Wednesday, February 6, 2013

1863 February 2

[from the diary of Samuel S. Johnson, 1st Massachusetts Independent Light Battery]

                                Feb. 2nd

On the 20th, the Left Grand Division (Franklin’s)
received marching orders, and early on the 21st,
the army commenced to move.  At one P. M we
left camp, and at five P. M. encamped on the
right of the army.  About 7. P. M. a cold and
disagreeable rain storm set in, which lasted
all night.  I was washed out of my bed and
after freezing all night trying to keep a fire
warm I succeeded in dozzing off to sleep, when I
was just beginning to become comfortable, I was
turned out to the very agreeable job of harness
-ing up a pair of horses with a wet, cold, stiff
and a frozen harness.  Oh, wasn’t it delightful!
After an hour’s work, where it usually took only
fifteen minutes, we mannaged to get hitched
up, but it was ten A. M before we got
started out of camp.  Our horses were so
chilled through, that it took twenty eight
horses to move some of our carriages, and
even after once getting started, we were obliged
to be continually doubling up our teams, in
order to keep in motion.  The country all
around was a perfect sea of mud.  All
along the road parts of batteries, reg’t.
baggage trains, pontoon trains, and every
material of war was stuck fast;  some of
the carriages were sunk out of sight in

the mud, dead horses, and mules perfectly completely
paved the road.  Oh, did’nt we have a good
time!  About six P. M., we managed to get
our pieces into a kind of camp, our cassions
were ordered to return to our old camp, the
mud being so deep that the roads are unfit
for traveling:  we moved back about one mile,
and went into camp, where we remained
two days;  until the remainder of the Army
had countermarched by us; we then again took
up our line of march, and after two days very
hard pulling through mud up to our waists,
we got back to our old camp again, pretty well
played out and as hungry as bears.  Gen’s
Burnside and Sumner have at their own request
been relieved from command, Gen Franklin by
order of the President, Gen Hooker has been
appointed to command the Army of the Potomac.
On the 28th had a severe snow storm.  The weather
has been cold and unpleasant.

[transcript by Mary Roy Edwards Dawson]

MSS 8493

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