the boys a little down-hearted.
I have command of my company about half of the time; the Lieutenant being sick.
In my company I have but twelve privates on duty; so that the boys feel, in a fight, as if their time had come.
All I feel afraid of is, that the regiment may some time get into a fight, and not behave well, and lose some of their reputation.
I would rather be shot half a dozen times than see the old Nineteenth run.
In spite of his hardy constitution, and although he had a year before written that he was ‘as tough as a knot, and could stand being wet all day, lie down in wet blankets, and wake up in the morning and not feel the effects of it,’ the exposures of the service began now to tell upon him; and April 24, 1863, he writes that he is ‘in full enjoyment of the blessings of fever and ague, and rheumatism.’
While he was suffering with these sicknesses the second battle of Fredericksburg
) took place.
When at midnight of May 2, 1863, his regiment was marched to the river-bank preparatory to crossing, the Surgeon
of the regiment advised him to remain behind on account of his sickness.
But as he afterwards wrote, ‘Notwithstanding any unfavorable effect it might have upon me, it was my duty to try and go.’
The enemy prevented the laying of the pontoon bridges, and twenty-five volunteers from each regiment were called for to cross in boats.
volunteered to go, but was not allowed to go, on account of being needed in his position of Acting First Sergeant
After a crossing was effected, he participated with his regiment in the fighting and labors of the 3d and 4th of May, and on the 5th recrossed.
‘On reaching this side,’ he writes, ‘ the excitement and nerve that had sustained me through the entire affair left me, and I was entirely exhausted, and was ordered to fall out and have my things carried, and told to take my own time to reach the camp.
I have been unable to do anything since I returned.’
When in June, 1863, the army moved, under Hooker
, he was sent, against his own will and protestations, to the hospital at Chestnut Hill
, being almost entirely disabled with fever and ague, and rheumatism.
From here he writes:—