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[465]

May 12th.—The election for field officers was held to-day. Major Fitzgerald was elected Colonel; Captain Mageveney Lieutenant-Colonel, and Captain Dawson Major. The conscript act has caused some dissatisfaction among the troops, and a few have deserted; but the vast majority of our soldiers accept the situation, some under protest, but most of us with cheerful submission to the ‘powers that be.’ The only rebels in our army are the deserters. Our allegiance is due, not to the United States, but to the government of the Confederate States, and we are ready, if need be, to die in defense of our principles.

May 13th.—Will we never cease to hear bad news? Norfolk has fallen, the Navy Yard is reduced to ashes, and the Confederate ram Virginia is burnt. The entire army here is under marching orders, with three days cooked rations.

May 15th.—Transferred to-day at my own request to the ‘Maynard Rifles,’ under command of Captain E. A. Cole, with Lieutenants Walker Lucas, John Cochrane and Charlie Rose. Received a carpet bag from home containing a ham, pone of bread, jelly, pickles, etc.

Sunday, May 18th.—Early this morning the regiment was in the rifle pits, in expectation of an attack. The enemy are reported to be within a mile of our works, and we may look for warm work tomorrow. I feel confident of the result, though it will be a bloody and desperate fight. Dr. Alex. Erskine called .to see me this evening, and we walked together about half a mile to hear the Rev. Dr. Palmer, the distinguished preacher from New Orleans. He delivered an eloquent discourse, in which he spoke to the soldiers of the uncertainty of life, and in a most powerful and impressive manner exhorted them to prepare to meet their God before they were called out to the impending battle. The distinguished minister is a private in the Washington Artillery.

May 19th.—A general engagement was expected this morning, as the pickets along the entire line were firing all night; but the day has passed without any demonstration save the sound of musketry on our right this afternoon. Halleck has brought up his siege guns, and will probably attempt to dislodge us from our rifle pits before coming within range of the infantry.

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