The line moved down the hill in spasmodic hitches until the proper place in the column was found and then the men swung along at an easy, regular pace which soon took the soreness out of their limbs.
In a short time the whole corps was in line, moving over the road in a seemingly endless tramp, the Nineteenth, with its 220 members, leading the corps column.
Soon after starting, a creek was forded, a circumstance which ruffled tempers a little, coming as it did so early in the day for all knew by experience that the feet would suffer afterward from the sand which always sifted into the shoes while fording a stream which was kept stirred up. The sun was now well up and the air was intensely hot, causing the prespiration to run out and, running down the face, drip from the nose and chin.
The salty liquid got into the eyes, causing them to burn and smart and it ran from under the cap, through the dust and down the sides of the face which was soon covered with muddy streaks, the result of repeated wipings upon the sleeves of the blouse.
People living along the road came out to view the Union Army
, which most of them were glad to see, and which they warmly welcomed with food and water.
These were eagerly accepted by the men.
Noon came and still there was no end to the regular tramp of many feet.
The noon day meal was forgotten by the eager watchers, who were anxious to see all. Never was a parade, however fancifully or brilliantly arrayed, viewed with greater interest than this dust covered column of veterans in blue as they marched past these Union homes.
‘Let us stop a while in the cool shade of this tree, and review our comrades,’ says Russell Foster
, in his letters.
The sun is intensely hot, and the clothing becomes wet with prespiration.
Occasionally a brook is crossed.
A few of the men make a dash for it, unbuckling their dippers as they scramble down the bank; some take time to fill their canteens and rest a moment, trusting to their ability to catch up at the next halting place; others dash their cups into the brook, fill them at one scoop—and also rile the water, making the others use profanity—and run to their places in the line, with the water slopping over their clothes as they drink and run, giving what,