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

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tuesday, June 30, 1863. "A collision must soon take place."

"Tuesday June 30, 1863 ... to Emmitsburg. Very severe march. Men are footsore. Have marched 108 miles in 6 days."~From the Diary of Wheelock G. Veazey, Colonel, 16th Vermont Regiment.(VHS)

"Tuesday 30th. Started again & followed the pike thro' Emmetsburgh & a mile beyond & found that our 1st Corps teams were here but that the Corps had gone ahead. Parked our teams with the Corps train. Too tired to write more than minutes. 15 miles." ~ Diary of Horace Barlow (UVM), 137, Horace Barlow, Pvt., Co. C, 12th Regiment

"June 30. We commence marching at six; and halt at Lewistown in about two hours. ... We also halt awhile at Mechanicstown. Here we find that a brigade of cavalry passed us in the night. These, too, wear out as well as infantry. I saw six sleeping in a field, whilst it was raining, and no rubbers over them. Our regiment is in the rear, and arrives at Emmettsburg just at dark; we must pitch our tents and have our coffee. The march this afternoon has been exceedingly hard. Two soldiers are left in houses on the way."  ~ Lt. Edwin Palmer, 13th Regiment, The Second Brigade: or, Camp Life, By a Volunteer (1864)

"June 30, 1863. Camp at Emmittsburg. We have marched one hundred and ten miles since we started. This is a splendid country; I never saw anything to beat it. We expect to see fighting before long. My feet are so sore I hardly can step on them. Paid one dollar for a loaf of bread. One of our company fell out and we had to leave him; we do not know where he is." ~ Diary of Frederick L. Reed, Orderly Sergt., Co.. D, 14th Regt., (Memorial Exercises, Castleton VT 1885, p 57-59)

"June 30. The column was again put in motion this morning at seven o'clock. We halted for rest at noon near Mechanicstown. Marching again at one o'clock, we arrived at Emmitsburg at six, where we have gone into camp for the night. We are now only two miles from the Pennsylvania line, and one hundred and twenty miles from Wolf Run shoals, which distance we have marched in six days. The 1st, 3d and 11th Corps are now concentrated here. The enemy's cavalry is reported to be near Gettysburg, ten miles distant, and Lee is supposed to be advancing upon Harrisburg. A collision must soon take place." ~ John C. Williams, Corporal, Co. B, 14th Regiment, Life in Camp 137 (1864)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Monday, June 29, 1863. "Gen'l very cross. Says we have no discipline."

Gen'l Stannard
 marches us like "Old Harry"
June 29, 1863
"Strong exertions are required and must be made to prevent straggling." ~ General Order No. 70, June 29, 1863, by command of Major-General Reynolds

"Monday June 29, 1863 ... to Adamsville. My Regt was on rear guard--very hard road passed through Frederick. Gen'l very cross. Says we have no discipline." ~From the Diary of Wheelock G. Veazey, Colonel, 16th Vermont Regiment.(VHS)

"Monday 29th. Left Camp & marched up the valley still farther & encamped about 5 miles beyond Frederick on the Emmetsburgh pike. Reached F. just after noon, & before passing made a half of an hour or two. Marched about 17- miles & were as tired & footsore as one could possibly wish to be. Hoped that we should find our Gen Reynolds & so got a little rest, but were disappointed, as he was said to be a day's march ahead of us. So our tiresome journey must continue. Gen Stannard marches us like the "old Harry" & the pike has been very hard & rather rough." ~ Diary of Horace Barlow (UVM), 136-37, Horace Barlow, Pvt., Co. C, 12th Regiment

"General Stannard ... put us to the test of human endurance. In order that nothing should impede his progress he issued an order that none should leave the ranks, while on the march, to procure water. This order under the circumstances seemed cruel, because ofthe weather 90 degrees in the shade and marching from dawn to sunset at our utmost speed stopping only at mid-day for rest and to eat a sandwich of hard tack and boiled pork. We camped for the night, June 29th, about twelve miles north of Frederick City and three or four miles south of Lewiston in a little valley on the west bank of the Monocacy." ~ Ralph Orson Sturtevant, Pictorial History of the 13th Regiment Vermont Volunteers 207 (1910)

"June 29. ...To-day noon, after plodding through mud and rain as fast as we can, wind ourselves at Frederick city. Here the brigade leaves ninety soldiers, unable to go farther. Some buy pies and pay fifty cents apiece, and a dollar for smallish loaves of bread. From this place we march northerly, and pitch out tents just at dark in a rich valley covered with grass, waving wheat and corn. ... We have herd that Gen. Meade is in command of the army, not knowing whether to believe it." ~ Lt. Edwin Palmer, 13th Regiment, The Second Brigade: or, Camp Life, By a Volunteer (1864

