Diary of Luther M. Fairbank, Co. D — Part I, 1862

(Thanks to Stan Prager, John Hartwell, and Larry Lowenthal for transcription of this diary.)

I enlisted, for the war October 10, 1861. We drilled in Ware, under Major Raymond, until November 9, when we went into camp at Pittsfield. Here we lay, shoveling snow, and drilling very little. We were in barracks so thick we could hardly stir, and were obliged to lay abed days to keep warm, and, to make the thing more pleasant, went on guard about once every four days, and it was so cold that we would have to run to keep from freezing. State aid and rations seemed to trouble the men a great deal. Well, after a while we packed up our traps and started for Camp Chase, Low­ell. Here we stayed a week, finding liquor and street women plenty, and the Zou Zoes [? Perhaps Zouaves ?] joined us and we started for the land of sugar.


Fri. 21st.  Started from Camp Chase, Lowell, at nine o’clock for Boston, but we stood in the snow two hours before the cars could get up to the camp, on account of the large snow storm last night. We arrived, after much trouble, in Boston; we formed in line and marched through the slush to the wharf, where the ship lay at anchor waiting. We embarked, and lay out in the stream all night.

Sat. 22d.  We sailed from the harbor at noon, and we soon bid farewell to the shores of the old Bay State. All with spirits gay we start away.

Sun. 23d.  Some of the boys are getting seasick, but with me, I am on my pins yet.

Mon. 24th.  We were in sight of Cape Henry this morning. We sailed up Hampton Roads and anchored, in a heavy wind, off Fortress Monroe. Our mizzen-spanker was blown away.

Tues.25th.  Loaded on 1000 shells, and after Gen. Butler, wife and his staff came aboard, we set sail again.

Wed. 26th.  All is quiet today, and we are trying to get used to the sea, or play the whale’s part and heave up Jonah.

Thur. 27th.  A hard storm arose last night and the waves ran high until about noon today. We ran within a quarter of a mile of the rocks on Cape Hat’s. It was a rich old time for one that is not used to it. Guns and accoutrements flew in all directions, but we came out all safe.

Fri. 28th.  Another mishap has befallen us; we are fast in the sand off Cape Fear, with the vessel aleak and everything topsy-turvy; but the steamer Mt. Vernon has come to our assistance, they have commenced moving the men over to her in small boats. The tide coming in, they got the vessel off the sand and we went to work and set things right.


Sat. 1st.  Started for Port Royal; anchored at dark.

Sun. 2d.  Started for and landed at Hilton Head, and had our quarters on a plantation owned by Mr. Seabrook.

Sat. 8th.  We are drilling about six hours a day. We eat hoe cakes by the bushel, made by the slaves.

Mon. 10th  The ship having been repaired, we again embarked, but as luck would have it we could not keep afloat. The old vessel went on to an oyster bed this time to rest. They ran a rope ashore to keep her from tipping over.

Tues.11th  By the use of sundry small steamers we were at last enabled to get off, but the regiment had been removed on to another steamer. We went about five miles, and again reloaded all ready to start.

Wed. 12th  Started once more for what seemed to me a promised land. As we sailed out of the harbor a salute was fired from one of the gunboats; the band played Dixie, and away we go.

Wed. 19th  Nothing has happened of any consequence for the last few days, except we have had a plenty of work to do, and very little grub. It is what I call working my passage, or it is working in the coal hole, — at least I did most of last night. A private in company B died, and was thrown overboard this morning.

Thur. 20th   The long sought land has at last appeared. It is as white as snow. The old ship acts so we can’t land. We have been a month on the route.

Fri. 21st  We are clear of the brig that we got afoul of after smashing up her rigging.

Mon. 24th  A small sail boat appeared in sight this morning with refugees from New Orleans. They were pursued by a large steamer, but the New London put a stop to her and she left.

Tues. 25th  We were landed today, and glad we were to once more get our feet on terra firma. We pitched our tents here and lay down to rest.

Wed. 26th  More refugees from New Orleans. We have good neighbors, — the Mich. 6th on our right and Inda. [Indiana] 21st on our left, — and bully boys they are.

Thur. 27th  Went about five miles after wood today, and we had to draw it home breast deep in water. We could feel the fishes around our feet.

Sun. 30th  Had company inspection today. It has been a quiet
and peaceable Sunday.


Tues. 1st.  It is April fool day now, but it don’t do to fool Sargent [sic], etc. Two fellows have been punished by standing on a barrel with the fool marked on their back.

Wed. 2d.  The 9th Conn. and 6th Mass. battery have gone over to the main land.

Fri. 4th.  The troops have returned. They landed at Biloxi.

Sat. 5th.  At Christian they broke up a camp of one thousand rebels.

Sun. 6th.  I am on guard today. The men were buried at the western side.

Wed. 9th.  There was a review by Gen. Butler of the whole division.

Thur. 11th.  There was a thunder storm last night. Three men were killed by lightning at the guard house. Our tent leaked, and everything was wet.

Fri. 12th.  Went after wood, and when I came back a letter, — the first since I left Boston.

Sun. 13th.  Had an inspection. Received orders to be in readiness to march tomorrow.

Mon. 14th.  Had to perform the sad ceremony of burying one of our number. Mr. M. Y. B. Grout died last night of diptheria, — the first of the band that left Ware last fall to fight for the restoration of the Union. “May he rest in peace.”

Tues.15th.  At last the orders have come. We passed down to the wharf and again embarked on the Mississippi to try our luck once more on the boat that proved so false before, but I hope we shall have a better time than before.

Wed. 16th.  We lay in the stream all day. Took on ice after the other vessels had all gone, we, the Matanza, having E. W. Parley, Black Jack having Great Republic in tow. Following were the Saxon, New London and Calhoun. Gen. Butler and staff came aboard, and about ten o’clock the North America brought up the rear.

