under a commissioned officer will be sent out at proper intervals, part of whose duty it will be to arrest all soldiers found beyond a proper distance from the camp, besides any suspicious characters that may be found in the vicinity.

That this duty inay be as light as possible upon the different regiments, the two larger regiments (the Sixteenth Maine and Thirty-ninth Massachusetts) will be divided, five companies at a time being designated for this duty. It will be necessary that the regiments upon this duty be subject to the usual details. They will be relieved from drill.

By command of

Commanding Brigade.

Our brigade, consisting of the Thirteenth Massachusetts, the One Hundred and Fourth New York, the Sixteenth Maine, the One Hundred and Seventh Pennsylvania, and the Thirty-ninth Massachusetts, was now encamped for the winter at Mitchell's Station, on the Orange & Alexandria Railroad; the remainder of the division being stationed near Culpeper and Pony Mountain. We remained in this camp doing outpost duty for the Army of the Potomac until April 26.

As soon as our position was fixed we proceeded to make ourselves comfortable by building log huts, using our "shelters" as a roof, and a very comfortable camp we made of it. After the huts were completed we proceeded to build corduroy streets in and about the camp, that we might get about when the ground was softened by thaws, without wallowing in the mud. This work was accomplished by piece-meal, during the hours when we were relieved from picket duty.

There was a deal of anxiety and hard work about this picket duty, and on several occasions regiments were sent down from corps headquarters to relieve us of some of the strain. Our picket lines were so close to the enemy that the sound of rebel drums could be plainly heard. The most continual watchfulness was required to prevent surprises. Each day one regiment of the brigade was kept "under arms" in readiness to repel a sudden attack. This service was performed in turn, as was also that of picket duty. The line was daily invaded by deserters from the enemy, often coming in groups of a dozen, with tales of hardships and destitution which their army was


contending with; informing us, also, that more were preparing to come, and that it took a considerable force to prevent these desertions. From our previous experience we were led to take about as much stock in these yarns as we did in the stories of contrabands.

As drilling was dispensed with we had some leisure moments which were spent in listening to the wonderful exploits of the outlaws sent out by the old Bay State in August last. They never tired of relating the mysterious uses to which a "jimmy" could be put by a man of nerve, and how easy it was to crack a bank or filch a purse. They robbed each other as freely as they did others. We noticed on their arrival that nearly every man had his pocket cut. Their mouths were full of oaths and mottoes, such as "God helps those who help themselves," and "All men are born free and equal," and that "No man is entitled to more than another unless he has the sand to get it." Of this band of one hundred and eighty-six only about forty did any duty at all, and what they did was not very reliable. The others deserted, went into hospitals, or shirked. Every time any of them deserted we felt glad they were gone. From the moment of their arrival until they departed we had no peace or continuous sleep, so turbulent and noisy were they. Two or three times a week the woods near the camp were witness to fights, frequently of terrible brutality. The disputes which arose among them as they gambled their money, made one's life a misery. We often talked over, among ourselves, this business of filling up a decent regiment with the outscourings of humanity; but the more we thought of it the more discontented we became. We longed for a quiet night, and when day came we longed to be away from these ruffians. What with hollering, and swearing, and threats to knife each other, these fellows made our lives anything but enjoyable.

During this time we were asked to reënlist. The commanding officer of each regiment was instructed to make an effort to this end. We were drawn up in line, and had explained to us that the country needed men; that it was a critical period; that old soldiers were worth so much more than new ones, etc.; to all of which we listened with respectful attention. It was very sweet to hear all this,


but the Thirteenth was not easily moved by this kind of talk. The boys knew too well what sacrifices they had made, and longed to get home again, and, if possible, resume the places they had left. Four times we were addressed as to our duty about reënlisting. On two or three of these occasions there was an unusual amount of grog floating about. Who the mysterious benefactor was, we are unable to recall, but it was evident to us that some one was interested in putting a halo of attractiveness on the service that didn't seem to fit. On one of these occasions, eleven men yielded to the influence of oratory or rum, though some of them afterwards said it was the rum, and were given thirty days' furlough. Seven of this number succeeded in obtaining commissions in other regiments, so that only four returned.

About this time one of the boys in another regiment, whose wife had died, requested leave of absence to attend her funeral, and the application was returned from headquarters with the indorsement, "This man can have thirty-five days' furlough by reënlisting.



