water, separating them from friends and safety; and
about a mile down the river, half hidden in the morning mist, lay the
gun-boat "Hunchback," unconscious of the threatened danger.

The rebel general sends a summons to surrender, which is met some
distance from the works to prevent too close an inspection of their
weakness, and is answered by the brave commander with an "If you want
the place, you must come and take it." No sooner is this reply received
than the ball is opened. But the first boom of the cannon is a signal
of alarm to friendly ears across the river; it startles the sleepers on
the gun-boat and arouses the people in the city.

Thick and fast the storm of shot and shell pours in upon the devoted
little garrison. Tents are riddled, shanties knocked in pieces, but
the men themselves, lying close behind their entrenchments are, as
yet, unharmed. Can they hold out till rescue comes, or will the enemy
carry the works by storm? is the anxious thought of every heart, as
with straining eyes they watch the signs of life now discernable on
the gun-boat, on which their hopes depend. At last the smoke curls up
from the tall pipe and the old "Hunchback" moves slowly to the rescue.
Like the passing vessel, which has seen the signal of the shipwrecked
mariner and is gradually lessening the distance between him and a
watery grave, so the gun-boat, steaming up the river, comes between the
little garrison and captivity in a southern prison. As she neared the
scene of action and her hundred pounder opened upon the enemy, their
hopes of success were gone forever.

Mounted in the rigging of a schooner lying at the provost-marshal's
wharf, glass in hand, we watched the combatants. Our flag floated
proudly over the works, and the smoke of the rebel guns was quickly
followed by the explosion of the shells, now over the camp, now in the
river, one or two even striking upon our side of the Neuse. A revenue
schooner, also, was beating up the river, anxious to join in the fight,
but the hundred pounder of the "Hunchback" proved too much for the
visitors. With one gun dismounted by a shot from the gun-boat, and a
loss of several killed and wounded, they retired discomfited into the
woods, whence they sent an occasional shot at the prize which had been
so unceremoniously snatched from their very grasp. The revenue vessel,
of lighter draft than the gun-boat, ran in close to shore and anchored
off the brave garrison, and all danger in that quarter was at an end.

Simultaneous attacks were also made on the outposts at Deep Gully and
Batchelder's Creek, but were attended with no better success; so,
baffled at all points, the foe gave up the attempt and retired in the
direction of Kinston and Little Washington. In honor of our victory,
and out of compliment to the enemy, General Foster had the Stars and
Stripes hoisted to the very summit of the Episcopal steeple, the
highest point in the city, where, visible for miles in every direction,
they floated in proud defiance over the place in which one year before
had drooped the tricolor of treason and rebellion.

The hope and exultation so visible that morning in the faces of the
traitorous inhabitants, gradually paled into a yellower despair than
ever, and the stores of provisions prepared by them in anticipation of
the speedy coming of their friends, ferreted from their concealment
by the vigilance of the detectives, met with an untimely end. The town
soon recovered from the excitement caused by this near approach of the
enemy, and we all enjoyed the occurrences of the day as a pleasant
variety in our rather monotonous life.

But, while we were enjoying a life of comparative comfort in Newbern,
with unlimited credit at the sutler's, relying on the arrival of the
paymaster some time in the future, other regiments in the department
were less fortunate. The siege of Little Washington by the rebels
began, and we listened daily to the distant booming of cannon. But
though regiment after regiment was sent off, until only three or four
were left about the city, and the rest of our brigade participated in
General Spinola's fruitless attempt to march overland to Washington,
raise the siege, and rescue General Foster from his uncomfortable, not
to say dangerous, situation, our regiment continued in its old routine
of guard duty, having besides special charge of the city defences in
the absence of the other troops.

At last, on the night of April 16, General Foster ran the blockade in
the little steamer "Escort," not without great danger to himself and
the crew, for they passed through a very hot fire, and the steamer
was struck in several places. The pilot was killed, and one shot went
through the coppers in the cook's galley, taking off an arm of the
cook in its passage; another passed through the general's state-room,
fortunately unoccupied at the time. There was, of course, great risk
incurred in running by the enemy's batteries, for any injury to the
machinery would have insured capture or destruction, but the urgent
need for General Foster's presence in Newbern caused all personal
danger to be regarded as nothing in the service of the country. No
time was lost upon his arrival, and that very day troops were on the
way, some by land, others by water, to the relief of the beleaguered
town, and before a week passed, the siege was raised and the enemy had
disappeared.

During the troubles above mentioned, a change was made in our system
of guard duty, and instead of having sentry posts scattered about the
town, squads of men patrolled the streets four hours at a time. This
change was a great relief to the regiment, for thereby the number of
men required for daily duty was reduced nearly two-thirds, and instead
of going on guard every other day as before, the turns now came but
once in four or five days. We got to know the town pretty well in
this way, for the patrol visited every street, lane and alley in its
wanderings by night as well as day, and many curious scenes and places
met our eyes, which in ordinary life would never have been visible.

But pleasant things must have an end. Rumors became prevalent through
the regiment that we were soon to be relieved, and the honorable duty
of provost guard to be assigned to the 44th Mass., as a reward for
their services at Little Washington. The following order, read on
dress-parade, confirmed our fears:

  HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA,}
  18TH ARMY CORPS,                          }
  NEWBERN, April 23, 1863.                  }

  SPECIAL ORDER NO. 117, NO. 5.

  In accordance with the custom of the Department, the regiment now
  doing provost duty will be relieved. The commanding general, on
  changing the guard of the town, desires to convey to Colonel Codman,
  and through him, to his officers and men, his high appreciation of the
  manner in which the duties of the guard have been performed.

