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

Post image for Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery — George Michael Neese.

Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery — George Michael Neese.

July 1, 2015

Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery — George Michael Neese.

July 1 — This morning at sunrise we renewed our boat march. From City Point at the mouth of the Appomattox up to Drewry’s Bluff the river is very crooked and winding, and the surrounding country is much more undulating than it is on the lower James. Coming up the river to-day I saw the Dutch Gap Canal -— or at least the top part of it — that General Ben Butler was trying to dig a year ago. The canal was not finished,— the bottom of it is mostly rock,— and is now only a little lower than the surface of the water in the river at flood tide.

General Butler’s object in digging the canal was to cut off some five or six miles of a big bend in the river that was good soil for Confederate torpedoes, and in the distance around the bend there are some first-class positions for batteries on the Chesterfield hills close to the river, which the use of the canal would have shunned entirely. The canal is about three hundred and eighty feet long, and its completion would have enabled General Butler’s flotilla to creep some five or six miles closer to the heart of Dixie without much peril. At Drewry’s Bluff we had to wait several hours for high tide, which came in at last, and about midday our boat arrived at the Rockets at the lower end of Richmond. There we immediately disembarked and bade a hasty farewell to our craft, and marched up into the city, first to headquarters of the provost marshal to secure transportation, then to the Central Depot, and had not long to wait for the train that landed us in Gordonsville this evening at dusk.

There were twenty-one of us ex-Rebels on the train, and when the train stopped here at Gordonsville, United States soldiers garrisoned here, our brethren and comrades now, were very kind and friendly to us and hospitably welcomed us to Dixie and courteously conducted us to our quarters.

This is Saturday evening. If we would have remained in Richmond until Tuesday we could have gone on the train to Staunton, but as it is we had to stop here at Gordonsville, as the train runs to Staunton only twice a week. The transportation man in Richmond told us that if we would wait until Tuesday he would send us through to Staunton, but some of our ex-Rebels in the squad were so anxious to get home that they thought it a sin to waste a few days in Richmond merely to save a good long walk. I was willing, and wanted to stay in Richmond a few days, but the majority ruled, and I obeyed.

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