Showing posts with label Bands. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bands. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Captain Charles Wright Wills: November 30, 1864

Eight miles east of Summerville, 
November 30, 1864. 

Passed through the above named town this morning. All pine woods again to-day. Stopped at the first house I came to this morning and asked the resident, an ashcolored negress, something about the country. She said she'd had the chills and fever so long she didn't know anything, but “over dar was a house whar de folks had some sense.” Captain Smith and I walked over to the house she pointed to and found a fine old German, very anxious to know if we intended to burn his house. After he cooled down a little he grew much Union. He said he had been ordered to join the army one, two, three, twenty times, but had told them he would rather be shot than take up arms against the United States. The 12th Indiana band struck up as we passed his house, and the music touched the old fellow's heart. The tears rolled down his face and he blubbered out, “That is the first music I have heard for four years; it makes me think of home. D--n this Georgia pine wood.” He said that sugar is the staple here in peace times. The foragers brought in loads of it this evening. 

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 329

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: Monday, April 7, 1862

Last night was a doleful night as the soldiers laid in this wilderness by the Tennessee. All night long there was a chilling rain, and the April wind sighed mournfully around the suffering, wounded warriors. Many a wounded soldier died last night. During the weary hours the insatiate archer was making silent steps.

"One quivering motion, one convulsive throe,
And the freed spirits took their upward flight.”

Would that God would roll back the storms of war and temper the hearts of men ere any more human blood flows down like rivulets to crimson the beautiful waters of the Cumberland and Tennessee. But oh! it seems that more blood must flow; that away up yonder, in those cottage homes, where the prairie winds blow, more tears must sparkle, fall and perish; that more hearts must be broken-more hopes dashed down—more doomed

"In their nightly dreams to hear
The bolts of war around them rattle."

Hark! we hear a rumble and a roar. It is a rattle of musketry and the terrible knell from the cannon's mouth. We are marched to the front, where we find Nelson engaged. His hounds of war are let loose. Inroads are being made. The Seventh is filed into position and ordered to lie down. Though the enemy has given ground, they still show stubbornness. We are now in a sharp place; there is some uneasiness here. A cold chill creeps over the soldiers. How uncomfortable it is to be compelled to remain inactive when these whizzing minies come screaming through the air on their mission of death. From such places, under such circumstances, the Seventh would ever wish to be excused, for it grates harshly with the soldier, and is exceedingly distressing when he is prevented from returning compliment for compliment, as the Seventh will testify to-day. But we do not remain here long, for from this place of inactivity, we are moved to a place of action. The battle is raging furiously. The army of the Ohio and the army of the Tennessee are striking hand to hand. The tables are turning; step by step the rebels are being driven. Position after position the Seventh is now taking. The sharp, positive crack of their musketry makes a terrible din along their line. It is apparent that the rebels are retreating. Another day is waning; a day of sacrifice; a day in which has been held a high carnival of blood on Shiloh's plain. Many patriot, loyal soldiers died to-day, and as they died, many of them were seen to smile as they saw the old flag, the pride of their hearts, riding so proudly over the bloody field. Many shed a tear of joy as they beheld the beautiful streams of light falling on the crimson wings of conquest.

The rebels are now flying. Nelson is making a terrible wreck in the rear of the retreating army. Kind reader, stand with me now where the Seventh stands; look away yonder! Your eye never beheld a grander sight. It is the northwest's positive tread. They move firmly; there is harmony in their steps. Ten thousand bayonets flash in the blazing sunlight. They are moving in columns on the bloody plain. Their tramp sounds like a death knell. The band is playing “Hail to the chief.” Its martial anthems seem to float as it were on golden chords through air, and as they fall around the weary soldier their hopes of glory beat high. They are retreating now; the rear of the rebel army is fast fading from Shiloh's. field. Before the north west's mighty power how they dwindle into littleness, as turrets and spires beneath the stars. They are far away now, and the great battle of Shiloh is over; the fierce wild drama is ended; the curtain falls; the sun is hid, and night has come. The Seventh goes into camp on the battle-field; their camp fires are soon burning, and those noble ones, who have fought so well, lie down, worn and weary, to rest themselves. They have passed through two days of fearful battle; amid thunder, smoke and perils they bore their tattered flag, and when the storm-king was making his most wrathful strides, it still waved in the wind and never went down, for strong arms were there and they held it up. But how painful it is to know that some comrades who were with us in the morning, are not with us now. They have fallen and died-died in the early morning of life. And why did they die? A royal herald will answer, for a country, for a home, for a name. Come walk with me now while the tired soldiers are sleeping. Who is this who lays here beneath this oak, in such agony, such convulsive throes? It is a soldier in gray; a wounded rebel who fought against the old flag to-day. But he is dying; his life is almost gone; he is dead now. Oh! how sad it makes one feel to see a soldier die, and how we pity him who has just died; pity him because he has fallen in such a desperate cause; pity him because no royal herald will ever write his name on the sacred scroll of fame.

