Diary entry by Matthew Marvin of the 1st Minnesota Regiment, written from the 1st Minnesota’s camp at Stafford Hills near Falmouth, Virginia. During the past week, between bouts of boredom when he “Played chess to kill time” because there was “nothing stiring in camp”, Marvin remarks that “The Lt Col commanding mad three or four Boches and once got us tangled up so that he had to mak ½ doz Non military movements to get us untangled[.] When any thing of that kind occurs you can hear the expression from the boys [‘]Oh to God that we had Sully or Dana to command us again[’.]”
The weather has produced a wintery mix in Virginia from rain to slush, generating a frozen crust on the ground after cold nights. Marvin writes of shenanigans in camp on the 17th due to the weather: “the boys got to throwing Snow balls[.] the guard turnd out to stop them but they got peppered with them[.] 5 or 4 got in the gard house”. And Union soldiers aren’t the only ones involved in mischief—days later while on picket duty, Marvin observes that “The rebs have a strong picket and keep a good fire on the picket line[.] Their was about a regt of the rebs turned out and had a general snow ball which continued about 2 hours[.] I reckon they had a rite smart time by the yelling[.] from the hill we could see them planely”.
On Monday the 23rd Marvin writes: “Gen police recd orders to go on picket to morrow[.] Comenced to mak the muster Rolls[.] Weather pleasant[.]” The next day, Marvin and the regiment return to picket duty and receive new instructions related in the Adjutant General’s Circular of February 16, 1863. Marvin says:
[.] Their is 1st a grand reserve and 200 yds in front is the picket reserve and 150 yds in front of them is the picket and 10 yds in front is the out post which consists of one man and is releaved every two hours[.] the picket post consists of 3 men which releave the out post[.] The picket are releaved by their reserve every 6 hours and the reserve by the Grand reserve so that the picket go from their post to grand reserve[.] We releave the 49 Pa or [Taminy][.] Their was strict orders against having fires except in the day and then only long enough to cook coffee[.]
See whole week of diary entries by Marvin: 1863-02-23_Marvin_combined_15-24
Citation: February 15-24, 1863 Diary entries by Matthew Marvin, Diary notes and memos. Matthew Marvin Papers. Minnesota Historical Society. [P2355 box 1]