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.

December 16, 2012

Journal of Surgeon Alfred L Castleman.

16th.—I am too stupid, to-night, to write intelligibly even a journal of the day. After we had shaken the broken and grating bones of our wounded, by moving them in ambulances, yesterday, we had scarcely got the poor fellows lifted out and placed quietly on a coating of straw on the ground, when we received orders to reload them for a move farther to the rear, so we worked nearly all night, and by daylight, were thoroughly rain-soaked. This morning, having reloaded them all, we moved about two miles further to the rear, repitched our tents, dumped the men into them, and, for the first time since Friday morning, commenced dressing their wounds. But what was my surprise, on rising the hill on this side of the river, to find all of our great army encamped as quietly as if they had been settled there for a month, and that our pontooniers had taken up the bridges? We are all back! What next? I am hardly in condition to reason much about it to-night, but, taking it all together, and admitting the necessity of a withdrawal, from whatever cause, I must think it one of the most brilliant achievements of the war. The great preparatians of two days in the face of the enemy, as if for a decisive battle, the giving out, on the authority of the Generals themselves, that it would certainly be fought, the manner of moving the wounded, and the pitching of the hospital tents, and filling them with patients, in full view of the enemy; the story got up of Jackson’s attempting to cross, and the necessity of one corps of our army recrossing to prevent him, thus so thoroughly deceiving our own troops, that each corps supposed that it was the only one recrossiug; and the strengthening of our pickets and videttes that night, all so completely deceived the enemy, as well as our own army, that not a gun was fired or a suspicion entertained of our retreat.

Previous post:

Next post: