James Island, South Carolina

 

July,                                                     Tuesday 1,                                                       1862

 

“July came in like a Lamb” Weather clear and hot in the forenoon – cloudy and more pleasant in the afternoon – I was idle all day. I gave my body a thorough washing putting on clean “duds” I slept the greater part of the forenoon to make up for lost sleep last night. We received orders at noon to pack our “dumpling bags” and be ready to go aboard the steamer at 4 p.m. I immediately got ready but we did not get off for reasons unknown to us. The Rebels were firing all night in picket this morning.  They drove Gen. Wright’s Pickets in, but ours drove them back – Tremendous heavy and fast cannonading was heard in the direction of “Charleston” apparently from the Rebel forts for about 15 minutes – doubtless a Rebel salute.  I bought a bottle of [?] wine.

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James Island, South Carolina

 

July,                                                     Wednesday 2,                                                             1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately intensely but July weather in every respect – I was on a detail to carry beef from the slaughter pen to the Companies stone house; I assisted to carry five quarts, very heavy work as we had some distance to carry it and they were as large bears as I ever saw killed. We were idle the remainder of the day until about 3 p.m. The “Roundheads” were detailed for Picket – Gen. Wright’s Brigade all moved today.  A portion of them marched through our Camp – Wright’s troop being gone.  Our Picket line was drawn in and the Enemy advanced his line.  Consequently it was a dangerous and serious matter picketing under the counters.  Several guns were fired as usual though I think by our pickets.  I saw the first “Quaker gun” today--one of our guns to deceive Secesh.

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James Island South Carolina

 

July,                                                     Thursday 3,                                                     1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately “Sol” rose in all his Majesty without a cloud to cross his pathway. But shortly after a rain fell and a morning rainfall was visible. Weather intensely hot – The mosquitoes were very annoying especially during the night – We were posted near by the prettiest grove or jungle of palmettos I ever saw. I cut a fine specimen I propose sending home if an opportunity offers - In the afternoon we had a cool refreshing sea breeze – This was a long and lonely day. W. H. Lewis. Geo. Stephenson and I were mostly together passing the time in picket.  About 5 p.m. we were relieved of our picket by the 8th Mich. Regt. – Lieut. Certslon? (“a free mason”) conversed with a Rebel officer (a brother mason) on Picket to day and allowed the Rebel to return unmolested. There was considerable excitement in consequence and the Lieutenant was arrested.  Magnificent scenery at or about the going down of the sun.

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James Island – Aboard “Bendeford” – “Hilton Head”

 

July,                                                     Friday 4,                                                          1862

 

Weather cloudy appearance of rain and raining very disagreeable day – We were aroused from sweet repose about 3 a.m. and ordered to “strike” tents. We ate breakfast and took them down awaiting orders until about 8 a.m. when our baggage all being loaded on wagons. We fell in line and marched to the wharf stacked arms when 25 men from Companies A and F were detailed to load the baggage aboard the boat (I was one of the lucky 25).  It was raining all the time--this was the coldest and most disagreeable “Independence Day” I ever saw.  Hiland Brass Band played and were glad to get out of the wilderness while gave dead the local the most appropriate tune they could play--the sentiments of every soldier on the island. We left a lot of stuffed paddies on Picket and in Camp. The Yankee trek played on Secesh dabbles they will riddle them with bullets – “Roundheads” got aboard the “Bendeford” and landed at “Hilton Head” about 7 p.m. I was sea sick aboard the boat “Paunee”, fired a Natural salute before we started. We went on the Dock and removed there some two hours in the heavy rain I ever saw. Oh! what a glamorous Fourth we spent.

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Hilton Head South Carolina

 

July,                                                     Saturday 5,                                                      1862

 

Weather very cloudy windy and cool for this season and climate I should judge – We found use for our overcoats in the morning though perhaps we were thoroughly chilled through by the drenching rain of last night. I felt miserable when I arose in the morning. I visited a Sutler shanty and brought a dimes worth of bread and meat a couple little slices. I thought it was the sweetest and best morsel of bread I ever eat; Captain Templeton purchased a good portion of supine Whiskey for the Company and I never saw whiskey drank that I had such a good effect as on this occasion – the very medicine needed for the men under the circumstances (though I don’t approve of using it as a beverage) – W. H. Lewis and I visited the Fort and were admitted all through it everything we found in fancy style and excellent order and I would pronounce it comfortable against any force the Enemy can send – We bought some roast turkey canned put up in one which spotted it as I found so we had roast turkey for dinner--rather a luxury in the army and few soldiers can boast of eating the same.

