of youth. . . . . . We landed at Jacksonville, Monday, and bivouacked in town. . . . . Next morning we marched eight miles, to Camp Finnigan, and the day following marched eight miles back again.
Good thing that, for it taught us to make our packs as light as possible.
One's eyes are wonderfully opened by a march with knapsacks to the fact that man needs but little here below.
Companies D and H were detailed for provost duty in town, and Captain Crane and I were Assistant Provost-Marshals for two days . . . . Friday morning we started for the front, marching through magnificent open pine woods, and bivouacked at night between two swamps, I commanding the picket.
Next morning we marched eighteen miles and reached Barber's. In the afternoon heard a fierce battle going on in our front, and marched towards it as fast as possible.
Company H was detailed to guard a blockhouse and an enormous railroad-bridge. . . . . Next morning news came that the enemy were in hot pursuit of our routed forces, and our picket was ordered to come in as quickly as possible.
We were then a mile and a quarter from camp, and on approaching it found the army retreating in two columns, our regiment bringing up the rear of that on the right. . . . . That day (Sunday) we retreated in good order to Baldwin, stayed an hour or two, and at nightfall started again and travelled thirteen miles more,—twenty-five in all. . . . . Halted at midnight, and bivouacked in the woods.
Were we tired and footsore?
Did we (Will and I) have a good supper of fried pork and coffee?
Did we then turn in, snapping our fingers at all fear of Johnny, and go to sleep to be awakened by daylight, which seemed to tread on the heels of twelve o'clock? All this we did and more.
We started again at sunrise. . . . . The retreat, though made in excellent order, . . . . was a disgraceful affair, because entirely unnecessary. . . . . This week we have been employed moving our camp from one place to another, and fortifying the town, which is now completely encircled by rifle-pits and several small forts.
Reinforcements have also arrived, and there are troops enough here to defend the town against fifty thousand Rebels (I think).
In another letter written somewhat later, but during the same expedition, he alludes to some invidious distinctions made between the white
regiments, as follows:—
An order has been issued by the commander of the post, that white and colored men are not to attend church together.