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1863.

This was a great day. The sutler arrived with a large Wednesday,

amount of goods, which we purchased for the morrow. Nov. 25.

As he was the only sutler about, there was a great rush

from other regiments to take advantage of his presence. Among others were members of the Sixteenth Maine ; and as some of them added to their already overflowing cup of misfortunes, by losing their watches and pocket-books, they promptly accused us of stealing them. Well, we must allow there was reason for this accusation, for it couldn't be rubbed out that we had as fine a band of thievish recruits as could be found anywhere, and they just doted on the Sixteenth's men, whose good old honest State of Maine ways held no chance against their deft skill as pickpockets. Now, we had a very simple way of dealing with these Hessians that our much-beloved State sent out to mingle in companionship with us and teach us how to overcome honesty, and that was to put all our diamonds, watches, pocket-books, and silverware in the safe, while all movables, such as dippers, hardtack, etc., we chained. Whenever we laid a knife down we put a guard over it with a loaded musket. With these precautions we managed to hang on to most of our things until these dear comrades of ours stole away to reënlist in some other regiment, or to crack a bank.

Thanksgiving day! We had laid out for a good time Thursday, and a good dinner; such a kind of a dinner as our skill Nov. 26. and ingenuity, aided by the sutler's store, could prepare ;

but the exigences of the service required us to move, so at daylight we marched, crossing the Rappahannock River as the sun rose; thence to Mountain Run, which we crossed on a pontoon bridge about 9 A.M. at Paoli Mills; thence to the Rapidan River, which we crossed at 10 P.M. at the Culpeper Mine Ford; then climbed the heights and halted for the night about four miles from Chancellorsville, having marched seventeen miles. A large part of the regiment was then sent out on picket. This was our roast turkey and plum-pudding.

I.

2.

1863.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, Friday,

November 27, 1863, 12.15 A.M. Nov. 27.

[CIRCULAR.] The following movements of troops are ordered for to-day, November 27:

Second Corps, Major-General Warren, will move at 7 A.M. along the turnpike to Old Verdierville.

Third Corps, Major-General French, will move at 7 A.M. on the Robertson's Tavern road, and close on the Second Corps.

3. Fifth Corps, Major-General Sykes, will move at 7 A.M. to New Verdierville.

4. First Corps, Major-General Newton, will move not later than 7 A.M. on the route of the Fifth Corps, and close up on the Fifth Corps.

5. Sixth Corps, Major-General Sedgwick, will move as soon as the Third Corps has cleared the road, and, as his artillery, etc., has joined him, close up on the Third Corps. One division of the Sixth Corps will remain near the river until the trains have crossed at Germanna and the bridges are taken up.

6. The ammunition trains, ambulances, etc., directed to remain on the north bank of the river, will cross and join their corps, those of the Second, Third, and Sixth Corps, at Germanna; those of the Fifth and First at Culpeper Ford.

4. Reserve artillery will cross at Germanna, follow the route of the Second Corps, and halt before reaching Robertson's Tavern, so as not to interfere with the march of the Third Corps.

8. The chief of cavalry will direct a force of that arm to move in advance on the roads in front of the army.

9. The trains, under the direction of the chief quartermaster of the army, will cross at Culpeper and Ely's Fords, and be parked in rear of the army. They will be guarded by Merritt's cavalry division.

92. Commanders of leading corps will keep up communication with each other and with the corps in their rear; those of the rear corps with the corps in front. The flank next the enemy will be carefully watched, and the usual precautions against approach will be taken. The commanding general will be kept advised of everything that occurs. Headauarters will be at Robertson's Tavern. By command of Major-General Meade,

S. WILLIAMS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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In obedience to the foregoing order we were turned out at 4 A.M., and by 5 o'clock were on our way over the plank-road leading to Fredericksburg, and a crooked, hilly road it turned out to be. After following this road for a few miles we turned from it, taking a cartpath through the woods to Robertson's Tavern, and thence to the

1863.

Orange Court House pike, which we reached about 10.30

P.M. and halted for the night. The regiment was shortly after sent out on picket, having first received instructions from General Robinson to be cautious about firing, as the Fifth Corps was somewhere in front, and the Second Corps on our left. There was excellent reason for this precaution, as the country was full of guerillas. In the order of march to-day the Fifth Corps had the lead, and between it and our corps was a small wagon-train, a part of which was led off from the road into the woods by a band of guerillas in Federal uniform. The drivers were murdered, the mules led away, and the wagons burned before we had time to realize what was being done. A daring thing like this could not have succeeded except through the protection afforded by the uniforms. It caused some delay in our march, and was likely to make the men on picket feel somewhat nervous; hence the caution about firing.

The natural repugnance we had to being hanged made us dread being caught by Mosby.

The distance marched was twenty miles.

When the announcement was made that we were going to Robertson's Tavern, it filled our minds with visions of “flowing bowls," which landlords fill until they run over, according to the song.

We thought what we might do on arriving there if we were major-generals, but we were not. However, we couldn't resist picturing what this tavern might be, and so we amused ourselves by discussing the probabilities of broad open fireplaces and hot flip until some one called out “Shut up! There's Robertson's Tavern!” and it turned out to be the most ordinary-looking tenement-house, without the remotest suggestion of comfort or hospitality associated with the time-honored name of tavern.

