Sergeant Nathan W. Haynes - Diary of 1861
October 8th, 1861
Broke camp at 4 o’clock a.m. in a drizzling rain seeing that everything was packed for transportation. Proceeded to the depot to take the cars enroute for Washington in Company with and attached to the 22nd Reg’t Mass. Vols. Commanded by Col. Henry Wilson. Arrived in Boston without delay or accident. Marched through the streets to the common, rained quite fast the whole distance, ceased just as we made a halt. Partook of a collation provided by the citizens of Boston; immediately after a set of colors was presented to the Reg’t. Speeches were made but was so far distant that they could not be heard. Marched in review, then to the Boston + Worcester R.Road station, got aboard the cars and proceeded on our journey. Arrived in Worcester at 7 o’clock p.m. Stopped but a short time, did not leave the cars.
Arrived in Springfield at 10 o’clock p.m., was very cordially welcomed by the citizens and provided with a collation by the Fire Department. Col. Wilson was called upon to make a speech; he left the cars, proceeded to an open square in the vicinity of the depot and complied with the request. Stopped here an hour then proceeded on our way. As it was dark and nothing to be seen as we passed along and the men dispersed to be quiet, chose the most comfortable position and went to sleep.
October 9th, 1861
At daylight woke up, found that we had arrived and stopped at Bridgeport Conn. Our stay was of short duration, but stops occurred quite often afterwards. At one time just as the cars were about to start the Capt. got off to hurry up a man that was already off, and both were left behind but got on to the regular train and overtook us at Stanford Conn. Nothing else occurred till we arrived nearly in New York city when a man belonging to the Reg’t being on top of the cars was struck by a bridge, understood that he was not seriously injured. Arrived in New York at 10 o’clock a.m., were soon off the cars and in a line the men were marched into a building in the vicinity where each man was provided with a plate of soup and a “Testament”. The officers went in company with the officers of the Reg’t to the Fifth Avenue House and partook of a breakfast provided by Col. Frank Howe of Mass.
After which we were marched to the Fifth Avenue Hotel where the Reg’t was presented with another standard. The presentation speech was made by Hon. John Brady; replied to by Col. Henry Wilson, after which we marched to the barracks, the sharpshooters being made the subject of remarks of curiosity, applauded and cheered on the way. Arriving at the barracks and ascertaining that the men would be provided for; the officers proceeded in a body back to the Fifth Avenue Hotel and took supper. Just at dark received the order to sling knapsacks, then marched down to the pier and embarked aboard the boats that were to convey us to Amboy. Left the wharf at 9 o’clock p.m., got within a few miles of Amboy when a man from the Reg’t was lost overboard. The boat rounded to, a boat lowered. After searching nearly an hour the boat returned without him, got under way and was soon at the landing. While disembarking one of our men fell into the ship but was saved. Got aboard the cars of the Camden + Amboy R. Road, got a comfortable seat and soon fell asleep. Arrived at Camden on the morning of Oct. 10th.
