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Doc. 28. the invasion of Maryland.

Diary of Lieutenant W. Ashley.

New Market, Va., Saturday, July 1, 1864.--Daylight, start through Edinburg; rest about one hour; took bath at High Bridge; through Woodstock, encamped; made 21 miles; hot, tired, and heartily sick of infantry; start at day-light.

July 2.--Through Strasburg, straggled and got a good dinner; encamped near Middletown.

July 3.--Daylight start, through New Town, Kern's Town, Mill Town, and Winchester; encamped near Darkeville.

July 4.--Start to Martinburg; Yanks had left in a hurry; lots of plunder; rested, and then on to Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; tore it up considerable; dreadful tired, all but worn out; still hot and dusty.

July 5.--Clear. Into line and marched against the enemy; countermarched, as they had fallen back; drew coffee, lager beer, candy, &c. 10 A. M., took road and marched to Potomac River, near Sheppardstown; waded it, and encamped at Sharpsburg. Onions, &c.; many excesses; troops charged a place where there was liquor; lots of 'em got drunk, necessitating heavy guard duty and stringent orders.

July 6.--Clear — still no rain; rest; T. Stuart makes raise from Ld.; we are now on the field of Antietam; ration of whisky issued, being the second I have known in over three years service; drew one month's pay (the officers only) for November, ‘63, yesterday; no use to us here, “Confed. Won't go ;” good living; coffee, ham, whisky and wine in infinitesimally small doses. 5 P. M., marched; made foot of Maryland Heights about 11 P. M.

July 7.--Cannonading all night; daylight start; we are now in position as reserve; sharp fighting going on immediately in front; shells coming unpleasantly near every once in awhile; passed over a man's foot on our road, just now taken off by a cannon ball; suppose we are about one mile from their works; Harper's Ferry; dark; moved out, over mountain, to Rollersville, by 2 A. M.; rain; rough, and very dark; Captain Singleton left behind.

July 8.--Clear. Captain got in, narrowly escaping capture. Three men marched around town carrying rails and placards on their backs, marked “Thief,” for pilfering. 7 A. M., marched to a shade then to town; had passed through Labb; straightened out, we as rear-guard. The enemy made a dash on our wagons; we repulsed them easily, and were not again interrupted. Crossed Blue Ridge and marched to Middletown; counter-marched and encamped in a meadow; awful rain during the night, all and everything wet through. Captain in charge of picket — to spring; dark, creek to wade, and about a mile to it.

July 9.--Clear. To town; stacked arms and levied black mail to the tune of $60,000. We expect to fight at or near Frederick this morning; but little secesh proclivities — people all scared, doors all closed, and no talk for you at all; girls very different from ours — don't like them, though they may improve on acquaintance. Made Frederick City; Yanks fell back as we advanced, and gave us battle on Monocacy River; we, the reserve, were not engaged, but lay close up until they retreated, when we soon put in pursuit. Counter-marched back through Frederick (a handsome, clean, and I should think, wealthy place; so old Jubal thought, for he made them shell out $250,000), and on to battle-field; saw plenty of dead and wounded Yanks lying about. Our loss must have been considerable from the number of ambulances with wounded and wagons with the dead which we met on their way to Frederick. Took up 12 P. M.

July 10.--Daylight start; our battalion as advanced guard; found a Colt's army repeater, No. 47,868, under a dead horse; marched beyond encampment — had to come back — making our march about twenty-six miles. The inhabitants are badly scared; our cavalry are driving all before them, and we have to make forced marches to keep within supporting distance. We now know that Washington is our destination, and we are only twenty miles from it. Saw Generals Early, Breckinridge, Elzey, Echols, and Vaughan to-day.

July 11.--Into line at 4 A. M., and now lying here; expect to get to Georgetown to-day. The band is now enlivening us; we have just had a hasty, but good breakfast of coffee, sugar, butter, and bread; started about 11 A. M.; we, as rear, are making slow speed through Rockville; cannonading all day. Our forces have driven the enemy into their works, and given them seven hours in which to surrender. We are about five miles from the Capital; our cavalry is in Georgetown, and Early's corps have been hammering away at the White House for some hours, and still “we hold Richmond.” It is reported that Abraham has fled from the wrath to come, but whither no man knoweth, that is, the Confederate army. Hottest day we have experienced.

July 12.--Clear; all quiet; occasionally the report of cannon breaks the monotony; my dirk-knife and tobacco disappear; washed my shirt, slips, and socks, mended my wardrobe generally, making suitable preparations for my entree into the capital; drew for shoes; will either have to take Washington to-night or get [154] from here, but what the programme is I know not; sultry, every indication of a storm; got some fine potatoes, enjoyed them; sundown, took the back track, travelled all night, through Rockville, encamped on creek; made fifteen miles.

July 13.--Clear; rested the balance of the day; sundown, again pegging it through Booneville ; took up on the banks of the Potomac for about twelve hours; daylight, waded river.

July 14--Took up at a big spring near Leesburg, on the ground where Evans achieved his victory in 1861; cooked two days rations; we have an immense number of cattle and over 1,000 prisoners; over the river, and thus far safe; fighting all day over the river; infantry all on Virginia side; all horses captured by men taken away from them, officers, though, I see, are permitted to steal.

July 16--Clear; daylight, start through Leesburg; had to lay down to rest for an hour; Yankee cavalry made a charge on our train, capturing and destroying several wagons before we could form and get to them; we easily scattered them, killing three and capturing three; artillery, two pieces, took position on slope of mountain, and lay two hours expecting an attack there; mountain at Snicker's Gap ; camped on Shenandoah River.

July 17--Clear; at daylight waded the river and on to Berryville; counter-marched and are now lying in the woods. Vaughan's horses arrived from Grayson County in charge of Captains Reese, Fisher, and others.

July 18--Clear; when will it rain? Inspection; drew coffee and sugar; plenty of mountain ditney, makes a very palatable tea. 1 P. M.--Marched and put into line near the river; water good but unhandy. 2 P. M.--Marched, under heavy artillery fire, closer to the enemy; several men wounded in getting into position; they are splendid artillerists; heavy fighting; we, as the reserve, slept under arms.

July 19--Clear; we drove the Yanks across the river last night, and are still peppering away at them; Thomas Smith and Joseph Stuart are sharpshooting. 12 M.--Relieved and back to old quarters; cooked; at dark moved through Berryville, and by daylight made Ashby's Gap; rested three hours and then on to Gap; camped in a meadow.

July 21--Clear; daylight start; we are attached to Wharton's brigade; quick time to Middletown, and are now lying in the woods here; it is reported that Ransom's cavalry and Ramsuer's infantry were whipped yesterday near Winchester; got this man's book from Joseph Smith; our boys have numerous nic-nax captured from the Yankees; rumored there are four corps after us; if so, we are in a tight place.

July 22--Clear; daylight start; took position on hill at Strasburg; lay in line all day, awaiting an attack; evening, drew off to woods; McRea rejoined us; no rations.

July 23-Clear; half rations; out on picket; euchre; H. Roddy rejoined us.

July 24--Clear; army in motion; no move toward Winchester; all sorts of grape-vines in circulation; one day's rations, very short, issued; came up on enemy near Newtown; we are in centre of front line, skirmishing, heavy shells and bullets coming thick among us; McRea wounded in knee. 2 P. M.--Moved to and by the right flank and ordered to charge; did so, and drove the Yanks, under a hot fire, several miles through Winchester and encamped about three miles; our boys behaved gallantly; we gained a victory, but don't know anything of the advantages, beyond removing a formidable enemy from our front; they gave way too soon for us; had they fought us half an hour longer, we should, in all probability, have made a brilliant day of it. Part of our infantry was aiming to get at their rear, but the precipitation with which they broke, if it did not redound to their honor, saved their carcasses. I got a canteen, knapsack, haversack, crackers, a sponge and a saddle, which I gave the Colonel, but had to leave my sword — so much in my way, having no belt, and using my repeater.

July 25--Rain; all wet through and cold; nothing to eat but a little coffee we picked up. “We marched and fought yesterday about 25 miles ;” to town with Colonel McRanny; turned back by the guard, having no pass; hungry. 5 P. M., took the road, and encamped near Darksville about 10 P. M.; one day's rations issued and cooked for to-morrow, cheating us out of to-day's, We have eaten just half what we drew this evening, so that to-morrow we suffer again. Not right, but we can't help ourselves. Kelly and Roddy to hospital at Winchester; Yanks said to be just ahead of us; look sharp for to-morrow.

July 26--Clear. Started at 6 through Martinsburg on to Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; encamped to cook two miles east of town; are now playing smash with the railroad. Our cavalry have hard and continuous fighting, but are driving the enemy all the time.

July 28--Clear. Resting.

July 30--Wet.

July 31--Clear. Daylight start; marched to Darksville. Roberts, Smith, and Wear to hospital; about the hottest day I ever experienced; in charge of picket of twenty men at White Sulphur Springs. All quiet.

August 1--Clear. Got a good breakfast; bought Starr's repeating pistol from Stewart on General Gordon's staff; price--, No. 9,010; pleasant and shady out here; would like to stay on duty. Buttermilk and pork for dinner. 5 P. M., relieved by Clark's battery men; slight rain this evening.

August 2--Dull. Slight rain; how I do wish it would come down for a twenty-four hours stretch. Yanks said to be cautiously advancing; all of them across the Potomac.

August 3--Clear. General inspection; preaching yesterday; slight shower; orders to cook two day's rations and move daylight in morning. Colonel McRanny to hospital yesterday; Mann [155] in from hospital; Lieutenant Young and Jno. Long sick; Captain in command of battalion; self in charge of company; it numbers but eleven men rank and file.

August 4--Clear. Moved out toward Staunton; about one mile out, struck across country and on to Newtown, when we filed left and encamped near Shepardstown. Slight rain.

August 5--Clear; moved out at 6 A. M., waded Potomac and are now lying at Sharpsburg; our company all on duty, and sick, but one Corporal, Second Lieutenant, and Captain; sharpshooters are engaged about one mile to our front; the line moving up; will be our turn in a few minutes; had to try my skill as cook, smartly out of practice I find.

August 6.--Early daylight, start through Sharpsburg; filed left through Logtown and Williamsport across Potomac; heavy rain, all wet through; encamped one mile from river ; again we have to get from the Yankees; I wish this raid was through with.

August 7.--Daylight; shoes drawn; 5 A. M., marched in rear; awful hot; through Martinsburg to Darksville; encamped; much tired; Russell sick; bought tobacco; rations too scanty for the severe duty we are doing.

August 8.--Clear; Tennessee officers drew a pair of pants apiece; Colonel McRanny back from hospital; received a letter from N. A. W., highly pleased, it being the first received from her; she has not forgotten her rebel friend; must take an early opportunity of replying to it.

August 9.--Clear; took Russell to hospital yesterday; 9 A. M., marched about five miles on Winchester Road; very hot; stewed apples for supper; encroached on to-morrow's rations; I act as water-bearer for Mess. No. Nasty, and find it a hard pill; officers drawing their pay; would much rather draw a clean shirt and slip.

August 10.--Clear; start daylight; now resting five miles from Winchester; filed left, passing Jordan's White Sulphur Springs; here Yankee cavalry made a dash on our wagons; repulsed them easily; encamped six miles west of Berrysville; had just commenced cooking; firing commenced; ordered into line; proved to be cavalry harassing us; formed into a hollow square, and witnessed the execution of a deserter, private, 22d Virginia Regiment, marched in column of review past him, and saw the work had been surely done; I counted five bullet-holes in his breast I could have covered with my hand. Afterward put in position behind a battery, where we now are. It's awful hot, and yet our Generals have all the wells guarded, compelling us to drink creek-water. You'll think of this, soldiers, “when this cruel war is over ;” it is not the first time it has been done. Martinsburg — brought flour from brick mill at night back to camp and cooked.

August 11.--Called at 8 A. M. Marched to near Winchester and placed in line of battle. Musketry and cannonading to our right; we shall have another fight of it. Counter-marched and moved on right bank past Winchester to Mill Town. Lay in line here for two hours; shelling us; some fell about one hundred yards from us. Sharpshooters engaged in our immediate front. A few prisoners brought in, who report Burnside in command of four corps. They keep striving to turn our right or get in our rear. Moved again and lay in line at New Town. Brisk cavalry fighting. 12 P. M., moved to right about one mile and lay until daylight of the 12th.

