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Sergeant Nathan W. Haynes - Diary of November 1862


November 1, 1862

We lay encamped all day for the purpose of being mustered for pay, did not get through till late in the afternoon. Then drew some clothing which took me until nine o'clock pm. Have heard firing in the advance nearly all day.

November 2, 1862

Were called up at half past five am. Took up the line of march about eight o'clock am, route today lay along a valley. The scenery was commonplace. The roads were rather muddy. It has been a long and tiresome march, did not have time to get dinner. Halted at five o'clock pm at Snicker’s Gap having marched the distance of eighteen miles. The men of course are very tired and worn-out. Have heard firing in advance of us all day, could not tell where it was preceded from.

November 3, 1862

A cold wind arose during the night and intruded within my blanket so persistently that I had to take a position near the fire till an early hour. We have had nothing to do today but bring rails for fuel. There has been a cold disagreeable wind blowing all day. Heard a few guns this afternoon over the mountain, otherwise it has been very quiet.

November 4, 1862

Were called at five o'clock this morning to pack up. Turned out and seeing no other companies in the Regiment moving it was thought that there must be some mistake but when it was ordered that no man should have his breakfast until his poncho was taken down and rolled up it was seen at once that the captain was displaying some of his fine points and it caused considerable murmurings. Got our breakfast and lay around all day. Towards sunset we were called out on a line inspection, then the company went after rails, put up their ponchos again and prepared to pass the night. Heard the report of guns a long distance ahead just a dark. We have some reason to think we shall move soon as the troops have got out of the way so that we can get along. It has been some warmer this afternoon. Weather warm this pm and this evening we have a beautiful moonlight. All quiet at this hour nine o'clock in the evening.

November 5, 1862

Were not disturbed until the regular hour for reveille. No indications of a move today. We remain in camp in readiness to march and have thus waited all day. The wagon train was made up and started at five o'clock pm. Supposed we were to follow immediately but instead we had a dress parade and gave attention to orders for half an hour, then were dismissed for the night.

November 6, 1862

Were wakened this morning by the rain beating through my tent into my face. Just fell into a drows again when the bugle sounded for us to turn out, pack up and get ready for a march. Got our breakfast and were ready to start when the order came for the 22nd Regiment to act as rear guard to the division so we did not get started till past eight o'clock. It began to grow cold about sunrise and marched in frigidity until the thermometer must have stood below freezing point as the water in our canteens froze soon after we halted. Our march was the longest we have had for a long time but we were less fatigued than usual when we halted. We passed through the town of Middleburg about eight o'clock pm. It was quite a pretty place but was a perfect nest of rebels. We marched about five miles beyond the town and encamped beside the road on a rise of ground where the wind pierced our garments until our teeth chattered. We gathered a large pile of rails and made several fires. Got some hot coffee and seated ourselves by the fires to pass the night as best we could. Sleep was and improbability.

November 7, 1862

The weather has moderated during the night and a storm threatens. [b]Marched at an early hour. Had not been on the way more than an hour when it began to rain snow rabidly. Came but a short distance, halted before noon in the woods in the vicinity of White Plains on the Manassas railroad, can hear the whistle of the locomotive quite distinctly. Snow has kept falling all day giving us an earnest of a winter campaign. Pitched our ponchos but think we shall be rather uncomfortable before morning. Snow is still falling at nine pm.

November 8, 1862

The general call was sounded about half past five this morning. Turned with all possible dispatch to get a dish of hot coffee before we started. The snow has ceased but it continues cloudy with indications of more snow or rain. Two inches of snow on the ground. Started soon after daylight. The roads were frozen and slippery in the morning and our fingers suffered from the inclemency of the weather. We crossed the Manassas railroad near a village called White Plains and took the road towards Warrenton. As we progressed the roads began to thaw making it very muddy. Had a great many little streams to cross, retarding our progress very much but we made quite a distance. Passed through New Baltimore and came in sight of the spires of Warrenton when we changed direction and came to a halt in the woods at five o'clock pm. Collected a large pile of rails as the prospect was a cold night. Pitched our tents and gathered leaves and hay to keep our bodies from the cold ground and make ourselves as comfortable as possible. The prospect of catching the rebels this side of Richmond is rather poor and we expect to suffer considerably from the cold ere this campaign is ended or the rebels are bagged.

