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

Post image for A Soldier’s Diary — David Lane.

A Soldier’s Diary — David Lane.

February 28, 2013

A Soldier's Diary, The Story of a Volunteer, David Lane, (17th Mich. Vol. Infantry)

February 28th. 1863.

Newport News is a military post, and is of no importance in any other sense. There were no villages or cities here previous to the war. Now there are quite a number of temporary buildings, and barracks to accommodate 60,000 men. It is an ideal camping ground, lying on the north bank of Hampton Roads and inclining gently to the northeast. The soil is light sand, which absorbs the rain as fast as it falls and is never muddy. The Ninth Corps, composed of forty-eight regiments, is extended in a direct line along the beach, covering about two miles in length. Stringent rules have been adopted, which, if carried out, will greatly enhance the efficiency of the men in field operations. We are to have revielle at six, when every man must turn out to roll call; breakfast call at seven, when we fall in line, march to the cook’s quarters and receive our allowance of “grub.” Immediately after breakfast we are marched to the creek, where every man is required to wash hands, face and neck. From eight to half-past, police duty, or cleaning up in front of tents; from eight-thirty to ten-thirty, company drill; from this time until noon, clean guns, brasses and do any little jobs we may have on hand; dinner at twelve; from one-thirty to two-thirty, skirmish drill; from three to four, battalion drill, after which is dress parade; at eight-thirty, tattoo, or go to bed; at nine, taps, or lights out. Saturday is set apart for washing and cleaning up generally. Sunday morning at eight o’clock is inspection of arms, and at two o’clock divine service.

Some of the boys think the regular routine is reversed in our case—fighting first and drill afterward. Poor fellows; I expect they will see fighting enough yet. I have not seen a newspaper since our arrival, and know as little of what is going on in the world as did Cruso on his desert island.

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