Showing posts with label Pickets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pickets. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: May 11, 1862


This place is what is called a turpentine plantation, where they get the pitch from which turpentine is distilled. The owner, Mr. Bogey, a harmless, inoffensive old gentleman, claims to be a Union man, and I reckon he is, because he does not run away or seem to be afraid of us. He tells me he owns 2000 acres of land, nearly all turpentine forest, and has 10,000 trees running pitch. He said the war had ruined him and thinks it has the whole south. He said the rebels had taken all but one of his horses and about everything else he had that they wanted. His niggers had all left him and gone down town. He expected that when we came, but cared very little about it, as he had only a few and they were about as much trouble and expense to him as they were worth. He said he was getting old, his business was all broke up and by the time the war was over and things settled he would be too old for anything. I asked him if all those pigs running about in the woods were his. He reckoned they were. I inquired if he knew how many he had. He couldn’t tell exactly, but reckoned there was right smart. The thought occurred to me that if that was as near as he could tell, if a few of them were gobbled they would never be missed, provided the squeal could be shut off quick enough. I learn that Gen. Burnside has given Mr. Bogey a protection, whatever that is. That perhaps may do well enough for him, but I should not want to warrant it a sure thing for all these pigs and sheep running about here. 


Our camp is named Camp Bullock, in honor of Alex. H. Bullock of Worcester, Mass. Today the boys are busy writing letters home, and it troubles them to tell where to date their letters from. They invent all sorts of names; some of them with a romantic turn of mind, date from Camp Rural, Woodlawn, Forestdale, Riverdale, etc., but Mason, with a more practical turn of mind, dates his from Hell Centre. The boys who were out in the woods last night say it is great fun, although they were not disturbed; there is just enough excitement and mosquitoes to keep them from getting drowsy. 

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 56-7

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


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

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Dr. Seth Rogers to his Daughter, January 6, 1863

January 6, 1863.

For the first time in the six weeks Colonel H. has been in camp, he to-day went to Beaufort. He returns with a more civilized air and informs me that there are yet many people outside our camp.

The rebel pickets above came down to the river bank this morning and announced that an armistice had been agreed upon for six months, and therefore laid aside their guns and sat on the bank, fishing. Their statement is not credited, because nobody believes the insanity of the nation has taken such a disastrous turn.

I am steadily becoming acquainted with very remarkable men whose lives in slavery and whose heroism in getting out of it, deepens my faith in negro character and intellect. The difference in physiognomy. among them now seems to me quite as marked as among the whites and the physiognomy of their diseases is quite as apparent to me.

SOURCE: Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Volume 43, October, 1909—June,1910: February 1910. p. 341

Monday, August 10, 2020

Diary of Gideon Welles: Sunday, July 10, 1864

When at the Department, Sunday morning, the 10th, examining my mail, one of the clerks came in and stated that the Rebel pickets were on the outskirts of Georgetown, within the District lines. There had been no information to warn us of this near approach of the enemy, but my informant was so positive — and soon confirmed by another — that I sent to the War Department to ascertain the facts. They were ignorant — had heard street rumors, but they were unworthy of notice —and ridiculed my inquiry.

Later I learned that young King, son of my neighbor Z. P. K., was captured by the Rebel pickets within the District lines and is a prisoner.

SOURCE: Gideon Welles, Diary of Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy Under Lincoln and Johnson, Vol. 2: April 1, 1864 — December 31, 1866, p. 71

Friday, April 17, 2020

Diary of Private Daniel L. Ambrose: November 20, 1861

To-day the camp is alarmed by the firing of the picket guards. Nothing hostile, however, is discovered. All is quiet this evening.

SOURCES: Daniel Leib Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, p. 20

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Captain Charles Wright Wills: September 4, 1864

September 4, 1864.

Received a half official notification to-day that the campaign and fighting are over. Orders to clean up arms came also, and the boys, showing their contempt of the enemy's power to do harm, took their guns all to pieces and set to polishing the should-be bright parts, right in view of the enemy's pickets.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 298

Captain Charles Wright Wills: September 5, 1864

September 5, 1864.

News of the capture of Fort Morgan. Orders to march at 8 p. m. I was detailed to bring off the pickets, which was accomplished without trouble. Rebels did not know when we left, as we heard them shooting after we got back in our old works at Jonesboro. The whole army moved into the works we built the 30th. I, with my pickets, got back just before day.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 298-9

Captain Charles Wright Wills: September 6, 1864

September 6, 1864.

Lay quiet all day. Some Rebel cavalry followed us up and fired a few shots into our regiment's works from the old Rebel fort, but Osterhaus swung his pickets around and gobbled 25 of them, and the rest troubled us no more.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 299

Friday, December 20, 2019

Diary of 5th Sergeant Osborn H. Oldroyd: May 7, 1863

Our company detailed and reported this morning at headquarters for picket duty, but not being needed, returned to camp. Were somewhat disappointed, for we preferred a day on picket by way of change.

Pickets are the eyes of the army and the terror of those who live in close proximity to their line. Twenty-four hours on picket is hardly ever passed without some good foraging.

We broke camp at ten o'clock A. M., and very glad of it. After a pleasant tramp of ten miles we reached Rocky Springs. Here we have good, cold spring water, fresh from the bosom of the hills.

We have met several of the men of this section who have expressed surprise at the great number of troops passing. They think there must be a million of "you'ns" coming down here. We have assured them they have not seen half of our army. To our faces these citizens seem good Union men, but behind our backs, no doubt their sentiments undergo a change. Probably they were among those who fired at us, and will do it again as soon as they dare. I have not seen a regular acknowledged rebel since we crossed the river, except those we have seen in their army. They may well be surprised at the size of our force, for this. Vicksburg expedition is indeed a big thing, and I am afraid the people who were instrumental in plunging this country headlong into this war have not yet realized what evils they have waked up. They are just beginning to open their eyes to war's career of devastation. They must not complain when they go out to the barnyard in the morning and find a hog or two missing at roll-call, or a few chickens less to pick corn and be picked in turn for the pot. I think these southern people will be benefited by the general diffusion of information which our army is introducing; and after the war new enterprise and better arts will follow—the steel plow, for instance, in place of the bull-tongue or old root that has been in use here so long to scratch the soil. The South must suffer, but out of that suffering will come wisdom.

SOURCE: Osborn Hamiline Oldroyd, A Soldier's Story of the Siege of Vicksburg, p. 9-10

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Brigadier-General Ulysses S. Grant to Mary Grant, February 9, 1862

Fort Henry, Ten.
Feb.y 9th, 1862

I take my pen in hand “away down in Dixie” to let you know that I am still alive and well.  What the next few days may bring forth however I cant tell you.  I intend to keep the ball moving as lively as possible and have only been detained here from the fact that the Tennessee is very high and has been raising ever since we have been here overflowing the back land making it necessary to bridge it before we could move.—Before receiving this you will hear, by telegraph, of Fort Donaldson being attacked.—Yesterday I went up the Ten. River twenty odd miles and today crossed over to near the Cumberland river at Fort Donaldson. —Our men had a little engagement with the enemie’s pickets killing five of them, wounding a number and, expressively speaking, “gobbeling up” some twenty-four more.

If I had your last letter at hand I would answer it.  But I have not and therefore write you a very hasty and random letter simply to let you know that I believe you will remember me and am carrying on a conversation whilst writing with my Staff and others.

Julia will be with you in a few days and possibly I may accompany her. This is bearly possible, depending upon having full possession of the line from Fort Henry to Fort Donaldson and being able to quite for a few days without retarding any contemplated movement.  This would not heave me free more than one day however.

You have no conception of the amount of labor I have to perform.  An army of men all helpless looking to the commanding officer for every supply.  Your plain brother however has, as yet, had no reason to feel himself unequal to the task and fully believes that he will carry on a successful campaign against our rebel enemy.  I do not speak boastfully but utter a presentiment.  The scare and fright of the rebels up here is beyond conception.  Twenty three miles above here some were drowned in their hast to retreat thinking us such Vandals that neither life nor property would be respect. G. J. Pillow commands at Fort Donaldson.  I home to him a tug before your receive this.