SOURCES: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 54-7

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: February 3, 1862


The winds have ceased, and the sea is as calm as an honest man's conscience. Companies are parading the decks of the steamers, a dozen bands are out playing, everybody is feeling good, and altogether, we are having quite an enlivening scene. Business is brisk today; all the boats are in the sound, and schooners are alongside of them, supplying them with coal, water and rations, preparatory to a trip up the sound. Everything now seems to be nearly ready, and I expect that some fine morning we will make a call on our southern friends. No doubt they will be delighted to see us, and as they say, to welcome us with bloody hands to hospitable graves; but perhaps it has never occurred to them that in a reception of that kind, they, perchance, may fill some of the aforesaid graves. I had much rather they would welcome us to a good dinner of fishballs than cannon balls; but I suppose they will have their own choice of reception and we must reciprocate the best we can.

Merchandise brings a right smart price in this market, and a man needs a heavy purse to purchase very extensively. I paid $1 for the same quantity of tobacco, I bought at home for forty cents.

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 31

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: January 25, 1862


The storm is at last over, for to-day at least. It has cleared off warm and pleasant, and is the first bright day since we came here. Business is brisk to-day; all is bustle and hurry. There is quite a change of scene, the boats’ decks are covered with soldiers, shouting and cheering each other; the bands are all out playing, and altogether it is quite a contrast to the miserable life we have been living. Our attention is taken up watching the operations going on in the harbor, among the shipping. Steamers are being towed across the swash into the sound, and steamers and tugs are at work straining every nerve to pull off the boats that are ashore. It makes fun for the boys watching them pull. Five or six steamers and tugs are at work trying to pull off the Eastern Queen, on which are the 4th Rhode Island boys, and when they all pull together it seems as though they would pull her in two. Sometimes she seems to start a little, and then stick again; the boats will give a steady pull for an hour before she will start again. Occasionally a big cable will break, and it is fun to watch the agility of the boys, dodging the recoil of the cable ends.

The big steamer Northerner attempted to cross the sound at flood tide this morning, and stuck in the middle. She carries the 21st Massachusetts, and I think they will have to be taken off before she can get across. A number of boats and tugs are at work, trying to pull her across. If the Northerner sticks, going across at high water, how we are to cross is a problem yet to be solved, as the New York draws six inches more water than the Northerner.


The horses do not appear to stand hardships and privations as well as the men. On short feed, condensed sea water, with no exercise, they grow sick and debilitated. A schooner is lying but a short distance from us, with a deck-load of horses, belonging to a Rhode Island battery, and they are jumping them overboard, and swimming them ashore. It is curious to observe the horses as they are led up to the gangway; to see them brace themselves back and shudder to take the fearful leap. But a little encouragement from half a dozen men in their rear pushing them, over they go, and as they come up out of the water, they shake their heads and snort, and put for the nearest land, where they are rubbed dry, blanketed and led off up the island.


The Northerner has crossed into the sound, and anchored. As she got off and moved into the sound, cheer after cheer went up from all the fleet, the bands playing and all having a big time generally.

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 27-8

Friday, April 17, 2020

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: January 17, 1862


The great storm has at last subsided and the sun once more shines out. All the bands are out playing, everything is putting on a more cheerful appearance, and we can now look around and see the result of the storm. Boats and vessels are ashore all around us, in a partially wrecked or damaged condition. The upper works of our boat are little better than a wreck, from the bowsprits of schooners and catheads of other craft that have fouled with us. Our accommodations are rather limited as is also the fare, but by practicing forbearance and great good, nature, the harmony is as perfect as could be expected. A tug is alongside with rations, so at last the long fast is broken. I think the boys will not be over nice about their dinners when they get them. I have sometimes thought I could relish a dinner from that soup I saw at the park barracks. Our dinner today was served about 2 p.m.; bill of fare, pea soup and coffee. I have always persuaded myself that I didn’t like pea soup and wouldn't eat it, but today I changed my mind and thought I never ate anything that tasted quite so good as pea soup. I voted it a great luxury.

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 23

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes: Thursday, May 19, 1864

Meadow Bluff, May 19, 1864

Dearest: — We got safely to this point in our lines, two hours ago, after twenty-one days of constant marching, frequent fighting, and much hardship, and some starvation. This is the most completely successful and by all odds the pleasantest campaign I have ever had. Now it is over I hardly know what I would change in it except to restore life and limbs to the killed and wounded.

My command in battles and on the march behaved to my entire satisfaction. None did, none could have done better. We had a most conspicuous part in the battle at Cloyd's Mountain and were so lucky. You will see the lists of killed and wounded. We brought off two hundred of our wounded in our train and left about one hundred and fifty. But we have good reason to think they will fare well. . . .

