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James J. Wood Diary - MMS 1144
James J. Wood, age 25, a resident of Hardin County, Ohio, enlisted in Company D, 34th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, on December 11, 1863, for a term of 3 years. The roster of this unit states that he was wounded in the Battle of Lynchburg, Virginia, June 17, 1864. He was hospitalized in Parkersburg, Virginia on July 2nd and sent home on furlough in October. He was transferred to Company D, 36th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry on February 26, 1865, and mustered out with the company July 27, 1865.
May 1st 1864.
11 o'clock left Charleston on Steamer LeClair upward bound. 300 of 34th Regt. commanded by Major Furney, landed 36 miles above Charleston and camped on side of mountain. Night cold and frosty. Feel well.
Left hillside at 5:00 lit out at the rats on [rails at?] 4 miles an hour. Halted a few minutes at Gauley. Took across Cotton Mountain, 4 miles up, 1/4 pitch, 3 down. The hardest work I ever did in my life. If I had the blankets & clothing I saw thrown away I would have all I would need for 50 years if I live so long. Got to Fayetteville at 3 o'clock & camped. Had no dinner, ate my pork raw. Raining like fun & cold. Carried all I started with and picked up a blanket. We see many effects of previous fight here, principally on the timber. Rebs drove our men away from here 1 year ago today; can't do it now. Came 18 miles today, am tired. Am well but it is no proof that I will be tomorrow. I think the Rebs will have to hunt the hole and then pull it in after them or we will riddle them clear out. About 95 miles yet to them. I will not tell you where we will strike them. We (300 of 34th) are attached to 36th Regt., OVI 1st Brigade for this trip, commanded by Col. [Rutherford B.] Hayes of 23d. None of our boys here but Jacob Long & I. Will meet the rest in a day or two. Don't know whether you will get this or not but will send it anyhow. Mail privilege cut off for 20 days. Wrote home.
Left Fayette at 8:00 A.M. went 17 miles till 2:00 PM. Passed where our men had several skirmishes. Desperate, mean, rough country. Camped 4 miles from saw mill called McCoys' Station. Am too tired to pay much attention to taking notes. Cold and plenty of snow on tops of mountains. Boys gave out by dozens today. I worried it along saying nothing. Stopped on bank Laurel creek. Banks in places 60 feet solid, rock; often can't see the water for laurel so thick. J. Long sleeps with me, brigade Bugler. Winter, winter, snowing hardest kind, advance caught a few Rebs.
Started at 5:00 on lively good roads & after cold night, rest feel well. Made 11 miles till 10 1/2 (10:30) and rested & made coffee. 12 miles to Raleigh. Passed Raleigh at 11:00 poor little place, Rebel fortifications Union put holes in houses all over town, passed Rebel log forts on Pine Creek. Scaley [?] place, indeed splendid pine timber all along right up to creek, deep gorge & high banks. Camped at 2:00 o'clock 4 miles from Raleigh. Am tired and sore but hearty and well. Floyd's old camp. God bless us in heart and give us glorious success on this trip. See the whole Div, of Inft. & 2 Batteries. Large file of human beings surely, yet nothing to the army.
Left at 4 1/2 [4:30] in advance of whole Regt. Brig. & Div. climbed Flat Top Mountain 2 1/2 miles high. Passed old camp at noon can see as far as eyes will carry. Saw mts. 60 miles away that we afterward crossed. Road badly blocked. Heavy pioneer squad, only detained about an hour. Passed some houses but did not see but one man. Expected bushwhackers, heard none. Camped in meadow 16 miles from Princeton on Camp Creek, nice place; well, plenty to eat. Uncle Sam just sent in a lot of beef cattle by his boys. Came 24 miles today till 4:00 o'clock. Have not heard of other boys yet. Here goes for Richmond R.R. or bone-yard[.] One Artillerist run over by Caisson, hurt badly. Hot, Hotter, Hottest.
Left at 8:00 being in extreme rear as train guard; nothing of note. One artillarist shot accidentally. 416 teams, all makes a train 8 miles long. Got to Princeton at 5:00. Advance had a skirmish, killed 3 Rebs, had 2 men wounded, they lit out sensibly. Strong fortifications, nice place. Am well but sore and tired marching. At sun down visited forts, poorest things I ever saw on account of position. Quite extensive & well planned otherwise. An occasional shot, on pickets tonight, one wounded man died tonight. Came 16 miles today. Hot day; cold night.
Left Princeton at 4 1/2 [4:30], moved off lively for 4 miles then came to East River Mt. (branch of Alleghenies). Advance was skirmishing all the way up, none hurt except a Reb slightly. Very high rough mts. Almost tired to death. Halted at 2:00 for rest. Passed up Rock Creek and through Rocky Gap. Had expected a hard time there but not a shot fired. Hardest place I ever saw, rock 200 ft. nearly plumb. Halted after going 20 miles and went with 2 cos. [companies] on picket. Goes easy, only as reserve, stand 1/2 hour. Hot day, cold frosty night, excellent water everywhere.