"June 29. The march was resumed at seven o'clock this morning, and it has rained all day. We arrived at Frederick city about noon, ...Halted about three hours at Frederick, when we were again ordered forward. Have gone into camp to-night near Creagerstown. I learn to-night that Hooker has been relieved from the command of the army, and Major Gen. Meade appointed in his place."~ John C. Williams, Corporal, Co. B, 14th Regiment, Life in Camp 136 (1864)

"June 29, 1863. Camp eight miles out of Frederick. Marched all day; Oh how tired I am to-night; one man from our company fell out; we do not know whether he is dead or not. I had a good swig of whiskkey to-day, it does me more good than anything. ~ Diary of Frederick L. Reed, Orderly Sergt., Co.. D, 14th Regt., (Memorial Exercises, Castleton VT 1885, p 57-59)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Sunday June 28, 1863. "... from near Edward Ferry toward Frederick Md."

"... from near Edward Ferry toward Frederick Md." 
~From the Diary of Wheelock G. Veazey, Colonel, 16th Vermont Regiment.(VHS)

Lt. Col Charles Cummings
16th Vt. Regt.
"Near Poolesville, MD - June 28th, 1863 

"My Dear Wife, 
Thursday afternoon we started from Union Mills and marched a mile north of Centerville and camped. It rained all night. 

The next day we started and went 12 miles to Herndon’s Station above Vienna and camped. I was Field Officer of the Day. 

"The next day we went to the Potomac crossed on pontoon bridges and arrived at Poolesville about sun down, marching about 17 miles and crossing at Edwards Ferry, 30 miles above Washington. 

"This Sunday morning we started at 8:30 for Frederick City. There are 40,000 or more troops around us all bound up into Maryland to meet Lee who is supposed by us underlings to be somewhere northwest of us. There is considerable prospect that we may encounter the rebs in a fight. 

"We go into the 1st Army corps. Maj. Reynolds commanding. The old brigade is close to us, and last night I saw many of the officers. My health is excellent. I am living on hardtack and raw pork and glad to get enough of that, but I do enjoy the march.

"I am writing this sitting on the ground, my horses saddled and my equipment by my side. Our march today will be about 20 miles.

"This seems like the reality of a soldier’s life, and I expect a fight will put on the finishing touches.

"I got your letter of the 21st Thursday, a few minutes before we started and after I had written you a line. When I shall get another of your good letters I do not know nor do I even guess when this will be mailed. It will be dropped into the first Post office that we come across, perhaps today.

"My dear wife if I get into a fight I shall endeavor to do my duty with discretion and faithfully, trusting the results to that kind Providence who rules has thus far shielded and presented us, and strewn our path with so much happiness.

"Kiss the dear children for their absent but not forgetful papa. - Love to all your loving husband - Charles. 
~ Lt. Col. Charles Cummings, Sixteenth Regiment, Letters June 28, 1863. VHS.

"Sunday 28th Marched at 8 A.M. Crossed the Monocacy river at a Ford, in P.M. & Passed thro' a splendid country, most of the day. I have no time to waste in description. Encamped about a mile N. of Adamstown a station on the B & Ohio R.R. about 10 miles S of Frederick. Marched about 16 miles & were foot sore & tired everyway". Diary of Horace Barlow (UVM), 136, Horace Barlow, Pvt., Co. C, 12th Regiment

"June 28. Marched again this morning at seven o'clock; crossed the Monocacy river near its mouth about noon, and halted for rest. At one o'clock the march was resumed. Passed Adamsville, on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, about six o'clock in the evening, and have gone into camp for the night two miles beyond."~ John C. Williams, Corporal, Co. B, 14th Regiment, Life in Camp 136 (1864)

"June 28, 1863. Camp near Adamstown. Marched all day. Adamstown was a very nice little place. I see five or six nice looking ladies. the Rebs were in this town last night but have gone to-day. Paid fifty cents for a loaf of bread." ~ Diary of Frederick L. Reed, Orderly Sergt., Co.. D, 14th Regt., (Memorial Exercises, Castleton VT 1885, p 57-59)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Saturday June 27, 1863. " ...across Edward Ferry passed the Vt.1st Brigade."