The following occurrence taken from a letter written by comrade Rollins shows so clearly the vicissitudes of a soldier's life that we gladly give it place in our narrative, particularly as the detail was composed of men from the Thirteenth, and was made soon after our halt to-night :

1863.

We were tired, of course, but soldiers are never so tirer but they

must build fires and cook their coffee. Fuel was plentiful, and the fires burned up brightly and lighted the recesses of the deep woods, and called out the chirps of the katydids and all kinds of insects in the foliage and tree-tops; a feeling of comfort crept over us as we sipped our coffee and looked forward to a good night's rest snugly in our blankets. I was counting on this myself, when the adjutant of the regiment approached me and delivered his message: “ Lieutenant R—, you are detailed to take command of a detail of twenty-five men of this regiment, and you will report to General Robinson at 4 o'clock to-morrow morning for instructions.” My pleasant frame of mind suddenly vanished, as I subduedly inquired, “Where shall I find General Robinson?” while at the same time surmises of the nature of the duty required were floating through my mind, and I barely recollected the adjutant pointing to a fire a little way distant where I could see some men putting up a small tent for the general's use. The most probable duty I could think of to be required was to be that of advanced skirmishers; but then it was too small a detail for such duty. Then came the thought of guarding wagons, or something of that sort, but there were no wagons with us, and I was forced to give up my fruitless conjectures. Still my mind would constantly revert to it, and the suspense I knew would prevent my full enjoyment of sleep. I could hear the adjutant as he visited the bivouac fires of each company, going through with his stereotyped order to the first sergeant as follows: “You will make a detail of two men,” or “three,” as the case might be,“ to report to Lieutenant R-, ready to march at 4 o'clock to-morrow morning. I also heard responses from the men, sometimes half a dozen together, which pleased me more. They were like this: “ Put my name down;" — “I'll go,” etc. I had not been commissioned many months, but I had acquired a reputation – whether deservedly or not it does not become me to say that led the men whenever I was to take charge of a picket or skirmish line to volunteer to go with me. Of this I candidly say I was proud, and am to this day. I slept fitfully (luring the night, and at the hour ordered marched my men to the general's tent, when his adjutant-general appeared, and, taking me

a little aside, gave me a large sealed envelope, saying it was directed to General Sykes, and that I was to deliver it to him. While he was telling me this, General Robinson, probably overhearing him through the thin cloth of the tent, put his head out of the opening and called me to him. Then he went on to give me minute directions as follows: That I should retrace the cart-path by which we had come into these woods until I came to the plank-road; then turn to the right, and follow the plank-road toward Orange Court House until I met General Sykes with his division, and to personally deliver this package to him. Then he explained his reasons for sending the despatch in this manner. He said he had only two or three mounted orderlies with him, whom he could not spare, and that the woods were infested with guerillas, who might attack a mounted messenger, but would hardly dare attack my detail. That I must look out for a surprise, and not allow any party to approach me, even if clad in our uniform, as almost all the

1863 guerillas were so clothed. That after I had delivered the document

I should fall in with General Sykes' troops, and rejoin my regiment when I could find it. He again cautioned me about delivering the message only to General Sykes, and bade me good-morning.

Soon after getting on the march as directed, a light rain commenced to fall, and by the time the plank-road was reached it was daylight. The road was only a plankroad in name; it probably was once a plank-road. We marched on and on, with no signs of any troops approaching. I began to think my orders, if carried out to the letter, would take us into the heart of the Confederacy, and that General Robinson might have been misinformed as to General Sykes' route. I looked at my watch, and it was half-past seven. Still I kept on. At last, away down a straight stretch of the road, I could see something coming. I did not know whether it was friend or foe, but immediately marched my men into a clump of bushes and small trees by the roadside, and halted. The men threw themselves on the ground to rest, while I kept a look-out for what was approaching. I could only make out a small body of mounted men, ten or fifteen in number; but as they came nearer I could discern that a body of infantry was some distance behind them, and came at once to the conclusion, which afterwards I found correct, that that it was General Sykes and his staff some distance in front of the head of the column of infantry. When they had approached within thirty or forty rods, I called my men to attention, and formed a line on the side of the road awaiting them. Much to our amusement, when they discovered us, General Sykes and his staff reined up their horses very suddenly, and acted as though they were in doubt whether to remain where they were or return to the head of the column of troops coming. They probably feared that we were rebel guerillas. They did not go back, however, but waited until the column came up, and then came along with the troops.

Knowing General Sykes, I gave the order to "present arms!” and stepped out into the road with the papers in my left hand, and, saluting with my sword, said, “General Sykes, I have despatches for you.” He returned the salute, and I brought my men to “shoulder arms!” and handed him the envelope. Meantime, the column behind was halted. He read the papers very carefully; and then, turning to me, said: “You must have had quite a tramp with your men. You had better fall into any opening in the line between regiments and keep along with us. You may not see your regiment for several days.” I let several regi. ments pass, and finally fell into an opening in the line. We were tired, wet, and muddy from marching, and were objects of much curiosity to the Regulars" comprising Sykes' division; the officers would come alongside of me to inquire where we were from. I had now to begin to favor my men, as they were becoming tired out. So I would drop out of an opening and let five or six regiments pass, and then file into another gap. This kept on till we got to the last regiment in the line. About this time we came up to a wagon park on a hill, when I filed out of the road and halted near fires built by teamsters, and we rested and cooked our coffee. It was past noon, and we learned from the wagoners that a line of

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