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

Thursday, May 2, 2013

May 2, 1863. The 12th moves down the Orange & Alexandria road.

"... the enemy has ... crossed a considerable body of troops at United States Ford, six miles above Fredericksburg, and  ... a collision [is] expected to occur in the neighborhood of Chancellorsville." ~  Richmond Daily Dispatch May 2, 1863 

"May 2nd. Nothing new from Hooker. The 12th Regt. went to Warrynton to guard the railroad". Diary of Oliver A. Browne, Co. K, 15th Regiment

"May 2. This is the warmest day of the season. The 12th marched to Union Mills this morning, so that the 14th only is left to perform picket duty at this place. Orders have been received for the regiment to practice target-shooting one day in each week until further notice.

"We have again been mustered for pay, and what a magnificent display of "red tape." This completes the roll for eight months." 
~ John  C. Williams, Corporal, Co. B, 14th Regiment, Life in Camp 116 (1864)

"May 2nd Saturday. Left O. at 4¼ A.M. for home, having seen all the sights &c. When about a mile from Mr. Davis' one of the boys met me with the intelligence that the Reg't was to move at 8 AM. to-day. I returned to the house, but, as I had not been ordered in, stayed there quietly. About 9 was ordered in & found the Reg't gone. Was put on guard & so had enough to do the rest of the time in getting meals &c &c." ~ Diary of Horace Barlow, 112, Pvt., Co. C, 12th Regiment

"The Twelfth broke camp and moved toward the front. The orders from division headquarters called for a regiment to go out to Warrenton Junction, for the protection of the O. & A. railroad, which has lately been re-opened to the Rappahannock and is soon to be again an important channel of supplies for the army, and the Twelfth was selected for the duty. 

"Officers and men were glad enough to leave Wolf Run Shoals, and to go where there was a prospect of more active service, and took up the line of march in high spirits. The regiment reached Union Mills at about 11 o'clock, and there took cars for Warrenton Junction. It now lies in camp about three miles beyond Warrenton Junction, two companies being stationed at Catlett's Station." ~ Lieut.  G.G. Benedict, Company C, 12th Regiment, Letter to the Free Press of May 4, 1863 in Army Life in Virginia. 

Meanwhile at Union Mills:

"My Dear Wife,... Our regiment yet remains here as usual, but the 12th has been sent forward to Warrenton Junction, about 18 miles in the advance. Gen. Hooker has at last crossed the Rappahannock and probably before this reaches you then will have been fought a bloody battle. I wish our brigade was with him, instead of wearing ourselves out in picket and guard duty.
"The weather here is now delightful. The days are quite warm, but the nights are proportionately cooler than in Vermont. Today has been as warm as any May Day that I remember, I have been about camp, when off duty without coat or vest. This afternoon I went down to a small stream in the rear of one camp and enjoyed a refreshing wash and a change of underclothing. 
"... To add to the enchantment of this climate and location not more than 20 rods to the rear of my tent half a dozen whip - poor - wills make music all night long. As I write I hear them distinctly, although to drums are beating tattoo. If this country could be settled by New England people it would soon be almost a paradise, barring the everlasting stickiness of the mud when it rains." ~ Lt. Col. Charles Cummings, Sixteenth Regiment, Letters   May 3, 1863. VHS.

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