GEN. S. WILLIAMS, A.A.G." When this came to our ears a good deal of feeling was expressed in terms not very complimentary to the government.


No. 3.

SECOND DIVISION, January 9, 1864.

It is believed that the troops would be more efficient in battle if opportunities were afforded them an occasional target practice.

From II o'clock to 12 is now allowed, during which the relieved guards and pickets may fire off their muskets.

In order that we may profit by this privilege, it is directed, under the general supervision of the commanders of regiments respectively, that the pieces of their men be discharged at a target daily, Sundays excepted, between the hours designated.

Great care should be taken to select a perfectly safe locality for this practice, to prevent accident, and in every case it must be under the direction of a commissioned officer.

By command of


Occasionally the monotony of camp-life was relieved by our


brigade commander, who exercised a kind of parental care over us, as will be seen by the following order:

No. 5.


HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE, SECOND DIVISION, FIRST ARMY CORPS, January 17, 1864. Regimental commanders will cause inspection to be made of the haversacks of picket details before they leave camp, and will be held responsible that their details are fully supplied with the necessary rations.

By command of

If we had known of the existence of this order at the time, we should have taken mighty good care that our haversacks were empty when the inspection took place.

We find among the orders issued at that time the following:



Commanding Brigade.
Captain and A. A. A. G.


January 20, 1864.

Assistant Adjutant-General of Corps, and other independent commands, are respectfully requested to notify officers and men connected with their commands that they can be supplied at Brandy Station, daily, with fresh oysters, at the following prices:

Per gallon in bbls. or tubs,


ཐོ in cans,


quart, in cans,

Shell oysters in bbls., per bushel,





Mr. John Tyson, of Baltimore, Md. (who has the contract), announces, that having supplied the hospitals, he will hereafter be able to meet all demands for oysters made upon him by officers and men.

M. R. PATRICK, Provost Marshal-General.

It took the government two and a half years to learn that oysters, and not pork, went with crackers; so we were well pleased to see this kinship reëstablished.

The following interesting order is from the pen of General Lee:

No. 7.


January 22, 1864.

The commanding general considers it due to the army to state that the temporary reduction of rations has been caused by circumstances beyond the control of those charged with its support. Its welfare and comfort are the objects of his constant and earnest solicitude, and no effort has been spared to provide for its wants. It is hoped that the exertions now being made will render the necessity of short duration; but the history of the army has shown that the country can require no sacrifice too great for its patriotic devotion.

Soldiers! You tread with no unequal step the road by which your fathers marched through suffering, privations, and blood to independence. Continue to emulate in the future, as you have in the past, their valor in arms, their patient endurance of hardships, their high resolve to be free, which no trial could shake, no bribe reduce, no danger appal, and be assured that the just God who crowned their efforts with success will, in His own good time, send down His blessing

upon yours.

R. E. LEE,


In a letter to General Lee from the Quartermaster-General of the Confederacy, under date of February 5, 1864, occurs the following paragraph, which shows the straits to which the Confederate States had been driven :

You desire to be informed in regard to the prospects for the future. As to the article of blankets, we are entirely dependent upon the foreign markets for our supply. There is not a solitary establishment within the limits of the Confederacy where they are made, nor is there one, since the destruction of Crenshaw's at this place (Richmond) by fire, that possesses the appliances for making them. In view of this, would it not be well to require the men to turn them in for reissue just as soon as approaching summer will justify, as at that season these articles are wasted? The Department is also, owing to the great scarcity of wool, somewhat dependent upon the receipts from abroad for the heavy woollen cloths essential for winter wear. In the important item of shoes, I believe we are now laboring under our greatest difficulties, and that the coming spring will bring great relief. I do not allude so much to the relief incident to the season itself as that which will result from our increased resources. Besides the shoe establishment here, there are two other larger ones in Georgia, at Columbus and Atlanta, and minor affairs at other points. Arrangements have been recently entered into for the introduction of machinery, which, with limited details, will enable two of these workshops to turn out one thousand pairs of shoes each daily. Major Dillard has also in hand a very large number of hides that have been for some time in the vats, and which he reports will be available in the spring. A small portion of that material would relieve, if available now, the wants of the army.

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