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William R. Meldon (search for this): chapter 6
e could have marched into Richmond in five hours, as we were only a few miles from the city. Just as we were ready to make the final charge an aid came to Colonel Hincks and said, You are ordered to fall back. What for? said the colonel. Don't you see we have got them on the run? But the order was peremptory and back we went. Our loss was very heavy for the short time engaged. Lieutenant Warner of Company H and several men were killed; Lieut. J. H. Rice, Sergt. Samuel H. Smith, William R. Meldon, Benjamin Jellison and others, in all about sixty, badly wounded. While we had been under fire nearly all the time since arriving at Yorktown, this was the first square fight in which we had been engaged. We had no chance for the use of tactics as the woods were thick and we could see little of the enemy; but the officers and men behaved splendidly, and our only regret was to lose so many and accomplish nothing, an experience that the Army of the Potomac often had in the battles th
C. M. Merritt (search for this): chapter 6
ut in a few days returned and took position on Bolivar Heights, occupying deserted houses. Captain Merritt was appointed provost marshal at the ferry and everything was soon in military order, the company quartered in houses, the officers boarding in the town. One day Captain Merritt, with a detail from the company, made a seizure of several barrels of whiskey and a keg of gin, which were takeg. I noticed some of the men were very happy, but as we had been called by the other companies Merritt's Sabbath school children, I thought it possible they were rehearsing for a Sabbath school conceg in the cellar. Unlike many of the men, it was nearly empty. In the midst of the seance Captain Merritt arrived. He came to order me to have the company in line ready to move at once. When he sunds of the rooms we met Ben Falls, perfectly sober, having just been relieved from guard. Captain Merritt (referring to the condition of the company) said, Ben, I am astonished. Well, said Ben, it
John Brown (search for this): chapter 6
our feet pressed the sacred soil of Virginia. We saw here the devastations of war,--the ruins of the old arsenal that had been burned by the rebels, the dilapidated and vacant houses,--but most interesting to us was the old engine-house, where John Brown made his gallant fight. This we found filled with rebel prisoners. Truly, we said, his soul is marching on. As soon as arms were stacked we rushed to the arsenal ruins for relics. I found an old gun-lock and several other parts of muskets. These I packed in my knapsack,--and the next day threw them away. With other regiments we marched up the valley to join Banks's division, and bivouacked at Charlestown in the field where John Brown was hanged. The next morning Company A was ordered back to Harper's Ferry for provost duty. The rest of the regiment marched on, but in a few days returned and took position on Bolivar Heights, occupying deserted houses. Captain Merritt was appointed provost marshal at the ferry and everything
e of the strongest kind, as it was intended to besiege Yorktown, and the heaviest guns were mounted for that purpose. Sunday morning, May 4, found the regiment on picket duty. It had been a lively night, as the shelling had been constant. Lieutenant Hume, in charge of an outpost, believed that the rebels had left the works in his front; sending his opinion back to the commanding officer, he started to cross the field. No gun was fired and he continued on. The regiment was then ordered forward double quick, as others had seen Lieutenant Hume and were anxious to be first in the works, but the 19th could run either to the front or rear and our flags were the first to float from the fortifications. We found the portholes filled with Quaker guns (logs of wood). Men of straw were stationed as gunners. Every indication of a hasty retreat was shown, as in the camps in the rear of the works we found fires and breakfast smoking hot, which we eagerly disposed of. We also found letters rea
e feared we should be swamped. The captain dared not continue, and put back to Point Lookout. Here we found a deserted hotel and several cottages. We did not stop to register, but took possession of the rooms and passed a comfortable night. Next morning we reembarked, and reached Fortress Monroe during the night. The following day we landed and marched to Hampton, where we found the Army of the Potomac awaiting the arrival of our division. We encamped here about two weeks, quartered in Sibley tents. We were not required to drill often, and the time was pleasantly passed in visiting the several Massachusetts regiments in the army. Early in April the grand Army of the Potomac moved towards Yorktown. It was a grand army, every regiment having its full quota. The experience of the previous months had made them reliable as soldiers. Incompetent officers and disabled men had been discharged, and those now on duty were filled with patriotic enthusiasm. They only desired a chance
was knee deep; we could not go out of line as the ground was full of torpedoes, yet, in all our misery, Company A started one of our old camp songs, which was taken up by other companies in the regiment, then by other regiments in the brigade, and soon the entire army was singing. This continued nearly all night. The next day we took steamers, and at night arrived at West Point. We remained on board until morning, then landed, and finding our forces engaged we were ordered to support Captain Porter, 1st Massachusetts battery. At West Point we saw a feature that we never saw before, or at any other time during the war. It was a human telegraph. A line of men was deployed some twenty feet apart, and extended from the line of battle to headquarters. The men at the front would start the message, and it would be repeated by each turning the head to the rear as he spoke. One message I remember,--Send a man to take Daniel Webster's place. We supposed Daniel had been shot, but if a m
J. H. Rice (search for this): chapter 6
army advanced at that time I am confident we could have marched into Richmond in five hours, as we were only a few miles from the city. Just as we were ready to make the final charge an aid came to Colonel Hincks and said, You are ordered to fall back. What for? said the colonel. Don't you see we have got them on the run? But the order was peremptory and back we went. Our loss was very heavy for the short time engaged. Lieutenant Warner of Company H and several men were killed; Lieut. J. H. Rice, Sergt. Samuel H. Smith, William R. Meldon, Benjamin Jellison and others, in all about sixty, badly wounded. While we had been under fire nearly all the time since arriving at Yorktown, this was the first square fight in which we had been engaged. We had no chance for the use of tactics as the woods were thick and we could see little of the enemy; but the officers and men behaved splendidly, and our only regret was to lose so many and accomplish nothing, an experience that the Army
en burned by the rebels, the dilapidated and vacant houses,--but most interesting to us was the old engine-house, where John Brown made his gallant fight. This we found filled with rebel prisoners. Truly, we said, his soul is marching on. As soon as arms were stacked we rushed to the arsenal ruins for relics. I found an old gun-lock and several other parts of muskets. These I packed in my knapsack,--and the next day threw them away. With other regiments we marched up the valley to join Banks's division, and bivouacked at Charlestown in the field where John Brown was hanged. The next morning Company A was ordered back to Harper's Ferry for provost duty. The rest of the regiment marched on, but in a few days returned and took position on Bolivar Heights, occupying deserted houses. Captain Merritt was appointed provost marshal at the ferry and everything was soon in military order, the company quartered in houses, the officers boarding in the town. One day Captain Merritt, w
n, he ordered the men to charge the works, and would have done so had not Colonel Hincks recalled him. Like a true Irishman that he was, he did not propose to be fired upon and not fight. The regiment behaved splendidly under fire; when the musketry was the hottest the clear voice of Colonel Hincks was heard. Change front, forward on first company! was the order, and it was executed as correctly as on drill. We lost the first man killed in this skirmish. Andrew Fountain of Company D, Captain Wass, and several of Company K were wounded. We went into camp and began to erect fortifications; for nearly a month we were engaged in-that work, besides building corduroy roads and doing picket duty. While on picket Wm. Morgan was badly wounded by a piece of shell. He was the first man wounded in Company A. Our camp was located in a swamp; the rain was almost constant, and the ground like a sponge. Sickness prevailed to an alarming extent; it was not an uncommon thing to march ha
Samuel H. Smith (search for this): chapter 6
time I am confident we could have marched into Richmond in five hours, as we were only a few miles from the city. Just as we were ready to make the final charge an aid came to Colonel Hincks and said, You are ordered to fall back. What for? said the colonel. Don't you see we have got them on the run? But the order was peremptory and back we went. Our loss was very heavy for the short time engaged. Lieutenant Warner of Company H and several men were killed; Lieut. J. H. Rice, Sergt. Samuel H. Smith, William R. Meldon, Benjamin Jellison and others, in all about sixty, badly wounded. While we had been under fire nearly all the time since arriving at Yorktown, this was the first square fight in which we had been engaged. We had no chance for the use of tactics as the woods were thick and we could see little of the enemy; but the officers and men behaved splendidly, and our only regret was to lose so many and accomplish nothing, an experience that the Army of the Potomac often
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