  He has noticed with great pleasure the drill, discipline and general
  efficiency of the regiment. The 44th Regiment, M. V. M., will relieve
  the 45th on Saturday, the 25th inst., at 9.00 A. M.

  By command of Major-General Foster.
   [Signed]      L. HOFFMAN, A. A. G.

A very pleasant testimonial of the good feeling which prevailed between
the inhabitants of the town and the regiment, was also received by the
colonel, which read as follows:

  NEWBERN, N. C., April 25, 1863.

  COLONEL C. R. CODMAN, OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE 45TH
  M. V. M.

  _Gentlemen_:--Having learned with regret that your regiment is about
  to retire from the duty of guarding the city, I beg leave on behalf
  of all loyal citizens, myself, my family, and other families here, to
  render you our sincere thanks for the efficiency and courtesy with
  which you have discharged your duties.

  It has seldom been our lot to see a body of soldiers so uniformly
  civil and gentlemanly in their behavior, temperate and orderly
  in their habits, comparatively free from the prevailing vice of
  profanity, and so prompt in restraining those who, by any violence,
  would attempt to disturb our streets.

  Accept, gentlemen, our thanks for past kindness, and wishes for your
  future welfare.

  W. H. DOHERTY, A. M.,
  _Principal of Newbern Academy_.

The last two or three days of our sojourn in the town, several
ludicrous scenes occurred at the provost-marshal's, in consequence of
the revival of an old order in respect to the uniform of the soldiers.
It had become the general custom of detailed men in the various
departments, to wear different articles of an officer's uniform,
everything in fact but shoulder straps, rendering it impossible for
the guard to distinguish between officers and privates. An order was
therefore issued to the guard to deprive such men of their superfluous
ornaments, and in case they refused to give them up, to conduct them to
the guard-house. So, every little while, some indignant fellow would
appear at the guard-house, escorted by a sentry, and demand the meaning
of such shameful treatment.

The question was commonly answered by the appropriation of the
forbidden finery by the officer in command, after allowing the owner to
peruse the order of the provost-marshal, when he would retire from the
scene somewhat crestfallen. Two examples afforded us especial mirth,
the one a commissary sergeant, the other, hospital steward of a certain
Massachusetts regiment, for their rage was something laughable, and
their impudence so great, that they were permitted to spend the night
in the guard-house as a reward.

The morning of the 25th dawned bright and pleasant, and our numerous
boxes and traps were piled up in the yard, preparatory to being toted
off in the funny little mule-carts. Our quarters were all swept and
garnished, some of the rooms having been trimmed with flowers in honor
of the new comers. We took our last breakfast at the Boston Lunch,
and the first relief of the new guard having been duly posted, we
bade farewell to the house which had sheltered us so comfortably and
pleasantly the past three months, and joined the regimental line
on Broad street, the scene of so many guard-mountings, drills and
dress-parades, and now of the ceremony of tendering the command of
the city to our successors. Having conformed to the requirements of
military etiquette, we started for our new home in the country, Camp
Massachusetts, on the banks of the Neuse.

[Illustration: Camp at Core Creek.]

[Illustration: Up the Rail Road.]

[Illustration: Skirmish at Dover Cross Roads April 28, 1863.]



CHAPTER XI.

A TRIP UP THE RAILROAD.


The evening of our second day in camp, Sunday, April 26, we received
an unexpected favor from General Foster, in the shape of an order
to march the next morning. The regiment was quickly astir, for
rations were to be made ready, cartridge-boxes filled, and all those
little preparations gone through with which marching orders always
render necessary. After a while, quiet settles down, and we turn in,
determined to make sure of one more good sleep at all events. We are
roused at early dawn by the roll of the drum; the roll is called, the
"Blind Girl" manages to fire off his rifle, fortunately without injury
to the bystanders, the regimental line is formed, and we start for
Newbern.

On arriving in town, it appears that the expedition consists of the
first division of infantry, accompanied by a small force of cavalry and
artillery, the destination being somewhere in the direction of Kinston.
The Forty-Fifth meets with its usual good luck, for our brigade is
embarked on the cars, with orders to proceed by rail as far as the
track will allow, thereby saving us a march of some eighteen miles,
which the other brigade is compelled to make. The whole force was under
the command of General Palmer.

After the usual delay in getting men and horses on board the cars,
we moved slowly up the road, which, passing through the camps and
entrenchments surrounding the town on this side, runs for miles in an
almost straight line through the pine forest, broken here and there by
a clearing, and an occasional picket or signal station. After a ride of
some twelve miles we reached the outpost at Batchelder's Creek, then
held by the 58th Penn., Colonel Jones. Their camp was surrounded by
earthworks, and a strong blockhouse commanded the railroad and bridge
across the creek, where a row of sharpened stakes presented an ugly
front to any hostile visitor.

The centre of attraction was, however, a railroad monitor, which stood
on a side-track. It was an iron-plated baggage-car, with a peaked
roof, the skylight serving for an entrance, which was reached by a
ladder on the outside, removable in time of need. It carried two rifled
six-pounders, one at each end, for which there were port-holes in the
sides and ends of the car, thus giving the gunners range both of the
railroad and surrounding country. The sides of the car were covered
with rifles, and pierced with loop-holes for their use, the whole
affair being surmounted by the old flag. This formidable arm of the
service accompanied us to our camping-ground, where it remained during
our sojourn.

