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.

September 14, 2013

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

September 14th, 1863.

We were aroused this morning at 3 o’clock and ordered to be ready to march at 5 o’clock. In a very few minutes hundreds of fires were brightly glowing, striving by their feeble rays to dispel the gloom of night. At the appointed hour we were up and away with hearts as light and buoyant as though privations, toil and danger were unknown. The morning was delightfully cool, and before the god of day had risen to scorch us with his burning rays, nearly half our day’s march was done. The rest of the day was made easy by frequent halts, and when, at 2 o’clock p. m., we filed into line and stacked arms, all were agreeably surprised. We had marched twelve miles. Today is the anniversary of our first battle—our baptism. The mind naturally reverts to that trying time, and all its scenes pass rapidly in review. Then, for the first time, we met face to face our country’s foe. The chivalry of the South then met the mudsills of Michigan and learned to respect them. Today we met them again, but not in battle array. As we were starting, this morning, we came upon 2,300 prisoners taken at Cumberland Gap. They were free to talk, and a more ignorant lot of semi-savages I never met. We could not convince them that Vicksburg or Port Hudson were in our possession. They were very “frank,” and indulged freely in epithets and pet names.

September 14th, 9 o’clock p. m.

Our camp is in a beautiful grove, on the banks of a “babbling brook.” A cool, delicious breeze is gently blowing from the west. The sky is cloudless, and the bright, scintillating stars shine out in unwonted brilliancy, and the pale moon is pouring down upon the earth a flood of silvery light. It is an ideal night in which to rest after a fatiguing march—an ideal night, so seem to think our boys, in which to celebrate the anniversary of our first battle. The Sutler came up about sundown with the “accessories.” The preliminaries have been gone through with, and the “celebration is in full blast.” Pandemonium reigns. This quiet glen has been transformed, for the time being, into the council hall of demons. Men fall upon each other’s necks and weep, and laugh, and drivel, and shout ” ‘Rah for Seventeenth Michigan.” It was an impressive ceremony, and one in which all allusions to the brave men who fell and sympathy for their bereaved families were considerately left out, lest they wound the tender sensibilities of the living.

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