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Chapter 8:

  • Winter camp at White Oak Church and the “mud march”
  • -- the “darkest hours” of the Army of the Potomac -- the “dead march” -- death of Comrade Pooler -- evangelists in camp -- reminiscences of the period -- the emancipation Proclamation -- Capt. McCartney -- recollections of the “mud march” -- Gen. Burnside is relieved of command at his own request -- Gen. Hooker reorganizes the Army -- preparations for an advance -- roster of the Sixth Corps, December 13, 1862

Our company lay in the rear of the church, and Hexamer's Hoboken Battery lay upon our right. The next week was diligently employed in preparing as comfortable winter quarters for men and horses as available means would permit; and the ingenuity and industry of the individuals of the several detachments soon reared a village of small log cabins with stone fireplaces, with their shelter-tents for the roofs of their dwellings, that was interesting to behold. A corral for the horses, the most comfortable and convenient that we ever saw in a winter camp in this army, was contrived by clearing an oval space in the clump of evergreens, and by further sheltering it from the blasts by a tall, thick, brush-work fence of evergreen boughs. The picket-rope was stretched around the oval, at sufficient distance from the fence to allow the horses to stand with their heads facing in upon the plot. It was undeniable that few companies of the mounted service that participated in all the campaigns from the spring of 1862 until January, 1863, could show during that period a better record in regard to the care and preservation of army horses than ours. This was due to the selection of experienced and faithful stable sergeants and assistants, who, under the direction of Lieut. Federhen, who was a lover of the animal, pursued a careful system of feeding, watering, and grooming. So, under the keen supervision of Commander McCartney, who was familiar with and watchful of every detail of the work, our stable always presented a first-class appearance, and our complement of horses, in the field or on the march, was among the most efficient.

During the week in which we were engaged in preparing winter quarters and were busily working up the details of the arrangements for spending some weeks at this place, an address from

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W. H. McCartney (2)
John Pooler (1)
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Jacob Federhen (1)
Burnside (1)
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