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1862. comfortably situated, with an abundance of cherries, good
water, and enough to eat. Nothing better could be got by moving, so we preferred to stay. The Government showed an uneasiness about us that was very exasperating. Whenever we were particularly pleased with our situation, it took that moment to move us to some less agreeable spot. We came out to fight, not to march. Therefore it was the duty of the Government, if it had any enemies, to bring them along, that we might do the fighting, and go home.
Marched at 5 A.M. Having paced off twelve miles Tuesday, we went into camp within sight of Culpeper Court August 5.
House, and in close proximity to a large number of troops.
In the afternoon sudden orders were received to move, Friday, and after marching about four miles beyond Culpeper, August 8.
halted for the night near Pony Mountain. An
order was received that no horses be allowed, except to those men mounted by law. Perhaps the Government thought we were keeping private saddle-horses.
At daylight the army marched a few miles and halted, Saturday, while General Banks' corps continued on and became August 9.
engaged in the battle known as Cedar Mountain. During
the day we several times changed our position, short distances, in hourly expectation of taking part in the battle which we knew, by the sound, was going on.
Late in the afternoon we were ordered forward to take our place in line of battle, first leaving our knapsacks.
In all ages and in all climes every army has had its percentage of men who ran away, hoping they might escape fighting, and our army was no exception in this respect. On our way to the front we saw men who, though wounded and capable of taking care of themselves, were being assisted to the rear by two, three, and occasionally as many as four men, who shouted as we passed along, “Go in boys! Give 'em h–1!” In their haste to believe “that discretion is the better part of valor," they forgot that if this remark has any force at all, it could be only in those cases where valor existed. It was a common saying in the army that such men wrote
1862. their letters home in red ink to impress their friends
with the belief that they were bloody heroes.” By the time we reached the front it was nearly dark and the fighting had ceased. While we were halted, waiting for orders for the night, General Carroll's brigade came marching along headed by a fife and drum corps playing “Dixie " loud enough to wake the dead. They had scarcely reached our line when the enemy's artillery, from an elevated position, filled the air with exploding shells, whereupon they turned and fled to the rear, helter-skelter, with an alacrity that was laughable considering the boldness of their alvance, while the enemy, anticipating what would happen upon a sudden attack like this, attempted to follow up the advantage. It was a critical moment; a panic might ensue unless prompt and vigorous measures were taken to prevent it. General Hartsuff disposed his brigade at once. His prompt action and his experience as an artillerist, in moving his brigade from point to point out of range of the enemy's guns, saved it from the loss which might easily have occurred under an officer with less practical appreciation of the situation. Shortly afterward we were led along the base of the hill to the right, hugging the ground while the enemy's artillery fired over our heads into the woods at our rear until after midnight, during which time our artillery returned the fire with equal vigor. It was a grand sight to watch the burning fuses of the shells as they hissed through the air, while we laid flat on the ground, safely ensconced, until morning. At daylight a flag of truce was received from Jackson asking for a cessation of hostilities to enable him to bury his dead, which was granted. Instead of attending to this sacred duty, as set forth in his request, he obeyed the injunction contained in the Holy Scriptures, which says, “ Let the dead bury their dead.” In other words, he took advantage of the armistice, and with his army slipped quietly away.
When daylight appeared, we found ourselves near a cornfield, and taking advantage of the occasion, we gathered the ripening ears and proceeded, without let or hinderance, to roast them, and considering the shortness of rations this was a big streak of luck.
We were very fortunate on this occasion, as the Thirteenth was 1862. the only regiment in the brigade that suffered no loss.
Persons unfamiliar with such matters commonly estimate the value of a regiment's service by its number of killed and wounded. This is not a safe guide, as it frequently happens that the commanding officer of a regiment can save his men by coolness and good judgment. The regiment that can do the most execution with the smallest loss, is certainly the one that serves the country best. An instance happened with us at this time which, though seemingly insignificant, illustrates this idea very well. When we received orders to change position to the right, the brigade had its bayonets “fixed." The moon happened to be in a cloud when the movement was begun, and, as it was important that it be made with all possible secrecy to the enemy, our colonel gave the order to “trail arms!” which order had the effect of concealing the bayonets from view as the moon became unobscured. The position of the other regiments was discovered when the rays of the moon flashed on their bayonets, thereby drawing the enemy's fire. Whether or not this accounts for our good fortune, the thoughtfulness exhibited by the colonel on this occasion has often been spoken of in terms of praise. There are plenty of instances during the war when the rashness of officers has cost the lives of many men.