August 12. Took the road, reaching Strasburg about 10, and immediately formed into line — still fighting — the enemy appear to provoke a battle. They can now get one, but it is awful hot for such work. Privates Roddy and Kelley in from hospital, Just had fixed to cook. Ordered into line again. No shade. J. W. McCullough gave me pistol scabbard — drew tobacco — dark. Moved to Fisher's Hill. 1 P. M., Legion put on picket. Battalion as vedettes. A raid on roasting ears..

August 13.--Awful hot. Made a glorious breakfast of corn. Moved to extreme right in woods as pickets — country rough and mountainous — like our position. Fighting going on around ; as yet, we are not in. Think the Yanks getting around us, up the other valley. 2 P. M — The enemy appear in beautiful order on hights near Strasburg, evidently to turn our left. If they keep on, in a few minutes we shall join issue. Their numbers, order, and deliberation look enough to scare Confeds, but “nil desperandum,” our motto. We are in say one half mile of each other, where they fall back, in a hurry too. We watch them as they rapidly disappear toward Washington — at a loss to know what it means — the general supposition is that Longstreet has come to our relief via Front Royal. Rain. We have put up a shanty.

August 14.--Sunday, clear, hot; 7 A. M., ordered out to make a reconnoissance. Our brigade (Smith's) and two pieces of artillery marched through Strasburg on to the bights, when sharpshooters were immediately engaged; lay the whole day behind the artillery, in line, and about sundown returned and took up our old position on the ridge near the Shenandoah River. The enemy are in strong force, and fortifying on Cedar Creek, about three miles from us. We also are some on fortifications, I see, and Early will not attack, but await one if they want to pitch in. George Ross, is slightly wounded in the arm.

August 15.--Clear. Musketry on and off all day. Euchre; rain at night.

August 16.--Slight rain; very warm. Fine mess of roasting ears; went to the river to bathe; all unusually quiet. Had time to-day to think of absent friends, and wonder when, if ever, I may enjoy their dear society again. The next highest gratification is in studying when the next clean linen will adorn our persons. Most of us have had but one shirt on during this campaign, and not a particle of soap. Think of this, oh ye who are blessed with a change, and to whom wood-ashes and grease are no strangers. [156] It makes me mad, miserable and melancholy to ponder on this subject, for I think Jeff. might make a great sanitary improvement by a little attention to this simple, but most important, to the human economy, subject.

August 17.--Clear. At daylight ordered into front. At 8 o'clock took. the road, in charge of road-guard. Marched to near Kernstown and rested about an hour; unusually hot. Filed left, put into position, and ordered to charge the enemy; did so under a heavy fire of artillery and small arms. We drove them from hill to hill, over their breastworks, through Milltown to Winchester; the fight was continued until 11 P. M. J. Kelley was struck by a piece of shell, slight contusion. I was hit on the left knee by a spent ball, but did not find it out until next day. I stript to louse a little and found the contusion. We suffered for water. T. Stuart had been sent for water just as we went in, and got to us at the wind up; never was so pleased to see any one. I got a Burnside-belt, spur, and pistol-scabbard.

August 22.--Heavy firing; we move up and find the Yanks have retreated; we follow to Charleston, where we take up in woods; put up shanty; heavy rain; roasting-ears and apples.

August 23.--Clear; cleaning up arms. 12 M.--Ordered out, and marched to our old position, four miles west of Charleston.

August 24.--Clear; ordered out swamp; put into line, and awaited all day; at night, back to camp.

August 25.--Clear; daylight start to Leetown; about one mile from there came on enemy in ambush. They opened on us unexpectedly, with artillery, causing temporary confusion. Wharton's brigade being in the advance, were deployed as skirmishers; our brigade was next in line ; had a short but severe time of it, but drove them on to the right of Sheppardstown, where they came across Gordon, who took them in hand, and put them across the river; we here re-formed and tried to intercept, but failed; dark, we marched back through Sheppardstown, and encamped in meadow; much tired; got a Sharp's rifle; gave it to Lieutenant McLamy.

