LETTERS AND DIARIES OF ABIEL T. LaFORGE
1864 (JULY 29 - DECEMBER 31)
DIARY Hd. Qrs."I" Co. 106th N.Y.Vols. 1" Brig. 3" Div. 6" A. Corps July 29. Marched up to this place (Harpers Ferry) from Jefferson-ville to-day established our camp on the left of the road had orders to make ourselves comfortable for the night. Lt Powell & I went to a brook to remove from our persons the evidences of our dusty march as we were coming back to camp we learned that the Divisions had moved to the right of the road we found them there in position for an attack if one was made it was a nice place to stay all night. we stoped here until about four P.M.
July 30". News was received that the rebs had crossed the Potomac and marched on Chambersburg. the Army was at once started back towards Frederick our brigade was left as rear guard to move after all the trains had recrossed the river. We moved down to Bolivar so as to be inside the defenses of Harpers Ferry, halted and word sent arround that we should have time to make coffee and sleep a little befor the whole train was by. we laid down and slept all night. we did not move untill about 10 O.C.
July 31. Sunday. the officers were just going down town and leave me in command of the regiment as orders came to move. we got in line and moved acrost the Potomac on the pontoons. and down through Sandy Hook, Knoxville and Berlin. I never saw the men suf-fer so much with the heat. we were marching in a hollow not a breath of air was stirring and the sun boiled down on our devoted heads in an awful manner. we had not went two miles before half the men had droped out and the brigade had to be halted to allow them to come up. it was impossible to march so the brigade was halted in a field to remain until an hour of sundown when the air became cooler and we marched on to Jefferson, where we arrived about 10 P.M. here we received orders to make ourselves comfor-table for the night.
Monday. Aug 1" Were up, breakfasted and moved on towards Freder-ick at five A.M. Camped with the rest of the army in a grove a mile and one half West of the city about M. I got a pass and went into town just at dark. there did not appear to be as much excite-ment as I expected, for the rebs were rumered to be in Maryland in large force, bought some necessary articles and returned to camp.
Tuesday Aug 2" 64 Today has been cloudy and much cooler than any previous day for two weeks, looks some like rain. I find it impos-sible to write up my memorandum every day, as most of the time we ar in line as soon as light and march until after dark, only making halts for rest and meals. the way I do is to sets simply dates in a small book then when I have a chance write more at length on pa-per and send it to my loved sister to avoid carrying what would soon be no inconsiderable addition to my load. We expected to march at 6 O.C. this morning but did not have orders to get in line until 9. at 10 the order to march was suspended and the boys are now cooking their dinners and gambling the latter some of them will do as long as they have a cent of money. I guess we shall stay here all day.
Wednesday 3" Moved to Monocacy Mills about five miles from yester-days camp, forded the river and camped with the rest of the Corps about a mile from the Mills. we expect to stay here for several days and so are going to make ourselves as comfortable as possible. the wagons came up we got our company books and are now doing the writing which we have to neglect on the march because we do not have the necessary books. Powell & I went and had a swim and ate a chicken pie which we bought on the way to the river, when we re-turned to camp we felt much better. had to make a report for July to-night.
Thursday 4th 64. Have been very buisey all day making Descriptive Lists for my absent boys who are wounded and in hospital. I have not yet had time to finish my Ordnance Report which I commenced at Druid Hill Park, Baltimore. if we stay here to-morrow I will try and finish it. It is a beautiful night, I sit and look through the open end of my tent, on a hill half a mile of the signal Corps is buisy sending and receiving mesages by aid of their rockets, roman cancles, and different colored lights, they have a yellow light now waving it to and fro, Now a Roman candle begins to burn. one yel-low two green and two blue balls come from it. Looking to the right and left I see thousands of lights. the camp fires and can-dles of the 6" Corps En bivouac. What a grand specticle it is. Looking up to the throne of him who rules the universe, we behold a magnificent heaven thickly studded with bright sparkling specks, which we are told by astronimers are inhabited like our world. Doubtless they are but it can not be proved for we are unable (though we often desire to) to soar through intrvening space and visit those celestial planets, and thus solve the mistery with which they are now surrounded.
Friday 5" Orders came at 2 A.M. to be ready to move at day light, we were up and breakfasted, and the whole Division was packed up ready to move, the 1" and 2" Div's, have had no such orders. we waited until 8 O.C. when finding the sun prety hot we put up our shelters again although the order to march has not been suspended.
Sunday 7" Our officers wagons came up Friday P.M. and we made our selves comfortable as possible. Just at dark the order again came around to get in line immediately we again packed up and sent our extras to the wagon again. Then we laid down and went to sleep. the order to fall in did not come until near midnight. then we marched up to the old Monocacy field & bivouacked for the night on the very spot where most of our men fell that fatal day our bri-gade was ordered to make themselves comfortable for a steep as transportation would not be ready for us until day light (it was then 2 A.M.) laid down, it rained from four to eight A.M. Satur-day 6" moste of the boys got prety wet. we did not get on the cars to follow the rest of the army until 10 A.M. Just as the cars moved off we saw Genl Grant setting in front of one of the houses, we cheered him lustily. What could have brought him up here I dont see unless Lee is coming North again. which at present looks pos-sible. We rode on the cars up to a mile & ½ west of Harpers Ferry then left the cars, stoping until after sunset for the officers horses to come up. While here I saw Maj Martin he did not have the rolls of the 106" along or he would pay me he said. We moved 1½ miles farther from the Ferry and camped with the rest of the army. we have not had any order to move yet but may before night.
NOTE AT BOTTOM OF DIARY PAGE
Dont think hardly of mistakes for it is seldom I have a chance to look over and correct them. if you see an I that needs dotting, dot it, if a word is left out or of, put one in &c.
LETTER Hd. Qrs. "I" Co. 106" M.Y. Vols.
Near Harpers Ferry. Aug. 7" 1864
Dearly loved Sister and Friends.
For a wonder I pen this letter only about a mile from where I did the last if I remember right. I dont know but I wrote you while we were at Frederick City if I did we are rather more than a mile from the place of last date. I am sure however I wrote you a letter when we were at this place before which makes it all right. I received yours of July 30" which informs me that my box had been received, and the money expressed to the gentleman. It is as much of a disappointment to me that there is no blankets in it, as it is to you for I put two in it when I left camp, it was not nailed up and perhaps some one borrowed them and forgot to return them. Charge the $75.ΕΕ and the expressage on the box and money to me. preserve the trinkets and papers, also the books, and do as you see best with the clothing. if there was any clothes in my trunk I must have out grown them by this time so you may dispose of them also if you have any use to put them to.
You need not have the leaste alarm for mhy health for I have not had a moments sickness since I have been to the front this time, with the exception of about four hours one day which I could not account for in any other way than that I was getting lazy. it was short duration but for the first hour or two quite severe. The physicians theory that the health depends on regularity of rest and meals, would not hold good in the army. I have no doubt however that by this constant exposure we are sowing the germs of disease which will make many of us old men by the time we are out of the service. however hospitals are being established for military In-valids where we can all go if necessary, which in my case I consi-der very doubtful. I am sorry your crops are so poor up that way. they are excellent here in Maryland and Western Virginia. the Rebs are trying to carry them all away South, and I grieve to say they are likely to be prety successful. I think you people will have to go to spinning your wool and making cloth for yourselves again. I wish with you and Janey that I could be up there and gather berries with you. ours are all gone but some very late ones, apples are taking their places however, which will do very well for a change. Tell Josey if he dont look out I shall have to come up and con-script him for his health, dont work to hard however. there is no use killing yourself if you have enough for your at present increa-sing family. has the baby a name yet, if so what is it? I think I shall have to come up and investigate that Show business tell MIss Amelia so. Mother must not worry for me for God willing I shall come home and see her again. wont it be a joyfull time when the war is over and all us old sogers come home? there will be so many men that the girls will begin to put on airs and say No again. My love to Janey and Martha & Perrys people. say to Janey although I get many interesting letters it does not make hers any the less acceptable. With love, Yours
LETTER Hd. Qrs. "I" Co. 106" N.Y. Vols
Near Strausburg Western Va. Aug 14" 64
Dear Sister and Friends
I have just fifteen minutes before the mail goes out in which to write to you and as it is the only chance I may have in a long time I concluded to improve it. We are again after the Rebs trying to chase them out of the Valley. Left camp at the Ferry where I wrote you before, on the 10" and have been on the heels of the re-treating foe ever since. Night before last we brought them to a stand here at Strausburg. I wen on picket and we had a prety warm time of it yesterday morning we drove them from two miles this side of the town to half a mile the other side then we halted as we had a good place for our picket line. it was very hot and we did not fire any more than was necessary to let them know we were there I got the men in the shade as much as possible we were relieved at night-fall when we saw the relief coming we concluded to wake them up. so I got the men on the brow of the hill and drew the fire of the rebs, so by the time the others came on the line we were having a sharp engagement going on we came away laughing at the uncomfortable night we had prepared for the relief on duty the men drew three days rations and were informed that they must last four days. all our sick and wounded are to be sent to Harpers Fer-ry and we are to prepare for long quick marches but I shall proba-bly be where I can write you again at the end of the week. I have not had time this week to write up my memorandum.
The gentleman to whom Joseph sent that money has received it so that is all right.
Tell Joseph he would laugh to see the farmers plowing here they commence in the middle of the field and plow from the centre out instead of from the outside towards the centre. the near horse walks in the furrow instead instead of the off one. the plough turns the furrow to the left instead of the right. all of which was new to me as I never saw the like before. the farmers have to suffer very much their sheep and hogs and dows are killed to eat, and their horses are taken for Artillery wagon and riding horses. if I were them I would drive all of them to Maryland and sell them, then go North until the war is over
I must close. Many wishes for your health and hapiness also properity. Bijou
DIARY Hd. Qrs. "I" Co. 106" N.Y. Vols. 3rd Div'. 6" Corps.
Near Strausburg Western Va Sunday August 14" 1864
As we are laying still for an hour or two I concluded to improve the leasure by writing up my Mem's which I have not had time to do before this week.
Monday 8" we laid in our camp near the Ferry all day having an easy time. Capt Parker told me he was going to transfer me to Co. F. as that Co had not lately had an officer who could controll them and it need straightening like Co "I" did when I took hold of them. I thanked him for the compliment but earnestly requested him not to do so, as I liked the company I had command of and did not like to go to another and have to leave those with whom I was satisfied and who I believed were satisfied with me. he promised to consider the matter & I went back to my quarters one of the Sergts was there and I casualy told him what they proposed to do with me. he went out and soon the tent was surrounded by my men all asking if it was true that I was going away, the truth was sorrowfull to them I could see and I dont believe my vanity had any thing to do with it as I felt to bad my self to be vain. some of them had tears in their eyes & there was some swearing at the way things were ma-naged. they said they never had been united and at peace with one an other and the rest of the regt before nor had an officer who would do any thing for them and now that every thing was going along smoothly, they thought it was too bad. After supper Capt Parker told me that they had got togather and sent the Sergeants down to him with a petition from the whole company not to transfer me to another company, and he in consideration of their feelings and mine had concluded not to do so. I could not help feeling proud when I had such evidence of the feeling of the company toward me, because when I took command Capt Paine who was then commanding the Regt told me they were the worst company in the Regt to manage or get along with. so that matter is settled.
Tuesday 9" We staid in camp all day the wagon came up and we got our books and sent off some necessary papers. I sent my Ordnance Reports hope they are right they are the first I ever made out and it is possible mistakes occur in them
Wednesday 10" Had orders to be ready to march at four A.M. drew some clothing in the night and issued them. Marched at five towards Charlestown, expected to find the enemy there but did not. I was grand just as we came out into the plain before the town, to see the heads of three other columns appear at equal distances along and wind cautiously toward one centre, our Cavalry soon found the Rebs gone and dashed on in pursuit. We followed the day be-came intensely hot. some men droped down and died in a short time, sunstrokes were constantly occuring, we had to rest frequently and finaly halted for the night at 2½ P.M. but more loss has been sus-tained by the service in this one days march, than if we had been engaged in a good hard fight all day. our loss in men would not have been near so large. our camp for the night was three miles from Berriesville, there was a flock of sheep on the ground when we came up. in less than 20 minutes every one was dead & soon to make mutton for our suppers. Our boys will forrage when they get in this state. we had a thunder shower which cooled off the air and made the P.M. pleasant.
Thursday 11" Started towards Winchester at 7 A.M. our brigade is rearguard to day and marched with the train to protect it from Moseby or the Reb Cavalry. it was very hot but we marched slowly and did not suffer from heat so much. stoped near Winchester for dinner. staid in the woods two hours then turned to the left as the Rebs had left the town so we turned off towards Newtown marched five or six miles and camped near where our cavalry came on their rear guard and engaged them in the A.M. the clouds threatened a heavy rain, but nothing but wind was the result. (like most threa-tenings) we camped in a field of high grass some one got it on fire in cooking his supper, it was so dry and the wind blew so hard that at first it could not be subdued and for a time I thought we were to be burned out but so many got at it that it had to sucomb. had all of us all the honey we could eat this afternoon. this is quite a honey country. rested well being very tired.
Friday 12" Advanced through Newtown and Middletown the Rebs had made a stand three miles from the latter place with their picket on the West bank of Cedar Creek. The army halted and our picket was sent out as it was my turn I had charge of the detail from this regt. we crossed the creek went up it to the right. The officer of the day gave me orders to deploy and occupy a hill to see if the enemy were there. I did so, charged up the hill, established our lines &c. he gave orders to keep the men all awake but after our hard days march that would be impossible so I divided into fours on the line, No 1" of each four was to watch the first 2" the second & so on. I took turns in keeping awake with another 1" Lt who was with me but my junior passed the night tolorably.
Saturday 13" We were out of rations so got a breakfast of green corn roasted and green apples then the order came to advance the lines. the left was used as the pivot while the right of the line two miles off had to make a big swing to the left. we advanced in splendid style the line was well kept. the extreme right where I was had to swing full five miles. we came out on the hills above Strausburg and our line was moast lovely our left was on the Win-chester Pike and as the line swung they kept coming out of the woods in splendid line. it was grand to look from the right away two & ½ miles to the left acrost the hills & vallies and see the line all advancing. we moved up to the brow of the hills above the town and looked down upon it. the Rebs were slowly going down the other side there was a fine little plain below us then on the other side another rainge of hills the Rebel line formed supported by their whole army which we could see was in the woods in their by the smoke. we were to far off to make firing very dangerous but some of the crack shots on boath sides puting large charges of powder in their guns made some good shots. As we had been living on corn and apples all day word was sent in by the officer of the day for us to be relieved, for the deviltry of it we thought we would ensure the wakefullness of those who came to relieve us we determined to get up a grand fusillade when the relief deployed to take our places. it was just dusk when they came up I deployed my line on the hill as the rest of the officers done we drew the fire of the line upon us and returned it with great vim so that when the relief took the line it was with the conviction that they were in a very dangerous place. they "had at them" in grand style. the returned their fire from near half a mile off but it was now so dark that the new picket could not judge of the distance and no doubt thought they were within a short distance of Mr. Reb. we marched back to camp which was now on the same side of Cedar Creek that we were. we had just arrived at camp and lain down when when the bugle sounded "fall in" and the army was moved back to the East side of Cedar Creek. we got into posish and I laid down and went to sleep almost as soon as I tuched the ground. it was near mid-night I had slept but three hours the night before had been on hard duty for four days so I was prety much used up.
