"Who is this that looks forth like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army with banners?"

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Monday, May 18, 1863. At Union Mills. Thin lines; Rebels in the midst.

Union Mills

"Camp at Union Mills, VA 
"Monday morning, May 18th, 1863

"My Dear Wife ... I was Field Officer of the Day Wednesday and Thursday in charge of a fatigue party Saturday and yesterday and today an again Officer of the Day. Our regiment has six miles of picketing to do in a very rough line, without any help; but today the 15th comes back and will relieve us of some of this labor. But the weather in delightful and has been so for ten days so the men endure their labor well. The health of the regiment has at not former time been so good since we crossed the Potomac as now. 

"Then is nothing particularly new or interesting in camp just now. The only item of excitement that I have heard of is the capture of eight other men by the rebels a few days since. It appears that while half a dozen teams belonging to the 13th regiment were drawing supplies for the regiment from Fairfax Station, to near Occoquan village, a party of mounted rebs made their appearance and captured the men and horses and destroyed the wagons. In addition to a driver for each team were four or five men belonging to the regiment that had been off contrary to instructions and were riding back to camp, stragglers we call them here. The rebels, who are well posted as to our movements, made this dash and re-crossed the Occoquan River in safety. 

"We are in the expectation of a raid in here about these days. Then has been no time for a week when Mosby with 150 men could not have come in here and carried off the battery and the general. With 150 men at Bristow’s Station 100 on detached service, 200 on picket, and there is not many left for fight after taking out regimental guards and cooks. Saturday, however, we closed the fords on the river with felled trees, so that a dash cannot be made past our picket line by the mounted rebels. 

"There is nothing new out here of great moment. It is reported that the rebels have an infantry force this side of the Rappahannock and that they contemplate a raid or driving us back within the Defense of Washington. If they do this we may be able to extemporize a smart little fight out here. 

"Our nine months expire on the 23d day of July next, two months longer at the end of which time most of us will be in Brattleboro, where we shall be mustered out of the service of our respected Uncle.

"My love to all, and a kiss for the dear little ones. Your loving husband - Charles. ~ Lt. Col. Charles Cummings, Sixteenth Regiment, Letters May 18, 1863. VHS.

"Union Mills, Virginia, May 18, 1863

"Dear Parents Yours of the 6th came duly to hand and found me at Bristow, but was just as welcome there as anywhere. Co. "E" is down there now with enough men from other companies to make up 100. .... Stannard is much liked by the men under his command. He is not showy and dashing like Stoughton but seems to be a kind fatherly sort of an individual, chuck full of common sense with a good word for everybody.

"You want to know what a vidette is? It is a mounted sentinel posted outside the picket line to observe the movements of the enemy.

"I had the pleasure of taking another trip down the railroad the other day, going down within two miles of the Rappahannock. Went down as guard on one of the trains. I think from all appearances that we will not have to keep up this picket line alone a great while longer as I think the 12th and 15th will be brought back to assist us.

"There are not many troops left in the Dept. in Washington now. Most of them have been sent down on the front to help Hooker. I have heard that Phillip Crosly was killed in one of the late fights on the Rappahannock. If that is true he is the first Plymouth boy to be killed in action." ~ Hezron G. Day, pvt., Company C, Sixteenth Regiment, Letter of May 18, 1863

Phillip W Crosby of Plymouth, age 17 Pvt, Co. I, 2nd VT, kia, Marye's Heights, 5/3/63

"Monday 18th. Moved camp, by rail, to Bristow station. The two Co's K & G are still at Catlett's & the right wing at Bristow, & the other 3 at Mannassas Junction. Col. Blunt sent for me to help him move, & so I was detailed & had an easy time. On Picket, (not by necessity) to-night." ~ Diary of Horace Barlow (UVM), 120, Horace Barlow, Pvt., Co. C, 12th Regiment

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