Thursday, October 31, 2019

Diary of 5th Sergeant Osborn H. Oldroyd: May 5, 1863

We were annoyed some little through the night, by the rebels firing, but they didn't hit anybody. Two regiments of infantry with some cavalry crossed the river for a little scout. I do not think there are many rebels over there, but what few there are, ought to be whipped. They will have to fall back at the approach of our men, but that is easily done, and, when our forces return, they will be right back firing from behind the trees.

The army is marching on around Vicksburg, and we are very anxious to take our place in this grand column. We are quite tired of the duties assigned us here, and have had orders to move several times, which were as often countermanded.

Had chicken for dinner. Uncle Sam doesn't furnish chickens in his bill of fare, but they will get into the camp kettle. We have to be very saving of the regular rations, consequently must look outside for extras—chickens, ham, sweet potatoes, etc., all taste good. I walked down the river a short distance, viewing the scenery, when a bullet flew through the trees not far from my head. I looked across the river from whence it came, but could not see anybody. Did not stay there long, but got back to camp, where I felt safer.

Our camp is in the bottom, close to the river bank. – The enemy at Grand Gulf spiked their cannon and retreated to Vicksburg. If that place could not be taken by the gun-boats on the river in front, the infantry marching in their rear made them hustle out in a hurry. When the people in Vicksburg see their retreating troops returning to the town they went out to protect, they will think Grant's marching around them means something.

While writing a few letters to-day I was amused to notice the various attitudes taken by the boys while writing. One wrote on a drum-head, another on his cartridge-box; one used a board and several wrote on the top of a battery caisson. These letters would be more highly appreciated by the recipients if the circumstances under which they were prepared were realized.

SOURCE: Osborn Hamiline Oldroyd, A Soldier's Story of the Siege of Vicksburg, p. 7-8

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