Left at 4 1/2 [4:30] Advance Brigade & Regt got 1 hr. start of us, ran our legs off to catch them. Passed some as nice farms as I want to see and many rough worthless. Came 25 miles, tired nearly to death on picket. 2 Regts Rebs passed here today; will likely have a hard time tomorrow. God bless us with success and spare our boys. 9 miles to Newbern Station, Cav[alry] passing all night, firing on pickets too, lying on the knob. Am sick and got a lame leg. 6 miles to Cloyd Mts. Could not stand so hard toil in any other cause I know as I do now. God bless us in heart & give us success.
Left early. Advance skirmishing all the time. At 3 miles the rebs cannon began to bark occasionally, trying to shell us without hurting us. Could not ascertain their position nor get position for our Artillery until their Infantry should be driven away. When within a mile in woods were ordered to charge. Being the reserve we came in last, mistook position and struck to[o] far to right sent us on the left, ran 1/2 mile through open field. Their infantry on a high hill 300 feet above us in the wood behind trees and log stockades. Of our men 620 were killed and wounded, theirs 750 killed and wounded. Fight lasted 1 1/2 hours, awfully severe, with the advantages they had they might have kept us back, one would have thought. 3 killed 19 wounded of 34th, 1 Co. D man wounded. They ran in great confusion. Followed up 3 miles to Dublin Station on R.R. so here we are tired nearly off our legs. My partner fell wounded in the field. Captured many arms, 2 - 32 lb brass guns, 714 prisoners. Splendid nice place here and everything NOT abundant for we could not find enough to feed us over night and they had no time to take it away. Here had pulled up the hickory saplings for bark to mix their dough up on. Cloud Mt. John Morgan came in to help after they started to run, too late. Gen. Jenkins, Reb, was killed when our men got to their breastworks they had to take open ground. Oh my how they got riddled. 7 miles today. Col. Hammond got [illegible] General Jenkins mortally wounded and taken prisoner.
Started early, unwell and lame, could not keep up. Teams all loaded, too hard to ride. Dr. said "do your best." At 8:00 a severe Artillery duel begun at Newbern Bridge. After 2 hours the Rebs fell back and our shells fired the bridge. We had to go 1 1/2 below to get over New River, stopped for dinner, and 1/2 hour rest, crossing river on little ferry boat, takes till 11 o'clock at night; camped 1 mile below Newbern Station, 3 killed, 2 wounded of ours today. Good farms mixed with hard mts. Awfully crooked swift stream, 500 ft. wide here. Enemy left and will follow tomorrow. Left 4 siege cannon. We buried them; too heavy to take away. The bridge was fired by hand I have lately learned. Trains crossing above the ford. Came 12 miles today. Water most awful scarce here. One of the killed proved to be a LADY in soldiers dress. She fought bravely in battle yesterday. Bridge 1080 to 1200 ft. long and very high. Loss to Rebs irreparable, at least for months (June 3d. 8th Ohio Cavalry passed, 1300 strong, splended horses, Co. D, E, and H all sorrels, Co. L. light gray, A & G dark gray, nicest thing I have seen in all Dixie.)
Started late, good farms & many pleasant rejoicing [illegible] people. In advance. Skirmishing with Rebs Cav. Wounded and captured Lieut Col. Linkus of 30 Va. & picked up a few straggling Rebs. Camped at 12 1/2 [12:30] at Blacksburg. Nice town, large seminary, something new, looks like civilzation again. Very rainy and wet. Came 9 miles. Citizens say Richmond has fallen. Stopped on Lieut Col. Tomry's farm (Reb 36th Va. Regt.) delightful place. The Col., Lieut. Col. & Maj. Of 36th Va. Were all killed at Cloyd Mt. Now we are camped on the latter's farm. 10 miles today. Rain, rain. Calico $15. Per yd. Coffee $30. Per lb., hay $8., wheat $30. bu., little cakes, 4 for $3. C. S. money.
Rained all day. Rear guard, traveled until one o'clock at night up Peters Mt. And Salt Pond Mt., 8 miles up 7 down. Slept with Sam till morning, glad to see him. Came 22 miles today. Tired nearly to death. Half rations. Large mts., lake near top looks nice, like a large river. Making our way for Lewisburg as fast as we can to get rations if possible. Nothing occurred worthy of notice. Don't like the country, the people less. Passed little town & got all the tobacco wanted to take. Good count[r]y. Plenty wheat sown in proportion to farming ground; looks fine.
Still raining. Sam gave me meal; made mush for breakfast thought it the best I ever ate. Stopped at 12:M 12 miles distant and made my last spoonful of coffee and drank it, hope to get something soon. Roads almost impassable for the teams, leaving lots of wagons and burning them up. Passed Rebs wagons & one large brass cannon which they had left an hour or two ago, seeing our army advancing. Came 15 miles today and stopped in woods on Mt. At 2:00 changed notion and went on 2 miles so as to get rails for fire. Passed seven deserted Reb wagons in 1/2 mile. High gap mts & good water. Raining. Rebs made stand against advance, we turned back.