We took two cannon which the regiment has got along here by hard work. The Thirty-sixth and Twenty-third are the only regiments which went into the thickest of the fight and never halted or gave back. The Twelfth did well but the "Flatfoots" backed out. The Ninety-first well, but not much exposed. The Ninth Virginia did splendidly and lost heavier than any other. The Potomac Brigade, (Pennsylvania Reserves, etc., etc.,) broke and fled. I had the dismounted men of the Thirty-fourth. They did pretty well. Don't repeat my talk. But it is true, the Twenty-third was the Regiment. The Thirty-sixth I know would have done as well if they had had the same chance. The Twenty-third led and the Thirty-sixth supported them. General Crook is the best general I have ever known.

This campaign in plan and execution has been perfect. We captured ten pieces of artillery, burned the New River Bridge and the culverts and small bridges thirty in number for twenty miles from Dublin to Christiansburg. Captured General Jenkins and three hundred officers and men; killed and wounded three to five hundred and routed utterly his army.*

We shall certainly stay here some days, perhaps some weeks, to refit and get ready for something else. You and the boys are remembered and mentioned constantly.

One spectacle you would have enjoyed. The Rebels contested our approach to the bridge for two or three hours. At last we drove them off and set it on fire. All the troops were marched up to see it — flags and music and cheering. On a lovely afternoon the beautiful heights of New River were covered with our regiments watching the burning bridge. It was a most animating scene.

Our band has been the life of the campaign. The other three bands all broke down early. Ours has kept up and played their best on all occasions. They alone played at the burning of the bridge and today we came into camp to their music.

I have, it is said, Jenkins' spurs, a revolver of the lieutenant-colonel of [the] Rebel Thirty-sixth, a bundle of Roman candles, a common sword, a new Rebel blanket, and other things, I would give the dear boys if they were here. — Love to all.

Affectionately ever
Mrs. Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 461-3

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Diary of Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Tuesday, May 10, 1864

Went to New River Bridge. They shelled the woods filled with our men killing three or four. A fine artillery duel between our guns on the high ground on the west side of the river, theirs on the east. The Rebel effort was to keep our men from firing the bridge. It was soon done. A fine scene it was, my band playing and all the regiments marched on to the beautiful hills hurrahing and enjoyed the triumph. Marched thence to Pepper's Ferry and spent the afternoon and night fording and ferrying the river. Sixteen miles.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 457

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Diary of 5th Sergeant Osborn H. Oldroyd: May 9, 1863

Orders this morning to draw two days' rations, pack up and be ready to move at a moment's warning. We drew hard-tack, coffee, bacon, salt and sugar, and stored them in our haversacks. Some take great care so to pack the hard-tack that it will not dig into the side while marching, for if a corner sticks out too much anywhere, it is only too apt to leave its mark on the soldier. Bacon, too, must be so placed as not to grease the blouse or pants. I see many a bacon badge about me—generally in the region of the left hip. In filling canteens, if the covers get wet the moisture soaks through and scalds the skin. The tin cup or coffee-can is generally tied to the canteen or else to the blanket or haversack, and it rattles along the road, reminding one of the sound of the old cow coming home. All trifling troubles like these on the march may be easily forestalled by a little care, but care is something a soldier is not apt to take, and he too often packs his “grub” as hurriedly as he “bolts” it. We were soon ready to move, and filled our canteens with the best water we have had for months. We did not actually get our marching order, however, until near three o'clock P. M., so that being anxious to take fresh water with us, we had to empty and refill canteens several times. As we waited for the order, a good view was afforded us of the passing troops, and the bristling lines really looked as if there was war ahead.

O, what a grand army this is, and what a sight to fire the heart of a spectator with a speck of patriotism in his bosom. I shall never forget the scene of to-day, while looking back upon a mile of solid columns, marching with their old tattered flags streaming in the summer breeze, and hearkening to the firm tramp of their broad brogans keeping step to the pealing fife and drum, or the regimental bands discoursing “Yankee Doodle” or “The Girl I Left Behind Me.” I say it was a grand spectacle—but how different the scene when we meet the foe advancing to the strains of “Dixie” and “The Bonny Blue Flag.” True, I have no fears for the result of such a meeting, for we are marching full of the prestige of victory, while our foes have had little but defeat for the last two years. There is an inspiration in the memory of victory. Marching through this hostile country with large odds against us, we have crossed the great river and wil1 cut our way through to Vicksburg, let what dangers may confront us. To turn back we should be overwhelmed with hos[t]s exulting on their own native soil. These people can and will fight desperately, but they cannot put a barrier in our way that we cannot pass. Camped a little after dark.

SOURCE: Osborn Hamiline Oldroyd, A Soldier's Story of the Siege of Vicksburg, p. 11-12

Monday, October 14, 2019

Letter from “Red Stick,” December 4, 1861

CAMP NEVIS, Ky., December 4, 1861:—I have another opportunity of talking with my pen to you and to the readers of the JOURNAL.  As expected, we are still here, not knowing when we will advance.  Our force here is sufficient for a good hand to hand encounter with the rebels.  So far we are like Old Maids are said to be: “Ready but not wanted!” It is openly proclaimed in camp to-day that we will be able for an advance as soon as one million freemen unite their destiny with ours, and march from their homes in the Great Free West, for they need a body guard at the houses of every man in the State of Kentucky.

