Diary of Luther M. Fairbank — Part 3, June — Dec 1863

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

June/63

Sun. June 7   We started at 12 in the night, and marchd most to Clinton, so that our advance reachd the town, — when the rebs. skedaddled, — so we about faced and marchd back to where we started from this A.M., and stayed thro’ the day.  Co. D were flankers, and what times we had climbing fences and crawling thro’ the brush.  We started again at 6 o’clk and marchd 7 miles, when we stopped for the night. Capt. Allen refused to detail any pickets.

Mon. 8   We started at 4 A.M. and marchd till we were obliged to stop or have all the men sunstruck. It was an awful hot day.  We were very near Port Hudson.  At night we went up onto the line.  No coffee tonight.

Tues. 9   This A.M. I woke up shaking like a dog, — about as hard a chill as I ever had.  We have had nothing to eat all day.  The fresh meat, as they called it, was all maggots and stunk like carrion. The Capt. sent it back, and the Commissary buried it.  What they expect us to live on is more than I can tell.

Wed. 10  We did manage to get a piece of salt pork for dinner.  Talk of starving the rebs. out of Port Hudson! We shall get starved out first at this rate, — but the 9 months men are having their potatoes, beans, &c.  They are of more consequence than the 3 years men.  Yes the babies shall have something to eat, — so they should!

Thurs 11   We had a rainy, disagreeable night, but /pg 37/ this A.M. the sun came out bright and warmed us up.  The boys began to make so much fuss about our rations, that the officers went to Gen. Paine. He gave the commissaries fits, and we got our tea, pepper, potatoes and beans,–but too late for today’s eating.

Fri. 12   Everything has passed off very quiet today. The cannons keep at work, tho’.  A small mail came, but no letter for me.

Sat. 13   Nothing of importance, — only at night we rolled our blankets and the troops were got into position to make an assault at sunrise tomorrow on the breast works.

Sun. 14   Today has been a hard one. The death missiles have flown thick and fast all day. We commenced the ball at 4 ½ A.M., — the skirmishers leading off with cheers. Then came the 4th Mass. with hand grenades, and then the 31st with our muskets slung on our backs and bags of cotton on our shoulders to fill up the ditch so that the artillery could pass over. We went as far as possible, and then our cotton bags came handy to lie behind.

Here we lay all day in an open field, the sun pouring down its hottest rays. Gen. Paine was wounded, and thus the work stopped.

The 156 N.Y. broke & ran twice.  Capt. Allen was wounded in the shoulder by a piece of shell, and carried to the rear.  Lieut. Bond was in command of Co. C and was wounded in the breast by a musket ball.  Geo. Marsh had a musket ball hit him in the upper jaw while looking to see some of our men go over the breast works, prisoners. “My God”, he said, “I guess I’m a goner”, and ran to the rear.  Sergt F. A. Clary, Color Sergt, was Killed, and of the Ambulance Corps.  That is all I have heard of belonging to our Co.      The fire getting too hot where we lay, we were ordered to swing around under cover of a Knoll, — so one would get all ready and start and run, assailed by a shower of musket balls, — and when he was safe another start.  Strange to say, nobody was hurt.  We are under cover now, and so I write this account, but I can hardly hold my pencil or see, I am so swelled by the effect of the sun.  Coffee was brought to us after dark, and went good. We were almost choked, having no water.

Mon. 15   After dark the troops were withdrawn from the field, and we now occupy the same place as before the assault.  Serg. Clary’s body was brought off last night, and buried with J. Williams.  We made a mistake and got a different person, — a member of the 53rd, — and were just ready to lower him into the grave, when a fellow came up and said we had not got Williams, but we got him, and they now lie side by side, a sacrifice for their country.

When we came off the field we had a ration of whiskey dealt out, and I was willing to drink mine.  A mail came and I rec’d 5 letters, dated May 2nd to 22nd. Wrote to Mother.

Tues. 16   Gen. Banks has calld for 1,000 volunteers to be a Forlorn Hope, to take the lead in the next charge.  The boys are not rested enough from the last attack to volunteer very fast.

Capt. Hollister, Co. A, Capt. Hovey, K, Adjt. Howell and Lieut. Stewart have volunteered.

Wed. 17  Today a flag of truce has been up to bury the dead that have lain ever since the battle.  2 were found still alive.

The body of Ed Woods was found with the dead.  He was a brave fellow and was killed trying to get to Gen. Paine.

Thurs. 18  Another mail today.  Two letters for me, of June 1 & 2.  I was detaild for guard at Brig. H. Qrs.

Fri. 19   I stood 2 hours g’d over the horses in the night, and nothing to do but lie and sleep.  We are expecting to make another attack on the rebels every day, but it will be nothing strange if it is not made till Sunday, altho’ the cannons keep roaring and send their plunging shot along.

Saty. 20    Nothing new today but busy yourself as you may.  Such times are generally used for soldiers sleeping.

Sun. 21    Another Sabbath has passed.  I was detaild to go up and work in the sap tonight. During the day I wrote a letter home.

Mon. 22   There was great hiding last night. I crept under some bales of cotton and slept till morng.  I didn’t like the spade, altho’ it is trumps now.  We were relieved this A.M. and slept all day.

Tues. 23   Nothing but sleep today. A lazy day. No excitement.