Lying in camp on account of hard rain & tired teams. Rains all the time, cold and unpleasant as can be. Got tired of it & would rather be going as can't rest any. 9 miles to Union, 25 to Lewisburg. I think somebody could get a job of making rails & fence as they are all gone, have no right to be secessionists. I will call this camp most disagreeable and scarce of grub. Books, paper, clothes, tobacco and everything else wet as water. Now 5 o'clock. We have come 7 miles more over mts. and across high streams & raining as hard part of the time as I have ever seen. Roads miserably bad. Am in fine spirits and health, but tired and hungry. Caught 1; bushwhackers plenty today, wounded 2 men 2 horses.
This is Sunday at home but not here in Virginia. It is so muddy I don't see how we will get along. Near Salt Sulphur Springs on side mt. in meadow. Must leave soon as rails have become scarce. Started at 8:00[.] Union is a fine little town, 3 nice churches, passed Salt Sulphur Springs. Has been a place of resort for invalids heretofore, not now. Country well cleared up just here and all nicely set in grass, beautiful. Stopped for rest and dinner although but little to eat. Am well. Going slow for the train can't get along. Averill and Body Guard came up today. Only came 5 miles today. On picket 2 miles from camp. Have to go back past camp. Caught 2 bushwhackers today, sheep plenty near the post. Some of them died suddenly and we are eating them and drinking coffee & I think very good but would like to have a crust, at least. We are lively and think often of the better time coming rather an unsafe place among the bushwhackers but they will have to act sharp if they do us any damage. All safe & right but lack of rations. Noble country here, strange holes, water don't stand but sinks away. Some basins cover an acre and are often rounded out evenly to the depth of 50 feet or more. I would give $50. for a picture of the scenery on the road today.
Called at 8:00 to make a start again, want breakfast most awful bad but that does no good. Rear guard of train. Drew a little wheat this morning. Reckon we will get hay next. 6 o'clock stopped to rest & let the Train get out [of] the way. Hart Mt. stony as blue & hard as steel. Now find that we are leaving Lewisburg to the right crossing Green Brier River & going past Meadow Bluff. 9 o'clock we camped here on bank river at 9 this evening. Passed 2 miles of road & land of red clay, as red as keel. Looked nice surely. Met a partner who had a pint of flour, made flapjacks in my cup, the best I ever ate. Hunger makes anything taste good. Came 13 miles today. Anderson's Ferry here at river.
Dark & foggy, ordered back to Union. Seems hard. 1 pm. Finds us back at Union again, object to hold place and let cavalry scout around; rations scarce, half pint flour today & little mutton (if I could have half that John and Ella waste each day at home, money would not buy it. I was never hungry till within 2 weeks now. Night passed off without disturbance or alarm. Slept well, dreamed of being home and seeing all & getting a splendid supper, caused by being so hungry perhaps. Saw the other boys today all together. Oh how glad we all were to see each other after passing through close places apart. 4 of them absent, 1 killed, 1 mortally wounded, 1 too badly to ride & 1 prisoner of D Co.
Started at 8:00 Back to Ferry; 1/2 pint flour for breakfast or all day rather. George Tressel gave me 1/2 dozen small potatoes in addition thereto. 8 miles out we found a soldier lying in the road having been shot dead by bushwhacker. Co. A 36th Regt. Lyman D. Parine, no clue to perpetrator although we hunted closely. Oh how hard! At 1:00 came up with Brigade, ferried Green Brier & came out 5 miles, in all 18 miles for me today. Dusk had supper, cup coffee, little wheat and 2 little potatoes. Awful tired & hungry. Am well as ever in my life. Good time coming no doubt. Camped on ridge 200 ft high, 40 wide, can see all around. Will lay down and rest & sleep till tomorrow. Hot day, cold night.
Wrote Martha. Am alive and well yet this morn. Started at 5:00 passed Blue Sulphur at 6:00. Nice place, no expense been spared to make it attractive. Since the war gone to rack. Climbed mt., got Meadow Bluff at 11:00 & put up tents. No grub yet. Have direct telegraph communication with Washington, having a party put up one as far as to Lewisburg from Gauley. Will note last nights news and see if it proves true. Sigel taken Stanton, 5000 prisoners, 20 ps Artillery, R R cut off from Richmond. Butler in Lee's rear with 3 corps etc, etc. Nice place to camp. Stay here tonight I think. May stay all summer. No rails here. Rebs caught 2 soldiers less than 200 yds from our advance today. My advice to all is don't straggle from ranks. Want mail badly. Came 13 miles today.
Started back for Lewisburg before breakfast because we had nothing to eat. Passed brushy ridge, Reb breastworks. Strong place if they had tried to hold it. At 11:00 arrived all right. Glad to see the boys again. They have been foraging and have plenty to eat. Got dinner, had ham, potatoes, pancakes, butter, sugar, coffee & melons, the way I did eat was a caution. [illegible] Lappin ordered to go back on account of wound. Am desperately tired and starved down though well. Nice time to rest & expect all are busy at home these fine days planting corn. Would like to help a few days & see the folks again. Came 12 miles today. What a great blessing it is to have kind friends especially if we are permitted to be with them. Camp at Millville on Mill Creek 5 miles west Lewisburg.
