top of page

Sergeant Nathan W. Haynes - Diary of January 1862


January 1, 1862

Although it is the commencement of a new year there seems to be no indication of a change in the affairs of government for the present. The neighboring regiments have been making this a holiday, and by the outbursts of mirth and hilarity that occasionally reaches our ears should think they were having a pleasant time. The 22nd Regiment has been released from duty but have been busy in their quarters all day. Our company have spent the day gathering material and continuing the work on the cookhouse. There has been a general complaint among the men of the delay of letters for the past month, and it was very recently ascertained that there was a large quantity remaining in the office at Washington. The captain got an order from the Col. of the Regiment and sent for them. When received there were nearly two hundred of them, some were dated as far back as [b]November 2, 1861. It appears that they were retained by the order of someone unknown to us, and for what purpose we know not. The whole matter is wrapped in mystery at present.

January 2, 1862

There has been but very little going on in the Regiment today in the matter of drill. Most of the officers being busily engaged in preparing their company muster rolls to send in to the pay department. Our company have been employed as pioneers most of the day. They have, by order of the captain, undertaken to clear the ground between our encampment and that of the second Maine Regiment. With the aid of fire, pick axe and shovel heaps of brush, logs and stumps disappeared rapidly. At dusk had a clear view of our neighbors. No news of the contending armies today.

January 3, 1862

Has been a cold day. The company have been employed clearing the ground that was commenced yesterday. Finished the cookhouse, it makes quite a respectable kitchen and very comfortable. About eight o'clock this evening if commenced to snow. There has been a rumor afloat that we were to move from here soon, created quite a sensation in the Regiment also in our company. There were various conjectures as to our destination but don't think we shall know till we get there.

January 4, 1862

Turned out this morning and found just snow enough on the ground to remind us that it's was winter in Virginia, but it looked as if we soon should have more. The captain went to Washington this morning. Soon after he started it began to snow and continued at intervals through the day, no duty today except to get fuel enough to fuel the fire. The company were provided with new pants throughout of the light blue color. The captain returned about dark having walked the whole distance, he missed the team in the city and it came in without him. There is an addition to the rumor of yesterday; perhaps it may prove correct in time.

January 5, 1862

Continues cold and has threatened snow all day, had our usual inspection. Found it cold work for the fingers clasping our guns and being obliged to carry them around the parade ground, marched back to our quarters. Then the knapsacks inspected and the company dismissed till dress parade. No excitement today.

January 6, 1862

There was about one inch in depth of snow on the ground when we turned out this morning but it soon disappeared from our company grounds or rather it was swept up in heaps. It has threatened snow all day and about eight o'clock p.m. it commenced to snow and the wind blew furiously from the North East. Think we are not so far south as to escape cold weather yet. Heard rumors today that Gen. Banks division had crossed the Potomac and given battle to the enemy but no correct accounts as yet.

January 7, 1862

Continues cold and disagreeable. Capt. Wentworth detailed officer of the day. Think the staff must like him in that office much, as they detail him quite often. There has been nothing done in the company today, no account over the rumor of yesterday.

January 8, 1862

A little more comfortable but threatening rain, the company have been out in squads target practicing nearly all day. No news, commenced to rain about nine o'clock p.m.

January 9, 1862

When we turned out this morning the ground was glazed. It rained during the night and froze as fast as it came but it soon disappeared leaving about an inch of mud in its place. Lieut. Stiles left for his home in Salem Ma. this morning on a furlough of eight days. About one o'clock the sun made its appearance, dispelling the mist that has enveloped all distant objects this forenoon. No duty today except going out on dress parade but instead of executing all the movements the Regiment formed a square, the sharpshooters and prisoners inside, and listened to the charges against the prisoners and their sentences. Then marched to our quarters.

January 10, 1862

Raining again this morning, the frost is out of the ground and the mud very deep, very unpleasant moving about. Nothing going on in camp accept the man that was sentenced to wear the barrel has attracted considerable notice in his movements on the parade ground.

January 11, 1862

Continues raining, mud in the extreme. Capt. Wentworth taken suddenly ill has been confined to his tent all day. In the evening and until late at night heard quick and heavy firing down the river.

January 12, 1862

It was raining this morning but cleared away about ten o'clock very warm and pleasant. No duties aside from the usual weekly inspection and daily dress parade. Have heard nothing relative to the firing of yesterday. The captain is some better today. Two gentlemen from Salem visited our quarters, seemed well pleased with the arrangement of the tents and grounds. No war news.

