Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

1862. the result of long marches over dusty roads and bivouack

ing in ploughed fields, that made us look more like a regiment of tramps than soldiers.

On the morning following his arrival, our new recruit made inquiry of his comrades as to where he was to get milk for his coffee, and was told that the captain kept the milk in his tent. Having perfect confidence in his comrades, he made application at once. The captain was surprised at the request, and explained to him that milk was not in the list of articles of diet provided by the Government. Of course the recruit felt mortified at his mistake, but made the best of it, though it destroyed his confidence for a while in his associates' statements. He learned that “Ask and ye shall receive" had no coinage in the army. Notwithstanding his verdancy he became an excellent soldier.

Most of us cared little about the deprivation of milk, though the temptation was strong among some of the boys, when sighting a cow, to ascertain if they had lost the trick of milking. Although a cow, under ordinary circumstances, is a peaceable animal, she draws the line when her lactary reservoir is being too energetically pumped. To hold a dipper with one hand and milk with the other, particularly when three other hands were endeavoring to do the same thing on the same cow, and she unwilling to stand still, required a degree of skill that few of us possessed. In spite of being well-aimed, the stream of milk would generally go in any direction but that of the dipper; hence the necessity of struggling with this problem when no other soldiers were about, unless you were fond of unrewarded labor. Therefore most of us preferred buying it at farm-houses, though the demand was so much greater than the supply, we were often disappointed in our efforts to obtain it. When the sutler was with us we could buy" condensed milk,” which we found an excellent substitute.

At 9 A.M. we started on the march and kept it up all Thursday, day, in a slow, tedious manner, until we paced off twelve Sept. 11.

miles on the road to Frederick. Friday, After inspection in the morning we marched to RidgeSept. 12.

ville, seven miles, and camped.

}

1.

GENERAL ORDERS!
No. 129.
WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE,

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 1862. The President directs that the First, Second, and Third Corps of the Army of Virginia, announced in General Orders No. 103, be hereafter designated the First, Eleventh, and Twelfth. The several army corps will now stand as follows:

The First, Second, Third, and Fourth, as arranged in General Orders No. 151, of March 13, 1862, from the Headquarters Army of the Potomac.

The Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth, as announced in General Orders No. 84, of July 22, 1862, from this office.

The Tenth, as announced in General Orders No. 123, of Sept. 3, 1862, from this office.

The Eleventh and Twelfth the same as the First and Second Corps, Army of Virginia.

By order of the Secretary of War,

L. THIOMAS,

Adjutant-General. 1862. Saturday,

We started at 1 P.M. and marched twelve more miles Sept. 13.

toward Frederick.

At 5 A.M. we broke camp and marched all day with freSunday, quent and uncertain halts, passing through Frederick Sept. 14. and Middletown, until about six o'clock, when our di

vision (Hooker's) was placed in second line of battle on South Mountain. As we climbed up the steep sides of the mountain we were fired at by the enemy, who made the very common mistake of soldiers when firing from an elevated position, that of firing too high, — by which means we escaped any casualties. We laid on our arms until morning.

The unexpected often happens in the army. When we retreated from Manassas, the afternoon of August 30, we gave up all hope of seeing our knapsacks again, as the grove where they were deposited had been taken possession of by the enemy. During our advance up the mountain to-day, the dead body of a rebel belonging to a Georgia regiment was seen lying on the ground near the road, where he was killed. One of our boys, regretting the loss of his knapsack, and noticing the Reb had one, concluded to make good his loss by transferring it to his own back. Now the most astonishing thing about this was the discovery, upon removing the knapsack, that it

1862.

was his own property, which had been toted from Man

assas to South Mountain by a rebel soldier. He was still more amazed on opening it to find the contents had been undisturbed.

The following is taken from the report of General Ricketts, our division commander, dated Sept. 21, 1862 :

On the morning of the 14th instant the division was under arms to march at daylight from its encampment near the Monocacy, and arrived at the east side of South Mountain, about a mile north of the turnpike, at 5 P.M., forming line of battle, First Brigade, Brigadier-General Duryea, on the extreme right; Third Brigade, Brigadier-General Hartsuff, in the centre, and Second Brigade, Colonel Christian, on the left. The route of the First and Third Brigades extended over a very rough ground to the crest of the mountain, which was gallantly won. On the left the Second Brigade was sent to the relief of General Doubleday's, which was hard pressed and nearly out of ammunition. It engaged the enemy with terrible effect, and drove him down the west side of the mountain.

It being now too dark to advance, and the men much exhausted, operations ceased for the night. The next morning, the enemy having fled during the night, the division moved forward and encamped near Keedysville. The artillery was not engaged.