October 10th, 1861
Crossed the Delaware River in ferry boats to Phila. Where a nice warm breakfast awaited us, provided by the “Soldiers Relief Society”. After doing it justice gave three rousing cheers for the committee, then went into the cars and disposed of our knapsacks, canteens and haversacks. Came out + prepared for street parade. Marched through Fourth St. to Chestnut, through Chestnut to Broad, down Broad St. to the Phila, Baltimore + Wilmington R. Road depot. Got aboard the cars and was soon on our way again. Got about thirty miles when it began to rain which made it rather unpleasant but was not delayed till we arrived at Perrysville. There we crossed the Susquehanna River on a boat to Havre de Grace Md. When we got under way again it was nearly dark. Was delayed several hours between Havre de Grace and Baltimore, did not arrive in Baltimore till midnight. The city was very quiet as we marched through it, it did not appear as if there could ever been any bloodshed there, all was so quiet. Got across the city to the Baltimore + Ohio R. Road station and was supplied with bread and hot coffee by the Relief Society, then got into the cars and sat there full two hours before starting. After we got started flattered ourselves with the idea that we should be in Washington before morning but at daylight on the morning of October 11th found ourselves at a halt nine miles from Baltimore just across the Patapsco River near the relay house waiting for the regular trains to pass us. As the breakfast hour came and passed, haversacks being empty and no sign of starting, the men began to complain of the delay, but got started about half past eight o’clock. Went a few miles and stopped again and continued to do so till at last the Col. Got out of patience and told the conductor if he did not proceed in ten minutes he would detail men from his regiment to work the engine and see that his order was obeyed at the point of the bayonet if necessary. Don’t know whether this threat had any effect upon the man belonging to the train or not, but it is certain that we did not stop again till we arrived in Washington which we did at two o’clock p.m. Having been in the cars so many hours and hunger groaning at our vitals the disembarkation was performed expeditiously. Formed in line and marched into a building denominated the “Soldiers Rest”, from thence to another building called the soldiers Retreat” and there provided with a dinner at the expense of Government. After being allowed sufficient time to rest had orders to fall in for street parade. Marched up around the Capital, then down Pennsylvania Avenue as far as Willard’s Hotel and returned. The men got their supper and were preparing to spend the night but had orders to leave their “retreat”. Marched to the barracks on Penn. Avenue and took up our quarters for the night.
October 12th, 1861
The men seemed much refreshed, and in fine spirits although they had slept on the hard floor and very few of them being accustomed to soldier fare. Took our equipment marched out on to the side walk on the opposite side the street. Amassing the knapsacks placed them in line on the sidewalk and remained by them a long time waiting for the order to march to breakfast. At last the order was given, marched back to the Soldiers Retreat many of the men thinking that marching so far for a breakfast was more than it was worth. On the way back stopped and unloaded our company wagons + horses, then proceeded to where we left our knapsacks and there got the company all together for the first time since leaving Lynnfield. Remained on the sidewalk till half past two o’clock p.m., then had orders to march. Marched down to a park in front of the Treasury Building. Left the baggage wagons and returned to the barracks. Dispensing of their guns and knapsacks most of the company marched up to the retreat to supper and returned to spend the night as before.
October 13th, 1861
Arose quite early, performed our ablutions with the water that was in our canteens and awaited orders for breakfast but instead received information that rations would not be given out to the company till noon, so marched down to where we left the wagons last night, got out some coffee and made it and made a breakfast of hard bread and coffee and marched back to the barracks. From there marched to the “Retreat” again but got no dinner, returned to the barracks. Soon got orders to sling knapsacks and prepare for a march. Got the order to march at half past two o’clock p.m. Went into Va. By way of the “Long Bridge”. The march was a long one for inexperienced troops but the men held out well, only falling to the rear while those of the Reg’t were continually being left behind to be brought along by the ambulances. Should think by the encampments that we passed on our route that there were troops enough this side of the Potomac to lay siege and conquer the whole southern confederacy. Arrived at and halted on Halle Hill at 11 o’clock p.m. Prepared to encamp for the night, hitched a few tents, just enough to contain the men, then had a bunch dealt out to the men and turned in for the night.
October 14th, 1861
Got up and looked about to see what sort of a place we had got into. Found that we had pitched our tents on the site of an old encampment. Supposing this to be our home for the present set the men at work cleaning up the ground and pitching the rest of the tents, at night had quite a respectable looking encampment.
October 15th, 1861
Was spent by the company regulating the camp, cleaning their guns, molding balls, cutting patches and getting their equipment in order for battle. Capt. Wentworth started for Washington early this morning, did not return until late in the evening.
October 16th, 1861
This day was spent the same as yesterday in clearing a larger space for our camp.
October 17th, 1861
Commenced company drill.
October 18th, 1861
Spent the same as yesterday, excepting that we went on to line with the Reg’t at evening dress parade. While on line observed a balloon that seemed to have ascended from Alexandria. Lost sight of it about an hour from the time it was first seen.