Thur.17th.  We cut loose from the North America, and at night anchored at the southwest pass of the Miss. river.

Fri. 18th.  We sailed over the bar at seven this morning. The houses along the shore are very poor. We anchored at the head of the passes. Gen. Butler and staff went ashore. When they came back, he ordered a barrel of meat sent over. The fleet attacked the forts this morning. The rest of the vessels came up tonight and anchored just astern of us.

Sat. 19th.  We still lay at anchor. Gen. Butler has gone up to the fleet in the Black Prince.

Sun. 20th.  There are no signs of our moving yet. A steamer came down with the killed and wounded. They are to go to Pilot Town. Two dead and seven wounded thus far. It has been rainy part of the day.

Mon. 21st.  It is clear, but cold. The gunboat No. 8 came down alongside and took the large Sawyer gun off of our vessel.

The firing still continues at the fort. There was a boat came from the Frenchman that lies just ahead of us.

Tues. 22d.  This morning it is bright and warm. We weighed anchor and proceeded up the river to the fleet. They cut the chain last night. I have been just about sick today.

Wed. 23d.  About two o’clock this morning a fire raft came down towards the fleet, but they drew it ashore. I was on deck. It was a splendid sight to see. A row boat came down from the Brooklyn, and as it came alongside it swamped our small boat, but the men were saved. They are making preparations for a general attack.

Thur. 24th.  About three o’clock, a.m. they commenced the advance, and as they arrived at the fort such roaring of artillery and bursting of bombs, — but part of the boats got above the forts. We had to go down stream again, and came very near getting fast in the bar.

Fri. 25th.  This morning we are out of sight of land. We think we are going to the rear of Fort St. Philips. We have run on and off a number of sand bars, and came in sight of land very near the place of last night.

Sat. 26th.  Here we are just as I thought. The 26th has gone ashore.

Sun. 27th.  There is no sign of the boys having landed. The Matanza and Great Republic came up alongside. It has been a very pleasant day.

Mon. 28th.  The St. Louis came alongside, and the 31st regiment was ordered on board. We went up to the rear of the fort, and about ten o’clock the news came that the forts had surrendered. Thus, you see, we are trundled about. It was a tough night.

Tues. 29th.  We again embarked on board the Mississippi and started for the passes again. The old battering ram lay sunk just at the mouth of the river, and the morter [sic] fleet were at anchor at Pilot Town. We anchored at the head of the passes.

Wed. 30th.  We arrived at the forts about sunrise. We stopped a few minutes, then continued up to the quarantine buildings. Here were about two hundred and fifty prisoners who took the oath. The rebels had any quantity of fire rafts above the forts ready.


Thur. 1st.  The passage up the river was pleasant. We saw pleasant plantations, orange groves, and the negroes at work in the sugar fields. It is the south in reality. The little black devils drive the donkey, and the older ones take the hoe. We arrived at the city at noon, and about four commenced to land our company clearing the wharf. We quartered at the Custom House. I was on guard the first night.

Fri. 2d.  Everything is quiet today. The women are the greatest cases to insult us; but let them rip, — who cares for the women of the town!

Sat. 3d.  Gen. Butler issued his proclamation today, and the city is under martial law. A few arrests were made.

4, 5, 6, 7th.  There has been nothing of importance for the last four days.

Thur.8th.  Cos. D and F moved up to the U.S. mint to guard it, and a pleasant place it is. Trees fill the large yard, and it makes it cool and shady.

Sat. 10th.  Our stay at the mint was of short duration. We were ordered back to the Custom House, and Co. D was sent up to the St. Charles Hotel. Gen. Butler has opened a recruiting office, and about one hundred have enlisted today.

Sun. 11th.  Today, Butler pitched into the vaults of two of the banks, and rolled out one hundred and fifty-nine kegs of silver and gold. We hardly got laid down to rest our weary limbs before the long roll beat, and we had to fall in and march around the city. Finding everything quiet, we again went to our quarters and lay down to get a little sleep. It is a thing so uncertain for a soldier.

Tues. 13th.  They have been searching for arms for the last two days. They found two cannons, boarding pikes and small arms. There was two hundred barrels of meat distributed to the poor. There was about two thousand gathered around of men, women and children of all nations.

Wed. 14th.  The crowd has returned again this morning. It is fun to sit in our window and watch them fight. Up to the St. Charles tonight.

Thur. 15th.  Moved up to the Annunciation Park and pitched our tents. I was on guard.

Fri. 16th.  The rest of the regiment came up today, and now things look like a camp. It is named “Morewood” after a woman in Pittsfield.

Wed. 21st.  The regiment has been crazy about going home for the last few days, and there has been a good deal of betting. Co. D went and confiscated four horses.

Thur.22d.  The rest of the boys came from Ship Island today, all but Salley. They brought news of the death of Alfred Ruggles of our company.

Wed. 28th.  It has been as warm today as any we have had yet. I have been on guard three nights, and begin to feel sleepy.

Fri. 30th.  I was on guard today.

Thus ends the first month of the troops in the city of New Orleans, and those that dare insult us now are few and far between. The women seem to have changed their minds, and take a great fancy to Yankee soldiers. They don’t seem to think we came to fight their husbands, brothers and sweethearts in the Southern army.


Sun. 1st.  Nothing of importance has happened. Everything is as quiet as can be. There was a shower last night, and the water ran into the tents. The first the fellows knew the water ran over their rubber blankets.

Sat. 7th.  Today is the first time anything has happened worth noticing. The citizens raised the old flag over the city amidst the firing of cannons. Fifteen thousand persons were present.

Sun. 8th.  There was a man hung today for tearing down the stars and stripes, — William B. Mumford; Sullivan Fisherdick died today, after a long sickness.

Tues. 10th.  Capt. Hopkins started in company with Capt. Edwards for home on a ninety days’ furlough. May they have a pleasant voyage, and may he regain his health and return to his company at an early day.