Sunday 14" to-day we have drawn three days rations and orders have been issued that they must last four days. all our sick are to to be sent back to the Ferry in the wagons emptied by the issue of rations and we are looking for some unusually hard service by the tone of the orders. our picket line fell back last night to the posish they held yesterday morning this shows we are not to fight them on the ground they held yesterday it was very strong
Tuesday 16" Sunday night orders came arround to be ready to move at a moments notice as the picket was to be advanced again and if they met to strong a resistance we were to charge and make room for them. they advanced to our old line on the hills above Strausburg without much resistence except when the move first began. we were not called out. Monday 15 we policed our camp's dug sinks, and made things as comfortable as possible for a short stay. in the afternoon considerable cannonading was going on up by the town. we could not distinguish whether it was our guns or those of the ene-my, just at night orders came arround to make ready for an attack as there was a probability of one being made on us by the foe. the night passed quietly however. our boys got all the honey yesterday they could eat. a gentleman a mile from here has some 40 hives of splendid honey
Friday Aug 19. Near Charleston Va. Tuesday 16" very pleasant our camp began to look finely being nicely laid out. at sundown while I was eating supper the officers call was blown and I repaired to Hd. Qrs. The orders were to have our men pack up and be ready to march at 8½ O.C. P.M. not to strike tents until after dark so that the movement could not be seen by the lookouts of the enemy on top of the Shenandoah mountains. I knew we were to retreat for we had reliable information the Rebs had been reinforced by Longstreets Corps which would swell their number to much larger than ours, & if we remained here we were likely to be attacked and beaten at any time. some of our train which had been sent to Harpers Ferry had been taken and burned by the enemy and prisoners had been captured. so back we must go. we started at 9 P.M. the night was very fine, being bright moonlight we could see to march as well as during the day. the difficulty was we would get so sleepy. I would run against a tree or man sometimes bringing myself up with a start, and find I had been walking and sleeping at the same time. When we halted for a mement I would lay down on the ground and find myself assleep in less than ½ a minute. Our line of march was through MIddletown and Newtown to Winchester which place we reached and camped for breakfast at 7 O.C. A.M. on
Wednesday 17" After eating we slept until 11 AM. then took up the line of march through the town and down the pike to Berreysville, we stoped half way between the two towns at 3½ O.C. for dinner and did not march any farther that day. the enemy crowded us closely and we could hear the picket sharply engaged but they did not think it prudent to be too pressing in their attentions. I went down to the creek and took a good wash, a cavalry man was down with his horse which he left to graze while bathing after his master was prepared for the bath Mr horse took it into his head to go back to camp and started followed by his master trying to stop him. horse would not listen to pursuasion and he would be taken out of the fellows pay if he lost him so he had to follow him away up to camp clothed only in the covering nature gave him. I could not help laughing at his remark of 'Aint this a d--n pleasant perdicament boys' I thought it must be. we slept soundly having been two days and a night with out sleep and marching 24 hours of that time. on
Thursday 18" We were up at four had breakfast and started at five, or six. it commenced raining at 7 A.M. rained by times all day. the fields through which we had to march so as to give the road to the waggons which had to keep with us to prevent being captured- were slippry and stickey making very hard marching so when we reached this place (Charlston) we were very tired. we passed the place where our train was burned by the guerillas. stoped for dinner in the same place we staid all night on the 10" going up. got here at 8 P.M. had a little supper and went to bed sleeping well.
Monday 22". On Friday 19" we laid in camp all day and getting our much needed rest, there was a good deal of whiskey in camp and several attempts at fighting. One of my men who has a brother in "B" Co. get himself into a very bad scrape by going and cutting the rope with which said brother had been bound to a tree, then resist-ing the guard send to arrest him for the offence. I had to make out charges aganst him for Conduct prejudicial to good order and Military discipline, and also "Mutiny" he was then sent to the Provost guard to remain under arrest until tried for the offence
Saturday 20. No movement today. we got a large mail which was very acceptable Our brigade which was camped closed in mass, has been extended so as to be in a much better position, and not so crowded. it has been comfortably cool ever since the rain of the 18" not much trouble sleeping. what a blessing it is that there are no musquito's in this country to bother a fellow. our lives would be a torment if there was.
Sunday 21" The enemy advanced and attacked our picket line about 8 A.M. we thought it would be nothing but a skirmish at first but the presistent way in which they pressed our lines showed a deter-mination to develop our whole strength. we struck tents and got in line very quick. the generals seemed to have considerable diffi-culty in determining where our line of battle should rest, after going through battallion drill in the woods we finaly got into po-sition, the 8" Corps joining our left and the 1st Div. 6" Corps our right, our regt hapened for a wonder to be in the rear line, we were shelled for a while prety smartly without doing much damage, the line in our front built a line of breastworks. they cannot be built with as much ease as they could near Richmond. there a pick was necessary onely once in a while. here the ground has to be picked before it can be shoveled. At four P.M. the 106" was sent out to support our advance of the picket line. the advance was not made until 6 P.M. then the regt was marched by the flank through a cornfield which was in the rear of our picket line, the Rebs had full rainge of the field with their rifles and the bullets flew arround our heads to close to be comfortable, one passed close to my head and between two corporals of my company, one of them fell on his knees and I thought he was wounded but he was not. we went up to the picket line, in front of them was a hill on the top of this was a stone wall running clear acrost the field. behind this lay the rebs and to drive them from it was our object. our line was formed with orders to advance to the top of the hill and lay down and hold it a short time. this perhaps would drive them from the wall, up we went. I saw the officers on the right wing get behind their companies, so I steped out in front of mine when we reached the top of the hill the men delivered a volly the object of which I could not see and then laid down, I have heard the bullets whistle I thought thick enough, but the shower that was poured on us surpassed anything I ever heard, the grass was mowed arround us, and twelve men fell in two seconds, to remain in such a fire was murder the men commenced giving I could see the necessity of the move but feared it would become a panic, so I sat still and told the men to do the same, five or six did so, and fired back at the enemy in good earnest the bullets flew still faster, the comman-ding officer of the regt reformed the line behind the brow of the hill and motioned for me to come back just as I started to do so a bullet hit the side of my hat setting it a little to one side without going through it, nothing but a glancing shot, two inches to the right and it would not have hit me at all, two inches to the left and I should not have been writing this account. I thank God it was not the last. We saw it would be useless to remain where we were as we could do no good, and the Rebs by a slight advance could sweep us, so we were ordered to fall back, we brought off all our men but one dead we would have got him but did not know he was dead until the line fell back, two killed and 8 or 10 wounded was the casualties and this was done the first ¼ minute on the hill. We came in to the same place in the second line we were before stacked arms and laid down, my servant came up with some supper for me, but I was so tired and sleepy I could noy eat. I drank a cup of coffee and laid down again. at 11 P.M. we had orders to be ready to move at a moments notice, did not move until 1 O.C. A.M.
Monday 22" We then went out on the Harpers Ferry Pike and moving down through Charleston and Hallstown to our position of one week ago near the first named place on the same ground we started from to go on this raid. Up the Shenandoah Vally. the results of which have been so meagre- we lost some four hundred men on it, and cap-tured a like number of the enemy. we destroyed part of their wagon train and they destroyed part of ours, so it is about an even thing. The enemy followed us very closely for we had hardly got into position when when They began to engage our left. consider-able firing and canonading was going on but it did not last long. Firing at intervals all day. This P.M. was a very heavy rain. Capt Robinson was in my tent when it commenced, and we were laugh-ing to see the rest of the tents blow down when all at once my tent began to show signs of weakness. we like the rest tried to hold it up but it soon got the best of us and down it came we could not put up again, so ran and got behind a tree until the worst was over. this did not take place in ½ an hour so we were well soaked. disagreeable as it was I doubt if anything would have made more fun in camp. All was jollity & laughter.
LETTER Hd. Qrs. "I" Co. 106" N.Y. Vols.
Near Harpers Ferry. Aug. 22" 64.
My dear Sister
I have been prevented from writing my usual weekly letter at the usual time, by the pressing calls made upon my attention by the Rebs. although I like you very much better than I do them still when they claim my attention they have to be attended to before even my dear sister. By the delay they have occasioned I have been prevented from writing to you until I find by measurement I am sit-ting exactly five soldier steps from where I set when I wrote you before from this place. but since then how we have traveled. away up to Strausburg nestled in its mountain home. how prety it looked the morning we drove the enemy from the hills above it, I felt as if a great sin was being committed in making so prety and quiet a place the theatre of strife but such are the stearn necesity of war no respect can be shown secluded cot or noisy town, whereever the passions of men bring them togather in opposition, there must be carnage,
"E'en if in Eden."
How often I have thought of home and you.- when in some fight a quiet homestead is used by one party or the other as a temporary fortification- to see timid women and children crouching in the celar and looking up to us strong men for protection, who could harm them or refuse those mute appealing looks, none but brutes. I would think, what if these bloody scenes were laid in our Nor-thern homes, those women were my sisters what should I think of the man who would refuse his protection. Oh! how glad I am that you know nothing of the horrors of war, the field of battle does not contain one half the horror- even with all its carnage. it is when the fight is over one feels it most. the heart after the excite-ment seems open to the softening influence of sorrow, and then to look on the burning dwellings of the people to see the inmates fly-ing from them with out their household gods, to wander homeless refugees until they gain the roof of some charitable person, when but a fiew hours before they were enjoying all the blessings of "home sweet home" these with other scenes I dare not describe to you make up the worst of war. I knew nothing of war until I came out this summer, comparatively speaking. I have seen it in its worst features while on these several raids through Maryland and Virginia.
Poor Virginia! nature has made thy climate, soil and mineral wealth as if intending thee for the Eden of America, and only the black curses of slavery and war prevents thy being such.
I wish with you that I could be up there and and have a good talk with you all, it seems as if the pen was a very insufficient way of expressing ones thoughts, it is to slow and laborious, but if we were togather I think we could spend several hours and even-ings in grand enjoyment simply by using our first invented method of conveying ideas.
Tues 23" Dear sister. I guess the blotting of my paper will show why it is that I have delayed finishing my letter until to-day. I had to put it up on account of the heavy rain yesterday. the wind blew my tent down an the rain did the rest. I could not put it up aganst the wind so I had to take shelter behind a tree until it was over. I got thoroughly drenched I tell you. Then this morning we got orders to pack up, get our breakfasts and be ready to move or fight at 4 A.M. it is now pas 7 and no move or attack yet, so I concluded to write you as perhaps I might have a chance to send it yet to-day. I am feeling first rate, whereas if I had been home I should have a very bad cold to-day for I slept with wet clothes and feet last night without any covering, and it was prety cold.
I am mighty well pleased to hear so good an account of the baby especially if he is to be named after his uncle. now if you have the slightest idea that the name does not please Joseph dont name the boy Abiel for any thing. I think Oscar A. Potter looks very well, but the middle name is not a musical one. I dont blame him for not wanting to eat from a spoon, and consider it an evi-dence of his precocity while yet so young to know what is what.
Give my love to Dear mother and Janey also the Potter Bros, and families. I sent my commission home last week, did you get it? I send you some letters this time which you may ...........
(last line not copied well) love
Near Harpers Ferry. August 24" 64. Our present camp is in a very fine position on the top and side of a hill covered with beautiful oaks and chestnuts. My quarters is beneath the spreading branches of a fine old forrest monarch, the trunk forms the back of my house and the branches my shelter. I have a fine "hard tack" table and on eat and use it for my desk. I am at work on the company Rolls so have lots of business.
Thursday 25. Heavy canonading to day. our Division not engaged I received a rich letter from Mrs. S. Annie Wallace. She first wrote me to ask some question about M. Carton, she now continues it for other reasons- She is a gay corispondent, however and I dont ob-ject so long as she dont
Friday 26" The enemy made a very heavy attack just at sundown just like they do before falling back. I wonder if that is their inten-tion now. Lee needs them at Petersburg to dislodge the 5th Corps from the Weldon Rail Road.
Sat. 27" Al quiet along the lines to day. no cannon or small arms. Had a letter from Father and one from O. L. Barney. Father is well in health and doing well in worldly matters on account of having a wife that is a help meet- instead of a help eat. Barney is expect-ing to be drafted and wants to know what the price of substitutes is down here. also about getting a position as Asst. S--rg. in the army talks some of joining my company as private- congratulates me on my promotion to 1" Lt. apears to be glad &c.
Sunday 28" We were ordered to be ready to move at 3 A.M. got up had breakfast went to sleep again and did not start until 9 A.M. It was a fine morning and to see the three heads of the three Divi-sions of our Corps cross the breastworks and wind acrost the open fields like three huge serpents was grand, we moved into a piece of woods about three miles from our old position and closed in mass stacked arms and sat down expecting it was the 10 minutes rest which it is customary to give us after every hours march. I went to reading and we finaly got dinner, after which the Chaplain of the 87" P.V. concluded to improve the opertunity and preach in a sermon. a romantic one it was. the text being where our Savior speakes of the two men, one building his house on the sand and the other on the rock. as if to add solemnity to the already impres-sive scene heavy clouds began to rise over the distant Alleganies, and the far off low muttering of thunder was heard, the fitful breeze sighed through the trees over our heads like the whispering of discontented spirits, the men gathered arround the man of God and with uncovered heads drank in the words of Salvation which flowed form his lips. As if to raise an oppertunity the artillery of heaven which was still heard away in the distant bank of clouds, our artillery which was with the cavalry on the heels of the enemy, opened and it echoed from mountain to mountain like the complain-ings of great giants. What a contrast a fiew miles from us we could hear the evidence of men engaged in deadly strife thirsting for each others blood, and by our side stands a man preaching peace and good will among mankind, how well could we carry out the doc-trine of peace and love. The chaplain had not yet concluded his remarks when the bugle sounded "fall in", "forward", and he had to come to an abrupt close and we resumed the march to Charleston and camped on our old camp ground of last sunday where we fought. As soon as we stoped and Lnt Cox of Co A started for the scene of our action of last sunday where one of his men was killed, but not bur-ried. the place was 3/4 of a mile in front of our pickets line, and I must confess to feeling, somewhat disagreeably, that we should not go so far from support, but our errand was a humane one and on we went when we came to the foot of the hill up which we charged and thought "if the Rebs are on the old line and we go up there we are gone up" I fixed my revolver where I could use it in a second and took the lead up the hill, how different my feelings from what they were before on the same ground, then I felt all the nerve and excitement of battle, and now very much like some charmed person walking directly into a danger which I had every warning aganst and was not able to resist But the Rebs were not on their old line, there was still the battered stone wall behind which they lay so securely that day, on the spot where Colton was killed a grave had been dug but never filled. where could he have been taken? we were turning away giving up the search when we saw another grave at the foot of an old Locust tree just up to the right Stood a house which had been made a sive of by the Rebels shells that day. we walked up that way, a couple of girls met us half way, coming to tell us what kind of a man was burried where we were looking, we walked with them and were met by the lady of the house and a very handsome young lady of "sweet sixteen" she in-formed us that her father burried all our soldiers, they were striped by the Rebels five were burried in their dooryard which had boards at their heads not having had their clothes taken by the inhuman brutes. She also told us with a prety blush- that their next neighbor and his daughter had burried some of our dead which had been striped and left by our chivelrous foe. To think of a lovely woman helping her aged father bury our naked dead. no false modesty in that lady, she will make a jewell of a wife. we re-turned to camp and sent out some men to put a head board over Col-tons grave, he was the only dead left by us, and of course we knew the names of no others. Just at dark had another romantick sermon- "What shall I do to be saved" Our light in this case was the lurid gleam of some of the burning Secesh houses of Charleston I thought that town some of it would be in danger if we ever came through it again for they are most bitter secesh. Religion almost seemed a mockery in this case for such contrasts are fearful.
