will relate something of army life as it was lived after marching orders were received.
When the general commanding an army had decided upon a plan of campaign, and the proper time came to put it in operation, he at once issued his orders to his subordinate commanders to have their commands ready to take their place in column at a given hour on a given day. These orders came down through the various corps, division, brigade, regimental, or battery headquarters to the rank and file, whose instructions given them on line would be to the effect that at the stated hour they were to be ready to start with three days rations in their haversacks (this was the usual quantity), the infantry to have forty rounds of ammunition in their cartridge-boxes.
This latter quantity was very often exceeded.
The Army of the Potomac went into the Wilderness
having from eighty to a hundred rounds of ammunition to a man, stowed away in knapsacks, haversacks, or pockets, according to the space afforded, and six days rations similarly disposed of. When Hooker
started on the Chancellorsville Campaign
, eleven days rations
were issued to the troops.
Sometimes marching orders came when least expected.
I remember to have heard the long roll sounded one Saturday forenoon in the camp of the infantry that lay near us in the fall of ‘63; it was October 10.
Our guns were unlimbered for action just outside of camp where we had been lying several days utterly unsuspicious of danger.
It was quite a surprise to us; and such Lee
intended it to be, he having set out to put himself between our army and Washington
We were not attacked, but started to the rear a few hours afterwards.
Before the opening of the spring campaign a reasonable notice was generally given.
There was one orderly from each brigade headquarters who almost infallibly brought marching orders.
The men knew the nature of the tidings which he cantered up to regimental headquarters with under