U. S. G.

SOURCES: John Y. Simon & William M. Ferraro, Editors, The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, Volume 4: January 8-March 31, 1862, p. 179-80; Jesse Grant Cramer, Editor, Letters of Ulysses S. Grant to His Father and His Youngest Sister, 1857-78, p. 80-2

Friday, January 25, 2019

Diary of Captain Luman Harris Tenney: March 15, 1865

Reveille at 1:30. Moved out on wrong road. Went to Ashland — stayed all day. Pickets rebel division came up and attacked us. 2nd drove back the advance. 2nd N. Y. lost several men. Camped north of the North Anna at 12 P. M. Heard firing from Richmond.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 147

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Captain Louis Siebert to Lieutenant-Colonel Allnard Bayard Nettleton, February 24, 1865

Headquarters 3rd Cav. Div.
Feb. 24th, 1865.
Lt. Col. A. B. Nettleton,
Comdg 2nd Ohio Cav.,
Through 1st Brigade Headquarters.

The General comdg Divis. has directed me to express to you his great and entire satisfaction with the manner in which the pickets from your regiment were performing their duties today while he was inspecting the line. Not a man failed to understand and execute the orders issued from these and superior Headquarters, not a man but who did credit to himself and his regiment. The General is much gratified to see that your men on the picket line are anxious, like true soldiers, to keep up the excellent reputation your regiment has won on the battle field.

Very respectfully yours, etc.,
L. Siebert, A. A. Genl.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 145

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: December 18, 1864

Six days of freedom and what a sight of hardship, sweetened by kind treatment and the satisfaction of being out from under guard. We traveled last night some four miles and now are in a very precarious position. When almost daylight we came to the canal, and found cavalry pickets all along the tow-path; walked along until we came to a lock. A cavalryman was riding his horse up and down by the lock. At the lock there was a smouldering fire. It was absolutely necessary that we get across before daylight. As the mounted picket turned his horse's head to go from us, Dave slid across the tow-path and went across the timbers which formed the lock, and by the time the picket turned around to come back Dave was hid on the opposite shore. At the next trip of the rebel Eli went the same as Dave. The third one to go was myself, and I expected to get caught, sure. Could not go as as quiet as the rest, and was slower. Thought the picket saw me when half way across but kept right on going, and for a wonder made it all right. Was thoroughly scared for the first time since jumping off the train. Am very nervous. All shook hands when the picket turned about to go back the fourth time. Getting light in the east and we must move on, as the country is very open. Dare not travel over half a mile, and here we are hid almost in a woman's door yard, not over thirty rods from her very door. Are in some evergreen bushes and shrubs, It's now most noon, and have seen a rather elderly lady go out and in the house a number of times. The intrepid Dave is going up to the house to interview the lady soon.  later. — Dave crawled along from our hiding place until he came to the open ground, and then straightened boldly up and walked to the house. In fifteen minutes he came back with some bread and dried beef, and said the woman was a Union woman and would help us. Her daughter slept at her uncle's a mile off last night, and expected her back soon, and perhaps the uncle, who is a violent Secesh, with her. Said for us to lay low. Later. — The daughter came home on horseback and alone. Could see the old lady telling the daughter about us and pointing our way. About the middle of the afternoon the old lady started out toward us. Behind her came a young darky, and behind the darky came another darky; then a dog, then a white boy, then a darky, and then the daughter. Old lady peeked in, and so did the rest except the grown up girl, who was too afraid. Finally came closer, and as she got a good view of us she says: “Why, mother, they look just like anybody else.” She had never seen a Yankee before. Brought us some more food, and after dark will set a table for us to come to the house and eat. Her name is Mrs. Dickinson. They went back to the house and we proceeded to shake hands with one another. During the afternoon five rebel soldiers came to the house, one at a time. It is now most dark and we are about ready to go to the house and eat. Mr. Kimball lives only four miles away.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 145-6