About six miles beyond Batchelder's Creek, we were dumped from the
platform cars, much after the manner of dumping gravel, into an open
field bordering on a small stream, boasting the name of Core Creek.
The clearing extended on both sides of the railroad, the farmer's
house and barn forming the prominent feature in the scene. These were
immediately placed under guard to prevent any depredation by unlawful
hands.

The family had not left the house, perhaps having been wholly overcome
by the unexpectedness of our visit. The poor man had most unfortunately
planted his corn and grain, and there is great reason to fear that
a love for the Union did not prevail in his mind when he beheld his
crop trampled under the feet of Union soldiers, and his nice rail
fences vanish in the smoke of their fires. No unnecessary damage was
inflicted, but when three or four regiments are encamped for several
days on a planted field, you cannot expect very much of a harvest.

As the whole afternoon was before us, we at once set to work to make
our bivouac more than ordinarily comfortable. Rails being the first
requisite, we collected quite a pile, and then commenced on our shanty.
Planting two rails firmly in the ground, inclined towards each other
and crossing a little at the top in this manner X, we secured them in
this position with blanket straps, and the length of a rail distant,
planted two more in like manner. A rail laid in the notches formed
the ridge-pole of our house, and rails slanted from this pole to the
ground completed the frame-work. The covering for the roof consisted
of our rubber blankets, making a waterproof hut, of which we were very
thankful before our stay in that spot was over.

Our next care after completing the hut, was to procure a good bed,
which we soon accomplished by felling two or three pines and lopping
off the small branches, these making a delightfully soft and springy
mattress. After a very comfortable night's rest, we amused ourselves
in exploring the brook which ran through a pleasant little vale close
by the camp, and idled about till noon. While wondering whether it was
not time for dinner, the drums began to sound the "assembly," followed
immediately by the summons to "Fall in."

Colonel Amory having been compelled by sickness to return to Newbern,
the command devolved upon Colonel Codman. Accompanied by a portion of
the 17th Mass., under Lieut.-Col. Fellows, we were soon on our way up
the railroad, preceded by two companies of the 45th, under command of
the major, as a scouting party. A short distance beyond the creek, we
passed a small earth-work, where some months before a body of rebels
had been surrounded and captured, and the _debris_ of their camp still
lay scattered about.

The track had been partially relaid for some distance, rendering the
marching anything but pleasant, as there was no path on the side of
the track, owing to the slippery, muddy condition of the steep banks.
Moreover, the weather was extremely warm, adding much to the discomfort
of the march, especially to such as had been foolish enough to wear
their overcoats. Most of the men had eaten no dinner, and but one or
two of the wise ones had thought to bring anything with them.

A mile or more from camp, we passed the bivouac of the two companies
who had been on picket duty the previous night, and were now scouting
in advance of us. As we pushed forward, all the roads which crossed
the track were eagerly scanned for traces of the enemy or the column
co-operating with us on the Neuse road. But nothing was to be seen
until, after marching about six miles, we came upon the major, who
was awaiting our approach with his little battalion at one of these
cross-roads. He had discovered a body of troops on the river-road,
which was quickly pronounced to be the other brigade.

The two companies which had been employed thus far in the fatiguing
duty of skirmishing through the swampy country where the road ran, were
left here under command of the major, as a reserve, and we hurried
forward. The track had been wholly demolished from this point as far on
as we went. In some places they had turned the whole body of the track,
rails and sleepers, into the ditch, while in others they had burnt the
sleepers, bending the rails in the fires. We found this destruction of
the track rather a benefit than otherwise, for it gave us a smooth,
level road, free from obstructions, and much less wearisome to march
upon than where we were obliged to jump from sleeper to sleeper.

As our skirmishers advanced, they drew the fire of the enemy's pickets,
who were ensconced behind little breastworks made of sleepers. The
rebels fell back quickly as we came near, firing an occasional shot to
spread the alarm, which was replied to on our side, but the distance
was too great either to inflict or receive damage. The latter part of
the afternoon, after some ten miles marching, we arrived at a large
clearing extending on both sides of the track. A house and barn stood
on a cross-road on the left, and the Neuse road, separated by a single
field from the railroad, was on the right, and, as we subsequently
discovered, crossed the track a short distance beyond. Here a halt
was ordered, as, not four hundred yards distant, an earth-work loomed
up directly across the track. It extended also for some distance to
the left into the woods, and was concealed by a sunken fence and
underbrush; the works also ran along the track to guard against an
attack from the Neuse road. A squad of men sent to the house to make
investigation, soon returned with two prisoners, a man and a boy, whom
they had discovered making their escape from the back of the house, and
after a sharp chase had captured and brought to the colonel. The old
man was so frightened at having fallen into the hands of the Yankees,
that very little was to be got from him. He amused us by his answer
when asked his age; he said he did not know, for his house took fire
once, and his age was burnt up.

Unable to ascertain the strength of the enemy, except that there was a
"right smart heap," and uncertain whether they had artillery or not,
the colonel decided, nevertheless, to advance without awaiting the
arrival of the other column. Accordingly, five companies of the 45th
filed off to the left, and deploying as skirmishers, advanced through
the field back of the house, leaving the sixth company, Co. A, to guard
the colors, the 17th Mass. acting as reserve. The firing soon became
very brisk along the line of the works, and the enemy's force was
estimated at from three to five hundred.

