Saturday, April 28, 2012

"Hancock Has His Drawers"

Monday, April 28, 1862, On the railroad near Fredericksburg

It is so very good to be back in Virginia. The trip to get here was long and not without difficulty but it was worth it all. The regiment was formed up to the sound of the drummers beating the long roll. Was this is response to another Yankee raid? Far from it. We were soon on the road marching away from the Yankees towards Pocotaligo Station. Were we in another retreat, we wondered. Our officers were guessing as to the reason for our move but no one professed any actual knowledge. We are just soldiers and are sure of only what is in front of us.

There was a train waiting for us and another one behind that one. The officers and our own dear Corporal Flynn were shouting at us to board quickly as if the earth would open up and swallow us if we hesitated in the least. We were needed somewhere but where?

The train was facing away from Savannah so we knew that was not our destination. Once the locomotive steamed up, the train pulled away from Pocotaligo and headed towards Charleston. Aha, the Yankees were threatening Charleston and we were to save her. However, once in Charleston, we left our train and marched to the terminal station of the South Carolina Railroad where we boarded another and headed towards Columbia.

Were the Yankees somehow threatening the state capital? Were we going to Beauregard in Mississppi? If so, this would be a long and convoluted way to get there. It did not take but a few hours to discover that we knew where we were going and were lost at the same time. We did not know where we were after a while but we could tell from our direction of travel that out destination was Virginia. Home, sweet home for me.

We changed trains several times and each time had to get off and march a distance, sometimes a long one, to board yet another train. Most of us rode not in plush passenger cars but in common box cars with the other freight. Let us say that the smells coming from an enclosed car would not remind anyone of an apple pie. I thought that I would spare my nostrils from being assaulted by riding with some others in a platform car with some artillery pieces. The sights and smells were agreeable but then it rained.

For the last part of our journey, I held my nose and rode in a boxcar. Some of the boys kicked a few boards out of the car to give us more air. The railroad will not like this but we did not care a fig.

Once we arrived in Richmond, by what route I know not, we again left our train and marched through the city to the terminus of the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad. The city was all abluster with activity. The crowds were large and noisy. We could tell that as we were going towards the heart of the city, there was no small amount of activity directed in the direction from which we had come. Was this an evacuation. Again, we are soldiers and know nothing.

As we left Richmond and headed towards the north, we became full of bluff and bluster. Let McClellan have Richmond. The Lancaster Hornets, with the help of the rest of the regiment, would take Washington by storm and put that despot Lincoln in chains. We all knew no such thing would happpen but soldiers are a boastful lot.

When the last train of our journey came to a halt, we were told that this was as far as we would go. We asked where was this place and was told thatv this was Milford Station some miles south of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Once encamped, we had a decent meal and settled in to some real sleep.

Hancock has his drawers.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Will Hancock get new drawers?

Saturday, April 26, 1862  On picket duty

Something must be happening, given the advanced atate of agitation in camp. One might think that it would have something to do with the recent surrender of Fort Pulaski and I suppose that that is possible. It does not feel right.

We are given to understand, by rumor and not by any proofs, that the Yankee fleet has appeared near New Orleans with the objective of siezing that great Southern port city. Perhaps this was the next logical step after grabbing Savannah in the North's insidious objective of victory by strangulation. If the Cresent City should turn blue by this method, there would be no more major Southern ports left save Charleston. Charleston would then bear the combined guns of the enemy fleet. How long can she stand? How long can our Confederacy stand without her?

Although there has come no official word from our commanders on the subject, all indications are, given the visual evidence, that a major move is being prepared. If true, where will we go? There are several possibilities. We could retreat further into the interior, we could re-capture Fort Pulaski or just re-inforce Savannah to prevent additional transgressions by the Yankees.

Normally, I am not a betting fellow but Hancock and I have concluded a wager. He says that we are going to Virginia to help Joe Johnston defend Richmond from McClellan. I say that since we are closer to Beauregard, we will be sent to him in Mississippi. Perhaps he will fling us towards Nashville. I have bet a pair of drawers and Hancock has put up a shirt.

It is rumored that some of the Georgia regiments stationed here have had their new British Enfields taken from them and replaced with older models such as what I have, the 1842 Springfield. Those Enfields must go somewhere to someone for some reason. As I own my own musket and have become attached to it, I would not like to give it up but the idea of obtaining one of those new Enfields is appealing. The caliber may be smaller, .577 against .69 but I like the idea of having a rifle instead of a smoothbore. One can kill Yankees at a much greater distance.

