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Chapter 19: at Bolivar Heights.

The day after the battle of Antietam was one of inactivity and rest. There was some artillery firing but no one in the Nineteenth Massachusetts was hurt. During the day a party came out from the enemy's line in front, under a flag of truce, and were met by officers of the regiment.

Arrangements were made by them to bury the dead between the lines and the enemy asked that a party be sent inside their lines to care for Union wounded and bury the dead. Such a detail was furnished.

Inside their line Jacob Hazen of Company C was found mortally wounded, and he died before the detail got through its labors.

On September 19 the regiment marched 16 miles to Bolivar Heights, fording the Potomac at Harper's Ferry, at the same place it had crossed in the spring. Here on September 22, the command went into camp on the same ground where it had stopped in the previous march and from which it had started to join the army of the Potomac, not one foot nearer Richmond for all the hard marches and desperate fighting. It was not an encouraging thought.

The tents were pitched on the side of the hill. Maryland Heights towered grandly on one side, while Loudon sheltered the other side and the front was covered by Bolivar. The position was like a triangle, the sides being the various Heights, while the openings made by the Potomac and the Shenandoah formed the angles.

The work of recuperating the Nineteenth commenced at once. It was rumored that the regiment was going home to recruit, but those who still took stock in camp stories were doomed to disappointment, as on Oct. 9 a large number of recruits [151] were received instead. These men had darker coats than the regulation pattern and this caused many of them severe wounds and some their lives later at the Battle of Fredericksburg, the rebels thinking they were officers.

After the battle of Antietam Lieut. Col. Devereux secured leave of absence for ten days on account of death in his family, and the command came into the hands of Capt. H. G. O. Weymouth.

A number of changes occurred in the regiment in September. Capt. Edmund Rice, absent from wounds, was promoted to major; Capt. Ansel D. Wass was discharged to enable him to be commissioned as Lieutenant Colonel of the 41st Massachusetts regiment; First Lieut. William L. Palmer, of Company I, was appointed Adjutant, vice John C. Chadwick, promoted to Captain of Company C in place of Capt. Bachelder killed in action.

First Lieut. Oliver F. Briggs, of Company K, was made Regimental Quartermaster, vice Shaw discharged.

First Lieut. Isaac H. Boyd was in command of Company A; Capt. Hale and First Lieut. Reynolds, of Company G were absent on account of wounds, and Second Lieut. Thomas Claffey was in command.

Company C had John C. Chadwick, formerly Adjutant of the regiment as Captain, and Edgar M. Newcomb as First Lieutenant.

In Company E First Lieut. Elisha A. Hinks who had been transferred from Company B, was absent from wounds.

Capt. James H. Rice, of Company F, who had been promoted from First Lieutenant, vice Edmund Rice, promoted to Major, was absent from wounds, and the command of Company F was in the hands of First Lieut. William H. Hill, who had been promoted from Second Lieutenant, vice Chadwick promoted.

Capt. James D. Russell, of Company G, who had been transferred from Company K, was absent, sick, and the command was in the hands of First Lieut. Dudley C. Mumford, who had been promoted from Second Lieutenant, vice Shaw, discharged. [152]

The two wounded officers in Company H, Capt. Devereux and First Lieut. Albert Thorndike, had not yet returned to duty and that company was under the command of Second Lieutenant William R. Driver.

Capt. Jonathan F. Plympton was in command of Company I, but First Lieut. Samuel S. Prime, who had been transferred from Company C, was sick. First Sergt. John G. B. Adams of Company A was promoted to Second Lieutenant and assigned to Company H, vice Mumford, promoted.

Captain H. G. O. Weymouth, of Company G, was transferred to the command of Company K and was in command of the regiment, leaving First Lieut. Lysander J. Hume in command of the company. Hume had been promoted from Second to First Lieutenant, vice James H. Rice, promoted. In company K also, First Sergeant Charles H. Wellock had been advanced to Second Lieutenant, vice Hill, promoted.

In Company H, Second Lieut. Frederick F. Crofts had been dropped from the rolls by Gen. Order 162, A. of P., Oct. 7, 1862, for being absent for three months without explaining the cause.

The promotions were richly deserved and were for gallantry and good conduct. Hume, Briggs and Newcomb had thus each been promoted a second time for gallantry and Sergeants Adams, Driver, Hill, Wellock, Claffey, Chubbuck and Tilton were advanced for like reasons. Sergeants Charles P. Abbott and William Stone were recommended for promotion for gallantry.

Private Thomas F. Winthrop of Company C was promoted to Quartermaster Sergeant; Patrick Hardy of Company E was transferred to Company K as Corporal; Sergeant E. A. Hall, of Company F, was promoted to Sergeant Major; Corporal Hugh J. Carr was transferred to Company G as Sergeant and Private Edward Maloney of Company H, was transferred to Company E, as Corporal.

The gain to the various companies from unassigned recruits during the month of October had been 31; discharged from disability, 6; discharged by order, for re-enlistment in the regular service 8, dropped from the rolls, S. O. 162, A. of P., 159.

During the month the following had died of wounds received in action; [153]

Company B.Private Hallowell R. Dunham, Oct. 2nd.
Private Rufus H. Cole, Jr., Oct. 5th.
Company E.Private Hugh Connelly, Sept. 29th.
Company F.Sergeant James Buchanan, Oct. 1st.

Private Charles Tibbetts, of Company C, reported ‘Missing in Action’ at the battle of Antietam, Sept. 17, had not yet returned.

During the history of the regiment up to this time, the colors had twice been triumphantly raised by a private when fallen from the death grasp of a comrade,—at Glendale by Peter O'Rourke, and at Antietam by Edward Z. Bailey, and both were made Sergeants on the spot. Five colors sergeants had been shot down while carrying the flag of the Commonwealth.

Condition of the regiment at Bolivar Heights, Va., Oct. 13, 1862.

Company A35
Company B28
Company C28
Company D22
Company E28
Company F38
Company G35
Company H30
Company I37
Company K25

This included every man in the regiment capable of doing the light work of camp, and many of these were quite disabled and unfit for active service. The outside limit of men who could march or fight was 200.

At Bolivar Heights the regiment took its ease and comfort and soon was ready for another battle. The weather was glorious, the scenery as enchanting as any in America. The lovely mount of Loudon, the rugged grandeur of Maryland Heights, the swell of Bolivar, the plain of Charlestown, the [154] western background of the Blue Ridge and the beautiful junction of the Potomac and the Shenandoah formed a picture richer far than many scenes across the sea.

The men were put through a severe course of drill and this, with camp guard and picket, were the duties of the time. Five glorious weeks were thus spent. The army was refitted, material and personnel were repaired and soon everyone felt that a move was to be made.

The Nineteenth Maine regiment here joined the brigade. It was a fine looking body of men, 1000 strong, and was clothed in full dress uniform, even to hat. The men made a fine showing as they marched on to the field.

Two notable events happened at this place,—President Lincoln's review of the Army on the Heights, and the issuing of his Emancipation Proclamation, to take effect January 1st, 1863.

There were many solid shot and shells scattered around the camp, many of the latter charged. One night three or four men of the new regiment were seated around a little fire, drinking coffee, their pots resting on some cannon balls, among which was an unexploded shell. They were yet unacquainted with the innocent looking thing. The weather was cool and they sat close to the fire, enjoying a ‘skin roast,’ when their pleasure was brought to a sudden termination by a blinding flash and a cloud of smoke and dust, followed by a report. When it cleared away there were three or four white faces with bulging eyes, staring at the place where they had been cooking their coffee, but coffee, cup, fuel, fire and ashes had disappeared and a slight hollow in the ground where they had been was all there was to be seen. They were probably more careful afterward what they used to cook on.

On Oct. 16, about fifteen regiments of infantry, besides cavalry and artillery, moved out toward Charlestown, and soon afterward heavy firing was heard in that direction. On the following day the men of the Nineteenth Massachusetts received orders to provide a day's rations and forty rounds of cartridges and to hold themselves in readiness to move at a moment's notice.

Nothing however, developed until Oct. 29, when three [155] days rations and sixty rounds of cartridges were issued, and on the following morning tents were struck and everything made in readiness for a march.

The Roster on October 31 was as follows:

Commissioned officers present,20
On special duty,1
In arrest,1
Enlisted men, present for duty,325
On extra or daily duty,30
Commissioned officers absent,
Wounded, with leave,8
Without leave,2
Enlisted men absent,
On detached Service,1
With leave,1
Without leave,2
Sick, wounded,102
In arrest or confinement,0
Prisoners of War,2
Total: Present and absent:
Commissioned officers,35
Enlisted men,490
Total last report,687
Recruits required,498

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