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Chapter 32: in pursuit of Lee. In camp at Morrisville.

On the Fourth of July the regiment remained all day in line of battle, patiently waiting for a renewal of the fighting but it did not materialize. The night passed drearily enough, and on the morning of the fifth several details were occupied in burying the dead.

The Nineteenth Massachusetts, First Minnesota and Seventh Michigan were sent out as skirmishers. They pressed forward, entered the rebel works on Seminary Ridge and found that the ‘bird’ had flown. They returned and reported this fact. Within an hour, the Fifth and Sixth Corps were sent away in pursuit of Lee. The Eleventh and Twelfth followed in the afternoon and on the morning of July 6 the southward march of the Second Corps began, by way of the Taneytown Road.

As the regiment filed out of the field at Gettysburg it was halted and an order from the President was read, announcing the fall of Vicksburg. The news was received with cheers and the men marched on with lighter hearts, feeling that the year of 1863 promised some decisive results in the prosecution of the war.

That night was spent at Two Taverns and on the 7th march was resumed to Taneytown. Frederick City was reached on the 8th, Burkittsville on the 9th, and at noon on the 10th of July the regiment arrived at Williamsport, where, after a few hours rest, the men were marched about two miles in the direction of Hagerstown, and formed in line to the right of the road to repel an expected attack of the enemy. It remained all night under arms and in the morning moved across the road toward [256] Williamsport, forming on the left of the Division line, which, during the night had moved to that point. Here it was learned that Port Hudson was in the hands of Banks.

During the day of the 12th, the men were engaged in throwing up breast works, anticipating an order to attack the enemy at the dawn of the 13th, but when the daylight came, Lee had again escaped.

Remaining there until daylight of the 14th, the brigade, with the First Division of the Second Corps, under command of Gen. Caldwell, and a force of cavalry, then made a reconnoissance to Falling Waters. The enemy was found entrenched in a hill across the river and a portion were captured by cavalry alone, the infantry not being engaged. The Brigade returned to camp about 9 P. M. and the enemy continued to move southward on the west side of the Blue Ridge. On the 15th of July a march of 27 miles was begun early in the day and at night the column encamped near Harper's Ferry. On the 16th,it marched to Pleasant Valley, remaining until the morning of the 18th when they crossed the Potomac at Berlin, marching to Hillsboro, Va., and down the East side of the Blue Ridge. On the 19th the column marched to Wood Grove, and on the 20th to Bloomfield, where they rested. The 21st saw them under way again at 6 A. M. and they tramped to Chester Gap, where the regiment was the support for the Third Corps in the storm of Wapping Heights. During the long and rapid march, the men of the Second Corps had been compelled to experiment upon the minimum amount of rations that would keep together the soul and body of a marching soldier.

To appease that natural craving for alimentary supplies, which even military discipline can but imperfectly subdue, there were many queer shifts resorted to by the men. While seated upon Wapping Heights, after they had been gallantly carried by the ‘Excelsior Brigade,’ and while each hungry soldier searched the haversack for some scraps of food which might miraculously have escaped his eye during numberless similar examinations of the past few days, one of the Nineteenth Massachusetts discovered a portion of a very stale and dirty adamantine candle. The poor fellow surveyed the unsavory article and [257] the empty haversack, innocent even of a crumb, with a countenance upon which appetite struggled with disgust. With a deep sigh, he placed the bag upon the ground and for a moment more contemplated that crushed and dirty candle. Appetite triumphed, and, despite the exclamations and surprise of his comrades, he devoured the luscious (?) morsel. He swore that it tasted good, but even when higher rank had brought renown and increased respect, he did not lose with ‘Ours’ the nickname of ‘The Candle Eater.’

On July 22, the regiment moved to Oak Hill and on the 23rd to White Plains. Warrenton Junction was reached on the 24th and here it remained until the 29th and then marched about eight miles. On July 30, Morrisville, near Kelley's Ford, was reached, and camp was pitched for a protracted stay.

The regimental return, dated July 31, 1863, at this point reads:

Col. A. F. Devereux, on detached service, after conscripts in Massachusetts.

Lieut. Col. Ansel D. Wass, absent in Massachusetts on surgeon's certificate, until Aug. 5. Wounded July 3.