Sun. 15th.  Moved over into the cotton yard No. 3, and each drew a mosquito bar. Old government begins to feed us on soft bread.

Mon. 16th.  Went down town to see those men hung that robbed in Gen. Butler’s name. There were four of them. They pretended to have an order from Butler to search the house, and for that had to stretch the hemp. Better look out how they tamper with Butler! They were hung inside the parish prison, therefore I could not see them.

Tues. 17th.  Worked over to the quarter-master’s department building horse stalls. About four o’clock this morning we had orders to fall in and march all over the city.

Wed. 13th.  Lay still all day, — a regular soldier day, — nothing to do.

Sat. 21st.  I have been about sick for two or three days, but feel better now.

Sun. 22d.  At inspection this morning my gun was condemned, and I was sent back to clean it.

Mon. 23d.  I was detailed to work with the carpenters making bunks. They are a shiftless thing. The regiment was paid up to the first of May today. I received fifty-two dollars.

Tues.24th.  Col. Whelden has countermanded the order, and we are going to make a different style of bunk.

Wed. 25th.  Went down town today, and if the sweat did not run off of me, then I don’t want it ever should. I bought me a pipe and this book.

Thur.26th.  Still at work on the bunks, and the whole company think they can all get one. It is “Give me a bunk first” in all directions, and it makes me mad.

Fri. 27th.  Sargent [sic] Howland was reduced to the ranks today for being away from camp three days and two nights without permission. He seemed to take it well.

Sat. 28th.  I went over and worked one hour, then got tired and lazy and cane back to the quarters and laid down and went to sleep. Went over and made a stool. I have stuffed myself all day. Bob Mahan has his wooden overcoats on tonight.

Sun. 29th.  Did not feel very well this morning.

Mon. 30th.  Worked on the bunks some, but was too lazy to work hard, and besides, a soldier has no business to fret him­self, — at least, that is my principle. O, what a merry life to lead, this being a rambling soldier!

Another month has passed away, so still that we can hardly keep run of the days. One has died this past month, and today finds others in the hospital, — E. Puffer, H. Hill, L. Billings, S. Hines, H. Hastings, J. Woodis, Richardson, J. Gibbs. But may they soon recover and rejoin their company.


Tues. 1st.  It is the commencment [Sic] of another month. May the troops still be in as good health as now! The day has broken forth warm and clear. There was a hard shower last night. I run guard and went down street.

Wed. 2d.  W. Snow had the wooden jacket on for insulting W. Bassett. J. Wilcox was strung up for insulting Lieut. Darling, and John Lashua and G. Crague came drunk. Tim Leonard was drummed out of camp.

Thur. 3d.  Nothing today, only at night about nine thirty o’clock the long roll beat, and the regiment marched down to Gen. Butler. I did go.

Fri. 4th.  The carpenters commenced the day by assembling at the shop, where lemonade, etc. was passed. The regiment marched through the streets early this morning to Gen. Butler’s residence, formerly Gen. Twigg’s of the rebel  army. Hiram Wilcox, M. Robbins, R. Sally, L. H. Woodard, started for home today. Squads of soldiers have gone around to see if any rebel flags were to be seen. It has been showery all day so far. Some of the boys are busying themselves playing ball. It has been very quiet; the stillest Independence Day I ever passed. Some of the men-of-war in the stream fired salutes morning,
noon and night. The regiment formed in line and closed the day by firing volleys of musketry.

Sat. 5th.  Lay still most of the day. Dispatches from rebel sources that Mc Lellan’s [sic] army was defeated.

Sun. 6th.  Today we had northern papers up to 22d.

Mon. 7th.  We moved into another shed today.

Tues. 8th.   Did not work but a very little today. At night had a company of tall men drilling with an elephant.

Wed. 9th.  I lay in my bunk all day. News of the fall of R.

Thur. 10th  Worked making bunks, and at night fooled around. Boys had niggers dancing.

Fri. 11th.   Got out of lumber, and went to our quarters.

Sat. 12th.  I lay around the quarters all day, except to make a drawer for Corporal Bassett.

Sun. 13th.   All was excitement amongst us, on account of the retreat of Gen. McLellan [sic] from Richmond.

Tues.15th.  It has been rainy all day. Lay around in the quarters.

Wed. 16th.  The chief amusement today has been tying tin clips to goats’ tails and seeing them run. I went down to the levee this evening.

Thur. 17th.  Lay around the quarters.

Fri. 18th.  Run guard with Corporal Bassett.

Sat. 19th.  What a difference from last year, for then I was on my way to New Hampshire, — now, laying in a cotton press, a soldier in the army!

Mon. 21st.  Went down to the Reading press after lumber to make bunks.

Tues. 22d.  Commenced the day by running guard to a fire a few blocks from the quarters, then went to work on Lieut. Howell’s desk, when Henry Caryl and Sargent [sic] Canterbury got mad about it and Sargt. split the lid up, thus spoiling the whole.

Wed. 23d.  Worked on bunks part of the day. The company went down to the circle.

Thur. 24th  I marched down town with the regiment. The whole force was out, the artillery, cavalry and infantry. They paraded the streets, each passing Gen. Butler’s headquarters, for there were some rebel officers there on a flag of truce, and the General must show us. I was not obliged to go. Last night there was a terrible shower, but not up to S. I.

Fri. 25th.  I worked making bunks most of the time. It is not best to hurry here in this climate, but take soldiering easy. Co. D is below par, only seven privates, three corporals and three sargents [sic] reported on dress parade, the rest on duty.

Sat. 26th.  Worked for Henry Caryl a short time, then lay around the quarters all the rest of the time, and fooled with Walter Gardner and finally threw him. No dress parade. The regiment is getting small.

Sun. 27th.  Nothing of importance has happened today. I am sick from rich living, — a thing that soldiers can’t complain of very often. It wont do to live too high as long as we are in the army.