Monday 29" Last night we slept in camp here to-day word was sent arround that we were likely to stay a day or two and to put our camp in order. we did so. got things to looking finely by about two hours from sundown, at that time the canonading which had been going on several miles in our front began to grow rapidly nearer and soon was within a mile of our front. Our (Rickets) Division was ordered out to support the cavalry we soon reached and deployed on the ground held by them and at once took the offensive. the 2" Brig. deployed as skirmishers and we followed to support them. Charging at a rapid rate for over three miles, the Rebs fled be-fore us in fine style. our loss was slight. Darkness prevented us from pursuing them farther and we were ordered to retrace our steps ½ the distance and establish ourselves where we could support the advanced line. now we are going to sleep.
Tuesday 30" Laid in camp all day without much to do. My bones be-gin to feel like I imagine a man following the usual "ways of life" would feel at the age of forty. this constant exposure will give us a Rheumatic heritage-
Wednesday 31" Finished my rolls and was mustered to-day. The com-manding officer says they splendidly made out. thinks the rolls of Co. "E" are a little ahead of them. I am entitled to ($310ΕΕ) three hundred & ten dollars on these rolls and have prety near two hundred dollars coming to me besides that I dont know when I shall get out hope to this fall. I am to take command of Co "F" to-morrow I hate to but all of the officers think it best. so there is no help for it as I see. ¾ of the Regt went on picket to-night.
Thursday September 1" 1864. The first day in command of my new company all well so far. day very pleasant. I have been very buisy setteling my accounts with Co. I. Days are comfortable but nights decidedly cold. a very heavy dew falls so that every thing is as wet as if it had rained in the morning. Last month was ge-neraly dry and warm but we feel autumn now the men will soon be drawing Woolen blankets to sleep on or under for they need them. THe men are having a gay time this evening throwing pieces of corn cob at each other. they divide up into armies, have their offi-cers, throw out skirmishers and make regular charges.
LETTER Hd. Qrs. "F" Co. 106" N.Y. Vols. 1" Brig. 3" Div. 6" Corps.
September 1" 1864
My Sweet Sister and Dear Friends,
Amid the turmoil of war and excitement of the battle field, I still find time to keep open "my communication" with dear ones far away toward the star which I often find nodding and winking at me and saying "you belong farther this way" when I wake from dreams of home some of these cold nights. I am still in the land of the liv-ing in seeming spite of those ugly fellows whose camp fires I see over yonder, and who seem so very anxious to furnish me with a free passage from this sublinary sphere to the one which many have tra-veled but I dont remember of any bodys returning to tell what they saw there which makes me anxious not to go until I know more about it. The Rebs are trying to play us some yankey trick, they fell back from the Ferry where they had been in our front for nearly a week thinking when we found them gone we would rush for Strausburg as we did before, Well they turned off and concealed their army near Bunker Hill (Not Mass) intending as soon as we had passed to fall on our rear and take us by surprise, in this they were foiled by the presistant inquisitiveness of our cavalry which foiled their intentions in good earnest while they stay there we must stay here, when they move we move and so we go it first forward then backward both parties refusing to take the offensive until they have some very decided advantage good generalship is displayed on both sides. Earley hates to leave the Vally until he gains some important advantage, such as striking us such a blow that we dare not follow them out of the vally, this is what they dread, so fearful of another Lynchburg raid, Our general has information that Longstreet has gone back to Richmond if this is so our forces are nearly as strong as those of the enemy left here. We cannot learn the truth of the report yet. and I have some doubts of our force being large enough to attack Earley if Genl. Longstreets troops have left.
Now sister how about that Round-about, it is just what I want in the field if it is not too dirty, I dont remember but if it has no holes in it, I wish you would clean it up a lettle and take about half an inch of the end of the sleeve down next the hands cuting it so that it is the same shape it is now. I think there is an inside pocket on each side if there is not will you put them in, or if those in there now have holes in them put others in, then do it up in as small a parcel as possible and Direct it to Sergt La Forge Co. "F" 106" N.Y. Vols. 1" Brig. 3" Div. 6" Corps. The rea-son I want you to direct to Sergt La Forge is because the post of-fice laws will not allow you send clothing to a commissioned of-ficer. if you have made any other disposition of the garment dont bother yourself about sending it. The Post Master will tell you how many stamps to put on it. the best way is to do it up as small as you can then tie it well with a string, then put a paper arround it, leaving the ends open upon which you put the address and stamps. How is young Potter? bright as ever I suppose, he will be cutting teeth soon then you you will have a gay time. I remember how cross you were when you cut yours about my own I havent as good a memory. I have nearly $500ΕΕ due me now. I dont know when I shall get any of it. My love to all Mamy & the boy in perti-cular this time. Yours,
Lt. Co. "F" 106" N.Y.V.
My going to Co "F" makes my boys of "I" feel bad, but the Command-ing officer of the Regt says it is necessary as the business of Co. "F" has got to be straightened up and he wants me to do it. Quite a compliment. A.
Friday Sept. 2" 64. Laid in camp near Smithville until near sun-down when we moved back to the North of Charleston & came into a nice grove where the Rebs were camped last week and put up our camp for the night.
Sat. 3" Marched shortly after sunrise, our regt detailed to act as flankers to the wagon train i.e. to march in Indian file deployed about five paces apart and two or three hundred yards from the road on the side towards the enemy. Came as far as Clifton (three miles from Berryville) when we ran on the Rebs strongly entrenched We had to skirmish a considerable before we could establish our picket line. Cool pleasant marching to-day. Rained some at noon. We may soon expect the fall rain to set in. Bivouacked for the night we are the extreme right.
Sunday 4" Laid in camp all day. An hour before sundown orders came to build breastworks. We had very few tools, but went to work fell-ing trees and digging. Building works here and doing the same at Petersburg is very different. There a pick was not necessary, here all the digging has to be done with them. We did not get our work done until ten o'clock P.M.
Monday 5. A cold heavy disagreeable rain commenced last night most decidedly Autumn like. We got a little damp before morning. A lot of troops that were moved to the right of us yesterday went back again to-day. I find they threw up about ¾ of a mile of breastworks connecting with ours on the right. They can be occu-pied at any moment. The cavalry are now out in that direction looking out for the flank. There has been but little skirmishing lately. Moseby is active. Continual rain.
Tuesday 6" Rain still continues. The cold wind soughs through the trees laden with its unwelcome drizzle. THe army is but poorly prepared for this change in the weather. A division of the 19" Corps was passing us this P.M. They are going out to support a Cavalry reconnaisance toward Bunker Hill the object of which is to find where Averill is with his cavalry. The last we heard of him he was coming up from Martinsburg to join us. By some cannonading we heard in that direction he had engaged.
Wednesday 7" Sun rose clear. How good it made us feel to see his unclouded face again. How different from last month, then we would have given almost anything for a rain like this the ground is now so soaked that we shall have to be very carefull about moving ar-tillery and wagons acrost the fields. I wrote to O. L. Barney giv-ing him all the information in my power. Our Cavalry have been very active, the enemy appear to have left our immediate front.
Thursday 8" Policed and laid out our camp to day so it looks very nice. Averill is all right, he has whiped the Reb. Cav. again. Moseby is particularly active on our rear. he captured an Ambu-lance train between us and the Ferry. they were all but one recap-tured however by our men sent in pursuit. I wrote S. Annie W___. and father. some cannonading off to the Right. quiet here.
Friday 9" Everything is as quiet as if there was not an enemy in 40 miles of here, indeed more so for if there was an enemy at that distance orders would not be so stringent in regard to casual fir-ing as they are now. A man is punished severely who is caught fir-ing his gun, for it lets the enemy know where we are. Rained again. We may expect this fluctuating weather now, a warm day now and then to let us know summer has not entirely abandoned us yet and and a rainy day twice in a while to bid us prepare for the still colder days of Autumn. Our new chaplain Rev. Dilly came this P.M.
Saturday 10" Warm and pleasant Wrote to Sherman Crandall to-day. turned over my Ordnance of Co. "I" to Lt. Brunson who succeeds me in the command of that company. I have also assumed command and responsibility in "F" Co. I am getting along with my new command first rate there are some things in the discipline of the company which needs correction, but I think I shall have no difficulty in getting along with that. Lt. Hepburn came to the regt to day he has been on duty at Rendezvous of Distribution for some months he says Col McKelvy has returned from his leave of Absence and is Quite well.
Sunday 11" Was expecting to write to Sister to-day but was de-tailed about noon and so could not do it. The Adjutant came arround and said I was to take charge of a picket of one hundred men from the regt. to go on duty for three day. what they want us to go on so long for is more than I know unless we are going to stay where we are for a long time and they addopt the old method of doing picket duty. Our line was advanced a little after we got on it so as to straighten it. we have a cavalry videt in front of this line. if the Rebs came out they would first have to drive back the Videt which would give us abundant time to get ready for them, then they would attack our line which we could hold until our camps that we came from were struck and we got orders to fall back on them or they advanced to our support. This afternoon I wrote a letter to Susan in the house of an old Secesh who ran about fifteen minutes before we got here and left his family and goods to our kind care. he is what we call a bushwhacker. We have a man in our charge whose house is not half a mile from here still we cannot allow him to cross our lines and go to it.
LETTER Picket Line Near Clifton. Sunday 11" Sept 1864.
I am on duty in charge of one hundred men from our Regt. as picket near Peckham Creek. the Rebs are on the other side. I am now writing in the house of an old Secesh Gentleman who skedaddled about fifteen minutes before our troops came to this place. of course leaving his family to our tender mercies which he did not seem to fear. Two ladies and three children comprise the family. the first are feminines of that type of beauty so peculiarly South-ren, that is with a nose that possesses the property of being able to turn up to a great elivation at the will of the owner. they both smoke chew snuff and are decidedly bitter aganst the Union and Uncle Abe. perhaps made so by their losses in property and hus-bands although the loss of the latter I dont give them much credit for feeling. We must give them the credit to say they could not be expected to feel very good towards those who are continually rob-bing them.
The Rebs have been very quiet lately and they seem to feel as contented about laying still until after the Presidential Election takes place as we do. Genl'. Sherridan has not force enough to risk an engagement with them behind fortifications and they dare not attack us while we have the protection of our breastworks, so we are idle by mutual consent and are enjoying ourselves as best we can in our present position.
Very unexpectedly last Saturday night a most decidedly Autumn storm burst upon us. we were but poorly prepaired for such an evi-dence of the fact that summer had departed. fires were at a pre-mium and every one built was soon closely invested by an anxious comfort seeking croud. I do not apprehend that we are not going warm weather enough yet, for this is but the commencement of fall. I shall soon need that jacket so if it is on the way all right.
You told me of the marriage of Miss Livermore. so also did Sherman, and Orville, so I am prety well informed of the fact. I felt very sorry to hear of the death of Albert Heseltine I should so much liked to have seen hinm and again thanked him for his kind treatment of myself when I was burning with the fever and no kind sister or sister-in-law to nurse me. poor fellow he deserved the death of a soldier and not the lingering, living death of consump-tion. A fine looking young lieut. is setting by my side and says "give her my respects", so I suppose I shall have to. Please accept the Respects of Lieut. Cox.
I rather believe I and him could enjoy ourselves much more to our satisfaction if we were only sitting by your hospitable hearth this cold day instead of writing on this Southron White Pine table. What do you and Janey think about it? I guess there must be some-thing in that cubbord we could enjoy. We are imagining how we could live if we were only home. when if we were there in reality we should have no appetite at all for joy.
Tell mother I shall be old enough to keep her company, when I get home again. I grow old so fast now. one of my teeth also is beginning to bother me. What an accumulation of misery!
Tell Janey she must learn some dances so that she may teach me when I get home. Love to Mrs. & Mr Perry Potter an children espe-cially Matie. Dont forget our little Josey. Does he cry any yet? Your Loving Brother
Address Lt. A.T. LaForge
Comdg. "F" Co. 106" N.Y.V.
Monday 12" Have not sent my letter yet shall send it in to night when my servant comes out with my supper. It is still very cold and we (two second Lieut's who are on duty with me and myself) slept on the floor of the parlor of the house of which I spoke yes-terday, and which is about the centre of my line. it is now past noon and every evidence of a rain again this eve.
(beginning of new page; probably the previous page was sent home with the letter)
Monday 12" Sept 64 This afternoon I sent the lady of the house on which one of my picket posts is stationed over with a guard to Genl. Rickets. They were out of provisions and desired to get per-mission of him to buy of our commissary I could not see them hun-gry even if her husband is a rebel (12 Va Cav.) We do not war on women and children. The Genl gave her 30 pounds of flour, ten lbs of sugar and a bottle of wine. She was bitter against the Union Soldiers before she went. She returned crying. the Genl's kind-ness had touched her. It is pretty cold to-night and good woolen under clothes would be a luxury.
Tuesday 13. Our Cavalry and the 2" Div. 6th Corps made an advance this morning to surprise the Reb. pickets which they did, capturing quite a number. They fought quite a while and did not return until dark to-night. Some of the prisoners were brought in by here. They looked rather glum. I have just been around with strict or-ders concerning us to-night. We expect the enemy will be trying to make themselves eaven by making a dash on our lines and capturing some of our pickets. It is a fine moon light night however and they would find it hard surprising us. it still continues cold. I forgot to mention that we had a severe hail storm Sunday after-noon. I told the Sergt. who has charge this post to wake me at the first shot he heard.
Wednesday 14" Abut ten oclock the Sergt woke me up saying some firing was heard on the right. I went out, heard one shot then five or six others just like the beginning of an attack, then all was silent. I went round and found the videts were on the allert, then came back, as there was no more firing I went to bed leaving directions to be awakened at an hour before day light another fa-vorable time for attack. I got up at that time and went out on the line everything was quiet, a littile before sunrise went and laid down sleeping until my servant came from camp with my breakfast. Commenced raining at 8 O.C. A.M. we were relived by a detail from the Brigade at M. When I got to camp I found that our (Lt's Bruns-son, Cox and my own) servants had built us prety good quarter, the roof was made of four tent cloths these were raised the hight of a barrel from the ground and the sides are formed of barrel staves a bunk is built in one end for the three of us to slep so we are prety comfortable.