As nice morning as ever seen though hot. Never rested better in my life than last night. Boys had plenty bedding and everything good to eat. 6 o'clock lying still today resting. Had dress parade, orders highly praising 34th for its good conduct & bravery, saying that it save the whole Division at Wythville which is encouraging to the mounted boys. The officers of dismounted part also praise us highly for having done our whole duty. Am alone back of camp on large rock, it being a calm & pleasant place to think of the past and pray & hope for the future. I feel worn out & tired nearly to death. God bless us and so direct that this war may end soon & we be permitted to gladden many lonely ones by returning home.
Am lying still to 10:00 and feel well. Had the privilege of writing to Martha. Am happy in heart but tired in limb. Pleasant day and plenty to eat. Train came in with supplies last night. At 3 o'clock am lying on grass in sugar grove by myself with C Co. having been advised to stay near my command. Most pleasant I ever have seen in Virginia, but my associates are not those most dear to me is one trouble in my idle hours. In the midst of exciting scenes I came near forgetting this was Sunday. Oh, how far different from the pleasant scenes at home today. I hear no song of prayer or praise but continual cursing & swearing. Oh God, hasten the time when this war shall end and peace again shall become the stability of this nation. God protect me from the influence of surrounding evil and help me to do my duty and serve Thee aright.
Awoke at earliest dawn having slept on grass beside a large rock alone with gum blanket over me. Oh how good to lie down at night feeling conscious of having done no wrong during the day. Slept well and feel well this morning. The sun is just showing his red face and everything seems encouraging. Looking every hour for mail from home, which would certainly be happyfying to us all, to me in particular as I am kept away from my comrades. It goes good to rest when one is tired but we will soon get tired resting I fear unless they adopt the foraging plan for grub again. Little coffee & cracker is all today. Am reading Testament & little work dated 1815 on astronomy. Very interesting both, nothing in the world will try a mans pluck like hunger for if nothing else makes him steal that will surely. It is hard to have plenty one day & nothing next.
Fine morning, am entirely well & could eat a hearty breakfast if had chance. I remember the pleasures at Pap's of 5 months ago today, will I ever see plenty to eat again? Every thing here played out. Was not enough in 10 miles around to feed us 2 days although it is an excellent country. One would think that every thing was plenty judging from fine fields but it is a great mistake. Am lying in shade, read book Romans through today. No mail yet, sent one away today. Give me grub & take my trousers & boots. If present appearances don't fail we will have a wet time tonight. Am very anxious to hear from home again soon. Are promised mail tonight. Noble spring under root oak on bank. Dull & stupid, got gaps, laugh & grow fat, better laugh than cry. There is one thing here that I would like to have 1/2 as good in Ohio at home and that is spring water. Have seen one spring that run from mt. at side road that would furnish one hundred bbls per minute, as cold and clear as water could be. This was on Salt Pond mt. one of Allegheny chain or a branch of it. I think from situation, here we have one that would furnish for forty thousand men and not miss at all. Quite windy, nice for planting at home and I expect everybody is at it likely. Am still in possession of a contented mind which is said to be a continual feast. Am trusting memory with many pleasing incidents that I may forget, but will not write fully anyhow. Hope the reports are true that the war is about played. Citizens say Reb soldiers are discouraged, but doubt it the way they fight.
Pleasant morning after sleeping on ground & empty stomach in rain covered with gum blanket. Am drying up fast. No train yet, no grub as a consequence. Am well, nothing worth writing passing. 3d, 4th Pa. leaving, time expired. weakens our force considerably. Oh, hunger, thou art severe on soldiers often and it is always when they are like we are now, have nothing to give thee to get thee to leave. I WILL DRIVE THEE SURELY AS SOON AS I GET BREAD ENOUGH. A few prisoners brought in occasionally. Squad gone for new guns at Gauley Bridge. Co. lost all our guns but 42. Boys gave out and ordered to put guns and knapsacks in wagons, teams gave out & wagon master threw them out and burnt them. That's the way hundreds of them were lost. Mounted boys lost many things retreating. Man lost 2 middle fingers on left hand, shot accidentally, Co. A 34th. Partner gave me 1/2 cracker. Made one laugh. Raining which makes it disagreeable. Some of the boys left in camp came out today, say we will get mail & bread in two or three days. How we will stand it till then is hard to tell but we'll see. Have not changed my mind of things in reference to success in the least, God grant us GREAT SPEEDY SUCCESS WITH LITTLE LOSS. As Johnson gave meat for supper & begged little cracker which was worth the world to us D boys in C, I hope to be again in my own Co. as it is more like home although I have friends here. Nothing in the shape of news items. Am lazy, weak & stupid. Cakes are needed badly. In patience possess ye your souls. Avoid evil and do right is my heartfelt daily endeavor.