Wed. 24   I was detaild for fatigue, but the engineer could get no tools, so we went back to camp.

Thurs. 25   The same squad went out to work again today, buildg a road for artillery and troops to go at double quick, — and workd till noon, when we had it finishd and went back to camp, and ate and slept the rest of the day.

Fri. 26    This A.M. W. Snow and I made a visit to Bill Howard’s camp. He is detaild in the [unfinished].

He is all for going home, as his time is most up. We stayed until noon. As we were returng to camp a 20 lb. shot went screeching by us a little too close for comfort. Geo. Demond returnd from N.O. today, looking fat and rosy.

Saty 27   Heavy bombarding, part of the night. Orders to be ready to leave at a moments notice.

Sun. 28   Wrote home.  The day passed off very quiet.  I was detaild to work in the sap at night.

Mon. 29   Nothing but eat and sleep today.

Tues. 30   We were mustered this A.M., and then Cos. C & D were sent to relieve 2 Cos. of 8th N.H. in the rifle pits, and the rest of the Regt were put on g’d over the 4th Mass., who had laid down their arms and refused to do duty because their time was up.  They have always been a disgrace to Mass., and Mass. soldiers were always ashamed of them.

[July]

Wed. July 1    It has been dreadful hot all day, and we kept quiet as possible.  5 men were at the loopholes at a time.

Thurs. 2   The same duty today as yesterday, each man taking his turn.  Very few shots were fired.

Fri. 3    I slept all the A.M., and at noon 2 Cos. of the 8th N.H. came and relieved us.

A mail came. I rec’d 4 letters, dated May 29 to June 14.

Saty. 4    Today is Independence, but how different it has been spent from what those at home have probably done.  There the old iron cannon called them early, and fire crackers and picnics were the order of the day.  Here we have had cannon roaring enough, but no boy’s play or blank cartridges fired.

Sun. 5    The Sabbath! A day of rest, (but not for me,) has arrived.  I was detaild, with 18 others, to work in the sap.  Now and then a solid shot or shell would come over to try to stop our work.  A flag of truce was raised a short time, when we mounted the works and had a talk with the Confederates.

Mon. 6     We were relieved this A.M.

Tues. 7     Ordered to work in the sap, but I got excused by the Lieut. of the squad, feeling sick.

Weds. 8   Excused from duty.  Hostilities ceased for terms of surrender.  Unconditional surrender.         News that Vicksburg had surrendered.

Thurs. 9   The 3rd Brig. Started at 12 midnight, and marchd to Plains Store, about 5 miles on the Baton Rouge road.  I fell out, but finally reached the place.

Fri. 10    I do not feel any better.  Some of the boys gave me some pills.  I am unable to do anything.

Saty 11    I am sitting on the piazza of a house in Port Hudson; having come up in an ambulance.

Sun. 12    They have been bringing in the sick all day, and fitting up hospitals. The Dr. told me I might go to my Regt as soon as they got into camp, — as they all expect to go into Summer Qs.

Mon. 13   I got a pass from the Dr. and went aboard a Str, where I lay down all day.  In the P.M. a lot of the Confed. Officers came aboard, and I landed at Baton Rouge and soon found the Reg’t, pretty well tired out.

Tues. 14   It rained in the night and we all got wet thro’, and today W. Snow put up my tent and his together, — I was not able.  I went to the Dr.  He says he is going to send me into the Hospital, — just what I was afraid he would do.

Wed. 15   The Regt being called up at 12 midnight, I kept out of sight until they were ready to start, and then followed on to the boat, which was the N. America, and started down to Donaldsonville, where we pitched our shelter tents.  The Dr. says he shall send me back.

Thurs. 16    Changed camp nearer the river. Wrote to Mother.

Fri. 17    I feel somewhat better.

Saty 18    Rec’d letter of July 5, and answerd it.

Sun. 19    Everything remains quiet. Green corn is all the rage. News came that Lee was captured and his army scattered — Also that Richmond was taken — Nobody believes it.

Mon. 20   The same old story of lying in camp, eating what you can get, and then sleeping to pass the time.

Tues. 21    Nothing going on. I went and got a mess of corn.

Wed. 22   Our Co. went on Picket.  A mail, with 1 letter for me, of July 7. Answd it.

Thurs. 23    The Co. came back ab’t 10 A.M. Snow sleeps with me. He brought plenty of hoe cake back with him. All is lovely.

Fri. 24      I was returned to duty and detailed for guard at Regtal H.Qrs.

Saty. 25     Gen. Dwight takes comd of the 3rd Divn, which comprises the old 1st & 3rd Divisns.  None of us like him, and are sorry he commands us.

Sun. 26     I wrote to Mother, but the envelope looked as tho’ it came from the Ark.

Mon. 27    We drew flour today, and such times getting it cooked!  Some sent it out to a house and had it cooked into biscuit, and I would pity the man who got hit with one of them.

Tues. 28    Today I was detaild for Picket and am on the post with Vogie and Wilcox.  It has been very pleasant, — one small shower.

Vogie went and got a haversack of peaches.

Wed. 29   The musquitoes [sic] were so thick and large there was no such thing as sleep, — but fight them all night, — and as soon as the first streaks of light appeared in the East, 2 of us went about a mile foraging, with good success.