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: December 17, 1864

And another day of vicissitudes. We traveled last night about four miles, piloted by a young negro. It was a terrible walk to me; slow and painful. Were fed, and have food for to-day. Are now about three miles from a canal which we must cross before another morning. Negroes say “Sherman most here” and “Bress de Lord!” Mr. Kimball lives nine miles away and we must reach him some way, but it seems an impossibility for me to go so far. Are now in a high and fine country, but too open for us. Have to lay down all day in the bushes. David is a thorough scout. Goes crawling around on his hands and knees taking in his bearings. Troops are encamped on the main road. Every cross road has its pickets, and it is slow business to escape running into them. Eli S. Buck has a sore throat and is hoarse. Pretty good jaunt for him, tough as he is. Shall have no guide to-night, as Dave thinks he can engineer us all right in the right direction. Some thinks he will leave us both and reach Kimball's to-night, and then come back and see us through. Guess I will be on hand to go along however.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 144-5

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: December 16, 1864

Another adventure, and a red hot one. Started down the river in our dug-out boat somewhere near midnight. Ran down all right for an hour, frequently seeing rebel pickets and camp fires. Saw we were going right into the lion's mouth, as the farther down the more rebels. All at once our boat gave a lurch and landed in a tree top which was sticking out of the water, and there we were, swaying around in the cold water in the middle or near the middle of the Ogechee. Dave went ashore and to a negro hut, woke up the inmates, and narrated our troubles. A negro got up, and with another boat came to the rescue. Were about froze with the cold and wet Said not more than a mile farther down we would have run right into a chain boat, with pickets posted on it. It really seems as if a Divine providence were guiding us. After getting a breakfast of good things started off toward the Big Ogechee River, and have traveled three or four miles. Are now encamped, or rather laying down, on a little hillock waiting for evening, to get out of this vicinity which is a dangerous one. In our river escapade lost many of our things, but still hang to my coverlid and diary. There are three or four houses in view, and principally white residences, those of the poor white trash order, and they are the very ones we must avoid. Have caught cold and am fearfully out of traveling condition, but must go it now. A mistake in coming down the river  Am resting up, preparatory to traveling all night up the country. No chance of getting out by the coast. Have enough food to last all day and night, and that is a good deal. Can't carry more than a day's supply. Have now been out in the woods, this is the fourth day, and every day has been fresh adventures thick and fast. If I could only travel like my comrades, would get along. Bucks praise me up and encourage me to work away, and I do. For breakfast had more of those imported sardines. Storm brewing of some sort and quite chilly. Saw rebel infantry marching along the highway not more than eighty rods off. Hugged the ground very close. Dogs came very near us, and if they had seen us would have attracted the rebels' attention. Am writing with a pencil less than an inch long. Shall print this diary and make my everlasting fortune, and when wealthy will visit this country and make every negro who has helped us millionaires. Could not move from here half a mile by daylight without being seen, and as a consequence we are feeling very sore on the situation Don't know but I shall be so lame to-night that I cannot walk at all, and then the boys must leave me and go ahead for themselves. However, they say I am worth a hundred dead men yet, and will prod me along like a tired ox. Dave goes now bareheaded, or not quite so bad as that, as he has a handkerchief tied over his head. The programme now is to go as straight to Mr. Kimball's as we can. He is probably twenty miles away; is a white Union man I spoke of a day or so ago in this same diary. Wil stick to him like a brother. Can hear wagons go along the road toward Savannah, which is only thirteen or fourteen miles away.  Later — Most dark enough to travel and I have straightened up and am taking an inventory of myself. Find I can walk with the greatest difficulty. The boys argue that after I get warmed up I will go like a top, and we will see.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 143-4

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Official Reports of the Campaign in North Alabama and Middle Tennessee, November 14, 1864 — January 23, 1865: No. 112. Report of Col. Oliver L. Spaulding, Twenty-third Michigan Infantry, of operations November 24-December 5, 1864.

No. 112.

Report of Col. Oliver L. Spaulding, Twenty-third Michigan Infantry,
of operations November 24-December 5, 1864.

Nashville, Tenn., December 5, 1864.