This is a singular war and it must be carried on with more regard to the wishers of the rebels than of interest to the country.  The property of well known secessionists must be strongly guarded and protected.  Away with this childish play.  If there is any law let its supremacy be vindicated.  Let the world know that we are capable of self government.  Let us stop boasting of our Nationality, and have a rigid enforcement of all laws.

The health of the 49th regiment is fast improving, and the men are satisfied.  They endure a soldier’s life like old campaigners.  The friends of soldiers in the 49th regiment need have no fears, for no man suffers.  They have plenty to eat of good and substantial food, but our Camp does not abound with luxuries.  It is hard bread, bacon, rice, beef, potatoes, coffee, &c.; the &c. being what is accidently picked up by the men.  They also have sufficient clothes to keep them dry and warm. All that we require of friends at home, is to write us cheering letters and not forget to send us the papers.

On Thanksgiving Day, while our friends in Ohio were living on the fat of the land—I know that in many households a seat was vacant at the festive board by the absence of a son, husband or father, who had gone forth to battle for their country—our Thanksgiving was passed on picket guard!  For thirty-six hours we stood at the post of duty, during the whole of which time it rained very hard.  We were compelled to ford creeks where the water was three feet deep, and during the whole time lived upon two scanty meals.  With the creeks and the rain together we get pretty thoroughly soaked, but not a murmur was heard.

Lieut. Wilcox is on the sick list, but he is now convalescent, and bids fair to soon be entirely recovered.

On the third day of December it snowed all day, and we now have about seven inches of snow, good skating and excellent sleighing.—The boys only regret that the Buckeye girls they left behind could not enjoy the pleasure of a sleigh with them.

Capt. Bartlett and squad of men, have gone out rabbit-hunting.  By the way, the captain is extremely popular with his men.

This morning Capt. Lovejoy accidently shot himself in the mouth with his revolver.  The ball lodged in the upper jaw.  The wound is not considered dangerous.

So far the Paymaster has not made the acquaintance of the 49th regiment, but we are all anxious for an introduction.

In the 49th regiment we have Bob Morris’ Sheep Skin Band, whose music reminds one of the croackings of the bull-frogs in some dismal swamp.  Their music is unearthly and should be abolished.

John Stoner, a Printer boy in Company F, makes a good soldier.

The railroad bridge across salt river has washed away and cut of supplies.  Some regiments are reported as having nothing but bacon and coffee.  With them hard bread would be a luxury.

Winter has come, and with it its pelting storms, but we hope it may not be a “winter of discontent.

We are willing, if necessary, to have the 72nd regiment track the 49th in their victorious marches, through snow-drifts and rivers of ice making our tracks traceable by bloody footsteps upon the frozen snow.  Our blood may chill but our love of country shall remain unchilled forever.


SOURCE: “Army Correspondence,” The Freemont Weekly Journal, Freemont, Ohio, Friday, December 13, 1861, p. 2.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: November 3, 1861


We reached Havre de Grace about noon. A heavy storm has set in. It is raining hard and the wind blows a gale. We crossed the Susquehanna river at this place, on a big steam ferry boat, and I must confess to some fears, as I looked from the car windows down to the water- a distance of nearly fifty feet, and wondered why we did not capsize. Here I saw a government mule pen. Several acres are enclosed, and I was told that the pen contained about 10,000 mules. A large number of negroes are employed taking care of them. I think this must be a base of supplies. After waiting here an hour or so to make up our train, we again started. An hour's ride brought us to the famous gunpowder bridge, which crosses an arm of Chesapeake bay, not far from Baltimore. This bridge the rebels attempted to burn, and partially succeeded. Many of the charred timbers are still to be seen on the bridge. There we saw the first soldiers on duty, a picket guard being kept here to protect the bridge. We reached Baltimore about 3 p. m., and left the cars in the midst of a drenching rain, and marched about a mile through the rain and wind, to the steamboat landing, the band playing The Campbells Are Coming. No boat being in readiness to take us to Annapolis, Col. Upton told the captains of companies that they must find quarters for their men, and be ready for an early start in the morning; Captain Clark obtained a loft in a grain store for his company, where we passed the night very comfortably.

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 10

Monday, June 24, 2019

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: November 2, 1861


Arrived in Philadelphia at 1 a. m.; were met at the depot by a committee of the citizens, and escorted to the old cooper-shop saloon, where we took breakfast. Our reception here was in striking contrast with that in New York, yesterday. Instead of dark, gloomy, dirty barracks, with dirty, insolent attendants, we were taken to a large, clean, well-lighted hall, where we were met by a corps of neat, well-dressed and courteous attendants, both ladies and gentlemen, who seemed to vie with each other in their attentions to our wants. The tables were neatly spread, and contained even more than reasonably hungry men. could desire. We had boiled corned beef, tongue, ham, brown and white bread, butter, pies, cake, fruit, tea, coffee, milk, etc. Not satisfied with our eating all we wanted, they emptied our haversacks, and filled them with ham, tongue, bread, cake and apples, remarking at the same time, that soldiers couldn't carry salt mule and hardtack through Philadelphia.