June 27, 1863
(See Stannard's Route to Edwards's Ferry)
The speed at which the Army of the Potomac was able to move up during that last week of June took a little initiative away from Lee, forcing him to concentrate the far flung Army of Northern Virginia. 
The events of June 25-27 lead to the events on July 1-3.
Craig Swain 2013-06-28

"Saturday June 27, 1863. ...across Edward Ferry passed the Vt. 1st Brigade. crossed on pontoon bridge." From the Diary of Wheelock G. Veazey, Colonel, 16th Vermont Regiment.(VHS)

"Saturday 27th. Started quite early on our march. ... Day wet & rainy as usual. Feet rather sore & blistered but spirits tolerably good yet. Came to the Potomac River at Edward's Ferry & crossed on Pontoons. There were 2 bridges & one across Goose Creek. 64 Pontoons composed the bridge on which we crossed the P. & 11 the one over Goose C. & the other bridge was about as long as both of these put together. We encamped at night about 2 miles N of the Ferry & pitched our tent in a miserable sprinkle, tired as dogs. 16 miles." ~ Diary of Horace Barlow (UVM), 135, Horace Barlow, Pvt., Co. C, 12th Regiment

"June 27. ... At one time we made a long stop, for hundreds of teams belonging to the army of the Potomac to pass. At two we came in sight of Edward's Ferry. All around it is a beautiful, rolling country, covered with wheat and corn. Here we find many soldiers; and here we halt an hour,-during which time many wash their feet, some of them blistered and almost bleeding. We encamp for the night a few miles north of the river, expecting to start early in the morning for Harper's Ferry, or Hagerstown." ~ Lt. Edwin Palmer, 13th Regiment, The Second Brigade: or, Camp Life, By a Volunteer (1864)

"June 27. Reveille was sounded at three o'clock this morning, and at five we were ordered forward, keeping the line of railroad for Guilford, at which place we arrived about six o'clock. On arriving there, it was ascertained that the 1st Corps, to which we now belong, had left two days before, and the brigade was again ordered forward. We arrived at Broad run at ten o'clock in the forenoon, where we intersected the 3d and 6th Corps, they having been ordered forward from Drainsville. The brigade was detained there some two hours in waiting for baggage train to pass, after which the column was again put in motion. We arrived at Edwards Ferry at three o'clock in the afternoon, and crossed over to the Maryland side of the Potomac on pontoon bridges. This place was the headquarters of Gen. Sedgwick, commander of the 6th Corps. To-night we have gone into camp near Poolsville." ~ John C. Williams, Corporal, Co. B, 14th Regiment, Life in Camp 133-34 (1864)

"June 27, 1863. Camp near Edward's Ferry, Md. Marched 20 miles; very tired to-night; feet blistered. Troops passed all night; we met all the boys at the Ferry. Crossed the Potomac on pontoons. There is a big force with us."  ~ Diary of Frederick L. Reed, Orderly Sergt., Co.. D, 14th Regt., (Memorial Exercises, Castleton VT 1885, p 57-59.)

"27th. Hard day." ~ Diary of Oliver A. Browne, Co. K, 15th Regiment

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Friday, June 26, 1863. The march to Herndon Station.

 June 26, 1863
(See Stannard's Route to Edwards's Ferry)
"Friday June 26, 1863. Marched from Coppels Mills near Centreville to within 3 miles of Guilford Station. Very arduous march owing to the delays by the teams in front. ~ From the Diary of Wheelock G. Veazey, Colonel, 16th Vermont Regiment.(VHS)

"Friday 26th. Were ordered to march at 7 A.M. but as the 6th Corps. Artillery Baggage & all were passing we could not start till considerably later. Finally got started & as our baggage train was at the front & immediately in rear of the 6th Corps we were continually stopped & obliged to wait & wait, so that we only arrived at Herndon station at about 7.30 P.M. only having marched 9 miles. Encamped in a large open field just before a drizzle commenced. It had been a miserably drizzling day but during the latter part of the day it was dry & so we got along very well. Boys all right & things as lovely as possible at such a time. I still attend the Col & his baggage & so am as well off as you please". ~ Diary of Horace Barlow (UVM), 134-35, Horace Barlow, Pvt., Co. C, 12th Regiment

"June 26 ....Centreville is abandoned, and all the government property that cannot be carried is burned. After the artillery, teams, and all the troops have passed us, we fall in, and bring up the rear.

"Friday Noon. -The whole brigade is resting in a wide, grassy plain. On the right and left are cherry trees, filled with boys picking the delicious fruit; here, are squads around little fires, (they don't burn well, for small, thick drops of rain are falling,) cooking coffee; there, are long lines of soldiers, with rubbers tied close around the neck, sitting on knapsacks, eating their dry food; and now and then you meet one asleep, all covered with his blanket. Soon the drum beats, and we are marching again. ...