Thurs. 30   Extra rations are cooking, ready for another move, — rumored to Baton Rouge.

Gen. Grover’s Div[isio]n has started for N.O.

We signed the Pay Rolls for 6 mos. pay.

Fri. 31    Great times eating the fruits of the land and cakes of nigger wenches cooking. Some of the boys are right on their potato, having found whiskey plenty. The cause of all this excitement was that the Paymaster suddenly made his appearance, and forked over to the tune of $78, (6 mos. pay,) so after settling up old scores we went to filling up our bread baskets that have long been empty of aught but army rations, which are remarkable for their poorness and small allowances.

[August]

Saty Aug. 1     We were ordered to pack, and surely thought we were off to Baton Rouge, — but instead of that we stopped above the Fort and pitchd our shelter tents.  We are now in the region of chimney stacks, the remains of Donaldsonville, — the effects of firing on the gunboats.

Sun. 2      We lay in camp all day, drinking claret and eating.  I filled up with a plate of griddle cakes, coffee, watermelon, peaches, cup onions, ½ doz. eggs, salt horse, and 1 q’t milk.

3 Cos. went to load boats.

Mon. 3    We worked loading till 12, last midnight, when we were relieved by 3 other Cos., and this A.M. we packed up, and Cos. A, D, E. & K went aboard the St[eame]r Sunny South, of Nashville, Cos. B & C on the Str Tempest. Co. H was detaild to load the Lancaster, when the Arago of St. Louis, taking the lead, we started for Baton Rouge, where we arrived at 4 P.M. and went ½ mile to camp with the ground covered with weeds as tall as your head.

Tues. 4    Cleaned up the camp of the weeds, thinking it time to recruit my household furniture of cup, plate, knife and fork.

Wed. 5     After Snow came off Picket, we went down town without a pass, as usual; being too much trouble to fuss for one.  At Roll call sent me from the ranks because I did not have my cap on, saying he would answer for me.

Thurs. 6    Eugene Southworth returned today, bringing the sad tidings of the death of C. A. Stone.      We worked clearing up the camp.

Fri. 7    Lieut. Cook of Co. K was buried today. The Regt attended the funeral.

Saty 8    All quiet, except the Regt’s luggage came. Rec’d home letter of July 9.  I sent $50 home.

Sun. 9     We removed to Camp Magnolia, and pitchd tents.  I wrote to Mother and then went to a water melon patch and supplied ourselves.

Mon. 10    We fixed our tent for hot weather, and built some bunks.

Tues. 11    I was on Picket, — on the Reserve.

Wed. 12    I heard that I had a box down at the Xpress Office, so down I go in the heat and brought it up, and was well paid for my trouble.  What is better than a box from home!

Tues. 13    Worked clearing camp of stumps.

Fri. 14    Built a bunk for Lt Sagendorph and had a monument pricked in my arm.

Sat. 15    Worked cleaning my equipmts all day.  Jim Tupper made us a call.

Sun. Aug. 16   We had inspectn, same as usual on the Sabbath. I wrote to Mother.

Mon. 17    On Picket, — and what a shower! The lightning was terrific. It lasted ½ hour.

Tues. 18    There was no such thing as sleep.

Wed. 19    We had a Genl Inspectn by a Capt. of Gen. Franklin’s Staff. We are now in the 2nd Brig. of 1st Divn.

Thurs. 20   This A.M. Geo. Parmenter and I went down town. I had my picture taken.

Fri. 21    On Picket.  Being in a cool place, we had a gay time all day sleeping.

Sat. 22     After I was relievd I cleaned up for Inspectn. We expect soon to be on the move, reported to Mobile. H. Walker returnd to the Co.  All are for enlistg in the Cavalry, as Vetns.

Sun. 23     Hot & sultry all day.  We drew what things we should need on the march.  Inspectn after Dress Parade at night.

Mon. 24    Oh! What a hot one today!  I wrote to Hattie Ormsby, having never seen her.  A hard shower at night, with high wind.

Tues. 25    A cool day.   We drilled at night.

Wed. 26    On Picket. Spent the greater part of the day and night playing cards.  Chas Woodard returned.

Thurs. 27    A Genl Inspectn tomorrow.

Fri. 28      Inspectn.  Corp. Goland returnd.   Geo. Richardson rec’d his Discharge Papers.

Sat. 29      Reported fall of Fort Sumpter.

Sun. 30     Matthew Bannister returnd.  Reported that N.C., Tenn., & Texas have laid down their arms.

Mon. 31    On Picket.  We were mustered before G’d Mtg.

We had sweet potatoes, corn and squash in plenty all day.

[September]

Tues. Sept. 1   Good news for the first of the month! that Charleston had fallen, and the rebs. in full retreat.

The news came thro’ official sources and was read off to the different Regts. We began to call ourselves Nine Months Men. Ha! ha! ha!

Wed. 2     Half the men got drunk over the news last night, and a good share of the straps, (officers) and are holding out pretty well now.

Thurs. 3    The line officers had a regular drunken frolic, and made the night hideous.  They have disgraced themselves in the eyes of the men, and who can respect them now? They even used up the hospital bread, and the sick came to the Cos. for bread this A.M.  We struck tents abt noon and marchd in the heat to the city and pitchd tents beside the Penitentiary. One step more and we are inside the gates.   It is a good camp ground but no shade.

