Monday, April 19, 2021

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: April 5, 1863


I fear I was not appreciated on the fort, as I was superseded after my first day's effort and have since been assigned to other duty; but I nobly served my country, and I know that history will do me justice. Yesterday I was out in the country among the wild flowers. I went out with a picket guard, about three miles in a southeasterly direction, to what is called Mills cross-roads, relieving the old picket. After spreading our blankets on the grass beside the fence, we entered vigorously on our duty of waiting and watching for the rebel Gen. Garnett, and listening to the sweet warbling of the singing birds. There is nothing in picket duty that stirs up a great amount of enthusiasm, but still it is a good steady business, with occasionally a little ray of excitement, as when a darky comes along and one has to examine his pass.

About the middle of the afternoon, we heard the approach of horses, and looking up the road, saw two ladies coming at a swift gallop towards us. My first impulse was to charge cavalry, but I refrained from doing so, as I saw they were not enemies. As they came up, I recognized Madames Bartholomew and Cliffton. I turned out the guard and extended to them the customary civilities. They said they were out for an afternoon's ride and supposed it was as far as they could go in that direction. I told them they might go further if they wished, and I should be pleased to furnish them an escort, only it would weaken my lines. They laughed and thanked me for my gallantry, but thought they had better not venture farther. I inquired if there were any news stirring in town, and they answered, “All quiet on the Roanoke.” They then bade us good afternoon and started on the retreat. There is no church service today; all hands are busy at work on the fort, and things are beginning to look as though war was liable to break out at almost any time.

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 87-8

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