They did not, however, show themselves, and their firing was so high
that we concluded they must have held their guns above their heads and
fired at random, in their fear of exposing themselves to northern
bullets. The colonel was in doubt as to the best course to pursue,
for we had no artillery and he feared the rebels might have a masked
battery. But as we advanced nearer and nearer, without drawing anything
but musketry fire, it was deemed best to carry the works by assault,
without waiting for the artillery which was with the other brigade. The
order was given to Lieut.-Col. Fellows, of the 17th, to advance with
his men and charge the works; but the captain of Co. A did not like to
have this honor taken out of his hands, for we were in the advance; so,
after some talk, the task was delegated to him. Fixing bayonets, and
firing by platoons, we started on the run directly up the track.

The works were two or three hundred yards distant, and had the enemy
possessed any artillery, our little company would have suffered most
disastrously. But fortunately for us they had none, and at our advance
gave way and fled into the woods, greeting us with a final volley as
we leaped the ditch and took possession of the entrenchments, where,
in their haste, they had left three of their comrades killed by our
bullets. The sight of those poor fellows, lying there so still and
motionless, made an indelible impression on the mind. It gave us a new
insight into the character of the men we were contending with. There
they lay, dressed in miserable clothing, their haggard faces, long
tangled hair, and neglected beards giving them a wild, hardly human
appearance.

The head of the other column arrived just as our victory was assured,
but it was not thought best to penetrate any farther on account of our
nearness to Kinston, only six miles distant, and not even to hold
what we had gained. So, with a loss of one killed and three or four
wounded, we started on the return march for camp, ten miles away.
Night soon fell, and, to increase the pleasure of the way, it began
to rain, gently at first, but soon with a vigor which was, under the
circumstances, anything but agreeable.

Our situation was not an enviable one. In the enemy's country, not
knowing but they might return at any moment with overpowering numbers;
between us and camp a ten-mile's march on a partially demolished track,
through thick darkness and a pelting rain. Remembering, however, that
"what can't be cured must be endured," we trudged bravely on through
the black night, regardless of rank or file, stumbling over the remains
of the track, and only anxious to end our trials as soon as possible by
a vigorous use of our legs.

Most of us had eaten nothing since morning, and one or two fairly
fainted from hunger and exhaustion. Having pretty good legs of our
own, we arrived at camp about nine o'clock, among the first, drenched
to the skin and too tired to eat or sleep. Other poor fellows were not
so fortunate, but came straggling in, in groups of two and three all
through the night, some not getting in till the next morning. The march
told very severely on some of the field officers who had been unable
to take their horses, and were unused to such exercise; and we always
felt that the colonel was more lenient to the men after that practical
experience of a march.

We remained quietly in camp the next day, though the pioneers were at
work on the railroad, apparently engaged in its reconstruction. But
only apparently, for the object of our expedition was to retain any
force the enemy might have at Kinston in that vicinity, and prevent
them from giving assistance to the troops then threatening General Dix
at Suffolk. A portion of the 43d Mass. went up the railroad for some
distance to keep up the deception, returning the same night.

We were most agreeably surprised here by the receipt of a mail from
home, which was brought up to us, and by its help we managed to
pass the day very comfortably. After two very rainy nights, we were
once more packed on the platform cars and landed directly at Camp
Massachusetts, which lay close to the railroad, where we quickly
settled down to a life of drill and stockading.

[Illustration: Camp Massachusetts.]

[Illustration: NEWBERN, N. C.
BRIDGE OVER THE TRENT.]



CHAPTER XII.

CAMP MASSACHUSETTS.


Our camp, which we left so unceremoniously to go to Gum Swamp, was
situated on a large plantation, about a mile and a half south of
Newbern, and an eighth of a mile from the Neuse. It was but a few rods
from the railroad and just outside a long line of earthworks which we
were to man in case of an attack from this quarter, they being the
outer line of works in this direction.

We found that the pioneers had been at work during our absence, and the
camp was already laid out in streets, and some of the tents pitched.
They were A tents, eight feet square, and intended for four occupants,
though owing to the liberal supply many had but three; however, no one
was ever heard to complain of a superabundance of room. Sunday was
anything but a day of rest, for, immediately after service, there was a
general stampede for the deserted camps near by, to obtain flooring for
the tents and materials for stockading them.

These stockades were walls about three feet in height, eight feet
square, making a foundation for the tent, and largely increasing the
room and convenience. They were built in every variety of style,
some of logs, after the fashion of log-houses, others with rough
clap-boards, pieces of boxes, in fact anything that would answer the
purpose of a board, an extremely scarce article about camp. When the
work was completed the streets presented a very motley appearance, no
two being alike, the looks of each stockade varying according to the
skill of the builder.

The hours of grief which this herculean task of stockading entailed
upon the three unfortunates sheltered by our canvass, will not soon be
forgotten. Our first sorrow was, finding on our return from up country,
that our upright posts, the corner stones of our foundation, selected
with the greatest care and discrimination, indeed, perfect gems in
their way, and sawed off into proper lengths with much labor and a dull
saw, were missing, actually gone. An undeniable judgment upon us for
having found them on Sunday. This was, however, but the beginning of
our sorrows. After many journeys back and forth between our tent and
the old camps, sufficient materials were again collected on which to
commence operations.

With careful measurement and seeming accuracy, the places for the
uprights were marked and the holes dug. It is due to the soil of North
Carolina to say that if there was one easy thing about stockading it
was this same digging holes. It reminded us of our younger days, when
the sand-heaps which lay before unfinished houses were the undisputed
territory of the children of the neighborhood, and castles, caves,
bridges and tunnels grew under the busy hands of the young builders.
Our camp was located on a sandy plain, no doubt made expressly for
digging holes, whether for posts or earthworks, it mattered not.