Fri. 4    Our Regtment on Picket.  I never got posted till 2 o’cl’k, — then in front of a negro house, and we had good quarters.   The yellow and mulatto girls made good company most of the night.

Sat. 5     We were relieved by the 175 N.Y. and I pushed for camp.  John Lashua spent the eveg with us, playing cards.

Sun. 6    Inspectn in A.M. The Lieut. was good natured and did not find fault with my gun, which I had condemned myself.

Mon. 7    Nothing to write but the same old story of camp life. Dry work as usual.

Tues. 8    On Picket. Frenchmen, Dutchmen, Irishmen and Americans on this post.

Wed. 9    The rebs. made their appearance at the cavalry picket, but did not trouble us.  They killed 2 cavalrymen and took 6 prisoners.  A larger force went out and took 36 of the rebs.  Lucky they came no nearer or they would have got their bellies full.

Thurs. 10   The 3 Cos. from Fort Pike, F, G & I, returned to the Regt.  We went to the wharf and escorted them up to camp.  They number more men than the other 6 Cos.  I made a bunk for Capt. Allen, who returned today.

Fri. 11     I made a table for Lieut. Sagendorph.  It has been cold most of the day.

Saty 12     Rather rainy, most of the day.  We had to prepare for Inspectn, as it is Saty.  Each Co. agrees to pay $10 per month toward the Band.

Sun. 13    Inspectn in A.M.  A private in Co. F dropped from the effects of the sun.  The Dr. ordered no more Knapsack inspectns.   We rec’d a favor from the S.S. of East Hampton in a package of tracts.

Mon. 14    On Picket.  Rec’d 4 home letters, — a good thing for Picket to occupy the time.

Tuesday 15    I had a shield and flags pricked in my arm.

Wed. 16   Today the Col. must have us parade the streets for about 2 hours, sweating like butchers.

Thurs. 17    Worked pulling weeds in the A.M. for Review ground, and went to work in P.M., but ran off 15 or 20 times to camp.

Fri. 18    Had Brigade Review today, and Col. Hopkins proposed me go into Cavalry for 3 years longer, as Vetn Vols, — to be the 1st Mass Vetn Cav. I think I shall go.

Saty 19    I got an order on the Sutler for $5.  I have my name down for Cavalry, — 3 yrs. unless sooner dischgd.  Now look out for daring raids!

Sun. 20    On Picket. Nothing to write of any account.

Mon. 21    I almost froze last night.  Cold weather is commencing rather early.

Tues. 22    Nothing to write, — only we are to go drilling, — Infantry drill, of course.  It is reported Lee occupies Washington.

Wed. 23   Great excitement — Some rebs. appeared. The Pickets were strengthened, Artillery posted, and a guard stationed in the Co. street.

Thurs. 24    On Picket, — 12 on this post.  The rebs. chased our Dr. into the lines.  Plenty of squash for dinner and supper, — presented by a woman living near, — and milk by the milkman.

Fri. 25    I found 2 home letters waiting for me when I came off Picket, begging me not to enlist.  They came in time, for tomorrow is the day for binding ourselves.

Sat. 26    Capt. Allen sent for me to come and sign, but I chose not to do so.  D Co. was detaild to go up to the fortifications for the night.

Sun. 27    We confiscated a pig, and started Vogie off to camp ahead with it done up in his blanket, and we had a fine roast.

Mon. 28    On Picket, — on the Reserve.  It has been rather rainy.  I went to camp once for the mail, but there was none, so I was disappointed.

Tues. 29     Oh! what a rainy day! The dullest and most disagreeable day of the season.  The mail came at last, and I had 1 letter of the 18th.   The Vetn Cavalry has all played out, being knocked in the head by Prest Lincoln’s Order.

Wed. 30   Still another rainy day.  We have exhausted our stock of stories and are dumpish.

[October]

Thurs. Oct. 1   It has cleared off at last, and being no moon is just the kind of night 2 or 3 of us want to make a raid on some of the fences for some boards.

Lieut. Sagendorph was promoted to 1st L’t Co. K, and we are not sorry to get rid of him.

Fri. 2      Parmenter and I made us a bunk out of boards confiscated last night.  A false alarm  just as we got to bed, and all tumbled out.

Sat. 3     Reviewed by Col. Dudley of the 30th Mass. After that he inspected us. Then I went on Picket. I did not get posted till dark.

Sun. 4    A pleasant Sabbath.  Wrote a letter and slept all the rest of the day.

Mon. 5    Cold weather is fast approaching, and with it commences drill of 4 hours a day, just as tho’ we were raw troops and did not know the ropes.  Confound the Army and the officer’s orders.

Tues. 6     I feel rather sick today. We had Regimental Drill 4 hours and then Dress Parade.  We have a new cook fresh from Logan’s army.  He ran away and came here, — John Semmes.

Wed. 7     Rather hard up with Diarrhea and Sore throat.

Thurs. 8   Another birthday — still in the army, and on Picket.  I feel better.

Fri. 9    Drill of 2 hrs in P.M. and had good game of cards in the eveg.  E. Johnson returned today.

Saty 10   2 years ago today I signed the paper that gave me salt horse for 3 years, (Roll of Honor, as they called it,) but give me a citizens rig and I will let honor and glory go.