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Port Royal or Hilton Head, S. C.

 

July,                                                     Sunday 6,                                                        1862

 

Weather clear and very warm or hot, notwithstanding pleasant oweing to a cool refreshing sea breeze blowing all the day – I took a ramble over a portion of the Island through pine woods over cotton fields almost to the Picket line (the end of my stay) found very much to my surprise a steam-saw mill also a White Lady living in a house near by the wife of the Sawyer or Superintendent of the mill as it is the property of Uncle Sam – I bought a pie off the Lady paid 25 cts., the best pie I have eaten since I left the North – I felt rather unwell and slept the greater part of the day after returning to Camp – I saw last night for the first time in my life a rainbow at night around the moon it was very beautiful to behold – The 8th Mich. Regt. arrived today – a mail received from the North but I received nothing.

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Hilton Head, South Carolina

 

July,                                                     Monday 7,                                                       1862

 

Weather clear and intensely hot July weather in every respect – We had a cool refreshing sea breeze in the afternoon – I got in or aboard a covered wagon of 8th Mich. Regt. and thus smuggled myself through the Guards to town; I remained there all day eating and drinking trash almost all the time – The consequence was I was very sick during the night throwing up all I had eating (“Experience teaches a dear school but fools will learn in no other”) I ate a ripe fig the first I ever eat or saw in the natural state. A Darkey pulled it off the tree for me pronouncing it ripe. I did not like it as it was entirely too sweet--a sickening sweet to my palate reminding me more of the “Passion” than any fruit I know of. I went down to the beach below the Dock and took a bathe but it was unpleasant the sea being too much troubled – waves rolling over us and almost carrying one with them – Dress Parade at 6 p.m.

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Hilton Head, South Carolina

 

July,                                                     Tuesday 8,                                                       1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately and intensely hot – notwithstanding we had a fine sea breeze – I was idle the greater portion of the day lying around Camp; was finally one of a squad detailed to Camp wood.   We were obliged to carry it on our backs about or almost one half mile carrying wood and the weather had rather a debilitating effect upon one.  We were all ordered to clean our arms brighten and blacken our accoutrements a very loathsome duty for the soldier – I worked about a half day at mine – Company A had a short drill to day – Dress Parade at 6 p.m.

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Hilton Head, South Carolina

 

July,                                                     Wednesday 9,                                                 1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately and very hot – I was idle in the forenoon therefore I took a walk to the woods for the special purpose of worshipping my Creator; returning through the 8th Mich. Camp I found they together with the 28th Mass. Regt. had their knapsacks on their backs ready to march and on arriving at Camp I learned the “Roundheads” had marching orders also so I immediately began packing my “dumpling bag” and after dinner we were ordered to take down tents we did so and awaited further orders and about 4 p.m. we started for our journey, marched the dock and got aboard the “Staten Island” landing at “Beaufort” about 7 p.m. marched out near the “old Fort” where we stack arms and remained for the night. Wilgus and I ran over to town for “ice cream” but found none – Gen. Stevens made a speech at his old head quarters, saying wait until Nov. and if there is three loyal men in the state tact will be second.

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Beaufort – “Smith’s Plantation”

 

July,                                                     Thursday 10,                                                   1862

 

Weather cloudy and very warm we had a fine refreshing sea breeze – I felt very much fatigued almost “played out” oweing to the severe and unceasing duties, changes, moves and exposure of the past month. Notwithstanding our exhaustion before our breakfast was dealt out to us, we were ordered to fall in for a 4 mile march over the hot sand and under the broiling sun of “Dixie” – Such is the Soldier’s Life. This was the hardest and most tiresome march I have yet experienced I almost fell exhausted by the way side – We halted at “Smith’s Plantation” a beautiful place for a residence surrounded by a magnificent grove of “Live Oaks” – We laid out our Camp in a cotton field near by leveling off the hillocks – officers took the grove for the Camp ground – We found any quantity of watermelons near by raised by the Darkeys, the poor ignorant creatures not knowing the value of them or money--sold the largest one for whatever we chose to give them ranging from 5 to 10 cts for the largest. The boys feasted finely on melons and I dare say some took advantage of the ignorance of the Darkeys – I ate more melon today than I ever ate before at one time – I went bathing at the “Old French” fort here made of oysters shells.