November 9, 1862

Advanced about three miles this morning and pitched our tents in a wood not far from Warrenton. We are in a healthy location and should enjoy ourselves but for the cold. Very blustering and we have to build fires in front of our tents to keep us from shivering. To make our condition as pleasant as possible were ordered out on dress parade to listen to some orders of which we who were on the left of the line could not hear a word. Came into quarters much edified by what somebody heard.

November 10, 1862

Cool but pleasant. No indications of breaking camp today. It appeared that all the orders were not read last evening so we were ordered into line to hear the rest of them. Then we stacked arms and were dismissed to fall in at the sound of the bugle and march about half a mile to a place where McClellan and Burnside were to pass. Very soon they appeared. Little Mac was greeted with the usual amount of cheering. After they had passed we returned to camp and learned that Gen. Burnside takes command of the Army of the Potomac. Considerable feeling is expressed at the loss of their beloved commander among the men. Rumor says he is under arrest but we cannot credit it for it is too absurd. One of our men taken prisoner at Malvern Hill July first has returned, he thinks he has seen all he desires of Richmond. No desire to visit it again. Have heard the reports of artillery all the afternoon but supposed it to be the salutes fired in honor of the two generals as they rode along the lines but was told later in the day that skirmishing was going on in front. Warm and pleasant this eve, hope to get a good night’s rest.

November 11, 1862

Has been very quiet in camp all day but have heard cannonading in the distance as if they were having some sharp practice, no particulars. Whether warm and pleasant enough to do without overcoats with comfort.

November 12, 1862

The clouds are thick and portend rain. Have been out on squad and company drill. The division was called out this afternoon to take leave of General Porter who is relieved of the command of the fifth Army Corps. Gen. Hooker supersedes him. Do not know what position General Porter is to occupy in future but we hear that he is ordered to Washington to answer to charges preferred against him by Gen. Pope. All is very quiet today out in front.

November 13, 1862

Nothing of importance today, quiet reigns.

November 14, 1862

Not a musket disturbs the quiet of today and the men began to murmur at this monstrous life but when they march the complaints are louder. When will they be suited. Ellis answers "when they get home". In response to which I heartily concur.

November 15, 1862

Cold and blustering. The company went out to the usual drills and to division review where fighting Joe Hooker was present and assumed command. All quiet as yet.

November 16, 1862

Cold and squally. Was detailed on Provost Guard at brigade headquarters. Had very little to do except keep a fire, no news.

November 17, 1862

The reveille was sounded at three o'clock am. Passed through Warrenton at seven o'clock am and marched towards Warrenton Junction. At noon we were marching over the same ground that many of us had trodden three months ago. We continued our march till dark. Commenced to rain just as we halted. Heard firing in advance of us all day.

November 18, 1862

Were called up at four o'clock am. Weather cold and dry. Got our breakfast and loitered about till noon but when we did start we made some good time until after dark, halted about seven o'clock. The men were so tired that many of them preferred to lie in the open air rather than pitch their tents. It has been a damp misty day with slight showers. Have heard more firing but it seems to be in our rear yet as no attention is paid to it, suppose all is right. Cannot surmise where our destination is to be but suppose it to be Richmond. We old soldiers think that there will be need to make haste in order to get there this winter before the rainy season sets in for the roads are getting quite soft already.

November 19, 1862

Were not called very early this morning. Got our breakfast quite leisurely. Concluded we were going to rest but the bugle sounded for us to pack up about noon and just as it began to rain right smart. An hour waiting for something or somebody. By and by the column got straightened out and we marched steadily for eight miles, then encamped as we think in the vicinity of Fredericksburg. The Army seems to be massing at this place for many thousands of troops were here before us. It continues to rain.

November 20, 1862

Have been in camp all day and most of the time in our tents. It has rained beautifully all day.

