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

Post image for Diary of David L. Day.

Diary of David L. Day.

August 8, 2014

David L Day–My diary of rambles with the 25th Mass

Ned Carter The Blacksmith.

August 8. When I first came here I was pretty well used up, but thanks to my friends, Garland of company C and Wheelock and Aldrich of my own company (who are attaches of this hospital), and also to Miss Dame for their attention, kindness and favors, I am feeling the best now I have any time this summer. For their sympathy, attentions and kind offices, I am under a debt of everlasting gratitude.

Within a week two of my sick men have died and another is fast going. One of them was a character in his way. As near as one can guess the age of a darky I should judge he was about 60 years old, and rather an intelligent man. He always called himself Ned Carter the blacksmith, and delighted in having others call him so. He would talk by the hour of old times, about his old master, and the good times and good cheer they used to have at Christmas time. When I first took this ward I saw that Ned was a sick darky and told him to have things his own way; if he felt like sleeping in the morning and didn’t want to come out to roll call I would excuse him. I noticed that he seldom went for his rations, but would send his cup for his coffee and tea. He said there was very little at the kitchen he could eat. I asked him what he could eat. He said he thought some cracker and milk would taste good. I took his cup up to Miss Dame and asked her if she would give me some condensed milk and a few soda crackers for a sick darky. She gave them to me, and Ned Carter the blacksmith was happy. The convalescent camp is not allowed anything from the sick kitchen, except by order of Doctor Fowler, so any little notion I get from there is through the kindness of Miss Dame or my friend Wheelock. I have often carried Ned a cup of tea and a slice of toast, with some peach or some kind of jelly on it, and the poor fellow could express his gratitude only with his tears, he had no words that could do it. One morning after roll call I went to his little tent and called Ned Carter the blacksmith. I got no response, and thinking he might be asleep I looked in. Ned Carter the blacksmith was gone, but the casket that had contained him lay there stiff and cold.

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