August 18.--Rain. To hospital to see McRea; doing tolerable only; his wound is a very painful one, and he is much out of heart; lying here to-day; Longstreet's corps going through tomorrow; bought cabbage, tomatoes, and cucumbers; Colonel found about a half pound bacon, and we had a fine dinner.

August 19.--Hazy; Daylight start; skirmishing near Berryville; we keep to the left, and encamp near Bunker Hill.

August 20.--Rain. Apples and corn; I drew eight months pay to 31st July, 1864; cleaned my pistols; skirmishing in front; drew and cooked two days rations; Government charging officers twenty-five cents each for pistol-cartridge; at those prices I can't afford to kill Yanks for Jeff, unless he gives scalp money.

August 21.--Daylight start; filed right at Bunker Hill; struck across country through Smithland to near Charleston; came upon Yankees intrenched; put in line; heavy skirmishing just in our front; our men are much exposed, judging from the wounded brought out past us; we drive them from their first line; fighting continued until away in night; on our right heavy cannonading all day; suppose it is Longstreet at Snicker's Gap.

August 26.--Clear; Captain bought a Spencer rifle for $25; learn the force we were opposed to yesterday was 10,000 cavalry; cannonading toward evening, about Bolivar Hights; buried Lieutenant Colonel Wolfe with military honors; 4 P. M. marched back to Leetown; encamped at dark; Captain bought a Colt's navy pistol for $1 50.

August 27.--Clear; took road and arrived at Bunker Hill.

August 28.--Clear; Sunday, rest, preaching; T. Stuart brought in a lot of pine-apples; enjoying them, when “fall in” admonished us there was no rest for the wicked; all is now bustle; as yet we do not know whether it's a fall back or forward; remain under arms till night; get ye cook-vessel; a charge is made; some get, some don't. The alarm was caused by the enemy running our cavalry into Smithfield; the infantry soon put them back.

August 29.--Night very cold, clear; inspection; to-day is supposed to be fraught with weal or woe to the Confederacy; the Chicago Convention meets; 10 A. M. into line and moved toward Smithfield; heavy cannonading; lay in line all day in reserve; General Early sent us word he had men enough; so back to camp; toward evening drew half ration of mutton; appointed with Captain and Lieutenant McCollister on ordnance board; acted; euchre.

August 30.--Clear; inspection; on O. B.; on picket in evening; got a letter from my sister, greatest treat I have had for months; they are faring better in Yankee hands than I expected; how I do wish we could effect an honorable peace, and all that are spared return to their several avocations; had I my own way it would take but little welding to convert my sword into a reaping-hook.

August 31.--Clear. Skirmishing on our left; roasting-ears ad libitum; relieved about sundown; back and formed new camps.

September 1.--Clear. Chicken for breakfast; another picket sign; orders to leave in one hour; countermanded.

September 2.--Clear. Nights very cold; 10 A. M. marched to road; general fall back. We take a roundabout, a zig-zag, an about face, and near 4 P. M. find ourselves at Bruce-Town and still going, all utterly bewildered. I will except “Jubal,” perhaps he knows. At dark take up — or rather at 11 P. M., before things are shipshape. We are now about six miles from Winchester, hid.

September 3.--Cloudy. March across country to turnpike, 10 A. M., and lay in line till 4 P. M.; [157] back to camp; heavy artillery and musketry in direction of Berryville; rain; still fighting until far away into the night. Learned to-day that we had started yesterday expecting to surprise and bag a brigade of Yanks; that they had driven our cavalry and would have got our wagon train but for our prompt counter-movement. So much for what was Greek to us yesterday.

September 4.--Cloudy; started to scene of last night's action, by Jordan's Spring, where the sign gets strong, dead horses, scattered newspapers, letters, graves, &c.; immediately put in position in center, sharpshooters already engaged; 3 P. M. flanked to left and lay until night, endeavoring to draw them out to fight; they wont leave their intrenchments; bullets are whistling around us close; Brooks wounded; lying inactive under fire I have always found very trying on a man's nerves; back to center, where we lay under arms all night; the enemy are in force, strongly intrenched around Berryville, and not more than one-fourth to one-half mile from our line; the woods and ground, however, hide us, which I suppose is the reason they don't use artillery, and we have no position for it; rain, cold and disagreeable.