Thursday 15" Battalion drill drom 9 to 11 A.M. the first time I ever commanded a company on drill. This P.M. there was company drill for one hour. I was unwell from a cold I caught on the pic-ket line and did not go out. Weather pleasant but rained a little just at the right time to prevent Dress Parade. A large mail came to-night and I did not get a letter and as over a dozen is due me It is somewhat strange. It makes a fellow feel particularly pleased after so long waiting to get one however so I will not com-plain. Capt. Parker was our drill officer, he would do well enough if he only had confidence in himself. he is afraid. While we were on picket I had the pleasure of hearing a Rebel girl sing the Southron patriotic songs of "The Bonny Blue Flag", "The Homespun Dress" and several others. she was a sweet singer but bitter Rebel. I begin to look for an advance soon now we have lain long enough now to be in good trim for active service. Look out Johnnies.
Friday 16" Battalion drill. Wrote to Miss Annie S. Porter. Rained a little. The men seem to be in excellent spirits I believe they would make a pretty good fight. I think the Johnnies would have to bring more than man for man.
Sat 17" The Regt had just gone out for drill when an order came to move camp. We went back and packed up, we only moved about half a mile. We are in rather better place than we were before. Nice sunshiny side hill. The men are fixed up pretty nice but I am of the impression they will not enjoy their quarter long for Lieut. Genl. Grant was up here this afternoon. There are all sorts of ru-mors concerning the meaning of his visit here. I think that our inactivity does not please him so he wants to see for himself if it is necessary. I should think that now as Sherman is free to use his army somewhere else there should be a combined movement on Lynchburg by him and our army. He could make his base somewhere near Knoxville, Tennessee, and we advance by the way of Staunton Va. some such determined measure should be addopted to threaten Richmond from the West. The men are having sport to-night fighting mimic battles with firebrands, the 87 Pa. and our Regt are oppo-nents, they arm themselves from the fires and make regular charges and flank movements and all sorts of manoeuvres, the best of good feeling prevails, the sight is realy beautiful to see the brands moving about & flying through the air (it is to dark to see the men). they dont often hit what they are aimed at, but when they do there is no ill feeling. There is a man on our breastworks and one away off in the distance; each with a large firebrand making sig-nals to each other just like the Signal Corps. They are just going to their respective quarters now bidding each other good night, one side says "good night yanks" and the other "good night Johnnies". They are gone.
Sunday 18" We had Brigade inspection to-day. did not intend to have it till monday but Genl Grant (he went back to Washington to-day) has got up some kind of a move & it must be done sooner. Just after M. an order came to pack up which we did had everything ready to move and stacked arms on the "Color-line". just then an aid came arround countermanding the order. my! what a shout the men sent up. one would have thought we had won a great victory. our tents were soon up again and we are now in as good quarters as ever. Our new chaplain preached to us this P.M. Threatened rain but did not. should have written to sister but the move spoiled it so I could not. got a letter from her.
Mon 19" Moved from our camp at 2 A.M. and took the Winchester road the whole army moved with us. sunrise found our advance crossing the Opequan creek, the advance of the enemy were just the other side, and were driven back about two miles by our cav. The enemy had their lines formed in a strong position two miles from Winches-ter, we formed our lines by 9 OC but had to wait until near M. for the 19 Army Corps to come up when they did arrive they were placed on our right, our lines were then formed by the 19 Corps on the right then our 2" Div. and 3" Div. the extreme left was formed by the 1" Div. of our corp. The 8" Corps was held in reserve. During all this manoeuvring the batteries on both sides had kept up an almost constant fire with but small results in anything but noise. Everything was ready and the charge ordered about M. it was obeyed by the advance of the intire line under a most murderous artillery fire. Our Div. had to advance acrost an open rolling field where their shells would have full effect- the sloughter was dreadful, three hundred yards which were made at a double quick brought us into the first ravine, as soon as the men got there they laid down, Col Emerson com'dg the Brigade rode along behind us saying "come now men" get up and advance we jumped up and started acrost the next hill with some reluctance, for a perfect storm of shells were sweeping acrost it. I got before the men and told them to advance and they came up well, we advanced acrost the top our men falling fearfully fast. A Major a little to my right had his head blown clear from his shoulders, he was on a horse and the body maintained its seat for a moment after the blood spouting up and making a hedious specticle, on we went and soon began with the infantry, their fire was not as fearful as the artillery although more distructive, the part of the line I was on charged everything from before it without a halt and crossed the next ravine. a little to our right the enemy had breastworks and held the part of the line in their front, we just swung past them and coming on their flank drove them and captured many prisoners. We did not stop but went on, as we raised the third hill I saw a battery off to our right which was doing terrible damage. I remem-ber drawing my revolver and calling for men to take that battery. I saw some coming after me two of whom I knew were brave men Sergt Wilder and Pvt Temple waiting for no more I started on the run. Whiz, whiz, whiz, went the bullets in rapid sucssion I looked back the men were falling fast, I looked the other way the men were falling back with the guns. I yelled and started again run 100 yards when I heard some one behind shouting "look out" I did look out and saw a line of Jhonnies acrost the Pike in front of me bring their guns up for a volly. I threw my self behind a stump just as the ground arround me was all cut up with bullets, how they made the dirt fly. as I had nothing particular to acupy my attention while laying there I looked back along the line 200 yards behind was the squad, or five of them, who had started to take the guns they were behind trees, 100 yards behind them the Our Div. line had halted. on the right of our Div, and in their rear were the Rebs, that part of their line had forced back the charge of the 19 corps. our officers saw the necessity of taking our line back a short distance to prevent our being flanked, but I did not and obeyed the order to "fall back" with some swearing they boys say. I dont swear much however. how mad it made me to see the Rebs rally and follow us over that hardly contested ground, α the distance charged had to be left, some brave fellows followed us to closely, for by a sudden turn our men captured a squad of them, they were more careful then. our new line was established and held until the 19 corp had driven the Rebs line sep by step from thir front and advanced up to our line which did not take place until about 4 P.M. meanwhile I went over some of the ground, helped some of the wounded enemy into a shed and gave them water (our wounded were carried from the field) it was an awful sight to go over the ground litterally soaked with human gore. I then took a gun from a dead man and putting a lot of cartridges in my pocket laid down in the first line and commenced firing. I was hardly down when whiz, came a bullet striking the ground two feet before me and glancing struck the man laying by my right side in the forehead, he looked arround got up and walked three or four paces to the rear turned arround and fell dead. I made several shots when I had a good mark then the Rebs laid so close I could not see them & I went to a part of our line in a ravine and sat down while there my servant brought up my dinner the first I had ate since 2 A.M. it was then 3 P.M. I also saw one of the officers with which I went to the front last June. At 4 the 19 Corps was up with us and a general charge of the whole army ordered, before which Genl Sheri-dan rode along the line attended by two orderlies and saying "Men our cavalry are on their flank, we have won a victory". the men took of their hats and cheered him. Shortly after we went forward, what a scene of horror the field presented where our artillery had played on them, four hundred yards brought us in full view of their cannon, then our line was subject the most murderous arrtillery fire I ever heard, oh! how we were cut up. One gun as we advanced opened on our left in exact raing of the line lengthwise, it fired thre shots before it was captured, bringing twenty men down. At one of its shots the shell went through six men of one company in the Iron Brigade. then we got out where we could see the whole line to the right coming out on the plain before us, to see them advance in such splendid order under that fire was a tribut to their bravery not to be forgotten, a moving cloud is seen on our right and extending partly behind the Rebs. It is our cavalry un-der Averill and they are charging, how grandly they advance on those guns which are sending death through their ranks On they come, see the artillerists run, the cavalry charge past them cut-ting some down as they go, now they have stoped behind them and the guns artillerymen and the infantry supports are in our hands. Glorious that was the first Cavalry charge I ever saw. it ended the fight, the Rebs were siezed with a panic and fled in the utmost confusion, our spoils ar prisoners by thousands five guns & nine battle flags. There seems to be some doubt in the minds of our Genl' whether they have accupied the hights above the town or not there are strong earth works there, Our Div. is detailed to advance and if they are occupied carry them by storm, a half miles march acrost the plain brings us to the hills up we go and find the forts unoccupied. away beyond the town we could see them running and their cavalry thrown out to cover their retreat. looking back we beheld our victorious army marching into position on the plain below we soon joined them and it being now dark went into camp for the night. I have lost ½ my company either killed, or wounded. My friend Powell is badly wounded and ½ the officers of the regt. very tired
Tuesday 20" Sept 1864 The army started in pursuit as soon as it was light this morning moving in five columns, two of infantry on each side of the road and one of Cavalry and Artillery in the road. The Rebs had taken the Strausburg PIke in their retreat and we did the same picking up many of their stragglers on the road, as we went by the Cav Camp four of the captured battle flags were brought out for us to see. We moved by the way of Kernstown Newtown, & Middletown, reaching Strausburg before sundown, It was a weary march although but 20 miles for we were sore and tired from yester-days charge. The Rebs army is posted in their strong position be-yond the on Fishers hill which is strongly fortified. Many of our men and officers think we cannot take it. I think we can for their army is a defeated one while ours is victorious, we camped for the night ¾ of a mile from the town.
Wednesday 21" We lay quietly until past noon then broke camp and moved behind the woods to the right. our second brigade drove thir picket line from a hill they occupied and which our Genl' desired to possiss, the loss was quite severe considering the number en-gaged. After the hill was ours which was not until dark we moved upon it and after considerable manoeuvering established a line in the dark threw out pickets, and got rails to lay behind in case of a night attack, then rolled up in our blankets for the night.
Thursday 22 Under arms before daylight for ½ an hour. After breakfast entrenching tools came arround and we built a line of works, lay behind them until noon then were moved out to the right towards the Alleghainies and drove back the Rebel Picket line and opened communication with the 8" Corps which were just at the foot of the mountains We must wait until their line should be up with ours, then they were to charge endeavoring to turn the enemies left. as soon as they advanced we were to do the same. While we were waiting our Div. Batteries of eight guns commenced firing over us at the Rebel lines, some of the Cartridges were bad and the shells fell short, bursting over and even behind us, one of our shells burst and a piece of it struck our commanding officer (Capt Parker) in the side inflicting a probably fatal wound, he was carried from the field, Genl' Rickets sent back word to have the battery stoped two or three times but it was not, finaly he sent one of his aids to say if it was not stoped he would withdraw his Division and resign. this had the desired effect, About four O.C. P.M. the 8" corps charged shortly after our order came and away we went with a shout, the Rebs had a very strong breastwork with guns all along it, but we were not to be checked and so stormed them at once capturing their guns. I was struck on the arm but not much just, the Johnnies did not fight very well but run splendidly, we swept from the left to the right of their strong works driving them as we went, Fishers Hill was ours and "fairly won" In their retreat the disorganized mass had to cross an open field from the borders of which our men poured volly after volly into them. I wanted them to stop firing and charge for prisoners but they would not, I jumped over the fence and started on the rear of the Rebs some of the men came after me but the rest still fired, I must confess that the only fear I had felt during the charge was then, lest our men should hit us from behind. I and the squad with me soon secured 28 prisoners. After I got them I was somthing like the man with the elephant I did not know what to do with them finaly I saw Genl Rickets and staff, I asked him what I should do with them. "Thats right my fine fellow, thats right" said he "you just take them to Capt Lenard and have them ceredited to the Third Division". I hated to leave the field but started, I soon came acrost one of the Sergts of the 106" and gave them into his charge and started back for the front, It was now dark and our regts were getting together. I took command of what I could find of our Regt and after considerable marching arround found the rest of the Regt. and with them stacked arms and got supper. Our Div, of the 6" Corps and the 8" Corps did all the fighting to-day and have won the glory, I have not yet learned what our gaines were in this fight, it rainges from 15 to 20 guns and several Battle Flags, also a large number of prisoners, Never since the war be-gan has the rebs received two such blows so close togather.
Friday Sept 23" 1864. We did not stop only to get supper last night, but pressed on after the retreating enemy resting two hours during the night. Morning found us near Woodstock and we stoped there and got breakfast. quite a lot of rebs were captured during the march, it rained some this A.M. we drew rations, three of the guns captured yesterday are up here now, started again about noon, just as we started the 87 P.V. whose time is up the 24" filed off to return to Harpers Ferry, poor fellows many of them were killed just as their time was up, Came up the Vally as far as Edenburg and camped for the night, We are very sore and lame with our four days hard work.
Saturday 24" Started early this morning on our journey up the Vally Found the Rebs rear guard at Mt. Jackson, our Regt was leading the army and was deployed as skirmishers to drive in their advance, we did so and the army was formed on the ground which we had gained, we were relieved at M. and marched back to the Bri-gade. My Servant came up with my dinner while we were waiting for some demonstration of the enemy. it was the first I had eaten to-day for by a mistake our Brigade had to start without breakfast Finaly we crossed the plain beyond the town driving them before us, they retreated & took up a new position on the next hill, from which we drove them from there also. they again retreated as be-fore and so kept fighting all this P.M. we drove them thus step by step as far as Newmarket when as it was night so we camped. I think by the stubbornness displayed by them we must be pressing their wagon train our advance battery was well worked to-day, one section followed the rainge of hills the other the pike. while one was firing the other advanced and took position commencing to fire at once, then the other would advance the same way.
Sunday 25" No rest if it is sabbath, still forward is the word, started at sunrise marched through Mintville and stoped on the hills above Harrisonsburg about four oclock P.M. This corps took up a posish on the hills south of the town, the 19" Corps West & the 8 North of it. I had a good illustration of "The glittering hosts bestrew the PLain" this afternoon. I hapened to be in a po-sition where I could see the whole army crossing the large flats below the town The Western sun shone full on their bright arms and accoutriments sending back its rays from ten thousand points, it was a grand sight. We found in H____ a large number of wounded Rebs. I forgot to state that the hospitals of Mt Jackson fell into our hands in them were many Rebs and some Union Soldiers, how glad the latter were to see us, some had been there over a year, one of them had lost his left leg and arm, We are living on the people of the Vally now and do prety well, our bill of fare to-day was Bread butter, honey, cheese, peach preserves, fresh mutton fried & boiled, peach pie, potatoes, mustard, coffee, sugar, pepper, salt, and milk, not bad for soldiers. last night was prety cold, a wind from the West caused it. our woolen blankets we found very comfortable.
Monday 26" The army is resting to-day enjoying the mountain air with much satisfaction I suspect our rest is owing to the fact that our rations are out and we must wait for the Supply Train which is following us from the Ferry. Deserters are coming in all the time. They say the mountains are full of stragglers from the Rebel army, many of which would be glad to come in, but that they have been told that they will be badly used by us. Their officers strive to make them believe this as much as possible. I forgot to mention that during the lull in the fight at Winchester I met one of the officers with whom I formed a pleasant acquaintance while on the boat going to the front last June. I was walking along the prostrate line looking for our commanding officer, when he jumped off the stone on which he was sitting and shook hands hartily. When we parted we were wondering under what circunstances we should meet, if ever, It turned out to be on that blodyest field of the war. A fiew moments pleasant conversation and we parted again when to meet we could not tell; perhaps in some other bloody fight. Strange things happen in war, strange enough for the most fastidi-ous novelist, none need rack their brains for subjects of fiction who have been in this war for they will find truth quite strange enough.
Tuesday 27" Still on the Harrisonburg hights. our rations came up to day from the Ferry and have been issued. I would not wonder if we resumed the march to-morrow. Many men who had been absent in hospital and some recruits came to the army to-day. more than enough to make up for our losses at Strauburg. Those who came say there are large reinforcements on the road to join us if such is the case I am looking for another attempt on Lynchburg, I think we shall have better success than Genl Hunter did for things open more brightly to begin with, We drew three days rations they are to last four days. there will be no difficulty in making them hold out for the men will forrage in spite of Genl Sheridans orders against it.
