Civil War Daybook
Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
Dec 7th 1863.
Camp on Mountain Run
Near Stephensburg Va.
Left camp at 8 a.m. The Division went into camp about a mile from Stephensburg. Found good timber and water. The men immediately began to fall timber for shanties. The woods presented a lively aspect, all were busy in cutting logs. The weather is becoming cold – very fast and the men are bound to have buildings to live in if they do not stay long. The movements of the enemy will I have no doubt have something to do in letting us remain in winter quarters. All are anxious to be settled – why should they not – the summer has been one of unusual hardship, the campaigns long and tedious. The men need rest. Hard Bread, Pork and coffee has been the field rations. It is needless to say I am weary of such living; no man can subsist on the field rations we have been getting. Tonight the men are feeling well – we have camp rations, and if fortune should favor us by letting us remain in camp a few mo[nth]s we can truly appreciate the time thus spent.
Citation: December 7, 1863, Sergeant George Buckman journal entry. George Buckman Civil War Papers, 1861-1864, 1897. Minnesota Historical Society. [P2662]
Diary entries by Matthew Marvin of the 1st Minnesota Regiment, Company K, who was wounded in the foot at Gettysburg on July 2. His convalescence in Illinois continues at the US Marine Hospital in Chicago, where he has passed much time reading and returning letters from his cohorts in Company K, as well as his family and friends, including:
Charles North, Company K
Alfred P. Carpenter, Company K
S. E. Martin (possibly Stephen Martin, Company K)
E. J. Smith (possibly Eldridge Smith, Company K)
Jack (Marvin’s brother—either Andrew Jackson Marvin or James Monroe Marvin)
Ann (possibly Marvin’s sister, Mary Ann (Marvin) Wells)
Evah (unknown association)
Thanksgiving preparations brought some excitement to the ward. Marvin wrote on November 23rd: “The Ladies of chicago are going to have an old fashion New England dinner for the Soldiers in the hospital 26th of Nov Thanksgiving[.] We are anticipating a jolly time”. On the day (November 26th) he wrote: “Thanksgiving to day[.] The Ladies of chicago got up a regular old fashioned dinner for the Soldiers in the diferant hospitals here at the Marine we had Turkey & all the trimmings[,] smashed potatoes[,] pumpkin pie[,] doe nuts & cider to wash it down”.
Despite the high spirits around the holiday, Marvin’s foot is still infected and it pains him greatly. On November 29th he writes: “This morning my foot was healed over & last nite it had ein a teaspoon full of matter[.] about 4pm it broke open again & discharged freely”. A few days later, on December 1st, he writes: “Dr Crawford & Jack was here to day & the Dr examined my foot & said it was best to let it alone”. Once again, the doctor’s well-meaning advice does nothing to counter the infection and Marvin continues to suffer.
On December 5, Marvin writes: “Wrote to Ann & to E. J. S [.] Weather pleasant with snow[.]”
See week’s worth of entries here: 1863-12-05_Marvin_combined
Citation: November 18-December 5, 1863 Diary entries by Matthew Marvin, Diary notes and memos. Matthew Marvin Papers. Minnesota Historical Society. [P2355 box 1]
Camp 1st Minn. Vols. near Culpeper Va. December 4th 1863.
I received your kind letter of the 22d of last month last evening. We left this camp the 26th of last month (thanksgiving) and crossed at Germainds ford on the Rappidan and on the 27th came up with the enemy at Locust Grove or Robisons tavern, had some skirmishing, but no fighting of any consiquence. next morning we advanced in line of battle but found no enemy in our immediate front. after an hour’s march we came across him again strongly intrenched. Our corps was then sent to take up a position on the enemy’s right flank and on the morning of the 30 Nov, the Army of the Potomac (extending about 9 miles) was ordered to charge the enemys works precisely 8 o’clock. Now I have been in the servise some time and saw some fighting, been in some hot places, but never in my life did I think I was gone up the “spout” until the order came to charge those works and I was as shure as I set here writing to you that if I went up in that charge Chas. E. Goddard would be no more. Our men wer all massed or in a good position to charge before light and our Regt was thrown out as skirmishers and ordered to advance when the signal was given until the enemy opened on us and then lay down until the line came up and fall in with them go to the forts or get “wiped out”. As we was waiting for the order to charge the General Comdg Division read an order that the troops we had to contend with wer Hills Corps and that we must take the hights, mean while the sun got up and the Rebels could look down on a mass of Yankees – a correspondent might say anxious for the fray, but I am of a different opinion. 8 o’clock came, 9 o’clock came and one cannon opend on the right then another then 4 or five, but no orders for us, the day gradually wore away and evry minute we expected to try it, such awful suspence I never experiences before in my life. I thought it was the longest day of my life, but thanks to Gen Meads good judgment we came off at nightfall and took up a position and stood about a quarter of a mile of their works or probably less with our pickets close as we could get them to there works[.] a day or two and ou[t] the night 1st of Dec we started for this camp traveld 22 hours with knapsacks on out of 24 and got home or to this camp the night of the second of Dec tired, hungry, and muddy, only to find our nice shanties all burnt up by some mean scamp and conscience that we had been traveling all for nothing(sweet consolation). I do not think we will stay here long but of course I cannot tell, still I think we must certainly look out for quarters before long for it is getting late and cold.
