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

Post image for John C. West–A Texan in Search of a Fight.

John C. West–A Texan in Search of a Fight.

May 28, 2013

John C. West–A Texan in Search of a Fight.

Thursday, May 28th.

While we are encamped life is so monotonous that I do not usually regard it as necessary to keep a diary, but occasionally we have a little variety and spice which is exciting and pleasant. Yesterday we received notice early in the morning to prepare to march five miles to attend a review of our division which was to take place about a mile beyond General Hood’s headquarters. We left our camp about 8 o’clock a. m. and reached the muster ground about 10 o’clock. We found the artillery posted on the extreme right about three quarters of a mile from our regiment.

The brigades, Anderson’s, Laws’, Robertson’s and Benning’s, were drawn up in line of battle, being over a mile long; our regiment a little to the left of the center. As we were properly formed General Hood and staff galloped down the entire length of the line in front and back again in the rear, after which he took his position about 300 yards in front of the center. The whole division was then formed into companies, preceded by the artillery of about twenty pieces; passed in review before the General, occupying about an hour and a march of over two miles and a half for each company before reaching its original position. The spectacle was quite imposing and grand, and I wish Mary and the children could see such a sight. After passing in review we rested awhile and were then again placed in line of battle, and the artillery divided into two batteries, came out on opposite hills in front of us, where they practiced half an hour or more with blank cartridges. This was the most exciting scene of the day except the one which immediately followed, viz: We were ordered to fix bayonets and the whole line to charge with a yell, and sure enough I heard and joined in the regular Texas war whoop. This was the closing scene of the day, after which we marched back to camp. There was an immense crowd of citizens out on the occasion as spectators, reminding me very much of an old time South Carolina review.

On our return to camp Companies E and F were ordered on picket guard about a mile and a half from camp. We .packed up everything and were soon off and are now encamped on the bank of the Rapidan at Raccoon Ford. Last night was quite cool but I slept comfortably after the tramp of yesterday.

To-day Companies B and F are variously employed. There is one squad fishing, another has made a drag of brush and are attempting to catch fish by the wholesale. Two or three other squads are intensely interested in games of poker; some are engaged on the edge of the water washing divers soiled garments as well as their equally soiled skins. I belonged to this latter class for a while, and have spent the remainder of the morning watching the varying success or failure of the fishermen and poker-players, and in reading a few chapters and Psalms in the Old Testament and the history of the crucifixion in the New. I forgot to say that on yesterday I met on the parade ground Captain Wade and Major Cunningham, of San Antonio, and also John Darby and Captain Barker. Darby is the chief surgeon of Hood’s Division. I went up to a house to-day about half a mile from our picket camp and found a negro woman with some corn bread and butter milk. A friend who was with me gave her a dollar for her dinner, which we enjoyed very much. The woman was a kind-hearted creature and looked at me very sympathetically, remarking that I did not look like I was used to hard work, and that I was a very nice looking man to be a soldier, etc., etc.

Here are the chapters I have read to-day: Deut., 23:14; II Chron., 32:8; Jeremiah, 49:2; Revelation, 21:14.

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