Having erected the posts, we next proceeded to make the walls of our
house. First, the sutler had no nails, and we had to wait half a day
for those. The company boasts two saws and three hatchets; you spend
five minutes in going up and down the street in a vain attempt to
borrow either the one or the other; they are all in use; you wait in
idleness for ten minutes and try again. There is no need of wasting
breath in making known your errand,--the unhappy owners of the coveted
articles are visited on the average by some eight or ten applicants in
as many minutes,--a look is sufficient.

At last you espy a saw lying idle, and immediately pounce on it and
rush to your tent. Three sticks are sawed, and you are just getting
your hand in when you are confronted by the injured man who indignantly
demands his property, which you are constrained with a bad grace to
deliver. The same scene is enacted with the hammer; and having spent as
much time as a contractor would ask to build a house, the sides are at
last completed and placed in position. The fact is undeniable,--they
look very rough and unworkmanlike; however, we put the best foot
forward, and the worst looking side at the back, where we flatter
ourselves it will not be seen.

At length the frame is ready to receive the roof, and in an agony of
doubts and fears, after some effort, we raise the tent to its place,
and--find that our frame is too large for the tent, or, rather, the
tent is too small for the frame; at all events, it is no go. However,
by dint of pulling and twisting and sawing, we drag the refractory
edges together, and with our tent-poles at an angle of forty-five
degrees, and presenting a most unstable appearance, we enter our new
abode in triumph. We have stockaded.

The old camp life of drill and guard was re-enacted here, with an
additional task, by way of variety, entitled fatigue-duty, which was
neither more nor less, than spending the day in the trenches, with a
spade for a companion, an occupation on a hot summer's day the reverse
of delightful. Battalion drills and company drills followed each other
in quick succession, but as the one was early in the morning, and
the other late in the afternoon, we had a good portion of the day to
ourselves, and many were the shifts to fill up the long interval.

The customary occupation in the morning, when the weather permitted,
was a swim in the Neuse. After morning drill, it was usually the way
to go to guard-mounting and hear the band play. Then it was time to
bathe, for we were obliged by orders to go in at ten, or thereabouts,
and only once a day, but this increased the sport by bringing a good
many into the water at the same time. Our road to the river lay
directly past the regimental hospital, most beautifully situated in a
grove of magnificent mulberry trees, as large as English elms, and so
thick-leaved as to make a perfect shade tree. The hospital tent was
pitched under one of them, the farm-house of the plantation being also
occupied for a hospital; and near by was the quartermaster's building,
while within a stone's throw stood Fort Spinola.

The fort was built directly on the river-bank, and commanded, with
its black-mouthed cannon, both the river and the surrounding country
for more than a mile in every direction. On our arrival at Camp
Massachusetts, the fort was garrisoned by Co. G, of our regiment, who,
having practiced heavy artillery drill at Fort Macon, were summoned to
its defence in the early part of April, when an attack on the city was
apprehended. Soon after our advent, Co. I returned from Fort Macon and
took the place of Co. G at Fort Spinola, so that, after an interval of
six months, the whole regiment was once more united under one command.

Just by the fort there was a long wharf, running into deep water,
for the slope of the river-bed is very gradual, and this wharf was,
so to speak, the headquarters of the bathers. Here were unlimited
opportunities for swimming, diving, etc., while those who preferred
shallower water had the whole river-bank to wade from. One of the
men actually swam across the river one day, without making known his
purpose. He not only reached the opposite side, but had started on his
way back when he was picked up by a boat which was sent after him. As
the river is fully two miles wide at this point, it was, to say the
least, quite a swim.

The quartermaster's boat lay at this wharf, for all the light stores
were brought from Newbern by water, the heavier ones coming in the
cars. The boat was manned by a detailed crew, exempt from all other
duty, but as the officers made frequent use of the boat to go to the
city at all hours of the day and night, the position was no sinecure.
We poor soldiers who were blessed with occasional furloughs to visit
the great centre of attraction, were sometimes honored by an humble
seat in the bow, for which we were duly grateful, being thereby saved a
long and dusty walk.

As the season advanced, and the summer sun grew hotter and hotter,
the blackberry vines, which grew in great profusion around the camp,
began to exhibit a pleasing appearance of redness, which indicated a
not distant day of ripeness. Hearing certain stories about a discovery
which had been made in some fields not a great way off, two or three
of us started out one day, dippers in hand, and, after a diligent
search, were amply rewarded for our pains by a dish of delicious wild
strawberries. Not content with this luxury, the colored people near
by must needs bring round, just at dinner time, some nice ice-cream,
and, compelled by the force of circumstances, we had a dessert of
strawberries and ice-cream. We often repeated this experiment while
the little red beauties were to be found, and before they had fairly
disappeared another fruit had ripened.

The blackberries had passed from the red era, and acres upon acres
were covered with the long trailing vines, thickly laden with the
luscious fruit. There was a continuous feast among the regiments
encamped in that neighborhood while the season lasted, and during that
time it was our regular amusement to spend an hour or two daily in
blackberrying,--a pleasant task, for a sure reward awaited us at the
termination of our labors.

A favorite place to visit was the Newbern battle-field, some three
miles below our camp, and one bright May morning some four or five
of us started off for the day in that direction. Instead of taking
the direct road which ran close by the camp, we determined to go down
the river bank. Passing through the camp of the 1st North Carolina,
colored, which, some time after, did such good service at Olustee,
we lingered a moment to watch them drill. After admiring their powers
of imitation, and, at the same time, enjoying some most ludicrous
blunders, we soon found ourselves on the borders of the river.