Mon. 28th.  Great discussions today on the negro question, arising from the news that Gen. Phelps has a regiment of negroes up at Carrolton. Eugene Fletcher is hard on it. Another hard shower that filled the streets full of water.

Tues.29th.  Charles Lamberton and I went down to the wharf to see what vessels had come in; found the mail steamship Philadelphia. The excitement on the negro question still continues. I say if we can’t whip them without arming the negroes we had better give under. We raised a flag staff in the park eighty feet long.

Wed. 30th.  We had epaulets and new caps today. I suppose the boys will all be commissioned now. Raised a new flag in the park. The band played the Star Spangled Banner, and the regiment fired three volleys and gave three times three cheers.

Thur. 31st.  The Trade-wind came in today with a small mail. No letters have come up to the company yet. Otherwise than a few discussions between the boys, everything has been very quiet.

The month closes with everything very quiet. It finds only George S. Brewster in the hospital, four having been discharged (R. Salley, H. Wilcox, L. K. Woodard, M. Robbins) and one died, J. Woodis. John Woodis died of consumption, having been sick most of the time since leaving Massachusetts. Another victim to the red-tape policy of military law.


Fri. 1st.  The month has commenced cool and fine. There was a cool shower at night. The report is that the Creole has come in. Two more of our boys went to the hospital, Corporal Bassett and Frank Barr, but I hope they will soon get well and return to their company.

Sat. 2d.  Warner Snow and I went down to the wharf to see if the Creole had arrived, but found it had not. Ezra W. cut his foot when he was splitting wood, and fainted. W. Snow, C. Lamberton, J. Lashua, went and confiscated watermelons. At the north we should call it stealing.

Sun. 3d.  Went out to inspection this morning, — the most I have done in the military line for some time, having been detailed with the carpenters, — and then to have no lumber to work with makes it pretty easy. Charles Lamberton and C. Stone went to the hospital. Lamberton is on the discharged list.

Mon. 4th.  This morning after eating my breakfast, which consisted of a cup of coffee, and what else I can’t tell for we have nothing else any morning, I lay down and went to sleep and slept until eleven o’clock. I run guard in the afternoon, and went down to the wharf barefooted and without a coat, to see what vessels had come.

Tues.5th.  Everything is lovely this morning. H. Wilcox and I run guard in the afternoon, and went down to the wharf. We went onto the gunboat Pinola, and several other vessels. The Roanoke, Blackstone and Creole, all United States mail ships, came in today. At night I fooled with Warner Snow about two hours after taps. Rainy today.

Wed. 6th.  News came today of a fight up at Baton Rouge, in which Gen. Williams was killed. The rebels were fifteen thousand strong, and they charged on Nims battery three times, and each time they were repulsed. Gen. Lovell is reported killed, and Gen. Breckenridge’s arm shot off. We were ready all day for marching orders, but did not go. There was a mail came today.

Thur. 7th.  The company went down to the circle last night and Milton Sagendorph put Crazy Fletcher in command of the camp. He loaded his gun double-shotted. News came today of the destruction of the Arkansas ram and the sinking of the Whitman that had the wounded soldiers aboard. Seven privates were drowned. The remains of Gen. Williams were recovered again.

Fri. 8th.  The morning broke clear and bright, but it was showery in the middle of the day. Corp. Goland was put in the guard house. He was corporal of the guard and got tight and began a row. He was sent to the quarters under arrest, but raised the devil so, taking the stripes off of his coat and throwing his things around the floor, the Orderly put him in the guard house. The boys all came up from the hospital that were able to get around, to make room for the wounded of the late battle at Baton Rouge.

Sat. 9th.  Ezra Warberton, alias Dr. John Lashua, alias Butcher, Warner Snow and myself run guard and went down to the wharf to see the sick and wounded soldiers land from Baton Rouge. We stayed some time, and the dinner was given out, but we succeeded in getting ours. There was a soldier killed last night. A police officer found him on the wharf stabbed. And another was bruised all up today a short distance from camp. They know who did it and he will probably suffer, at least I hope he will.

Sun. 10th.  Another Sunday has come, but there is so little difference between Sundays and other days that it is hard to distinguish the difference, — only soldiers have more work to do. We have inspection, and therefore have all our brasses to scour and gun to clean, and even go into the streets of this city, and drays are around.

Mon. 11th.  Ed French was here today, and says that the box with all our things was taken by the rebels in the late battle. Corp. Spooner, Wilson, Snow and Parker have gone up the river, I do not know what for. The news today is that Lieut. Rice and ten men of Co. G. are taken prisoners, being sent up the river on guard duty.

Tues. 12th.  Corp. Goland acknowledged his doing wrong, and promised to abstain from all intoxicating drinks if permitted to retain his place in the ranks as corporal. It has been rather quiet here today; but little discussion on the McLellan [sic] retreat and the negro question. Ezra Warberton, F. Corbit and I went to carry the supper around to the boys first and the commissaries then at the sword factory, and then down to the boat where the rebel prisoners are. The boys that we thought were going up the river last night went down here.

Wed. 13th.  There has been very little going on today, and I have been very lonesome. I went down to the boat with the boys’ dinner, and had quite a chat with the rebel soldiers. The Ocean Queen came in today and brought a small mail, and the Marion yesterday. The company went down to the circle. The gunboats fired a salute in honor of Commodore Farragut, now promoted to Admiral.

Thur. 14th.  Today has been very hot indeed. The boys on the boat went to Ship Island with the prisoners.

Fri . 15th.  Well, here I am again and another day has passed, a day the rebel forces said they should breakfast in this city. I am afraid they will have a late breakfast, for here it is night and they have not made their appearance, but I understand they have put it off until the 20th. Perhaps the late battle satisfied them for the present, and they are not hungry. I think they will find a much better breakfast awaiting them here than up there. Gen. Butler’s order is having a good effect in making them give up their guns and other weapons. They have been bringing them in all day. It beats all how stories do go here in camp. The boys have not gone to Ship Island but still stay here in the river. The regiment marched down street last night.