In his report on the battle of South Mountain, General Hooker makes the following statement :

It being very dark, our troops were directed to remain in position, and Hartsuff's brigade was brought up and formed a line across the valley, connecting with Meade's left and Hatch's right, and all were directed to sleep on their arms.

At dawn, Hartsuff's skirmishers were thrown forward, supported by his brigade, to the Mountain House, a mounted picket of the enemy retreating as they advanced. The enemy had been reënforced by twenty regiments of Longstreet's corps during the early part of the night, but between 12 and 1 o'clock commenced a hurried and confused retreat, leaving his dead on our hands and his wounded uncared for.

Marched at daylight, two companies being thro:vn out Monday,

in front as skirmishers, until the top of the mountain was Sept. 15. reached, when we saw the enemy retreating toward

Boonsboro', whereupon we started in chase, passing through that town to Keedysville, about ten miles, without overtaking them. It is not without some truth they were called the “ Fleetfooted Virginians."

1862.

The towns of Boonsboro' and Keedysville were dec

orated with Union Alags, and it was inspiring to march through towns with Uncle Sam's bunting displayed, and listen to encouraging words from friends. This was our stamping ground of '61, and it seemed like home to us.

At 3.30 P.M. we moved across a bridge toward the Tuesday, village of Bakersville, on the Hagerstown and SharpsSept. 16. burg turnpike, turning to the left after crossing a country

road, also leading to Sharpsburg, moving parallel to it nearly half a mile under a heavy artillery fire from the enemy. In order that their guns might have as little effect as possible we were formed “ double column half distance" and march to the front, then to the right, then front, then to the left, then front, then right again, then front, always preserving our formation, and gaining to the front all the time. This movement made under a heavy fire was performed with as much precision and coolness as though the regiment was on a battalion drill. It is worth mentioning to show what good use may be made of the skill and confidence acquired by constant drilling.

It was a gray, misty morning, and like the girl who Wednesday, was to be Queen of the May, we were called early.

All night long the firing of guns on the picket line in

front of us disturbed our sleep, sounding very much like a "night before the Fourth” at home. While we were endeavoring to see whether the men moving in front of us were our own men or the rebels, an aid from General Hooker's staff dashed up to where we stood, and, after satisfying himself, ordered us to move. We went obliquely to the right, across a fence, then across a lane and on to the corner of the woods, from which we moved to the cornfield in front of the Dunker Church. As we entered the corn-field we were received by a sudden volley from the enemy, who, until that moment, were lying concealed from view. Here we stayed until our ammunition was exhausted, when we were relieved and marched to the rear, where our cartridge boxes were replenished, and where we remained the rest of the day. We took into this fight three hundred and one men and brought out one hundred and sixty-five a loss of forty-five per cent.

Sept. 17

1862.

A hospital for the Thirteenth was established in a barn

in Keedysville. The following is from the report of General Ricketts on his division's work at Antietam :

From Keedysville on the afternoon of the 16th, the division crossed the Antietam river and moved toward Sharpsburg, in direction of the enemy's left flank. Third Brigade [Hartsuff ] was formed in line while under fire from the enemy's artillery; Second Brigade toward the left of the Third, and First Brigade in reserve. The artillery, though within range, was placed as much under shelter as possible for the night.

The morning of the 17th your order to advance and occupy the woods in front was being carried out when General Hartsuff, who was examining the ground, was severely wounded, and the services of this valuable officer were lost. The brigade moved forward (under command of Colonel Coulter], supported by Second Brigade on the left and First Brigade on the right, all advancing with the artillery, Battery F, First Pennsylvania, under Captain Matthews, Captain Thompson's Independent Pennsylvania Battery, each consisting of four 3-inch rifled guns. Taking advantage of the ground both batteries opened with destructive effect, officers and men displaying great coolness while exposed to a severe fire of artillery and infantry. The division gained the outer edge of the wood and kept up a fearful fire for four hours, until the ammunition being exhausted and the supports not coming up, it was compelled to retire to refill boxes, after which the division joined the rest of the corps on the right, near the turnpike, and with the exception of a brisk fire from the enemy's artillery, under which they stood, was not employed again during the day only to hold that position.

In General Hooker's report may be seen the following:

The whole morning had been one of unusual animation to me and fraught with the grandest events. The conduct of my troops was sublime, and the occasion almost listed me to the skies, and its memories will ever remain to me. My command followed the fugitives closely until we had passed the cornfield, a quarter of a mile or more, when I was removed from my saddle in the act of falling out of it from the loss of blood.

The following account is from the pen of G. W. Smalley, correspondent of the “New York Tribune” and other papers. He was near General Hooker during the fight, with excellent opportunities for seeing and knowing all that occurred. The extract we quote shows how it appeared to him :

The battle began with the dawn. Morning found both armies just as they had slept, almost close enough to look into each other's eyes. The left of Meade's

« VorigeDoorgaan »