Monday, February 11, 2013

1863 February 9 en route to Newport News

[from the diary of the Rev. Francis E. Butler, chaplain of the 25th New Jersey]

Mon 9.  Lovely May like morng.  Capt invited Col. A. & me to breakfast
& transport [?] on shore in his boat.  Air calm & sweet.  Visited
fortress Monroe - & reported to Gen. Dix – moat 75 paces wide filled
with water, immense work – beautiful parade, large enc. for
a village   3d N. Y. guard mountg. – splendid drill & fine band.
Sketched Gen Dix’s head Qrs while sitting with Col. Maj. & Dr. Reily under
a live oak tree – beautiful clumps of those trees all about
look like apple tree – or olives – dark olive green leaves.
pretty little acorns   gathered some, birds singing –
     We are ordered to Newport News immediately – Saw the
rip raps – Am writing in Cabin by an open window near
fortress – transports loaded with troops about us – whole 9th A. C.
go to Newport News – Sailed at noon – about 10 miles to Nep. N.
Saw the wrecks of the Congress & Cumberland sunk by the
Merrimack – Got boat of Capt. Stone & pulled off with Chester
Dr. R. & Captn. Stevens, to Cumberland   climbed into her main
top to cut off some of her mast [?] &c for relics.
Regt. went ashore & encamped near shore – which is sandy here
right bet. wrecks of Congress & Cumberland War ships in the
roads – one a monitor, beautiful trees of pine – cypress & live
oak skirt the beach - & fig trees grow close by our quarters
took two old houses one for all our officers & one for horses –
Men in fine spirits - & like it very much

[transcript by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

MSS 12935 

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