Wednesday 28" Last night we got orders to be ready to move at day light, we were accordingly up and had breakfast and everything ready & so remained until 8 O.C. when the order was countermanded, our tents were again put up and we proceeded to make ourselves com-fortable for the day, we have apple-dumplings, apple-butter, sy-rup, butter, and cheese all indiginous productions, we do not pay for these things of course if we did it would take a fortune flour is $200 pr. bll, bacon $5ΕΕ pr. lb. candles $10 pr. lb. boots $150 pr. pair, sugar $3 a pound, eggs $1 a piece (confederate scrip) we would find it somewhat dear in our money. The army are setting the mills (flour) going, grinding for us, the wheat is being collected from the farms arround and when it is ground I understand it is to be issued to the soldiers for rations.
Thursday 29. Last night we were ordered to be ready to move at 5 A.M. We had the same order yesterday morning so we got breakfast but did not have our tent taken down, so as to disappoint us I suppose the order came to march instead of being countermanded as before. We moved towards Stanton some five miles then stoped for dinner, after which we moved ¼ of a mile farther into a grove near Mt Crawford and camped again for the night, making a very easy days march, it rained a little yesterday also to day, we do not look for stable weather now, however it is warmer than it was when we were at Clifton for we need no fires & marching makes us prespire prety freely. I & my Co. were detailed as Provost guard to-day. I was Provost Martial. I went down to the creek & had a bath, pretty cold. When I came up to camp it was dark. The lurid glare of some conflagration lighted up the heavens. It made me feel bed. I understand our cavalry have orders to burn the barns, mills & shops & grain of the people, in fact everything which would benefit our foe. This is a hard order but given in strict justice, for retal-iation.
Friday 30" Policed our camp this A.M. The streets run through trees making fine shade for our camp, we are very comfortable considering we are a hundred miles and more away from our base. Just as we were eating dinner (apple dumplings) the "strike tents" was sounded, which rather hastened the proceedings. I thought we were going on toward Stanton but when the long column began to streatch out it was towards the rear and not the front. The first two hours was very hot a storm was brewing which finaly burst upon us, the rain poured down in torrents for a short time then an East wind set in and old weatherwise said "look out for a cold snap" We moved to and camped on nearly the same ground about Har-risonburg that we occupied before, the men were not long in put-ting up their tents for the wind had changed from warm to cold, and every thing indicates a long cold storm. My messmate Lt. Cox has just been detailed for picket so I shall have our little tent alone to-night. The new troops spoken of the 27" have not arrived-
Saturday. October 1" 64. Day set in cold and gloomy which makes us stick prety closely to our tents. As I having nothing much to do concluded to write a little conversation between Orderly Wilder "I" Co & myslf. I am not sure vanity is not the motive for my wri-ting it but I have been trying to pursuade myself it was but that I could have some satisfaction looking at it in old age if I should live to see dotage. To proceed, As we were walking along the Sergt came up to me and commenced to speak of the sanguine nature of our fight at Winchester, he gave me to understand that I had rather astonished the men by what he was pleased to call my bravery, they had rather supposed by my smoothe face and usualy quiet manner that I was somewhat deficient in the aforesaid article, but that they had changed their mind. Said he "when you started and called for volunteers to take that battery, I saw Temple (a brave old English soldier who was in the Crimea and India wars) start after you, I ran after him, he turned and asked me if you belonged to my com-pany, I told `yes', why says he `a'int he rather a desperate charicter?' see him run at them alone' how do you feel, will you go if I will?' I told him I would'. hurrah then' said he throwing up his cap', here goes'. and we after you, several others came with us when we pointed to you away up ahead swinging your revolver in one hand and saber in the other. we did not go but a little way before the order came to halt as our right had been forced back, you did not know why we stoped but we had to, I thought you was a goner when that line fired at you and you threw yoursef behind the stump" To say that I did not feel proud at this recital would not be the truth, but nevertheless I pretended not to, said all the mo-dest things I could think of, and told him what I really thought that if any other officer had thought of it before me they would have done the same thing. Indeed Lt. Cox spoke of it first but shortly after and before he could get men to go with him which he tried to do, he was knocked down by a blow in the head from a piece of shell from the guns in which he was interesting himself. The day has continued cold and gloomy. I wrote to Capt Crawford as he made me promise to do so when I left camp, the news is to night that a large train is on the way up here bringing four or five days mail, our rations and the Paymasters.
Sunday 2". Last nights rumor was correct, Just after I went to bed the officers call was sounded. I got up and went to Hd. Qrs. Capt Robertson gave us our Pay Rolls for July & August and said the men must sign them at once for we should be paid this morning, so I got the men up, had the Rolls signed &c. Genl. Wright sent arround word last night that a Union woman who lived near Mt Craw-ford had been deprived of all her property by this Div. Said woman had come into our lines and was going North, he desired the offi-cers of this Div. to make her up a purse so that she would not be without the means of living. So we got togather at our respective Regimental Hd. Qrs. and after considerable fun made up a purse for her. Col. Henry 10" Vt. Vols. came back last night also. he said that when the news of our victories reached the North the people were wild with excitement, every little town must do its firing of guns &c. Gold came down to $1.60 and sugar took a tumble of 11 cts. per pound. so much joy in the Army of the Potomac as there was when the news reached them of our victory at Winchester, cheer after cheer rent the air, and when the guns were shotted and old Petersburg received their contents, such a shout went up as must have made the Rebel Hearts tremble, Bully for our side. Our men are having a little private good feeling of their own on the pay question.
Monday 3" Rained all day. considerable drunkeness especially in "I" Co Sergt Wilder who now commands them had considerable more than he could do to keep them quiet, finally he got mad and went to hars means, the men came to Hd. Qrs. (I was there) with com-plaints Capt Robertson tried to settle it. finally he turned to me and said "will you take command of Co "I" again you are the only one who appears to be able to do anything with them. They were as good a company as any in the regt while you had them, they were the black sheep always before you came, and have been ever since you left. I told him I would take them again- left home three years to-day
Tuesday 4". This morning Capt Robertson came to me & said "let me introduce you to your company", and turning to Sergt. Wilder "get Co. I into line" when they were formed he and I walked down be-fore them and the Capt told them he was going to return me to them, and that I should have permanent command of the company. After a fiew more words he turned and left. As soon as he turned one of the men steped out and proposes "three cheers for Lt. LaForge". And three hearty cheers they gave, Oh! how proud I felt to think I was so much liked by the fine fellows. I took of my hat and thanked them, then they crouded arround to shake hands, and there was a prety noisy time for a while, the other men of the regt come running to know "what the news was, they were surprised at so much noise about so small a thing. I soon after went up to Hd. Qrs. There was considerable inthusiasm" says the Adjutant with a quiet good natured smile. I have been at work prety hard on my ordnance reports to-day. our Cav. are burning the mills and barns all arround. "I" Co. is all quiet.
Wednesday 5" Passed the day in camp at work on Ordnance papers. prety heavy cannonading in the direction of Mt Crawford, our caval-ry seem to be engaded. Raines every fiew hours sbut is prety warm.
Thursday 6" This morning the for several days expected order to break camp to break camp to fall back was given. we moved out about sun rise, marching very rapidly all day, not stopping for dinner. we passed through clear Spring and New Market and camped at dark on the hills a mile West of Mt Jackson. We i.e. Cox & myself breakfasted on chicken at 4 O.C. this morning. all I ate after that until this evening at 7 O.C. was three apples, it was very warm marching to-day. I dont remember when I have heard the men complain so much as they have at the hard marching to day. Al-though I am prety lame from fatigue of marching still I feel prety good, It was almost an impossibility for a large army like ours to be supplied at so great a distance from its base by wagon transpor-tation we have been on short rashions ever since we have been up here. Our cavalry are burning all the hay and grrain in the Vally as we retreat toward Strausburg.
LETTER (written on diary page) Hd. Qrs. "F" Co. 106" N.Y.Vols.
Harrisonburg Va. Oct. 2" 64
My ever dear Sister.
I have just discovered that you have in several of your past letters asked me questions which I have not answered either on account of not having your letter to read over when answering it, or like the last letter I did not have time to write. we now only have a fiew minutes notice before the mail goes out, not long enough to write a letter. if it was not for my memorandum you would find my letters rather meagre I am afraid. but to proceed I will answer all I can think of. every time an officer is promoted he has to swear in for three years. Say for instance I come out as 1" Lt. if my time is half up and I am promoted to Capt or any other rank above Lt. I have to swear in for three years more from the time I am promoted the same when a soldier lik myself was, is promoted. I am in for three years from June 9" 64. if they do not muster me out with the Regt. which is customary. if they do my time will be out the 27" of Next August. Now about bounty. Offi-cers get no bounty from the government. they should be credited to whatever county they belong to and get the local bounty. did Alle-gany Co. pay any?
Did you expect I would be an officer or not, I was rather surprised when I got your first letter after you knew of my pro-motion. you did not seem at all overwhelmed by the new, never even congratulating me at all, but took it intirely as a matter of course which you had been expecting all along. How was it? I never wrote to you of my expectations hoping to take you by sur-prise, Myself turned out to be the surprised party. you must explain it.
Front Royal. Oct. 11" I finish my letter to day and send in it for you one hundred dollars. please keep it for me. I shall send more soon. Give my love to mother janey, and the boys not forget-ting young Potter, he must be a fine boy as he is named after me and if I get back safe we will have a fine time sure. he will be big enough to learn his A.B.Cs. by that time.
Your ever loving Brother.
A. T. LaForge.
Lieut. Commanding "I" Co. 106" N.Y.Vols.
Friday, Oct. 7" 64. Started about sunrise on the retreat down the Vally. had to wait a long time for our turn to cross the bridge at Mt Jackson over the we then continued our way by easy stages stopping an hour for dinner, we reached Woodstock at sun-down and while the camped on the East side of the town, the 106" staid on the West on out post duty, we were told to make ourselves comfortable for the night. So Cox & I went to a creek a fiew rods off and took a wash, when we came back we found the Regt gone, soon found they had gone out on picket, we followed and found them, our boys got us a supper of fried chicken to which we did full justice. then laid down to sleep, every indication of a hard, cold snap, a little shower of cold rain now an then, Just three years ago to-day I was sworn into the U.S. Service
Sat. 8" The orders was passed down the line to be ready to move at 5½ O.C. A.M. Our servants went to getting us breakfast at once, but before we had half eaten we had to start. The Brigade was waiting for us in town part of the regt. came in one way and part the other so that half of us could get rations of which we were intirely out. We all got about ½ days rations. It was very cold when we started and has continued so all day. Occasionally some rain mixed with a little snow fell, Our route was down the pike towards Strausburg we passed over the old battlefield and took a cool look at the Rebel Works and position on the memoriable 22" Sept. and our wonder at being able to drive them from here was in-creased, if they had not been demoralized by being beated a fiew days before we could not have got them out. Moved down Fishers Hill and camped on the banks of near Strausburg. camped for the night.
Sun. 9" Laid in camp all day, weather very cold. Just at dark we heard the regts cheering on the right, soon an order came down from Brig. Hd. Qrs. that Genl. Torbit (our Cav. Commander) had cap-tured eight guns from the Rebels near Woodstock also seven wagons, The Rebel Infantry were at New Market following us very slowly and cautiously. afraid to get to near. We have had to keep as near the fire as possible, for the weather is decidedly winterish.
Mon 10" Broke camp at sunrise and started on the march at 8 A.M. only our (6) corps moved we passed through Strausburg crossed cedar creek, marched through Middletown then turned to the right for Front Royal, camped a little North of the town for the night. I was provost marshal for the brigade to-day, my duty was to stop all stragglers from the Brigade and send them to their respective regiments. Last night ice was frozen about ¼ of an inch thick. Yesterday received letters from uncle John, Annie Porter, Mrs. Capt. Chamberlain, Sergt. Beaugureau and Sergt Hungerford. The last is my 1" Sergt. was captured at Monocacy and recently paroled.
Tuesday 11" Slept illy last night, had the rheumatism, how the "old folks at home" would laugh to hear me complain of that desease. Day pleasant but cold. Commissary came up and we drew rations. Genl. Sheridan who was over here yesterday with us has gone back to Strausburg. What this movement means none can tell, but the Comdg. Genl. Lots of conjectures are made of course, but I like none.
Wednesday 12. Still prety cold. I wish I had my overcoat, it is at Winchester with the rest of the officers baggage. Capt. Parkers servant returned to the Regt he says that the Capt would have lived, but the doctor thought the piece of shell with which he was wounded did not stay in his side, in this he was mistaken for when the Medical Director of the hospt came arround he found it among his vitals, also a button from his coat. the piece of shell weighed seven ounces. Capt died the next morning after it was taken out. I forgot to mention that yesterday some of our boys were out foraging and were attacked by a band of guerrillias, one of our boys was taken one wounded and got away. the rest managed to get away by taking to the bush
Thursday Oct. 13" Ordered to be ready to move at 6 O.C. A.M. to move down the Vally to Ashbys Gap, cross the mountain and proceed to Alexandria, all supposed to embark for Petersburg. We started and by a hard march reached Milford by 1 P.M. stoped for dinner, then started for the Ford of the Shenandoah. just as the head of the column was entering the river an officer with an escort rode up to Genl. Wright and delivered an order of some kind, the Genl at once ordered a halt. then countermarch and the head of the column came back, how the men cheered when they saw it they do not like the idea of going South again for Petersburg has no charms for us after winning such glory in the Vally. There are all kinds of re-ports about the reason of our turning back, some say that somebody told them that they heard an officer say, that he heard another of-ficer tell Genl. Wright that Petersburg was taken with 90 guns and 20000 prisoners. That Petersburg is taken many believe but I dont. My private belief is that Longstreet who now commands the Rebels in the Vally, has learned of our leaving here and made an attack on the 19" and 8" Corps in hopes of whipping them before we could march back to their assistence, we have heard some reports up toward Strausburg which I take to be cannon which strengthens my belief. We stoped near Milford 2 miles from the river for the night. Had a mail from the north. a letter from sister for me. family generally well. very cold.
Friday 14. Last night had orders to be ready to move at 6 A.M. but at 3 A.M. an order came to march at once, it was cold enough I was glad that I got my overcoat last night. Bright moonlight until ½ an hour before day light. we rested that half hour. We stoped for breakfast at 9 A.M. near Newtown. we had made a prety hard march. after breakfast we moved on up to Middletown found that the Rebs had attacked our troops and rove them from Fishers Hill to Cedar Creek 3 miles this side of Strausburg. We formed line of battle and camped for the night about a mile west of Middletown. The Rebs are at there old fortifications on the Hill.
Saturday 15" Cavalry went out to Strausburg and staid all day the Rebs firing at them some. The enemy are cutting the trees down on one side of Round Knob to build a fort or make a more extended prospect. throgh the opening they have made they can command a view of their left flank where our forces surprised them before. The 8 and 19" corps made no resistance yesterday but fell back trying by a show of timidity to draw the enemy into an attack. The Rebs were to wary however.
