previous next

[349] Seager's farm. Just west of us are encamped the Troy Regiment, and north of them are Col. Duryea's Regiment of N. Y. Zouaves. They are a rough set of fellows, aching for a fight. Not finding any other enemy, they have pitched into the rebels' cattle, hogs, and any thing else eatable wherever they could find them. The country near them will suffer wherever they go. You little know in Vermont the evils of war. Could you but see, as I have seen, houses for miles around, stripped of every thing, windows broken, every thing left desolate, you might have an idea of the state of things here.

Sunday, May 26.--We had divine service, conducted by our chaplain, Rev. Mr. Stone. It was very solemn to us, I assure you. He spoke very feelingly, having a good occasion for it; for, on the morrow, it was expected by every man in the regiment that we should have a severe conflict with the enemy, and not a few of us might fall. He exhorted us to be true to our country, and do battle in its cause manfully, praying that the God of Battles might watch over us, bringing us safely and victoriously through the fight, and that every man might be prepared to meet whatever fate awaited him.

May 27.--We were aroused at 51 o'clock A. M.; ate our breakfast; filled our haversacks with two days rations, consisting of four hard crackers and two pieces of fat pork; struck our tents, and were on the march at 6 o'clock A. M. We knew not where our destination was to be, but expected to go to Sewell's Point, to take those batteries that our ships have been engaging with so many times. We expected to have a hard fight, for we supposed the enemy had a large force to receive us; but not a man in the regiment hung back; all were ready and eager for the fray. Some that had been sick, and, in fact, were unfit for duty, refused to stay behind, but shouldered their muskets and went with us. We embarked on board the steamer Cataline, and were soon steaming up the river. An hour's sail brought us to this point, where we landed unmolested. The Harriet Lane was here to protect us, should the enemy appear. The Rutland and Middlebury companies had gone on ahead. They were drawn up in line along the shore, and had nothing to do but to wait patiently our coming. After marching to the place intended for our camp — a wheat field — and having our guns, knapsacks, &c., all went at work hauling up cannon, bringing stores, &c. After this, “the boys” went to work fixing places to sleep in, by putting up rails and covering them with brush, under which I enjoyed as good a night's rest as I ever had on a feather bed in Old Vermont. I was tired. Our tents, camp utensils, &c., were left behind. The Fourth Massachusetts Regiment followed us, and were stationed on our left.

May 28.--Our camp equipage arrived this morning, and soon our “houses” were up again, ready for their old occupants. The Seventh Regiment, N. Y. V. M., was landed here this morning. They lay off the landing all day yesterday, unable to land; the boat being of too heavy draught to land at the wharf, and the wind blew too hard for them to land in small boats. They are placed on our right. All of them are Germans, with two or three exceptions; many of them are unable to talk or even understand English. We may have some trouble with them, especially when they are on guard. It would please you to see them when they are relieving guard, or when some one attempts to pass them — they cannot go through with the formality of receiving the countersign and passing a man. Some of our boys make some ludicrous mistakes occasionally. As soon as our tents were pitched, we were set at work fortifying our camp, (a plan of which I will endeavor to make and send you.) Since Tuesday we have been hard at work, not even ceasing on this, the Sabbath day; for we wish to be prepared for the enemy. We sleep on our arms every night, expecting an attack from 8,000 men that are preparing to march upon us from Yorktown. Our Colonel has command of the post, which does not please the Massachusetts boys. There are about 2,500 men here, including a few regulars who are to work the cannon; of which we have four fine brass field-pieces: one 6-pounder, placed on the extreme right; one 12-pounder, on the right of our regiment; one 6-pounder, on its left; and one 12-pounder, on the extreme. left. A battery of heavy guns is being erected on the shore, to command the river. I do not know how many guns are to be placed there, as they have not arrived here yet.

Look upon the map of this State, and you will see that the James River, near its mouth, runs a few miles directly south, and then turns to the east; in this bend, on the south side, is our camp. The name of it is Camp Butler, and the name of the place is Newport News. There is no village here; though there are two wharves and one store. The merchant continues his trade, and says he is glad we came, as now he has customers, while before he had none. This point is nine miles west of Fortress Monroe. A boat runs up here every afternoon. The Harriet Lane remains here to come to our aid. She is a small vessel, carrying eight or nine guns;) but is a tough customer to deal with, as the rebels will find. No rations were dealt out to us till the second night after our arrival; consequently, some of our boys became quite hungry, having had nothing but those four crackers, and some of them took the liberty of stepping out and helping themselves to some eatables that the rebels had left behind in their sudden flight. Where a man remained at home and attended to his business, he was not meddled with; but when they found a house deserted, and the owner a soldier in the rebel army, his eatables were not allowed to spoil. I do not think there are ten white men within five miles of us, among the farmers. I know of but two, and those

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
T. M. Stone (1)
Seager (1)
English (1)
A. Duryea (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 28th (1)
May 27th (1)
May 26th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: