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April 4th (search for this): chapter 7
march, as comrade after comrade was laid at rest. The subject for discussion around the camp-fire was the disaster to the Union army. Newspapers called it an important change of base. We knew that some one had been outgeneralled, and although the men had confidence in General McClellan, we believed that while we had been digging and dying before Yorktown we should have been advancing and fighting. Looking at the campaign in the most charitable light possible, the fact remained that on April 4 the finest army ever mustered began the advance on Richmond; that we had been within five miles of that city, and that July 4 found the army on the banks of the James River, with less than half of the number it had three months before. We were not disheartened. Many had expected that 1862 would see the end of the war, but it now looked as though those who were spared would see the end of their three years enlistment. The losses in officers had been such that many promotions were made.
June 30th (search for this): chapter 7
hanged front many fell from sunstroke. Captain Wass was so badly affected that he lost his reason and never fully recovered. Lieutenant Hume was left by the roadside and was soon captured by the enemy. At night we were stationed at the bridge until the last regiment was over, when we crossed and destroyed the bridge. After we had rested a few hours we were ordered back, and sunrise found us engaged with the enemy. In the afternoon the terrible battle of Glendale was fought. This was June 30. About two o'clock P. M. we were ordered to charge the enemy, who were in a belt of woods. To do this we must charge over an open field. Faces turned pale as we looked over the ground. We grasped our muskets firmer and waited for the order. We had kept our knapsacks until this time,--they had become priceless treasures, filled as they were with little articles for our comfort made by loving hands, and with letters from dear ones at home,but we threw them into a pile, and the voice of C
ed, having been without sleep, except the little naps caught in line of battle, for seven days, we soon forgot our misery. It was two days before we could reorganize our companies. Men were coming in who we expected were killed or captured, but July 4 upon calling the roll, we found that more than half of the men who had left Massachusetts with us less than a year before had either been killed in battle, died of disease or were sick or wounded in general hospital. The death-rate at Harrison'seen advancing and fighting. Looking at the campaign in the most charitable light possible, the fact remained that on April 4 the finest army ever mustered began the advance on Richmond; that we had been within five miles of that city, and that July 4 found the army on the banks of the James River, with less than half of the number it had three months before. We were not disheartened. Many had expected that 1862 would see the end of the war, but it now looked as though those who were spared
lieutenants, and I was one of the number. I was assigned to Company I, Capt. J. F. Plympton. By a misunderstanding between Colonel Hincks and Lieutenant-Colonel Devereaux, First Sergeant Driver and myself did not receive our commissions until August, although we continued as acting second lieutenants, the two commissioned by recommendation of Colonel Hincks not being assigned to duty. It was impossible to obtain officers' uniforms, so I bought a pair of brass shoulder-straps, sewed them on my well-worn blouse, borrowed a sword of Lieutenant Mumford and went on duty, as verdant an officer as could be found in the army of the Potomac. About the middle of August I was ordered to report to First Lieut. John P. Reynolds for special duty. We were to take charge of the guard of the division wagon train that was ordered to Fortress Monroe. Our duty was an important one. We knew we were liable to attack at any time by guerillas, and constant vigilance was required. We often met sm
August 24th (search for this): chapter 7
ted on suspicion, so we let them pass but kept our train well covered. We arrived at Fortress Monroe in due time, turned over the train and reported to the regiment at Newport News, they having marched a few days after we were ordered away. While our duty as the advance guard had been arduous, we had not suffered as much as those who marched with the regiment. They had marched rapidly over dusty roads, under a broiling sun, and many had been sunstruck. Among the number was Capt. William A. Hill. He was not able to speak above a whisper for several days, and his condition was serious; but his courage was good and he remained on duty with the regiment. The men having rested a day, and being now veteran soldiers, had forgotten their hardships, and when we arrived were nearly all in the James River hunting for oysters. On August 24, the brigade embarked on the steamship Atlantic for Washington, arriving at Alexandria the 28th,--just one year from the day we left Massachusetts.
