Chapter 27: the Gettysburg Campaign.
On June 14, 1863, Hooker
put his army on the march toward Gettysburg
's Second Corps was the rear guard all the way to Edward's Ferry.
The Nineteenth Massachusetts regiment bivouacked on the night of June 14, under orders to start the following morning in very light marching order, and did so in company with two pieces of Battery ‘A,’ First Rhode Island Artillery, to form the extreme rear guard of the Army, Companies F and K being detailed under command of Major Rice
to march half a mile in rear of the column.
They marched, on the first day, until nearly sunset, over dusty roads and frequently through burning woods.
Passing Stafford Court House, they camped on Aquia Creek
where the men bathed in the coffee colored water, thence on the 17th, passing Dumfries
and halting for the night at Wolf Run
Shoals, on the Occoquan river
; on the 18th to Fairfax Station; on the 19th to Centreville
; on the 20th to Haymarket
, and on the 21st to Thoroughfare Gap, where the regiment remained for three days, in position to repel any advance through the gap.
Frequent halts had been made during the first part of the march to allow the pioneers time to obstruct the road by felling trees across it and destroying bridges.
This was done to retard the enemy's pursuit and make it difficult for him to move forward his artillery.
A short distance from the road, on the left, a line of flankers filed along through the brush and woods, over hills and through valleys, while in the distance a cavalryman was occasionally seen in a similar duty, both watching to prevent surprise.
The first day was extremely hot and it was particularly trying on account of the fact that the men had just left winter quarters.
The ambulances were rapidly filled and stragglers