General Hartsusf's report of his part in the battle of Cedar Mountain is as follows:
I first took position in close column by division about two hundred and fifty yards in the rear of the centre of General Tower's line, and when the fire of the enemy's battery was directed toward my position, I moved my brigade a few yards beyond the crest of a hill, which sheltered them from the fire, and changed my direction so as to face the fire. In this position I remained until 3.30 A.M., when, by General McDowell's directions, I moved about half a mile to the rear. Officers and men behaved under the unexpected and close fire with very commendable coolness; ranks were unbroken, and there was no confusion.
The last place to look for a stock company would be among a regiment of soldiers. After being deprived of camp kettles, mess pans, etc., each man was obliged to do his own cooking, as already stated, in his tin dipper, which held about a pint. Whether it was coffee, beans, pork, or anything depending on the services of a fire to 1862. make it palatable, it was accomplished by aid of the
dipper only. Therefore any utensil like a frying pan was of incalculable service in preparing a meal. There were so few of these in the regiment, that only men of large means, men who could raise a dollar thirty days after a paymaster's visit, could afford such a luxury. In one instance the difficulty was overcome by the formation of a joint-stock company, composed of five stockholders, each paying the sum of twenty cents toward the purchase of a frying-pan, which cost the sum of one dollar. The par value of each share was therefore twenty cents. It was understood that each stockholder should take his turn at carrying the frying-pan when on a march, which responsibility entitled him to its first use in halting for the night. While in camp, it passed from one to the other each day in order of turn. It was frequently loaned for a consideration, thereby affording means for an occasional dividend among the stockholders. The stock advanced in value until it reached as high as forty cents per share, so that a stockholder in the “Joint Stock Frying Pan Company” was looked upon as a man of consequence. Being treated with kindness and civility by his comrades, life assumed a roseate hue to the shareholders in this great company, in spite of their deprivations. It was flattering to hear one's self mentioned in terms of praise by some impecunious comrade who wished to occupy one side of it while you were cooking. On this particular morning, when we started out, expecting shortly to be in a fight, the stock went rapidly down, until it could be bought for almost nothing. As the day progressed, however, there was a slight rise, though the market was not strong. When the order was given to leave knapsacks, it necessarily included this utensil, and so the “ Joint Stock Frying Pan Company” was wiped out.
MARCHED back to the place where we left our knapsacks Sunday,
yesterday afternoon, while on the way to the front. August 1o.
Having recovered our worldly goods and restored our
tempers to as near a normal condition as the exasperating circumstances would allow, we were formed in a square to listen to a sermon by the chaplain, whose text was, “What came ye out for to see?” That was a conundrum that each must answer for himself, and some of us very soon.
Marched to the Rapidan River, seven miles, and Friday,
camped. The spot selected was in an elevated posiAugust 15.
tion in sight of the river and the fields beyond, where could be seen the enemy's pickets.
In the afternoon we received sudden orders to march Sunday,
down the river about four miles, the enemy being in force August 17.
on the opposite side. Our camp was not far from Mitchell's station, and the water scarce.
In the afternoon a batch of recruits arrived from BosMonday, ton, and another sine lot of boys they were. Their knapAugust 18. sacks were loaded, as we knew from experience, with
many things they could do without, and beside ours they looked like “ Saratogas.” They were at once drawn up in line and assigned to companies, after which the chaplain gave them some friendly advice as to what we “old fellows" were ; cautioning them to beware of our seductive advice about discarding this or that, and particularly cautioning them about swapping their bright, new dippers for our old, battered ones. His advice was, no doubt, well-intentioned, but his accusations were so general that the recruits hardly knew whom to trust, and it was, therefore, a rather delicate matter for us to give advice, though they sadly needed it. However, we