October 19th, 1861
Commenced to rain soon after breakfast. Rained quite fast till night, no duty done today.
October 20th, 1861
The first Sabbath encamped in an enemy’s country. Had orders to prepare for inspection, packed our knapsacks and marched up on the parade ground. Were first reviewed by Brig. Gen. Martindale, afterwards were inspected by him. He seemed to like our practice arms much. Then he came to the quarters and inspected the knapsacks and tents. Went through what the men considered a thorough inspection. Afternoon attended divine services conducted by Rev. John Pierport, the Reg’tl Chaplain. Went out on evening parade, this ended our first Sabbath in Virginia.
October 21st, 1861
Captain Wentworth started for Washington immediately after breakfast and the company went out to practice with their rifles. Finding no suitable place returned to camp. No news nor anything to do till dress parade.
October 22nd, 1861
At half past eight o’clock a.m. received orders to have three days rations cooked immediately and be prepared to march at five minutes’ notice. Waited patiently for the order to march, about noon got the news of a battle fought yesterday at Balls Bluff + Edwards Ferry between Gen. Banks Division and the Rebel Gen. Evan’s command which resulted in a severe loss on our side, the Fifteenth Mass. being badly cut up. Col. Baker of the California Reg’t being among the killed, Col. Of the Mass. 15th taken prisoner. Have had no means of estimating the loss on the rebel side; have not heard the minute particulars of the battle as yet.
October 23rd, 1861
Nothing but camp duty today, no news further in regard to the battle.
October 24th, 1861
Capt. Wentwo[/b]rth started for Washington, returned just at dark, confirming the news of the 22nd. Has been very quiet in camp all day.
October 25th, 1861
The first cold weather. The officers commenced building fireplaces in their tents of bricks recovered from the ruins of dwellings that formerly belonged to secessionists, using the material soil of Virginia for mortar. No news of importance today.
October 26th, 1861
The company went out to practice firing this forenoon. Nothing else occurred during the day.
October 27th, 1861
The first part of the day was spent by inspection of the company, afternoon attended divine services. Went in a line at dress parade on which occasion Col. Wilson took his leave of the regiment to fill an important office at Washington.
October 28th, 1861
Very quiet, no news.
October 29th, 1861
The whole company was ordered out on picket duty, the first employment we have had as a company since encamping here. Took two days rations, marched up on to the parade ground, formed in line then marched over to the parade ground of the N.Y. 25th Reg’t. Were inspected then marched to the picket posts which were about two miles North East of Falls Church on the Lewinsville road + Leesburg Turnpike. Five squads were detached from us, the rest were held in reserve.
October 30th, 1861
By request of one of the officers were allowed to take a post by ourselves without the aid of infantry. Nothing occurred during the day to indicate that the rebels were anywhere near us.
October 31st, 1861
Were relived at noon, marched back to camp without a rebel or having seen one. After eating dinner went down in the woods and discharged our rifles. A short time after it was reported that one of Cass’s Reg’t was shot by some one of the 22nd that had returned from picket while discharging their piece.
November 1st, 1861
Had orders to prepare for inspection in our quarters. The inspecting officer made his appearance about nine o’clock, went through the form of inspection and left us. Nothing else but the daily duties of the camp to attend to.
November 2nd, 1861
Has rained all day accompanied by a high wind. It seemed determined to remove our canvas “houses” in spite of every endeavor to secure them. About 5 o’clock p.m. it ceased raining and the wind died away leaving us our shelters. Understood that other regiments were not so fortunate, some having their tents blown down and other damage done.
November 3rd, 1861
It has been a cold dreary day, the usual Sunday inspection being all that has been done in our camp. In the evening had orders to have two days rations cooked and the company on line at half past seven o’clock tomorrow morning to go on picket guard.
November 4th, 1861
Turned out in good season, got on a line at the stated time and marched to same posts that we occupied when we were out before. No rebels seen today by our pickets.
November 5th, 1861
The day passed off quietly.