Sunday 16" Laid in camp all day, no movement going on that we are aware of. One of the Brigade aids told me that the force in our front consisted of 20000 men commanded by Genl Longstreet, and that he (Longstreet) was expecting 13000 more. If he gets them his force will be larger than ours. 60 recruits came to the regiment to-night. they were mostly put into Co's "C" and "D". they fill these companies up to the 82 which is required before a 2" Lieut can be mustered. Some of the men disliked to go into those Co's when they enlisted for others, and said so, but they will be made to I am afraid but it is a shame if they are.
Monday 17" One of my Sergts. named Campbell a smart active fellow is drilling the recruits and laying down military to them. I was detailed for picket at 3 P.M. took charge of two Lieuts & one hundred men from this regt. after a good deal of unnessary march-ing we got on the line at sundown The orders are not to have any fires after dark, it will be cold work.
Tuesday 18" Duced cold last night I was half froze once and made some fire which Did not go out in spite of orders. four or five shots were fired on our right otherwise all was quiet. this morning the officer sent me word to send two guards to a couple of houses acrost Cedar Creek on the East bank of which our line runs, if I could find a good crossing for the men, I went down to the creek and found no good place to cross so did not send the men While I was eating breakfast one of the men on the line came and said a couple of ladies wanted to come through, I found them a couple of prety southron girls. They wanted to get the guards it was their houses whch were to be guarded as some of our pickets were trying to take their cows and goods. they told me they could show the men where to cross safely. I had no desire to resist the appeal of two such prety faces so sent the guard. The girls gave a very pressing invitation to "come over" and I said perhaps I would, about noon they sent for me again but as the bearer of the message said he saw a good dinner ready, I would not go for it looked too much like "cozening" for my dinner.
I was speaking with Lieut Birge about my coming to the Regt last June Said he "you disappointed us all. When I first saw you I said to the men `there is another sell on the 106"' there is none would call you a `sell' now though. I tell you frankly with-out and desire to flatter, there is not an officer better liked by the officers and men of the Regt than yourself. We are all well pleased with you."
We were expecting to remain on duty three days but were releived just at sundown and came into camp.
Wednesday 19" Another eventful day, another great battle to be added to the already large list. just at day light firing com-menced on the picket line on the right- this was only a feint it worked rapidly down to our left where the attack was realy in-tended, I rose up when I first heard it. but as there was no commotion on our part of the line concluded to sleep again but the firing soon became so fierce that I concluded to get up and issue some clothing which I had on hand and did not issue last night as it was after dark when I got in. all this time the battle was rag-ing hot & heavy on the left where the 8 & 19 corps were camped. I went to my tent to get some breakfast (wheat cakes, ham & eggs and other good things) but had got so excited by the firing that I could not eat, our forces on the left now began to run & the 6" corps was thrown into their place, the Rebs were flushed with suc-cess, and our men rather demoralized by the others runing through their ranks, so when they charged our line it partly gave way our batteries had their horses all shot and the guns were abandoned, this would not do the men were rallied and charged driving the Rebs we took our guns back drawing them off by hand. I ran to where two horses were standing hitched to a limber & gun, took them by their bridles and led them to the rear of our lines, then went back and helped draw one that had but one horse. Genl' Wright rode down to the lines and in front of us when the line first broke. he was rather excited "Halt you d___d cowards" said he, "is there a man who is afraid to die for his country? The line was stoped, I went with some men in front of the line and brought back a wounded man. just turned and went back to the line which was laying down when a bullet struck my left knuckle and smashed it, I was raising it up to take a look at it when another struck me above the right eye & glancing knocked my hat off, the blood ran profusely from both places, I turned, picked up my hat and put it on, and as it was evident they ment me, concluded to put for the rear I bound my handkerchief arround my head & left the field. the Rebs by this time were checked. After going two miles I ran acrost our Dr. had my head dressed, found Capt Wilbur of our Regt wounded in the side. after his wound was dressed we started for Newtown togather. My hand pained me badly but the Dr. had many much worse wounds to tend to so I did not ask him to dress it. When we got to Newtown we found the town full of Stragglers from the 8" & 19" corps these Genl Sheridan had ordered to be sent to the front as soon as he heard of it. Genl Sheridan was not up when the fight began, he had been to Washington and was on the way up from Harpers ferry when he heard the firing. he put spurs to his horse and got up to the field just as our forces had checked them after they had been driven to this side of Middletown when he rode up to the lines, Oh! how the boys cheered him "never mind men" said he "we will pay them for this before night yet". and so he did for he charged at 4 P.M. driving the Rebs before him at a run acrost Cedar Creek through Strausburg, and I understand beyond Fishers Hill. We found their ambulance corps full of wounded parked near Strausburg, we captured this, also their wagon train and all of the artillery they captured from us this morning togather with all the artillery (ex-cept a fiew pieces) they had with them. bully for our side. they did not make much by the surprise they gave us this morning. our troops camped on the same ground they occupied this A.M. our wounded are being brought down here, I cant yet tell to what number.
THURSDAY 20". Staid last night with Lt. Chilton at a Mr. McLeods. my hand pained so I could not sleep much, had breakfast with them then came down to the town again. Capt Briggs who commanded the Regt for a week back was wounded in the foot. four of my men were wounded that I can hear from. our wounded has mostely been brought down here, I have been to all the hospitals and such a sight I never saw or want to see again, this is the first time I ever saw a hospital after a fight as I was always at the front until this time. A surgeon must get stearn hearted to attend to their duties with sang froid as they do, I understand that we are to be sent to Winchester in the morning.
Friday 21" Slept with the rest of our officers in town last night. not much sleep however. Ambulances came into which we were placed about 10 A.M. did not get to Winchester till dark, only the worst cases were left the rest went on to Martinsburg. I took tea at Mr. Jacksons. Saw Lt Buckman he is doing well Q. M. wanted me to stay with him but I concluded to go on. Rained considerable during the night very cold. tried to sleep but could not as I was sure to hurt my head or hand every time, road very rough- the 9" N.Y. H. Art. passed us, they were guarding a detachment of 2200 Rebels to Martinsburg
Saturday 22. Got to Martinsburg at day light. Us officers stoped at a hotel got dinner after which an ambulance came and took us to the cars and we started for Sandy Hook. got there just at dark and were taken up to a hospt for officers on the hill. Tremenduous cold wind blowing had some ham & eggs & warm bread & coffee for supper, felt very comfortable as there was a good warm stove in the tent.
Sun. 23. Staid here all day applications for leaves of absence sent in. Capt Briggs came in. he had laid in the cars all night he said it was ducedly cold. the wind continued to blow prety cold.
Mon 24" Capt Briggs & I got an ambulance and went to Harpers Ferry staid part of the day then came back just in time to get our leaves which were for 30 days. we got on the cars and came down to Balti-more. put up at the Fountain House and went to the Front St Thea-ter to see Mr & Mrs Barney Williams play the Magic Circle. when it was out the two Capts went to another place where I did not accom-pany them but returned to my Hotel.
Tues. 25" Bought a new Rig to-day. Then we took the cars and came on to Phil. Pa. put up at the continental and went to the New Chestnut St. Theater. and saw The Lady of Lyons played. Then re-turned to the hotel. there is a car which is worked by steam used here to elevate the guests to their rooms instead of their having to walk up and down stairs. very fine indeed.
Wed. 26" Came on to New York where we stoped for an hour or two. Went to Barnums at which place I had a Port monie placed in my poc-ket. we then came on the Hudson River R.R. up to Fishkill Landing where I left my two friends as I stoped to visit my uncles people. I went over to New Burgh and stoped for the night at the United State Hotel. not so fine as the Continental.
Thurs. 27" Crossed the River & went up to see Uncle Fuller. people all well and very much pleased to see me. I cant imagine what makes all the women appear so lovely to me. I guess it must be because I have seen so fiew of them lately. a cold storm came up this afternoon.
Friday 28. Staid all day with Uncle was expecting to go back but he would not hear of it. they all wish my sister was here so as to visit togather. Uncle & aunt think the World of sister Susan
Saturday 29" Oct. This A.M. went down to Mateawan to cousin Cal's visited the felt shops then after dinner came down to New Burgh and took the cars for Salisbury Mills arriving there about dark, walked down to Bethlehem and was kindley riceived by Mr & Mrs. Howser where I stoped for the night.
Sunday 30" Mrs. Howser did not want me to see Mr. Clemences people until they came to meeting so as to take them by surprise, and I did take them by surprise. Uncle Tomy did not know me at first but was greatly delighted when I made myself known, and John & his wife Mary received me like a brother. Mary insisted on my treating kher as an old acquaintance. Took dinner and stoped all night with John made a call on Samuel Clemence.
Monday 31" Went down to Cornwall & Canterbury with John. at the latter place I called upon Mrs. Townsend, mother of our Col. Charles Townsend who was killed at the Battle of Cold Harbor, I called by the request of the officers of the 106" to express the deep regard we feel for her son. The lady received me kindly and my call gave her much satisfaction although upon a painful subject. She extended me a cordial invitation to stop part of my Leave with them. when she found I could not, she desired me to extend to the officers of the 106" the same invitation. I was expecting to go on my journey to night but John desired me to go with him an join the Union League which I did & now belong to Orange League No 5. of N.Y. I was requested to speak but being unprepaired, declined. On our return at past midnight we found Mary waiting tea.
Tuesday NOvember. 1" 64. Up & breakfasted at 6 A.M. took my leave of the kind people. John took me up to the cars. We parted with many kind wishes and I was whirled away from friends whose kindness will ever remain fresh in my memory. At Hornillsville I got on the wrong train and instead of stopping at Andover had to go on to Wellsville and staid all night.
Wednesday 2" Took the 12" NM. train & came to Andover then came up to my dear sisters. found all well but mother she has put her shoulder out of joint by an accident but is very cheerful. I was very much delighted to see them all.
Thursday 3" Wrote to Lieut Cox to let them know where I am. This evening I was going up to Perrys but Mr. & Mrs. Nelson Crandall came over also Miss Clara so I must of course stay and entertain them so did not go up.
Friday 4" I went up to Uncle Stephen Clarks from there after tea up Perrys wher I stop all night Dell. Eaton stays with me.
Saturday 5". Went to church to-day then up to Mr. Nelson Cran-dalls Miss M. Livermore and Dell. Eaton were also there. our evening was an exceedingly pleasant one. Clara entertained us with the piano. did not retire until 2 A.M. 6" Dell staid with me.
Sunday 6" Spent the day at home rains some still.
Monday 7". Promised Dell Eaton I would go home with him from the election to-morrow. Wrote to Uncle John LaF.
Tuesday 8". Was down to Andover and put in a full Union Ticket. Lincoln for President, Fenton for governer. had to swear my vote in then could not get any body to swear to my age, so done that part myself too. Rained nearly all day, no trouble at the polls so had no occasion to use my revolver which I took with me. Rained all the time while we were going up to Mr. Eatons. Mr. Eaton said he would stay in town until the reports came from New York as to the way the election went.
Wednesday 9". Dell and I called on Mr. Rosebush and took dinner, then went down to Mr. Remingtons. from there to Elder Kenyons where we took tea after which I went up to Mr. Slocum Livermores and Dell stoped and brought up Miss M. Crandall. we passed the evening pleasantly until nearly midnight when as the old people did not retire we concluded we would so came home. I found the doors fastened and tried to get in at the window without waking any body but did not succeed as my sister heard me. rained all day.
Thursday 10" Staid at home until evening then went up to Stephen Clarks, from there up to Perry Potters. made arraingements to go to Wellsville with Mr. Clark to-morrow. Windy and cold but not rainy to-day.
Friday 11" Up and had breakfast before day light and about 7 A.M. started with Stephen and his wife and doughter to Wellsville. had a cold ride. did not succeed in getting a pair of boots for which purpose I started. Got a piece of cloth for Mrs. Eathan Green she wanted me to take the money for it could not think of it. When we got home found that Sherman Crandall had came home from Alfred Centre to see me and left word for me to call over to his house to-night went over and found a prayer meeting there, after it had broken up had a good visit. staid all night. cold day snowed some.
Saturday 12" Attended church the Elder had to illustrate one of his points by relating a dream which he had about seeing a man shot. he said he "supposed it was caused by hearing Mr. LaForge relate the proceedings of the shooting of two men which he had wit-nessed" after church went to Mr. Crandalls again. Sherman, Dell, Bill Clarck and myself had been expecting to go to Alfred this evening but the snowstorm which commenced this morning had con-tinued all day so we concluded to have a party at home. Sherman went out with the sleigh and got the girls arround to come, so we had an exceedingly fine time lot of good singing and other enjoy-ment, did not break up until the wee hours of the morning.
Sunday 13" Sherman went back to Alfred. I rode home with him. the first sleigh ride of the season. I sent my dress coat down to Andover to Mrs. Green to get it fixed. Macky took it down and brought it back.
Monday Oct. 14. Thawed very little to day. quite good sleighing This evening I took the cutter and went over to Mr. Crandalls. Miss Clara and myself spent the evening at Mr. Rosebushes.
Tuesday 15" Snowed a little to-day. wind very cold, drifted some to-night. William Clark and I went up to Mrs. Cooper and found Miss Cooper and Miss Chadwick at home, passed the evening very pleasantly. beautiful moonlight nights now, I should just like to spend them in sleigh riding but the ladies think it is too cold.
Wednesday 16" Clear and warm enough to thaw considerably spent the P.M. at Perrys. Mrs. S. A. Potter and myself took the buggy and went to the Sab. Meeting HOuse to a singing school. very plea-sant evening and I enjoyed myself greatly. the ladies were very complaisant as they always are up here. about 10 when we got home.
Thursday 17" Nov. Opened somewhat rainy. I took the buggy and went over to Mr. Eatons and got my revolver which has been there ever since election. Stoped at Mr. Crandalls on my way back to bid them good bye. as I start for Washington to-morrow. I got a letter from John Clemence also one from W.J. Fuller. John sent his own and wifes photographs. both want me to come back that way.
Friday. Nov. 18" 64. Bade my kind friends at Andover good-by and the 12.20 P.M. train for Elmira. felt prety sad for a while. My thoughts were taken from my parting for a while by a flirtation got up by a couple of young ladies who got on the cars at Aldie. and off at Horsehead, they were fine looking and very richly dressed, my first impression was that they were lewd characters but I soon became convinced to the contarary, as soon as I found they were determined on a flirtation, why of course I was in for it. We did not leave Elmira until long after dark as a train had got off the track and delayed us. snow all gon, last's nights rain melted it.
Sat. 19" Arrived at Washington just at dark. went to Willards and put up, got supper then went to see played Crosby, former Chief Clerk of Camp Distribution went with me. house crowded, after play returned to the hotel and went to bed, has rained all day.
Sunday 20" Still raining I was going over to Camp but it rained so I concluded not to. Went to the opera to night it was for the benifit of the Friendless womens society. Beaugureau was there and stayed with me all night.
Monday 21" Went over to camp to-day found myself quite a lion there, returned at night brougt Beaugureau along went and saw the "Gamester" played after which lunched and retired to my room where we had a game of chess although it was past midnight I was beaten.
Tuesday 22" Run upon Lieut. or rather Capt Burrows of the 6" Mary-land. I knew him a short time (about an hour) last spring. he is a splendid fellow. to-night he and I went to see the Seven Sisters played, then I went home with him, we had a game or two of Euchre also checkers and then retired, very cold, ground frozen.