CAPTAIN: In compliance with orders of the colonel commanding brigade, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the regiment under my command from the 24th of November last to date:

On the 24th of November the regiment was at Johnsonville, Tenn., under orders to rejoin the brigade at Columbia. At 4 p.m. of that day it left Johnsonville by rail, and arrived at Columbia at noon on the 25th, and immediately built works on that part of the line to which it was assigned, sending five companies on picket. At 2 o'clock the next morning the regiment retired with the brigade some two miles, near to Duck River, and was occupied all day and night in building works on the left of the brigade line. On the morning of the 27th we were ordered to move to the right, where we took up a new position, our right resting upon the railroad a short distance from the railroad bridge, and threw up works. In the afternoon the regiment was ordered on a reconnaissance to the right of our line to ascertain what force, if any, the enemy had thrown across the river at a ford some six miles on our right. Having accomplished the object of the reconnaissance we returned to camp shortly after dark and crossed the river, with the brigade, (luring the night, taking position on the north bank of the river a short distance to the right of the railroad bridge. We remained here till morn of the 29th, when we retired with the division toward Franklin, reaching there on the morning of the 30th. On the evening of the 29th, when near Spring Hill, a body of the enemy was found to be in our front. In the advance upon them this regiment was thrown on the right flank of the line to move by the flank in the rear of the line and guard against any movement the enemy might make upon that flank. I threw out flankers, who, in the darkness, ran upon the pickets of the enemy. In the confusion we captured a rebel adjutant-general. On arriving at Franklin we threw up works in the position assigned us, throwing up traverses upon the flanks of each company, which proved of the greatest service to us in the engagement of the evening, as the enemy had a heavy flank fire upon us during most of the time. At a little past 4 p.m. the enemy assaulted our works with three lines, apparently confident of carrying them with ease, but after a most stubborn attempt he evidently became convinced that he had undertaken a very heavy contract, and one which one of the high contracting parties had no idea of ratifying. He renewed the attack several times, only to be repulsed each time, with terrible loss. During the engagement the left of the regiment was more hardly pressed than the right, and most of my fire was left oblique. At one time two companies of the One hundred and eighty-third Ohio, on our immediate left, broke and left their part of the Works unprotected. A body of the enemy occupied the outside of these works for some time. Here we shot down two color-bearers, and prevented their entering the works, till they were again occupied by two companies of the Eightieth Indiana. As the Eightieth was moving to the left to occupy this position I threw one company on the right center — where the enemy's fire at that time was very light — over the works, and fired one volley into rebels as they lay upon the outside of our works. During the engagement we took among other prisoners Lieutenant Lee, aide-de-camp, of General S. D. Lee's staff.

My loss during the engagement was 2 killed, 13 wounded, and 3 missing. Among the killed was Lieut. D. M. Averill, a brave and thorough officer.

Shortly after midnight we crossed the river with the division, and reached Nashville shortly after noon of December 1.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding.
Capt. H. A. HALE,
Assistant Adjutant-General Second Brigade.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 45, Part 1 (Serial No. 93), p. 385-6

Monday, July 16, 2018

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: Monday, October 17, 1864

In the morning rebs attacked pickets. Captured Maj. Morey. 20 men.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 133

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: Sunday, October 2, 1864

Changed camp. Not unsaddled before enemy came up and charged pickets through town. 2nd N. Y. and 18th P. V. charged back, driving rebs over abutments into the river. Moved back near Dayton.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 131

Friday, June 1, 2018

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: Friday, September 2, 1864

At daylight fell back. Left the main road. Passed through Kabletown and reached the fortified position 3 miles from C. On picket two miles toward B. Nicely settled down, when ordered to march. Reached B. about midnight. 5th N. Y. had skirmish with pickets.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 129

Friday, May 25, 2018

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Luman Harris Tenney: Friday, August 19, 1864

Have settled several claims during yesterday and today. Two girls just came with a hay account. If we remain here it will be pleasant to call there. Harnessed before noon. Our pickets driven. Read "Roue" by Bulwer.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 128