Breakfast over, we then had music by our band, and some short remarks by gentlemen present, after which three cheers were proposed for the Philadelphians, which were given with a will. The regiment now re-formed for a march across the city, to take the cars for Baltimore. As our band struck up the music, waking the echoes of the early morning, the windows on either side flew up, and out peered hundreds of heads, in their scantily arranged toilets, and with wild hurrahs and waving handkerchiefs, cheered us on our way. At 4 a. m., we were aboard the cars and moving towards Baltimore.

I was informed that all troops passing through Philadelphia were received and fed in this same generous manner. It makes no difference when troops arrive, whether day or night, they are ready for them. They seem to find out, either by telegraph or some other way, just when a regiment will arrive. I must needs say that these Philadelphians area generous, whole souled people. They are worth fighting for, in fact they are the very ace of hearts; may prosperity attend them.

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 9-10

Friday, May 31, 2019

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: October 31, 1861


It seems that at last we have been ordered from these cold, frosty climes, to a warmer and more genial one — the Sunny South. After partaking of a collation furnished by the ladies at the hall, at 3 p. m. we broke camp, and taking all our worldly effects upon our backs, preceded by our band, marched through Highland and Main streets to the common, where we took cars for New York. At the common we were met by a large concourse of citizens, friends and relatives of the regiment, who took us by the hand, giving us words of encouragement and a hearty God bless you.

Here were leave takings that required some nerve to suppress the rising tear. Probably some of us have seen our friends, for the last time on earth, and bade them the last good-bye. But we will go forward to duty, trusting in God, and hoping for the best

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

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: November 1, 1861


We left Worcester about 5 o'clock last evening. Arriving at Norwich, we went aboard the large and splendid Steamer Connecticut, the regiment numbering one thousand and thirty, with all our horses, wagons and camp equipage. The staunch steamer bore us rapidly across the sound, landing us in New York about 9 o'clock this morning.

After disembarking and forming the regiment, we marched amid a perfect storm of applause and the New Yorker's peculiar “hi! hi!” to the City Hall park. A guard was then posted and the regiment dismissed until drum call. A committee of gentlemen waited on the colonel, inviting him, his officers and the band, to a dinner at the Astor House. After they had gone, we fellows, by invitation, marched into the park barracks, to regale ourselves on mutton soup. And in all fairness, I must say that a worse soup or dirtier surroundings never came under my observation. I didn't hanker for any, and beat a hasty retreat. If that soup didn't smell to heaven, it must have attained a high altitude above the city. Fortunate New Yorkers, that dwell in basements. I suppose the evening papers will have it that the 25th Massachusetts regiment dined at the Astor House. So we shall get the name, if we missed the turkey. Feeling inclined to take a stroll and see the sights of the big city (the guards not being very effective), it was an easy matter to break the hounds, and we had things our own way until about 4 o'clock, when the regiment was again formed.


With an easy, swinging gait, in column of platoons, we marched down Broadway, looking the very soul of soldiery, and were greeted with a perfect ovation all along the route, until we reached the Jersey City ferry, when we crossed to Jersey City, and took ears for Philadelphia.


While waiting in the cars at Jersey City, the depot and platforms were crowded with people, all anxious to see and talk with us. Happening to have a seat next to the window, a gentleman engaged me in conversation. He asked all manner of questions about the regiment, and among others, if we were well provided for, meaning, I supposed, with clothing, blankets, rations, etc. I said we seemed to be well provided with everything, except perhaps the sinews of war; in that direction I thought we were rather weak. On hearing that, he drew from the depths of his pantaloons pocket, a couple of half dollars and tendered me, which I accepted with many thanks, and best wishes for his health and happiness. That was true patriotism; good fellow! long may you wave.

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 8-9

Monday, April 29, 2019

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: Sept. 25, 1861

Under escort of the Milford Brass Band, we marched through a few of the principal streets to the depot. Here a large concourse of citizens had collected to give us their best wishes, and see us off. We now began to realize some of the discomforts of a soldier's life. There not being passenger cars enough to accommodate us, we were crowded into two box freight cars for South Framingham, where we changed to passenger cars for Worcester. Arriving there, we marched to the city hall, where we took dinner. From there we marched to the agricultural grounds west of the city, where we are to encamp. This camp is named Camp Lincoln, in honor of Ex-Governor Lincoln of Worcester.