Sat. 16th.  Last night at roll call the Lieut. told us to see that our guns and equipments were so they would be handy at any moment, and just as we had tumbled into our bunks the long roll beat, and then such springing out of bed for our guns, and away to the park we went, down to the General’s house, but found everything quiet, and come to find out the rockets came from a French man-of-war. It was a holiday with them, but Gen. Butler sent down to them and told them to stop it, for they had roused all the troops. They expect a battle up the river every day, and it is reported the 26th Mass. has gone up, and that the Maine battery is going up tonight. It has been very warm today, but is cooler tonight.

Sun. 17th.  Today I was returned to duty. Had inspection in the morning, and then went on guard, the first time since June 10th. We have had to get ready to march at any moment. They are packing up the things in the quarter-master’s department. At night, Eugene Southworth and I went with Sargt. Clary before the regiment with the flag.

Mon. 18th.  Great hurrah today. Capt. Hopkins returned from the north with bundles for the boys from their friends at home. We were all mustered today, and Capt. Hopkins was here just in time. But one was absent — that was Robert Mahan. He has proved a poor soldier, being in the guard house most of the time since being in the city for being drunk. What will become of him now I do not know. He has been gone three days tonight.

Tues. 19th.  I went down to the boat with the boys’ coffee, and then to the express office to see if there were any boxes for the boys. Everything has been in a hubbub today. Three companies, F, G, and I, packed up their things and started for Fort Pike to garrison it, so I had to go on guard again. Milton Sagendorph seems to think we are pretty well penned in, but I don’t think so. It is rumored that Ship Island is taken by the rebels, thus taking our rendezvous away, but they can’t take this city just yet.

Wed. 20th.  I am still on guard. There are not men enough to relieve us, and therefore must stay until they get more men or reduce the guards. Last night as I went to the quarters after my blanket, the guard fired at a man, and it just skipped my head and hit the brick wall beside me. Lieut. Hayden had to go around the quarters after the guards, they having gone to sleep when they went after their breakfast. The letters sent in that box of John Phelps arrived here today. They came from the 9th Conn. Regiment. The rebels have not made their appearance here in the city yet, although it is the 20th.

Thur. 21st.  I am on guard again today, but they are going to try relieve us tomorrow. It is hard work to be on guard all the time. Orderly Bond was promoted to Second Lieut. last night, and is officer of the guard today.

Fri. 22d.  We were relieved from guard at ten o’clock. I came to the quarters and cleaned my gun, which was no small job, after letting it stand out three days and nights in the wet and dews, which made it rust inside and out. After getting my gun cleaned, I laid down and slept until very nearly three o’clock. All is a hubbub again today. We are to go down to Fort Jackson soon, perhaps tomorrow, and we have had orders to pack our knapsacks again. I have had mine all packed for two or three days, so hurrah for the Union!

Sat. 23d.  We had orders to be ready to fall in at twelve o’clock. We sent our bunks off, and the old women began to rush around after the old wood, but as we had given it to our washwoman, we had our hands full to keep it, and if we didn’t have some fun. But twelve o’clock came and we had no orders. We waited until four o’clock, when we fell in and marched down to the foot of Canal Street. We stacked arms on the wharf, and went to work loading on the commissaries stores, and finally at ten o’clock the following companies went aboard, bound for Fort Jackson: D, B, E and A, and we set sail and were soon out of sight of New Orleans.

Sun. 24th.  Today is Sunday. I slept very well through the night, except that we stopped to speak to a vessel, which waked me up; but the rising sun found us at the fort, and soon after we landed and marched into the fort. We stacked arms and waited for the twelve Maine vol. to leave, when we fell in to cleaning the quarters, which looked more like having been occupied by hogs than human beings, but after much work we got them tenantable and moved in. It began to rain soon after, and it made it so muddy that we stayed in the quarters and became food for the mosquitoes. They beat anything I ever saw. We have to have brushes to keep them off.

Mon. 25th.  We spent most of the day in examining the fort and cleaning up our quarters, which looked like the habitation of man before night.

Wed. 27th.  I was on guard today, and Gen. Tige and I went to the quarters and went to sleep. The guards turned out for the officer of the day while we were gone, and we just saved ourselves from double duty; at night the guards were doubled and were not allowed to go to sleep. The prisoners were expected to try to get away, they getting wind that they were going to be sent away to more secure quarters.

Thur. 28th.  After cleaning my gun, laid down to sleep.

Sat. 30th.  I was detailed as carpenter again today, but I cannot work with nothing to eat, so I kept Qr. H. after me all day.

Another month has passed; four months it is since the Union troops occupied New Orleans. The health of the company is good, but a few being sick in the hospital, Corporal Bassett, Albert Stevens and Herbert Coney.


Mon. 1st.  There were thirteen guns fired in the morning and night, and one gun every half-hour, in memory of Prest. Van Buren.

Tues. 2d.  The battalion fell in and orders were read. We have got to wear mourning on our colors six months.

Wed. 3d.  Sick all day; therefore did nothing.

Thur. 4th.  Went out confiscating oranges and got a lot of them. Co. D are to be artillerists.

Sat. 6th.  Drilled a little.

Sun. 7th.  Mended my pants, but hid at inspection.

Mon. 8th.  Built a platform for the cook’s tent.

Tues. 9th.  Made a case for my gun and that is all, for it has rained all day.

Wed. 10th.  Lay still all day; lazy as ever.

Thur. 11th.  Went after oranges in a boat, but we broke our oars when up part way, and put in shore.

Sat. 13th.  Cleaned my gun and got ready for inspection.

Sun. 14th.  Went to inspection.

Mon. 15th.  Went after oranges.

Wed. 17th.  Eat so many oranges that I am sick today. There were three prisoners swam the moat, but they were caught about sixteen miles below the fort.