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Smith’s Plantation; Beaufort Island

 

July,                                                     Friday 11,                                                        1862

 

Weather very cloudy warm and exceedingly sultry indicating rain.  I never experienced such sultry weather in all my life.  It was with great difficulty one could breathe consequently I felt miserable all day – heard distant thunder all day and John Rulson and I went in bathing at the Old French Fort that we might obtain some invigoration from the briny waters and I must say it was the only comfortable place I found yet this day (in the ocean).  About 5 p.m. we had a heavy rain shower accompanied with very loud and heavy thunder and terrific lightning; however it soon passed over us – Bill Lewis, Geo Stephenson and I made our beds on the ground and about 8 p.m. we were ordered to fall in march to the river and stack arms – Co. A. was detailed on fatigue duty to load the luggage on the boat – I shirked this duty – pact to wade in the water to get aboard

 

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Hilton Head South Carolina

 

July,                                                     Saturday 12,                                                    1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately and intensely hot. We remained aboard the “Cosmopolitan” all day until about 5 p.m. laying off “Hilton Head” until the dock was cleared when we went ashore stacking arms in the rear of the building we spread ourselves full length on “Mother’s Earth” or rather sand for sweet repose in the Arms of Moses – I was detailed for fatigue duty but was not called on – Some of the cooks were making coffee on the beach when to the surprise of all, kettles and coffee were sent some twenty feet up in the air, as the fire happened to be built over where a bomb shell had been buried during the bombardment – the report was bad and the natives were considered astonished – portions of the shell were scattered for a hundred pieces around but no one was injured – I got some fine ice cold lemonade today – “Hilanders” went aboard today bound for a trip on the ocean – Sutler were well patronized almost sold out his 30 cts.                

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Hilton Head, South Carolina

 

July,                                                     Sunday 13,                                                      1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately and very hot – Early in the morning Chaplain Brown notified the Regiment that he would have religious services in the forenoon – I attended after services he announced that he would preach in the afternoon – some of the Sutlers kept their stores open and were selling goods the same as on a week day. This is the fault of the commanding General that the Lord’s Day is not respected – I went to the ocean and took a good thorough wash in the Atlantic Sea – I then went to the Camp of the 76th Regt. PA inquiring for my old school mate F. V. Martin but I did not find one learn of his whereabouts – Bill Lewis, Geo Stephenson and me took a long walk over the mills along the beach the most pleasant place to walk I have ever found in my travels. We were looking for shells but the soldiers have gathered all worth having – a bayou Bill Lewis, Clark Morris and I were put on the dock to guard the baggage if the “Roundheads” [?].

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Hilton Head, South Carolina

 

July,                                                     Monday 14,                                                     1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately and very warm very smoky or hazy all day – Clark Morris, Bill Lewis and I were guarding our Regimental baggage on the dock all day, a splendid place to be on guard as we could see all the sights – all that was going on I was tempted to thrust the bayonet through one of the Hospital “suckers” who came around assuming authority to do as he pleased . I eat my fill of watermelon today. The Mail steam ship from N. Y. arrived bringing 23 bags of mail –matter; the largest mail I ever saw also papers up to the 11th inst. – I went to the Barbers and had my hair shaved to the very skin close as he probably could (everybody said I was a fool for doing so) I bought some molasses paying 1$ for gallon – saw eggs sold at 37 cts. For dozen – A boat load of Darkeys was sent to “Beaufort” I met Inc. J. Martin on the dock each had been hunting for the other – sad he had not heard from Bullock.

