Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Thursday, 25th—It rained nearly all day—at times very hard. We remained in camp all day and nothing of any importance occurred. Now that we are so near Washington, the boys are waiting their turns for passes to go to the city, for since there are so many provost guards there, it would not be safe to go without a pass.

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25th. Nettleton returned to camp early. I went out at noon. Met M. and A. on Penn. Ave. Went up to Uncle’s—discouraged. Started for Alexandria but was too late. M. and I went up to a restaurant for supper.

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May 25.—I wish that I could have been in Washington this week, to have witnessed the grand review of Meade’s and Sherman’s armies. The newspaper accounts are most thrilling. The review commenced on Tuesday morning and lasted two days. It took over six hours for Meade’s army to pass the grand stand, which was erected in front of the President’s house. It was witnessed by the President, Generals Grant, Meade, and Sherman, Secretary Stanton, and many others in high authority. At ten o’clock, Wednesday morning, Sherman’s army commenced to pass in review. His men did not show the signs of hardship and suffering which marked the appearance of the Army of the Potomac. The scenes enacted were historic and wonderful. Flags were flying everywhere and windows, doorsteps and sidewalks were crowded with people, eager to get a view of the grand armies. The city was as full of strangers, who had come to see the sight, as on Inauguration Day. Very soon, all that are left of the companies, who went from here, will be marching home, “with glad and gallant tread.”

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Chattanooga, Thursday, May 25. Drilled two hours in battery drill, and when we returned, received a large mail which was long looked for. I received two which assured me that all was well.

After dinner M. U. Hungerford and myself procured a pass, and started to visit the U. S. rolling mill about a mile and a half distant. On our way we ascended Cameron Hill, an elevation about 400 feet above the river. The river side being very steep, an interesting view is to be seen from here. Three large steamships on this side, eight steamboats lying up for repairs over on the docks. Beyond the river cultivated fields look very beautiful. On these hills are three large reservoirs of the Chattanooga water works into which the water is pumped by steam, and carried by its own weight down into the town. Also a large magazine 200 feet long which will be used long after peace is established. On the crown of the hill is a grim-looking war-dog, a 100-pounder Parrott, weighing 7,286 pounds, 6.4 inch caliber, maintained on wrought iron carriage, manned by the 1st Minnesota Heavy Artillery. The guard anxiously inquired if we were not ordered to relieve them so they could go home. Poor fellows!

Now we descended the western slope, and soon found ourselves approaching the center of attraction. The fires were down in most of the furnaces, the workmen at work relining them, but the sight was an interesting one to me, and we could easily trace the process clear through. Old bent-up rails were cut into pieces by a mammoth pair of shears, bundled together, thrown into the furnace, and rolled out into plates six inches wide, half an inch thick. This was cut into pieces about four feet long, six of them put together, heated, and after putting them through four different rolls, came out as a rail for the steam horse of progression to run upon. Two mammoth saws sawed off the ends, leaving it thirty feet long. It was astonishing to find how little human force was needed in the prosecution of this great work. The engine is encased in a glass house, and as nicely polished as parlor furniture. A dreary rain came up, and we got partially wet before reaching camp, which we did in time, and fell in for afternoon drill.

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May __, 1865.—Mother has been sick with fever for three days past and I have paid no attention to my diary. Last night such a mysterious stranger came to us. I, who have the reputation of having no curiosity, am fairly eaten up with it. Father knows but does not tell. He says I must not write down what happened as it might endanger our visitor. He says I must not even put a date.

Mother’s illness was severe, she does not often have fever and we felt alarmed but she is much better this morning, even to the extent of eating a nice little squab, Adeline had broiled for her breakfast.

Something dreadful has happened dear Diary, I hardly know how to tell it, my dear black mammy has left us. I did not expect her to be the first to leave but it was not exactly her fault. Mother did not want Hannah to go out to Centreville where all those soldiers are encamped and when she found Lulu was dressing her in her prettiest clothes to take her there to spend the day, Mother told her Hannah must not go.

Lulu reminded her that they were now free and if she saw fit to take her daughter into that crowd it was nobody’s business.

Of course that angered Mother so she said, “If you disobey me in this matter you and your family must leave the place.”

Lulu did not believe she was in earnest and came in as usual to attend to her duties but Mother was firm and Lulu had to go and I am inconsolable, though I would not have Mother to know it for the world.

I feel lost, I feel as if someone is dead in the house. Whatever will I do without my Mammy? When she was going she stopped on the doorstep and, shaking her fist at Mother, she said:

“I’ll miss you—the Lord knows I’ll miss you—but you’ll miss me, too—you see if you don’t.”