The nature of the country was very different from what we had been led
to expect, consisting of a series of bluffs and deep valleys, similar
in formation to those on the Mississippi. As we approached the main
line of earthworks, we found indications of rebel fortifications on
these heights; old gun-carriages, sandbags, and all the _debris_ of a
deserted camp lay about in hopeless ruin. They had evidently feared we
would approach by the river, and we soon came upon the remains of the
blockade, consisting of sunken vessels, some of which had been raised
and towed up to Newbern, thus opening the channel.

We followed a pleasant little path through the woods for some distance,
catching occasional glimpses of the river through the trees, as it
sparkled in the bright sunlight, and at length came out at the rebel
earthworks, the scene of the battle when Newbern was won. The works
extend from the west side of the railroad directly to the river's
edge, where they terminate in a small fort which commands the river,
and which we found filled with the ruins of camp equipage of every
description abandoned by the rebels in their hurried flight.

The 8th Mass. were doing picket duty at this point, and apparently
having a very easy time of it. As we had all explored the ground two or
three times before, we hurried along the line of works till we struck
the Newbern road, where, instead of turning back to camp, we set our
faces southward, hoping to obtain a dinner at one of the houses which
stand some way below the battle-field. Crossing the broad cleared space
over which our troops had made their gallant charge, stopping a moment
to examine the traces of rebel bullets in the trees and to marvel at
the terrible havoc made by the shells among the pines, we soon reached
a lane which led up to a house half hidden by the trees, where we
determined to try our fortune.

The usual group of negro shanties stood on the lane, running over with
little picaninnies, who gazed at us with wondering eyes. The owner of
the house had gone to town to lay in a stock of provisions, but his
wife gave us a cordial welcome and promised to do her best for us. We
were soon summoned to what was to us a most luxurious repast; the mere
fact of sitting down at a table was a pleasure, and the strangeness of
our surroundings enhanced the enjoyment. Having taken our dessert in a
mulberry tree, the thought of the battalion drill awaiting us at the
end of our walk, hastened our departure from this quiet spot, which
was a delightful contrast to the stir of camp-life, and seemingly far
removed from every thought of war. The lameness of the master of the
house had alone prevented him from joining the army, as most of his
neighbors had done. We obtained an insight into southern life in this
way, which was new and interesting, and returned to camp well pleased
with our excursion.

On the 16th of May the regiment was reviewed by the division commander,
General Palmer, who expressed much pleasure at the appearance of the
men, and particularly admired the looks of the guns. It was the custom
during the mild May evenings, for the singers to collect and give
impromptu concerts, and very often the band played for an hour in the
square in front of the colonel's tent, while on moonlight nights, as we
lay awake in our tents, we could hear the mocking-birds in the grove by
the hospital, making night melodious with their songs.

There were two picket-stations connected with the camp, one about
a mile and a half down the river road, prolific with mosquitos and
wood-ticks; the other, and by far the pleasanter, was at the railroad
bridge which spanned a broad creek not far from camp. The duty at this
spot was very light, and as the bridge was a covered one, it was in
fact the coolest spot anywhere about camp, no small matter in that
hot climate. Moreover, the band came there to practice morning and
afternoon, having with commendable wisdom selected this cool, shady
place for that purpose. The days grew hotter and hotter, and the drills
proportionately shorter, and we all began to look forward with wistful
longing to the day which should see us safely embarked for home.

[Illustration: HELIOTYPE PRINTING CO. BOSTON.
COMPANY A, AT READVILLE.]



CHAPTER XIII.

HOMEWARD BOUND.


There had been stories about camp for a day or more, of fighting at
Batchelder's Creek, and the death of Colonel Jones, of the 58th Penn.,
was reported, but we had treated it as a mere rumor. Our astonishment
was great when, just before roll-call Sunday evening, May 24th, the
order was given to the different companies to prepare for an immediate
departure to Batchelder's Creek. The train stood in front of the camp
awaiting us, and in twenty minutes from the time the orders were
received by the colonel we were on the cars and off for the front.

When the regiment arrived at the picket-station we found everything
quiet, but the death of the colonel was confirmed. Two of our companies
were immediately sent out on picket, and the rest of us stretched
ourselves on the parade-ground for the rest of the night. It appeared
that the 58th Penn., in company with two or three other regiments,
under command of Colonel Jones, had made a raid up the railroad, and,
at the same earthworks we stormed the month before, surprised and
captured nearly two hundred prisoners, besides a piece of artillery,
baggage-wagons, etc., the general in command barely escaping.

The rebels, receiving large reinforcements from Kinston, pressed
closely upon our retiring column, and its gallant commander was shot
by a sharpshooter just before reaching the camp. A fight ensued
over his body, which resulted in the repulse of the enemy, and the
58th retired within their entrenchments, the joy over their victory
wholly overshadowed by the loss of their colonel. The rebels, hearing
doubtless of the arrival of reinforcements, had fallen back in the
night, and as all fear of an attack was dissipated, we started for our
own camp about noon, taking the body of Colonel Jones on the train to
Newbern, there to await transportation to his home in Philadelphia. So
ended our last expedition in North Carolina.