September 5--Rain. Skirmishing heavy. Sent out reinforcements to sharpshooters' line — the 35th and 60th Virginia regiments. Finding they won't come out, we fall back leisurely. Conner just brought in killed (McConnel's Co. C); he had left his company to try his Spencer rifle, and got with the sharpshooters; had proceeded some three miles when we heard firing in our front; looked squally. The Yankees had evidently got around us; double-quick was the word; rain falling heavy; we put over about three miles, and found they were being driven without our assistance; so took up at our old camp near Bruce Town, thoroughly wet through; dark, and miserable.

September 6--Rain all day.

September 7--Clear; fighting on creek; 3 P. M., ordered out, and remain in line until night; back to camp; shoes repaired; company went out to-day without an officer; Captain Young had gone to Vaughn's; I was absent, and John McKaney sick; we got with them by the time they were well in position.

September 8--Clear; news in of fall of Atlanta; I look upon it as bad news; signs from late papers look ominous; we here, though, are having it all our own way; we whip the enemy every time we fight.

September 9--Clear, cold night. Ordered out to Bruce Town; remained in line most of the day. In coming back to camp the enemy came to the creek, and kept up smart skirmishing, burned two mills and fell back. We get papers now pretty regular. General John W. Morgan killed near Greenville, Tennessee.

September 10--Rain. Up at 3 A. M. to go on picket. So intensely dark, could not go. Wet through. 3 P. M., moved out on picket on an advanced post. All quiet.

September 11--Relieved and back to camp; 10 A. M., moved to new camp on our right, about one mile. Rain.

September 12--Rain. Camp guard established; orders strict. Apples and corn declared contraband.

September 13--Clear; fighting on our left. 11 A. M.--Put in line; fighting is winding to our right; it is very heavy. 2 P. M.--Ordered to cook two day's rations; half an hour after, “fall in” again; cannonading heavy on our right; hope we are going back; indications point that way; we have had a severe campaign, and are now pretty much worn out with fatigue, lice, dirt, and rags; we are also hungry, don't get enough sleep; having an average of two blankets to three men, we have to take reliefs at the fire to keep from freezing; Colonel Love and Major Stringfield sick, leaving Colonel McLamy in command of Legion, Singleton of battalion, self of company,, which now rarely averages ten men under, arms, an effective total of eighteen; we move toward Winchester and are hoping this valley trip is near ended, when we are counter-marched back to camp.

September 14--Rain. No papers; bad sign. I hear Petersburg has gone up; if it has for the lack of men, what the duce are they keeping us here for. The Yanks are just playing with us; they can harass and run us to death, and get back to shelter of their fortifications immediately. I want out of here. Our rations are scanty; I can eat what I draw at two meals and then not have enough. How long are men going to submit to this state of things? time I suppose will show.

September 15--Cloudy. Skirmish drill. R. means to guard mill. Ramseur's and Gordon's divisions left for parts unknown; rumored that we (Breck's) go to Dublin in a day or two; any change will be welcome.

September 16--Rain; 6 A. M., brigade on picket; Legion in advance post on Charlestown Road.

September 17--Clear; relieved about 7 A. M.; skirmishing close on our right; I had gone out to the lines and left behind, but found the company, soon after, in camp; clothing drawn, not enough though; I bought a clean shirt from D. Wear; mended my things, took a dip in creek, and put on clean clothes; feel like a new man; the author of the quotation, “cleanliness next to Godliness.” was sound on the goose.

September 18--Clear; drill; ordered men out; countermanded, Colonel Smith having forgot the day; went to preaching; heard an excellent sermon on faith (about the woman being made whole); heavy skirmishing on picket line; all troops out but our brigade; we are wagon guard to-day.1

1 This Diary was found on the person of Lieutenant W. Ashley, of Vaughn's Brigade, Company C, Battalion Thomas' Legion, Wharton's Division, Breckinridge's Corps, General Early's Army, September 19, 1864, on the battle-field, near Winchester, Va.

The memorandum-book in which the diary was kept had been captured from a Union soldier of a Maryland regiment, supposed to have been killed at Snicker's Gap.

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