Am well and happy as a lark, not forgot the hard trial of 5 months ago this morning. How I would love to see those that I parted from then. Still if I had always stayed with them I would never have known how much I love them nor what they are worth to me. I hope to get home ere long but am determined to see this war ended if saved from mishap before I leave the army for I feel it my duty and may God help me to discharge it manfully and at the proper time. Am glad to get a little bit sheep and will make the most of it and then wait patiently for more. Squad Rebs captured six patrols this noon, Cav. after them. Wrote Martha little letter. Think they will go through all right. Would give a nice thing to get one from her of a late date. Teams came this evening with a little bread, in good time to save our bacon I think (this proved to be a mistake, coming but not arrived yet). It is going to be a starving job on us if we stay here and depend on trains for supplies. Bushwhackers very plenty. If I were chief in command, I would burn every house, fence, barn, pig pen & chicken roost and devastate the whole country and make them come to the trough where they would find nothing to lick and if they prove to be Union men, pay for it as soon as the war is over. I am of no notion of protecting anything that may by any possibility fall into their hands as support. Wheat looks first rate and would destroy the last acre even if I had to plow it under. Plenty corn planted up nice. I would hoe it up higher, in short take and destroy EVERYTHING that I would find that they could use against the Union Army. Then this thing would have to end.
Am well but nearly starved. Oh my yes, we got mail this morning. 4 noble letters from Martha, Pap 1, John 1 [illegible] 1, M 1 in all 8. Last dated 11th inst. Oh happy privilege to hear from those we love best and receive such great encouragement. It goes awful hard to burn them, but will have to do so. I went out by myself on rock in shade and had a good time reading, laughing and crying, often all at once, as I read & reread the happyfying news and encouraging advice from all. I never saw so many HAPPY STARVED boys in my life, to make the thing long to be remembered. Indeed in the midst of this happy time, the train came in and bread, meat, and coffee were issued out to us. This is glory enough for one day. God grant to fill our hearts with thy love.
Feel good having slept on bark to keep off damp ground. Raining freely, makes it nasty. Got Kenton papers. It seems like a good thing after seeing none for so long. Wrote Martha. Got one from her after mailing date 14 & 15. Oh how good to hear from my dearest friends. Militia boys in 135th Regt. OVI N.G. [National Guard] Co. I Capt. Melhorn in Maryland I think mumps at home. Plenty beef & crackers & coffee. Nothing occurring in camp worthy of note. Would like a letter from N. G. boys so as to hear what they have to do. I had paper would write them. Saw some of officers little tricks that don't like. Viewed country through large glass. Saw a man 2 miles off, had only 2 buttons on his jacket. Mts. look odd when brought in close view in this way. Encouraging news in Richmond papers. Lee falling back 3 miles per day on an average.
Cold night. Frosted a little. Too cold to sleep good on damp ground with only gum blanket as cover. Am in noble health and fine spirits. Have spent now 4 weeks traveling over these rough mts. Most pleasant, bright Sabbath morning I ever saw in Virginia, probably because I am contented and feel well and am looking on the bright side of everything. Lord, help me to spend THIS and EVERY DAY right. It is all noise and bustle in camp this morning, far different from that peaceful happy home in woods but have become so accustomed to it that it don't disturb me. Forward movement on hand, I am quite sure to Beverly, I think and may possibly get sight of Richmond yet. J. Wells sick. Nice day as ever dawned. I have read Testament all forenoon.
Am well & hearty as a bear. Nice morning, cold night. New items are: Grant drove Lee into his last fortifications, captured 1 Div. 1 Brig. & 1 Regt. and drove balance of 2 Corps into James River. Will wait to see if it is true. The day has now passed off very pleasantly as we have nothing to do, not over much to eat, out at that. A few of 2d Va. Cav. Left camp to forage without permit and were captured, horses and equipment all taken, themselves parolled, made no resistance at all. Court martialled for disobeying orders in going and have to pay for all lost, about $200 each, gold. These days are just right to be planting corn at home if like they are here. I saw corn up 3 inches 3 weeks ago, none in this neighborhood that I have seen yet. Dug potatoes and had a fine mess. Fence gone & I think we had better save them from growing anyhow.
Awoke at 4:00 and took a ramble for exercise & think I feel better than those who lie till six and get up dreaming & nodding around too lazy to see straight. Cold night & an extremely warm day. No grub. Health good, not but very little sickness in camp, OWING TO LIGHT DIET PERHAPS. I am certain this is the last day we will see in May 1864 and I hope ere we can say this of June that the war will be ended and glorious peace declared all over the land. Saw and talked with owner of our camping farm. Left 3 years ago, never back till now. Says he don't care for farm if we succeed in crushing Rebellion. Land was worth $35 to $50 per acre ere the war. Duffie had inspection of arms but didn't inspect our bellies at all to see whether they were full or not. 6 o'clock. Oh yes, we have got bread, coffee & sugar for tonight and tomorrow.