November 21, 1862

Woke in the middle of the night in a pool of water. Thought it more preferable to go out and walk in the rain then to lay in the water. At daylight when the men got out there was a very general complaint of soreness and stiffness of limbs and when the surgeons call was sounded it was well attended to, I'll assure you. Think this winter campaign will kill a great many more than the enemy's bullets. We are all anxious to go into winter quarters before we are all sick. Spent the day drying our clothing and blankets. We hear this evening the rebels are in our rear.

November 22, 1862

Notwithstanding the bad condition of the roads were ordered out to pack up before daylight. Thought we should have a wet day to march in but after taking down and packing up our tents the order to march was countermanded so we pitched our tents again. It cleared away again about noon and the bugle sounded to pack up again. Loitered around until night when the order was again countermanded. Have been kept in a state of excitement all day. We are anxious to get to someplace where we can have communication with the North for we have had no mails for several days causing us to be somewhat morose. Quite a number of queer reports are going the rounds of the camp but we cannot put much credit in any of them. It is quite clear tonight; hope we shall have pleasant weather the next few days at least.

November 23, 1862

The bugle sounded the call to pack up; at half past seven o'clock am we were in line and marching. The weather is very fine and the roads in good condition considering the late rains. Our march was quite easy until towards night when the column began to meander and wind about the woods until the patients of the men was well nigh gone. We were within a mile and a half of Fredericksburg when the column turned from its course and began the tiresome tramp through the woods. The men called this seeking a hiding place from the rebels, at any rate I think it would trouble them to find us tonight. We have encamped three miles from Fredericksburg on a damp piece of ground. It is so dark that we cannot see to get anything to lie upon. Shall have to stretch our limbs upon the cold ground tonight. It is very cold, it commenced to grow cold about ------- and continued until late this evening. Reports say that our forces are to commence shelling Fredericksburg tomorrow morning so we expect to be awakened out of a sound sleep by the booming of Canon.

November 24, 1862

Were not disturbed by the sound of artillery as we anticipated but by having my feet so numbed by the cold that I could scarcely stir much light sleep. It was by far the coldest morning yet. As the men turned out there was a general complaint of rheumatism. We hurried to make fires and get ourselves comfortable. There has been but little doing around camp except to make ourselves as comfortable as circumstances would permit. Think the rations are getting rather low as I hear the cry of hard bread in this and all other regiments around us. Have been expecting to hear the bombardment but have not heard a single gun as yet. All is quiet as a Sabbath eve in good old New England.

November 25, 1862

Another cold morning. No signs of a move today. Heard several guns about noon today but as they were not shotted suppose they fired in honor of fighting Joe Hooker as he passed our encampment this forenoon. The clouds thickened and it began to rain about dark. Continued to rain all night.

November 26, 1862

When I turned out this morning it had ceased raining but the air raw and cold. Had some difficulty in making the fires burn but they add very little to our comfort as the smoke is thick and dense about camp so as to seriously affect our eyes. My eyes are so weak that I can scarcely see to write. The day has passed off without any unusual occurrence.

November 27, 1862

This is a day appointed by the governor of Massachusetts as a day of Thanksgiving and praise and he recommends all Mass. troops to observe it in a becoming manner. It being a pleasant day the captain invited me to take a stroll with him. We started about eleven o'clock. It seemed that the captain's principal object was to get something to eat and to examine the country. We found plenty of sutlers tents but sutlers goods could not be found. We visited Belle's Plain landing where all our supplies are landed. Supposed we should find quite a village but not a house could be discovered. A few vessels could be seen and plenty of Army wagons waiting to be loaded with commissary goods. After long and diligent search we found a little cheese of which the captain purchased a pound. I made my Thanksgiving dinner out of two hard biscuit which I begged by the roadside. We traveled nearly all day, returned tired, hungry, sick and nearly blind. Thus ended my second Thanksgiving Day in the Army.

November 28, 1862

The day has been pleasant. All is quiet in the Army.

November 29, 1862

This day has passed off as quietly as yesterday. Have heard of no movements of the Army. Some begin to think we shall be quartered here till spring. It is my opinion that if we do many of us will find a last resting place on the ground come spring. The ground is so damp that numbers have already taken cold. Hope we will move soon.

November 30, 1862

Sunday today has passed like the two preceding except that we have had an inspection that has occupied an hour or two. Weather continues fine for the season.


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