Wednesday 23" Was introduced to Capt. "Late Lieut. Cushing, of the Ram Albermile notoriety, he is a young looking man his long light hair making himn look almost boyish, there is something about his face which shows a strong determination to do a thing once under-taken. With Capt Burrows I visited some young ladies on Capitol Hill they are friends of the Capt. and very fine ladies, spent a pleasant evening. Made Cap. stay with me to-night Genl. Grant is here stopping.
Thursday 24" Thanksgiving was more generally observed than I ever saw it before. places of business closed. Places of amusement were crowded. I accordance with a pressing request from Col. Eli-son. Quartermaster of the Dept. I dined with him at 5 P.M. Was introduced to Col. Stephenson and another Col. of the regular Army, also several other officers and citizens, there was ten of us gen-telmen present. We had Rost turkey, duck, and pig, Brandy, Whis-key, and several kinds of wine finished with segars and stories I passed so pleasant an evening that I forgot I wanted to leave at 8½ until past that time. when I went down to the hotel I found Burrows had been there and left a note for me to meet him to-morrow at 10 A.M. I left a note for him stating I could not as I left for the front at 6 A.M. I must go back as there is but two company of-ficers left for the whole ten companies the rest are either woun-ded, killed, prisoners, or on leaves of Absence, so I must return as am duty bound.
Friday. October (should say November) 25" 1864. Had breakfast and started from Willards on the 6½ train arrived in Martinsburg just before sundown. I went and stayed all night with our Regimental Q. M. We went to spent the evening with some ladyfriends of his, the Misses Cookes with one of which I am prety sure he is in love. They have been having considerable rain here as is evident by the state of the streets. I forgot to mention that these young ladies were very rich once but were burned out by the Rebs on account of their Union sentiments.
Saturday 26". Had breakfast and reported to the Genl Commanding to be sent to the front. four ambulances loaded with officers also eight mounted officers (among which was myself) and five wagons of thanksgiving things escorted by one hundred cavalry were to go up, we started at 10 A.M. had a fine ride, expecting an attack every little ways from Mosebny, he did not see fit however, us officers had some wild races and lots of fun, when in about 6 miles of Win-chester a staff officer and I rode on ahead and galloped into town at least three miles ahed of the escort, we had eaten our dinners by the time the rest came, then we came on up to Kernstown where Genl. Sheridan now has his Head Quarters. I found the Regt. by dark having ridden over 30 miles between the hours of 10" and 4. and making necessary stopages. Rained this P.M. Officers and men were as delighted to see me as I was to see them, my arms are sore shaking hands, and I am sore all over from the ride, it is the first I have had since I was at camp Distribution and am not used to it of course, the horse I had is the lamest of us two I bet.
Sunday 27". Very pleasant day, had time to look arround we are laying in a very pleasant position arround Kernstown, the hills are well fortified and our posishion strong. The men have excel-lent quarters for winter being most of them in little log houses which they have built. I have been looking all arround Lt. Cox my old messmate are going in togather. he has a good log house built about 9 x 14 feet, a good fireplace, and very comfortable quarters. 1" Lt. Robinson, 1" Lt. Snyder, acting adjutant. 2" Lt.s. Cox and Hall commanding companies, not a Capt. in the Regt. the boys are all looking fat and saucey. Co. I hardly knew how to express their joy. they say it is much better than pay day to see me back. Wrote to Col. McKelvy also to John Clemence. I cannot send the letters for several days. I will not write to my sister until I have a chance to send it.
Monday 28". Rained last night but has been very pleasant to day I was detailed as Brigade officer of the guard, the brigade guards are all mounted togather now, my duties have ben light, I only had to make my rounds once or twice. I made a certified invoice to-day and sent my ordnance report in, it had been sent back for it (the invoice). I wrote a letter to Mrs. P. J. Hawley, informing her of her husbands being missing on the march from Martinsburg to Winchester, we had Brigade Drss Parade to night. it is a big thing.
Tuesday 29" Warm pleasant day, the air smokey like indian summer Snyder our Act. Adjt. was away and I had to act as Adjt. I had to be on horse back, we had Brigade drill and parade. I find it much more pleasant being mounted than on foot. I have made my Ordnance Report for the first part of the 3" Quarter/64. that and my duties as Adjt has kept me buisy up to this time 9.25 P.M.
Wednesday 30" Still warm and clear. My conscience if this weather continues we shall have another fight. I dont believe Genl. Sheri-dan can lay still if the weather will admit of his moving. the climate is too uncertain however at this time of the year to trust much to it. the rumor still continues that we (the 3" Corps) is to leave the Vally, of course we all hope such will not be the case, but it is only hope. Col. Trueax, 14" N.Y. Vols. who was dismissed last summer has been reinstated.
LETTER Hd. Qrs. "I" Co. 106th N.Y. Vols.
Near Kernstown Va. Wednesday Nov. 30" 1864
My Dear sister and Friends
I should have written you before but the mail which leaves to-morrow is the first one which has left since I have been here, I stoped in Washington from the night of the 19" until the morning of the 25". I had a splendid thanksgiving dinner with Col. Elison the Quartermaster of the Department of Washington, there was several distinguished persons present, still how gladly would I have ex-changed the Col's. table for yours on that day. I was interrupted in my letter for dress parade, it is now nearly 9 P.M. but I will finish as I am sure you would like to hear from me, I heard that there was but two company officers left in the Regt. so I would not stay in washington but hastened to the front. We are having very pleasant weather here now, the air is soft and balmy, if you are having the same up there it must be your indian summer. Our camp life was somewhat varied to-day by a squad of four native women passing through here, they had came in through the pickets and were going to Sheridans Hd. Qrs. to make some request. one of them was very prety if the rest know when they are well off, they will let her do all the talking, for beauty has a great effect on an old soldier. To day a recruit of Co. A. was in my quarters he claims that his wife can foretell future events, also those which have transpired; to test the matter I have written her the following questions. Am I a native of this country? Am I married, have I or shall I have children? Are my parents living? Has my lawsuit com-menced? if so shall I be successfull? When these questions are answered I shall inform you of the answers. Anything to pass the time.
When you write you must be sure to inform me how the boy pros-pers also how mother is getting along. My love to Janey, Martha, Joe, Mother, and Perrys people.
I am sleeping on boards now, with only a slight cover over me, still I sleep much sounder than when I was sleeping on your soft beds. I am now where the wind can come at my nose, which seems to be a great satisfaction to that important member, and has a sooth-ing effect on all the rest.
I remain your ever loving Brother.
Lt. Comdg "I" Co. 106" N.Y. Vols.
You can hardly imagine how pleasant and pleased the officers and men were to see me. they all knew I had influence in Washington and supposed I would stop there, they could hardly see how it was that I would not stop there when I could as well as not.
Thursday. Dec. 1" 64. Still fair weather. I sent a letter to my sister in the mail which went out this morning I sent 7 letters. I was in command of the Regt two hours to-day. this P.M. took out all the men who had loaded guns and fired them off. The 1" Div. of our corps moved this A.M. where they are going we do not know but suppose to Petersburg. We expect to move soon. hard at work on my clothing for June and July to-day got those two months nearly finished.
Friday. Dec. 2" 64. Very buisy again at the clothing rolls. The fair weather with which we have been blessed for several days seems about to cease. considerable rain fell this P.M. and the sky looks like one of those long winter storms, still warm however. Batta-lion drill this P.M. Dress Parade postponed on account of the rain. Wrote to Mrs. Anst Ogdensburg N.Y. I also wrote to Sherman Cran-dall. Indications of a move of men of our corps as a body. We dread Petersburg.
Saturday 3. Last night had orders to be ready to move at 7 O.C. A.M. to-day. It only broke my rest for a few minutes. I went to sleep again, We packed up with rather heavy hearts and started for the R.R. station four miles below Winchester. We could not take our pack animals on the cars with us so we took what things we wanted for a few days with us and then sent the rest by the "over-land" route as we called it. We had rather a cold ride on the cars (box cars) but lots of fun.
Sunday 4". Arrived at the Capitol a little after sun rise, al-though we are feeling rather as though we were wronged in being sent away from the Valley, still the joyful nature of a soldiers' disposition has overcome the feelings which tend to make them dis-pond. They are now making lots of fun, fine lusty limbed fellows, I wonder how many of those sturdy chaps will live to see Washington again. Our Brigade were all embarked by one P.M. Brig. Hd. Qrs. was on our boat the "Matilda" besides our Regt. the 10" Vt Vols. was on board. We left the wharf by 2 P.M. I stood at the bow pointing out the various places of interest to the rest who were less acquainted with the notorieties. Farewell Washington with your magnificent publick buildings, palatial residences of your arristocracy, your rich upper ten, and poor "lower thousand", your churches and haunts of iniquity, your syrens and your vices, when shall we see you again, We are bound on an expidition where hard knocks will be more plenty than good times. I was detailed as "of-ficer of the day" to keep things in order on the boat.
Monday 5". Found ourselves going up James River this morning ar-rived at City Point at 10" A.M. disimbarked and moved up on the hill. here we stacked arms and waited for the cars, while waiting I found George Battersby. he belongs to the sanitary commission. Ezra Rounds (sister you remember his likeness) he has charge of the 9" Corps Commission. they wanted me to come down and stay all night with them if the Division staid here all night. We built fires at dark, the officers of the Regt all got togather at one end of a large wood pile and built a rousing big fire, we laid down near it and had lots of fun. Took the cars by 8 P.M. for the front. went up 15 miles and got off in the rear of the 5" corps. whose position in the line we are to occupy. We were short of blankets and tents as they are with the packs, the ground wet so we built up a large fire of pine boughs, the sparks in millions were soon flying high above the tallest trees, our men cut down some trees and breaking bushy boughs from them soon made us a good bed to spread our blankets on, then after taking a drink to keep the rheumatism away we laid down with our feet to the fire and faces to the sky, and went to sleep amid much more comfortable cir-cumstances than one would have thought possible when we first came up. Lieut's Cox and Moor and seven men were left behind in Wash-ington. they left the boat and did not get back in time to start with us, It was not right for them to leave.
Tuesday. 6" Five months ago to-day we left this place for "My Maryland" with light joyful hearts. Since then we have lost in battle 12 officers, and some 250 men, still we hate to return to this place where our losses were not nearly so great. We staid there until after dark when just as I had laid down the order came to move, to pack up was a short job, and we were soon under way, we moved about a mile which brought us on to the ground of the 2" Div. 5" Corps, they were not to move until day light so we had orders to make ourselves comfortable where we were, we spread our blankets on the hard Parade Ground and without fir slept very comfortably even if it was the 6" day of winter.
Wednesday 7". Up and breakfasted at day light. did not move into our quarters until two hours after at which time it had been rain-ing for half an hour, The quarters into which we moved were nearly as good as those we left in the Vally they were not quite finished yet however. I forgot to mention that one of our new Col's. 2" Lts arrived while we were waiting at Harpers ferry. none of our com-panies were large enough to muster a 2" Lt. so this one had to shoulder his gun as a private! when we were on the boat I saw him standing among the men and looking prety sad, so I got him to go up in my state room and occupy one of the births. I could see he was unused to the society in which he was thrown and felt sorry for him. Rained until after dark then cleared off. I am stopping with Lt's. Chilrton and Hepburn until my baggage comes down.
Thursday 8". Morning broake fair, we were up and under arms at day break merely as a precautionary measure. prety cold in the A.M. but warm after sun rise. at work on our new quarters. mine are very good, but I have nothing to cover it with yet. nothing of importance transpired to-day. We have not heard of the 5" Corps yet it was sent yesterday on some movement to the left. what it was of course we do not know.
Friday 9". Very cold, looks like snow, at M. the Strike Tents was sounded and we were soon ready for anything, we got out in line two hours before dark, we did not leave the camp ground until nearly dark, very cold standing arround so long trying to keep ourselves warm. Moved out beyond our left flank towards the South Side RailRoad found one Div. of the 2" Corps on picket there, they had been out four day. our force consisted of the 1st and nearly all the 3" Div's. of the 6" Corps. a Div. of Cavalry and three Batteries of Art. We moved on beyond the 2" Corps and about 9 P.M. camped in a bitter North East wind blowing, before we could make fires and get supper a cold sleet commenced falling, so our prospect for the night was anything but inviting. still all was not so bad. my servant put up a shelter tent. then at the back he piled some cedar brush and in front built up a huge fire in front. then spreading a our blankets down in it for a floor it was quite comfortable. soon my supper consisting of fried pork, hot coffee, hard tack, and butter was set before me and I was soon immused in deep thought and supper, as I sat gazing into the fire and listen-ing to the damp wind soughing through the waving pine tops, and occasionally giving an eye or ear to the groups of soldiers sitting arround their blazing bivouac fires, wrapt in their blankets, smok-ing and chatting with as much unconcern as if they were surrounded by the nmost favorable circumstances in the world. I could not help remarking to my self, what a hapy nature a sodier is blessed with. I also wished for a moment that my friends in old Allegany could get a glimps of my present surroundings, then I took it back for fear it would spoil their nights rest. Shortly after I laid down and was soothed to sleep by the crackling fire at my side and slep very comfortably all night. my servant kept the fire going.
Saturday, Dec. 10". On waking this morning I found two inches of snow. an inch of water, and six inches of mud, very agreeable for us to be sure. after an early breakfast we moved into line of bat-tle, sent the Cavalry to the front, stacked arms in the snow, and kept ourselves warm until after noon, we could hear cannonading away off to the left. probably the 5 corps ingaged, about 3 P.M. considerable firing was heard at our front (I afterwards learned it was the Cav. coming in and discharging their carbines to have them empty.) then we got the order to move back to camp where we ar-rived an hour before dark. we went to work putting up our houses but that was soon stoped by and order that we were to move again. after dark we moved half a mile, up to near Fort Keen, and went in-to some miserable quarters. all mud and snow and not room enough for all the men. remonstrance was useless so we took them "as they were" and put our shelters over them, hardly had this been done when an order came arround to have the men ready to move at a mo-ments notice. lots of swearing but no good. pack up they did, and then we staid all night after all. I slept very cold and was up and about nearly all night. moving arround through the slush to-day has made me nervous.
Sunday 11". A good breakfast this morning makes me feel much bet-ter. thaws a very little to-day, no orders to move so far. I must write to sister, we have had no mail since we have been here owing to some unacountabe reason. when one comes I expect some letters and others. There is a rumor in camp which I can trace to no reli-able source, that this division is ordered back to the Vally, as Early has set Sheridan back. this I do not believe. although it gives the boys a good deal of satisfaction to contemplate such a possibility for they all disliked very much to leave the place wher their principle laurel's have been gained.
Most of the troops on this line have erected cantonments for them-selves so as to keep themselves comfortable as possible, but they cannot work with the feeling that they are to enjoy them long for too much uncertainty envelopes all our movements at present, so they do not take as much pains as they would otherwise. were we sure of staying we would soon have good quarters that we should not be ashamed to bring our wives and sisters to look at.
LETTER Hd. Qrs. "I" Co. 106" N.Y.V.
Near Fort Keen, Va. Sunday 11" Dec. 1864
My Dear Sister
I have as yet received no letter from you since I have been here, but this is in all probability owing to the fact that we have recd no mail since I have been here. that is not since you could have answered my other.