"At night we pitch our tents in a mowing near a station on the Alexandria and Loudon railroad. Pickets at once are sent forward to guard all approaches to the camp." ~ Lt. Edwin Palmer, 13th Regiment, The Second Brigade: or, Camp Life, By a Volunteer (1864)

"June 26. Reveille was sounded at five o'clock this morning, and we were to march half an hour later, but having to wait until the 3d and 6th Corps, together with the baggage train, passed, we could not start until eight o'clock. Our baggage train was sent ahead, but in consequence of the roads being bad our progress was very slow. The rain had caused the roads to be somewhat muddy, but the weather has been cool to-day and favorable for the march.

"... We arrived at Herndon, four miles below Guildford, at seven o'clock, where we have camped for the night. The 3d and 6th Corps have passed on to Drainsville. ~ John C. Williams, Corporal, Co. B, 14th Regiment, Life in 
Camp  133-34 (1864)

"Camp near harrington Station in a meadow. We marched very slow to-day; all are feeling good. I am a little sore footed but I am bound to stand it. This is a nice country. We expect to see fighting to-morrow. It has been a good day to march." ~ Diary of Frederick L. Reed, Orderly Sergt., Co.. D, 14th Regt., (Memorial Exercises, Castleton VT 1885, p 57-59)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Thursday, June 25, 1863. "Dont worry about me but think me all right and be happy."

On the 25th  the pickets on duty were called in. Colonel Veazey called his officer and non-commissioned officers together and assured them that they might soon expect to meet the enemy in battle, and gave them good advice and instructions. At 3 o'clock of that day, the regiment started on its march, joining the great tide of the Army of the Potomac, which was moving northward to intercept the enemy in its advance on Washington, Baltimore, Harrisburg and Philadelphia. ~Russell and Emery, 16th Vermont Infantry Regimental History

"Union Mills June 25th 1863
"Dear Lettie

"We are all packed and just on another start and have just time to write a word. The last I wrote you a note we were just on a start to guard a Ford on Cedar Run Mill. We just as I said started until last night when we had orders to withdraw our picket and report to this place at once which we did arriving about half past one o'clock this morning. I traveled some 20 miles yesterday and last night and feel first rate today better fitted for another march than so I had lazed in camp until now. 

"It is now most noon and I have working just as hard as I can jump every since morning getting ready. Have given up all my stuff except a shirt pair stockings blanket and a few other things.

"We have been transferred to the Army of Potomac 1st Corps under command of Genl. Reynolds. The whole brigade goes and we expect a lively campaign but it will be short less than a month. It is expected we march to 
Leesburg at once. We are only waiting for 12th & 13th to come up from the Shoals.

"I shall write often as I can but you must not expect many when on such marches. I feel first rate had as well go there as any where for a short time. I dont think there is much doubt but what we shall have fun soon. 

"Geo has got better and is going to Alexandria with some Express boxes today and follow us tomorrow or next day. Read your kind letter of the 18th inst. this morning when I arrived in camp which I read with much pleasure before retiring. I have no time to notice its contents.

"Dont worry about me but think me all right and be happy. Be at home soon now if nothing happens. I shall think of you every minute and love you always. Let me hug and kiss you again and again as I bid you good bye my darling one.

"Affectionately Elmer" 
~ E. D. Keyes, Captain, Company H, 16th Regiment, Letter of June 25, 1863

"Union Mills, Virginia, June 25, 1863

"Dear Parents,

"We are packing up our things, preparing to move by noon. We have been transferred to the first corps even to the 12th. The other regiments are ordered to report here this morning though their have none of them arrived here yet. Last night at half past nine about half of the regiment was down on the Occoquan River eight miles from here, and by 12:30 we had got into camp, good for another day, though I think that my feet will get a drink of whiskey before we start, as I find that it keeps the feet from chafing and getting sore as they sometimes do.

"We have lightened our packs all they will let us but would like to send off our dress coats, but they won't let us. Mine is good yet, worth at least five dollars, and I don't want to throw it away, so I see no way but to carry it. I am going to put in $10 and run the risk of its going through. I do not think we will go further than Centerville today, and would not be surprised if we did not start before tomorrow. 

"I am glad we came from the Occoquan last night rather than wait till this morning. We went out there day before yesterday, caught three Reb cavalrymen and three horses. One of the men was a Lieutenant and one a Sergeant and they had come home to visit their friends and got nabbed. They were smart, intelligent men... I suppose we are going up toward Leesburg, but do not know." ~ Hezron G. Day, pvt., Company C, Sixteenth Regiment, Letter from Union Mills, June 25, 1863

"Camp near Union Mills, VA June 25th, 1863
"My Dear Wife,

"Since I last wrote I have recovered my usual health. Tuesday I took half of the regiment and marched 7 miles to Spriggs Ford on the Occoquan and did picket duty capturing three prisoners of the 15th Virginia Cavalry. Last night at 7 o’clock I received orders to call in my pickets and return to Union Mills. I did so arriving here about 1 a.m., this morning. Today the whole brigade started with 10 days rations towards the Potomac in the direction of Leesburgh, to join Reynold’s Corps. It is likely that we shall see active service soon.