Sun. 11     Regl Inspectn this A.M.  Co. B left today. They have gone down the river as M’td Infy.

Mon. 12    I didn’t drill but half the day, being detailed to make an easy chair for Walter Gardner, but the Capt. got him one down town, so I laid still.

Tues. 13    A hard shower last night.  We had Co. drill in P.M.  I was detailed for G’d at Regl H.Qrs. at night.  An Officer inspected us at night and gave us the praise of being the best Regt in the Dept, and thought it would be nothing but murder to mount so good an Infantry Regt.

2 years ago I was riding with Warner Snow.

Wed. 14     Rec’d and answd 2 letters.

Thurs. 15    It was Co. drill all day; the officers being on a drunk last night; and it fell to the lot of Sargts to be drill masters.  Every Co. was present at Dress Parade, — the first time for 16 months.

Corp. Shaw had his stripes cut off before the Regt and is to wear a band 3 days for disgraceful conduct.

Fri. 16     Battn Drill both A.M. & P.M.  I am sick of this drill, drill, all the time. Oh! When this cruel war is over, we’ll be calld to drill no more!

Saty 17    Battn Drill in A.M. and prepared for Review tomorrow.  There is no day but the Sabbath fit for Review, — at least things look as tho’ that was what the Officers thought.

Sun. 18    The Lord was on the Private’s side, for this A.M. it began to rain just as we were forming in line; and the Review was postponed, and then the sun came out. On Picket.

Mon. 19    Review today, — therefore the Pickets were not relieved until P.M.  The lines are open for citizens to come in, and they are bringing cotton in large quantities, but they are not allowed to carry out anything without a permit, and we had great times searching teams, especially the planter’s daughters’ to see if they had anything concealed under their skirts, — for some would have cloth, shoes, &c., hid there.  It comes hard for some to let the dirty Yankees be so familiar, but most take it in good part.

Tues. 20    Adjt. Howell and Capt. Morse returned from the North.  We signd the Pay Rolls for 2 months pay.  I rec’d 5 letters.

Wed. 21     We were paid off, — 2 month’s pay, — and such a merry, drunken set as this Regt represents tonight!  One Sergt under arrest.

Thurs. 22    There is more drunk today than yesterday. We had drill both A.M. & P.M. Geo. Fisher, Lem. Williams and I went off after Roll Call and stayed most of the night and had a merry time.

Fri. 23    I am on Picket.  It rained most all day, and cold as Greenland.  One of the 38th Mass., who are Provost G’d, shot dead one of the 4th Wis. Cav. in the street. The cavalryman was drunk.

Saty 24     We most froze last night, so we built a rousing old fire and kept it up till morng.

Drunkenness still prevails. A Sergt of Co. A had his stripes pulled off at Dress Parade for drunkenness. I bo’t 7 cans lobster.

Sun. 25     Co. Inspectn this A.M.   After Roll Call Geo. Fisher, Lem Williams and I went off and stayed till 12 o’cl’k and had a good time.

Mon. 26    Co. Drill in A.M. & Brig. Drill in P.M.

Tues. 27     Drill both A.M. & P.M.

Wed. 28     I am on Picket, on the Reserve, and we have had a bully time. Men and women would have the countersign, which is a bottle of whiskey, but sweet potatoes, eggs, &c., went the best with me.  No matter how strong secesh, they all pay tribute to the Pickets, and one guard had to go to the Provost Marshall’s office with each team to let the folks take the oath.  I had the luck to ride up in a hack with 2 handsome ladies, who told about some soldiers stealing their geese.  I was the very chap.

Thurs. 29     Rainy all day.

Fri. 30    Rainy part of the day. Cleaned up for Muster.

Saty 31    We had all sorts of tom foolery today.  First all the Regt marchd up for Review, when it was postponed.  Then we were inspected by Col. Gooding, and mustered, — it being the last of the month.      Geo. Fisher and I went down town and had a merry time, beside getting our photographs taken. Cos. E, F, I, & K started off just at night with Col. Hopkins in command.  Now look out for daring deeds under that commander!

Novr/63

Sun. 1    No Inspectn today. Bully for that!  Today is what they call All Saints Day, and the Catholic Cemetery is trimmed up in great style.  The tombs and graves are covered with wreaths and roses and candles burning.  I spent part of the day there with Geo. Fisher.

Mon. 2    We had Co. drill in A.M. and the Battn was drilld by Capt. Allen in the P.M., and a tiresome drill it was.  I am on G’d at Regtl H. Qrs. tonight

Tues. 3     Lieut. Bond returnd from home and bro’t a small bundle for me. He looks tough and hearty. We are glad to see him back again. He had all sorts of stories of home, — but we are not to have him with us. He is to be an Aide de Camp for Col. Gooding, who knows a good officer.

Wed. 4    I went down town with Geo. Fisher and had a good time. I got my pictures. I was asleep at drill, so got rid of it.

Thurs. 5    Another of our number has gone, — Walter Gardner died today.  We drew clothing.  It is rainy, and our confounded tent leaks.  A good prospect of a pleasant night.

Fri. 6    The funeral of Walter Gardner was at 10 o’ cl’k.  1st L’t Bond, 1st L’t Sagendorph, and 2nd L’t Bond attended.  We got the Chaplain of the 156 N.Y. to attend.  The day has been rainy, and no drill.

