This morning we struck our tents, packed
our valises, rolled up our bedding & took up
our line of march. I think the question as to
whee we were going & how we were going was
asked a thousand times & fully ;discussed.
It was finally settled--among ourselves-- that
we were going to Yorktown & there embark for
for West Point. the idea was pleasant for it
was a very hot day, and a little steamboat ride
up York River would be so delightful and we
would be spared so long a march--It was
so clear in Gen McClellan to select us for the
ride while so many walked--this is the
advantage regulars have over Volunteers thought
we. ha! ha! ha! We marched to Yorktown, dust
almost intolerable--We halted in the street
for a long time--Why so long a halt? ah,
perhaps the transports are not quite ready.
May be the head of the column is already
embarking & as it is slow work, it takes
time & our turn will soon come--Nor would
we permit ourselves to think aught else.
Finally the column moves--At last thought we,
we will get out of this suffocating place and
enjoy the refreshing breeze from the noble river.
We moved on--Curious, thought we! The
columns seems to file tot he left & up the hill,
leaving the river far to the right--Perhaps we
are going to another landing. Alas! for human
hopes & expectations. We were on the way for
a long march under the rays of a southern
sun. It was useless to detail the incidents
of the march. There was much suffering among
the men. This was their first march in hot
weather. Their heavy knapsacks, Haversacks with
three days rations, ammunition 60 rounds and
musket made a tremendous weight. On we
marched. Stragglers lined the road. The 5th N.Y.
Duryea's Zouaves, with their red
turkish pants lying along the road made a
picture rarely seen in a landscape view. At
least half the regiment fell out complaining
of exhaustion. Nor could the efforts of their
officers prevent it. The number of regulars
that straggled were proportionately few. It
is in a march of this kind that the effect
of good discipline is manifest.
We reached Williamsburg in the afternoon
& halted to give the men a rest. This place once so
flourishing as the Capital of Virginia is now
a miserable place. More miserable perhaps in
consequence of the War, but at best seems to
be in a rapid decline. William & Mary College
an old & time honored institution of learning
located here appears to be the only thing for
which the town lives.
It was almost impossible to get a drink
of water here. Nearly every house was closed &
not a store or shop open. We found a little
girl in an humble tenement, who brought us
some miserable stuff in a dirty pitcher, but even
this as acceptable, & the little girl was kept
extremely busy while we stayed there in sup-
plying the officers with water & I imagine she
had not seen so much silver in a long time as
she made that hour we lay in the street.
But there was no rest for the wicked. Forward
was the word & we left Williamsburg with
all its ancient glory and its modern wretchedness
behind us. Very soon after getting beyond the
outskirts of the Village we crossed the battle
ground, the scene, a few days before of the
bloody battle. There was very little to indicate
that a terrific battle had been fought here
only three or four days before--A few dead
horses here & there--an old coat--an old
knapsack--a shattered canteen, were all
that the passer-by could see of that strife.
where McClellan said "Hancock was superb"
The redoubts were all empty & quiet reigned su-
preme. We at last reached our bivouacking
ground about three miles above the town. Our
baggage did not keep up with us, so that we
took to a tree for out covering, glad to lie any
where. Supper was not to be thought of and
as we did not know whence any could come,
did not spend much time in such useless thoughts.
Our sleep that night was sweet. Oh Ye who pant
for sleep & lie upon downy beds, restless and
rolling through the tedious hours. Ye know not
one tithe of the sweet comforts of a sleep after
a long, fatigueing, tedious & hot march, upon
an empty stomach. No rolling & tossing then.
No nightmare then. All is serene & calm & the
inventor of sleep is more than thrice blessed.
Our march this day was about Eighteen miles.
Though tied myself I exhibited no signs of it,
thus setting a good example to the men. I
rallied many a man & ridiculed him out of