November 6th, 1861
It seems that the pickets were not troubled during the night except for the rain. Were relived at half past eleven o’clock a.m. Returned to camp feeling like getting home from a disagreeable visit.
November 7th, 1861
Capt. Wentworth went to Washington, no news from the rebel camp.
November 8th, 1861
No duty except the usual company drill. No news from the rebel camp.
November 9th, 1861
Went out to drill; came back to camp and had orders to pack knapsacks as there was to be a review of Gen. Porter’s Division to which this company is attached. Were in line at a quarter past twelve o’clock p.m., marched over to the parade ground of the 25th N.Y. regiment. Had just got in position in Brigades when it commenced to rain “right smart”. Notwithstanding the unfavorable state of the weather General McClellan made his appearance on the ground; he was saluted by the guns of the batteries, greeted with cheers from the brigades and with music from the bands as he passed along the lines. Then marched in review, after passing once the sharpshooters were dismissed. Came into camp thoroughly wet, cleaned our rifles, had nothing more to do for the day.
November 10th, 1861
Our duty today was inspection and dress parade, no news from around camp.
November 11th, 1861
The company was employed most of the day building furnaces in their tents. Went out to drill in the afternoon, in the evening went out on dress parade.
November 12th, 1861
Captain Wentworth officer of the day, he being the only officer in the line that seemed to have any regard for the neatness of the camp grounds. He detailed quite a large fatigue party and kept them at work all day. At night the camp appeared in better order than it has since we encamped here.
November 13th, 1861
Nothing occurred today aside from our usual duty.
November 14th, 1861
Our whole company, or every available man, was ordered out for fatigue duty. They were soon on line armed with picks, axes and shovels and marched to the field of labor in company with the regiment, were employed all day.
November 15th, 1861
All quiet, no news.
November 16th, 1861
It has been very windy. The duties very unpleasant to perform on account of the wind blowing so strong that the orders could not be distinctly heard and difficult to execute them if they were heard.
November 17th, 1861
Our first duty was to prepare for inspection. Marched up on to the parade ground, were inspected by Col. Ingraham of Gen. Porters’s staff. Afternoon witnessed a very solemn scene, a funeral procession from the 2nd Maine Reg’t passed through our encampment to bury one of their comrades under arms, the band playing a dirge. Rather solemn to those unaccustomed to such scenes.
November 18th, 1861
Captain Wentworth started for Washington quite early, nothing but the company drills. No dress parade, no news.
November 19th, 1861
The coldest day yet, perceived that the water had frozen in the water casks during the night. The usual drills were executed at double quick time without any objections.
November 20th, 1861
This is a day long to be remembered by thousands of people as one of the most eventful of their lives. Never before in this country has there been assembled together such an immense body of armed men as were reviewed today on the sacred soil of Virginia. Our company with 22nd Reg’t left the encampment at an early hour, arrived on review ground about ten o’clock a.m. General McClellan and staff accompanied by the President, secretaries Cameron and Seward on horseback did not arrive till half past twelve o’clock followed by several regiments of cavalry, together with a mounted brass band. The immense throng cheered as he passed along. The location of the parade ground was between Mansons Hill and Baileys Cross Roads in the large open fields. The divisions reviewed were those of Gens. McCall, McDowell, Heintzelman, Fitz John Porter, Franklin, Blenker and Smith comprising ninety regiments of infantry, twenty batteries of artillery numbering over one hundred pieces and nine regiments of cavalry, forming an aggregate of about 70,000 troops. Our boys arrived in camp about dark tired and hungry. The large balloon “Intrepid” passed directly through our camp about five o’clock on its way to a distant hill to ascend to reconnoiter the enemies lines. There was considerable excitement in camp today caused by the report that a large body of cavalry was advancing on our pickets. The officers of the Reg’t armed every man in camp, cooks and sick men, did not see any rebels at a late hour at night.