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 “Hilton Head” S. C. Aboard the “Merimac”

 

July,                                                     Tuesday 15,                                                     1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately and very hot July weather in every respect – I was idle all day – The mail was distributed but ours come out minus this time – consequently some of my letters will come here after I leave – I heard through Clark McKeevers letter that Isaac Mills was very poorly with the fever and that his father had gone to the army for him and that he was now at home where his every want will be administered to by a loving mother – kind and affectionate sisters – I wrote a letter to Sister E. L. M.   F. B. Martin visited our Company today requested me to write to him – He read marching orders about 2 p.m. Co. A as usual was detailed to load the baggage on the boat.   Consequently we were the last Company aboard and obliged to be content with the refuse bunks and quarters we got aboard the splendid new ocean steamer “Merimac”.   “Roundheads” and 46th N. Y. Regt. (Dutch) aboard the Merimac we lay off “Hilton Head” all night.

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Aboard the “Merimac”

 

July,                                                     Wednesday 16,                                               1862

 

Weather rather cloudy but very hot and sultry all day – The “Merimac” weighed anchor and started about 6 a.m. “out in the ocean sailing” – the soldiers had no place to sit or eat in short no accommodations whatever but we were crowded together like stock aboard a R. R. car.  Such is war or rather the treatment Patriots receive who are willing to sacrifice their lives for their country. There was about 1400 soldiers aboard. This was the first trip for the “Merimac”; one of her engines got out of order and we were obliged to cast anchor and await a short time until it was repaired. The seas was very calm and smooth all day – I saw a whale or shark a huge fish every one who saw it pronounced it a whale such was my belief as it was too large to be a shark. We had no “Colors” flying in morning.  It was a Blockade and the “Bianville” fired a shot at and halted us demanding our business.

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Aboard the “Merimac”

 

July,                                                     Thursday 17,                                                   1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately and intensely hot – The sea was calm and smooth presenting a magnificent appearance to behold. “Truly beautiful and majestic are the works of God” – The waters of the “mighty deep” were a beautiful deep blue color – We saw large numbers of flying fish,  also “Porpoises” swimming and leaping over the waves along side our vessel which was also very attractive and amusing to one not accustomed to such sights – No land was visible to day – The soldiers aboard suffered much for water to drink as there was none taken aboard and we were obliged to depend entirely on the salt water and condense half enough to supply the demand and it was not fit to drink when one got it but we were obliged to be satisfied with what we could get – The soldieries were about to raise a Mutiny on account of no water being supplied and break open the ice house when Col. Leasure made his appearance to quell us. I think the Colonel was in the fault--almost a mutiny and I believe it would have been justifiable in this case.

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Aboard the “Merimac”

 

July,                                                     Friday 18,                                                        1862

 

Weather cloudy and very warm quite a pleasant sea breeze in the morning – I never saw the ocean so calm and smooth as it was this morning. But gradually all day it became rougher finally about 4 or 5 p.m. it assured what we would call a heavy tempest or storm – This verifying the old adage – For about two hours our vessel was tossed about at a terrible rate and had we been far out at sea I believe it would have wrecked the ship; but fortunately such was not the case. And she kept on her course just escaping the hardest storm/  We arrived off “Fortress Monroe” about 6 p.m. and cast anchor – some of the boys were sea sick during the tempest and I only escaped by going down in the “hole” and remaining close to my bunk during the whole time of the storm, twice I started up each time I felt sick and returned to my bunk – Land was invisible two nights and one day Col Leasure went ashore to the Fort.

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Aboard the “Merimac” – “Commerce” – “Newport News”

 

July,                                                     Saturday 19,                                                    1862

 

Weather very cloudy indicating rain, very cool apparently for July weather – perhaps to us even to our change of climate – “Merimac” weighed anchor and set sailing about 2 p.m. We were all exceedingly impatient to go ashore off this prison boat. We cast anchor off “Newport News” go aboard the “Commerce” and went ashore about 5 p.m. almost starved and thirsted we found the very best of water and eatables in abundance. I never say any body of men so happy in my life such happiness begging deception – can only be realized or seen. This we put foot for the first time on the “sacred soil” of the “Old Dominion” we remained on the bank of the historic James River until about 8 p.m. when we marched up the river about Ό mile stacked arms and stretched our bodies full length on “Mother Earth” once more enjoying as sweet repose and rest as ever man enjoyed.  Rain fell during the night and we awoke all wet.  Col. Leasure informed us that we were in Gen. Burnside’s Division.