The following week we were summoned to escort the body of Colonel
Jones to the steamer from the house of Captain Messinger, the
provost-marshal, in company with all the high officers in the
department, who were proud to do honor to the remains of a brave,
Christian soldier. After services at the boat we marched back to camp,
very tired and dusty, and fully convinced that escort duty at a funeral
was no sinecure. The next day General Foster visited the camp, and
praising the regiment for its general satisfactory conduct, strongly
urged its re-enlistment in his department. The time for such an appeal
was unfortunately chosen, just as the men were becoming very weary of
military duty, and anxious to see home once more, and the response
at the time was not very hearty. But many did ultimately embrace the
offer, finding that the excitement of a soldier's life had unfitted
them for anything else.

The departure of the 43d and 44th Mass. naturally served to turn our
thoughts northward, and we did little else but discuss the chances
of a speedy return, talk of our reception, and lay wagers as to the
probable time of sailing, etc. As the weather grew warmer, the climate
began to have a marked effect upon the health of the regiment. Drill
was shortened, and everything possible done to avert the evil; but one
after another sickened, until the regimental hospital was crowded, and
numbers were sent every day or two to the hospital at Beaufort, to have
the benefit of the fresh sea-breeze.

But in vain. The sun beat hotter and hotter on those little tents,
until we lived, as it were, in a fiery furnace. The sickness increased
daily, and some poor fellows passed on to their resting-place above,
when almost in reach of that earthly home towards which their thoughts
and dreams had so long been directed. As one after another fell victims
to the terrible fever, we began to fear none would be left to return
unless the summons came quickly. After much weary waiting, our hearts
were rejoiced by the news of the arrival at Morehead City of the
steamers "Spaulding" and "Tillie," prepared to transport us from the
land of sickness and sorrow to a more genial clime.

Our joy was somewhat lessened by the rumor that we were ordered to
report to General Dix, at Fortress Monroe, and if needed, to join the
force then operating in the vicinity of the White House, Va.; but that
was as nothing in view of the fact that we were actually homeward
bound. The night before our departure the following farewell order from
General Foster was read to the regiment:

  HEADQUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA,   }
  18TH ARMY CORPS,                              }
  NEWBERN, June 23, 1863.                       }

  SPECIAL ORDER NO. 178.

  The Commanding General bids farewell to the officers and soldiers of
  the 45th M. V. M., with the most sincere regret at losing a regiment
  which has proved itself so good and deserving in every position which
  it has been called upon to occupy. In the various marches and fights
  they have exhibited that order, discipline, experience and courage,
  which he hoped and expected to find in an organization so worthily
  descended from the "Ancient and Honorable Corps of Boston Cadets."
  For those who have fallen in the fight or by disease, the General
  offers his sincere and heartfelt sympathy to their comrades in arms,
  and to their bereaved friends at home. To those who have survived the
  dangers, though sharing them, the general bids God Speed!

  By command of
  Major-General JOHN G. FOSTER.

  JOHN F. ANDERSON,
  _Major and Sen. A. D. C._

On Wednesday morning, the 24th of June, we broke up our camp, leaving
everything standing in expectation of its speedy occupation by some
other regiment, and embarking on the cars, were hurried towards
Beaufort. There we found the vessels awaiting our arrival at the same
wharf at which we had landed nearly eight months before, then a happy
company, full of life and health, eager to be at work in our country's
cause, but now a forlorn and weary number, sick in body and mind, with
scarce energy enough left to realize that the hour for which we had
longed and prayed so many weary days had come at last.

Sick and well, we were all after a time embarked, and in twenty-four
hours were anchored off Fortress Monroe. On mustering the available
strength of the regiment, it was found that out of about eight hundred
and sixty men but three hundred and fifty were fit for active service.
The colonel went on shore to report the condition of the regiment, and,
after some delay, received orders from the War Department to proceed
with his command directly to Boston, so on Friday afternoon we were
once more headed homewards. Most of us were too miserable to display
our joy in noisy mirth, but the spirits of the men brightened visibly
as the way grew shorter. Two of our number passed away to their eternal
home in that short passage, and others survived the voyage only to die
in the arms of loved ones at home.

After a bright, calm passage, the "Spaulding" steamed up Boston harbor
early Monday morning, the 29th of June, and was quickly boarded by a
party of friends who had been cruising about the harbor the whole of
the previous day in anticipation of our arrival. After landing the
numerous sick at the wharf, the vessel again hauled out into the stream
to await the arrival of the "Tilly," which was but a poor sailor. The
latter steamer arrived so late in the afternoon that it was deemed
advisable to postpone the reception till the following day. The poor
fellows were consequently condemned to pass another night on board of
crowded transports in full sight of their own homes.

Tuesday dawned as bright and pleasant as heart could desire, and about
nine o'clock the regiment landed, and, escorted by the Cadets and
Massachusetts Rifle Club, proceeded _en route_ for the State House.
After a reception by Governor Andrew, it marched to the parade-ground
and had a short battalion drill, then, having had a collation, the men
were delivered into the arms of their expectant friends. After all
these ceremonies had been gone through with, the regiment went to the
old camp at Readville, and having turned over arms and equipments to
the quartermaster, were furloughed till the following Monday, when they
were mustered out of the United States service, but neither paid nor
discharged.

After enjoying the luxuries of home life for about three weeks, the
news of the New York riots came upon us in all their horror and
wickedness. Symptoms of uneasiness betraying themselves in our own
city, a notice appeared in the papers signed by the colonel, requesting
the regiment to assemble at Readville on Wednesday, the 15th of July,
to aid in quelling any disturbance that might arise. About two hundred
of the men obeyed this order, which, in the scattered state of the
regiment, was all that could be hoped for on such an unexpected summons.