November 21st, 1861
Having been appointed by his Excellency the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a day of public thanksgiving and praise, that this time honored custom might be appropriately observed by the regiment Col. Gove ordered all duties except the necessary guard to be dispersed with for the day. There were various amusements; some were sparring, others playing ball, and other games not to be spoken of. Am very happy to state that the sharpshooters were as quiet and orderly as on Sundays. The day closed as is the custom in Massachusetts with a thanksgiving ball held on the parade ground. Music furnished by the regimental band, as I did not get an invitation did not attend.
November 22nd, 1861
A squad of our men were detailed for picket duty. After they had left our camp was as quiet as if thanksgiving never had occurred, no news.
November 23rd, 1861
Had information that the regiment was to be paid and the usual duties would be dispensed with except the guard. About noon the Sergeant Major brought the pay rolls with orders to have them signed and held the company in readiness to report to the office for payment. Waited patiently till night but the order for us to report to the office did not come.
November 24th, 1861
To facilitate the payment of the remaining companies it was ordered that the usual Sunday inspection would be by company on the company parade grounds and by their respective commanders. As the prospect of speedy payment grew brighter, the spirits of the men rose accordingly. When they had received their money they seemed perfectly happy and immediately began to divine means to send it to their families and friends instead of spending it for useless articles at the sutlers or to the peddlers. The air has been cold and raw all day, this evening about eight o’clock it began to snow.
November 25th, 1861
Turned out this morning expecting to see the ground covered with snow. Just enough fell to give the earth a white appearance. It was a very busy =====in our camp this morning with the men securing their money in packages to send to Washington by the Captain. The business was all completed and the Captain started for Washington at nine o’clock a.m. It was ascertained that this company had sent to their families the sum of sixteen hundred and fifty dollars and seventy four cents from the amount paid them by Government for one month and eleven days service amounting to $17.76 to each man except the commissioned officers and sergeants. After the departure of the Captain the camp resumed its usual quietness. Nothing occurred during the day. The Captain returned about half past eight o’clock p.m. No mail tonight.
November 26th, 1861
The quietness of the camp was disturbed this afternoon by the report that a party of cavalry scouts had a skirmish with the enemy and were defeated. There are various accounts as to the loss. All is commotion in camp; our men were out target shooting when the report came into camp. They were hurried in to quarters and were soon ready for marching orders. Waited till nine o’clock p.m. them the order came to turn in and be ready at five minutes warning, no correct news of the skirmish.
November 27th, 1861
It appears that we were not called up to go into action last night. Learned this morning that the body of cavalry spoken of as out scouting mistook a portion of Blenker’s Division for rebels and rushed into camp without perceiving their mistake, circulating a report that had no foundation or just cause for alarm. The camp has been as quiet today as if nothing had ever happened to create an excitement. The usual detail for picket guard had been made and handed in but after the roll had been called and the company turned in an order came from Headquarters to have our whole company added to the previous detail to be on line at half past seven o’clock tomorrow morning armed and equipped with two days rations.
November 28th, 1861
The company left camp at 7 o’clock a.m., thought we were to have fine weather but toward night it began to rain, making it very unpleasant for the pickets stationed in the woods, no fires being allowed upon any consideration.
November 29th, 1861
No improvement in the weather, on the contrary, a cold raw wind is blowing, searching to the very bones of those exposed. About dark it commenced to thunder, something unusual for us New Englanders to hear at this season of the year. Had quite a smart shower during the night, was so dark it was with difficulty that the reliefs found the pickets, no rebels found yet.
November 30th, 1861
Quite a decided change in the weather since yesterday, think it must be several degrees colder. We were relived at eleven o’clock a.m., arrived in camp about one o’clock p.m. The afternoon was devoted to cleaning the guns and clothing and to the giving out of caps, shoes, and socks.
December 1st, 1861
The duties of the first day of winter was to prepare for the monthly inspection. Was on line at nine o’clock a.m. The Col. seemed to take but very little notice of us, supposing perhaps that we were already prepared and ready for any emergency. After the inspection there was a funeral of one of the members of Co. B of the Reg’t, about forty of this company attended. The remainder of the afternoon was devoted to getting the description and height of the men by Assistant Surgeon Prince.
