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[116] shoes for an hour or two after, upon a hurried march. This hesitation, however pardonable, did not suit a newly-fledged brigadier, who, riding up at this moment, drove them headlong into the creek. We saw him brandish his sword about their heads and thrust and cut at their ears as if he were a cavalry recruit practising upon dummies with a sabre. Doubtless the wet feet and chills, conjoined to the sleeping in the open air, were among the causes of the ‘night blindness,’ with which during this season many were afflicted.

The ford of the Occoquan at Wolf Run Shoal, which we reached at mid-day, is a very difficult crossing on account of the slippery ledge and loose stones on the bed of the pathway; and for teams especially, because of bowlders of various size, among which the drivers must carefully steer, at the same time keeping a tight rein upon the horses lest they slip and fall upon the sunken rocks on the bed of the river. The passage of the corps was necessarily slow; but the approach to the water was rapid enough, being down a quite steep, though indirect pathway from the bank above; altogether, the gulf through which the Occoquan flows at this place is strikingly picturesque.

Our battery made a safe transit, and as speedily as any of the mounted corps, and a few hours later halted with the other regiments and batteries of our division, in the neighborhood of Fairfax Station. We bivouacked here, receiving in the course of the evening rations for ourselves and grain and hay for our horses.

Shortly after the indecisive battle of Chancellorsville, the term of service of nearly 40,000 men expired. Among these two years regiments was the Sixteenth New York, of the First Division, Sixth Corps. There being, in the several companies of this corps, men who had enlisted at different times subsequent to the mustering in of the regiment, these soldiers, as three years men, were distributed among various corps of the division, to serve out the remainder of their terms. Thirty of these were attached to the First Massachusetts Battery, and had marched with us to this station. These men were almost without exception from the west shore of Lake Champlain, a hardy, intelligent, and for the most part adaptable body of soldiers; therefore they were a desirable acquisition to our company; and it had, including them and other recruits which it had received during the past winter, on the 16th of June, a full complement of non-commissioned officers and privates.

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