Thur. 18th.  So sick today I can hardly navigate, but I guess I shall come out all straight one of these days.

Fri. 19th.  Went down to wash and came back to bed, for I could do no other way I was so weak.

Sat. 20th.  Went fishing all the forenoon with John Lashua and Edward Howland. In the afternoon drilled on guns.

Sun. 21st.  Went to inspection. The mail has at last arrived that the chaplain has kept so long.

Mon. 22d.  Felt first rate all the forenoon. Was detailed to work carpentering, but had the shakes come on and had to give it up.

Tues. 23d.   Lonesome as the old Harry. Charles L. went back again today, and will soon start for home.

Wed. 24th.   I do not feel very well; these shakes are hard things.

Thur. 25th.  Was detailed on guard and stayed until about noon, when I had to give it up and come to the quarters to bed.

Fri. 26th.   Still sick. Went to the Dr. He gave me three doses quinine of five grains each, to take during the day. Rather bitter dose.

Sat. 27th.   To the Dr. again. More quinine, and return to duty tomorrow. Made griddle cakes with flour, salt and water.

Sun. 28th.   Another Sunday has arrived. More griddle cakes today. I do not feel as well as I did yesterday.

Mon. 29th.   I feel very well today. Two mail boats have gone up, the McLellan and St. Mary. I went down to wash in the morning, and the rest of the day lay in my bunk. Col. Gooding took command of the regiment again today, and the headquarters are to be here in Fort Jackson.

Tues. 30th.   I managed to get out of bed in time for roll call, and as soon as it was over I crept into my bunk again to snooze. I was detailed to help carry lumber, but I soon got sick of that and ran back to my quarters.

Thus ends the month of September. Five months since the fort was taken, and we are here to garrison and repair it fit for use.


Wed. 1st.   Another month has commenced, and it finds us here in Fort Jackson, but where we shall be at the end is hard to tell.

Thur. 2d.  We are expecting a mail every day. Corp. Rogers sent his resignation into the Captain, giving as his reason that others had been promoted over him, but the Col. did not like that style of business and gave him his choice, to get on his knees and ask pardon, or pick bricks. He asked pardon.

Fri. 3d.  I am on guard today in the graveyard. They are expecting the rebels will make an attack, and everything is prepared.

Sat. 4th.  Cleaned my gun, and spent the rest of the day in sleep.

Sun. 5th.   Went to inspection, and after that all the parapet guns bearing on the land were loaded.

Mon. 6th.  Nothing of importance, — that is, no rebel attack, but Thomas Hare died this morning and was buried after dress parade beside the rebels that were killed here.

Tues. 7th.  Loaded fourteen guns, expecting Gen. B, and of course must fire a salute, but he did not come.

Wed. 8th.   Today is my birthday, and here I am on guard in Fort Jackson. I hope before another year I shall be at home, not in here.

Thur. 9th.   Cleaned my gun and then slept the rest of the day.

Fri. 10th.  It is one year today since I enlisted.

Sat. 11th.  When we woke up this morning the wind was blowing from the north, cold as the old Harry. We went to work covering the north side of our quarters. About noon I was taken with the chills, and went to bed.

Sun 12th.  It is so cold we have to wear our overcoats to keep warm. I went to the Dr. He gave me two doses quinine but I had the chills.

Mon. 13th.  I went to the Dr. again this morning. He did not believe I took the quinine yesterday. Two more doses.

Tues. 14. Feel first rate today, but I had to take three doses quinine.

Wed. 15th.  Am on guard at the wharf. At night there was a schooner went up loaded with Mexicans. They did not board her for fear of yellow fever, but sent her up to quarantine.

Thur. 16th.  After cleaning my gun I laid down for a snooze, and in the afternoon we had regiment drill.

Fri. 17th.   Laid around the quarters all day, and at night went on picket guard.

Sat. 18th.  Came in about five o’clock and cleaned my gun, and went to sleep in the afternoon. Cleaned my equipments for inspection.

Sun. 19th.  The regiment had a new stand of colors presented to them today.

Mon. 20th.  Of course we led a soldier’s life just as much today as any other, that consisted in drilling from eleven o’clock until twelve, and in the afternoon we polished the whole fort, that is, the whole garrison turned out and had a regular cleaning.

Tues. 21st.  I was on guard at the wharf in the night, and getting a little hungry, we made a visit to the cook room, and made the cold beans and the sargent’s [sic] griddle cakes disappear at double-quick rate.

Wed. 22nd.  After cleaning my gun and equipments, I laid down and took a fine snooze.

Thur. 23rd.  Nothing but drilling today, and not taking a fancy to drill, in the afternoon I was missing.

Fri. 24th.   The Col. with one hundred men took passage on the Steamer Bee and we went up to Butler’s plantation, and after loading on a cargo of sweet potatoes, we took our haversacks and made for the orange orchard and loaded ourselves with the delicious fruit, and rambled all over the lots into the garden after red peppers, and returned to the fort about four o’clock in the morning. They beat the long roll, and alarmed the garrison when we landed.

Sat. 25th.  I cleaned my equipments and laid down and took a snooze. The wind began to blow towards night like the very old Harry.

Sun. 26th.  When we woke up this morning it was cold as the ice mountains. Sargent [sic] Canterbury called the roll lying in his bunk. We had inspection at nine o’clock and nearly froze standing in line, but as soon as inspection was over we cleaned out one of the dungeons where there was a fireplace, and stayed there the rest of the day.

Mon. 27th.  I was on guard today at the commissaries. We have to hug the stove all the time when off guard. I have had the headache all day.

Tues. 28th.   I was relieved at seven o’clock, and came to the quarters and laid down and slept until noon, when I had a spell of the fever and ague, and had to keep to my bunk all day.

Wed. 29th.  Went to the Dr. this morning. He gave me three doses quinine to take.