December 2nd, 1861
No news of consequence during the day. Just at sundown it commenced to rain. That we might receive the benefit of such weather we had orders to be ready to march at twelve o’clock at night with two days rations. At twelve o’clock took up our line of march.
December 3rd, 1861
Overtook the Second Maine Reg’t a short distance from our camp to which we were attached for the expedition. It was ascertained that we were going in quest of rebel cavalry. The boys were in excellent spirits at the prospect of having a brush with the enemy although it was so cold the water in the canteens froze while in motion and the roads were so rough that it was impossible to march in order, with all we can in picking our way in the dark. One man fell down and broke his rifle and was left at one of our picket posts to return to camp at daylight. After getting outside our lines the orders were to march in silence, marched till nearly daylight, then turned and off the road into the woods and halted till the grey streak of day appeared to enable me to choose a favorable position for an ambush. Took our position and waited patiently for the cavalry to pass us towards the enemy’s line, either to drive or drag them into our trap. About two o’clock the cavalry passed us, some gone two and a half hours and returned without having accomplished their object. We had tried all means except building a fire to keep warm all day and were glad to get the order to march. Arrived in camp at eight o’clock having marched the distance of twelve miles without making a halt. Were some tired, after getting a dish of pea soup willing to turn in for the night.
December 4th, 1861
The men turned out this morning in good condition, but few of them complaining of any ill effects of our late “wild goose” expedition. Drills were dispensed with today that they might rest, but the Col. did not seem inclined to allow our Captain much rest as he wished him to take command of one of the companies of the regiment and drill them as skirmishers. No news of any advances made yet.
December 5th, 1861
Has been one of the pleasantest days we have had since we have been encamped on the soil of the “Old Dominion”. Nothing of consequence has occurred today. Capt. Wentworth officer of the day.
December 6th, 1861
Another beautiful day. The company has been out target practicing nearly all day. Just at sunset the members of Company G of the Reg’t laid a comrade in the grave, making the second one of the Reg’t that has been buried since we have been here.
December 7th, 1861
The morning was warm but a thick fog had settled down and shut out the rays of the sun entirely, making the air very damp and unhealthy. The company went out to drill in the forenoon, afternoon to target practice. Just at dark heard that another of the Regt’s men was dead, he was accidentally shot by a comrade while cleaning a loaded musket. He belonged to Co. I, he lived but a few minutes after the accident.
December 8th, 1861
Another delightful day. The usual Sunday inspection was ordered an hour earlier this morning to give the men an opportunity to attend divine services, but few seemed inclined to avail themselves of the privilege. All quiet in regard to movements, as usual.
December 9th, 1861
It still continues delightfully warm and pleasant, quite favorable for us while we are only protected from the weather by a canvas covering. The company have been out practicing rifle shooting nearly all day, they seem to improve gradually. One of our men (Corporal Thomas) met with rather a serious accident this forenoon. While taking the false muzzle from his gun it discharged itself, driving the ball through the thumb of his left hand. The surgeon thinks he will not lose it if properly treated.
December 10th, 1861
Another warm and pleasant day, target practice continued, no news.
December 11th, 1861
The morning was cloudy with a slight sprinkling of rain. The clouds disappeared about ten o’clock a.m. The wind began to blow up cold and increased till overcoats and gloves were brought into requisition, a decided change in the weather since morning.
December 12th, 1861
This morning was very clear and cold but as the sun rose it dispelled the chilly air and by noon it was as warm as it has been of late. The Capt. went to Washington this morning, consequently there was but very little done in the matter of drill. The Capt. returned at five o’clock p.m. bringing a number of boxes for the men that had been sent them by friends at home and left in the express office at Washington but no news.
