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[169]

Chapter 15: from Petersburg to Harper's Ferry


The Fourth of July was duly celebrated along the lines in front of Petersburg and Richmond by a shotted salute of all the cannon along our extended line. It must have been a day of seriousness to the Confederate authorities and people. The war was evidently going against them, and the old flag was floating over the camps that were constantly encroaching on their narrowing lines of defense; and on the vessels closing all the seaports of Rebeldom. To break the tightening grip of Grant upon the defenses of Richmond, General Early had been sent down the valley of the Shenandoah to make a raid into Maryland and towards Washington. To meet the raid General Lew Wallace gathered all the troops he could, but they were not sufficient to stay the advance of Early. It was determined to send the 6th Corps to the defense of Washington.

On the 6th of July the 3d Division of the Corps marched to City Point and boarded transports and steamed away. On the 8th of July the rest of the corps followed. The night was very dark, and the first part of the march was through the cut over ground from which wood had been procured, and the walking was execrable until the road was reached.

The method by which a barrel of onions was secured from the pile guarded by a colored sentinel, the rough and tumble row between men of the 121st and 96th Pennsylvania on the boat to the

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