January 13, 1862

Unpleasant again today, quite cold, threatens snow. Were paid off about noon. No occurrences worth mentioning.

January 14, 1862

Quite a depth of snow, very cold. Nothing done in the matter of drill but the sutlers, Daguerrien artists and every other place where anything could be bought were doing a brisk business. About three o'clock p.m. the captain received several gentlemen from Salem, they stopped but a short time. Went out on the parade ground but instead of dress parade listened to the reading of sentences of the prisoners. Nine o'clock pm continues snowing.

January 15, 1862

Instead of finding a great depth of the snow this morning, it had rained during the night, and every object was completely glazed but it soon commenced to rain quite fast causing our tents to leak sadly. Grew somewhat colder in the afternoon and froze as fast as it came, beautifully crystallizing everything around. The captain is worse today. No duties or dress parade.

January 16, 1862

Has been pleasant but very cold, the captain is no better today and Lieut. has gone to Washington. Consequently nothing done except to cut wood for the fires, no dress parade.

January 17, 1862

Has been much warmer today. The snow is disappearing rapidly, leaving a thin muddy surface to soil our pretty shoes. The company went out to target practice in the forenoon but no other duty till dress parade. The captain no better.

January 18, 1862

Quite as warm as yesterday. About nine o'clock it commenced to rain furiously, the snow disappears rapidly. No other duty except dress parade, the captain no better. Lieut. Stiles returned today.

January 19, 1862

Continues to rain.

January 20, 1862

Raining. It appears more like a Sabbath today than any other Sabbath since we have been out here. It is so bad weather that everyone is necessarily in their quarters and quiet, have scarcely heard the report of a gun during the day. The usual Sunday inspection and all other duties except the necessary guard was dispensed with. The captain does not seem to improve any in this weather.

January 21, 1862

It still continues to rain, have had no duty to perform till dress parade. Then marched up on the line without arms, formed a hollow square. Listened to the reading of the sentences of fourteen culprits, then form in line of battle on fourth front, wheeled by companies and marched round the parade ground twice, once at double quick. It might have been very pleasant for a spectator but not for us. The captain thinks he is a little better today. The last order for the day was for twenty men, two corporals and one Sgt. to go on picket duty tomorrow.

January 22, 1862

The pickets went off at eight o'clock this morning in a drenching rain and mud ankle-deep, has rained nearly all day. The captain is considerable worse.

January 23, 1862

No improvement in the weather. The men have spent this day in the wood lot cutting wood for the kitchen and splitting out planks for the stable. Had orders to pack up all surplus baggage and have it ready to send in to Washington for storage at retreat. We think that is an indication of moving soon. The captain is some better this evening.

January 24, 1862

Bad weather continues. Although we had every appearance of pleasant weather this morning it has clouded up and rained and snowed furiously till late at night. The captain is much better tonight.

January 25, 1862

Quite a body of snow on the ground this morning for this part of the country. About ten o'clock the sun made its appearance, the first time for nine days. The snow disappeared rapidly leaving it as muddy as before. No further news of a forward movement.

January 26, 1862

For a wonder it was clear but cold, the wind blew quite fresh till noon. The weekly inspection came off as usual. Nothing very unusual took place while the officers were performing that duty except that the major inspected the inside of our cap boxes and ordered a certain number dealt out to each man, can't tell whether that is a sure indication of a sudden movement or not. The captain has improved so as to venture out for a short time this forenoon. No excitement in camp today.

January 27, 1862

No news or excitement in the "Sensation Regiment” today.

January 28, 1862

Rained quite smart till noon, then cleared away. Nothing done today.

January 29, 1862

The first news this morning was the death of Edward Burrill, a member of this company, had been in the hospital but two or three days. He died at half past five o'clock am of typhoid fever. Immediately after breakfast the company were called together and a vote taken to see the minds of the company in regard to sending the body home. Voted unanimously to send it home, in a very short time money enough was raised to pay the expenses of transportation. The captain went into Washington with the body to see it on its way. He was scarcely able to be out and we fear that his condition is unequal to the journey. Nine o'clock pm he has not returned.

January 30, 1862

Has rained nearly all day, there has been nothing done in camp. The captain has been detailed for officer of the day for tomorrow, also been summoned to appear at a general court martial at Upton's Hill. He returned this afternoon from Washington, he appears to be considerable better than when he went away.

January 31, 1862

All has been quiet in camp today. Heard some heavy reports of guns in the evening, appeared to be down the Potomac.


bottom of page