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Newport News Va.

 

July,                                                     Sunday 20,                                                      1862

 

Weather very cloudy in the forenoon; drizzling rain at intervals all forenoon – Cloudy in the afternoon and when “Sol” shone forth the heat was intense – I ate three sweets of ice cream and several pies the latter were brought from “Baltimore” and are sold for a dime a piece-- very good but I paid dearly for overloading my stomach with trash as I suffered severely all the remainder of the day – I went batheing in the “James River” in the evening a splendid place to bathe – water about one third salt. The River is five or six miles wide in front of our Camp – I wrote a letter to Sister Maria – We drew new “Sibley tents” four for each Company thus crowding the men entirely too much for comfort or commence – Clark, Morris, Celcy Odenbaugh, Pecry and John Stephensons, “Macky” McClure, Bob Taggert, Sam and Andy Thompson, Jim Readig and the others were in our mess.

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Newport News Va.

 

July,                                                     Monday 21,                                                     1862

 

Weather very cloudy and wet in the forenoon a tolerable heavy rain shower fell about noon. But in the afternoon the sun shone at intervals – I felt very unwell all day and especially in the forenoon’ felt as if there was something in my stomach that wanted to get out but couldn’t I couldn’t vomit – We signed the “Pay Rolls” to day this part of the soldier duty always has a good effect reviving his spirits I was detailed on fatigue duty; erecting a shelter for the Company stores of the Regiment cutting the poles in the woods I found some black berries while after the poles also whistle berries – Heard cannonading in the direction of “Fortress Monroe” – Dress Parade in the evening orders were read that any man who left Camp without permission would be obliged to carry wood a day under guard from the woods.

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Newport News Va.

 

July,                                                     Tuesday 22,                                                     1862

 

Weather very cloudy and very cool for this season and climate I should judge. I presume a hail storm somewhere and this is the cause of it – We were paid off to day two months pay I received 26$ I gave Major Russel Errettt 45$ to carry back 13$ for myself the remainder was L D. Wilgus money – The Major was also kind enough to take a letter and my two Palmetto cones I brought from South Carolina. I appreciated this kindness in the Major very much as I value the cones very highly and fear I should have got them home sure through his kindness – I hope it may be my good fortune someday to be able to repay the debt – I went swimming in the James River rather cool batheing – I repaired my coat and haversack – Dress Parade as usual.

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Newport News, Va

 

July                                                      Wednesday 23,                                               1862

 

Weather very cloudy but nevertheless pleasant – I cleaned my gun and accoutrements it was quite a job as they were in a terrible dirty rusty condition – I bought some excellent apples to day John Ralston and I determined to go to town today at all hazards; We did so and ate to our satisfaction of ice cream cakes. Our three Regimental field offices were parceling the place for stragglers from Camp but I espied then in time to make a narrow escape of being captured. So I skedaddled for Camp via the River found some beautiful stones along the waters edge – more troops arrived in town 89 N. Y. were lying at the wharf awaiting orders – We had Battalion Drill.. Bob Taggert took very ill.

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Newport News, Va.

 

July,                                                     Thursday 24,                                                   1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately indicating rain nevertheless pleasant – We had Company drill in the morning – I wrote a letter to R. A. M. I was idle the remainder of the day. We were called out for Brigade Drill but fortunately for us a shower of rain came over Camp stopping the drilling for the day – We were called out for Dress Parade and it commenced drizzling rain but we were obliged to stand and take it cooly – I was feasting on almost everything that tempted me and money would buy. I can’t resist the temptation though I fear I shall suffer for it – “Dad” Caldwell and Billy Grey lost their pocket books containing all their money 28$ each.

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Newport News, Va

 

July,                                                     Friday 25,                                                        1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately and very warm this was the warmest day we have had since our arrival in the “Old Dominion” reminds me of home; of good old Keystone state apple trees look natural again. We had Company drill in the forenoon and Regimental drill in the afternoon – I wrote a letter to E. L. M. and one to Jonathan – We received a mail to day but I came out minus – I had some ice cream and pies to day – Orderly Sergeant drew some clothes to day I drew a pair of pants wanted a knapsack but did not get one – Three Regiments of Infantry and a Battery passed Camp giving our a reconnaissance – We heard cannonading and all expected our time our time would soon come when we would be enlisted in the bull.

