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[28]

Our camp was located in a swamp; the rain was almost constant, and the ground like a sponge. Sickness prevailed to an alarming extent; it was not an uncommon thing to march half of the company to sick call, but not all who went were sick. Active service had tired some who, when we were in camp in Maryland, were anxious to fight, and were constantly grumbling because we were not ordered in. Picket duty under fire had given these few the “shell fever.” Loss of voice was the trouble with many, caused by severe colds. One day I marched my squad of invalids to the hospital tent; with them was one of the loudest talking men in the company, but that morning he could only whisper. After the doctor had examined them all he gave me the list of excused, and my voiceless comrade was not down. “Hasn't he excused me?” said B. “No,” was my reply, in a voice that could be heard a quarter of a mile. “D-n him, I am the sickest man in the company,” was his indignant answer; but he went on duty just the same, and never again answered sick call until wounded. Such cases were the exception, however, and every day the number grew less, as our men were ordered back to general hospital.

The works we were erecting were of the strongest kind, as it was intended to besiege Yorktown, and the heaviest guns were mounted for that purpose. Sunday morning, May 4, found the regiment on picket duty. It had been a lively night, as the shelling had been constant. Lieutenant Hume, in charge of an outpost, believed that the rebels had left the works in his front; sending his opinion back to the commanding officer, he started to cross the field. No gun was fired and he continued on. The regiment was then ordered forward double quick, as others had seen Lieutenant

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