Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: May 14, 1862


I was out in the woods yesterday and last night on picket duty, and picket duty is simply lying around in the brush watching the approach of outside parties. Parties approaching in the night time and failing to promptly respond to the hail of the picket are given an instantaneous passport to a land that is fairer than this. A picket is composed of three or more men stationed at convenient distances from each other along the roads, horse paths and anywhere an enemy might be supposed to come. One keeps watch while the others sleep, but with the hooting of the owls, sand-fleas, woodticks, lizards and mosquitoes, their repose is a good deal disturbed.


Yesterday Col. Upton with a strong scouting party went out to Tuscarora, a little hamlet about five miles distant, where is the enemy's outpost and where is kept a party of observation. On the approach of the colonel and his party they left, but before doing so set fire to a new steam saw and grain mill which was destroyed. Mr. Bogey was a good deal vexed at the destruction of this mill. He said it was built only two years ago at a cost of $5000 and was a great accommodation to the people here abouts, and he, with other farmers, put in their money to help build it. These people have a great notion of burning their property on our approach. I really cannot understand it. They ought to know that it is of no use to us, and in the end will be a sore loss to them,

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 57-8

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