The First Army Corps was to-day reviewed by PresiThursday, dent Lincoln, Secretary Stanton, and others. At an April 9. early hour the regiment moved down below Belle Plain Landing, toward the Potomac, and formed in line on a large meadow skirting the river. Very soon other divisions and brigades arrived. While waiting for the reviewing party we had a game of ball, to the no small amusement of the lookers-on. Others strolled down to the river, until at last the beating of drums hurried us all back, and very soon we were all in line at (6 present arms." Though motionless as a board fence, our eyes were following the motions of " Old Abe." The President was not a handsome man as the world judges "good looks," but he was a man of such abundant honesty, such kindness of heart and simplicity of manners, that one forgot his appearance in the great qualities of the man himself. His presence inspired more confidence among the soldiers than all the generals put together, and every man felt better for having seen him.

The Thirteenth had the right of the line, and was therefore the first to march by the President. We appreciated a place so conspicuous, and every man, as he marched along, did his best to merit the approbation the regiment received.

As we marched past the reviewing-stand, we noticed the affectionate and pleasing manner of Mr. Lincoln, as he was instructing his young son, "Tad," who was mounted on a pony beside him, how to return the salute of the officers who were marching in line.

Having passed the reviewing-stand we were ordered to "doublequick," and then wheeled to the left and halted. An opportunity was thus afforded to watch the measured tread of the long line that followed us. It was a grand and inspiring sight, and one long to be remembered.

After the review was ended the regiment was sent out on picket.

When the newspapers containing an account of the review reached camp a few days after, it was a pretty poor soldier of our regiment that didn't feel a thrill of pleasure on reading the following:

In the grand review of the First Army Corps, yesterday, the Twelfth and Thirteenth Massachusetts regiments elicited high commendations by the precision of their movements.


This was a hard day's work for us, as we had a long march to the reviewing-point, then back to camp, where we arrived late in the afternoon, and afterward a good distance farther to the picket line, where we went on picket duty for twentyfour hours.

April 13.

The division was reviewed to-day by its commander, Gen. John C. Robinson, and other distinguished officers. We were notified in advance that this was to be an unusual occasion, so the boys shined their buttons, brushed their coats, blacked their boots, and last but not least, adorned themselves with paper collars purchased from the sutler. This prinking which the boys indulged in occasionally, just to remind them of days gone by, and which gave the regiment the sobriquet of " Band-box guard," reached the ears of Colonel Coulter, of the Eleventh Pennsylvania, who was bound to have a little fun at the regiment's expense. Now it happened that "Dick" Coulter was the owner of a brindle bulldog called "Sally," who was famous throughout the brigade for her intelligence, and had a habit of sticking close to the colonel's heels when not restrained. On this occasion she was decked with a white paper collar round her neck labelled "13," and a white glove fastened on each paw. During the whole of the ceremony "Sally" trotted about in plain sight, a most ludicrous object, affording a deal of amusement to all who witnessed it. In spite of this ridicule the regiment made a fine appearance, and received the praise of General Reynolds, who liked neatness and orderly appearance in the soldier.

1863. Tuesday, April 28.


BROKE camp and marched in a drizzling rain seven miles toward the Rappahannock, halting within a mile or so of the river behind a piece of woods. We were full of surmises as to where we were going, though it turned out to be the Chancellorsville campaign. For a while the papers dropped "All quiet on the Potomac," and substituted "On to Richmond.”

Orders were received from General Hooker for the men to take eight days' rations. We had frequently carried five days' rations, but this was the first time we were called upon to lug a quantity like that. The consequence was that the overflow from our haversacks was stowed away in the knapsacks.

At 2 o'clock this morning we were turned out, and by Wednesday, four were moved out of the woods about half a mile and April 29. halted in an open field. Heavy firing was heard up the river, in front and below. While we remained here a band of ninety-one rebel prisoners were marched by us, in appearance more like tramps than soldiers. They were captured by the first division of our corps. At 12 o'clock we were marched out in full view of the river. From our elevated position could be seen the whole plain where we fought on the 13th of December. The position occupied by us then was now held by the Sixth Corps, and a mile below could be seen the first division of the First Corps, their arms gleaming in the sunlight, while the open field in front was dotted with skirmishers lying low, to present as small a mark as possible to the enemy. On a house opposite could be seen the Union sharpshooters, their heads peeping over the ridge-pole. It was a beautiful day, the air balmy with the warm rays of the sun, which was shining brightly on this warlike scene. We watched with interest the second and third brigades as they filed down to the pontoon bridge, where they halted and stacked arms.

[blocks in formation]
« VorigeDoorgaan »