Chapter 4: our first campaign.--battle of Fair Oaks.
About the middle of March we broke camp and took up our line of march for our first campaign.
We bade good-by to our tents, which had sheltered us since we left Massachusetts
, and sent them to Washington
with our extra personal baggage, where I expect they are to-day, as we never received them again.
We marched to the river, then up the towpath of the canal to Harper's Ferry
, forded the Potomac
at Point of Rocks
, and for the first time our feet pressed the sacred soil of Virginia
We saw here the devastations of war,--the ruins of the old arsenal that had been burned by the rebels, the dilapidated and vacant houses,--but most interesting to us was the old engine-house, where John Brown
made his gallant fight.
This we found filled with rebel prisoners.
“Truly,” we said, “his soul is marching on.”
As soon as arms were stacked we rushed to the arsenal ruins for relics.
I found an old gun-lock and several other parts of muskets.
These I packed in my knapsack,--and the next day threw them away.
With other regiments we marched up the valley to join Banks
's division, and bivouacked at Charlestown
in the field where John Brown
The next morning Company A was ordered back to Harper's Ferry
for provost duty.
The rest of the regiment