Adjt. William A. Hill, on detached service after conscripts in Massachusetts.

Co. A.Capt. Isaac H. Boyd, on detached service, after conscripts in Massachusetts.
Co. B.Capt. Henry A. Hale, on detached service, Acting Asst. Inspector General 2nd Brigade, 2nd Corps, 2nd Division. Second Lieut. Moses Shackley, in command Co. B, sick.
Co. C.Capt. William L. Palmer, absent in Massachusetts, wounded July 3.
First Lieutenant Thomas F. Winthrop, on special duty, Acting Quartermaster,—transferred from Co. E.
Co. D.Capt. Moncena Dunn, on detached service, A. A. Q. M. reserve artillery brigade, Second Corps.
First Lieutenant David T. Chubbuck, absent in Massachusetts on surgeon's certificate until Aug. 16. Wounded July 3.


Second Lieutenant William E. Barrows, on detached service, A. A. D. C. Third Brigade, Second Division, Second Corps.
Co. F.Capt. Edmund Rice, formerly reported as Major, but never having been mustered, is ordered to be reported in his former position. Wounded July 3, absent in Massachusetts. Report corrected and mustered as Major in September, 1863.
First Lieut. William Stone, wounded July 3.
Second Lieut. John J. Ferris, wounded July 3.
Co. E.First Lieut. John P. Reynolds, Jr., previously reported as captain, but having never been mustered, has been ordered reported in his former position. Absent in Massachusetts. Wounded Sept. 17, 1862.
Second Lieut. Ephraim Hall, on special duty, acting adjutant.
Co. H.Capt. J. G. C. Dodge, absent in Massachusetts, wounded July 3rd.
Co. I.Capt. Jonathan F. Plympton, in command of regiment.
First Lieut. J. G. B. Adams, absent in Massachusetts, wounded July 2.
Co. K.First Lieut. Lysander J. Hume, on detached service, in Provost Marshal's department, Philadelphia.
Second Lieut. Charles L. Merrill, absent in General Hospital, Georgetown, sick.
Asst. Surgeon William D. Knapp, absent on surgeon's certificate since July 24.
Capt. Andrew Mahoney, on account of wounds, transferred to Invalid Corps by S. O. 166, Headquarters Second Corps, July 19, 1863.
Capt. James H. Rice, discharged on account of wounds. S. O. 305, War Department, A. G.O., July 10, 1863.
First Lieut. Oliver F. Briggs, discharged S. O. 302, War Dept. A. G. O., July 8, 1863.
First Lieut. Herman Donath, killed in action, July 3.
Second Lieut. Sherman S. Robinson, killed in action July 3, 1863.


Second Lieut. Joseph W. Snellen, previously reported as Second Lieutenant, commissioned, but refused muster.
Second Lieut. William F. Rice, previously reported as Second Lieutenant, commissioned, but refused muster.


Commissioned officers,10
Enlisted men,132142


Commissioned officers,20
Enlisted men,212232

Present and absent:

Commissioned officers,30
Enlisted men,344374

Alterations since last return:


Commissioned officers,by transfer1
by order3
Enlisted men,by order3
from desertion,310


Commissioned officers,resigned or disbanded,2
by order,5
Died in action,211
Enlisted men,Transferred by order,3
Died in action or wounds,9
Missing in action,5

Wounded in action,60
Recruits required,640


The long march of 700 miles had been very tiresome. The clothing and equipments of the Army demanded renewal, the many sick of heat and fatigue demanded restoring rest, the shattered commands needed reinforcements before they could again face the army of Lee, already reinforced with a sufficient number to nearly make good his losses.

The men remained in camp near Morrisville through the month of August and the work of re-organization and repair went on.

The middle of September found the Army of the Potomac stronger in numbers than at Gettysburg and nearly as well equipped. The apparent strength of the reinforcements needed, however, a large deduction from the fact that a great proportion of them were the product of the draft or were substitutes. The Nineteenth Massachusetts received 216 substitutes of this class on August 16th. At that time its ranks had been swelled by the returns from the hospital and other sources to 80 veterans. This lot of recruits that arrived in August contained many good and patriotic men, who deserved and won the confidence and love of their veteran comrades.

