at the landing but took boats for Washington
Among these was our minister, Levi.
He had managed to keep out of every battle, and now deserted, joining the advance-guard in Canada
when dry was a sandy plain; when we arrived it was a sea of mud. Without shelter, overcoats or blankets we dropped in the mud, and being so exhausted, having been without sleep, except the little naps caught in line of battle, for seven days, we soon forgot our misery.
It was two days before we could reorganize our companies.
Men were coming in who we expected were killed or captured, but July 4 upon calling the roll, we found that more than half of the men who had left Massachusetts
with us less than a year before had either been killed in battle, died of disease or were sick or wounded in general hospital.
The death-rate at Harrison's Landing
Men who had stood the retreat now broke down and soon died.
Every hour in the day we could hear the dead march, as comrade after comrade was laid at rest.
The subject for discussion around the camp-fire was the disaster to the Union
Newspapers called it “an important change of base.”
We knew that some one had been outgeneralled, and although the men had confidence in General McClellan
, we believed that while we had been digging and dying before Yorktown
we should have been advancing and fighting.
Looking at the campaign in the most charitable light possible, the fact remained that on April 4 the finest army ever mustered began the advance on Richmond
; that we had been within five miles of that city, and that July 4 found the army on the banks of the James River
, with less than half of the number it had three months before.
We were not