believed that while we had been digging and dying before Yorktown we should have been advancing and fighting. Looking at the campaign in the most charitable light possible, the fact remained that on April 4 the finest army ever mustered began the advance on Richmond; that we had been within five miles of that city, and that July 4 found the army on the banks of the James River, with less than half of the number it had three months before. We were not disheartened. Many had expected that 1862 would see the end of the war, but it now looked as though those who were spared would see the end of their three years enlistment. The losses in officers had been such that many promotions were made. Four enlisted men were promoted second lieutenants, and I was one of the number. I was assigned to Company I, Capt. J. F. Plympton. By a misunderstanding between Colonel Hincks and Lieutenant-Colonel Devereaux, First Sergeant Driver and myself did not receive our commissions until August, al
Charles Boynton (search for this): chapter 7
were vacant. Ed. Hale, Volney P. Chase, Charles Boynton and several others were killed, while the our number had been killed in action. Charles Boynton was one of my townsmen. He was an eccent little dialogues between Captain Merritt and Boynton. Our regiment had a peculiar drill in the ma Captain Merritt looked down the line and saw Boynton with his hand by his side. Put your little finger on the head of the rammer, Boynton, sang out Captain Merritt. I won't do it, replied Boynton.Boynton. Won't do it! Why not? Because it is all nonsense; my gun is loaded, and do you suppose I would The proper way was to make three motions, but Boynton did it in one. Make three motions, Boynton, sBoynton, said Captain Merritt. Didn't I get my gun on my shoulder as quick as any man in the company? was thritt was discouraged and ordered me to punish Boynton, but I explained his peculiarities, and assurn army been composed entirely of men like Charles Boynton the war would have ended long before it d
Volney P. Chase (search for this): chapter 7
. David Lee was killed, and the ground was strewn with our dead and wounded comrades. For a moment the regiment was in confusion, but Captain Weymouth, assisted by Sergeant-Major Newcomb and others, rallied the men on the colors and the line was at once reformed and our position held. Capt. Edmund Rice was in command of the regiment. He was noted for his coolness and bravery, and the men had confidence in him. As I looked down the line of Company A many places were vacant. Ed. Hale, Volney P. Chase, Charles Boynton and several others were killed, while the list of wounded could not be ascertained at that time. Company A had lost men by death, but this was the first time any of our number had been killed in action. Charles Boynton was one of my townsmen. He was an eccentric man and had troubled Captain Merritt by his peculiar ideas of drill, but he was as brave and patriotic a man as ever shouldered a musket. He had no patience with the slow movements of the army, and I have
ween companies. At night cheering began on our right. An aid rode down the line and gave orders to Colonel Hincks to have the regiment cheer. What for? said the colonel. I do not know, was the reply; it is orders from General McClellan to General Dana. Give my compliments to General Dana and say that we did our cheering in front of the line yesterday. Soon we were ordered to pack up and leave everything not absolutely necessary to carry. We were ordered into line and remained under arms General Dana and say that we did our cheering in front of the line yesterday. Soon we were ordered to pack up and leave everything not absolutely necessary to carry. We were ordered into line and remained under arms all night. The next morning we found the retreat had begun, and, before we had recovered from our surprise, were ordered in to support Tompkins's Rhode Island battery, and the enemy was soon upon us. At the headquarters of the commissary department all was confusion. A pile of hard-tack as large as Faneuil Hall was set on fire. Heads of commissary whiskey barrels were knocked in and the whiskey ran in streams. This was also set on fire and men were burned as they tried to drink it. Blank
Charles U. Devereaux (search for this): chapter 7
ould I relate one or two of the little dialogues between Captain Merritt and Boynton. Our regiment had a peculiar drill in the manual. It was formulated by Colonel Devereaux, and is nearly what is used by the army to-day. After loading we stood with our little finger on the head of the rammer until the order was given to shoulde we found many of our wounded. Colonel Hincks was on a stretcher, and as the ambulances were full he was carried a long distance before one could be found. Captain Devereaux was also badly wounded and had to be carried. We started with the body of Major How in a blanket as we had no stretchers, but being so very heavy we were fo second lieutenants, and I was one of the number. I was assigned to Company I, Capt. J. F. Plympton. By a misunderstanding between Colonel Hincks and Lieutenant-Colonel Devereaux, First Sergeant Driver and myself did not receive our commissions until August, although we continued as acting second lieutenants, the two commission
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