Well, she is gone—I will try to wait on Mother so she will not miss her too much. I do not think Mother realizes they are free.

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Wednesday, 24th—This is a very pleasant day, for which we are all thankful. We left for Washington City at 8 o’clock, and crossing the Potomac river over Long Bridge, marched up to the south side of the capitol. Our column was formed on the east side of the capitol, and at 9 o’clock commenced to move forward past the reviewing stand. The Army of the Tennessee was in the advance, with the Army of Georgia following. General Sherman was riding at the head of his army and he passed down the avenue amidst loud cheering.

The following officers were in command of the different departments: Maj. Gen. O. O. Howard was in command of the Army of the Tennessee, Maj. Gen. John A. Logan commanding the Fifteenth Corps, and Maj. Gen. Frank P. Blair commanding the Seventeenth Corps; the Army of Georgia was in command of Maj. Gen. Slocum, with Maj. Gen. J. C. Davis commanding the Fourteenth Corps, and Maj. Gen. Mower commanding the Twentieth Corps.

The reviewing stand was built on the south side of the avenue, and the army was reviewed by the president of the United States and Lieutenant-General Grant, together with members of the president’s cabinet. There were about one hundred thousand spectators along the avenue, and there was great cheering while the army was passing. At times there was hearty laughter, when some of Sherman’s “bummers” would fall in behind their regiments, displaying some of the articles, as trophies, which they had taken when marching through Georgia and the Carolinas.

We marched out across Rock creek about four miles northwest of the city and went into camp. Our knapsacks were brought around by the supply train.

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Wednesday, 24th. Twelve of us officers went to town with orderlies. Ran guard. Saw Johnson, Stanton, Welles, Speed, Grant, Sherman, Howard, Slocomb, Logan, Cadwallader, Sanford, Farragut and several other distinguished men. Grand affair.

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Camp 1st H. Arty., Near Arlington Mills, Va.,
May 24, 1865.

Dear Family:

I have hardly kept my promise about writing; but I hope you will excuse me, for we have slept most of the time since we got into camp. We lay on a ridge right near the old mill, a mile from the road in a splendid oak grove. It has rained for three days and we hope that it will clear before tomorrow; for on Tuesday we are to be reviewed in Washington. We all dread the march, for it will be a long one and if it should be hot, many will faint. We have begun making out the muster rolls for the men whose term of service expires before Oct. 1st. If you should hear the stories that we have in camp you would laugh out right. One day, they are favorable for the recruits, and the next, for the veterans. Now Mother I hope you will feel easy about me, at least for the present till we hear what they intend to do with the veterans. We draw soft bread every day now and vegetables are more plentiful than at the front. George Frye [the cousin who was taken prisoner] has got back to the regt. now, looking finely. The country along the road has changed a great deal and it is lined with sutlers’ shanties. Some of the 4th “Heavies” have been up here; they look as if they had been playing soldiers for a while.

A year ago I was enjoying myself at home among friends and relatives. It does seem as if I never felt happier till I heard that the regiment had lost such numbers. I was shown the very tree where George Bricket and others sat under a few hours before that awful fight [the Wilderness]. I should have gone to the ground itself; but we were moving on another road, until it made a junction with the main road, three miles from the battle field. The thunder is beginning again; we were caught in that terrible one, just after leaving Falmouth. The trial of the assassins is developing a great many important facts which the government intend to take advantage of. I wish they would bring Jeff to Washington in the same clothes that they caught him in.

With much love to all, I remain as ever,

Levehett Bradley, Jr.

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May 24th, 1865.

The grand review is over. No doubt it was imposing, beyond the power of words to describe. Now we can begin our work in earnest. We had positive orders from Headquarters to do nothing until that event was disposed of. We could not get blank muster rolls until tonight. Working little by little, I have prepared the descriptive lists and accounts of our recruits, and have put company papers in proper shape. Our departure now depends on dispatch; first come, first served. I must now forget my “pains and aches” and settle down to a week of persevering effort.

The captain gives me leave to detail as many men as I can use.

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Chattanooga, Wednesday, May 24. On guard last night on post No. 3. Battery went on brigade drill under Lieutenant Sweet, who is now in command of the Battery. Hood is a citizen and preparing to go away. Jenawein has received his first-lieutenant appointment, but refuses the seniority. The sickness increasing very rapidly. Diarrhea prevalent.

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