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 5

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Diary of William Howard Russell: July 6, 1861

I breakfasted with Mr. Bigelow this morning, to meet General McDowell, who commands the army of the Potomac, now so soon to move. He came in without an aide-de-camp, and on foot, from his quarters in the city. He is a man about forty years of age, square and powerfully built, but with rather a stout and clumsy figure and limbs, a good head covered with close-cut thick dark hair, small light-blue eyes, short nose, large cheeks and jaw, relieved by an iron-gray tuft somewhat of the French type, and affecting in dress the style of our gallant allies. His manner is frank, simple, and agreeable, and he did not hesitate to speak with great openness of the difficulties he had to contend with, and the imperfection of all the arrangements of the army.

As an officer of the regular army he has a thorough contempt for what he calls “political generals” — the men who use their influence with President and Congress to obtain military rank, which in time of war places them before the public in the front of events, and gives them an appearance of leading in the greatest of all political movements. Nor is General McDowell enamored of volunteers, for he served in Mexico, and has from what he saw there formed rather an unfavorable opinion of their capabilities in the field. He is inclined, however, to hold the Southern troops in too little respect; and he told me that the volunteers from the Slave States, who entered the field full of exultation and boastings, did not make good their words, and that they suffered especially from sickness and disease, in consequence of their disorderly habits and dissipation. His regard for old associations was evinced in many questions he asked me about Beauregard, with whom he had been a student at West Point, where the Confederate commander was noted for his studious and reserved habits, and his excellence in feats of strength and athletic exercises.

As proof of the low standard established in his army, he mentioned that some officers of considerable rank were more than suspected of selling rations, and of illicit connections with sutlers for purposes of pecuniary advantage. The General walked back with me as far as my lodgings, and I observed that not one of the many soldiers he passed in the streets saluted him, though his rank was indicated by his velvet collar and cuffs, and a gold star on the shoulder strap.

Having written some letters, I walked out with Captain Johnson and one of the attachés of the British Legation, to the lawn at the back of the White House, and listened to the excellent band of the United States Marines, playing on a kind of dais under the large flag recently hoisted by the President himself, in the garden. The occasion was marked by rather an ominous event. As the President pulled the halyards and the flag floated aloft, a branch of a tree caught the bunting and tore it, so that a number of the stars and stripes were detached and hung dangling beneath the rest of the flag, half detached from the staff.

I dined at Captain Johnson's lodgings next door to mine. Beneath us was a wine and spirit store, and crowds of officers and men flocked indiscriminately to make their purchases, with a good deal of tumult, which increased as the night came on. Later still, there was a great disturbance in the city. A body of New York Zouaves wrecked some houses of bad repute, in one of which a private of the regiment was murdered early this morning. The cavalry patrols were called out and charged the rioters, who were dispersed with difficulty after resistance in which men on both sides were wounded. There is no police, no provost guard. Soldiers wander about the streets, and beg in the fashion of the mendicant in “Gil Bias” for money to get whiskey. My colored gentleman has been led away by the Saturnalia and has taken to gambling in the camps, which are surrounded by hordes of rascally followers and sutlers' servants, and I find myself on the eve of a campaign, without servant, horse, equipment, or means of transport.

SOURCE: William Howard Russell, My Diary North and South, Vol. 1, p. 389-90

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Diary of 1st Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: Friday, November 25, 1864

Thanksgiving chickens for dinner. Wrote to Mrs. Beers. Forage caps issued. Considerable dissatisfaction among the boys. Band played some time.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 136

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Lucy Webb Hayes, July 22, 1863

Camp White, July 22, 1863.

Dearest: — Home again after an absence of two weeks, marching and hurrying all the time. The last week after Morgan has been the liveliest and jolliest campaign we ever had. We were at all the skirmishes and fighting after he reached Pomeroy. It was nothing but fun — no serious fighting at all. I think not over ten killed and forty wounded on our side in all of it. Unluckily McCook, father of Robert and the rest, was mortally wounded. This hurt me but all the rest was mere frolic. Morgan's men were only anxious to get away. There was no fight in them when attacked by us. You will no doubt see great claims on all sides as to the merits of his captors. The cavalry, gunboats, militia, and our infantry each claim the victory as their peculiar property. The truth is, all were essential parties to the success. The cavalry who pursued him so long deserve the lion's share. The gunboats and militia did their part. We can truly claim that Morgan would have crossed and escaped with his men at Pomeroy if we had not headed him there and defeated his attempt. It is not yet certain whether Morgan himself will be caught. But it is of small importance. His force which has so long been the terror of the border, and which has kept employed all our cavalry in Kentucky is now gone. Our victorious cavalry can now operate in the enemy's country.

I thought of you often. We were quartered on steamboats — men were singing, bands playing. Our band was back and with us, and such lively times as one rarely sees. Almost everybody got quantities of trophies. I got nothing but a spur and two volumes captured from the Twentieth Kentucky, Captain H. C. Breman, and now recaptured by us. Morgan's raid will always be remembered by our men as one of the happiest events of their lives.