Am well this fine morning. All regular infantry rolled out this morn early. We await orders. I feel like not neglecting any of my duties and like living so that I may have a house not made with hands eternal in the Heavens. Lord support us by thy grace and fill our hearts with love divine. Wrote to Martha. Poor prospect of getting it mailed. Oh what a pleasure to converse even in this poor way when there is no other. I will try to live so that if I never meet them on Earth again we may meet in that land where we will never part. Soldiers have many hardships to endure but can be contented & happy nevertheless if they take the proper course. I am glad that I get good advice and encouragement from kind friends at home for it is scarce indeed here although fine men are plenty. I cannot see how they can become so reckless and profane when they know their dangers & their duties as well as they do. They talk as though being a soldier excuses a man from being accountable for his moral conduct. Am determined to not be influenced by their example as far as they incline to lead me astray. Oh that today we might get the glorious news of peace having become the stability of our Nation. God grant success & speed this happy day. Lee cut off from Richmond and falling back is the last report. Butler at Fort Darling. Wrote Martha before dinner and mailed while eating mutton soup got one from her of 19th ult. and S.W. Nixon's of 22d Martinsburg, W. Va. Answered immediately. Happy privilege indeed to talk with those we love best even in this poor way. I have kind friends whereever I have been and will always try to use others in the same way.
Still lying in camp in idleness & hope. Sam, J. Wells & W. Shadle of D sent back to Hospital last night but I did not know it until they were gone. Am in good health, the greatest blessing we enjoy. I think I am now able and better prepared to cherish love and respect the memory of our grand sires who fought & bled to achieve American Independence than ever before. I wonder if coming generations will thus fondly appreciate the labors of US soldiers at the present hour? Will they ever think of the privations under which we have to pass? At 2:00 fell in and advanced 4 miles to Lewisburg. Raining & slippery, swealtry & hot: hotter. Am well and happy because contented. Boys killed a hog & had meat plenty. Dark gloomy & raining. All lively.
Arose early & took a good lot of fresh hog for breakfast; slept well, nice country for wheat & grazing. Started and passed Lewisburg, 1/2 size Lima, 3 fine churches, brick & stone buildings almost entire, half of them empty & going to rack. Waded Greenbriar River, 300 yards wide, cold, awfully stony & hard on bare feet. Camped mile beyond in flat, large brick house. Rebel breastworks on right, our Regt. helped to shell this out here once last summer & burned camp & supplies. Viewed breastworks, very steep mts. each side, almost impassable, 250 ft. apart. Nasty place. Could have been shelled all to pieces though. Company 7th horses came in scared & running, stopped, fell into line as nicely as if had riders; are in Rebel country now. Dug potatoes with tops foot high & though old ones good. Large brick house, on guard, pickets fired on, no blood spilt.
Started at 4:00 Passed White Sulphur town, as fine a place as need be, attractive in appearance & in some respects in reality. Large 3 story hotel 250 x 60 I judge, cost at least $100,000. Came in contact with branches of Allegheny Mts. Stanton Pike, good road, Allegheny Valley in places 100 yards wide & in others 40 ft. Stopped for dinner at 2 o'clock having come 23 miles, raining. J. Frith, Sergeant Co D. Duffield scout killed here 3rd, bushwhackers, moved on at 4:00 till 6:00 in all 29 miles. Pretty well on 1/4 rations, we will call this place Camp Scanty. Tired & sleepy, raining. Frith was shot by one 23rd, thought he was rebel as he was a piece off with big hat on & they were being fired on at the time. Oh noble man thy fate was sudden & hard. Had one cracker as rations today.
Started at 4:00 and came across mts. across Jackson river on foot. Came 12 miles and stopped on creek to rest & WISH for something to eat. Dismounted men all thrown together, large Regt. left in rear of whole Div. Take my coat & give me a cracker. Left again at 12:00 awful warm. Came 8 miles & all gave out & laid down. Train came up & gave us 3 crackers. Hot springs, warm as milk & more. Fair view of the old HE Allegheny Mts. here. Nice place for an artist to take a fine picture. They must have started early to get so LONG & AWFUL HIGH. Passed on to water works, 3 fine churches, high style. Halted after dark having passed all the Cos. coming 23 miles. We are wild infantry, 3 crackers more, coffee & sugar.
Arose long before day. Am well & happy except rheumatism left leg, all lame & gave out. Ordered to go onward with wild boys so that if others got tired riding they might take their place. Rode 5 miles till noon, crossed cow pasture river & Allegheny Mts. for height see map [?]. Came to Western Central RR which was intended to end at Barborsville but is only running to Jackson, 18 miles from here. Boys ahead on foot to Painters Gap, possibly will skirmish, 38 miles to Stanton. Holding horses to graze, led up, boys had no trouble, Mill Creek. R.B & W.R. together, valley 40 to 100 wide, almost perpendicular rock each side, stone wall, ugly place. Stopped at 4 and camped near station, 32 miles to Stanton, driving hard to join Hunter & thus concentrate the 8th Corps. Will make if no hindrance in 2 days more. Nice view from Mts.
Jogging onward lively by R R on foot, all torn to pieces. Boys upset in pieces a 1/4 mile long in one piece & set on fire, burnt bridges and ties & all, splendid track though very crooked, passed over Pond Mt., very high beautiful scenery, hot. Came into fine valley, splendid soil & well tended. Wheat, oats, grass & corn growing plenty and looks noble indeed. Stanton taken by Hunter, Rebs lit out, will follow tomorrow. Camped at Middle brook. Rebs left at 10 a.m. Pleasant place. Tired and will have supper at 10 and start at 2 to overtake them. 24 miles today, 10 to Stanton, having come 2 miles around to get in rear on Lynchburg Pike. S. A. Dorr, 2 Lieut Co. D wounded & left at Lynchburgh.
