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

Post image for Journal of Surgeon Alfred L. Castleman.

Journal of Surgeon Alfred L. Castleman.

November 20, 2012

Journal of Surgeon Alfred L Castleman.

20th —A hard, cold rain all day. The regiment is out on picket. I wish those comfortably housed at home could realize what picket duty is, in such weather as this. To-day they stand from morning till night, on guard. Night comes, but with it no relief from the exposures of the day. In his thoroughly soaked clothes, with the snow flying and the wind whistling about him, without fire and without tents, he must stand; he must still stand and guard the lines till the coming of another day. However much nature may give way under the trial, however exhausted the man, should he be caught slumbering a single moment on his post—the penalty is death. The soldiers bear all this cheerfully, to the shame and disgrace of those disaffected, cowardly cavillers at home, who would sacrifice together these noble, self-denying men and the Government for which they fight. ‘Tis said that we go into winder quarters here. I cannot believe it. General Burnside has not been pushing us forward at such a rate for a week past, to winter us in this most gloomy and desolate country. We are forty miles from “any where,” in the midst of a pine forest, the roads in winter impassable, the people semi-civilized. Whugh! I shudder to think of it.

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