'There is nothing else of special interest. My letters for the present must be brief. Love to all - Your loving husband - Charles." 
"~ Lt. Col.Charles Cummings, Sixteenth Regiment, Letters June 15, 1863. VHS.

"Thurs. June 25, 1863. Marched to Coppels Mills this P.M." ~ From the Diary of Wheelock G. Veazey, Colonel, 16th Vermont Regiment.(VHS)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Wednesday, June 24, 1863. Marching Orders to join Gen'l Reynolds. "We now belong to the Army of the Potomac."

Col. Wheelock Veazey
16th Vermont
"Wed. June 24, 1863. Have an order to march tomorrow to join 1st Army Corps at Guilford Station. Gen'l Reynolds. Very glad to get away from this place." From the Diary of Wheelock G. Veazey, Colonel, 16th Vermont Regiment.(VHS)

"Wednesday 24th. Co. Drill but as I go on guard, was not obliged to attend. Detailed as Col. Blunt's orderly. Col went to Union Mills intending to go to W- but soon returned with orders for the Reg't to move the next morn to the Mills & then onward. We learned also that we are transferred to the 1st Army Corps, Gen. Reynolds." Diary of Horace Barlow (UVM), 133, Horace Barlow, Pvt., Co. C, 12th Regiment

"June 24. Ten days' rations have been procured, and orders are received for the regiment to report at Union Mills to-morrow at ten o'clock in the forenoon. We now belong to the Army of the Potomac."   ~ John C. Williams, Corporal, Co. B, 14th Regiment, Life in Camp 132 (1864)

"June 24, 1863. Wolf Run Shoals. Boys getting ready to move in the morning. They all feel well about moving. We have got to carry three days' rations." ~ Diary of Frederick L. Reed, Orderly Sergt., Co.. D, 14th Regt., (Memorial Exercises, Castleton VT 1885, p 57-59)

"24th. Marched to Centerville. Rained." ~ Diary of Oliver A. Browne, Co. K, 15th Regiment

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Tuesday, June 23, 1863. Wondering where we are going.

On the 23d the Second Vermont brigade is attached to the First corps of the Army of the Potomac under General Reynolds. ~ Russell and Emery, 16th Vermont Infantry Regimental History

Disposition of Stannard's troops June 23, 1863
( See Stannard's Route to Edwards's Ferry)
"Tuesday morning one half past seven Oclock.   Co. A is out on picket to day. The boys are all as well as usual this morning. We expect to Start for home next Sauterday if nothing new turns up. J.H. Hammond to the folks at home, one & all" ~ Jabez Hammond, West Windsor, Co. A, 12th Regt Letter No. 44, June 22, 1863

"Tuesday 23rd. Co. Drill. Right wing out on picket this A.M. No Battalion Drill, but Dress Parade as usual in eve. As my gun was very dirty & much rusted, I spent the P.M. in cleaning it. Also played Whist considerable, during the day & evening." ~ Diary of Horace Barlow (UVM), 133, Horace Barlow, Pvt., Co. C, 12th Regiment

"June 23. To-day orders have been received to be ready to march at a moment's notice, supplied with ten days' rations, which clearly shows that a long march is expected." ~ John C. Williams, Corporal, Co. B, 14th Regiment, Life in Camp 131 (1864)

"June 23, 1863. Received orders to be ready to move. I hope we will not go. Nothing new in camp to-day only all are wondering where we are going." ~ Diary of Frederick L. Reed, Orderly Sergt., Co.. D, 14th Regt., (Memorial Exercises, Castleton VT 1885, p 57-59) 

Lieut. Colonel Grout, commanding the four companies of the Fifteenth stationed at Catlett's, which was now the extreme southern infantry outpost on that line, was informed by General Buford, commanding the First division of the cavalry corps, then in camp within sight of Catlett's and forming the rear guard of the army, that he should move to the north that night; that the enemy was in force in his immediate front and undoubtedly follow him; and that it would not do for Grout to remain after he left. ... A car was hastily constructed by Captain Blake from some lumber and a set of car-trucks found by the side of the track. A rope was attached to the front of the car, to draw it by hand; another rope behind served the purpose of a brake. The tents and baggage were loaded, and the battalion started for Bristoe's, followed by Buford, who burned his forage and supplies, to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy, and marched away by the light of the conflagration. A colored woman with a baby three hours old had a place on Grout's car, and a crowd of over a thousand Negroes, men, women and children, accompanied the battalion. The party joined the rest of the regiment at Bristoe's that night; and next day the regiment joined the rest of the brigade at Union Mills.   ~ 2 George Grenville Benedict, Vermont in the Civil War 438 (Burlington Vt 1888). 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Monday. June 22, 1863. Some were minus legs and arms.

