near what was known as the “Brown House,” at Spottsylvania
, I saw this fine-looking lot of soldiers go by. Their uniforms and equipments all seemed new. Among the regiments was the First Maine Heavy Artillery.
“What regiment is this?”
was inquired at the head of the column by bystanders.
“First Maine,” was the reply.
After the columns had marched by a while, some one would again ask what regiment it was, only to find it still the First Maine.
It numbered over two thousand strong, and, never having lost any men in battles and hard campaigning, its ranks were full.
The strength of these regiments struck the Army of the Potomac with surprise.
A single regiment larger than one of their own brigades!
These men had started from Washington
with knapsacks that were immense in their proportions, and had clung to them manfully the first day or two out, but this morning in question, which was of the sultriest kind, was taxing them beyond endurance, as they plunged along in the mire marching up to the front; and their course could have been followed by the well stuffed knapsacks — or “bureaus,” as some of the old vets called them — that sprinkled the roadside.
It seemed rather sad to see a man step out of the ranks, unsling his knapsack, seat himself for a moment to overhaul its contents, transfer to his pocket some little keepsake, then, rising, and casting one despairing look at it, hurry on after the column.
Many would not even open their knapsacks, but, giving them a toss, would leave them to fate, and sternly resume their march.
It was the second in the list of sacrifices that active campaigning required of them.
Their first was made in cutting loose from their comfortable quarters and accumulated conveniences in the forts, which they had so recently left.
The knapsack, haversack, canteen, and shelter-tent, like the arms, were government property, for which the commanding