Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Diary of Sergeant George G. Smith: May 6, 1863

Lieutenant Dwight, the General's brother, was shot by a guerilla. He had been to the rear with dispatches and when returning, in passing a wood, he was shot from behind the trees. One of the fellows was caught, not the one that fired the shot, but they were together so he had to die for it. The army started at 5 a. m., marched about a mile and halted. A grave had been dug. The prisoner was brought out and kneeling beside the grave, facing the firing party, the warrant was read, and the command given to fire. He fell forward on his face. I thought I heard some pistol shots afterward, but I had seen all I wanted to, and the army was again in motion. At night we entered Alexandria, said to be thirty miles from the place where we started in the morning. The army marched through the town and camped in a ploughed field. In passing through the streets there was a house with a bright fire on the hearth. A girl was standing in the door, and I heard her say, “See the scabs.” I was too weary to reply, but I gathered from it that we were not very welcome. As soon as the companies broke ranks I gathered some sticks and weeds, made a cup of coffee, ate some hard tack and salt junk, took a good smoke, laid down between two hummocks, and I was soon in the arms of Morpheus.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 51-2

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