"Monday 22nd Co. Drill in A.M. Then getting excused from Noon roll-call, C. Thacher & I departed for "Sally Davis'". Stayed to dinner, which was very fair, had a good visit & returned to camp about 3 P.M. Battalion drill in P.M. & Dress Parade in eve. It is vastly more pleasant here, than it was in the Winter, when the mud was so deep & everything so drear." Diary of Horace Barlow (UVM), 132, Horace Barlow, Pvt., Co. C, 12th Regiment

"Camp of the 12th Regt. About one mile from Wolf run 
June 22nd 1863

"Dear Parents:   I now seat Myself to write you a few lines to let you know that I am yet alive and well and hope this will find you the same.   it is pleasant and warm to day ... yesterday there was very heavy Canonading off Towards Thorifare(?) Gap but dont know where it was.   James w. Taylor is here in my tent he is pretty poor and Weak, but is in pretty good Spirits ... we are in Camp about 3/4 of a mile from where we was last Winter. We Expect to have to go out on picket tomorrow but do not know. 

"to day there has been a paper to see if the boys will vote to stay six months more but I Think that Capt will vote to go home Just as Soon as Uncle Samuel will let us go and then we can Talk about Enlisting and that is that ... Well I think that I will put by this Writing a little While. 

"half past five P.M. I will now try and finish this letter. there has been pretty heavy fireing this afternoon. We have been out on Battalion drill Just for a Change...." ~ Ulysses Haller Hammond, West Windsor,  Co. A, 12th Regt Letter No. 44, June 22, 1863

"Camp Carusi 
June 22th 1863

"Dear Mother, I rec’d your last letter some days ago but have been so busy that I have not had time to answer it till now. My health is good at this time and the rest of our boys seem to be feeling well now days. We remain on our old ground (no, I am mistaken we have moved just swung the Regt. round so we are within ten rods of where we have been all the time). 

"We have not had anything to disturb us as yet, although we are on the very front here. There are no troops between us and the Rebels. One wing of Hooker’s army is within eight miles of here and are the only guard they have, so we occupy a very important position. If we allow ourselves to be surprised without giving them the alarm, serious consequences might be the result but we shant. Our pickets are vigilant. No force can approach without their being aware of it.

"... It does not seem that nine months have past since I left home (or nearly that). It has been the shortest nine months that ever I saw and the time now passes off very fast. I suppose the reason is that we are kept too busy. We are on duty three days in a week but it is not hard. The nights are so short that it does not seem as bad as it did last winter and we can lay down and sleep anywhere without a blanket and not be cold.

"There has been fighting above here for three days, mostly artillery and cavalry. I went to the station yesterday as one of the guards (we have to guard the teams since the others were taken) and I saw some of the wounded and some prisoners. They said our men were driving the Rebels and after I came away. There were some more passed. Some were minus legs and arms. They were hit in every place that it don’t seem possible that they could live so long."
~ James Willson, 13th Regt., pvt, Co. B., Letter #52, June 22, 1863 (VHS)

"Camp Carusi, 
"June 22, 1863.

"My Dear Sister, -Everybody moves but us. This picket line is still kept up. The boys were going to move long before, and fight the enemy; but not a rebel has been seen yet. The oft repeated question is, "Where is Lee?" Some say he is in the Shenandoah valley; others think that he is just south of the Bull Run battle-field. Gen. Hooker's army corps are within supporting distance of each other in the vicinity of Centreville and Fairfax Court House. 

"It is reported that a few of the enemy have reached Pennsylvania, and that Harrisburg is in danger. We do not know what to think of these things, or how this great move will finally turn out. 

"The soldiers are in good health and spirits. None expect a large force this way; but in case of a great battle near where the armies have met twice before, this brigade will doubtless take part in the bloody drama. The excitement is just enough for some, operating like wine on them." ~ Lt. Edwin Palmer, 13th Regiment, The Second Brigade: or, Camp Life, By a Volunteer (1864) 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Sunday, June 21, 1863. The 12th moves camp to the "graveyard". Sounds of a cavalry fight.

"Saturday night we had orders to be ready to move at 6 A.M. on Sunday and We Started at five Moments of 6 and marched to this place and got here at Nine. A distance of about five miles in three hours, with our house and bedding and our cupboard. got our houses All Framed and put up at Twelve N. Ready to go to Keeping house again. ...