December 13th, 1861
Cold but pleasant, nothing of consequence doing today. Just at sunset a man came into camp representing to be one of the union soldiers wounded and taken prisoner at the battle of Bull Run. Was taken to Richmond, had his leg amputated and was recently exchanged, returned to Washington, from there to this encampment. He gave a rather singular account of the manner that our prisoners were treated by the secessionists which seemed to be doubted by some at a later hour and by some an imposter which proved to be correct. He stated that he formerly belonged to Co. C of the 2nd Maine Reg’t. He was assisted over to their encampment by one of the members of said Reg’t but was not recognized by the officers or any member of the company C. Consequently there were serious conjectures as to what and who he was. Later heard of he was in custody, he was at Brigade Headquarters.
December 14th, 1861
Went out in squads to practice target shooting, just got interested when we had orders to march back to quarters at double quick. Found it as usual an order from the Major to go out scouting. The Capt. took twenty men and started off. Soon after another of our corporals came in with his thumb blown entirely off. Both of our surgeons of the Reg’t being away he was obliged to go over to the Brigade Surgeons to have it dressed. About 5 p.m. the scouting party returned having accomplished nothing but a long march.
December 15th, 1861
The usual weekly inspection at half past eight o’clock a.m. The arms were more thoroughly inspected this morning than they have been for some weeks. Twenty four of the rifles were found to be out of order. The armorer was immediately set to work to repair them.
December 16th, 1861
A detachment of the company went out target shooting this morning but was soon ordered in to go on another scouting expedition. The Captain took twenty men and left. Returned just at dark with one “contraband” as prisoner. Gave him quarters for the night in the Guard House.
December 17th, 1861
This day was spent in target practice, no news.
December 18th, 1861
Have been making preparations for winter quarters. It is the intention of the commander to have the tents raised from two to three feet from the ground set on palisades which are set in the ground close together. This work is made light by introducing a plentiful supply of our “Virginia Mortar” in the process. It makes quite a firm foundation for our canvas roofs, and a grand substitute for bricks and mortar. It seems to be the intention of the officers to use every facility to make us comfortable if it is our fortune to remain here this winter although it has been very favorable weather for the troops so far they are acting upon the principal of preparing for a storm while it is pleasant. Every day we hear vague rumors of a forward movement or a return home but nothing authentic, as the head of the department very properly keep all such matters to themselves.
December 19th, 1861
The Captain went to Washington this morning for the purpose of procuring Sharpes improved rifle for the company. The company were employed all day in the adjoining woods cutting logs for the purpose of raising the tents. The Captain returned at half past six o’clock p.m. without having accomplished his object in regard to the rifles. Nothing but dress parade today at which time eleven men of the Reg’t received their sentence by court martial. Three of them being non commissioned officers were reduced to the ranks, their offence being drunkenness and disobedience of orders.
December 20th, 1861
Captain Wentworth officer of the day. Commenced in earnest to raise our tents, began on three of them but there being more work than was expected did not get the canvas replaced on only two of them and neither completed. Consequently the occupants were obliged to quarter on their neighbors. Was woke up about eleven o’clock at night by one of the attendants at the hospital, bringing the information that Henry Williams was dead, a member of this company, has been sick about ten days, his death was caused by Typhoid Fever. He leaves a wife and three children in Lynn.
December 21st, 1861
It was quite cold, had frozen considerable during the night. Began work on the tents, but an order for review obtruding itself left. They went on line at twelve o’clock, marched down to the parade ground of the New York Twenty Fifth Reg’t where the troops of Gen. Porter’s Division were formed in Brigades. Were reviewed by Gen. McClellan and staff with Generals McDowell, Heintzelman, Blake, Barry, King, Marcy, Williams, Andrew Porter and others, secretary Cameron, Gen. Wilson, Commodore Wilkes, the Brigadier of the division, Butterfield, Martindale, and Morrell, the Prince de Frinville Due de Chartres, Count de Paris and a large concourse of citizens. Then we marched in review at quick time then again at double quick. Then the Brigade were formed in order of battle. Our company was deployed as skirmishers, then rallied on the reserve and sent home.