Am well. Started late behind Cav. & train, all passed then right about having likely learned something of their retreat of importance to change directions, hope to get them in a hole yet today. Passed through noble country as need be. Everything looks splendid. Reached the city at 12:00 M. fine town. Hunter in possession having drove & scattered them capturing 1300 of them, 700 killed, wounded and missing of his command, their loss 1180. 8th Corps all together, quite an army surely. Everybody in our ranks is in the very best spirits and will light out for Richmond next perhaps. Lord grant to continue our successes everywhere. Gen. Jones (Reb) killed Hunters fight Sunday. Shells threw rail stockades every way killing dozens at once.
Cool pleasant morning and having a nice place & good floored shed made of board fence we are enjoying rest finely with great anxiety we await an opportunity to hear from & write home. We will bear every hardship bravely & try end this thing soon and then enjoy life in a better & different style. Oh my but we are all tired. I hope we will get horses or else not have to travel to keep up with Cavalry. We are doing fine, hear that our men met the enemy and captured 1300 men & 300 horses. Happy with privilege of writing Martha to tell her of my health, about all I had time to do. Hope she will get it all right anyhow as it is the last I can send now.
Fine morning and will start out in some direction. At 5:00 started back for Lexington passing over 11 miles same road we came in on till 12:M. advance skirmishing with McCaslin's men all along, wounding a few of them & capturing them. At 3:00 we stopped 20 minutes for dinner, made a cup of coffee & drank it & am waiting for orders. Lieut. 5th Va. killed on skirmish line here. Rebs keep a pretty safe distance today. We are after them and may yet be overtaken ourselves ere we know it. Don't expect to be so lucky all the time as for a month past. Camped at sundown tired and hungry, having come 24 miles. Till midnight cooking meat and bread for tomorrow. Awful dusty, almost smothered us at times.
Very unfortunate this morn at 4 1/2 [4:30], someone discharged a gun while I was lying asleep wounding left wrist, bad enough I think at least. Somebody must have loaded it to shoot a hog or sheep & left it capped. Riding in the ambulance today. Oh how hard it seems to labor so hard to get here & then not be able to take a part. Skirmishing warmly till noon. Artillery firing till it got too hot & Rebs lit out. Had a noble position but done what was best for them. This is said to be the nicest town in all Virginia, but have not much chance to see it. Lexington, W. Va., 6 months this afternoon since enlisted, a great many wounded on skirmish line. 13 miles today.
Fine morning, put in a long restless night, my hand paining me so that I could not sleep. Lying by resting today, probably waiting reinforcement under Pope; I suppose Lynchburg comes next on list, then Richmond if successful at former. Oh Lord give success. Lexington is a fine town. Saw it from hill today. Dr. says this is Sunday. It seems strange that its true when there is so much confusion & stir in camp. 250 wagons loaded with supplies came in 2 Regts., Militia guarding. Cool nights, wheat coloring very fast, as good country as ever saw and this is where the Rebs get their main supplies. No wonder they hate to give it up.
Rested better last night. Wound is very much swollen and painful this morn. Cooks and nurses very kind but our Regt (dismounted squad) Dr. don't show himself to do anything for us at all, still lying yet feel pretty well since stirring around. My wound is badly swollen though not so painful. I suppose I will never know exactly how it was done, if I had known the gun was loaded it would not have hit me I am sure as it did. Cav. capturing hundreds of horses hid by Rebs Cav. in woods, tons ammunition, plenty cannon on canal. Boys say I rolled over after a few seconds & groaned slightly & then tried to get up holding hand on breast, thought was hit there. Two helped me up & first I asked who done it. Say I did not wake for a minute at least.
Went on toward Lynchburgh 24 miles came to Buchanan on James River. Rebs had same old McCaslin & 5th Regt who had joined him pretended to make a stand but Averill run them out. 13th had to shell & burn many fine buildings to get out of them, so here we are camping tonight on south bank and washed in James River, with splendid stone pike right down to the doomed city, whither I believe we are bound. How our hearts rejoice over our hitherto success. I thank God & pray for continuation. Hand sore & swollen, will take care of it my best. A. Sloan of D. with mtd boys killed today. 11th Jas. Hermance, Vicart & Terwilliger taken prisoner by carelessness.
Started early & came across Blue Ridge instead of down river. Roughest, most stony I ever saw yet, like shook me to pieces. Hand pains me very much. We are now in Old or Eastern Virginia. Came 16 miles & camped at 4:00 in meadow. Buchanan fine town, Lexington Military Academy, burned arms & military stores of all kinds.
Started on early, good road so far, at 10:00 Came to Liberty, full of Rebs wounded, from Richmond perhaps. R R same we cut at Newburn 50 miles from here. Stopped to rest, hand awful sore, could not sleep at all last night after jolting so much. Left main road and came around along R R it is torn all up. Our boys are great hands on that kind of work. 16 miles.