Saty 7    I was detaild to go cutting wood.  Geo. Fisher and I both went to work on one tree, and was sure not to get a large one, — and worked as soldiers only know how.  Inspectn tomorrow and nothing clean.

Sun. 8    The Sergt was going to put us on Picket (Geo. Fisher and me,) but we teased off, and after Inspectn we went up to the Cemetery and fell in with some handsome girls, and they invited us home, — but we waited until after Dress Parade, — then went over and made an evening visit.  What would the Queen at home say?

Mon. 9    On Picket, on the Reserve.  There was a plenty had the countersign.  One man gave the Sergt $5 to divide amongst us, but he thought to keep it himself, — but that wouldn’t work, so he had to share it out.  That hog was Sergt Jones of Co. A.  Lashua returned today.

Tues. 10    Last night there was a fire, and at camp the roll was called about an hour earlier than usual, and caught 50 of the Regt absent and sent them to cutting wood.  Lucky for me I was on Picket, or I should have had to handle the axe today.  I helped Caryl fix his tent.

Battn Drill in P.M.  Drilled by Capt. Rockwell. Demond was Orderly for the Col. and got tight on the Col.’s rum and was put in the Guard House.

It is going to be a cold night.

Wed. 11   Robert Mahan was Court martialled today — they are trying to make him out a niusance [sic]. He has not had his sentence. We had about 1 hour drill this a.m.

Thurs. 12    I almost froze last night. Talk of the Sunny South! I had much rather live to the North where they have cold weather and done with it, and not as it is here, — go to bed and have it so hot one can hardly have any clothes on, but before morning be cold as Greenfield.

Fri. 13    I am on Picket on the road leading to the Soldiers’ Cemetery, and in a corner of a grave yard. We heard the muffled drum approaching, and commenced disputing as to which Regiment it belonged, — but when it came up we were surprised to see our Co., and found that Corp. Stevens was dead, — the first that we had heard of it. We are having a pretty good time — Geo. Fisher is homesick — Having a picture of the Queen [his wife] brought the disease on. Ha! ha! Ha!

Saty. 14    Geo. Fisher and I took the last half of the night and passed the time telling stories. First we knew a pack of dogs came tearing along, but turned off before they got to us, or we would have had some sausage meat to sell. — Cleaned up for Inspection, & wrote to Mother.

Sun. 15    Inspection this a.m., and the forenoon passed off very quietly, — the boys all writing to their parents, sweethearts and friends, — but I, having no letters to write, slept the time away until salt horse was ready, — when, holding my nose, I managed to eat a piece. Such rations! oh! Dear! About 3 p.m. Geo. Fisher and I went up to the Cemetery and had a pleasant walk. I received a bouquet. — After Dress Parade we got a pass until 10 ½, wanting to go to a house that we should pass the Provost G’d to reach.

Mon. 16    It was a cold night. — We had a Co. Drill in a.m., and got a pass down town. Skirmish Drill in p.m.  After this we are to fall in with our arms at Reveille, and form a Battalion line, — then the roll is called and the Sergts. report, — then the roll of commissioned & non-commissioned officers is called by the Adjt. It is a good plan on one acc’t — It gets the officers up as early as ourselves, — a thing seldom done heretofore.

Tues. 17    On Picket, on the Reserve. Lt. Rust is Officer of the Picket. One man came in and gave us each a haversack of sweet potatoes. One cotton speculator treated us to beer, and quite a number had the countersign.

Wed. 18    As we were coming to camp, someone fired off a gun, and the ball just skipped over our heads, — fired by some careless soldier.

I cleaned up my gun and equipments, and then fooled round until 12 M., when orders came for Brig. Drill, which lasted most of the p.m., and big business! Capt. Lee had command of our Regt and I had as leif had some of the Privates as him — I feel somewhat tired tonight, and must crawl under the shoddy, and see if I can make a visit home in the night and see how the folks get along.

Thurs. 19    We went out to drill and had a very good time. — Our drill master, Sergt. Canterbury, marched us out and then went to playing “nimble the peg” to pass the time away. We had no drill in p.m. What can the reason be? It was a nice cool p.m.? Ah! I know! The officers do not need drill, and seeing we drilled so well in the a.m. thought it best to let us rest, — or because Capt. Allen was in command and thot [sic] he couldn’t teach us anything.

I lay down and slept the p.m. away, and in my sleep went home and saw the folks and had a nice time on a 40 days furlough. Father came in with a bunch of apples, and I had a nice meal of them, — and the 40 days passed off too fast altogether, — but soon I woke up in camp. We played cards all the evening, and Demond & Parminter came out 2 games ahead.

Fri. 20    2 years ago today we were mustered into the service of Uncle Sam for 3 years or during the war. As the war does not seem to be near a close I think it will be 3 years. Had Co. Drill in a.m. and took a turn down town in the p.m. Played cards in the evening — Bremer & Stevens, Fisher & Fairbank. We came out 11 games ahead. Lt. Col. Hopkins and Adjt. Stewart are under arrest for drunkenness.

Saty. 21    On Picket, — on the Reserve — I should not have been if Lieut. Jones had not had me change places with H. C. Hastings after we were counted off. It was a cold a.m. When the Officer of the Day came, he gave no permission to build a fire. I have been to town twice with teams. There has been any amount of cotton, and plenty had the countersign. — I have plenty of sweet potatoes to last until another turn of Picket.