It seemed quite like old times, meeting once more in the barracks,
and making preparations for an expedition, though the consciousness
that this time we were only bound to the city of Boston had a very
enlivening effect upon us all. The quartermaster furnished us with
arms, ammunition and equipments, and, with our blankets slung in the
old fashion, we could very easily have imagined ourselves on the point
of starting off on a tramp up country from Newbern.

Having formed in line, the colonel equalized the companies, a rather
important matter, as the Nantucket company, Co. H, had but one
representative besides the officers, and the Cape Cod company, Co. D,
but four or five. We then went through a short drill in street firing;
and having loaded our guns with ball cartridges, started for the cars
and were deposited at the depot in town. Having executed the order,
"prime," with guns capped and at half-cock, to show the bystanders
and all interested that this did not mean blank cartridges or holiday
parade, we marched to our quarters in Faneuil Hall.

This was the day following that of the Cooper street riot, and as a
renewed attack on Dock Square and its gun-shops was expected that
night, this, the post of danger and honor, was assigned to the 45th, as
well as the support of four guns of the 11th Battery, Capt. Jones. We
were on duty through the night, half of the regiment at a time, under
command of the lieutenant-colonel and major, a company being assigned
to each gun, they being placed one at each corner of Faneuil Hall, thus
commanding all the streets converging upon Dock Square. There were
pickets out on all the neighboring streets, and no persons, except
market men, were permitted to enter the square.

Strict orders were given to fire immediately on the approach of any
threatening body of people, and thus, by a wise severity at the outset,
to prevent such a prolongation of outrages as had resulted from the
misjudged leniency of the New York authorities. The night was passed
very quietly, excepting some disturbance from a noisy crowd in the
evening, which was, however, quickly dispersed by a patrol of dragoons.
A regular guard was stationed at the entrance of the building, and
there we had to stay throughout the day, short furloughs of an hour or
two being occasionally granted. There is reason to fear, however, that
during the week spent in the hall a good many private furloughs were
taken by way of the windows and spouts, but as we were only on duty at
night, it mattered but little.

We continued to spend our nights in the open air, generally in the
Square, and on one or two occasions detachments were sent to other
points, South Boston bridge, the armories, etc. Though the city seemed
to be restored to its pristine security, yet fearing some outbreak on
Saturday night or Sunday, we were detained till the next Tuesday. It
seemed very strange to post sentries about the streets and alleys,
with orders to allow no one to pass through, and the indignation of
some of our worthy citizens at being made to go some other way, was
very amusing. Our days were spent in watching the passers-by from the
windows, and one or two afternoons we were treated to a battalion drill
on the Common, in which we certainly showed rather how much we had
forgotten than what we knew, for our mistakes were very numerous. The
gaping crowd were, however, none the wiser, and doubtless thought them
all a part of the show.

But all good things must sometime have an end, and so did our rations
of bologna sausage and Washington pie, daily served out to us in the
Cradle of Liberty. The rioters thought better of their plans, and
wisely concluded that it was preferable to run the risk of being
drafted and then killed, than to be shot down at their very doors; a
fate they had every reason to expect if they attempted any further
disturbance of the peace. Thanks to the prompt action of the state and
city authorities, the riotous proceedings were nipped in the bud, and
law and order again reigned supreme.

The men had been dropping in to the rendezvous from day to day, drawn
from a distance by the summons, until we numbered five hundred strong,
and on Monday night, knowing it would be the last time we should be
together as a regiment, we devoted the evening, for we had no duty
to perform that night, to having a good time. We sang all the army
songs till we were tired out; cheered all the officers and everything
connected with the regiment, individually and collectively, till we
were hoarse, and made such a scene as even old Faneuil Hall, in all
her long history of stirring events, had never witnessed the like of
before, and probably never will again.

Our task was ended, our nine months more than full. Leaving behind us
a name blotted by no stain of dishonor, and with a proud consciousness
of having done honor to the noble State that gave us birth, having, in
camp and on the battle-field, striven to do our duty by the government
we had volunteered to serve, on Tuesday, the twenty-first day of July,
eighteen hundred and sixty-three, we were paid off and discharged, and
the old Forty-Fifth lived only in history.

We had seen every variety of service, life in barracks, in tents
and in houses. Our losses in battle, twenty killed and seventy-one
wounded, outnumbered that of all the other nine-month's regiments in
the department taken together, while our loss from disease was very
heavy. Our officers were worthy of their commands, and the men worthy
of their commanders. Never, from the commencement of the war, was an
officer sent from the State better fitted for the responsibilities of
his position than our noble colonel, Charles R. Codman. Perfect in
his drill, firm in his discipline, yet free from all severity; brave
in the hour of danger, yet without rashness; loved, and respected, he
was truly a model officer. In the coming years it will be the pride
and boast of every member of the 45th Mass. that he served for such a
country, in such a cause, from such a State, under such a commander, in
such a regiment.


[Illustration: THE END]



Transcriber's Notes


Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Hyphen added: battle[-]field (p. 114).

Hyphen removed: block[-]house (p. 55), night[-]fall (p. 7).

Both "earthwork" and "earth-work" appear and have not been changed.

P. 60: The phrase in brackets in the following sentence seems to be
out of place and has been deleted: "A mill at the entrance of the town
was fired to prevent the use of its timbers for the reconstruction of
the bridge, [and some one at the same time let on the water,] and as
the groan of the machinery rose above the roar of the flames, we could
imagine it some huge creature awaiting in agony a fiery death."

P. 98: Gore Creek -> Core Creek.

P. 121: at T wharf -> at the wharf.





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