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[151] Seventh Regiment as being dandies, and guilty of the unpardonable crimes of cleanliness and kid gloves, that they would cease to scoff and remain to bless, had they beheld the square, honest, genial way in which these military Brummells roughed it. Farther on you will see what they did in the way of endurance and activity.

April 21 was Sunday. A glorious, cloudless day. We had steamed all night, and about 10 o'clock were in the vicinity of Chesapeake Bay. At 11 o'clock, A. M., we had service read by our chaplain, and at 1 P. M., we were seven miles from the coast. The day was calm and delicious. In spite of our troubles with regard to food — troubles, be it understood, entirely unavoidable — we drank in with delight the serenity of the scene. A hazy tent of blue hung over our heads. On one side the dim thread of shore hemmed in the sea. Flights of loons and ducks skimmed along the ocean, rising lazily, and spattering the waves with their wings as they flew against the wind, until they rose into air, and, wheeling, swept into calmer feeding grounds. Now and then the calm of the hour was,broken with the heavy tramp of men, and the metallic voice of the corporal of the guard relieving his comrades. At 5 o'clock, P. M., we passed a light-ship and hailed her, our object being to discover whether any United States vessels were in the neighborhood waiting to convoy us up the Potomac River. We had heard that the forts at Alexandria were ready to open upon us if we attempted to pass up, and our steamer was of such a build that, had a shell or shot struck it, we would have been burned or drowned. It therefore behooved us to be cautious. The answers we got from the light-ship and other vessels that we hailed in this spot were unsatisfactory, and although the feelings of the men were unanimous in wishing to force the Potomac, wiser counsels, as it proved, were behind us, and we kept on. About this time a curious phenomenon occurred. Some men in the regiment who have fine voices — and their name is legion — had been singing, with all that delicious effect that music at sea produces, several of the finest psalms in our liturgy. The ocean softens and delicately repeats sound, and those airs, trembling and sliding along the almost unrippled surface of the sea, were so melodious, that if the Southern Cerberi had heard them, they would have slumbered at the gates of their own hell. While we were singing, the moon swung clear into air, and round her white disk was seen three circles, clear and distinct--red, white, and blue! The omen was caught by common instinct, and a thousand cheers went up to that heaven that seemed in its visible signs to manifest its approval of the cause in which we were about to fight. All this time we were entirely ignorant of where we were going. The officers kept all secret, and our conjectures drifted like a drifting boat. On the morning of the 22d we were in sight of Annapolis, off which the Constitution was lying, and there found the Eighth Regiment of Massachusetts volunteers, on board the Maryland. They were aground, owing, it is supposed, to the treachery of the captain, whom they put in irons, and wanted to hang. I regret to say that they did not do it. During the greater portion of that forenoon we were occupied in trying to get the Maryland off the sandbar on which she was grounded. From our decks we could see the men in file trying to rock her, so as to facilitate our tugging. These men were without water and without food, were well conducted and uncomplaining, and behaved, in all respects, like heroes. They were under the command of Col. Butler, and 1 regret that that gentleman did not car e more for the comforts of men whose subsequent pluck proved that nothing was too good for them. During the endeavors to get the Maryland afloat, we had some idle time on our hands, and your humble servant employed some of it in “composing” a Seventh Regiment song, which is now in rehearsal by the vocalists of the corps.1

On the afternoon of the 22d we landed at the Annapolis dock, after having spent hours in trying to relieve the Maryland. For the first time in his life your correspondent was put to work to roll flour-barrels. He was entrusted with the honorable and onerous duty of transporting stores from the steamer to the dock. Later still he descended to the position of mess servant, when, in company with gentlemen well known in Broadway for immaculate kids, he had the honor of attending on his company with buckets of cooked meat and crackers. The only difference between him and Co. and the ordinary waiter being, that the former were civil.

After this I had the pleasing duty of performing three hours of guard duty on the dock with a view to protect the baggage and stores. It was monotonous — being my first guard--but not unpleasant. The moon rose calm and white. A long dock next to the one on which I was stationed stretched away into the bay, resting on its numerous piles, until it looked in the clear moonlight like a centipede. All was still and calm, until at certain periods the guard challenged persons attempting to pass. There was a holy influence in the hour, and somehow the hot fever of anxiety that had been over us for days seemed to pass away under the touch of the magnetic fingers of the night.

We were quartered in the buildings belonging to the Naval School at Annapolis. I had a bunking-place in what is there called a fort, which is a rickety structure, that a lucifer match would set on fire, but furnished with imposing guns. I suppose it was merely built to practice the cadets, because as a defence it is worthless. The same evening boats were sent off from the yard, and towards nightfall the Massachusetts men landed, fagged, hungry,

1 See song entitled “The Seventh,” at page 17, Poetry and Incidents.

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