"Harler wanted that I should finish this letter. ... D. Parker died Sunday morning with typhoid pneumonia. The orderly went to Ax. with his remains & got them embalmed & started for home yesterday. the cost of embalming & for transportation to Proctersville was $59.63." ~ Ulysses Haller Hammond and Jabez H. Hammond, West Windsor, age 20, Sgt. Co. A, 12th Regt Letter No. 44, June 22, 1863

"Sunday 21st. At time specified took up our line of march for Wolf Run Shoals, & encamped about a half mile from our old camps, towards the Station, just in front of a fine old woods. Arranging camp & taking it easy for the rest of the day. The march of 7 miles did not tire me in the least." Diary of Horace Barlow (UVM), 132, Horace Barlow, Pvt., Co. C, 12th Regiment

"June 21. Stirring news expected soon. Firing is heard to-day in the direction of Centreville, which is at present the headquarters of the army." ~ John C. Williams, Corporal, Co. B, 14th Regiment, Life in Camp 130 (1864)

"June 21. Sunday. We have heard firing the most of the day. Our teamsters at the Station saw the wounded brought in, and rebel prisoners going to Washington. They came from the west of us. There was a sharp cavalry fight near Snicker's Gap, leading into the Shenandoah Valley."  ~ Lt. Edwin Palmer, 13th Regiment, The Second Brigade: or, Camp Life, By a Volunteer (1864)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Saturday, June 20, 1863. Scorched earth. The 12th is ordered to join the 14th at Wolf Run Shoals.

"Union Mills, Virginia, June 20, 1863

"Dear Parents: We have been having some rain- am glad of it, to lay the dust for a while, and where the dust flies like snow in a regular March tornado, that is no small favor. Besides, it is cooler now. Day before yesterday it was 108 degrees in the shade. ...

"... The old brigade is not more than 8 or 10 miles from us now. They stayed nearer than that one night and a good many of the boys went over there to see them and some of them came over to see us. ... 
There are no troops now between us and Richmond now, unless they be Rebel troops. All have either fallen back or gone to Maryland. ... 

"I cannot believe that Lee is foolhardy enough to take his whole army or the greater portion of it north of the Potomac. If he does, I am afraid that he will never get back again without getting it all cut to pieces. We expect that a heavy force from Hooker's army has gone up to meet them there; while another good part of it remains within the defenses of Washington ready for any emergency.
"As the army fell back this time, it did what ought to have been done long ago, viz: cleaned out the country as they came along. I do not suppose that every house is burned, but they have purified a good many Sesesh kennels and left the inhabitants thereof to go either north or south as they felt inclined, though it is more than probable that most of them chose to go beyond the Rebel lines.For several days we could see immense clouds of smoke looming up from the direction of the Rappahannock, but hardly knew what to make of it. 

"At last we learned that the cavalry were cleaning out the country as they came along. At Bealton they burned all the station buildings and at Catlett did the same thing, but at Warrenton Junction they did not burn a single thing for the simple reason that there is nothing there that will burn. Neither is there at Manassas, except the water tank, and at Bristow there is nothing left worth burning, for we used up the buildings pretty much for shanties to live in. ..." ~ Hezron G. Day, pvt., Company C, Sixteenth Regiment, Letter from Union Mills, June 20, 1863

Saturday 20th. Home to Camp about 10 o'clock. Day lowery & but with only an occasional shower. Report says we are to remove to the "Graveyard", to-morrow at 6 A.M. Alas! Alas!" ~ Diary of Horace Barlow (UVM), 132, Horace Barlow, Pvt., Co. C, 12th Regiment

"June 20. We are once more in a new camp, and to-day the regiment is busily engaged in pitching tents. Another member of Company B, by the name of Caleb Fisk, died last night." ~ John C. Williams, Corporal, Co. B, 14th Regiment, Life in Camp 130 (1864).

Caleb P. Fisk
died June 19, 1863 at Wolf Run Shoals

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Friday, June 19, 1863. Five weeks to go.

“We got a nice shower last night so to day it is quite cool & comfortable, & not at all dusty. The 1st Brigade encamped last night at the Court House; whether they are going to stay there any length of time or not, I do not know. ... When I was down to the Old Brigade, I saw a N.Y. Regt. under guard; asked a Sergt. who stood near what the difficulty was, & he told me they thought their time was out. 

"We shall know when ours is next time. Five weeks from yesterday, probably four weeks will see us on the road. The boys do not have word to say about their time now days, all quiet as can be.” Joseph Spafford, 1st Lieutenant, Company E, Sixteenth Regiment, Letter, June 19, 1863 (uvm)

"June 19. This is a busy day for us. Our old camp being too much exposed, situate so near the picket line, it was thought advisable to move it back about a mile. Accordingly, orders were issued to that effect, and to-day they are being complied with."   ~ John C. Williams, Corporal, Co. B, 14th Regiment, Life in Camp 129 -30 (1864)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Thursday, June 18, 1863. We are the front line.

