cultivated uplands on our left hand, and moving back to make room for the hundreds and thousands of the different corps that were pouring in to halt here until assigned to a permanent position, we enter, about noon, with the infantry and artillery of our division, an immense grainfield.
The stalks now sweep about our waists; before night not a green spear or a root is discernible; the whole field, by the ceaseless tramp of soldiers and steeds, has become an area of gray paste, which adheres so tenaciously to the soldier's shoe, that when the foot sinks deeply, on seeking to extract itself, it comes forth shoeless; the leather is locked in the embrace of the mud, and the soldier must needs sound for it. On the second of July, we moved to the position in the line which we occupied during this stay, in 1862, of the Army of the Potomac on the James
To the Sixth Corps was assigned the section of the line which rested on the banks of Herring Run
, at a point on Westover Heights
, northeast of Harrison's Landing
and nearly due east from Malvern Hill
This was the right of a line, soon strongly fortified, which, extending due west for a mile, then obliquing gradually to the southwest for several miles, finally bent due south to the James
The heat rays of old Sol
, on the 3d and 4th of July, struck the sacred clay with such intensity that the gray paste became a gray crust.
The next transformation will be the dry, powdery dust into which the inevitable tramping of the hosts shall grind it, and the spades, picks, and shovels of the fatigue parties that shall break, lift, and pile up the soil in earth banks to-morrow.
This was the staple employment for the next fortnight, for details from some or other of the commands which stretched along the front of our army.
Our company contributed a fair proportion of its muscular force to the undertaking which resulted in a system of ponderous barriers from the old church on Westover Heights
on the bank of Herring Run
, along the position of our line as heretofore indicated, to the James
It was dig, dig, dig—lift and throw—until the bank reached the height of the embrasures and platforms for the field pieces; then the work was varied for some who were to fill grain-bags with earth, which, piled in tiers, were to constitute the sides of the embrasures.
So the army found itself, before the middle of July, strongly