on an engagement at present. The artillerymen say they have orders not to fire. We found a place at last within sight of the Rebel batteries, but also within easy range of their grape and canister and sharpshooters. It was at some old ruins on a ridge in a wheat-field, their cannon and sharpshooters being in the woods on the farther side, three or four hundred yards off. It was very warm out there in the sun. The stock of one of the rifles was blistered by it, and the barrels were too hot to keep one's hands on. We relieved each other by turns at the old ruins, while the rest stayed in the edge of the woods. A swamp was near by, with quantities of magnolias.
June 15.I have enjoyed the day very much, most in picking magnolias for half an hour. It was a perfect delight. They grow on slim trees thirty feet high, so slender I could bend them down by my weight, climbing up a few feet. The place was full of them, and every one had five or ten buds just at the right stage for picking, being half open. Many of the flowers are withered, many are in the green hard bud, and others all the way between.
Fair Oaks, June 19, 1862.Our quiet life ended with May. On the 31st, we set out from the camp two miles the other side of the Chickahominy, crossed the river and swamp in water up to our knees, and stumbled on the enemy. Before a line of battle was fairly formed, the firing began, and our company, who have no place in a line of bayonets, and in the hurry of the moment had been assigned no station, was ordered to lie down. The shower of bullets fired over the heads of the line fell all about us, but only one of our men was hit. The fight here on Saturday night lasted not over an hour, but it was well after dark before it was decided. While it lasted it was furious, not broken for an instant, and at times swelling into a louder roar, like gusts of wind in a storm, as the Rebels charged up to one or another part of our line. The battle of Sunday was in the woods, and hidden from our view; but we saw the regiments as they filed in, saw the smoke, and the wounded and prisoners as they were brought out. Our division was not engaged, occupying the battlefield of the day before.
July 2.Another hard day's fight and another hard night's march yesterday. The Rebels attacked at noon, and the engagement continued till long after dark. To-day we have rain, which perhaps prevents them from following. I begin now to long for one quiet day without
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Ode recited at the Harvard commemoration, July 21 , 1865 .
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