"June 18. On picket opposite the village. ... During the next two days events are being shaped behind the curtain, -we spectators seeing and hearing just enough to set curiosity and anxiety chafing the pickets as they leave camp are reminded of their responsibility; that we are in the front line, guarding not only our own camps, but those of the army of the Potomac, which is mostly in the rear of us."  ~ Lt. Edwin Palmer, 13th Regiment, The Second Brigade: or, Camp Life, By a Volunteer (1864)

"June 18. We are still acting an important part in the great drama. It can be said with truthfulness that the 14th is now in the front. The movements of Gen. Lee have compelled the army of the Potomac to fall back towards Washington. We became apprised of the fact on Sunday, the 14th. This being one of the principal routes to Fredericksburg, a part of the army passed here. ...  It took four days and nights for the column to pass. 

"The 1st Vermont Brigade passed on Tuesday, stopping here two hours for rest. We had a fine chance to give these heroes of many battles a hearty shake of the hand. The officers and men appeared to be in fine spirits, notwithstanding the forced march they had endured. The brigade halted at Fairfax Station until this morning, when they again moved on. 

"The 14th is now in a very exposed position. There was no picket line between ours and the Rappahannock, which now leaves us in front." ~ John C. Williams, Corporal, Co. B, 14th Regiment, Life in Camp 126-29 (1864)

Monday, June 17, 2013

June 17, 1863. A Reunion

"June 17. A hundred and fifty from our regiment have been to see their sons, brothers and more distant relatives in the First Brigade, which is now encamped near the Station. Some, as soon as it was known where they were, started at midnight, and found them in a forest, asleep, and lying on the ground here and there "like sheep," as one expressed it. Brothers awoke brothers, and friends friends who left home nearly two years ago, and fought in every battle in which the army of the Potomac had been engaged; and though too dark to discern face or form, perhaps changed by toil or exposure or battle, but the voice is remembered, and they clasp each other with the affection of children." ~ Lt. Edwin Palmer, 13th Regiment, The Second Brigade: or, Camp Life, By a Volunteer (1864)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tuesday, June 16, 1863. The Second Brigade are now the the rear Guard of Hooker's Army

"June 16th, Morning: It bids fair to be another scorching hot day just such as we are in the habit of having at the present time. We have to start at 5:30, and that does not leave much time for writing or anything else. We have just packed up our overcoats in a box to send to Alexandria to stay until we come home. We do not need then now! And we do not want to lug them in case we have to march anywhere." ~ Hezron G. Day, pvt., Company C, Sixteenth Regiment, Letter from Union Mills, June 15, 1863

Joseph Spafford
"Camp at Union Mills Va.
"June 16th 1863
"Dear Sister,

"Yesterday was extremely hot, and as we have had no rain for several weeks you can have something of an idea what a dust a train of baggage wagons, Artillery, Cav. &c. would kick up in our camp, if they were moving through it all the time. Since yesterday noon there has been an almost continual train passing directly through our camp, so we have had dust for breadfast, dust for dinner, & dust for supper. Trains were passing nearly all night and are still going to day. They are most of them going in the direction of Centerville.

"Many soldiers were sun struck yesterday while on the march; old soldiers passing through here say it was about as bad a day as they ever saw, for a march. To day is quite cool & comfortable. I think they must have had thunder storms somewhere about us during the night. I wish we might get enough to lay the dust, here.

"I understand that the 15th Regt. are all together at Manassas Junction & are coming back here to day. Geo. is with them yet, did not come back yesterday.

"Our Co. is all on picket to day. Every man of them, it was not Capts. or my turn to go so we are stoping in camp, the Co. will not be back until day after tomorrow. Our boys are all well and feeling well; the same with myself. I never felt better during the hot weather." Joseph Spafford, 1st Lieutenant, Company E, Sixteenth Regiment, Letter, June 15, 1863 (uvm)

At Occuquan:

"June 16. We move our camp about a hundred rods, thinking it to be healthier. All carry their bunks to the new place. We have seen several officers from the army of the Potomac.

"Evening. Here, squads of ten or fifteen are gathered around some old soldier telling his tales of blood, or where he thinks the enemy are; there are many sitting on the ground, talking, laughing, singing, and some are smoking." ~ Lt. Edwin Palmer, 13th Regiment, The Second Brigade: or, Camp Life, By a Volunteer (1864)

At Catlett's:

"16th. The 6th A. C. is at the station. Brigade is doing well. The 15th are the rear Guard of Hooker's Army." ~ Diary of Oliver A. Browne, Co. K, 15th Regiment