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

Sunday, April 22, 2012

APRIL 22D.—Dibble, the traitor, has been captured by our soldiers in North Carolina.

Tuesday, 22d—It is quite pleasant again after some rain— thunder showers. The wheat fields are looking fine.

April 22d. A serious accident occurred this evening severely wounding five of our crew. A submerged vessel drifted upon our cable with such force as to tear it from its fastenings, breaking the pawls from the capstan. As this chain was connected with the capstan, and the bars shipped, they were whirled around with great velocity, knocking down several men. These men sustained severe contusions; one suffered the fracture of the forearm, and another was struck in the stomach, nearly killing him outright. Fire rafts appeared to-night, but did no damage.

To Mrs. Lyon

Five miles above Pittsburg Landing, Miss., April 22, 1862.—We are still on the boat. I started out this morning to find the 16th Wisconsin, and after wading five miles, part of the way in mud nearly to my knees, I found it, and to my inexpressible joy found Sperry [Sperry Northrup, a brother-in-law] alive and well. They had a terrible fight on Sunday, the 6th, being under fire from sunrise to 5 o’clock p. m., and losing, killed, wounded and missing, at least 200 men. His company went in 59 strong and came out with 28 only. The roads for miles are full of troops. The trees are all cut up by the shot. The woods are full of graves. Governor Harvey was drowned a few miles below here Sunday night at Savannah.

We also visited the 18th. It was cut up more than the 16th, especially in officers. The Colonel, Major, acting Adjutant and several captains were killed, Lieut. Colonel badly wounded. The Lieut.-Colonel of the 16th, Cassius Fairchild, is badly wounded in the thigh. One of the last acts Governor Harvey did was to appoint Captain Gabe Bouck, Colonel, and me, Major of the 18th. I do not know that I shall accept. I think I will stay with Company K for awhile.

22nd. General Doubleday and bodyguard and a few officers came. In the evening a man came in saying Union man was shot by jayhawkers. Thirty men of Co. “D”, Major, Adjutant, Assistant Surgeon and I, with three or four others started at noon for Horse Creek, twenty miles away. Took a backwoods road. Found no enemy. Orders from the General to burn the house. Major gave the wife and two daughters at home time to take out their valuables. Wife was sick. Declared her husband’s innocence. Finally concluded for the women’s sake not to burn the house. The scene of the women crying and the desolation the boys were spreading about the premises was painful. Two men from Price’s rebel army came up and were taken prisoners. Their horses and arms were taken and they were told to leave. When not more than three rods off, the boys, instigated by Major Purington, commenced shooting at them. They ran. Boys mounted and gave chase, shooting. Lieutenant Pike probably fired the fatal shot. One of the fellows not killed, was brought into the house. Two daughters—one married. Feared her husband was killed. At 8 P. M. we started back. Arrived in camp at 3:30 A. M. Wednesday morning.

April 22.—All the patients are being sent away on account of the prospects of a battle; at least, those who are able to be moved.

We have had a good deal of cold, wet weather lately. This is the cause of much sickness. Dr. Hereford, chief surgeon of Ruggles’s brigade, has just informed me, that nearly our whole army is sick, and if it were not that the Federals are nearly as bad off as ourselves, they could annihilate us with ease. The doctor related an incident to me, which I think worthy of record. Before the battle of Shiloh, as the brigades and divisions were in battle array, with their banners flaunting in the breeze, Dr. H. discovered that General Ruggles’s brigade had none. He rode up to him and asked him the reason; just at that moment a rainbow appeared; the general, pointing to it with his sword, exclaimed, “Behold my battle-flag!” Every one is talking of the impending battle with the greatest indifference. It is strange how soon we become accustomed to all things; and I suppose it is well, as it will do no good to worry about it. Let us do our duty, and leave the rest to God.

It is reported that Fremont is about to reinforce the Federals; I am afraid that it will go hard with us.

22nd.—Nothing of general importance to day. There was an alarm, and in anticipation of an attack we were held in line of battle for about half an hour in a driving rain, then dismissed to quarters.

Sketch of a group of Collis' Zouaves--Gen. Banks bodyguard, now attached to Col. Geary command, near Manassas GapSketch of a group of Collis’ Zouaves – Gen. Banks bodyguard, now attached to Col. Geary command, near Manassas Gap.

“Officers & non-commissioned officers of Collis’ Zouaves. General Banks’ bodyguard. Camp Pardee, near Upperville, Va.” on mount.

1862 April 17 by Edwin Forbes.

Morgan collection of Civil War drawings (Library of Congress)

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

This drawing is located here on the Library of Congress website.

April 22.

Your letters of the 13th and 14th came last night as I expected. I passed about as uncomfortable a night as I have seen lately. It had been raining all day, but at night it commenced to pour down, and the water ran through our tent, round it, and under it, and we just had to lie in a puddle of it all night. There was no dodging it; scarcely a dry spot in the tent. To-day I don’t feel very keen, so, if my letter is not interesting, you will see my excuse. You certainly deserve credit for giving me a good long letter. I like to receive such, but, if I don’t mention that I noticed such and such items, charge it to want of space, for this is my second sheet and I can’t get in but three. One thing, however, you made a mistake in, and that was in giving me an inventory of your wardrobe. Haven’t you known me long enough to know that I never can remember what color the ribbon on a bonnet is long enough to get out of church to talk about it? And all those details about the black broadcloth dress trimmed with traveling goods, the para matta cloak, the black satin congress gaiters, the white bonnet with yellow crossbars and flowers and all those things— why, I can hardly remember them now long enough to write them. I have no doubt but you looked well in them though, for you always do.

Well, the Tribune said that Porter’s division made the attack. Did they, and we have been in a battle, have we? To be sure, we led the column, and our brigade the division, but there was not much infantry fighting. Our batteries opened on them at long range and we came up in line of battle to support them. They replied with spirit from their forts and their first shell killed two brave fellows in Follett’s battery, which was planted in the very spot where the rebels had been practicing at target. The firing was heavy on both sides till dark and we lost some eight or ten, and a good many horses. We all expected that Sunday would prove a bloody day, but it was very quiet and the great battle has not come off yet, though there is considerable firing every day and some skirmishes.

April 21st and 22d. It rained nearly all the past two days, so we have been unable to do anything outside of office work. No new developments, but the work of mounting guns and advancing parallels goes on, rain or shine. Towards evening, the weather cleared, and the brigade paraded for inspection.