The old 6" Corps is soldiering in earnest again marching, countermarching, skirmishing, sleeping in the open air and so on. such is life as a soldier. We know not one minute what will befall us the next. running arround the country seems to be the order of day, but when it comes to marching through the cold slush which we have for the past two days, why it is prety cold work.
How is the weather up there? prety cold I suppose. baby stands it well I hope. have you heard from father yet? How is mother and the rest of the family this cold weather? for I am sure it must be cold there
What is the gossip of the place? Is any body talking about my being partial to white stockings and long dresses? if they are just tell them, they are my sentiments on the subject. as long as Janey and you agree with me I dont care so much for the rest.
Yours in love.
A. T. LaForge
Sunday Dec. 11: 1864. This evening Capt. Briggs and Lts. Cox and Moore with 13 recruits and 20 Convalescents came into camp to night, they left Washington day before yesterday stayed two nights on the boat, Cox and Moor were left by accident, they say in the city, but had a prety good time.
Monday 12". I slept very cold last night. I gave Cox my bed and slept in Shaws tent on the ground, it was extremely cold and I al-most froze. to-night he must look out for himself for I cant aford to freeze. The day has been very cold. Ice has formed over an inch thick. prety cold for such houses. No mail.
Tuesday 13". Wrote to Gov't. Claim Ag't. Johnson. Still very cold. no thaw. Capt Robinson came back from home to-day bringing with him our new battle flag with him. it was made by a firm in New York. it is of blue silk with the U.S. Coat of Arms in the centre. the names of the battles in which we have been ingaged are formed on it with yellow silk thread. they are Fairmont, Martins-burg, Wapping Hights, Culpepper, Kelleys Ford, Locust Grove, Spott-sylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Monocacy, Winchester, Fishers Hill, Cedar Creek. also the Wilderness. some are not mentioned This is I think as good a record as most regiments can show these are only the names of the pitched battles, skirmishes are not men-tioned. The flag cost over four hundred dollars $400.37. We ex-pect the flag will be formaly presented to the regiment to-morrow if nothing prevents. Had Brigade Dress Parade to-night.
Wednesday 14". The wind is from the South to-day and its moderat-ing effects on the weather is felt by us all. The flag presenta-tion did not take place, to-morrow will see the event I believe. we drew some clothing of which the men were very much in need. did not get all we wanted. Wrote to Miss Annie Porter.
Thursday 15" Detailed for picket. went out. found our line ran within 400 yards of the Johnnies. it looks strange to see two lines of men composed of men from two hostile armies thus pacing up and down in front of each other as quietly as if deadly hate was not rancoring in the bosom of each for the other. The Rebs seemed to feel very sociable to-day, they came out of their lines shaking papers, (the sign that they want to exchange papers also tobaco for coffee, Our boys were not allowed to go out to them as our orders are very strict not to have any communications with them. This P.M. a fiew shots were exchanged one of our men was shot through the body. he had went out beyond the dead line and was shot by Mr. Rebs for it. There is a kind of understood truce between our men and the Johnnies not to fire on each other unless they pass beyond a certain line. Our boys were getting rather careless which was the cause of the man's being shot. Down on the left of our Div. line, the Rebels breastworks come within three hundred yards of our picket line. I went out there and stood for some time watching the enemy away off on the hills to their rear I could see their en-trenched camps gleaming in the light of our Dec. Sun. woe be unto us, I thought if we have to but aganst those fortifications. When I came back I got some of the men on the reserve post which I com-mand to put me up a pine bough bower, this they done in prety good style so that Capt. Robinson who is Div. officer of the day and I will be pretty apt to sleep with considerable comfort to-night.
Friday. Dec. 16" Another very warm pleasant day. I went into camp this morning to get my breakfast. the men are at work putting up new Shanties and making themselves comfortable. I found a letter for myself from Mrs. Annie Wallace full of kind expressions and very pleasant indeed. It is now evening and I sit down by the light of my blazing campfire to finish the record of the day. the Rebs have been very uneasy for some reason firing at our boys with-out any reason sometimes. but as soon as night set in they ceased firing and every thing on the lines are as quiet as if two powerful armies bent on each others distruction did not lay within hearing of each other. Behind us within sight our camps stretch away to the right and left. they are now full of the music of hundreds of brass bands which we can hear as far to the right and left as the ear can reach I can distinctly hear the band of the 106" playing their favorite pieces, How carlessly they lay there depending on the eyes and ears which stretch from the Army of the James away up in front of Richmond about three miles to the left of us a line nearly 40 mniles long, verily this is an extensive picket line. I wonder what nmy sister would say to see me preparing to lay down with sword and pistol buckled on. but such is pcket duty. we live in constant expictation of an attack, so have to be ready to spring to our feet in a second-.
Saturday 17" Had the men all under arms at 5 A.M. as that is the time the Rebs choose for their attacks. Capt. Robinson who came out as officer of the day, sent in to be relieved as he was sick. Capt Briggs came out early this A.M. to relieve him. One of the soldiers who was killed the 12" of last August but not burried un-til Sept 5" was taken up to-day. I think is very foolish to remove a body after once being buried, It can be but little satisfaction for his friends to see the disgusting mass humanity becomes after burrial. this man was the son of Dr. Johnson of Baltimore Md. Many soldiers both Union and Confederate lie burried arround us in the woods, and the trees and srubs bear evidence of the fierce con-flict which was waged here for the possession of the Weldon Rail Road, one of the trees which stands near my "Silvan Bower" was struck over 30 times and it is but a type of of the rest, not one is here but has been hit lots of times. Last night an Irishman de-serted from the Rebs and came over to us, he was so scart he could hardly tell us anything. he belongs to the 19" Mis. Regt. Hills Corps. his mother lives in Boston. we sent him to Corps Hd. Qrs. The Rebs followed him close to our lines. Rather cold to-night.
Sunday 18" Commenced raining a little after day light. cold wind from the North. We were relieved at 9 A.M. came into camp got a wagon and sent out and got the timber for my house. the boys are at work putting it up. Lt. Cox and I are going in togather, hope we will have as fine a time as before. quite warm yet. No word from our baggage.
Monday 19" Pleasant warm day. the 106" is acting as picket re-serve and we have to be up at 5 A.M. every morning until we have served our time at it. Very warm and pleasant considering it is the middle of Dec. the men turn out and work like bees at their cantonments. they wear no coats and none are needed it is so warm. Battery "M" which was with us up in the Vally came to us this afternoon our trains probably will be here in a day or two. I wrote to Sister and George Batersby the latter is at City Point.
LETTER Hd. Qrs. "I" Co 106" N.Y.V. December 19" 1964
My Sister & Friends
I wish you a "Very merry Christmas" to commence with as I sup-pose this will reach you about the time you are celebrating that time renowned holliday. Your fireside is not like many in the land - one of mourning for some near and dear friend who has been lost in the tide of battle, but on the contrary one of joy for God has preserved your circle of loved ones from death although they may be scattered far and wide over the land. for this I join you in thank-ing our great Preserver.
If nothing hapens I shall spend my Christmas in a new house. my boys are building one for me. they split pine logs, then cut them about seven feet long. these they stand on one end in a trench side by side and (back of letter either did not copy well or was poor to begin with)
(New page of diary duplicates entries for Dec. 18th and 19th.)
Sunday 18" Relieved and came in from picket at 9 A.M. commenced raining a little after day light, not much. one hundred guns was fired from our right in honor of the late successes under Thomas and Sherman. I commenced work on my shanty to day. the Chaplain came arround where we were at work and I asked him if it was wrong to do necessary things on the sabbath? "Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might" said he and walked off. So I con-tinued at the work, or rather superintending it.
Monday 19" The news from the West is glorious Thomas is driving the enemy before him "Like the hare before the beagle". The Union horizon looks brighter than it has for many days. Capt. McBroom returned to the regt from Camp Rendezvous of Distribution. he re-minds me that Segts Beaugureau's time is nearly out, so if I want a letter to reach him at Camp I must write soon.
Tuesday 20" The flag presentation has not yet came off. The offi-cers are delaying it until they have a house finished for Regt. Hd. Qrs. so that they can have a kind of spree after it is over, I sup-pose. I wrote to George Battersby. U.S.S. Commission and to Capt. H. Burrows. Genl' Banks Staff to-day. looks like rain and a rain is sure to bring on cold weather now.
Wednesday 21" Raining this morning when I woke up. rained until M. then began to grow cold and is now freezing. I have drawn clothing this Mo. on the 14" 18" & 21" insts. C. Snyder 1 Lt. got a leave of absence for 15 days and left for Washington this M. The Q. M. is going down to City Point to see if our baggage has come, and to bring it up if it has. he will do his best I warrent.
Thursday 22" Froze up hard last night, very cold to-day. I have been here now nearly a month. have written home three times, and as yet not had a word in reply. I think I shall stop writing until I learn whether there is any body to reply to my letters, I con-fess I feel rather vexed that I can get plenty of letters from every other place but from those I most desire to hear from. I dont see what is the matter. I wrote to Beaugureau, I think he will get my letter before he leaves camp. Very cold.
Friday 23" Still very cold, the report is that the 8" Corps is here from the Vally and that the 9" Corps is shipping for this place also. if such is the case I rather think the Genbl' Grant will soon be trying to see if he cant induce Genl Lee to let go his hold on Petersburg. once set back from here and Richmond, and I believe we could keep him running. The Q. M. has returned from City Point our baggage has not came yet nor any news of its coming yet. I was up at Hd. Qrs. and a tremenduous cheer was set up by the 2 Corps. we learned that it was caused by a deserters coming in and saying Savannah had fallen. Our rations are very short the men have scarcely enough to eat.
Saturday 24" Still cold. An official report came down that Sher-man had captured Savannah with Genl. Harde and between 15 & 18 thousand prisoners. this is a most gratifying report I hope it may prove true, things look bright. wrote to Mrs. Wallace
Sunday Dec. 25, 1864. Christmas Day has passed off very quietly much more so than it would have done had our men received their pay for the last two months, as it was they had very little money and temperence was forced upon them. How fiew among the thousands who have celebrated this holliday have given serious thought to the manner of its origen a painful meaning and still a hopeful one it has for the christian beleiver. The recent cold weather has had the effect of cooling off the loyalty of the rebel soldiers to their government, they are deserting to our lines in large numbers daily. Received a letter from my sister. also one from uncle John it was inclosed in the one from sister, but she made no comments upon it although there was several subjects which I know she must have objected to Uncle I am afraid is a little Copperheadish in his views as he opposes the administration somewhat, I received communications from the Ordnance Office that my returns for Co's "I" & "F" had been received and found correct. Have not tuched a drop of licquor to day. only smoked twice.
Monday 26" Wrote to Perry Potter last night letter will not go until to-night. I have had my house finished and gave the boys a canteen of whiskey for their work, I could move in now if my tents were only here, but they are still up to Washington Lt Snyder writes that they are loaded and the boat froze in below Washington so of course we will not get them for some time yet. I reduced 1" Sergt Hungerford to Sergt. & promoted Sergt Wilder in his place. I also reduced Sergt. Munroe to the ranks for his long continued abscence & promoted Corp. Cook in his place and promoted private Labrake to Corp in Cook's place. The officers are going to work in dead earnest to keep Col Barney who is one of Seymours creatures, and his officers from coming to the regiment, if we can only suc-ceed in keeping them away until Fenton takes the Gubernatorial chair we can get new commissions in their place. Then getting commissions for the field officers creates a "pisen difficulty" in our regt. there is too much confounded jealousy, what with of-ficers who want to jump others - and others who dont want to jumped- they succeed in keeping themselves in hot water. The pro-bability is that Capt Briggs who now commands the regt. will recommend Maj. McDonald and himslf for Lt. Col. and Adjt. Robinson for Major. this last Capt's McBroom & Robinson object to, being jumped by and Adjt is not what they like. Rained last night and some to day.
Tuesday 27" Rained some last night but pleasant to-day. Just got my house all ready to move in, and to-night the order has came for us to move out and give place to the 67 P.V. we go to the camp we went into when we first came here, well there is no use of swear-ing, if there was I am very much afraid I should indulge Gen'l Seymour Comd'g Div. has issued orders that all men and officers must wear the propper badges. the men must wear cap's and Non' Com' officers must wear the propper chevrons and commissioned of-ficers must wear their propper insignia of office, any found dis-obeying these orders will be at once arrested and tried by court martial. All this is very good but when he comes to moving us about without any apparent reason, although they myust be obeyed- still we murmer some. Having to move just as we should be at work on our rolls too, makes it worse. The sun set beautifully to night. looks as if we should have a pleasant day to-morrow. I came near forgetting to mention that an order came for us to rec-commend our enlisted men who have distinguished themselves for bravery, for badges of honor. but our boys are all so brave that we could not reccommend some without doing injustice to others, so we sent up the names of none
Wednesday 28". Moved camp a 8 A.M. considerable swearing. found quarters enough to crowd the men into for one night. Lt Cox and I took one of his company shanties until we could build a new one which the boys are willing to do for us. Our baggage came this P.M. and I have been at work on my company accounts until the pre-sent moment 10 P.M. had a letter from Mrs. Green thanking me for getting blanks sent her from Washington to enable her to get the monies due her husband from the U.S. Govt. Commenced raining while we were on Brigade Dress Parade, has rained considerable since.
Thursday 29" Have been at work on Payrolls nearly all day very cold to-night Cox & I feel very much at home in our own house much better than living with any body else. The Adjt. and Lt Chilton each got 20 day leaves to day they will not start home until mon-day on account of muster days being so close at hand, I shall work quit late so as to get the rolls done for the Adjt. to take to Washington.
Friday 30" My boys are again at work making me a new shanty I wonder if I shall have to leave it like the other. at work most of the day on the Rolls sent my Q. M. Returns for June & July to Washington. Received a letter from Capt Burrows of Banks Staff. The young ladies he and I visited while I was in the city send their respects to me, very kind!- I was detailed to-night as a member of a court martial which commences its sittings next monday. I expect to get some valueable information while a member of it. A detail for me to act as brig. Officer of the Guard to-morrow. looks like rain I'le bet I have a bad day for duty nothing un-common for the time of year.
Saturday 31" Rained A.M. and sleet (very cold) P.M. Old Tom came from Washington with the mule he has got our Billy is here all right now, and we cannot keep him after all. too bad intrely I vow. could not finish my shanty to-day, it was so cold. Finished the rolls, and had monthly inspection and were mustered for pay. My Pay Rolls were the first finished. My duties as Brigade Officer of the Day have been very light. I cannot help feeling a little vain to learn, as I did to-day that my bravery a Winchester was a subject of comment among the officers of the Regt for a long time. It has been told to others and I find I am considerably known by reputation Our usual quiet was disturbed this morning by the Rebs making a dash on our picket line and capturing some of our men. it was before day light and people thought there was a general attack. Lt. Cox rolled over me and said the Rebs were making an attack on us. I listened a moment, made up my mind it was not much, and com-posed myself to sleep again as I did not go to bed until late last night. One of the Rebs deserted to our lines and says Lee intends to astonish the world by an attack on our lines to-morrow morning, He will astonish me is he does it. Recd letter from Annie Porter. answered it