Sun. 22   A family came to the Picket line and were obliged to stay all night. They came from Mississippi and are going to stay within our lines, being sick of the Confederacy. Being on Picket yesterday, I was not obliged to go out to Inspection, but laid down and slept until dinner time. — Geo. Fisher and I got a pass until 10 p.m. and went to one house where there was very near a company of soldiers; but our visit was short. Then we went down town and the time passed away very pleasantly to all parties concerned. — How I should like to be at home this pleasant evening.

Mon. 23   I worked all day carpentering, so I got rid of Drill, Dress Parade and all such work, but I might have got thro’ in half the time, but I chose not to do so.  Lt. Col. Hopkins & Lieut. Stewart were released. Danl. Casey was also released from the jail, where he has been for the last 5 days, being picked up by the Provost G’d.

Tues. 24   It rained most of the latter part of the night, and made it muddy, but we must have Co. Drill in the a.m. and had the rest of the day to ourselves.

Wed. 25   I am on Picket at the crossing of the Port Hudson and Clinton roads. The Cavalry brot in 11 prisoners, — 2 offrs, 1 Sergt, & 8 Privates. A flag of truce came up to the Vidette, but was not admitted inside the lines. They had Brig. Drill, but I escaped, being on Picket. As the regt. Were marching by the Jail, the prisoners threw bricks, mud, and all such stuff, over the wall amongst the men. I wish I had handling of those fellows. I’d teach them to be civil as long as they were in jail. I think such work disgraces their own army. — Countersign: “Pittsburg Landing.”

Thurs. 26   Today was National Thanksgiving, as well as Thanksgiving in the Old Bay State, — all work was stopped, and we had the day to ourselves. The stores were all closed by Order. We had some good baked beef, potatoes, and soup for our Thanksgiving Dinner. This makes 3 Thanksgivings I have been in the army. How I should like to have been at home. Geo. Fisher and I went down to Philip Burke’s and made an evening visit.

Fri. 27   Last night, just as we were getting to sleep, they called us up to roll call; there being a row down town with the Provost G’d, and they wanted to catch the men who were out. — We had Drill both a.m. & p.m., and before the Battalion was dismissed, I was detailed for fatigue duty, and went down to the wh’f and loaded the steamboat Empire Parish with Commissary Stores, which took us very near 8 o’clock. I got some Irish potatoes for pay.

Saty. 28   They are having camp guard again, just as tho’ we were not having duty enough. We had no drill, so A. Stevens, J. Lashua, G. Demond & I played cards all day.

Sun. 29   On Picket, and cold enough to freeze. It was the coldest night I have seen South. The ground was frozen hard and it was almost an impossibility to sleep warm. The wind is blowing cold, and searching us thro’ and thro’. The Countersign was “Vicksburg.”

Mon. 30   We managed to get thro’ the night, But without sleep. It was so cold that water would freeze hard in ½ hour. I was glad to get to camp. We tent boys bought a stove for $10 and had a rousing fire, so we kept warm. We had Battalion Drill. Geo. Fisher and I have got a pass until 11 p.m. and had a bully time.

December

Tues. Decr. 1   Drill both a.m. & p.m. Geo. Fisher was detailed as clerk in the Commissary Dept.

Wed. 2   On Camp G’d for the first time for a long time. I have stayed in the q’rs [quarters] most of the time.

Thurs. 3   No Battalion Drill, but the whole Brig. was marched up to the Review Ground and set at work cleaning up a larger piece. The weeds and grass were dry and we started a fire, and it swept over the ground at a great rate, and we were obliged to retreat. The 156th N.Y. reinforced us and we made another attack, and stopped it. We had great times. It was full as hot a fire as we have been in, and we were obliged to retreat, — a thing we have not done but once before. Capt. Rockwell died today.

Fri. 4   We drilled in reversing arms, — at least those that are to be escort tomorrow, — and in the p.m. we had Brig. Drill. We drilled in “Passing Defile.”  Geo. Demond swore that Capt. Sharpe said “by the wings to the rear pass three files,” when he said “Pass Defile.”  We signed the pay rolls for 2 months pay, and went down town in the evening.

Saty. 5   Great excitement again tonight. It is reported we are to report to Gen. Lee at N.O. tomorrow and turn over the arms in the a.m. That is a big  joke, I think. The boys cannot give up Cavalry. And another thing, the Paymaster paid us 2 months pay, as we are on our muscle.

Capt. Rockwell’s funeral was this p.m. I was one of the escort. He was conveyed to the church on a caisson covered with the stars and stripes, and after the funeral services were over, we escorted him to the boat. Somewhat different from a Private’s funeral, where they nail them in a box and dump them into the first grave they come to, — but he is Judge Rockwell’s son.

Sun. 6   All is lovely with little to do, as it is Sunday, and I am on Picket, — on the Reserve. No turning over of guns today.

Mon. 7   When I returned from Picket, the orders were to pack knapsacks, which was done, — and remained so all day, — but it seems we are to stop here tonight. Robert Mahan was drummed out of the Regiment this p.m. His head was shaved and he was drummed through all the Regimental camps here.