Fine morning. Rested well last night. Hand has got to running and will get better now I think. At 8:00 sick & wounded started on mule train for the valley of Kanahaw. Will take a long time. 15 miles to Lynchburg, 20 miles.
Wound dressed last night and slept good though late getting at it. We have a heavy train & light guard & are some fearful of being captured but hope to get through safely & in June too. Crossed Blue Ridge again, 10 miles over, rough. W. Va. again, at 6:00 passed Fincastle. Fine little town full of people. Look awful pleasant, camped after dark 20 miles out.
Sunday again at home, not here. Rested well, pickets fired on last night. Balls whizzing over our heads in camp. Capt. Sergeant afraid we will be caught yet the management is so poor. Col. Militia Com. never handled train before sure. Crossed Peters Mt. Captured 75 horses & mules, real nice job. 18 miles. Stopped on Allegheny Mt. Dr. McClure of 23d is our Surgeon.
Up early and got breakfast but a late start. Crossed mts. all day and camped 20 miles out at Sweet Sulphur, not the same spoken of before. Sore and tired, nothing of importance to write.
Came on in advance of Hunters train, after coming mile the rear was fired on by 60 to 100 rebs in a few minutes they ran & we passed on to White Sulphur Springs in peace, 17 miles, all right, 4 wounded. Hand pained me last night so could not sleep & am very tired & sleepy. Pancakes plenty and we are doing well.
Advanced 4 miles and more, met by 80 or 100 Rebs & militia turned back, came back past White Sulphur Springs & too around, at 18 miles camped, losing a long drive by turning.
Are on a little by-road the roughest thing I ever saw yet, especially this afternoon. Col. Putnam, 152d N. G. Com. he is certainly not capable or we never would have been in here. We all expect to be captured. The road is not fit to go to mill horseback. Oh dear how tired & sore though in good health. Stopped at dark and got supper, 25 miles, & laid by till 12, miles 25 S.
Passed on at daylight came to Beverly turnpike & thither we are bound. At 5:00[?] stopped to get breakfast having come 40 miles since morning 23rd, crossed 3 mts. today & stopped at dark, having come perhaps 16 miles since breakfast. Tired to death nearly, might have been in Charleston now had the militia been of any account at all, hand healing but painful.
Fine morning, will be hot today. Am well & hearty. Did not rest well. Wound very painful. Late start, mts. all the time, the roughest road I have ever seen. Blue limestone as large as peck measure as thick as can lie. Nearly killed us wounded boys. Camped after dark as usual, 18 miles. Any man that will lead a set men as this Col. does ought to be hung. Strawberries make mts. red.
Raining this morning. 2 of our mules gone this time & can't be found. Nice road today all the time and at 11:00 met a provision train for our relief and got plenty now. Camped where Huttonville used to be. 1/2 doz. houses. Stopped and was fine day, 20 miles. 6 months since I left loving family.
Good road & driving lively. Got to Beverly at 10:00 after driving 12 miles. A Regt. of old soldiers here so we are within our own lines again after being out nearly 2 months. There was some hard fighting hereabout at the commencement of the war. Here Rosecrans took command of his first Div. Lee, the Great General, now at Richmond, attacked & got advantage & drove him back a short distance to Cheat Mt. & then got licked badly. Small town. Got soft bread, first I ate since 26th April. The change is good but will soon get tired of it. We will all be glad when we get rid of these contemptible officers & quack soldiers. Oh militia is this your manual - or best - actions? We will soon be out where we can hear of home & what doing around us. Heard 2 bros talk a long time. 1 Union soldier wounded, other Reb. prisoner, fine fellows, both I believe.
Lying still today, I suppose to rest & fatten up. Sundown had supper. Fine day but it would not end this week hardly, mean militia shooting all the time. Valley river here, quite a little stream. Will pass onward tomorrow. Don't [know] where our destination will be. 5 thousand once surrounded 10th Va. hard by where we are lying but they drove them away after fighting 28 hours being breastworks. Negroes playing banjo and singing just by & I have to listen to them.
Waited till noon for train of grub & feed from Clarksburg. Came out 10 miles and took supper on corn dodgers at sun down. Oh my how good. Am doing tolerably well though my hand pains me very much when moving. Am going to keep my spirits up. Charles Danforth Watt.
Passing onward, at noon, met a train that came out from Webster to HAUL TIRED MILITIA! Oh the DEAR yet WORTHLESS PLAY-OFF JACKS: they have stolen by the way till some knapsacks are as heavy as 2 bu. corn and of course they have to be hauled if they go on top the sick and wounded. Bad road, has been cut all to pieces when soft and is rough and chucky. Oh we will get to R R in 18 miles more, have come today 14 miles now. Camped at Philippi having come 20 miles, here Col. Ellsworth fought and gained the day in 3 months service, went on to Alexandria & met his sad fate known to all. He com. 7th N. Y. First Zouaves. Small town. Am well, hand painful but Dr. says is doing well.
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