December 22nd, 1861
Our weekly inspection was the first duty attended to, then listened to the hundred and one articles of war after which there was nothing to do but desecrate the Sabbath by working in the tents getting them in condition to sleep in. During the day the minds of the company were taken in regard to paying the expenses of conveying the body of their late comrade to the friends in Lynn, to which they unanimously agreed.
December 23rd, 1861
Captain Wentworth and Private J.L.G. Williams went to Washington this morning with the body of Henry Williams, to make the arrangements and send it home. It has been a very cold and disagreeable day, has been a storm of snow, hail. Wind, and rain, wind predominating. Seemed at times as if the tents were about to be torn from their fastenings. Should not have been surprised at any time to have the tent poles snap the canvas leaving for another Regiment, but strong cloth prevailed this time.
December 24th 1861
Wind cleared away during the night, and was very cold this morning. The ground was frozen so that the work on the tents went on rather slowly. A friend of Capt. Wentworth’s from Salem spent the day here, as he was about to return home, and there being quite a number of Salem folks in this company he was loaded with commissions to their friends at home.
December 25th, 1861
This day being Christmas all unnecessary duties were suspended by order of the Colonel. There was considerable hilarity in the neighboring regiments, heard during the day that there was two of the Mass. 18th Reg’t shot in a fracas that occurred in the Garibaldi Reg’t. Believe was little or no excitement in the 22nd Mass. Reg’t, and no amusement except a burlesque on the Dress Parade. Our company being very busy at work on the tents did not participate in the movement. The day passed off very quietly indeed considering the freedom that was allowed the men. Heard of no drunken frolics or trouble of any kind during the day.
December 26th, 1861
The Captain was detailed for the Regimental Court Martial to meet at 10 o’clock a.m. Made a court house of his tent where he dealt out justice to the offenders that were brought before the court. There being more cases than could be attended to in one day the court was adjourned at three o’clock p.m. The work in the quarters continues with unabated zeal, each tents crew unwilling to be out done in the matter of comfort or convenience by their neighbors or of any one in the Reg’t. Winter seems to have finally come upon us, have had several days of cold, blustering weather, it was very fortunate that we commenced to prepare as soon as we did. About half past six o’clock p.m. while walking around the quarters discovered a fire in the direction of Washington, but as we were under a different Fire Department than when at home we could not run to the fire but was under the necessity of waiting for another day to learn the particulars. Corporal Thomas finding that his thumb grows worse instead of better decided to have it amputated this afternoon.
December 27th, 1861
Court Martial continued today. The particulars of the fire of last evening are as follows. The Government Stables situated in E St. Washington were burned to the ground. There was seven stables, each of the stables contained about 200 head of horses, several hundred of which were burned to death, quite a number of wagons and harnesses were destroyed. Out of one train of a hundred and two horses belonging to the State of Massachusetts only eleven were saved. The loss to Government is estimated at one hundred thousand dollars. The fire is supposed to have taken from a lantern handled by one o the teamsters. All quiet in camp during the day. In the evening an order came for forty men, two corporals, one Sergeant and a Lieut. from this company to go on picket. In making out the detail quite a number were found to be taken suddenly ill.
December 28th, 1861
In consequence of the number of prisoners to be tried by Court Martial the Captain retains his dignity of judge and senior member another day. Nothing of consequence has occurred today.
December 29th, 1861
Being Sunday the Capt. was relieved from court duty. To keep him high in office he was detailed as officer of the day. No duties aside from the usual inspection and dress parade.
December 30th, 1861
Court Martial continues in the Captains tent. The company have been employed during the day gathering material for a cookhouse on a more convenient scale than what we have been using during our stay here.
December 31st, 1861
Had orders to prepare for being mustered for payment. As the time was not specified when the order was given the camp was all bustle and confusion till the men had got their knapsacks packed, then learned that we should not go on line till afternoon, so separated each to the duty assigned him. Afternoon went on to line, passed in review and halted , remained in position three hours before being inspected, got back to our quarters just at sunset. During the evening cannonading was heard in the direction of our outposts, supposed to be rebel firing.