Tues. 8   I was on Patrol, in Sergeant Howland’s squad, and when we returned to camp, the Capt. had us go double quick to see who was tight. We are still here, it seems.

Wed. 9   We lay around part of the day. When we struck tents I was detailed to load baggage. At 3 p.m. the 156th N.Y. escorted us to the boat, and at sunset we started for N.O. on the steamer Northerner.

Thurs. 10   This a.m. early found us at the city of N.O. We lay at the Levee most of the day, when we started for Carrollton and landed about 3 p.m., and went to camp where we were nearly a year ago, but we have no tents. I am on G’d. There are 25 on a Relief, and that is all the good it does.

Fri. 11   We were relieved from G’d and pitched shelter tents. Soon after our new tents came, and we pitched them. Our Co. has 9 tents, which gives us 6 men to a tent.

Saty. 12   We have no drill, and therefore lay in our tents and do nothing.

Sun. 13   We lay around all day and did nothing. It is easy work waiting for Cavalry equipment.

Mon. 14   I am on G’d. A few horses came today, and are a good looking lot, with saddles and bridles.

Tues. 15   They are so busy with the horses that we didn’t get relieved until most noon. There has been great trying of horses today.

Wed. 16   Our Co. drew 9 horses today and we drew our jackets. Very little occurs worth noting.

Oh! There is one thing. The Camp Guard was taken off today.

Thurs. 17   We raised up our tent, and the rest of the time lay still and read. Tom Raymond was promoted to Corporal.

Fri. 18   On G’d today over Co. B’s horses. Each Co. drew 10 horses tonight. Oh! What a cold day it has been. We have been obliged to keep our overcoats on all day. This is what they call the Sunny South, but I think if I wish to find warm winter I will have to travel still farther south.

Saty. 19   We drew our sabres & revolvers today. There was no such thing as sleep last night, it was so cold, — and when on G’d we built a fire and 5 of us sat beside it and did not go near the horses.

Sun. 20   Today I was detailed to go to N.O. after horses, and when they were getting them out I skedaddled and went onto Thalia St. and stayed some time, and came back to camp in the horse cars. Thus far there has been nothing said to me about it. This evening I went up to town and have just got back, at 11 p.m. Small loss about Roll Call. Punish me if they wish! I have had the fun and all the punishment they can do won’t help the matter in the least, — only make me go so much the oftener.

What’s the use of being a soldier unless you’re a merry one!

Mon. 21   The same old story of lying around camp, — only new horses are prancing around and the boys get dismounted at short notice, and the horses put[?] for the stable’

Corp. Young and myself took a short walk from the camp and were not at Retreat Roll Call, and therefore were reported absent; and when we returned we had to report to the Capt. We made a good excuse, but must put a stop to this being absent from Roll Call. Maybe I shall when nothing else occupies my time.

Tues. 22   A few more horses came today, but I have none as yet, nor am I in any hurry just yet, for I have none to take care of. So what’s the use of a horse when you can get rid of it? When the Capt. gives me one,  I shall be obliged to take it, but I won’t ask for it. Everything remains quiet as usual about camp, but soon drill will commence, and then farewell to rest and ease.

Wed. 23   All is lovely and the goose hangs high. I have got a cold from being up late nights. Well, those that are dissipated must take the pay for their doings

Thurs. 24   On G’d for the first time with a sabre. It’s a little easier than carrying a musket. There was an Offr’s & Non-Coms. Drill this p.m. The Privates will have to take it soon.

Fri. 25   Ho! Ho! For Christmas! But it doesn’t seem to have been a very merry one with the boys of this Regt. All were as solemn as deacons. I came off G’d at 8 a.m. and cleaned up my equipment. For a Christmas Dinner we have had baked meat, potatoes and onions. I went up to town in the evening, and had a pleasant time.

Saty. 26   I slept like a pig last night, — the best I have for some time. I guess it must have been because I enjoyed myself so well yesterday and last evening. I helped lay a floor in Lt. Bond’s tent. He has once more returned to the Co., but it is hard telling how long he will stay.

We live high now, — beef steak every other day for dinner, and soup for tea. Oh! Who wouldn’t be a soldier?

Sun. 27   Wrote letters in a.m. and laid still the rest of the time.

Mon. 28   The Regt., or those who had horses, went to the City to see Turner, of the 114th N.Y. shot for desertion, — and returned about noon. I stood G’d for J. Wilcox so that he could go.

Tues. 29   Nothing to do but lie still all day, and have been up town this evening.

Wed. 30   Oh! What a rainy day it has been! It commenced before daylight and is still raining. For once we are rid of the infernal question, “Want any pies, cakes, apples, saurkraut [sic], milk?” For one day the pedlars have kept out of sight, but will probably return tomorrow with new vigor. 5 of our Co. were detailed today into Co. F, 1st U. S. Arty. for the remainder of their term, — Corbett, Cashell, Carney, Casey & Towne.

Thurs. 31   Today brings 1863 to a close, and I am on G’d, — and, oh! what a cold day! It rained some in the a.m., but before I went on it stopped and the wind blew up clear and cold. The boys left for the Regular Battery in the a.m., Smith going instead of Casey, who is sick. We were mustered, — it being the last of the month. We built bunks in our tent. I was on post at the time, but being so near I could jump out if any Officer came around, but I am going to bed and if nothing happens my work is finished for

1863