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Newport News, Va

 

July,                                                     Saturday 26,                                                    1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately nevertheless pleasant. We had Company drill as usual in the forenoon – Dress Parade at the usual time in the evening-- orders were read to the Company requiring Roll Call every hour in the day. So we will be “bored” enough with roll call who wanted to be a soldier. I visited the 45th Regt. P.V. in the afternoon and saw “Dick” and Armstrong Baily both old F. H. S. schoolmates – both are members of Co. C. Armstrong is Orderly Sergeant both I found in good health and spirits – I felt unwell today doubtless the effects of the trash I eat since we were paid off I have been living [?] on pies – The reconnoitering party that went out yesterday returned had been out to Wernie? Court House.

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Newport News, Va.

 

July,                                                     Sunday 27,                                                      1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately and very hot, this was the hottest day we have experienced in the Old Dominion Regiment was inspected at 8 a.m. – I passed a good portion of the time reading my Bible a subscription buying 5 cents on each member of the Co. to purchase lemons and John Kuntz (Company cook) made lemonade and bought some gingerbread thus Co. A. had quite a treat – I received two papers from Jonathan I took a stroll through the woods in search of berries I found some “Whistle berries” though they are very rare – Dress Parade at the usual time – Preaching by our Chaplain in the evening – made choice of Peter 2nd Epistle 3rd Chapter.

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Newport News, Va.

 

July,                                                     Monday 28,                                                     1862

 

Weather clear and intensely hot July weather in every respect – We had Company drill in the morning by Lieutenant Pentecost and Orderly Sergeant – were formed on the Dress Parade ground and had Battalion drill by the Major. Our state colors arrived to day and by the way, I will here state the “Roundheads” served just 11 months in active service of their country before they received a State Flag having no flag save one the patriotic ladies presented them before leaving home. I think it was oweing to the bad feeling existing between Gov. Curtin and Col. Leasure the cause of our not receiving our state and national emblem sooner – I wrote a letter to Bill Holland – L D. Wilgus got some quinine and gave me some rations to day but feasted on pies but I felt the effect of my rashness – (some of our mess brought a keg of pies for the Company).

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Newport News, Va.

 

July,                                                     Tuesday 29,                                                     1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately in the forenoon very hot in the afternoon very cloudy – We had Company drill as usual in the morning by Lieutenant Ocker.  Brigade Drill in the afternoon-- both Brigades were out.  Gen. I. I . Stevens was present and Col. Leasure commanded our Brigade.  Immediately after drill, “Roundheads” marched to our parade ground and received our “Colors”. General I. I. Stevens made the presentation speech good, short and sweet. Colonel Daniel Leasure replied he felt very proud of the banner received even at the “Eleventh hour” – I write a letter to M. C. B. I was unwell all day – diarrhea was my complaint.

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Newport News, Va.

July,                                                     Wednesday 30,                                               1862

 

Weather clear and cloudy alternately and very hot – We had Company drill at the usual time in the morning I felt very ill suffering from my old disease since I have been soldiering – About noon I took a bathe in the James River. I saw some fine ripe peaches for the first time this year which were too great a temptation and I gratified my passion by buying and eating some green apple pies – We had Dress Parade at the usual time; Major was commanding. We received marching orders in the afternoon to be in readiness at a moments notice. Our cook made lemonade for the Company again.

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Newport News, Va.

 

July,                                                     Thursday 31,                                                   1862

 

“July went out like a Lion” Weather very cloudy threatening rain in the forenoon; commenced raining in the evening and continued all night – I was very ill today suffering dearly for the trash I ate yesterday – “Roundheads were called out twice on Dress Parade. I did not go oweing to my illness.  My face was swollen and very sore--also very weak and severe headache. I drank a glass of lager ate one ripe peach – Some half dozen of Company A. were moved by the spirits rather too much spirits in some of them for comfort or them on guard made or stirred up a great commotion in the Camp – I wrote a letter to Elizabeth – bought one half pound of butter We drew fresh beef – Company Drill as usual.

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