Showing posts with label 17th MA INF. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 17th MA INF. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: May 9, 1862

A TRIP INTO THE COUNTRY. 

After nearly two months of scrubbing and cleaning, with new caps and pants, the 25th regiment stands in column of platoons on Pollock street, as tony a looking regiment as there is in the service. The colonel and staff with the band take the head of the column, and amid the cheers of hundreds of darkies, the march commences. Leaving the city we soon enter the woods, and after marching about three miles, come out to a cotton plantation. Here we make a short halt and look over the place. It looks rather run down, the house is old and out of repair, the negro quarters are built of logs, and look as though they were hardly habitable. But I presume everything on a plantation has to correspond. The gentlemanly proprietor, whoever he was, has left, taking with him the best of his servants, leaving here a few old ones to shift for themselves. 

A few miles further on, we came to another cotton plantation. This presented a better appearance, a neat cottage house, painted white with green blinds, good barns and surroundings. The negro quarters were comfortable looking houses, built of boards, with glass windows, and whitewashed. This gentleman with his servants had also gone up the country. About two miles further on, at a fork of the road, we found the 17th Massachusetts, Col. Amory, doing picket duty. Here a road branched to the right leading into the woods, which we took, following it about four miles, coming out at a small clearing, where was a little red house and log barn, with a few negro cabins. This is known as the Red house, and we relieve the 23d Massachusetts, which is doing picket duty. And this then is to be our home for a while. It certainly is retired and rural, not another house within four miles of us. The clearing is not over twelve or fifteen acres in extent, with a small creek running through it. Woods to the right of us, wools to the left of us, woods to the front of us, woods all around us. This surely must be the place for which Cowper sighed, when he wrote, 

“O! for a lodge in some vast wilderness.” 

After getting a little rested from the long march, we pitched our tents in a field a short distance from the house. The colonel and his family, with the band, pitched their camp in the large shady yard next to the house. The tents up, the picket guard is detailed an posted ; a part of them along the road we came up, and connecting with the 17th Massachusetts, a part along the road to the right, and connecting with the 27th Massachusetts stationed at Bachellor's creek, and the balance along the roads and horse paths leading into Dixie. The tents up, the pickets out, dress parade and supper over, I reckon the country must be safe for one night at least, and I will improve it by trying to get some sleep and rest, for it will be just my luck to be on the detail tomorrow. 

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 55-6

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: May 16, 1862

WE GO OUT MAKING CALLS. 

For some time past the pickets of the 17th Massachusetts have been a good deal troubled by being fired on in the night. The enemy's cavalry would come down, a few of them dismount and creeping up would fire on them. They would sometimes have cow bells with them, in order to divert attention and get nearer. But the boys soon learned that dodge, and when, they heard a cow bell, would draw their straightest bead on it and let fly. In this state of affairs it was thought best to make those fellows a call, and if they wanted anything of us to give them an opportunity to take it. So, yesterday morning, we marched out to the Trent road, where we joined the 17th Massachusetts, with five companies of the 3d New York cavalry and a section of a battery, the whole under command of Col. Amory, of the 17th. The cavalry taking the advance, we marched up the road a couple of miles, coming to a deep gully or ravine; crossing this, the advance cavalry guard soon came upon the enemy's pickets, driving them in and beyond their station into a swamp, where they formed an ambuscade, thinking there was only a small cavalry force and that they might capture them. By this time the infantry had come up to their rendezvous, which was a large, nice house, with ample barn room for their horses. Thinking this was too good accommodation for them and too near our line, it was set on fire and burned. We now heard firing ahead and hurried on. They had closed around the advance cavalry guard, and commenced the fight. The other companies being close by soon took a hand in it and were giving them about all they wanted when the infantry came up. When they saw the infantry and artillery they took to their heels towards Trenton, a small village a few miles distant. 

Col. Upton wanted to follow them up and give them some more, but Col. Amory being in command, thought we had accomplished our purpose and had better return. In this skirmish the enemy lost eight killed and two prisoners, one of them wounded. Our cavalry had two wounded. The wounded men were brought out and loaded into an ambulance. When they brought out the wounded rebel they put down the stretcher on which he was lying near where I was standing. He was a smooth-faced, fair-haired boy, and was moaning piteously with pain from a bullet wound in his head, and asking himself what his mother would say when she heard of it. His thoughts turned on his home and of his mother. I pitied the boy, but could not help thinking, as a cavalryman told him, he should have thought of that before being caught here... We arrived back in camp late in the afternoon, tired, hungry and covered with mud. I reckon they will not disturb our pickets any more at present in the way they have done. Creeping up in the dark and firing on a lone picket is mean and cowardly. If they want anything of us let them come in force and get it; that is proper and honorable. 

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 58-9