At the Junction, where there was so little to eat, I determined to find something; accordingly I walked a mile to a little cottage, where I found a negro and his wife supplying some other members of my regiment with bacon, milk, hoecake, &c. I took my seat at the table with the rest, and took a dirty plate, a quarter full of fragments, left by one who had just eaten from it. I asked the negro to clean it; he evidently not understanding the meaning of the word “clean,” filled up the plate just as it was, and I, though not liking to eat what had been left by my predecessor, was too hungry to hesitate long about it. I am going this afternoon to get cleaned up, having brushed my hair but once and washed my face but three times, and not having had my boots off night or day, since I left New York last Sunday.
Navy-Yard, Sunday, April 28, 10 1/2 A. M.At half-past 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon we were ordered to the Navy-Yard. It is considered here a post of honor, and it is said Gen. Scott sent us here because he considered us a very hardy regiment. Our company is now quartered on a steamboat lying off the yard, till our barracks are cleaned and fixed; we shall probably get into them to-morrow. On all our march from Annapolis we saw only forty or fifty houses, and those most miserable. We met with one Secessionist, who we asked for a pail of water for the thirsting soldiers; he replied, “I won't give you any water, if I die for it.” We saw no more of that kind; all others whom we saw on that route seemed to be very friendly, waved their handkerchiefs, and did what they could for us; they were all destitute of provisions, the Seventh Regiment having preceded us the day before. I have just received the most interesting intelligence--we are to have roast beef for dinner. If my letter is perfectly wandering and disconnected, excuse it, as I am writing in a very inconvenient place, in the midst of such a noise that I can scarcely hear myself speak; small darkies crying out “Shine your boots for half a dime with the Union polish;” and soon others, “Here's the latest news from New York--New York Herald, twenty-five cents.” But we are all well, notwithstanding our sufferings, and we are sustained by the conviction that we are actuated by the spirit of a pure and a holy patriotism, and that our course is approved by all the good on earth, and by our Father in Heaven.
Extract of a letter from a sergeant in the Seventy-first New York regiment to his wife.
Washington Navy-Yard, Sunday, April 28th.We arrived here yesterday, after a week of terrible labor and privation, but, I am happy to say, in the enjoyment of good health. Not a single case of sickness has yet come to my knowledge. We embarked on the R. R. Cuyler, with over nine hundred men; and, after a voyage of three days, without rest, without food — except in small quantity and poor quality — without good water, and with seven hundred and fifty men afflicted with the most distressing sea-sickness-we arrived at Annapolis on Wednesday, about noon. Here I partook of the first real food I had tasted, consisting of oysters and crackers. We stayed at Annapolis, getting what rest we could, (I did not get any, as I was sergeant of the guard, and had to march on the relief every hour all night,) until two o'clock Thursday morning, when we were ordered to march for Annapolis Junction, about thirty miles distant. We got off about 4 A. M., and marched for eight hours, when we halted for two hours and were served with rations, consisting of two hard crackers only. We started again about 2 P. M., and marched six hours more till about 8 P. M., when we again halted and partook of corned beef, very little of it, and that little very tough, and a hard cracker. The entire march was made with our muskets and heavily-laden knapsacks, through sand six or eight inches deep, and the thermometer from 75 to 80. At this spot we had an alarm, and were drawn up in hollow square with muskets loaded; but the alarm proved false. We started again at 10 P. M., and arrived at the Junction at 3 A. M., of Friday, the 26th, having marched thirty miles in about twenty-four hours, our only food being three hard crackers and a piece of tough meat. Here we were stowed away like sardines in a miserable, rickety old wooden building, which had evidently been used as a bowling-alley. We remained here (and without any food, except one pig, which was bought by our company and roasted in the woods and distributed, as far as it would go, among the men) till about 7 P. M., when we got on board the cars for Washington. After getting comfortably seated, and, as we thought, about to start, dispatches were received that five thousand Baltimoreans, with a corps of four hundred and fifty artillerymen, were on their way to attack us. “Attention, battalion-disembark,” was the order given, and promptly obeyed by the regiment, which was drawn up in a line of battle in a field close by, and we were ordered to sleep on our arms. We remained here about three hours, when we again took the cars, (this alarm also having proved false,) and between two and three o'clock on the morning of Saturday, the 27th, we started for Wasllington, where we arrived at seven o'clock. We were marched to the City Hall, and took up our quarters in the large wooden building erected for the Inauguration ball last month. Here we stayed till 3 P. M., when we marched to the Navy-Yard; we are quartered till to-morrow on a steamboat lying near; we then go into barracks in the Navy-Yard, and remain during our stay. Yesterday, in Washington, we had a bath and a good dinner of beefsteak