Unlike the previous march, up the peninsula, when private property was rigidly respected, now every pig, hen or animal that could be carried or could be found useful was taken along.
Cornfields were stripped and orchards were cleaned out.
On the following day at noon the regiment passed through Williamsburg
, a city which, in times of peace, was said to contain about 6,000 inhabitants.
Passing William and Mary College and the rebel fortifications and the battlefield of the 5th of May, the line was kept moving until the Warwick river
was reached, when it went into camp for the night.
The march on the following day brought them, at 4 o'clock, to near the York river
, about a mile above Yorktown
where camp was made.
The first thing after breaking ranks was a rush for the river and in a few minutes there were thousands of men enjoying a bath in the cool waters and fishing for oysters at the same time.
It was a glorious treat to wash off the accumulation of dust, and it made a great change in the complexions of the men. Going into the water with faces like dirty Mongolians, they came out Caucasians.
Oysters and quahaugs were plentiful and the men enjoyed a rich supper of them, with side dishes of roast corn, shell beans and sweet potatoes.
While the men were enjoying their bath and gathering the shell fish, they were ordered to at once return to their companies and form for dress parade.
This order was an astonishing one, as dress parade during a long march had never been heard of. There were many mental objections, but, tired as they were after the hard march, the men started to clean up as so to make a respectable appearance, as they knew from past experience that they would have a good audience to witness their exemplification of the manual of arms.
At the dress parade there was, indeed, a large audience and such a one as the men had not looked for. It seemed as if the officers of the entire Corps were present, and half the men. Gen. Dana
, commander of the Third Brigade, Gen. Gorman
of the First and Gen. Burns
of the Second, with Gen. Sedgwick
, the Division Commander
, and their staffs were there.
‘Something's Up,’ said one of the Nineteenth and all felt that they were expected to