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There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell.-- General William T. Sherman
I was stationed at Albuquerque, New Mexico, as paymaster in the United States army when the war-cloud appeared in the East. Officers of the Northern and Southern States were anxious to see the portending storm pass by or disperse, and on many occasions we, too, were assured, by those who claimed to look into the future, that the statesman would yet show himself equal to the occasion, and restore confidence among the people.
As you will notice there are portions of the letter marked with "_?_" which indicates an unreadable word or phrase.
From the time I joined the Army till after the Battle of Bridgewater which took place on the 25th day of July 1814, just before the Falls of Niagara and through which I was mysteriously preserved, when to __?__ over nothing but death was inevitable. I will begin by Comm__? narative at that funeral immediately after that battle from what is __?__ in the eastern allies, Supposed to arrive from the __?__ of the particles of fluids and the facility with which they slid over each other it is infered that they have. We proceeded up the river to Fort Erie which is directly __(across?)__ from Buffalo on the Canadian Shore and stand some 20 or 30 rods __?__ the lake which I think __?__ __?__ on the 1st of August this __?__ surrendered to our men on the 3rd of the preceding month, and contained in its enclosure about 1/4 of an acre of ground prepared for a short __?__ with a large stone building two stories high.
Fitchburg, Sept. 17, 1919. The first experience of a soldier is camp life. O! the sweet memories of departed days, how they rise up before us; the ups and downs, the drills, the dress parades, skirmish, rally by fours, guard against infantry, guard against cavalry, the barracks, the bunks, the rations-how they stare us in the face as we look back to the first few days we were in camp in the town of Groton, near the Peterboro and Shirley Railroad, at a place called Camp Stevens.
Note: by Joel A. Stratton, Captain of Company C, Fifty-third Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, 1862-1863. 8991 Reads
On the 8th of November, 1864, at 2 o'clock A.M., Captain Turner, of the Sixteenth Iowa, Captain Strang, of the Thirtieth Illinois, Lieutenant Laird, of the Sixteenth Iowa, and myself, made our escape through the guard lines at "Camp Surghum," near Columbia, South Carolina, with a view of making our way to the gunboats near the mouth of the Edisto river.
Camp Lincoln Keokuk Iowa
October the 24th 1862
To Miss Hannah. M. Cone
I will Inform you that I am well at this time & that our Co. is all well Except two or three Persons our Mess is all well at the Present & I hope that when this Reaches you that it may find you & Friends well.
This diary was commenced for the fun of writing down my experience as a soldier from the Old North State. I never thought for a moment that I would put it in print; but now that I am getting old and have read so many histories written by our officers, but have never seen in print a history written by a private. I know that my diary is truly the life of the man behind the gun, therefore I make bold to publish it.
AUGUST 1, 1861.—Believing the people of the South to be engaged in a just cause, defending the inalienable rights of American freemen, and that principle in the Declaration of Independence which asserts that "all governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed," and that the States are acting by the authority and in the strength of their reserved rights, I am with them.
Bell Plains, Va.
I, with about five hundred other prisoners of war, arrived at Elmira about the first of August, 1864, after a confinement of forty five days at Point Lookout. I spent the first day in a thorough examination of my new abode, and its advantages as a home until fortune would release me from its durance. It contained several acres of ground, enclosed by a plank fence about fourteen feet high; some three feet from the top on the outside ran a narrow footway, or parapet, of plank, supported by braces.
The war was assuming large proportions, and I began to see that the rebellion could not be put down without my help. George had served his time of enlistment, and was at home. Sam was only 18, and was needed at home, but for the fear that we might be drafted and sent to different parts of the country, our parents preferred that we all go together so we could all help each other. It was hard to leave them without help, but they could rent the place or hire some help. Hester was with them and was 9 years old, big enough to run on errands and be of some help at home.
The war had now assumed proportions altogether vaster than had been anticipated by either the North or the South. No man at the North, perhaps no man on either side, had at its beginning a clearer perception of the probable magnitude of the struggle than General W. T. Sherman.
Jefferson City Aug 1861 Dear Folks at Home I take this opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present and hope these few lines will find you all enjoying god Health
Camp Near Yorktown April the 19 1862
My Dear Cousin
I write you afew lines to let you know whare we are, we are on the out post the yankees are shooting at our men constantly tho it is very cildom thay hit eny of them, thay havent shot but one man in our Regiment he was shot thursday,
We started out to form a Company. We got together some 20 men. I have forgotten the exact number. Then we spliced with a number of young fellows from Selinsgrove. That formed Company D of the 18th Regiment then stationed at Harrisburg. Elected A.C. Simpson as Captain, Jerry Bogar as Quartermaster, McClay Coldren as 1st Sergeant and different others to less important posts.
From Gettysburg to Appomattox; from the zenith of assurance to the nadir of despair; from the compact ranks, boundless confidence, and exultant hopes of as proud and puissant an army as was ever marshalled— to the shattered remnants, withered hopes, and final surrender of that army—such is the track to be followed describing the Confederacy's declining fortunes and ultimate death.
1655: Puritans jail Governor Stone after a military victory over Catholic forces in the colony of Maryland.
1804: The Secretary of the Navy approves the first formal uniform of the Marine Corps.
1813: The frigate USS Essex flies the first U.S. flag in battle in the Pacific.
1863: Secretary of War Edwin Stanton presents the first Medals of Honor to six of the surviving members of Andrews Raiders. They are the first Medals of Honor ever presented.
1864: The Battle of Paducah Kentucky takes place.
1865: Confederate General Robert E. Lee makes Fort Stedman his last attack of the war in a desperate attempt to break out of Petersburg, Virginia. The attack failed, and within a week Lee was evacuating his positions around Petersburg.
1865: The Battle of Bluff Spring Florida takes place.
1865: The Battle of Mobile Alabama takes place.
1879: Japan invades the kingdom of Liuqiu (Ryukyu) Islands, formerly a vassal of China.
1895: Italian troops invade Abyssinia (Ethiopia).