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

Post image for Civil War Diary of Charles H. Lynch.

Civil War Diary of Charles H. Lynch.

January 31, 2014

Civil War Diary of Charles H. Lynch, 18th Conn. Vol's.

January 31st. The weather for the past few days has been very bad, making our duty very severe. Picket and guard must be done. These cold storms make the life of a soldier a bitter one. Wood must be brought to camp, trees cut down, then worked up into fire-wood. Must go out about five miles from camp for the wood. All must take a hand at the axe. Teams and woodchoppers must be kept well guarded. Each tent is provided with a small cylinder stove set on the ground, pipe up, out the top of the tent. Once in a while a tent takes fire, which makes lively work for the boys. We keep prepared for such an emergency. Manage to keep comfortable in our tents when off duty. Visit the town quite often when off duty.

Orders received that our old commander, General Robert H. Milroy, will visit our camp this afternoon and review our regiment. Much excitement getting everything in order. All are happy and pleased at the prospect of seeing the General, whom we have not seen since the battle of Winchester, June 13th, 14th, 15th, 1863. At 4 P. M. the General, with staff and escort, came into camp. The regiment being in line, received him with hearty cheers and a welcome and a salute. He addressed the regiment, which I copy.

Soldiers of the Eighteenth. Since I last saw you, you have suffered captivity in rebel prisons. We have been separated since then, but I have come to see you and to praise you for your gallantry.

I saw you in the second day’s fight, as you charged the enemy from your rifle-pits and drove them back upon their reserves, holding them in check until night, when you fell back but with your face to the foe. Again I saw you the next morning facing as hot a fire as I ever witnessed. I looked in vain to see you waver. Boys, it was a hot place — a hot place. I saw you go where none but brave men dare to go, saw you make three successful charges, preserving your line as well as if on dress parade. I witnessed it all. I saw you as you broke the first line of rebel infantry, and charged up to their batteries, driving away their gunners, still pressing on and breaking their reserves. But a third line was too strong for you. I knew it was. Only then did you fall back, when your lines were broken, and many brave Connecticut men lay bleeding on the field. But you only fell back to re-form, and give them another taste of your steel. I knew it was madness to order you forward again, it was ordering you to death and annihilation. But I watched you with pride as you charged the third time, but when I saw your ranks withering, and your comrades falling, it made my heart grow sad within me, and I ordered you to fall back. You know the rest. You were surrounded and there was no escape.

But I miss your noble commander, Colonel Ely, may he soon return to you.

Boys, to your valor I owe my safety. You come from a state whose soldiers never disgrace themselves nor their flag. I am proud of you.

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