The other sheet I devoted to describing the time we have had on our late march and I am afraid I have not done it justice now but I have done all I am able to do, so I will talk about home matters and general news. […]
See complete letter here: 1863-12-04_Smith_complete
Citation: December 4, 1863, Letter from Charles Goddard to his mother, Correspondence 1863-1929. Smith, Orrin Fruit and Family Papers, 1829-1932. Minnesota Historical Society. [P1434 box 1]
Partial transcription of Bradford’s letter:
Camp near Chattanooga Ten Nov 30th
darling this is winter indeed[.] I never suffered so much with the cold in Minn. sitting by the fire and writing darling […] we went the next night at 12 oclock[.] we crosed in boats[.] it was the prettiest sight I ever saw[.] thare wase over one hundred boats from 20 to 30 men in each one[.] we had good luck in crossing[.] our Brigade was in advance of our Divis. our Regt skirmished for our Brigade[.] I dont know wether we will [be] noticed by the papers or not [,] we deserved it[.] we advanced from the river to Mission Ridge[.] it rained all day and was very cold[.] I opend the Ball by taken one prisiner by the name of William C. Bradford[.] the Col complemented me very highly for bravery and good judgment[.] that has never been done before in our Regt[.] the Capt says that winer a sargeants bearth as soon as thare is a vacancy[.] I did not do it for promotion I did it for the funn of it[.]
See whole letter here: 1863-11-30_Bradford_combined
Partial transcription of Buckman’s journal entry:
30th Nov 1863. 4 p.m.
In skirmish line, 300 yds from Rebel fortifications. Left camp at three. very cold. Followed the plank road for a couple of miles as far as the 1st Division went yesterday. leaving the road, turned to the left and formed in line of battle, the 1st Minn. being put out as flankers. It was intended that the attack should commence at 8, but daylight revealed an entrenched position which in the opinion of the men as well as the officers, could not be taken by assault. But the order had been issued and it must be obeyed, though all felt that few if any would be able to reach the works alive. An open field had to be crossed which could be swept by grape and canister, besides musketry fire from the breast-works. […]
Gloomily the hours passed. Death looked us in the face. The faces of the men told too clearly the danger to be incurred but they were resolute, determined to do their duty, though it was plain that when “forward” was the word, they would walk out to certain death. In silence we waited orders – Dreadful suspense! But time passed and no orders – noon – and we are still ready and waiting. Night came and the attack was not made, a wise conclusion in Gen’l Meade, and we felt relieved. […]
Well the day has gone, it’s events will long be remembered by me.
See whole entry here: 1863-11-30_Buckman_combined
November 30, 1863, Letter from John N. Bradford to his wife Libbie, Bradford, John P. Papers 1862-1864, 1928-1978. Minnesota Historical Society. [P1680 box 6]
November 30, 1863, Sergeant George Buckman journal entry. George Buckman Civil War Papers, 1861-1864, 1897. Minnesota Historical Society. [P2662]
Partial transcription of Buckman’s journal entry:
In line of battle in Orange […] Road Va. 28th Nov 1863.
Reville sounded at 3 oclock in the morning of the 26th. On going out I found it to be a bright moonlight morning, clear and frosty. By daybreak we commenced moving in the direction of Germania Ford on the Rapidan River. […] while the column was resting, I had a fair opportunity of seeing Gen’l Meade, who stood walking to and fro under a large Oak by the side of the road, his mind evidently engrossedin the movement of his army. Success and failure, I have no doubt, alternately occupied his thoughts. Who can tell what great responsibility rests upon him! […]
During the remainder of the day was sharp skirmishing. The Lt Col of the 72 Pa was killed, and the Col (Joslyn) of the 15 Mass wounded and taken prisoner. [...]
See full entry here: 1863-11-28_Buckman_combined
Citation: November 28, 1863, Sergeant George Buckman journal entry. George Buckman Civil War Papers, 1861-1864, 1897. Minnesota Historical Society. [P2662]