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WE turned out at i A.M. and a little before 3 o'clock Wednesday, started on the march toward the Rapidan River. On May 4.
the old maps of Virginia, this river is recorded as the
“Rapid Ann.” Whether it was named for some woman whose gait had a noticeable quickness, or whose habits were thought by her neighbors to be somewhat skittish, we are unable to say, nor does it matter much anyhow. One thing is certain, this stream had occupied a large part of our attention, off and on, for many months, and as we crossed it once more, we speculated a good deal as to the number of days that would elapse before we should see it again ; but it so happened that we now crossed it for the last time. Richmond was once more the cry. Joined the Second Division of the Fifth Corps near Culpeper, continuing our march, crossing the river at Germanna Ford, halting at 3.30 P.M. on the south side of the plank-road about two and a half miles from Robertson's tavern. The weather was hot and the roads dusty. The distance covered was twenty-two miles. The whole army was on the move, and an imposing spectacle it must have been to the looker-on. The men carried six days' rations. Two and a half months more and we should be marching toward Boston unless we took up our residence, before that time, in the “promised land.”
Few persons, even soldiers, have any idea of the size of a wagon train required to feed, clothe, and provide ammunition for an army numbering a hundred thousand men, say nothing of the ambulances, the wagons for transporting the hospital stores, the baggage of officers, and the books and papers necessary to each regiment. It is said that General Grant's wagon train if stretched out in a continuous line would reach a distance of one hundred miles. It was an interesting sight to see a "wagon park.” Five hundred wagons,
10 STATION MITCHELL'S STATION
1864. arranged in lines as straight as soldiers on dress parade,
were frequently to be seen at the headquarters of the chief quartermaster, where also might be seen harness-makers, wheelwrightsrepair-shops, blacksmiths, and horseshoers, all in full operation, where hundreds of horses and mules were shod every month, and wagons and harnesses repaired.
A park of five hundred wagons meant a collection of not less than two thousand mules. Multiply the noise made by one mule by two thousand, and you can judge how little chance there is for sleep within a radius of ten miles.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,,
May 4, 1864. SOLDIERS: Again you are called upon to advance on the enemies of your country. The time and the occasion are deemed opportune by your com
ommanding general to address you a few words of confidence and caution. You have been reorganized, strengthened, and fully equipped in every respect.
You form a part of the several armies of your country, the whole under the direction of an able and distinguished general, who enjoys the confidence of the Government, the people, and the army. Your movement being in coöperation with others, it is of the utmost importance that no effort should be left unspared to make it successful. Soldiers ! the eyes of the whole country are looking with anxious hope to the blow you are about to strike in the most sacred cause that ever called men to arms.
Remember your homes, your wives and children, and bear in mind that the sooner your enemies are overcome the sooner you will be returned to enjoy the benefits and blessings of peace. Bear with patience the hardships and sacrifices you will be called upon to endure.
Have confidence in your officers and in each other. Keep your ranks on the march and on the battlefield, and let each man earnestly implore God's blessing, and endeavor by his thoughts and actions to render himself worthy of the favor he seeks. With clear consciences and strong arms, actuated by a high sense of duty, fighting to preserve the Government and the institutions handed down to us by our forefathers — if true to ourselves — victory, under God's blessing, must and will attend our efforts.
GEO. G. MEADE,
Major-General Commanding. Thursday,
At daylight this morning, the march was resumed in May 5.
obedience to the following order :
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
May 1864, 6 P.M. Major-General Warren, commanding Fifth Corps, will move at 5 A.M. to Parker's store, on the Orange Court House plank-road, and extend his right towards the Sixth Corps at Old Wilderness tavern.
By command of
We marched about two miles and halted in line of battle. We were soon sent to support Griffin's division. Early in the afternoon, after several unimportant changes, we took a position in the first line of battle on the extreme left, in the thick woods and underbrush. Here the regiment became seriously annoyed by the enemy's skirmishers on our flank and rear. Skirmishers were sent to cover our left flank, which was seriously exposed, and very soon they became engaged with the enemy. A charge was made on our front by the enemy and repulsed. The rebels retiring, the line advanced and changed front. At the same time our skirmishers on the flank were attacked with renewed vigor and fell back; finding themselves isolated from the main line, they returned to the earthworks in their
We had one officer and eight men wounded. Just before going into action in the morning, Generals Grant and Meade rode up to observe our position, etc., the bullets kicking up a dust all about them.
Our skirmishers, who became lost in the woods yesterFriday, day, returned to the brigade this morning. May 6. In the forenoon, we moved forward a short distance and halted without seeing the enemy.
In the afternoon we marched to the left, three miles, and began building earthworks, while the men not so engaged kept up a lively skirmish firing with the enemy. We lost an officer who was mortally wounded.
During the day, we saw the Fifty-sixth, Fifty-seventh, Fifty-eighth, and Fifty-ninth Massachusetts regiments just out from home. We also saw several of our boys who had received commissions in the Fifty-ninth. Our morning report to-day showed one hundred and sixty-nine men on duty.
Our corps (the Fifth) suffered a severe loss to-day by the death