Love to the dear boys and Grandmother. Joe is unwell and is in a room in town.

Mrs. Hayes.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 421

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Lyman Forgrave

LYMAN FORGAVE, contractor and builder at Leon, was born in Muskingum County, Ohio, July 10, 1844, son of John and Harriet (Gordon) Forgrave, natives of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The mother is still living at the age of seventy-five years. They were the parents of eight children, seven of whom are living – Andrew Perry; Louisa, wife of William Turner, of Plattsmouth, Nebraska; Robert, a resident of California; Harriet, wife of Minor Wightman; John, a resident of Mt. Pleasant, this State; Albert and Lyman. In 1862, Mr. Forgrave enlisted as drummer in Band Four, Fifteenth Army Corps, and was mustered out July 7, 1865, at Louisville, Kentucky. He resided in Chicago for a time, where he built the Silver Smelting Works for the Swansy Smelting Company. He also built the court-house in Leon. He was married June 18, 1872, to Nannie, daughter of Judge Lorenzo H. and Mary A. (Wartenbe) Sales, natives of Ohio, who came to Decatur county in 1856, where they still reside. Their three children are – Lewis C., Frank R. and Mrs. Forgrave. Mr. and Mrs. Forgrave have four children – Harry S., Robert L., Leslie L. and Paul L. Mr. Forgrave owns a fine brick residence and a brick business block opposite the postoffice. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Masonic fraternity, and of the Knights Templar.

SOURCE: “Biographical and Historical Record of Ringgold and Decatur Counties, Iowa,” p. 548-9

Sunday, February 18, 2018

An Act to authorize the Employment of Volunteers to aid in enforcing the Laws and protecting Public Property, July 22, 1861.

Whereas, certain of the forts, arsenals, custom-houses, navy yards, and other property of the United States have been seized, and other violations of law have been committed and are threatened by organized bodies of men in several of the States, and a conspiracy has been entered into to overthrow the Government of the United States: Therefore,

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President be, and he is hereby, authorized to accept the services of volunteers, either as cavalry, infantry, or artillery, in such numbers, not exceeding five hundred thousand, as he may deem necessary, for the purpose of repelling invasion, suppressing insurrection, enforcing the laws, and preserving and protecting the public property: Provided, That the services of the volunteers shall be for such time as the President may direct, not exceeding three years nor less than six months, and they shall be disbanded at the end of the war. And all provisions of law applicable to three years' volunteers shall apply to two years' volunteers, and to all volunteers who have been, or may be, accepted into the service of the United States, for a period not less than six months, in the same manner as if such volunteers were specially named. Before receiving into service any number of volunteers exceeding those now called for and accepted, the President shall, from time to time, issue his proclamation, stating the number desired, either as cavalry, infantry, or artillery, and the States from which they are to be furnished, having reference, in any such requisition, to the number then in service from the several States, and to the exigencies of the service at the time, and equalizing, as far as practicable, the number furnished by the several States, according to Federal population.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That the said volunteers shall be subject to the rules and regulations governing the army of the United States, and that they shall be formed, by the President, into regiments of infantry, with the exception of such numbers for cavalry and artillery, as he may direct, not to exceed the proportion of one company of each of those arms to every regiment of infantry, and to be organized as in the regular service. Each regiment of infantry shall have one colonel, one lieutenant-colonel, one major, one adjutant, (a lieutenant,) one quarter-master, (a lieutenant,) one surgeon and one assistant surgeon, one sergeant-major, one regimental quartermaster-sergeant, one regimental commissary-sergeant, one hospital steward, two principal musicians, and twenty-four musicians for a band, and shall be composed of ten companies, each company to consist of one captain, one first lieutenant, one second lieutenant, one first sergeant, four sergeants, eight corporals, two musicians, one wagoner, and from sixty-four to eighty-two privates.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That these forces, when accepted as herein authorized, shall be organized into divisions of three or more brigades each; and each division shall have a major-general, three aides-de-camp, and one assistant adjutant-general with the rank of major. Each brigade shall be composed of four or more regiments and shall have one brigadier-general, two aides-de-camp, one assistant adjutant-general with the rank of captain, one surgeon, one assistant quartermaster, and one commissary of subsistence.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That the President shall be authorized to appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, for of the command of the forces provided for in this act, a number of major-generals, not exceeding six, and a number of brigadier-generals, not exceeding eighteen, and the other division and brigade officers required for the organization of these forces, except the aides-de-camp, who shall be selected by their respective generals from the officers of the army or volunteer corps: Provided, That the President may select the major-generals and brigadier-generals provided for in this act, from the line or staff of the regular army, and the officers so selected shall be permitted to retain their rank therein. The governors of the States furnishing volunteers under this act, shall commission the field, staff, and company officers Field, staff and requisite for the said volunteers; but, in cases where the State authorities refuse or omit to furnish volunteers at the call or on the proclamation of the President, and volunteers from such States offer their services under such call or proclamation, the President shall have power to accept such services, and to commission the proper field, staff, and company officers.

SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That the officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates, organized as above set forth, shall, in all respects, be placed on the footing, as to pay and allowances, of similar corps of the regular army: Provided, That the allowances of non-commissioned officers and privates for clothing, when not furnished in kind, shall be three dollars and fifty cents per month, and that each company officer, non-commissioned officer, private, musician, and artificer of cavalry shall furnish his own horse and horse equipments, and shall receive forty cents per day for their use and risk, except that in case the horse shall become disabled, or shall die, the allowance shall cease until the disability be removed or another horse be supplied. Every volunteer non-commissioned officer, private, musician, and artificer, who enters the service of the United States under this act, shall be paid at the rate of fifty cents in lieu of subsistence, and if a cavalry volunteer, twenty-five cents additional, in lieu of forage, for every twenty miles of travel from his place of enrolment to the place of muster — the distance to be measured by the shortest usually travelled route; and when honorably discharged an allowance at the same rate, from the place of his discharge to his place of enrolment, and, in addition thereto, if he shall have served for a period of two years, or during the war, if sooner ended, the sum of one hundred dollars: Provided, That such of the companies of cavalry herein provided for, as may require it, may be furnished with horses and horse equipments in the same manner as in the United States army.

SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That any volunteer who may be received into the service of the United States under this act, and who may be wounded or otherwise disabled in the service, shall be entitled to the benefits which have been or may be conferred on persons disabled in the regular service, and the widow, if there be one, and if not, the legal heirs of such as die, or may be killed in service, in addition to all arrears of pay and allowances, shall receive the sum of one hundred dollars.

SEC. 7. And be it further enacted, That the bands of the regiments of infantry and of the regiments of cavalry shall be paid as follows: one-fourth of each shall receive the pay and allowances of sergeants of engineer soldiers; one-fourth those of corporals of engineer soldiers; and the remaining half those of privates of engineer soldiers of the first class; and the leaders of the band shall receive the same pay and emoluments as second lieutenants of infantry.

SEC. 8. And be it further enacted, That the wagoners and saddlers shall receive the pay and allowances of corporals of cavalry. The regimental commissary-sergeant shall receive the pay and allowances of regimental sergeant-major, and the regimental quartermaster-sergeant shall receive the pay and allowances of a sergeant of cavalry.

SEC. 9. And be it further enacted, That there shall be allowed to each regiment one chaplain, who shall be appointed by the regimental commander on the vote of the field officers and company commanders on duty with the regiment at the time the appointment shall be made. The chaplain so appointed must be a regular ordained minister of a Christian denomination, and shall receive the pay and allowances of a captain of cavalry, and shall be required to report to the colonel commanding the regiment to which he is attached, at the end of each quarter, the moral and religious condition of the regiment, and such suggestions as may conduce to the social happiness and moral improvement of the troops.

SEC. 10. And be it further enacted, That the general commanding a separate department or a detached army, is hereby authorized to appoint a military board or commission, of not less than three nor more than five officers, whose duty it shall be to examine the capacity, qualifications, propriety of conduct and efficiency of any commissioned officer of volunteers within his department or army, who may be reported to the board or commission; and upon such report, if adverse to such officer, and if approved by the President of the United States, the commission of such officer shall be vacated: Provided always, That no officer shall be eligible to sit on such board or commission, whose rank or promotion would in any way be affected by its proceedings, and two members at least, if practicable, shall be of equal rank of the officer being examined. And when vacancies occur in any of the companies of volunteers, an election shall be called by the colonel of the regiment to fill such vacancies, and the men of each company shall vote in their respective companies for all officers as high as captain, and vacancies above captain shall be filled by the votes of the commissioned officers of the regiment, and all officers so elected shall be commissioned by the respective Governors of the States, or by the President of the United States.

SEC. 11. And be it further enacted, That all letters written by soldiers in the service of the United States, may be transmitted through the mails without prepayment of postage, under such regulations as the Post-Office Department may prescribe, the postage thereon to be paid by the recipients.

SEC. 12. And be it further enacted, That the Secretary of War be, and he is hereby, authorized and directed to introduce among the volunteer forces in the service of the United States, the system of allotment among the volunteer forces in the service of the United States, the system of allotment tickets now used in the navy, or some equivalent system by which the family of the volunteer may draw such portions of his pay as he may request.

APPRoved, July 22, 1861.

SOURCE: George P. Sanger, Editor, The Statutes at Large, Treaties, and Proclamations, of the United States of America from December 5, 1859 to March 3, 1863, Vol. 12, p. 268-71

Monday, June 26, 2017

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: May 14, 1864

A band of music came from Macon yesterday to attend the picnic. A large crowd of women were present to grace the occasion. The grounds on which the festivities were held lay a mile off and in sight of all. In the evening a Bowery dance was one of the pleasures enjoyed. “The Girl I Left Behind Me,” was about all they could play, and that very poorly.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 57