Thur. 30th.  To the Dr. again. Three doses more of quinine.

Fri. 31st.  Went to the Dr. again this morning. Solution of quinine this time. Great hurrah here now. The paymaster has made his appearance amongst us. The regiment was mustered today and marched in review. We poor sick devils had to walk up front of the company and salute the Col.


Sat. 1st.  Here we are with our fifty-two dollars in our fist, all hunk now for four months more.  This is better than all the quinine the Dr. can give. Now I am ready for duty, on guard or anywhere. There was a guard shot at Williams. He was on the parapet. The ball didn’t come within forty rods of him. Perhaps his money made the fellow feel so good he wanted to shoot somebody.

Sun. 2d.  It is raining all day, and is a mighty mean nasty day. It is about the same as every Sunday has been lately. Nothing to do but lay still and smoke.

Mon. 3d.  I am on guard at the wharf today.

Tues. 4th.  Cleaned my equipments, and in the afternoon drilled from three to five.

Wed. 5th.  Nothing but drill, drill.

Thur. 6th. We drilled but little today it was so cold. At night I went on picket.

Fri. 7th.  Cleaned my equipments, and now there is no rest for the weary. The guards have to drill all the next day.

Sat. 8th.  Drilled in the forenoon and got ready for inspection in the afternoon. Oh, there is nothing like inspection every Sunday, so as to make us work every Saturday afternoon.

Sun. 9th.  Went to inspection. The day has passed very well.  Thus the first year has passed of our camp life, it being just one year today since we went into camp at Pittsfield.

Mon. 10th.  We drilled in the forenoon, but the officers have got out of whiskey or something else, for they undertook to have battalion drill, but after a short time the regiment was dismissed and all the drill amounted to was a few curses and blows from officers.

Tues. 11th.  I am on guard today at No. 2. I was on No. 4, but had to change with Smith because he did not do his duty. The Col. has gone to the city. I hope when he comes back he will bring a cargo of whiskey.

Wed. 12th.  I was too lazy to clean my equipments this morning, but went out to the forenoon drill. Canterbury, 2d Sargent, was drill-master. In the afternoon there was no drill.

Thur. 13th.  It is rainy today. Hurrah for a rainy day! Plenty of sleep and no drill. We can whistle, sing or play, and just the day for sleeping. Tomorrow morning is the time for the boat, and how I shall dream of my box tonight, and be disappointed tomorrow if it does not arrive.

Fri. 14th.  John put for the landing the first thing, and pretty soon returned with the box, and oh, how soon the cover flew off and we went to looking at the contents! There is nothing like having a box from home.

Sat. 15th.  Did not drill any today, but signed the quarterly reports, and as tomorrow is Sunday, we must of course clean our equipments and prepare for inspection. At night I was detailed for picket guard, but afterwards Milton took off my name, and now I shall be on guard tomorrow. Just my luck, as Charles Woodard says. After today I cannot call a negro equal to a white man, for I saw them perform over the intestines of an ox that was killed. They fight like dogs.

Sun. l6th.  Just as I expected! After inspection I went on guard, and am on the second relief, No. 10, on the new levee, but blue blazes, how it rained in the night! And I had to go the rounds with the officer of the day, Capt. Lee. Lieut. Lewis was officer of the guard.

Mon. 17th.  Cannot clean my equipments today for I am too lazy, but one thing is good, — it is rainy, and we shan’t have to drill, so I will sleep, and if anything happens I will write it tonight.

Tues. 18th.   No drill today.  So much the better for those that were lazy. I presume I come under that head again today.

Wed. 19th.  Here it is again.  We had our drills today.

Thur. 20th.  It has been as cold as the old Harry today. We did not drill in the forenoon, but built a fire in the parlor, or rather dungeon, and enjoyed ourselves as best we could until the drum beat for afternoon drill. Then we had to tumble out and be pushed and jambed around.

Fri. 21st.  I was detailed to help get a gun up that settled into the ground last night when they fired the sundown gun. I worked until noon, when the shakes took hold of me and I had to return to my quarters.

Sat. 22d.  I was detailed to go on guard, but went to the Dr. and got excused, and had three doses quinine. News came that the Marion was wrecked, but she had only gone aground. The passengers were brought up on the Genl. Williams, and all visited the forts.

Sun. 23d.  I went to the Dr. again this morning for three doses quinine. I think we shall have a mail soon, for besides the Marion’s that has gone up today, the St. Mary, Creole and McLellan, all mail steamers, have gone up.

Mon. 24th.  There has been no drill today, for the prisoners are picking up the loose pieces of brick in the fort. The Empire Parish has been carrying up the cargo of the Marion today.

Tues. 25th.  Gen. Williams is expected every moment, and all are anxious for the mail, but we shall not get it before tomorrow morning. Piggie is all excitement tonight, and raising the old satan. He is fresh from the hospital.

Wed. 26th.  The boat arrived soon after we got to bed last night. We got the mail this morning. We spent Thanksgiving Eve in our parlor; had singing and dancing by one of the contrabands, and had a good time generally.

Thur. 27th.  Today is Thanksgiving day in Massachusetts, and I am on guard in Fort Jackson on No. 12 front of our quarters, to keep the boys from running down the bank.

Fri. 28th.  I have had my ducks today, as I was on guard yesterday. The paymaster has gone around again, and paid us twenty-six dollars.

Sat. 29th.  I did not go out to drill in the forenoon, and as there is no drill Saturday afternoons I got rid of drill, but must get ready for inspection.

Sun. 30th.  Nothing to do but sleep today.


Mon. 1st.  We drilled twice this forenoon; bayonet exercise in the afternoon. I worked boarding the quarters. L. Churchill died last night, and was buried at three p.m.

Tues. 2d.  Great changes have taken place today. Our loved and honored Second Lieut., N. F. Bond, has been taken from us and promoted to First Lieut, Co. K. He took leave of us tonight, and bid us farewell at roll call. Sargt. Sagendorph was promoted to Second Lieut. in Bond’s place. The company are all downhearted at the change.