Will Hancock get new drawers? Will I get a new shirt? The next few days may tell.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

"The slaves are free".

Monday, April 21, 1862

Only a short time ago, the camp was greatly depressed. The news of the fall of Fort Pulaski, and all of the other very bad news of late has plunged us into dispair. Our whole nation is about to go up and we are stranded here digging earthworks and pulling picket duty. For God's sake, let us fight. We cannot lose this war had have it be said that all we did to help win our freedon from despotism was work a spade. This is not honorable.

More news has come in. Hunter has freed the slaves in his command which is South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, or at least those areas which are ocuppied and polluted by the tread of his infernal minions. Our depression has largely given way to anger. If someone will give us the order, we will attack them with our bear hands. No quarter will be asked. No quarter will be given. Raise the black flag and keep it there until the only Yankees left here are the dead.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"We should march on Richmond"

Saturday April 19, 1862  Gardens Corner

For some time, we had wondered what had become of the Yankees. There had not been so much agitation on there part as of late. All of us noticed how quiet it had become. Had the Yankees left? Were they up to something?

We were not just imagining things. A great number of Yankees did leave this area to go to Fort Pulaski, guarding Savannah. After a bombardment of only two days, the fort surrendered to Hunter. It was the strongest of fortifications. It was supposed to have held for months and it went up in two days. With nothing to protect it, Savannah must fall in a few days and may already have fallen.

The Confederacy is losing this war through the death of a thousand cuts. Nashville has fallen. Memphis cannot last long. Johnston is dead and Beauregard is retreating. McClellan is supposed to be within a stone's throw of Richmond.Now Pulaski and Savannah. Such incompetance and mismanagement never plauged before any other nation. We here are mightly angered. We should march on Richmond and clean out the empty-headed, stupid leaders. Is there no one in the entire Confederacy who can turn this around? Do we have any generals worth the rank?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"They have lied to us".

Thursday, April 17, 1862, Gardens Corner South Carolina

Again, we have been beaten. The battle at Pittsburg Landing was a horrible defeat for Southern arms. Johnston is dead. Beauregard and what remains of his army are in retreat. We were told that a great victory had been secured. They have lied to us. Our great and mighty leaders have lied and lied again to the people and to those of us who would protect them. May God smite them all.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

" The Yankees are Running"

Friday, April 11, 1862  "Camp Boredom"

The news is just arrived and joyous it is. There has been a great battle in Tennessee at Pittsburg Landing. Our army under A.S. Johnston and Beauregard has fooled, beaten, whipped and trounced those Yankee fiends Grant, Sherman and Buell and their whole infernal hosts. The Yankees are running. There are thousands of prisoners.From somewhere comes a jug. Everyone in camp is jubilant and at the same time sad that we were here and could not share in the victory. Regimantal bands are playing and there are many speeches. It is high near time the Southern Confederacy won something.  Now, on to Nashville and Cincinatti beyond the Ohio.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

"Santa Fe is Ours..."

Friday, April 2, 1862 Gardens Corner, South Carolina

The Yankees have once more put one over on us. With their ships and gunboats, they are able to flank us and confound us at will. On the first of this month, the Yankees made aniother raid from the locality of Port Royal Ferry. This is the same place that was raided much earlier this year.  Houses and fields were burning.

The 12th plus Leake's battery of Virginians and four companies of the 13th South Carolina were sent to the source of the infernal destruction. Two regiments of Georgians were in support.  Corporal Flynn was extoling us to engage the Yankees and to do our duty. He needn't have said a word. All of us are sick of working the spade and would go after the enemy with nothing more than bayonets if that were all we had.  

By the time we arrived, the Yankees had retired under cover of their gunboats to the Beaufort side of the Ferry. Two companies of the 13th were on the other side as well. We heard the reports of muskets. Perhaps they were able to have some fun. As for the rest of us, we went back to camp. There will be more work with the spade.

Santa Fe is ours so says the latest news from way out there. Albuquerque has been taken as well. General Sibley is marching on California and will soon have their gold securly held in the vaults in Richmond.  The Californians are supposed to be assembling an army to invade New Mexico. They would do just as well to stay home.

We have lost Nashville but have taken these two cities. It is not a fair exchange but we will take it. After we take the gold, we will take Nashville, Philadelphia and Washington. Then the war will be over.