While the regiment lay in camp at Morrisville, Col. Devereux being still on detached service, it was under the command of Capt. J. F. Plympton. This gallant, but aged officer, had, from the outbreak of the war to this time, kept up with the youngest and most vigorous officer in the discharge of every active and laborious duty. His health was now fast breaking down, however, under the hardships and labor so unsuitable to his years and he was soon compelled, from this cause, and with great reluctance, to retire from the service.

Here also Lieut. Charles L. Merrill was driven, from the effects of his wound (received while saving from capture the colors of the regiment at Fredericksburg) to retire from active service with the regiment and accept a commission in the Veteran Reserve Corps, in which he remained until the close of the war.

Lieut. William Stone also retired to accept a commission in the Veteran Reserve Corps and Lieut. Col. Ansel D. Wass [261] returned to duty with the regiment on August 28, at once assuming command.

The regimental return for August, 1863, showed the following:

Col. A. F. Devereux, on detached service Long Island, Boston Harbor, S. O. 171, Headquarters, 2nd Corps, July 27, 1863.

Lieut. Col. Ansell D. Wass, returned to duty Aug. 26, in command of regiment.

Major Edmund Rice, absent in Massachusetts, wounded, July 3rd.

Adjt. William A. Hill, on detached service, Long Island, Boston Harbor, S. O. 171, July 27, 1863.

Co. A.Capt. Isaac H. Boyd, on detached service Long Island, Boston Harbor, S. O. 171, 2nd Corps, July 27.
Second Lieut. Warner M. Tilton, absent sick, 2nd Div. General Hospital.
Co. B.Capt. H. A. Hale, on detached service, A. A. Insp. Gen., 1st Brig. 2nd Div., 2nd Corps, S. O. 60, March 15, 1863.
First Lieut. Elisha A. Thinks, on detached service, A. D. C. to Brig. Gen. E. W. Hinks.
Second Lieut. Moses Shackley, in command Co. B.
Co. C.Capt. William L. Palmer, absent in Massachusetts, wounded July 3, S. C., extended to Sept. 3.
First Lieut. Thomas F. Winthrop, on special duty, acting quartermaster.
Co. D.Capt. Moncena Dunn, on detached service, A. A.Q. M. artillery brigade, 2nd Corps.
First Lieut. David F. Chubbuck, in command Co. D.
Second Lieut. William E. Barrows, on detached service, A. A.D. C. 3d Brig. 2nd Div. 2nd Corps.
Co. E.First Lieut. John P. Reynolds, Jr., absent in Massachusetts, wounded at Antietam, S. C. extends to Aug. 29, 1863,
Second Lieut. E. A. Hall, Acting Adjutant.


Second Lieut. John J. Ferris, in command Co. F.
Co. G.Capt. C. M. Merritt, on detached service, at General Martindale's headquarters, Washington.
First Lieut. Dudley C. Mumford, in command Co. G.
Co. H.Second Lieut. Charles S. Palmer, in command Co. H.
Co. I.Capt. Jonathan F. Plympton, performing duties of field officer.
First Lieut. J. G. B. Adams, absent wounded in Massachusetts.
First Lieut. William Stone, transferred to Invalid Corps, S. O. 173, Headquarters Second Corps, July 28, 1863.


By conscripts from depot,163
Recruits required to fill quota,497

died as result of wounds received in action:

Co. B.Private William H. Bean, Antietam.
Co. E.Corporal Charles A. Johnson, in Gen. Hospital, West Philadelphia, Aug. 21. 1863.
Co. H.Private Thomas Bridges, Antietam.
Corporal Benjamin H. Atkins, Jr., Gettysburg, July 3.
Private Jeremiah Y. Wells, Gettysburg, July 14.
Co. I.Private George P. Ham, in McDougal Hospital, Fort Schuyler, August 21, 1863.

On August 31, the Nineteenth Massachusetts regiment formed the advance of a reconnoissance by the Second Corps to near Falmouth, relieving the cavalry at that point that they might be enabled to capture the gunboats Reliance and Satellite, then in the Rappahannock near its mouth. The regiment was absent on this duty for three days and then returned to its camp at Morrisville, where many of its members rejoined it, having returned from hospitals and detached service.

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