Wed. 3d.  It has been rainy all day, so we had nothing to do.

Thur. 4th.  It has been rainy again all day. We were called out to drill, but the Col. came and ordered us back.  There was a mail steamer went up today.

Fri. 5th.  I was on guard today at No. 3. The commissaries and prisoners. Second Sargt. Bailey was officer of the guard. Another mail steamer went up, the Banyo Beayo, and the Gen. W. came down, but we shall not get the mail until morning.

Sat. 6th.  There was no drill today, so we lay still.

Sun. 7th.  Went to inspection. We are having rather hard grub, — no bread, hard or soft.

Mon. 8th.  On guard again over the prisoners at work. Corp. Goland was put under arrest for throwing away a quinine powder.

Tues. 9th.  Great preparation for the inspector-general. He is coming tomorrow. Goland had his trial.

Wed. 10th.  The Gen. Williams came last night, but brought no mail. We had no inspection after all the fuss. Corp. Howland was promoted to Sargent [sic] today, so at last he is to his old place again. I have got so I like this fort.

Thur. 11th.   We drilled both forenoon and afternoon. I am on picket guard tonight with Corp. Brainard. John L. and C. A. Stone at the water battery.

Fri. 12th.  It is drill, drill, and nothing to eat. This is hard business. A telegraph came this afternoon that Lieut. Bond was killed. This is worse than ever. It is so short a time since he left us it does not seem but what he is yet one of us, and it seems like losing our own officer.

Sat. 13th.  The Gen. Williams came down today with one company of negro artillerists. The Col. sent them over to Fort St. Phillips. They were better looking soldiers than I expected to see, but the Col. hates them as bad as I do. Therefore, he would not have them in this fort, but said if they were specially ordered here he should put them over in the water battery. Bully for the Colonel!

Sun. 14th.  Great excitement today. Gen. Banks with his expedition have been passing here. There was a steamer came in sight, and we had just time to get out and salute the General. Nine steamers have passed.

1st, North Star,
2d, Maria Boardman,
3d, United States,
4th, Illinois,
5th, Northern Light,
6th, Aeago,
7th, Matanza,
8th, S.B.Spaulding,
9th, New Brunswick.

Mon. 15th.  There was no drill this forenoon. Two steamers passed in the forenoon, but had no troops. In the afternoon there were three more with troops.

10th, Haze,
11th, Pocahontas,
and one sailer, the Gen. Shepley.

Tues. 16th.  This morning it is cold again. We began to feel it before morning, and crawled together closer. Three steamers came up this forenoon with troops.

13th, Empire City,
14th, City of Bath,
15th, Saxon.

Wed. 17th.  I was on guard at No. 3 commissaries. The Gen. Williams came down last night.

Thur. 18th.  In the afternoon I hid from drill. Two more steamers­ with troops have passed today, the Che Kiang

Fri. 19th.  General Banks is now our commander in place of Gen. Butler, superseded.

Sat. 20th.  The Gen. Williams came down last night, but returned to the city before morning with Col. Gooding aboard.

Sun. 21st.  I am on guard today on the parapet. One more load of troops went up, and the steamer St. Mary from Berwick’s Bay.

Mon. 22d.  After getting off guard, Bennett Fletcher, Marsh C. Wilcox and I took our revolvers and went down the river to practice, and got back at noon. I felt tired and laid down on the grass and fell asleep. When I woke the company was out drilling.

Tues. 23d.  Went to the Dr. and he took a prong out of my ear.

Wed. 24th.  I went and got excused from all duty today.

Thur. 25th.  Hurrah for Christmas! This has been a bully day for us boys. The Col. got up a dinner, and we had two star spangled banners hung over the table, and all the lager beer we could drink was furnished. We drank to those departed, and had a good time generally. The boys have been noisy ever since dinner.

Fri. 26th.   I lay in my bunk all day.

Sat. 27th.  We received a visit from Tim Loud of the 42d. The steamer he was on was obliged to stop here for orders from the city, and he got leave to come ashore. The first that Sargt. Canterbury did was to run for a loaf of soft bread to give him, knowing full well how he would appreciate it.

Sun. 28th.  Mr. Harwood of the 42d. Mass. Vols. came ashore this morning to see George Marsh. He is uncle to George. The mail ship Marion came up last night and brought the news of Burnside’s defeat. That is bad news, and now probably the knowing newspaper editors will think he had better be superseded, for he has lost his battle. Who is the next one for the command of the army of the Potomac?

Mon. 29th.  It was nothing but drill, drill; today, in the forenoon was company, and afternoon battallion [sic] drill. Several boys went up to — well, the commissioned officers don’t know where — and got tight as the very old Harry.

Tues. 30th.  I am on guard today at No. 1, over the guns. Part of the day it rained, but towards night it cleared off clear and cold.

Wed. 31st.  Last night the steamer that had the rest of the 42d Regiment cane up and they stopped her. They fired a blank cartridge first, but she kept going, when a solid shot across her bow warned her to stop, which was done, and she anchored for the night. This morning a good share of Co. K came ashore and paid us a visit. We had a jolly time. It seemed good to see so many of our old friends here. We well knew what they needed, aid furnished them with plenty of soft bread and butter, with hot coffee, which they devoured with a relish. They stayed until eleven o’clock, and then started for the steamer again. It seemed hard to part with them. Bill Howard and some others wanted to stay and join our company, but we gave three cheers and parted. Our old home, the Steamship Mississippi passed up today loaded with troops, but it was just our luck to be drilling so we could not see her.

This evening to wind up the year, Charles Woodard, Albert Bennett, John Lashua and I played cards till roll call, and now I have come to the end of volume first of my soldiering.

Luther M. Fairbank.

This book I hope to read in after years, when peace reigns in this once happy land.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s