sunrise when we debarked from the train, and marched to the Soldier
's Rest, then near the Capitol
Having partaken of some refreshment, we proceeded to the freight depot, and, our battery and teams being unloaded, we harnessed and marched up the slope of Capitol Hill
, out northeast of the Capitol
, toward Anacosta Creek above the bend, and made a camp with other companies of reserve artillery, which were here receiving instruction, while awaiting assignment to some division of the great army, which was then being organized.
There were also several thousand cavalry encamped hard by; and, during the week of our sojourn, there was a grand review of the mounted troops, ten thousand, we should judge, our battery among them.
We embraced an opportunity one day before our departure from this place, to run out to Bladensburg
, four miles or more away, to see the boys of the First and Eleventh Massachusetts, Hooker
's brigade then lying along the range of the northern fortifications of the Capitol
, which we believe they had helped construct.
These bronzed pioneers of the quota of our old Bay State were just coming in from drill, when we arrived, and experienced a lively surprise, no doubt, as we met their glance in passing.
When they broke ranks there was a hearty handshaking and welcome.
It was on the 12th of October, we believe, that we marched to the arsenal, and exchanged four of our guns, two rifle six-pounders, and two smooth bores of the same caliber, for Parrotts, retaining the two howitzers of the left section.
Two days later, we marched down Pennsylvania Avenue, thence Fourteenth Street, over Long Bridge
, across the Potomac
, and for the first time this command was upon the soil of Virginia
—a soil upon which the grand old Army of the Potomac, then organizing, was destined to suffer defeats or gain victories; to endure every conceivable hardship and danger; to prove itself, in the loss of about 150,000 of its rank and file, and in every emergency, worthy as the defender of the capital of the nation; to endure the unjust criticisms, the deep injuries, the cruel taunts of those in our rear who knew little or nothing of what they were talking or writing; to fight a desperate and stubborn foe, the very flower of the Confederate army, under command of their ablest generals, on over five hundred fields in that one state; and destined, when those surviving should become bronzed into veterans of hundreds of